A Ranma ½ story by
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
Ranma woke to a face full of water. He sat up, wiping sleep from his eyes and glared at Akane. She, however, wasn't showing any of her usual anger. Instead, her face showed absolute astonishment. It was white, her eyes were huge, and her mouth gaped open.
"Y-you didn't c-ch-change," she stammered, pointing a trembling finger at him.
"Huh?" Ranma asked dumbly. He looked down at his chest, expecting to see the familiar appendages that he miraculously sprouted whenever splashed with cold water. They weren't there. Come to think, his voice did sound much lower than his cursed form's. Oh, my god! He wasn't cursed anymore! Ranma fainted.
When Ranma woke up again he was in the process of being repeatedly dunked into the koi pond by his father. The man had a firm grip on his pigtail and was submerging his son completely on every attempt.
"Let go!" he shouted, punctuating his request with a heel to his father's groin. His pigtail slipped from boneless fingers as Genma fell over onto the ground and began whimpering, while clutching the family jewels protectively.
"Ranma, you're cured!" Soun bellowed, rushing across the yard and sweeping his future son-in-law into a crushing embrace.
Deftly, Ranma slipped through Soun's grip and found himself confronted by Akane and her sisters. "Ranma-kun, I'm so happy for you! However did you get cured?"
"Yeah, Saotome, how'd you do it?" asked Nabiki. Her eyes practically gleamed as she went over profit potential in her head. With Jusenkyo destroyed and all hopes of curing its curses gone with it, an actual cure could be worth loads of yen.
"I don't know," he answered honestly. Chiron may have done something, but Ranma didn't have a clue what it was. "I just woke up and didn't have the curse anymore," he confessed.
"Don't lie to us Ranma, spill it." Akane crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him. She just knew that he had made a deal with the Amazons. How else could he have gotten a cure? Him and Shampoo had probably… "You pervert! I know what you and that slut did! Die!!" With no mallets or tables handy, Akane grabbed a nearby lamb, which amazingly didn't break, and smashed Ranma through the wall.
Their vision obscured by dust and collapsing walls, no one saw Ranma come to a halt inches before actually striking the outer wall of the Tendo compound. Ranma chuckled to himself. He may not be able to fly, but with a moderate control over gravity, he sure could come close. When Akane didn't come back to continue his punishment, Ranma allowed his muscles to relax. It occurred to him that he felt no pain from her attack. Lifting his shirt, he saw that his flesh showed no bruises, not even a little one. That could be a problem. If he suddenly gained the ability to take more damage than Ryoga, people would become even more suspicious than they already were because of his curse being cured. How was he supposed to fake being hurt? It went against who he was. His pride wouldn't allow it. He rounded the corner as he walked around the house and ran into Nabiki. He immediately shelved his previous thoughts in preparation for more immediate trouble.
"Saotome, just who I was looking for," Nabiki said, smoothly slipping up beside him and sliding her arm around his waist like she were his friend. "You don't have to lie to me. We could make a lot of money with this cure. Ryoga would probably sign his soul over to you to get rid of his curse."
Ranma didn't even blink when she mentioned Ryoga's curse. She had to know it by now. Everyone except Akane knew. He ducked under her arm and put some distance between them. Who knew what would happen if one of the girls saw him that close to Nabiki. Their more civil nature only came out when his mom was around. Any other time they were just as blood thirsty as usual. "Why doesn't anyone believe me? Why would I lie? Don't you think I'd give the cure to Piggy if I had it? Maybe then he would stop trying to kill me."
Nabiki nodded slightly to herself. He really was telling the truth. That didn't mean that all hope was lost. She had a handful of physicists in her pocket, and an upcoming biochemist at the university owed her thousands. A few calls, and she could have Ranma picked apart piece by piece to determine why he was no longer cursed. But for now she would go along with him. "I believe you, Ranma. For now." Then she left him to inspect the damage done to the house.
Ranma, alone once again, decided to practice in the dojo for a while. He had the knowledge of what he could do and what he couldn't, with his… enhancements, but all of it was useless if he couldn't learn to apply it to his repertoire. He really didn't want to destroy Nerima by accident either.
Performing a simple kata, Ranma's entire body moved at speeds that would normally be reserved for the amaguriken. He was amazed at how easy it was to adapt to his new abilities, and suspected Chiron may have had something to do with it. He came to a stop and settled to the ground. The centimeter that he was capable of floating above the ground while still moving saved him from tearing up the dojo's flooring. Setting his feet to brace himself, Ranma cried out "Kachu tenshin amaguriken!" and let loose with thousands of punches in the span of a single second. The building shook, and the far wall that Ranma had been facing had a Toyota-sized hole blown in it. Ranma stared down at his hands in wonder. He'd never thought it possible to move that fast. Besides that, standing three dozen feet from the wall, the air pressure alone from his attack had destroyed it.
Ranma realized that he was going to have to make more adjustments to his style than he had previously thought. Moving at what people thought was his normal— albeit way above average— speed would be much more straining than his now supersonic average. The amaguriken was pretty much off limits against living things now. Even Ryoga would little more than a puddle of gore if he used it on him. Ranma pushed the thought aside. It would be better to think about the problem when he had a chance to go undisturbed for long periods of time, like when he was at school. What he did do, however, was decide to try out the more dangerous of his powers. No one was likely to investigate the noise of his latest endeavor, not in this part of Tokyo, so he still had a little while until supper. There was no telling what would happen when Nabiki managed to spread the word of his being cured. Hell on earth did come to mind, though.
When Akane walked into the dojo she saw Ranma throwing solid black spheres of something at a training dummy. When they struck it, the part hit would disappear. He also had a strange battle aura. It almost seemed like the air around him was bending inward slightly. Despite the unusual sight, Akane didn't question her fiancé on his strange new attack or the aura. She was still to mad at him to do anything more than say "Dinner's ready” before stomping back out. She never even noticed the hole in the wall
Ranma breathed a sigh of relief. Akane hadn't questioned him about what he was doing. If she had, he didn't think he could come up with a plausible enough lie for her to believe him. The reason he hadn't stopped was because he couldn't. Whenever he manipulated space, the generators made and stored however much of the distorted space he needed until it was used. The problem was that he only had about a minute before they lost containment and vented the distorted space. The knowledge of what that would have done to him had made Ranma very reluctant to even try out the ability, but he never backed down from a challenge. Akane had walked in when he still had a sizable charge built up. He could have gotten rid of it all at once, but that would have done a lot more damage to the dojo and the backyard than the amaguriken had earlier.
The magnetic and gravitational force that he controlled had similar drawbacks. Unless he was using a preprogrammed attack or function, he had to use all the energy gathered or there would be side effects. With the magnetic side of his power, after a few minutes without using the gathered power his body would become highly magnetic. The attraction could easily draw a bullet from several feet off its original course. Gravity wasn't so bad. It wouldn't even affect him if he let the gathered charge go. It would, however, have drawn a lot of attention and been rather inconvenient when objects and people began to randomly levitate or suddenly gain a few thousand pounds.
Leaving the dojo, he almost went to take a bath, but he hadn't really worked up a sweat so he headed straight to kitchen table. Nabiki was already there, reading the stock report, and nibbling on a cookie. "Hey Nabiki," he said as he took his usual seat, "you might want to take a look at the dojo. By mistake I blew a hole in the wall. Sorry."
Nabiki growled something under her breath that sounded like 'damned catastrophe', but Ranma couldn't be sure. Then, stuffing a cookie in her mouth, and throwing her paper down, she went to inspect the damage and determine how much more money he would soon be owing her. A few minutes later she returned and with a completely false smile said, "Ranma, did I forget to tell you that some of your friends should be dropping by after dinner? I couldn't get in touch with Ryoga, but he'll show up eventually."
Almost graciously, Ranma said, "Thanks Nabiki. You saved me the trouble."
Kasumi chose this time to announce that the food was ready. Before Nabiki could respond to Ranma's remark, the Tendo and Saotome patriarchs charged into the room and jumped into their seats. Kasumi began bringing out the dishes, and soon there was a free-for-all at the dinner table.
Genma was gone with his mom, helping her to move their furniture back into the newly repaired Saotome home, and Ranma had the guest room to himself. He was taking the opportunity to practice and was deftly launching a small throwing dart from the palm of his silver-streaked hand magnetically then stopping it and bringing it back before it could puncture the wall. Cologne and the other Amazons would be arriving some time soon if what Nabiki said was true. This time, before the dart hit the wall, Ranma changed its course and made it fly in a figure eight pattern through the air.
He heard a knock on the downstairs door and let the dart drop to the floor. Shampoo had actually used the door. No sooner had he had the thought than he heard the familiar crashing sound associated with the amorous Amazon's own version of the breaking point. Oh, well. Before they could get the drop on him, he left the room and walked downstairs. Soun and his father had taken it easy on him about being cured, most likely because they feared his mom, but he knew he was in store for a more hearty response from the Amazons.
He wasn't mistaken.
"Airen!" Shampoo launched herself at him, latching onto him as if he was a life preserver and she was drowning. "Shampoo don't believe evil mercenary girl. Is it true, you cured?" she asked hopefully.
Ranma attempted to pry his suitor free from him, but had little luck as she continually twisted herself in his grasp. He looked around for some support. Kasumi wasn't present. Nabiki was grinning. Cologne looked like her normal decrepit self. Mousse, Akane and Soun were practically frothing at the mouth. Mousse, though, seemed able to restrain from making any attempts on Ranma's life in Cologne's presence. Akane and Soun had no such disadvantages. Akane advanced towards him and Shampoo, mallet in hand, while Soun brought up the rear, his head already swelling in preparation for his demon head attack.
"Ranma, you pervert! Let go of that Chinese bimbo!" She swung at him with and Shampoo with wrath painted on her face. Only thanks to Chiron was Ranma able to move fast enough to avoid being splattered while Shampoo held onto him.
"How dare you cheat on your fiancée!" roared demon-Soun. Shampoo actually squeaked in fright and let go of Ranma, running over to stand behind her great-grandmother.
Ranma finally managed to disarm Akane and jump across the room and out of her reach.
"So, Son-in-law, I hear that you are no longer under the effects of Jusenkyo's magic." Cologne's dry, corpsish voice cut through the air like a knife.
"I guess so," he replied. "I woke up this morning and it was gone. Like I told the others, I don't know how or why, but I'm not complaining."
Cologne, more experienced than the vast majority of the human in all things archaic and mystical, could tell by Ranma's aura that he was being honest. She could also tell by that same aura that something very profound had happened to Ranma. His aura had a whole new pattern, the color was much darker, and in several points it pulsed rhythmically. Cologne couldn't tell what had happened to him, it could just be what happens when the curse wears off— although that had never happened before— but for now he didn't appear in any danger. She made a show of looking him up and down, then nodded as if satisfied with something. "The magic is gone. Son-in-law is cured." Of course she couldn't really tell. Magic didn't work that way, at least not the kind she knew, but it never hurt to make others think you were more dangerous than you really were.
Ranma turned to face the Tendos. "You see. I told you."
Once again cutting off conversation, Cologne said, "Pardon the intrusion," as if smashing a whole in the wall hadn't happened, "we'll be going now. We must prepare the restaurant for opening tomorrow." And with that she bounced on her staff through Shampoo's hole and into the night.
Shampoo blew him a kiss, departing with a, "Shampoo see airen tomorrow. Bye-bye."
Mousse shot him a hate-filled glare before following the other Amazons. Ranma could see that Mousse's jaw was flexing impotently, and realized that Mousse's lips were glued shut by the way they stretched when they should have opened. He laughed to himself at Mousse's predicament. It'd be really funny if the glue were permanent.
Ranma and Akane were on their way to school the next day when they both saw a bright flash of light a few blocks away. Ranma leapt from the fence onto a telephone pole to get a better view in hopes of finding the light's source.
"Ranma, get down here or we'll be late," Akane snapped impatiently.
Ignoring her, Ranma held his hand up to block the sun from his eyes and scanned the area for trouble. Finally, after Akane had shouted for him to come down three more times, he told her to go on without him. Once she stomped on toward school, Ranma, in a display of super-human strength not at all related to his recent encounter with Chiron, jumped from his perch traveling nearly a hundred feet into the air before he began spinning and arching back towards the ground. His descent was perfectly timed to set him on the wall of a newly erected construction site.
The source of the light was then revealed to him. Sitting on a small mountain of bags of concrete mix, a girl maybe a year or two younger than him, was waving around a glowing rope of energy. Cracking it like a whip she sent a pulse of light out that formed into a ball when it reached the end of the rope. From there the ball shot across the lot to impact against a large stack of steel I-beams. There was no explosion on contact, but the beams did, within seconds become white hot, before further heating caused them to liquefy into a pool of molten steel.
"Don't you think someone's going to be a little upset when they see what a mess you've made?" Ranma asked her.
The girl spun around when she heard his question. Panicking, her rope disappeared and she shot off in a blur. As fast as she was, Ranma was faster. Years of training and a more pronounced flow of chi through his body, he had surmised, would give him a bit of an edge over others that had ran into Chiron's, for lack of a better term, brothers and sister. The chase was short, for she didn't expect Ranma to follow her. She had made the mistake of backing herself into a corner and there were no routes of escape.
"I'm warning you, stay back, or I'll hurt you!" she screamed. "I'm not afraid of you!" Putting action to words, a white-hot globe of plasma burst forth from each of her hands and hovered between her and Ranma.
Ranma made placating gestures with his hands, but at the same time summoned a powerful magnetic field around each of the globes, giving him control over their actions. The knowledge of how to do it had materialized in his head almost before he had done it. With that knowledge he also knew that the scared girl in front of him could produce and control varying wavelengths of light and large amounts of superheated plasma. "Calm down, will you? I'm not going to hurt you."
She was staring at the bottled plasma floating between them. "How did you do that?" she asked, fright mostly gone from her voice. Her posture changed, becoming simply wary, where before it had been hunched and tense. "You found one of them, didn't you?"
Ranma marveled at how quickly the girl could change from frightened to curious. "Yeah. Chiron said that there were nine more, but I didn't think I would run into any of them."
"Chiron? Isn't Chiron the… man who made them?"
"The voice in my head decided that it wanted to be called Chiron. I guess it was out of respect or something." Ranma sat down on an overturned trash barrel.
"Shara, that's what my voice calls herself, wants to know what color Chiron is?" She sat on a small bench across from Ranma.
"Black. Hey, if yours is talking to you now, does that mean that she's finished doing that personality thing that Chiron mentioned?"
For a moment the girl didn't say anything. Ranma guessed that she was talking to Shara. "I'm Satori. Shara said to say hello and she wants to know how long Chiron has been activated."
"Since yesterday afternoon." Ranma stood up. "I've got to go or I'll be late for school." Before leaving he said, "I'm Ranma Saotome, by the way."
Satori's eyes widened. "Ranma Saotome. I've heard about you from the girls at school. Is it true that you're the best martial artist ever?" Something very close to adoration was floating around in her eyes.
Seriously, Ranma answered, "Best there'll ever be."
Satori called out to Ranma before he could leave the lot. "Shara says to tell Chiron to contact her when he comes back online."
Ranma nodded, then, after walking around the wall and out of sight, folded space around himself. He reappeared on the roof of Furinkan High. Ranma jumped over the edge and caught onto the window seal of his classroom. He swung through the open window and landed in his seat perfectly, only seconds before the late bell rang. He noticed that Akane was nowhere to be found.
Fifteen minutes later, a wet and bedraggled Akane limped into the school muttering about 'baka truck drivers' and 'stupid old ladies'.
To be continued.
Author's notes: I've gotten a lot of responses about this story, so I spent a good chunk of the day throwing this together. It isn't completely final, since I may need to change some things to get the story how I want it, and it probably needs some proofreading, but I'll get around to that later. As with the prologue, I would greatly appreciate reader responses. They really help and the encouragement sure doesn't hurt.
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