Fingers of golden light clawed their way over the horizon, seeking the lands beyond to bathe them in their fiery glow. Gently, dawn broke, highlighting the gray-brown exterior of Furinkan High as the land sluggishly woke from its deep nocturnal slumber. The sun alerted the birds to waken and cry out in celebration of the morning. Soon, they were joined by the sounds of heavy machinery in greeting the new day. Deep baritone rumbles reverberated off the walls of the school as a number of unusual modifications were made to the higher institute of learning.
Two figures stood apart from the construction workers, choosing to observe all that was going on from the front of the school. They admired the work as large mounds of earth were ripped from the ground and several rows of new trees were added to the front of the school. They continued watching as a small army of workers toiled in the track and athletic fields, working quickly to finish their job before the new school day started.
The one on the left was a slightly heavy-set man whose apparent bulk was, in truth, more muscle than fat. He wore a loose, garish outfit with a tropical motif, mostly in a loud red and blue mixture that made one's eyes want to water. Through darkened sunglasses he watched the sunrise, then took a sip of the pineapple juice he held in his hand. "You be t'inkin' de lil' wahines goan 'be pretty surprised when dey be comin' to de school today?"
"I should say so." The other man nodded in satisfaction at the work. He was larger than his companion, standing just under seven feet tall with a broad chest that could not be hidden, even under his outfit. Anyone looking at him would not only have noticed his tremendous height, but also that he was somewhat oval shaped, his large, well-tailored brown suit only adding to the appearance. His face was exceptionally round, and quite ugly. Hair that was oily and black was pulled back tight around his skull.
"I wen' lookin' over de reports dat da assistant principal sendin' me about dis lot. Dey ain't gonna' like some o' de new rules that goan' be comin' down today. You sure you up fo' dis, brudda? Dese keiki are some tough cookies, yeah!"
In answer, the larger man crossed his arms and scoffed. His voice was deep and scratchy as he said, "It matters little. They will bow in obedience to you on this day, or else they shall be forced to deal with me. There's no student body in the world that can withstand the measures I'll take in forcing their acquiescence. Discipline must always be maintained. Always."
"And good haircuts. Dere's always gotta be de good lookin' haircuts too."
"Right. And haircuts too."
"And clean bathrooms. Dere's always gotta be de spic-and-span lookin' bathrooms too."
"Right. And clean bathrooms too."
"And lots of statues of de good-lookin' principal."
"Whatever." The larger man shook his head. All right. So maybe this principal wasn't exactly the most normal person on the block. At least he took discipline seriously, or he wouldn't have called the most powerful disciplinarian around to keep his largely juvenile delinquent student population in line.
Gompachi Chabane cracked his knuckles and smiled. No matter how tough the students might have thought they were, they would be no match for a teacher that was one step up the evolutionary ladder from them.
It was not a good day to be a student at Furinkan High
'Lost Chapter' 1: Da Laws of Discipline
A Ranma ½ story
by D.B. Sommer
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
All comments and criticisms appreciated. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author's notes: (insert really long winded explanation. Skip to the line break if you don't feel like looking it over ^_^ )
Yep, it's finally back (sort of). This was originally written WAY back when I was first starting Shampoo ½. Back then I actually had a chapter or two written ahead of time (hey, I was writing in script format, what did you expect?) and as the time to release this one neared, I came to a couple of conclusions:
This was done early in my "career", so in spite of the revision, it'll probably show. It might be nice to read, but since it didn't have anything major to add to the plot, it was best if I didn't extend what was going to be a long story further with events that didn't keep things moving along. So it went on the shelf to collect dust, so to speak, waiting for the day I might convert it to prose and release it. Well, after, oh seven months or so since the last chapter of Shampoo ½, here we are. (and no, don't ask me when I might start the sequel. I still haven't figured it out yet myself. Hopefully I can start writing about the honeymoon cruise soon.)
These events take place between chapters 8 and 9. Meaning Ukyou and Shampoo still really don't get along. Ranma and Ryouga still really don't get along. And Ghost Sweeper Minami has just been introduced. Akane's hair is still exceptionally short thanks to LinLin trying to take off her head. Shampoo goes to school as a guy and everyone calls "him" Ranma, and Ranma goes to school as and everyone calls "her" Shampoo. I think that just about covers it.
And with that out of the way, here we go…
What has gone on before: The Saotomes traveled to Jusenkyou and began to spar, not realizing Shampoo and Mousse had already began a duel there. One mid-air collision and bath in Spring of Young Drowned Man later, we have a male Shampoo as well as a female Ranma. (So Ranma-chan= female Ranma. Shampoo-kun= male Shampoo) Shampoo elected to travel to Japan with Ranma and accidentally became engaged to Kasumi. After that was cleared up Ranma became engaged to Akane. On the first day of school, water and confusion mixed causing everyone to believe Ranma-chan is Shampoo and Shampoo-kun is Ranma. Most of the women in the school have been attempting to defeat 'Ranma' in order to date him ever since. Last chapter a Fear causing demon attacked the school, and was driven off by the combined efforts of Akane and the newly arrived addition to the school, a young up-and-coming Ghost Sweeper by the name of Minami.
"Out of the way, slowpoke!" Ranma-chan vaulted over his father by flipping in mid-air, planting his hand on Genma's head and using it as a springboard to get past him and to the breakfast table. The force of Ranma-chan's push proved enough to throw Genma off-balance. Pinwheeling his arms like a giant, overweight windmill, he tried to keep from falling facefirst into the floor. Just as it appeared his efforts were and vain and he would fall down, he somehow managed to regain his footing. With both feet firmly planted and his vertical base reestablished, a smile spread across his features. He could still take what his son dished out.
Then Shampoo-kun came through, following Ranma-chan's course by using his foot to spring off Genma's head and past him. This time the big man didn't have a chance as he ended up falling facefirst into the wooden floorboards.
"Watch your footing, Mr. Saotome," Kasumi said as she walked past his fallen form and into the kitchen.
By the time Genma recovered he discovered that breakfast was almost over and that the best food had already been eaten. He bemoaned his fate. Did his only child expect him to starve?
Ranma-chan wiped several crumbs from her chin. She would have considered breakfast quite tasty, had she taken the time to taste it rather than simply inhaling it directly to her stomach. "Let's get going to-" She stopped as a red bento box, neatly wrapped up with a green bow, was placed before her, right in-between the dishes that she had held breakfast moments before. The only problem with that was who had placed it there. "Akane, is that-"
"Lunch for you," Akane smiled warmly. This time it was going to work. This time Ranma would enjoy the food and thank her. She just knew it, deep in her heart. It was like a premonition.
"Tough luck." Shampoo-kun smiled at the victim, at least until Akane plopped down a box in front of him as well.
"And one for Nabiki." Akane's action was returned by a flat stare from her sister, one that she noticed immediately. "Hey, I'm just trying to help out Kasumi."
There was a loud thud to her left. Everyone turned to see Shampoo-kun's bonbori embedded in the box. "Oops! Bonbori slipped from grasp. Poor lunch. Is too, too bad." The denial actually carried a hint of credibility, a testament to Shampoo-kun's acting ability. Not that anyone actually believed it.
The cursed Amazon was still apologizing when Akane placed another box in front of him. "Don't worry. I made an extra. Luckily, I know you're not so clumsy as to let that happen again." That carried a hint of warning to it.
"Heh." Shampoo-kun laughed weakly while cursing his luck.
"Time," Nabiki announced as she fingered her watch, then got up and headed for the door.
Running late, there were no further arguments as the quartet gathered their things and hurried to school, Ranma-chan resisting Nabiki's efforts to unload "her fiancée's" lunch upon her when Akane was out of easy hearing range.
Halfway to school, Ukyou and Ryouga joined up with the others. A new marching order followed as the two groups mixed to become one. Ryouga was on the far end, followed by Ukyou (who was making sure a fight didn't break out between him and Ranma-chan,) Ranma-chan, (who wanted to spend time next to Ukyou, and to make sure Ryouga didn't bother her old acquaintance), Akane, (who was trying to keep as much distance between Ukyou and Shampoo-kun as she could), and Shampoo-kun, (who was scowling at Ukyou for being too close to Ranma-chan) with Nabiki staying far behind the group, lest an errant spatula or bonbori strike her should a fight break out.
Upon arriving at school, a battle cry roared as an unusually large group came to try their luck at the "dating game".
Shampoo-kun sighed, "Don't girls ever give up?" and drew his bonbori. He had thought things were getting better since the number of girls had been steadily dropping since the play incident. But apparently it was just a lull in the storm. The only thing the situation had going for it was that it helped to keep him in shape, not that playing with annoying spatula-wielding crossdressers and martial arts figure skaters made for an easy time.
In spite of the larger number of attackers, Shampoo-kun began taking them out easily enough, one per blow. Much to his annoyance, Ukyou was shouting words of encouragement towards the girls, telling them that they should be trying harder to "score with the stud". She even went so far as to try to help one of the girls get back up and into the fight. Shampoo-kun made a quick mental note to later explain to Ukyou in excruciating detail what he thought about girls who tried to help his opponents out (ie.: he was going to hit her).
A large number of blows later, he was down to one opponent: a girl he was unfamiliar with. She was tall, wore glasses, and had an odd-looking cylinder strapped to her back. A couple of hoses lead from the cylinder to two nozzles strapped to the back of her wrists.
"I, Nanami Kisho, President of the Science Club, shall defeat you, Ranma Saotome." She struck as dramatic a pose as she could muster with a large cylinder strapped on her back. "I have been analyzing your attack and defense capabilities, and have devised a strategy which will render you insensate, and mine." She decided not to go with an insane cackle. It was just so cliché for a scientist to do that. Besides, a recent cold had left her throat quite sore.
"You go for it, Nanami!" Ukyou waved her spatula high in the air.
Nanami waved an acknowledgment to her cheering section and test fired her weapon, making certain the nozzles were sighted in properly. A gray substance shot out from one of the wrist nozzles and landed on a nearby student's foot.
"Eww," Hiroshi commented as he tried to remove the substance, only to discover his foot was stuck to the ground.
It worked. Nanami gave a little cheer before turning to Shampoo-kun. "Let's get sticky!"
That made the Amazon sweat. He had never had to deal with an attack of an adhesive nature before. Nanami drew closer, and he was still trying to come up with a defense, when Ukyou's laughing caught his attention once more. Maybe some good could come out of the whole situation.
Shampoo-kun dodged the initial spray Nanami fired at him by doing a handspring leap. Nanami continued firing, still trying to get used to aiming the specially designed glue as the bursts came progressively closer to her prey. Once she thought she had Shampoo-kun in her sights, she fired again. Shampoo-kun was prepared as he ducked to the left, leaving Ukyou, whom he had landed in front of, to take the full brunt of the blast. The chef was caught so off-guard by the attack that she didn't have a chance to bring her spatula up to block the shot. An instant later she found herself covered head-to-toe with glue.
Her efforts to move were every bit as successful as Hiroshi's had been earlier. She shot an evil glare towards the trio next to her: Ranma-chan, Akane, and Ryouga. "Not a word. Do you hear? Not… a… word."
As hard as she tried, Ranma-chan could not resist giggling at the ludicrous sight. That gained her Ryouga's anger at "making fun of Uk-chan's predicament". Akane fared better as she turned away with only a smile on her face.
The verbal exchange between Ranma-chan and Ryouga came to a halt as the redhead came up with an idea. She pulled the lunch Akane had made for her out of her backpack. "Catch!" she threw it to Shampoo-kun, who caught it even as she dodged yet another blast of glue from Nanami.
The Amazon looked it over for a second, wondering why the Ranma-chan had tossed it to him, when he caught on. He pulled out his own lunch and charged Nanami.
Unused to the nuances of combat, the president of the science club panicked at Shampoo-kun's charge towards her. Shots sprayed wide of Shampoo-kun as he continued running headlong towards the girl. Nanami was just starting to recover her composure, and her aim, when the Amazon jammed the twin boxes in the nozzles of the glue backpack. With the openings effectively plugged up, (and not going anywhere due to the lunches being glued to the openings) the lines leading to the nozzles began to bulge under the pressure of releasing the backpack's payload. Combat was forgotten as Nanami desperately tried to remove her backpack while Shampoo-kun elected to display the better part of valor and put as much distance as he could between him and his opponent. The straps of the backpack were tangled up, leaving Nanami unable to remove her invention in time as both lines ruptured simultaneously, sending streams of gray high into the air. At about ten meters they reached the height of their arc and fell back down to earth, landing on Nanami and covering her entire body with a thick inch of glue.
Akane watched until the end of the fight before turning to Ranma-chan. "Was that-"
"-the lunch you made for me? Yep." Ranma-chan thumped Akane on the back. "Thanks for the lunch. It came in handy today." She walked off, following Shampoo-kun, who had grabbed a wandering Ryouga as he tried to enter the school on his own.
It took Akane a moment to recover from the unusual gesture of gratitude that had come from her fiancé. "Hey! You were supposed to eat it, not use it as a weapon!" She continued yelling as she tried to catch up to Ranma-chan, who had already entered the school. As she made her way inside, she took note that there seemed to be a lot of palm trees in the front of the school today.
With a supreme force of effort, Ukyou pried her now partially glued lips apart. "Dammit! One of you jackasses help me get out of this stuff!" No one heard her as she realized she was now all alone. "Please! Anyone! Even you, Shampoo!" As she finished saying Shampoo's name, Ukyou's lips ended up stuck together again. She cursed silently that someone was going to pay for that indignity. And her initials were Shampoo.
"So, what do you think of your first day of school?"
"It reminds me of the Chinese Hell of Broken Glass, only more painful," Minami told Akane. So far, the first day of Minami's enforced servitude to the state was proving itself about as delightful as the training she had undergone to resist demonic horror auras. That particular torture had entailed being tied to a chair while being forced to listen to "Reba West: The Heavy Metal Years" albums until she nearly went mad from the mental anguish. On the bright side, she could now confirm that there were worse things than losing your soul to a higher demonic power.
As Minami idly watched Ukyou try to shake a couple of papers free from her still-sticky body, she admitted that at least no one had tried to make her wear one of those ridiculous school uniforms yet. This way the world would know she was a ghost sweeper, and a force to be reckoned with. As an added bonus, there was always the possibility that the teachers would be afraid to give her homework as well.
Dreams of being free and hunting down enough demons to make her the top ghost sweeper in the world were cut short as the panicked cry of a crowd of women came from outside the windows of the room. Everyone got out of their seats and rushed to find out what the commotion was about; all except for Ukyou, whose chair remained stuck to her bottom. She was forced to more waddle than walk when she made her way next to Ryouga.
Below, a pack of girls, holding an assortment of brooms, lacrosse sticks, and other instruments of blunt trauma, were chasing a diminutive figure that was dressed in a red gi, wearing a tied-off piece of cloth to cover his face, and carrying a large black sack twice the size of his body. Several bras and panties whose colors sharply contrasted with the black of the bag could easily be seen from the room above.
Ranma-chan wore the angriest expression of those that knew Happosai, but not by much. "I thought we got rid of that creep," she growled. It figured that the little pervert would come back, even after he left his little note about leaving for good after the training trip he took.
Minami's reaction differed somewhat from the others. "A demon!"
As she jumped out the window, casting a spell so that she gently floated down rather than plummet like a rock, she wondered why such an obviously perverted and evil creature failed to give off a more powerful aura of magic. Still, it didn't matter. The diminutive demon would fall before her onslaught.
As light as a feather, Minami landed below the window and directly into the path of the monster. A dull blue glow collected at the tip of her finger, and she began to trace a pattern with it. To the surprise of the others watching the scene, they saw that wherever her finger moved across the air, a distinct blue glow lingered behind. In a matter of moments, there was an intricate symbol hanging vertically in front of Minami, and directly in front of the oncoming Happosai. Everyone stopped to watch the pretty lights, all that was save Happosai, who was too delighted that he was pulling ahead of his pursuers. He looked over his shoulder and promised the pursuing girls he'd be back tomorrow.
While he was still preoccupied, Minami released her spell. The glowing blue symbol gave off a brilliant flash of light, then hurled itself towards Happosai. The magic energy closed the distance far too quickly for him to avoid it. All he had time to do was turn at the last second to see it before it struck him full in the chest.
There was an earsplitting explosion as an accompanying flash of light temporarily blinded everyone. Ranma-chan's eyes were the first to clear as she tried looking at where Happosai had been With all the hope in the world in her voice, she called down to Minami, "Do you think that worked?"
Minami responded by directing a 'V' for victory sign toward Ranma-chan. "Of course it did. When it comes to banishing twisted little demons, there's no one better." She placed a hand to her chin in thought and wondered how many points a minor demonling like that was worth. She was still considering it when Happosai darted from out of the center of the fading glow and glomped himself snugly onto Minami's chest.
"Oh, I like you." Happosai moved his head up and down, enjoying the feel of her silken robe. "Your breasts are so magically comforting."
Minami looked down at the pervert nestled in the middle of her cleavage. She had heard about the horrors of sex demons, but had never crossed paths with one before. But now, all she could do was-
Ranma-chan sighed as Minami ran back and forth in terror, trying to dislodge the pervert from her bosom. "I should have known. He's evil, just not supernaturally so."
An hour later in geography class. Minami was still muttering about how she was going to learn some really nasty techniques, like disintegration, in preparation for the next round with Happosai. Ranma-chan and Ryouga were standing out in the hall with buckets for arguing about who was more annoying to Ukyou and why the other one should stay away from her. Akane was muttering about how stupid Ranma-chan was in picking a fight with Ryouga in the middle of class. Shampoo-kun was happy since geography was one of the handful of subjects he did well in, since only a minimum of Japanese was required. And Ukyou had finally learned to use her pencil to turn the pages of her book instead of trying to use her hand, since each time she grabbed a page it had ended up stuck to her hand and ripped out of the book.
In summation, it was just another typical day at school, at least until the public announcement system rang out:
"All students and teachers, meet in the school auditorium right away."
Curious glances were exchanged, then everyone did as they were instructed. Within moments the halls were filled by the student body as it made its way to its destination. Almost as soon as the students began walking, they noticed something different about the school.
"Who put these busts of some weird-looking guy with a palm tree growing out of the top of his head in the hall?" Ranma-chan asked. When they had first come to school the hallways had looked normal, but now there were a series of busts of the same, smiling man with sunglasses lining both sides of the hallways. Each one looked identical to the others.
"Busts?" Shampoo-kun asked as he looked at the short statues of the heads as well.
"Yeah," Ranma-chan explained. "Those statue thingies you're looking at. Those are called busts."
Shampoo-kun looked in confusion at her. "Shampoo thought bust was another word for breasts." He pointed at Ranma-chan's chest.
Ranma-chan began to squirm a little under the close scrutiny. "Well, yeah. It is."
"Why they call the short statue bust if it stop before it get to bust?"
"Ah, well…" Ranma-chan was trying hard to come up with an answer, when Ukyou swatted Shampoo-kun in the head with a spatula.
"Quit asking dumb questions." She hefted the spatula before her. "We have to get to the auditorium."
Shampoo-kun held his head for a moment, then brought up both fists. "We have time for fight first. Besides. It only take Sh… errr, Ranma about ten seconds to beat stupid spatula girl anyway."
Akane, Ranma-chan and Ryouga were about to interject themselves into the upcoming fight, when cries of, "Look, Ukyou's trying to score a date with Ranma," began to circulate among the crowd of students.
Ukyou backed away from Shampoo-kun and gave a look of embarrassment towards the crowd. "No, I'm not! Besides, he's a pervert anyway. I don't want to date him."
"Ohh, listen to how hard she's protesting. She wants him bad," someone near the back said.
"No, I don't," Ukyou protested again.
Her protest elicited the usual reactions:
"She's awfully antagonistic towards him. I think it's just her way of hiding her affections. You know, like a form of denial."
"I bet she enjoyed it when he sliced her top open in that duel they had."
"I think they'd make a cute couple."
"Ranma always suspected stupid spatula girl had the hots for him."
Shampoo-kun's icy comment snapped Ukyou out of her stupor as she suddenly found herself the center of everyone's attention. It took some effort to resist the compulsion to start whacking people in the head with her spatula until they had all shut up. Luckily for her, someone else stepped in.
"BE QUIET!" Minami shouted through a megaphone. As the crowd quieted down, she turned away from the megaphone and whispered to Ukyou, "Don't worry. I'll take care of this nasty little rumor before it gets started."
Ukyou nodded in appreciation for her new friend's effort on her behalf.
Minami pointed the megaphone again at the crowd again. "Now just because Ukyou's always staring at Sh… Ranma's cute little hiney-"
"I do not!" Ukyou protested.
Minami turned away from the megaphone and whispered to Ukyou, "Don't worry about it. It's okay to look at the packaging, just so long as you don't try to open the box. Now let me handle the situation." She gave Ukyou a knowing wink, and was about to use the megaphone again, when she turned back for a second and said, "And you do too look at his bottom."
Before Ukyou could get her second protest off, Minami shouted again. "And just because she has erotic dreams about him—"
"I do not have erotic dreams about him or anyone else!" Ukyou shouted at her.
There was another wink directed at Ukyou, then Minami picked up where she left off. "-doesn't mean she's interested in him. In fact, I can guarantee she's not. Do you want to know why?"
An unanimous "Yes!" rose from the crowd.
"Well I'll tell you why." Minami took a moment for dramatic pause, then said, "It's because she's gay!"
A spatula met the back of Minami's head… hard.
As the ghost sweeper began to pick herself off the ground, she found her effort to go from horizontal to vertical speeded up by Ukyou. "EXACTLY HOW DOES THIS HELP ME?!" She began shaking Minami back and forth like a rag doll.
"Well, you see," Minami explained while holding her head, "since everyone now thinks you're gay, no one will believe you're interested in the boy-type Shampoo anymore. Problem solved." The ghost sweeper gave a wide grin at her own ingenuity.
Shampoo-kun shook his head as Ukyou began choking Minami. "That sound like a plan Ranma come up with," he said.
Ranma-chan nodded in agreement. "Yep. That sounds… HEY! It does not! How can you say that? My plans are… Akane, stop nodding your head too! My plans are not that bad. In fact—"
At that point, much to the surprise of everyone, all of the busts' mouths began moving. There was the slight sound of electronic feedback, as though they were all speaking through microphones. As one voice they said, "Dere's no loiterin' in da halls, my little keiki."
Everyone only had a second to give a startled look at the talking busts before the mouths, remaining open, began to spray out powerful streams of water into the hall, effectively dousing the entire crowd. Like a herd of cattle caught in the middle of a sudden thunderstorm, they created a virtual stampede in an effort to get away from the worst of the sprays. Once they started moving along, the front of the pack discovered (more by accident than by design) a corridor that was clear of any jets of water, despite a series of busts that lined the hallway. Quickly, the mass of humanity hurried down the water-free corridor until they came upon a set of double doors. They burst through the doors, only to discover that they had at last reached their intended destination: the auditorium.
Ranma-chan and her group hurried inside to avoid getting trampled by the rest of the student body. "Let's hurry and grab a seat next to the bleachers."
Shampoo-kun looked them over, then sniffed the air. "Why they call them bleachers if they not smell like bleach?"
A large spatula was brandished menacingly in Shampoo-kun's direction. "Oh, no. We are not going through that again. Let's just grab some chairs on the floor."
They followed the suggestion and found a tight cluster of chairs. The majority of the homeroom followed suit and sat in a pattern similar to that of their class. The auditorium filled up quickly. Soon all of the students were on chairs on the floor or the bleachers, while the teachers of the various departments went to the stage and used the set of chairs that was located next to the podium.
"Do you smell coconut?" Akane asked as she sniffed the air.
Ranma-chan sniffed the air and was about to agree when the doors leading to the auditorium burst open. Everyone turned to see the cause of the disruption behind them was the man from the busts; the palm tree growing on the top of his head was the giveaway. Puzzled expressions dominated the auditorium once everyone had a full view of him. The man was nearing his forties and was wearing a garish combination of Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and even sandals that were hard on the eyes. He speeded along, using a skateboard to move quickly and effortlessly, almost like a demon on wheels. Rather than go straight up the aisles and to the stage, he built up some speed and chose to leap in the air with his skateboard over the crowd.
Even with the velocity he had gained it was not sufficient to get over the entire audience with the one leap, so he used Ranma-chan's head as a springboard to continue his jump and landed safely on the other side of the crowd. The moment Ranma-chan recovered she was all for beating the man up, but Akane and Shampoo-kun held her back, preferring to see what was going on before Ranma-chan attacked the newcomer.
The man pulled up to the podium, did a small circle, then stopped. Ranma-chan noted that the teachers appeared just as confused as the students at the eyesore's presence. While everyone was whispering in confusion, the man turned on the microphone at the podium, and without any further fanfare, began to speak.
"Aloha everybody. Today I be introducing you to de new big kahuna around here: me." Principal Kunou allowed that to soak in. He had them off-guard, just the way he liked. It would make what was to come so much easier for him. "Dat's right, my little keiki. I de principal. I wen' leavin' de assistant in charge so I can go to Havai'i on sabbatical. But dat brudda quit because o' some ghost business, so da school board wen' callin' me back. 'You de only man fo' dis job,' dey tell me." Actually, they had said there was no one else on hand that was willing to take the job, but since the end of the journey was the same, what difference did it make in which path was taken? "Lucky for dem, I was already saying to myself, 'Kunou, what could you do to be makin' dem schools back home better?'"
Everyone's ears picked up on the word 'Kunou'. Tatewaki suddenly found himself the center of attention, and reacted accordingly. "It is true, this black mark on the Shooting Star of Furinkan High-"
"I thought it was 'Blue Thunder'?" someone mentioned.
"Be silent!" Kunou snapped. He took a moment to compose himself. There was no sense in denying the truth. "Loathe though I am to admit it, this half-mad creature is my own sire."
"So there's three lunatics in the family. Why am I not surprised?" Ranma-chan commented dryly.
The principal continued on his speech. "So, since it's de first day of school, we're goan' right in and institutin' de new rules. All of de little keiki watch real close."
He pointed at two students towards the front of the auditorium, a girl and a boy, and indicated they should come forward. They looked at each other curiously, wondering why they were singled out, then approached the podium. As they climbed the set of steps to the stage, the principal grabbed two wooden chairs and offered them the seats. Both of them accepted and sat down, pointed outwards to the crowd.
The principal's teeth gave off a predatory gleam as he smiled. He moved directly behind the two students. "Now here's what de first rule is bein'." He pulled out a large, poorly-drawn picture of a boy and girl. The boy's head was shaved completely and the girl had a short close-cropped haircut. "Dat's de way it's going to be from now on, my little keiki. Marabouzu style hair cuts for de boys. And Okkapa hair cuts for all de girls. Don't dey look stylish?"
The two students on the stage tried to get up, but the large hands of the principal forced them back down into their seats.
"I don't want to get my hair cut," the boy protested. The girl followed in agreement.
"Well, I'm supposin' you might not have to." He held out two coconuts. "In one of dese, dere's a pass to get out of de haircut. If you be pickin' de right one, you doan' have to be gettin' the cut."
The two students looked at each other hesitantly. Seeing no other way out of their predicament, they decided to play the game. The girl picked the one on the left. "How do I open it?"
"You look like de' bright lil' wahine. You figure It out."
The girl smashed the coconut over the principal's head. Once opened, a small slip of paper fell to the ground. The boy picked it up and the two read it aloud.
"You be losin,'" they said as one.
The principal whipped out a set of shears. It was over faster than it had begun as two sets of brown locks gently tumbled to the floor. The two students ran their hands over the scalps where their hair had been a moment before, and upon realizing that it wasn't some horrible nightmare, both burst into tears.
If the principal took notice of their reactions, he gave no indication of it. He returned his attention to the student body and allowed them to admire his handiwork. The students' 'admiration' took the form of cries of denial and protestation at the idea of having their hair sheared off, or nearly all of in the case of the girls.
On the stage, Godai-sensei watched what was happening and decided things had gone far enough. Sucking in a deep breath to calm himself, he got to his feet. For a brief moment he almost reconsidered and sat back down, his courage leaving him as it had so many times during his courtship of his wife. Instead of giving up, he focused on how he had eventually sucked up his courage and won in the end. With his course decided, he cleared his throat to gain the Principal's attention.
"Sir. You are asking too much of the students to just have their hair cut like that," Godai proudly declared.
The Principal took a moment to look him over. "And you are?"
The Principal pulled out his shears once again. "It be lookin' to me like you got de nice big head of hair that might need a little trimmin." He clicked the shears together several times.
Godai backed away, holding his hands up in a warding gesture. "No way! My wife likes my hair as is, and so do I!"
A disappointed look crossed the Principal's features. "Well, if you doan' wan' the haircut, then you've got to cuttin' de students' hair instead." He handed Godai an extra pair of shears. "And dis here gorilla costume. It helps to set de mood." He held one out for Godai to look at.
Godai looked at the suit, looked at the shears in his hand, then gave them back to the Principal. "Absolutely not. I refuse to do your dirty work for you."
"Ah, ah, ah." The Principal waved his finger back and forth as though telling a four year old that he was being naughty. "Here's de way it works. If you doan' wanna' help me institute de new rules, then you doan' get to work here. Got it?"
"You mean you'd fire me just because I won't help you cut the students' hair?"
"Ah, I see de college education wasn't wasted on you."
Godai wasn't sure if the man was being sarcastic or not. It was so hard to tell because he was so weird to begin with. Being given the choice of explaining to his wife that he had lost his job, compared to making other students cry like the ones' that the Principal had, was enough to make Godai want to join the bald and near bald students in their weeping. But when it came right down to it, he had no choice at all.
"You'd better be fillin out de new application den, cause you're out of here as of today. Ain't no way dis here Principal's goan be lettin de discipline break down on his shift."
Voices began shouting out in protest, the loudest ones coming from the students of Godai's homeroom. The loudest one of all coming from Ranma-chan.
"You can't fire Godai-sensei, you South Seas geek!" Ranma-chan stood on the top of the back of her chair, towering above the rest of the students and commanding their attention. "He might be a pushover and a bit spineless, but heck, that's why we like him so much!"
"Hey!" Godai began to protest.
The redhead continued, unabated. "But dammit, he's also a good man, and you can't fire someone like him just because he won't follow your crazy ideas!"
The crowd began to cheer in agreement at Ranma-chan's speech. A chant of "Godai" started to ring out when a loud voice boomed, "QUIET!"
The command effectively silenced the crowd. Students looked in confusion at one another as they realized that the voice had been far too deep to have come from the principal.
"To your left," the voice called out.
Everyone looked to the left. No one was there.
"I meant my left. Sorry."
Everyone looked to the other left and saw him. Nearly seven feet tall and three hundred and fifty pounds, Gompachi Chabane stood before them, an ugly man with oily black hair and a protruding forehead that reminded others of how Neanderthals were usually depicted, except he wasn't wearing a saber-tooth tiger hide and his hygiene appeared a whole lot better. His clothing was unremarkable, other than being large by necessity. He wore a plain-looking brown suit and short brown cape that only reached halfway down his back. However, even in his plain garb, it was obvious from his size that he was a strong man. An aura of power seemed to emanate from him as he made his way to the stage at the front of the auditorium… by skittering his way across the base of the wall like a bug.
"Wow, two weirdoes in the same day," Ryouga muttered as the huge man stopped skittering and walked up the steps in more ordinary fashion.
As the man arrived next to the Principal, he turned to look at the student body as a whole. "I am your new high school disciplinarian, Gompachi Chabane. I assure you that my credentials are extensive, having enforced the rules in over a dozen of the most violent reform schools in all of Japan, as well as a couple in Luxembourg too. Very nice little country, by the way."
"So what you're saying is, you're a bouncer?" Ranma-chan asked from her perch on top of the back of the chair.
"Professional disciplinarian," Chabane hissed as his eyes narrowed at the one who dared to address him in such a casual manner. "You're that foreign exchange student, Shampoo. I recognize you-"
Ranma-chan smirked as she placed her hands behind her head. "Well, I am a pretty famous gal."
"-from the list of problem students the former assistant principal kept. You were second from the top," Chabane finished. "I have my eye on you and your little band of troublemakers, girl."
The redhead began to growl in response at the accusation, but a tug on her pantleg and a scowl from Akane kept her in check, for the moment.
Chabane turned to Godai. "This is why you can no longer teach here. You lack the ability to keep your students in line. Yours is the class that holds the majority of these delinquents, and it was your duty to enforce discipline upon them. It's plain to see that you have failed miserably. Thanks to your lax nature, it falls to me to enforce the new principal's rules and allow this school to become the learning institution it was meant to be. Everyone will comply with these new conditions, starting with haircuts for all. MUHAHAHA-"
"The hell we will."
Ranma-chan insult was meant to attract the larger man's attention, but even she was startled as Chabane left the stage in a blur and was beside her in little more than two seconds. "So, you've chosen to ignore the warning I gave you. Obviously you are an even worse troublemaker than your file indicated. Too bad. I intend to make an example out of you to show the futility of defiance. Yours will be the next hair to be cut, along with the unacceptably long locks of the boy next to you."
"I'm a girl, you, whatever you are." Ukyou fingered her spatula, resisting the urge to strike the man outright.
That revelation caught Chabane completely off-guard. He looked Ukyou over again, more closely this time. "You mean you're a girl?" She nodded. Chabane appeared even more disgusted than before. "Then not only do you have a serious lack of discipline, but you are a sexual deviant as well."
"That's a lie!" Ryouga shot of his seat and jumped to his feet. "Ukyou's never had sex, deviant or otherwise, before!" He turned to her. "Have you?"
"Of course not!" Ukyou shot back. "And you should know better that to ask that sort of a question about a girl."
"Enough!" Chabane roared. "It's time for all of you to-"
A small object bounced off Chabane's head, leaving a wet substance behind. It dripped down his face and reached his mouth. He ran his tongue over his lips, savoring the taste of the liquid. Pen ink, if he wasn't mistaken. He wiped his hand over his face and examined it closely. The ink from the broken pen Ranma-chan had thrown at him had smeared rather than rub off, forcing him to pull out a handkerchief from his breast pocket and clean himself. Through a face half-coated with blue, he stared the shorter girl straight in the eye. "You dare to challenge me?"
"Guess so." Ranma-chan shrugged nonchalantly.
Ryouga moved next to Ranma-chan. "You can count me in too. No one insults Ukyou and gets away with it."
Akane followed. "What you did to Godai-sensei was wrong. I'm in."
Chabane looked in surprise at her. "But why? Your hair's already perfect."
Akane fumed at that. It was a LinLin enforced cut, and not one by choice. "It's the principle that's involved."
"Count Ranma in too," Shampoo-kun said
The Principal took note of the situation. Yes. He had thought it might come to this, and had a plan that would deal with the whole lot of troublemakers once and for all. He would show them the price of defiance. He cleared his throat. "Looky here, my lil' keiki. Since you be wantin' a challenge, I be more than willin' to fix you up with one. We'll be makin' this into a big-time contest wit' everyone's hair on de line. Since everyone in Mr. Godai's homeroom seems to like him so much, and so many of dose troublemaking keiki are in dere too, they'll be gettin' to represent de school. If any of de students can complete an obstacle course, I be willin' to reinstate Godai and waive makin' everyone at de school cut dere hair. Anyone dat cannot complete the course gets dere haircut, and if no one completes it, den everybody at de school will be gettin' it with their consent. What do you think of that, keiki?"
There was a deathly silence among the crowd. It remained that way, until a girl's voice said, "Ranma will save us. I have faith in him."
Another girl joined in. "Yeah. If anyone can complete the course, it's Ranma."
A chant of "Ranma" broke out among the women, which was eventually, if a bit reluctantly, followed by the men as well, if for no other reason than they accepted the fact having Ranma, Shampoo, and the others champion them was the best bet to avoid having their hair cut.
Chabane made his way back to the principal and slapped a hand on his back. "I have yet to have a single student successfully pass one of my obstacle courses. Their hair is as good as cut. Let's laugh evilly."
The two left the stage together, laughing as evilly as they could, yet failing miserably since there was actually very little that was truly evil about cutting people's hair. Now, if they had clubbed a few baby seals recently, they probably could have gotten away with it, but Chabane was actually something of an animal rights activist, and the only thing the principal enjoyed clubbing were students with pineapples, and even then it wasn't for their pelts. They were forced to make due with a 'mildly unpleasant laugh' as they left to prepare for the upcoming match.
With classes temporarily suspended because of the contest, everyone was out in the athletic field, wishing (and praying) that Ranma and his homeroom would be successful in the contest. Some tried leaving nothing to chance, and wore an assortment of football helmets, deep sea pressure outfits, and even flesh colored plastic caps over their hair to make it appear they were bald, just in case Ranma and company somehow failed.
The field itself had been extensively renovated, with massive palm trees and a fake volcano placed in the middle of the track. South seas island music blared over loudspeakers, and a table with large bowls of poi sat next to the stands for all to enjoy. Other areas of the various athletic fields were also altered, though not all in the same manner. For instance, the field hockey area was now fenced in and there was an odd wooden frame work that was almost a dozen feet high at the far side. All of it was very strange, even for Furinkan.
With a reluctant tread, Godai made his way over to the students that were fighting for his job on his behalf. As he got closer, the others saw him and quieted down. He thought that was ironic since it was something they rarely did when he was in charge of the class.
Godai went to Ranma-chan first. "I know what I should tell you is, 'you shouldn't be risking yourselves for my sake', but the fact of the matter is, I'm going to be in a world of misery if I lose this job. I've got a wife and child to support, and we can't do it on just her income alone. The job market is terrible for teachers now. I don't stand a chance on finding anything outside of running a day care center in a cabaret like I did before. You have to win, for my sake as well as your own."
Ranma-chan began tittering nervously at the prostrated man. "Nothing like adding a little pressure on a guy before a big contest, eh, sensei?"
"Don't worry, sensei." Akane held her fist before her. "We'll win for sure."
"Thank you." He refrained from further commentary. Usually, when things looked like they were going to work out for him, his luck would go south and it would all backfire in his face. No. He was going to mentally make plans on what to do should he be looking for a job at the end of the day.
Eager to get things over with, the entire homeroom made its way to the principal and Chabane, who stood next to each other close by the track. Once the participants had gathered around, the principal began to speak. "All right, my little keiki. Line up on de track."
Slowly, expecting some kind of catch, the group made its way to a long white line nearby.
The principal stood up next to the line of students. "De first contest is going to be de one mile run."
"Heck that's easy," Ranma-chan scoffed, then said to Akane and Shampoo-kun. "Last one across the line is a rotten egg."
"It's got to be done in fifteen minutes," the principal continued.
"No problem." Ranma-chan said. What a ridiculously easy obstacle this was.
"It will be run as a three-legged race."
Sets of leg cuffs, in the shape of pineapples, burst from the ground and locked themselves around the legs of the sets of people closest to each other. Various pairs included: Shampoo-kun and Akane, Ryouga and Ukyou, Ranma-chan and Minami.
Ranma-chan looked in dismay at the leg cuffs, then at his partner. "This is gonna be impossible."
Chabane fired a starter pistol into the air. After the reality of the situation finally set in for the shackled couples, they began to run. The scene was a debacle at first with nearly everyone stumbling and falling. After a minute or so of the mass confusion, some of the pairs began to get the hang of the unusual race and built up a rhythm. Akane and Shampoo-kun took the lead, followed by Ryouga and Ukyou, and several others. Akane and Shampoo-kun felt proud of the steady pace they set as they continually picked up speed and ran faster, moving more closely in synchronicity by the second.
"Looks like we're going to come in first," Akane said.
"Is no surprise. We just too, too good." Shampoo-kun smirked. "There no way Ranma can beat us."
"Yep." Akane nodded in agreement. Now Ranma-chan would see who the rotten egg was.
Just as they completed the first quarter of the track, they found themselves overtaken by, of all people, Hiroshi and Daisuke.
Akane looked in surprise, wondering how two guys in such obvious mediocre shape could be passing two superior martial artist. "How come you guys are moving so fast?"
"I guess it's just because we do everything together," Hiroshi (or was it Daisuke) said. Akane wasn't sure since it was hard to tell them apart. Not that they looked alike, it was just that, as they said, they were always together and were generally referred to as a matching set. Sort of like bookends.
At the end of the pack, Ranma-chan and Minami fell down again, for the fifth time in one hundred feet. "I can't believe you are this slow," Ranma-chan spat at her partner. "I can't even carry you because our legs are attached."
"It's not like being a ghost sweeper requires a lot of physical activity!" Minami shot back. "Let's see you try to destroy a demon with that useless martial arts crap you're always doing!"
"Well, your hot stuff magic ain't doing us any good. If you don't learn to pick up the pace, we're going to get our hair cut off."
The reality of the situation began to set in for Minami. "I don't want to have my hair cut. You have to do something, Ranma. Figure out some dumb martial arts technique to make us go faster."
It was unfortunate, Ranma-chan thought, that the chain linking them wasn't longer and he didn't have a big wooden paddle. He could have bounced Minami up in the air like a giant paddleball and traveled with her that way.
They fell down again. Minami began to give up hope when she felt a pair of arms lift her up from behind and pick her up. Surprisingly, she saw that the same thing had happened to her partner and that they were both being hurried forward at the same pace. She turned her head far enough to see it was either Hiroshi or Daisuke that had picked her up, and that it was either Daisuke or Hiroshi that had picked Ranma-chan up. Apparently they had made such good time that they had already completed a lap of the quarter mile long track and had been prepared to pass them up.
"What do you guys think you're doing?!" Ranma-chan snapped as she found herself being carried by under her armpits. It was so undignified. The only consolation was that he was keeping his hands to himself.
"We couldn't let two attractive girls like you have your hair cut off, isn't that right?" Hiroshi asked.
"You bet," Daisuke answered as he carried Minami along.
"We don't need your help! Put me dow-" The rest of Ranma-chan's diatribe was cut off as Minami used one of her free hands to slap a ward over the redhead's mouth, magically sealing it.
"Thanks for saving us," Minami gushed at Daisuke. There was a muffled complaint from Ranma-chan. Minami glared at her. "If these guys don't carry us, we're never going to complete the race. If that happens, I'll have my hair cut in the shape of a bowl. If that happens, I will take it out on you. When I say I'll make your life hell, that isn't a figure of speech. Got it?" The light gleamed off Minami's glasses, giving a crazed look to her face.
Ranma-chan glared in response, though she did stop struggling. It wasn't the threat of Minami that quieted her, it was the picture of herself with the haircut Minami had described. Letting Hiroshi carry her was the easiest way to avoid the haircut, that was all.
"Cheater!" Akane shouted as the now quartet of Hiroshi, Daisuke, Ranma-chan, and Minami passed them.
Ranma-chan pulled at her lower eyelid and would have stuck out her tongue at the duo they were passing, if her mouth hadn't been taped shut.
The quartet finished first, along with Akane and Shampoo-kun a distant second, Ukyou and Ryouga third, and a handful of others. Much to their dismay, three quarters of the class failed to complete the course in time and ended up with their hair cut, just as the principal had threatened.
Feeling elated at their success, even with losing so many of their classmates, the group moved on to the next obstacle: the school's Olympic length swimming pool. Aside from the tons of sand placed around it and several volleyball nets set up to make it look like a beach, it was unaltered.
Principal Kunou spoke again. "All de remaining keiki will have to get across to de other side of the pool."
"We ain't supposed to do it with lead weights wrapped on us or anything?" Ranma-chan asked.
Chabane answered for the principal. "No."
Akane looked hesitantly at the pool. "I can't swim," she said to Ranma-chan.
Ranma-chan nodded her head. She remembered Nabiki mentioning that once. "Don't feel too bad. Ryouga can't either."
Ryouga looked at her in confusion. "Yes, I can."
"No. You can't." Ranma-chan began making bat noises until Ryouga glowered in understanding.
"If you doan' wanna be swimmin in de pool, you can get your hair cut now." Sunlight glinted off the shears the principal brandished.
"I've got an idea." Minami made her way next to Ryouga. She laid her left hand gently on his shoulder. With her right, she began making an intricate pattern of gestures and murmured arcane phrases that resembled no known tongue. Within a few moments, Ryouga's feet lifted off the ground and he began hovering in mid-air
"I'm flying." Instinctively, Ryouga began flapping his arms before remembering he was in human form.
"You are levitating," Minami corrected. "There's a big difference. All you can do is float, not move on your own. Now pick up Akane."
Ryouga did so, and was met with a, "Watch the hands, bloodsucker" warning from Ranma-chan. Ukyou was little better with her own warning of "Watch what you're holding onto," directed towards Akane.
Minami cast another spell, far less intricate and time consuming. She touched the bottom of her feet. "Now I can walk on water and drag you across." She grabbed the floating Ryouga by the hand, who, in spite of carrying the additional burden of Akane, was still as light as air.
After making certain Akane was all right with traveling in Ryouga's arms, Ranma-chan pondered the cold depths of the pool. Turning to Shampoo-kun, she said, "Times like this I don't mind being a girl in school." Shampoo-kun nodded his head in agreement.
Again Chabane fired his starter pistol. As one the class jumped into the pool and started swimming across. All save Minami, who ran across the water as thought it was a normal walkway and caused nothing more than the faintest of ripples where her feet made contact with the water. Being able to run where the others could only swim, she quickly finished the contest by arriving at the other side of the pool.
The spell on Ryouga wore off almost the instant he made it to the other side. He gently set Akane back on the ground. As he did so, he looked into the water and noticed some darkened shapes that seemed to be at his end of the unbelievably deep pool. He bent down to get a closer look. "I wonder what those are?" he said to Akane as he pointed at the objects below.
Akane felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. She looked to Chabane, who seemed to be taking particular relish in the obstacles. "Don't tell me they're sharks."
"Of course not," Chabane scoffed. "I'm not that stupid."
Akane breathed a sigh of relief.
"A shark could, at most, eat two students, and the pool isn't big enough to hold more than three. Piranha can eat far more and they pack much more tightly."
Akane cupped her mouth and shouted at the approaching swimmers. "Ranma, watch out! Piranha in the pool!"
Ranma-chan and Shampoo-kun had been swimming ahead of the rest of the students and were the first to see the onrushing school of piranha. Shampoo-kun gave a panicked look towards Ranma-chan. "What do we do?"
"Concede defeat and I'll call dem off!" the principal shouted from the far side of the pool.
"No way." Ranma-chan shot back. Defeat wasn't a word that she understood. Amaguriken, on the other hand, was a word she understood very well. It was also a word she said to Shampoo-kun.
The cursed Amazon nodded in understanding. They both unleashed the Kachuu Tenshin Amaguriken, grabbing the fish before they could bite. As each one closed their hands on a fish, they threw the offending seafood out of the pool, then grabbed another and repeated the process.
Tatewaki Kunou watched as volley of flying fish came towards him. He considered what that meant and came up with the obvious conclusion. "My love sends me food from the gods. No doubt she desires a fish fry. A splendid idea."
His bokken was a blur as it stabbed in the air, impaling several of the piranhas with the weapon. Other students began setting up a fire and roasting the fish on a makeshift spit.
Principal Kunou found tears filling his eyes. At last, his little Tachi understood. "Now you're getting into da spirit of things." He broke out a ukulele and started playing a series of Don Ho songs.
Within moments the entire school of piranha were thrown out and the rest of the way was clear. The entire class made it to the far side of the pool without further incident.
"Move on to de next obstacle," Principal Kunou said through the cooked fish he was chewing on.
"They won't pass this one," Chabane promised as he chewed on some raw fish. The tail stuck out of his mouth as he ate it, bones and all.
The next obstacle was the field hockey area, completely enclosed by a thick wooden fence. A gate was opened and the remaining students entered the field, uncertain of what was to come next. From where they stood, they could see an opening at the far side, identical to the one that they had just come through. Between the two open gates was a large wooden building with a gate in front of it, though nothing could be seen inside. The gate closed behind them as they entered the field.
Ranma-chan hated to do it, but someone had to ask, even though she knew she would hate the answer. "What's the challenge this time?"
From his position behind the fence, Chabane considered that. "This may not be a challenge for you. How fast can you make it across this field at top speed?"
Ranma-chan looked across the field and gauged the distance. "About eighteen seconds."
"Too bad. The bull can make it in twelve."
The door to the wooden structure slowly creaked open. The students only had to wait a moment before a huge bull, weighing at least two tons and wearing a lei, charged out of what was now obviously a stall. It gave a bellow of rage and took all of one second to look around before it found its targets. In a flash the brown blur headed directly towards them.
The group tried to scatter, but the bull proved too fast as it charged up behind the slowest of the running students, lifted its head up under their rear ends, then tossed them up one at a time into the air and out of the fenced-in area to the place it had been trained to: the barber chair the principal had set up outside the course. As each student landed in a chair, the principal gave them the appropriate haircut and waved them on in anticipation for the next student.
One by one, the students fell, until there were only six left. Ranma-chan, Shampoo-kun, Akane, Minami, Ukyou and Ryouga. After Ranma-chan leaped over the bull on an abortive charge, it switched targets and headed towards Ryouga. Rather than running, Ryouga held his ground and slowly pulled out his bamboo umbrella. He took his time, lining up the bull even as it, in turn, lined him up for the big hit.
The two met, skull impacting with umbrella in a thundering collision. The bull was surprised to discover its forward momentum completely halted. Confusion soon followed as it wondered why it had stopped and why the person it had tried to run over was still standing there as though nothing had happened.
Ryouga had braced himself firmly for the oncoming charge. Much to his own surprise, the bull had not hit with as much force as he had thought it would, and he had easily been able to take the hit with no damage to himself. Now, with the bull's forward momentum at a complete halt despite the fact the animal was still pushing forward, he switched his center of gravity and allowed the animal forward just enough to plant the umbrella directly underneath the bull's chest. Straining as hard as he could, he lifted the animal up by the umbrella and sent him flying away. Ryouga's throw was on target as the bull landed in the barber's chair. The principal considered what to do for only a moment before cutting the bull's hair too.
Chabane scowled at the remaining six students. He had been certain no one would make it past the bull, not even the loud-mouthed redhead. But he had been proven wrong. There was no real need for concern, He was not without remaining plans. They would still fall, oh yes. The next hurdle would be sure to defeat them. Then discipline would be maintained at long last.
The group began their trip to the next obstacle, located at the farthest ends of the school's ground itself. As they made their way through some trees, the obstacle came into view a couple hundred yards away. It was located on the other side of a wooden fortress, a recent structure that had been constructed overnight. The sides were high, at least twenty feet, and sharpened at the top. As strong as the walls appeared, even they failed to prevent the foul odor that floated from the fortress. From their position on the ground, the group could see nothing as to what might have been inside. Ranma-chan considered racing ahead to try to see what was coming up, but reconsidered. She didn't want to leave the others alone, and no matter what the obstacle was, they would conquer it like they had the others.
Minami began to pull into the lead, walking along without the least bit of precaution. Akane noticed it and warned, "You should slow down."
Minami kept on walking forward, but turned far enough to look at Akane from over her shoulder. "Yeah, right. I'm a ghost sweeper. Nothing can stop me."
Nothing took the form of a giant pit that was camouflaged with a cover of leaves. Caught completely off-guard, Minami fell in. Using her considerable ghost-sweeping agility, she broke her fall by landing solidly on her head. The others rushed to the side of the pit and looked down to see Minami lying prone of the bottom. The soft rise and fall of her chest, along with a hefty amount of groaning in pain, told them she was all right. Shampoo-kun jumped down, grabbed her, then jumped back up. Seeing that Minami was indeed unconscious, they were forced to leave her with the principal.
Principal Kunou rubbed his hands together in anticipation. Just five more to go, then a whole school to cut. It was like being in heaven. He leaned over her unconscious form and brought his shears up. The instant they met her locks, a magical shock ripped through him, stunning him into unconsciousness. The discharge caused Minami's eyes to flutter open. It took her a second to realize what had happened. It was a good thing she had thought to cast that magical defense field when the bull had been running around. She might have been out of the contest, but there was no way she was going to sacrifice a single hair to the madman in charge of the school.
The remaining members of the group continued on, making certain to avoid any other traps that might have been in their path. Their concerns were for nothing as they arrived at the wooden wall without further incident. The moment they stepped before the two massive doors, they parted on their own, swinging inward with a loud groan and allowing the others to see what was within. A huge trench stretched across the center of the fortress, fifty feet long and at least twenty feet wide. A metal pole, about six inches wide and rounded, stretched across from the side the group was on to the other. Looking down into the trench, all could see that it was filled with a black substance that was quickly identified from the smell.
"Where the hell did they get a tar pit?" Ukyou asked.
"Who cares?" Ranma-chan said, figuring out what the goal was in an instant. She approached the pole that stretched across the trench. It was six inches wide. With her sense of balance, it was going to be as easy as walking a fence.
A mistake. The instant she stepped onto the pole, she slipped on a clear, slick substance that was spread across the metal. She did an acrobatic somersault in mid-air, landing on her crotch and straddling the pole.
"Times like this I'm REALLY glad I am not a guy," Ranma-chan said. As the last word left her mouth, she started to slide off the pole, threatening to fall into the tar-filled trench below.
Akane was the first to react to the dilemma. She stretched out as far as she could while keeping both feet planted on the ground. Shampoo-kun grabbed onto the back of her outfit, allowing her to stretch out just a little bit farther. "Grab on!"
Ranma-chan did as she was bade, their fingertips brushing against one another. Stretching out just a little bit farther, the two clasped hands more firmly and Akane pulled the redhead back from the pole and onto dry land. Ranma-chan brushed off her pants as best as she could. The sticky substance had dampened her pants and made her uncomfortable. Still, there was little she could do about it at the moment. "Those poles are greased. No way we can walk across."
Ukyou noted that although they had encircled the entire area with the miniature fort, there was also a series of ever present palm trees as well, both on the side they were currently on and the other across the pit. That Hawaiian fetish was going to prove to be the principal's undoing, Ukyou thought to herself. From within the confines of her outfit she pulled out a can of extra-resilient noodles, similar to the ones she had used against Shampoo-kun in their initial challenge match. With a flick of her wrist they wrapped themselves around the tree on the other side. The other end was quickly wrapped around a tree on her side, forming an effective guidewire to be used over the crossing pole.
"Nice work," Ryouga commented. Ranma-chan was the first to take the lead as she set off across the pole. Seeing her use the guidewire successfully, the others followed suit and made their way over as well. As the last one stepped onto the other side, another tall set of wooden doors opened. Relieved, they made their way out of the fortress as quickly as they could. Waiting for them, alone, was Gompachi Chabane. No one else, not even the principal, was in sight.
Ranma-chan crossed her arms defiantly. "So, any more stupid obstacles, or are you ready to admit we can take anything you throw at us?"
The slightest of smiles was just barely noticeable on Chabane's face. "There's just one left. The most dangerous of all. The one obstacle you cannot hope to pass."
"What is it?"
The smile grew. "Me."
Chabane flexed his massive arms, posing in an attacking stance in an attempt to intimidate his opponents. The others simply drew what weapons they had, if any, and smiled as one.
Akane began, "Let me get this straight. You-"
"-want us to beat you up and we no-"
"-get into trouble? The only challenge I-"
"-see is you staying conscious long enough for me to-"
"-feel like I'm satisfied. And I don't think that's gonna' happen," Ranma-chan finished.
And for the briefest of moments, Chabane almost reconsidered his actions. True, as a unit they were formidable, but he was the next step in genetic evolution, and they had just been through one of his obstacle courses and were exhausted. Even at their peak they would be hard pressed to fight him. Tired, they didn't stand a chance.
The rest of his opening speech was cut off as Shampoo-kun breached "standard opening rant" etiquette and attacked before Chabane had finished boasting. The opening punch was blocked by Chabane. However, defending against that blow had left him open so that he that took a hard front kick to the gut courtesy of Akane. While he was dealing with the frontal assaults, Ranma-chan maneuvered behind him and gave a tremendous leap kick into the back of the head.
Ryouga took his turn and lowered his shoulder, charging as hard as the bull had earlier, and drove Chabane into the wall of the school. The bricks formed a slight indentation as they buckled from the impact. Ukyou finished things up by throwing a dozen mini-spatulas at her foe. Each one was on target as they pinned his clothes to the wall behind him.
"That was easy." Ranma-chan didn't feel the least bit satisfied in disposing of the much-vaunted disciplinarian.
"Yes, it was." Chabane agreed as he tore away from the wall effortlessly, shredding a good portion of his pinned clothing in the process.
It was the others' turn to be caught off-guard as Chabane showed no effects of the beating he had taken moments before. A solid blow from his meaty fist was powerful enough to send Ranma-chan into Akane, knocking both of them both down. What advantage he had courtesy of surprise was lost as Ukyou recovered and planted her spatula on the top of his head, full force, leaving it where it had hit. He slowly turned to her, appearing more irritated than anything else.
"Uh, oh," Ukyou got out as she received a solid backhand from Chabane.
Seeing Ukyou driven backward was more than Ryouga could take. His temper snapped as he moved in with his umbrella, swinging it with all of his strength. Chabane blocked the high blow with his forearm, grunting slightly from the contact. The high block once again left himself open, this time for Shampoo-kun. He planted a bonbori into Chabane's ribs, bringing the big man's blocking arm down in a hurry. Seeing a golden opportunity, both launched a flurry of attacks with their weapons, hitting more often than not, causing Chabane to back up. All he had going in his favor was that he managed to maintain his footing in spite of the high-powered assault.
Despite his outward poise, Chabane became worried. The attacks were adding up and there was too much force for even his armor-like skin to take all at once. They were more powerful than even he had imagined, and for the first time in his life, it appeared that Gompachi Chabane, the world's foremost disciplinarian, would go down in defeat. Unless he placed some distance between himself and his attackers, and quickly.
He took two more hard blows from both Shampoo-kun and Ryouga, then rolled forward and out of their reach. Springing back up to his feet, he clutched onto the wall of the nearby school and skittered up it, again reminiscent of a bug, and made his way to the top and out of sight.
It took a moment for the five figures to jump up to the top and look for their mutually hated opponent. Their thoughts were as one as they mutually wanted to beat on Chabane some more for the mess he and the principal had caused. All of them were disappointed that upon reaching the top, they saw there was no one in sight.
"Where he get to?" Shampoo-kun asked.
"Can't be sure." Ranma-chan looked in every direction for some clue as to Chabane's whereabouts, but there was nothing. "Let's split up."
"We'll go this way," Ukyou said, grabbing onto Ryouga's hand and making him follow her. Ryouga was surprised, but also deliriously happy. A girl was holding his hand. The last time that had happened was two weeks ago. The girl was six and helping him get across the street after he gotten lost trying to find Ukyou's restaurant again.
Ranma-chan looked to Akane. "Guess you're coming with me."
"Why?" Akane asked, suddenly suspicious.
"Well, somebody's got to protect you."
So that was it. "I can take care of myself, thank you." Akane shot him an icy glare.
"Don't be that way. It's just you aren't as good as me and it's not like you can handle that guy by yourself. Right, Shampoo?" She turned her head in the hopes of receiving some support in stating the obvious. Instead, what she got was Shampoo-kun leaping away without a word. "Now why didn't she stick around? It's not like she can handle him alone either."
"I'm going this way," Akane pointed in the direction opposite Shampoo-kun had gone. "You go ahead and follow Shampoo. She might actually need your help." Akane stomped off without another word.
Ranma-chan looked helplessly in the direction Akane was going in. Shampoo-kun was already out of sight, and the Amazon could move fast when he wanted to. He decided to follow Akane, who was still in sight. Besides, Shampoo-kun was still better than Akane and wouldn't need her protection quite as much. With that decided, she hurried to catch up to Akane, worry about Shampoo-kun tugging at the back of his mind.
Ukyou and Ryouga had made their way back to ground level and to the pool that had formerly held the piranha. Everybody had since departed the area, leaving the two of them alone.
"Are you sure you saw him around here?" Ryouga asked.
"I could have sworn I saw him dart around that corner to here." There was only one place Ukyou thought he might be hiding in. She plunged her spatula into a big pile of sand. It went right through without hitting an obstruction.
As they continued to search the sand, the pool suddenly exploded, hurling water everywhere as Chabane burst from it. The little fools had underestimated his ability to hold his breath underwater. He could stay down for hours if he had to.
The ambush worked out even better than he had hoped, he noted as he landed. Apparently the Hibiki boy had fled; he was nowhere in sight, although Chabane could have sworn he had heard the boy near the Kuonji boy… err, sexually deviant girl. Now he found himself only confronted with her. It was going to be easy.
He suffered a single blow from her spatula and retaliated with a fist of right into her temple. That single, solid blow was powerful enough to render her unconscious. Ukyou's body slumped to the ground, as though she had been a marionette whose strings had been cut. Curiously, a bat began flying around Chabane's head
"What thOOF!" Chabane gave off a grunt as Akane, who had heard the sounds of battle, rushed to it. Upon seeing the large disciplinarian, she kicked him solidly in the gut.
Ranma-chan ran to catch up. Akane had ignored the sounds of protest the redhead had given when Akane rushed off first, complaining about how she couldn't handle Chabane alone. She'd show her fianc— The youngest of the Tendou daughters shut out the distraction as she concentrated on the man in front of her. She ducked under Chabane's counter-strike and went for the knockout blow.
"Kachuu Tenshin Amaguriken!" She managed to land a hundred punches into his chest in less than a second. Satisfied it was enough, she paused briefly to admire her handiwork. She watched as Chabane grimaced from the effect of the blows, teetered for a second, then recovered once again as though nothing had happened. This time Akane was too slow and was hit with a solid blow to her jaw, catching the full force of the punch. A second blow ended up in her stomach that sent her flying backwards.
Seeing Akane was completely limp as she sailed through the air, Ranma-chan leaped, hoping she could get under Akane and cushion the landing. She barely made it as her fiancée slammed into her, Akane's head catching Ranma-chan full in the stomach and winding the smaller girl for a moment.
Even as she was gasping for air, Ranma-chan managed to halfway pry herself out from under Akane when Chabane arrived. He finished the job by pulling Akane the rest of the way off Ranma-chan, stopping a slow punch from the redhead with a huge hand that engulfed hers completely. Holding on despite Ranma-chan's best efforts at removing her limb, he pulled her into his grasp and began squeezing, applying a tremendous amount of pressure into her lower back area. Air left Ranma-chan's lungs and there was no leverage to be had as she struggled fustily in his grasp. As she began to black out, she wondered if even Ryouga was as powerful as her opponent.
Complete victory was at hand for Gompachi Chabane. Soon the obnoxious foreign student would fall before his power, then the iron hold of discipline would at last be in place, never to be relinquished again. All would have fallen before his obstacles and might. There were none that could withstand him. None. Except for the black-haired boy that hurled himself onto Chabane's back.
Chabane kept his hold on Ranma-chan and looked over his shoulder. He knew he had forgotten someone. It was the biggest troublemaker of them all. The one that started a riot every morning, somehow enticing all of the virtuous girls at the school into performing acts of violence that even the lowest sort of tramps would hesitate to engage in. He single-handedly turned each morning, when students should have been preparing themselves for the upcoming school day, into a backyard brawl. Along with the Chinese girl, Chabane would see to it neither of them would ever threaten the peace of the school again
Much to Chabane's surprise, rather than attacking him directly, Shampoo-kun grabbed at his arms and pulled back, trying to force him to break the hold he had on the Ranma-chan. Perhaps he should not have been surprised; troublemakers tended to hang around one another. "Fool! My hold is unbreakable. You will never be able to free your friend."
Had Shampoo-kun possessed his true female form, Chabane would have been right. But as a male, the Amazon's already impressive strength was increased so that it fell somewhere slightly under Ryouga's own level of power. Using every ounce of force he could muster, Shampoo-kun somehow succeeded in prying Chabane's arms just far enough apart to allow Ranma-chan to fall out of his grasp and slump to the ground, where she gasped and tried to regain some of the air that had been forced out of her lungs.
Chabane growled at the inconvenience. Now it was going to take a little longer to defeat the remaining students. Rather than trying to dislodge Shampoo-kun from his position on Chabane's back, the disciplinarian ran backwards towards the school. Using all of his strength he drove himself, and subsequently his passenger, into it with enough force to shatter bricks and mortar into pieces. Effectively caught between the hammer of Chabane's armor-like body and the anvil of the wall, Shampoo-kun felt the tremendous force of the impact make him release his hold and drive him into unconsciousness.
Ranma-chan regained her feet and watched as Chabane pried himself out of the wreckage of the wall. From where she stood, she could see two of Shampoo-kun's legs sticking out among the debris, unmoving. She afforded another glance towards Akane's fallen body, then turned to Chabane. Her hands trembled in fury as she looked him straight in the eye. "You've gone too far."
To Chabane's surprise, Ranma-chan left the field of battle and leaped up onto the roof of the school. Uncertain of what his opponent was up to, and largely uncaring, he skittered up the wall and followed.
He saw her standing in the center, obviously waiting for him. "Give it up. All of your friends have fallen. You cannot win." Chabane flexed again, hoping to have better results this time in intimidating his opponent.
The look of anger was still on Ranma-chan's face, but she spoke rather than attack. "Look, I'll make a deal with you. If I can beat you, then you have to quit as school disciplinarian."
"Me? Defeated by a little slip of a girl like you?" Chabane laughed, then turned serious. "I accept these terms. On the condition that from now on you have to obey all of the rules of the school without complaint."
"Deal." The discussion had ended. The battle began as Ranma-chan launched a flurry of attacks. Her superior speed served her well, as she avoided all of Chabane's blows while landing dozens of her own. Much to her dismay, her own punches and kicks had little in the way of effect due to the man's armor-like skin which made him even more resistant to punishment than Ryouga.
It was time to change tactics. She waited until Chabane's frustration began to show. He wasn't at the frothing at the mouth stage yet— apparently the man could control his temper better than Ryouga too— but he was angry. A leap backward positioned herself at the edge of the rooftop and a tongue wagging taunt towards the big man followed.
As Ranma-chan had hoped, Chabane's frustration had finally gotten to him. He charged forward and tried to grab onto Ranma-chan again. All it would take was one more solid hold and he would defeat the annoying girl who had managed to get the top spot on his own "most hated list". He was going to cut her hair personally, and do a really bad job of it, too.
As Chabane lunged forward, Ranma-chan jumped over his head and allowed him to go past unimpeded. Too late, Chabane realized his mistake as he went over the edge and took a three-story plunge, landing hard on the concrete below. Not content to leave things as they were, Ranma-chan jumped off as well, landing feet first into Chabane's gut and hearing the pleasant sound of the wind being driven from his lungs.
Ranma-chan gave a satisfied look at the man's unmoving form. "Nothing human could have taken that."
Taking that as a cue, Chabane slowly pried himself out of the concrete, leaving a disciplinarian shaped hole in the ground. He brushed the dirt off his torn clothing and stood before Ranma-chan once more. She managed nothing more than to look at him in shock.
"So, you have guessed my secret." Chabane had a serious look on his face. "I am not human, at least, not entirely. I am the result of a genetic experiment to bond the genes of a cockroach with those of a normal human being. A success, I might add. I am far beyond anything merely human. My skin is hard, like that of a cockroach. I have greater than human strength. I can even crawl across tall buildings and absorb radiation like it was nothing. I can eat anything. I am indestructible. That is why I am the ultimate teacher." He posed dramatically for Ranma-chan's benefit. Surely the girl would bow to his obvious genetic superiority now.
Ranma-chan responded with a sweatdrop. "You mean to tell me that all this time I've been fighting a cockroach?"
Chabane began to wonder if she was stupid as well. He had explained it the details of his origin clearly. "No. A human with cockroach genes."
That explanation caused her to hop up and down in anger. "This is the most stupid fight I have ever been in! Ever!" Why did she have to waste her time like this? There were lots of more important things to do than bother with giant insects with delusions of grandeur.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Chabane felt his anger grow at the girl's continued defiance.
Ranma-chan stopped hopping. "That if I had a can of Raid, this would be all over."
"You should cower before your genetic superior, fool! Give up!"
That snapped Ranma-chan out of her anger. She turned a baleful glare towards 'the bug'. "You hurt my friends. You and that stupid principal fired a good man. You threaten an entire school, and you expect me to give up? Roach-face, you don't know me at all." Ranma-chan gave Chabane a smile. She had an idea. She knew what to do about annoying cockroaches. "Hey, bug! You know what I like the most about roaches?"
"What?" Chabane asked.
"The squishy sound they make when someone steps on them."
Chabane began to tremble in fury. "You take that back right now!"
Ranma-chan responded by sticking out her tongue and running for the theater auditorium. The mix of taunting and running served its purpose as Chabane was hot on her heels an in instant. Ranma-chan made sure he was still following when she ran backstage, grabbed a knife that was to be used in the stage production of 'The Lion King', and looked for the big 'X' the Director always left in the middle of the stage. It was there, as she hoped, and she stood on the far side of it as she waited for Chabane to approach.
Chabane saw that she had stopped fleeing and slowed down as well. Menacingly, he approached his foe. What was the girl thinking? "That little dagger can't hurt me."
Ranma-chan twirled the knife between her fingertips, the stage lights glinting off the blade. "You'd be amazed at what a little something like this can do."
She threw the knife into the air, severing the rope that held the twenty foot boot that hung above the stage. Chabane had just enough time to look up and see the Nike symbol on the bottom of the sole before it smashed him flat.
"Nothing like crushing a bug with a shoe." Ranma-chan looked smugly at the boot.
Just as she was about to leave and check on the others, the boot was slowly raised up into the air. Ranma-chan turned to see that Chabane held it high above his head, then tried to return the favor Ranma-chan had given by throwing the boot at her.
She avoided the blow and ran outside the building with Chabane in hot pursuit. Things were getting bad and she was wondering what it would take to finally put the big man down. She and the others had hit him hundreds of times, yet he kept getting back up and giving back what he had received. The pressure was mounting, and Ranma-chan began to worry when one last idea occurred to her.
Picking up speed, she ran halfway around the school and raced through the doors leading to the wooden fortress, and the next to last obstacle to Chabane. Stopping at the edge of the tar pit, she waited for her opponent to catch up. Once he rushed through the doors and spotted his opponent, Ranma-chan shouted, "You know, now that I think about it, a couple of antennae sticking out of your head could only improve your looks."
With a loud, "AHHHHHH!" Chabane charged Ranma-chan. Nothing less than blood was going to suffice now. Anger clouded his judgment as Chabane gave his mightiest leap kick yet, intent on knocking his opponent's face off. Ranma-chan stayed in the path of the kick until the last second, then stepped aside and allowed the disciplinarian to fall into the tar pit of his own creation.
Finding himself in mid-air, Chabane waved his hands and tried to fly, only to realize that that was one thing cockroaches couldn't do. Upon landing in the tar, he immediately sank up to his waist in the black gooey substance.
Chabane waved his fist in the air. "Just wait until I get out." The threat proved hollow, as every move he made ended up making him sink further in the tar.
"Can't muscle your way out, can you?" Ranma-chan taunted from the edge of the tar pit. "You're going to end up like a dinosaur unless you give up."
As much as Chabane hated to admit it, he had to concede. Pragmatism won out over pride. Disciplining students from the bottom of a tar pit would stretch even his abilities too far. He gave up.
Ranma-chan sent a rope down his way. After being helped up, the large man examined Ranma-chan more closely. "I am a man who keeps his word. Everyone gets to keep their hair. Mr. Godai will be rehired. I'll give up my job as Furinkan's high school disciplinarian. And I'll win a Nobel Peace Prize."
"I didn't make you promise the last one," Ranma-chan pointed out.
"Oh, right." There was nothing more to be said. At last, the greatest disciplinarian in the world, Gompachi Chabane gave a sorrowful look at the site of his first, and only failure. Turning on his heel, he headed off into the orange and red sunset as the fingers of golden light retreated behind the horizon, seeking the lands beyond to bathe them in one last fiery glow before allowing dusk to fall and the world to eventually fall into a deep slumber.
"Oops. I'd better let the others know I won before Pineapple Head tries to cut their hair." Ranma-chan hurried to see where his comrades had fallen, and hoped he could get to them before the principal could. Akane was safe with her current hair style, but Shampoo-kun would never forgive him if he got shaved bald. Besides, Ranma-chan didn't think the Buddhist monk look would good on the Amazon.
"That was too, too close," Shampoo-kun said quietly as he and the others stood in line, waiting for gym to begin. The celebration that was held the day before for Ranma-chan and company's triumph over Chabane and Principal Kunou had lasted the rest of the day. Unfortunately, no one had thought to mention that the "Hawaiian Punch" was loaded with rum, and that the majority of the school had ended up completely inebriated and was now suffering the effects of a schoolwide hangover. No one had even accosted Shampoo-kun for a date in the morning.
"Yeah," Akane sighed. On the bright side, she was now no longer the only girl in the class with really short hair, since everyone that had fallen before Minami had received the principal's special cuts. But their hair would grow back, in time. And she had a head start, too.
The doors to the gym opened and all eyes turned that way.
Ryouga's eyes bulged. "I don't believe it."
"It can't be!" Ukyou protested, then immediately regretted it as a sharp pain lanced through her head from the loud noise she had made.
"Hey! You said you'd quit if I beat you!" Ranma-chan pointed out to the new figure: Gompachi Chabane.
Chabane held up a finger. "No. I agreed to resign as head disciplinarian, and I have. I am now the head of the athletic department. As such, you will no longer be able to slack off as you have been in this class. I shall drive your bodies into physical perfection, or kill you trying. Now, everyone give me a hundred laps! And after that, drop and give me two hundred sit ups!"
"I think I preferred the obstacle course," Ranma-chan groaned as she began to run.
Gompachi continued, speaking over the series of groans and lamentations of the class. "Then, after the warm up, we'll go out to the newly renovated obstacle course with the REALLY tough obstacles. First, there is the minefield. And then there are the rabid hamster pits. And then…"
It was not a good day to be a student of Furinkan High.
Author's notes: Like I said, mostly a silly piece. Cutting it was for the best. Hopefully you enjoyed it at least a little, though.
A thousand thanks to Gary Kleppe for his help with the principal's speech pattern and other grammatical work.
"Let's get sticky' belongs to Ben Edlund. Still, who could resist using a line like that? ^_^
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