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By Shade

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and affiliates are the property of Rumiko Takahashi, Rifts and Phase World are owned by Palladium. Other references belong to their respective owners.

2-C: Yet again… Here's Ranma

<"Excuse I. Looks for overweight bear is bald fool. You sight?">

Ranma had picked up a few extra languages in his stay in Phase World, and Trade Language had enough Chinese in it for him to be able to speak a little of it. It was still pretty horrible though. English had been more common and he'd concentrated more on learning that in order to communicate with most of the people he'd encountered.

The fact that the people he asked were looking at him like he were a few bricks shy of a load wasn't very encouraging. Ranma knew his father had come this way; the tracks were faded but hadn't disappeared entirely. There couldn't be that many runaway grizzlies in this part of China.

When asked the guide had stunned Ranma by telling him that only two weeks had passed since his disappearance in this world. In fact when Ranma first walked into the Guide's hut the poor man thought he was a ghost. It had taken Ranma awhile to convince him that he was not. A small fee later and Ranma was pointed in the direction his father turned grizzly had last been heading.

A few hours later Ranma had found himself at the outskirts of a quaint little village. He noticed quite a few weapons being carried around. Almost everyone here was armed with at least one sharp or blunt hand-to-hand weapon. Some of them he was familiar with, others he had heard about, but some of the weapons looked so strange that he couldn't even begin to guess how they were used unless he were to actually see them in combat.

He figured that this was as good a place as any to ask about his father. (1)

His efforts seemed to be in vain though; the men he had been trying to question had all just looked at him strangely before going on their way. All of the women seemed to be gathered around some kind of ring, watching a martial arts match taking place on a log in the middle of it.

Curious, he walked towards it. Along the way he caught snippets of the conversations the women were having.

<"… terrible… having to have… rematch… ">

<"… Tournament… interrupted… ">

<"… animal… ruining the… ">

<"… eating sacred… prize feast… ">

<"… Damn… find it… make a rug… ">

<"… we ever catch it… use it as main course… ">

<"… Stupid… bear… ">

The last one caught his attention; surely it couldn't just be a coincidence. So caught up in the prospect of finding his father, Ranma completely missed the looks directed his way.

He tried to get closer, but a gnarled staff being thrust in front of him stopped Ranma in his tracks. Despite having less then a split second of warning two of his fingers automatically intercepted the blow before it could strike him in the chest.

Ranma caught it less then two inches from his body.

Cologne was impressed.

She'd picked him out almost from the moment he set foot in the village. Despite the worn gray cloak that hid most of this stranger's body, she could see his skill in the way he moved. Ranma's step was light and sure, like a large, confident cat that knew he could handle whatever was thrown at him. (2)

His power was harder to make out. It was as if something was obscuring his aura. Still, she sensed strength within this boy. In three thousand years of Chinese Amazon history, never had such a gifted warrior appeared. If his looks were as good as his reflexes she just might have found a suitable husband for her great-granddaughter.

Only one way to find out…

Cologne's eyes twinkled as she retracted her staff, then attacked repeatedly with it in a blur of motion.

<"Hey!"> Ranma yelled as the strange old shrunken woman attacked again with her stick.

His right hand seemed to vanish as it moved to parry the swift assault. The seconds stretched into minutes as the two fought a duel that was almost too fast for the naked eye to see. Ranma's attention was so focused on keeping the staff away from him that he failed to notice that their display was picking up an audience.

At first only a few Amazons noticed, but word quickly spread of this stranger male sparring with Cologne and soon the entire gathering was watching. This was impossible! A mere male was defending himself successfully against a Village Elder?!

Eventually a lucky blow slipped through Ranma's defense.

*Slash* *Rip*

Ranma's cloak fell to the ground, cut cleanly in half.

The audience gasped in surprise, which quickly turned to delight as they got their first good look at the revealed pigtailed young man.

{Damn it! I knew I should have used both hands!}

"What'd you do that for?!" Was she crazy?

"Well, well, you are a looker. You gave me quite a workout there sonny boy, the best I've had in a hundred years."

"Why you… wait a minute! You can speak Japanese? Why'd you attack me? I haven't done anything wrong!"

<"Shampoo, what do you think of him?">

<"What do you mean Great grandmother?">

<"The village needs strong warriors, granddaughter. This one is as strong as they come. We'd be fools to just let him get away.">

"Now wait just a minute! I'm here looking for a bear that's my father… err… my father who's a bear… umm… Pop the bear… damn, this sounds ridiculous even to me."

Those who could understand Japanese helpfully translated for the rest. The mood of the crowd soured. They remembered the bear all right, and their memories were not fond ones.

"That was your bear, the one that ruined the Amazon Tournament?" Cologne was secretly delighted. It looked like this would be easier then she had first thought.

"Uh, I guess… maybe." It sounded like something Pop would do.

<"So YOU are the one responsible for ruining my moment of triumph!!">

Ranma guessed from the enraged look on the girl's face that that had been the wrong thing to say.

<"Aiyah!! I will make you pay, stranger male!!!">

"Wait!! Hold on!!"

{Aw what's the use… she isn't listening to a word I'm saying.}

Ranma stepped back to avoid a bonbori to the stomach, tilted his head to the side as a crescent kick spun past and leaped to avoid a hit to a very sensitive place that Ranma was quite found of and had no intention of risking. Even if she couldn't actually hurt him he wasn't taking any chances. The first lesson that had been constantly drilled into his head was that stupidity got you killed.

Or worse…

Ranma was still among the living and had every intention of staying that way.

Shampoo's attacks were driving him back; Ranma was forced to give ground in order to avoid her reckless thrusts and swings since he still refused to fight back. He did NOT hit girls. Women who served in combat were one thing, but he drew the line at actually hurting them. He'd learned more pleasant ways to deal with girls after his hide, although he'd found out that that method also had its drawbacks. (3)

The pigtailed boy leapt backwards up to the challenge log, trying to find a way out of this dilemma. He knew he could outlast her. Already, he could see sweat starting to form on her brow as her frantic pace of attack finally started catching up to her.

He thought she really looked cute like that. There was just something about her seeming vulnerability, he knew she wasn't even close to his league and he could see that she was starting to realize the same thing. It made him want to just give her a big hug and tell her that everything would be all right.

Sentiment made Ranma sloppy, but he was snapped back to reality by a round mace nearly impacting into his face. Years of constant death threats had sharpened Ranma's reflexes, and he bent back with millimeters to spare as he instinctively used the countermove for that type of attack.

The power behind the bonbori strike was such that Shampoo found herself badly overextended and off balance as she saw the stranger male finally take the offense for the first time. As soon as Ranma realized what he was doing he pulled back, trying to stop his blow from connecting.

The Amazon had no way of knowing this though as she attempted to simultaneously twist to avoid the kick and hop back onto a better spot.

She landed on a part of the log made slippery by the sweat from the previous fighters, who had been using it during the tournament.

Shampoo's foot slipped.

Shampoo's eyes squeezed shut as she braced herself. She didn't have time to land properly.

This was going to hurt.

Strong hands caught her as she fell. Instead of the expected painful impact into the hard ground, Shampoo found herself being held by something warmer, and very firm. Her eyes slowly peeked open to see her savior.

A concerned Ranma cradled her in his arms; his worried visage was very close to hers.

"Are you okay? I'm sorry; it's all my fault. I should have stopped this sooner."

Ranma started worrying when all she did was stare into his eyes. Had he been too rough catching her? Was she mad at him? Why wasn't she saying anything?

Yelling he could deal with, but this uncomfortable silence was driving him nuts. Ranma berated himself, dummy, dummy, dummy…

{Shampoo never see such deep shade of blue before…}

Twin spots of red formed on her cheeks.

"Ranma, Ranma, Ranma. That knight in shining armor routine is the main reason why you're always getting into trouble. You really should know better by now."

Shadow shook his head sadly, some people just never learn.

"He can not still be THAT naive about women can he?"

Zora shrugged at the Bard.

"Old habits die hard."

~ The scene turned all hazy as romantic violin music started to play in the background and cherry blossoms started to drift down. The handsome noble stranger swept up Shampoo for a glorious kiss that would outshine the sun… ~

"Hello?" Ranma waved a hand in front of the daydreaming girl.

Although he'd let her go she still hadn't said a thing, now he was glad to see that she at least seemed to be smiling now. The reason behind her now goofy grin totally escaped him. He figured it must be a girl thing and left it at that.

"I'll just be on my way now, sorry about this."

{Gotta remember to have a chat with old Pops. I'm through putting up with him getting me stuck in his messes.}

"Hold it! Do you really think you can just walk away after defeating Shampoo?"

"Uh… yeah. I didn't actually beat her, she just tripped by accident."

"I'm afraid we just can't let someone like you go. Your destiny lays here, son in law."

"And how are you planning on stopping me?" Ranma reached down for the bag he had dropped when he dived to catch Shampoo. There was some stuff in there that he figured he would need sooner or later, most of it was irreplaceable unless he ever went back to Phase World. That was probably not going to happen for a long time, if ever.

A sudden sinking feeling made him look back up.

{I have got to learn to stop putting my foot in my mouth one of these days.}

A horde of young unmarried Amazons charged in on him from all sides, the afternoon sun glinting off their unsheathed weapons.

Cologne wasn't the only one to figure out that this young man would be an excellent catch for whoever caught him. And since Shampoo hadn't given him the Kiss of Marriage yet, that meant he was still fair game.



"YAAAAHHH! Saotome Anything Goes School of Martial Arts Final Attack Revised! Strike Fast and Run Faster!"

Ranma then proceeded to do so.

-Much later

Around midnight the last girl chasing after Ranma collapsed from sheer exhaustion. He had left behind him twenty Amazons knocked out by pressure points and the rest tired and panting on the road as he'd proceed to sprint away and kept on running without stopping once.

This incredible display of stamina only increased their determination. If he could last that long at running, who knew how long he could last at other physical activities?

They couldn't wait to find out.

Ranma's escape was only a temporary setback. The important thing was that he had defeated women of the Amazon tribe. Now all they had to do was catch him and bring him back.

How hard could it be?

-Several miles away

Ranma got a familiar feeling of foreboding. He nervously looked around; normally that feeling meant that his women troubles were about to make an appearance. But then he realized that the girls after him were in several other dimensions, Ranma relaxed. It wasn't like they could just show up one day to visit him right?

Thunder rumbled ominously from the heavens above. (4)

-One week later; the Tendo Dojo

Soun Tendo read the postcard that had come in the mail.

Right after he finished, he burst into tears.

"Oh, the tragedy!"

"What is it, father?" Kasumi poked her head out from the kitchen.

"Yes, daddy. Please explain why you're making us the embarrassment of the neighborhood."

Nabiki gave her father a stern look. She was trying to watch the television without any interruptions.

"Dad, what's wrong?"

A concerned Akane came rushing in from the Dojo, still in her sweaty practice gi.

"*Sob*… Sit down girls. I have something to tell you… "


People screamed in stark terror as a giant eating machine tromped down the street. Grizzly Bears were unheard of in Japan and known mostly by reputation. It was a very undeserved reputation too; the bears tended to maul more victims then they killed.

Needless to say, Genma quickly had a path cleared in front of him.

He was almost there.


"Yes, the son of a good friend of mine. A sacred pledge was made, to one day have our children marry in order to join our two schools together and carry on the Dojo."

"Wait a minute! Don't we get a say in this?"

"Akane's right, father. We don't even know his name yet."

"His name was Ranma Saotome and during a training accident he DROWNED!!! *BOOHOO*CRY*SNIFFLE* WAAAAAHHHH!!!!"

Tendo Waterworks: Do not pass Go; do not collect 2000 yen. Very tragic story.

"Oh my. That's terrible."

{How tragic to be cut down in the prime of life.} Kasumi made a note to visit the local temple later and pray for the poor soul.

"Whew! At least that nonsense is over then."

For a moment Akane had been worried. The last thing she needed was to have another pervert after her. She felt a little bad, but since she had never met the jerk, it wasn't really any of her business. She had her own problems to worry about.

"I know you hate boys, sis, but that's harsh even for you."

Nabiki was disgusted with her younger sister. Someone really needed to show the spoiled brat that she was not the center of the universe. Okay, so maybe she was just a mite jealous of all the attention that Akane attracted, when she hadn't even had so much as a single guy ever ask her out. Could you blame her? And now here was the news that their potential fiancé had just passed away, and Akane was relieved?!

{I wish, for once, that there were a guy who was NOT interested in my violent maniac of a sister.}

A stray breeze blew in. It sounded disturbingly like elfish laughter…

… and smelled like a wet fur rug.

Ranma was almost absolutely, positively, totally sure that he was going to kill his father when he found him.

The nerve of that… that…

Ranma used a word that referred to a six-appendaged fifth dimensional being committing an obscene and anatomically impossible act on itself. The term was so offensive that it was a declaration of war in twelve star systems and the equivalent of a challenge to a fight to the death in a hundred more. It didn't even come close to describing Ranma's current feelings toward Pop but it was the best he could do.

What kind of father used his son as collateral?! It was something he expected back in Rifts, not here! It had been almost too easy to pick up Genma's trail, all he had to do was look for the places the old fart had ripped off. Once he said his name was Ranma Saotome, if shopkeepers and restaurant owners immediately besieged him, he knew that he was going in the right direction. Of course Ranma also had to flee that town immediately. He didn't even want to know the purpose Genma had in mind for him when he sold him. Nor did he want to know. (5)

It hadn't taken him long to find that his father had fled China.

No sense in wasting money on a plane ticket, he figured.

Soon after that a human-sized shape was flying toward Japan several times faster then the speed of sound.

-Tendo Residence

"Auuugh!!!" Soun screamed in panic. Nabiki decided to join him for once.

"It's a bear!" Kasumi wondered how she was going to clean up after this walking hair shedder…

"I'll kill it!" Akane hefted the table.

"Growf!" The grizzly waved its paws in negation.

It produced a wooden sign.

[Hi! Need hot water, please.]

"It can communicate?" Akane dropped the table in surprise.

"Hold on a minute, Mr. Bear. I'll get the water." Kasumi went into the kitchen. It was a guest, after all.

"What would a grizzly bear need hot water for?" Nabiki hated being behind in information, it was harder to make a profit off the situation when you didn't know everything going on.

[It's a long story.]

-Not too far away

Ranma started walking. After a couple of bottles of sake Genma had always used to go on about his good friend Soun and the Tendo Dojo. That was his best bet for finding him, and according to the street map he'd gotten it wasn't too far away.

-One round of introductions later

"Oh Genma, how did such a terrible misfortune befall you?" Soun looked like he was on the verge of tears… again

"Alas Soun, My poor boy was too weak for the training. In our match I accidentally kicked him into one of the springs with my superior skill."


"I'll get it." Kasumi, always the polite hostess, went to see who was at the front door.

"Yes, who is…" the rest of her sentence died a swift death as Kasumi got her first good look at the person who had been knocking.

Her first thought was that this young man had just stepped off the cover of one of those torrid, passion filled romance novels that she secretly hid among the books she borrowed from Doctor Tofu. His clothes and light tan gave his already handsome features an exotic cast that reminded her, of all things, of a dashing pirate. He only appeared slightly older then her, but Ranma had an experienced look that made him seem even more mature then he actually was.

"Hi. I'm sorry to bother you, but have you seen a large grizzly around here?"

Ranma smiled.

*Doki**Doki* Kasumi could feel her heart racing. Those blue eyes were so deep, she felt like she was drowning in them.

And that accent just made him sound so manly… (6)

Vaguely Kasumi realized that the handsome young man had asked her something.

Her hand pointed inside.

Ranma thanked her and walked past her.

A few moments later Kasumi realized that she was staring out at empty space and went in after him.

"… And so, Tendo, despite my heroic efforts to save him, Ranma slid to the bottom of the spring. When I surfaced after diving in I found myself within this horrible cursed form. Oh the suffering a true martial artist must undergo! My poor foolish son, oh why didn't you listen to me when I told you not to go to Jusenkyo!"

"Put a sock in it Pop, you're a horrible liar."

"Wha… Who are you?"

"Father, we have a visitor."

"I can see that Kasumi. Young man, who are you?"

"Oh, I almost forgot. I'm Ranma Saotome, sorry about this."


To be continued.

  1. After living in a dimension where heavy weapons are pretty much required dress items Ranma tends to think of any place where you don't carry blasters as peaceful.
  2. Did I mention Ranma has gotten MUCH better as a Martial Artist? And that he's finally learned the Art of being subtle… sort of…
  3. Anything Goes School of Marital Arts. If I need to spell it out for you then you're too young to be reading this.
  4. Not a good sign. But you didn't need me to tell you that.
  5. Something he would regret later.
  6. Uh oh…
Part 2-D
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