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.
I haven't proofread this or anything, but I typed it up in a couple of hours, so I'm happy. Enjoy.
Driving Arin's motorcycle with part of his right hand encased in a cast was tricky, but as long as Ranma didn't put too much weight on it he could steer well enough that it didn't matter. Flows of Air and Fire served to alter acceleration and change gears, modifications made by Arin when he had purchased the vehicle. Ranma didn't know why the man had wasted the money; he'd never even seen his grandfather ride the thing.
They hit a small pothole, jarring the motorcycle and causing Nabiki to clutch herself to his back even tighter than before. Nabiki had been reluctant to climb on behind Ranma, not out of fear, she insisted. Once he had suggested she was afraid, though, the girl had gritted her teeth, shoved the helmet down over her head and attached herself to Ranma's back. They both would have been freezing if Ranma hadn't channeled into being a bubble of warm air that followed along loyally.
Traffic was surprisingly light, at least for a Saturday night, and Ranma guessed they'd be arriving at the theatre any minute. He would have chosen something more original himself, but Nabiki wanted to watch a movie, so they would watch a movie. He slowed the bike to a stop at a traffic light, and the slight delay in forward speed saved Ranma from getting a spear through his heart. The long bladed spearhead slammed into the asphalt an inch from the front tire and buried itself half a foot into the pavement.
While the spear shaft was still quivering from its missed strike, Ranma wove a barrier of Air that would stop virtually anything with any substance from passing through it. A fraction of a second later enough arrows, shuriken, and daggers rebounded off of the barrier to fell a small army. Nabiki was screaming something unintelligible, but it sounded like she meant to do serious harm to Ranma. He ignored her, untying the flows partially so that the barrier would move with the motorcycle.
Once he had reshaped the barrier so that it didn't create so much drag, they were speeding down the streets of Tokyo, no specific destination in mind. Nabiki had stopped pounding on Ranma's back when she realized that he was ignoring her. Ranma couldn't get up to top speed, thanks to numerous obstacles in their path, but he still managed to put some distance between them and their attackers. Or so he thought. As soon as Ranma slowed down so that he could pull into a small alley, a dozen arrows struck the back of the barrier.
Ranma knew who his attackers were, of course. He had been the target of enough unusually painted arrows and carved spears to know an Amazon weapon when he saw one. So much for hoping he had left them back in China where they belonged. How many of them did he have to kill to get some peace? With a growl, Ranma changed direction and turned sharply into the alleyway. He continued to accelerate, until there would be no possible way to stop in time to avoid hitting the wall that was only a few feet before them.
Nabiki was screaming again. Ranma ignored her, her shouts of terror and rage barely even reaching him in the void of the Oneness. The gateway snapped into existence a split second before the invisible barrier surrounding the motorcycle collided with the wall. The gateway closed behind the pair before any Amazons could follow them through, though a few stray arrows did manage to get through in time, all of which bounced harmlessly off the shield of Air.
Ranma cut the Power to the modified motorcycle and pulled them to a halt. Instantly, Nabiki leapt from the back of the vehicle and threw her helmet to the ground. Ranma had never seen her look anything but calm or slightly annoyed. It was quite a surprise to see her look nearly insane with terror. He had figured Nabiki had almost reached her own personal Oneness. She was breathing too hard to speak, taking great heaving breaths that would soon have her hyperventilating if she didn't slow down. Ranma didn't interfere with her, just in case she decided to claw his eyes out for risking her life.
The gateway had deposited them on the outer perimeter of his grandfather's archeological dig in South America. The powerful floodlights illuminated what would otherwise be total darkness. Ranma pulled his own helmet off and climbed off the motorcycle, trying to come up with a way to explain to Nabiki what had just happened. A minute passed before she got herself together well enough to walk slowly up to Ranma where he was leaning against the sleek black crotch-rocket.
"What in hell was all that about?!" she shouted almost hysterically. "How did we get here?!?! Where is here?!?! Dammit, answer me!!!" The girl looked ready to go into convulsions from the way her red face was contorted. Ranma tried to reach out with his good arm to lay a comforting hand on her shoulder but she slapped it away indignantly.
Ranma had seen Akane in a fit, but she couldn't hold a candle to her older sister. He was wondering if he should restrain her for his own safety, when his grandfather climbed over a pile of boulders that had once been a series of columns. The man was dirt streaked and looked exhausted, but he was smiling jovially, at least until he saw the serious expression on his grandson's face and the distressed girl screaming at him.
For lack of a better solution, Ranma channeled Spirit and put Nabiki into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Arin was sipping the swill meant to pass for coffee that the scientists on site brewed daily. He took a sip, grimaced, and spoke, “Well, boy, you've got to explain it to her, at least partially. Neither of us have enough skill with Compulsion to erase the memory or make her forget. You're better at it than me and the best we could hope for would be to turn her into a zombie."
"Yeah, yeah, I know all that," Ranma snapped angrily. "Why did they have to pick now to try to get me? Why did they even have to come after me?! Stupid women… Stupid old man. If he could have controlled his damned stomach for an hour, none of this mess would have happened." Ranma kicked a loose pebble across the medical tent where Nabiki slept peacefully on a small cot.
Arin's face darkened. "Why I didn't do something about him when your mother took a liking to that waste of flesh, I don't know." He sighed. "I suppose it's a good thing I didn't do anything rash, or you may not have been around." He went back to trying to drink the coffee while Ranma glared hatefully at the pebble. "So, what are you going to do?"
Ranma shrugged. "Tell her about channeling and China. She doesn't need to know anything else. It's going to be hard enough to keep her from trying to exploit that information. Looks like it's time to leave Japan for a while. Kuno is far enough along that he can create his own gateways. He'll just have to come to me for lessons." The pebble shivered into dust as Ranma channeled at it.
"This is turning out to be a lot of trouble, you know? I'll have to get you enrolled in a school in the states. Don't even argue; you need an education. Don't worry about your parents, they probably won't go through legal channels to get you back. If they do, it'll take them so long to manage it that you'll be eighteen and free from their authority anyway." It pained Arin deeply to see his granddaughter turning out to be such a loon. It was a wonder that Ranma turned out so well.
"She's starting to come around," Ranma cautioned.
Arin smiled slightly and said, “I’ll leave you to your fate. Good luck." He hurried out of the tent.
Nabiki's eyes cracked open partially and she raised a hand to the side of her head with a moan. "Ugh, talk about a lame nightmare. Didn't even have any tentacle demons," she said, unaware of her surroundings.
"Have a nice nap?" Ranma asked lightly.
Nabiki sat up quickly. Her eyes raked across Ranma, the interior of the tent, then down to herself. She looked back at Ranma and he responded, "Nope, not a dream. We really were nearly murdered by a lot of angry psycho superfeminists. Well… I was nearly murdered by the psychos; you were just along for the ride."
Now that there weren't numerous sharp, pointy objects of death flying around, Nabiki kept her composure, not even screaming as she spoke. "This is the worst date I've ever been on."
"You're taking this pretty well. Or are you going to freak out and start screaming again?" Make her defensive, then she would be too busy to worry about killing him.
"Oh, I'm not taking this well at all, Ranma, not at all. First you are going to explain to me why 'psycho feminists' are trying to kill you. Then you are going to explain in detail how you made a force field, or whatever that thing was that stopped the arrows. Oh, and I would also like to know what that hole in the wall was that we drove through. Well, start talking."
Ranma grinned, and explained.
Comfortable for the most part, Ranma grinned nastily at his father. Genma, who didn't have the aide of the Power to shield himself from the monsoon-like downpour looked thoroughly bedraggled. His bulky, yet surprisingly muscular frame was weighted down with a sodden gi and equally waterlogged backpack. That he was mud spattered and quite cold only increased Ranma's good mood. He'd let his grandfather convince him that a trip with Genma could form a bond between them. It had failed miserably. At least, Ranma reflected, the trip got him out of school for a while.
For months now, Genma had led them across the wilds of China. Ranma had been initially surprised over just how much open land there was when he'd heard so much about the overpopulation problems the country was experiencing. There were some beautiful places, especially high up in the mountains. All in all, not a bad waste of time. Of course, Ranma had to beat his father into submission every morning and at periodic times during the day. What difference did it make if he used the Power instead of Genma's precious martial arts?
"Three days without sight of anything remotely resembling civilization," Ranma began. "Are we going to be seeing people any time soon?"
Genma turned to glare at his son. "As a matter of fact, another half day's hike or so should bring us to a village renowned for the martial prowess of its warriors. Maybe they can teach you the error of your ways." Genma had heard the rumors that the village was populated mainly by women, but had dismissed them without thought. Women were not warriors— not from his point of view, at least.
A half-day's hike turned into a two-day session of 'dodge-the-pretty-lightning-bolts-of-death'. Ranma didn't enjoy tormenting his father as much as he thought he would, but the Oneness really put a damper on emotions. By the time they left the rocky mountain passes and came to a small, relatively flat valley, Genma was dropping to the ground at every sound above a whisper. In the distance, a village could barely be seen through the mist that blanketed some sections of the valley. His vision enhanced by the Oneness, Ranma was able to see the outer edge of the log palisades that formed a sort of crude defense for the village.
He almost laughed at the absurdity of such a pathetic gesture. The Chinese army could have crushed the tiny place like most people did an annoying bug. Then again, he reminded himself, there hadn't really been any signs of a government this far into the wilderness. Looking at it from that perspective, Ranma could see where such a wall could make a group of bandits think twice.
"Finally. After a few weeks of intense training, we can visit the legendary training grounds of Jusenkyo." Genma's blunt featured face split into a child-like grin of utter anticipation. Ranma shuddered at the lack of intelligence in the man's eyes.
By now, Ranma had learned that arguing with Genma about training was pointless. He seemed to automatically assume that Ranma would fight him with his fists whenever he ambushed him or attacked him in his sleep. Sleeping, Ranma couldn't really defend himself, but the wards he erected around himself nightly had more than enough power to electrocute his father into submission. When he was awake, Ranma tried to be more creative, though he often just resorted to smashing his father over the head with clubs of Air until he lost consciousness.
"There are still places like that in China?" Nabiki interrupted.
Ranma nodded vigorously. "Oh yes, real rustic in some of the more out-of-the-way areas. Now, back to the story."
Ranma was getting a weird feeling about this place. Nothing seemed overtly threatening, not in any obvious ways, anyway, but the men they'd passed who were working in the fields surrounding the village looked strange, their movements unnatural and listless, almost like they were dead. The shields Ranma wove around himself were comprehensive, even tuned to deflect most attacks from the Power. He wasn't sure, but from what his grandfather had told him, some of those men looked like they were under heavy Compulsion. The only way to ward off that type of attack was to grasp the One Power and hold to it firmly. Genma would have to fend for himself.
"Be on guard, boy," Genma whispered in a low toned growl.
Surprised that his father could actually be insightful, Ranma nodded. As an added precaution, he began to build a massive weaving. It came together slowly and consisted mainly of Fire, but with a considerable amount of Air and Earth added to focus the effect. Ranma continued to knot flows into the tapestry of Power that only he could see, until he couldn't find any space to add any further flows. If he detonated the knotted weave, Ranma fully expected to be responsible for the destruction of a majority of the village; hundreds of bolts of explosive heat lightning tended to have that effect.
He left the weaving where he'd completed it, which happened to be just before the entrance to the village. It hovered where he wished, a glowing presence that literally throbbed with energy, only connected by him by a fine flow of Fire, the fuse. It was overkill, sure, but when it came down to it, Ranma would kill a thousand to save himself. If he was attacked, they were enemies, so…
Genma glanced at him sharply. "I'm not sure if this was such a good idea," the man concluded, making Ranma nearly trip in shock, even within the Oneness. Genma admitting that he was wrong?! Impossible. "Just have some of your hocus pocus ready," he finished.
Sniffing indignantly at the 'hocus pocus' comment, Ranma prepared a few simple weaves. The earlier weaving, even at this distance, dwarfed them in Power. The lane they were walking down consisted solely of heavily compacted soil, firm under their feet but giving slightly. To either side were small houses, huts in some cases, constructed of bamboo or plain wooden clapboard. The majority of the roofs were thatched, though some sported ceramic tiling. All in all, nothing remarkable so far.
Every so often as they walked towards the center of the village, Ranma caught sight of a women walking between the homes or a small child sitting on a doorstep playing with a doll or simple wooden toy. The inhabitants of the village seemed to be thronging in the village square, if the cheers could be believed. They found where everyone was when they finally reached the center of the village.
Women, and only women, were cheering madly while two women tried to beat each other to death. The women were balanced on a rope suspended log, trading blows with their weapons much to the crowd’s pleasure. The lavender-haired women, a girl really, wielded a pair of what looked like decorative bowling balls on sticks, and her opponent, a women easily three times her weight, swung a large, curved sword. Steel rang on steel for several minutes, until finally, with a savage kick, the lovely, bouncy girl knocked the giant to the turf. Ranma cheered as loudly as anyone. The lavender haired girl was hot! Well endowed, too.
"Hmm hmmmm," Nabiki coughed disapprovingly, glaring at Ranma.
"Well, it's true. If it makes you feel any better, you've got a nice rack too." He winced at the thoughtless comment, then winced again when Nabiki kicked him in the shins with her sharp pointed high-heeled shoes.
The crowd busied itself chanting something that sounded like Shan Poo. Ranma busied himself with trying to find his blasted father. Genma wasn't particularly difficult to locate, especially since Ranma could make out the flying remnants of food that indicated the man was feeding. Wondering how his mother could have ever seen anything worthwhile in Genma, animal that he was, Ranma pushed his way through the villagers just in time to see his father finish decimating what must have once been a feast. Now, however, the table was littered with bones, empty bowls, bread crusts and anything else not edible.
Hoping that Genma had enough cash on hand to pay for the damages, Ranma smacked him in the back of the head with a bit of Air. "What d'ya think you're doing, old man? We just ate breakfast a few hours ago!"
Genma clutched a half-eaten haunch of beef to his chest, as if Ranma were going to attempt to steal it, eying his son warily. "I was hungry, boy, and all this food was just sitting here, going to waste."
"Did you ever think that they may have been saving it for after the fight?" Ranma snapped harshly. "Honestly, man, are you completely brainless? Even you could sense that there was danger here, and what do you do, you go and eat their freakin' feast!"
"Boy, don't talk to your father like that," Genma demanded, puffing his chest out irritably.
Before Ranma could say anything else, he became aware of an angry muttering sound coming from the crowd, only that it sounded like the entire crowd was muttering. He turned to face them, wondering whether or not he should shield his father, when some hideous, troll-like creature bounced to the forefront of the women. She was actually 'bouncing' along on a staff that appeared even more gnarled than herself.
She spouted something out in slow, completely unrecognizable Chinese. Ranma didn't even know what particular dialect she was using. She didn't look upset or sound angry, at least, so she couldn't be saying anything particularly bad, right?! Wrong. As soon as the dried out rasping voice ceased speaking, the square was filled with the disturbing sound of many, many sharp pointy things being drawn from their sheaths. That didn't even include the women with less orthodox weapons.
Ranma hadn't actually ever had to kill anyone, and even though he knew he could if his own life depended on it, he didn't particularly 'want' to. So, slightly desperate, he asked in Japanese, “Why’s everyone so upset?" It was just a little food, after all, nothing worth committing murder over. Ranma saw it that was anyway.
The woman, if that's what she really was, raised a questioning eyebrow at his use of Japanese and obviously lack of aptitude in Chinese. What did she expect, for everyone in China to speak the damned language?
"This man, whom I assume you are in some way associated with, has violated Amazon law and dishonored the newly-named champion in the worst way imaginable," she replied in perfect Japanese.
No wonder he'd felt that entering this village was dangerous. It was full of psycho women. Amazons? Feh, more like tomboys. Dishonored in the worst way imaginable, eh? Scratch out psycho, he was dealing with a new breed of lunatic. Ranma tried to shrug nonchalantly. "He's an idiot, and a glutton, not to mention a thieving bastard… did I mention stupid?… What do you expect from scum of the Earth like my old man?"
At this point, Genma became slightly indignant. "Listen here, boy, I'm your father and you'll pay me the—" The gag of Air silenced him with a startled grunt. The man was unable to close his mouth, causing his jaw to gape stupidly.
"We've got some money in one of our packs. It's not much, but that's the best I can do," Ranma continued. "I'd leave him here to work off the stain on her honor, or something equally demeaning, but it's just that my mom would be pissed at me and I'd rather not eat take-out for the next couple years." Without waiting for an answer, Ranma relived himself of his pack and began rummaging through the hidden pocket he'd had sewn into the lining. It had become apparent early on that they wouldn't have any money left within a week if Genma was left to manage the budget. The rolled wad of bills he retrieved was small, barely thicker than two of his fingers.
Genma looked ready to lunge for the cash, totally disregarding his current predicament. Ranma briefly thought about letting him do so, then standing back and watching him try to fight his way out of the village on his own. He thought better of that plan almost immediately. Genma was quite good as martial artists go, and he may have actually been able to do it, then Ranma would have been stuck hearing the man gloat for years. He made use of Air once again, binding Genma in place.
"We have no need of monetary reimbursement," the tiny little thing rasped disdainfully when Ranma tried to pass the wad to her.
"Well why in hell didn't you tell me? Now the old man knows where I keep it. Honestly, some people have… Oh sorry, you're just old, you probably didn't know any better."
"Jesus Christ, Ranma, are you a goddamned idiot?!" Nabiki all but screeched at him in a very uncharacteristic display of emotion.
Ranma glowered at the girl before answering, “It was intentional. I planned on leaving anyway, and she wasn't being a very polite hostess. Even I have better manners than to treat someone like that without provocation."
"Did you ever consider that by their customs your father's actions may have been provocation?"
"Sure. I mean it was easy to tell that they were pissed at him. I, on the other hand, hadn't done anything whatsoever, except try to make amends."
A few of the women hissed angrily, then a few moments of excited babbling spread through the crowd, followed by an unnatural silence. Ranma had hit the mark with the last one. The elderly creature regarded him with a cold, dangerous gleam in its oversized eyes. A few swords that had miraculously gone un-drawn now joined their brethren in readiness.
"Now would be a good time to leave," Ranma said to Genma, untying the bonds that held him. Genma stared at Ranma in sickened fascination, probably wondering why he had some sort of death wish.
"You will be going nowhere," the wrinkly thing said without inflection. Ranma became aware of several battle auras flaring through the crowd, the most noticeable being that of the purple-haired champion chick. She now stood a few feet behind the crone, looking murderous, a vein throbbing in her neck accompanied by a twitch in her lower left eye.
Ranma saw Genma drop into a fighting stance, looking strangely serious for once. He turned back to face the Amazons, uncertain of whether he should go for lethal or non-lethal crowd control methods.
"You know, it's your fault as much as theirs," Nabiki finally said.
"How's that?" Ranma asked. He hadn't seriously intended to use the prewoven trap, or even really hurt anyone. He simply hadn't taken into consideration that some of the Amazons knew abnormally powerful and unusual chi-based attacks that tore through his shields with relative ease. Only when his life had really been on the line had he resorted to extreme measures, and for that he'd been hunted for almost a month, unable to stay in one place long enough to learn the area well enough to form a gateway.
Of course he now knew how to shield the chi attacks properly. If he'd bothered to learn earlier, he wouldn't have had to eradicate almost an entire village of mostly innocent people. If he'd known how to Skim at the time, the whole bloody situation could have been avoided, but he hadn't, so there was no point in dwelling on it.
"Ignoring the fact that you provoked them pretty thoroughly, you could have just made one of those holes you used earlier and dragged your father through. I don't believe you cared enough about the trip to feel very sorry about ending it early."
Ranma shook his head. "Couldn't do it well enough back then to make one that fast. I normally would have had to stay in an area for at least a few hours to be able to create one of those. It's been pretty recently that I managed to get the secret of making them quickly. It's harder. Convenient, though."
"Suppose I believe you, and I haven't decided that I do, what about this Power you keep mentioning?"
"You've seen it. I kept us both from being impaled with it and brought us here, to South America, with it. Just think of the Power as magic. It's more complicated than that, but I just don't feel like trying to explain in detail." What he really wanted to be doing was finding out how the Amazons had found him.
Nabiki's eyes narrowed suspiciously, again, and she said, "Akane— her little morning shows. Is that the Power?"
Without thinking, Ranma replied, "Nah, that's just me having fun; a harmless practical joke."
"Ah ha!" the girl crowed. "She really doesn't have special powers."
Ranma realized that he'd said too much, though Nabiki didn't seem upset, not in the least.
To be continued.
Author's notes: It's about time I got around to finishing this. I've gotten side tracked recently, reading HP fiction. There are some surprisingly good ones out there. I'm in the writing mood again, thank goodness, so you can expect me to post something else sometime soon.
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