Certain characters are own by Rumiko Takahashi, Viz Video, and a bunch of other cool writers!
Authors notes: here is chapter 11 at long last sorry about the wait but I hope it's worth it! The next chapter may be a while due to exams….
Ranma's second chance
Mysteries of the past.
Ranma and Ranko walked side by side through a local park, even though they were still hidden from sight Ranma still felt nervous, after several years of being on his guard constantly he found it somewhat difficult to relax.
This tenseness did not go unnoticed by Ranko who had slowly closed the distance between them and was now sliding her arm around his waist.
*huh??* Ranma though in shock as he felt Ranko's arm wrap around his waist, he managed to control his natural reactions to close contact with the opposite sex. Than slowly he too relaxed and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
Ranko almost screamed with joy as Ranma began to move his arm around her, it was the first time he had ever done something even remotely romantic.
"It sure is a nice evening" Ranma commented breaking the silence while enjoying the calmness of the moment unlike his usual hectic life.
"Yes…." Ranko said with a sigh as she leaned into his body even more resting her head on his shoulder. The sky was already dark and the moon half out, making it the perfect romantic setting like in any romance novel.
"So where do you want to go?" he asked he saw the end of the path up ahead.
"Well first I thought we'd go to this restaurant"
"What's so special about this place?" he asked suspiciously.
"Oh nothing……." Ranko replied looking at him with her most innocent face.
"Okay than…..anyway I think you should drop the spell now because we're almost there" Ranma said as they were nearing the exit of the park.
Just before leaving the park the two phased into view as if emerging from the shadows, they did not even break stride.
Shampoo in her falcon form sat perched atop a small building, exhausted from her hours long journey.
She so much wanted to just sleep and rest but the memory of her home village being overwhelmed and destroyed was a constant reminder in her mind of what would happen if she did not find Ranko and Ranma soon.
Taking in a another deep breath she leapt of the roof and flew towards Nerima.
The figure hidden within the shadows atop a three storey building stared intently at the front of a particular restaurant, after over an hour of searching he had once again found the pair that had somehow eluded him earlier.
The man noted the approaching storm clouds,
*Just a few more moments* he thought at last he had a chance to remove the shame, he had waited years a few minutes more would make no difference.
Just as Ranma sat down he turned suddenly towards the front of the restaurant, the presence that had been following him earlier had returned.
*Damnit how the hell did Sasuke find us* he questioned himself.
Ranko followed Ranma's line of sight but saw nothing, although when Ranma stood with that look in his eye there was usually an attack soon after.
"What the matter?" she asked in a hopeful tone, hopeful that she was mistaken.
"oh it's nothing, just that I've had this feeling that I've been followed all afternoon" he said was a sigh.
Ranko went through her inventory of spells she could use, a calculating and determined look appeared in her eyes.
Ranma noticed the look in the redhead's eyes,
"Hey.. it's alright Ranko I think it's just Kuno's ninja Sasuke"
She seemed reluctant to back down as her conversation with Nabiki flared in her mind,
*I bet she…*
"Hey??" he said as he snapped his fingers in front of her face.
"It's alright I mean someone was bound to find out no matter what we did"
Ranko nodded reluctantly at the truth behind the statement, turning round while picking up a menu.
Ranma sensed the presence was still there, even though they sat in a booth near the back of the restaurant, their watcher did not move. He kept his senses open while browsing through the menu.
After a brief rest Shampoo again flew around Nerima again, looking for the pair, so far she had had no luck as after reaching the Tendo dojo there had been no sign of the pair.
Sighing heavily (as best a falcon) could do, she once again flew around searching, the thoughts of her people dying plaguing her mind.
Nabiki had decided to accidentally walk into Ranko's room, curious as to why Ranma had been in there so long and as to why he seemed to have dressed up.
After entering and seeing only an open window she quickly drew the right conclusion,
*so they've gone out huh* immediately thinking about the money she could earn with this little information, also what to do about the situation which was to her unacceptable.
At that moment Akane also walked passed and peeked in curious as to why her sister was just standing there.
"hey Nabiki what are you doing?"
"Huh…oh nothing just that Ranko borrowed something from me and I'm just collecting it" Nabiki quickly replied not willing to share her thoughts just yet.
Akane knew better than to try to pry further as it was Nabiki after all, so decided to drop the subject there even though it was too suspicious.
After a few more moments Nabiki returned to her room, reaching under her desk and pulling out a black leather diary, browsing through the pages for a moment than picking up the phone and began making several calls. *I'll find you two yet*
Some where in China
The eternally lost boy Ryouga Hibiki stalked heavily through the forest, after several weeks he had mastered the breaking point technique.
Although no one had taught him he had learned the technique by watching the various women practice using the suspended boulders, after they had left late in the evening he would sneak in and practice, even when he got lost he would still try to practice.
*At last Ranma I shall defeat you* Although Ryouga no longer held a life long pledge to destroy Ranma, he was still a martial artist and in a way enjoyed the rivalry that the pigtailed martial artist provided.
*But…. Where is Nerima???* he thought bitterly again cursing Ranma out of habit.
"Excuse me could you tell me the way to Nerim…." The lost boy's words' froze in his mouth as the figure turned around and stared at him.
The first thing he noticed was that the figure was missing large sections of their face, the second thing was the smell of rot and decay now noticeable, the third was that the person who he presumed was a man was way to skinny his ribs showing through his skin.
"Urm…um…..no need to bother yourself…" Ryouga muttered as he began the step back as it began to, it's glowing red eyes staring straight at him.
Ryouga finally noticed that the thing in front of him was not alone, in fact there seemed to be a considerable number of red glows looking in his direction.
"Well…um…s..orry to bother you, ur…bye!" with that the lost boy ran in the opposite direction this time hoping to get lost.
Ranma was starting to loosen up as the evening progressed, at first he had been thinking of all the trouble Kuno would cause if he turned up but so far he had sensed that their observer had not moved from their perch.
Even though the two had large appetites, on this occasion Ranma had managed to not stuff his face like usual but that was not to say he ate any less, just that he ate at a more human pace.
"Ahh that was good" He commented as he finished the last bit of meat on his plate.
"Huh what's so funny??" He questioned curiously
"Hehe…it just the look on your face I've never seen you like this after a meal"
"Oh huh yeah your right" Ranma said realising that it was probably the first time he had had a meal which didn't involve fighting off his father or questions from extremely curious friends.
"Well at least it shows your relaxing" she commented.
Ranma looked around as if expecting something to happen, nothing did what he did notice one thing. That everybody here was a couple and most were cosy enough.
*So that's why she wanted to choose this place* he thought beginning to get slightly nervous, despite many opinions in his previous life Ranma was not so stupid as to not understand that Ranko was serious.
This was not really what disturbed him, he was used to girls chasing after him but it was just that he did not feel uncomfortable being here like he would have done had the girl sitting opposite him been Shampoo or Ukyo.
Before he could contemplate any further there was a disturbance at the entrance to the restaurant, immediately both turned preparing for some sort of confrontation.
Both Ranma and Ranko were surprised to see that it was merely a large bird fly in and headed towards the kitchen much to the protest of the various waiters, most probably to avoid the rain that now poured from the sky.
They turned back to each other shrugging their shoulders at the event, as their main dessert was delivered.
"I thought you might like something special" Ranma said with a grin, like him Ranko adored ice cream.
She stared at the small mountain of various flavoured of ice cream, her eyes slightly glazed over.
"Well what are we waiting for….let's dig in!" Ranma said grinning as he handed her a spoon.
Halfway through eating Ranko stopped and suddenly had the urge to look towards Ranma again. She could not help but see how cute he looked especially now while he had ice cream on various parts of his face.
"Hey Ranma slow down…"
"huh…." he replied stopping from his feast, as eating was one of the few things that could take his mind of anything.
She gently reached across and wiped parts of his face with her napkin.
Ranma could feel himself blushing but also felt something else as she cleaned parts of her face, something which prevented him from moving even his eyes were locked onto her beautiful face.
Neither noticed that their faces were getting closer to each other as they stared.
Unfortunately as with all good things they never last, the door to the kitchen was thrown open and the numerous chefs inside came running out many screaming in fear.
"I knew it was too good to last" Ranma commented with a slight tone of dismay present in his voice.
Ranko could only nod,
*Who ever it is I'll make them regret disturbing us!* she thought angrily at having their perfect evening disturbed, a full inventory of spells crossing her mind.
By the time all the staff had cleared from the kitchen area, both Ranma and Ranko were in combat stances prepared for whatever would come through that door.
Much to their surprise a familiar purple haired chinese Amazon stepped wearily out, many of the kitchen staff were mumbling in fear about transforming demons and such.
Both saw that the young Amazon was on the verge of collapse rushed to her sides just as she began to fall.
"Ayiaa….. Shampoo….find you at las……" were her only words before exhaustion finally overcame her.
"Ranma her ki is nearly exhausted".
"Your right no wonder we couldn't sense her"
"Anyway we've better get her back to the dojo, I've cast a revive spell on her but she'll still need to lie down". Ranko added, although she had no love for the Amazon who on numerous occasion had attempted to kill her, she did not hate the girl either after all she was only obeying some tribal laws.
"Yeah….um…sorry about tonight…"
"Well it wasn't exactly your fault……but you still owe me another date to make up for this one" Ranko said with a wicked grin.
"huh…um…sure" *why did I say that??*
The figure saw the pair walking out of the restaurant carrying a purple haired chinese girl,
*where did she come from* he thought until he remembered seeing the bird fly into the restaurant moments before.
Jumping down from his spot, he confronted the marital artist's as they were leaving.
"Huh" both Ranma and Ranko said at the same time.
Looking up from carrying Shampoo they saw a tall figure wearing a cloak which not only protected them from the rain but also masked their features. But from the build and aura of the person they knew it was a he.
"Ranma Saotome?" a deep yet young sounding voice questioned.
"Who wants to know??" the pigtailed martial artists replied back cautiously. *where have I heard that voice before??*
"Look whatever you want with him, can't you leave it for another time we're kinda busy right now" Ranko said maintaining her calm.
"Look little girl…this is between me and Ranma Saotome the heir to the anything goes martial arts"
Ranko's teeth clenched in anger as the person said 'little girl', the only thing that stopped her from blasting the person in front of her to pieces was Ranma's reassuring hand on her arm.
It hit Ranma like a ton of bricks, he knew who the person in front of him was. The arrogant posture and bad attitude, the person was one of the few who he truly disliked from the first time he met him.
"What do you want Pantyhose Tarou" Ranma said with a smirk.
The figure growled not only at Ranma's mention of his name but also at the red headed girl who was now giggling.
"Say that again boy and you'll regret it"
"what's wrong Pantyhose I mean it is your name after all" Ranma enjoyed taunting his opponent but was alert at the same time, Tarou was dangerous not only because he was good in the art but also because he wasn't stupid.
Tarou tensed up preparing the clobber the boy in front of him but then remembered his reason for being here.
"Before we fight I need you to read this" the elder boy said after a moment of hesitation pulling out a piece of paper to the pair careful not to get it wet by displaying under the cover of the restaurant's front roof
"Huh??" Ranma said surprised, this was the last thing he had expected.
After quickly scrolling through it he blinked and read through it again just to make sure his eyes were not playing tricks on him.
Ranko too read the writing on the paper,
"I knew that old man was too good to be true!"
"Damn that old freak he had to make my life difficult…" Ranma muttered to no one in particular.
"Well now let's get on with it shall we" Tarou said with a smirk.
"I don't see the problem Ranma all you gotta do is lose to this guy", after reading the paper she had nearly burst out laughing at what was written, apparently this person had to defeat the heir to the Anything goes school so that he could have his name changed, at the bottom of the contract it had been signed by Happosai who seemed to be the guy's guardian.
"It's not that simple if I win than he'll just keep coming back for more but if I lose I have to give up being the heir of anything goes" unlike the battle with Ryouga this one was dictated by Happosai who was indeed the creator of Anything goes so had the right to make such decisions.
"hm..I can see where that might get annoying" Ranko replied thoughtfully.
"Enough boy I have suffered long enough at your master's hands!" With that the boy threw off his cloak allowing the rain to soak him also triggering the Jusenkyo curse.
At once the young man's body seemed to explode outwards, where once there was a person now stood a creature over ten foot tall looking like a minator from ancient times.
"WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?" Ranko practically screamed out.
"Don't worry it's just another Jusenkyo curse victim" Ranma said calmly although he had learned never to underestimate Tarou in either forms.
"PHOENIX FLARE" Ranko cried as a bright white sphere of energy shot from her hands and impacted on the surprised creature's chest, throwing it back into a concrete wall.
Tarou shook his head to clear the stars which seemed be dancing around his head, *where the hell did that come from* he thought until he saw the yellow smoke coming from the red head's hand.
"Jeez Ranko you didn't have to blast him"
"We've still gotta get back to the Tendo dojo" she said indicating to the still unconscious Amazon.
By the time Tarou had recovered, the pair were already several blocks away so flapping his wings he made his way towards the Tendo dojo.
Amazon village of Joketsuzoku
Cologne hoped through what was left of her village her home.
Around her many Amazon warriors laid sprawled in various positions, some dead but most were badly injured. So far they had been fighting for hours on end, with each hour their numbers became less as their warriors became to exhausted to battle further.
Unlike their foe who seemed limitless in numbers and did not need rest.
"Report Cologne" Soap asked in a weary tone.
"Attacks on all fronts have ceased but I and many of the other elders believe that the person behind this is simply waiting" Cologne said in a grim tone
"for what do you think?"
"Even the most powerful mage would have had difficulty doing what is being accomplished here now" After-shave said in a similarly tired tone.
"What is our status?" Soap asked.
"We have less than half our numbers capable of battle, the rest are either dead or too badly injured"
"What of the children?" another elder Brush asked.
"Fortunately they were able to make it to the mountain refuge using the underground tunnels, unfortunately not long after there was a cave in and the tunnel was flooded with more of the un-dead"
"Than all is not lost" Soap said with a sigh.
"How long before the next attack?"
Soap asked turning to After-shave.
"I believe we have at least a few hours if we're lucky, our opponent is currently reviving herself no doubt the strain of singly controlling such a large army of un-dead is taking it's toll, however…"
"Very well see to the wounded and try to fortify our defenses" Soap interrupted not wanting to hear the rest of the elder's assessment, she knew they were losing but to openly admit it would not be good for moral, besides she was an Amazon warrior and they never surrendered. Turning around she returned to her hut to plan more strategy.
After the meeting ending Cologne found Happosai sitting behind a hut smoking his pipe.
"So what'd the old girl say?" the master of Anything goes asked looking up.
Cologne ignored the casual way Happosai spoke about Soap, instead just sat down in front of him.
"why did you come here Happi?"
"Why what ever do you mean Cologne, I just so happened to be passing by when I wanted to pay a visit on all the pretty women in this village" the ancient pervert said continuing to smoke his pipe.
"Would you believe it if I said that I wanted to help out, to do something good for once for all that I've done"
Cologne stared hard at the ancient man not really believing.
"I didn't think so…to tell you the truth Cologne you are probably one of the only people alive who knows me well"
"Either way I've spent practically all my life enjoying myself, always taking never really giving"
When Cologne said nothing Happosai continued.
"I'm not getting any younger, not that I'd want to either, you see my one life long quest is finally coming to an end"
"What you've found the largest stash of panties?" Cologne said in a light hearted tone.
Happosai laughed at this remark but continued,
"No not yet….my art my school the Anything goes will survive, in other words my legacy will survive and thrive".
The elder's eyes widened at this, for she had never known Happosai to have been so devoted to his art.
*After all this time*
"You refer to your chosen heir, Ranma"
"and Ranko, those two will easily surpass me in the art and through that the Anything goes legacy will become even stronger".
"But…." Cologne said predicting Happosai's words.
"But like a man once told me, in order for the new to succeed the old must leave"
With that said Happosai turned back towards the ground smoking his pipe.
Cologne silently left having found out what she had wanted to know, she now knew what the ancient man was thinking and saw him in a different light.
Wearily she made her way back to her hut to gather more medical supplies she knew that would be needed, according to After-shave they had a few more hours before what she predicted would be their final battle.
Tendo dojo Nerima, Japan
The return of the Pigtailed martial artists was a surprise mainly due to the familiar purple haired Chinese girl both were helping to carry.
Nabiki was the only one to notice the elegant style of dress both were in.
After laying Shampoo down on a sofa both rushed upstairs to change.
"Oh my what do you think is wrong with her father?" Kasumi asked being generally concerned.
"Well she looks exhausted but as far as I can tell there are no injuries" Soun said in a neutral tone, although he had no love for the girl in front of him, she was at the moment a guest in his home.
Moments later Ranma and Ranko returned downstairs I their usual attire of loose black pants and shirts.
"So Ranma mind telling us the story?" Nabiki questioned first.
"Well We're were just out eating when suddenly Shampoo appeared from nowhere and practically collapsed on us so we brought her back here".
Nabiki noted that they didn't mention too many details what they were doing for the past several hours they were 'out', *I'll have to talk with you later Saotome*
"Why did you bring her back here?" Akane asked a trace of anger presence in her voice.
"Well there was really nowhere else to go" Ranko added helpfully.
"Looks like she's coming round" Nabiki commented.
Shampoo slowly opened her eyes, as the room came into focus she noticed that she was lying down and that several people were all staring down at her.
"How's she doing Ranko?" Ranma asked as Ranko had been the one to cast the revive spell on the exhausted Amazon.
"Well she not going to die or anything but like I said she totally exhausted".
"…Ur…Ran….ma…..Ran..ko….villag..e in dan..ger ne…" Shampoo managed to mutter with what little strength she had, using the rest to pass the message written by her great grandmother to the pair.
"Looks like she passed out again" Akane stated.
"Yeah….hey Ranko what's on that piece of paper?" Ranma asked curiously, obviously it was something important enough for Shampoo to nearly kill herself for.
"….Here read it Ranma" the red head replied in a grim tone as she handed Ranma the message.
"It's in Chinese" Nabiki commented in a slightly disappointed tone as she looked at the message over Ranma's shoulder.
"What's it say?" Akane asked.
"Yes son what's it say?" Soun questioned in a curious tone.
Kasumi was busy helping to clean the purple haired girls face which was dirty with several black splotches.
"I…It says that the Amazon village was attack by a sorceress and that they request our help urgently"
Ranma briefly summarized.
"Yeah right….sorceress!" the second Tendo daughter said, *it's obviously some plan to get Ranma back to China*.
Akane had similar thoughts until she noticed the serious look on her fiancée's face.
"Ranma don't tell me you believe this!"
"I….not sure but…."
"Ranma it's obviously a trap to get you back to China" Nabiki said.
"RANMA YOUR NOT GOING" mister Tendo shouted once again performing the giant demon head attack.
"Oh my but father, Shampoo here is very exhausted" Kasumi commented.
"She's right Ranma, somehow I don't think even Cologne would use something this serious to get you, besides she says she's given up all claims" Ranko replied after a moment of thought.
"Saying something is not the same as doing something" Nabiki interrupted.
All heads but Kasumi's and Ranko's turned towards Ranma.
"You can't be serious!" Akane said first.
"Look it too serious a matter to ignore, besides it's the duty of a marital artist to help those in need!"
Soun had returned to his normal self and sat thoughtfully for once contemplating what Ranma had just said.
Nabiki groaned but decided not to argue as she saw the determined look in Ranma's eyes.
"Fine but it'll take at least a day to book a flight to China"
"I'm afraid that could be too long" Ranko commented.
"Well how else are you going to get there?" Nabiki questioned curiously.
"It doesn't matter either way we're leaving right now" Ranma said.
"Who's we, I'm coming with you!" Akane said.
"Huh….no way Akane" Ranma replied.
"What! Why not I can take care of myself I am a martial artist too you know!"
"Akane I don't know how to say this but if you go you'll slow us down" Ranko said in as nice a tone as possible.
"Why you…" she started to say becoming angry.
"It's true Akane…besides it's too dangerous, you could get hurt" He said in a concerned voice
"Akane perhaps it would be for the best if you stayed" mister Tendo said in a stern voice.
"But…fine than" Akane finally said knowing it pointless to argue.
"Hey don't worry Akane we'll come back in one piece!" Ranma said with his ever present cocky smile.
"So you're going too than Ranko why's that?" Nabiki asked.
"Mainly because I doubt Ranma could make it there quick enough" the red head stated.
"Huh why's that?" the second Tendo daughter pressed.
"We'll explain when we get back but right now we've gotta get going if things are as serious as Cologne stated". Ranma said already heading for the back yard.
Before anyone could question their directions the pair shot up straight into the sky.
"……magic….." Nabiki for once was practically speechless at the moment very much wishing she had had her camera on her in case her eyes had been playing tricks.
Soun had fainted mumbling something about the Heaven's stealing his heir.
Kasumi's 'oh my' could be heard.
Akane was the only one not making a sound as she stared at the spot where her fiancée was only moments before.
"You could have waited until we were safe from them seeing us!" Ranko commented as she flew easily besides Ranma.
"They would have found out sooner or later anyway the message did seem urgent" Ranma said with a sigh.
"You know you still haven't completely gotten the hang of flying" Ranko said as she sensed the excess of energy Ranma was wasting.
Ranma ignored her comment but increased his concentration, Ranko sensed the waste go ki decrease.
"Here.." she said holding out her hand.
"Look you want to get there soon right, well at your current speed it'll take us hours to get there so I'm gonna pull us along"
"but…" Ranma began to protest.
"no buts, the more time we waste more people are dying".
Ranma sighed heavily in resignation, than slowly grasped Ranko's hand.
His eyes widened in shock as they seemed to shoot of at three times the speed he was travelling at.
Neither had noticed the minator like form attempting to follow them from a distance.
( to be continued )
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