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: email@example.com
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
Akane, Ukyou, Shampoo, and Kodachi conducted their search of the lower floors quickly and thoroughly, with little in the way of arguments erupting among them. Convinced there were no ninjas currently residing in the museum's lower floors, the quartet went into the basement and conducted a search in the bowels of the building.
For the first few minutes, the search turned up little, other than extra relics that couldn't fit in the museum proper. As the girls were in the process of examining several of the storage rooms, they uncovered a large, moldy, rusted metal grating in the floor. The smell indicated it led directly to the sewers below. There were signs of the ancient covering having been moved recently.
"So they're already in the building," Ukyou said.
"Look again," Kodachi warned. "Some of the mold has grown around the edge of the grating. It has been moved recently, true, but not for at least a couple of days."
"That mean this is way they going to come in," Shampoo said.
"Or one of the ways the kunoichi scouted out in advance to see what alarms might be here," Ukyou said.
"Maybe," Akane admitted. "In any case, we're going to have to go down there and search for ourselves. If we're lucky and they're going to use this way to get in, we can grab them before they get into the museum. That'll show Ranma and the others us girls can hold our own."
Shampoo recoiled in horror as Akane lifted the grating and proceeded to climb down. "What you doing?!" she asked, horrified.
Akane stared at her in confusion. "We're going into the sewer so we can take care of those kunoichi before they can get up here."
Shampoo shook her head furiously. "No way! Is you stupid?"
"What's that supposed to mean?" Akane shot back.
In a low hiss, the Amazon said, "Shampoo know the truth. She hear the stories."
"What stories?" Akane asked.
"That there packs of rabid albino alligators down there. Is deathtrap for sure."
Akane, Ukyou, and Kodachi all stared at Shampoo for a moment, then broke out into uproarious laughter. Ukyou was the first to recover enough to speak. "Wah ha ha! I'd have never thought you were so gullible as to believe those stupid urban legends. Ha ha!"
"Is no legend. Is true," Shampoo insisted.
Akane managed to maintain a more polite decorum, only snorting when she said, "Shampoo, it is just a myth. There are no albino alligators, let along rabid packs of them, roaming around in the sewers."
"Is just a trap you three try to make on Shampoo so she no win Ranma's heart."
Kodachi gave a sniff of derision in Shampoo's direction as she turned to the others. "It's not the backwoods barbarian's fault. She is from the middle of nowhere. She's lucky to even understand the term 'urban'. If she lacks the courage to follow us, then so be it. It will be one less person to get in our way."
Kodachi forced her way past Akane and went down into the sewers. Ukyou followed. Akane gave one last look towards Shampoo. "Are you sure you aren't going to come down?"
"No way! Is you funeral."
Akane shrugged and went down into the dimly lit sewers. Perhaps it was just as well. There was a large amount of water running down the middle of the first tunnel they entered. Given Shampoo's curse, she would have been a cat within minutes no matter what precautions she would have taken, although the Amazon was behaving like a total coward. At least now Akane had something to rub in Shampoo's face the next time she tried pulling her superiority act on her.
"I do not see why I must travel with the likes of you. Why can I not accompany Akane Tendou?"
"Because she doesn't like you, you moron." Mousse gave a sigh. It was just his luck to end up stuck with the perverted ninja and that bokken-wielding headcase. Why couldn't he have traveled at his beloved Shampoo's side, where he truly belonged? It just wasn't fair that by the time he put his glasses back on, Shampoo had already disappeared and he had ended up stuck searching with those two helpless losers in love.
"Fool! The only reason she expresses reluctance to our inevitable pairing is due to the accursed Saotome's sorcerous influence."
"Ha!" Mousse shot back, already sick and tired of Kunou's ranting. "You're more blind than I am without my glasses. Even if that damn Ranma wasn't around, she would still reject you out of hand, just like she always did before she met him. She's never given you the faintest hint that she has any interest in you whatsoever. Get a clue. It's obvious that you're wasting both her time and yours. The two of you will never be a couple. All you're doing is annoying her, so you might as well leave her alone."
"And exactly how does that differ from your relationship with Shampoo?" Konatsu asked.
Mousse turned on Konatsu and shouted into the ninja's face. "Those relationship are nothing alike! Shampoo loves me and just has problems showing it! She's been blinded by that lying Casanova, Saotome! I'm the only one that she truly loves! I'll show you! By the end of the night, she shall declare her love for me! I swear it!"
Kunou left Mousse to laugh maniacally to himself. What a twisted individual, juxtaposing his own self-deluded relationship with the Amazon with the loving one he had with Akane. It was obvious to anyone that Mousse should have taken his own advice and left the purple-haired Amazon alone. He did nothing but annoy the girl, after all.
As Kunou wandered alone into an ancient Japan exhibit, he came across a large display within a glass case that dominated the center of the room. Inside was a full set of ancient samurai armor, complete with a katana by its side. The armor appeared to be in pristine condition, not showing the slightest sign of its age. It could have been worn by a warrior the day before. Truly, a remarkable exhibit.
Now those were the days, Kunou thought to himself as he admired the armor. Back then, he could have taken a real katana to that impudent Saotome and chased him off for good, or thrown him in prison for being a sorcerer. And all of the people would have fallen at Kunou's feet, worshipping him as befit a warrior of his noble birth. And Akane Tendou and the pig-tailed girl would have both been his wives or concubines; it didn't really matter, he held them both in equal esteem.
[Don me and you shall attain those noble dreams you so richly deserve.]
Kunou looked around in confusion. That had been neither Konatsu nor Mousse's voice. The words had sounded off somehow, as though they had been spoken to directly into his mind. And where had the voice come from? It was loud enough to have been from someone standing right next to him, but no one else was even in sight.
[It was I, the Armor of Kintaro Dhoom.]
Kunou gave a snort of derision. "Impossible. Armor does not speak."
[Unless it's magical.]
"Good point," Kunou acceded.
[As I was saying, put me on, and you shall be given the power of Kintaro Dhoom himself, he who slew the great and mighty Himura Kenshin.]
"It is my understanding that Himura Kenshin died of old age, in his bed," Kunou said.
[Ah,] the voice hesitated for a second. [All right, I didn't kill him, but I maimed him pretty bad.]
"It was reputed that he was still a whole man when he died."
[I did too maim him. It was in a bar that my owner, who was roaring drunk, challenged Kenshin. Needless to say, Kenshin didn't take him seriously. When my owner attacked, the drunk slipped and fell to the floor. The unexpected move caught Kenshin off-guard, and when the katana slipped from my owner's grasp, it cut off the scar-cheeked bugger's little toe.]
"That's not much of a maiming."
[It's better than anyone else managed on the little red-haired geek.]
"That is indeed true," Kunou acceded yet again. "Ordinarily, the great Tatewaki Kunou would not resort to increasing his already magnificent talents through magical means, but since it's obvious Saotome employs sorcery at every turn, I shall lower myself this one time. What must I do?"
The armor glowed, and the door to the case opened on its own accord. [Put me on, and I shall increase your power a hundredfold. You will become the mightiest warrior the world has ever known, able to destroy all of your foes with but a single blow from your mighty sword.]
"But you were unable to best Kenshin," Kunou pointed out.
[Only because my owner was drop-dead drunk at the time, else we would have defeated him for certain. I know it had nothing to do with me possessing him and controlling his mind.]
Kunou looked at the armor suspiciously. "What was that about possessing him and controlling his mind?"
Hesitation crept into the armor's 'voice'. [Ah, did I say I was possessing and controlling him? I meant the alcohol was possessing him and controlling him. Yes. That was what I meant. The alcohol did all of that, not me. Really.]
"Are you sure that was what you meant?"
[Hey, I'm magic armor. I'd never lie to you. I just want to serve an icon of virtue, a noble warrior like yourself. I've been waiting centuries for just the sort of champion like you to come along so I can take over… I mean so we can show everyone what a hero among heroes you are.]
Kunou continued staring suspiciously at the armor, then smiled. "Of course you would. What magic armor could resist a warrior of my wit and charms? Truly it was destiny for us to meet. Let it be known from this day forward that The Blue Thunder, Tatewaki Kunou, will never be bested by mortal man again."
"What was that?"
[Ah, everyone else is going to suck next to us.]
"That didn't sound like what you said."
[That was what I meant. What did you think I was saying? That you're a sucker for putting me on so I can possess you and then rule the world simply using your pathetic butt as a vessel for my evil power? It sounds like paranoia to me.]
"I guess that does sound silly," Kunou admitted. "Very well. I shall put you on and together we shall conquer the accursed Saotome and free Akane Tendou and the pig-tailed girl from his evil clutches."
Kunou completed his posturing and took the magical item out of the exhibit case. Carefully he began donning the elaborate set of armor. "It seems a little tight," he wheezed out.
[That would probably be because I was fitted for someone five centimeters shorter and sixty pounds lighter than you. But don't worry, I'll fit. You just have to squeeze.]
"Of course." Kunou sucked in his breath and proceeded to force the armor onto his body. It seemed to take forever. He had to use his bokken numerous times to pry it into position, and the straps connecting the pieces were at the breaking point, but by the time he was finished, Kunou had managed to get the armor completely on.
Barely able to breathe, and afraid to move for fear of snapping the straps, Kunou gasped out, "So when do I get this increase in power?"
[Right now. MUAHAHAHAHA!] the armor gave off the sinister laugh it had been saving for the last hundred-plus years as it exerted its curse and proceeded to take over the mind of Tatewaki Kunou. What luck to have been brought to the museum by the other, whose own plans were now finished thanks to the armor. At last the armor had what it needed, a gullible twit to possess and its full magical power with which to rule the world. During its last possession, mankind had gotten lucky when the cursed armor was tricked into getting its vessel drunk and killed by Kenshin. Now there would be no such mistakes. The armor would do it right this time, taking things over first, and then getting drunk in celebration.
"And as a favor to this lowly vessel, I shall proceed to dispatch this Ranma Saotome person." Possessed Kunou laughed at his own generosity.
"There you are."
Possessed Kunou turned to see two beings enter the exhibit room, a man wearing some white robes and a female ninja. The female looked like a major babe, too. Possessed Kunou wondered if this was one of the girls the vessel had wanted. The fool had demonstrated remarkably good taste if such was the case.
Mousse frowned in irritation at the odd way Kunou seemed to be looking at him. And what was with the glowing gold aura that surrounded the self-proclaimed True Blunder? "Come on, you deluded fool. We have to keep searching for those ninjas."
"Deluded fool?!" Possessed Kunou bellowed. "How dare you refer to me in such an insulting manner! I shall burn your body to ashes and consume your soul for all time!"
"You mean make me listen to you recite poetry? I don't think so," Mousse replied.
"That wasn't what I meant!" Possessed Kunou raged as the golden glow doubled in intensity. Within seconds his most lethal move, The Death Blast, was charged up. All he had to do was touch the loud-mouthed braggart and both body and soul would be obliterated forever. It would be the first of many, many deaths that would soon follow. All who dared stand in Possessed Kunou's way would suffer. Everyone.
Possessed Kunou tensed up, then leaped high into the air, drawing his hand back as he prepared to lash out once the robed one was close enough to touch.
Mousse remained where he was, watching impassively.
"Now you die!" Possessed Kunou screamed as he lashed viciously forward with his hand…
…only to have the movement cause all of the straps holding the armor in place to break simultaneously, causing every piece of it to go flying across the room. By the time Kunou touched Mousse, the glow surrounding his body had vanished.
Mousse looked down at the finger touching his breast. He grabbed Kunou's hand, forcing it away. "I'm not a touchy-feely person, okay?"
Kunou looked around in confusion. "Curious. For some odd reason, I have this insatiable desire to rule the world."
"Is it just me, or is that armor over there crying?" Konatsu asked as he stared at the breastplate — which was indeed weeping — lying near one of the other exhibits.
"Pay it no mind," Kunou said stoically. "If it could not remain upon the frame of Tatewaki Kunou, then obviously it was not destined for greatness."
"Let's get going," Mousse said as the trio ignored the sobbing armor and set off to look for kunoichi again.
Light reflected off the tunnels as Ukyou held her flashlight before her, twin beams coming from behind her joining the third as the trio made their way through the ancient sewer system. It was nice of Kodachi to give her and Akane two other flashlights, though who knew how the gymnast managed to somehow keep them in that tight leotard of hers.
"You know, with all of our talk before about rabid albino alligators, I really expected to be jumped by a pack of them by now. I mean, that's the sort of thing that usually happens," Akane said.
"Now you're being just plain silly," Ukyou chided as the trio continued on their way.
"If we haven't found these ninja harridans by now, perhaps they aren't in the sewers after all," Kodachi offered from the rear of the pack.
"Maybe," Ukyou admitted reluctantly. "It looks like the tunnel opens up in another twenty feet. Let's take a look in there, and if there aren't any ninja, we'll head back."
The trio emerged into a large, fifty-foot radius circular chamber that seemed to serve as some sort of hub, since a multitude of other tunnels led from that central point. Within the center of the chamber, on a large twenty foot section of concrete that was raised above the sludge on the floor, were a number of wooden crates stacked all about. Several of them having been cracked open and spilled some greenish substance on the concrete of the floor where it was slowly running down the concrete and into the sewer water.
Akane moved closer to one of the intact crates. There seemed to be some sort of inscription on the boxes. She avoided the spilled substance and rubbed off the slime that had accumulated on the surface of the crate, reading the letters underneath.
"I think I remember that acronym," Kodachi said as she looked over Akane's shoulder and read the letters. "There was some sort of scandal a while back. Evidently, some unscrupulous chemical plant disposed of their excess toxic waste in the sewers underneath Nerima in order to save money. C.H.U.D. was their name for the project. It stood for 'Chemical Hazard Urban Disposal'."
"It looks like they missed some," Akane said.
The pair heard the rattle of metal on metal behind them. Turning, they saw that Ukyou was shaking so badly that her throwing spatulas in her bandoleer were clanging together. "I remember that C.H.U.D stood for something else too. Apparently the toxic chemicals mutated some of the homeless people that lived in the sewers, turning them into a sort of Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller, also named C.H.U.D. for short. The paper said all of them were caught, though." That seemed to relax her slightly as she stopped shivering.
Kodachi cleared her throat. "Am I to understand that there are homeless people that live in the sewers?"
"Some do," Akane said slowly.
"Forgive me, but due to my own status in life, I have had no contact with homeless people. Do they normally appear to be about six feet tall, weigh about three hundred pounds, have green scaly flesh, glowing eyes, and sharp teeth?"
"No," Ukyou replied.
"I see. Then I guess it would be these C.H.U.D. things, as you so delightfully termed them, that have us completely surrounded."
Akane and Ukyou's eyes widened as they slowly, inexorably, turned around to see close to thirty C.H.U.D.s licking their lips and spilling drool on the floor.
As far as ten blocks away, three screams of "AHHHHH!" came out of every manhole cover located between the Nerima Museum of History and the downtown area of the district.
Two old men, who were walking down the street, looked down at the manhole cover nearest to them. One turned to the other and gave a sad shake of his head. "What's the world coming to when young women can't wander around sewers without having Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers terrorizing them?"
His friend could only nod his head in agreement at the statement. Things were definitely better in the old days.
Three kunoichi stood outside the Nerima Museum of History, staring at its stony edifice as clouds darkened the midnight sky above, obscuring the full moon that lay overhead and sheltering everything in a cloak of nearly impenetrable darkness. Even the streetlights did little to push black the oppressive gloom, their soft amber glow suffocated by the encroaching night.
"Why aren't we trying to enter this place through the sewers again?" Tai asked.
Mai sighed. "Let me spell it out for you. C-H-U-D."
Tai cocked her head curiously. "Those guys that were chasing us were Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers?"
"Of course!" Mai shouted back. "Even a complete moron could tell they weren't human. What did you think they were?"
Tai shrugged. "I thought they were just creeps trying to come onto me. A lot of the guys I date try to eat me alive, not that I can blame them. I can be quite the mouthful. Heh, heh."
Mai and B.J. sighed. Their sister was unquestionably a tramp, and not a picky one either. Considering the fact she had gone out on at least one date every night of her training, it was a miracle she or any of the male ninja cadets had a chance at graduating. Hell, Tai probably had dated cannibals before.
"Have you two figured out how you'll get in?" B.J. asked.
"I'm going to use Standard Ninja Move Five to get into the museum," Mai said.
B.J. stared at her flatly. "Not looking like that, you're not."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Mai looked at her outfit. It was the standard black ninja gear she always wore.
"It's… it's just that it's so drab," B.J. complained. "You need to do something to offset that plain black."
"Because we might have to fight off security guards," B.J. said, "and you're my sister. I want you to make a good impression."
"I'm not wearing any of that gaudy crap you always do." Mai still wanted to recoil in horror at the pea-green and red ensemble that her sister was currently wearing. It looked like something Tai would toss up after drinking too much on one of her dates.
"Here then. It's by Adidas." B.J. pulled out a yellow ribbon and tied it to Mai's arm. Looking her sister over once, the gaudily dressed ninja smiled in satisfaction. "Now that's better."
Mai looked at the ribbon and found herself smiling as well. It did look sort of nice with the placement and the way it contrasted with the rest of her outfit. "And how are you going in?" Mai asked B.J.
"In one of my ingenious disguises," B.J. answered.
"It is going to be an appropriate one this time, isn't it?" Tai asked.
"Of course," B.J. sniffed. "When do I ever disguise myself inappropriately?"
"There was that time you infiltrated an animal rights rally dressed as a fur trapper."
"Well, the disguise was perfect. I even clubbed several baby harp seals and carried their pelts with me to add authenticity."
"And there was that time you infiltrated a Neo-Nazi rally dressed as a Rabbi."
"I'll have you know my disguise was so convincing, I was asked to do a bris on the way over there."
"And the K.K.K. rally as a Gangsta Rapper?"
"I got a music contract, didn't I?"
Tai gave an exasperated sigh. "The point is none of those disguises were appropriate."
"Well this one is. I researched it thoroughly," B.J. assured her. "Now how about you. How are you going to get in?"
"Since disguises are so ridiculously easy to do," Tai sneered in B.J.'s direction. "I've decided to infiltrate the place in one as well."
B.J. looked her over. All Tai was wearing was her standard ninja costume (which meant no mask, since she refused to 'hide her good looks' as she loved to put it). There was no way she could have had another outfit with her, not as revealing as the one she had on. "What is it?"
"I'm wearing it."
B.J. examined her even more closely. "You're going in as a kunoichi?"
"No," Tai let out an exasperated sigh. "Look at my breast."
B.J. gave her a wide-eyed stare. "Look, that line might work when you're trying to pick up guys, but I am a girl, and your sister too! I have no sexual interest in you whatsoever!"
"I don't want you to look at it like that. I meant the material over my breast."
B.J. gave a warded look, but moved closer and examined the material. Her eyebrows furrowed upon seeing what Tai was referring to. "You've got to be kidding me."
"It's a good disguise," Tai insisted.
"Wearing one of those does not constitute a disguise!" B.J. shouted.
"We'll see," Tai smirked in response.
B.J. just gave up. Let Tai get caught; B.J. wouldn't care. The gaudily dressed kunoichi took a closer look at the museum they were preparing to infiltrate. "You know, this place looks different from the last time we were here."
Mai pulled a copy of the blueprints out from her uniform. "You're right. According to the blueprints, this building is not supposed to be in the shape of a pentagram."
Tai looked at the museum pensively. "There's definitely something wrong with this place, but I can't quite put my finger on it."
All three of the girls looked at the edifice of the building more closely. There were more than a hundred obsidian gargoyles adorning the outside now, all of them seeming to stare with malevolence at the 'intruders'. The kunoichi examined the large twin fountains that adorned the grounds at the front of the building. Blood was cascading from out of the granite sculptures of demons that were in various states of dismembering people.
"I know what it is," B.J. said, horror creeping into her voice as she at last realized what was wrong.
"What?" Mai and Tai asked as one.
"There's not enough parking here. There's only one lot over there and it can hold no more than thirty cars at the most."
"You're right," Tai gasped. "Thank god, I thought it was just me. What lousy planning."
With that truth revealed, Mai said, "Let's get going."
Satisfied, all three kunoichi commenced with sneaking (in very ninja-like ways) into the museum.
To be continued.
Author's notes: C.H.U.D. was actually a grade-B horror movie made in the mid-eighties in which the above basically happened (but it makes for such great fodder). ^_^;;
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