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.
About time I got another chapter of something finished. Enjoy…
It was the talk of the school. Akane had put Kuno into a coma just by looking at him. Ranma was pleased that he'd gotten the girl more than a bit of infamy, but he was a touch concerned about Kuno. Neither he nor his grandfather knew why Kuno had fallen into a coma as he had, but Arin believed it just an unusual and harmless side effect. It would have been much better for him, though, if the girl really had done what the rumors claimed. As things stood now, Ranma would be making a visit to Nerima General to remove the boy's shield and hopefully see about beginning his instruction in the One Power. He still wanted to refuse the duty, but his grandfather had given him the sa'angreal, and whether the man intended it or not, Ranma felt that he owed Arin a great deal.
Ranma didn't even get a chance to interfere with Akane's morning brawl. The boys were so scared of her that none of them would even meet her eyes. He spent most of the day ignoring teachers, concentrating instead on weaving minute flows of Air and Fire that danced as colored lights before Akane's, and only Akane's, eyes. She had tried to ignore them at first, but no matter how studied her disinterest seemed to be, Ranma glimpsed her attempting to swat the filaments of light away, unsuccessfully. By the time lunch arrived, Akane was scowling at the empty space and had snapped a piece of her desk off, unconsciously crushing it to splinters in her hand.
Releasing the weave, Ranma grabbed his bento and headed out of the room. He was going to meet Sara again, under a large shade tree near the back of the school grounds. The area wasn't really secluded, but he could hide them well enough that a little naughtiness could take place without raising any eyebrows.
Ranma whistled tunelessly as he left the school grounds, turning toward the hospital. The walk wasn't terribly far, and he wasn't so lazy that he would use the Power for everything. Ranma donned the sa'angreal, examining it more closely than he ever had before. The dull black leather-like material showed no signs of wear and the numerous rings shown mirror smooth. Where before there had been an oddly-shaped indentation in three of the rings, there now rested a trio of golden studs. Each was a ter'angreal, able to be used separately from the sa'angreal, but designed to work best with the device. One greatly masked the saidin he could hold, possibly fooling an enemy, though he had never encountered such an enemy and doubted he ever would. Another allowed Ranma to detect saidin at much greater distances than normal, as well as detect saidar in use. The last stud acted as a kind of well, though its user couldn't call on its power. Once charged, it would deflect most projectile attacks when activated, and could turn aside a small number of attacks using the Power.
Fire and Air meshed together cloaked the weapon from view. Ranma held his hand up and flexed his fingers, trying to find any sign that his weaving was inadequate. If he moved them especially fast, a gray blur would envelope his arm halfway to the elbow, but that was all right, he wasn't planning on breaking into a run any time soon. Less than a block from the school, the small cell phone in Ranma's coat pocket began to vibrate. Only his parents and grandfather knew that number… and a dozen or so girls, but the call could still be important. The phone was half the size of Ranma's palm and he had worried more than once about accidentally crushing it.
"Huh?" he asked after accepting the call.
[Hey, Ranma, this is your grandfather. I just got some disturbing news from your mother. Oh yeah, she's starting to get upset about you dodging your duty and dishonoring your family. Anyway, she mentioned some strange occurrences around one of those girls you're supposed to be engaged to. She seems to believe that saidar may be involved. Not that I know what to do if she's correct, but we should probably know. One of your new toys should work well for the job.] Ranma could hear something rattling in the background, and every so often a rumbling crash.
Ranma found himself chuckling into the receiver. "Heh. Nothing to worry about. That's all been me, just playing a joke. I'm trying to make her think she has special powers." Ranma didn't quite sound malicious, but he came close.
There were a few moments of silence, then Arin finally spoke, [That's cruel, Ranma, I'd thought your mother would have raised you better than that.] Arin didn't sound at all disapproving, though.
"Yeah. Great, eh?" Ranma asked, fighting down the urge to giggle. Men don't giggle. Even men comfortable with their masculinity don't giggle.
[Give her one for me when you get a chance. Well, I won't keep you any longer. I know you're eager to begin with Kuno.]
Arin surveyed the excavation site from atop a hill of rubble. He'd actually found an intact Portal Stone. It didn't look anything like those from his era, and was about twice as large, but the energy readings were an exact match. Finally, proof that someone had had access to the Power before his arrival from the future. Portal Stones were nigh impossible to relocate. He'd have to move his lab and the doorway to the Portal Stone. No big deal, really; just another minor detail.
He couldn't help but grin, remembering his short conversation with the boy. Ranma shouldn't channel in public, certainly, but he didn't doubt that the boy's little joke was amusing.
Disguised as an elderly female nurse, Ranma slipped into Kuno's hospital room. The receptionist had been adamant about him not seeing his soon-to-be-student unless he was family, even going so far as to threaten to call security. Ranma didn't release his grip on saidin, but he did allow the false image of himself to fade away.
Even in his sleep, Kuno's features appeared as a combination of stupidity and arrogance. Ranma sighed for about the thousandth time, trying to figure out how he was going to go about educating the imbecile. First of all, he supposed, he needed to remove or at least lessen the shield blocking Kuno from the Source. Ranma was impressed with just how well he had knotted the flows of Spirit as he painstakingly untied each flow, one by one. The task took ten times longer than it'd taken to create the shield, and twice as much effort. Ranma would have cut through it entirely, but that could cause all sorts of complications if Kuno somehow took hold of saidin subconsciously once again.
When he was finished, Ranma checked his work, and was pleased to see that Kuno was no longer blocked from the Source. Unblocked didn't mean unhindered. Only a small trickle of Kuno's relatively low Power limit could flow into the boy, but it should be enough. Kuno's eyes fluttered several times before Ranma finally lost patience and thumped the older boy's forehead with a minute flow of Air.
Kuno's eyes snapped open and he looked around the room dazedly. While he adjusted to consciousness, Ranma tried to make sense of the medical chart at the foot of the bed. Something about unexplained brain inactivity or something. Ranma shrugged and dropped the folding clipboard back into its receptacle. The sound drew Kuno's attention and he tried to focus on Ranma.
"Why… Why do I awake to find a lowborn knave at my bedside instead of my wondrous goddess?" Kuno rasped, his voice sounding like sandpaper. He scratched weakly at the IV needle taped to his arm, making no move to remove it.
"If you want to be insulting, you'd be better off using words that people can understand." Ranma hadn't planned past this point. He had no idea how he was supposed to get Kuno out of the hospital or even go about explaining to him the One Power. The 'wondrous goddess' comment set something in motion, however. Akane… wondrous goddess… The thought was laughable. Well, it could work.
"Akane Tendo sent me to guide you to her. She wishes to meet you in secret and share her true feelings with you." Ranma almost gagged over the words, and the effort to not laugh hysterically was immense.
Kuno's already slightly glazed eyes went almost opaque. "True feelings… at last, the day I've waited for has arrived," he whispered. Much slower than Ranma expected, Kuno began detaching himself from various bits of medical equipment. Ranma turned his back to give the boy some privacy.
Back still turned, Ranma asked, "How do you plan to leave the hospital? I expect the doctors are gonna want to run all kinds of tests on you and stuff."
Busying himself with removing his catheter, Kuno waved the problem aside. "Silence, fool. I own this medical establishment. If I wish to leave, I shall leave."
"If you say so," Ranma shrugged. Just in case, he prepared a couple webs of Spirit to knockout anyone who decided to make trouble.
Kuno strode alongside Ranma, dressed in his kendo garb. Those had been the only clothes in his room, and the boy didn't seem to mind wearing the ridiculous outfit, despite the stares and finger pointing it got him. Ranma had ignored most of Kuno's comments and quotes, but he was rapidly losing patience. Time to get down to business.
Air encircled Kuno's limbs, binding him as thoroughly as any iron could, and formed a gag that forced his jaw open to the point where only slightly more pressure would dislocate it. Ranma quickly guided his captive student into a small side alley between an antique shop and a furniture store. Kuno's eyes danced wildly within his skull and his muscles bulged as he strained to escape his bonds.
"Now, listen to me, you stuck up fool," Ranma commanded. "If I'm gonna have to put up with you every day for who knows how long, you'll have to start talking like a normal person and treating me as an equal. If not, you're going to die, most likely. You don't want that, do you?" After a moment, Kuno shook his head slowly. "If I let you talk, are you going to scream or try to call for help or anything like that?" Kuno once again shook his head negative and Ranma released the flows of Air gagging him.
"Unhand me, foul sorcerer! How dare you use your foul magicks to detain a personage such as mine?!" The gag returned before he could take another breath and begin ranting again. "This isn't working. Never mind this crap, I'll just take you somewhere where no one will be able to hear you scream." Fire and Spirit came together, and a vertical slash of light appeared in the air against one of the alley's grimy walls. It gradually expanded into a door-sized portal through which a small cluster of trees and a rusted scrap car could be seem. Ranma stepped through the gateway, followed closely by a floating Kuno. Ranma had always preferred his grandfather's home over the crowded city of Tokyo. Located in the middle of nowhere in Montana, one of the US states, the air was clean and no one was around to hear the explosions and the like a good teaching session could produce. Arin's house sat on the leeward side of a small hill, and appeared to be a large log cabin, but it was really just a normal house made to look rustic. The rusted hulk to his left had been there for as long as he could remember, even though it could have been easily moved using the Power. It added atmosphere, his grandfather said.
Kuno's face had gone pasty white and he was sweating profusely. Ranma couldn't say for sure, but the boy may have been trembling, too. The gag dissolved again, but this time Kuno made no move to speak. He just hung a foot above the ground, trying to glare menacingly at Ranma and not succeeding all that well.
"I'm not a foul sorcerer, a demon, or an alien, just in case you are wondering. I do not want your soul, blood, or brain. I have no intentions of probing you, sexually molesting you, or making anything that could be somehow viewed as a sexual advance towards you. If you don't try to run away or hurt me, I won't hurt you." Ranma said it flatly, proud of himself for how cold his voice sounded. The Oneness added its own emotionless quality to his speech, almost making Ranma sound dead.
"What do you intend to do with me?" Kuno snapped through gritted teeth. "If you've harmed my goddess, the wrath of heaven shall—"
"No threats, either, stick boy. Now, since you asked nicely, I'm gonna teach you how to do what I do, how to take hold of the masculine portion of the energy which powers the universe; the yang of existence, you could say. Call it magic if you wish, it's really called saidin, and people like you and me are called channellers, because we channel that energy. I don't want to teach you, but my grandfather was pretty firm about it. And since you could end up dying or killing other people in your ignorance, I'm stuck with you." Ranma stopped, waiting for the inevitable questions.
For a minute or two, Kuno's jaw remained tightly clenched. Finally, as the silence was beginning to grow even more awkward, he asked, "Why me?" It was a very quiet and subdued enquiry, much different than the boy's usual proclamations and arrogant statements. Ranma didn't even hope that he'd done anything beyond scare the stupid out of his student for the time being.
Ranma shrugged. "There's not really much choice. I didn't just pick you out of a crowd. You have the spark and have already begun to channel. In fact, you're holding the Source at this very moment, and the way you are doing it could very well fry your brain if you sneezed too hard." Ranma paused, continuing when he believed he had an adequate explanation ready. "Holding saidin is like fighting living fire that makes your blood burn. It doesn't hurt, really. It's just a struggle until you become experienced enough to master it completely, then you can appreciate the near ecstasy that it brings. Your senses are in every way sharper. I'm holding saidin right now and I can count the every needle of every tree individually that you could point out to me from where you're standing."
Something like comprehension dawned in Kuno's eyes. "That is… saidin? Surely you are mistaken. I achieved martial perfection and the gift of heightened senses were bestowed upon me by the accomplishment. The fire and pleasure are simply side effects of my twisted sister's botanic experimentations."
Ranma sighed. Not comprehension, then; denial. He lifted Kuno another foot into the air and asked, "Does that look like anything related to martial perfection to you? No? I didn't think so. You just got lucky that your martial arts training somehow provided you with enough discipline to keep you from burning yourself to a cinder with the Power." Martial arts training, that was a joke. Sure, Kuno could very well be an invincible swordsman for all Ranma knew, but he was inclined to believe that it was self-delusion that had really saved Kuno.
Kuno appeared to consider Ranma's words, though he perspired even more, if that was possible. "Your words ring true. Perhaps I could learn this channeling you speak of." Leave it to Kuno to make instructing him sound like a privilege.
Ranma sighed. It was a start, at least, and it had only taken most of the afternoon. Still not trusting Kuno enough to free him, Ranma guided his floating form through the loosely growing fir trees and after a few minutes of hiking, into a deep rock pit. The walls of the pit were scorched in numerous places, melted in others, and smashed to powder in others. Ranma looked at the site much as another person would at their first bicycle. More demonstrations were in order, just to hammer the point through Kuno's thick skull.
To be continued.
Author's notes: Yes, I'm going to make Kuno more than a disposable character/Ranma ass-kicking-fodder in this fic. He won't be very important, and even now his presence is only part of the chain of events that are going to throw Ranma into the WoT timeline. In case you haven't guessed, Ranma isn't a god of martial arts in this fic. I may have Kuno try to show his gratitude towards Ranma by teaching him to use a sword, but I may not.
|Layout, design, & site revisions © 2005||
Webmaster: Larry F