Crossover Fan Fiction / Pretty Cure Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ On Thin Ice, Part 2 ( Chapter 7 )

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

Sorry for the delay but it is hard to rewrite a chapter of this length. So just read and enjoy the third and final part of Thin Ice entitled…
 
Chapter 5c – On Thin Ice, Part 3
 
While our heroes were enjoying a quiet week, a certain Amazon husband hunting squad had arrived in Japanese shores.
 
The said group was looking for the probable mate of their team leader.
 
After they have taken their prized captive back to their village, he would then serve as the said leader’s…let us just forget about and move on, shall we?
 
The said group was led by the present Champion, a young purple haired Amazon who was not afraid to stand up to anyone in her way.
 
Her lithe body had showed off a grace that could only be granted through years of rigorous physical training but even then she should never be thought as easy prey by the hormonal youths in the group’s path.
 
This is because she is fearsomely armed with two Chúi – 30kg steel maces in the form of multi-colored spheres that could crack solid concrete and even skulls (animal or human) with little effort. Ouch.
 
Not to mention, the various weaponries that she could ask from her lone male companion, which includes but is not limited to a newly sharpened Dao blade.
 
Speaking of the lone thorn within the roses, he is actually walking right behind the team leader.
 
His job is to carry the luggage, cook their food, and even serve as the group’s interpreter since he is the only one who could understand and speak Japanese fluently.
 
One must wonder how the male Amazon could even carry the group’s entire luggage without tripping because of the coke bottle glasses perched on his sharp nose.
 
The long white robe that he usually wears is not exactly helping his situation either.
 
As for the remaining two members that were trailing behind, these young girls are actually Amazons in training who were given the chance to see the world beyond their village’s borders.
 
Then again, they were more like the Champion’s cheering squad then anything else.
 
The said group had just finished challenging a well known dojo in Osaka but still failed in their mission since the Champion had won her match easily. Plus, the martial artist is already married with three kids to boot.
 
“Xian Pu, if I may speak freely?” The young man with glasses said in Manderin as the group was getting ready for bed.
 
“Speak then, but be sure that no declarations of love are included in the sentence.” The young woman replied with a warning hiss.
 
Xian Pu was already feeling frustration at going all the way to another country to find her match since those martial artists in China were either weak or otherwise forbidden. The monks of Shaolin Temple have mostly fallen in the latter category rather than the former.
 
“No, it would not.” The young man said with a forlorn face. “I have heard of a rather small martial arts school operating in Nerima, Tokyo. Small as it may be, its students have proven to be formidable in the various competitions between districts that they had participated in.”
 
“Go on.” Xian Pu said with a slight nod.
 
“The said school is run by a councilor of the ward along with his three daughters and two martial artists.” The young man said with a bit of giddiness creeping into his voice.
 
“How would that concern us, Mu Tzu?” Xian Pu said with irritation as the young man had taken too long to get to the point.
 
“I have heard rumors about the younger visiting martial artist and his mastery of various marital arts,” Mu Tzu said as he had gone straight to the point. “He may be the one that we are looking for.”
 
“Alright,” Xian Pu said as her eyes suddenly sparkled with newfound hope. “Let us head to Nerima first thing in the morning.”
 
Mu Tzu had taken the advice as well as the apparent end of their two month hunt with mixed feelings.
 
He had watched his long time crush turn in for the night of the two star hotel that they were forced to stay in accordance with the tight budget that was given to them by the village elder.
 
If he could, the young male Amazon would either run away with his beloved and be hunted down for the rest of his life like an escaped convict. Not to mention, Xian Pu may probably hate him enough to kill him herself.
 
The only other option is to give up his feelings for Xian Pu in exchange for a bit of fame and respect in the village.
 
It is this option that is considered as more practical and dogmatic with regards to the village but Mu Tzu may die heartbroken before he could find a suitable mate for himself.
 
With those thoughts in mind, he then spent the rest of the night in a dreamless sleep. Mu Tzu had also slept in the couch since the three girls had occupied the single king size bed.
-oOo-
 
The following night, Mu Tzu had finished packing all of his group’s baggage and went down to the lobby to buy some train tickets for Tokyo.
 
He had also paid for the room that he and the other Amazons had stayed in for the previous three days and two nights.
 
The long raven haired male then followed the girls on their way to the Osaka train station.
 
At least, the group was supposed to be heading towards the said station but the girls were forced to rely on the token male to ask for the correct directions or risk being lost and miss the Ginga train that was leaving at exactly nine in the evening.
 
This was because of the large language barrier between the Amazons and the town’s local population.
 
“Mu Tzu, are you sure that this is the right way?” Ling-Ling said as she hated being led by the nearsighted fool through the slightly crowded streets of a foreign city.
 
“Yes, Ling-Ling.” Mu Tzu said in reply while walking even faster. He then added. “That policeman was very polite and he seemed to be pretty sure when he told me the directions.
 
The girls had to mutter some unfeminine choice of words as they had caught up with the brisk walking lanky teen.
 
Inwardly, Mu Tzu’s temper was beginning to get the better of him since he was being treated like a personal slave.
 
But since Ling-Ling and her twin sister Lung-Lung were under Xian Pu’s protection, he could not even pinch the pre-teens in their backsides without getting clobbered himself.
 
Finally, the male Amazon was able to get a map of the Asian metropolis when they had arrived at the Osaka train station before getting in the departing train.
 
-oOo-
 
In a certain passenger compartment of the Ginga Train No. 102; a peaceful sleep was the last thing on its occupant’s minds.
 
“Mu Tzu, could you buy us those yummy candies before we sleep?” Lung Lung said with her puppy dog eyes. “Pleeease.”
 
“How about I-” The male Amazon said with a bit of venom in his voice. He had enough of being forced to buy frivolous items by the pre-teens only to be berated by his childhood crush and squad leader right afterwards. More so now since, the children’s mother had told him not to give them sweets before bedtime.
 
A sharp glare from his right and below had kept him from saying more.
 
“Alright,” Mu Tzu said with a heavy sigh. “Just one more and that’s it.”
 
With that, the male had slid down from his upper left bunk bed and left to chase the elderly hawker that had passed by their compartment’s door, ten minutes earlier.
 
-oOo-
 
Back at the compartment where the three girls were staying, Lung-Lung had looked at her idol, which was lying on her back in the lower bunk across from her, for a moment before saying.
 
“Sister Xian Pu, why did you even put up with that stupid Mu Tzu anyway?”
 
The older girl had looked stymied for a moment before replying. “He’s actually very helpful in carrying our luggage as well as understanding these people’s language.”
 
“You sound like you like him, Sister.” Ling-Ling said as she had turned away from the nearly obscure view of the countryside outside of the train’s window.
 
She and her twin sister had exchanged knowing looks at the given joke.
 
“M-me…liking that blind nitwit,” the Xian Pu said in reply as she had looked away. “Impossible.”
 
If anyone could look closely at her face at that exact moment, a little tint of red could be seen on her pale cheeks.
 
By the time Xian Pu had regained her composure, the object of her thoughts had returned with the requested treats.
 
-oOo-
 
As the other three Amazons had slept in, a certain purple haired teen was trying to get some sleep herself only to be eluded by the Sandman time and again.
 
The girl slowly stood up and sought her balance momentarily to counteract the constant shaking of the train.
 
After looking at her childhood friend’s sleeping face, the Village Champion could not help but see a lovable fool especially with some drool falling from a corner of his lips.
 
Against her better judgment, Xian Pu had tiptoed to the other two bunk beds and even stepped on the lower bunk’s raised portion so that she could just raise her head high enough to at level with the young man’s face.
 
The said young man was still dreaming of netting the girl that had captured his heart since early childhood.
 
Xian Pu then gave Mu Tzu a little peck on the exposed left cheek in her gratitude for putting up with her through the years.
 
It was also her way of telling him that his love for her could never be more than illusions to be shattered by the bludgeon of life.
 
-oOo-
 
The Chinese group’s train had arrived in Tokyo at around seven in the morning.
 
After a quick breakfast at the said station, Mu Tzu had asked about town for the location of the Tendou dojo and how to get there.
 
The other Amazons had waited for him in the station’s waiting area’s plastic seats; all of them were pretty bored in the first half hour and wanted to do some training.
 
But the said station’s security guards were adamant on letting them inside the station itself since the girls may hurt someone accidentally.
 
“If you really want to train, you could go to the park.” One elderly guard said politely in Mandarin. “I will even provide you the correct directions.”
 
The girls were surprised at how fluent the guard was speaking in their native language thus they had asked him on how was he able to speak as fluently as he did.
 
“Truth to tell, I had actually attended some night classes in Mandarin since we get a lot of Chinese visitors here.” The said guard replied with a shrug. “I realized that some of you young folks have trouble understanding our language thus I made it a point to learn yours instead.”
 
“Ah it is good to see old people like you who could understand our predicament.” Xian Pu said with a short bow.
 
She was impressed with how some people would go out of their way to be more helpful to others even if they were supposed to be traditional enemies.
 
It was this train of thought that had reminded Xian Pu of her myopic childhood friend who had done the same with the Japanese visitors that had come upon their village.
 
She had immediately halted this thought from going further so she would not be teased by her “sisters” for harboring romantic feelings for a mere second class citizen.
 
-oOo-
 
After a local train ride to Nerima station, the group had continued on their walk to their destination only to be separated by two joyriding motorcyclists.
 
Xian Pu was chased by the delinquent teens in their Yamaha motorbikes to an unfamiliar neighborhood.
 
The other Amazons had tried to follow but were cut off by other teenagers who were waiting for some actions themselves.
 
This was why a pissed off Chinse Amazon had later arrived in the same ice cream parlor where a certain group of friends were spending their Sunday morning.
 
She had already dealt some Amazon style justice to her motored pursuers prior to her arrival at the said location.
 
The lone Amazon’s keen chi senses had alerted her to two possible prospects for a good sparring match.
 
She had also noticed that there were four more auras although they were weaker by comparison to the first two.
 
-oOo-
 
It was about that time that a certain group’s instincts had gone to overdrive before they stood up and paid for their meal quickly.
 
It was still too late though as the foreign intruder had already broken a man sized hole in the said establishment’s eastern wall.
 
Through it all, Akane had drawn the Amazon’s attention while Ranma had led everyone else out of the parlor including the store’s angry owner.
 
The pony-tailed teen was able to squirm his way out of this situation by promising to pay while mentally groaning that he would have to do some “jobs” under Nabiki’s supervision in the next few days in order to pay the correct amount.
 
Flappy simply said that it was much better than the owner filing a complaint against them anyway.
 
Soon, the battle had gone outside with Akane being on the defensive more often than she would have liked. The other girls would have joined her but were held back by their boyfriends.
 
This left Ranma who had entered the battle with a jumping side kick. Xian Pu had found herself being slowly overwhelmed as well as outnumbered.
 
To compensate for her tactical error, she had kicked Akane in the face with a sudden flip kick as the other girl was about to join her fiancé in a joint attack.
 
Ranma was forced to stop attacking in order to check his sparring partner’s condition thus the Amazon had made good her escape.
 
“You okay?” The pony-tailed martial artist said as he bent down to the fallen martial artist’s level.
 
“Yeah,” Akane said as she had stood up despite the pain that she felt from Xian Pu’s constant attacks especially the last one to her jaw. “Jus’ a little bruised here and there. I havta admit she’s pretty good, really strong too.”
 
“Yeah, well.” Ranma replied as he had half carried the blue haired girl on his left shoulder after standing up himself. “If you could train even harder, ya can beat her.”
 
The others had joined them the whole way back to the Tendou compound.
 
-oOo-
 
By the time Ranma and the others had arrived in the Tendou compound, they were surprised to see the seventeen year old purple haired foreigner waiting for them in the family room.
 
In addition, she was accompanied by a young man with flowing white robes and shoulder length black hair, a thirteen year old girl with violet hair, and another thirteen year old girl who looked similar to the other one but with lime green hair.
 
Both pre-teens were wearing the same loose fitting cheongsam as their older counterpart only smaller.
 
Kasumi had greeted the newly arrived teens just as she had put down the last cup of oolong tea for herself.
 
“Akane, you’re just in time.” The eldest Tendou daughter said with a relieved smile as she had stood up once again to prepare the oolong tea for the newcomers. “These nice people wanted to challenge our strongest fighter to prove their strength.”
 
Eager for another fight to let loose his earlier frustrations, Ranma had stood up and said. “Well then, lemme give it a shot.”
 
He also cracked his knuckles in full view of his unimpressed audience.
 
“Be my guest,” Akane replied with a roll of her brown eyes. “I’m sure that you wanted to fight cute girls, right?”
 
“Of course,” Ranma said with his chest puffed up. “I always tend to fight with ya, don’t I?”
 
A passing wind had blown some red and brown cherry blossom leaves in a nearly spiral motion across the enclosed yard behind the standing pony-tailed teen.
 
The said teen had actually looked confused at the rather varied stares (and facial expressions) given to him by everyone else.
 
Nabiki had even popped in to say. “Okay, that was random.”
 
The middle Tendou daughter then immediately left for the privacy of her room in the second floor, ignoring the heated glare from Ranma for her unwarranted comment.
 
After everyone in the room had recovered from their collective swoon, the lavender haired girl had stood up and said in broken Japanese. “Let go and fight.”
 
She then grabbed a surprised Ranma from his spot beside Akane and pulled him out of the room. Everyone else were too surprised to react thus they had remained in their seats.
 
A moment later, the Amazon’s head popped back from the other side of the wooden screen before saying. “Where dojo anyway?”
 
A simultaneous face plant had resulted from the spoken question which was followed by Ranma’s off-screen shout of “Lemme go, ya idiot.”
 
Akane had enough of the female Amazon’s foolishness as she herself had stood up and left the room before meeting the Amazon in the hall. She then said. “On the other hand, I’ll fight with you.”
 
Xian Pu replied quickly as she had increased her grip on Ranma’s right arm. “No, I fight him.”
 
“He doesn’t even hit girls,” Akane said with bared teeth as she had grabbed the pony-tailed teen’s left arm.
 
“Dammit,” Ranma was saying with gritted teeth from the growing pain in both his arms as a tug of war was beginning to start. “I never even said that, ya Tomboy.”
 
After a pause, he had added with a grunt. “Would ya kindly leggo of me before ya break somethin’ in there?”
 
“That’s enough,” a baritone voice was heard clearly from the direction of the family room. “Our Champion has made her choice.”
 
All pair of eyes in the said room had turned to the raven haired seventeen year old teen with coke bottle glasses. Three more pairs had joined the others from hallway beyond the wooden screen.
 
The said center of attention had simply ignored the stares that were directed at him and had asked both Ranma and Akane to lead them to the dojo as he too had stood up.
 
-oOo-
 
After the mat was laid out, the introductions given, and the rules were also given to the challenger, both Ranma and Shampoo had taken their desired positions on the mat.
 
They had also bowed in respect to each other and to the shrine in the middle of the dojo.
 
Akane had taken job of the referee with Yuka and Sayuri as judges. All three girls were sitting on the right side of the marked arena with the blue haired girl sitting in the middle of the other two.
 
As for Daisuke and Hiroshi, they made sure that the battle is limited only to the mat to prevent unnecessary harm and advantages for both competitors and audience.
 
The Chinese Amazon had started the match with a flurry of punches followed by a leg sweep. In return, Ranma had evaded most of the attacks with inches to spare.
 
The few attacks that would have gotten through his evasive tactics were blocked evenly. This had enraged the Amazon enough to step up her own game plan.
 
This time, the pony-tailed teen was forced to block more hits that he was having trouble evading. He had grunted each time an attack had gone past his defenses and hit home.
 
Yet, Ranma had continued to dance his way out of the tight situations that he had found himself in while lightly peppering his opponent with punches and mid-level kicks.
 
Both of the youngest Amazons were shocked (and later angered) at how Ranma had made a fool of their Amazon sister.
 
This was made even worse by the fact that everyone else had simply watched the on going match with impassive faces.
 
Even Mousse, who at times would fight other males for their sister’s attention, was simply studying both fighters in the mat with a nod or a small shake of his head being seen.
 
“Ling-Ling, even though having Sister Xian Pu lose this fight is our original intention, we cannot let this mockery of our Amazon fighting style to continue.” Lung-Lung (the one with the lime green hair) said in a whisper to her twin sister using their native tongue.
 
“I agree, Sister.” Ling-Ling whispered back with a curt nod. “We must do something about this and soon.”
 
“What are you two novices talking about?” Mousse said in Mandarin as he had looked at the startled twins from his seat on their left side.
 
“Nothing,” both Amazon twins had cried as they had waved their hands wildly at him. Mousse immediately became suspicious of the twins’ actions as did Akane but they had remained quiet to see what would be the twin’s next move.
 
In addition, Akane could not let the twins affect her judgment as she had continued to monitor the match.
 
“We just wanted to go to the ladies’ room,” the green haired Amazon said in an attempt to provide an excuse for her and her sister to leave the room. Both twins then stood up and waited for their older male’s permission.
 
“Alright,” Mousse said with a growl as he was eager to keep his attention at the match. “Return here as soon as possible.”
 
The twins left the room in a rush with Nabiki leading the way for a paltry sum of 100 yen or its Yuan equivalent.
 
-oOo-
 
A good fifteen minutes had passed with neither Ranma nor Shampoo actually gaining an edge over the other. Both fighters were panting from the intensity of the whole match.
 
Shampoo was much more tired then her opponent since she only had a chance to rest upon her arrival in the Tendou compound after dealing with the bikers and later both Ranma and Akane in the ice cream shop.
 
In contrast, Ranma had only fought Shampoo briefly in the said shop and thus has fresher legs than the Amazon.
 
Even though the Village Champion was mentally congratulating Mousse for finding a young fighter beyond her caliber, she was waiting for the finishing blow from Ranma so that she could give the Kiss of Marriage.
 
Ranma on his part had continued to dance his way around the older girl for two reasons.
 
The first reason was that Plum had already warned him about the Chinese Amazons weird customs about courtship and marriage back when Ranma was still helping the pre-teen host carry the laundry back to the latter’s house before he and his father had left for Japan.
 
The second was that he was actually enjoying this. He had tried this with Akane a few times before only to have his fiancée dig deep into her own bag of tricks and force him to fight on her own terms anyway.
 
Ranma could never underestimate that sneaky blue haired girl since she could somehow read his mind whenever he had tried to evade her attacks.
 
In return, she would slowly but surely push him into a corner with no way out except to fight back.
 
It was when a familiar song (Jajuma ni Sasenaide or Don’t Make Me Wild Like You) had permeated the walls from outside that everything had gone to hell.
 
All of a sudden, everyone in the dojo was dancing rather clumsily with both Mousse and Shampoo trying to cover their ears and cursing in their native tongue.
 
From what Ranma could decipher with what little he had learned in speaking Chinese, he had found out that the twins were responsible for this unwanted disco time.
 
The pony tailed martial artist had tried to cover his ears but his hands seemed to be having life of their own, both limbs swaying to the rhythmic beat.
 
He had also figured out what was making the song that seemed to take over his whole body – a green paper mâché dragon with what seems to be a cassette radio hanging its mouth.
 
The said paper beast was just entering the training hall through the door. It was both carried and manipulated by the troublesome twins – Ling Ling and Lung Lung.
 
The two young girls seemed to be wearing ear plugs since they were the only ones still in control of their actions.
 
Some crashes and angry yells from inside the main house had confirmed that the other occupants were also affected by the said devil’s music.
 
Soon, everyone else in the dojo had somehow gotten in what would later be called as the Great Anything Goes Martial Arts Disco match.
 
Ranma was pretty impressed with Hiroshi’s and Sayuri’s dance moves as they went up against the less fluid yet more combat experienced pair of Mousse and Shampoo.
 
He and Akane were not doing too well either against Daisuke and Yuka in terms of style and grace but they still had gotten a few good hits on the latter pair, mostly due to their having more experience in the Art.
 
As a result, Ranma had later accidentally knocked out Shampoo with Mousse’s and Akane’s help before being knocked out as well a full second later.
 
-oOo-
 
When Ranma had woken up ten minutes later, Soun was busy scolding the Amazon twins for using hypnotic pop music to let their Champion gain the upper hand in their officiated match.
 
Moreover, the said music had caused Kasumi to break some dishes in the kitchen and Nabiki to stumble around in her bedroom while dancing awkwardly.
 
Even Soun and Genma’s new game of Go was interrupted in the worst possible way with stones and the board itself being flung everywhere with reckless abandon.
 
As such, the Kiss of Marriage and Death were pretty much thrown out the window since it was three people who had knocked out Shampoo at the exact same time with one of them (Akane) being the opposite gender and Mousse being an Amazon himself.
 
Shampoo was really upset with the disastrous result of the match and thus had to be consoled by the rest of the girl’s in Akane’s room.
 
The pre-teen twins were also told to clean the whole training hall (including walls and ceilings) as punishment with Soun guarding them the whole time.
 
Mousse was doing most of the apologizing (against his will of course) for the mess to Ranma and the others. This was mostly because Akane and the others had looked so funny fighting and dancing at the same time.
 
His friends did not find the events of the last hour as amusing though. Mostly it was because they had to put ice bags (provided by Kasumi) over their various bruises caused by the various hits of their opponents at the time.
 
To salvage the Amazon’s stained honor, the Tendous and Saotomes had later made an agreement with their foreign visitors.
 
In the said agreement, if Ranma and Akane would have a son, he would have to make a trip to the Amazon village and make his choice of a bride there when he comes of age.
 
If the said male heir had chosen none, then his sister (if any) would have to be made into an Amazon warrior herself. This would also be the case if both teens would only have a daughter instead of a son.
 
In addition, both Ranma and Akane would be classified to the village elders as the Amazon’s allies in times of need.
 
Both teens in question had tried to act as nonchalant as they could be although the mere mention of them having children in the first place had made their faces red all the same.
 
Nabiki had a grand time playing candid camera on the blushing pair, while ignoring their shared death glare. The other teens and even adults could not help but chuckle at the aforementioned teens’ antics.
 
As for both Mousse and Shampoo, they had released a deep sigh of relief since their overseas trip was not for naught after all.
 
In addition, it had also meant that Mousse himself was given a chance to win Shampoo’s heart since he too had knocked her out albeit accidentally.
 
A letter was sent to the Amazon village for the elders to approve of the given proceedings or to choose another option altogether.
 
-oOo-
 
The next day, Akane had received a challenge letter from the Amazon twins for the humiliation that they had received from Soun and Genma.
 
She had accepted the challenge despite the objections from her friends and her family since they knew that it would be a trap.
 
The twins were not as skilled as their older companions were thus Akane would have the all important edge in both skill and speed. The only way the twins would win is through some sort of cheating.
 
The blue haired girl had ignored their warnings and had even added that the twins needed a “good spanking” anyway.
 
Thus, all three girls would later meet at the baseball diamond at around lunch time to settle things once and for all.
 
-oOo-
 
Somehow, Akane had fought the twins alone since the rest of her friends were distracted separately along the way to the battle zone.
 
Ranma was accidentally splashed along the way and then chased by a bevy of beauties, all of them eager to cuddle him in their large bosoms. Hiroshi had followed them while carrying the cursed teen’s damp clothes.
 
Daisuke was tricked to go into an empty classroom with a free screening of triple X movies before being locked in the said room.
 
It was Yuka who had bailed the dark brunet out. She then nailed her panicking boyfriend with a straight jab to the face upon seeing the current pornographic movie in the small TV’s screen within the room.
 
As for Sayuri, she was forced to help out a few of her other classmates in their Home Economics project after the said project – a vanilla frosted chocolate cake was ruined by a purple haired vandal.
 
By the time, all four teens had arrived at the battlefield, they had found a knocked out Akane and P-Chan who was lying nearby.
 
Curiously, Akane’s hair was disheveled as if it was pulled in the course of the duel. Furthermore, she could not remember anything at all including her friends’ names.
 
A brief Q and A with Ryoga had resulted in failure. The bandanna wearing teen was later seen being bopped repeatedly on the head.
 
It was a bit surprising to see that it was Yuka and Sayuri who were doing the bopping rather than Ranma.
 
-oOo-
 
When Akane had woken up to a terrible headache ten minutes later, she did not even know her own name.
 
The other teens had tried to help her remember but had to stop when the blue haired girl was seen clutching her head in pain.
 
After a brief pow-wow, Ranma had decided to escort Akane home. The said girl had refused since she did not even know her friends.
 
The pony-tailed teen then fell back into his second plan since Akane’s stubbornness is beginning to show.
 
Thus, while Yuka and Sayuri were talking to a bewildered Akane, Ranma had gotten the drop on her before making a soft karate chop at a specific pressure point in the girl’s left temple.
 
“Hey, we haven’t gotten to the part where we three had our first slumber party.” Yuka was telling to Ranma’s face.
 
The martial artist had ignored the said outburst as he hefted his fiancée on his right shoulder.
 
`She sure is light for someone in her size,” Ranma had thought as he had turned around and headed for Dr. Tofu’s clinic.
 
To Yuka, he then added while quickening his own pace. `Sorry `bout that. But we’ve gotta get her to the clinic pronto.”
 
Daisuke had helped his friend out by adding. “Ranma’s right, sweetie pie. I’m sure that the Doc’s got something in his clinic that could help.”
 
“I understand,” Yuka said in reply as she and the others had quickened their own paces to keep up with the brisk walking Ranma. “Just don’t ignore me the next time we do this.”
 
“I promise,” Ranma said without turning back.
 
-oOo-
 
Fifteen minutes later, the group had arrived in Tofu’s small clinic. Thankfully, Akane is still unconscious. For her friends, they never could tell if it is a good thing or not.
 
Ranma had placed the unconscious girl on the sanitized flat bed that Tofu uses in his line of work.
 
The good doctor himself had just finished his supper when the group had arrived with Akane in tow.
 
“What happened, Ranma?” Tofu said with a bit of surprise and anger audible in his tone.
 
The chiropractor had always regarded the youngest Tendou as his baby sister and thus seeing her in such a sad state had rung some warning bells in his mind.
 
“Dunno,” was the pony-tailed teen’s quick reply. “When we found her in the baseball field, she was already like that. More than that, she can’t remember nuthin’.”
 
“I see,” the chiropractor replied as he had examined Akane’s chi flow by means of various acupuncture needles placed at specific points throughout the teen’s whole body.
 
After he had finished, Tofu then turned to the group before saying. “Let us leave her for the time being.”
 
He then led the teens out towards the clinic’s waiting room where they had resumed their discussion.
 
“From what I can see, she’s fine in a physical sense.” Tofu then shifted his glaze at the puzzled martial artist. “Could you explain her memory loss a little further, Ranma?”
 
All four teens had told the doctor everything that they had known about Akane’s condition.
 
It was while Sayuri was explaining about how shiny Akane’s hair was that the subject of their discussion had woken up from her little slumber.
 
She had gotten up rather quickly in her panic only to feel a sense of vertigo. Akane had tried again after a few minutes and shakily placed her feet on the floor.
 
The blue haired martial artist had heard voices coming from outside and went to investigate. She had just reached the door when vertigo had once again made itself known.
 
This was why Akane was leaning on the doorframe when the people in the waiting room were staring back at her.
 
“Who are you people and where am I exactly?” Akane said in a rush.
 
Tofu then stood up with both hands raised in a calming manner and said. “Akane, you’re in my clinic and these people are your friends.”
 
“I don’t remember having frien-,” Akane was saying when a bolt of pain was let loose on her skull. Instinctively, she had raised her hands to her temples to lessen the pain to no avail.
 
“Calm down,” Doctor Tofu said as he slowly neared the girl. He had signaled everyone else to remain in their seats. “None of us are going to hurt you. Let me show you to your bed first.”
 
Akane had begrudgingly accepted the gesture and was led back to the bed. Tofu then asked her on what she could remember.
 
The girl had begun to recount her latest thoughts. She had remembered fighting two thirteen year old girls in strange clothing before she was attacked from behind.
 
After recalling her latest memories, the pain that she had been fighting was too much for the girl and she had passed out.
 
Tofu had gently covered the girl with the white bedcovers before hand signaling everyone else to wait for him in the waiting room.
 
-oOo-
 
Once the chiropractor had arrived in the waiting room, Tofu then told his visitors everything that he had learned from their stories.
 
The others had listened patiently as they either sat on the couch or in Ranma’s case, leaned on the wall nearest to the doorway where Akane was currently sleeping in.
 
“From what I have learned from what you had told me, I can now postulate a possible reason on Akane’s amnesia.” The good doctor said with sureness that they had only seen whenever he had gotten the symptoms correctly.
 
`Whoa, back up there, Doc.” Ranma said as he had looked at the chiropractor in confusion. “I mean, could ya at least `splain this with out the fancy words.”
 
“Oh alright,” Tofu had replied with a sigh. “I guess I forgot who I was talking to for a while there.”
 
Seeing that his small audience continued to listen to him despite groaning to his feeble excuse, Tofu then continued his lecture.
 
“What I mean is Akane’s amnesia was probably caused by a certain herbal shampoo named Formula # 411 along with a Xi Fa Xiang Gao shiatsu technique.” The chiropractor said with a bit of adjustment of glasses that had loosened in his excitement. “Together, they can erase selected memories of the victim while leaving his hair refreshed as if he had taken a quick trip to the barber shop or beauty parlor, if the victim is female.”
 
“Shiatsu?” everyone else had asked Tofu as they were confused on how would a healing technique using hands would lead to amnesia.
 
“Yes,” the chiropractor said in reply. “A good shiatsu practitioner could actually detect any abnormalities in a person’s chi and manipulate pressure points to correct them. In the same manner, they could also use the same technique to hinder a person’s chi.”
 
“Ok, so far.” Yuka said in reply for her place in the couch in between Sayuri and Daisuke. “So how come Akane’s amnesia is total, not selected as you said.”
 
“I was getting to that Yuka,” Tofu had said with a bit of anger since he was rudely interrupted for the second time. “The thing is, the person who had done this is a real novice so that he or she…pardon my French…had screwed everything up.”
 
“I see,” Ranma said since his curiosity was piqued. “This herbal shampoo…came from China, doesn’t it?”
 
“Why yes it does since most herbal medicines came from there,” the chiropractor said uneasily since he was both impressed and unnerved that Ranma had know the little known factoid. “This particular formula was actually banned from general use and only a few people actually knew about it.”
 
“So, who would know about a dangerous bath product?” Hiroshi said from his place on Sayuri’s right in the sofa set.
 
“Other than practitioners of herbal medicines, I’m quite sure it’s not that many people I’m afraid.” Tofu replied simply.
 
“Doctor, do you know any practitioner nearby so we could ask him for a cure?” This time, it was from Sayuri who was looking at the door where Akane had come out earlier a few times.
 
It was obvious that she was worried about her friend’s mental condition as did everyone else.
 
“No need to ask, since I have a book related to it with me.” Tofu said with a snap of his fingers. He then ran up the nearby stairs towards his room in the second floor.
 
While Tofu was looking for the hold that holds the cure for Akane’s amnesia, Kasumi had arrived in the clinic while looking for her baby sister.
 
Those who had watched Ranma one-half could easily guess what had happened next when the chiropractor had returned to the waiting room a few minutes later.
 
Suffice to say, the hardbound book was now scattered on the clinic floor in little pieces of paper and threads.
 
-oOo-
 
After Kasumi had left the clinic and the chiropractor was given a good whack on the head by most of the remaining teens, Ranma had decided that Akane should be left at the clinic for the time being.
 
He would then be the one bearing the bad news to the other residents of the Tendou compound even if it means being attacked by Soun in the process.
 
The mere mention of the Tendou patriarch’s name had brought yet another episode of pain for the now kneeling blue haired girl whose very presence had surprised everyone else in the room.
 
Akane had explained that she had woken up to the earlier commotion and had thought to investigate. She had already stood up and was also leaning on the doorframe as soon as the headache was over.
 
The blue haired girl had also insisted that the “pony-tailed boy” escort her to wherever he is going to despite the renewed pain that she was feeling.
 
She had by then walked just enough to lean on Ranma’s right arm with her hands clutching the said arm just in case.
 
After getting another respite, she then slowly pulled Ranma’s head to her own level before whispering. “I’d rather be with you since that guy kind off creeps me out if ya know what I mean.”
 
The martial artist had simply shrugged his shoulders in response upon straightening out. In his mind, he had believed that normally Akane would have stayed with Tofu than with him.
 
Both teens then left the clinic followed by the others before the group each went their separate ways.
 
Along the way, Flappy had advised Ranma to just take the given blessing and continue to take his fiancée home.
 
`Alright,’ Ranma had replied while carefully minding his steps. `Although, I’m sure that the old man will not take this lightly.’
 
“Since when does Soun take things lightly anyway-lapi,” was the flower spirit’s retort.
 
“Um, Ranma, is it?” Akane was saying before she had to hold her head with both hands once again, stumbling a bit as she did so.
 
“Hey, loosen up.” Ranma said to brighten the atmosphere between them as he had steadied the girl before continuing their walk towards the Tendou compound. “I mean, you can call me anything as long it means that I’m handsome.”
 
“You wish,” Akane said with a chuckle before adding. “Ow, dammit.”
 
“Sorry, I guess its best not to call me anything since it would only hurt ya.”
 
“Nah,” the female martial artist said with loopy grin. “I’m a big girl now. `Sides I’ll just call ya Ponytail. Is that ok?”
 
“Um, yeah sure.” Ranma answered rather absently. In truth, he had taken this matter rather personally since unless they could get a cure, Akane is pretty much a lost cause by herself.
 
He then added mentally. `I’ll get those twerps if it’s the last thing I’ll do.’
 
The martial artist had forgotten that Flappy could actually hear his innermost thoughts before he heard what the flower spirit had said in response.
 
“Ranma, getting revenge on Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung will not solve anything-lapi.”
 
Within the silence that followed, the flower spirit had added.
 
“It is just much better to force the duo to cough up their brainwashing shampoo before leaving the punishment to Mousse and Shampoo-lapi. From there, Dr. Tofu could make a suitable antidote-lapi.”
 
`I know,’ Ranma replied with a bit of a growl. `But even then, would the twins actually give it up from the goodness of their hearts jus’ for Akane’s sake?’
 
The flower spirit had chosen that particular moment to be silent.
 
“Are you alright?” came a voice from outside Ranma’s mind.
 
“Uh yeah,” the pony-tailed teen said in reply as he had realized with a jerk that he would have hit a lamp post if he had continued further. “What makes you think I’m not?”
 
“Your face would have hit the lamp post if I didn’t stop you,” was the given reply.
 
“Point taken.”
 
“So what is it?” The blue haired girl had asked again.
 
“Uh, its kinda hard ta explain really.” Ranma said with a bit of a stutter while hoping that his fiancée would take the verbal hint and move on.
 
“Sorry, Ponytail but I want ta know what the heck is going on with you?” Akane said with crossed arms.
 
“I can’t,” the male teen said with a bit of exasperation noted in his voice.
 
“Why the hell not?!”
 
This time, Akane was clearly hurt with the given slight as shown by her tearful expression and hurt tone.
 
“It’s related to yer lost memories, ok.” Ranma said in a heated reply while looking away from his fiancée’s face.
 
“Oh.”
 
The rest of the walk was quiet, save for the usual car honks, music from the nearby karaoke bars, and other urban sounds that one could hear in a metropolis at night.
 
 
 
-oOo-
 
Later at the Tendou compound, an angry Soun was chasing Ranma around the whole block until they were stopped by Kasumi who had told them to act their age.
 
The older martial artist had heard the news from his eldest daughter a half hour earlier. His fears were fanned even more by his youngest daughter’s query of his identity upon her arrival with her fiancé.
 
With sullen faces, both veteran practitioners of the Anything Goes of Martial Arts had obeyed the nineteen year old girl’s orders as they had gone further into the main house.
 
Akane would have laughed out loud if not for yet another painful mental episode caused by her rampaging memories that were trying to break down the mystical wall that was holding them back.
 
Both older sisters had caught the blue haired teen as she was about to faint. Akane was then moved to the couch in the family room with Soun crying over his favorite daughter.
 
Genma, transformed by his friend’s fountain of tears, was busy calming his friend with a needed bottle of sake that he had taken from the kitchen a good ten minutes before.
 
While the old men were drinking themselves silly on the engawa, both elder Tendou sisters had confronted Ranma.
 
“From what Doc Tofu had told us, Akane is the victim of a combined acupuncture and herbal shampoo attack.” The pony-tailed teen said as he had begun his story.
 
By the time it had ended, Akane had also woken up from her short slumber. Ranma had taken this as a signal to leave. He went to his room to pick up his bath supplies.
 
In his mind, a good soak in the hot bath or furo would be in order.
 
-oOo-
 
Thankfully, the hot water in the compound’s plumbing was not used up yet.
 
Ranma had taken the time to exchange ideas with his mental guest on how to cajole the Amazon twins on giving up the shampoo sample they had or have Mousse make an antidote even without the sample.
 
After fifteen minutes, both Ranma and Flappy had heard Akane’s voice from outside the outer bathroom.
 
“Hey Ponytail, are ya decent?” it said.
 
Rising above the slightly lukewarm water, Ranma had replied. “I will be in a minute.”
 
The pony-tailed martial artist had wrapped himself in a fluffy white robe, two sizes bigger than he is and carefully made his way to the wooden door.
 
He was quickly greeted by the sight of Akane in a similar robe; only her robe is just the right size and is yellow in color.
 
“It’s all yours,” Ranma said as he had passed the girl by on his way to the guest room in the second floor.
 
The pony-tailed teen never realized that Akane was following him with her eyes until he had disappeared around the corner near the family room.
 
-oOo-
 
Back in the clinic, two foreign teens as well as two younger teens had returned from City Hall. Doctor Tofu had welcomed all of them as soon as they had entered his clinic.
 
It was to Tofu’s good fortune to hire these wonderful foreign workers since work in the clinic has been piling up recently.
 
“How are your working permits?” He had asked to the lone male who had just taken off his black sandals just past the door before placing them in the shoe locker nearby.
 
“They’re fine, Doctor.” The young man with long black hair had replied with a small smile. “Um, do you mind if I sleep here in the couch?”
 
“Well…” Tofu’s words had trailed off as he had held his chin with his right hand, “Alright, just put everything away before we open at eight in the morning.”
 
“Thank you, Doctor Tofu.” The young man said as he then headed for the visitors’ shared room to get his sleepwear ready as well as keeping the copies of the various government forms that he and his partner had taken care of the entire day.
 
“Doctor Tofu, could we use bathroom now?” This time, the speaker was the other older teen with purple hair.
 
“No problem, Shampoo.” Tofu replied as he had locked the front door.
 
“Thank you.”
 
-oOo-
 
While Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung were enjoying a hot soak in the second floor bathroom’s furo a half hour after Shampoo did, both sisters were talking about the whole debacle earlier at noon.
 
“Do you think the adults knew of our plan?” Lung-Lung said worriedly in Mandarin.
 
She had noticed the more than passive glance at them by their new employer as they headed for their shared room above the clinic.
 
“You worry too much, Sister.” Ling-Ling replied as she had stretched her limbs. “I mean, we did return the formula before Doctor Tofu had gone back from lunch, did we not?”
 
“Maybe,” the lime haired sister (and slightly younger sister) said rather hastily since she did not want to start an argument with her twin over something as trivial as having cold feet in a less than well executed revenge.
 
“Ling-Ling, Lung-Lung.” Shampoo’s melodic yet strained voice in their native tongue was heard from behind them. “Is there something you’re not telling us?”
 
Both twins had looked up to see a very upset Shampoo holding a small bottle of shampoo with # 411 written on its label in her right hand. The said bottle’s cap was slightly unscrewed.
 
“Please forgive us, Sister.” Ling-Ling said on bended knees, knowing that the jig is up before it had even begun. “We have challenged Akane Tendou because she had knocked you out in her fight along with Mousse and Ranma.”
 
“I am certain that there is another reason behind it, I’m sure.” A deeper voice said from beyond the closed door.
 
Both twins had gotten out of the bath and put on their robes before their elder tribal sister had said that it is ok for the males to come in.
 
The door had revealed a smirking Mousse and an upset Tofu. Both men were standing just past the door’s threshold.
 
The good doctor had massaged the bridge of his nose before saying in a pained voice. “I want to hear the real reason behind this before I leave the punishment to your elders.”
 
Both teens had felt scared at the chilling tone that their soon to be employer had used on them. Thus, they had said as much as they could while trying to keep some honor for themselves.
 
Tofu could not believe that being punished by Soun was enough of a reason for what the twins had done to Akane.
 
Given the matriarchal society of the Amazons in general, it would be somewhat understandable for the twins to resort for any payback to their humiliation yet given the fact that they had actually cheated to let Shampoo win did warrant the said punishment.
 
“Enough,” the purple haired champion said after the younger girls had recounted what they had done for the previous twelve hours. “Let us rest. Punishment tomorrow.”
 
Mousse had to laugh a bit at his crush’s unintentional mangling of the Japanese language in her anger before the said crush had glared at him.
 
To cover his embarrassment, he had told the twins. “Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung, whatever punishment Mistress Shampoo had decreed will be done under my strict supervision. Is that clear?”
 
Even though his threat was underwhelming, the fact that Mousse had looked serious enough to make true his unspoken threat was enough to make the twins say. “Yes, O wise and powerful One.”
 
Both older teens then left the room for a minute, their hands covering their faces the whole time. Soon afterwards, some snickers could be heard from the waiting room outside.
 
Tofu could only shake his head at the wacky antics of his new staff as he too had left the bathroom.
 
He had even added mentally. “Why are the gods punishing me this way?”
 
-oOo-
 
The very next day, a certain visitor had graced the doorway of Dr. Tofu’s clinic. Coincidentally, it was Mousse who had met the young man in the doorway.
 
The Chinese Amazon then gave his apologies (or at least as much as he could while trying not to look foolish at the same time) for letting the younger amazons act on their own thus causing an amnesiac Akane along with the resulting uproar in the Tendou household.
 
“Ah, no sweat man.” Ranma replied since an apology is the last thing he would need at that very moment. “Right now, we were hopin’ that the twins could surrender the herbal shampoo so the Doc could make an antidote fer it.”
 
“Ranma…” Mousse said with grimace as he had led the younger teen towards the couch. “He can’t.”
 
“Waddya mean he can’t.” The pony-tailed martial artist said as he had stood up forcefully, both hands clenched into fists. “I can’t let Akane be like this all the time. There’s gotta be a way ta cure that shit.”
 
“Ranma, at least clean up your language, damn it.” The male Amazon said with a fierce glare. “I mean, there aren’t any ingredients left to make even half a bottle of Formula # 911 this year. Ever since the El Niño phenomenon had hit these last few months, there’s been an acute shortage of herbs that make up 911’s important ingredients.”
 
“The El what phonomewho?” Ranma said while scratching his head at the strange words. “Besides, what’s Formula # 911 anyway?”
 
Mousse’s palm had made contact with his face at the martial artist’s actions. After recovering, he then said.
 
“Formula # 911 is the antidote of Formula # 411. As for El Niño, it is when sunny days outnumber rainy days for a long time.”
 
Ranma had finally understood as his left fist had hit his opened right palm. “Now, I understand. So when the days get way too hot for a long time, it’s bad for plants as well as us right?”
 
“Right,” Mousse said with sigh of relief as he had pushed the visitor back to the couch. “So we can actually say that no one could make a decent antidote until sometime next year.”
 
“Ah…” Ranma said in awe. The pony-tailed teen then stood up for a second time, this time he had also grabbed the older boy by the shoulders before saying loudly.
 
“I ain’t gonna wait till next year just to get Akane normal again, ya hear me.” Ranma said with a bit of anger in his tone.
 
Since Mousse was too preoccupied with escaping from Ranma’s vice like grip while being shook like a rattle, the said teen then continued his rant.
“I need ta cure Akane one way or the other. If you have any cure available and I mean any cure, I’ll take it.”
 
“L-look-” the male Amazon was saying as he was already loosing his patience at the antics of his visitor when a third voice had joined the conversation.
 
“Guys, there is no need to fight.”
 
Both pairs of eyes had turned to Dr. Tofu who had emerged from the dining and kitchen area.
 
“I have a crazy idea about how to solve Akane’s amnesia but I may need your help in it,” the chiropractor told the relieved teen.
 
“I’m all ears, Doc.” Ranma said with a wry smile.
 
Turning to the older teen that seemed to be shaking the effects of his near throttling, he added. “Hope ya don’t mind my blowing up back there, I’m pretty much pressured by everyone else ta find for Akane’s condition.”
 
“Apology accepted,” Mousse said in reply as the two teens had shook hands.
 
Both martial artists then listened to Tofu’s plan for the rest of Ranma’s brief stay.
 
-oOo-
 
That evening, Ranma had trained alone in the dojo. Akane would have joined him if not for the headaches that had somehow gotten even worse than before.
 
While he was shadow boxing, the pony-tailed teen was making a mental discussion with Flappy on how they could finally break open Akane’s memory.
 
At first, the flower spirit was adamant to the said plan. But when he was told it was the only thing that they had not tried yet, Flappy had reluctantly agreed to it.
 
“Don’t worry, pal.” Ranma was telling his mental guest. `If this plan doesn’t work, I don’t know what plan could.’
 
Flappy had answered with a wane smile. “That’s what I was afraid of.”
 
-oOo-
 
At nine in the evening, a tired Akane was getting to bed when she had heard a gentle knock on her bedroom’s door.
 
The blue haired martial artist had cursed her luck under her breath but she still had gotten up to open the door anyway. What she had seen had shocked her to the core.
 
A small light green stuffed rabbit was being held by a brown haired young woman who she later remembered to be her older sister, Kasumi.
 
The said toy seemed to be talking to Kasumi since Akane could not see anyone beyond her sister’s form.
 
The said stuffed toy then turned to the unnerved martial artist before saying. “What’s up, Tomboy-lapi?”
 
Akane’s memories were now making a rather large crack at the Formula 411’s dam like mental block with their consistent ramming attacks.
 
The side effect of which was increasing the said girl’s pain even more.
 
Seeing that his fiancée was slowly kneeling down with her hands holding her head in pain, Ranma then added.
 
“Does yer pretty little head hurt when you think deep `bout something-lapi?”
 
Feeling the increasing pressure from Kasumi’s delicate hands around him, Ranma knew that he had gone a bit too far.
 
Even then, it was enough since the heir to the Tendou Anything Goes School had passed out from the intense head pain.
 
-oOo-
 
Akane had found herself in a strange landscape. The colors of the sky surrounding her in 360 degrees were quirky at best.
 
It was if the sky itself was painted by splashing all colors of the rainbow in odd directions.
 
The sandy ground beneath the martial artist’s feet seemed to be in sync with the sky as far as the coloring is concerned. In addition, strangely shaped buttes, mountains, and even trees could be seen in the distance.
 
Whatever direction Akane had looked, she could only see the surreal scene – swirling colors and all.
 
A slight tap of footsteps had started the blue haired martial artist. Akane quickly had gotten into a battle pose to defend herself from whatever thing that was approaching her.
 
The shuffling of feet had immediately stopped as quickly as it had begun. Akane was beginning to get scared thus she said to the air. “W-who’s there?”
 
A strangely familiar voice had answered. “You are.”
 
“How could that be?” The blue haired teen said as she had unknowingly let down her guard in her confusion.
 
In response to Akane’s query, the footsteps had resumed and had even grown louder. Judging from which ear she was hearing it more, the martial artist was able to correctly guess that it was approaching her from her left and slightly in front.
 
When Akane had looked in the said direction as the said footsteps, she had to rub her eyes in disbelief at what she was seeing. To her, it was if she was looking at a mirror.
 
The other Akane, who was dressed in the same way as the original, had slowly reached out for her double before shaking the latter’s shoulders slightly. She was even saying. “Hey, loosen up, girl.”
 
“How? What? Why?” Akane had sputtered incoherently as she had regained her senses.
 
“Actually, I’d rather answer the question of who I am since the others would give me a headache.” The Doppelganger said with a short laugh. “Like I said, I am you or the representation of your lost memories to be precise.”
 
“I don’t get it.”
 
“Let me put it this way,” the Doppelganger then said with a shake of her head in pity. “I’ll be your guide in your memories both past and present.”
 
Seeing the worried look of the original, she then added. “Don’t worry; this’ll be a short walk since a rather handsome young man is waiting fer you to wake up.”
 
“If you’re implying who I think you’re implying, then he isn’t that handsome.”
 
“Uh-huh,” Akane’s double had replied as she had taken the original’s left hand and led the latter girl through the changing landscape. “Denial is not just a river in Egypt, you know.”
 
“Very funny.”
 
-oOo-
 
After a good half hour (more like a whole day for a certain pony-tailed martial artist who had transformed back to his true form after his fiancée had fainted), Akane had finally woken up on her own bed.
 
Ranma was sitting on a chair next to the bed, eagerly waiting for his sparring partner to finally wake up.
 
The rest of the Tendou house occupants, including Kasumi surprisingly, had forced him to his present predicament.
 
His job was to keep guard on Akane’s condition as his punishment for the latest stunt that he had made. Refusal to do so was not a viable option to them.
 
Ranma had to wipe away any signs of relief in his face since he knew that Akane would never let him live it down if she had seen it.
 
Thus, when Akane’s brown eyes had fully opened, the pony-tailed teen’s facial expression had returned to his usual cocky countenance.
 
The first words that had come out of the girl’s mouth was; “Hey, Ranma. Could ya get me a glass of water?”
 
“And why would I do that?” Ranma had shot back with a fake sneer. Inwardly though, he was doing cartwheels in his mind with Flappy.
 
“You wanna know?” Akane said with a sweet smile that seemed out of place with her pale face as she had weakly waved her right hand in a come hither style. “Come `ere.”
 
“You’re not gonna hit me with somethin’, aren’t ya?” Ranma said as he had remained in his place beside the bed.
 
`How could I do that when my head’s still sore from that combination attack from the twins?” Akane said in reply, while faking a hurt look. “Besides, the only thing that I can hit ya with is this pillow.”
 
“Oh alright,” said Ranma as he had leaned to his sparring partner’s face.
 
Akane then turned Ranma’s face around so she could shout at his right ear. “Because I asked ya too, that’s why.”
 
With his ears still ringing from the yell, Ranma had left the room while muttering about stupid tomboys and their underhanded tricks.
 
Back in her room, Akane had congratulated herself for finally getting the better of his fiancé outside of combat.
 
The only other option would have been kissing him on his right cheek, but that would be best left for a later time.
 
-oOo-
 
The next day, while the gang was in school, a couple of thirteen year olds had shown up in the cafeteria.
 
The young Amazons had brought with them, six large bowls of ramen during their lunch break.
 
In addition, both Amazon novices had bowed their heads in unison while offering their apologies for the mess that had happened in the last few days.
 
“Thank you,” Akane answered with a relieved smile.
 
Normally, she would have held a grudge for what the twins had done but looking at their forlorn faces and the sincerity of their spoken apology, she had forgiven them of their sins.
 
Even then, the youngest Tendou and the others would still be wary of the Amazon twins’ actions until they could fully place their trust on them.
 
-oOo-
 
Five days had passed by since the forgettable experience (pardon the pun) when someone had once again come for a certain Ranma Saotome.
 
Within those two days, the Amazons were called back to their own village until they were sufficiently trained enough for a second match.
 
The whole setting could not have been more fitting for another battle for Ranma’s heart since both Saotomes were already fighting over something too – a slice of dill pickle to be precise.
 
Genma, upon stealing the said food stuff, was telling his son that if a mere pickle could distract his son from training then he would be more than happy to get rid of it (in his stomach, that is).
 
Of course, Ranma being who he is did not believe his father since to him – Genma’s words were mostly bullshit anyway.
 
The two dueling family members had ended up near the pond with Genma getting soaked upon his landing in the aforementioned pond.
 
With a sniff of disdain, Ranma then headed back to his usual dining place to finish off his and his father’s meals. Akane had joined him since she had to dodge the attacks from the earlier ruckus.
 
Both teens then discussed school matters and more importantly, their current skill and strength levels in preparation for anything in the future.
 
Genma had used the distraction to pick up a bucket full of pond water before splashing the two teens.
 
Kasumi had returned just in time to mop the floor and wipe the soaked table and dishes in the family room. She had ignored the current lesson of making a panda rug – Anything goes style by a wet girl and an equally wet stuffed animal, pardon me, flower spirit.
 
In the said commotion, no one had actually noticed the sudden entrance of an old man wearing a blue business suit and a red beret. The said visitor was met by Soun who had just finished brushing his teeth.
 
“Ah, my good sir.” Soun began with a short bow as he was in the process of welcoming his new guest. “May we know the reason for visiting this humble adobe of mine?”
 
“Yes,” the man answered in the same manner. “I am looking for a young man named Ranma Saotome. I’ve heard that he has been living here with his father, Genma.”
 
Ranma, upon hearing the spoken words, had transformed into a ball of light and hid in the second floor guest room.
 
Akane had also made a quick bow as she had made a side trip to the kitchen before scurrying past the old men on her way to her own room on the second floor.
 
Both teens had left a beaten up Genma in the back yard. The panda had recognized the visitor and hid himself in a cluster of bushes near the engawa.
 
Soun, having seen the flurry of action in the yard, had done his best to stall the new visitor while calling for Kasumi to make some green tea.
 
He then excused himself before borrowing a wash tub filled to the brim with boiling water. The said wash tub was used to transform the panda for a needed explanation.
 
Akane had already gotten a cup of hot water from the thermos while her father was stalling their guest before heading towards the stairway at the front of the house.
 
Along the way, she had almost bumped into someone at the front door. The blue haired girl had nearly dropped the cup as she had slid to a complete stop.
 
The said person, a girl whose face is well hidden by the wedding kimono’s hood, had held out a delicate hand from the said white kimono’s left sleeve in order to grab Akane’s own outstretched right arm to keep the latter girl from falling.
 
“Thanks for the help,” Akane said before brushing the other girl aside as she ran up the stairs. “But I’m really in a hurry right now.”
 
The other girl had simply shrugged her shoulders and continued on her way to where her father was.
 
-oOo-
 
Akane had forcibly slid the door leading to the large guest room open where she knew Ranma would be hiding.
 
Sure enough, the flower spirit had already laid out his clothes in preparation for his transformation to his original form.
 
“Glad you could make it-lapi,” Ranma said with a bit of a jitter in his high pitched voice upon hearing and then seeing the forced entry. “I was about ta make my way back to the kitchen when you arrived-lapi.”
 
“Uh-huh,” Akane replied as she had closed and locked the door behind her. “While there you then change back to your true form in full view of our visitors while forgetting to bring a single piece of clothing.”
 
In her mind, she had actually added to her monologue. `You pervert.’
 
Ignoring his fiancée, Ranma had quickly put on his boxers as soon as he had splashed himself with the cooling water from the offered up. He then put on the rest of his clothes while Akane was still busy locking the door.
 
The girl had looked back at her fiancé just in time to see his muscular chest. She then shouted. “Why dontcha hide behind something while putting your clothes on, idiot?”
 
The pony-tailed teen simply let out his tongue in response upon remembering that his sparring partner had already gotten a good look at him before in the men’s locker room.
 
Ranma had also done a delayed double take once he had retraced his thoughts to their latest conversation as he said. “Who do ya think I am – some sort of a pervert?!”
 
“You said it, not I.” Akane replied with a straight face. She was a bit disappointed that Ranma had now donned his red Chinese shirt thus blocking her chance to get some more eye candy.
 
The blue haired martial artist then imagined her fiancé walking in front of a stunned and shocked Soun, Kasumi, and the visitors downstairs before realizing that he was still naked.
 
This little daydream had made Akane laugh slightly while Ranma was looking at her like she was crazy.
 
After the blue haired teen had calmed down, she then added. “I think the word that you are lookin’ for is exhibitionist but pervert is good too.”
 
“Hardy, har, har.” Ranma said in reply as he had finished buttoning up his shirt. “I’m getting outta here `fore I use big and unnecessary words in my sentences too.”
 
Akane’s only reply was a thrown pillow that missed its target completely.
 
The said fluffy bedroom item had ended up in the wooden hallway after making a brief impact with the wall.
 
With a huff, the blue haired girl had followed her laughing sparring partner downstairs after making a quick change of clothing herself in her own room.
 
-oOo-
 
The two teens had even cooled their heels from the run down the stairs when Ranma was hugged by a forty year old man with a thin mustache with a shout of “Ranma, my boy.”
 
Akane had to hide a grin at her struggling fiancé’s predicament only to see a similar smile on the hooded girl’s face. The said girl was already kneeling down in front of Kasumi, who the said guest had correctly guessed to be the lady of the house.
 
This had gotten Akane in a odd predicament since her heart was telling her that she now had a rival for Ranma’s feelings while her mind was assuring her that Ranma is only a friend and sparring partner and nothing more.
 
The man had released a grateful Ranma before saying. “Allow me to introduce myself, I am Mr. Daikoku.”
 
The man then went to where the girl was kneeling to tapping her right shoulder and added. “And this is my daughter, Kaori. Lovely ain’t she?”
 
Kaori had made a short bow while saying in a demure voice. “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Saotome.”
 
Ranma had made an awkward pause in his surprise upon hearing Kaori’s soft voice. He was clearly not expecting a girl in a traditional wedding dress to be talk to him and in a formal manner, no less.
 
Akane had reacted in the same way as her sparring partner and had nearly hit the pony-tailed teen’s arms in return from being hit herself. She did manage to hit him upside the head for good measure.
 
This had gotten both teens to glare at each other while Kaori had beckoned her father to come closer. This is because the girl in the wedding dress had seen something in both martial artists’ eyes.
 
“Are you and Ranma actually lovers?” Daikoku said with an incredulous tone. He was beginning to worry that his plan may backfire on him if his daughter’s suspicions were proven to be correct.
 
“Hell No! I’m not in love with this pervert/macho chick,” was the given reply of the two heirs of the Anything Goes of Martial Arts before they both did a delayed double take.
 
“What did you say?” was heard before the glaring contest had turned to a physical one.
 
Akane had even grabbed a broom that Kasumi had left earlier near the wooden engawa and tried to bop her fiancé with it.
 
To defend himself from further harm, Ranma had knocked off the bristly lower portion of the cleaning tool from its firmer wooden base in Akane’s latest bash attack.
 
The bounded and dried twigs, to nearly everyone’s horror, were spinning towards the still kneeling female guest. Kaori had seen the incoming projectile early on though while watching the fight.
 
Thus, the teen had drawn a pair of black bamboo chopsticks from her long sleeves and made short work of the twigs.
 
Only Akane had remained unimpressed since she had said out loud that she could do the same too, even though she too was privately awed by Kaori’s speed and accuracy.
 
Daikoku, emboldened by his offspring’s impressive show of skill, had stepped his offer of marrying Kaori to Ranma with both continuing his own martial arts school.
 
Soun then intervened by saying that Akane was engaged to Ranma first and thus his youngest daughter is considered to be the true fiancée.
 
Both older men had ignored the resulting uproar by two of the aforementioned teens upon yet another reminder of their engagement as they had exchanged glares and barbed words.
 
“Since neither one of us would give in,” Daikoku said as he had taken a quick peek at his Seiko watch. “I suggest that we have a contest to settle this problem once and for all.”
 
“Name your game,” Soun replied as things were beginning to fall to his favor.
 
The other man was thinking of something to put his daughter on top while both Ranma and Akane were “asking” Genma on how this latest engagement even happened. Kaori was intently listening as she too was involved in this situation.
 
By the time both martial artists had literally beaten the truth out of the battered panda, Daikoku had already made his choice.
 
A flyer given to the older visitor earlier by a young girl had given Daikoku the idea of idea of putting the girls through their paces in a King Kadai Mixed Martial Arts Ramen Race that was to be held the very next day.
 
The mustached man had showed the flyer to his fellow martial arts master while saying. “Looky here, Tendou. We could get the little darlings into this race and whoever wins gets Ranma.”
 
“Alrighty,” Soun said simply. His eyes were already sparkling in delight at the prospect of not only besting Daikoku in his own game but also getting a year’s supply of free food in the process.
 
“It’s a deal. I won’t lose Ranma…or that ramen,” the owner of the Tendou Training Hall had added with a sinister smile.
 
“Let’s shake on it then.”
 
Both older men had shaken each others hand thus sealing the deal.
 
Ranma was too shocked to even move or say something. The teen was wondering on how a god forsaken race would determine his future.
 
Nabiki, who had gone down from her room to check what was going on, was thinking on how she could profit on this.
 
Her older sister, Kasumi was thinking on how to keep the porcelain bowls clean enough for the year’s supply of ramen.
 
As for the girls who would later participate in the race, they had simply looked at each other with identical feral smiles that said. “Hope you’re ready to give up on your claim on my fiancé since I’ll win this match.”
 
-oOo-
 
The next day, Akane had just finished taking a bath after an intense sparring match with Ranma to warm her up for the martial arts race held later in the day and had returned to her room.
 
She was now facing a problem that she had always ignored before a match – what clothes to wear.
 
Her favorite gi was now in the laundry after being used in the aforementioned match with some new tears in the garment to boot.
 
The blue haired martial artist was stuck with choosing between a T-shirt and short combo that Nabiki usually wears at home or something like a blouse and pant combo similar to what Ranma would always wear.
 
After a minute of comparing both sets of clothing, Akane had chosen the latter pair for its promise of keeping her modesty while keeping her mobility intact.
 
`No wonder Ranma likes to wear these things,’ she had thought in wonder. `I can fight without worrying about showing my goods to the pervs out there.”
 
A slight knock on her bedroom door was heard before it was followed by a male voice which was saying. “Hey, `Kane. Ya ready for your race?”
 
“I was born ready, Ran-Ran.” The blue haired heir of the Tendou School of Anything Goes said in reply as she had finished buttoning her blouse.
 
“Don’t call me Ran-Ran,” Ranma said with a huff as Akane had heard his footsteps and the slight squeaks in the wooden floor slowly getting softer with each step.
 
“I knew that would get a rise outta him,” Akane said to no one in particular as she had left her room. “This is going to be fun.”
 
-oOo-
 
 
Thankfully for Akane, she did not look out of place with the crowd of girls that were also participating in the said race.
 
The starting line of the said race was in Nerima Ward’s main park with its finish line placed somewhere past the bridge on the other side of the ward.
 
In addition, the race was considered an Anything Goes since no rules were given.
 
Even Sayuri and Yuka were there, probably enticed by the prize of a year’s supply of free food along with the other race participants.
 
`Hey, Akane.” Sayuri said at the nearing girl who she had waved at. “What brings you here this fine day?”
 
“You know the drill,” Akane said as she waved back. “I got challenged by somebody for the hand of a certain pony-tailed martial artist and well here I am.”
 
“Whoa, it’s kinda like the reverse of a certain fairy tale script, don’t ya think.” Yuka was saying while hiding a smug grin with her left hand… and failing.
 
Seeing Akane’s glare, the light brunette had added while raising her hands in mock surrender. “I mean, in the bedtime stories, it’s the girl who is being fought over not the guy.”
 
“That’s true,” Akane said, deflated at the given fact. She then bent over to stretch her limbs along with her two best female friends. “How about you girls- why are you here?”
 
“Well,” Sayuri had answered as the girls were finishing their warm-ups. “Our folks want the free ramen. I mean, I know that food is getting expensive these days with the economic bust and all but really.”
 
“More than that, we need something to prove ourselves with since we are getting a lot better in the Art, after all.” Yuka had whispered to her friend with a knowing grin as they had listened to Sayuri finish her rant.
 
“I guess the same could be said for the other girls huh?” Akane was saying as she had taken a quick look around at her fellow competitors.
 
Surprisingly, she had not seen Kaori since the start of the registrations. Then again, she was looking for a girl in a wedding kimono which would really stand out in a crowd.
 
-oOo-
 
It was when the race itself was about to start that Kaori herself had showed up. She was still in her wedding kimono which had everyone except for the Tendous and Saotomes to gasp in shock.
 
The race announcer had seen something peculiar in the way Kaori had gripped the wooden handle of her takeout box. Upon realizing what it was, he then told his audience that they were in for a real treat.
 
The hooded girl then threw the box straight up in the air before following suit. While she was still airborne, Kaori had gotten rid of the wedding clothes and catching the takeout box on her way down.
 
Kaori was seen to be wearing a blue blouse with red pants with her brown hair past her shoulders.
 
Daikoku had explained that Kaori is the master of the Martial Arts Takeout. The said martial art had started in the Izuna prefecture during the late Edo period.
 
During the said dark times, delivery persons had to pass through battlefields, plains, forests, rivers, and mountains just to deliver their piping hot masterpieces to grateful villagers and feudal lords alike.
 
While her father was explaining the whole history of Martial Arts Takeout, Kaori was seen smirking in Akane’s direction.
 
The blue haired martial artist in return had kept a poker face while keeping her temper on a short leash.
 
The sound of the starting gun being triggered had ended the exchange of animosity between the rivals thus all participants had grabbed their boxes and ran as fast as they could.
 
A certain delivery girl on a moped was knocked out early on by Kaori with Akane and her friends in hot pursuit.
 
All of the three practitioners of Anything Goes had leapt past the downed racer while paramedics had rushed to the scene.
 
Some of the other contestants had not seen the downed racer fast enough and thus had made a pile up just beyond the lying moped.
 
Kaori was trying to take Akane out of the race but ended up taking the other competitors instead.
 
Akane had forgotten the lack of rules in the race thus she had called the other girl a cheater.
 
The practitioner of Martial Arts School of Restaurant Take Out had replied by lashing out at another motored delivery girl’s take out box and forcefully opening it without even touching it.
 
Frustrated with her failed efforts on knocking her rival off the race, Kaori then tried a secret technique of her school called “It’s Fast or It’s Free” as she had mowed down even more racers in her latest attempt to knock Akane out.
 
Along a downhill street, the blue haired martial artist had received a skateboard from another fallen participant to help her on her way down with Kaori hot on her heels.
 
Both Yuka and Sayuri were trailing behind but catching up to the leaders since they were using gravity to increase their speed.
 
Both teens had to stop upon seeing Genma passing them by.
 
The elder Saotome’s face was completely filled with make up. He was even wearing a dress, brown flat heeled shoes, and a black wig to hide his true gender from everyone else.
 
“Eww, desperate much.” Yuka said with disdain as she and Sayuri had regained their bearings and had gotten back to the race.
 
“Well, knowing his, err, her laziness, it was bound to happen anyway.” The dark brown haired girl replied while going around another victim of Akane and Kaori’s rivalry.
 
“Point taken,” Yuka said with a huff as both girls had reached the bottom of the slope.
 
-oOo-
 
Up ahead, even more contestants had fallen into the pre-determined traps set along the race route following the sloped side street. This had only solidified Akane and Kaori’s place in the lead.
 
Then again, neither girl was actually thinking about that since both were more concerned about the other’s attacks and counter attacks.
 
Akane even had to use her borrowed skateboard as an impromptu shield to protect her from Kaori’s side kicks before countering with a sidekick of her own.
 
Kaori was forced to use another technique in her school’s arsenal, Fish Cake Blizzard, to knock out her rival out of the race for good.
 
The thrown fish cakes, that twirled like snow in a raging blizzard, had been evaded and blocked by Akane but had caught Genma and a few others unawares.
 
Two fish cakes had gotten into the space between the elder Saotome’s glasses and his eyes. Blinded and surprised by the said food items, he had skidded into the artificial lake to the right of the race route and fell right in.
 
Sayuri, who had evaded the said storm of fish cakes by crouching on the ground along with Yuka, had later taken a picture of a panda with a wet black wig and running lipstick rising from the lake shore.
 
The laughing teen then made a run for it before getting an earful (or eyeful considering the written words) from the said animal.
 
Yuka could only shake her head at her friend’s sense of humor and continued running after her childhood friends, ignoring the stewing panda that seemed to be writing some swear words on his wooden sign.
 
Both practitioners of the Anything Goes of Martial Arts had seen their friend be nearly hit on the ankle by a chopstick if not for Yuka’s cry of “Watch Out”.
 
A second chopstick was launched at the yelling girl only to be deflected in mid-path by a stone coming from somewhere.
 
In one of the branches in the trees nearby, Ranma had put away his borrowed slingshot before giving Daisuke and Hiroshi the thumbs up. The three boys then crept away from their hiding place to join the growing crowd near the finish line.
 
The remaining four racers had continued their running fight with Kaori using her most lethal attack yet, Ramen Noose. The thrown noodle strands had lengthened and come together to form a noose strong enough to strangle a horse.
 
Akane would have fallen victim to this attack if not for Yuka pushing her out of the way.
 
Angered at the sight of her childhood friend being choked by the said noodles, the blue haired martial artist had grabbed hold of the noodles just as it had encircled the other girl’s neck.
 
She then broke it like bundled straw before throwing it away like it was nothing.
 
Kaori had no other choice than to make a run for it with Akane now in pursuit mode. Sayuri had remained behind long enough to check on Yuka’s condition before both girls had joined in the chase.
 
This time, it was Akane’s turn to go on the offensive as she had ruthlessly attacked the master of Martial Arts Restaurant Take Out while keeping an eye on the take out box in her left hand.
 
Both girls had fallen to the ground after Kaori had gotten Akane in another Ramen Noose attack.
 
Akane had countered this by pulling the other girl towards her still occupied left fist with her free hand for a well deserved sucker punch.
 
The race had ended with Yuka and Sayuri crossing the finish line first. Both Akane and Kaori were still a few meters away with Akane trying to crawl towards the finish line to get third place while Kaori was still groggily holding onto her rival’s legs.
 
As soon as the winners were announced, Yuka and Sayuri had shared their own winnings with the Tendous’ as there was too much ramen to go around for them anyway.
 
-oOo-
 
The next two months had gone by with even more training for Ranma and Akane; presently both teens were following Genma and Soun for a stroll around the neighborhood.
 
All four martial artists were leaping about but only the elder martial artists did not have any handicap.
 
Thus both Ranma and Akane were leaping on the sidewalk with a ten kilogram steel ball chained at their left or right ankles.
 
Genma was even saying. “Keep up the pace if you want to become stronger.”
 
Ranma would have retorted with some less than polite words when Soun had added. “This is necessary for your leg muscles to become even more developed. Besides, this is nothing compared to what Genma and I had been through.”
 
“Yeah, right.” Ranam said under his breath.
 
Akane had heard him though thus the pony tailed martial artist was the recipient of an elbow to the side.
 
“Ranma, I know that this totally sucks but Dad does bring up an interesting point.” Akane had told her fiancé in a stage whisper.
 
“Did you say something, daughter?” Soun suddenly said as he had looked at the teens behind him for a second before coming back.
 
“It was nothing, Father.” Akane replied as she had continued jumping, ignoring the pain on her legs. “I was just telling Ranma that he has to learn from the master to become one himself.”
 
“Good, good.” The master of the Tendou dojo said with pride. “But you still have to prove your worth as the path of a martial artist is always fraught with danger.”
 
“Yes, Father.”
 
“What she said,” Ranma had added with a grimace.
 
“Now keep up the pace,” Soun had added since Genma had already gathered a good lead over them. “The ramen will be getting cold soon.”
 
The training had continued until the quartet had arrived in the Tendou compound around sunset.
 
-oOo-
 
As soon as the quartet had entered the main house, Kasumi had come out of the corridor from the engawa holding a Siamese cat with pink fur.
 
What had surprised nearly everyone was that Ranma had freaked out as he was seen making a Spiderman impression on the ceiling.
 
Genma was about to berate his son for being a coward when he had received three glares – one of them from the animal itself.
 
He then explained his son’s training of the dreaded Cat Fu technique as everyone had sat down in the family room.
 
The whole time the pink feline was looking sadly in Ranma’s direction from her place in Kasumi’s arms.
 
Ranma was sitting at the farthest part of the table with Nabiki while Akane was sitting next to Kasumi.
 
The blue haired girl was intently looking at the cat for some reason even when she should be sitting beside her fiancé for moral support or so Soun had told her.
 
It turned out that the training had involved the practitioner (or guinea pig) being slowly lowered into a pit full of starving cats while being covered in fish sausages.
 
Given on how the training was conducted, it was banned for anyone’s use especially since it can cause serious mental damage. Leave it to Genma to conveniently forget to read the fine line of the training manual.
 
The whole event is especially traumatic for the pony-tailed teen since it was done in the spring of Ranma’s sixth year.
 
Ranma had tried to attack his father once or twice for the said training but Genma had simply swiped the cat from Kasumi’s arms to ward his son off before keeping the cat under his arm.
 
Akane, who was still studying the panicking feline, had noticed something thus she had asked her eldest sister if she and the cat could share a bath together.
 
Kasumi had think for a minute before giving her ok as she had stood up from her place in the table.
 
The youngest Tendou had to giggle when her sister had come back with plenty of furry company.
 
“Ranma, maybe we can cure you of your Ailurophobia if we let you play with even more cats.” Kasumi was saying as more cats had entered the family room.
 
The pony tailed teen had tried his best not to wreck the house while the groups of felines that had somehow gotten even more plentiful had chased him around for a while with his father getting a good laugh for once.
 
After swiping the grateful cat from Genma, both girl and cat had left him with a scratched face and a black eye to match.
 
Soun was about to put his foot down on having pets soaking in the furo when Akane had cut him off with a quick “Thank you”.
 
Akane then carried her new furry friend towards the bath with Kasumi heading to her youngest sister’s room to pick up said sister’s yellow bath robe.
 
Ranma had escaped his feline pursuers by hiding in the rooftop. He later had gone down to his and his father’s shared room with the intent of giving his old man a through beating.
 
-oOo-
 
In the furo, Akane had to gently coax the scared feline into joining the bath with her. The said cat agreed after a few minutes of coaxing and jumped head first into the heated water.
 
The blue haired teen was not that surprised to see a naked girl with purple hair emerge from the water, breathing heavily.
 
“I knew it was you, Shampoo,” Akane said with a wide grin. “So where’s the others?”
 
“How Akane know?” the puzzled Amazon said in reply. “Ugh, old man’s underarms stink.”
 
“Well, I know for a fact that cats don’t have bangs on both sides of their head.” The martial artist replied while scooting over to one side of the tub, allowing the amazon to lie beside her.
 
“Good point,” Shampoo said as she had taken her place beside Akane while lathering her whole body with soap. “Ah, this much better.”
 
The warm water of the tub had gone over the rim in response to the various movements of its present inhabitants before ending up in the drain just below it.
 
“Mu Tzu joined circus to practice art and earn even more money.” The purple haired Amazon said before releasing a contented purr. “Twins grounded by angry mother while council debate on offer.”
 
Shampoo had also made a delayed double take when she remembered a certain purr that had escaped her lips earlier. Akane had responded with a short laugh before putting her arm around her sort of friend’s shoulders.
 
“So why are you here?” Akane had said after a brief pause as she had taken the soap from the amazon’s hands. “It’s not that I actually mind you being here since I can have another girl to spar with.”
 
“Shampoo sent here to tell Tendous and Soatomes about arrival of elder from village,” was the given reply. “Elders not too happy with offer thus sent representative to Nerima.”
 
“Well, it is the best that we could offer at the moment.” The blue haired martial artist said with a slight blush as she continued to cover herself in soap lather. “Although, I still say that the chances of me and Mr. Bone Head having kids in the near future are pretty slim.”
 
Shampoo was not that surprised that Akane would refer to her fiancé in such a manner. She too would mentally regard Mousse in the same way for nearly the same reason as the Tendou girl would for Ranma.
 
The Amazon’s thoughts were sufficiently derailed by sound of the outer bathroom door being opened slightly. Both girls had sunk their bodies even lower in the cooling water or risk showing their goods to the intruder.
 
“Hey, Aka-” Ranma was saying as he had opened the door leading to the inner bath before coming to a complete stop. The yellow robe that he was holding in the crook of his left arm had fallen to the tiled floor.
 
Some blood had gushed from his nose at the sight of two girls sharing the same tub and actually embracing each other just to keep most of their dignity intact.
 
In Ranma’s mind, Flappy had already fainted in complete shock.
 
-oOo-
 
A shout of “Get out” was heard from the outer bath as a pony tailed teen was seen scampering from it. A bar of soap and a wooden bucket was seen flying just behind the escaping teen.
 
“Don’t even think of coming back here, you perv.” Akane’s voice was heard clearly through the half opened door.
 
“Shampoo agree,” a second soprano voice had added to the other Tendou compound’s occupants’ surprise. “Ranma worse pervert than Mousse.”
 
To them, it was strangely familiar to the point that they could swear that they had met the voice’s owner before especially when they heard a familiar name being spoken.
 
Ranma could only reply as he had run to the hall towards the family room and safety. “It’s not my fault that you two had forgotten to lock the door.”
 
“Besides, I didn’t know that you girls even swing that way.” The pony tailed teen had added before a tube of rolled up toothpaste had made a nice impression on his forehead.
 
The force of impact was enough for Ranma to hit the floor face first. The timing of the sudden change of events could not by any worse for the said teen since he was already about to take the turn to the engawa and freedom.
 
As the successor of the Saotome school of Anything Goes headed for the dojo a few minutes later for some needed katas, Kasumi could hear him mumbling while rubbing his sore spots. “Stupid Tomboy, stupid Amazon, stupid toothpaste.”
 
-oOo-
 
Shampoo had stayed in Akane’s room for the night. For Ranma, it was a good idea as he did not want to be labeled as a pervert if the Amazon would stay in the same guestroom as he and his father did.
 
A spare futon was placed on the left side of Akane’s bed to keep some more eyebrows from being raised at the thought of two girls sharing the same bed.
 
-oOo-
 
The next morning, Shampoo had reported back to Dr. Tofu’s clinic to earn some needed yen while Ranma, Nabiki, and Akane had gone to school.
 
Sometime after class had ended, Ranma had received a white note in his shoe locker. The note had said in scrawny writing that Akane Tendou was kidnapped and currently being held in the gym.
 
Ranma then turned to most of his friends around him that actually included the supposed to be kidnapped girl before saying. “Akane, are ya kidnapped by any chance?”
 
“No,” the blue haired girl had answered with a prominent frown. “And why should I?”
 
As soon as Akane had gotten the letter and gave it a once over, she had stomped noisily towards the gym with Ranma and the girls right behind her.
 
-oOo-
 
Both Daisuke and Hiroshi had found the strangest sight in their young lives when they had gone to the gym to borrow some exercise equipment for their gym instructor.
 
After opening the gym doors and going in, both teens had found a small man that was wearing a strange hood already inside the large room.
 
The said man seemed to be using the stage at the auditorium at the furthest end of the gym for something. Even more strange is that he seemed to wearing a Furinkan High female uniform over his black suit.
 
“Hey, Roshi.” Daisuke was whispering to his friend as both of them had seen the midget carry the barbells that they were supposed to borrow. “Don’tcha think this guy’s suspicious.”
 
“Naw,” Hiroshi had whispered back as he was a bit dumbfounded with his best friend’s observation. “Ya think.”
 
After giving his friend a nice whack on the head, Daisuke had added in a low voice. “I’m serious, ya dumb ass.”
 
“Sorry,” the light haired teen said in reply as he had rubbed the sore spot behind his left ear. “I was just surprised that you didn’t notice it earlier.”
 
“Hey, I thought that it was jus’ a prank or something.” Daisuke replied as he had stepped forward towards the auditorium where the man was setting up his traps.
 
Both teens would have actually succeeded in actually stopping the small man and getting the barbells in the process when they had suddenly blacked out.
 
A pale and short figure, wearing a Furinkan High’s male uniform, had emerged from behind the curtains nearest to the two boys.
 
He was holding a cardboard stage prop, which was shaped in the form of a lamp post, in his thin and trembling hands.
 
The said blunt instrument was dropped to the wooden stage floor with a resounding clatter so that its wielder could pull one of the victims to the costume room nearby.
 
The other figure had heard the commotion nearby but was told by the other to continue on his work via hand signals.
 
As the pale skinned boy with bloodshot eyes was pulling the second victim towards the said room, he had whispered to no one in particular. “This is revenge for pushing me into the girl’s locker room last year.”
 
-oOo-
 
As soon as the martial artists and their friends had arrived at the scene of the “crime”, they had immediately noticed a figure at the center of the stage on the opposite side of the gym crying for help.
 
“What the hell is that thing?” Akane was saying half to herself while pointing at the “victim”.
 
“Don’t answer that,” she had added before her fiancé could even open his mouth. The other two girls had giggled at the scene while the lone male had simply shrugged his shoulders in response.
 
The said figure on stage was clearly wearing a blonde wig although his face underneath the hood was clearly seen.
 
“Ranma, Ranma.” The “girl” had cried while both martial artists were looking at her in disbelief. “I’m Akane, please save me.”
 
The real Akane had enough of the said fake’s antics and jumped on the stage. She had pulled out the blonde wig, revealing a short and unattractive man in his early twenties.
 
The imposter, who was later revealed to be wearing shinobi shozaku clothes, was not to be deterred though as he had continued his false cry for help.
 
The annoying cry for help had finally stopped when Ranma himself had jumped on the wooden stage and gave the short man with a hood a good whack on the head.
 
Both Sayuri and Yuka, who had noticed that they were not needed anymore, had proceeded to look for their missing boyfriends who were supposed to pick up some barbells for their Physical Ed teacher a half hour earlier.
 
Back at the stage, an angry Akane had grabbed the fake girl’s uniform’s collar before lifting him a good two feet off the floor.
 
She then said in her usual angry tone. “So what is the meaning of all this, huh? Besides, who the heck are you?”
 
“Mere threats will not work on Sauske Sarugakure, the Kunos’ personal ninja,” was the given reply. “My lips are sealed.”
 
“Why you?!” the blue haired girl said while pulling back her right fist.
 
Ranma had seen the action thus he had grabbed the readied fist and also calmed his fiancée down. Akane had made a sigh of defeat and put down the grateful Sausuke.
 
Turning to the impressed ninja, Ranma had added. “I’ve learned several different ways of making a man talk without usin’ my fists. Wanna have a demonstration?”
 
Even though the pony tailed teen was obviously bluffing, the ninja was still scared enough to jump towards the waiting overhead ropes and give one of the said ropes a good tug.
 
Suddenly, a trapped door had opened at the stage floor. Unfortunately for the ninja, it was not underneath his intended victim. This had gotten Ranma to ask the stupefied ninja. “So who’re ya aiming for anyway?”
 
He had also taken a quick peek at the opened door before saying. “Are you ok down there, Akane?”
 
The reply was as short as it is sweet. “What do you think?”
 
Seeing his chance for a second try, Sasuke had leapt once again. While he was in mid-air, he had answered. “No one.”
 
A second rope was pulled and a small Tanuki statue had hit the hapless ninja to the still open trap door.
 
Ranma had said “Loser” out loud as he himself jumped in the square opening. Since Akane was having trouble getting up due to a slight pain on her backside, he was hoping that he could give his fiancée and sparing partner a needed boost up.
 
As soon as the pony tailed artist had gone down the hatch, he then asked the ninja who was he really after.
 
Sasuke had a bit of difficulty answering since he was still crushed underneath the Tanuki statue. He did throw a ring of fish sausages (take this) at the confused Ranma.
 
This had coincided with the meows that seemed to come from everywhere in the large space underneath the stage.
 
Ranma’s hair on his neck had risen steadily as soon as he had heard the sound that made his soul shiver.
 
The ninja was actually teasing him about being a coward in the presence of a simple house pet.
 
The pony tailed teen had willed himself on not to bolt as he had approached the puzzled Sasuke.
 
In response, Sasuke then said. “You’re not scared?”
 
The given reply was. “N-no, w-why would y-you think s-so?”
 
Behind Ranma, Akane could only shake her head at the mediocre acting job of her fiancé.
 
She was already feeling impatient about staying in an enclosed space with possibly a hundred ally cats and two idiots for company.
 
Flappy could also tell that his friend was feeling due to the various rumbles in Ranma’s mental landscape. The flower spirit had also sensed an unfamiliar presence nearby and thus shivered as well.
 
The ninja was unimpressed with Ranma’s bad acting as well thus he said. “Not a teensy weensy bit?”
 
The pony tailed martial artist was already shaking his head wildly at the given question.
 
This had prompted Sasuke to add. “I’m sure that you’re a bit scared.”
 
Ranma had bonked the ninja on the head as he had enough being made fun off. He then reached out in the semi-darkness for Akane.
 
What had taken him by surprise though was the words “I didn’t know that you liked me that way” from the short ninja.
 
Embarrassed and angry at the spoken words, Ranma then swung his right fist in a wide arc at the same time as Akane’s mid side kick. Both attacks had pretty much sandwiched Sasuke’s head in the later collision of limbs and skull.
 
Akane then grabbed the still trembling Ranma and dragged him to the door at one end of the enclosed space, grumbling the whole way.
 
“I wouldn’t open that if I were you,” Sausuke said in a sing-song voice.
 
“And why not?!” Akane had responded as she had twisted the knob on the door leading towards the exit clockwise.
 
“Um, never mind.” Sasuke replied with a shrug. When Akane did open the said door, a loud inhuman growl had emanated from far beyond it.
 
“Wh-what was that?” The blue haired martial artist said in fear.
 
Behind her, Ranma had hugged his erstwhile fiancée in the hopes that he would be safe where he was.
 
Akane had actually enjoyed the hug despite the given circumstances but she would never admit it to anyone including herself.
 
Two pairs of eyes had followed the shadowy movement from beyond whatever the scant lighting could reach.
 
Soon enough, the silhouette had revealed a full grown male Indian tiger as he had roared his displeasure of being locked in a small room.
 
-oOo-
 
Meanwhile in the Tendou compound, Genma was about to sip on a newly made cup of tea when its ceramic handle had broken away from the main body.
 
The elder Saotome had come home early from Doctor Tofu’s clinic and is now sitting cross legged on the engawa, supposedly meditating. He was also ignoring the few meowing from the ally cats that had refused to leave the compound itself.
 
`Since Kasumi knew better than to keep old cups in use, I’d say that was a bad omen.’ The elder Saotome had thought as he had thrown the now useless handle to the side.
 
Kasumi had arrived just in time to see the discarded ceramic item and swept it to the waiting dust pan.
 
She then picked up the now cooling cup and said. “Oh my. Would you like another cup of tea, Uncle Saotome?”
 
“Yes, please.”
 
“You seem worried about something, Uncle.” Kasumi was saying as she had put down the broom and dust pan neatly beside her bare feet before sitting down herself on Genma’s left.
 
“I am,” Genma replied while looking at the koi pond. “Something is going on and I want to know what.”
 
“Does it have something to do with Ranma’s fear of cats?” The young woman said as she nervously clutched her skirt.
 
“I’m not that sure yet,” The bald headed master of the Saotome school of Anything Goes replied as he had looked at the anxious young woman beside him. “One thing’s for sure, that boy is a magnet for trouble.”
 
“Uncle Genma, forgive me for asking but what would happen if Ranma is continued to be exposed to cats.” Kasumi said worriedly since she had wanted to help the young man who had become her little brother of sorts.
 
“He meows,” was the laconic reply.
 
-oOo-
 
Back at the Furnikan gym, that is exactly what Ranma had done to both Akane’s and Sasuke’s surprise. In addition, his arms and legs had bent to look like those of a cat’s.
 
In the depths of his mind, Ranma was cast out of his usual spot by a cat like shadow. Thankfully, Flappy had caught him mid way.
 
Both martial artist and flower spirit were forced to watch in horror on what is happening outside of Ranma’s mental realm.
 
“This sucks,” Ranma was saying as he had watched himself do battle with a fully grown tiger with nothing more than his fingernails. He could barely see some signs of chi forming claws beyond his fingers though.
 
“You’re telling me-lapi, Flappy had added with a cringe as fur and threads had literally flown the two dueling cats. “Still, it’s nice to see you face to face for once-lapi.”
 
“Likewise,” Ranma said as both he and Flappy had shaken hands…err paws…whatever.
 
-oOo-
 
Akane was taken by complete surprise when Ranma had charged at the big cat in a cat-like manner.
 
Inwardly, she was feeling scared of her fiancé right now and would rather be home instead.
 
The ninja beside her was feeling the same way as his plans had backfired spectacularly.
 
Soon enough, the uneasiness from the whole battle had spread just enough to trigger a sense of flight or fight mode amongst the remaining felines and stage was not able to hold the attacks between the teen and the tiger much longer.
 
The stage had literally erupted with flying cats, all of which had landed on their feet. Kuno was the first to notice the said phenomenon as soon as he had arrived in the gym.
 
He had ignored the other students who had been playing basketball and were now running for their lives along with the four teens that have emerged from a supply locker room at one end of the gym.
 
To him, only the beauteous Akane Tendou was important. The kendoist had spotted the said martial artist among the falling cats and made a grab for her while saying “My love, come into my arms.”
 
What Kuno had caught instead was a blushing Sasuke who had blurted. “Master, I didn’t know that you see me that way.”
 
Dropping his servant like a hot potato, Tatewaki had replied. “I didn’t mean you, nitwit.”
 
The captain of the Kendo Club had seen Akane land gingerly on her feet nearby before slowly standing up.
 
Kuno was about to embrace the recovering girl only to catch a scared tiger in his arms. The said animal was cowering due to the fiercer cat that it had just faced.
 
With a cry of “Unhand me, you beast”, Kuno had thrown trembling tiger away.
 
The said animal then ran out of the opened door, scaring the students that had met it along its way out of the school itself.
 
Right after throwing the beast away, something had landed on Kuno’s back before landing on the gym floor on all four limbs.
 
“How dare you use me as a landing pad,” Kuno had shouted at the new arrival. The hairs on Ranma’s back had stood on end as the martial artist in Cat mode had hissed at the ungrateful oaf that had the nerve to yell at him.
 
In seconds, Kuno had become a victim of multiple scratches on his face and kendo uniform when a single fish sausage was thrown away from behind him.
 
Sasuke had told his master that he was glad the Ranma had taken the bait as the said martial artist had jumped out the nearest window, fish sausage on hand.
 
Akane herself was frozen with shock as she had witnessed Kuno being made into an impromptu scratching post.
 
Only Yuka and Sayuri had gotten her back to reality when they had tapped on her shoulder.
 
“Hey, have you found the boys?” Akane had thought to ask since she had not seen Hiroshi or Daisuke the whole time that she was in the gym.
 
“Yeah,” Sayuri answered. “Both of `em had chased Ranma out of the gym. Wonder what happened to him anyway?”
 
“I’ll tell ya girls more about it later,” Akane said as she had grabbed both her friends’ hands and made her way out of the gym herself. “Right now, we’ve got a nutty martial artist to catch.”
 
“Gotcha,” Yuka said as she and Sayuri had wiggled their way out of Akane’s hands and ran as fast as they could towards the crowd of people in the front yard.
 
-oOo-
 
Back at the Tendou compound, Kasumi had gotten a distressing call from Furinkan High about how weird Ranma was acting at the moment.
 
Shampoo had arrived in cat form from Tofu’s clinic and was already kicking out the strays that refused to listen to Kasumi’s earlier requests to leave.
 
“Tendou Residence, Kasumi Tendou speaking.” The eldest Tendou daughter was saying on the phone as the last stray was given his eviction papers. “Really, Ranma did that?”
 
Before Kasumi could tell Genma, both he and Shampoo had run out of the family room.
 
Outside, Soun had seen the running Genma with a green sack placed over his left shoulder. Shampoo in cat form had already passed the running man by and was the first to leave the gate.
 
Soun then followed his friend to satisfy his own curiosity.
 
-oOo-
 
Back at the school grounds, Akane and her friends had arrived at their destination. All three girls then pushed their way through the crowd before stopping at the spot where both Hiroshi and Daisuke were standing.
 
“What’s up?” Yuka said as soon as she had caught her breath.
 
“Ranma,” Daisuke had answered to his girlfriend. The dark brunet’s eyes were still fixed on the spectacle sitting in the large tree in front of them. “He’s been acting like a pussy cat ever since that incident in the gym. What the heck happened back there?”
 
“I’ll tell you guys about it later,” Akane was saying as she had looked at her fiancé in despair. `I’ve got to get Ranma out of that state and fast. God knows, what he’ll do in that state of mind.’
 
“Do not be afraid, Akane.” A deep voice from behind them had said with conviction. “I’ll save the boy.”
 
Akane and the others had looked long enough to see both masters of the Anything Goes stand just behind them.
 
Oddly enough, Genma was setting down a green sack from his shoulder.
 
“How?” Hiroshi had thought to ask. “Right now, he’d rather be having a cat nap for all we know.”
 
“O ye of little faith,” The elder Saotome said to the teens as he had turned around for a while.
 
“O ye of little mind,” was Hiroshi’s answer under his breath thus making those who were within earshot laugh a bit at the given comeback.
 
“I’ll ignore that remark, boy.” Genma had said after a short pause. Within the said pause, the rustling of a hasty clothes donning was heard.
 
The elder Saotome then continued. “There is one possible cure for the boy though. An old woman, living near the place where I had trained the boy, had calmed Ranma long enough to bring him out of his odd state of mind.”
 
“So where is she now?” Akane had asked with hope rising in her heart.
 
“I’ve heard that she had passed away about a year ago,” Genma had answered quietly. “But no matter.”
 
“I can surely take her place,” the old man said with pride as his whole appearance had changed. He now looked like an old lady who had been pumping iron for most of her life.
 
Daisuke had actually said in a stage whisper that Genma is the ugliest grandmother anyone could ever have. His friends did agree wholeheartedly as did Soun himself.
 
The said disguised martial artist had by then leapt to the branch where his son was busy scratching the tree trunk.
 
To make a long story short, the elder Saotome was knocked out of the tree simply because Ranma himself was scared of seeing the ugly hag up close.
 
Genma had rolled on the ground to lessen the impact. He did roll over a few buckets left by the gawking janitor thus a panda in old lady’s clothing was seen hitting the school wall with a loud thump.
 
Soun did say that this was not his training partner’s best ideas as he had studied the knocked out panda from afar. Akane had whirled on her father before saying. “Do you have any better ideas, Dad?”
 
“I’m afraid not, dear.” Soun said with a heavy sigh and a shrug. “This is pretty much out of my expertise.”
 
Akane could only huff at the fact that her own father could not solve a little problem that would cause a lot of embarrassment to the schools.
 
She did notice the scattered contents of the green sack that Genma was carrying earlier. With her friends help, Akane was able to return the contents back into the bag.
 
Akane then borrowed a bow and arrow from an archery student in the crowd. She then tied the bag to the arrow before firing it to Ranma’s perch.
 
`I hope this works,’ the blue haired girl was thinking as the arrow had made its way to its intended target.
 
Ranma had gracefully avoided the projectile before slashing at the attached bag, revealing its contents.
 
The cat nip did have an interesting effect though. Since the greenish herb is considered as a bit of an aphrodisiac to cats, Ranma had begun looking for someone to play with as he had landed on the ground.
 
Unfortunately for Akane, she was that specific someone that Ranma was looking for. This was why when the pony tailed artist had landed on the surprised Akane’s lap; he had immediately nuzzled her lips with his own.
 
The Tendou heir’s cheeks were burning red mostly to the embarrassment of having her schoolmates teasing her and her sparring partner.
 
Yuka and the others had begun to ward off the crowd for some needed peace and quiet.
 
Inside Ranma’s mind, the teen in question was actually panicking at what the heck his body was doing at that juncture.
 
Said body was smiling widely as if it was contended at the given action.
 
Flappy had tried to calm Ranma down with varying success. Only a lucky blow to right temple had gotten the desired effect – knocking Ranma out.
 
At the exact same time, Ranma’s physical self was launched by Akane’s left fist straight into the school fountain in the main walkway.
 
Akane was then escorted home by her own friends with one pink cat tagging along.
 
Both Hiroshi and Daisuke had left towards the fountain; probably to throttle their newly transformed friend for putting them in the doghouse as well.
 
Kuno had also arrived at the scene just in time to see the “nuzzling” and had to be pulled away before he did something rash.
 
Within the dispersing crowd, a shadowy figure had muttered something to no one in particular as he had stalked away.
 
“That’s the last time I’ll team up with a dumb sword jockey. If you want something done, you’ll have to do it yourself.”
 
-oOo-
 
Ranma had woken up inside Daisuke’s room; mostly it was due to the almost non-stop barrage his friend was giving him.
 
“Dammit, Dai.” The martial artist said as he had sat up. “I know what happened n’ you’re not at fault.”
 
The dark haired teen had continued his rant for a second more before stopping his rambling monologue and two direction marches rather comically.
 
Daisuke then turned towards his friend that was lying on his bed a second ago and said. “Could ya back up a bit?”
 
“I said I know that happened back there,” Ranma was saying with a louder voice as he had had swung his legs down to the floor.
 
Daisuke was too shocked to even say anything so Hiroshi was the one who talked to the martial artist who was now putting on the rest of his clothes.
 
“You knew the whole deal `bout being a cat?” The light haired teen said with incredulity. “So why didn’t ya do something about it?”
 
Ranma had begun his response with a sigh before he continued. “I’m not in control of myself at the time. If it weren’t for Flappy, I wouldn’t `ave even seen what the hell was going on with me.”
 
While Ranma was still talking, Daisuke had finally snapped out of his trance. It only took the mentioning of the flower spirit for something to click in his mind.
 
The brunet teen then approached his friend before saying with his head hung low. “I’m sorry man.”
 
“It ain’t yer fault,” Ranma said while giving his friend a slap on the shoulder. “It’s that damn ninja’s fault that I’m in whatever shit I was earlier. Blame my pop for that Cat Fist training too.”
 
“Thanks, man.” Daisuke then reached out for secret shake that he and the other two had made up for themselves only. “I’ll help ya explain this to the girls. Still, if there’s any way that Flappy himself could speak out, it would be much better for us.”
 
“Can’t,” Ranma had answered quickly with an accompanying shake of his head. “He can only communicate with me through my mind. I can only repeat what he would say though.”
 
“Well, let’s go see the girls anyway so we could finally wrap this misunderstanding up.” Hiroshi said as he had left the room first.
 
“Good idea,” both Ranma and Daisuke said as they had followed their friend out of the room.
 
-oOo-
 
Meanwhile in Akane’s room, three girls were giving the blue haired girl some needed advice.
 
The aforementioned girl had to stop sobbing a bit so that she could introduce her friends to Shampoo and vice versa.
 
“Akane, it not Ranma fault for what happened.” The amazon was saying to the crying girl as she sat on the left side of the bed.
 
“Shampoo’s right.” Sayuri then added. “Do you remember Mr. Whiskers, Akane?”
 
The blue haired girl had to nod even though it was hard to see with her whole face hidden in the pillow.
 
“Well, that’s how Mr. Whiskers show his affections.” The light brunette said to make the needed connection for her frazzled friend. “Remember, Ranma thinks that he is a cat and that’s what cats do when they show affection.”
 
“I remember,” Akane replied through her pillow before it was snatched away. “But the jerk’s still human and that means that he stole my first kiss. Would you believe it – my first kiss and it’s with him?!”
 
“So,” Yuka said simply, her arms crossed since Akane had snatched her pillow back from her arms. “Dai’s got mine in the Hebreke gym or were you too busy dueling Kodachi to even notice.”
 
“Who Kodachi?” Shampoo had asked the girls since she was unfamiliar with the given name.
 
Sayuri had stood up from the right side of Akane’s bed to pull the confused Chinese amazon so that she could explain the Gymnastics match that both Akane and Kodachi had participated in.
 
“You’re right,” Akane was saying as she had wiped away her tears. “I guess I owe Ranma an apology.”
 
“You could still kick his ass if he’s being a jerk though,” The light brunette had added with a teasing grin and arm around her friend’s shoulders.
 
The grin was infectious enough for Akane to catch and had even made laugh out loud as well. The Tendou heir then said as she was calming down.
 
“Maybe, but let’s see for ourselves what he and the other two stooges would come out with before we kick some ass.”
 
“I hear ya, girl.” Yuka replied before both girls had hugged each other.
 
-oOo-
 
While Ranma and Akane were in the process of discussing their latest misadventure complete with their version of kissing and making up, a certain Japanese Airline Boeing 737 was just passing by Nerima on its way to Tokyo International Airport.
 
The whole plane would not have been given a second glance if it were not for the stowaway addition that is literally riding on its tail.
 
The said contraption looked much like a carnival ride in the shape of a duck. Four large and funny looking birds were keeping it in level with the aircraft that was pulling the aforementioned mode of transportation.
 
Any pilot who had seen the contraption could not believe their eyes. The pilots who had reported it to the said airplane’s bridge were politely ignored.
 
There was even one pilot who was told to wear corrective glasses before flying his aircraft.
 
As the aircraft and its passengers had passed downtown Nerima, a small and wrinkled wooden staff had poked the bird flying lead in the strange formation.
 
The bird had understood the message and gave a short and loud caw to the others before flapping his wings even harder.
 
A wrinkled hand had untied the knot that was tied to the said fiberglass duck’s neck before the duck was now free from its contact from the plane.
 
In response, the birds holding the duck had flapped even harder as they were now holding the full weight of the craft.
 
The birds had made a controlled descent in a construction site in the western part of the ward.
 
The construction crew of the said site had to stop whatever they were doing to study what had literally fallen into their midst.
 
After the carnival ride had landed perfectly, a small and elderly woman had hopped out of it.
 
“Where’s Ranma Saotome?” The woman croaked in perfect Japanese. The gawking crew had offered no answer.
 
The said old woman then pogo hopped to the foreman before saying. “Do you know where a certain Ranma Saotome could be found?”
 
“I’m really sorry, ma’am but I don’t know any Ranma Saotome working in this project?” The foreman answered with a shrug of his shoulders.
 
He then turned to his crew before adding. “How `bout you guys?”
 
A series of “Nope, sorry, must be a new fella in town” was heard from the muttering crew.
 
The operator of the crane began to panic as he had noticed that the cable holding the steel girder above the woman was beginning to splinter.
 
He then poked his head of his machine’s window to yell. “Hey, Grandma. Look out below.”
 
The elderly woman had simply looked up at the falling girder before hopping down to the ground. She then raised her cane to protect herself from harm.
 
The said walking stick might have struck a specific weak point upon its contact with the girder as the latter had literally broken into tiny pieces.
 
“Thank you for your time,” the old lady said as she had hopped back on her stick before hopping away in a random direction.
 
The gawking crew continued to remain still for a few seconds before pandemonium had broken out.
 
The foreman then called for quiet before saying. “Men, I think we’ve worked hard enough for the day so… last one to the karaoke bar pays the whole bill.”
 
The resulting scramble to the time clock at the guard house in the main gate along with the additional running to the nearby karaoke bar was mind boggling for anyone besides those who had witnessed the weird event ten minutes earlier.
 
 
Finally, this last part of a three-part chapter is completed. It took two (or is it three months?) to do it but I still did it.
 
Now that Kuh Lon (Cologne) is introduced, we can now get to the much awaited part of the Ranma one-half anime – the training session where Ranma and a few others would be learning some more techniques to add to their martial arts arsenal.
 
Thus, the next chapter is appropriately titled – “Training Sessions”. With luck, I can probably post that one within this year. If not, I’ll try again next year.
 
Hopefully, it would only be 8,000 words or less.
 
Rest assured, I will still continue this story even though my writing skills seemed to be getting worse than I had hoped for.
 
I can only count on your unwavering support by reading and enjoying this fan fiction as much as I do writing and posting it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On Thin Ice – Part 1.5