A Ranma ½ / El Hazard OAV crossover story
Disclaimer: Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty and Viz Communications own Ranma 1/2. Hayashi Hiroki, Pioneer and Viz Communications own El Hazard.
After the long trip to the brink of bottom of Mount Muldoon, the highest and steepest mountain of Roshtaria, Ryoga, Ranma, Ura and Alielle disembarked the transport, continuing their journey on foot. There was a very good reason why a flying transport couldn't just take them to the summit where the priestesses' temple was, Ranma mused. The gods hated him. He nodded to himself, finding that to be a very valid reason.
Partly due to that conclusion, and the full knowledge that the gods never had enough of him, this time around Ranma didn't try so hard to push the enthusiastic girl off of him, only making a token effort in hope she would give up. She didn't. The pigtailed boy, however, was able to make lemonade from the purple-haired lemon life had just handed him and was more than content to hold Alielle as a buffer between him and Ura.
"What now?" Ryoga asked, looking at the towering mountain.
"Now… we climb," Ranma replied ominously, drawing a glare from the other boy.
"I know that!"
"Then why did you ask, blockhead?"
Ryoga threw his pack onto the ground, swerving around to glare at his nemesis. "This is—"
"The final offense, right? Saotome, prepare to die?" Ranma asked lazily. At least the gods had been merciful enough to provide him training to keep his skills in check, and a source of amusement to brighten up his day, all in one!
Steaming, Ryoga shook his balled fists at his rival in impotence. A mew caught his attention, and he looked down at Ura, who was staring at him with a confused expression on his face. 'Yes, Ura… we'll be very good friends…' he thought with an evil grin.
Picking up the sentient cat by the scruff of his neck, Ryoga thrust it into Ranma's face. The pigtailed boy's eyes widened and he flailed his arms helplessly, an expression of absolute horror on his face. In less than five seconds Ranma was running away screaming, leaving nothing but a dust cloud behind.
Ryoga laughed at his rival's distress, before Ura scratched his hand and he was forced to let the cat go.
"Not nice," Ura said, shaking his head in disapproval.
"To each their own," Ryoga replied with a shrug. Then he suddenly became aware of the fact that Ranma was nowhere in sight. "Saotome!" he roared. "How dare you leave me all alone?!" Grabbing his pack, he started running in the direction he had last seen Ranma. After going for several meters, he stopped, ran back and picked up Ura, only to continue running with a vengeance. "Come back here, you coward, so I may destroy your happiness!"
The scenery changed and Ryoga continued to gain altitude as the road became more and more steep. Cursing the other boy for making the climb difficult by raising so much dust in his wake, Ryoga continued heading forward until he came to an intersection.
"Damn you, Ranma, for making me choose right from wro— left!" The Lost Boy seethed a few moments in anger, before rearing his head backwards and roaring, "RANMA!!! For the offense against my grammar, I'll—!"
"Huh?" Ryoga looked at his feline companion in confusion, all signs of his previous anger gone.
"Choose," Ura replied, nodding at the intersection.
Ryoga concentrated. He closed his eyes, trying to become one with the environment. The howling of the wind, the rustling of a few leaves picked up by it… a distant cry of some exotic bird he could not recognize. Feeling completely at ease, Ryoga concentrated on the auras of everyone around him.
Locating Ura, he congratulated himself on a job well done and set his mind to find the nearest powerful aura. While Ranma was a coward with no honor or morals, Ryoga had to admit he was powerful.
"Aha!" the boy exclaimed finally after several excruciating minutes of searching. He shouldered his pack and proclaimed, "To the right! Let's go, Ura!"
The cat shrugged and jumped onto the backpack, curling into a ball. Snorting at the freeloader taking advantage of his generosity, Ryoga reminded himself that Ura was a vital element in the destruction of Saotome's happiness, and promptly blamed the pigtailed boy for this latest offense.
There! A perfect opportunity!
The assassin lunged at the fake princess' unprotected back, masking her presence entirely with one of her illusions.
A guarantied success!
Kiriya frowned. Fatora's double had crouched down at the last possible moment, narrowly avoiding her attack. And the imposter acted without a care in the world, masking the maneuver as attempts to dislodge the over-zealous girl hanging all over their body. Kiriya easily recognized the blue-haired girl as Fatora's lover from intelligence reports she had seen earlier on.
The blue-skinned woman shook her head at her stupidity. Of course Lord Gallus would not send her on a simple mission! The double had to be trained in self-defense! Seeing a mirage of her sweet, sweet home flying away on a pair of white, feathery wings, Kiriya's determination flared anew.
A crossbow appeared in her arms, ready to use at a second's notice.
Kiriya let loose an arrow, aiming directly for the head.
The double chose that moment to turn around, the arrow wheezing by his head.
Fatora's double was a man?!
A very handsome man, Kiriya had to admit.
Was it getting hot in there? Mount Muldoon began to feel like the Desert of Bleached White Bones.
Kiriya's right eye twitched. There was no time to think about the temperature! She had to get the boy's name and address!
The woman blinked. That couldn't be right. She had a crossbow in her hand… why? Was she supposed to do something with it?
Inspiration struck her then, a hidden memory that chose that time to reveal itself.
It was a gift! A gift for her prince!
She frowned momentarily. Wasn't it actually from her prince?
No matter! She had a gift, and her prince would get it!
Kiriya drooled slightly, wiping her mouth with her left sleeve. He was just too cute!
It was never too late to start interviewing candidates for her future husband….
"Hi," Kiriya said seductively, kneeling in front of Ranma and offering him the crossbow. Looking up at his face, she found herself lost in his blue-gray eyes.
"Um, okay." Rubbing the back of his head with his left hand nervously, Ranma took the proffered weapon. Unable to come up with anything to say, he chuckled nervously, shaking Kiriya from her reverie. "My name's Ranma."
She sighed dreamily at the sound of his voice, repeating the name quietly to memorize it.
"You're… er… cute."
'He complemented me!' Kiriya thought excitedly, almost breaking into song right then and there.
"Yeah… I mean… I've never seen a girl with blue skin before. It… suits you, I guess."
The Phantom Tribe assassin looked at him dumbly. "Don't I look like a gorgeous tanned blond?"
It was Ranma's turn to stare at her in confusion. "Um… no?"
"Is it possible that you can see through my disguise?" she asked, panicking slightly.
"What disguise?" Alielle asked innocently. "Are you from the Phantom Tribe? Is that why we didn't see you before?"
Kiriya stared at the shorter girl. "Are you sure I don't have any disguise on?"
Alielle nodded slowly.
"Damn. Forgot such a basic trick, basically Illusions 101, and all because of a cute guy!" Kiriya ranted, ending up in a pout at the end of the sentence.
"Ri-i-ight," Ranma drawled out. Then, he perked up suddenly. "Hey, you said you could create illusions, didn't you?"
Kiriya nodded wearily, not understanding the sudden shift in the pigtailed boy's attitude.
"Can you… teach me?" Ranma asked, his eyes shining. "To hide myself from view, and make those illusions?"
Dumbfounded, Kiriya stared at the boy in amazement for a long while, before finally speaking. "You're not afraid of me? I've practically admitted that I'm from the Phantom Tribe, and I came with weapons to assassinate you… how can you act so carefree?!"
"You came to kill me?" Ranma asked, cocking an eyebrow.
Kiriya slapped her forehead, as her mission finally came back to her. She chuckled nervously. "Er… yeah."
Ranma shrugged. "Get in line. Lots of people want to kill me. They get priority."
"And where do I fit in?" Kiriya asked curiously.
She blinked at his words. "The what?"
"The queue," Ranma explained. "Everyone who wants to kill me gets a number. You're currently at five hundred and forty seven."
"Oh," she said simply, digesting this information.
"You know, I'm kinda glad you want me dead," Ranma said with a relieved smile. "Most girls I meet just want me." He sighed heavily. "You have no idea how exhausting that is."
"I'll bet," Kiriya replied with a chuckle. Smiling she took back her crossbow from the pigtailed boy's hands. "Since there is a queue, I'll have to watch you from now on. Otherwise, I just might lose my turn and would have to start all over again from scratch."
Ranma shrugged. "Sounds reasonable. I'll let you tag along, if you promise to show me those stealth techniques."
The blue-skinned woman gave him a warm smile. "I don't see anything wrong with that. Since you're practically as good as dead, it's not like I would be betraying my tribe by teaching them to you."
Ranma nodded at that.
"Hey, are we going to stand here all day or are we going to climb to the mountain's top?" Alielle asked impatiently, jealous of the attention Ranma was giving the other woman.
Looking at herself, Kiriya frowned. "The priestesses might not appreciate one of the Phantom Tribe on their holy mountain."
Ranma thought this over for a few moments, before flashing Kiriya a victorious grin that turned her knees to jelly. "You can create illusions around yourself, right? I just happen to have the perfect one in mind…."
A young woman in her early twenties with short purple hair and a dark cloak covering her body strolled down a long, poorly lit corridor. A teenage boy followed her, giving looks full of dread to the foreboding cracks in the tall pillars on both sides of the ancient passageway, bits of sand and rock dropping from them onto the ground.
"Are you sure it's safe, Azalie?" he asked, speeding up to walk by her side.
She smiled. "Do you want us to back to the Tower of Fangs empty handed, Kirilanshello? Especially when so close to our goal?" Azalie gave her companion a bemused look, raising an eyebrow. "What shall we tell them, I wonder? That we got scared and ran away with our tails between our legs?"
The boy shrank from her words, his face taking on a distinct red hue. Azalie ruffled his hair and went on ahead, laughing. He followed her again, embarrassed. The two walked in silence, until they reached a set of large doors. Azalie pressed her hand to their surface, palm first, and they opened with an ominous creak.
The pair entered the large chamber, and split up, inspecting the premises.
Pocketing the bracelet, she walked over to Kirilanshello, and traced the flat of the blade with the feathery touch of the tips of her right hand. "At last…" Azalie breathed out in awe, "…the sword of Balt Anders!"
At that very moment, an explosion sounded to her left, leaving a five-meter diameter hole in the wall. A teenage boy in black clothing and a red cloak made his entrance through it, waving away the cloud of dust and debris he had stirred up. "I'll take that!" he proclaimed, posing righteously and pointing at the sword in Azalie's hands. "Only the virtuous scion of the noble house of Kuno is worthy of that blade! With the legendary sword of Balt Anders, I shall deliver the vengeance of Heaven and smite that vile demon sorcerer Ra—"
Azalie's left eyebrow twitched, and she snapped her fingers in irritation.
Taking the hint, Kirilanshello put the sword in an empty sheath strapped to his back and chanted, "I send the drawn Sword of Light!" Turning to his companion, he beamed at her. "Fool smitten, Azalie!"
"Demon sorceress, was it?" The woman frowned. "I never liked that name. People jealous of my power gave it to me." She huffed. "Talentless fools."
Charred, with soot marks all over his face, but otherwise unaffected, Kuno rose from the ground like a grilled Phoenix. "I fight on…" he announced, pausing dramatically before twisting his body and pointing back, "…and so do they!"
Taking their cue, a horde of Bugrom showed up through the hole in the chamber's wall, and began to glare menacingly at Kirilanshello and Azalie.
"In league with the dastardly Saotome, are you?!" Kuno yelled, grabbing the sheath at his hip with his left hand and drawing a wooden practice sword from it with the other. He pointed the tip of the sword in the direction of the two disciples of the Tower of Fangs, and turned his head towards the Bugrom troops behind him, commanding them, "Get the Demon Sorceress and her minion!"
The squad of Bugrom obediently organized themselves in three rows and attacked, but Kirilanshello fired a magical blast at the first wave; Azalie dispatched the second and third, pouting. "And to think, we're doing it for free…" she complained, tossing her hair back.
Kirilanshello nodded sadly. "Yes, Azalie. I regret it as well." A frown surfacing on his face briefly, he mumbled quietly, "And I'm not a minion."
Azalie overheard, and turned towards him. "Did the big bad idiot upset you… " she leaned forward and whispered throatily, her breath hitting the boy's cheek, "…Kirilanshello?"
Kirilanshello blushed, and Azalie smiled at his reaction, looking at him with amusement.
"Ignore me, will you?!" Kuno growled, and pointed at the fallen Bugrom. "Kuno Special Demon Sorcerer Smiting Tactics! GO!"
The Bugrom troops rose from the floor like zombies, and reached their limbs towards each other, intertwining them. They repeated the process again and again, the large dimensions of the chambers the engagement took place allowing for their combined form — an enlarged version of a Bugrom soldier — to reach truly gigantic proportions. The creature shook its limbs at the two sorcerers, giving off a wordless battle cry.
Kirilanshello blanched, while Azalie contained her outwards reaction to a blink. "You've got to be kidding me," she said, giving Kuno a pointed look.
He ignored it just as pointedly, laughing maniacally.
Sighing, Azalie glanced at Kirilanshello, then at the giant Bugrom. Putting a hand on
her companion's shoulder, she told him, "Stand aside, Kirilanshello."
"B-But—" he stammered, staring at her wide-eyed.
"You're still a novice," Azalie told him firmly. Upon noticing a defiant fire spark in Kirilanshello's eyes, her demeanor changed and she gave him a gentle smile. "Besides, what kind of Demon Sorceress would I be if I let my apprentice handle the Monster of the Week while I stand on the sidelines?"
"Fools!" Kuno interjected, waving his bokken around agitatedly, the giant Bugrom twisting its body to the wooden sword's movements in an elaborate dance. "There is no need to argue amongst themselves! You shall both perish by the divine vengeance of the House of Kuno!" The boy paused for air, before pronouncing, "The only question is who shall get to watch their friend's death!" Posing dramatically, Kuno snapped his left hand at Kirilanshello and Azalie, pointing at them with an arrogant expression on his face. When nothing happened, Kuno blinked twice, looking at his giant soldier in confusion, before shaking his head and pointing at the pair of sorcerers with his bokken-holding hand, crying out, "Bugromon, destroy the infidels who dare stand in the way of the—"
Azalie took out the bracelet she had earlier placed in her pocket, and slipped it on her right arm, tracing its surface with her left hand afterwards. Ancient runes in a long-forgotten sorcerous language flared up on the arm band, which morphed into a golden gauntlet that fit her arm like a second skin. Her eyes glinting with the promise of pain, Azalie pointed her gauntlet-clad hand at Bugromon, and let loose with an augmented offensive spell.
Bugromon let out a cry, as it literally got blown to pieces, them being the individual Bugrom which combined to create it. As Bugrom soldiers flew everywhere, making it rain Bugrom troops, Kirilanshello stood to the side, looking at Azalie in awe and gaping. Getting his body under control again several long moments later, he started clapping, to which the Demon Sorceress smirked, and mock-bowed. As she did so, the gauntlet she used to increase her spell's power dimmed, and returned to being just a bracelet, almost sliding off Azalie's wrist, before she caught it. The young woman took it off herself, and gave it a long gaze, a mix of uncertainty and longing flashing briefly in her eyes and disappearing just as quickly, before putting it back in her pocket.
Seething, Kuno charged Azalie, only to catch a fist in the face and a quick throw that imbedded him in a wall behind the woman.
"What an idiot," Azalie remarked, tossing her hair back. "The Tower trains your body well before the lessons on magic begin."
"You're awesome, Azalie!" Kirilanshello exclaimed, raising his head slightly to look at her.
She waved her hand in a dismissive manner. "Nah, he was just weak."
The boy shifted the straps that held the sword of Balt Anders in a sheath at his back. "Should we get going?"
Azalie nodded. "It's probably for the best. The fun's over now, and we got what we came here for." Winking at her companion, she added, "Let's keep the bracelet's existence between us for now, shall we? You never know when you'll need an extra boost of power to tilt the hand in your favor." When he didn't answer immediately, appearing to contemplate it, Azalie smiled. "It will be our secret…."
"Yes, Azalie!" he agreed, nodding enthusiastically.
The two left on foot, chattering about their run-in with the Bugrom. Some time after they had left, a hooded figure appeared in the center of the chamber, stepping out of the shadow. It held up a similar bracelet to the one Azalie had worn earlier, twirling it enticingly around its finger. Symbols flashed on its surface, appearing to be the mirror image of the ones on the other bracelet.
Kuno stirred, and noticing the bracelet through a daze, reached for it, calling out weakly, "M-Mine…."
The hooded figure threw the bracelet at its feet, and turned around, walking away, marking it a woman as her cloak flaps, and shows off her high heels. Ignoring the hooded woman, Kuno crawled forward, keeping his eyes on the bracelet. He managed to get his hand firmly latched onto the bracelet, before losing consciousness again.
Unfortunately for him, the ornament had been left in the weakest structural point of the chamber. Further weakened by the recent battle, the floor gave out under Kuno's weight and dropped him into a dungeon full of ancient booby traps and mostly-nonfunctional anti-personnel mines. Then, in a chain of freak accidents, the ceiling followed suit, dropping on top of the prone boy and burying him in a pile of rock and torture devices from Ancient Henta-Lionne, who just happened to be stored in said basement….
As Kuno was roused from forced slumber with an even greater amount of force, and Ranma and Ryoga both took different paths to meet the Priestesses of Mount Muldoon, Fatora's torture continued. In a moment of clarity, she wondered if perhaps she should have been a nicer person instead of a royal bitch… after all, wouldn't then people come to rescue her? Or, at the very least, spies and bounty hunters sent to retrieve her, out of duty if not adoration?
As a feather made contact with her delicate skin, marking the beginning of yet another interrogation session, such thoughts left Fatora's brain completely, never to return….
To be continued.
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