Chapter Six: Play With Your Food
By Qaddafi the Ripper
Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belongs to the almighty Takehashi 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 this poor college student!
“You’re pulling my leg!” Makoto scoffed.
“No, it’s true! This is the place they’re supposed to be running,” Minako assured her. They and the other three Inner Senshi, along with Chibi-Usa, were standing outside the Neko-haunten. Minako and Rei had informed the others that this was the location that the red haired girl had said Mousse was staying at. It was Friday afternoon, and they finally had some free time from schoolwork and killing monsters, so they decided to check it out. Chibi-Usa came with because she was annoying. They’d been so looking forward to this visit, in fact, that they had almost run Setsuna down on the way here. I wonder what she wanted, anyway, Makoto thought distractedly.
“It looks like a nice restaurant,” Ami observed.
“Then we can get some food while checking out the waiters!” Usagi cheered.
Rei groaned. “Is that all you ever think about, Odango-Atama?”
The others hurried to impede the coming argument, and in light of the close proximity to food, it was fairly simple. Makoto gazed around at the interior. It looked like a fairly average Chinese restaurant. Clean, numerous tables, an open kitchen window, and not much decoration. There were only a few other customers, as it was still early afternoon. The six girls seated themselves, and were waited on by a girl matching Minako and Rei’s description of the redhead from before.
“May I take your order?” she asked politely.
“Hey, we’ve met you before!” Minako announced. “Remember, Rei and I saw you with Mousse.”
She nodded, “Yeah, I remember you two.”
“So, do you work here?” Ami asked. She nodded. “Oh, how rude of us! We haven’t been properly introduced! I’m Ami, and this is Rei, Makoto, Minako, Usagi, and Chibi-Usa.”
The other Senshi chorused greetings. “Hello. I’m Ranko,” she replied, leading them to a table. “So, what would you like?” They told her what they wanted, Usagi asking for three times as much, and she left.
“So, where’s Mousse? I don’t see him!” Makoto said eagerly.
“I’m not sure,” Rei admitted. “Hopefully we’ll see him soon.”
Sure enough, shortly after Ranko brought out their orders, the myopic martial artist entered the restaurant along side of Shampoo. “We're back!” he called.
“Welcome back. Kodachi-san called; she wanted to know if you wanted her to pick you up on the way to the dojo.”
“That’s nice. I’ll be right back.” Mousse headed into the kitchen where the phone was, dodging a dish of ramen on the way.
“You still no want come?” Shampoo asked.
Ranko shrugged. “I have plans for the weekend, I’m afraid. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Cologne said she’d go with you, to make sure you don’t get rusty.”
“Shampoo no get rusty, silly. She practice, and one day Shampoo beat you,” the purple haired beauty declared.
“I look forward to that day,” Ranko replied, grinning. “Now get changed. You can help me with the dinner crowd before you have to leave.” Shampoo nodded and headed upstairs, collecting Mousse on the way.
“That was Shampoo, wasn’t it?” Makoto asked, impressed. Ranko nodded.
“She’s beautiful,” Rei breathed.
“She needs to work on her Japanese, though,” Ami observed.
“She’s only been speaking it for a few months,” Ranko pointed out. “I think she does pretty well.”
“Is she really an incredible martial artist?” Chibi-Usa asked, awed.
“Well, she’s been training for most of her life, so she should be good,” Ranko offered.
“If I practiced, could I be as good as her?”
“Perhaps. Here, let me teach you a balancing trick.” Ranko pulled Chibi-Usa out of the booth and handed her an empty bowl. In less than five minutes, she had the little girl balancing it on her index finger. Chibi-Usa grinned at her achievement.
Mousse and Shampoo arrived downstairs in casual clothes soon enough to see it. “Aiyah!” Shampoo exclaimed. “Little girl be great martial artist one day!”
Cologne poked her head out of the kitchen, scaring some customers. “Quite the little Amazon you have there, boy. Can you get her to catch one?”
Ranko smirked. “You just watch.” She turned back to Chibi-Usa and started whispering instructions to her. The pink-haired girl nodded. Ranko took the dish, stepped back, and tossed it at her. Amazingly, she caught it! The customers applauded.
The Senshi watched in wonder as their little fungus proceed to do stunts that rivaled anything they could do in Senshi form. “That’s amazing!” Ami exclaimed.
“Totally cool!” Minako agreed.
Usagi was too stunned to say anything at all.
“I want to learn how to do that!” Makoto announced.
“Me too,” Rei agreed.
Ranko grinned and motioned them forward. In no time at all, Makoto found herself snatching dishes out of the air. She wasn’t even sure how she was doing it; it was like it came naturally. Following their example, many other customers joined in for the lesson, including the other Senshi. The Neko-haunten had great business that night, and had amazing publicity.
Around six, a refined, dark haired girl came by to pick up Shampoo and Mousse for training at some dojo. Makoto wished she could be there. If those amazons did things like this so easily, imagine how they fight! Ranko stayed behind, able to keep up with the orders and help customers juggle at the same time. Too soon, it was time for the Neko-haunten to close. Reluctantly, the Senshi left, each vowing to come back for more good food, famous martial artists, but, most of all, lessons. Imagine how well they would do against monsters if they could do stuff like this!
“Greetings. I am Kuno Tatewaki, Captain of the Kendo Club. Junior group E. Undefeated new star of the high school fencing world. My peers call me the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High!” thunder crashed outside the dojo as the older made his announcement, bokken held high. “But you may call me Sempai,” he finished, lowering the wooden sword.
Shampoo and Mousse glanced at each other, not sure whether they should be amused or exasperated by the Kendoist. Kodachi sighed. “Enough with your speeches, Onii-sama. We don’t want to scare them away.”
Kuno let out a long-suffering sigh. “I am forever surround by those who do not appreciate the finer things in life. Even mine own sister doth consort with peasants.”
“Careful what you say, Kuno-sempai,” Akane said dryly from the entryway. “If you’re not nice, those two will walk all over you tonight.”
“Ah, my beauteous flower! A shame that I am not yet worthy of you! But I shall prove that there are none beyond yourself who could ever hope to conquer me!”
“Try to ignore him,” Akane whispered. “He’s always like this.”
“Then why do you put up with him?” Mousse inquired.
“He’s not that bad, actually. Just a bit pompous. Besides, he makes a great sparring partner. Mousse, I think it’d be better if you worked out with Kuno tonight, and us girls will help each other out. Kuno has this tendency to get crushes on girls who beat him. So I think he should get to know you better, Shampoo, before you fight him. Just to be on the safe side.”
The amazons agreed, and the groups gravitated to opposite ends of the dojo, Cologne chatting with Soun on the side. The old matriarch was curious about the origin of the style, since it was the same one Ranma practiced. Soun was more than willing to give a complete history of the school, which wasn’t very long.
“I and my old friend Genma were the only disciples of the founder, whom I will not name. He was an evil, perverted man, but he is fortunately no longer with us. The three of us trained for many long years, perfecting the many techniques of the school. After the master passed on, I married and opened this dojo. I’m afraid I haven’t advanced as far in the art as I might have wanted, but I enjoy training young people, especially my daughters, though only Akane was ever serious about learning the Art. I heard that Genma had invented some new techniques a few years back. Perhaps young Ranma knows them.”
Cologne nodded, filling the information away for later.
Meanwhile, Mousse had pulled out a bokken of his own from the folds of his robe, and he and Kuno were going at it full strength. At least, Kuno was going all out. Mousse, though he didn’t favor the sword, was very competent with one in hand, and casually brushed the older boy’s attacks aside.
Shampoo didn’t have it quite so easy, as two opponents are harder than one. Kodachi and Akane, because they’d trained together for so long, made an impressive team. Kodachi used her weapons to keep Shampoo busy while Akane landed numerous attacks. Deciding not to let them hog the advantage, Shampoo pulled her bonbori out of Hammerspace and started whirling them around. Kodachi’s attacks became almost pointless after that, but Akane wasn’t finished yet. “Musabetsu Kakuto Ryuu, Kanazuchi Kobushi!” she called.
With one efficient blow, Akane turned one of her bonbori into kindling. Shampoo’s eyes widened; she was so surprised, she missed the follow up move, as Akane landed a fist into her chin, knocking her off her feet and into the dojo wall. Dazed, the Amazon still managed to pull herself up in time to avoid a barrage of clubs and a ribbon, courtesy of a certain gymnast. Realizing she might have bitten off more than she could chew, Shampoo went for the quick victory.
She leapt forward, knocking Kodachi’s weapons aside. Then she jumped a roundhouse from Akane and hit Kodachi’s shiatsu sleep point. The gymnast went down, leaving Akane alone against the purple-haired terror. The youngest Tendo pulled back into a more reserved combat stance, one Shampoo recognized from sparring with Ranma: the traditional stance of this school. You good, Akane, but I used to that stance, thanks to Ranma-sensei. With a flurry of blows, she forced Akane to her knees, at which point the other girl held up her hands, calling an end to the fight.
Mousse, seeing they were finished, disarmed Kuno and joined them. Cologne chuckled; this outcome had been inevitable, but the locals had put up a much fiercer attack than she’d expected. “Very good,” she congratulated, bouncing over, waking Kodachi as she passed. “All three of you are excellent fighters.”
“But we still lost,” Akane observed.
“Shampoo and Mousse have had more experience, not to mention better teachers, not offense to you, Soun. I think I can see the basic ways each of you could improve. Tatewaki, if you underestimate your opponent, you leave yourself open to attacks. Kodachi, don’t rely on your partner so much; you can attack almost as well as she can, so don’t make her do all the work. That technique was impressive, Akane. If Shampoo didn’t have a weapon, you probably could have stood up to her. If anything, you’re a bit slow. I know a few training exercises that can help you get faster.”
The three nodded. Then she turned on the other two. “Don’t think you two were perfect! Mousse, don’t play with your opponent; it’s a bad habit that’ll come back to haunt you. Shampoo, you need to work on adjusting in the middle of a fight. You left yourself wide open for Akane’s attack! Now, here’s an exercise you should work on all of you…”
Onna-Ranma sat on the train, watching the scenery fly past. She’d forgotten how beautiful Japan was. How long had it been since she’d been here last? Too long, she decided. She reached over and picked up her magazine. When she saw the feature article, she shook her head in exasperation. Another movie coming out about her and the amazons. Interestingly enough, there included a feature titled, “The Real People: Who Are They?” The article read:
"Ever since we first saw them jumping around, casually defying the laws of physics, we’ve been able to think about little else. How is it that these people accomplish such feats? Where did they learn? What sort of life do they live?
"Unfortunately, we are able to answer few of these questions. Nieuchiesu is a very reclusive village that discourages outsiders from visiting. As such, we know very few things about the amazons, or Joketsuzoku. For one thing, it seems all villagers have at least some degree of competency in martial arts. Also, it is mainly the women who become warriors, the greatest of which seem to be the aged. However, there are some male warriors, the most famous of which would be Mousse.
"His techniques are called Hidden Weapons Martial Arts, involving the concealing of weapons in his robes. He also seems very capable of fighting barehanded, though. His thick glasses suggest a vision problem. He apparently lives with his parents and enjoys studying.
"The most famous of the female warriors is Shampoo, the current champion in Nieuchiesu. She prefers fighting with steel maces called bonbori, but is competent with most other weapons as well. Due to her good looks and skills, she is clearly much sought after, but she seems to have eyes for only one man, Ranma.
"Saotome Ranma appears to be Japanese, though how he gained admittance to the village as a foreigner is not known. His fighting style seems more reminiscent of a force of nature than anything else. Never have we had a chance to observe him anywhere but battle, so little else is known, save that he is often seen in the company of a panda bear, though no one knows why."
Onna-Ranma laughed as she put the magazine down. Imagine people’s surprise if they’d known the truth about that panda. A middle-aged man sitting across from her and looked up. He smiled when he saw what she’d been reading. “It’s an amazing thing what those people do, huh? Makes me wish I was younger, so I could learn some of that.”
“You’re never too old,” Onna-Ranma protested.
He chuckled. “I’m not exactly the master of sports, young lady. I’d prefer to stick to doing what I do know, and leave that other stuff for the young people.”
“And what do you do, sir?”
“I’m an accountant. I know most people think it’s boring, but I don’t mind it.”
Onna-Ranma smiled dazzling. “I think that’s wonderful. Accounting’s very important.” She glanced up. “Well, this is my stop. It was nice talking to you. Good-bye.”
“Bye. Oh, I never introduced myself. I’m Ryo Kontongari. And you are…?”
“Saotome Ranma. Later.”
The man’s eyes bulged, but before he could ask her, she was gone. He picked up the magazine, frowning. “Couldn’t be,” he muttered. “It’s just a coincidence, that’s all. Right…?”
Akane flopped down on her bed, exhausted. She’s never had such an intensive training session before in her life. By the end, even Shampoo and Mousse were worn out. But it was also satisfying. Akane always felt pleased when she pushed herself to her limit in a work out. All this work would pay off eventually.
Soun had looked so proud, watching as she held her ground against the more experienced amazons. Maybe he would finally teach her the rest of the school’s techniques! Perhaps Cologne could teach her some things too.
But no, Cologne had said that she no longer was in charge of Shampoo’s and Mousse’s training, though she still helped out. That duty had fallen to Ranma. Akane frowned; the last thing she wanted to think about was her supposed fiancé, the pervert. If only…
She firmly cut that thought off before it could form. There was no point in wishing for something like that. He clearly was not all he was cracked up to be. Life was so unfair sometimes, and he was just too cute…
She sighed and covered her face with her pillow. Don’t think about him, Akane. He’s just a pretty face, no more. And anyway, you only met him once. It’s not like you were in love…
Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t care that he turns into a girl, or if he is a complete pervert. I would do anything to get him to like me! But it’s too late now.
She reluctantly pulled herself out of bed, deciding to do her homework. As she sat down at the desk beside her bed, she noticed a neatly folded piece of paper with Tendo Akane written on it. “Where did this come from?” she wondered aloud, and opened it.
"I am truly sorry for the…awkward…start to our relationship. However, I think you’ll be pleased to know that I convinced your father to call off the engagement until we have a chance to get to know each other better. In light of that, I was hoping that, if you’re free Sunday evening, you’d like to join me for dinner.
"I understand completely if you’d rather not, but if not, please meet me at your high school at six o’clock. I hope to see you there.
“Kami-sama,” Akane breathed. “Is this what I think it is? Could…could he be asking me out on a date? Does he like me? Or does he just feel guilty about this whole mess?” She worried for a few more minutes, before deciding to go to the one person who might know: Nabiki.
She rapped on her sister’s door, then entered when Nabiki called. “Evening, Onee-chan. May I ask you something?”
Akane held out the note, and asked simply, “Why?”
Nabiki raised an eyebrow, but took the note without question. Akane thought she looked surprised after reading it. Finally, Nabiki concluded, “I think he likes you, Akane-chan.”
“Yeah. He wouldn’t go to all this trouble if he just felt guilty or wanted to uphold family honor. I think you should go.”
“He’s a freak,” she muttered, trying not to blush.
“You know you don’t really think that.”
Akane silently took back the paper, holding it closely to her chest. “Thanks, Onee-chan. G'night.”
End of Chapter Six
Author’s Notes: After six chapters, I decided to ask myself an important question: where’s all this going anyway? Do I have a plot? Do I have bad guys? Do I have anything? My answer: Not really. So, I’ve been working on figuring out a good villain for this thing, who will have some sort of connection to Ranma’s past. If you have any ideas, tell me, I need all the help I can get ^_^
Akane’s attack, Kanazuchi Kobushi: I obviously made this up. It means ‘Hammer Fist.’ Basically, Akane starts off with a ki-enhanced punch to the stomach (though this time she re-aimed at Shampoo’s bonbori) followed by an uppercut to the jaw. Pretty simple, I know. She knows better ki attacks too. This was just friendly sparring, after all; no need to permanently maim your opponent…
Soun states that his master (i.e. Happosai) has ‘passed on.’ Don’t worry; that old leach isn’t dead yet. He’s still sealed up in that cave, but he’ll get out sometime soon. And cause no end of trouble, no doubt. Then again, I’d like to see him try to grope this new Ranma ^_^
Japanese and Chinese Terms:
Aiyah: Shampoo’s catch phrase. Expression of shock/dismay/surprise/joy/everything
Musabetsu Kakuto Ryuu: School of Indiscriminate Grappling, Viz translates as Anything-Goes
Onna: girl, female
-Chan: term of endearment, used mostly with family/loved ones/close friends
Onee-chan: big sister; informal
Kami-sama: lit. Lord God
-Sempai: upperclassman, social superior
Odango-Atama: meatball head, dumpling head; what Mamoru, Chibi-Usa, Rei, and Haruka call Usagi
Onto Chapter Seven
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