A Ranma ½ / Tenchi Muyo! crossover story
by Jeffrey Vasquez
Disclaimer: "Ranma ½" was created by Takahashi Rumiko, and is licensed to Shogakukan Inc., Kitty, Fuji TV, and Viz Communications Inc. "Tenchi Muyo" was created by Kajishima Masaki, and is licensed to AIC/VAP, NTV, and Viz Communications Inc. All original characters belong to me.
Chapter Two: Two Princes Found
It was then that the air opened up above Ranma's head and a mass of flailing appendages engulfed the martial artist. Voices that rose in surprise and anger were drowned out by a cute meow, and then a guttural scream of primal terror.
Nodoka and Akane heard another cry of panic rise from the pile of bodies, and then all was silent for a time. Akane's face drained of color and her eyes bulged fearfully. Nodoka cursed her husband's stupidity in a number of very un-ladylike ways as she disengaged herself from her father's arms.
She had never seen the effects of the Nekoken, but the stories that she had heard from Akane and Soun were enough to cause her worry.
Ignore the fact that a group of people just fell out of thin air. Ignore the fact that your father just changed his clothes and tattooed his face without even moving at all. Just get to Ranma and calm him.
Nodoka began yelling for everyone to move away quickly. Each of her guests, whose faces were not obscured by another body, looked at her like she had grown another head. She didn't have time for this.
Akane swore colorfully as well, jumped to her feet, and started untangling bodies as delicately as the situation merited. Ryoko found herself airborne in short order. A loud crash followed her startled cry.
"Hang on, Ranma! Fight it!" she called down into the pile.
Nodoka began to help Akane free her nephew, Tenchi, from his very compromising predicament with the blonde, very-tanned gaijin woman. The poor boy kept holding his nose for some reason, and the idiot woman wouldn't help at all! She just kept giggling and talking nonsense. "Wait till the honeymoon", indeed!
Nodoka heard Akane say something about "pervert women" under her breath, and the Saotome matriarch found herself agreeing with the girl's assessment. Someone deep in the pile growled in consensus with Nodoka and Akane. There was a time and a place for such things, and now was not it!
Another quiet meow sounded from deep within the pile, followed by a small whimper, causing Akane to wince. A wave of frustration and fear ripped through her. It was taking too long! With a grunt and a vicious heave, Tenchi discovered what a liberating feeling flight gave a body. At least, until he hit the wall.
Nodoka cursed again and began to untangle the young girl with blue ponytails from the top of the heap. The blonde gaijin kept tangling her arms and legs in impossible knots that prevented Nodoka from freeing the girl.
"Akane, help me!"
Perhaps it was the fear in Nodoka's voice, or the frantic way Akane had Mihoshi by her ears and was tugging mercilessly that forced the remainder of the people in the room into action. Whichever it was, the realization came too late. A distressed meow floated up from the bottom of the pile, and was succeeded by a deeper, angrier yowl that caused everyone to get the chills. Misaki and Nodoka freed Sasami, while Yosho and Tenchi tried their best to help Akane extract Mihoshi.
They weren't quick enough.
The pile exploded in a hail of screaming bodies, and a red blur flew into the air, bounced from the ceiling, and rebounded off one of the room's walls. A yowl that seemed to cry out "FREE AT LAST!" echoed throughout the tearoom.
Ranma-Neko came to rest near his mother, with a small, disheveled cabbit held in his mouth by the scruff of the neck. Nodoka looked down at her son in pained sorrow, while the rest of the room looked at Ranma in shock. The way that he supported himself on his knuckles was as unnatural as the way that he moved.
Azusa had known quite a few felinoids, but this was the first human or Juraian that had moved like a cat and he was doing really good job of it, too.
Akane planted her face in her palm and shook her head in exasperation. It could have been worse. He could have been splashed with cold water. She repeated the mantra over and over, hoping to convince herself of the fact.
Thunder again rolled in the distance, sending another chill down Akane's spine.
Yosho looked down at his grandson's fiancée. "Genma — he didn't. Did he?" Akane only nodded in embarrassment. Well, at least Ranma hadn't decided to take a nap in her lap. Yosho cursed under his breath, and wondered what else Genma had done to the boy. He wasn't sure that he really wanted to know.
Ranma-Neko eyed Azaka and Kamidake playfully. It had been a while since he had last sharpened his claws. The Guardians backed away nervously from the boy and wondered if there was any way to save themselves and the royal family in one fell swoop.
From the way the strange boy seemed to stalk them, it didn't seem likely.
Myrai, the first moon of Abata — the fifth planet in the Juraian system — was. in laymen's terms. a heavily populated market. Business here, like any other bazaar in the known universe, consisted mainly of the necessities of life. Food, clothing, transportation, and the occasional pet could be bought and sold at fair, regulated prices.
These were not the commodities that Lord Segota Kamiki, a not-so-distant cousin of Queen Misaki, was in search of. His interests lay along the lines of a more intellectual nature. Hidden secrets, buried wisdom, and forbidden knowledge were his staples. The gossip and lies of the Royal court were his appetizers, and science was his dessert.
He had graduated from the Royal Science Academy with honors and had since been assigned to be the Emperor's personal advisor on matters of science. It wasn't the best position to be in, but he was able to glean tidbits of useful information every now and then — the whole Ryoko/LightHawk Wings affair, for example.
Unfortunately, for over two weeks now, the court had been empty — with the exception of the First Regent and his wives — and they weren't nearly as interesting as some of the other courtiers. Which is what brought him to Myrai in the first place. He needed information, and he needed it fast.
He moved quickly through the Plaza of Gulem to a small jewelry shop. The place sold high-quality trinkets for barbaric prices, but this was merely a front in order to draw suspicion away from the real business that went on behind its closed doors. The owner, one Malik E'efa, was very particular about his clientele, and went very far to make them feel at ease.
He had a variety of establishments like this all over Myrai. Some were restaurants, others respectable art galleries, and each had an underlying commonality: they catered to the obscenely rich, and they were very expensive just to enter.
Malik himself was native Myraian, a blue- and red-scaled humanoid that resembled a walking fish. His lips were large and his eyes rolled in his head like deranged marbles. But take the sentient anywhere near water, and he sank like a stone. His people had established this great bazaar over fifteen thousand years ago, first for their own civilization, and then for the denizens of Jurai and the surrounding planets. The Myraians had become a very wealthy people over time, making it difficult, at best, to deal with them on a level playing field.
Money was commonplace to them, and to offer currency while bartering was often considered an insult. They wanted to be entertained, and so they often accepted services such as singing and dancing as payment. Segota had seen many a fool capering and caterwauling about for a small crowd of laughing Myraian merchants. It was demeaning, but for a race who had just about every comfort that money could buy, it was more precious than gold.
Pitiably, Malik was a Myraian of eccentric tastes. Segota thought his diversions gaudy at best, but then again, not everyone could have enlightened tastes like himself. He hoped that Malik would accept his "payment" this time. Segota dreaded the prospect of singing the Phillish bar anthem again. The Juraian lord shuddered in disgust as he entered the shop. Such was the price one paid for an addiction.
The small boutique was lit elegantly by candlelight, filling the eyes with a soft, warm glow that set the patron at ease. Near one of the display cases stood a very attractive woman. She was Juraian by the look of her, with cyan-colored hair and blood-red eyes.
She was heavily cloaked from shoulder to waist, leaving her sculpted legs to be freely admired. Segota fancied himself a connoisseur of beauty, and she was in his eyes powerfully beautiful. Danger clung to her in such a fashion that he could feel it calling to him like a siren's song.
The woman looked up at him as he walked in, and immediately took his measure. Her perusal took less than three breaths, but she had evaluated him as a threat and found him wanting. Her disinterested look fueled Segota's curiosity.
Malik read the exchange easily and mentally began preparing his mind for a good haggle. Segota was a master of the art, and always challenged Malik, making him fight for every bargain. It was a stimulating exercise, but one that Malik always won.
By the look of lustful distraction in the lord's eye, Malik knew that today's bargaining was going to be short and disappointing. He finished with his current customer and sent her politely on her way. Her payment would come later, in the form of a Nhulish totem that he had seen three days before. It would cost her a nicely sizable sum. But, well, it was only money.
Lord Segota watched the woman leave, and when she was gone he turned his attention back to his original task. His earlier burden of boredom had vanished at the prospect of a long-term seduction. But that would have to wait. Right now he had other business to attend to.
"Good day to you, Merchant." Malik nodded passively as Segota browsed the display cases casually. "I pray that business is good."
Malik smiled toothily. "As well as can be expected for this time of year, I'm afraid." Meaning that he had profited more than the combined annual salaries of the Executive Chiefs of the Galaxy Police. Segota sneered at the thought. "Might I interest you in Odessian sundrops, or is there something in particular that you are seeking?"
Segota seemed to ponder for a moment and then threw an intense gaze the information broker's way. "I'm looking for a Juraian soul gem. Might you know where I could obtain one?" Malik's smug appearance broke slightly.
"A very rare stone." Malik gulped visibly and motioned Segota closer to the counter. "A very rare stone indeed." He slipped his hand beneath the counter and touched a panel, summoning one of his staff to watch the storefront. A young Juraian with pale violet hair entered the front of the store.
"I have some business to attend to, Lias. I will be in my office. Please don't disturb me until it is complete." He motioned for Segota to follow him. "I will make myself available in two hours for any special requests. Nothing more." The boy nodded again and watched as Segota made his way up the stairs at the rear of the store.
The boy tapped his finger against the counter twice and grinned as the subspace recorder began its next session.
Ryoko was mad.
Well, not really mad; just a little annoyed. The little witch had tossed her clear through a wall. There had been no real damage, save for Ryoko's pride, but the whole principle of the thing set her off. She hadn't been manhandled like that in over seven hundred years! Well, not counting Misaki's enthusiastic greeting from last week of course, but that didn't really count.
The former space pirate stepped through her impromptu exit, and started looking around for the little scrapper. Heh! This is going to be more fun than I thought! It didn't take her long to find the dark-haired girl.
She was facing away from Ryoko, watching something intently. Good. The element of surprise was hers. She chuckled at the thought of playing with someone new for a change. Ayeka was really fun, but way too predictable. And while the princess' "Mommy" was here, there was no way that they were going to be able to have any fun at all. As she pounced, she thanked whatever gods were smiling down on her.
The link that she shared with Ryo-Ohki suddenly went active, sending a jumble of emotions crashing through her brain. The tangled mess suddenly resolved itself into two coherent thoughts:
Look out! and Wheeee!
Ranma-Neko looked at everyone, mildly bored. He was out from underneath the smelly pile of ear-scratchers, and the not-quite-kitten was safe. Now he felt like playing a little, maybe get some milk afterward, and then curl up in a nice warm lap and sleep for a while.
He put the not-quite-kitten down at the feet of the warm lap/mother/caregiver person and stretched lethargically, and meowed complacently. The flying scratching posts were moving away slightly. He decided to let them relax before he pounced. The game was never as fun if they didn't run anyway. He began grooming himself, trying to get the person scent off of him, when his eye caught something more interesting.
It was coming up behind his almost-mate, stalking her and doing a pretty good job of it, too. But then again, his almost-mate was practically deaf to begin with. Well, two could play that game! Ranma-Neko picked up the not-quite-kitten by the scruff in his mouth and slunk forward. No sense in leaving her out of the fun.
Everyone else in the room froze, with the exception of his prey. His almost-mate looked like a cornered mouse, her eyes were wide and she trembled slightly. He could smell her fear and longing as he moved toward her; too bad she wasn't his prey today. Chasing her might have been fun.
Akane watched in horror as Ranma got that "hungry" look in his eyes. It was the same expression that he got right before a battle, the one that said, "I'm the best, and there's no way you can beat me."
Today it was saying something else entirely. Today it said that he was the hunter and she was his prey. Her face flushed under the intensity in his gaze and she willed her body to back away. Predictably, her mind had severed all communications with her body until further notice, so it stayed rooted where it was.
Ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease! Don't do anything stupid, Ranma! She closed her eyes, waiting for the inevitable contact that would mark another embarrassing moment in her life. Again, a la Ranma Saotome.
She felt the heat and the anger begin to rise within her. She just knew that he did this on purpose! The thought was squelched as quickly as it had come. Ranma had no control over himself when he was like this, and she knew it.
They had to find a way to get passed this. And about a half a dozen other things. If they couldn't, how was their marriage ever going to survive?
Huh! Akane's eyes popped open. Where in the world did that come from! In her introspection, she failed to notice Ranma crouch.
Ryo-Ohki dangled miserably in Ranma's mouth. She just hated being treated like this. It was so humiliating. Fun? Sure, but it made her feel like a baby. Humph! As if. Something in Ranma's stance changed, causing the cabbit to strain her neck in order to catch a glimpse of what the boy saw.
Ryoko had that silly grin on her face that she always had when she was playing with Miss Ayeka. Uh-oh. The cabbit looked from Ryoko to the pretty dark-haired girl and back again. Ranma began to purr deep in his throat, and began moving toward Ryoko. It wasn't the same purr that Ryo-Ohki had when she played with Ryoko, but this cat-boy certainly seemed in a playful mood.
The way he moved reminded her of the way Ryoko played with Tenchi. Well, she supposed that it was okay for him to play with Ryoko. But then again, what if Ryoko didn't think that he was playing? What if she thought that he was attacking her! Well, he was Tenchi's cousin, which probably meant that he could take care of himself.
Inspiration struck. She would scan him to see how powerful he was, if he didn't cut the mustard, well, she knew that she could protect him. He was too cute to let Ryoko fry anyway. She just knew that he would feed her carrots like Tenchi and Sasami! A great smile sprang to her cute, furry face. All she had to do was keep him from getting hurt and then she could get some carrots! Yum!
Ryo-Ohki began her scan. It finished quickly, and she tallied the results. The new scanner that Mama Washu had given her worked wonders. When she finally got the bottom line, her little eyes bulged.
He couldn't be that strong. She re-scanned the boy, taking special care to evaluate every reading. The data didn't change. Ryo-Ohki trembled slightly.
Washu had made her scan Tenchi not too long ago, to evaluate his current power level and perhaps get a better idea of his true potential. The raw power that she had read in Tenchi seemed limitless, but it was random. The power of Jurai was hard to read in general, but these readings were so chaotic that she had a hard time cataloguing them. Her scan of Ranma showed him to be Tenchi's equal in sheer strength, but it was much more ordered.
That wasn't exactly saying much, but there was a loose pattern there to follow.
Another thought slammed home, one that turned her stomach. What if he didn't think that Ryoko was playing? She shuddered. Things could get messy really quick. She looked at Ryoko with a sense of dread, and opened their link. She tried not to panic, but she knew Ryoko too well. Once she started playing with this boy, she wouldn't stop until he gave in. And based on her readings, he could go on indefinitely. She had to stop her! This guy, while really cute, was really dangerous.
She sent everything at once across the link, but it came out in a tangle. She tried sorting it all out, but then the boy started moving again. She shut her eyes tight to help her concentrate, but then she felt him crouch beneath her. Uh-oh. She cut through the jumble, and sent a panicked warning.
And then he sprang.
The entire room tried to follow the red blur that was Ranma as he launched himself over Akane and into Ryoko's gut. The former space pirate grunted with the force of the blow, and tumbled backwards into a very stunned Azusa.
Azaka and Kamidake flew into action; their Emperor was in danger from a rehabilitated felon and an unknown. Throw in a curious Kasumi and Nabiki into the mix, and you had a very nasty mess.
Nodoka stood rooted to the floor. Next to her, Yosho and his mothers mirrored her. Sasami and Washu were rolling on the floor with tearful guffaws, holding their sides against the pain as Ranma bounced from one body to the next. The look on Azusa's face alone was priceless. Mihoshi looked very confused, as she was still trying to untangle herself from a very aggravated Ayeka.
Tenchi walked up to a very surprised Akane. "Is he always like this?" he asked.
Akane stared at the writhing melee in awe before she answered quietly, "Only when he thinks he's a cat." The sound of Tenchi planting his face on the floor didn't phase the tumult in the least.
Ranma-Neko was in heaven! He hadn't ever had this many playmates before, and he was loving every minute of it. His newest playmate, the flying almost-cat, was the most fun. She would try to scratch him with her long claw, but at the last minute he would jump free, to land on one of the floating scratching posts.
The scratching posts would try and scratch him with their weird claws, but he would jump away before they could touch him. They would end up scratching the stuffy old tomcat, who would get really mad and growl at them.
The kitten was still in his mouth and was hampering his fun, so he decided to give it to the pretty warm lap/food person who was trying to play too.
Ranma-Neko leapt onto Kasumi who had just entered to investigate the noise.
Kasumi saw Ranma-kitty coming toward her and did her best to brace for the imminent impact. It was a light fall, sitting her flat on her bottom.
Ranma-Neko smiled at her brightly, and she returned the gesture with as much love and enthusiasm, then he was gone again into the fracas. A ragged meow drew her attention to her lap, where she found the most curious creature she had ever seen.
Her hand went to her mouth.
"Oh my!" she exclaimed happily. "How adorable!" Ryo-Ohki's limbs wobbled gelatinously from the stress of playing with Ranma, and her eyes rolled up into her head and passed out in Kasumi's lap.
Nabiki chose that moment to try and sneak out of the room, and somehow got swept up into the fray. Energy blasts caused her to start dancing and weaving in order to avoid being hit. It was truly a foreign experience for the middle Tendo daughter.
The flying chick with the chi sword, or whatever it was, barreled past her, cursing Ranma for all that she was worth. The air pressure was enough to set Nabiki into a forceful pirouette. It was time for her to leave. She never liked being in the middle of things, and quickly determined that it was past time for her to be on her way.
Ranma-Neko saw that Nabiki was not having very much fun and decided to help her out. He tackled her, causing her to roll out of the way of a barrage of energy blasts and sword swinging that, more than likely, would have pulped her. They rolled out of the conflict and ended up with Nabiki flat on her back and Ranma perched on her chest in a very "touchy" situation. Nabiki blushed, Ryoko joined in on the laughter with her mother and Sasami, and the rest of the group nodded dumbly at Kasumi's very appropriate, "Oh my."
The room's temperature dropped considerably, and everyone's attention was drawn to Akane, whose battle aura flared a bright icy blue. Tenchi took the opportunity to move to the other side of the room.
Most of the others followed his example.
A low growl escaped her lips as she flexed her fist. Ranma-Neko looked up at his almost-mate, with a very puzzled expression. He could tell that she was upset, but he couldn't see why. He looked around at the others to see if they had done something.
All that he saw were blank faces. Then he heard the purring below him, and looked down.
His almost-mate's littermate was looking up at him with a very hungry expression that made him want to run. He never saw the kick coming.
Akane's chest heaved like a bellows, in her anger.
That PERVERT! How dare he molest my sister like that! And in front of company, no less! She stared after him through the hole that he made as he flew through the ceiling. Everyone in the room watched her warily as she seethed at her departed fiancée. Ryoko leaned over to an astonished Azusa and whispered in his ear.
"She'll fit right in, don't you think?" Azusa bobbed his head numbly.
Akane felt a tug at her dress and looked down at her sister. Who had a very stern expression on her face. "What!" she snapped in exasperation.
Nabiki looked up at her coolly. "That was a heck of a way to thank your fiancée for saving my life, don't you think?" Akane looked miffed.
"He was groping you!" she yelled.
"Yeah. And you ruined it," Nabiki said flatly. Sweat drops adorned the rest of the occupants of the tearoom. Silence fell over the group, and then Ryoko's laughter roared throughout the room.
Ranma walked into the house about an hour later, holding his head wearily, supporting himself on a tall staff. The state of the tearoom could be summed up in one word: decimated.
So much for making a good impression, he thought drearily. He made his way towards the kitchen to assuage his sorrows with food. As he neared the dinning room, he heard his mother's voice.
" and we are descendants of the Royal family of Jurai?"
'Royal family'? He stopped outside the entry, and listened intently.
Yosho smirked at his daughter. "That is correct, No-chan. You are a princess to one of the most noble and powerful thrones in the universe."
There was a large crash from the hall, causing everyone to look up.
"Ranma-kun's back," Nabiki smiled dryly.
Tenchi made a move to get up, but both Nodoka and Funaho motioned him to stay seated. They waited quietly for Ranma to recover and join them. There was a scrambling as Ranma salvaged himself from the shock, and then he burst into the room. The smells of leftovers assaulted him, and the looks of worry, anger, and intense curiosity washed over him.
His stomach chose that moment to rumble embarrassingly.
He stood there, balanced precariously on one foot, with his mouth gaping comically. Words were trying to form futilely, reminding each of the diners of a very large, very flabbergasted carp.
Ayeka broke first, surprising everyone as she tittered gracefully behind her hand. Sasami joined her, followed by Akane and Ryoko. Soon everyone around the table was laughing at Ranma.
It took all of his will power not to explode. He supposed that he must look pretty stupid, but that was no reason to make fun. Well, he was determined to show them just how manly that he could be!
With a slow, deliberate display of restraint, he settled himself to the floor. Yosho and Funaho looked slightly impressed; Nodoka and the Tendo sisters looked pole-axed. Ranma smiled pleasantly, and moved to the first available seat, next to the pretty blonde woman.
Akane growled, snapping her chopsticks as she closed her fist. Ranma mustered all the suave charm that he could and looked directly at his mother.
Nodoka looked at her son breathlessly. He was such a manly man!
"I'm sorry for being late, Mother " Akane and Nabiki face-faulted on the table painfully. With only the barest of hints, he continued, " and I apologize for my earlier misconduct." He hoped that was the right word, he had heard it on TV last night, and it seemed to fit, so .
Kasumi choked on her tea at this point, trying to desperately keep the laughter suppressed. It earned a worried glance from Ranma and a raised eyebrow from Funaho. Sasami reached out and whacked her on the back until she gained control of herself. She quietly excused herself, and went into the kitchen before she laughed out loud.
Akane and Nabiki boggled at Ranma, silently wondering who the imposter was that sat before them. Nodoka beamed at her son, a silent celebration raged in her heart. He listened! "That is quite all right, Ranma."
Yosho, who once again wore the face of Katsuhito Masaki, spoke from his place next to Nodoka. "Your mother has informed us of the vigorous training that you undertook with your father."
Ranma cringed involuntarily.
"To have mastered the Neko-ken, and retained your sanity, is a worthy feat."
Ranma smiled wanly at his grandfather, wondering exactly how far his mother had gotten in his life story and which topics she chose to avoid.
He looked to his mother for any sort of confirmation, but was met by an odd, glazed, look on her face.
"Thank you, Grandfather," he said as he bowed respectfully.
"Scary," Nabiki whispered in her sister's ear. Akane nodded, casting a worried glance her fiancé's direction. She was starting to get really alarmed. Sure Auntie had grilled him on etiquette — at sword point — but this was just not him. Ranma was acting too polite. He cast her a hidden smirk, while the rest of the group resettled themselves, that made her see red. She was about to denounce his duplicity, when he railroaded her.
Neither noticed the small smile that graced Funaho's lips.
"Grandfather?" Yosho looked up from his tea.
"What were you tellin' mom when I walked in?"
"Oh, nothing special. I was just recounting to her a little of our family tree." He pointed to Azusa. "This is your great-grandfather, Azusa, the Emperor of a vast interplanetary empire."
Ranma stared at the gruff man and blinked. Interplanetary?
Yosho continued without missing a beat. "This is your great-grandmother, Funaho. She is my father's first wife and Minister of Security." Ranma looked at Funaho. His eyes were growing wide.
"First Wife?" Ranma squeaked.
Funaho bowed demurely as Yosho moved on. "This is Misaki, my father's second wife, the Consul of the Juraian Royal Knighthood and the mother of my sisters, Ayeka and Sasami." He pointed out each in turn, but Ranma barely noticed.
"Last in our line is Tenchi, your cousin." Ranma looked up at Tenchi with a slightly glazed expression. "He, like you, was born here on earth. His gaze slid from his cousin without any sign of real recognition to take in the other guests. As he passed over them, they each introduced themselves.
"Ryoko. Retired Space Pirate and Demoness." She smiled caustically at Ayeka, who snorted in disgust.
"Washu. Greatest scientific mind in the known universe. Could you please pass the tempura?" Sasami reciprocated. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, Washu-chan!" Sasami, some distant part of Ranma's mind told him, could give Kasumi a run for her money in the "pleasantness" department.
He didn't stop there, but turned his attention to the woman next to him. She looked up at him, her mouth full of an onigiri. She smiled sheepishly at him, which he returned weakly.
"Meefoshfi," she said, spraying little chunks of rice in his face. Ryoko bounced a chopstick off of her forehead, and scowled.
"Don't talk with your mouth full! It's not polite."
Ayeka barked out a laugh that she barely hid behind her hand. Her mother glared at her meaningfully, but the irony was too much for her — Ryoko, defending proper behavior!
"Wahahahahahahaha!" The First Princess of Jurai toppled over on her back, holding her sides against the mirth.
Ryoko scowled at Ayeka, and was about to launch her second chopstick when Misaki tossed a look that froze Ryoko in mid-heave. With careful decorum, she laid the utensil quietly on the table, while Misaki dealt with her daughter. Ryoko thought she heard something about a spanking, before Ayeka was upright and eating as if nothing had occurred.
Misaki sent Ryoko another look before returning her attention to Ranma.
Mihoshi had by this time swallowed her mouthful, and washed it down with a quick drink of water before bowing to Ranma. "Mihoshi. Detective First Class of the Galaxy Police."
Ranma bowed slightly in return, before returning his gaze to his grandfather.
"Yosho! You forgot somebody!" Sasami said. Akane cringed as the pony-tailed girl reached beneath the table. Ranma looked in her direction, and gazed at the brown rabbit in her hands.
"Hey! He's pretty cute! What's his name?" he asked. It was just a rabbit. A normal earth creature.
"Her name's Ryo-Ohki," Sasami answered brightly. Ranma mouthed the name, to which the cabbit beamed. Her new friend thought that she was cute!
"Meow!" she said in her most joyous tone.
Ranma twitched violently, and then his eyes rolled up into his head as he passed into the sweet embrace of oblivion.
Nabiki looked at his twitching form with a sardonic grin. "Well, he took it better than I hoped."
Mihoshi was never good under pressure. Just ask any of her old partners and they would grumble and fuss about how dangerous she was to everyone, good and bad alike. One particularly gruff senior partner, Mihoshi's first, in fact, had said that Mihoshi was " the @#%#ing essence of $$&$ing Chaos itself", given flesh. To put her under pressure was like putting a bottle of sprite in a paint mixer, and setting the machine on "high". The carbonation builds and builds, until it reaches critical mass, and the resulting explosion gets really messy.
When Ranma had returned, he had been calm and very polite. He didn't act like a cat any more, which put her at ease. The whole episode that afternoon had almost overloaded her, and she hadn't even been involved. The boy was very cute when he was under the control of the Neko-ken, but he had also been really scary too.
But now she could feel the panic start to rise again. Ranma had passed out and was now twitching violently. It reminded her of all those emergency medical training videos that she had been forced to watch over and over again. After the thirty-seventh loop, Mihoshi could practically perform an emergency tracheotomy on nineteen different species.
Unfortunately, she had slept through the part on seizures every time.
Washu noticed the warning signs early on. She had made it a point to study Mihoshi's behavior as a safety precaution and an early warning system for anyone nearby. The fact that the blonde time bomb was rocking back and forth was normal. It was the twitch in the right eyebrow that set off alarms inside the scientist's head.
She had never done that before. Washu's stomach developed a seriously cold lump, and it felt like death had started to crawl up her spine.
Nabiki, who up until then had been seated next to Mihoshi, began to edge away from the table. Her finely honed danger sense had just kicked into overdrive. Those who were observant enough followed her example, which left only three people at the table: Akane, Tenchi, and Mihoshi.
When Tenchi realized his plight, he began scrambling away from the table rapidly, trying his best to get Akane to do the same. Time seemed to slow, as Mihoshi's face snapped itself into an unnatural calm.
Her eyes emptied themselves of all coherent thought, and with a great cry of "TOURNIQUET!" she descended on a helpless Ranma.
The snapping and popping that ensued turned Akane's face green, forcing her to speed herself to the bathroom where she promptly emptied the contents of her stomach. She would have nightmares for years to follow, some with Ranma the victim of the onslaught, but more often than not she was the one being tortured.
Ranma's world exploded in a wave of indescribable pain as his limbs were stretched and pulled in ways that nature had never intended. Both of his shoulders were dislocated, and his right leg had been wrapped around his neck. He suddenly thanked the old man for the accelerated yoga training. There was no doubt that he would have been crippled without it. He also praised the gods when the blackness of unconsciousness claimed him again. He would feel the pain of this for days to come, but at least he wouldn't have to face it now.
The blind rage that Mihoshi had fallen into subsided as quickly as it had come. The Galaxy Police officer took stock of her work, and smiled with pleasure! She had done the Xi'Obidan tourniquet perfectly! And she cried out in triumph at her victory. She had always told Goi-sensei that she could do it! Hah! If only he could see her now.
There was one problem. Her patient wasn't Xi'Obidan.
The sight of Ranma made her face turn green, and she looked up at the cowering crowd around her. They all flinched in terror. She made to move forward, and they all retreated. Large tears welled, and sprang forth in a gush.
She had done it again.
The fear that the group felt diminished at the display of emotion. Tenchi warily approached the Class-A detective, and tried to comfort her the best he could.
"It's okay Mihoshi. Please don't cry. I'm sure that Ranma will be fine." She took one look at Ranma and cried harder.
Sasami couldn't help but feel for the young officer. She had only tried to help. She needed a friend, and if it was one thing that Sasami was good at, it was being a friend. She broke free from her mother's protective embrace, and avoided the mad scrambling to recover her as she made her way over to where Mihoshi wept. Tenchi looked down nervously at the little princess, and watched in horror as she wrapped her arms around Mihoshi in a loving hug.
Mihoshi flinched at the gesture, causing the others to cringe.
With a wail of despair, Misaki had to be forcibly restrained, as her baby girl was wrapped in a sniffling bear hug by the blonde woman. But Sasami showed no signs of being bent or folded, relaxing everyone present. A small conversation passed between the two, producing a very large, very bright smile from the GP operative.
"You will?!" she exclaimed. Sasami nodded cheerfully, rousing a giddy squeal from Mihoshi. The golden curls began dancing on her head as she bounced in place, and the table she was next to jumped in time with her. Mihoshi's water glass chose that moment to leap from the table, emptying itself on Ranma's battered head. There was a collective gasp from the observers and a throbbing groan from the abused boy as his curse activated.
Washu cried out with joy at the prospect of another guinea pig, Misaki cried out with joy of having such a cute great-granddaughter, and Yosho turned to his cringing daughter.
His "Is-there-something-else-that-I-should-know-about" grimace made Nodoka want to find a nice rock to crawl under and hide until Ranma was old and gray. Poor Azusa chose that moment to join his great-grandson in the peaceful darkness of unconsciousness. Maybe when he woke up it would all have been a dream.
A really bad dream.
After the long and unsettling tale of Ranma's life story, Yosho had decided that it would be best if everyone returned to the Masaki home.
"To avoid disturbing the neighborhood," he had said. Nodoka had readily agreed, and had been very excited at the prospect of seeing her old house again. When they retired to the Masaki home, Funaho, Misaki, Ayeka, Mihoshi, Washu, and Ryoko were all of the same mind: if they ever crossed paths with Genma Saotome, justice would be served.
Somewhere south of Oita, on the island of Kyushu, Genma shuddered and sneezed violently as a foreboding sense of doom crept over him. He looked over at his traveling companion, and wondered silently if Soun would go for an extended training trip with him. He'd always wanted to visit Brazil.
To be continued.
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