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Ranma's second chance

Chapter 5

Battle against Cologne.

Ranma awoke early the next morning, going to the dojo he began working on his forms.

*Well now the ghoul's here what do I do next*

After practicing his forms he sat in the center of the dojo, trying to relax as he was now stuck about what to do, to get Ranko out of that mess with the Amazons. He sat for half an hour before he finally figured out what else the Amazons placed above their laws.

*That's it why didn't I see that before, honor!*

He quickly formulated a plan, he would have to approach the old ghoul personally and it would probably come down to a fight. Although he was probably stronger than her in terms of raw power and strength. The old ghoul had been around for a few centuries so had a lot of experience, *the only way I can beat her is to make her think I'm less of a threat than I actually am*

So busy thinking about what to do, he only noticed someone else was on the dojo when that person tapped him on the shoulder.

Acting on training grounded into his subconscious, he grabbed the offending hand and pulled the person to ground.

Akane had just finished her morning jog so went to the dojo as per her usual routine, as she got there she noticed that Ranma was sitting cross legged in the middle of the dojo, eyes closed with a relaxed look on his face. She did not know why but she sat there and watched him,

*He looks so peaceful*

Deciding that perhaps Ranma had fallen asleep as he had not moved for the last twenty minutes, she decided to approach him and gently wake him up by tapping him on the shoulder.

After just tapping his shoulder once, she felt his hand dash out and grab hers, before she could even think of what to do she was pulled to the ground.

Akane was about to yell out pervert and smash Ranma over the head with her hammer, when she noticed that his eyes were still closed.

*Hmm this doesn't feel like Ranko her aura different* he decided to open his eyes

He saw a surprised Akane lying in front of him, her hand in his iron grip.

Quickly regaining his senses, he released her hand and jumped back.

"AKANE I'm so sorry I thought you were someone else"

Akane was about to start yelling at Ranma but could not actually think of anything to blame him.

"Why...um....." she thought for the right things to say but could not, as she looked at Ranma's apologizing face which she thought was cute *wait what am I thinking*

Ranma expecting to be attacked or at least insulted was surprised when nothing happened, he looked up to see a giggling Akane.

"What's s..so funny?"

"heha You, you'd think I was going to kill you or something"

"Haha umm.." *damn I keep forgetting that this Akane has no reason to hate me yet*

"Anyway I saw you sitting in the dojo doing nothing, you didn't move for twenty minutes so I thought you'd fallen asleep"

"ah well I was just thinking about how to solve Ranko's problem with those Amazons"

"Really have you figured a way?" Akane asked now more interested, as she and Ranko had become good friends as in this house Ranko was the only other female martial artists around.

"Umm not yet" he lied, knowing that if he told her his plans she would want to help out and it wouldn't do to have Akane involved with the Amazons as well.

"Oh" Akane replied he her hopes fallen.

Ranma wanted to change the subject as he felt uncomfortable when he lied to anyone, even though he had to.

"Umm.. Akane would you like to spar?"

Akane taken back by the change of subject could only answer with a nod. Ever since Ranma and Ranko's arrival here, she had only sparred with Ranma once all the other times she sparred with Ranko, although they were always close matches Ranko always won. Ranma had somehow always avoided sparring with her.

Ranma decided that he did not want to get on Akane's bad side so took a defensive stance, to make Akane believe he would go harder on her.

*he's not fooling around like the first time* Akane thought noting his stance. Thinking it better to be on the offensive than the defensive she attacked first via an aerial attack.

Ranma side stepped her opening attack but did not counter attack, he waited for her next assault, he didn't have to wait long.

Akane did not really expect her opening attack to succeed had hoped Ranma would have back flipped out of the way. This would have given him less space as she backed him into the wall.

But he had side stepped so she had to compensate by attacking quickly. The battle continued for fifteen minutes with Ranma occasionally attacking but mainly dodging and blocking. He noticed that Akane's attacks were now merely strength rather than speed or skill,

*she's getting desperate, better end this now*

Akane was frustrated, at first she had been pleased that Ranma had decided to take her more seriously but soon regretted when she was unable to land a single blow, while he did.

*Why can't I hit him?, damn it he's too fast*

The match came to an end when Ranma ducked a punch and tripped Akane off her feet, she landed with a thud and just lay on the ground catching her breath.

She noted that Ranma was barely breathing hard, which irritated her as she was nearly completely exhausted.

"That was good match Akane" Ranma said while kneeling over her offering her a hand up.

Akane reluctantly took his hand, "Thanks but you don't have to lie.."

Ranma seeing the defeated look on Akane's face, remembered that before he had come along Akane was considered the best fighter in Nerima. Now though she was not.

"Awwh c'mom Akane if you went on a ten year training trip I bet you'd be at least as good as me probably better" thinking *even though I've had some special training *remembering how Cologne taught him the chestnut fist and rising dragon ascension wave.

"Maybe..."

"how bout this Akane, I'll start to teach you"

Akane was annoyed by how Ranma thought himself so much better than her that he could actually teach her, but than again *he's probably the only person that can help me to improve* thinking about how her father although was good in the art rarely ever practiced anymore.

"..all right" Akane said swallowing her pride.

She stared into Ranma's eyes and he into her, for minutes they remained like that.

*Man she's cute, when she's not angry* Ranma thought

*Why do I feel so strange when I'm around Ranma he's just like any other boy isn't....he?* Akane kept thinking to herself.

At that moment Kasumi called for everyone to come to breakfast.

The pair broke apart from each other,

"boy am I hungry" Ranma said jumping up and heading for the dining room.

Akane followed soon after.

 

After breakfast Akane went out with some of her friends, Nabiki had disappeared on a business venture, Kasumi was in the kitchen and mister Tendo had gone to visit an old friend.

Ranma and Ranko were in the dojo just sitting and talking.

"So Ranko you feel up to our match today?" trying to get Ranko's mind off anything to do with Amazons.

"Ranma how would you feel if you had some crazy bimbo after you all the time trying to kill you"

"....." Ranma knew what is was like from previous experience in his past life but kept silent.

He could understand how Ranko felt, awakening 1500 years after dying with few memories only to be hunted down and killed because of some stupid law.

"Look Ranko I know you want to use your magic, heck if ya did you'd probably beat her easily but the thing with Amazons is their all about honor you kill one using magic and you'll get the whole village after you" He knew that between the two of them they could probably wipe out all the Amazons but the idea of killing was one neither person wanted to do.

"Well maybe I should kill them all" she shouted back

Ranma surprised at the anger Ranko was portraying was taken back.

"I mean who would miss a village in the middle of China" she continued, her body was shaking, Ranma placed his hands of her shoulders reassuring her, slowly he bent nearer to her face.

"shh.. Ranko relax I'll solve the Amazon problem" Reassuring her.

Ranko became silent but stared into Ranma's confident eyes believed in him.

"H....How??"

"All you need to do is forget about this problem leave it to me"

"Are you sure Ranma...??"

"I promise by the end of today that you'll have no more problems ok?" he said flashing her his most confident smile to reassure her, he knew that there was a chance he would die or have an entire army of Amazons out to kill him, but seeing the look of hope in her face was all he needed to erase all doubt about confronting the ancient Amazon.

"but..?"

He quickly pressed a few pressure points on her chest before she could react, as she fell to the ground

unconscious he heard he whisper "Whyy???"

After returning Ranko to her room he left the dojo in search of the one place he suspected Cologne to be.

As Ranma approached the Nekohaten, he noticed that the boards and signs were all new, indicating the place had been opened recently.

*They sure didn't waste any time* although he was curious, as in a martial arts fight between Shampoo

and Ranko, currently Shampoo would probably in the end only if Ranma did not help.

*Cologne could easily delay me so Shampoo could kill Ranko so why set up a restaurant*

he thought carefully having learned from past experience that Cologne would not do something that in the

end would not benefit her goals. Sure she had trained him in Amazon techniques but only so he would go

back with her to her village.

He would think about this later, *better get Ranko out of the picture first, even if it means I get into the picture*

He entered the restaurant which was practically empty for that time of day.

Sitting himself in a booth, he was quickly approached by the familiar purpled haired Chinese girl, looking around he could not see moose anywhere in either form.

"Welcome to Nekohaten what you like?" she asked with a friendly smile obviously still having difficulty

speaking Japanese.

Ranma noted that Shampoo had all but healed from their last encounter, which he thought was even stranger, *If she's fine than what's she doing here* remembering back when Shampoo would always be chasing him whenever she could.

He decided to speak in Chinese as it would likely get the old ghoul's attention more easily

"(I would like to speak with your great grand mother)"

Shampoo automatically became suspicious, shifting into a defensive stance although had yet to pull out her weapons.

"(What do you want with great grand mother?)" she replied in Chinese as well.

Ranma felt before he saw Cologne appear from behind Shampoo,

"Shampoo why don't you go to the kitchen and prepare for the lunch time rush, I'll take care of this" Turning to Ranma she continued,

"Shall we speak in Japanese, I believe it will be easier on you"

"Thanks" he said trying to give Cologne the wrong idea about him, *I've gotta be able to fool her or this plans busted*

"So young man what do you want to see me about"

"Do you remember who I am?" getting no immediate response Ranma continued

"I was travelling with a redheaded girl and a panda through China, where upon we passed through your village"

"I remember but I doubt your here to talk about the battle" the Amazon replied in a neutral tone.

"honored elder I ask that the law requiring the death of that redheaded girl be denounced"

Cologne narrowed her eyes at this statement,

"Who are you to demand that I break our sacred laws, you a mere male!"

"My name is Ranma Saotome, I am a good friend of Ranko, the girl who had the kiss of death placed on

her so I ask again that the law be denounced on this one occasion"

"What would I get in return?" the old woman asked.

"I could return certain items stolen from your village by a Happosai" playing his trump card straight away.

Cologne was taken back by this, she had never expected to hear of Happosai again,

*Good she's thinking about it, I may not have to fight*

"A tempting offer, but I can get them back myself" Cologne replied after a few silent moments.

*Damn her she cleverer than I thought*

"Will you not do it as I have come deliberately to ask this of you, you would after all prefer to be back in

China now, then going to kill some girl"

"Hah it is a matter of honor Ranma, what else can you offer"

She was playing with him now trying to see what else he had to offer

*oh well there's no avoiding this then*

Putting on his best neutral face, standing up suddenly he asked

"Honored elder you leave me no choice, I challenge you to a duel of honor but even if I die I wish that the demand for Ranko's blood be annulled"

Cologne was surprised by this but had to admit that this brash young boy had courage even when entering a battle to the death. He looked scared as if he knew he would not win.

Before Cologne could answer Shampoo who had been listening from the kitchen, burst through the doors,

"(You male I challenge for the honor of my Great Grandmother)"

Ranma turned to Cologne, his plan was on the verge of falling to pieces if he allowed himself to battle Shampoo and win.

"Honored elder I restate my challenge to the highest member of the Amazon tribe, to the said terms as

only you can agree to them"

He knew that if he challenged her directly she would probably be forced to fight, for she would be dishonored if she didn't.

Seeing the directness of the challenge, Cologne knew she had to accept or have her honor stained by some mere Japanese boy.

"Very well I accept but seeing as you have the courage to make such a demand, if I have not won by knockout or death within ten minutes than you win by forfeit" she said with a smirk.

"I thank you for such an offer but about Ranko..."

*Yes she's fallen for it now I just gotta last ten minutes*

"If you win the kiss of death placed upon your friend will be nullified" the elder smirked, not even believing the boy would last a minute.

"I thank you again honored elder"

*A very courageous male to fight a death battle for the female when it should be her, even though it is a shame he should have to die for her*

Cologne turned to Shampoo who was glaring dangerously at Ranma,

"Shampoo do not interfere in this battle no matter the outcome, it is a matter of honor also you may bear witness to the power of the ancient Amazons"

"(Yes Great Grandmother)" Shampoo answered before she lowered her weapons and stepped back

allowing the pair some room.

"Very well we begin now"

Cologne charged Ranma at lightning speed intent on disabling him via pressure points, what surprised her was that Ranma had already dodged, putting distance between himself and the older woman.

*Better to keep dodging for ten minutes than to fight* he thought

*the boy is better than I thought, time to see how good he really is* Cologne intensified her attack.

Ranma unable to dodge was forced on the defensive.

"Kachu tenshin amaguriken" shouted the old woman as she used the chestnut fist, punching hundreds of times in a second.

She was shocked to hear the boy cry out "Kachu tenshin amaguriken revised" as he blocked everyone one of her hits aimed at pressure points. He couldn't afford to have the ghoul so much as touch him, with her knowledge of shaitsu points.

*So the boy knows the chestnut fist, time to get more serious*

*Good only another five minutes to go* Ranma thought as he frantically dodged and block several attacks, already he was sweating from the exertion.

Cologne would have attempted the rising dragon ascension wave but sensed that the boy was not giving of enough heat to make the move affective,

*The boy is too calm even in the face of a battle to the death*

Ranma was being backed into a corner, having less and less room to dodge.

*Only another minute to go* He was sweating and breathing heavily. He desperately wanted to use some

of the spells Ranko had taught him but knew that if he did the ghoul would probably be able to sense it

and call an end to the match saying he had cheated in some way. As this was a martial arts match nothing

more.

Ranma knew that the ghoul could finish him in the last few seconds if she needed to, he quickly gather his

chi.

Cologne had sensed the build-up of chi in the boy thinking he was going to commit a suicidal move danced away from him deciding to take him out from a distance.

*Now or never*

"Advanced Moko Takabishas" Ranma shouted as he shot base ball size chi blast at Cologne.

Cologne had expected a single chi blast so was caught of guard when dozens of smaller ones came flying towards her. She frantically dodged out of the way, when the assault ended she was about to counterattack when she noticed the relaxed position of Ranma.

Ranma grateful that the match had ended relaxed breathing heavily.

Shampoo was about to leap and attack Ranma but was stopped with a glance from Cologne, reluctantly

she lowered her weapons and remained still.

Cologne warily approached him,

"Your better than I suspected, as agreed the kiss of death against Ranko is nullified" the elder said in a

neutral tone, but Ranma could sense the venom behind the words.

"If it means anything honored elder, I could not have won if I did not trick you and I did what I did for a friend not out of glory, as you are known for your fighting ability"

He quickly left but not before hearing her say.

"Interesting, we shall meet again Ranma Saotome"

As Ranma made his way back to the Tendo dojo he kept thinking,

*Damn that old ghoul's gonna be after me now, at least Ranko's safe and anyway I'm used to the old ghoul always trying to get me*

He was surprised that things had gone smoothly as nothing seemed to go right for him in his first life.

He returned to the dojo in the afternoon after making sure that no one had followed him, specifically the old ghoul.

He walked up to Ranko's room noticing that she was still asleep, he noted that he had been gone for just

over an hour, Ranko was beginning to stir as he was going.

Ranko did not know how Ranma was going to help either way he would be putting his life on the line messing with those Amazons. Before she could complain she felt Ranma touch some of her pressure points forcing her into unconsciousness.

She was glad that when she awoke she saw Ranma there about to leave her room the fact that he was alive meant something.

"R....Ranma??"

"Yeah Ranko it's me" he said as he returned to her bedside pulling up a chair.

"Are you all right?" noticing that Ranma's clothing seemed a bit ruffled up as if he had been in a fight.

"Before you start worrying Ranko you can relax all your problems with the Amazons are nullified, by the word of the elder of the village"

"But..tt how? does that mean their after you to?"

She began to shake him,

"Whyyy? why?? I could have handled them"

"RRR..anko calm done and listen to the rest of what I gotta say" pulling her hands of his shoulders to stop her throttling him.

She nodded but already he could see her eyes watering up.

"anyway they won't be after me officially as I challenged and beat the elder in a duel of honor"

"What do you mean by officially"

"Well for me to beat her I had to make her think I was worse than I really am"

She nodded for him to continue.

"Well after I defeated her, she must have been suspicious as I used some Amazon techniques!"

"Where did you learn them?" she asked curiously

"I tell you some other time ok?"

"Anyway they've set up a restaurant in the local area so we'll probably be seeing a lot more of them, but you don't have to worry about them coming to kill you" he continued

"But now their after you" she started to cry in his shoulder.

"Look Ranko don't worry I'm used to people wanting to kill me I just didn't think it was fair that someone wanting to kill you only after you've been alive for a few months"

"Well just promise me you won't leave me behind next time when you pull a stunt like that, I mean you gotta have someone to cover your back" she said as she stared him in the eyes with a pleading look.

"Sure Ranko I promise" Ranma said relieved that the girl had stopped crying, he could never stand to see a girl cry especially when he was the cause.

Ranma went to the door hearing, Ranko's stomach rumble,

"c'mom you must be hungry you haven't eaten all day"

"Yeah well if you hadn't knocked me out I wouldn't be baka"

She retorted playfully, her mood already changing for the better.

Ranma decided that he needed a change of clothes, so went to his room to change.

"Go on ahead Ranko, I meet you downstairs"

"Don't worry Ranma I save you a crumb of bread if your lucky" she said while laughing her mood better than it was this morning.

After putting on a fresh red shirt and black pants he was approached by Nabiki as he left his room.

"Ah Ranma just the person I wanted to see"

"Sure Nabiki what is it, if it's about this month's payment you'll get it on time"

Nabiki was taken back by this *even he thinks I'm some cold hearted money grabbing bitch*

She let her mask falter for a second.

Ranma saw the slip in Nabiki's mask, never had he known that mask to falter so he guessed he must have touched a nerve, *Damnit after all this time I still manage to stick my foot in my mouth*

".... Sorry Nabiki I didn't mean to offend you or anything"

*He noticed how?* she thought.

"I've just had a er....eventful day that's all"

"With Amazons Ranma?" She asked although through her contacts she already knew the answer, having

regained her composure.

"How did you know?" he asked suspiciously *damnit I didn't check Ranko's room for bugs*

"You don't need to know that, but Ranma I can help solve your problems with the Amazons"

"For a price" they said in unison.

"So how about it Saotome? you prepared to pay?" Nabiki had already gotten out her calculator preparing to calculate the cost of such a task although she had already worked it out.

Ranma thought about it for a while, *Nabiki's probably gonna get them deported, but the ghoul has help me on occasions and when Happosai turns up knowing his old tricks won't work on me, I might even need her help!*

"Thanks for the offer Nabiki but I prefer to take care of my own problems" Ranma replied with smile.

Nabiki was shocked at this, someone had refused her help something which she would rarely offer personally.

Ranma stepped close to her bending down to whisper into her ear so no one else would hear.

"I don't want anyone to risk themselves by going against the Amazons, not you, Ranko, Akane or anyone else" his tone was deadly serious.

Ranma turned and walked downstairs, leaving a shocked Nabiki behind. Who after careful thought decided to research some more into Amazon culture.

Back at the Nekohaten, the restaurant was closed inside the place looked the same as before the fight. Shampoo slowly approached Cologne who was seated in one of the booths with her eyes closed.

"What disturbs you child? your footsteps are too loud" to the common person no one would have been

able to tell Shampoo's emotions from her footsteps but to a 300 year old martial artist her feelings were

broadcasted.

"Great Grandmother, why you no kill outsider male?"

She questioned, never had she seen some one go up against Cologne and win especially someone no older

than herself.

"Shampoo do you believe that I am unbeatable?" the girl nodded.

"There are perhaps five people known to me that are either my equal or better in the mortal realm"

Shampoo remained silent waiting for her to continue.

"After today that number is six" after saying this Cologne got up and walked upstairs to her room.

Shampoo remained shocked at her Great Grandmother's statement.

"We must find a way for the boy to become part of the tribe" Cologne said before she turned and continued up the stairs leaving a confused Shampoo at the bottom of the stairs.

Shampoo had believed that the outsider male had only won because Cologne had allowed it, but after hearing her words she continued to contemplate how a boy no older than herself, could match up to

several hundred years of training. She felt herself thinking more and more about Ranma what it would be

like to be married to such a strong warrior.

(To be continued….)

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