Chapter 4: The Cute, the Arrogant, and the Perverted
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 email@example.com
What’s gone on before: In the beginning, Ranma and Genma traveled to Jusenkyou for the first time and started to spar, not realizing a duel was already occurring between Shampoo and Mousse. One mid-air collision and dunking in spring of young drowned man later, we have a male Shampoo as well as a female Ranma. So Ranma-chan= female Shampoo-kun= male. Last chapter Ranma and Ryouga finally had a fight, in which Ryouga mysteriously disappeared, and Cologne confronted Shampoo about her sudden departure from China, only to discover her curse. After the hard fought victory over the Amazon elder, Ranma and company want to celebrate.
Now Shampoo truly understood what the Japanese were really like. Not only were they backward enough to give males the dominant role in society, not only did they have a multitude of bizarre cultural habits that made absolutely no sense whatsoever, not only did they possess an unbelievably and unnecessarily difficult language to master, but they quite freely engaged in open displays of masochism and degradation that they misrepresented by terming it as ‘fun’.
At least that was Shampoo’s reaction to participating in what others termed ‘public ice skating.’
“HELP, RANMA!” Shampoo screamed at the top of her lungs. “Shampoo no can stay on feet!” To drive her point home, when she at last gained some sense of balance and moved forward, she went directly from an upright position to performing a flip in mid-air and then managed to land on her face.
“Nice one point landing, Shampoo!” Ranma called from the side of the rink as he finished lacing up his skates.
“I thought she said she could skate,” Akane said. She had finished lacing up her own pair of skates and was now waiting next to Ranma.
Ranma shrugged. “Yeah, she did, but I think she was lying. I bet her dumb Amazon pride wouldn’t let her admit she couldn’t do something simple like that.”
Akane gave Ranma a flat stare. “And you would never let your pride do that to you, would you?”
“You got that right.” Ranma puffed out his chest in pride as another scream of terror came from the Amazon trapped on the ice. “I’d better go out there and show her the ropes before she hurts herself.”
Doubt was evident on Akane’s features. “Are you sure you know how to skate?”
“Of course,” Ranma scoffed as he stood up and prepared to go out on the ice. “Back in junior high, they used to call me ‘Mr. Frosty’.”
The instant Ranma’s skates hit the ice, he fell backwards and cracked his back of his head on the surface of the rink.
A small smile crept across Akane’s features as she skated a single circle around Ranma’s prone form. “I guess you got that name because you ate so much ice.”
“Shut up!” Ranma regained his footing, smirking at Akane. “That was just an accident cause I haven’t done it for a while.” He began to move forward. “Ice skating is just like riding a bike—”
“—Because you never forget how to fall off,” Akane finished for him as Ranma fell face-first into the ice again. It was going to be up to her to keep the duo from inadvertently bludgeoning themselves into unconsciousness. And she had come down to the rink to unwind too.
“I know now that I am truly alive, for only our chance meeting could stoke the once cold embers of my heart into a raging inferno. Your eyes call out to me, leaving my heart yearning to taste the sweet ambrosia that your lips would yield unto my unworthy self. A—“
The rest was cut off as a hot pepper was shoved into Mikado’s mouth, arresting his forward momentum as he lunged forward to kiss the girl he was accompanying. The two were seated at a table in front of the rink’s concession stand, previously enjoying a ‘Jalepeno Surprise’ ice cream cone that Mikado had bought for his companion.
“I’m not that sort of girl,” she assured him as his lips began to burn with something other than passion. He grabbed a glass of water from a nearby table and was about to drink it when a pink and red blur ran past, crying out ‘Jean-Luc’, and snatched the container from his hands.
“Give that back to me!” Mikado Sanzenin shouted as he began to lose all feeling from the most important body part of all: his lips.
His first two attempts at grabbing his partner, Azusa Shiratori, failed as she deftly darted away from his lunges. “Jean-Luc is mine. You can’t have him. By the way, your lips are really red, swollen and puffy and it makes you look just like a clown.” Azusa began pointing and laughing.
Mikado repressed the urge to punch Azusa in her face. Aside from the fact he was simply not that brutal off the ice, it would make him look really bad in front of the women. “I need that water! It feels like my lips are going to explode. I’ll die without them.”
The desperation actually got through the nonchalant attitude Azusa usually carried for Mikado and his typical Casanova ways. “The water inside isn’t that cute, so you can have it. But I want the glass back.”
The water was downed in an instant. Relief poured through Mikado as he felt the burning sensation go away and feeling return to his lips. “That was a close call,” he said then began to make his way back to his former target.
“That’s a bad idea, Miki,” Azusa said in her singsong voice.
“It’s none of your business what I do off the ice.” Mikado turned back towards the girl that had fed him the pepper. She was pretty enough to try again. Besides, he was getting really close to one thousand. All he needed was two more to go, and then it would be on to two thousand.
“Little Azusa don’t think she’s your type,” she warned once more.
Mikado scoffed in her direction. “What do you know of the women I like? She’s perfect. She has luxurious hair. A perfect bosom. Bountiful lips—“
“—A really prominent Adam’s apple,” Azusa finished for him.
“Eh?” Mikado took a real close look at the woman’s throat. A wave of nausea threatened to overwhelm him.
“No need to thank me,” Azusa said and headed for the ice. It was not so much that she really cared about Mikado’s lecherous ways —in truth she thought he was little more than a watered down version of a male slut— but if he had made that kind of mistake, it would have thrown off their practice for today. Still, knowing his obsession, he probably still wouldn’t want to begin practice until after he had at least one more kiss added to his tally.
Akane at last had Shampoo balanced enough on her skates to stand on her own. For someone with such superior balance, the Amazon seemed to have a horrible time trying to adjust to something as simple as ice-skating. At the rate both she and Ranma were going, they were never going to learn.
As she thought of Ranma, she turned to see how he was doing. He was still halfway across the rink, refusing to get anywhere near Shampoo and insisting that every time he managed to stay upright more than five seconds, he had learned how to skate and that Akane should go over to aid the Amazon, who ‘really needed the help.’ The distance between the two was making Akane’s task nearly impossible. The only reason she could think for his avoiding learning alongside Shampoo was that he was afraid she might learn more quickly than him, and that he would not be able to stand the idea of coming in second best. He was conceited enough that it was a realistic possibility.
As Akane watched, she saw that Ranma was now on the ice once again, with several four-year-old children skating rings around him and laughing their heads off. Ranma’s face began turning beet red as he waved his fist at them and warned that he would show them! It was up to Akane to save the day again.
“Are you sure you can stand still?” Akane asked Shampoo.
Unlike Ranma, Shampoo showed a little anxiety at the idea. “Yes. Shampoo can do that.”
“Okay. I’ll be right back.” She kept her eye on Shampoo for a few moments as she skated backwards towards Ranma. Once convinced Shampoo was going nowhere, Akane turned fully around to give him some assistance before he tried standing up again and hurt himself.
Shampoo stared mournfully in Akane’s direction. She was alone again, and already could feel herself slowly drifting backward, even though she was trying with all of her will to remain stationary. Regardless of her effort, she began to pick up a speed until she heard someone move behind her moving form and say, “Oh! What a pretty hairpiece! Alain!”
Shampoo felt a tug at her hair. She turned just far enough to see that a small girl in a figure skater’s costume had made off with one of the two jade hairpieces she used to keep her hair tied back into the ponytail she had began to wear due to her curse. And not only had she stolen the thing, but now she seemed to be referring to it as ‘Alain.’
“Give Shampoo back her hairpiece!” she shouted at the little thief. Her attempt to go forward only resulted in her feet coming out from under her, causing her to fall face first into the ice again.
Shampoo was about to shout again when she saw a tall, dashing boy skate up to the small girl and take the hairpiece roughly from her hands. After saying something the Amazon couldn’t quite make out, he turned to skate towards her with the hairpiece held forward in his hand.
“I must apologize for the rude behavior of my partner.” He bowed, and then held the hairpiece out for Shampoo. As she got it, he grasped her hand in a gentle hold. “She has a bad tendency to take things that are not hers and give them some ridiculous French name.”
Further commentary was temporarily cut off by the small fist that struck the boy in the back of the head. “Give Azusa back her Alain!”
He shrugged off the tiny blows. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Mikado Sanzenin, and the annoying pest is my partner, Azusa Shiratori.”
This time a wooden chair struck the back of his head. “Give Azusa back her Alain!” The chair broke after the third blow.
Mikado grumbled, then shrugged off the blows. He had a duty to perform “At any rate, allow me to offer you a method of repaying me—“
This time it was Shampoo’s turn to interrupt him. “What is the machine that scrape the ice called?”
Mikado looked at her in confusion. “A Zamboni.”
“Watch out for Zamboni then.” Shampoo shook loose of his hand and began to coast backwards and away from him.
“But they won’t be scraping the ice for another—“
The rest was cut off as Mikado found himself plowed under by an Azusa-run Zamboni, with shouts of “give Azusa back her Alain!” ringing in his ears.
Across the rink, Ranma stared at the carnage. “Boy, those two sure are weird.”
Akane was lost in thought. Those two names sounded familiar to her. Their identities were on the tip of her tongue and she knew she was not going to be able to get a moment’s rest until she remembered whom they were.
Akane was still pondering as Mikado pried himself out from under the Zamboni and began shouting at Azusa that she was ruining the effect. Azusa's hurt reply was that she just wanted her Alain back. Deciding that she probably would not launch any more attacks at him, for the time being, he scanned the ice looking for his target once again. He quickly spotted her. Her original backward movement had served to get her out of the way of the incoming Zamboni, but now she was backpedaling out of control once again. In a blur of speed he maneuvered behind her, gently bearing her in his arms and preventing her from further injury.
Shampoo breathed a sigh of relief. “Thanks.”
Mikado teeth gave off a gleam. “Now, about that repayment.”
Before Shampoo could react he bent forward and kissed her full on the lips. For her, there was a moment of shock, and then her mind went blank and she went motionless. After sufficient time had passed that the kiss would be counted as official, he released her, noting that she was now able to remain upright on her own, largely because she was a stiff as a board. No doubt he had stunned her with the shock of having been kissed by someone as magnificent as him.
Across the ice, two other figures stared at the incident with mute amazement as well. The astonishment lasted only a moment. In an instant Ranma shot across the ice, running on the tips of his skates and taking powerful steps that served to dig the tips of the blades in by at least a couple of inches, giving him the balance he needed to run in a straight line towards his target.
Mikado remained where he was, so worried about his hair being out of place from being run over by the Zamboni that he was unaware of his doom approaching until a fist slammed him full in the face and sent his body flying into the wall surrounding the rink. The wall gave way, resulting in the concrete shattering and Mikado’s form being temporarily obscured from everyone’s vision by the rubble he was buried under. Ranma remained where he was, panting and hoping Mikado would get back up so he could smash him back down once again.
Azusa had watched the scene with little in the way of a reaction. Her eyes drifted around until the settled on Shampoo’s still motionless form, and what was lying idly in her hand. Azusa skated over and said, “Come on back home, Alain,” as she plucked the hairpiece out of Shampoo’s hand, the Amazon still staring off into space.
At last Mikado pried himself out of the wreckage. He stood up, visibly unaffected by the blow, though he did take the time to brush the dust off his white outfit. After making certain he looked good once again, he turned to Ranma. “That was an impressive blow. What’s your name?”
If Ranma was impressed by the skater’s resilience, he gave no indication of it. “Ranma Saotome.”
Mikado cleared his throat, pausing dramatically before saying. “Well, Ranma, I accept your challenge. And since you are the one challenging, I shall pick out the event. Martial Arts Pairs Figure Skating. I assume you are up to it?”
“I’m ready for anything,” Ranma snapped back. “Just name the time and place.” Ranma waited for a moment, watching Mikado intensely. After the arrogant youth said nothing more, Ranma repeated. “I said name the time and place.” Again there was no response.
Azusa, after admiring her new friend and pocketing him, went up to her partner and waved a hand in front of his eyes. There wasn’t even a blink in response.
“Ohh,” she said as she peered closely into his eyes. “He fainted. Must be a delayed reaction from your blow. His pride wouldn’t let him pass out until he challenged you. Little Azusa will set the date since I’m his partner. Five days from now at this arena. Okay?”
“Yeah, Sure.” Ranma felt better at the admittedly unusual nature of Mikado’s loss.
Akane went over and repeated Azusa’s actions on Shampoo, only to receive the same results. Not knowing what else to do, she pushed the rigid Shampoo off the ice, and had Ranma, who had managed to crawl off the ice under his own power, tuck the Amazon under his arm and walk home with her.
Azusa reexamined her partner again. If he was going to be like that, there was no chance of practice today. All that was left to do was make the best out of a bad situation.
“What should we do today? Doodle or play tic-tac-toe?!” Azusa shouted to everyone as she pulled out a set of markers.
“To doodle or tic-tac-toe? It is too hard to decide! We must do both!”
“Good idea,” Azusa said, grateful for the man with the bokken’s help
“You didn’t have to hit him that hard, you know,” Akane said. Upon returning to the Tendou home, Akane and Ranma had gone up to her bedroom, depositing the only just starting to recover Shampoo in the kitchen. Kasumi said she would watch over her, leaving the two of them to talk about what had just happened.
“I hate guys like that,” Ranma growled in response. “They think they can just go around and smile and all the girls will fall at their feet.”
“You’re overreacting again,” Akane said.
Ranma’s eyebrow arched at that. “And what if he had kissed you?”
In a flash a hammer slammed into her dresser, breaking it in half. Akane turned back to Ranma, pointing the large wooden mallet in his direction. “And that would be just for starters.”
“Ah, right.” Ranma made a mental note never to get between Akane and somebody that tried to kiss her. “Anyway, I think Shampoo would have done the same thing, except she didn’t see it coming until it was too late.”
“I don’t think it bothered her that much,” Akane shrugged as she tossed the mallet aside. “You don’t hear her crying about it do you?”
A shout of “SHAMPOO GIVE PRETTY BOY KISS OF DEATH!” resounded throughout the house.
“Or maybe not,” Akane conceded.
Kasumi watched in concern as Shampoo continued to sharpen the rather wicked-looking scimitar she had brought out from her room. Her hand was a blur as the whetstone moved up and down the length, going out fast enough to cause sparks to fly.
“Are you sure a Kiss of Death is a good idea?” Kasumi asked hesitantly.
Shampoo paused a moment to check her blade. She shook her head and continued to sharpen it some more. “Pretty Boy kiss Shampoo! Even Mousse no try to kiss Shampoo! Was annoying all the time, but never try to kiss.” She paused again in her cutting, the anger on her face giving way slightly to depression. Her voice was quieter as she said, “Was Shampoo’s first kiss. Shampoo wanted first kiss be special. Wanted it to be with someone Shampoo love. Now it can never be.” Upon that pronouncement, her voice carried its homicidal edge again. “Shampoo kill Pretty Boy, then kill… She paused a moment to bring out a Japanese dictionary. “Then kill Kleptomaniacal girl too.”
Akane and Ranma entered the room, Nabiki hot on their heels. Ranma sat down in a chair next to Shampoo and spoke first. “I can see why you’d want to kill Mikado, but why do you wanna kill Azusa too?”
Shampoo referred to the dictionary again. “Kleptomaniacal Girl steal hairpiece. There have to be a better word than that. Maybe Shampoo should just use Cute Thief Girl, or something.”
“How about you just call her Azusa?” Akane offered dryly.
“I’m actually kind of partial to Kleptomaniacal Girl myself,” Nabiki said. “Anyway, why is your hairpiece so important? You can get a new one. Or is it valuable?” There was a calculating gleam in Nabiki’s eye as she paid close attention to the answer.
Shampoo removed the remaining hairpiece, allowing her hair to cascade down her back in a wave. She held it out for all to see. “It valuable. It made of jade and emerald, but that not matter. It has been in family for many generations. That what make it priceless. Is one of last things Shampoo have of family, besides bonbori and sword.” She used the hairpiece to tie her hair back once again.
“Don’t worry,” Ranma said as he shook his fist. “We’ll get it back and get revenge on Mikado the Molester. We got a match coming up with them and there’s no way we can lose it. Anything with martial arts in it we can win.”
“It also has figure skating in it which you can’t win at,” Akane pointed out.
“Oh, yeah.” Ranma began scratching his head in concentration. There was that little problem with his plan. Besides that it was sound, though.
“There’s something that might tip the odds in your favor,” Nabiki said. “I happen to have come across some information on those two.”
Eagerness was in Ranma’s voice as Shampoo began listening in as well. “Let’s hear it.”
“It’s valuable information.”
“Umm,” Ranma murmured uncertainly. “All right, tell us.”
Nabiki shook her head. “Perhaps you didn’t hear me. It’s valuable information.”
The explanation, along with her open hand, now made sense to Ranma. “All right. How much?” he sighed as he began going through his pockets, then held out his hand to Shampoo in order to get her to cough up what money she had managed to get her hands on.
Once they met Nabiki’s price, she began. “They are the Golden Pair of Martial Arts Figure Skating.”
Akane snapped her fingers. “I knew I heard those names before. Thanks, Nabiki. It was driving me nuts trying to remember where I heard those names before.”
“Couldn’t you have remembered before I paid?” Ranma complained as Kasumi passed around some tea for everyone to drink.
“Do you know anything else about them?” Nabiki asked Akane, happy to let her do all the explaining. It was not as though Akane would see a cent of the money anyway, no matter how much information she provided.
Akane thought about that for a minute. “All I know is that they’re supposed to be the best.”
“My information is more precise,” Nabiki bragged as she took over. “As a team they are unbeaten. They have a reputation for breaking up couples. Mikado is arrogant and has an eye for the ladies, as well as some kind of kissing fetish. Azusa is flighty, and has an eye for any cute object she comes across. Also, she’s supposed to be a grandmaster of chess that has never lost a game, not counting the times she’s been disqualified for stealing her opponents’ chess pieces. See, Ranma. You didn’t waste your money,” Nabiki said, very satisfied with herself.
Ranma admitted that Nabiki’s information was helpful. “Right. Now let’s come up with a plan.”
“Shampoo think we not bother trying to use the chess angle,” the Amazon supplied.
“Agreed,” Ranma said as he continued thinking. “I think we can use a little sharpening up on our skating skills.”
Akane choked on the tea she was drinking. After coughing some up, she spluttered out. “A little? You can’t even stand on your own.”
“Yes, I can,” Ranma protested.
“Okay, you can’t stand on your own for longer than twenty seconds,” Akane corrected.
“That’s better,” Ranma said, and then sighed. “We only got five days to learn to skate good enough to beat those two.”
“Maybe we should improve on the martial art part of fight,” Shampoo said. “Shampoo know this move grandmother show but never teach. But Shampoo think if she tries real hard, she can teach both herself and Ranma how to do it.”
“Sounds good. We can use any edge we can get our hands on,” Ranma said.
Shampoo beamed happily at that. “Okay, first we need chestnuts and an open fire.”
“How about Jack Frost nipping at your toes?” Nabiki asked with a sly grin.
Shampoo shook her head. “Only need that for ultra-dangerous ‘Avalanche of the White Comet’ technique. Is very, very dangerous. It only supposed to be used on Yetis, magic snow men, and killer Christmas trees.”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Nabiki said.
“Hey,” Ranma said. “I think I remember Pop mentioning that move to me once. Doesn’t it involve tying yourself to a huge snowball and plummeting from the top of a snow covered mountain?”
“Yes,” Shampoo said.
“Don’t mention you know it to Pop, okay? He has enough stupid ideas for stupid techniques as it is.”
Shampoo nodded her head in agreement and went to round up the materials needed to learn the Kachu Tenshin Amaguriken.
It was two days later that Ranma mastered the technique and three days for Shampoo to learn it. In between practicing, they would go to the rink and take skating lessons from Akane. Neither one complained much about falling down, as the ice served to ease the pain from the burns they received learning the Amaguriken. While the duo also learned the technique, Akane put what she had discovered about the Golden Pair to good use and came up with a plan that might tip the odds in Ranma and Shampoo’s advantage. When she ran it past them, they agreed to it.
Two days later found the day of the match upon them. Much to their surprise, the rink was filled to the rafters with fans, most of them cheering on the Golden Pair, though there was a small percentage that cheered for Ranma and Shampoo. That in particular irked Ranma. The dumb people were underestimating him. He never lost a fight, not an important one, anyway.
“This is the big moment. We’re going to show these guys how it’s done. We’ll kick their butts across the ice,” Ranma boasted as he waved to Akane and Nabiki, who were next to the rink wall. Ranma then looked across the rink towards his opponents, who were in outfits similar to the ones that they had worn during their first encounter. Azusa was in another one of her frilly pink numbers while Mikado was in a nice-looking, if non-descript, white tailored suit. Ranma smirked at that too. “And our outfits are way better too.”
Shampoo had to agree with Ranma’s statement. Kasumi had gone out of her way to sew the duo a pair of matching skating outfits for the competition. They were a matching purple and black number. Ranma’s consisted of a purple top with black pants, while Shampoo’s was of the same color, skin-tight and with black stripes along the sides. The left arm and leg were cut out, and Shampoo had noticed several of the boys in the crowd stare at her as she made her way out onto the ice.
Besides the perfect fit, there was an addition that made the combination truly stand out. Kasumi had woven an intricate golden dragon, its sinewy form starting on Ranma’s right sleeve and winding its way up and down then across his chest, then continuing on to the end of his left sleeve where the incomplete design ended abruptly. The design picked up on Shampoo’s right arm, flowing up that then wrapping itself suggestively around certain portions of her anatomy (which Shampoo had suggested once she saw what Kasumi was doing) and eventually traveling down the right leg of her outfit, where the end of the tail finished the design. When the two held hands, as they were at that moment, the design was complete, forming one long, perfect dragon. Shampoo felt very comforted in holding Ranma’s hand. It helped a lot in keeping her from falling over.
Across the ice, Mikado examined the pair closely and determined that they had no chance whatsoever of even giving him a hard time. It was only a matter of how long to string the fight along, so that the crowd would not go home disappointed. He did have a horde of fans to appease.
Sending a disdainful look their way, Mikado said loud enough for Ranma and Shampoo to hear, “Well, this is a complete waste of time. Let’s get this over with. I still have another woman’s lips to touch to make one thousand.”
Shampoo tightened her grip at the mention of Mikado’s kissing. The stinking pig was rubbing her face in that disgrace. She would make him pay, oh yes. Too bad she could not serve him the injury he truly deserved, but Ranma had made it clear she was not allowed to use her newly improvised Martial Arts Skating Final Attack: Castration Kick. And the skates made it so easy to employ, too. However, the one time she explained to Ranma what it was, and how it worked, he crossed his legs and made her swear never to try that on another human being. He claimed even Mikado didn’t deserve it.
Shampoo turned to see that Ranma was down on his knees in pain. It took a moment for her to realize that it was because that when Mikado had shot his mouth off, her grip on Ranma’s hand had inadvertently tightened a bit too much. She immediately loosened the hold and apologized.
Ranma shook his hand a couple of times to get the blood flowing once again, and then clutched Shampoo's hand once more. Together they lurched forward and skated awkwardly towards their opponents.
Azusa shook her head sadly as they increased the speed of their wobbling. “Miki, this isn’t going to help our reputation. Everyone will think we’re picking on helpless opponents because we’re going soft.”
“We’ll beat up a hockey team as a bonus after the match. How does that sound?” Mikado said as he saw that Ranma had somehow managed to hoist Shampoo over his head in what appeared to be an effort to throw the purple-haired girl at them.
“Let’s go with our opening volley.” Blindingly fast, Mikado whipped Azusa around in a circle and hurled her at Ranma. The appearance of the human missile directed at him caused him to throw Shampoo in the air.
At the top of her impromptu arc, Shampoo looked down and a plan immediately formed in her mind. “Catch Shampoo, Pretty Boy!”
Mikado knew what that plea meant: yet another woman was now bound to him because of his seductive charms. Now she would be like so many of the others, infatuated with a man she could never have. Mikado considered it a tragedy, or at least he would have if he had possessed anything remotely like a conscience.
He maneuvered under where she would land and caught her, gently cradling her in his arms, as though carrying a bride over a threshold on her honeymoon. “So you couldn’t rest until you tasted my lips again, is that it?”
Shampoo shook her head. “No. Shampoo just want you to hold her so she not have to worry about standing up when she hit you.”
Before he could react, she struck him in the face with her right arm, using a combination of a palm thrust, a fist, and an elbow that took less than two seconds to deliver. Deciding to use some variation in her attacks, she switched to the left and hit him with the same moves, but in a different order. She was preparing to use the first combination again, maybe throwing a chop for good measure, when Mikado’s grasp on her loosened and she fell to the ice. It was not an aggressive move on his part; he was simply too stunned to carry her any more. His dizzied form kept going, coasting on momentum.
At the center of the ice, the battle was faring differently as Azusa skated in circles, backwards, and mocked Ranma. That served to make him all the angrier as he tried to catch up to her, failing miserably as he kept falling on the ice and she would taunt him some more. Azusa was planning on what to do next when she noticed her partner coast by, the stunned expression still on his face. Concerned, she idly knocked Ranma off his skates, and then went to Mikado’s side.
“Ohhh, Miki,” Azusa swooned. “Your face looks all messed up. Your eyes are misshapen.” She grabbed the skin beside his eyes and pulled it a good four inches away from his face. It was just as she thought; he looked terrible. “And your nose looks crooked.” She released the hold on his face, only to bend his nose at a ninety-degree angle. Again it made his injury show up more clearly. “And it looks like she knocked out three teeth.” Azusa planted her hands on his upper and lower lips and pried open his jaws about a foot apart so she could show everyone.
The pain from his partner’s examination shook Mikado out of his stupor. He pulled away from Azusa’s prying hands. “What are you doing, you little wench?! If my face is hurt, why are you poking and prodding at it?”
Tears began to form in her eyes. “Little Azusa just wanted to make sure you were all right.”
Mikado turned from his crying partner and looked upon his opponents with new admiration. “They’re trickier than I thought. Let’s use the Couple Cleaver.”
By the time Azusa calmed down enough to help initiate the move, Ranma and Shampoo had regrouped and were holding each other's hands, helping one another to stay upright. Oddly, it seemed to Mikado that the duo was a little more confident than before, and skating noticeably better. It was a false confidence since they still stood no chance of winning.
Now that Azusa’s focus was back on winning, the Golden Pair went into action. Whatever plan Ranma and Shampoo had come up with was ruined as Azusa did a baseball slide and knocked both Ranma and Shampoo down. Azusa noted with delight that they had maintained their grip onto one another. As they were prone on the ice, Azusa latched onto Ranma’s ankles while Mikado, straining with all of his might, grabbed onto Azusa’s own ankles and hefted her onto his shoulders. He began spinning around, Azusa maintaining her grip and spinning Ranma and Shampoo around in a circle.
Mikado smiled to himself in satisfaction. No duo ever survived the couple cleaver. And the Saotome fellow came across as the unreliable type to begin with. It was all too easy. He shouted to Ranma. “If you let go of Shampoo, I’ll put you down gently.”
Despite being spun around, Shampoo heard the words and shouted: “Go ahead and let Shampoo go. Shampoo be fine.”
“Hah!” Ranma shouted back through gritted teeth, becoming dizzier by the second. “We already went over this. I ain’t gonna leave you just cause things get tough.”
“Okay. Shampoo hold on.” The Amazon tightened her grip and held on for dear life. She felt she had to make the offer to Ranma since he could end up suffering for her benefit, but now that he had made his choice, she was going to hold on. Besides, she had no real desire to crash into the wall. At the speed she was going it would hurt like hell.
The spin continued for another thirty seconds, the velocity steadily increasing. At the end of those thirty seconds, Azusa had an announcement to make.
“Little Azusa doesn’t feel too good.”
Mikado continued spinning. “I told you not to eat that burrito with the works and gut-buster parfait before the match.”
At the implication of that, Azusa released Ranma’s ankles and put her hands on her hips. “How dare you accuse Azusa of eating Renee and Pierre!”
Sailing through the air, Ranma and Shampoo discovered they had the misfortune of being aimed directly for one of the cement walls surrounding the rink. Sensing he only had seconds remaining, Ranma grabbed onto Shampoo and pulled her close to him. As the duo arrived at the wall, Ranma nobly took the brunt of the impact. The force of the collision caused the wall they struck to crack, producing a cobweb-like effect on the cement wall. A moment later, they slumped from the wall to the ice below.
The announcer’s voice shouted, “Well, it looks like the Golden Pair’s Infamous Couple Cleaver not only failed to work, but it actually backfired!”
The crowd looked closer to see what he meant. Akane, who had at first been concerned for Ranma’s safety after hitting the wall, now saw what the announcer meant. “Ranma, you pervert! Get your face out of Shampoo’s cleavage!”
Due to her disorientation from being spun around in a circle for close to a minute, it took Shampoo slightly longer to figure out exactly what everyone was talking about. Once she did, her first impulse was to get angry at Ranma’s forwardness. A moment later, the understanding that he had sacrificed himself for her, made her reconsider her anger. Realizing that Ranma was not doing anything to extract himself from the situation, she took matters into her own hands and tried to remove his face from between her breasts. It took a moment of prying, but eventually he was freed with a loud ‘pop’.
Ranma’s eyes rolled around in their sockets for a few moments before they stopped and allowed himself to be reoriented to the world. “Whoa. What happened? First I remember hitting something really hard, then everything was warm, dark, and soft.”
“Is you okay, Ranma?” Shampoo asked.
“Yeah, except for one thing.”
“What is it?”
“Could you get off me?”
Shampoo gave an “Oh,” as she realized that after prying Ranma out of her cleavage, she had remained straddled on top of him as he came around. She did feel a little put off that he didn’t even seem to be aware of the free grope he had gotten.
As the lavender-haired girl got off of him allowing Ranma to stand up, he said, “Y’know. You’re a lot heavier than you look.”
A fist met his face, which caused him to collapse to the ground. After a moment of writhing in pain, a delayed effect from the initial impact that had been speeded up by Shampoo, he snapped, “What was that for?!”
“Ranma call Shampoo fat!”
“I did not, I just said you’re heavier than you looked.”
That earned him a second blow.
“Ranma do it again!”
Ranma rubbed the back of his head. “I did not! If I were calling you fat, I would have said you look just as heavy as you feel.”
Shampoo held off striking him again and gave that a bit of thought. It still sounded like he was calling her fat, but the way he explained it seemed to make sense. Still, her feminine instincts called out for her to hit him again for making comments about her weight in general. It took her a moment to suppress them before restarting the match.
“It looked close there for a second,” Mikado commented to Azusa.
“Yes. It looks like we’ll have to try something else. Inverted Circle Spin?”
“Why not?” Mikado and Azusa held hands and began to approach Ranma and Shampoo. Once they closed half the distance, the turned to face each other and began spinning themselves in a circular motion while getting closer to their opponents. The idea was that since they were spinning each other in a circle, the opposition would not know which one was going to attack until it was too late.
Ranma had other plans. The Golden Pair had at last skated past Akane’s position next to the rink wall. It was time to spring the surprise on The Golden Pair and see if it would work. Ranma nodded towards Akane, who nodded in return and brought their secret weapon into play.
“Hey, Azusa! Look!” Akane opened up the bag and dumped over a hundred brightly colored marbles onto the ice.
The instant her eyes fell upon the orbs, Azusa was in Heaven. “Oh! They’re so pretty.” Without a second thought she released Mikado in mid-spin, leaving him to skate at a high speed towards Ranma and Shampoo, backwards.
“You idiot! We’re in the middle of a match!” Mikado shouted, momentarily forgetting his positioning. He was reminded of it when Ranma and Shampoo linked hands and skated towards him, connecting with a double clothesline to the back of his head and knocking him down onto the ice.
Mikado returned to his feet as quickly as he could, only to see that Ranma and Shampoo were a short distance away from him on opposite sides and on their knees, although they did not appear to be begging for mercy. Affording a glance towards his partner, Mikado saw that Azusa was too busy naming her new friends to be of any further use to him. He returned his attention towards his opponents. “Very well. I will dispose of you by myself.”
Ranma and Shampoo looked at one another, then nodded their heads in unspoken communication. They simultaneously raised their right fists, then brought them down, shouting out, KACHU-TENSHIN AMAGURIKEN!”
Their fists connected with the ice, shattering it after several hundred blows in less than a second. As they continued to hammer into the ice, pulling themselves along the ice with their free hands in a clockwise motion, the damaged sections they left behind revealed the ice had been cracked all the way down to the water level. Mikado watched in confusion at their bizarre actions, which seemed to do nothing but waste energy and pointlessly destroy the rink.
Upon each one finishing their semi-circle, they came to a stop and sneered at Mikado, who could not understand their happiness. Mikado just managed to get out, “What did that gain you?” when he moved forward and answered his own question. It took him only a moment to discover the circle of ice he was on was no longer attached to the rest of the rink. Even the slightest shift in his weight distribution caused the flow to tip one way or the other, moving back and forth in the water. What was worse for him was that in spite of his magnificent balance on any icy surface, he would get sea-sick almost the instant he stepped foot on a boat. And to make matters worse, Ranma and Shampoo were now having fun taking turns pushing on the circle of ice, making it nearly impossible for Mikado to stay upright.
The torment was short-lived as a voice from above shouted out, “Ranma, prepare to die!”
Ranma looked high above and saw that Ryouga was standing on one of the metal rafters above the rink. “Hey! All right! Ryouga’s still alive!”
Ryouga looked down on the ice at Ranma. Wandering around, he had distinctly overheard the words, ‘Ranma,’ ‘Saotome,’ and ‘challenge match with the Golden Pair’, when he had stumbled upon the rink. Of course, had Ryouga heard the missing words the sentence contained, it would have come out, “That Ranma guy who’s Shampoo’s brother and Shampoo Saotome, yes that’s their names and no I’m not confused, are in a challenge match with the Golden Pair.” Ryouga would still have investigated due to such similarly named people being in the area, but would have been less angry about it. Instead, he was in a proper rage at nearly being eaten by a shark in a situation that was all Ranma’s fault.
Ryouga elected to jump down and get closer to Ranma, intent on giving him the beating he deserved. He plummeted from the rafters and landed solidly on the edge of the loose ice. The force of his weight hitting the ice caused him to flip the circle over and plunged him instantly beneath the water. The force of the blow also flipped Mikado into the air, across the rink and into a wall. The force of the impact was so great that it left his head fully embedded in the concrete wall and very unconscious.
The announcer viewed the scene of carnage. Mikado was out of it and Azusa was too distracted to continue the contest. “The winners of the match are Ranma and Shampoo!”
Shampoo took a moment to skate over to Azusa and pluck her hairpiece from out of Azusa's hair. Given the amount of new friends Azusa was busily naming, she never noticed that Alain was gone.
Ranma was more concerned about other things. He continued looking down the hole that Ryouga and plunged into, concerned that the lost boy had not surfaced yet. “I bet he can’t swim. I had better go in and rescue—“
“Nooooo!” Nabiki shouted as she ran across the ice toward Ranma. “I’ll do it!” And without another word Nabiki jumped into the water, fully clothed.
Akane walked over to Ranma’s side. He looked to her and said, “Y’know. I never pictured Nabiki going out of her way to help a total stranger like that, at least without charging for it first. I’m kind of surprised.”
“Actually, she was worried what would happen if you got wet. Once your identity’s blown, it would only be a matter of time before people at school put the ‘Shampoo Saotome equals Ranma Saotome’ equation together at school, and then every girl would kill my sister.”
“Oh. Now that makes sense.”
As Ranma and Akane continued talking, and Shampoo examined her hairpiece to make sure Azusa had done nothing to it, a wet bat made its way out of the hole in the ice. It slipped away while everyone was distracted, and took off.
A moment after it had left, Nabiki surfaced, wiping the water from out of her hair as she accepted Akane’s help in getting her out. “He’s not down there.”
Ranma stood off to the side, careful that Nabiki did not accidentally splash him. “I wouldn’t worry about it. He has some kind of water disappearing trick. I wonder if… naah.” He waved off the Jusenkyou idea. It would be too much of a coincidence for Ryouga to end up there too. Realizing the match was over, and that he had won, Ranma gave a tired sigh and decided to head back to the locker room.
Soun looked towards the sky and the clouds above. Truly it was a great day to be alive. The birds were singing. Squirrels ran around and gathered nuts. Genma was moving five of Soun’s pieces on the Shogi board while he thought Soun was not looking. Yes, it was truly a great day to be alive.
“Kasumi went shopping, eh?” Genma asked.
“Yes. We have the house to ourselves,” Soun said.
Genma’s stomach grumbled in response. Truly it was a miserable day.
“This time of the year is beautiful. Wouldn’t you agree, Saotome?”
Genma sighed and decided to go with the mood his friend was trying to make. “Indeed. The leaves come out of their hibernation and give everything a green glow.”
“The temperature is just right. Neither too hot nor too cold.”
“The birds sing.”
“The noise of children playing outdoors makes you feel young.”
“The smell of panties in the air is especially noticeable. It makes you feel great to be alive.”
Soun turned to look at Genma in confusion. “I say, Saotome. That’s exactly the sort of thing the Master would have said.”
Genma returned the confused look. “I thought you said that, Tendou.”
The thought struck them at the exact same time. Almost against their will their eyes slowly turned to look down at the shogi table between them.
Happosai gave them a knowing wink.
Several miles away, three people turned to the sound of two anguished screams that made everyone wonder if that was what having one’s soul torn apart sounded like.
“That sounded pretty gruesome,” Ranma said
“You know, that almost sounded like it came from the direction of our house,” Akane commented as she continued staring at where she thought the shout had come from.
“I’m going to a friend’s house,” Nabiki said as she separated herself from the others. It sounded way too much like it had come from the direction of her house for her liking. It would be far better to allow the others to deal with the situation, then to show up afterwards when it would be at least relatively safer.
Alone now, Ranma and Akane continued on their way home, walking side-by-side in silence. Eventually, Ranma said, “Nice idea you had about those marbles.”
“Thanks.” Akane inexplicably found herself blushing slightly at the compliment. “Once Shampoo gets back from grabbing a quick shower at the rink, we ought to go out and celebrate.”
“The last time we celebrated a victory, we went ice skating, remember?” Ranma pointed out, suddenly not in the mood for going out and having a good time.
“I wasn’t saying we should do that again.” Akane tried coming up with something else they could do.
Ranma was about to suggest they just stay home when he caught a movement out of the corner of his eye. He ducked just in time to avoid the water pail lady’s toss of water in his direction.
“Nyaa, nyaa. You missed me that time,” Ranma taunted, and then turned to Akane. “Heh. That was a close…” Words suddenly failed him as he turned to see a very wet, and very angry looking Akane, scowling at him.
“You didn’t have to splash me with water too!” Ranma-chan complained as she wrung more water out of her shirttail. It seemed she had absorbed half the Pacific Ocean in it.
“You didn’t have to duck so I could get hit with it either, but that didn’t stop you!” Akane snapped back as the two walked up to the door of the Tendou house and entered.
“It’s not like I meant for you to get hit. It was one of those things that just hap—“ Ranma-chan looked down to see that something was glomped onto her chest, right between her breasts and moving its shiny top up and down while between them. “AHHHHHH! WHAT IS THIS THING!”
Akane reacted more quickly as she smashed the creature into the floor with a hard right. “Just what is going on here?!”
Happosai hopped up as though nothing had happened. He got a good look at the two girls and his eyes lit up. “Ha cha! You two are babes! For your information, I am your new master, Ranma. Time to start the training.”
In a flash he took up a position between Akane’s breasts. This time Ranma-chan reacted by smashing him off and into the floor.
“I’m Ranma, you little old pervert. How the hell could you get us mixed up? I’m much better looking than her.” Ranma-chan missed the daggers Akane glared at him as she continued. “Now, what is this about a new master, you old goat?”
Tears flooded Happosai’s eyes. “How can you treat your new master so cruelly? How can you deny an old man his few wants? I may not have much time left, and I must devote myself to what few pleasures are left in life.”
He tried to glomp onto Ranma-chan again, but twin punches from both Akane and the redhead caught him squarely in the jaw and made him part of the wall instead of the floor this time.
Located directly outside the room, Genma and Soun heard the temporary lull in the action. Coming to a mutual decision, they dared to peek into the room.
Upon taking in the scene of carnage, Genma nodded in satisfaction at Ranma’s handiwork. It was time to tell him the truth, or at least as much as Genma felt like telling him. Clearing his throat, he began. “Boy, I have something to tell you. A tale more horrifying than you could possibly imagine.”
Ranma-chan’s eyes widened in surprise. “You mean really ARE my father?”
Waving his finger at Ranma, Genma said, “This is no time or jokes, boy. That pervert you see before you—“
A blow to the back of Genma’s head was followed by a glare from Happosai. Despite his temporary discomfort, he was in no mood for back talk from his old students. “Try that again.”
Genma’s voice remained serious. “That delightfully upstanding senior citizen you see before you is our master, Happosai.”
Ranma-chan looked the leering little troll over. Somehow, her father had seemed to forget mentioning that creature had been his master at some point in his life. “Yeah, I can see where you might not have wanted to admit that sort of thing to anyone. Still, why didn’t you tell me before, Pop?”
Genma shook his head sadly. All those years and still the boy thought too linearly. “Haven’t you ever heard that if you say a demon’s name he will come? Well the same thing applies to this creature.”
That earned Genma a hard shot from Happosai, sending him clean into the wall. “Watch your tongue. If you were still my pupil, you’d be in for a lot worse.”
“Dropping the old man from your studies, huh?” Ranma-chan said. “I don’t blame you. Over the last few years he’s slowed down a lot and gotten lazier. I don’t think there’s much more you could teach him.”
“I agree wholeheartedly.” Happosai lit his pipe and blew a few smoke rings in the air. “That’s why I worked out a deal with both of my former pupils. I’ll be training you from now on.”
“Well that sounds… WHAT?!” Ranma-chan shouted. She took one look at her new ‘master,’ then shot an angry glare towards her father and Soun.
“It was necessary, boy,” Genma pleaded from his position in the wall. “I’m not a young man anymore. I couldn’t possibly withstand the rigors of training. Besides, the master can teach you all sorts of new techniques. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Genma tried his best to unleash puppy dog eyes in the midst of his groveling.
“And it’s not like we could give him Akane,” Soun said, tears welling up at the very idea of sacrificing his youngest daughter to the master.
“I never agreed to any of this,” Ranma-chan grumbled. “That little pervert ain’t my master.”
Soun decided not to press the issue. “We can discuss the exact details at a later time. At any rate, the Master will be staying with us for a while.”
“I’m staying for good.” Happosai brought his hands together and rubbed them in anticipation. “How could I leave two lovely young ladies like this?” And with that he leaped up into the air and glomped right back on to Ranma-chan’s chest, who promptly smacked him back into the wall again.
That was the breaking point for the redhead. “Look here, you old goat. I got something to show you.”
As Happosai pulled himself out of the wall again, looking none the worse for wear, Ranma-chan walked into the kitchen and grabbed the nearest heating kettle. Walking back into the hallway, she poured the hot water over her. Ranma winced a little at the heat. “Now do you see? I ain’t no girl.”
Happosai looked Ranma over for a second, and then placed his hand to his chin in thought. After several moments of this, he pointed to Ranma and said, “Jusenkyou.”
Ranma nodded in satisfaction. Now there was no need to repeat the tale of the curse yet again. “You see, I am really a guy, so don’t try anythinWAH!” Ranma found himself the recipient of a well-tossed glass of cold water, courtesy of Happosai.
“Woo, hoo! That’s more like it, baby!” He glomped onto his favorite nesting spot once again. “Stay like this from now on. As your new master, I demand it.”
“But I’m a guy,” Ranma-chan protested as she desperately tried to pry the diminutive pest off. The situation was becoming more than she could take, especially with having to deal with the Golden Pair earlier in the day. When was she ever going to get a break?
“You have no right to keep this beautiful form locked up,” Happosai said from his perch. “As a matter of fact, I demand you wear this.” He pulled out a lacy red bra he had liberated on the way over to visit his two former pupils.
Ranma-chan did what came naturally and recoiled in disgust. “No way! I’m a guy I tell you! Guys don’t wear stuff like that!”
Akane watched on, at last having enough of the chaos. Poor Ranma-chan was being repeatedly molested by the pervert, and since the redhead seemed unable to get rid of the old man for good, and neither of the fathers seemed willing to help, it fell to Akane to help save her fiancé. She grabbed Happosai by the back of his red gi and scowled at him.
“No need to feel left out, sweetie,” Happosai cooed. “There’s plenty for you, too.”
This time Akane was prepared for the attempted glomp and punched Happosai hard before he had a chance to connect. Having planned something out beforehand, she was careful to aim him for a nearby window. The force of the blow sent him high into the sky and very far away.
Soun watched his daughter’s handiwork. Once convinced his old master was not coming back immediately, he dared to say, “Even that won’t hold the evil demon at bay for long.”
“We’ve gotta’ get rid of him for good,” Ranma-chan gasped. No one fondled her chest like that and got away with it. Nobody.
At last, Genma left his relatively safe position from within the wall and went up to his son. “Boy, I will be your servant for a week if you can figure out how to get rid of him for good.”
“Deal.” That brought a grin to Ranma-chan’s face. It wasn’t often she got a chance to have her father at her mercy like this. “I’ll get rid of that old goat if it’s the last thing I do.”
Genma shook his head sadly at his offspring’s naiveté, “It’s not that easy. Tendou and I tried tying him to a barrel full of explosives and sealing him in a cave. All that did was keep him out of the way for a few years.”
“I told you we should have used more explosives!” Soun wailed, the full repercussions of Happosai’s return only now truly setting in.
“I’ll think of something,” Ranma-chan said as the sound of “Sweeto! Did you miss me?” announced Happosai’s quick return.
Shampoo finished walking back to the Tendou home. She felt like thanking the gods above for not somehow splashing her with cold water on the way back. There had been several girls she had recognized as students on the path home, and almost always in the past, cold water would strike her and the girls would suddenly see Shampoo’s cursed form and go ga-ga over him. But not this time. It had been a peaceful walk home, and the Amazon wondered if perhaps she had used up her day’s quota of chaos in her fight with the Golden Pair.
“Shampoo is home,” she announced upon entering the house. She noticed Ranma and Akane sitting in the living room, huddled over a table and talking quietly with one another. Shampoo waved to them before heading for her room for a change of clothes and a chance to relax.
Akane finished waving and continued where she had left off. “I don’t think that plan is going to work. Besides, where are we going to find a Youma outfit that would fit him?”
“Well it sounded like a good idea to me,” Ranma grumbled. What was wrong with dressing the little pervert up like a Youma and having the Sailor Senshi destroy him? It sounded like a good plan with a better than average chance of success.
Akane was about to cite another reason as to why it was a poor idea when something else occurred to her. “Shampoo doesn’t know about Happosai yet!”
“She does now,” Ranma said as a screaming Shampoo ran into the room with a pervert attached to her bosom.
“Over here! I know how to get rid of him!” Akane shouted at the panicking Amazon.
Shampoo heard and ran in Akane’s direction. The instant she was close enough, Akane threw a glass of cold water. Her aim was true as Shampoo got hit squarely in the face with the water.
The power and delight Happosai had been receiving from his tight grasp gave way to a decided lack of either. He shifted his grip slightly, and realized something was terribly wrong with the woman he had been groping. “Wh…what is this? What happened to you?” he asked, as he looked Shampoo-kun in the eyes.
“Shampoo decide she no want disgusting creature on chest.” He nailed the still surprised Happosai with one good blow between the eyes. The impact sent him into the floor hard enough to breaking several of the floorboards.
Happosai picked himself up, depressed over what he had his new discovery. “You poor, poor creature. You fell into Jusenkyou too, didn’t you?”
Shampoo-kun nodded his head.
Ranma said, “That just means she has a defense against you, you old pervert.” Sick and tired of Happosai’s actions yet again, he took a swing at the old man.
Unlike when Ranma was a girl, Happosai managed to evade the blow as though Ranma was nothing more than a child. He then pulled out his pipe and burned Ranma’s hand with it. “See here. Like I told your father before, that’s no way to talk to your master. It’s about time you were taught a little respect for your elders.”
“Ah, shut up!” Ranma took another swing at Happosai. This time he blocked with the pipe rather than going through the hassle of moving.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Happosai connected with a solid punch that sent Ranma through the ceiling and into the wild blue yonder.
It took Ranma nearly a half of an hour of solid running, but he did manage to make it back to the Tendou home. He rushed through the front door and into the house, fists balled up and ready for the next round. Upon seeing Akane and Shampoo-kun sitting in the living room, he said only one word.
Akane pointed upstairs and both she and Shampoo-kun watched as Ranma ran up there at a full run, screaming about lucky punches and how he was going to give Happosai the beating he deserved. There was a loud crash, followed by silence. Ten minutes later, Ranma came through the front door, gave a brief wave to the girl and boy, and ran upstairs again, loudly proclaiming that, “the third time’s the charm.”
Another loud crash, and silenced reigned once more.
“How long you think this time, Akane?” Shampoo-kun asked.
“I’d say about seven minutes,” she answered.
“Shampoo think ten again.”
Five minutes later, Ranma barged through the front door yet again and rushed upstairs, not even bothering to acknowledge the duo in the living room.
“Akane win. Was much closer.”
A crash sounded. A minute later, a gasping and wheezing Ranma made his way through the door and began heading upstairs.
Akane sighed. “Ranma, you don’t have to do this.”
Taking a moment to catch his breath, he said. “I’m getting to him. He keeps punching me less far away with each blow.”
“Didn’t it occur to you maybe he enjoys beating on you and doesn’t want to wait as long between shots?” Akane suggested.
That made Ranma stop and think about it. He supposed there was an outside chance she was right, and the direct approach was not working at all. Perhaps there was something else he could try.
The crawlspace above the room Happosai was temporarily using had an occupant in it. Ranma Saotome applauded himself on his ingenuity. If a frontal assault was failing, then try the back door, or at least that was what his father had always said. Using his ring finger, he poked a tiny hole in the ceiling tile. It was just large enough to afford him a complete view of the room.
His eye looked the room over several times, but there was no Happosai. And Ranma had been sure he had been in there before he had gone up into the crawlspace. There had been no screams of terror, meaning it was unlikely Happosai had left the room. As he relaxed for a moment with his visual observation, he stopped concentrating on looking for Happosai and his eyes finally identified that there were several large piles of other things in the room. Speaking softly to himself, he whispered, “Hey. Where did he get all that women’s underwear?”
Happosai detached himself from a shadow in the crawlspace and positioned himself directly behind Ranma. “Good to see you’re enjoying a healthy interest in the underwear trade, my boy. There is hope for you yet. When I think you’re ready, I’ll begin teaching you the techniques involved in being able to steal and remove women’s underwear in a flash. But for now, you must bear with me and receive your proper training. Namely, having more respect for your master than to go sneaking around behind his back.”
Once punch later, Ranma found himself sent through the floor of the crawlspace and into the room below. The hard impact he expected never came as one of the piles of underwear broke his fall. As he got up, he discovered that a pair of panties had somehow ended up on top of his head. He pulled them off and examined them. Ranma failed to hear the door to the room open as he said, “Yuck. ‘Hello Kitty’ underwear. That’s just plain wrong.” Sensing a growing feeling of hostility, Ranma looked to the door and spotted the person that had opened the door.
Akane’s face began twitching uncontrollably. “I don’t believe you! Not only do you steal my underwear, but you insult it too!”
Ranma held up his hands to try to slow her down. “No! It is not what you… wait a minute. These silly things are yours?”
That comment sealed his fate as Akane belted him through a wall and into the distance far away. Once her anger abated slightly, she began picking through the piles and recovering her underwear. How dare Ranma make fun of her Hello Kitty underwear? Besides, it was not as though she had even bought them. They were a gift from an aunt who seemed to think that Akane was perpetually six years old. She never even wore them.
“I still think she’d look silly in Hello Kitty underwear,” Ranma mumbled to himself as he made his way back to the house an hour later. As it came into view, he saw Shampoo sitting along it, facing the outside.
Once he got to where she was, he asked, “What are you doing out here?”
“Pervert miss Ranma so he try to attack Shampoo. Shampoo get fed up and leave, so he try attack Akane. Akane punched him several districts away. He should be coming back soon,” Shampoo said.
The events of the entire day weighed heavily upon Ranma’s shoulders. “This has got to have been one of the worst days of my life. I’m going to bed.”
“Does Ranma think little pervert won’t attack him there?”
Ranma considered that. “You might be right. What did you have in mind?”
Shampoo smiled at him. “Well, here is what Shampoo come up with…”
It was midnight when Happosai made his move. He tiptoed quietly through the house, stopping before the room the Saotomes used as their bedroom. Silently, he opened the door, and then moved forward once more, not making a sound. Genma’s large form was easily visible on the left side of the room, leaving the huddled mass under the blankets on the right as the only possibility.
Happosai snickered to himself. There was his delightful little Ranma. One little splash of cold water, and then he’d snuggle up against her breasts for a little late night action. After all, the poor old man had been trapped in a cave for over a decade and had to make up for lost time. And Ranma’s chest was one of the best he had ever seen. Maybe even later, he could persuade Ranma to display some delightful little lingerie for him.
Happosai was squirming in delightful anticipation as he poured the cold water on the form under the covers. In an instant he threw back the blanket and saw a human form underneath. He targeted the chest of the figure and hurled himself onto it.
“Oh, Ranma. Your bosom is so… flat?” Happosai stopped rubbing his head up and down on the decidedly flat chest of person he was glomping. “What’s going on?”
Shampoo-kun stood up and grabbed Happosai by the back of his gi. “Shampoo no feel like having midnight bath. Goodnight.” An Amazonian kick sent Happosai through the window and into the great beyond.
Ranma came out of the shadowy corner of the room he had used to stay out of sight. “Well that sure worked out. You were right about what that pervert would do.”
Shampoo-kun smiled happily, and was about to apologize for all of the noise to Genma, when she realized he had managed to sleep through the whole thing.
It was one A.M. when Happosai made his move. He tiptoed quietly through the house, stopping before the room the Saotomes used as their bedroom. Silently he opened the door, and then moved forward once more, not making a sound. He looked at the lump on the left once again, and saw that Shampoo-kun had changed to dry sheets, but other than that, everything looked the same.
“So, Shampoo thinks she’s so smart. Well, I never met an Amazon that could outfox me. I’ll just use hot water this time,” Happosai snickered to himself. Shampoo’s cleavage would certainly do. Yes they would. Her bosom was almost as delightful as Ranma’s. Probably on level with Akane’s, in fact.
Without waiting a moment longer, Happosai dumped the hot water on the huddled mass, threw back the covers, and glomped onto the chest of the figure beneath them.
“Oh, Shampoo,” Happosai cooed, and then stopped when he realized there were no breasts on the person he was glomping yet again. “Wh… What’s going on here?”
Ranma stood up and plucked the diminutive man from his chest. “I don’t need any hot showers this late at night, you old lech.”
Once again Happosai found himself belted through the same window he had been before.
As his wails disappeared in the distance, Shampoo-kun came out of the same darkened corner that Ranma had used earlier. “It look like Ranma right about persistent pervert.”
“Of course,” Ranma said smugly. Shampoo-kun would have been content to stay in Ranma’s spot for the night, but Ranma pointed out that Happosai might try again, this time aiming for Shampoo instead of him. And as Ranma knew it would, it turned out he was right.
Ranma grabbed another set of dry sheets and laid them out. “I doubt the little freak will be back tonight. He doesn’t know what to expect.” Ranma lay down on the sheets. He had just closed his eyes and was making himself comfortable when he felt somebody grab some of the covers and lay down next to him. Slowly, he opened his eyes and turned to see Shampoo-kun trying to make himself comfortable as well.
“Ah, Shampoo. What are you doin’?”
Shampoo-kun kept to the left side of the covers, but made no motion to leave. “Shampoo think pervert come back. It safer if both us sleep together.” He began fluffing up a pillow.
Ranma began to get nervous. Sleeping with Shampoo, even as a guy, was not the sort of thing he wanted to do. People would think he was a pervert or something. “I don’t think it’s really proper, you know.”
Shampoo-kun gave him a look devoid of any duplicity. “We sleep together in China.”
“That was different,” Ranma insisted. “And we slept a lot farther apart.”
“Is all right. We both guys.” With the argument decided in his mind, Shampoo-kun closed his eyes.
Ranma was of two minds about the whole situation. Okay, so Shampoo-kun was obviously a guy at the time, and guys could sleep near each other without it being perverted. Just so long as they did not sleep ‘together.’ On the other hand, Shampoo-kun was also really a girl, which made it seem like maybe it was Ranma who was the pervert. And since Shampoo-kun really was a girl, he felt awkward about the idea of just throwing him out, regardless of what gender the Amazon was at the moment. It would seem pretty callous of him, not that any girls should be trying to sleep with him since he was not the sort of guy that did that sort of thing. And it was true that Happosai was out there, and might yet come back and try to change Shampoo into a girl. If Ranma was around, he could protect her from that.
That was what his mind at last settled on: he was defending a girl from a pervert. He scooted over as far as he could with the covers, leaving about two feet of distance between him and Shampoo-kun. Since he was going to sleep in his normal clothes as well, rather then go down to his boxers and a T-shirt, that helped too. Even bearing all of that in mind, it took Ranma nearly an hour before he relaxed enough to drift off into an exhausted sleep.
It was getting late in the morning when Akane decided to wake Ranma up. Sometimes it seemed he would sleep the entire day away if she were not around to announce that it was time to get up.
There was a broad smile on her face as she made her way to the Saotomes bedroom. Happosai had not tried to accost her at all. Well, she had barricaded the door with her dresser and nailed the window shut, but still, he seemed awfully persistent and she had not been certain it would work. But it had, and with any luck, Ranma had a peaceful night bereft of his new master as well. After breakfast, they could combine their thoughts once more and see if they could come up with some strategy to get rid of the unwanted little pervert.
Akane arrived at their door, knocked once, and let herself in. “Wake up sleepy hea—“ her voice drifted off as she fully took in the scene before her. There was Ranma, just laying there, with a decidedly male Shampoo-kun, whose arm had fallen across Ranma’s chest. Akane’s face began twitching as she saw the look of contentment on Shampoo-kun and Ranma’s face. Well, the Amazon looked really content. Ranma looked like he was snoring with his mouth wide open and nose high in the air. But it was close enough to a look of pure contentment to Akane’s angry eyes.
“I see how it is,” she grumbled softly as she turned and left, only to return a moment later with a bucket of water in hand. “One of you perverts is in the wrong form to REALLY be enjoying yourselves.” She splashed both of them with the cold water, activating Ranma’s curse, then headed out in the hall.
Both of them sat up, shocked. Ranma-chan was the first to splutter out a “What?” She was still trying to orient himself when a voice called out, “Hey, Happosai. Ranma said he wants to see you.”
Happosai was in the room within seconds, and upon seeing Ranma-chan, gave his own version of ‘good morning.’ The redhead’s response of returning the good morning was to run out of the room, screaming at the top of her lungs and trying to remove Happosai from her chest.
Shampoo-kun remained behind, still reorienting himself and trying to figure out where the leak was in the ceiling. And as for Genma Saotome, he just continued snoring.
Shampoo-kun looked down at the rather nice breakfast at the table that Kasumi had prepared for everyone. Being a male most of the time was proving somewhat annoying; he still intensely disliked it. But with Happosai around, it was proving necessary. Being left alone as a man was preferable to being groped as a girl.
There were other occupants at the table, and he took a moment to look them over again. Kasumi was sitting next to him. Actually, she was sitting very close to him and was continuously asking him to pass things to her, even if they were within what appeared to be easy reach for her. Also, she seemed to be behaving a little oddly this morning, continuously apologizing for brushing against Shampoo-kun’s hand every time he handed her something she asked for. She did appear unusually happy though, which was nice. So far Happosai had not tried to molest her, which was lucky for the little freak. Kasumi was not like Ranma and Akane; she couldn’t defend herself from Happosai’s clutches. If the dwarf came within even three feet of the oldest Tendou daughter, Shampoo-kun vowed to make him sorry.
Shampoo-kun’s eyes continued to scan the occupants of the table. Akane and Ranma were sitting across from one another, glaring. Apparently it had been Akane who had thrown the water, and it was for some odd reason that involved Ranma and Shampoo-kun sleeping together. It had been explained to her that it had only been done as a defense against Happosai, but Akane still seemed angry despite the explanation. That same explanation had also served to cause some measure of anguish for others at the table.
Soun was practically crying as he said to Genma, “Saotome, how could you allow Shampoo and Ranma to sleep together? He’s engaged to Akane!”
“I tell you it’s not possible.” Genma crossed his arms in confidence. “Any noise would have awakened me. I do have the hearing of an elephant.”
“You got the appetite of one too,” Ranma added.
“How dare you talk to your father like that! I’ll teach you some manners. Now give me that egg!”
The two began their usual duel over their meal, with Ranma winning three eggs and two bowls of miso soup to one.
Genma’s stomach grumbled in panic over the loss. He tried finding something to lift up his spirits. “Did you figure out how to get rid of him?”
“Nah, not yet.” Ranma finished his last egg. “He’s a tough one.”
“Where is grandfather Happosai anyway?” Kasumi asked as she looked at the empty place that she had set for him.
“Wrapped him up with some steel cable and dropped him down an open sewer,” Ranma explained casually as he chewed his food.
“That won’t hold him for long, boy,” Genma said as he saw the golden opportunity before him and stole the food from Happosai’s place.
“I know, I know. I’ll come up with something,” Ranma assured him as he began putting his mind to the problem at hand again.
It took him the better part of a day, but he came up with a plan. All it would take was an accomplice, and he had the perfect one in the house already. All he had to do was ask nicely and he was sure she would see things his way.
Akane was busy doing her homework when she heard the knock on the door. “Come in.” She was slightly surprised to see Ranma enter, looking both nervous and a little anxious as well. “What’s going on?”
Ranma found admitting he needed help a bit more difficult than he imagined. After several half-hearted attempts, he managed to get out. “I need to ask a favor.”
That was a surprise. To her knowledge, Ranma had never directly asked for a favor from anyone else. He’d accept help offered, but didn’t like asking for it up front. “What is it?”
With the initial question out of the way, he found the rest easier. “I want you to go on a training trip with me.”
Akane was only able to blink for the first few moments. She was not sure why, but she would have sworn her heart started beating faster and she felt a little afraid. “You sure you want me to go?”
“Yeah. It would mean a lot to me,” Ranma said without the slightest bit of doubt.
Akane felt the room get a little warmer, or at least she could have sworn it was. “Who all is going with us?”
“Oh, no one else. Just me, you, and the pervert.”
“Oh that’s—” the last name finally registered. “Why on earth are we taking Happosai with us?”
“I got my reasons.” Seeing Akane start to balk, Ranma tried the next best thing he could think of. He would say the magic word. “Please, Akane. Trust me. It’ll be better for both of us in the long run if we take him along.”
Akane considered the request again. Ranma seemed pretty intent on taking her along. And he did ask her specifically instead of Shampoo, which was very flattering. “Okay, I’ll do it.”
“Yes.” Ranma ran off to set the second part of his plan in motion. So far it was going on without a hitch. Now all he had to do was get the second person he needed. Since there was a chance he might not want to go along, extraordinary steps were going to have to be taken.
Ranma went to the nearest sink and poured cold water on himself. Once her top was dry, the slightly damp female left to find Happosai. The search was brief as she came across him in his room. Ranma-chan had only made it two steps into the room before she rolled back in disgust. The little pervert was running a pair of panties along his chin, a look of sheer enjoyment on his face. Ranma-chan could not understand it. Having Akane’s panties on her head had not seemed the least bit stimulating at all. Actually, it had made her feel sort of perverted.
Bracing herself for the arduous task, the redhead dared to enter the room. As a girl, there was no way Happosai was going to deny her request, although before setting out to find Happosai she had practiced her ‘honeyed voice,’ the one that always got her extra food when she purchased it from male food venders. If it worked on them, it would work on the master.
Ranma-chan danced into the room twirled around once for Happosai’s benefit, then sat down next to him. “I have a widdle favor to ask you.” She played her finger around his chest for good measure, forcing the feeling of nausea back down.
Happosai was hopping up and down in excitement. “What is it?”
“Take me and Akane on a training trip.”
Happosai considered that. Ordinarily he would have been all for going on a training trip with two such luscious babes. The only problem was he had just gotten back from being out of commission for over a decade, and wanted to take things semi-easy for at least a little while.
Seeing the doubt start to creep up on Happosai’s features, Ranma-chan began to lay it on as thick as she could. “Pretty please, Master.”
What resistance Happosai’s had began to crumble. “Wellllll…”
It was time to go for the jugular. “I’ll make a deal with you. After the trip is over, I’ll wear a bra for you.” She knew she had him.
Happosai practically jumped through the roof in joy. Ranma-chan was going to be willing to wear a bra for his benefit. Truly she was a far better pupil than his two lousy first students ever were. She was showing true concern for his welfare. “It’s a deal! I’ll starts packing right away. We can leave tomorrow.” He ran off to jump for joy. Not any old bra was going to do for his star pupil. No sir. He was going to liberate one that would be just perfect for his little Ranma-chan.
The cute facade Ranma-chan had been using fell away to reveal a sinister look. The little pervert had fallen for the whole bit hook, line, and sinker. Now if only the plan worked out the way it should, then they would have nothing to fear from Happosai anymore.
It was bright and early the next day that Ranma-chan, Akane, and Happosai, gathered together their camping gear and set out for their training journey. Soun was tearful at the thought of his darling little girl being left alone with only her fiancé to protect her from the master’s perversions. Genma was relieved Happosai was going. Kasumi was happily waving good-bye and telling them to have a nice trip. Nabiki cared little one way or the other, and Shampoo-kun was miffed at being left behind, as well as annoyed that Ranma-chan had accidentally hit him with cold water right before the departure and there was no hot water to change back with at the moment. The apology Ranma-chan had given had seemed too mirthful, as though the splashing had been intentional all along and she was just covering her tracks. Very strange indeed.
Happosai was in heaven as he prepared to set out. He was going out into the countryside with only two beautiful girls and a bag full of women’s undergarments. There was only one thing that could possibly make it better. Three beautiful women.
“Ranma, why don’t we take Shampoo along, too? Another beautiful lady would be welcome company.”
Ranma-chan found herself having to think fast. “Ah, it’s because she’s too sick.”
Shampoo-kun head did a quick jerk as he wondered if he had heard Ranma properly. “Shampoo not—“
“Oh my! Shampoo’s sick?” Kasumi declared, and then moved right in front of Shampoo-kun to look at him more closely. He did look a little pale. Steps would have to be taken immediately. “Come with me. I’ll make you better.” Kasumi grabbed the Amazon by the arm and dragged him into the house. Shampoo-kun was too stunned by the bizarre turn of events to do anything to resist her as he disappeared from everyone’s sight.
Genma placed his hands on Ranma-chan’s shoulders. “Boy, your sacrifice will not be in vain.”
Soun began to bawl. “My baby girl is leaving.”
“Dad, it’s only a little training trip,” Akane sighed. “We’re just going to be gone for a few days.”
That was not enough to console Soun as he loomed before Ranma-chan. “You’d better take good care of your fiancée, Ranma. Don’t let the Master do anything to her or you’ll answer to me.”
“Yeah, yeah. I hear you. Like she needs me to defend her,” Ranma-chan scoffed. She then turned to Happosai. “Guess what, master. I have a nice surprise for you.”
Happosai looked at Ranma-chan curiously. She seemed just a bit too, happy. “What is it?”
“I’ve decided that since you’re getting on in years, that you shouldn’t have to walk such a long distance on your own. Therefore, I have gotten you this.” Ranma-chan darted around the corner of the house and returned with what appeared to be a little child’s pull wagon with a metal doghouse on top of it.
“What is it?” Happosai asked.
“It’s your chariot,” Ranma-chan gushed as effeminately as she could. “I’m going to pull you along with us. And the inside is so nice. I put pillows in and everything. Take a look.”
Happosai was suspicious as he took a look inside the ‘chariot.’ Amazingly enough, it was just as Ranma-chan had said. There were pillows and everything. “Ranma, you’re the prefect student.”
“Of course I am,” Ranma-chan gushed just as sweetly until Happosai crawled in with his bag of underwear. Once inside, she slammed the door to it shut and threw a padlock on it.
“Hey, what’s going on?!” Happosai shouted from inside.
“No need to worry. It’s just to make sure you won’t fall out if the ride gets bumpy,” Ranma-chan cooed.
“But it’s dark in here. I don’t like dark places,” Happosai whined.
“There’s a light inside the wag… uh, I mean your chariot. Also I cut air holes in the top so you can smoke and get fresh air.”
Inside, Happosai found the light and turned it on. Again, everything was just as Ranma-chan had said. “Well that’s more like it. Just make sure you let me out when we get to where we’re going.”
Genma moved next to Ranma-chan and began whispering in her ear. “I think I know what you’re going to do. You’re going to stuff up the air holes and sink this thing in the bottom of a deep lake, right?”
Ranma-chan looked offended. “I am not. I’m taking the master on a training journey, just like I said.” She turned to Akane. “C’mon, let’s head out.”
One last round of farewells followed before the small party was allowed to leave. They turned down the street and set off on their journey.
Night was starting to fall as Ranma-chan finally decided on a place to camp. It was deep in the woods and as far as they could get from any real civilization. When Akane asked Ranma-chan why she had chosen the spot, the redhead just smiled and said, “I like it deep in the woods.”
Once they were settled in, the padlock to Happosai’s chariot was removed and he was allowed outside. After going all day without even managing an attempt at groping, Happosai felt a little drained. The underwear he had packed with them had helped to keep him from feeling too bad, but it still lacked the sort of enjoyment that was triggered by a quick little grab. He was considering latching onto Ranma-chan’s delightful bust when again she gave him a cute smile that caught him off-guard. So few women ever showed him true affection.
“Ohh, master. Allow me to take care of your belongings.” Ranma-chan snatched Happosai’s bundle of underwear, still smiling sweetly at him the entire time as she walked off a little ways.
Happosai gave off a satisfied sigh. What a wonderful disciple Genma’s child was turning out to be. There was real potential in him, the elder could tell. Who knew? One day he might even surpass Happosai in the fine art of Anything Goes Martial Arts.
In the distance and out of sight, Ranma-chan’s voice shouted, “I’ll get the fire started too!”
Again Happosai sighed to himself. Not only was his disciple treating him like a true master, but she had agreed to wear a brassiere as well. Drool began to pour from his mouth as he envisioned the luscious, lithe redhead in the brassiere he had especially picked out for her. He was well into the third fantasy when he noticed the unusual odor. There was something vaguely familiar about the burning scent, and that familiarity gave him a sense of dread in his chest.
Following the scent in the air, he walked around some medium height shrubs and made his way to the campsite. The smell had indeed come from the fire that had been built, and in the middle of the fire was his pride and joy. His entire portable collection of women’s underwear.
The look of horror etched on Happosai’s face became one of anger as he turned his attention to Ranma-chan. A blue glow shot twenty feet in the air, its form superficially resembling Happosai himself. The image spoke, rather than the real form of the old one, as it said, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY BEAUTIES?!
Tears began to well up in Ranma-chan’s eyes. “Oh, Master. It was an accident. I’m so, so sorry.” She threw herself to the ground and began crying.
In the face of such a display, Happosai’s anger fled and the image disappeared. Summoning his self-control, he forced himself to say, “Well, accidents happen. And all is not lost.” He whipped out the bra he had been especially saving for Ranma-chan from out of its secure spot inside his gi.
“Well at least you saved that,” Ranma-chan sighed.
Akane ran into the campfire area, concerned for Ranma-chan’s welfare when she heard Happosai’s earlier rage. Remarkably, she noticed that not only did the redhead not sound disappointed, but actually sounded relieved.
With Ranma-chan’s acceptance of what was going to be, Happosai walked away from the campfire to be alone. Ranma-chan’s bra was the last undergarment he had to use on the whole training mission. But with the younger Saotome agreeing to wear the bra, there was no way Happosai could call off the trip. That knowledge proved almost too much to bear as he began crying in one of the cups of the bra.
His tearful display lasted almost the whole hour. It would have continued on longer, save that Ranma-chan found him to let him know that dinner was ready. The idea of getting some decent food appealed to Happosai, so he followed hot on Ranma-chan’s heels and to the campfire. Arriving there, Happosai found it was exactly as Ranma-chan had said. There were several rather elaborate dishes set out around the campfire and a kettle of water warming over the fire. Happosai was about to sit down next to one of the trays when Ranma-chan hopped into a cross-legged sitting position and said, “Here, sit on my lap.”
The opportunity was too good to pass up. Happosai jumped into the girl’s lap and snuggled against it, almost like a baby.
“You’re so cute,” Ranma-chan cooed. “Here, Master. Let me serve you.” She indicated for Akane to give her a bowl of food.
The whole situation was freaking out Akane. Ranma-chan had warned her right before going over to retrieve Happosai that she might behave a bit strangely, but Akane was not to worry; it was all part of the plan. However, when Ranma-chan had said strangely, Akane had had no idea of what she was truly in for. Snuggling up to Shampoo-kun, okay, in a weird perverted way that made sense, but to allow Happosai to snuggle up with her defied all the bounds of logic. Still, Akane managed to keep it together long enough to hand Ranma-chan the bowl that she wanted.
Happosai watched in anticipation as Ranma-chan brought out a spoonful of the gooey, gray substance and raised it next to Happosai’s lips. “You are a far better pupil than that deadbeat father of yours ever was, Ranma. Did you make this?”
“No. Akane did,” Ranma-chan told him, then flashed a smile Akane’s way. Not knowing what to make of the increasingly bizarre behavior, Akane smiled back, and sweatdropped just a little.
“Open your mouth and close your eyes. You’re going to be in for a big surprise,” Ranma-chan said as she served Happosai a huge mouthful of the substance. Happosai opened up quickly and allowed Ranma-chan to feed him. Before he even had a chance to effectively taste the first bite, a second one was jammed into his mouth. Then a third. All Happosai was able to manage was a, “Urghmumphmemph,” which roughly translated into, “Not so fast.”
At last, Happosai had a chance to taste the food, even as the first several spoonfuls hit his stomach all at once. Unable to speak through the stuffing Ranma-chan was doing to him, all he could think was “Why didn’t they tell me it wasn’t fit for human consumption?”
Like a girl possessed, Ranma-chan kept forcing spoonful after spoonful of Akane’s food into the master’s mouth and into his stomach. There was no hope for the diminutive man as he was too weak to resist Ranma-chan’s attack.
Akane watched as her fiancé proceeded to feed all of the food to Happosai. “Ranma, save some for yourself.”
“Are you kidding?” Ranma-chan said in a surprisingly honeyed voice as she continued to stuff food down Happosai’s throat. “The Master can’t get enough of your cooking. And since he appreciates it far more than I ever could, we’ll let him eat it all. And don’t bother cooking anything else. I brought along some of Kasumi’s leftovers that will go bad if we don’t eat them tonight.”
Akane was a little reluctant to settle for the leftovers, but Happosai was indeed eating her cooking without a word of protest. It appeared that the little old pervert did have one nice characteristic: he knew how to appreciate good cooking.
Ranma-chan’s eyes had almost a glazed look to them as she kept stuffing food down Happosai’s throat. “Y’know, when we get back, I bet the Master would just love for you to cook for him every night. Just look at the way he’s packing it down.”
The very idea sent shivers of fear down Happosai’s spine. Using his last reserves of strength, Happosai forced himself off Ranma-chan’s lap and struggled to his feet. “No more.” His voice came out as a harsh, rasping gasp. “Can’t take it. Ranma. The trip is over. I can’t take anymore.”
Ranma-chan looked at him with the faintest hint of tears in her eyes. “But you said we could go on this trip.”
“I can’t take it anymore.”
Ranma-chan sighed. “I am so disappointed, but if you feel that it’s necessary, then so be it.”
It was settled, but it was too late. Without any groping all day long, without any underwear to snuggle against, after being horrendously poisoned, Happosai had nothing left to give. There was only one last thing that could save him now. He pulled out the special bra and waved in Ranma-chan’s direction. “You promised.”
Ranma-chan nodded happily. “I certainly did.” She started to take off her top, and then seemed to notice Akane. “Look, I need some privacy. Could you turn around?”
“Are you sure you want to go through with this?” Akane knew that Ranma-chan had given her word, but it seemed too high a price to pay. Surely they could arrange some sort of alternate solution, rather than having Ranma-chan display herself like a model of some kind to the demented old pervert.
“Yep. Just turn around.”
Akane gave in. So far Ranma-chan had acted strangely for the entire trip, yet somewhere deep inside, Akane thought there was a method to her seeming madness. So she elected to do as the redhead asked one last time, silently vowing to turn around if it sounded like Happosai was groping Ranma-chan.
Akane listened closely to the events that took place behind her. She could hear Happosai say, “That’s it, Ranma take the bra… hey! What are you doing with that kettle of hot water?” Akane heard the sound of splashing water. Again Happosai spoke, “Now you’ve ruined the moment. Wait! Ranma, don’t put it on. No! Stop! I don’t want to see that. Agh! That is disgusting. Now you’ve ruined it.” She could hear the sound of Happosai’s crying. When that became too much to bear, she turned around to see what had just happened.
She turned in time to see the bra pitched onto the fire. A further glance showed the now male Ranma putting his top back on. Akane became aware that she was now staring at Ranma’s muscular back, and a faint red was blossoming in her cheeks.
When Ranma at last noticed the stare, as he finished putting on his shirt, he asked, “What’s your problem?”
Akane turned quickly away. “Nothing.”
“You didn’t see me wear that thing, did ya?”
“No, no,” Akane said.
Ranma seemed to accept that at face value. All he said to Akane was, “Let’s leave the lech alone. We’ll sleep over here.” He indicated a place far off to the side and well away from Happosai’s motionless form. From where she stood, Akane could see that his chest was still falling and rising, and she wasn’t foolish enough to try to get closer to the old coot and allow himself to reenergize himself with a quick grope.
The duo retired to their individual tents, zipping them up as an additional precaution against Happosai, though both felt they were being overcautious.
The next morning, the duo woke up to discover that Happosai was nowhere to be found. All that was left to show that he was ever there was a note, written in barely legible scrawl:
Ranma was practically crying as he began jumping up and down and shouting, “Yes, Akane! It worked. The old coot’s gone! Let’s go back home.”
Ranma’s good mood was infectious, as Akane at last understood why Ranma had behaved as he had. Later on, she also noted that the trip back was extraordinarily cheerful, and discovered that she could actually enjoy spending time with Ranma. Even with how bizarre the first day had gone, Akane counted the whole thing as a joyful experience.
When the duo arrived home, Ranma burst through the door and headed straight for the living room. They were all there, and Ranma explained all that had happened, showing the letter to everyone. Especially his father.
“So, you ready to pay up?” Ranma asked.
Genma suddenly became concerned. It was true he had given certain promises to Ranma, but there was no need to actually going through with them. “You aren’t going to hold me up to that foolish bet, are you, son?”
Ranma’s grin was ear to ear. “What do you think, pop?”
The next day found Shampoo-kun, Akane, Nabiki, and Ranma-chan preparing for school.
Just as they were about to leave, Ranma-chan shouted back inside, “Don’t forget, you gotta do whatever Kasumi says until I get back.”
“You sure I can’t purchase your father’s services for at least a day?” Nabiki asked.
Ranma-chan’s grin that had started the day before upon showing her father the letter, had not faltered in the least and was still there, just the same as before. “No way. No amount of money in the world would be worth giving up a single minute of his service.”
Akane sighed. Even as difficult as Genma was, she still thought Ranma was being a bit cruel. “I still think the uniform was a bit much. Where did you get it anyway?”
“The pervert must have grabbed it by accident when he went on one of his panty raids,” Ranma-chan said. “I think it suits pop.”
Inside the house, Genma looked down at the French maid’s outfit Ranma was forcing him to wear while doing the housework. All Genma could do was look to the heavens and shout out, “Oh, the humanity!”
It was lunchtime, and Yoshi ate in the cafeteria, as usual. Too bad it was far from a usual day for him. In fact, it was one of the worst. He didn’t want to be at school, even if his best friend, Atsushi, was there to console him. Besides, Atsushi really wasn’t that good at consolations.
Again Yoshi tired poured his heart out to his friend. “I can’t believe she dumped me for that guy.”
“Hey, women are like that,” Atsushi said in the same uncaring manner he always did. “I told you a long distance relationship wouldn’t work.”
The ‘I told you so,’ did nothing to improve Yoshi’s mood. “But she doesn’t even know him. She just said he’s good-looking and she’s pretty sure she can take him out.”
“I didn’t think she was that aggressive,” Atsushi said, wondering how he could have misjudged Yoshi’s old flame that badly. “What’s the guy’s name anyway?”
Yoshi’s hand formed into a fist. “Ranma Saotome. If I ever meet him, he is dead meat.”
Atsushi noticed how the guy directly behind Yoshi suddenly stiffened at the mention of the name. Slowly, the brown-haired figure turned to look directly at Yoshi’s eyes.
“You said the guy’s name is Ranma Saotome, right?”
“Ah, yes,” Yoshi said, not realizing he had been babbling loud enough to be heard and hoped the unfamiliar guy was the only that had been paying any attention.
“I see. Exactly what high school does this ex-girlfriend of yours attend?” Ukyou Kuonji asked as she began the form the first vestiges of her plan of the holy vengeance her old fiancé so richly deserved.
To be continued.
Author's notes: Can’t take responsibility for the ‘Castration Kick’ line in the skating part of the chapter. I read it in another fic whose title eludes me at the moment.
Special thanks to Gary Kleppe and L. Ang for looking this over, as well.
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