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.
"So, you see, we need martial artists to prevent the theft of the urn. Against ninjas, high-tech, sophisticated expensive alarms that have really flashy lights and go 'awooga, awooga' just aren't going to cut it," Toshi Takayami explained to the two older men, boy, and two younger girls that were seated around the dining room table at the Tendou household.
"What about your security guards?" Genma asked.
"Their union contract specifically exempts them from having to fight ninjas."
"I see," Soun said, accepting some tea that was offered by Kasumi.
"Then you'll help us?" Takayami asked.
Genma stood up boldly, shaking his fist in the air. "It's the duty of a martial artist to protect other people's property, as well as defending the weak and helpless. We'll be honored to help you."
"Don't you mean you'll be happy to volunteer your son to help them?" Ranma asked from his seat next to Akane. He had known from the instant the well-dressed owner of the Nerima Museum of History had come to the Tendou home, that it was going to be nothing but trouble. Sure enough, after the gentleman explained the situation and showed them the challenge letter that was signed, 'Three Sexy Ninja Girls', Ranma's worst concerns became reality.
A long sigh escaped Ranma's lips. "Oh well, ninjas aren't that bad. I can handle them, no problem. As long as they ain't cursed to turn into giant flying bulls or something," he quickly added.
"Count me in," Akane stood up and quickly volunteered.
"I guess you can come along," Ranma reluctantly agreed. Ninjas did have a tendency to be a handful, as his fight against Konatsu had proven. But then again, Ranma could be a handful as well. Still, he was surprised his warning senses would have gone off so loudly when he woke up. Three ninjas, especially girls, wouldn't be that much of a problem. It could have been worse. Much worse.
"Hey, Ranchan. I'll tag along and help out."
"I would consider it an honor to let me assist you as well. I think I could be of use against ninjas, given my training in such matters."
"Where the beauteous Akane Tendou goes, the great Tatewaki Kunou shall ever be at her side.Ē
"And where my beloved Ranma-sama goes, so to shall the Black Rose follow."
"Shampoo help her airen."
"Damn you, Saotome! How dare you lure Shampoo into danger. Now I'm going to have to go along, too."
Oh, yes. Now this was exactly the sort of thing that would have given him the morning jitters.
"Where did you all come from?" Takayami asked.
"Mind your own business!" Kunou snapped.
Ranma was smarter, and knew there wasn't any point in trying to figure how they all knew to come by at the worst possible moment. Sudden appearances by people he knew were about par for the course. This was an exceptionally large batch, surprisingly including the often-underutilized Konatsu.
Looking at everyone watching him either expectantly or angrily, Ranma found himself sorely tempted to return to his bedroom and go back to sleep. But no, he had said he was going to help protect the valuables at the museum, and he would. No matter how much it hurt.
"Where's Ryouga?" Akane asked.
"I'm sure he'll turn up at some point. He always does," Ranma said tiredly. It would be best to just leave now. The longer so many diverse personalities were left together, the more likely it was something wrong would occur and things would be hit with bone-crushing force. Things like Ranma Saotome.
Night was just starting to fall by the time Ranma managed to get the squabbling group out of the Tendou home and on their way to the museum. Actually, leaving could have been a lot worse. He only had to deal with one Shampoo glomp, a Kodachi/Ukyou skirmish, two offers by Akane to fix something up for all of the guests, one bokken thrust from Kunou, and two threats from Mousse, the last one having accidentally been delivered to Kasumi, which had the effect of Soun going demon-head on the near-blind male Amazon and Mousse behaving himself the rest of the time. Not bad at all.
Okay, more like 'not as bad as it could have been'.
Ranma pulled away from the rest of the group, saving himself the hassle of any jealous squabbles or attempted signs of affection towards him. Instead, the group was left to its own little mix of inane banter. Ranma had just turned the corner when the water pail lady nailed him with some water. Unfazed, Ranma-chan continued onward as the others turned the corner and followed behind once again, Kodachi protesting about the evil female Ranma having replaced the man version, and Kunou doing the reverse. Arguments about curses began to erupt from the group; just what Ranma-chan had come to expect.
The redhead mumbled, "I feel like Snow White leading the Seven Dwarves."
A voice from behind chimed, "Hi, ho."
Another voice, deeper in pitch, joined in from behind as well, "Hiiii, Ho."
Now in chorus, it began. "Hi, ho. Hi, ho. It's off to work—"
"STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!" Ranma-chan shouted as she turned around and shook her fist at everyone, trying desperately to get their attention. "Is this a fic done by Eric Hallstrom?"
The group looked at each other. Once at a consensus, Akane spoke for the group. "No."
"Right. That means there will be no musical numbers. None whatsoever. I don't even want to see the title of a song in this. You got that?!"
"What about dancing, Ranma-sama?"
"No dancing either. If I see even a hint of dancing, I'm out of here. I'm not joking. We'll see how hot you guys do without me then."
"You no fun, airen."
Seeing everyone looking depressed at the ultimatums, Ranma-chan took a deep breath, and said, "Look, if we're going to confront a bunch of ninjas, we ought to get an idea of what they might try to pull. Since we got our own genuine ninja along, I think we should have Konatsu give us a few pointers in fighting them." Ranma indicated Konatsu should step forward.
Konatsu seemed taken aback. Almost no one ever used him in a fic, especially one that didn't focus on Ukyou, and he was at least momentarily the center of attention. It was all a bit overwhelming.
Composing himself, he began to instruct his companions. "Now then. The first thing you must all learn is that a ninja — all ninja, but especially kunoichi — are very tricky. Much, much trickier than the usual martial artist opponent you might fight. For example, Ranma, would you please step forward?"
Ranma-chan did as she was asked.
Konatsu again took up his instructional stance. "As I was saying, ninjas can be…" Konatsu trailed off as he suddenly gave a wide-eyed stare above Ranma-chan's head and shouted, "Look out! It's a falling barrel of Nanniichuan!"
"What?! Where? Where?" Ranma-chan's eyes scanned the skies overhead. A moment later, a fist connected with her mid-section, momentarily knocking the wind out of her. After taking a second to regain her breath, she leveled an angry stare at her attacker: Konatsu. "What did you do that for?!"
"That was a ninja trick. And a basic one at that," Konatsu said, as though talking to a four-year-old child with a lobotomy. "You have to be very careful. As I said, ninjas are tricky. They might try…" Konatsu trailed off as he suddenly stared above Ranma-chan's head and shouted, "Look out! It's a falling Dojo Destroyer!"
"Yeah, right," Ranma-chan smirked. "Like I'm going to fall for that one again."
Konatsu crossed his arms and smiled satisfactorily. "I see that you have indeed learned—"
A falling Dojo Destroyer landed directly on Ranma-chan's head.
"—absolutely nothing," Konatsu finished. "You see, I knew you would have thought you learned your lesson after falling for that trick before. Therefore I knew you wouldn't bother to look up when there really was a Dojo Destroyer falling right for you."
"Wow. I never knew ninjas could be so tricky," Ukyou whispered to Akane, who nodded her head in agreement.
The large Dojo Destroyer picked himself up off Ranma-chan's partially buried form. He brushed some of the dust off his white gi, then looked at the results of his handiwork.
With a grunt of exertion the redhead pried herself out of the ground and stared evilly at the large man. "What the hell were you doing falling out of the sky and landing on me?!"
"I couldn't very well fall up, now could I?" the Dojo Destroyer retorted.
"Uh, well," Ranma-chan said hesitantly.
The Dojo Destroyer continued. "I mean, there I'd be, breaking the very laws of gravity. And then there's the whole problem with falling upwards and ending up in the upper atmosphere. There's no oxygen to breathe up there, you know?"
Ranma-chan tried coming up with something to say. "Well, you did land pretty hard on me."
The Dojo Destroyer became indignant. "Hard on you? How do you think I felt? I was the one doing the falling, and your head's none too soft. The next thing you know, you'd probably be expecting me to break the laws of inertia too, and all because you hurt your head. Screw the natural order. Ranma Saotome doesn't want to take a tiny little bump, so it doesn't matter how many laws of the universe you break, just so long as he can have his own way."
"I didn't say that!" Ranma-chan protested.
The Dojo Destroyer shot her a disgusted look. "I hope you're happy with yourself." He turned and began walking away. Ranma-chan shouted apologies and said that he could fall out of the sky anytime and land on her, and she wouldn't complain at all. But it was too late. The Dojo Destroyer didn't look back and continued onward.
Ranma-chan looked back at her friends, who stared at her as though she had inflicted some great offense. "It's not my fault, really!"
Konatsu gave a sad shake of his head. "I think I'll use someone else. Someone who's nicer," he emphasized the last word, then moved over to Mousse. "Would you like to help me?"
"Of course, unlike some people, I wouldn't complain about a Dojo Destroyer falling on my head." Mousse shot Ranma-chan a dirty look, which earned one right back from the redhead.
"Take off your glasses," Konatsu instructed.
"Sure." Mousse did as he was told. Konatsu flicked his wrist, producing a can of mace from the sleeves of his ninja outfit, and proceeded to spray some in Mousse's eyes. The effect was instantaneous as Mousse began running around screaming, "Ahhh! I'm blind! I'm blind!"
"Stupid Mousse," Shampoo grumbled. "You is always blind when you no wear your glasses."
"Oh, right," Mousse said calmly as he stopped running around.
A Dojo Destroyer fell on him.
"Let's move under this building's overhang," Konatsu said, leading all but the flattened Mousse to it. "As you can see, ninjas can be very tricky. Let's move onto another example. Now Shampoo—"
Shampoo immediately punched him in the jaw, flattening him with the blow.
The others stared at her in surprise. They began to protest the ninja's treatment at her hands, when Konatsu started to rise, saying, "As you can see, Shampoo has learned the best defense in not falling for a ninja trick: never give them a chance to use one. Now let me—"
A spatula blow to the head cut off the rest of Konatsu's statement. Ukyou smiled at him and said, "How was that?"
Konatsu started to pick himself up again. "Quite good, but you see, the lesson is—"
Akane kicked him in the gut, winding him and sending him back down. "Wow! This is easy."
"Wait," Konatsu gasped. "The lessons are over. You don't need to hit—"
"My turn," Kodachi shouted gleefully as she wrapped a length of her ribbon around Konatsu's legs and whipped him into a nearby storefront, breaking the window with his body.
"I think I should get in some practice too," Ranma-chan said as she cracked her knuckles and began punching the fallen ninja. She was quickly joined by Kunou and Mousse as the trio proceeded to get as much anti-ninja practice as they could before they arrived at the museum.
"Thanks a lot for helping us out, Konatsu. I don't know what we'd have done without you. You're an okay guy." Ranma-chan slapped the ninja on the back. It was a little difficult, since Konatsu's unconscious form was draped over Ukyou's back.
Ranma-chan noticed Ukyou straining slightly under her burden. She had carried him almost the entire way to the museum. "You look a little tired there, Ucchan. Want some help?"
Ukyou's eyes nearly glistened in joy; her Ranchan was offering to help her. Of all the people there, he had chosen her. "Sure, Ranchan."
"Okay." Ranma-chan gave her a smile, then turned away and shouted, "Hey, Akane. Ukyou's feeling a little tired, so carry Konatsu for a while."
"Since when did I become a beast of burden?" Akane shouted back.
"Oh, excuse me," The redhead said in exaggerated tones. "I thought you wanted to be treated seriously as a martial artist, but if carrying just one scrawny little ninja is too much for you to handle—"
Akane was at Ukyou's side in an instant, practically ripping Konatsu from her grasp. "I can carry him, no sweat."
"That's the spirit," Ranma-chan slapped Akane on the back as the two walked side-by-side the rest of the way to the museum, leaving Ukyou to feel cheated somehow.
Akane didn't have to carry the ninja for long as the group arrived at the museum minutes later. Konatsu recovered enough to stand on his own and joined the others in staring at their destination.
Most of the eyes took in the structure for the first time in their lives, having been unaware of the presence of a museum in Nerima. The stone edifice of the building was slate gray, with a series of giant Roman-style columns adorning the front of the building. Two huge doors made of solid gold dominated the entryway. Dark runes etched in a dry, flaky red substance marred the surface of the doors. A multitude of gargoyles, all of them carved from pure obsidian, their mirrored surfaces shining with an unholy gleam, stared at the group from their perches along the ledges of the building. Their obscene appearance was an abomination to the senses, and gazing at the darkness within them, a veil of endless night that seemed to stretch into forever, gave the looker the impression that their soul would be devoured in the pits of Hell for an eternity.
"Kawaii," Kodachi moaned, clapping her hand together in girlish delight. "Brother dear, remind me to purchase one of these delightful statues once we are finished helping Ranma-sama tonight."
Kunou sighed in the direction of his sister. Ranma-chan opened the door to the museum, not even bothering to use the demonhead door knocker that lay among the carved bas-reliefs of men, women, and bizarre fusions of both man and animal engaged in various positions of carnal lust with one another.
"Unusual museum," Ukyou commented as she crossed the threshold with the others.
Inside, the museum appeared much more normal, with a lobby and ticket booth just on the other side of the doors. A white-gray marble lined the floor, and the walls were painted in a soft eggshell color that was very soothing on the eyes. Several displays of various ancient wares and artworks lined the lobby. Beyond the booth, the others could see posted signs that indicated what was within the various rooms throughout the museum. There was no one else present.
"Let's get inside." Ranma-chan led the way. The group had passed just beyond the ticket booth when, in a cloud of smoke and brimstone, a repulsive, scaly four-limbed monster with five eyes and three mouths in various positions upon its face, appeared hovering in mid-air several feet in front of the short redhead.
The monstrosity started to laugh, but ended up only coughing when it breathed in too much of the residual smoke from its teleport. After several seconds of clearing its lungs, it said in a surprisingly melodious voice, "Fools, at last you have fallen into my carefully laid trap."
Everyone tensed up at the declaration. Ranma-chan said, "That's one nasty-looking ninja."
"I'm no ninja!" the creature bellowed. "I am something far more evil and much less tricky than any mere ninja. I am your doom, my foolish prey. For a long time have I waited, allowing my power to increase geometrically so that I could succeed. It doesn't matter how many other of my brethren have fallen to your powers, my mistress, Queen Beryl, at last will succeed in killing all of yo—"
"Whoa, whoa! Time out here, Mister!" Ranma-chan said as she moved within three feet of the hovering monster. "Queen Beryl? You're a youma, aren't you?"
The youma stared at the redhead, dumbfounded for a moment. "Uh, well, yes, I am."
Ranma-chan nodded her head in understanding. "Right. Then you want Sailor Moose."
"Sailor Moon," Akane corrected.
"Whatever. I don't really pay attention to that magical girl crap anyhow." Ranma-chan waved dismissively towards her.
"You're not the Sailor Senshi?" the youma asked.
"Ha!" Ranma-chan laughed. "I'd sooner be dead then caught in a fuku, and I think I speak for everyone here when I say that goes for all of us."
"Actually, I think I'd look rather good in a fuku," Konatsu mentioned.
"Okay, everyone but the ninja cross-dresser," the redhead corrected.
Looking over everyone, and discerning a significant lack of magical girls, the youma realized the redhead was telling the truth. "Shit!" it cursed. "I thought for certain the Sailor Senshi were going to pop up here. Isn't this the Juuban Museum of History?"
"Nope. It's the Nerima Museum of History," Ranma-chan explained.
"Odd. I felt something drawing me to this location and assumed it was the right place," the youma grumbled, feeling hopelessly embarrassed at the faux pas. "I'm terribly sorry to have troubled you."
"Don't worry," Ranma-chan said in a nonchalant tone. "Happens to everyone."
The youma shook all four of its hands with Ranma-chan in appreciation at the clarification, then began to fly off towards the doors. It had just passed Akane when it stopped and stared curiously at her for a second. "Say, did you know you look just like—"
"Don't say it," Akane said through gritted teeth.
"But she—" the creature began.
"Do not say it," Ranma-chan warned. "She hates it when people compare her to 'that unnamable person'."
"But she looks just like—"
"Do it and you'll be sorry," the redhead warned again.
"—Sailor Mercury," the youma finally got out.
"AHHH!" Akane shouted, grabbing the creature by its leg and whipping it into the ground as though it was a rag doll. The blow shattered the marble floor beneath it and cracked some of the youma's armor plates. Everyone else gave Akane a wide berth as she picked the creature up and began annihilating it.
"I donít look a thing like her!" *SMACK* "We have the same haircut and people automatically go," *THUD* "'Oh, they look just alike. They could be twins'." *CRACK* "We have a lousy superficial resemblance to one another and everyone thinks I should—" *THUMP* "—start running around, blowing bubbles at every Youma that comes by trying to hit me with a mistrust beam or some other lame-o attack!" *SWAT* "I am sick and tired of it! I am a martial artist; a serious one!" * KABOOM* "And damn it, I am not going to take that sort of crap anymore!"
Five eyes gazed through a veil of pain at Akane. The twitching remains of the youma managed to get out, "Sorry about… that. Now *Wheeze* that I… think about it… you don't. *Gasp* Look anything… like… *Urk* her." The creature's eyes drifted shut and a raspy rattle shook from all three of its mouths.
"Apology accepted," Akane said to her fallen foe in its last moments of existence.
Just as Akane was about to give a prayer for its soul, the youma's eyes shot back open and it pointed at Ranma-chan, saying, "But that redhead would make the perfect Sailor Earth."
The building shook with the force of a Perfect Mouko Takabisha incinerating a youma.
"I don't look a thing like Sailor Mud," Ranma-chan grumbled as she used some hot water to change her back to her proper form.
"Now what we do?" Shampoo asked.
Ranma considered that. "Since this is a big museum, and we're going to have to deal with multiple opponents, I think we should split up into teams and cover more ground that way."
"Is good plan," Shampoo said. "Shampoo team up with Ranma. Everyone else can get into other teams." She moved to glomp onto Ranma, but was cut off by a spatula thrust in her direction.
"Ranchan is going with me, not you, you Amazon hussy."
A length of ribbon coiled itself around Ranma's arm. "I'm afraid Ranma-sama wouldn't want to associate with two such simple-minded peons. He shall conduct his search with me at his side."
Akane pulled out a pair of scissors and cut the offending ribbon. "I was the first one to volunteer to help Ranma out, therefore I should be the one teamed up with him."
A vocal argument began to ensue, panicking Ranma more by the second. Lately, even he could not help noticing how things in the fiancée wars had been heating up, but this was too much. No matter which one he went with, only doom, in the form of the other three, would follow. He had to escape them all, right now.
"Where am I?" a voice called out as a figure came from around the corner of the ancient weapons exhibit.
"Ryouga! How contrived— I mean, how convenient," Ranma quickly corrected. Moving his head closer to the lost boy, he whispered, "We've got to get out of here. I'll explain things as we go."
"Why do I have to go with you?" Ryouga asked suspiciously.
Ranma knew if he told Ryouga, the truth, the lost boy would accuse him of betraying Akane or something else equally stupid. He had to think fast. "Because if you don't, the odds of me getting hit in the head and acting like a girl again are good, and guess which guy I'll come on to."
Ryouga shuddered. "I have to go away with Ranma right now!" he announced to everyone.
Ranma smiled at his own genius. He'd have to remember that one for future reference the next time he needed Ryouga to do something for him.
"Wait a minute," Akane protested. "What are we supposed to do then?"
"I don't care," Ranma said. "Split up however you want, but it's just going to be Ryouga and me as a team."
Akane saw Kunou looking at her and felt uneasy. Shampoo saw Mousse looking at her and felt annoyed. Ukyou saw Konatsu looking at her, and whereas she didn't mind it, didn't want Ranma getting the wrong idea about her and the ninja. The three girls all looked at each other and nodded their heads in agreement.
"Us girls are forming our own group," Ukyou said.
"Why must I lower myself by going with you?" Kodachi asked.
"Because Ranma obviously isn't going to let you tag along, and there's only one alternative to us," Akane said.
Kodachi looked over at the group of boys: a blind twit, a cross-dressing ninja, and the worst of the lot, her brother.
"I'm flattered that you're willing to accept me into your party." Kodachi moved closer to the other girls.
Konatsu looked at his companions and shrugged. He would rather have joined Ukyou, but would never voice such a thing. He moved closer to Mousse and Kunou, then loudly announced to everyone, "Since we're dealing with kunoichi, they might be dressed like me. Therefore I'm going to tie this gold ribbon around my arm so you'll know it's me instead of one of the enemy."
"Good thinking," Ranma agreed, then proceeded to head off with Ryouga. All of the girls gave irritated looks in his direction, then proceeded to make their way to the lower levels of the museum. Kunou declared himself leader of his expedition and proceeded on the only course left, that of the upper levels.
The hunt was finally on.
To be continued.
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