A Ranma ½ story
by Wun Wong
Disclaimer: I certainly do not own Ranma ½ or its characters. They belong to Rumiko Takahashi and Shogakukan in Japan, Viz Video in the USA. I do not, and will not profit monetarily from this work. Thank you.
Chapter 5: The Dance of the Sublime
Shampoo cursed as the giant lace-covered foot slammed her down once again. Things were not looking good at all at the ruins of the Nekohanten. Mousse had already been knocked out while blocking a blow for Shampoo. Akane had been plastered by a stomp, and was now unconscious beneath the rubble of the entrance-side wall. Soun Tendo went down immediately afterwards, when he charged the stockings with a Demon-Head attack… Too bad demonically-animated lingerie didn’t frighten easily. Only Cologne and Shampoo stood against the monstrosity, but Shampoo was reaching her limit fast.
"Great-Grandmother! What plan of attack now?" Shampoo was so focused in the battle that she reverted to speaking in Chinese. Rolling beneath a low roundhouse, she continued to circle the giant creature, searching for a weakness.
"There’s something strange about this creature besides its composition. I believe we should—" Cologne’s words were cut off by a resounding crash as the monster form of Pantyhose Tarou crashed through the single remaining wall at the restaurant. Wishing to practice his view of equality— he was equally hostile to all the fighters he could see— Tarou began a chaotic melee against Kodachi, Ukyo, Konatsu, the Amazons, and the Lingerie. The battle’s pace became more frantic as the confused combatants fought without a clear idea of who or what to attack.
Nabiki and Kasumi were hiding behind the rubble, trying to dig out their younger sibling. "We have to pull this off her, Nabiki. Help me here." Kasumi gestured to her younger sibling as she grasped the edge of a wooden board. Nabiki moved to comply, glad that they were left alone by this conflict. Together they heaved a chunk of wood off the pile of rubble that Akane was stuck under.
"Now where’s that Ranma? He’s usually here by now, saving little sis’ behind." Nabiki looked about the neighborhood, now visible due the lack of walls, in search of a familiar pigtailed boy. What she saw instead was a sizable fragment of plaster and wood sent toward them toward them by stray tentacle. "Oh Sheei—" She didn’t even had enough time to finish cursing.
"Please let me go." Wen Mei murmured with reddened cheeks as she pushed the man away gently. "I apologize for bumping into you, sir. My name is Wen Mei, a nun of…" Wen Mei hastily gripped her right fist with her left hand, bowed slightly, and rattled off her self-introduction/apology. Her heart was beating faster than she could remember. But then, he was the first man she has ever touched in her conscious memory; and in such a compromising position, too…
Kasumi woke with her hands in a warding gesture, designed to protect herself from molestation if needed. Instead, she found herself watching one of the most spectacular battle ever conducted in Nerima, though she was a bit too dazed by her injury to appreciate it. Regaining her mental balance after a moment’s rest, Kasumi decided that she was mostly okay. She felt along the side of her head, and wiped some blood off with a light touch. Rolling over the block of rubble that sent both Nabiki and herself into unconsciousness, she gingerly examined her younger sister for injury.
Noting that Nabiki had relatively minor wounds, Kasumi moved her into a more comfortable position and looked at the still-heated battle.
Nodoka was nowhere to be found, and Cologne had wisely taken a ringside seat with her pipe, allowing the monstrous Tarou to deal with the equally monstrous lingerie. Most of the Nerima population was standing around the ruins of the Nekohanten, watching the events with great fascination and personal risk, as well as buying snacks from various vendors.
A passing vendor offered Kasumi a roll of bandage, and she took it gratefully when the vendor motioned that it was free. Kasumi expertly bandaged herself and Nabiki, and then started digging for Akane again.
It was at this moment that Akane woke up, shoved the rubble off herself, and re-launched into the fray, to the crowd’s delight. Kasumi could only sigh in exasperation at her sister’s foolhardy action, knowing that she was the weakest of them all, and the mostly likely to get hurt in this battle. This was proven immediately when a stray tentacle whipped Akane down once again. Kodachi took the opportunity to club her, only to be swept aside by the same tentacle from Tarou, this time a deliberate strike.
Tarou had one arm holding the Lingerie monster while his tentacles flailed at everyone else. Unfortunately for him, the Lingerie monster kicked his legs out from beneath him, turning it into a giant wrestling match that flattened what was left of the Nekohanten’s rubble into… well… even smaller rubble, as well as knocking out all four fiancées and Konatsu. What emerged victorious at the end was the Lingerie monster, which managed to separate into linked garments that acted like ropes to strangle Tarou into unconsciousness. Rising into its full height once again, everyone can see that it was slightly dirty, but not damaged in the least. For a moment it stood still, allowing the crowd to marvel at its immense size.
A bystander who occupied the lower end of the evolutionary curve babbled "Wow! Imagine how big a woman’s breasts would have to be to fit in that!" He didn’t even realize what he’d done wrong until the women in the audience gave him the ‘Happosai treatment’.
"You will PAY for this, Ranma!" Happosai arrived at the scene with a full head of steam. How dare Ranma treat his silky darlings like that!! Never mind that Ranma wasn’t even at the Nekohanten; they were soiled with dirt and scratched by the rubble! ‘He will pay! But first I must recover them…’ Happosai leaped in front of the monster to block its advance, shouting out words of love and demanded that his darlings return to his room at once!
Cologne found it quite intriguing that the monster fought with skill and tactics, and was resistant to the Breaking Point technique, which should destroy any non-living substance. Also, Cologne noted that it didn’t attack them initially when it arrived, and only targeted individual who were attacking it at the time.
When Cologne had seen the meandering trail of shattered houses that marked its path, she reasoned that it just might not be targeting them specifically; stranger things had happened in Nerima. However, the heat of battle made it impossible to call off everyone else, so she had decided to sit out the battle near the end; waiting to see if it would leave peacefully once it defeated the younger fighters, but ready to lend aid if it employed lethal force. When it finally finished off the others, Cologne waited for it to simply depart. Too bad Happosai showed up to challenge it. Cologne listened with interest as Happosai confirmed his own guilt through his babblings. ‘One day, Happi and I are going to have a long talk about this… a very long talk,’ Cologne thought darkly as the monster stomped Happosai into the ground in response.
"YOU." STOMP! "ARE." STOMP! "IN MY." STOMP! "WAY." STOMP!
Happosai lay in a crumpled heap, shocked by the behavior of his silky darlings, and in too much pain to ponder how a giant animated set of Lingerie could speak. Not only did it refuse to return, it assaulted him with extreme prejudice, a feat that was incomprehensible to a man who thought that his lingerie loved him back. "But I LOVE YOooouuuuuuuuuu…" STOMP!
The cheers of the women in the crowd seemed to spur it on to further violence (they were in fact, counting the number of stomps with joy). To their disappointment, it finally stopped its attack on the aged Anything Goes Grandmaster.
"My function is to make Ranma Saotome sorry, as stated by our pact. Further input from you has no relevance," it said, before starting to move away again.
The crowd eagerly folded up their chairs and got ready to follow it to the next battle, the vendors packing their wares to follow the crowd. However, all of them stopped abruptly when the giant Lingerie suddenly settled into a battle stance again. The reason was obvious: Ranma Saotome had finally arrived.
Kasumi carefully turned over some more rubble as she continued her task of recovering Akane and her father. While Happosai was getting his just rewards, she was able to make her way over to her sibling’s landing spot without drawing much attention to herself. She understood that as martial artists, Soun and Akane were many times tougher than the average person. However, their injuries would likely be quite severe after the beatings they received. Kasumi often feared that they would come to more permanent harm one day, and this might very well be that day. As she reached down to push more wood and plaster out of the way, her concern for her family suddenly vanished as she accidentally grasped a smooth, warm surface. The world spiraled around her in fleeting shadows and whirling lights as she fell unconscious again.
"No need for such formalities, lovely one. It was my fault entirely." He returned Wen Mei’s greeting leisurely, and displayed a friendly smile. "It’s not often one meets the epitome of classical beauty…clothed in the garments of spirituality no less."
Wen Mei blushed despite her best efforts to resist. She would have run from him, if such an act would not bring her even greater embarrassment. Carefully, she tried to assume a dignified pose, and asked his name.
"My name is Xi Eun Hwa, a student of… Beauty."
Surprise and dismay rushed through Wen Mei’s mind as she stared in horror at the man in front of her. She could not decide whether she wanted to feel flattered or needed ritual cleansing. What was the ‘Most Notorious Womanizer Beneath the Heavens’ doing here?
"Xi Eun Hwa?! Why are you…" Wen Mei’s question was cut off when the voice of the ancient monk, Mo Ji, somehow silenced the conversations in the room despite its softness.
"Welcome, fellow practitioners of the Art. It has been many years since I have seen so many who love the Art for its own sake gathered together in one place. Far have you journeyed to come here, and farther you will journey still for the sake of the Art. I bid you all welcome"
His left hand gripping his right fist firmly, he bowed slightly to the assembly of martial artists, causing them to bow somewhat deeper in return.
"The reason I have called you here is due to a recent discovery by our esteemed colleague, Mistress Tung, who recovered a set of scrolls left from one of the ancient dynasties. Their age can only be guessed at, for they mention the Yellow Emperor as though he was only years gone, instead of centuries. Most importantly, they seem to be a treatise discussing the conversion of a language long lost to us into the ancient Chinese that we can now only barely understand."
Beside him, Mistress Tung took one of the scrolls, and unrolled it so that all can see its contents.
"While the study of our honored ancestors is a noble pursuit, what truly interested me was that the elder language matched one of our oldest, previously undecipherable texts. With what little Mistress Tung was able to copy and send to us in her generosity, we have made progress on those ancient texts, and discovered a treasure that must be shared among the true practitioners of the Art. Behold!" Mo Ji reached inside his robed sleeves, and pulled out a scroll made of some strange glittering woven material, and raised it for all to gaze at its brilliance. "The lost Art: The Way of the Transcendent."
"What the heck is going on?!" Looking at the scene, Ranma just didn’t know what to think… so he didn’t. Instead, he let his habits direct his action, and responded as he always had toward challengers or monsters. "Over here, you oversized rag!"
Considering the damage— he could see some of his fiancées underneath the rubble— Ranma appeared less angry than one might expect. However, this was due to it being a cold rage rather than the usual hot anger. It had flattened Shampoo, Ukyo, even Akane— Kodachi too, though she was worth only a little anger. His whole trip to China already ruined. And where was his MOTHER?! The anger-turned-cold produced a rather interesting aura around him: a pale blue that rippled like a light mist.
The monster turned to face him, "You are Ranma Saotome, correct?" Ranma nodded in response, tendrils of his aura creeping forward toward the monster like slithering snakes. "I have been summoned here to make you ‘sorry’. Now, are you sorry?"
The ground shook as a massive simultaneous facefault by every person in Nerima landed.
"What kind of stupid question is that?" Ranma shouted at the creature. "I'm going to tear you apart!"
Before the astonished eyes of the audience, Ranma disappeared. He reappeared a moment later, ten feet behind the monster and twenty feet in the air, his right foot extended, with fragments of lingerie clinging to him as he kicked through the upper body portion of the monster.
The crowd’s wild cheer turned into a collective ‘ouch’ when, in retaliation, a giant silky foot sent Ranma to the ground with a spinning axe kick.
When the Nerimans’ eyes tracked him to his landing spot, Ranma was already up and at the monster again. They began trading blows in earnest, Ranma moving his whole body with precision and agility to avoid the massive kicks, and the lingerie monster dancing with surprising grace as it tried to corner the martial artist. What made the battle remarkable was that Ranma seemed to be using his heart of ice technique unconsciously to freeze bits of the lingerie that made contact with him. Where previous battles have failed to damage the surprisingly durable undergarments, being frozen seemed to have negated their invulnerability. Strike by strike, blow by blow, Ranma was freezing— and thus tearing off chunks of the monster— with each hit. The monster was skilled however, and it managed several hits on Ranma that sent him into the ground so hard that the crowd spilled most of their snacks after the second one connected. After approximately a minute of clashing, they broke apart, and began circling each other, Ranma catching his breath, the monster regenerating slowly.
Suddenly the monster stopped and asked again, "Are you sorry yet?"
By the time that everyone raised their heads from their collective facefault, Ranma and the monster were in motion once more, resuming their fierce battle.
Carefully, Miasaki brushed back Nodoka’s hair, and applied antiseptic to the cut on her forehead. Arriving moments after the initial melee’s start, he had quickly taken the unconscious woman aside so that she can be treated. Having no illusions about his chances of survival if assaulted by the martial artists or the monster, he dragged Nodoka behind another building so that no one at the battle would spot him, though he had a good view of the battle when he peeked out.
Originally, he had planned to surprise the Saotomes with a visit, and use that pretext to examine his life-long project close up before their trip. With the arrival of the unusual monster, he had settled for protecting the mother of his most prized subject. ‘I have always wanted to get first-hand observations on his battles anyway. Might as well use this.’ Miasaki got out a mini-recorder and started recording the battle. Quickly connecting his laptop to his recorder, he then setup a miniature dish that allows him to links up to the main database in his lab.
The second round of the battle was squarely in the monster’s favor, as portions of its standing leg would separate into strands that whipped at Ranma from multiple directions, while a massive kick blocked any avenue of escape. Ranma was essentially unable to avoid being hit, and the damage he inflicted was still too minor to seriously affect the monster.
‘There’s gotta be a way to get past its defenses.’
Fortunately, his rather specialized subconscious had slowly brought something to the attention of his conscious mind. He was inflicting no damage on this creature with the force of his strikes; only the cold of his aura was having a lasting effect. Therefore, something besides mere brute force was needed to achieve victory. Following a hunch, he leapt straight into the mass of writhing strands, with judicious bounces off the strands he was able to dive into the brassier section of the monster.
"Follow me if you dare!!" Ranma yelled as he entered the interior of the monster. As Ranma fell, he expanded his aura as much as he could, freezing the monster’s upper portion as it constricted in an attempt to trap him within. Falling through the central section, he grabbed one a few of the strands that followed him in and pulled them down with him. Ranma dampened his aura as he cleared the central section, and quickly tied the strands to their roots on the standing leg. The monster fell on its side, on top of the unconscious Happosai, one free leg swinging in the air while the other was tied to the body in a great knot. ‘Here’s my chance!’
Ranma backed off to a safe distance, and began to gather his confidence and ki into a ball, hoping that it would work as well as the cold. When it was the size of a person, he released his ki and blasted the free leg into a rain of undergarments that pelted the crowd, where half were recovered by their original owners. The others were too embarrassing to be reclaimed. Ranma watched the monster warily for a few seconds, before he was satisfied that it won’t be able to move. His rage subsiding after his victory, he smirked and raised his right hand with two fingers out in a V.
"I’m still the best!" The crowd’s cheers lasted longer this time, having recovered lost underwear— or gotten free ones— and enjoyed a very entertaining fight. Ranma would’ve continued preening if the pile of undergarments hadn’t start to glow with a sickly green light. With a groan, the pile of struggling underwear fell down, no longer animated. A green-glowing form ascended from the pile, a strange horned gargoyle-like being that floated in the air.
"I have been commanded to make you sorry, Ranma Saotome. If this vessel is not suitable to the task, then I shall find another!!" Before anyone can act, the spirit dived into the pile of underwear. What emerged was a very strange Happosai, obviously possessed due to the little horns on his head and the sickly aura that surrounded him. He was moving jerkily, with little twitches and moans. Ranma was reminded of previous time when a demon had possessed people at the Tendo dojo. Apparently, the spirit did not realize that two evils occupying the body of Happosai would be ‘difficult’, as the previous oni had found out. Ranma began to laugh.
"Good luck possessing the old Freak. I guess I get to beat on both of you at once this time, huh?" Ranma cracked his knuckles as he advanced on the twitching form of Happosai. Cologne’s eyes narrow to slits as she regarded the form of possessed Happosai, realizing that it was not convulsing in pain, but instead growing less twitchy, as though the puppet master was getting used to its instrument…
"Be careful, Ranma! It is not a simple spirit. It is very cunning…." A strange feeling interrupted Cologne’s warning. Every woman within a mile of the Nekohanten felt it. It was the feeling of their undergarments turning into something very similar to itching powder. The huge pile of underwear on the ground suddenly became a pile of dust as a strange energy leaked from the destruction of bras and panties, which was sucked into Happosai’s body.
"His mind is feeble! I have overcome him, and now I will boost his abilities through the draining of his power sources! Ranma Saotome, you shall be sorry!!!" The spirit’s voice rang throughout Nerima, as Happosai’s aura grew brighter. Springing to its tiny feet with effortless ease, Possessed Happosai turned its green-glowing eyes toward Ranma with vicious intent.
"Ranma! You must stop it now before it gains all the power from… whatever it is that Happosai gets from underwear!! Dammit, it itches…." Cologne’s Amazon pride protected her long enough to give this warning, before she too, rolled on the ground scratching furiously, along with every other woman in the crowd.
Wasting no time, Ranma dashed forward and struck at Possessed Happosai with a left knife-hand, only to miss as the diminutive form spun inside his guard and kicked him off his feet. Moving with a speed unmatched by any fighter in Nerima, the demon-driven Master of Anything Goes unleashed a fury of attacks at Ranma before the youth even hit the ground. Twisting in the air desperately, Ranma took several blows before he used the momentum of Happosai’s punch to get some distance between them. He softened his fall with a roll and bounced straight up into the air before Happosai could pin him down with a ki-powered stomp.
Without shouting out the name of his technique, Ranma unleashed the Chestnut Fist down onto his smaller opponent. Happosai’s hands blurred as he intercepted Ranma’s attack, and then returned a barrage of strikes that Ranma could barely parry. The clash lasted almost five seconds, with Ranma suspended in mid-air by the impacts between their fists.
Their standoff was finally broken when Possessed Happosai flipped Ranma into Tarou’s body. Ranma landed with an ‘oof’, and barely made it out of the mass of tentacles before Happosai closed with him again. This time Ranma was ready, and he played to his greatest advantage: range. Keeping Happosai at a distance with fast jabs and snapping kicks, he managed to snag a brief moment of calm to analyze his opponent’s technique. To his dismay, Happosai was faster, stronger, and if anything more focused in the battle than he had ever been. More importantly, Ranma was getting tired, the previous battle with Ryoga, Kuno and the demon-possessed lingerie were taking their toll. ‘How the heck am I suppose to beat the old freak now?’
No one noticed when Cologne hopped her way over to Kasumi, with the battle between Happosai and Ranma taking up all the attention. Skipping off her staff, Cologne landed next to Kasumi, and flipped the unconscious woman over carefully— noting in jealousy that HER underwear hadn’t disintegrated. Realizing that Kasumi was holding the jade piece, Cologne focused her will and mind, and reached out with her aura in an attempt to sense what the interactions were between the young woman and the artifact. What she managed to catch was very minimal; a very slight melding between their auras that usually indicated minor telepathic communication. However, it was rare that any object could possess enough of an aura to read, let alone the ability to carry on a ‘conversation’. Unable to foresee any harm— and unwilling to interrupt whatever bonding Kasumi was undergoing with the jade piece— Cologne turned her attention back to the battle.
"What got put in the old Freak anyway? He was never this good…"
Retreating from his opponent, Ranma was getting more and more desperate. Each exchange sapped his flagging strength, and added a little to his total injury. Nothing he did hurt the Possessed Happosai to any noticeable degree. His opponent was not putting out hot ki, making it impossible to perform a Hiryuu Shoten Ha. Worse, the Possessed Happosai was slowly condensing his aura, shrinking and solidifying it at that same time. In a few more passes, it would be solid enough to be used like a real body. In short, the range advantage would pass to the other side soon.
"This is simply his full ability; no more, no less."
The reply was accompanied by a flurry of strikes that were so fast that even Ranma’s eyes couldn’t register them. Fortunately for Ranma, he was fighting with his ingrained skills and intuition, rather than with his conscious thoughts. Fear skirted across the cold indifference of Ranma’s soul of ice as he leaped past a front kick that would have snapped his right leg at the knee. Panic was warded from his thoughts by that same technique as he parried a set of punches, hammer-fists, and palm strikes from his diminutive opponent. Rage found no place in Ranma’s heart as he retaliated with a kick at nearly double the normal Chestnut fist speed. With each exchange, Ranma’s emotional focus grew, helping him smooth out his motions despite the desperation of his rational mind, which turned furiously in search of a way to win. Then it happened; Happosai’s aura finally condensed to size of a eight-foot-tall man, and solid enough that he was using its limbs to move and strike.
‘It’s like fighting a normal-sized Happosai, instead of the shrunken old freak that he really is…’ Ranma began taking twice as many blows as his only advantage vanished. His soul of ice was no longer sufficient to hold back the pain and exhaustion, let alone lending him the calm necessary to win the battle.
Unwilling to concede defeat even in face of a Possessed Happosai, Ranma searched deep within himself for the same power that helped him in countless duals and conflicts: a moment of insight, focus, and clarity that showed him the way to victory. ‘Something’s gotta give! There’s got to be a way to beat him, and I can find it!’
Silencing the tumult of his own mind, Ranma reached past them all toward the core of his being, reaching for the perfect focus, Zen, Oneness, that well of mental strength… that moment. Yet, as he grasped it, he knew that it wouldn’t be enough. That single moment of clarity, no matter how it inspired him, could not possibly give him victory over someone who was superior in every aspect of the art, fighting at such a level. Something else was needed, something better. The answer he found was both more simple and complex than he expected, and that all-important moment stretched on….
Immediately, Cologne was surprised at the change in the combatants’ styles. Where Happosai had always been skilled, he had been the epitome of lack of discipline in his motions. Always striking and parrying with a sense of carelessness and impulsiveness that suggested a lack of skill to those who had never studied the Art, but immeasurable skill to those who could appreciate the subtlety and efficiency. Quite a bit of his effectiveness was lost in that manner, but it suited his personality, so mercurial in its own way.
Ranma, on the other hand, possessed almost the same arrogance and carelessness when fighting against most opponents. Always giving ground and letting his opponent display their strengths, as though he was completely secure in his ability to win, indifferent to his opponent’s skill. Yet the difference between them was profound; where Happosai fought as he did because few could match him, Ranma behaved as he did to avoid showing his ability, as well as to learn his opponents’ techniques.
Most recently, battles between them had been fast and furious things; Happosai using just enough effort to hurt Ranma marginally— mostly to discourage interference— and Ranma displaying enough persistence to see if Happosai would pull off a new technique. What Cologne witnessed this day was the complete opposite of their usual styles. Happosai had foregone all subtlety, and for the first time in Cologne’s memory fought in a stance. Not only that, but it was not even the loose Kempo of Anything Goes: it was the hard basic drilling stances of Shaolin! Fast, powerful, and incredibly simple strikes sent with stable but quick footwork, used with a fluidity that only true Grandmasters could achieve with total focus. It was so fast, so smooth, that Cologne herself doubted she could read his movements. In contrast, Ranma fought with a seriousness that bordered on the desperate. He held back nothing, using his greatest speed and strength with almost preternatural reflexes to utilize moves from so many different styles and principles that Anything Goes was the only way to describe his manner of fighting. For a moment, Cologne was lost in their display of skill, marveling at the contest between them. Then it happened; a change in the flow of battle that made Cologne grin with pleasure, and awe. ‘You are soooo going to get it, Happi…’
In the eyes of the audience, it seemed as though Ranma would inevitably fall, despite his propensity for bringing forth victories in dire circumstances in the past. After all, Happosai had decades— heck, centuries— to perfect his martial art skills, hone them with experience in battle, and accumulate a chi reserve big enough that his full aura sometimes got mistaken for Godzilla’s little cousin; he was, in fact, dubbed ‘Hentaizilla’ in the Japanese defense force basic manual. Ranma was great. He was perhaps the best of his generation. But, Happosai was one of the best of several generations. Now that he had been obviously enhanced by the demon/spirit, odds were very much in his favor. Yet a strange sense of anticipation pervaded the area, growing stronger by the second as Ranma continue to withstand the beating dealt to him. The sense that something beyond their knowledge was in effect, that there was something that would tip the balance of the battle.
Nodoka was brought back to temporary consciousness by a series of beeping sounds. Opening her eyes, she could glimpse an excited Miasaki reading from his laptop, which was wired to a small video camera. Suddenly, the beeping sounds nearly tripled in pace, and Nodoka could swear that she heard him shout in surprise before she passed back into unconsciousness again.
A fall turned into a roll as Ranma landed, moving him into the perfect range to dodge the next strike. A slight sway of his head, combined with a step to the side, provided just the distance needed for a kick to slide past him. A forward flip landed him behind Possessed Happosai as his opponent’s aura tore a section of the earth apart.
To the amazement of all that were present, he started dodging his opponent’s attacks almost effortlessly, as though he faced a mundane enemy like Ryoga, rather than a supercharged martial arts grandmaster. Slowly, he moved from the purely defensive back into a semi-offensive position, giving as good as he got. With a new power, Ranma turned their interchanges turned from a one-sided beating into something much more: a Dance of the Art.
How he did it was a mystery to the Nerima residents, who didn’t see any speed increase, or any special techniques being employed. In fact, Ranma seem to be moving even slower, his aura dimmed to the point of nonexistence. Yet somehow there was an extra level of grace that he hadn’t possessed before; an extra level of relaxation that couldn’t have came from mere fatigue. Before, many would have described his movement as like water, flowing yet powerful. The way he moved in this battle was simply different from anything they had seen before. It made every other battle they had ever witnessed seemed crude and unrefined, every move clumsy, every strike brutish beyond words.
None of them would ever be able to describe it properly, though many would try for years to come. As the Dance continued, they could only stare breathlessly; in awe of it despite of how jaded they were to spectacular martial arts matches. THIS was the battle that would eclipse all they had witnessed before, as a boy became the Art, and the Art danced for all to see.
The dance eventually reached its crescendo. Possessed Happosai’s aura flared as he attacked, and Ranma disrupted it with a spinning kick that temporarily created a small whirlwind of Happosai’s ki. The mini-tornado raced towards the clouds, bearing Happosai’s aura into the sky.
It took Cologne seconds before she realized that the Dance had ended, so entranced that she wept. Through tear-dimmed eyes, she saw Happosai fluttering toward the ground, sending out feeble, futile strikes that couldn’t impact anymore because his aura had gone out. Ranma’s Dance had torn it from its wielder, and dispersed it with a single blow.
Now, Ranma simply stood waiting, as his opponent’s exhausted form fell. A light thud broke the spell of silence that held the crowd, and they all remembered to breath again.
A glowing shape emerged above the fallen body, sighing in disgust. "The contract is broken… you may have your sacrifice back. I return to my Master." As the glowing form faded out of existence, motes of dust gathered in its place coalescing into a couple of bras and several pairs of panties that fell on top of the comatose Happosai.
"Yeah. Ranma Saotome don’t lose."
With those words, Ranma pitched forward and joined his opponent in unconsciousness.
To be continued.
Author’s notes(3/13/02): Its been a while, since my last chapter. Thanks goes to Larry F, who C&C’d the rough draft so that it is English-friendly. Please enjoy, and ask me any question or sent me any comment you can… the more I hear from you, the easier (faster) it is for me to write.
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