A Ranma ½ / All-Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku story
by Corwin and Ginrai
Previous chapters can also be found at Phu's Anime Page
Disclaimer time: Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty and Viz Communications own Ranma ½. Yuuzou Takada and A.D. Vision own All-Purpose Cultural Girl Nuku-Nuku.
This fic is based on Gregg Sharp's Nuku Nuku idea from chapter 30 of 'A Reluctant Bet', and is used here with his permission.
Thanks to Brian Randall for pre-reading this.
Chapter 2 - Just Two Normal Days in Nerima.
Akane soaked herself in the cold water, letting it numb her senses and send her into a state of deep relaxation. After all the talks about fiancées, curses and pink elephants, she decided on doing something to keep away from all the craziness. Even the fact that the furo only contained cold water couldn't force her away. "No Ranma. No Nuku Nuku. Just peace and quiet," Akane sighed dreamily.
That train of thought was dashed into a million pieces when a seventy-pound cat barged in and jumped into the furo, giving her no time to react.
When the water receded, Akane opened her eyes and saw a mass of pink hair covering her vision. 'How?' she thought faintly, remembering the discussion about Jusenkyo curses. 'So Nuku Nuku is also cursed?'
"Nuku Nuku beginning to like this form. Hi, Akane! You want to take a bath with Nuku Nuku?" Hearing the other girl's voice answered her question.
Still, wanting to make sure, Akane sifted through the hair. At the other end of the tangle, she saw Nuku Nuku's eyes peering down on her. The energetic girl was also naked, as Akane could feel the smoothness of her skin. Trying to calm herself by saying that girls couldn't possibly be perverts, she took notice of the catgirl's eyes and the amount of sheer hunger in them. This along with the ecstatic smile Nuku Nuku gave made it all the more terrifying for her.
Instincts taking over, she tried to push Nuku Nuku off her and leap out of the furo to get away from the other girl. Instead, her leg caught with that of the catgirl's, causing her to fall on top of Akane.
Opening her mouth to scream, her lips instead met with Nuku Nuku's. Akane was frozen, unable to move in the slightest, a tingling sensation spreading across her body. The tension was somewhat relieved when the other girl pulled herself away and shouted enthusiastically, "Wo ai ni!"
Akane had no idea what it meant. But from the sound of it, she knew it wasn't any good. Upon hearing a knock on the door, Akane quivered, her body slowly beginning to unfreeze itself.
"Yes, Ranma?" the catgirl asked in her bubbly voice, getting off Akane while doing so.
This gave Akane more breathing room, though she stopped upon noticing the water glistening on Nuku Nuku's athletic body.
"Remember, err… when I told you about girls and about kissing and playing with them?"
"Nuku Nuku knows!" she responded cheerfully, "But Akane just like Nuku Nuku! Just as much fun as with Amazon girls!" Due to her exuberance, she paid no heed to the sickly green shade Akane's skin was turning.
There was silence on the other side of the door before Ranma responded. "Even if Akane is the same…" He coughed a few times. "You shouldn't act so fast. Maybe it would be better if you wait until Akane's finished."
"Okay!" She leapt out of the furo and turned around to wave goodbye to Akane, who had her eyes closed and was blushing crimson, before running out.
"And what did I tell you about wearing clothes?!" Akane could hear Ranma exclaim in a disapproving tone of voice. "Just look what you did to that poor man that lets us stay here!"
"But Nuku Nuku's outfit got ruined when Nuku Nuku chased a big mouse!"
Akane could feel the pout on the other girl's face despite the closed door separating them.
"Umm…" There was a pause for a few long moments, before Ranma added hesitantly, "How about you wear one of the Chinese dresses you got from Shampoo?"
Nuku Nuku's squeal of delight finally managed to shake Akane out of her stupor, and she stopped twitching, retaining enough coherence to continue her bath.
"A free word of advice, Ranma," Nabiki said to the pigtailed boy before going to school. "When you get to the school's gates, stay away from Akane's fan club."
"Fan club?" Ranma asked, blinking a few times. "Akane has a fan club?" He side-stepped a moment later, a barbell flying through the area his head used to occupy. "Weird."
"You'll see," Nabiki said mysteriously, before grabbing her lunch and going out. "Later!"
"Why can't ya tell me more?" Ranma insisted, grabbing her elbow lightly.
"It'll cost you," came the prompt reply.
Ranma blinked. "Is that what ya say for every question?"
"It'll cost you." Nabiki smiled, baring her teeth slightly. Seeing that the pigtailed boy wasn't trying to ask her any more questions, she shrugged slightly and walked out of the front door.
"O-kay." Ranma shook his head to clear it. "Nuku, let's go, too," he offered, getting up and taking his backpack. He readily agreed with his father in going to school. If nothing else, time away from his Pops each day was enough of a reason to go.
"Okay, Ranma!" Nuku Nuku replied, bouncing happily in her low-cut Chinese dress - which bordered on indecency - ready to make new friends. Though fat elephant-man tried to say that pets weren't allowed at school, Ranma found a way to convince him. The catgirl wondered what that was, and why Ranma agreed not to mention "Mishima" to anyone and asked her to do the same.
"Oh, my! Ranma, what if Nuku Nuku changes during the day?" Kasumi exclaimed.
"Man, I haven't thought of that," Ranma replied dejectedly. He scrunched his forehead as a look of intense concentration settled upon his face. A few moments later the pigtailed boy closed his eyes, and began to emit a strange noise as he struggled with the problem presented before him. A full minute later, he opened his eyes and glanced at the eldest Tendo daughter curiously. "Say, Kasumi, do you have a thermos or something?"
"Certainly, Ranma. I think I have a spare stored away somewhere."
"Can you fill it with cold water and loan it to me? All I have to do is keep it close to me!" Ranma exclaimed happily, rubbing his hands together.
"But what if Nuku Nuku is splashed with hot water while she's on her own?" Kasumi asked over her shoulder, while walking into the kitchen to retrieve the thermos Ranma had asked for.
"Umm… I'll have to keep Nuku around me all the time too, then!" Ranma replied, putting a hand on the catgirl's shoulder.
"Hmph, pervert," Akane mumbled before saying goodbye to Kasumi and running outside.
"Hey, wait up!" Ranma exclaimed, grabbing the offered thermos and Nuku Nuku's hand. Saying his thanks to Kasumi on the way out, he sped off along with the catgirl after Akane's receding figure.
Left alone, Kasumi put a hand to her cheek and thought, 'My, he's so energetic and young… well, not too young… and he's got a cute butt…'
Hearing a dull thud from behind her, Kasumi turned around to see her father sprawled out on the floor in a dead faint. "Oh, my!" the eldest Tendo daughter exclaimed, holding her hand to her face as her cheeks burned crimson. "Did I say that out loud?"
"Ranma, what are those boys doing?" Nuku Nuku asked, looking at the crowd assembled at the school's gates.
"I dunno, maybe they're that fan club Nabiki was talking about. Anyway, it's not our business, so let's go inside."
With that, Ranma sped off to the building, wanting to enroll as fast as possible. Nuku Nuku shrugged, and ran after him, intent on making new friends later on.
The sight of the catgirl running towards school, her long, pink hair flowing freely as she ran, the daring Chinese dress hugging her features, showing a lot of leg and her ample chest bouncing in a very positive manner, caused most of the boys to go into sensory overload. This distraction was at the very moment Akane came through the gates. With a determination not seen before, she plowed through them with the greatest of ease.
Kuno, who like most of the others had not taken notice of Akane arriving, had his attention solely on the door leading into Furinkan. The image of Nuku Nuku was burned into a special part of his mind, right next to that of Akane's, where they would be cherished together forever. "Such beauty…" he mouthed out before getting punched in the face by the fist of the other girl etched in his mind.
Looking at the unconscious body of the kendoist in wonder, Akane turned back towards the gates to see the results of the morning attack. "Wow, a new record! I must be getting better!" she giddily said, walking inside the school building with a wide smile on her face.
Nabiki, who saw all of the morning's events transpire, had already started making plans to exploit the situation.
Still content from earlier, Akane felt on top of the world. 'Better yet,' she thought, 'I won't have to see either Ranma or Nuku Nuku for the whole day!' Thinking of Ranma's 'fiancée' - not that she minded him being engaged to a cat in the least - Akane closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. The events of the previous night were something that she had every intent of forgetting. It was not like she wanted to think of girls that way…
Her meditation was interrupted by the homeroom teacher, Professor Yamagata, walking in and greeting the class.
Opening her eyes in preparation for the school day, Akane right away caught sight of two people following the teacher; her two house guests, to be precise, one of whom was waving at her that very moment. She placed her hands on her forehead and started to massage her temples. Akane just knew that the weirdness level would increase with them two here.
"Class, we have two new students today," the teacher announced as Ranma and Nuku Nuku stood in front of the whole class. "Why don't you introduce yourselves?"
"Well, I'm Saotome Ranma," the pigtailed boy said, before posing dramatically, "and I'm the heir to the Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts!"
"And my name is Nuku Nuku!" the pink-haired girl exclaimed happily. "I'm Ranma's fiancée! We're staying with Baka-san at Akane's house!" she loudly proclaimed, causing some of the students to look back at the Tendo sibling.
Akane tried to hide herself behind her desk. It had already begun…
"Baka-san?" Professor Yamagata asked.
"Ah, she means my pop. He's a real idiot," Ranma replied casually.
"Oh." The teacher blinked for a few seconds, before regaining his senses. "Ranma, why don't you take the seat next to the window. Nuku Nuku, you may take the one behind him."
"Sure, Teach. No prob," Ranma said, shrugging.
Professor Yamagata nodded to himself and tried to sit behind his desk, accidentally knocking his chair away and falling onto the floor with a groan.
During lunch, Professor Yamagata noted that while the other students were in groups, his two new students were only talking with each other. 'As their teacher, it's my duty to see that they don't end up feeling alienated from the other students,' he thought, walking up to them.
"Excuse me, Saotome-san, Nuku Nuku-san."
"Yes?" Ranma asked, turning towards the teacher along with Nuku Nuku.
"Neither of you have talked much with the other students, have you?" he asked in a firm tone that had a sense of seriousness underneath it.
"No," Nuku Nuku responded, shaking her head.
"That's not good," Professor Yamagata said gravely. "You both are young and need to enjoy your youth while it lasts! I'm sure that there are many people here who want to be your friend." The last statement was said with him gesturing his hand towards the rest of the class. He didn't take grasp of the fact that the students around them were running away from the area, or the dull noise that was progressively increasing in intensity. "So, it would be a good idea to get acquainted--"
The onslaught of a mob of students running towards them reached Professor Yamagata at that moment, knocking him through the window. "AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!" he screamed, attempting to grab hold of something as he fell.
Some of the more concerned students looked out to check on their accident-prone teacher.
"It's okay," Sayuri shouted out. "He fell into the pool." With that she went to the group surrounding Ranma and Nuku Nuku.
Akane didn't mind the commotion in the classroom much, since she had been left alone to have her lunch in peace. Ranma and Nuku Nuku were surrounded by various students, asking the pair questions on what they've done during the ten years of training. 'Some time alone. Nothing to worry about. Though I'm surprised that Yuka and Sayuri would even talk with Ranma…' She blinked at the last thought. 'Then again…'
Akane rapidly became distracted by what Nuku Nuku was saying, losing her train of thought.
"Nuku Nuku at Akane's house because Tendo girls want Ranma. Just like other friends!" the pink-haired girl told the boys. She knew that had to be the only reason they were there, especially since there weren't any challenges as of yet.
As one, the boys she were talking with blinked, silently envying the position Saotome was in.
"But aren't you Ranma's fiancée? You're not mad at this?" Hiroshi asked, surprised at the lack of jealousy from Nuku Nuku.
She pondered this for a moment before answering. "You mean if Nuku Nuku is friends with them?" Seeing their nods, she smiled and said, "Yes, Nuku Nuku good friends with Tendo girls! Especially Akane!"
Hearing Nuku Nuku speak so ardently about her, even though they really didn't talk much - other than that unfortunate bathroom incident - made Akane feel ashamed on having thought so unfavorably of her guest. Maybe they could be really good friends.
"What did you mean by 'Especially Akane'?" Daisuke asked, a large part of him wanting it to be something more than friendship.
"Nuku Nuku and Akane real good friends! Akane even take bath with Nuku Nuku!"
Akane stopped eating instantly upon hearing that and promptly grabbed onto the sides of her desk, preventing herself from falling face-first onto the table. This was not good. Opening one eye towards the group of boys, she saw that it already had an effect on them. They had a certain look on their faces. A look that would cause any right-minded girl to slap them until their cheeks were red. 'What if Nuku Nuku tells them about that kiss?' she thought in horror, mentally reminding herself that the kiss she gave was by accident. Evasive action had to be taken and so she grabbed her thermos containing hot coffee.
While most of his students were conversing with the newcomers, Professor Yamagata was drying himself after climbing out of the pool. Walking back to the classroom, he wondered silently, 'Why do I always get hurt?' in confusion, idly wringing out the water from his tie as he did so.
His thoughts were on hold when he noticed a tiny crack on the outer wall. It was getting larger by the second. "Strange," he whispered, closing in on the rift.
Before Akane could splash Nuku Nuku with the coffee, she watched in amazement as the outer wall to the classroom exploded. The explosion, followed closely by Professor Yamagata's shrill cry of "What's this?!!!" - just as the rubble fell on top of him - caused her to spill the contents of her thermos all over herself in surprise. Wiping off the hot, sticky substance from her eyes, she stared towards the area of destruction. 'At least Nuku Nuku is also distracted.'
The rest of the students turned towards the hole, which was two meters in diameter. What was more intriguing to them, however, was that it had been made in the outer wall. Their class was on the third floor.
As the dust slowly cleared, they were able to see a figure holding a mace in each hand entering the classroom through the hole. The scene becoming less hazy, with light falling on the silhouette, everyone saw that the figure was a girl. A girl with luscious purple hair.
Ranma shrieked in terror and grabbed Nuku Nuku. Pushing startled students out of the way, Ranma dragged the catgirl along towards the exit. They almost made it out of the door, when several girls in formfitting Chinese dresses filling into the classroom from that direction halted their presence.
"Hello, Son-in-law, Daughter-in-law," a diminutive woman perched atop a staff called out, as she easily jumped above the teenage girls blocking the doorway.
"W-Why, Cologne," Ranma stammered out, sweating profusely. "F-Fancy m-meeting you h-here."
"It's… it's a mummy!" Daisuke exclaimed, the first student to see the newest arrival clearly.
The purple-haired girl who had made the hole in the outer wall bonked the boy on the head with one of her bonbori. "It no Great-Grandmother's fault she fall in Spring of Ghoulish Talking Dried-Up Old Monkey!"
Ranma took the half-full thermos of hot coffee from Akane's numb fingers, and poured it over Cologne's head, staggering immediately as a staff impacted upon his head.
"What did you do that for, Son-in-law?" the ancient Amazon asked him, hot coffee dripping down her face.
"Ack! She's still a dried up old mummy!" Ranma cried out, earning a second blow to the head for that remark.
"That was 'monkey', Son-in-law, and I cannot change back."
"Why? You've found being a monkey to be more enjoyable?" This comment earned Ranma another whack on the head with the gnarled staff.
"No. A while back, after having beaten him in a duel, a prince from the Musk Dynasty felt rather sore, saying that I didn't win through fair means. So he dumped the cursed water on me and then used the Chiisuiton."
"A magical device which locked me in my cursed form. Arrogant little twit…" The light around Cologne seemed to grow dimmer when she added with an evil chuckle, "Oh, but I got even. Showed them all what'll happen when messing with me." The light and mood around her slowly shifting back to being more cheerful, she ended it with, "And that's how I turned into a dried up monkey."
"That's… sad," Ranma said sympathetically, albeit having to wipe a few sweat drops away.
"Not really. There is still hope. Another device by the name of Kaisuifu can counter the curse, and it's located somewhere in this country."
"Ah, so that's why you came here," Ranma said, sighing in relief.
Cologne smiled, managing to strike terror in the hearts of people watching her.
"Not exactly, Son-in-law. You left in such a hurry, that you must've forgotten to take your wives with you."
"Wives?!" the whole class screamed in surprise, as Ranma began to sweat worriedly once again, shifting from one foot to another nervously.
"Umm… only the girls are here, right?" Ranma asked, not wanting the situation to be worse than it already was.
"Of course," Cologne answered with the same smile as before, eliciting a small sigh of relief from Ranma.
"And what about… him?"
Cologne sighed, her shoulders sagging. "I wish I could say that… he… stayed behind, Son-in-Law."
All signs of relief left Ranma's face, as the pigtailed boy paled considerably, looking around cautiously.
Nuku Nuku wondered what she should do. All of her friends from the Amazon village showed up. She wanted to ask them to play with her, but one of the first things Ranma told her when they left the Amazons behind was never to do that again.
No matter how much she thought about it, Nuku Nuku couldn't understand why it was wrong for her to play with all those females and then kiss them. Even Akane, who wasn't an Amazon, liked to do that. If it was okay in Nerima, what was so bad about it? But Ranma spent more time as a human, and should know better. Well, better than fat-old-man.
Looking at Ranma, Nuku Nuku noticed that he was very nervous. Maybe he was sick? If that were the case, she had to get him to a doctor!
Shouting, "Don't worry, Ranma, Nuku Nuku will help you!" she slung him over her shoulder, and quickly jumped outside of the classroom through the hole Shampoo made, gaining speed as the ground approached to meet them at an incredible pace.
Flipping agilely, Nuku Nuku landed on her feet, as befit a true cat, and waved at the Amazons looking at her from the third floor. Maybe they would like to play tag with her, while she was getting Ranma home?
Gulping down the contents in his mug, Genma couldn't help but notice his son being carried off by a speeding Nuku Nuku. He shrugged and drank some more beer.
"Saotome, isn't that your son with his… fiancée?" Soun, asked his best friend, taking a swig from his own beer mug.
"Mmm-hmm," Genma said, nodding solemnly.
The pair heard a low rumble approaching them, occasional proclamations of love in pidgin Japanese and panicked screams seeping in through the background noise occasionally. Soon afterwards, they saw a huge dust cloud shoot by, containing what seemed to be many girls holding weapons, pedestrians scrambling out of their way.
"And… who are they, Saotome?"
"Oh, just some Amazon wives Ranma and Nuku Nuku picked up along the way. Nothing serious."
"So you say." Soun nodded sagely. "You know, Saotome, there is the Tendo-Saotome agreement to unite the schools. Maybe we should go and help your son and… that girl?"
"And leave this fine establishment that brings us nothing but joy?" Genma asked, gesturing towards his fellow drunks. "Liquid joy, at that!" The portly man chuckled, his hand making a sweeping motion towards the assortment of beer. "Tendo, you worry too much. Of course I still remember the agreement. I have a foolproof plan here that should get us what we want!" He emphasized this by tapping his forehead. "And besides, I've taught the boy much. He'll find a way to get out of this."
"You're right, Saotome." Soun sighed in relief.
Genma heartily patted his friend on the back. "Why ruin a perfectly good day worryi--"
A splash of cold beer caused whatever words of wisdom Genma was about to say to turn into incomprehensible sounds.
Sucking himself dry of the beer that drenched him, the pink elephant cub then turned around to see who had spilt the drink.
The sound of what was most likely an elephant shrieking in terror reached ears of the others in the bar. Turning towards the source of the noise, they saw a pink elephant cub grab hold of the surprised man sitting next to it, mug still in hand, before the animal and its unwitting hostage flew straight through the nearby wall.
"Hey," one of the many drunk members of the bar slurred out. "Why'd Stampy run away? Isn't he supposed to stay?"
Contemplating on this serious issue, another shouted out, "Oh, dear God! This beer is nonalcoholic!" Pointing towards the bartender, he shouted, "Get him!"
The unfortunate bartender, whose brain had shut down after having seen one his customers turn into an elephant, pink at that, was too slow in reacting to the attack as a barroom brawl began.
Genma-elephant, with Soun sitting on top of him, flew in the direction where he last saw his son heading. After all, it was every father's duty to help out their sons when they were in trouble. And he was about to show just how dutiful of a father he was to Ranma.
It had absolutely nothing to do with running away from one of the greatest terrors in the world. None whatsoever. His reasons were as pure as water.
'I wonder what excuse I shall tell Soun later… Oh, there's my son! Time to go into action!' Genma-elephant flapped his ears harder in preparation for the upcoming battle.
Back in Furinkan, Tatewaki Kuno, fearless leader of the school kendo team, was thinking of the beauty he had laid eyes on earlier.
"Certainly a beauteous flower waiting to be plucked by one such as myself," he said aloud, eyes clouded in a love-induced haze.
"Having more in-class wet dreams about my sister, Kuno-chan?"
"Yes…" A second later, having snapped out of his haze, Kuno reacted accordingly. "No! While my fierce tigress is definitely one of a kind, it is another girl; one that mine eyes hath laid upon this morning. A pink-haired goddess."
"So I guess you brought spare clothing?" Nabiki asked smugly.
Kuno blinked, frowning. "I hate you."
"And I love you, Kuno-chan," Nabiki said in an over-sweetened tone which most would have picked up as being sarcastic.
"Actually… I just love your money."
Kuno gave a huge sigh of relief. "And so the gods have decided to be spare me of a fate infinitely worse than death."
'For that, information on Nuku Nuku will cost more,' Nabiki thought with an inner scowl. "Anyway, for ten thousand yen, I could tell you all I know about your pink-haired goddess."
Right away a wad of cash was dropped on Nabiki's desk. "Sold!"
"Her name is Nuku Nuku," Nabiki said, counting the bills in her hand slowly, "and she's living with my family at the moment."
"So both of my loves live together. Blessed I must be to have such fortune as that."
"There's more. You know that boy who was next to her in the morning? Well, his name is Ranma Saotome…" Nabiki made a dramatic pause, before dropping the bombshell, "and he's Nuku Nuku's fiancé."
Time stood still, waiting for Kuno to pick himself off the floor and face Nabiki, who was smirking like a fox. "What did you say?" he asked incredulously. Surely his love could not be trapped by one who doesn't deserve it?
"And there's more. Ranma's also staying over with my family because he is engaged to the Tendo girls."
Time once again stood still, this time waiting for Kuno to pick himself out of the hole his head created when falling down. 'How could have it happened?! Two of my loves enslaved by this… this… sorcerer!' the kendoist wondered, before jumping to his feet and posing righteously. "Ranma Saotome, how dare you enslave two beauteous girls such as Akane Tendo and Nuku Nuku with your evil ways?!"
"Kuno-chan? I said he could choose one, if not ALL, of us to be his fiancée."
Pausing in his rant, Kuno replied to Nabiki, "Why, certainly he would never be of mind to choose Kasumi as she is older than him along with that her purity would destroy evil such as him." The boy snorted, casually brushing away a loose strand of hair away from his face. "And only a crazy fool would choose you. Why, a choice between you and Akane is like one between a dull stone and a diamond." Realizing that there was a rant to finish, he continued, "Ranma Saotome, prepare to face the wrath of…"
The rest of his speech was cut off by an eraser thrown to his face. Regaining his senses, Kuno found himself the recipient of a bucket full of water, as he was told to stand outside.
The residents of a once peaceful Tokyo suburb known as Nerima were startled by the chase that took place in the shopping district. A pink blur whizzed past them at neck-breaking speed, meowing in glee all the while, followed closely by a group of severely underdressed women with archaic weapons.
However, the most startling thing, especially for those few that could understand Chinese, was the cries of "Airen!" that came from the warrior women periodically.
Far ahead of the procession was a bar which, unlike the one where Genma and Soun were drinking in, was filled more with businessmen than drunks.
One particular man in suit, named Toshu, was rather bored. Staring outside through the window, taking note of what seemed to be an ordinary day with people walking casually to wherever they had to go, he was hoping for something to amuse him or, at the very least, keep him awake.
A blurry object sped through, causing any loose articles near it to fly around.
"Say, Kenji," Toshu asked the man sitting next to him, "Any idea on what just passed by?"
"That? Oh that was a pink-haired catgirl carrying a boy while running at a tremendous speed."
Along passed by a huge dust cloud containing what seemed to be a group of girls carrying weapons, shouting words that were incomprehensible to most of the people around.
"And that?" Toshu asked, sipping some more of his drink. The day didn't seem to be as boring anymore.
"Just a group of Chinese Amazons running after their husband, who seems to be the boy that the catgirl was carrying," Kenji replied in a tone that disclosed a sense of disinterest in the man.
What followed was a pink elephant following the dust cloud, flapping his ears at a ridiculous pace to keep himself afloat. Sitting on top of the animal was a man wearing a dark brown gi, one hand holding onto the elephant for dear life while the other holding a mug of beer. Having neared his target, the elephant instantly changed his trajectory and dive-bombed the warriors, causing them to scramble for cover. All the while his rider held on with a firmer grip, hair waving in the wind as he screamed out 'Saaaaooootommmeeee!' again and again while the elephant continuously attacked the girls. Surprisingly enough, none of beer he held with the other hand was spilt during the attacks.
Slowly regaining some sense, Toshu asked, "Do I even want to know?"
"Nothing more than a man, who I assume is named 'Saotome', cursed to turn into flying pink elephant cub. The man on his back is a friend of his as they were probably drinking beer before having to follow the others. At the moment, he's trying to distract the girls away from his son, who's the boy that's being carried by the catgirl. Good night."
In spectacular fashion, Kenji slammed face-first onto the table, causing everything on it to shake from the tremor.
Taking a good look at the unconscious man next to him, Toshu, synchronous with those in the bar that had their attention caught by the events outside, overturned his cup and allowed its contents to flow onto the floor.
'Now that's stuff I'm never gonna drink again,' he thought, knowing well that others around him were thinking the same thing.
The next day, Ranma and Nuku Nuku went to school ahead of the Tendo girls, curious about the morning battles. The easiest way to get the whole story was to buy it from Nabiki, but Ranma didn't see any reason in buying the information when he could just ask anyone else at school about it.
'Hopefully today won't be anywhere near as strange as yesterday,' Ranma thought when nearing Furinkan, glad that the previous day was at least somewhat normal after the incident in which Nuku Nuku carried him to the doctor. Amazingly enough, after finding out that nothing was wrong with him, they were able to make it back to school in time. Better yet, none of the Amazons, including… him… were around. Now if only this day could be as good as that…
"Hey, Hiroshi, Daisuke!" the pigtailed boy greeted his two new friends, as Nuku Nuku cheerfully waved at them. He met them later on in the previous school day, two of the few non-girls he talked with. Though they did have a strange habit of staring away from him when talking; more like staring at whatever was behind him. 'Must be the type of people who can't concentrate on one thing for some time.'
Taking a few moments to drool at the catgirl's rather uninhibited nature, especially with her smooth silk dress clinging ever so tightly to her skin, the boys eventually came to their wits, and greeted the pair.
"Guys," Ranma tried to ask nonchalantly, hoping he had their attention, "what's the story with that Akane chick and her fan club?"
As the boys looked at each other uneasily, keeping silent, Ranma asked incredulously, "Don't tell me some idiot proclaimed that in order to get a date with that girl one had to defeat her in combat first?!"
Daisuke and Hiroshi blinked a couple of times, before the latter answered tentatively, " Um… no? They just like her… very much."
Daisuke just nodded right away, agreeing with his friend's explanation.
"So… the only reason Akane kicks their ass is because they ask her on dates?" Ranma asked, his right eyebrow twitching nervously.
Nuku Nuku was standing quietly, absorbing the new information. Did it mean that in Japan a girl had to beat up every guy that asked her on a date? Maybe Ranma was wrong, and Japan was much more similar to that nice Amazon village than he told her? At least… everything that had to do with Akane was just like in the Amazon village.
Hiroshi shrugged, answering, "Well, actually we think everyone in the club is a masochist."
"Oh, man," Ranma groaned, putting his head in his hands. "I'm surrounded by freakin' weirdoes!"
Shaking it off like he had to do countless times in the past during his decade-long training trip, Ranma put a smile on his face and told Nuku Nuku, "C'mon, let's get going. If those sickos wanna get beaten, I say let them."
Daisuke and Hiroshi followed them to class, not taking their eyes off the catgirl for a moment. Several moments later, the pair of boys crumpled onto the floor with matching groans, having walked into the banisters at exactly groin-level on the first stair-case.
Ranma frowned, when Professor Yamagata didn't enter the classroom after the bell had rung. Something was wrong, the boy could feel it his bones, and he had a feeling that this time it had nothing to do with the teacher getting injured again. Glancing at Nuku Nuku to see if her danger sense had picked up anything, Ranma shook his head. At least the sight of the catgirl playing on her desk with a small toy mouse he'd bought her answered his question.
But if they weren't in any physical danger, then why were all of his senses screaming, pleading and even begging him to bolt out of the classroom immediately? For a moment Ranma thought that he had found them. He shook his head, knowing if that was the case then he would have already been off and running with Nuku Nuku.
Ranma sighed, labeling it as yet another mystery in his already hectic life. Arranging his seat slightly, to allow for better maneuverability should he have to fight, the pigtailed boy tensed up, awaiting the inevitable.
Five minutes later, when the wait was almost unbearable, the teacher finally entered the classroom, followed by several girls. Upon seeing their faces, and the clothes they all wore, Ranma, very close to fainting, froze in his seat.
"Good morning, class," Professor Yamagata greeted, before indicating the new arrivals with a sweep of his right hand. "Today we have new foreign exchange students joining us, who will be part of this class for the rest of the school year. Why don't you introduce yourselves, girls?"
"I Shan Pu, Amazon Princess. We come to Japan to be with husband. Anyone mess with Amazon womans learn error of ways!" the purple-haired girl announced proudly.
Murmurs started spreading throughout the classroom, with most of the female students alternating between glancing at Ranma and the Amazons. The male population, for its part, gave the female warriors their undivided, lustful attention. The pigtailed boy, however, was blissfully unaware of that, as well as anything that had been said after hearing 'joining us' and 'the rest of the school year'.
Picking up several of the hushed discussions among the students with her highly trained Amazon instinct, Shampoo added, "First one to call me hair-care product dies!" frowning for the full effect of the threat.
Several of the accompanying Amazons rattled their school bags menacingly, letting the rest of the students know that books weren't the only thing they carried inside.
The tension was broken by the catgirl exclaiming, "Yay! More friends are going to school with Nuku Nuku!" It was going to be just like it was back in China! Turning to Ranma, she saw that he was delighted to the point of shock. Smiling, she thought, 'Even Ranma is happy to see Amazon friends!'
"Ah! Those girls! Such beauty… such fighting spirit… such an amount of gratuitous cleavage! I must have them all!" Kuno said in a scratchy voice, coughing after having over-exerted himself. 'That foul sorcerer Saotome will truly pay for this,' he seethed, remember the indignity he had to go through because of the coward. 'Making himself invisible, even to an eye as great as mine, so that I had to run into every classroom in Furinkan and scream out his name so as to get his attention. Truly no greater coward than he.'
It took all of Nabiki's willpower not to cry out, "What?!" after hearing Kuno's latest tirade. Instead, she looked around to see if anyone else in the class heard what he said.
'So, Kuno-baby likes Saotome's 'wives', eh? Interesting… very interesting. It appears that I might need to visit Ranma during lunch today…'
Nabiki's thoughts returned to the present just in time to catch a glimpse of Kuno's back, as the teacher sent the upperclassman outside for interrupting his class. Seemed someone else also heard what the kendoist said; either that or they got annoyed with the sound of his voice.
"Ranma, wait up!" Nabiki called out to the pigtailed boy, as he jumped out of the window of his classroom after grabbing his lunch. Spending the lunch period in a classroom full of amorous and armed to the teeth Amazons wasn't exactly on his 'to do' list.
"Hey, Nuku, can you bring Nabiki with you?" Ranma called out during his descent.
"Okay, Ranma!" the catgirl cheerfully replied. Covering the distance between her and Nabiki in one huge leap, she slung the middle Tendo daughter over her shoulder and followed Ranma outside through the same window he'd just used.
Giving out a startled shriek, Nabiki closed her eyes, completely expecting to wake up in a full body cast in some hospital. When she was gently set on the ground, the brown-haired girl took a chance and opened them slightly, seeing that she was standing in the shade of a giant tree. Ranma and his 'fiancée' were sitting in front of her, already eating their lunches.
'Right… this sort of thing is normal for these guys. Sheesh!'
Shaking her head to clear it, Nabiki addressed the pigtailed boy. "Listen, Ranma, I've got a business proposition for you."
"Oh?" he asked, not raising his head from his lunchbox.
"Yes. Those Amazons are quite taken with you, and will probably do a lot for you if you asked them, won't they?"
"So how about talking them into doing a few photo shoots? We can split the profits between us."
Waiting for an answer as casually as possible, Nabiki strained her ears when Ranma mumbled something. Catching only a few syllables, she sighed internally in exasperation, lamenting on the things she had to put herself through for money, and asked him calmly, "Can you repeat that, Ranma? I didn't get your answer."
"I don't need money," the pigtailed boy said simply between bites.
'So that's how he wants to play it, eh? Time for Plan B.'
Putting on her most charming smile, Nabiki whispered throatily, leaning towards him, "Are you sure about that, Ranma? Working with me can be quite… rewarding."
Nabiki cursed internally, and decided to use her ultimate attack - the dreaded puppy-dog eyes. "But…" she said, sniffing, "I wanted to work with you so much." Nabiki's lower lip started to tremble. "Just a lonely girl wanting to spend some time with her fiancée… and make some money while they're at it…" A tear made its way down Nabiki's cheek. "And you… You're not even listening!"
"Huh? Did you want something, Nabiki?" Ranma asked, turning his head towards her, a few rice grains stuck to his face.
'Damn him, he's good! Alright, the kid gloves are off!'
"Ranma," Nabiki said in her sternest voice, with no sign of the tears that seemed to break out mere moments earlier. "You, that fat, flying pink elephant of yours, and the catgirl here cost a lot of money; money that comes out of our pockets. Already that catgirl," she said, pointing at Nuku Nuku, who was trying to catch a bug that was flying around her face, "broke the water heater while chasing a mouse, of all things! One day and right away we've been forced to take cold baths! Unless you have a large stash of money somewhere that you can withdraw, you'll have to earn your keep by making those Amazons pose for a few pictures."
"You'll do it?!" Nabiki exclaimed incredulously. She'd won, just like that? "When will you talk to them?"
"Why would I want to do that?" Ranma asked confusedly.
A vein popped on Nabiki's forehead. Either this guy was a complete idiot, or he was playing with her. Mustering her center and hanging on to it, she asked slowly, "Didn't you just agree to pay for your stay at our dojo?"
"Yep," the pigtailed boy answered, nodding.
"So how will you do that if you don't talk to the Amazons?"
"I'll do the other thing."
"The other thing? What in the world are you…" Nabiki was about to demand an explanation, when it suddenly dawned upon her. "You have money? You?!"
"Yep. Who do I write the check for?" Ranma asked her, wiping his face with a napkin and taking out a check book.
Nabiki caught the words 'National Bank of Japan' on the cover and considered fainting, but then suspicion rose in her heart.
"You have to consider a suitable deposit and finder's fee on top of the rent for the two months. And you don't expect me to just take a check for all that money from someone who's been on the road for a decade, now do you? I want…" Nabiki paused, taking a moment to touch her lips with a pinky, and continued, "One million yen! Cash, and no later than tomorrow morning." Having made her offer, a small smile formed on her face. The photo shoot was as good as hers. There was no way someone like Ranma would have that much money. He would surely now have to ask the Amazons to…
"Only one million? Are you sure that's enough?" Ranma asked, raising his eyebrow. "Wow, you're really generous, Nabiki, for letting us all stay at your place for one million yen up front! And here I was going to write you a check for…" Ranma shook his head, smiling. "Nuku and I'll take a detour to the bank today after school and get the money for you."
Ranma waited for some sort of reply from the middle Tendo daughter for a couple of minutes, before closing her mouth with a finger and getting up.
"Hey, Nabiki, the lunch period's ended and all, so you should be going back to class. See ya later!"
As Ranma and Nuku Nuku left to their classroom like the rest of the students, Nabiki remained outside, her mind in a loop.
'Only one million?'
To be continued.
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