A Ranma ½ story by
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Terry Brooks and the publisher of his books own all the characters and ideas that I use from them.
Author's Notes: This story will be crossing over with a trilogy of books by Terry Brooks: 'Running With the Demon', 'A Knight of the Word', and 'Angel Fire East'. Characters from these books may make short appearances throughout the story but it will mainly be Ranma with the concept of the trilogy.
"That's it. Promise or no promise, Akane is finding out about P-chan!"
Oh, shit. Nabiki would have sworn that Ranma was in the backyard with Akane when Ryoga had gotten splashed by the koi. "Maybe telling Akane isn't such a good idea. She's already upset at you, and if she finds out that you knew and were only keeping it from her because you promised Ryoga—" She left the job of guessing the horrid things Akane would do to him to Ranma's imagination. Of course Nabiki had known about the promise; she did have the whole house wired. At the time, she'd kept to herself about her knowledge because it was fun watching the soap opera that was Ranma's life; but now, in the last week at least, she had come to care whether he lived or died. Too bad she didn't know why.
Ranma would have normally imagined Akane holding a giant glowing mallet with spikes imbedded in it, but he was to busy trying to figure out how Akane could be as oblivious as Kuno. For a moment he had decided that Akane had known about P-chan all along, and was just going along with Ryoga in some perverted game. He laughed at his own thought and decided that Akane, like he had always suspected, was a stupid tomboy.
"You've been standing there for the last five minutes."
"Oh, just had a lot on my mind, you know?" All he needed now was a certain perverted little cursed piglet, and all would be right in the world. Maybe he could even get it fixed.
As luck would have it, a now enraged Ryoga came barreling down the stairs, intent on maiming his hated foe, one Ranma Saotome. Nabiki hurriedly jumped back out of the way. No sense in getting decapitated.
"Ranma Saotome, for hurting Akane, prepare to die!!!" Enraged beyond reason, Ryoga madly swung his umbrella in an attempt to turn Ranma into a fine paste.
Ranma, trying to minimize damage to the house that a fight could cause, led Ryoga into the backyard with only three holes getting knocked in various walls.
"Nice to see you again, P-chan," greeted Ranma cheerfully while he dodged Ryoga's strikes with casual ease, only serving to increase the lost boy's berserker madness.
"Arghhhh!! Stand still and die like a man!!!" Wielding his umbrella with one hand, Ryoga unwrapped three bandanas from around his head and sent them all flying towards Ranma who had somersaulted onto the back wall of the Tendo compound.
"Entengouka!" From both of Ranma's hands, a two foot fireball was fired, meeting the bandanas in mid-air and in an impressive explosion, reduced them to ash.
Unfazed, Ryoga jumped at Ranma and came down in an arc, driving his umbrella completely through the stone wall and into the ground. Ranma was already behind him and with amaguriken speed kicked Ryoga in the back of his knees. Forced to his knees, Ryoga swung his free hand back and hit Ranma squarely in the jaw, knocking him into the Tendo home's wall.
"Now you die!!!" Ryoga began glowing a pale, sickly green, as he brought his full battle aura to bear. "Shi Shi Hokodan!!!" he screamed as he fired a huge blast of heavy chi directly at Ranma who had recovered after colliding with the house and was now advancing towards him.
Just then Akane came out of the house with Nabiki in tow. She was determined to find out what was going on, and nothing was going to stop her.
Ranma turned his head and saw Akane and Nabiki directly behind him. If he dodged they would most likely be killed by Ryoga's attack. Firmly decided on a course of action he brought his own battle aura up, its deep blue contrasting heavily with the green of his opponent's. The aura changed into the solid bubble that he'd learned to create shortly after returning from Jusendo, and with his will alone changed it into a flat plane of energy directly in front of him.
The green ovoid of chi shot like the bullet it was at Ranma, leaving a comet-like trail behind it. Ryoga vaguely saw Ranma's form through the haze of emotions, but to one so familiar with depression, he easily tracked the depression made tangible— the Shi Shi Hokodan— so it came as quiet a surprise when it disappeared.
"Yasha tan ryu sei fu!" Ranma enclosed the chi blast in his shield like one would do using a cloth in the original version of the move that his father used. He strained for a moment as the force of Ryoga's blast caused the now closed bubble to swell uncontrollably, but with a final "Kyyyaahh!", he turned the chi back at Ryoga, who was hit in the chest and sent flying off over the horizon. "Damned pig!"
"Ranma, stop picking on Ryoga!" exclaimed Akane. In a graceful arc she swing her mallet for Ranma's head. For some reason, though, she missed. She opened her eyes to see Ranma still standing where he had been, but in front of him was the head and a large part of the handle to her mallet, in her hands was only the grip.
"You stupid, uncute tomboy! I wasn't attacking P-chan. He attacked me, and then when he was about to use the Shi Shi Hokodan, you came running out here, dragging Nabiki. If I had dodged it, you both would be dead; that's how much Ryoga cares about your lives!" His speech concluded, Ranma swept past the two girls and went into the house.
"Good going, Akane." said Nabiki sarcastically.
"Shut up," growled the girl. "I just know it was Ranma's fault. It's always Ranma's fault."
"Ryoga attacked Ranma. I saw it with my own eyes, and you've seen the same thing dozens of times."
"Ranma's always picking on him, making fun of his directional problem and calling him P-chan."
"So what? Ryoga tries to kill him on a regular basis; don't you think he has the right to call him names?"
"He wouldn't try to hurt Ranma, if he would stop being so mean to him!"
"If you remember, Ryoga was intent on killing Ranma when he first showed up, even though Ranma was treating him like a friend."
Akane paused, no good response at hand.
"I will tell you that they have reasons to hate each other; but it's none of my business and the information would be too expensive anyway, so you'll have to find out on your own."
"But Ranma, what he did…" She raised the four-inch piece of mallet handle to eye level. "I don't know how to handle him. He's just been acting so different lately."
"You mean he's finally gotten tired of you abusing him? Can you blame him? I'm sure that you wouldn't like it if he beat you up every time you made him angry." Nabiki knew she had said the wrong the moment it left her mouth, especially when Akane paled visibly.
"What if…?" she asked, frightened at the thought.
Sigh. Nabiki thumped Akane lightly on the forehead. "Don't make me knock some sense into you for real. This is Ranma we're talking about; sexist pig extraordinaire. He won't hit girls, especially you." Hopefully he won't.
Wordlessly Akane nodded, and without retrieving the remains of her mallet went to find Ranma. When her sister was back in the house, Nabiki sat down heavily on the back porch, a certain pigtailed martial artist on her mind.
Ranma was laying on his futon in the guestroom, lost in thought. By now, he only remembered bits and pieces of the dream from the night before, but what he did remember was playing havoc with his emotions. The image of Nabiki looking back at him with love and caring seemed stuck in his mind. The look of pain on her face in the dream when she realized that Tokyo had fallen made Ranma want to seek her out now and hold her.
"Ranma?" Akane popped her head into the room.
"I… well, I… uh… wanted to say I was sorry for trying to hit you after you saved Nabiki and me." She still hadn't come through the doorway. She started to say something else, but changed her mind and pulled her head back into the hallway.
"Akane, wait," said Ranma. If Nabiki was right, and Akane was scared of him, he had to set her straight.
This time she slid the door open and stepped into the room. "What is it, Ranma? I already apologized!"
"I'm not mad; you just didn't realize what was happening." He continued after a moment, "I talked to Nabiki, and she said that you're scared of me. Are you really?"
Anger and pride welled up in the girl and almost without thought she screamed, "Why would I be scared of a pervert like you?!" Having forgotten to replace her ruined mallet, she settled for the verbal rebuff and stormed off.
"Should've known better," muttered Ranma to himself. His patience was rapidly wearing thin with Akane and he didn't even know.
Genma and Soun were playing shogi, oblivious to happenings around them.
"I tell you Tendo, the boy is incredible," he said after his friend sneezed and he turned the board around.
"Yes, the school's continuance is assured. But may I ask why you taught him the forbidden techniques? I thought that you sealed them away because they were too dangerous."
"They are, in the hands of lesser men." Then in a rare show of character he said, "That's why I sealed them, even from myself; but Ranma, I believe, can handle the responsibility. Plus, when he chooses Akane, there are going to be some very powerful and upset people out to get him and Akane."
Soun, in awe of his friend reverently said, "You are very wise, my friend. Now how about some sake?"
Ranma and Akane were running to school the next morning, both having overslept.
"This is all your fault, Ranma!" Akane had managed to bury most of her newfound fear of Ranma under an even greater amount of anger than what she had displayed for the last year.
"I woke up before you did," retorted Ranma.
"Well, if you hadn't beat up you father so badly Saturday, he would've woke you up this morning, and you could've woke me up," said Akane like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Ranma looked at Akane like she had grown another head. "You're serious, aren't you?"
"Of course I'm serious, baka!"
As the school came into view Akane sped up in hopes of making it before she had to stand in the hall, but Ranma slowed considerably, almost to a walk.
"It's not possible." Akane was already in the school when Ranma said it, he wouldn't have cared is had heard it anyway. "She couldn't be that stupid."
From up above, Nabiki called down, "You had better hurry, Ranma, or you're going to be late for class."
He shrugged and casually walked through the front doors. He definitely wasn't up to dealing with Nabiki at the moment; the dreams had seen to that.
Kasumi, clothes torn and bloody, latched onto her sister and sobbed uncontrollably. Ranma stood at the entrance to the alley, guarding the pair while they talked. He wasn't far enough away that he couldn't hear the conversation that eventually ensued after his wife managed to calm her sister.
"It's so terrible," said Kasumi wearily.
"I know, trust me, I know," replied Nabiki.
"There were no warnings. The explosions started, then the gunfire. Where were the defenses? We were supposed to be safe."
"They must have had spies. We've seen it happen before. They infiltrate the city and disable warning systems, and poison the armies rations or water, though I'd never expect such a quick victory here."
"Nabiki-chan, we had better get to someplace safer. You and I can defend ourselves, but Kasumi could get caught in the crossfire," interrupted Ranma.
"You’re right. Let's go." Nabiki helped her sister to her feet before standing up herself. "Can you walk?" she asked, examining the wound at Kasumi's temple.
"It's just a scratch, I'll be fine." Unnoticed by Kasumi, Nabiki had healed the minor wound while she had been examining it.
"Kasumi, are there any shelters nearby where survivors could be?" Ranma asked after checking to see if the way was clear.
"There may be a few, but the only one I know of is the one I work at."
"We'll check it out before we leave," said Nabiki.
The walk was only a few blocks, but along the way they encountered thousands of feeders, vile creatures formed from the negative emotions of humans; they fed on those same emotions, especially the ones experienced by a person dying violently. Only people extremely sensitive to magic or chi could see their small, primate-like bodies with their flat yellow-eyed faces and lipless grins. Nabiki and Ranma slaughtered them by the dozen. When the group ran across a patrol of men wearing power-armor and exo-frames, they at first assumed them to be surviving militia; but when the men opened fire with Vulcan cannons and laser rifles, they were ripped apart by Ranma's chi fire and the sheer concussive force of Nabiki's psionic power like nothing more than wet newspaper.
Kasumi held her palm flat over a scanner that had been hidden in the back wall of a small grocery store. It flashed green in confirmation of Kasumi's identity and slid back into the wall. A passageway just big enough for a person to crawl through slid open at the base of the wall. Ranma went first, then Kasumi with Nabiki covering the rear.
"Freeze!" ordered an old man wielding an Ak-47.
Kasumi had lead them through three more security checks, and now they were finally in the shelter itself. The shelter was actually a cavern about the size of a football field. People huddled together around tarp covered equipment and supplies.
Ranma stared hard at the man, waiting for Nabiki and Kasumi to come through the entrance.
"Tanaka, it's me, Kasumi," she said as she climbed from the crawlspace.
"Kasumi, you're alive! We thought for sure that the bastards had gotten you." Tanaka released his grip in the rifle, letting the shoulder strap stop it from hitting the floor.
"Mommy!" A little girl, followed by a middle-aged man came running.
"Nabiki! Ono! Oh, how I'm glad to see you!" cried Kasumi as she swept her daughter and husband into a tight embrace.
"I think Ranma's a better name myself," whispered Ranma to the older Nabiki.
Hearing her husband's comment, Nabiki poked him in the ribs, eliciting small laugh from him. It also drew the attention from Kasumi's reunion with her family to them.
"Who are you? I've never seen you around before," said the old man as his hand moved back towards his rifle.
Before Ranma could say something stupid that would probably get them shot at, Nabiki said, "I'm Kasumi's younger sister, Nabiki, and this is my husband, Ranma."
Ranma and Nabiki had eaten and taken a short shower when they were called to a meeting of everyone on the shelter.
"All right, people, I want you all to gather as much food and equipment as you can carry. Tanaka will be issuing firearms and ammunition by the water tanks," the apparent leader said.
"What about the transports?" asked someone in the crowd of just under two hundred people.
"The exit corridor has caved in. They will have to be left here," replied the leader.
Curses flew wildly among the crowd. From the number of hover transports Ranma had seen, this shelter was meant for four times the amount of people currently using it.
"Blast it open."
"How are we supposed to get away on foot?"
"It's too dangerous to—"
Ranma was made abruptly aware of his surroundings as a thrown pale of water hit him. He looked to Akane, who was standing in the hallway outside their classroom with an empty and full bucket of water. She had an annoyed yet smug grin on her face.
Ranma just looked her in the eye hatefully then went into the classroom, only to return with her own buckets shortly after.
Nabiki sat back in her desk and tuned the math teacher out. He hadn't taught anything useful in two years, anyway. She thought of the dream from the night before. This one was still fresh in her mind, Nabiki easily returned to the point she had been going over before Kuno's idiotic rambling had interrupted.
"It's too dangerous to attempt any sort of demolition. We could bring the ceiling down on our heads. We'll have to leave at night though to avoid the once-men."
"Mommy, I'm scared," said chibi-Nabiki.
"Everything will work out, I promise," Kasumi assured her daughter. Ono gently patted the girl on the head and echoed his wife.
"I can clear the corridor," said Ranma. He stepped forward so that he could be easily seen.
"Are you a demolitionist, young man?" asked the leader.
Please don't tell them. Nabiki knew Ranma better than that though. He wouldn't do any less than his best to help these people.
"No, I'm a Knight of the Word and have the power to clear the corridor."
Excited conversations broke out among the people until several minutes later, when the leader finally managed to calm them by repeatedly slamming his fist on the hull of a transport he was standing beside.
"If we give them a Knight, they let us go for sure!" exclaimed a man near Ranma.
"We'll surely be able to leave then," said another.
Nabiki really wished that he had kept his mouth shut. Many people held the few remaining Knights of the Word in contempt, and some even went as far as blaming the fall of civilization on them.
To be continued.
Author's Notes: Um, not much to say really.
Ranma's fire based techniques are listed below. They are probably grammatically and structurally incorrect but they sound better in Japanese than English.
Yamasenken techniques that Ranma may use in the story—
Umisenken techniques that Ranma may use in the story— (the aura cloaking isn't listed since it is much like battle aura, and will be indicated as such whenever used)
*Ranma no longer needs to use the cloth; his battle aura/shield is now sufficient.
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