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Shadow's Stone

by Shade

Disclaimer: All copyrighted characters used that are not mine belong to their respective creators.

WARNING! Given the nature of the person who made this particular Bet, expect some dark scenes that may offend people and mature themes that may also offend people. If offended by either, stop now or face the consequences!

"Amateurs." Shadow was disappointed by the stones cast so far; this was hardly going to be a challenge for him.

"I suppose you can do better?" The Bard was still peeved at the treatment his neck had received from the arrogant cynic.

A gesture from within the folds of Shadow's cloak dissolved the view of the last entry.

"Remember the rules! No blatant darkfics!"

"Would I do such a thing?"

"In a heartbeat."

"Just watch." A small flick of Shadow's wrist sent the marble-sized pebble into the still waters.

"Hah! You only got one ripple!"

"One is all I need."

First Movement- Eternal Night

1a: Genma no Baka!

A distortion briefly shifted .0000517 cubic inches of relative space-time…

A horrifying cry of pure agony…

Genma knew something was very wrong the moment he drew back the cover to the pit. It was suddenly quiet inside… too quiet…

After a few moments his eyes adjusted to the lack of lighting, despite the cover being off the bottom of the crude hole was still not illuminated. Then Genma saw what had happened to his son, the damage that he had inadvertently inflicted on his sole heir.

Nodoka was going to kill him.

"RANMA?! NO!!"

"Ugh… u… h…" The Bard had turned a faint shade of green after seeing what Shadow's change had done and was now making a heroic effort not to be very, very sick all over the pool.

"This had better be good, Shadow, inflicting something like that on Ranma…"

"Relax. You're too uptight, Rowan. You seem to forget that my sphere of influence is darkness and conflict. Ranma is definitely going to be heavily involved with both in this time-line."

"We shall see…"

"Trust me. I know exactly what I'm doing."

"That's what I'm afraid of."

At the hospital Doctor Mizuno broke the bad news to Genma.


"Yes, I'm afraid that the damage to his optic nerves was too severe. Although the cosmetic surgery will probably repair his eyes, the boy's vision is permanently gone. He's lucky to be alive, all things considered. I've never seen such a vicious animal attack on a human body in all my years practicing medicine. Have you any idea of how such a thing could have happened?" She gave him a direct stare, suspecting that this weasely man knew more then he was letting on.

"Uh… no… I just found him like that and brought him straight here," Genma sweated. He didn't think that a mere doctor (and a woman at that) would understand the importance of the Art or the sacrifices involved. But this was unacceptable; Ranma would never be able to become the world's greatest martial artist with a disability like this!

"Surely you can do something, can't you? He has a duty to carry on the Saotome School of Anything Goes School of Martial Arts! You're a doctor, fix him!!"

"MR. SAOTOME! THIS IS YOUR SON WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HERE! NOT SOME TOY THAT CAN BE PUT BACK TOGETHER AFTER YOU BREAK IT! WHAT KIND OF A FATHER ARE YOU?!" With Mrs. Mizuno being only a normal human, it was rather amazing to see her do a Flaming Demon Head impression that Soun would envy at the now cowering Genma.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm SORRY!!"

No matter what else could be said of Genma Saotome, he sure knew how to grovel.

"…You, sir, are simply pathetic."

In the intensive care ward, eight-year-old Ranma Saotome was crying. His father had told him that crying was weak and unmanly, but that didn't matter anymore. After all, he couldn't even see his own tears anymore, and if there were no tears then he wasn't crying.

His last memory was of being tossed into the dark pit with the hungry eyes. Then the sharp scratches, a white-hot pain in his eyes and after that… nothing.

He had awoken in this strange place. It smelled kinda like that nice old lady's home he and pop had been living next to, waxy clean with a faint tinge of medicine in the air. Without his eyes, Ranma had been forced to explore with his other senses. His hands told him he was in a bed, with bandages around his eyes and on his body. He could hear a steady roaring in the background as the hospital's staff attended to the multitude of patients.

And now he could hear the footsteps of someone coming towards him.

"Who's there?!" Ranma asked, quelling the slight quaver in his voice.

'A martial artist never shows fear.' The lesson had been drilled into him relentlessly, and it was strangely comforting right now.

"Hello." It was a girl's voice, but Ranma could barely make her words out.

"Who are you?"

"My name's Ami, Ami Mizuno."

"…I'm Ranma… Ranma Saotome."

"You want to be friends?"



Author's notes: Shadow's change is that Genma is now a complete idiot. Now, granted, he was stupid and petty in TOS, but here he reaches new lows in morality. Rushes the nekoken training, resulting in a now blinded Ranma. Even after this tragedy, he still sells him off to prospective fiancées, and unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) he wasn't very choosy as to whom he sold his son to. Result: Both Urd & Mara have legit claims on poor Ranma. Among others…

On the other side, Genma has taught Ranma both the umisenken and the yamasenken techniques in order to make up for the nekoken. The old man "grieves" over the shame of having such a weak son. Treats Ranma even worse then in TOS, however, due to the intervention of bystanders, Ranma has gotten a chance to learn that not everything his pop does is right before it's too late. The tougher training by Genma actually helps to bring out more from Ranma, refining his character like rough iron forged into pure steel. The karmic knife swings both ways though; at Jusenkyo Genma winds up with not one, not two, but THREE curses. Ranma manages to avoid a similar fate, but when he stumbles on the Amazons he winds up with more then he bargained for.

Ranma is blind. Not 'Mousse' vision-impaired, but blind as in the darkness as deep as death. Since it happens to him early on, Ranma has found ways to adapt and overcome his weaknesses. His other senses have improved to a remarkable degree, and he relies on hearing and his danger sense a lot. Ranma's 'ki' sense has been refined into something similar to passive radar. He can 'see' the ki auras that are within all living things, thanks to a chance (*cough*) meeting with the priest of the Masaki temple. This gives a whole new meaning to inner beauty. Ranma literally judges a person's looks by their heart. Kuno is seen as a twisted troll, Kasumi as the heart that launched a thousand ships. Possibilities, possibilities.

Since Ranma was only in the pit once and he got help in coping with his experience, he doesn't learn the nekoken and gets over his fear of cats. Not as brash (having a handicap doesn't do wonders for your ego). Very ignorant of the differences between guys and girls. 'Sees' nothing wrong with touching a girl any differently from a guy, although he does wonder about the weird swelling on their chests. Maybe they're sick? Not quite as unwilling to hit a girl as in TOS, especially if it's in self-defense. Ranma becomes quite good at hiding his disability; Ryoga suspects nothing, and neither do the Tendos at first. Akane is going to receive several lessons in humility after first challenging, then attacking Ranma when he refuses to spar with her. Many potential directions this can go. Lots of seriousness mixed with a sick sense of humor; classic Shadow.

Part 1b: When Trouble Comes a' Knockin', Get a Stronger Door

"Bye-bye, A-chan."

<Why do I always have to leave my friends behind?>

"Bye, Ran-kun." She was glad her friend couldn't see her tears. This was hard enough already. Though she had only known him for a few months, Ami knew she would never forget her special friend.

"If only she knew…"

"Don't spoil it."



"Oh, the shame! Why am I cursed with such a weak, good-for-nothing son? WHY?!"


"Papa, that hurts!"


"Quiet, you weakling. A real man can deal with a little pain!"

Ranma bit on his tongue in order to prevent the scream that threatened to escape his lips, as he was hit by another one of those strange vacuum blades his Father was throwing at him. He couldn't hear them, and since they weren't solid, he didn't feel the air that would normally forewarn of such an attack pushing against his skin. Ranma's lack of sight had never frustrated him as much as it did now.

"These techniques will make you stronger. Now get up and try again! "

Slowly the bruised and bleeding pigtailed boy struggled to his feet.

A brutal blow to the ribs sent him back down. This time unconsciousness mercifully claimed him.

"Get up!"


Several dozen battle-auras lit up the dusky plain as the spectators watched Genma beat his boy's limp body.

A lot of the beings gathered here were either directly or indirectly linked to protecting children. Needless to say, they were NOT happy about this.

"That's it; he dies!"

A loud chorus of agreement came from the crowd.

"Tear him limb from limb!"

"Burn him!"

"Lock him up in a room with the Samurai Showdown dub!"

Everyone shuddered at that one. Some fates are even worse then death.

"I'm old! Take my son instead!"

Morrigan looked at the old fool before her and sighed in disgust. Not even she would stoop so low as to take one so… pathetic. The boy, on the other hand, now he had potential.

"Very well, your son for your wretched life."

Her crimson nails pinched harshly on Genma's exposed jugular.

"I will come for him when he reaches his prime."

The succubus slowly licked her lips as she imagined how tasty the "beef" would be once it was properly aged.

"Now, be gone from my sight, mortal, before I change my mind."

"So in exchange for his immortal soul, I get the chowmein, egg rolls, and TWO fortune cookies?"

"Yes." Surely no mortal was this stupid.

"It's a deal!"

Then again, maybe he was.

"He'll be perfect for Yohko when she's grown."

"Is it agreed then? Your daughter will be engaged to my son, Ranma."

<Finally, boy, you're becoming useful.>

"Engage him to my Ayohko. I'll pay double what she did!"


"Ooh, he's cute."

"He's a bargain for just that bottle of sake."


"…This Genma is a complete and utter moron."

"He doesn't actually believe he's going to get away with all of that, does he?!"

"C'mon, Shadow, do something about this!"

"Wait for it."

"Who are you?"

Genma looked suspiciously at this stranger who claimed to be a Shaolin priest. In his experience, priests were to be avoided at all costs since they tended to disagree with the Genma Saotome philosophy. This consisted of theft, gluttony, and enough sake to kill an elephant… twice.

"My name is Caine. I am here to help your son."

"What in the Nine Hells is going on?!"

"How'd he get there?!"


"Fate moves in mysterious ways."

"That's not an excuse!"

Things went downhill from there.

-Meanwhile, in the Ranmaverse…

<To be continued>

Author's notes:

I did it, and I'm not sorry about it. May need to show Genma's stupidity more; any suggestions? Those of you wondering when it gets serious here's some words to think about: Demetri, Lord Raptor, <Insert Sailor Moon villain of the week here>, Devil Hunters, and a Ranma with Kick-Ass killer moves.

Till next time,

1c: Within the Darkness of Twilight

The intangible spirit once again found herself watching the newcomers to the valley. Although Ryoko could not go beyond a few steps from the mouth of the cave that imprisoned her real body, she could still see the surroundings for quite a distance, a fact that had served her well when she secretly observed Tenchi. Having been alone for so long, she took delight in the company of the boy, no matter how temporary it was.

And now, despite her attempts to deny it, Ryoko found herself looking for a second face, listening for an energetic laugh that belonged to a certain pigtailed boy…


When the Saotomes had arrived, the former pirate hadn't known at first. Genma had been recuperating in his room from the thrashing he'd taken when trying to fight the sword master, after being discovered stealing from the temple.

She had noticed when her Tenchi didn't show up around the cave for a few days. This had prompted concern and worry from the intangible being. Had something happened to him?

Ranma and Tenchi were almost polar opposites, though they shared some similar events in their lives. Both had lost their mothers at an early age: Ranma to his training and Tenchi to the grave. Their fathers were equally poor in their own ways. Neglect was almost worst then abuse; at least there were times when Genma had actually been there for his son, no matter how badly he usually treated him.

Tenchi was well on his way to becoming an introvert, burying his pain instead of letting it heal. Then one day he found himself face to face with a boy hanging from a branch overhead as he made his way up to the Demon's cave.

"GAH?!" Tenchi responded intelligently.

"Hi! Wanna be friends?"


"My name's Ranma!" The boy swung up and off the branch he'd been hanging from into a triple somersault, and finally touched down in a perfect three point landing right in front of Tenchi… almost.

A piece of loose foliage spoiled his entrance, causing the young, hyperactive martial artist to stumble and fall flat on his face.


The stoic young Masaki boy tried to control himself. He failed. The humor of the situation had got to him.


It was an unexpected feeling, the first real crack in the emotional shell Tenchi had built up around him to keep others out.

"Hey! Wanna at least give me a hand up?!" Ranma sputtered literally. His wide-open mouth had gotten a nice taste of humble pie, and it tasted like old leaves. Blech…

"Ah? Sure." A hand was offered and accepted.

"So what's your name?"

"Me? Tenchi… Tenchi Masaki."

"So, what'cha doing?"

"Um I'm going up to the…"

"Wanna play?"

"Huh?… ah… I… actually…"

"Let's go!"

"Wha… wait… wait a minute!!"



And so it went…

Tenchi never did make it up to the cave that day. Or the next day, or the day after that.

After awhile, even the stick-in-the-mud Masaki had to admit he was having the time of his life, even when he wasn't sure that he would survive the experience. Ranma's sheer zest for life seemed to just sweep him along for the ride. It was amazing, to say the least.

But that first night would turn out to be even more startling…

"You're challenging GRANDPA?!" Surely he couldn't have heard him right!


"But, WHY?!"

Ranma looked subdued for a moment before answering.

"Pops… Pops tried to take some stuff from the temple. If I win, then me and Pops get to stay here and he doesn't have'ta go to jail."

"And if you lose…?"

"Then the temple gets both our tanto. They're worth enough to pay for what my father tried to take."

"But what'll happen to you if your dad has to…?"

Concern filled Tenchi. Even though they had just met a few hours earlier, he found himself worrying for Ranma.

"I… I don't know… But I'm not gonna lose!!"

Tenchi swallowed back his misgivings. Something about that determined tone struck a similar chord within him. He found himself believing Saotome…

Three figures stood in the courtyard.

Two faced each other. The third could only watch the drama unfolding in front of him.

"Are you ready?"


"Very well then, the match will be until the first hit. Is that alright with you, young one?"


Tenchi could only watch with mounting horror. There was no way his new friend could possibly win this. Grandpa was a Master of the first rank with the wooden bokken. All Ranma could possibly accomplish would be a lot of painful injuries, as he himself could attest to from hard experience.

Yosho assumed the basic Jurai stance for combat, as across from him Ranma settled into a seemingly relaxed textbook Kempo stance. His feet were positioned funny, though. They were too far apart for the boy to be able to attack effectively, and his hips were turned slightly at an angle towards his opponent.

The dark shades he was wearing blocked any attempt to look into his eyes, making it impossible for the venerable warrior to figure out what the boy was planning. (1)

Yosho had decided it was in Ranma's best interests for him to be raised away from the influence of Genma, perhaps even taking him on as a student of the temple.

Choosing to end this fight quickly the undefeated swordsman supreme of the Royal House of Jurai launched the first attack…

Tenchi's jaw had buried itself into the ground and was making good progress on its way to London. This fight had been going on far longer then he'd thought possible.

And Ranma was still holding his own? It was unbelievable!

Yet somehow, impossible as it appeared to be, the young martial artist had managed to evade or block everything that the half-Juraian had thrown at him. No matter what direction he attacked from, Ranma was always a step ahead of him.

It was as if Ranma didn't even see any of the feints or false openings the swordmaster tried. Twice, the boy had either leapt over or ducked strikes to his rear that he couldn't have possibly known were coming. Who was this boy?!

The young martial artist in question was starting to breathe a little hard from the strain he was putting his body through. This man was much better than his father. It took all of his newly learned skills, along with a big dose of luck, to keep that weaving sword from connecting, and even though only a few minutes had passed it felt as if he'd been fighting for hours.


The disturbance of the 'wa' came a millisecond before the actual strike, but long enough to back-flip out of the sweeping cut. As Yosho twisted his blade and took a step forward to turn the cut into a lunge, the stubborn Saotome boy did a perfect split and dropped to the floor, falling as he had been taught. The strike missed his crotch by less then the span of three hairs as Ranma's foot lashed out in a roundhouse sweep, forcing Yosho to leap up to avoid being knocked off his feet. The old man came down with a flying strike but the boy rolled out of the way, giving himself some space to breathe.

{Incredible… I have the techniques of the Royal House at my disposal, and still he manages to avoid defeat. And if I'm not mistaken, he's already learning how to make use of them himself! His unique style is already changing; I can see his posture adjusting to compensate for my greater reach, and that strike he just attempted was a variation of the move I just tried to use on him less then two minutes ago! If nothing else, I can't let such potential be wasted! Win or no win, I will train him. His skill might one day rival Tenchi's!}

Ranma was getting desperate. None of his normal moves had worked so far against Yosho.

{I've got to take the offensive, or I'm finished. But I can't get close enough to avoid that damn sword. He's too skilled with it. Even Sensei Caine's training is just barely keeping me from being hit, and I can't keep this pace up for much longer… I've got no choice… I have to try my special techniques…}

The boy danced back as the warrior resumed his relentless offense, pushing Ranma back bit by bit until the pigtailed boy found himself backed into a corner.

"Well, my boy, you've done exceptionally well for someone of your age and skill. There is no dishonor in surrendering now. You have nowhere else to run."

"No! This fight isn't over yet! I won't surrender. This fight is until the first hit!"

"Very well."

Yosho sighed, both impressed by the boy's courage and dismayed by his stubbornness.

{Here it comes.} His timing would have to be perfect, or else it would all be over anyway. Ranma extended his 'wa' to its fullest, his ordinary senses seeming to become hypersensitive, as the ki flowed through his body.

"Kiiiiya!" Yosho dashed in, his sword held overhead.

Ranma's hands seemed to blur as he pulled out a large cloth…


"Saotome Anything Goes Secret Technique! Goshin Dai Ryu Sei Fu!"

"Say what?!" several of the non-Japanese-speaking watchers asked.

"Translates as 'Body-Defense Shooting Star Cloth', a move from the Umisenken School that doesn't make you totally invisible, but comes darn close…"

Shadow looked mildly impressed by the fact that Ranma had actually managed to pull his daring gambit off. The kid had balls. Too many ethics, perhaps, but hey, no one was perfect.

Ranma vanished from sight.

The wooden blade cleaved through the air he'd been occupying a heartbeat later.

For the first time in seven hundred years, Yosho found himself caught off guard by an opponent. For an endless moment his eyes darted around, searching for his missing target.

The Juraian Prince had had the quickest reflexes in the entire Empire while he'd lived on Jurai, and age had not dulled his abilities. As soon as Ranma reappeared right behind him at his most vulnerable angle, Yosho knew, and spun in a dizzyingly blur of motion, his sword coming at a speed and angle that Ranma couldn't possibly hope to block or evade in time.

It was over.

{Not yet!}

Ranma could see the blow coming and knew that this was it. His arm lashed out in a race against time…

Two separate attacks struck out at unbelievable speeds…


The scene seemed to freeze as a deathly hushed silence descended. The seconds passed…

Ranma gave a small groan and fell with a loud crash to the stone tiles, a large bump on his side from where the hit had connected showing. The strain of those final moments had been too much for the young boy and he just lay there, out like a light.

{Oh, no…} Tenchi ran over to see if his friend was all right.

"Tenchi." His Grandfather's voice stopped him.


"Take Ranma inside. I'll be there in a minute to check on his injury. I need to speak with his father first."

"Grandpa?" His eyes seemed to ask what he didn't state with his words.

"You'd better prepare the other two guestrooms. It looks those two will be staying for awhile."

"Grandpa!" Tenchi looked like a person who'd just been informed of a stay of execution. Ranma was going to be staying with them! So relieved that he didn't even bother to question this, Tenchi carefully supported the now semiconscious boy as he made their way back to the main temple.

Yosho watched the two of them go, making sure that no one else was around to see.

Then carefully he pulled back the top of his white priest robes to reveal a good-sized red bruise forming on his shoulder.

{Well, I'll be damned…}

Remarkably, it had taken Ranma only two days to recover from the battle. His natural hardy constitution had him back on his feet the first day. The second saw him already running around again.

It was like paradise here. A new friend, plenty of food, and a warm place to sleep. And Yosho Sensei had even offered to train him!

Genma couldn't object. Even after his bruises faded, he had no way to stop Yosho. His natural cowardice took a different route for him to get his humiliation and anger over being defeated out.

{It's all the boy's fault!}

He would have to discipline Ranma again; it was his duty as his son's father and master. But it would have to wait until he could make sure that the priest wouldn't find out. Genma suspected the old man knew far more about the situation then he was letting on, and only the tantalizing lure of new secret techniques kept the bald martial artist from taking his son and running.

It had been Ranma's own natural curiosity that finally caused the chance meeting between him and Ryoko.

One day he'd just gone up and introduced himself. He knew she was there, and even though she couldn't talk to him, he could talk to her. And talk he did. Ranma could feel the spirit's reluctant amusement every time he went to visit her and told her about his life, his friends, and what the day felt like at that particular moment. Feeling her cheer up from the constant sadness that surrounded her aura like a dreary storm cloud made him happy too.

-End Flashback

{Where are they?}

Ryoko didn't even notice that she'd started thinking in terms of "they".

She heard voices coming…

{It's about time!}

Eagerly, the astral form drifted toward the mouth of the cave to see her friends…

Genma tried to keep the smirk from escaping. That old meddler Yosho had finally left to go down for supplies. The Saotome stomachs had finally turned out to be good for something besides eating. With any luck the priest wouldn't be back 'til tomorrow, more then enough time to 'deal' with this long-overdue discipline problem.

He'd noticed that the boy often came out here, and more importantly that it was isolated and far enough from the temple that even the loudest cry would go unnoticed here…

Ranma scampered on ahead, wanting to say hello to his spirit friend, unaware of the dark looks that his father had been shooting at him for the past couple of days. Genma saw this quirk as yet another weakness he would have to rid the boy of.

{Why was I cursed with such a worthless son?!}

Ryoko arrived just in time to Ranma and Genma stop a short distance in front of the cave.

She disliked Genma on first sight. There was an oily presence surrounding him that made her instinctively recoil. But there was Ranma…?!

Even though she saw it take place in front of her the pirate still couldn't believe it.

She watched as Genma strode up behind his son…



Shock and confusion filled her mind at this incomprehensible turn of events.

"You need another lesson boy." Genma found an adequate rod from the forest's dead brush and strode over to the sprawled form of his son.

{What is he doing?! Oh, my God… he can't… he isn't…}


A choked back whimper escaped the young boy's lips as he tried not to scream. That would just make father mad, and then the punishment would be worse…


Ryoko threw herself futilely against the confines that bound her astral form, tears streaming down her cheeks as she watched the horrendous scene before her helplessly. She wanted to hold Ranma close, and stop the pain she could see he was feeling despite his best attempts to hide it. She wanted to scream from the agony that tore through her heart every time she saw a blow come down on the helpless boy.

But most of all…

Ryoko wanted to RIP OUT GENMA SAOTOME'S BLACK HEART AND FEED IT TO HIM!! For the first time ever, Ryoko, who had slain hundreds against her will for a millennia, wanted to kill someone she hated with all her heart and soul. Not even Yosho had inspired such a strong feeling in her. The red fires of rage raced through her veins as the demon watched and swore to make that *thing* beating the helpless child before her pay…

Ranma finally slipped into unconsciousness once more.

No matter how long it took to escape…

The beating finally stopped, and the man picked his son up and carried him off to arrange a little *accident* that would explain away Ranma's sudden injuries.

A sudden chill filled Genma's spine, but was blamed on the cold mountain breeze.

A pair of deadly golden eyes fixed on the retreating martial artist's back and the limp burden now slung over it.

She would make him pay…


To be continued.

Author's notes:

(1) Genma wants to keep this little problem a secret. Ranma's pretty good at being able to cover his handicap so the Masakis don't really notice at first…

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