Akane stretched her hands towards the ceiling as she finished putting
on her dress. She paused a moment to examine herself in a mirror. Not
the best she had ever looked, but not bad either. Satisfied with the results,
she exited her bedroom and headed downstairs to see if Kasumi had finished
making breakfast already. She was humming a little tune to herself, and
had just reached the bottom step, when loud noises coming from the direction
of the Saotomes' bedroom caught her attention. Unable to tell what the
source of the disturbance was, she braced herself for the worst and made
a detour towards the room. Just as she turned the corner, she saw that
both Nabiki and Kasumi were already standing next to the open doorway.
Kasumi seemed concerned while Nabiki appeared apathetic about something
that was going on inside the room.
As Akane approached the doorway, she heard the sounds of Ranma complaining,
"Knock it off, Pop! I don't wanna get up."
Genma's retort of, "Foolish boy. Be a man about this," was
easily heard from Akane's position next to the door.
Poking her head around the corner, Akane looked into the room. Ranma,
still dressed in boxers and a red T-shirt, was clinging desperately to
the floor. His blankets were wrapped around his midsection and his pillow
clenched in his teeth. Genma had his son by the ankles and was apparently
trying to force him to release the death grip he had secured on the flooring.
"What's going on?" Akane asked.
The interruption made Genma pause in his efforts. "Ranma here says
he doesn't want to wake up and greet the day." He returned his attention
to his son. "The boy needs to get up and face the day's challenges
like a man."
"No way!" Ranma insisted as the pillow dropped from his teeth.
"I knew as soon as I woke up it was going to be one of 'those' days.
A really bad one, and I don't wanna have to deal with it. It's Saturday.
I want the day off."
Akane sighed. It was up to her to resolve the situation. She entered
the room and snatched Ranma's ankles away Genma. "Quit being childish,
Ranma. You can't see the future and you can't stay in bed all day. Now
come on. Let's go eat breakfast."
Akane began pulling on Ranma's legs, having much more success than Genma.
Using brute strength alone, she forced Ranma to move, the boy leaving
behind grooves in the flooring that were molded in the shape of his fingers
as he desperately tried to stay where he was. It was to no avail as he
found himself slowly dragged from the room.
"A cute fiancée wouldn't make me do this," Ranma protested
as Nabiki moved her leg calmly away from his attempt to grasp it.
"It's a good thing I'm an uncute fiancée then. You're getting
up and going to breakfast," Akane growled in agitation as dragged
the reluctant Ranma to the breakfast table.
Ranma looked at the people left behind in the hall. "Remember, no
matter what happens today, it's not my fault! I didn't want to get up!"
Those were his last words as he was dragged around the corner and out
"The boy's just being lazy," Genma said with more than a hint
of doubt in his voice.
"Do you think we should prepare for the worst?" Kasumi asked.
She wondered if she should make some extra food, since trouble frequently
meant someone would be dropping by the house for a visit.
"I know I'll be," Nabiki said. "That's why I'm going to
be sleeping over at a friend's house. I'll be leaving as soon as I'm packed,
which should be in about five minutes."
Genma wondered if he should hide… er, sleep over at a friend's
house as well before remembering that was essentially what he was already
doing. Well, there was always the possibility of getting some cold water
and hiding out in the panda pens at the zoo for a couple of days. It was
a sound plan, and they had all the bamboo one could eat. Sometimes the
visiting children would even toss marshmallows at him. Not a bad deal,
As the trio considered their options, Ranma's cries of, "No one's
sticking me with this one!" echoed throughout the house.
Mindless Tripe Productions proudly presents:
Those Who Hunt Ninjas
A Ranma ½ story
by D.B. Sommer
Not a fusion or crossover with Those Who Hunt Elves. Any similarities
between the two names is purely coincidental.
Any and all C+C appreciated. You can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to
Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
The stone walls of the corridors of the ancient keep were mottled green
with a fungus that gave off a revolting aroma that made Mai's nose cringe.
The smell vaguely reminded her of rotting fish mixed with sulfur, or what
the bathroom was like the day after Tai had eaten Mexican food and downed
a keg of beer. The smells of Maiís own burning flesh would have been preferable
to putting up with either one's noxious odors.
And thinking of burning flesh, she ducked as burning arrows shot out
from murder holes in the walls that were cleverly concealed by the growth
of fungus. That explained the run down state of this section of the keep;
the better to catch one off-guard with.
Mai tucked and rolled too fast for the hidden archers to track her. As
she came out of her somersaults, having made it well past the murder holes,
she leaped up into the air. She was almost high enough to touch the ceiling
of the passageway; a necessary thing when one wanted to avoid the section
of flooring that gave way to reveal a pit with a numerous set of deadly,
sharpened wooden stakes lining the bottom.
Mai yawned in mid-air.
As Mai landed deftly upon the other side, the teenage girl took an inventory
of her uniform. The standard night-black ninja outfit hadn't even suffered
a snag. That was for the best, since she unequivocally detested sewing
repairs to any of her garments.
She continued to advance up the corridor, now running in a sprint. Upon
turning the corner, she found herself confronted by a huge Bengal tiger.
A large stream of saliva dripped from its jaws as it roared in hunger
in her direction.
A tiger, how utterly original. Not. As she continued running, Mai reached
into her outfit and came out with a huge piece of raw meat. She tossed
it to the tiger, who caught it in mid-air and ravenously began to devour
it. Mai gave the large feline a soft pat as she raced past.
The corridor seemed to be getting noticeably warmer. Mai was trying to
figure out what that might forebode when three ninjas, all much larger
than her, seemed to flow out of the very stones ahead of her. The ninjas
were spaced evenly at ten feet apart from one other. The first had a large
katana drawn, the second had a sickle with a long, weighted chain attached
to the handle, and the third held a variety of throwing stars between
the fingers of both his hands.
Without breaking stride, Mai ducked under a swing from the first man
and lashed out with a palm thrust to his throat, downing him in one blow.
The second had already begun spinning the weighted chain around and hurled
it at her, intending to tangle up her legs. Instead, Mai snatched the
chain and kept running forward, again without breaking stride. The second
ninja drew back in shock at the display of coordination and agility. That
proved to be his undoing, as in a blur Mai whirled the chain in her hand
and released it, wrapping up the ninja's legs in his own weapon. She ran
past and jerked, causing the man to fall face forward. His jaw cracked
loudly with the impact it made on the cold gray floor.
The third ninja released over a dozen throwing stars in Mai's direction.
Every one of them headed right on target, directly for the teenage girl.
Effortlessly, she snatched each one of the weapons out of mid-air and
made a pile of them in her hands. She then lightly tossed them in a heap
next to the third ninja's feet as she ran past.
"No need to thank me," Mai shouted as she looked over her shoulder
towards the motionless man. "I know those things are expensive to
The sounds of a string of colorful curses about her ancestry and which
barnyard animals were mixed in with it grew fainter as she continued running
at top speed through the complex.
The corridor continued to grow warmer until Mai found herself sweating
under her outfit. At last, she could see the corridor widen up ahead,
a bright red glow emanating from that direction. She was almost to her
As Mai entered the huge room in the center of the keep, she noted that
it was the size of a large cavern. Instead of a floor that she could walk
across, she found herself standing at the edge of a precipice, with the
corridor behind her the only way off the protrusion. Looking over the
edge of the precipice to the bottom thirty feet below, she saw the entire
chamber was covered in a pool of molten lava: the source of the increasing
heat. A series of small, narrow rocks dotting the chamber 'floor' rose
a foot or so above the surface of the lava. From each rock was a thirty-foot
bamboo pole sticking upward, one pole to a rock.
Across the room, at the far side directly opposite Mai, was another ledge
with a ninja standing upon it. His arms were crossed as if in expectation
of something. From where Mai stood, she could just make out a white line
four feet in front of him and only two feet from the edge. Even with nearly
a hundred feet between them, she could feel the smirk that lay underneath
his facemask. She was going relish the opportunity to wipe it off him.
Just so long as he remained exactly where he was.
"Oh, this is sooo cliché," Mai wailed as she mentally
plotted the course necessary to leap across the bamboo poles and to the
far side. It took her ninja-like mind less than two seconds to choose
the most direct course. She leaped, aiming for the nearest pole and mentally
tallied the seconds until she would reach the far side and confront the
final ninja, face-to-face.
As Mai reached the apex of her leap, right on target with the first bamboo
stalk, a six inch spike of metal shot up from the top of the bamboo.
From across the chamber, the male ninja bellowed with a deep, sonorous
laugh. "Ha, ha, ha, you're finished now!"
In response, Mai twisted in mid-air, making her plunge face first towards
the pole instead of feet first. Just as she was poised directly above
the spike, her face no more than six inches away, she lashed out with
her hands and grabbed onto the portion of the bamboo below the sharpened
piece of metal. It took a great deal of muscle, but she managed to arrest
her decent. By the time she had stopped her falling motion, her face was
no more than three inches away from the point of the spike.
Mai looked up and recalculated the distance to the next pole. Using arm
muscle alone, she bent her elbows ever so slightly and pushed off, executing
a high leap and repeating what she had done with the previous bamboo stalk.
Ten such movements later, she had covered the distance to the ledge across
the room, landing with feline grace on her feet and balling into a crouch
a foot across the white line.
Slowly, Mai came out of her crouch and confronted the man before her.
She could feel the flow of anger, directed at her, emanating from him.
It was a palpable sensation. The man remained motionless as Mai placed
her hand slowly into her outfit, her eyes never leaving the figure for
a second. From within the confines of her ninja uniform, she pulled out
a small item. She looked at it for only a moment, and then her hand was
a blur as she thrust the silver object directly at his face.
"Four minutes and twenty three seconds. That beats the best time
for completing the course by more than thirty seconds. What do you have
to say to that?"
"Oh, that's right. That was your record, Granduncle,"
Mai said in all sincerity, then placed the stopwatch back in her outfit.
She began laughing and giggling, just like a five-year-old that had been
told she'd been given a lifetime supply of A.M. Phetamine's 'Hyper Concentrated
Pure Sugar Sticks'. Bouncing up and down and clapping her hand, she began
chanting, "I get to be a ninja. I get to be a ninja. I get—"
"You idiot!" the man shouted. "Don't stop on the finish
"What are you talking abOWW!" Mai shouted in pain
as two other figures landed on her back, causing all three to end up in
a tangle of twisted limbs. Little mews and feminine cries of pain began
to emanate from all three of the figures.
For several moments, the ninja grandmaster, Takeo Yurisoka, considered
kicking all three of his grandnieces into the lava. After all, would anyone
really miss them? And it would do so much to lower the increasingly high
amounts of stress he had been suffering from since the girls had become
students under his tutelage. His physician had been telling him to do
something about his high blood pressure, and that single act alone would
cut it at least in half.
But no, they were flesh of his flesh, blood of his blood. It would be
wrong. Besides, their mother, his niece, Kanuka, was more than capable
of carving him into briquettes with that rather sharp katana she had a
tendency to carry around wherever she went. And for some odd reason, she
was quite attached to the annoying little rug rats. No. He supposed deliberately
killing his grandnieces in a non-ninja related activity was out of the
The three teenage girls detached themselves from the pile and saluted
him as though he were a drill sergeant. Takeo trembled in rage. "You
don't salute! You bow, you idiots!"
All three girls bowed, their arms still raised to their brows the entire
time. Not trying to kick them in the lava was becoming more difficult
by the second.
Shuddering, Takeo turned around so that he was no longer facing the girls
and took a moment to regain control of his emotions. He carefully considered
each of his young students. Mai, Tai, and *shudder* Bobbie Joe
(oh, how he loathed his idiot niece for giving the girl that stupid gaijin
name.) At least everyone just called her B.J., but even then, that led
to some pretty vulgar jokes for which she would continually beat people
up. They were triplets, but fraternal rather than identical. It was a
nearly unheard of thing, but infinitely better than if they had been physical
carbon copies of one another.
And now, after several months of training, they had completed the final
obstacle course they needed to graduate, or so they thought. But there
were other plans in store for them. With a small smile forming on his
face, he spun on his heel and turned back to the girls. He could just
feel the concern over his lack of congratulations pour off them in waves.
"Yawn. That whole obstacle course was like something out of a low
budget Indiana Jones flick."
"Ewww. The heat from the lava made my mascara run."
"I think I need more sequins on my outfit. I'm not glittery enough."
"WOULD YOU IDIOTS AT LEAST PRETEND THAT THE OBSTACLE COURSE WAS
TOUGH?! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!" Takeo shouted as his battle aura
partially melted some of the stone he was standing on.
The Ninja grandmaster forced himself to choke back the rest of the verbal
assault he wanted to unleash upon the girls. It wouldn't do to lose control
before them, like he usually did. As a method of controlling his anger,
he chose to examine the girls closely. He had lacked the courage to see
them off, hoping against hope his absence would somehow discourage them
and help prevent them from completing the course, but it had been to no
avail. All three stood triumphantly before him.
Takeo looked over the student that had crossed the finish line first.
Of the trio, Mai, the de facto leader of the sisters (due to her being
oldest), was at least normally dressed, electing to wear a standard full-body
ninja outfit colored in black. Her stance was proud and ready for fight
or flight at a moment's notice. Her outward countenance was that of a
true ninja, even if her inward was not. There was only one tiny problem
with Mai's appearance that made her stand out, namely her breast size.
She was so flat-chested that she was sometimes mistaken for a male ninja
instead of a kunoichi, an understandable mistake even to Takeo's own experienced
eyes. Physically she was probably as attractive as her sisters, save for
the fact it was in such as way that one could confuse her with being male.
Bishonen; that was the term for it. She had very bishonen features, which
caused certain… problems for the girl.
Takeo's skills as a teacher of twenty years made him force a compliment
through gritted teeth. "Congratulations on beating the best time
for the course."
Mai shrugged. "I could have done it half-drunk and blindfolded.
Want me to try?"
"No!" Takeo winced inwardly at the bold proclamation. Not only
because it was so outrageous, but because she was probably correct and
his pride would not allow him to take the risk of her beating his time
under those conditions. Oh, how he loathed his grandniece's ability to
trample a person's feelings without even realizing it.
Rather than dealing further with Mai, he turned his attention to the
girl next to her — the middle sister, and taller then her older
sister by at least five centimeters — Tai. At first glance, one
would never have known the two were related, Tai being virtually the exact
physical opposite of Mai. Where Mai was flat-chested and subdued, Tai
was voluptuous, with long legs and enormous breasts that she insisted
on showing off as much and as often as she could. To that end she tended
to wear very risqué clothing. Today she was wearing a bright pink
outfit that consisted of only a couple of strips of cloth that reached
up from the waist of her outfit, over her breasts (covering only about
half of them at that) and attached to a collar she wore around her neck.
Her back was completely bare, and she wore only a tiny skirt that barely
made it to the bottom of her rear end. Virtually all of her clothing was
the same way. That, combined with her tendency to use high leap-kicks
while wearing only lacy thong underwear, had resulted in her being able
to string together a record of twenty-five knockouts on Takeo's male ninja
students, an unsurpassed string of victories.
Trying to take his mind off her body, Takeo asked, "Where's your
Tai appeared offended at the very nature of the question. "What?
Cover up this beautiful face? I don't think so."
"A true ninja wears a mask," Takeo insisted.
Tai smirked. "Even if I wore a mask, it wouldn't make any difference.
It's not like guys would be looking at my face when they check me out."
Tai thrust her chest forward and jiggled to prove her point. Takeo was
forced to remind himself once again that this girl was family, and young
enough to be his granddaughter to boot. Still, a cold shower afterwards
might not be a bad idea.
"Fine," he grumbled, conceding her the little victory.
With Tai's assessment out of the way, Takeo turned to the last girl,
B.J. He gave a sigh as looked the girl over. "And just what is that
thing you're wearing today supposed to be?"
B.J. modeled her outfit proudly. "This is the cutting edge of what
every stylish ninja is wearing nowadays. My pea green and light purple
mask was designed by Billabong, the white gloves are by Airheart, and
my sequined yellow top is by Quicksilver. They might have cost me a good
bit of money, but appearance is everything to a ninja, right?" The
thousands of sequins caught the lighting in the room just right to allow
B.J. to glow like a shining star. Just what every ninja needed to sneak
Takeo noted that at least the other two girls were also shuddering at
what B.J.'s twisted little mind considered a fashionable style. Even after
all these months, she still wore anything that was supposed to be fashionable
among ninja clans, or at least what advertisers promoted as 'what every
young, hot teenage ninja should be wearing'. As with most advertisers,
what they claimed was trendy and what really was were two different things.
B.J.'s current outfit was proof of that.
"You show an amazing lack of judgment in what is suitable ninjawear,"
Takeo said dryly.
"I could always change," B.J. offered. From somewhere within
the folds of her clothing she pulled out a black outfit. A whirl of the
black cloth hid her entire form for a moment. When the whirl was finished,
Takeo found standing before him what appeared to be a male ninja in his
forties, a tuft of black hair peaking out from the top of the mask, broad
in the shoulder, athletic in form, and holding himself with an air of
command that could only be gained through years of teaching.
"How's this?" the figure asked in a voice that Takeo could
instantly identify: his own.
"Don't do that! It's disturbing!" Takeo shouted. The sight
before him was unbelievable. Truly B.J. was the greatest mistress of disguise
he had ever seen. If he hadn't known any better, Takeo would have sworn
it was in fact himself standing right across from him. She was able to
mimic the tone and accent in his voice to a degree that astounded even
her granduncle. Quite possibly the only thing outwardly odd about her
was her choice of primary weapon, which was currently strapped to her
back. For some odd reason her particular choice of her favorite weapon
was something that simply confounded Takeo's sensibilities. Still, in
spite of what one would assume from such a small girl, she was able to
use it supremely well. It was just so… unseemly for a ninja to use
such an inappropriate weapon.
B.J. switched back to her 'proper' uniform, putting her granduncle at
ease. Looking over all three of them, Takeo had to admit they made quite
a set. Months ago he had accepted his niece's wish to train the girls
in ninjitsu, the art the family had been immersed in since the founding
of the school centuries ago. Takeo was regarded by many to be the best
ninja of his and the previous generations, which he had proven time and
again by succeeding in every task that was set before him, and then in
all of the goals he set for himself. In time, growing bored with a lack
of challenges and getting on in years, he had founded his ninja school
and proceeded to teach ninjitsu to a wide variety of candidates from all
over the globe. Not all of them were great, but all of them were at the
least highly skilled ninjas. Each and every graduate he had been proud
to call his own. So when his niece had approached him with the idea of
training the girls in the art, Takeo had accepted without hesitation.
It had proven to be the worst mistake of his life.
In less than four weeks, Takeo became firmly convinced that all three
were probably the worst trio of potential ninjas he had ever seen. They
drove him crazy with their combined antics. If they had not been blood
relations, and had he not promised he would teach them to the best of
his abilities, he would have expelled them a year ago. But he had persevered,
growing increasingly frustrated with their behavior and desperately wanting
to get rid of them, while at the same time fearful of how they would disgrace
the Yurisoka clan (and Takeo personally) if they graduated and it was
discovered they had trained under him. So he went about trying his best
to break them of their spirits and get them to quit, or fail, on their
own. It should have been simple, but it wasn't.
There was one slight problem with his plan. In spite of their obvious,
horrible character flaws, their actual skills were unsurpassed. Easily
they were the best his school had ever produced. Combat, stealth, circumvention
of traps, weapons training, in every technical field they excelled far
beyond anyone's expectations. They were better than he was at their age.
Hell, they were almost as good as him now; the obstacle course they had
just completed effortlessly was proof of that. The problem wasn't in their
inherent ability to do any job; it was in their inherent ability to mess
up any job, in spite of their skills. Common sense was still a skill none
of them had mastered.
And now, in spite of what the grandmaster had hoped and prayed for, they
had all just completed their final course, improving on his best time,
beating it easily. If they were allowed out in the world now, they would
disgrace his name within a year. No, probably six months. It was enough
to make Takeo weep.
But there was one last hope. Something special he had added just to their
curriculum, which, if they failed, would set them back at least a couple
of months. And then maybe he could come up with something, some technique
that would get them to start using their heads.
Or maybe they would die. Either way it meant he would come out a winner.
The girls, unaware of how far they had pushed their granduncle, looked
up at him with only mild concern. Mai spoke first, a small smile breaking
out across her face. "So what do we do now?"
Takeo grinned under his mask and cleared his throat. Here is where he
dropped the bomb on them. "I know it's common for a student, upon
completing the final obstacle course, to graduate and become an official
ninja with a diploma and everything, but because you're such special students,
I've decided to assign you a special final project." At last he had
them. He couldn't wait to see the crestfallen look on their faces as he
was able to shatter their dreams, even as they had shattered his.
"Gee, would it have anything to do with us going to the Nerima Museum
of History to steal the Sacred Urn of CaoPatty?" Tai asked as she
filed her nails.
Takeo's eyebrow twitched so violently the movement could clearly be seen
under his mask. "Haugh dad wu nough?" was all he could get out.
"How did we know?" B.J. translated. "Simple, we broke
into your private chamber and ran through your notes. It was in the notebook
in the bottom drawer, right under the paper targets that look suspiciously
like the three of us. You know, the ones with all of the knife cuts in
them. You tend to throw slightly to the left, by the way."
"How did you get in?" Takeo got out intelligibly this time.
Everything in his chamber, even his desk, was warded by a plethora of
the most exotic, expensive, and difficult anti-ninja and magical traps
he could find, all of them fatal. Even Takeo on the best day of his life
couldn't break into his study.
"It was easy," Mai shrugged. "There were just a few dozen
simple anti-ninja and magical traps. Completely predictable. It took us
about three minutes to get past all of them."
"GAK!" Takeo swore he felt a brain embolism coming on.
"Well, I didn't think it was all that simple," Tai said. "There
was one trap in particular that was nasty and very well concealed."
"There was?" Takeo gasped, feeling some shred of his dignity
"Yep. I chipped a nail on the edge of the desk. Very tricky, making
the edge of your desk extra long so that people will chip their nails
on it. I had to get a fake nail to take its place and everything. Very
Takeo could barely keep from openly crying. He settled for sniffling
Mai continued. "Anyway, we already scouted the place out. We broke
into where the blueprints to the museum were stored, stole and then copied
them, and then broke back in to replace them so no one knew they were
ever gone. We also stole the personnel logs and duty rosters and did the
same thing. We know where all of the hundreds of alarms are, the exact
placement and number of the guards, where the urn is located and everything."
Takeo's shoulders slumped in defeat. They had managed to outwit him.
Maybe it was time to kill himself. If those three could make him look
like a novice, there was nothing left to live for. "It sounds like
you have everything planned out. There shouldn't be any problems."
"I sure can't see any," B.J. chimed in happily. "We even
made sure to send the challenge letter by express mail three days ago."
Takeo's head jerked slightly. "Challenge letter?"
"Yes. That way we left plenty of time for the opposition to know
Takeo's eyebrow began to twitch violently again. "You do understand
that you're ninjas? Masters of stealth, assassination, and thanks to the
recession, thieves as well?"
All three of the girls looked at him, bewildered. Mai slowly said, "Uh,
"Then why would you tell the museum that you were coming to steal
their urn when the whole point of the exercise is to sneak in and grab
it without alerting anyone?"
The girls thought about that. As one they said, "Oops."
Takeo began bashing his head into the ground and didn't stop until he
To be continued.