Chapter Five: Kodachi Takes Lessons
By Qaddafi the Ripper
Disclaimer: Ranma ˝ belongs to Takahashi Rumiko, Tenchi Muyo! To Pioneer (?), Sailor Moon to Takeuchi Naoko, Aa! Megami-sama to Fujishima Kosuke, and Fushigi Yuugi to Watase Yuu. Please don’t sue me!
“Don’t be ridiculous! Your problem’s not so bad!” Soun said with a chuckle, clapping a hand on Ranma’s shoulder.
“Your daughters didn’t seem to share that opinion, Tendo-san,” Ranma replied.
“They’re just surprised. I’m sure Akane’ll get used to it after a while.”
Ranma closed his eyes, trying not to sigh. “Though I have every intention of upholding my family’s honor in this situation, I don’t want your daughters forced to marry someone they can’t stand.”
Soun looked thoughtful, then perked up. “I’m sure Akane loves you, in her own way. You two will be happy together, I just know it.”
“What would your wife say about this?”
Soun stiffened, then tears leaked out of his eyes. “My dear wife passed away a little over a two years ago. I don’t know how I would have gotten over this, without my daughters’ help,” he sniffed.
“Forgive me for bringing up painful memories, Tendo-san, but I don’t think your wife, nor you, would hold up a seventeen-year-old pledge that would cause one of your daughters misery.”
“Perhaps you’re right,” Soun whispered. “But I was so looking forward to the match.”
“Then how about this, Tendo-san. Give me some time for me to meet Akane and Nabiki. Perhaps we will come to an understanding that would make it possible to carry out the pledge. If not, then you can’t say we didn’t try.”
“Good idea!” Soun agreed enthusiastically. “Yes, I think they’ll agree to that. You can take Akane on a date tonight.”
“I’m afraid that tonight would be a bad time. I’m working tonight.”
“Work?” Soun asked. “Shouldn’t you still be in high school?”
“I graduated already from a school in China.”
“Where are you working?”
“I work at the Neko-haunten, a new ramen restaurant a few blocks from here.”
Soun gave a dubious expression. “That’s not very ambitious. Shouldn't you be thinking of college?”
“I’m in no hurry. And the restaurant is owed by an old friend. I might go to school starting at the next semester.”
“Well, then, I guess you can come by whenever it’s convenient for you.”
“Thank you very much, Tendo-san,” Ranma said, bowing. “Good-bye then.”
“Four orders of ramen for table six!” Cologne called, throwing the dishes out the kitchen window. In most restaurants, this would have been the height of folly. However, the Neko-haunten was nothing if not unique in its service. Shampoo, dressed in a pink Chinese outfit covered with an apron, easily caught the flying dinner and delivered to the proper customer. Most of the dinners clapped appreciatively. Though the food was top-rate quality, the real reason the Neko-haunten had become a booming success was the martial arts. You could get good Chinese food anywhere, but not waitresses (and one waiter) who did stunts (not to mention were very good-looking).
From the doorway, Kuno Kodachi watched in awe. How do they do that? she thought. Then, I wonder if I could learn that too! If anyone, it’d be the Black Rose! I’ll ask! Confident in her abilities, Kodachi walked over to the counter where Cologne was working, arms moving at super sonic speeds. “Excuse me, are you the owner?” she called.
“Yes,” Cologne replied, never looking away from the airborne ingredients.
“Well, I saw some of the things you and those other two were doing. I was wondering if you’d be willing to teach me to do something like that.”
Cologne finally looked at her. Kodachi was wearing one of her long, western style dresses, with her hair pulled to the side in its traditional ponytail. She didn’t look like a martial artist. “It’s not easy, dear.”
“You don’t need to worry about me. The Black Rose is the best at martial arts rhythmic gymnastics! The rising star of St. Hebereke High, Kuno Kodachi!”
“Let’s see if you’re as good in action as you claim. Two orders up.”
Kodachi stared at the two bowls flying directly at her face, momentarily at a loss. Then her reflexes took over, and she deftly snatched them out of the air. She held them proudly before shrieking, “HOT!” and dropping them. Mousse caught them mere inches from the floor.
Cologne laughed. “Not half bad. All right, you may train here. Lesson one, always use a towel. Three orders up.”
Kodachi, seeing a towel hanging over the counter, snatched it up, then moved to intercept the dishes. Only to realize there were three of them but she had just two hands. Panicking, she somehow managed to grab two and flailed for the other. Shampoo stuck out her foot and managed to balance it there. She smiled kindly at the gymnast. “You need use more than just arms, Kodachi-san.”
It was a long evening for the Black Rose. Somehow, not a single drop of ramen had been dropped, though mostly due to Shampoo and Mousse’s efforts. Cologne finally closed at nine, then announced it was time to spar. Kodachi felt her spirits rise; this was something she was much better at. There was a small yard in the back of the restaurant. When they reached it, Mousse and his betrothed promptly paired off.
“Amazing,” Kodachi whispered, awed. “I’ve never seen anyone move so fast!”
Cologne chuckled. “They’ve been practicing. So, you practice rhythmic gymnastics?”
“That’s right, though I’ve learned to fight without weapons too.”
“About a year ago, my older brother Tatewaki became enamored of a girl at his school. He spent all of his time trying to woo her, which, according to him, meant besting her in combat. Though Onii-sama is probably one of the best at Kendo around, he couldn’t beat Tendo Akane. He became totally obsessed with his failure, and her, that he sent the entire male half of the student body at her. Every morning, Akane-chan had to fight through some forty or fifty ‘suitors.’ Needless to say, the fact that it was all Onii-sama’s fault didn’t make her any more receptive towards being his girlfriend.
“After hearing so much about her, I challenged her to a rhythmic gymnastics tournament. I had never been defeated before, and felt confidant of winning against her. I lost - rather badly, I might add. Fortunately, Akane-chan has never been one to hold a grudge. She invited me to train at her father’s dojo. Since then, we train at least twice a week. I haven’t mastered any techniques yet, but I have improved tremendously. And after only a month, I managed to get Onii-sama to join in too. When he saw one of her techniques, he forever gave up on beating her, and has been training along with us ever since.”
“Then I’m proud to call myself your teacher, Kodachi. It takes a true warrior to know when they’re beaten. Perhaps you could invite your brother and Akane to join us as well.”
“Akane? Great Grandmother mean Tendo Akane?” Shampoo called, holding Mousse in a strangle hold.
“Yes, do you know her?
“We met her in school today, actually,” Mousse replied, now having won the upper hand in the fight.
“How good is she?”
“She good, but still need much training,” the purple-haired Amazon answered. “Shampoo already invite for train. She offer dojo too.”
“She would,” Kodachi agreed. “Akane’s nice like that. Perhaps all five of us could train together under Tendo-sensei and you, Cologne-san.”
The old woman laughed. “I’m sure that’d be nice, but I’m no longer the one training these two.”
“You’re not? Then who is?”
“I am.” Kodachi turned and saw Onna-Ranma, returning from the Tendo dojo.
“You’re late,” Cologne scolded.
“Sorry. It took longer than expected.”
"You got wet," she observed. Ranko shrugged. “This is Kuno Kodachi. She’d like to start training with us.”
“Do you mind, Ranm- er, ko?” Mousse asked.
She waved a hand. “Of course not. You’re more than welcome here, Kodachi-san. Well then, attack me.”
“What?” Kodachi asked, caught off guard.
“I’d like to see your style, before I start training you. So, attack me.”
Kodachi grinned, threw off her dress, revealing the leotard beneath, pulled out her ribbon and charged. Not surprisingly, she didn’t even come close to connecting with her target. Cologne watched Onna-Ranma casually weave around the clubs thrown at her, then called, “A young lady stopped by today, Ranko. She left a note.”
“Is that so very unusual?”
“No, except for the fact that it wasn’t addressed to a 'Fushicho Ryu.' ”
Ranko almost missed a step, though she quickly caught herself.
“I take it you do know this person,” Cologne remarked smugly. She’d never seen Ranma (or Ranko) mess-up like that before. It was rather gratifying.
"I thought you agreed not to bring any of that up," Ranko protested, weaving around Kodachi's ribbon.
Cologne shrugged. "If it wasn't something important, I don't think the delivered would have gone to so much trouble." At Ranko's curious expression, she added, "A young lady appeared out of thin air and left the same way."
“That's rather unusual. May I have the note?” Cologne tossed it to her. She leapt over the razor hoop and caught it, then pulled it open. Kodachi increased the intensity of her attacks, but Ranma was still able to dodge, despite the fact that she appeared completely engrossed in the letter.
“It's is from an old friend of mine. She wants me to come visit.”
“*She*?” Shampoo asked, eyebrow raised.
“I knew you were hiding something from us, Ranko,” Mousse added.
“Whatever do you mean?” the redhead asked, genuinely confused.
“Now I know why you refused my great granddaughter - you already have a girlfriend.” Cologne observed slyly.
Kodachi dropped her rope. “*Girl*-friend?!?”
“Heh heh, long story,” Ranko said quickly, embarrassed. She turned to Cologne. “And I’ll have you know that Tsunami is not, nor will she ever be, my girlfriend. Though that might simplify some things,” she added with a sigh.
“How did your visit go, by the way?” Cologne asked.
“Could have been worse. Both the girls want nothing to do with me, so I’m not engaged, but their father was really set on the whole thing. So I offered to ‘get to know them better’, before we make a decision. So I’ll have to play the dutiful boyfriend for a while till Tendo-san decides he doesn’t want a freak for a son-in-law. Oh well.”
“Tendo-san? As in Tendo Soun?” Kodachi asked, trying not to think of the implications of the redhead’s statement.
“That’s right; do you know the family, Kodachi-san?”
“Akane-chan is my best friend. And there’s no way she could ever be engaged to a girl!”
Ranko blinked, then smiled sardonically. “Looks like it’s going to be a long night,” she observed to her other two pupils, who nodded and went to fetch water.
End of Chapter Five
Author’s notes: Well, here’s the explanation for why Akane and the Kunos are better; Akane’s been training extensively with Soun, as have the other two, though not for as long. Yes, Akane knows cool techniques! Kuno and Kodachi just know their standard moves from the manga, but faster, stronger, and more efficient. They also know the standard Musabetsu Kakuto Ryuu as well as Akane. Ranma’s got a degree from a high school in China? What was I thinking? Well, Ranma / Ryu has been around for quite some time, and you’re bound to pick things up after a while. We’ll get his history eventually, don’t worry!
-Chan: Term of affection or endearment. Used most for family, loved ones, or very close friends
Onii-sama: Older Brother, very polite (because of the -sama)
Onna: girl, female
Onto Chapter Six
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