A Ranma ˝ / story by
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
"Ranma, get your ass back here!" Genma's shout was even farther off than it had last been. Ranma knew that he would eventually slow down and let his father catch up, then they would have a fight and as always the fat man would lose, but for now he enjoyed the simple pleasure of running his good-for-nothing father ragged.
The day bright and sunny, the clear blue sky free of clouds, and the city teemed with people out basking in the day's splendor. Ranma sprinted through a park full of little children and their parents, leapt across a four-lane-wide street that teemed with cars of all makes and models, and was about to leap across another street when he heard a loud scream and the sound of breaking glass and screeching brakes. He grabbed a lamppost and spun around it a couple times to kill his momentum, and ran around the corner to inspect the accident that must have just taken place.
Indeed, an accident had taken place. In fact, it was still taking place. Ranma couldn't help but watch in shock as a taxi lost control and careened into a small blue car. The blue car had come to a stop after apparently hitting a shorthaired girl in a school uniform. Ranma couldn’t see whether or not the girl was dead, but the taxi had almost driven the blue car over the girl's unmoving body.
Ranma reacted without thinking. He was at the girl's side in less than a second. She was bleeding somewhere under her dress and there was a nasty gash on her forehead from which blood ran freely, but she was breathing, if barely. Gently as he could, Ranma gathered her up into his arms and bunched his legs to carry them both to the relative safety of the sidewalk. All this had happened in mere moments, from Ranma's coming around the corner, to his rescue of the injured girl.
Unfortunately, Ranma's attention during those few precious moments was distracted from the world at large. He never saw the large tanker truck throw on brakes and flip over, and the sound was lost to him as adrenaline flowed rapidly through his veins. Ranma and his payload were not more than five feet off the ground when the fuel in the wrecked tanker ignited. The ball of fire was enormous and there was nothing Ranma could do as it engulfed him… but then it stopped.
Not only had the fire stopped. Everything had stopped. The flaming cloud that was to be the end of Ranma floated just as unmoving as the pigeon high overhead, which had been disturbed from its nest by the commotion below.
"He was meant for greater things that this pointless waste of life," a tall, elegant woman said as she stepped from within the shadow of a nearby building. Her glossy black hair billowed around her head in a non-existent wind like a halo.
"Much greater," a man said as he followed her. He too had long black hair, but his pure white robe was the exact opposite of his companion's jet black.
"He was to be my avatar, my representative on earth," the woman said sadly. "To think that the hardships I forced on him would come to such an end…" Tears glistened in her sapphire eyes.
"I know that his loss pains you, Chaos, but there are other mortals to whom you may bestow your blessing," the man said soothingly.
"Order, you know nothing of my loss," Chaos hissed. "His soul was born from the Void, like those of the Gods. This boy, Ranma, he would have ascended, he would have been my mate; but now he is lost, beyond your or my power."
"Chaos, if what you say is indeed true, then it should be but a simple matter to reincarnate him. You can be grooming your new God once again within the hour."
Chaos walked over to the stilled fire. With her delicate hand she scooped a mass of flame from the greater whole and held it before Order. With a simple breath she spread the flame into the air like a cloud of flour, the bright motes of light disappearing like dying fireflies. "Like that flame, Ranma's soul will be no more when it is removed from its shell."
"I fear that I am at a loss, Chaos." Order looked genuinely baffled.
Chaos sighed. "You are happy with your solitary existence, but I am not. I've spent the last three eons scouring the universe in search of an answer to my problem. I found it on a long-dead world at the edge of this galaxy. The gods of its dead inhabitants were not primal in nature, much like the lesser gods that inhabit Earth; they relied on their worshippers for power and life. When the worshippers died, so too did the gods, but they left behind records, both the race of beings that inhabited that world and their gods. In their history, three mortals ascended to lesser godhood. All of them were of the Void. Three others of the Void died before they reached power. The gods tried to reincarnate these souls, but failed in every attempt. Would you like to know why?" Order nodded. "The lives of Gods and men are of two different paths. Men live closer to the rules of existence; they can be harmed, and they can die, but they can heal from a wound, and they can bring new life into the world. Gods are the life brought forth from the universe, the Great Souls. We have no means with which to reproduce ourselves, and our own omnipotence means that we never suffer from injuries that require healing. Now picture a mortal; he lives his life, suffers his fair share of scrapes and bruises, and then he dies. His soul then free, is drawn to a soulless body and it lives again. A mortal such as Ranma, with his un-ripened God Soul, simply dies. His soul has no mechanism to inhabit another shell. So now do you see, Ranma is truly lost?" Tears streaked Chaos' face by the time she had finished.
"Chaos, I admit that your knowledge in this field exceeds my own, but my own expertise may offer a solution. It would not bring Ranma back to you, and he would never be your mate, but his body and soul would live on. He could even ascend to Godhood as you predict, although it would be of no benefit to you or this world."
Hope set Chaos' eyes afire. "What must be done? Tell me," she demanded.
"You froze time before Ranma could feel the wrath of the flame, and he lives still, as does the girl. It would be beyond even our reach to attempt rescuing him from the flames once time resumes. It would, however, be of little consequence if he was no longer within the flame to meet with Fate."
"You could severe Ranma's ties to this plane of existence easily, and I could re-order his being to that of another plane, one close enough to our own that he could survive, even thrive."
Chaos was nodding her head vigorously as Order finished. "We shall send the girl, too. There is no need in allowing her to die when she could be saved with absolutely no effort."
"Very well. Let us begin."
Ranma closed his eyes as he felt the flame licking at his flesh. It was so very hot! Then the heat was gone and a cool breeze was blowing gently across his sweaty brow. What had happened? Why wasn't he dead? Ranma opened his eyes. The night sky was full of unfamiliar stars. He felt moist grass beneath his fingers and couldn't help wondering if he had actually died. Heaven sure wasn't what he had been expecting. Maybe this was hell.
Ranma heard a small, feminine groan from his side. He looked over to see the girl he had nearly died to save. She was very pretty, he noticed, now that the blood was gone from her face. So too was the cut that the blood had originated from. Just what in hell was going on?
The girl's eyes fluttered open and she held a trembling hand to her face. She seemed amazed to be alive. She looked to Ranma and asked, "What happened?"
"You got hit by a car. I was carrying you to the sidewalk and something exploded. There was fire everywhere. Then I woke up and we were laying here, alive and kicking." He hoped that they were alive.
"Thanks, Ranma, for saving me. I'm Nabiki," She allowed Ranma to help her sit up. "Do you know where we are?"
Ranma shook his head. "I don't recognize any of the constellations."
A rustling in the bushes behind the pair drew their attention before either of them could speak further. Ranma was standing and in a tight fighting stance in a heartbeat.
"Easy there, young warrior. I'm just a harmless old man," said the man who stepped out of the brush. He was wearing a white robe that perfectly matched his snowy white beard and equally white hair.
"Did you bring us here?" Ranma asked, never dropping his stance. He had seen too many old men in his short life that possessed deadly martial skills to so easily dismiss this one.
"If only I could perform such a feat as the one that brought you and your lovely companion to my doorstep; but alas, the magical power that was emitted from your arrival was immense, completely beyond even my comprehension. I did, however, heal the wounds that you and your friend had received. Rather nasty burns, and you young lady should watch out for runaway horses, your skull was cracked and half your ribs were broken when I found you. I also took the liberty of repairing your clothes and growing your hair back." The old man stepped closer, allowing Ranma and Nabiki to see that the man wasn't just old; he was ancient. "Now, follow me, young ones. My name is Horvath, and you two are to be my guests while I seek an explanation to how you arrived. If I didn't know better, I would say it was divine intervention that brought you to me." Finished, Horvath used his walking staff to steady himself and headed back into the bushes.
Ranma looked to Nabiki and shrugged. She nodded in response to his unasked question and the two set off after Horvath. They found themselves on a small, slightly overgrown path in the forest floor as they passed beyond two bushes. Up ahead the old man's silhouette was visible against the dim light shining through the windows of a surprisingly large house. The path terminated in a small clearing that ringed the house in five meters of closely cropped grass on.
Horvath was standing at the open door with rich golden light pouring out around him. Ranma could distinctly smell cooking food within.
Horvath had watched in merry amusement as Ranma wolfed down his third helping of stew and as many pieces of bread. His lady friend, Nabiki, seemed just as amused, if not a little disgusted. Ranma and Nabiki had taken turns telling him off the events leading up to their arrival on Nox. The more he heard, the more Horvath believed his theory of divine intervention. The world they hailed from seemed to possess no magic that they were aware of, so the chances of someone transporting them to Nox in a last ditch effort to save them were slim. There was also the amount of magical energy he had felt. Two of his mana crystals had fractured from the massive influx of energy in the area. It was simply incredible.
More incredible, though, were the two children that sat across the table from him. The Seeing he had caste upon them while they were still unconscious had revealed that both Ranma and Nabiki possessed keen intelligence, strong mana centers, and pure spirits. The aura of a conjurer, the earthy greens and browns, had swirled around Nabiki like a whirlwind. To Horvath's utter puzzlement, Ranma's aura had been of total white. The legends, remnants of the remnants of times and empires long dead, spoke of men of destiny who could be anything, and achieve any goal they set themselves to. These men had the same white aura as Ranma. Did it mean that he could actually choose what race he belonged to? Could he be a wizard, a warrior like he had been trained, or a conjurer? Could he be all three? Horvath didn't know, but he planned to find out. Ranma and Nabiki had agreed to stay with him for at least a few months while he sought an answer to the mystery of their arrival. He would be able to introduce the youths to the ideals and beliefs of each of the three races that inhabited Nox. Besides, it would be nice to have some company, even if that company came in the form of a fourteen-year-old boy and a fifteen-year-old girl.
To be continued.
Author's Notes: I'd almost be willing to promise that this would be the last new fic that I post, but I don't want to seem anymore of a liar so I'll just say this it is most likely the last new fic I'll post for a while. Okay, I know that the Chaos and Order thing has sorta been done before (in another form), but I try to be kinda original, and there are only so many ways that you can start an alternate universe fic. Anyway, I bet you can guess the match up in this fic. ^_^
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