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Disclimber: The original author of the first part shall be known in this disclimber as the original author of the first part. The secondary author of the third part of the derivation of the original author of the first party's part's part shall be known in this disclimber as the secondary author of the third part of the derivation of the original author of the first party's part's part.

If one, both, none, or all of these parties are found to be acting silly to an inappropriate degree at any time, please refer instead to the actual disclaimer immediately following this installment of the Chocolate Oranges saga. Thank you for reading, and remember, use only genuine Interociter™ parties.



"THE BEGINNING."

It used to be later, but now… it was then.


Chocolate Oranges ]I[:
A Glass of 2% Time

A Ranma ½ retrofic
by Rylan Hilman (sabremau@yahoo.com)


Ranma thrashed about a bit beneath the surface of the spring, still somewhat recovering from the surprise of having a panda knock him into it, and quickly recovered his bearings. Slamming his feet on the bottom of the pool, he propelled himself up through the surface, and for the first time, noticed the effect that the mystical water had on him, or rather, her.

"?!?!?" thought Ranma.

"Uh-oh," thought Genma.

"Not again…" thought the Jusenkyo Guide.

"Cool," thought a nearby parakeet, secretly very amused by this turn of events.

Ranma spent much of the next fourteen and a half minutes chasing her now-panda father around the training grounds, with the guide chasing the both of them trying to get them to calm down and have some tea. After tackling Genma and kicking him in the head several times, Ranma began to return to some semblance of rational, yet still massively annoyed, calm and order.

"Is okay, sirs!" the guide said, bringing out a teakettle from his emergency hut nearby. "You can, like, return old form with hot water!" He poured the steaming tea on top of the panda, which immediately transformed back into the confused-looking human form of Genma, wearing his classic white gi. Oddly enough, the tea had stained the gi in such a way that it was now colored a somewhat pastel pink.

"Thank you, sir. Here, Ranma, you'd better change back, too." Genma tossed the half-empty kettle back to Ranma, and turned back to the guide to discuss lunch accommodations.

Ranma just stared at the kettle for a minute or two, looked back at her father's pink gi, and decided she could wait for actual clean hot water, seeing as it wouldn't do to get her undershirt or any of the rest of her clothes stained with the hot, red liquid inside the teapot. It took enough delicacy to do her laundry as it was, and she wasn't about to start risking complications now.

However, a sudden and loud ringing bell approaching interrupted her thoughts, as the weekly train to Nerima announced its arrival at the Jusenkyo Station, its glass doors sliding open.

"Uh-oh… Hey, Pops!! No time for lunch, we gotta get goin' if we're gonna get back to Japan before dark!" Ranma shouted frantically, jumping to her feet and rushing onto the empty train car just seconds before the doors shut behind her.

Genma, somewhat slowed by the fully-packed bento boxes he had just received from the guide (as a dunking consolation gift), was a few steps too slow to get through the door, even running all-out, so he quickly thought up a new plan. As the train started to slide off in the direction of Japan, he jumped into the air, carefully aimed his leg, and made a flying kick at a glass window on the train. He gave a mighty shout:

"YA-YA-HIYA!"

He defeated the window instantly, and it shattered inwards as he and his lunchboxes landed safely inside the train, which built up speed and left the cursed training grounds of Jusenkyo far behind them.

"Cut that one a little close, didn't ya?" Ranma took one of the several dozen empty seats, drying out her shirt and pausing for the first time to inspect her now-female body from a couple different angles.

"It'll be a long ride, and we needed the food." Genma panted heavily as he sat down on the seat across from Ranma, putting the bento boxes on the floor between them. He took a dry washcloth from his pocket and mopped the sweat from his forehead before continuing, "Besides, this train's going to Nerima, right? And I know of an old friend living there who's really looking forward to meeting you, Ranma." He smiled enigmatically at his currently female son and offered him a slice of pizza out of one of the bento.

"Huh?"

The train rolled silently across the landscape.


"Interesting…" Mr. Yotsuya commented to himself as he perused the local newspaper. Due to his line of work, he felt obligated to keep up on current events at all times, and for the moment, since he was living in borrowed accommodations from an old friend of his, a simple newspaper had to suffice.

"Very interesting indeed…" he murmured, reading a news article which was continually updating itself through its own mysterious devices, and finally stabilized in the one form he much preferred it didn't stabilize in. He waited another moment or two, hoping the story decided to change further, and when it made no additional attempts to shift on him, he sighed and put down the paper, having it confirm his worst fears.

Happosai was on his way.

At that very moment, at least according to the newspaper, Happosai was riding a recommissioned junk through the Panama Canal, leaving behind a trail of… Well, not quite destruction, but definitely a great deal of inconvenience in his wake. Having recently escaped from the cave he had been imprisoned in for several years, he had apparently decided to make his triumphant return to Tokyo in a peculiarly roundabout fashion: around the world and taking a very scenic route.

And now it's up to me to stop him, Mr. Yotsuya realized.

Pulling out his battle-worn, yet unbelievably sturdy, black trench coat from his dresser, he put it on, along with his black dress shoes and black fedora. His uniform completed, he beckoned across the room to his suitcase, which telepathically heeded the wishes of its owner and flew neatly into his outstretched hand.

"Mr. Yotsuya?" a gentle feminine voice asked from outside his door, just a moment before he opened it to reveal Kasumi Tendo, the oldest daughter of the household.

"Oh, are you going out now, Mr. Yotsuya?" she asked, drying her hands with a pink towel. Yotsuya tipped his hat politely and continued on down the stairs from his room in the attic.

"Indeed. Some pressing business has come up, and I shall have to be gone for some time." He walked briskly downstairs until he got to the main floor, where he turned in the direction of the back porch.

Kasumi followed him down the stairs and as far as the dining room. "Oh, that's okay. I was just coming to invite you down for supper, but if you have to go out, that'll be fine. Can I persuade you to take a sandwich with you, sir?"

Yotsuya got to the pier in the Tendos' backyard, paused next to his rowboat, and calmly called back to Kasumi, "I'll get drive-through."

The Yotsuya Rowboat gently lifted out of the water and let its owner on board before noisily powering up in a bright and flashy pyrotechnic display, spinning around towards land, and launching in a silent arc over the top of the house and through the sky, its destination known only to Mr. Yotsuya himself.


Somewhere else, a gerbil was feeling remarkably healthy. Not a single mortal wound could be found anywhere on his body. Surrounded by the darkness, he stayed right where he was, waiting.

And planning.


Meanwhile, back at the house, the room of a certain Nabiki Tendo was gripped with a reassuring silence. A being entered, in the usual way, and looked around in a calm, confident manner usually reserved for those who knew exactly what they were doing there, what they would do there tomorrow and, furthermore, possessing confidence in the knowledge that they had their future here planned out for as far into the future as the eye could see.

The being, henceforth identified as actually being that certain Nabiki Tendo whose room this was, sat down at her desk and idly flipped through a stack of paperwork laying there. It was the homework she had already done the week before, which was to be turned in next Monday. Right under it was Tuesday's homework and Wednesday's homework. The absence of any papers in between those and Friday's homework, which was the next item in the pile, was explained by the fact that nothing was due on Thursday.

Nabiki quickly checked the rest of the stack, which contained, among other things, all the fully-completed homework for the next two months, study notes for all major exams of the school year, and a tentative plan to recruit agents for starting her own private international espionage network, one with connections to all the major intelligence agencies of various governments around the world.

Not that she had any real intention of embarking on such an ambitious and potentially dangerous task on the budget she had, but it was simply something she liked to tinker with in her spare time, just for fun.

"Hey, Nabiki?" someone called from her bedroom door. Nabiki leaned back in her chair and saw her younger sister Akane, wearing her usual jogging outfit for the time of day. "Dad said that after breakfast, he's got some important announcement or something, and that we should expect some visitors."

"He say who it was?"

"Not really…" Akane frowned, glancing away from her sister and out the window towards the sea. "…but he sounded really exited about it, whoever they are."

"Heh, it'll probably end up being some girl and her pet panda that we'll be sticking in Mr. Yotsuya's room. Imagine the look on his face if that happened," Nabiki chuckled inwardly at that particular mental image as she put away the piles of homework into a nearby organizing drawer.

"Well, Mr. Yotsuya just left a few minutes ago, so he probably wouldn't do too much right away. Anyway, I'm heading out for my morning exercises, so I might be back in a little while, or not. It all depends on how soon Tatewaki tires out." She grinned and waved briefly, then jogged downstairs.

Nabiki finished sorting the documents into the cabinet, closed it, and suddenly stopped in her tracks, a confused look on her face.

"Wait… Where did that come from?"


Genma and Ranma stood in front of a dry wooden sign in the middle of a thoroughly parched desert wasteland, the train tracks they'd arrived there on sitting on the ground behind them, stretching quietly off into the distance in both directions. A hot wind blew past, stirring up a couple dust devils a few meters away. There weren't any plants or animals in sight, living or otherwise, and no visible sign that there ever were.

The train that brought them here had abruptly stopped in front of this sign, opened its doors, and tilted up off the ground along one edge, dumping them both onto the dusty platform right before slamming back onto the tracks, closing up, and speeding off.

Ranma had watched it leave, her annoyance at life in general continuing onwards unabated. Its unexpected tipping knocked her awkwardly to the ground, where she landed on her hip, which was now slightly bruised. She had tried to brace herself against the fall, but it happened far too quickly for her to properly land.

Genma had watched it leave, his inordinately stubborn hunger continuing, not quite sated. He had only gotten through two bento boxes, Ranma having finished three others, when the train had dumped them here, snapped its doors shut, and left with the other fifteen bento boxes still sitting on board, unopened.

"So, where are we?" Ranma stood up, gingerly testing her legs to see how well she could walk with her injured hip.

"Nerima." Genma pointed to the sign, which simply read, 'You are Here' in large, bold characters on the side facing the tracks. He began to fumble around in his backpack a bit, looking for something.

Ranma looked around. Aside from the sign, the train tracks, and a vast expanse of sun-beaten desert stretching to the horizon in all directions, the only thing visible nearby was a boarded-up okonomiyaki restaurant, which appeared as if it had been abandoned for decades. There was a small mailbox there.

"So, where's this old friend of yours livin'? In the shack?" she asked with a tired tone of voice, readjusting some weight in her backpack to try to make walking wherever it was they were going a little bit easier.

Genma pulled a watch out of his pack, glanced up at the sun to get his bearings, and then started walking in the opposite direction from the sign, beckoning Ranma to follow. "This way. They live just 15 kilometers from here, but we're going to have to hurry if we want to get there before dark."

"Yeah, yeah…" she grumbled, wincing slightly at the pain in her hip, but not bothering to mention this to her father. She'd been on the road with him long enough to know that his reaction to anything resembling complaining would probably include yet another round of, "Why, a true martial artist could run from Hokkaido to Okinawa with two broken legs! While decapitated! And not say a word in protest! Yadda, yadda, yadda, man among men, yadda!" …or something particularly annoying along those lines. She didn't really feel in the mood for that, especially on the weird day it was turning out to be.

Furthermore, as she caught up with her father she realized, in retrospect, that maybe, just maybe, she should have taken the hot tea at Jusenkyo back when she had the chance, as she was still stuck in her cursed form. After all, Genma had only been a panda for less than half an hour so far, lifetime total. A quick glance at his gi, though, which had dried out to an even brighter pastel shade of pink than before, comforted her slightly; that would have been extremely hard to wash out of her clothes.

"Ah well," she continued, thinking out loud, "at least if there's any water in this dust bin, it'll probably be warm enough to change back with…."

What Ranma had no way of knowing was that there was, and it was, but she wouldn't see a drop of it before it was all gone. She also didn't hear the faint and distant sound of a mailbox creaking open far behind the two.


Through the cold, moonlit night, more than several miles away, a young girl in a parka trudged over snowy hills, in search of the source of a brilliant flash of light she saw only moments before. She couldn't see exactly what caused it from the distance she was standing at, but it looked and felt as if an explosion of ki spiraled upwards into the sky before gaining momentum and crashing back down to earth.

As she cleared the last snowdrift between her and her goal, she could finally see the full extent of the damage caused. A 50-meter wide crater of scorched earth, fully cleared of snow, stood in the middle of a field, with a figure lying in the center, apparently unconscious.

She could sense that he was still alive, though, and with a power level considerably higher than an ordinary man would have after being hit with that scale of ki attack, but his life signs, from this distance, still seemed a little wobbly. After reaching the edge of the crater, where the snow had mostly vaporized, she ran down into the middle and next to him.

He rolled over slowly and groaned, clearly out of it, yet somehow still clinging to life. After seeing his face, she started to get curious; there was something different about him, some weird magic lying just below the surface.

She kneeled down, placed her hands on his torso and tried a simple recovery spell. After a few moments, his breathing began to approach a somewhat normal rate. A small patch of snow slid off of her parka hood and landed on his face, where it immediately began to melt from his body heat.

This sudden cold sensation on his face caused him to wake up fully, and as he got up with a bit of a start, an invisible transformation took hold of his body, causing the girl to gasp in surprise and jump back on her feet.

"Wha… where am I?" he looked around in confusion, slowly noticing that he was sitting in a giant crater, and as that realization took hold, a triumphant grin slowly spread across his face.

"Hiryuu… Hiryuu Shohokodan, it worked. It worked! I DID IT!!" he yelled in triumph, leaping to his feet and jumping around like a young child with a shiny new toy. "I did it… Now, Ranma Saotome! You're going DOWN, do you hear me?! DOWN!! BWAAHA HA HA HA—huh?"

Almost as an afterthought, he noticed his dance of joy had an audience, watching in wide-eyed astonishment. He also noticed, quickly enough, that aside from her half-open parka on the outside, she wasn't really wearing all that much.

Remembering what the Jusenkyo guide had told him earlier that day, he suddenly realized that being near a girl in his current state probably wouldn't be a good idea.

"Uh, excuse me, miss…" he bowed politely, but just for a moment, before turning on his heel and sprinting off in a random direction. "Just you wait, Ranma. 'Cause Ryoga Hibiki's the best there is at what Ryoga Hibiki does, bub! And what I do is WHAAAAAYRG?!?"

A casual observer would deduce that this wasn't quite what he had intended to say here. They would be correct, since Ryoga was rudely interrupted by a three-legged eagle with the face of a man and the tail of an ox, attracted to his relatively loud outburst, who had swooped in and grabbed him by the hair before flying off towards some unknown destination.


Back in the crater, the girl watched Ryoga leave. It seemed a somewhat unorthodox exit, but she wasn't entirely convinced that he hadn't planned it that way on purpose.

"Ryoga… Hibiki…" she whispered, totally captivated. She had been around long enough to hear about Jusenkyo, and the many transformation curses to be found there. Many different animal forms, some various human ones, but there were a handful of exotic, hand-tailored springs. Springs with additional powers beyond simple transformation.

She smirked. He'd somehow managed to find one of the rarer and most powerful pools: Spring of Drowned Ultra-Bishonen, complete with a potent blend of mystical pheromones specifically tuned to attract the female gender. In his transformed state, she estimated, he'd attract pretty much every girl he came across.

'This looks like too much fun to pass up….'

Getting to her feet, she flung off her parka, revealing an incredibly skimpy outfit underneath. Where she was going, the fluffy outer garment wouldn't be necessary.

'Sure, there's going to be a lot of competition…'

She leapt into the air, powered up a Raywing, and started flying off in pursuit.

"… but not a single one of them could ever hope to BEGIN to compare to Naga the White Serpent!!!"

Her laugh echoed long and loud through the chilly night.


Pereshte boldly hid in plain sight, holding a cup of hot tea and silently chuckling at his own cleverness. They all said it was daft to write an insurance policy in the spot where he did, but he did it anyway! It sank into the swamp. However, since that was exactly what it was SUPPOSED to do, he didn't make a second one.

Or, rather, won't make a second one. No need for it in the future, he reminded himself, since when he did (wioll haven done) he remained (willan on-remain) exactly where he would be, WITH what he would have been having (mayan havian on-been), whenever he'd need (waten haven on-need) it, and that was all that mattered (and will have mattered, previously on) for the moment.

He took a sip of tea and continued onward, grateful that there was no need to explain the situation to anybody, since by the time all the pieces were (or, rather, will had been about to be) in place once more, it would simply be very much fun time, with no distracting grammar imperfections to muddle things.

His tea abruptly gained sentience, leapt from its cup, and burrowed into the earth. Once thoroughly entrenched, it began an aggressive xenocidal campaign against several indigenous species of insect and bacterial life already present in the area, slowed only slightly by the distracting dance of a trio of amorous rabbits prancing about on the ground overhead.

*bump bomp rustle CRASH swi-swish*

"Hey, you hear something, Pop?"

"No… Like what, Ranma?"

"Dunno. Thought there were some rabbits over there or somethin'."

"I don't see any rabbits. Just a couple chickens."

"Huh. Maybe they broke…"

"Perhaps. We need to keep moving, though. The Tendos are waiting for us, and it'll be dark soon. Hurry up!"

"Yeah, yeah…"

Pereshte watched them continue on their way in silence.


Very much fun time, indeed.

 

To be concluded.


Disclaimer: The characters and situations of Ranma 1/2, as well as the fantastically versatile Mr. Yotsuya, are owned by Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Naga the White Serpent is a character from Slayers, originally created by Hajime Kanzaka, Rui Araizumi, Kadokawa Shoten, TV Tokyo, Softx, and Marubeni. Pereshte, however, is my own original character. The events and persons in this fanfic are completely fictional and any resemblance to actual events or persons is completely unintentional, and the author is not responsible for any injury, trauma, or other detrimental condition resulting from proper or improper use of this fan fiction. Comments, suggestions, and other C&C are shall be eagerly read and replied to, and will be accepted at the email address of sabremau@yahoo.com. Keep circulating the fanfics!

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