Chapter 9: Revenge is a Plant Best Served Cold
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 (or what you really need to know to enjoy this fic.) In the Beginning, the Saotomes traveled to Jusenkyou and began sparring, not realizing Shampoo and Mousse had already begun a duel there. One mid-air collision, and bath in Spring of Young Drowned Man later, we have a male Shampoo as well as a female Ranma. [So Ranma/Ranma-kun= male. Ranma-chan= female. Shampoo/ Shampoo-chan= female. Shampoo-kun= male.] Shampoo elects to travel to Japan with Ranma and ends up briefly engaged to Kasumi. After that is taken care of, Ranma is engaged to Akane. Water and confusion mix on the first day of school and everyone believes Ranma-chan is Shampoo and Shampoo-kun is Ranma. Last chapter, a demon had attacked "Team Ranma" using their fears against them. Only Akane managed to conquer her fear and helped the newly arrived Ghost Sweeper, Minami defeat the creature. Now Mousse and Kodachi have finally made their way back to Japan after being shipped around the world by Ranma and Shampoo. Now they have revenge on their minds…
Note: * * denotes panda "sign" language
It was a humid day in the streets of downtown Nerima. Akane and Minami were strolling the street, window shopping and having a pleasant conversation. The two had hit it off pretty well since the fight with the Sanslaygh, and had been spending a great deal of time together. Akane finally got around to what she had wanted to ask the Ghost Sweeper.
"So, what do you think of school?"
Minami looked Akane in the eye and smiled, "I like hanging around normal people my own age well enough. Now if only I could get rid of the schoolwork."
Akane was about to comment on how much she sounded like Ranma when a chain whipped out from above and snared Minami, pinning her arms to her sides, and pulled her up to the top of a nearby building. Akane stared upward and spotted Mousse on the top of the building, balancing himself atop a unicycle. The Chinese warrior tucked the entangled Ghost Sweeper under his arm.
"I have you now, Akane Tendo!"
Minami wasn't especially happy about the mix up and allowed her abductor to know it,
"I am not Akane!"
Akane shook her head, "She's right. That isn't me."
Mousse adjusted his glasses and took a much closer look at Minami. He then looked back down at the street towards Akane.
"I see. Sorry."
He whipped out another chain from his sleeve and encircled it around the large statue of Cthulhu that sat in the center of Nerima. He pulled it up as well, and placed it under his arm. Judging by his discomfort, Akane figured he was about one minute away from blowing out a disc in his spinal column.
"When did *huff* you put on so much weight, Akane?"
She started to glow with anger, then, realizing whom she was dealing with, gave up.
"It's those between-meal snacks."
"You may want to cut those out," Mousse gasped again. He somehow managed to cycle off with Minami and the statue under his arms. Akane sighed quietly to herself. If Mousse was back in town it meant trouble for her and the others. She decided to locate Ranma and Shampoo and inform them about the blind panda's return.
Mousse arrived an hour later at the greenhouse he and Kodachi were using since their return to Nerima. He still found it remarkable that she had managed to convert the entire thing into a tropical jungle in the first week since their arrival. The jungle itself was lush and ominous, with waterfalls, tall trees, and exotic animals laced throughout, making one believe they had been transported to the very heart of South America. He allowed his mind to drift back to the time he and Kodachi had traveled up the Amazon River and nearly got hijacked by river pirates. He abruptly broke off the pleasant memory; there was no time for reminiscing, he had revenge to seek, and he wanted to inform his partner of the mission's success. He located Kodachi, who was busy grooming one of her new plants that had just arrived. The gymnast heard Mousse arrive and examined his two captives.
"This is not Akane Tendo, Mousse darling," she pointed to Minami, "nor is this." She examined the statue more closely, a smile creeping across her face, "but it does possess a certain sort of charm. We shall leave it in the center if the greenhouse for all to enjoy. Now Mousse, you know we must capture Akane Tendo. You do want revenge on that Ranma Saotome, and I am certain he will fall into our trap if we hold his fiancée hostage." The Black Rose began grinning evilly, "Perhaps we will be fortunate enough for that wicked Shampoo to join him. I would like to give her a taste of my vengeance as well."
Mousse interrupted to cut off the direction the conversation started to take. Kodachi seemed very single minded when it came to Shampoo, and that didn't sit well with him. "I already told you, this isn't about Shampoo. I won't let you harm her. The two of us are destined for one another." He looked to the sky as though waiting for a response. No bolt of lightning struck him, so he took it there were no objections.
"Mousse-sama, you're talking to the statue." He adjusted his glasses to discover he was, and moved closer to Kodachi. "My poor, poor darling, when will you realize I am the one for you, and not that purple haired harlot?"
Mousse sighed. Talking to Kodachi was one thing, getting her to listen was another. "Let me make this clear to you one more time: I want revenge on Saotome. You volunteered to help me out. I did not ask for assistance, nor will I let you harm Shampoo," he emphasized the last part of his statement.
Kodachi, naturally, listened only to the parts of the conversation she wanted to hear. "Of course I am going to help you, my dearest. What one of us does, the other will follow. That is what true love is all about."
Mousse sighed again, "I'm really not getting through to you, am I?"
"The course of true love rarely is without difficulties. I will stand by your side until you come to your senses."
Mousse threw up his hands in disgust, "I give up!" He really felt like ramming his head into the nearest blunt object to relieve some of his frustration.
Back at the Tendo Dojo, a large object was attempting to stealthily creep around the inside of the house. Genma paused at a corner of the doorway to the kitchen, listened, and then slowly peeked around it. Once he ascertained the room was clear, he tiptoed into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, whispering softly.
"Come to me, precious."
He rifled through the appliance and pulled out a large dish full of food. He continued sneaking about until he made it out the door of the dojo and gave a mad dash for freedom.
"Now all of this is mine. HAHAHAHA!"
Back inside the kitchen, Kasumi walked in and opened the door to the refrigerator, searching within for the missing item.
"Now where did Akane's food go?"
Out on the streets of Nerima, Mousse had finally come up with a plan to (successfully) kidnap Akane. The most reasonable place to find her would be the Tendo Dojo. Having nothing better to do he started ranting to himself.
"Saotome's a dead man. No one kidnaps Shampoo and turns me into a panda, and gets away with it. And that's not to mention being shipped off…" His voice trailed off for a moment, and then began again, sounding less angry. "Well, traveling around the world was kind of nice and interesting. If only it could have been with my Shampoo." The voice picked up a tone of anger again, "He's the one responsible for keeping us apart. But this trap will change everything. We still need Akane as…" He was cut off as a little old lady with a bucket splashed him with water. Mousse-panda continued his rant in "sign language."
*…Bait, and must capture her at all costs. HAHAHAHAHA!*
Kasumi was busy cleaning, worrying about what happened to the food. No one was sick, and it wasn't likely to have wandered off on its own. Unless, somehow, Akane had made a dish that had become alive. Given her sister's abilities in the kitchen it wasn't likely, but not really impossible either. Kasumi considered watching over her more closely, just in case, when she heard the doorbell chime. Kasumi made her way to the door, and opened it. She discovered Mousse-panda waiting for her, bearing a sign that read:
*I have you now, Akane Tendo!*
Kasumi smiled at the mistake, "Oh, silly. I'm not Akane."
Mousse-panda adjusted his glasses, *You're not?*
"No. Now, exactly why did you want Akane?"
*I just needed to kidnap her so Ranma would come after her and fall into my trap. She isn't here, is she?*
"No, she isn't," Kasumi paused for a moment, "I'll tell you what I can do though. Ranma and I get along pretty well. If you take me, he would probably come."
*Are you sure you don't mind?*
"Of course not. Just let me grab a few things. Come inside and get some hot water while you wait." She ushered the panda inside and showed him the kitchen while she went upstairs to pack some necessities. Passing Nabiki's open door, she observed her sister laying on her bed, looking bored and reading a magazine. The second time she passed by Nabiki took notice.
"What's going on?"
Kasumi smiled, "I'm being kidnapped. Would you like to come along?"
Nabiki gave her sister a flat stare. "You've got to be kidding," she commented dryly, and returned to paging through her magazine. "I am perfectly happy reading." She paused in thought for a moment, then got up from her bed. "Oh, who am I trying to kid? If I get any more bored I'm going to slip into a coma. I guess I'll come along." She grabbed a few things and joined Kasumi, who had been waiting patiently for her. "Who's grabbing us?"
"Mr. Mousse. You know, the one that turns into that cute panda."
"I know who Mousse is," she replied out loud. She then thought, "This situation might prove profitable. Mousse ranks up there with Ranma in the brains department.”
Once downstairs, Kasumi informed her now human abductor of the change in plans.
"My sister is coming along. I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all."
Nabiki looked Mousse over, "So how much are you ransoming us for?"
Mousse became confused, "Ransom?"
"Yes. When you kidnap someone, you generally hold them for ransom," Nabiki replied in a tired voice.
Mousse started to scratch his head, "Actually, we just want Ranma to come and rescue you."
Nabiki held her hand before her, grossly insulted. "I beg your pardon. You are not kidnapping me and not asking for a large ransom. Let me see your note."
"Yes," exasperation crept into her voice, "if you kidnap everyone, how will the others know what to do unless you leave a note?"
He started sweating bullets. "I never thought of that. This is my first kidnapping."
Kasumi was practically jumping up and down in excitement, "Oh! Let me write the note. It sounds like fun."
Nabiki couldn't argue with her sister's enthusiasm. "Sure. Go right ahead."
The eldest Tendo grabbed a pen and a piece of paper. "We'll make it sound sinister." She began writing, saying out loud what she was putting on paper. "Dear Ranma and Akane."
"Just make it Ranma and Akane," Nabiki interrupted.
"I don't want to be rude," Kasumi protested.
Kasumi continued, "Kasumi and Nabiki have been taken…"
"Make it kidnapped. It sounds better."
Kasumi paused and made the correction, "Right. Kidnapped. Do not call the authorities."
"Make it police. We're dealing with Ranma here, so the smaller the words the better," Nabiki reminded.
Mousse finally added something to his ransom note, "And tell them to leave Shampoo behind. I don't want her getting hurt."
Kasumi nodded, "Of course. Police, and do not let Shampoo come along. Go to… Where are we going, Mr. Mousse?"
"The Black Rose's Floral Shoppe."
"All right. The Black Rose's Floral Shoppe. If these demands are not met, something terribly not nice will happen to them."
"Nice touch," Nabiki added, "Vague, but frightening. People come up with worse things using their imagination than if you are specific in your threat."
"Don't worry, we won't hurt you, just Ranma," Mousse reassured the two.
"Well, that's okay," Nabiki turned to her sister, "Oh, and Kasumi, tell them to also bring three thousand yen for the ransom."
"That's a bit much, don't you think?"
"That's just for me. How much do you want to go for?"
Kasumi paused in thought. "We'll just say I'm included in the price."
Nabiki shrugged, "Suit yourself."
"The money isn't important," Mousse felt the temperature in the room drop ten degrees from the icy stare Nabiki leveled at him. "On the other hand, three thousand sounds fine."
Kasumi finished the note and signed it. "There! All done. We can go now."
The trio headed off for The Black Rose's Shoppe. Nabiki began listing her demands for allowing herself to be kidnapped.
"I refuse to be tied up. I expect good food and a chance to shower if I feel like it. I have to be back by tomorrow because I have some important people to meet…" She continued until the trio arrived at the converted greenhouse. Kodachi appeared somewhat confused when she saw the new victims.
"These two are not Akane Tendo either, Mousse."
"They are the next best thing. They're her sisters. With them, Ranma and Akane will surely come." He thought himself pretty clever for coming up with that one.
Kodachi was not so certain, "I hope you're right. Still, I would like to have Akane in hand before confronting Ranma." She picked up a folded outfit that was lying on a table nearby. "I will try one last time to ambush her before she discovers her family's absence. Take care of these two." The Black Rose left the premises in a rather subdued manner.
Nabiki turned to Mousse, "I want a steak dinner and some champagne. And not the cheap stuff."
"I'll just have some okonomiyaki," Kasumi added.
Mousse scratched his head, "I'm not sure that's what she meant when she said I'm supposed to take care of you."
Nabiki saw this was going to take a little maneuvering. "I am going to see Shampoo later. You do want me to tell her you treated us nicely, don't you?" That got the desired effect.
"Of course, I don't want her to think badly of me," he paused, "even if I have kidnapped you. My apologies."
Nabiki smiled. Sometimes it was too easy, "Well then, get on it. Ranma could be here any minute."
"Right." The kidnapper headed out the door to meet with his abductees' demands.
Genma was sitting on a bench in the middle of the park, an empty dish beside him. He was clutching his stomach and appeared to be in a great deal of pain.
"Maybe I should have taken enough time to taste the food before I ate it. I feel terrible." A giant spatula buried itself on top of his head. "Now I feel a lot worse."
Sure enough, it was Ukyou who struck Genma.
"Well, well, well. If it isn't the old man who made my life a living hell. And here, I was just thinking how I never got a chance to properly thank you for that." The smile did not bode well for the overweight martial artist.
"Ummm… You're welcome?"
Ukyou grinned even wider. "The pleasure is going to be all mine."
Only the squirrels witnessed the sight of Ukyou's righteous anger and Genma's much deserved beating.
Back at the Tendo Dojo, Soun had returned from buying a pack of cigarettes. Upon entering the house he called out to locate anyone, but received no response.
"Where is everybody?"
The doorbell rang and startled Soun. He opened the door to see Kodachi disguised as a floral delivery woman and bearing a bouquet of black roses.
"Flowers for Akane Tendo."
"She isn't here."
Kodachi pouted, "Very well. I suppose I will simply have to settle for you." She thrust the bouquet into Soun's face. It only took a moment for the paralysis powder to do its job. "Miss Tendo is a very difficult woman to find. I just hope she will come for this one. I know I wouldn't rescue that insane pineapple people call my father." Kodachi afforded a look around the house and spotted the ransom note. Her eyes played across the words and she picked up a pen. "Hmmm? We'll just change the part about 'no Shampoo' to 'bring Shampoo.'" She made the corrections. "There. Now off we go." She dragged Soun's unconscious form behind her on the way back to the arboretum.
A few hours later, Akane, Ranma-kun, and Shampoo-chan finally returned to the dojo. Both Ranma and Shampoo had a pair of roller skates slung over their backs. Akane was clearly in one of her "Ranma has screwed up again moods."
"I can't believe how long it took for me to find you. And what were you two doing roller skating?"
Ranma and Shampoo looked at one another in unspoken communication.
"Well, after that little brawl with 'The Golden Pair', Shampoo and I discovered we liked skating. It ain't no big deal. Why’re you gettin' mad?" Ranma was really not in the mood for her irrational anger. Sometimes she made it seem he wasn't allowed to do anything on his own.
"I am not angry!" neither Ranma nor Shampoo bought it since she was glowing dull blue.
The trio entered the house and immediately felt something was wrong. They couldn't find anyone at the house and began a search. Shortly after it had begun, a battered looking Genma entered the house. Shampoo noticed him first.
"What happen Pop?"
"Oh, just a heavy case of food poisoning and bludgeoning from a spatula wielding maniac."
Ranma buried his fist in Genma's face. "Don't call Ucchan a maniac you fat tub of goo. You hurt her pretty bad, and I still haven't forgiven you for stabbing her in the back. I'm just lucky she realizes I didn't know what was goin' on and forgives me." Ranma turned his attention from his father as he spotted the ransom letter. He quickly read through it, "Oh, no!"
Akane became concerned, "What is it?
"It says your family has been kidnapped by…" Ranma got to the bottom of the letter, a confused expression appeared on his face, "…Kasumi?"
"What are you talking about?"
Ranma read it over again. "Well it's a ransom note, but it's signed 'Love, Kasumi.'" He handed Akane the note. Sure enough it said exactly what Ranma read.
"Those jerks! They must have made Kasumi write the note. When I get my hands on them…" her threat trailed off as she clenched her fist and started glowing bright blue.
"You know what this means?" Ranma looked his compatriots over.
Genma stared him in the eye, "We have the place to ourselves?"
Everyone hit Genma.
"No! We go rescue Kasumi, Mr. Tendo, and Stupid Mercenary Girl." Shampoo corrected him, and added another blow for good measure.
Akane wasn't going to let the reference to her older sister pass. "Don't call Nabiki stupid!"
"She not responsible for you get attacked everyday by girls that try get date with you. Shampoo call Mercenary Girl whatever she want!"
Ranma decided to step in and play peacemaker for a change. "Look, why don't we rescue them first, then argue." He then addressed Shampoo directly, "Besides, Stupid Extortionist Girl is a lot more accurate than Stupid Mercenary Girl."
"RANMA NO BAKA!!!" Transdimensional hammer time.
The four companions set off for the Black Rose's Shoppe. At said establishment, the hostages were on a balcony that overlooked part of the greenhouse, with Mousse and Kodachi standing nearby on a tall plant discussing strategy for when Ranma and Akane would show up. There was no apparent way down from the balcony other than making a twenty-foot drop to the greenhouse floor. Of the hostages, Minami was the only one tied up and gagged, as she was the only one actively contesting her predicament. The Tendos were in a circle, sipping drinks and playing a board game. Nabiki was rolling the dice.
Soun was unusually happy, "We don't get many chances to do this sort of father-daughter bonding." Nabiki moved her piece.
Kasumi smiled at her sister, "Oh! You've landed on Boardwalk, again. This time it has two hotels, which means you pay…"
"I know what I have to pay," Nabiki snapped back. She took a few moments to finish counting her money and came to a conclusion. "Mind if I get a loan, sis?"
Kasumi scrunched her face and deepened her voice to do a darn good impression of Nabiki. "You've got to be kidding." She relaxed her face and smiled pleasantly once again. Nabiki was not amused.
"Fine. Mock me if you will, but this is only a game of chance. It is nothing like the real world. It doesn't require actual skill."
Kasumi maintained her smile. "That's what you said the last two times you lost. Want to make it four in a row?"
"You better believe it. And I'm taking you down for sure this time." Nabiki wasn't about to let that challenge go. If it involved money, she knew she could beat her sister. As she began plotting her revenge, a voice suddenly resounded throughout the greenhouse.
"My twisted sister, hear me! It is I, Tatewaki Kunou, your sibling."
Kodachi turned towards Kunou. "I'm well aware of who you are, brother dear. What do you want?"
"Sasuke informs me that you are in possession of one Nabiki Tendo. I demand her return."
Nabiki heaved herself to her feet and looked over the balcony, a stunned expression upon her face. "You came to rescue me?"
Kunou smiled. "Of course. Who else could provide me with such professional quality photos of my two true loves?"
Nabiki gave a little smile back. "I should have known," Surprisingly, she didn't look disappointed. "Did you bring the three thousand yen?"
"So much! Still, if that is what will set you free, then so be it."
Kunou began to posture and deliver a speech on how human life could not be measured by money when Kodachi, realizing what her brother was up to, cut him off. "Don't be foolish, brother dear. If you desire Nabiki Tendo, then you may have her. After all, you are the one who gave me permission to travel with my true love on the journey that set our passion, and the world, aflame."
She held her hand to her head and sighed, as though overcome with the memory, while Mousse noticed he was suddenly the center of attention. He blushed, placed his hand behind his head in a very Ryouga-like manner, and gave an embarrassed chuckle.
Nabiki raised her eyebrow. "I didn't know you had it in you."
Mousse realized they way things sounded and quickly tried to cover himself. "It wasn't that way at all. I mean… she drugged me."
Kodachi sounded wistful, "I gave you a mild aphrodisiac. Your reaction was anything but mild." Her face blushed from the memory, making Mousse become even redder.
"I hope you will do the proper thing," Kasumi spoke softly to the boy.
Kodachi wrapped her ribbon around Nabiki and gently set her down next to Kunou.
"Truly, that blind fool is good for my sister. She rarely attempts to drug me anymore, and we have actually been getting along." The pair began to walk off together.
"Well, you came to rescue me. No good deed should go unrewarded. How about five percent off the next batch of twenty photos you purchase?" Nabiki offered.
"Truly, you are a shrewd businesswoman."
"Ohhh! Flattery. Just for that, you get seven percent off the next batch of thirty photos. But don't think it'll work more than once."
"I wouldn't dream of it, Nabiki Tendo." The duo left.
The four would-be rescuers finally arrived at the Black Rose's Shoppe. Upon entering the structure they saw the vast rainforest before them.
Ranma realized they could be anywhere in the vast jungle. "It's gonna take forever to find them. Maybe we'd better split up. Pop take the center, Shampoo take the left, and me an' Akane will take the right."
Akane appeared displeased. "Why do I have to go with you?"
"Because I don't want you to get into trouble."
"Oh. So you don't think I can handle myself?"
"No. It ain't like that." Actually, it was exactly like that, but Ranma was damned if he was going to say it out loud.
"Last time I checked, I was the only one who managed to conquer their fear, and confront the Sanslaygh. Isn't that right, Ranma?" She gave a smirk in his direction.
Ranma didn't appreciate the cheap shot. He hated having his face rubbed into that failure. He noticed Shampoo subconsciously rubbing her neck at the reference.
Akane took his silence as an endorsement. "Fine, then you go with Shampoo. I'll take the left," and with that she tromped off into the jungle.
Shampoo turned to Ranma, "It quicker if we all split up. You no mind, Ranma?"
"Nah! You can handle yourself." She started to run off, but just as she was about to get out of sight, Ranma called out to her: "Umm. Be careful, though."
She turned, smiled in acknowledgment, gave a little wink, and rushed off into the verdant greenery.
Genma plodded through the bush and was the first to find one of the opponents, Mousse. The warrior stood in the middle of the path, hands concealed in his sleeves.
"So, at last we meet, one on one, Genma Saotome. He who spawned that enemy against women, Ranma."
"Boy, you have no idea what kind of a rotten day I've had. I think I'll take out my frustrations on you." Genma cracked his knuckles and moved forward to attack.
Four blows later.
"You didn't even provide a good warm up, you fat oaf." Mousse wrapped a chain around the unconscious Genma and stalked off with the fat man in tow.
Elsewhere in the jungle, Akane was walking through a more heavily forested area of the greenhouse.
"Just how big is this thing?"
Her reverie was interrupted when a ribbon flew out from a tree and wrapped itself around her wrists like a pair of handcuffs. She tried to break free, but the harder she attempted to tear the ribbon the tighter it got.
"OHHOHOHOHO!" Akane gazed upward to see Kodachi standing on a tree branch above her. "You have fallen into my trap, Akane Tendo. No substitutes can save you this time. Just come along quietly."
"Yeah, right," Akane sneered. And with that, Akane jumped up, kicking the branch Kodachi was standing on, and shattered it.
The Black Rose prevented her fall by using her ribbon to lash onto another branch and gracefully land several meters away.
"You are only making this harder on yourself."
She began hurling pins at Akane. The first struck her in the knee, the second in the head. Akane decided she wasn't going to play the pigeon in a shooting gallery and raced forward, managing to avoid two more pins thrown at her. She then executed a leaping tuck and roll, and came up in a stand next to Kodachi. She grabbed the Black Rose by the throat and started choking.
"Where is my family?"
The gasping Black Rose didn't try to answer. Instead, she pulled a compact out of her leotard and held it in front of Akane's face. Akane made the mistake of loosening her grip in surprise, providing Kodachi enough breath to let out a puff and blow the powder into Akane's face, which caused her to slump to the ground, unconscious.
Kodachi stood there clutching her throat. "You are fortunate indeed that I need you intact, else something… terrible would happen to you." The evil glint in her eye made one certain she meant every word she said. She wrapped her ribbon around Akane and dragged her off, making sure to hit every bump and rock on the way back.
Ranma walked through the jungle, looking about cautiously. He sensed an attack and jumped out of the way just as a dozen knives embedded themselves in the tree that was behind him. He observed Mousse removing himself from his concealed spot behind a thick tangle of shrubs.
"At last we meet again, Saotome. Today my revenge becomes complete."
"Look, if you weren't such a helpless moron, I would feel sort of sorry for locking you up with that psycho gymnast."
"Don't call her a psycho! She's just misunderstood."
Ranma's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "You seem awful eager to defend her. Something going on between the two of you?"
"No! Of course not. Don't be silly." To Ranma, it appeared he was a little to quick with the answer and seemed to be acting just a bit guiltily.
"Well, if you two are getting along, shouldn't you be thanking me for bringing you together?"
Mousse shook his head, "It's not that way. Besides, you were just trying to get rid of a problem. Well now you have two. I still want revenge for your defeating me, kidnapping Shampoo, and for knocking her into that Spring of Drowned Young Man." His voice became much more quiet, "You have no idea of what that simple act set into motion."
Now that angered Ranma, he knew damn well what was going on, "Look, I'd give anything in the world to take that day back. It's complicated me and Shampoo's life hopelessly, but I can't. I know that Shampoo's on the run, but I don't have a cure for you, me, or her. Anyway, it ain't like it wasn't your idea to fight there anyhow."
"Don't you try to blame this on me. If you hadn't been there, she would never have fallen into Nanniichuan, I would have beaten her, and we would already be married now. Probably with a nice big family well on the way, and we would be building an addition for a nursery and…" A smile crept across Mousse's face as he thought about what might have been. Ranma interrupted the fantasy.
"Believe me when I tell you Shampoo is a lot happier being a guy if the alternative is marrying you."
Mousse exploded in rage, "You bastard! I am a much better husband than you would ever be!"
"Whoa! Slow down panda-boy," Ranma held up his hands in a warding gesture. "I ain't marrying her. I'm not even going to marry my fiancée."
"Don't lie to me, Saotome. I can see the lust in your eyes."
"No. What you see in my eyes is called contempt, and it's for you."
Mousse laughed, "You can't fool me. Why else would you let her stay with you? Admit it, you're just using her because you want her for yourself." Mousse smiled at Ranma, "You aren't the only one. Many males in the tribe have tried to defeat her in combat. The beauty she possesses is enough to drive most men wild with desire, even me. I would do anything for her love."
"Sorry 'pal', you got it all wrong. I like her for who she is, not what she looks like. She's one of the best friends I ever had." Ranma gave Mousse a pitiful look. "Guess you're blind in more ways than one."
Mousse either ignored or missed the comment, "Give up Saotome. I've already captured your father."
"You make it sound like that's some kind of accomplishment." Ranma replied dryly.
Mousse considered that for a moment, "Well, I guess you do have a point. At any rate, I've heard enough out of you."
Mousse hurled several shurikens at Ranma. Ranma evaded the attack and planted a kick in Mousse's gut. The blind one activated his long elbow blades and slashed at Ranma, who dodged out of the way as one of the blades went clean through the tree behind him, severing it in half. Ranma unloaded several blows at the blades and shattered the metal. He then connected with a palm thrust to Mousse's jaw. The warrior backed up.
"Maybe you should change, panda-boy?"
"No need to, Saotome."
With that he pulled out a long pole with a fake duck on the end of it and extended it towards Ranma. Ranma moved his head out of the way, but the duck stopped just before it would have hit him. Ranma moved his head back in front of the duck to give it a closer examination. As he moved his in front of it, a boxing glove on the end of a spring suddenly popped out and nailed Ranma right between the eyes. Mousse retracted the pole and duck.
"Why you…" Ranma wasn't pleased with being made a fool of and was going to let Mousse let him know his feelings on the matter.
Mousse hurled another duck on the end of a pole at Ranma. This time when he moved his head out of the way he didn't place it back in the way of the incoming waterfowl.
"You ain't getting me with the same trick twice."
Mousse gave a sinister smile, "It's not the same trick."
A mist sprayed out of the ducks mouth and created a fog around Ranma. He began clawing at his eyes.
"WHAT IS THAT STUFF!" Ranma felt like someone had dumped kerosene in his eyes, and was finding it nearly impossible to see through his tears.
"It's called mace."
"Fighting dirty… should have known," Ranma bellowed as he tried to see through his tear-filled eyes.
Mousse chuckled, "Fighting dirty? There is no such thing. It's just less fighting less honestly then usual. I learned that from Kodachi."
Mousse started toying with Ranma, not even bothering to employ weapons. He just used normal punches and kicks. Ranma tried to fight back, but was so blind he couldn't even defend himself. After connecting about ten times, Mousse really began to laugh.
"I should have thought of this a long time ago. Pounding on you is fun."
Ranma homed in on the sound of the voice and made a quick grab for Mousse's face. He came back with the prize, Mousse's glasses.
"Wh… what? I can't see." The blind man began to stagger around.
"Like that's unusual."
Ranma's turn for revenge. He started striking Mousse, who was still complaining loudly about being blind. Ranma was smart enough to remain silent while he started connecting with several solid blows.
"Give me back my glasses, Ranma!"
"Glad to." Ranma tightened his grip and destroyed the glasses. "Ooops. Guess I broke 'em. Now if I wasn't blind, I bet that wouldn't have happened."
Mousse's voice dropped to a low rumble, "You'll pay for that."
Mousse leaped into the air, curled into a ball, and then uncurled himself, releasing a volley of chained weapons. One with a spiked mace on the end struck Ranma in the ribs and hurled him into a nearby stream, changing him to Ranma-chan. Just as she stood up in the stream, an idea occurred to her. She began splashing water in her eyes in an attempt to wash out the foreign substance. After a few moments, enough of her vision returned through bloodshot eyes to make out Mousse. Ranma-chan moved in for an attack, while Mousse was busy emptying his pockets and throwing a variety of weapons in every direction. He pulled out a pair of glasses and drew back to throw them.
"Wait a minute…" He realized what he was handling and placed them on his face. "Forgot I had these."
The first thing he focused on was Ranma-chan's fist hitting his face. Mousse moved back, stunned.
"You just don't get it, do you, Saotome?" He shook his head to clear out the cobwebs, "This place is one big trap designed defeat you." Mousse pulled on a vine next to him, causing it to fall out of the tree and land on his head.
"You gonna tie me up? I think your new girlfriend would have more fun with that than I would," Ranma-chan smirked.
“How did you know she likes…” he trailed off, shaking his head. “That has nothing to do with us. I just pulled the wrong vine. Here’s the right one.” He pulled the vine next to it, causing a dozen spears shoot out of the underbrush. While Ranma-chan was busy dodging them, Mousse pulled a third vine, releasing a log, which came sailing out of a tree. Ranma-chan broke it in half with a kick, and then moved in on Mousse, who reluctantly gave ground.
Elsewhere. Shampoo was making her way through the brush, when she heard familiar, insane laughter. She spotted Kodachi standing in front of a tree.
"OHHOHOHOHO! If it isn't the little philistine."
"Shampoo not Philly cheese steak!"
Kodachi sighed. "I forgot, you're intellectually impaired. We'll just go with bimbo from now on."
"What you want with Kasumi, Crazy Gymnast Girl?"
Kodachi smiled. "I wanted to lead Ranma and yourself to your doom. And it looks like I have succeeded."
She pulled a hoop from her leotard and threw it high above Shampoo's head. Shampoo remembered the boomerang pin and tracked the hoops progress. It traveled high into the tree Shampoo was standing next to and severed a bunch of banana, which struck Shampoo in the face, causing quite a mess. She looked back down just in time to have a pineapple, thrown by Kodachi, impact and burst all over her face.
“I haven’t made fruit salad in years,” Kodachi laughed.
Shampoo wiped the majority of the fruit off her face, and looked above Kodachi
"You forget coconut."
Shampoo drew her sword and threw it, like a spear, high into the tree behind Kodachi.
"Your aim is off, you purple…" A coconut fell from the tree above and hit her in the head. Kodachi's hands went to her skull. "You wicked, wicked girl! I was going easy on you because I knew Mousse would not approve of me harming you. But I see you leave me no choice."
She pushed in a knot of wood on the tree that the coconut fell from. Part of the ground Shampoo stood on raised itself and hurled her into a covered pit. As she stood up in the pit, she noticed two eyes glaring at her. The orbs belonged to the hungry tiger waiting for its meal.
"You have a fun time, dear." Kodachi skipped away, laughing her insane cackle, leaving the girl with the tiger.
Mousse continued fleeing from Ranma-chan, finally jumping on a gigantic plant stem where Kodachi was now waiting for him. Ranma-chan could see the balcony holding the remaining Tendos and Minami from the ground. He looked up to see Akane was now wrapped up in, and hanging from, some chains attached to the ceiling. Genma was in a cage hanging from the ceiling as well. Kasumi waved to Ranma as he planned the best way to bring about a rescue.
"Get me down from here!" Akane yelled at Ranma.
Genma didn't want to be forgotten, "No, boy! Save me first."
Ranma-chan turned to Kodachi and Mousse. "I'll make a deal with you. Give me back Kasumi, Mr. Tendo, and Minami, and I won't hurt you."
"What about me?" Akane grumbled.
"I thought you could handle yourself," Ranma-chan taunted. She was still sore about the fear comment, but relented anyway, "Ah. Give me Akane, too."
"Not a chance," Mousse responded.
"All right. You can keep Akane if you want her that bad."
Akane's battle aura began to glow and the chains started to bulge. "RANMA. YOU'D BETTER HOPE THEY DON"T RELEASE ME!!!"
"What about me boy?" Ranma-chan just gave Genma an icy glare.
"Look. I ain't taking the old man back, no matter what. You're stuck with him."
"That's not what we mean," Kodachi broke in, "You see, you have fallen into our ultimate trap. Behold!"
Kodachi held her arms out and a huge plant she and Mousse were standing next to began to move. A huge oval shaped bulb on the end of the stem opened up, revealing a mouth with sharp pointed teeth inside. (Similar to the plant in "Little Shop of Horrors" only much, much bigger.)
Kodachi smiled in ecstasy. "Witness the awesome power of a genuine South American man-eating plant, or in this case, a Ranma-Eating Plant. We found him while on our extended vacation. He was shipped here just last week and is hungry. Aren't you precious?" She made little kissing noises in the plant's direction, and then spoke to it. "Now, sic her!"
The plant roared to the skies and then moved its head to attack. Kodachi and Mousse remained on their plant, watching the Ranma-Eater try to devour its prey.
Ranma-chan evaded the first two attempts by the plant to devour her, then started looking for a way out. "The plant's got roots. All I have to do is get out of its reach."
She tried to run out of the plant's reach, but Kodachi had anticipated that tactic. She let out a shrill whistle. Huge strands of what appeared to be webbing extended themselves from the trees and interlocked, many of the strands shooting up into the ceiling. Once complete, huge spider webs reaching from tree to tree, as well as the ceiling, effectively sealed off the portion of the greenhouse Ranma-chan and the plant were in.
Ranma-chan examined the new barrier, unimpressed. "Like this is gonna stop me."
She reached out to pull away part of the webbing. She touched it then quickly drew back, gasping in pain. A small trickle of blood dripped from a cut that had formed where she touched the web.
"What the heck?!"
"That's no mere spider web," Kodachi informed her opponent. "It is formed with razor wire. Touch it, and be sliced to ribbons. Now, remain where you are and prepare to be devoured."
The plant continued its assault. After many leaps and bounds, Ranma-chan eventually got backed into a tree with nowhere to run. The plant reached forward, mouth wide open, and then stopped, no more than a foot away from her. It then curled back and looked at Kodachi, and muttered something unintelligible to everyone but its mistress.
Kodachi sounded annoyed, "What do you mean, 'Is she white meat or dark meat?'" The plant muttered again, and the Black Rose answered once more, "I don't care what you are in the mood for. Just eat her!"
The plant looked at Ranma-chan, then turned back to Kodachi and muttered something yet again.
"I know she doesn't look like much!" Kodachi sounded very annoyed now. "I'll tell you what. I'll get you an entire cow afterwards if you are still hungry, is that all right?"
The plant considered, then nodded
"Good! Now devour her!"
Just as the plant moved forward once again a loud noise was heard from the other side of the web. A sword suddenly cut through some of the razor wire and Shampoo rushed quickly through the opening.
Mousse began jumping up and down in joy. "Shampoo, my love, you have come for me at last." A huge tiger rushed through the opening hot on the tail of Shampoo. Mousse looks at Kodachi, "Why is Mr. Meow after Shampoo?"
Kodachi couldn't help appearing like a child caught with her hand on the cookie jar. "She must have come to save the Tendos." She then slowly added, "and maybe I ran into her."
Mousse frowned, "I told you not to involve her."
"It's not my fault. Besides, she hit me in the head with a coconut, for no reason."
"Well, you have to expect that from her. She hits me all the time for no reason."
"Shampoo hit Mousse all time because he annoying pest that not know when to give up!" Shampoo knew she should have expected that sort of comment from him, but it still irritated her to no end.
Ranma-chan had remained quiet and stood motionless for the entire exchange. The reason being that her eyes had locked onto one thing, and one thing only. Mr. Meow.
And with that declaration, Ranma-chan ran up the tree and clutched onto a branch for dear life, looking down in terror at the tiger. Mr. Meow sensed the fear in the newcomer and ran under the tree, trying to climb up it and roaring with all his might. Everyone paused to watch the bizarre display of man and cat.
Realization hit Genma, "Oh, no. Not now."
Akane turned far enough to look at the old man, "Not now what?"
"The boy is afraid of one thing and one thing only. Cats."
Shampoo appeared confused, "How come?"
Genma sighed, "It has to do with the Cat Fist training he received as a youth." Genma described the process of wrapping young Ranma up in various fish products and throwing him into pits with hundreds of hungry cats. He explained how he did it day in and day out until Ranma snapped and came out meowing.
Akane's eyes were open wide in shock, "What kind of a father are you?"
"Pop. We gonna have long talk about this later," Shampoo waved her sword menacingly at Genma.
Even Kodachi was sickened. "That is beyond demented, even by my standards. You are truly a warped individual."
Genma paused to consider that comment, "Somehow, coming from you, I really am horrified by what I have done." Surprisingly, he sounded sincere.
Meanwhile, Ranma-chan had finally snapped. She curled up and started hissing like a cat. Mr. Meow, bewildered by the turn of events, stopped roaring, and began to slink away rather than be confronted by the bizarre human. He didn't move fast enough, as Ranma-chan hissed and leaped after the tiger. Just as she is about to hit the tiger, she was snatched in mid-air by the Ranma-Eating Plant and swallowed whole. The plant turned and looked expectantly at Kodachi, who patted him on the head.
"At last, victory!" Mousse held his fist up high.
Shampoo and Akane together shouted, "RANMA!"
The plant remained where it was, a large grin on his mouth. Suddenly, the smile disappeared as the plants jaws started to move violently, as though something was trying to get out. The violence increased, causing the head to shift and turn until finally, a figure burst through the side of the mouth, making a huge gaping hole in it. The plant recoiled in pain as Ranma-chan ripped through it using the Cat Fist. Kodachi looked on, horrified.
"My poor, poor Ranma-Eating Plant!"
She began to cry as Mousse placed his hands on her shoulders, trying to comfort her. "I have bandages. I'm sure we can fix him." He pulled out a huge ace bandage and the two tried to bind the wounds on the mouth.
While the duo was distracted, Shampoo jumped up and severed the chains binding Akane. She then cut one of the chains loose and threw it to the Soun and Kasumi. Soun lowered his daughter to the ground safely, and then climbed down. Shampoo turned her attention to the still feline-like Ranma-chan, who had backed Mr. Meow into a corner. Ranma-chan continued hissing at the tiger until Shampoo slowly walked over, bent down, and held out her hand, trying to calm Ranma-chan and get her to walk over to the Amazon. After much cajoling, Ranma-chan calmed down and walked over. Shampoo began to pet her on the head, relaxing Ranma-chan enough to sit on Shampoo's lap, and curl up in a ball. Shampoo smiled at the rapidly relaxing form, but the peace didn't last. Ranma-chan was resting peacefully one moment, and the next got punted out of Shampoo's lap and through the skylight of the greenhouse.
"I told you to hope they didn't let me go!" Akane shouted to Ranma-chan's rapidly departing form.
Shampoo spun on Akane, "Why Akane do that?"
"He was being a jerk!"
"You hear what Pop say, Ranma think he cat, not boy," She moved closer, got right in Akane's face, and looked her in the eye. "You no hit Ranma again."
Akane stared at her, incredulous, "Are you trying to tell me what to do?"
Shampoo dropped her voice and took on an almost-threatening tone. "Shampoo say no hit Ranma again."
Akane didn't back off. "I don't believe it! Where do you get off telling me what to do?!"
The tension between the two almost managed to ignite the forest. Fortunately, it was defused when Kasumi stepped between the duo.
"Now, now. We mustn't fight."
Kasumi's peaceful aura worked as the two simultaneously broke the deadlock.
"Shampoo go find Ranma. Make sure he okay." She gave one last, intense, glance to Akane, and then jumped up on a tree, using it as a springboard to go through the hole in the skylight.
Mousse and Kodachi finally bound the plant’s wounds. After confirming it would pull through, they turned their attention to the remaining people.
"I do believe we have been forgotten, Mousse-sama."
A fireball hit the pair. As the smoke cleared, the duo appeared singed, but alive. Minami stood at the top of the balcony, having finally been untied. She discarded a gold scepter and began to form electricity in her palms.
"Let me assure you. The two of you will soon be gone, but definitely not forgotten."
She released a lighting bolt at the duo, who barely got out of the way. The two took off, with Minami in hot pursuit, firing off spells as she ran. Everyone else decided to leave the building; all, that is, save one.
"Would someone let me down, please?" Genma paused for a moment in thought, "Wait! The way my day has been going, maybe I had better stay here."
He heard the sounds of animals below him, and turned his gaze downward. A pack of hyena's had gathered below the cage and looked up, licking their lips.
"It would definitely be a good idea to stay here." Genma heard a noise from above; he looked up to discover one of the chains beginning to snap. "I should have known." He turned to look up at the sky, and shouted. "What have I done to deserve this?!" The cage fell to the ground, leaving Genma to run for his life from a pack of hungry hyenas.
Kasumi was alone in the Tendo Dojo. She looked at the phone for a few minutes, then, as if deciding on something, picked up a phone and dialed. She paused, waiting for an answer. Her wait did not last long.
"Hello! Dr. Tofu."
"It's me. Kasumi Tendo."
Kasumi could hear the sound of glasses fogging over the phone, "Y… Y… Yes?"
"Would you like to get together tomorrow night?" She heard the thump of a body hitting the floor. She paused and looked at the receiver. "Oh, dear! I wonder if that's a yes or a no?"
To be continued.
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