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A Ranma ½ story
by Ebiris
(danielmcdonagh@hotmail.com)

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.


Prologue


Ranma giddily held the ancient Chinese artefact aloft. It was all he could do not to release an out of character — but very cathartic — maniacal laugh. "I, Ranma Saotome, wish to be free of the curse of Nyannichuan!" he yelled triumphantly, cheerfully thinking of finally being normal again.

"Silly customer. Mystic Urn of Xiawang no grant wishes until you pay for it," said the elderly proprietor of 'Honest Wong's Chinese Magical Shoppe'.

"Oh… right…" Ranma blushed as he put the urn back on the counter and started rifling through his pockets. "Sorry about that; just got carried away for a moment there." He chuckled good-naturedly before handing over ten thousand yen.

"And your change." Wong smiled genially as he handed a five yen coin to Ranma.

Ranma was about to lift up the urn and make his wish when he suddenly realised what was about to happen. Obviously, now that he had the solution to his greatest problems, Ryouga would burst in and attack him for forgetting to leave the toilet seat down for Akane or something. Carefully placing the urn on the ground next to the counter where it would hopefully appear inconspicuous, he made a show of looking around before theatrically announcing, "Boy, I sure hope—"

He was cut off as the wall exploded inwards. "Ranma!!" an enraged sometimes-pig bellowed. "How dare you inconvenience Akane-san like that! Prepare to die!"

Ranma grinned as he set about demolishing pig-boy, and incidentally the shop they were in. Before long, Ryouga was out cold from a few thousand punches delivered in a few seconds. All in all, it was quite a stunning display of martial arts skill.

"Honest Wong", however, was less than impressed at seeing his shop full of irreplaceable mystic Chinese junk being wrecked. A frown creased the stately old man's face as he decided that such impudence would have to be punished. It was a fairly simply matter to pick up the urn and flick the hidden switch on the bottom, which would ensure it only gave out cursed wishes. "Take urn and go. Never darken my shop again," he announced as he gave Ranma the discount-priced dispenser of wishes.

Ranma, being his usual self, failed to notice the shopkeeper's ire as he took hold of the urn and cried out his wish to the heavens.

Reality shifted.


Ranma blinked several times to get the blurriness out of his vision. "What the hell?" he remarked on seeing that he was currently in a girl’s bedroom. Judging from the decor, he half expected Azusa Shiratori to burst in at any moment and start naming the various knick-knacks or whatever the hell that kind of cute crap is called.

This was promptly followed by the realisation that 'his' voice was several octaves higher than would be expected for a 'manly man'. "Hey! I'm a girl!" Ranma cried out, noticing her breasts jutting perkily out as breasts tended to do. She also appeared to be wearing Doraemon pyjamas, although that didn't really bother Ranma since she considered it to be a fairly unisex anime, even if Nabiki always said it was just for little kids. Besides, despite being a cat, the talking blue robot with no ears was about as far from feline as you could get.

"Hello," a voice came from behind her. Judging from how close it sounded, someone was severely violating her personal space. Being a martial artist trained practically from birth to be a living weapon, Ranma reacted instantly.

"Eeeek!" she shrieked before leaping away and turning to face the intruder. Mere microseconds later, rationalisation kicked in and Ranma realised that she had only shrieked like a girl in order to lull the intruder into a false sense of security. Yeah, that's the ticket!

"Oh, pardon me, I did not mean to startle you," the man said in a cheerful tone that indicated he really didn't care.

"Who the hell are you?! What the hell's going on?" Ranma demanded, her voice laced with genuine panic. This wish was going way off track!

The man bowed with a flourish. "Why, I am Xiawang, of course," he announced as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Ranma eyed him mistrustfully. "Why do you look like Xellos from Slayers then?"

"Hmm…" Xiawang put a finger to his mouth in contemplation. "It could be…."

"Yes?" In spite of herself, Ranma leaned in closer to hear the answer.

"A secret!" he finished brightly.

Ranma groaned as she picked herself up from the floor. "I guess I asked for that," she muttered.

"Yes, you did. And that's not all you asked for," Xiawang said cheerfully.

In a flash Ranma had the man by the throat. "Yeah! What the hell happened to my wish?!" she demanded.

"Ah, well, it seems I was supposed to give you a cursed wish, so you can't expect things to go too smoothly. The path of a martial artist is fraught with peril and all that," Xiawang tried unsuccessfully to placate her.

"Well, why the heck am I a…" Ranma trailed off, a look of dawning horror starting to creep over her features. "You locked it, didn't you! I'm stuck as a girl!" She started shaking him back and forth violently. "That's not what I meant! I said 'free of the curse of Nyannichuan'! I can't be a girl!" she wailed.

Xiawang disengaged himself from the distraught former boy and smoothed the creases in his outfit. "Well, that's what happens when you make a wish on a cursed object; but I did fulfil the wish, actually. Ranma Saotome has just finished training at Jusenkyo, and he was not cursed."

"What are you babbling about?" Ranma demanded, despite the fact that she was doing most of the babbling herself.

"You…" He pointed dramatically at the redhead. "…are the curse of Nyannichuan that Ranma has been freed of. However, rather than just dumping you in an unfriendly world with nothing more than the clothes on your back, I have been nice enough to provide you with a home, and a chance to regain what you lost."

"This is my home?" Ranma surveyed her surroundings with an expression of extreme distaste.

"Yes. You are now Ranko Xiawang, student at Furinkan High school. Your parents recently died and left a generous inheritance which should last you until you finish university if you are careful about your spending. At a young age, you were briefly trained by Happosai, giving you the right to practice Anything Goes, but you have never demonstrated any aptitude or interest in the martial arts before now."

"Hey! I'm Ranma Saotome!" Ranma exclaimed angrily.

"No, Ranma Saotome is currently in China finishing off the last leg of his training journey. You are not him anymore," Xiawang said forcefully.

"Well, why are you giving me all this stuff? Apart from being stuck as a girl, this life sounds better than what I had before," Ranma commented, visions of a life free of unwanted fiancées flittering through her head. She abruptly shook the thought off; nothing was worth being stuck as a girl!

Xiawang casually buffed his nails on his shirt. "I provide a full service wish. Besides, rewriting history to my whims is fun." He smiled cheerfully.

"Well, I don't care!" Ranma announced hotly, hands on her hips in a pose of righteous feminine indignation "Undo it! I don't wanna be stuck as a girl while some other guy gets to be Ranma."

"Tut-tut," Xiawang admonished her, waggling a finger in a reproving manner. "Things aren't that simple with cursed wishes. I said you have a chance to regain what was lost; in fact, if you succeed, you will be permanently male and I'll even put you back in that magic shop as if all this never happened."

"What do I gotta do?" Ranma asked, just knowing that the answer would somehow displease her.

Xiawang hmmed and looked thoughtful. "Tell me, are you familiar with the fairy tale 'Beauty and the Beast'?"

"Never heard of it."

"Oh. Well, the long and the short of it is, a handsome prince is cursed to turn into a hideous beast — much like that Pantyhose fellow, only permanent — and the only way to break the curse is to have a woman fall in love with him. But of course, who could love a beast? And therein lays the dilemma."

"So I have'ta make some guy fall in love with me?" Ranma clarified, a disgusted expression on her face. "I don't like it, but I guess it ain't hard, all those perverts used to hit on me when they knew I was a guy, if I'm a… urk… real girl, then it shouldn't be too hard. I guess."

"Oh no, that would be far too simple. No, you have to make a specific person fall in love with you." By now Xiawang's ever-present smile was threatening to expand across his entire face.

"Who?" That single syllable contained more venom than Ranma had ever put into any word before in her entire life.

"Why, Ranma Saotome, of course!"

 

To be continued.

Chapter 1
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Last revision: May 21, 2007

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