A Ranma ½ / Wheel of Time crossover story
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. The Wheel of Time and its characters and settings belong to Robert Jordan.
Well, at least I'm writing something. Enjoy…
"Did you have fun at school today, dear?" Nodoka asked her son pleasantly. She was sharpening her indestructible Power-wrought sword; never mind that she didn't know how to use it or that it didn't actually need sharpening. Ranma couldn't figure out why his grandfather had given it to her.
"Yeah, fun, lots of fun. Here, read this," Ranma tossed a small booklet into his mother's lap. He'd bought it after school from a girl selling them at a booth. The book had a list of all the unusual and dangerous things that had happened at Furinkan, the injuries inflicted on its students over the past couple years, and a detailed account of each mental disorder that a surprising number of its students possessed.
Nodoka sat her sword to the side and picked up the booklet. "What's this, son?"
"It's from the school. You should probably read it. I'm gonna go visit Gramps." Maybe he could get the man to teach him to weave balefire this time. Sure, it was dangerous, but he didn't actually plan on using the stuff unless there was an emergency. It was like an itch that he couldn't scratch, knowing that there was something he couldn't yet do with the One Power.
"That's nice. Be back in time for supper. An old friend of your father's is coming by to visit and his daughters will be with him, so don't come back singed like last time," she finished firmly. The power her son and grandfather shared was more than unusual, but learning about it had explained a few unusual things that she'd always wondered about.
Ranma grimaced at what he saw as another matchmaking scheme in the works, but nodded slightly and left his mother to her reading. He stopped by his room and retrieved the ring that would allow him to pass through Arin's wards without getting him singed again. After slipping it on, Ranma channeled, taking hold of the Power and weaving a gateway into his grandfather's garage/laboratory.
Arin glanced up from his worktable as he felt the Power surge briefly, then a line of light formed in the air a few feet to his right, expanding into a doorway a moment later. After a couple close calls, he had designated a single spot to use for Traveling and marked it off with a bit of paint.
Posters of semi-nude women and a model of the solar system could be seen through the gateway, as well as Ranma's grinning face. The boy stepped through and allowed the hole in the Pattern to close behind himself. Arin was proud of Ranma, more than just for his relation to him. At seventeen, Ranma was mature for his age, though his youth still showed through often. In terms of the power, he was as strong as any Arin had ever met, no mean feat when compared to men like Telamon.
Ranma didn't have the required skill and Talent to create objects of power, the only real disappointment to Arin. His Talents went in other directions. Extremely strong in Earth and Fire, but only slightly less so in the others: Air, Water, and Spirit. Ranma had a knack for Healing, not the true gift, but better than Arin could manage. Earthfire, something close to what people in this Age called fusion, came easily to Ranma, and Arin had spent weeks on that alone, schooling the boy in control of the powerful Talent. There were others, mostly minor. The ability to create large gateways, an affinity for detecting metals, and even a bit of Dreaming; not that Arin could instruct him on the last one. Arin suspected that Ranma had only survived the early awakening of his gift due to the fact that he could see and understand the weaves of the Power much better than average.
"Working on anything interesting?" Ranma asked curiously. He pulled a bench up to the table and sat down, trying to figure out what the mass of wires on the table was.
"Well, I don't know how interesting you would find it, but it helps pass the time," Arin answered. Without being prompted, he explained, "I'm trying to rig up a kind of battery. It's more complicated than that, but if I can make this work, I might be able to harness Fire directly to power anything that uses electricity." The Fire aspect of the One Power was really nothing more than basic energy, and channellers could change it into other forms of energy by weaving it along with other flows, but plain Fire could be converted to electrical energy easy enough. The hard part was getting the device to regulate the amount of Fire drawn in and the level of electricity generated.
"I'll take your word for it. It'd be kinda nice to have a battery that never went dead. Any news on the doorway?"
Arin still had the dimensional door, and he was in the process of priming it once again, but it took an enormous amount of the Power to get one stable enough to attempt using. Even with the use of a pair of powerful sa'angreal and Ranma's help, it was slow going. "I can't be certain that it's aligning as I wish it to, but the readings are dead on. You want to help me with it for a while?" Designed to shift the user into another plane of existence, the doorway existed in a dozen dimensions, turning space within itself in such a way that someone could travel to their destination and back again without expending so much as a trickle of Power. This doorway had become something more, though. Arin had used it to travel through time itself, sapping its energy and completely destroying a Portal Stone.
"Sure. I won't be able to do too much. We're having some people over for dinner, and mom'll raise hell if I come back dead on my feet." Ranma was eager to see the doorway restored, even more so than his grandfather. He liked his world, but here he was different, very different. A place where there were others able to channel would be refreshing.
Arin regretted the need to deceive Ranma, but it was necessary. Time travel had been theorized in his era, but no one had ever been able to implement a working travel device. Now that he had, he intended go forward in time, but before Meirin unleashed the Dark One from his prison. It was an opportunity that he couldn't pass up, even if he risked destroying himself and his family through possible temporal paradoxes.
Ranma staggered through the barely adequate gateway and nearly collapsed on his bed. He hadn't meant to put so much effort into the doorway, but he'd mistaken how much of the work had been himself and how much the sa'angreal he wore on his right arm. He'd had to draw on the Power stored in the sa'angreal's well to even form the gateway. They had made significant progress, at least. Almost half of the stone doorway was red now instead of dull pink, a few more months and they would be finished.
A quick look at his alarm clock told Ranma that there was still an hour until dinner. He sighed gratefully and allowed himself to fall into a light sleep. Someone pounding on his door snapped Ranma out of the beginnings of a very pleasant dream.
"All right, already. I'm awake. Stop that," Ranma shouted half-heartedly, still feeling only a little better than dead. He called on the Oneness to separate himself from his exhaustion and climbed out of bed. With his emotions buried along with his body's weakness, Ranma could sense saidin, like a bright light just outside his range of vision. The thought of grasping the source in his current state caused a shudder to ripple across the void of the Oneness. The battle sa'angreal came loose easily and he stowed it under the mattress of his bed.
He jerked the door open, already berating his father for being scum, "Pop—," and the words died in his mouth. What in hell was the girl doing here? Akane Tendo, the brunt of more than one practical joke on his part. Ah, his father's friend… This must be one of his daughters. Well, his mom could forget ever getting him to go out with any of the other daughters if they were like this one.
"Mrs. Saotome called you, but you didn't answer. Dinner is ready," Akane said, frowning at him for some reason. She didn't wait for a response, turning on her heel and stomping down the stares. A real gentle soul, that one. Ranma would have made a smart comment, something designed to make the girl angry, but he didn't really care how she acted in his present state. Food would help him recover his strength a bit faster.
"—and this is Akane, she's 17 years old. Pick one, and she'll be your fiancée," Mr. Tendo finished proudly.
"The honor of our two schools rest on your shoulders, Ranma," Genma said proudly. "Choose wisely."
Ranma opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out. He glanced at his beaming father and smiling mother. A twitch developed in his right eye. Ranma threw himself into the Oneness before he could murder anyone. Rage slashed across the void, almost bringing Ranma out of the Oneness. He fought it, focused the will he'd developed in fighting saidin until the anger was safely locked outside the void. Forcing himself to unclench his hands from the edge of the table, Ranma debated what to do. Compulsion would have worked, if he knew it well enough, but he didn't, so there wasn't any point in wasting time thinking about it. He couldn't very well kill anyone, though the thought was oddly comforting, even within the calm, emotionally dead void.
He was calm, calm like the eye of a hurricane. The room held an expectant silence, broken only by the low growls escaping from Akane's throat. Nabiki was attractive, in a cute, cold manner, but not really his type, and Kasumi was out of the question. She was so nice, he couldn't take advantage of her. Oh well, best to distract everyone and try to figure out what to do later. Saidin came easily, magnifying all of his senses and bringing pleasure not quite to the point of ecstasy. He couldn't draw much, even after a full meal and the short nap, but Illusion was simple to weave and Fire never exacted much from him.
Glaring grimly at his father, but keeping his eye on Akane well enough to wreath her in saidin, Ranma channeled. To everyone unable to see the flows, it appeared that Akane began to grow, slowly, but with perceptible speed. Then a halo of fire surrounded her head, throwing guttering sparks into the air. Finally, when everyone in the room was gaping, she launched herself at her father. Ranma had had nothing to do with the attack, but he was satisfied that he had helped put the fear of Akane in everyone.
Soun screamed like a girl, trying to ward off the full-fisted blows that Akane rained down on him. "Engage me to a boy without asking… pass us around like a piece of meat…" the screaming became muffled as Akane smashed her father through a wall and into the back yard.
"Oh my," Kasumi muttered. She must have stopped taking her medication again. "I've seen her glow a few times, but never grow. Hmmm. Unusual side effects for lithium." She continued to smile, despite the pained moans coming from the backyard.
"Well, that settles that. Not that I would do it anyway, but I'm not marrying into a family with a psycho monster," Ranma said. The girl really was psycho. "I'll be at Gramp's place if you need me," he snapped at his mother. He could expect something like this out of Genma Saotome, but he had thought better of his mother. Genma, of course, blanched at the mention of Arin. Ranma was glad that he no longer held saidin or the Oneness, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to enjoy his father's trembling, suddenly sweat-streaked gray face.
"I-I'll go save Soun now," the elder Saotome said. Ranma didn't know what his grandfather had said or done to the man, but it was effective.
The next day, Ranma didn't bother going home to pick up a school uniform. He didn't want to see his parents and the things were uncomfortable enough that he didn't mind getting in a bit of trouble if it allowed him to wear his plain black pants, button up gray shirt, and nearly knee-length coat. He could have ignored the chill of the morning, but there wasn't any sense in taking a chance at getting sick.
His grandfather had been sympathetic to his complaints the night before, and he didn't mind having his grandson over for a few days. Ranma intended it to be more than a few days; however long it took his parents to apologize for trying to engage him to someone without his consent. It was kind of sad that his father had attempted to use honor to trap him in the marriage. Not to say that he was dishonorable, Ranma just couldn't see someone viewing honor in such a way that it let others manipulate or bully them into actions they didn't wish to take. Once again, Ranma silently thanked his grandfather for passing on his ability to channel to him. He didn't want to imagine what he would have turned out like if Genma had been his sole role model growing up. The thought brought a shudder.
Before the school gates were even in site, Ranma could hear the massacre of Furinkan's male student body taking place. It seemed even louder than the day before, with quite a few more screams mixed in with the crunching and smashing. Akane was glowing, not with saidin or even saidar, but with chi. Ranma had seen his father manifest what he called a battle aura on more than one occasion, and he had learned to recognize the feel of it. Ranma himself couldn't have made one to save his life, not with chi anyway. He hadn't devoted enough time to martial arts, and he didn't have any single predominate emotion he could use to fuel the chi. Not that he was complaining. Saidin was more than enough for him.
Ranma was forced to hop to the side as one unfortunate student was knocked airborne, flying across the street and impacting with the brick exterior of a closed store. He wove the mirrors of mist, much like last night, yet this time there was no slow size increase. One moment Akane was a normal-sized human being— glowing, but normal-sized— then the next she towered above the crowd by a good fifty feet or more. Akane couldn't see herself, and wasn't really any larger than normal, but her image seemed to fight invisible foes, as her real self finished decimating the boys who were too stunned by Akane's monstrous appearance to even try to fight back.
With his senses heightened, Ranma was able to see Nabiki standing in the third floor window, a camera in hand. Heh, there would be evidence for Akane to see. Releasing saidin caused the Illusion to disperse and dulled the world to a mere hint of its saidin-enhanced glory. Ranma carefully stepped across the courtyard, avoiding unconscious and injured boys and more than one puddle of blood or some other bodily fluid best left unmentioned.
Akane heard someone approaching from behind and rounded on Ranma, her fists raised to 'defend' herself. "You!!!" she shouted, not quite going red with fury. The aura that had begun to fade away suddenly came back with a vengeance, so powerful that Ranma could feel it pushing against him lightly.
Ranma was about to say something cruel when another voice broke in. "Doth mine eyes deceive me, or has the fierce maiden at last revealed her true nature as a goddess in the flesh?" Enter Kuno. Ranma knew him instantly, from descriptions of his idiocy and his mode of speech. What almost set Ranma's mouth to gaping was that the older boy held saidin, though not very much, and his grip was tentative at best. He had never encountered another channeller besides his grandfather, and as far as his grandfather knew, they were the only two on the planet. Untrained, most likely. Ranma groaned to himself about what this could mean. If his grandfather didn't take up Kuno's instruction, he would task Ranma with it.
Akane's attention refocused on the bokken-wielding fool, and Ranma took the time to study Kuno more closely. The idea that Kuno understood and used the Oneness was highly unlikely. Using saidin when not immersed in the void was dangerous, very dangerous. It could surge, burning out the channeller or killing him outright, not to mention causing damage to the surrounding area. Kuno wasn't only a danger to himself, but also to those around him.
"What do you want, Kuno?" Akane snapped. She didn't know that only a minute earlier she had appeared taller than the school building, something that obviously impressed Kuno to no end.
Saidin surged within the older boy, not in an attempted weaving or in a call for more Power, but in something resembling a wave breaking too close to shore. Kuno's eyes glazed momentarily and he stiffened, but the saidin receded and his stance became normal. Did the boy even know that he held saidin, or was he that ignorant? Ranma wasn't going to take any chances, not when he could get caught in the backlash of any more of those surges. He wove a shield of Spirit, slamming it between Kuno and the Source without mercy. The flows were so knotted by the time Ranma finished tying the shield off, that it would be easier to remove the shield by cutting it away than releasing it.
As the shield blocked the Source, Kuno's eyes rolled up into the back of his head and he passed out without so much as a squeak. Ranma almost chuckled when Akane jumped, startled. She must have thought she did that somehow. Only a few seconds had elapsed since Kuno's arrival and Ranma didn't want to stand around the courtyard until he was late, so he left the boy in Akane's hands and continued on to class.
"It's hard to say for sure. Everyone was tested for the inborn talent or the ability to learn, in my time. If you could learn or had the spark, you had to be trained to use the One Power; it was a law. There were stories, though, more like legends really, that during other Ages past not everyone was found. We didn't always find everyone early enough, ourselves, and those people only stood a one-in-four chance of surviving their first few uses or the Power. The One Power isn't even known in this Age. I still can't imagine how far back I must have came for such to be possible. This Kuno is a very lucky individual, if he has survived his first use of saidin and is even able to hold onto it. Of course we will have to teach him properly," Arin finished, his last words confirming Ranma's fears.
"Kuno is the type of person who would misuse the Power, grandfather," Ranma tried to explain. He took a minute to tell the man about the morning fights at his new school and Kuno's proclamation.
"Even more of a reason to properly instruct the young man, Ranma. He could be unconsciously holding the Source, completely unaware that he's doing it, and all the while that Power may be damaging his brain. For all we know, he could be acting like such an imbecile because of his mishandling of saidin." Arin crossed his arms and stared down at Ranma, even though Ranma himself was an inch taller.
Ranma's shoulders slumped and he gave a great sigh. "I'll try, but the first time he tries to hit me with that ridiculous wooden sword of his, I'm gonna begin using him to practice Compulsion on. Oh yeah, I stopped by the house and picked this up." Ranma pulled the sa'angreal he had worn the night before from one of the deep side pockets in his coat. It looked like nothing more than a fingerless black glove, fitted with numerous steel rings that held it on the users arm despite its lack of a bottom. Ranma didn't understand the making of them, but he knew that the object was more valuable than he could conceive. Not only did it allow its user to draw more heavily from the Source— over twelvefold more Power— it also had a deep well, a kind of battery that could hold as much saidin as Ranma could channel in a minute. The well wasn't really good for much, now, aside from helping Ranma when he had exhausted himself, but during the War of Power, such a well would allow a channeller who had been shielded to break the shield or escape entirely.
Arin kept a trio of attachments meant to bind to the sa'angreal in a small safe in his laboratory, and he'd let Ranma play with them some, but they were defensive in nature, made to help the wielder stay alive in a pitched battle where the One Power was a weapon of the enemy. "Keep it," Arin said lightly. "I have one of my own. The combination to the safe… I'll get the rest of it out for you later."
Ranma sat back on his stool, stunned. The sa'angreal held limply in his hand had been worn on more than one occasion by Lews Therin Telamon, the Dragon, the hero of the War of Power.
To be continued.
Author's notes: I'm gonna make this a few more chapters in Ranma's time, then it's off to the future, as you may have guessed. I still haven't decided if Kuno or anyone else will go, though.
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