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Chapter 1

A Ranma ½ story
by Exar

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. In no way is this a claim to these characters. I make no money from this.

exarkun@olypen.com


Ranma walked down the street, grumbling softly and holding his coat close. His breath streamed out behind him, billowing like smoke from a chimney in the crisp fall air. He reached a payphone and activated the screen. He keyed in a number and extension that he'd memorized long before. The screen flickered, then displayed the sigil of Japan's Strategic Defense Forces. A pleasant, pre-recorded voice said, "We are connecting your call. Please be patient."

A man just as aged as Ranma appeared on the screen.

"Ranma. I'm glad you contacted me."

"Ryoga. This better be good. It's cold out here."

"Very well, we can skip the niceties. The Prime Minister's chief aide was assassinated last night. Here's the surveillance footage we got of the killers."

Ryoga pressed a button on his desk, and the screen showed a wall exploding, and several blurred man-shapes exiting.

Ryoga reappeared, frowning.

"Now Ranma, is that who I think it is?"

Ranma's face hardened.

"Don't take that tone with me!"

"Is it? Yes or no!"

"I don't know. Probably. He had the cloak up, so even I couldn't tell without being there. But it's doubtful it could be anyone else."

"He's supposed to be dead, Ranma!"

Ranma clenched his fists, attempting to control his anger.

"So what? You know how hard it is to kill people like us!"

"That's bullshit, Ranma! You had him dead to rights! Why did you let him go?"

"Who are you to talk to me like that, Hibiki? You've got no right! And you had no right to expect me to kill my own father!"

"So you admit to leaving him alive."

"Yes. He's the only family I have left! I couldn't kill him!"

Ryoga blanched, and an expression not unlike regret flickered across his features.

"Well, now he's trained others in his forbidden arts. And he's gone back to assassination. You have to take him down again."

"Fine. But once it's done, I want nothing to do with you— or the JSDF— ever again! Got it?"

"You know I can't guarantee that."

"Tough, Ryoga. If you don't, you can handle pops all by yourself."

"I can't ignore as good an agent as you, Ranma! You're the best!"

"And I can't work for a man I want to kill. When this is over, either leave me alone or suffer the consequences."

Ranma stabbed the "hang up" button and walked away.


"The way of the thieving panda is fraught with peril."

"The way of the thieving panda is fraught with peril."

"Good. The strong take what they deserve from the weak."

"The strong take what they deserve from the weak."

"Excellent. The thieving panda is strong."

"The thieving panda is strong."

"Survival is first, winning is second. Honor means nothing."

"Survival is first, winning is second. Honor means nothing."

"Very good, class. Meditate upon these proverbs and you will become true pandas. You may go now."

"Thank you, Sensei."

The four young men bowed to the very old man in the front of the room. They filed out, making no noise at all as they did. The old man rose from his sitting position, and walked out the back door, into his living quarters. They were plush, but not opulent. They gave the impression that the occupant was more interested in comfort than wealth. This was exactly the case. Genma sought only the finest comforts that life could offer. His bed was a heated waterbed, and his chair an overstuffed Laz-E-Boy. His dining table was piled high with all the food a hungry ninja could ask for.

All this, and respectful students, too? Genma was happy.

The videophone in the corner rang softly, and Genma lumbered over to it and pressed the "answer" control. The screen lit up with the face of a masked man on it.

"Genma, you have done well. The Prime Minister's chief aide, killed in broad daylight, with no witnesses. The payment is already in your account. If you are willing, we have another target for you and your students."

"You have paid us well. The Thieving Panda will serve you gladly."

"Excellent. Your next target is the head of the JSDF, one General Ryoga Hibiki."

"Hmmm. That will be a difficult target. Not only is he protected by the military, but he is a highly skilled martial artist."

"We know. That is why we came to the Thieving Panda to have him killed. We know that no other assassins would have a chance of killing him."

"Very well, I will do it, but for triple the normal rate."

"Done. As soon as he dies, the money will be sent to you."

The screen flickered out, and Genma returned to his seat. A cruel smile spread across his face.

Revenge is sweet…


Hiro Owara stood on the challenge log, facing the beautiful Xian Lo, granddaughter and heir of Xian Pu. He tensed as he adjusted his combat stance. She was a dangerous fighter. He would have to be quick, strong, and merciless to defeat her.

She lunged at him with her sword, and he leapt over her, flipping in midair to strike her unprotected back. She tried to dodge, but only succeeded in losing her balance and falling face-first off the log.

He leapt down and helped her to her feet. He whispered a quick apology before she smiled and kissed him. Hiro Owara and Xian Lo were now married.

Xian Pu walked out of her home, upset that she'd missed the fight, but happy that her granddaughter was getting married.

"Hiro! There's a call for you!"

"Coming, Grandma!" he yelled, running toward her with a huge grin on his face.

"It's nice to hear you call me that, Hiro, but your Sensei is waiting!"

"It's Sensei? All right!"

Hiro ran into Xian Pu's home and to the village's only videophone. On the screen was the face of his beloved master.

"Hello, Hiro. Congratulations."

"Thank you, Master. I owe it all to you."

"Nonsense. I only showed you the path. You walked it. Anyway, I'm sorry to have interrupted you, but I need to tell you what's happening. Genma has gone back to his old trade. I'm going to have to kill him. If I fail, you will hear of it. In that case, you know what you must do."

"Yes, Master. I must go to Jusenkyo. I understand."

"I know you do, and I hate to give you such dark news on such a happy day. I have high hopes that you will never need to go to the valley of sorrows."

"So do I, Master, but I will if I need to."

"I know. Now go and enjoy your wedding. Nothing will be decided today."

The screen blinked out and was silent.

Hiro leaned against the counter and closed his eyes.

"Master, please be all right."

 

To be continued.

Chapter 2
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Last revision: May 21, 2007

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