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 admit that I could have handled the situation more tactfully, okay?" Ranma conceded finally. Nabiki had gotten over her enthusiasm for discovering Akane's 'powers' to be nothing more than Ranma's twisted sense of humor, now she was back to blaming him for the attack earlier. "It's not like they were just going to let us walk away, you know? Nearly every last one of them had a weapon drawn before I'd even said anything disrespectful. Besides, you should have seen the way they looked at us, like we were dog shit. I may have made things worse for them, but they intended to kill us either way, I'm certain."
"Fine, whatever." Nabiki threw her hands into the air exasperatedly. "Let's just get back to our own country. I swear," she continued, staring at the tent wall and speaking to herself, "this really has been the worst date ever, and I've gone out with Kuno before." She shuddered for a few moments then turned to regard Ranma coolly. "Well? My family will be expecting me soon. You don't know my father very well, but he's overprotective in the extreme. I'd rather not have to have him committed due to a nervous breakdown."
"It is 'not' my fault that they attacked us when they did," Ranma grumbled. He'd had bad dates before, the recent Sara incident came to mind most powerfully, but he really couldn't have helped the way this one turned out. "Come on, let's get you back before the old man goes mental."
Watching Kuno slashing through boulders with his bokken ter'angreal, Ranma tried to work out exactly how the Amazons had found him. The last confrontation between them had left the surrounding countryside a wasteland of blasted rock and charred grass. That time alone had likely killed a hundred of the overzealous women. The previous encounters, not to mention the original blast that had destroyed over half the village, couldn't have been good for the Amazon population. Hell, there shouldn't be any of them left at all; the village was small, no way could it support nearly a thousand people.
The magnitude of the attack the day before meant that there had been quite a few of the warrior women present. Where were they all coming from? Ranma was confronted with the uncomfortable possibility that there were many separate villages full of psycho women out for his blood, rather than just the one he'd originally visited.
"What troubles you, sensei?" Kuno asked, startling Ranma. He had become so wrapped up in his thoughts that he hadn't noticed Kuno walking over to him. Almost as disturbing as the Amazon problem, was Kuno's observation. Was he so transparent that the idiot of a channeller had been able to determine his mood with ease, or was the idiot channeller not such an idiot any longer?
"Oh, nothing much. You know, crazed tribe of women warriors out for my blood, that kind of thing." Well, they wouldn't be able to get him in America, not unless his luck had worsened a great deal in the last few days.
Kuno frowned thoughtfully, casting his features into a disturbing semblance of intelligence. Ranma shook his head minutely. When his grandfather had told him that Kuno's unusual and tentative grasp on saidin might be affecting his mind, he appeared to have been right on the mark. If only Genma had such an excuse… Never mind, the thought of Genma with access to saidin was worthy of inducing nightmares. "Could it be that they secretly long for you, yet can find no way to express their hidden desires?"
Needless to say, Ranma nearly choked on his own tongue. With a supreme effort of will, he managed not to do something painful to Kuno. It looked like a few last vestiges of idiocy lurked within Kuno's mind after all. "No, I'm certain that's not the case. They really want to kill me. I'm tired of killing them, though. That's one of the reasons why I'm staying here." Ranma shrugged. "Enough about my problems, let's get back to lessons. I want to finish up early and go see how grandfather's work at the site is coming along."
"Yeah, great, wonderful even," Nabiki drawled slowly, trying not to crush her little sister's ego by telling her that she really didn't have magical powers.
"You know, Nabiki, you certainly aren't being very gracious about this. It's not my fault that I have the Gift and you don't. Who knows, maybe it will manifest itself in you one day," Akane sounded sympathetic, smug, and condescending all at once.
For Nabiki, being patronized by her younger sister, a girl she held some affection for but not much respect, that was the final insult, the point of no return. "Oh, a Gift, you say?" she asked pointedly, to which Akane nodded. "Well, I have news for you, little sister. Your so-called Gift is nothing more than an overblown joke." The girl's voice dripped scorn and derision. "Ranma is the one with the Power. I know, I've seen him use it and he's explained it to me a bit."
Akane glared at her sister, clenching her fists at her side. "Real nice, Nabiki, you're showing a lot of maturity now. I can understand you being jealous, but that's no excuse to try to make me doubt my Gift."
The smirk that spread across Nabiki's face was cold, cold and cruel. For weeks she'd had to put up with Akane's superior attitude and mystic mumbo jumbo. This was going to be worked out once and for all. "He transferred to Furinkan the same day your 'Gift' appeared, if you will remember. Now, when have you ever done any of your magic when he wasn't within sight of you, hmmm? That's right, never. The only episode that didn't occur at school happened when he was sitting right across the table from you." Now Nabiki allowed herself to chuckle. "He even had me fooled. I actually thought you had learned to do some magic."
For less than a moment, Akane looked absolutely stricken, then her face smoothed and she assumed the same arrogant mask she'd worn for almost a month. "That is so like you, Nabiki, taking coincidences and twisting them to serve you. You are a petty, cruel person, and I frankly can't stand the sight of you one moment longer." She 'hmmphed', turning on her heel and stomping to her room.
"That didn't go so well," Nabiki remarked to the empty room.
Exhausted, Ranma staggered into his tent, joined a few moments later by an equally exhausted Kuno. The doorway's power was nearly restored. The thought cheered Ranma greatly and helped take his mind off just how drained he felt. Now that Kuno was well enough along in his training, he had been able to shave nearly a week off of the activation date. Final priming was so close, his grandfather had informed him, that they would no longer be charging the doorway until it had been shipped out to the jungle site and properly connected the Portal stone.
In the excitement and increased activity over the past week, Arin had pretty much forgotten about enrolling Ranma in an American school. Since Ranma had no intention of correcting this oversight, he was left with plenty of time to play around in his grandfather's lab. A prospect that had seemed very appealing only a few years earlier, lost much of its appeal after he'd been electrocuted for the third time. That left television and Kuno's lessons. American television left much to be desired, even for Ranma's less than demanding tasted. So, with nothing much to do except for teaching Kuno, Ranma was bored almost out of his mind.
Getting the doorway to South America would take almost two weeks. Ranma didn't intend to spend his final two weeks in this Age vegetating. He'd missed the morning 'magic' show of Akane's for over a week. Ranma wondered what she thought now that her magic powers were no longer working. Had she reverted back to the tried and true methods of blunt force?
Still aching with weariness, Ranma decided that he'd be visiting Furinkan in the morning. The Amazons may still have been searching Nerima for him, of course. Ranma didn't intend to appear as himself, though, so that wouldn't be much of a problem.
Akane slammed her hand into the floor in frustration, inadvertently slamming her hand 'into' and through the wood paneling. Not only had her magic failed her, now she was stuck trying to teach Gosunkugi how to do magic when she had no idea how to do it herself. This was all Nabiki's fault. She had made her doubt herself, doubt her power, and now she was paying for her lack of discipline. Until she regained her confidence, she would once again be mundane, non-magical Akane.
Gosunkugi cringed from his mistress's ire, slowly backing himself into a corner and unconsciously shielding his still healing crotch from further injury with an ancient spell book. Akane had been unable to use her magnificent powers for some time, to Gosunkugi's horror, yet she had graciously continued his sorcerous education. He steeled himself for the ordeal. He would master his power then help Akane to recover hers. She would love him forever.
Lost in a variety of perverted fantasies, Gosunkugi didn't notice Akane smashing the furniture and walls of his room into kindling.
Ranma didn't get a chance to drop by Furinkan when he Traveled back to Nerima. He'd decided to use his bedroom as an exit point. No one would see him arrive and he could just slip out his window to keep his parents from knowing he was around. Simple plans such as that often come to the worse ends. While nothing bad happened when he stepped through the gateway, Ranma did receive the shock of his life when he saw his mother and father on his bed. She was on her hands and knees, wearing only a leather corset, while Genma pounded into her like there was no tomorrow.
Turned away from him, they didn't notice his arrival.
"Oh, Genma, oh, har—"
Ranma didn't hear anymore of the exchange. He was too busy screaming, jumping back through his gateway, and vomiting up his breakfast. Somewhere in the back of his mind he realized that he hadn't taken time zones into account and that it was very late in Japan while it was only mid-morning at the ranch. He didn't particularly care what that small part of his brain thought at the moment, though.
Rationally, he could understand his parents having sex. They were a married couple, after all… but why in Hell had they been doing it on HIS bed?! Then the image of his mother calling out to his father reasserted itself and Ranma dropped back down to the toilet to continue retching.
Finally, Akane worked up the nerve to speak to Nabiki once again. Her sister was wrong about her Gift, she knew, but perhaps she knew something about Ranma that could help her. The boy must have taken or blocked her magic somehow; it was the only answer remaining that made any sense. Timidly, she knocked on the older girl's door, waiting for a response.
"Who is it?" Nabiki called from within the room.
"Your sister," Akane answered, trying to work out how to ask her sister for help in a way that wouldn't put her in the girl's debt for the next twenty years.
"Come on in, oh high and mighty sorceress," Nabiki replied drolly.
Akane grimaced, then stepped into her sister's room, taking the time required to open and close the door to return her face to a calm, unthreatening mask. It was an effort, even greater than restraining her aura. She wanted to hurt Nabiki for her childish teasing, but she wanted Ranma even more. He would pay for his actions. Pay very dearly.
Nabiki was reading a manga that seemed to involve a number of tentacles. "So, Akane, to what do I owe the honor of your visit?"
Akane feared she would cut her palms open with her nails, so tightly did she have her fists clenched. Despite the nearly overwhelming fury she felt, she held herself in check and asked, "Will you help me? That bastard, Saotome, has stolen my powers and you're the only person I know who can find him."
Nabiki took her time returning her comic to a drawer in her bedside table, then stretched languorously. She looked to Akane, a knowing smirk casting her features into a slightly sinister grimace. "He has? That's news to me. I could've sworn that you have to have powers in the first place for them to be taken away. My mistake."
Not beating Nabiki into a pulp was more difficult than Akane could have imagined. Through clenched teeth, she said, "I'll pay you if you help me find him."
"Ah, now we're talking business." Nabiki had been waiting for an opportunity like this to arise for several days. If she couldn't convince Akane that she hand no powers, maybe Ranma could. Now all she had to do was find Ranma, a task easier said than done, especially since she knew that he was spending most oh his time nowadays on the other side of the world. "Of course, you'll have to handle all my expenses, and there will be a slight hourly fee of three thousand yen."
Akane shrugged. That wasn't so bad. How long could it take her to track the boy down, an hour or two? And expenses: a free dinner and maybe a taxi? Now Akane was the one with the smirk. It was a small price to pay for her magic.
"Why are we here?" Akane asked angrily. Akane did most things angrily nowadays. 'Here' was the Kuno estate, and Nabiki had all intentions of charging Akane hazard pay for causing her to enter the heavily booby-trapped area with only a flashlight to guide them through the darkened grounds.
"Ranma has disappeared," Nabiki told her. Pretending to be a secretary from the school, Nabiki had talked to Ranma's mother and discovered that she didn't know where her dishonorable son was. She'd seen Ranma hanging out with Kuno on several occasions, so maybe he was staying there? It would have been easier without having to drag Akane along, Nabiki knew, but she also knew that she would be absolutely defenseless against Kodachi and her pet alligator, where Akane might stand a chance, or at least provide a distraction for her to escape. "My sources tell me that he may be staying here."
"Well what are we waiting for?" Akane demanded, making as if to rise from the bush she was crouched behind.
Nabiki jerked her sister back into a sitting position and whispered, "Don't be stupid, Akane. This place is dangerous, more so than the people who live here. If Ranma is here, don't you think it would be better if we don't announce our presence to him? You wouldn't want to scare him away and delay his punishment, would you?" Introducing thoughts of harming Ranma into her sister's simple psyche served to adequately distract the girl from making a nuisance of herself.
Ranma had never met Kuno's sister, and he was thankful for that small boon. He'd wondered into her playrooms while Kuno gathered a few possessions he wished to carry with him when they stepped through the doorway. One room reminded Ranma of Sara and her attic bedroom, all dark and scary, generously hung with chains and implements of torture. Another had looked like a meth lab on steroids, and the last he'd had the courage to enter had had several glass chambers that housed creatures strangely resembling Teletubbies. Kuno had an excuse, with his inadequate grasp of saidin. Kodachi didn't. Actually, she might have been in the same situation as Kuno, only with saidar instead of saidin.
He found Kuno waiting by his door, a bundle slung over one arm and a duffel bag resting at his feet. Ranma hadn't initially planned on letting the Shakespeare spouting freak accompany him and his grandfather. That had been before he'd become a mostly normal guy, sword obsession and slightly archaic speech aside. "That it?"
Kuno nodded and spoke, "I care little for worldly possessions."
Ranma shrugged and followed his student out of the empty mansion, making sure that he stepped in the exact same places as Kuno. He'd been told of the numerous traps lain by Kodachi and didn't wish to experience any of them first hand. The servants and other occupants were at a gymnastic performance, so there would be little chance that anyone would see them depart.
They were going straight from the Kuno estate to the jungle site where the primed doorway awaited final activation. Ranma had left a note on the doorstep of his parents' home saying that they'd likely never see him again and that he'd probably end up marrying someone they'd hate. The whole bed episode had just killed any remaining affection he had for them. Kuno hadn't even bothered with a note.
"There they are," Akane whispered, somehow managing to hold herself back. She respected Kuno less than she did a mud puddle, but he had some skill with a blade and he could easily strike her down while she was distracted with reclaiming her powers from Ranma. No, she'd follow them until they became separated, then Ranma would be at her mercy.
Nabiki nodded in the darkness and quietly responded, "Come on, let's follow them. And don't make a sound!" Together to two sisters carefully picked their way through a small copse of trees, a faux desert, and a large briar patch. They caught up with the two boys just in time to see a doorway of light open before them, through which could be seen a mound of rubble and a thick wall of trees.
For Akane, the sight tempered her resolve and confirmed her already steady suspicions. He had either taken her magic for himself or used his own to hide hers away! As soon as they stepped through the portal, Akane leapt to her feet and ran for it, dragging Nabiki behind her without the least bit of strain.
Arin forced himself to smile at Ranma and his friend. They both appeared so eager that he couldn't bring himself to tell them that they couldn't accompany him back to his own time. It was too dangerous for them. He regretted deceiving the boys, he truly did. The Dark One couldn't be allowed to remain free, even if his freedom was in the distant future.
"Remember, this is a one way trip," he told them. "Once you go through, there is no coming back." He would go first, then, before they could follow, deactivate the doorway with a specially prepared ter'angreal. The doorway itself was connected to the Portal stone by a series of web-like glass tubes, each glowing a subtle golden color as they focused dimensional energies into temporal instabilities. This setup was much more efficient than the one he'd originally used some many years earlier, and hopefully wouldn't destroy the Portal stone. For all he knew, this particular stone could be what ended up bringing about the reemergence of channeling in this area, destroying it could have disastrous consequences.
Ranma, his arm no longer in cast or sling, nodded. He threw his backpack over his shoulders and picked up his own duffel bag. He said, "See ya on the other side, gramps." In fact, he would not see his grandfather on the other side. He'd never see the man again.
Making a big deal of farewells would have been suspicious, so Arin simply nodded at his grandson then stepped through the empty doorway and disappeared into history.
As soon as Arin stepped out of the doorway he depressed the small button that triggered the ter'angreal he'd intended to deactivate the time travel device and strand his grandson in the past. The doorway disappeared as he'd expected, and would have faded from existence, its power gone, if not for a massive upheaval in the very fabric of reality.
Far into the future, in a reality that existed in another dimension from the one created by Arin's arrival, the doorway reappeared, re-energize and ready to accept travelers for several more seconds.
Arin would go on to prevent Meirin from creating the Bore and freeing the Dark One, though he would die in the process. His actions, instead of causing the paradox he had feared, created a splinter universe, one where the Age of Legends never ended, where the Breaking never occurred, and the Dark One remained in his prison for ten thousand years before being freed by a power-hungry channeller.
"Oh no, you don't!" a girl shouted from behind Ranma and Kuno. They both whirled around, stunned to be confronted by a charging Akane. The girl was dragging her sister Nabiki behind her like a rag doll and glowing for all she was worth.
"How in hell?" Ranma asked, instantly realizing that they must have followed them through the portal from Kuno's place. It wasn't his fault. The doorway would only continue to function for a few moments longer. If he stayed to return them to their own country, he risked losing his opportunity to join his grandfather in the future. Hastily, he slammed a wall of Air in Akane's path and turned to Kuno. "Hurry, we don't have much time."
Kuno nodded and spoke, "Yes, but…" he looked longingly at Akane.
"No buts," Ranma growled. "We've got to go now!" With that, Ranma focused on the doorway. With a final, deep breath, he leapt through. Kuno followed close behind.
Ranma failed to realize that ceasing to exist within a certain period of time ended all channeling efforts, so as he stepped through the doorway, his barrier also ceased to exist. Like an enraged bull, Akane didn't think, she lunged for the magical doorway that had carried her enemy away. Nabiki, still held tightly in her sister's iron grasp, screamed as she was pulled along.
A fraction of a second after her dangling feet passed into the future, the doorway truly lost all power, crumbling into white ash in less than a minute.
To be continued.
Author's notes: Ugh, I hate this chapter. It wasn't any fun at all to write and I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking poorly of it. I've been eager to get Ranma to Randland, and decided now was the time to do it, before I grew bored with the story and inadvertently dropped it. Arin's little summary thing was too abrupt, for sure, and Akane a little too OOC, but I needed to get him out of the story and Ranma needs and enemy besides the Tower and the Dark One. Hmmm, maybe Ranma will end up bonding Kuno, though I would much prefer him getting a maiden of the spear. Kuno may not be the best fighter from Ranma's time, but in Randland, he'd be worth about ten warders. Against my earlier decisions, I've decided to make Akane a channeller. I just couldn't resist writing her in the White Tower, and seeing how her attitude gets her treated by the Aes Sedai. Any suggestions for Nabiki would be appreciated.
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