Ah My Goddess Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction / Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ A Tale of Two Wallets ❯ Beach Blanket Bimbos ( Chapter 71 )
A Tale of Two Wallets
(An Altered Destiny)
Written by Jim Robert Bader
Proofread by Shiva Barnwell
Nabiki's Journal Continues:
Pregnant! I still can't get over the idea that Shampoo is pregnant. I mean, it's a logical result of all the fun activity we've been indulging in, and those bedroom acrobatics were bound to pay off with Ranma being male at least a part of the time, but still…pregnant? You have to admit it's pretty mind blowing!
I mean, we're still just kids and all that, and having a baby is…well…an awfully big responsibility to have to cope with. Okay, I'm almost eighteen, Ranma and Shampoo will be pushing seventeen in another few months, so legally we're covered, at least as far as Japanese law would define it. In some countries it might be rated as statutory rape, but let's not even begin to go into that question, shall we? It's enough just trying to figure out how we're going to support our own family-within-a-family, and did I mention already that I'm a little freaked out about Shampoo being pregnant?
Okay, so I'm rambling a bit, but can you blame me? I mean…c'mon! Having a kid is such a big responsibility. I was still trying to decide for myself how long I should put off having kids, and here's Shampoo jumping the gun and getting pregnant before we're even formally married! Of course she's technically married to Ranma already by the rules of her society, so she's pretty much covered by that angle, but not by Japanese law, which would not recognize the marriage as legal without the benefit of a formal ceremony and a qualified priest, and then you add to it the fact that I'm looking to marry Ranma and am already "technically" married to Shampoo, and yes it really does sound as confusing as it feels, doesn't it? Never mind the question of what I'll do if it turns out that I'm also pregnant too…after all, it's not like any of us has been using protection!
Oy! Just the idea of me being pregnant is enough to make me get chills down to my kneecaps!
I mean, not that I don't mean to someday get pregnant, just I'd rather wait on it a while until I get through a few years of college. Not that I'd object if I did wind up pregnant and all that…I just want my life to have a little stability before I get that settled down into marriage…
Oh geez, I just typed the M word again! Now I'm gonna have a major case of the jitters in another few weeks when the wedding is scheduled to happen!
Anyway, it's been a few days since all that business with Ambergris went down, and Doctor Tofu assures us it will be some time before we know for sure if Shampoo is pregnant or not, Amazon Lore Mastery notwithstanding. The good news is that Lotion is out of bed and back to being her old, irascible self (the older one, I mean, not the Younger), and I am definitely glad of that, as much as it means that I'm back to my training! Odd thing to worry about that, seeing as it was the weekend and everybody decided to celebrate together by taking a trip to the beach for a little recreation. The basic idea was that we'd all unwind and relax after all the stressful events of the past week.
Naturally nobody was paying attention to the script. That's the problem with this crowd, too much ad-libbing!
The problem, naturally enough, originated with the old man, but then I'm starting to believe that Happosai exists to cause we of the younger generation no end of grief with his mischief. Of course the fact that part of this revolved around Ukyo and Cologne could not honestly be anticipated, and for once Ranma, Shampoo and me were on the periphery of the action, but that's getting ahead of my telling this story…
It begins with our merry little band convening on the sands of Yokohama beach, and what a sight we made! It had been close to a year since my family was last able to afford such a beach outing so we bought new bathing suits since our old suits were a size too small for a few of us (I won't mention names, but a certain sister of mine has "bigger bones" than she'll admit to). Kodachi generously offered to pay the cost (though I suspect she likes dressing up my older sister, and even I have to admit that Kasumi in her new suit looked…stunning, if "suit" you can actually call the pieces of gauze linked together by dental floss that she talked my normally conservative sister into wearing-another euphemism of convenience, I assure you!).
I have to admit that I rather enjoyed trying suits out with Shampoo (who looks stunning in just about anything she's wearing), but Ranma was a problem, what with the fact that we were going to be spending most of the day right next to a very large body of water, which precluded him going in male form, and getting him to accept even a tank-top suit with "his" figure was no easy picnic, even with my skills as a negotiator. In the end he opted for a neutral, gender-free one-piece that would at least stretch with any changes in his anatomy, size and physique. Honestly the way his ego gets ruffled by little things like his appearance makes me wonder if his girl-form is as surface-deep as he's always maintaining.
I was faintly amused at the fuss Akane made when Kodachi and Kasumi combined their efforts to turn her into a human "dresser's doll," mainly owing to her peculiar curse as the ability to spontaneously sprout a pair of wings does impose a kind of fashion challenge that's rather unique, if not outright daunting. Rather than be intimidated, however, those two seemed to relish trying out new stuff at Akane's expense, and in the end they wound up buying my youngest sister an entire wardrobe, not just the one-piece suit that left Akane's backside exposed down to the base of her spine, which has got to be embarrassing for her as the Akane I've always known is terribly self-conscious about her body. Who knew what the power of lust could do to un-frigidaire my normally prudish sisters?
I refer, of course, to Kuonji, who elected to come to the beach with us in her guy form (same reasoning as why Ranma was female). Akane obviously wanted to show off in front of him and not just Ryoga, who acquired a pair of swimming trunks by means of his mother. I have to admit that Ukyo looked pretty hunky in the outfit she showed up with on that beach, and even knowing that he's really a girl can't make you overlook that handsome physique and stunning pectorals, which contrasted nicely with Ranma's own manly profile (a pity he wouldn't be able to show it on this occasion).
Ah, who am I kidding? I gaped just as hard as Shampoo when we first saw Ukyo-kun show up on that beach, turning the heads of every heterosexual (or-in our case-bisexual) girl in sight. His "bishonen" looks made me fully understand Akane's peculiar attraction, and about the only one who did not seem to appreciate his guy form was Ryoga himself, who glared murderously at Kuonji as if daring the cursed girl to give him an excuse to start something.
A real surprise was the discovery that some of our Amazon friends had not yet returned to China as intended. Seeing Ambergris show up on that beach was only slightly more surprising than the sight of the pink haired Amazon, accompanied by Perfume and Lotion (the Younger, I mean). I had thought that they were heading back home a few days earlier, but apparently their plane reservations had been cancelled due to a technicality, so they elected to stay a week and take in the sights that Japan has to offer.
I caught Shampoo giving her blue-haired ex a more than slightly dismayed lookover, and in spite of my irritation on that subject, I had to admit that the young apprentice Healer did look good in a two-piece, though it was obvious enough for me that the one she was truly interested in pleasing was Perfume, who was just as sexy looking in her own micro-thin outfit.
Naturally Makoto and her all-girl gang showed up to join us, though I think it was mainly the tall girl's friends egging her on as none of them seemed privy to the fact that Makoto's "Senpai" was really a cross-dresser. I had to wonder a bit about what that Makoto is thinking chasing after Ukyo while pretending not to. It drives Akane to distraction to have someone as good looking and well-endowed like that pursuing her "boyfriend."
Lest I forget the adults (much as I might try to) they also chose to come out in style, or whatever style most seemed to reflect the peculiarities of their individual natures. Comb and Silk wore revealing outfits that flattered their still-taut figures very nicely, while Nodoka elected to wear a plainer one-piece suit that was dignified and distinguished without being the least bit showy. Atsuko seemed to be competing against Comb in the sex department, and she was flirting outrageously with Genma, who of course was in panda mode (I don't even know why he bothered wearing swimming trunks in the first place). I was more amused by that than I was with Silk's flaunting herself around Daddy, who seemed all too aware of her ample charms, being a little too much like Momma for my liking.
I think the award for "I don't believe it" should go to Yumi, Ukyo's robust aunt, who came to the beach looking like a female body builder in a suit that was obviously too small for her muscular figure. She's no raving beauty like Kuonji Jr., but what she lacks in classic looks she more than makes up for in character, the kind that flattens you if you so much as crack a hint of a smile, smirk or snicker!
Of course a real surprise came in the form of our other sister, Kachu, who showed up with Tofu-sensei, but I'm getting ahead of myself on that score since it was the one who accompanied them who brought the most gasps and looks of total disbelief and incomprehension.
I mean go figure…who would have believed that the Matriarch of the Joketsuzoku would look so hot showing up in a bikini?
Maybe I can't entire shake the mental image of her as the Old Ghoul, but the sight of the Indigo haired Cologne in something that revealed the vigor and youth of her body was stunning enough to even give Shampoo a case of whiplash. Cologne was just outright gorgeous, and it was easy to see from what branch of the apple tree her granddaughter and great granddaughter had fallen.
Let's see…is that everyone? Did I leave anyone else out? Oh yeah! My "father-in-law," Hairbrush, and Shampoo's two precocious sisters, who were wearing matching suits that contrasted their odd hair colors in a really psychedelic effect that I found visually quite unnerving.
I think I caught sight of Ranma's cousin Tenchi and his entourage of psychotic beauties somewhere on that beach, but that's not a very significant issue in light of all the fun that started out when Happosai joined our merry list of players…
Happosai stood on the edge of the beach gazing down at the tantalizing sight of so many scantily clad bathing beauties traipsing about in total abandon of normal social conventions. The normally austere and reserved Japanese had a way of reverting to a more carefree and laid back juvenile status by the call of nature, which made this place almost a holy spot by his reckoning of such matters. Normally he would be chasing about the beach looking to grope and cuddle as many of the fairer set as he could manage, and recharging his batteries of perversion power in the process.
The problem was that he was currently captivated by one beauty in particular, the one who took his breath away and left him stupefied in awe, having almost forgotten what power she could have upon even his overly jaded nature.
Cologne did not look one day removed from when he first laid eyes upon her in her humble mountain village. The shy and modest young girl she had been then had been buried over the years into a twisted, embittered old hag with no resemblance to her actual nature. Now that he knew the truth, that it was but a mere illusion she had cast to disguise her unchanging radiance, he had to pause and reflect on what dark emotions must have motivated such a deception. Could she truly have lost so much of her innocence that she would want to hide herself in such a withered shell of unloving reflection?
In part he knew that he was at fault for helping to bring about such an unwelcome transformation. His failure to remain faithful to her weighed heavily on his ancient soul, as much as the wasted potential of what might have been had they been able to reconcile their differences and live together as man and wife were supposed to. Though the years had colored his memory and perception of the events that preceded their parting, in his heart he cherished one memory of having received a gift from her, a memory he wanted to rekindle in Cologne, for which he was prepared to approach her on bended knee and beg for her forgiveness.
Him, the Most Perverted of all Martial Arts Masters, the founder of the Anything Goes Ryu, a man to whom shame and guilt were unknown qualities, ready to humble himself for the sake of a woman who seemed openly to despise him. In every way she seemed worth a small sacrifice to his ego, if only he could convince her that he was sincere this time, that he really did intend to make a real commitment.
To that end he came bringing her a gift to serve as a reminder of what might have happened. In a sense he was returning a family heirloom, something she had given him at the time of their parting of ways, and so by showing it to her now he would prove that he had kept this treasure with him for the near three centuries of their separation.
What an irony to reflect on the events of a mere twenty years back, when Cologne had sent those two young cuties, Comb and Silk, in a hapless attempt to recover the lost treasures of the Amazons, which were in his possession. If they had only come to ask instead of attempt to force him to give the artifacts back he might have consented to be generous…if they had permitted him a quick feel and some of their undergarments, of course.
But now Happosai had one advantage that he had lacked in the old days…now he was a young and handsome youth…and TALLER than when he was actually a youth all thanks to the magic of Jusenkyo, a fact he intended to make full use of now that he had a goal in life beyond the collection of undergarments. He had the looks of a man to whom women would naturally fall sway, and all he had to do was turn on the charm and work the old Happosai magic…
"Watch out!" a voice cried in warning, just one second before something collided with the back of his head and knocked Happosai over from sheer surprise, not so much from the force of the blow as from the speed of its delivery, as if shot out of a cannon.
"Hey, are you all right?" a young voice inquired, "So sorry about that, sometimes Ryoko doesn't know her own strength!"
"Excuse me?" Happosai asked as he started to recover his bearings, seeing the beach ball bounce to the ground some distance away from where he lay sprawled with his face in the dirt. He was just beginning to get angry over the inexplicable weakness that he always suffered in his cursed form when he looked up to see a pair of legs only a few feet away from his nose, legs that he slowly followed up and up the long way to see the body they connected to, and from there to gaze up through the peaks and valleys of a very scenic landscape to the Cyan haired cutie looking down at him from a lofty distance.
"Hey there, you okay guy?" she asked, her sharply angular face curling a playfully predatory smile, golden eyes full of sensuous mischief.
"Yowza…" Happosai softly murmured, ignoring the young boy who bent down to offer him a hand as his baser instincts started to take over…
Shampoo's Diary Continues:
"Great Grandmother?" I asked, my mouth no doubt hanging open as I gaped at the vision that stood before me.
"What?" Great Grandmother replied as if oblivious to the stares that she was receiving from those of us who most intimately knew her, "Did you imagine that I never knew how to have fun when I was your age, dear child? I don't often get to indulge myself in this manner, and certainly not back home in China."
"Grandmother?" my mother said in equal parts astonishment and dismay, as if the very notion that the Elder to our House could be such a stunning attraction in a Western-styled swimming suit, which on her even I found to be a little daring.
(Not that Mother does not impress me with her own good looks, and being my elder by at least a generation, I can take pride in that fact, even as Father looked distinguished and handsome in his own unique way, but I suppose that I am overly prejudiced in his favor).
"Oh my," murmured Silk, no doubt mirroring my mother's thoughts on the matter, "If the Council could only see you now, Matriarch, I think there would be more than a few words of gossip spoken."
"Quite possibly, child," Great Grandmother replied as she turned to regard the sea with a peculiarly wistful expression, "But I suppose it no longer matters now since I cannot return home until I have re-learned the art of masking my thoughts from others. I have decided to rather take advantage of my condition to enjoy my youth, as I never had when I was a young girl in China. Whatever the future may hold, I must face it as befits an Elder."
Great Grandmother headed off towards the surf, her youthful body radiating energy and power as she began to trot, which turned into a full-out run until she reached the edge of the water, at which point I became aware that more than one set of eyes were tracking her every motion. She waded out into the surf until the waves lapped up around her hips, at which point she unhesitatingly dove in and briefly vanished from our sight, at which point some spell that had been cast over me was broken and I began to react to the sights and sounds in my immediate surroundings.
It was Atsuko who was the first to voice an opinion on the subject, though all she did was mouth the thought that was foremost in all of our minds, "What the heck was that all about? Is she losing it or something?"
"I would say that Elder Cologne is reflecting on the strange directions that her life appears to have taken," replied rose-girl Kodachi with an unusually thoughtful tone to her voice, "As would I were I in her position."
"Oh my," remarked nice-girl Kasumi, "I suppose that must be very awkward for the honored Elder. She can't be very used to receiving this sort of attention."
"A good point that," observed my father, "Grandmother has always taken a lot under her shoulders in the past, but now that she's faced with a future in which she doesn't control anything, it must be very frightening indeed."
"Great Grandmother no be Elder anymore?" asked my sister, Ling-Ling.
"Great Grandmother no sit on the Council?" echoed my other sister, Lung-Lung, in an eerie echo of the same voice, "Then what happen to family?"
"Other Elders no want Great Grandmother to lead Amazon people?" and the twins exchanged looks of nervous apprehension between them.
I confess that such thoughts expressed my own unvoiced concerns in this matter, for Great Grandmother's behavior of late has been a puzzle even to me, who knows her as well as any besides my mother. In truth I am still angry with her over her years of deception…after all, that whole situation with Ambergris had been the result of her meddling in our friendship. Holding back the knowledge of Lotion's survival was another sore point for which I had yet to forgive her, but something deep within me spoke of concerns much deeper than this for the Elder of my family. Something was bothering Great Grandmother, something she would not share with us, which always suggested to me that we should all be greatly worried.
Anything that is too much for a Matriarch of the Joketsuzoku to handle is certainly far worse than a humble Warrior such as I could imagine.
"Whoah," I heard the word escape the lips of my husband (or I suppose I should call her my first wife as she was presently female) as though from a delayed reaction on her part had just set in, and I turned to follow his gaze to see that she was taking notice of Great Grandmother, who was presently surfacing from the water, her body displaying such tone that even I was impressed. I had to restrain myself momentarily as I felt the unusual desire to hit her.
Instead I took comfort in thoughts that I was assured of Ranma's love, for which I briefly set hands to my as-yet smooth stomach and thought of the child growing within me, proof of his love and devotion, to saying nothing of his growing skills in the bedchamber! I then took notice of my lovely wife, who was sharing with me a certain regard of our mutual sex-changed husband, and I felt a warm feeling come over me as arousal and desire made the air feel considerably warmer than it had until that moment. I had to remind myself of the stupid Japanese prejudice about displaying too much affection in public and thought instead of ways by which I might contrive to lure both of my beloveds to some secluded location where I could express myself without reservations.
The poor things have been under so much stress lately, it would only be the duty of a wife to take their minds off of any impending problems.
I was briefly amused to notice that Kachu and her husband were lathering each other down with tanning lotion, much as I understood was the custom to prevent premature burning from so much sun-exposure. The thought gave me inspiration, and it seems that I was not the only one to have this notion be suggested, for I heard Kodachi ask Kasumi to lather her up, which my older sister-in-law seemed only too happy to oblige, much to my wife's evident annoyance.
I was less amused as I noticed my mother scowling at Ryoga's mother as the Oni-woman attempted to interest Ranma's father in applying lotion to her back, but I was infinitely more amused when Ranma's mother offered to do it for her, which caused Atsuko to express such a look of dismay and alarm that it dawned on me that she was frightened of my mother-in-law for some odd reason.
Such did not seem to be the case with my other father-in-law, who displayed little hesitation in accepting Silk's offer for a lathering. I did catch Kuonji's Aunt Yumi frowning at the two of them, but I did not consider at the time that it was any of my business.
Then Akane asked the boy-type Ukyo if he would be kind enough to apply lotion to her back, and his expression was one I will cherish for years, especially when the tall girl named Makoto asked to be lotioned after Akane. Even Ranma's father did not seem half so sandbagged between two such promising and interested parties!
How Lotion talked Perfume into appearing near-naked on this beach is something to be wondered in view of how sun-sensitive she has always been, far too prone to burning and no where near this daring. Lotion assured that she would heal my cousin if she did develop sun-rash, an offer that-coming from her lips-sounded laced with the promise of something more than just a rubdown.
I hid the smile that I was feeling in my heart as I turned to Ranma and asked if she would accommodate me in such a manner. I watched her eyes go very round, as though I had just asked her to do something very shocking, but then an impulse that I thought generous on my part prompted me to suggest that Ranma begin with Nabiki, and this time I could not hold back a chuckle as I saw a nearly identical look of surprise cross her lovely features.
On reflection I must concede that it is very sneaky of these Japanese to devise a means by which they can circumvent their normal inhibitions. No one can be accused of doing other than insure an even distribution of sun-lotion while allowing your hands to explore areas of skin normally considered taboo to such affectionate treatment. Such social restrictions did not appear to bind either Kasumi or Kodachi as they took turns applying sun cream to each of their bodies, and I could tell from the expression on Kachu's face how much she was enjoying the way her husband took advantage of her submission to such treatment. I yearned to allow my own considerable knowledge of Shiatsu-point massage to flow through my hands into the flesh of my two most dearly beloveds, but before we could get down to such delightful play we had a series of untimely interruptions, beginning with the unexpected arrival of our home room teacher, Miss Hinako…
Nabiki's Journal Continues.
Oh yeah…I forgot to mention somebody else who showed up on that beach with no prior warnings…the ever-pesky Hinako Ninamiya, who seems to have set her eyes upon Ranma and Cologne as her "special projects."
"What are you doing here?" I asked as the deceptively young-looking girl came walking up to us in a swimsuit that seemed rather large for her petite frame.
"That, Tendo-san, is the question that I should be asking of you," she replied in tones that would have sounded a lot more stern coming from a proper adult who did not have the stains of chocolate ice cream on her childish features, "There is an assignment due in your economics studies…"
"I know," I replied, "And it's already finished."
She hardly blinked an eye at that as she turned to Ranma and said, "And what about you, Saotome? Is this how you study for the quiz in your social studies assignment?"
"Ah, lay off, Teach," Ranma groaned in evident disgust, "It's a day off from school already! I'll do my studies with Nabiki before class starts up again, I promise!"
"Not good enough by half," she frowned, "Might I remind you that you still have a lot of make-up tests and assignments that you need to bring your overall grade point average closer to the accepted school standards? I've made a lot of concessions for you on account that you spent a year away from classes in advanced martial arts training, but just because we belong to the same Ryu is no reason to expect me to continue to favor you with such special treatment!"
I was a little surprised to hear her admit that she and Ranma had that much in common, owing to the fact that her form of the Anything Goes School largely consists of being an energy-leaching vampire.
Before any of us could speak words to that effect, however, we were interrupted by the sound of a loud cry ringing out from over our heads, and we all looked up in time to see a young and handsome Happosai sailing in an arc that inevitably brought him to a one-point landing at the feet of Cologne, who was just then coming ashore from her brief swim in the waters, which of course is what set a bizarre chain of weird events in full motion…
Happosai pried his face out of the wet sand in what had to be the second biggest blow that his ego had taken in as many minutes. Once again his line of sight encountered a pair of shapely legs only a foot or so from his flaring nostrils, which automatically caused him to track up the scenic view that took his line of sight through some interesting territory.
What surprised him, however, was that his search ended abruptly as he encountered Cologne's much-surprised expression.
"Happy?" she asked before disgust tainted her vision, her green eyes turning hard as she growled in distaste, "Who was it you were annoying this time?"
"Eheh…" the blonde youth tried to sound more nonchalant than he was feeling, having the odd sense of a little boy being scolded by his mother. In an attempt to regain whatever dignity he had left, he sat up and held out the bracelet, "I believe this is yours…I thought maybe I ought to return it."
Cologne's reaction was something other than he had expected as she nearly took a step backwards and regarded the thing as if it were poisoned.
"Where did you get that thing?" she hissed, then answered her own question, "No wait…that was one of the artifacts that you stole from me, wasn't it? I know that bracelet…such a thing does not belong in your possession!"
She made a grab for it, but Happosai was a fraction swifter in snatching it back. His suspicious nature had been aroused, so he momentarily forgot his intent of using it as a peace offering and instead replied, "Just a moment, Old Woman…what exactly is it about this trinket that you seem to think is so important?"
"That is not your concern!" Cologne hissed, making a second grab for the artifact, but Happosai leaped to his feet and darted his way, managing to maintain a distance between them.
"I thought so!" he cried in realization, "It's magic, isn't it? It's one of your special treasures, and you weren't going to tell me about it either! That's just like you, Old Woman, never wanting to share your special treasures with poor ol' Happy."
The "old woman" in question screwed up her lovely features in a snarl of contempt and prepared to launch herself at him, heedless of the risk that he might try to fondle her in the ensuing melee, a small price to her dignity if it meant parting from him the object of their current contention.
But then a blue haired woman materialized in the space between them, snarling furiously as she grabbed Happosai by the neck and began to shake him.
"I'm not done with you yet, you pervert!" she cried as she began shaking him like a leaf, "Bad enough with that Ataru creep trying to grope at every girl on this beach, but if you think I'm actually letting you get away with it…!"
That was when one of the three pearls on the bracelet detached itself and shot forward to imbed itself in the opened mouth of Ryoko, who stood stunned for a brief moment choking on the thing in her mouth. Then a peculiar change came over her expression as she had a second look at the handsome youth whom she was choking, and before anyone could say a word otherwise, she turned her actions into a hug as she brought his mouth up to hers and proceeded to kiss him.
It was Happosai's turn to look surprised, not that he was fighting all that hard since the blue haired woman was no longer resisting his efforts to grope her.
"Ryoko?" cried a young man, whom Cologne recognized as her nephew, Tenchi, who came running up the beach as if afraid that he would be too late to prevent a murder. He halted with such suddenness that the purple haired woman following on his heals collided with his backside.
"Oof!" cried Cologne's Aunt Ayeka, "Lord Tenchi, would you mind giving me more warning the next time that you do-THAT?" she shared the youth's sudden disbelieving expression.
Cologne sighed, having already figured out what had just happened, and casually walked up behind the Space-Pirate and notorious "demoness" and laid the flat of her hand at a precise point along her backside. Ryoko broke her kiss and coughed out the pearl that she had almost swallowed, which promptly lodged itself into the open mouth of Ayeka.
"Oops," Cologne realized her own elder and briefly wondered which of the three pearls it was that had found her errant kinswoman.
Tenchi was still standing stupefied at the sight of Ryoko kissing a young man (and a handsome stranger no less!) and did not react when Ayeka walked around him and pushed Happosai rudely to the side, heading straight for the confused-looking space pirate.
"Wh-what just…Ayeka?" Ryoko started to exclaim, only to react in a most comical manner when the Princess of the Jurai threw her arms around her and gave the space pirate a kiss of incredible ardor.
Cologne merely sighed and wondered if she could pry the pearl out of her aunt before it caused any more trouble. Then she realized that Happosai had used the momentary confusion to make a hasty exit, and in that moment she felt a rare moment of indecision. Filial responsibility warred with dread over what might happen if Happosai realized the bracelet's full potential, but the issue was resolved for her as Ayeka suddenly pushed Ryoko away and stared at the former Space Pirate as if dreading that she might have acquired some horrible disease by her brief display of affection.
That at least clarified which of the Pearls had been used, now all Cologne had to do was step in and make hasty explanations before World War Three broke out on that beach, (With herself at Ground Zero) and she fervently hoped that this could be resolved in sufficient time to allow her to give chase to her wayward fellow elder.
Overall, Cologne reflected, it was looking to be one of THOSE kinds of mornings…
Nabiki's Journal Resumes:
"What gives with the freak?" asked Ranma as the rest of us looked on in confusion at the weird events playing out on the beach between what looked like her cousin Tenchi and at least two of his girlfriends.
"You got me, Ranma-kun," I replied, "But whatever it is, it looks like it's got the old woman pretty rattled."
"Old woman?" Hinako-sensei inquired, reminding us that at least one member of our immediate party was not privy to all the intimate details.
"Aiyaa," Shampoo chimed in, "You think even evil pervert master try something upset Great Grandmother?"
"That would hardly be beyond his nature," a fourth voice intruded on our conversation, "But then again, no one ever accused my grand uncle of being a sensible person."
"Lotion?" I whirled around, finding the old woman (not her great granddaughter) was standing only a short distance away from me, and without meaning to I think I actually sounded as glad to see her as I actually felt for once. I hastily got myself under control and tried to lamely amend my outburst (though I couldn't help myself for smiling), "You're back…I mean…are you feeling better?"
"Well enough, child," she gave me a slight smile with a twinkling in her eyes that betrayed her own amusement, "A bit of rest was all these old bones of mine truly needed to refresh myself, and I can see that you've been taking it far too easy during my brief absence."
I tried to look suitably contrite, but I couldn't stop smiling. It was good to see her up and about, and I'd been worried more than I even care to admit in private since watching her get struck down by Atsuko's evil mother, Cybelle.
"So what are you doing here, Granny?" Ranma asked, indicating that the old woman was the only one not appropriately dressed for the weather, and I admit that I started to worry myself about that, hoping that she wasn't too hot and uncomfortable wearing a robe in this weather.
"Is that any way for you to be addressing a teacher, Saotome?" Hinako-sensei demanded sternly, but Lotion waved the point aside with an affable expression.
"It's quite all right, and coming from her it sounds more like an endearment," she turned to address Ranma directly and continued, "I've come to claim my student for a time, young War Master," she included Shampoo with her casual nod, "That is if it is all right with the both of you. I promise not to be too long in monopolizing her interests."
"If you say is important training, Elder," Shampoo replied with endearing reluctance, leaning over to give me a hug and a peck on the cheek that left me blushing in spite of my fervent desire not to, "You train hard, Airen, then Shampoo have turn mono-polizing attention."
My imagination absolutely refused to supply the details of what that girl had in mind, mainly because doing so would have blown my Ice Queen rep out of the water forever!
To cover for my shifting emotional state, I got to my feet and said, "What do you want me to do, Grandma?"
"This way," the old woman indicated with her staff and began walking forward, prompting me to follow, all too conscious of Ranma and Shampoo watching me leave, and wishing that they could follow.
Of course by leaving I wound up missing most of the action, which I count as a mixed blessing since I hear things heated up pretty fast around Happosai…
Happosai checked to make certain that no pursuit was on his heals before slowing down to a trot and glancing at the bracelet in his hand, wondering what was so special about the thing that it could drive Cologne to such distraction. The fact that she wasn't following him was actually quite curious in itself, as though something had momentarily distracted her, such as the very odd behavior of the blue haired cutie who one moment was trying to kill him, the next had latched on a lip-lock that could make any pervert's head spin!
It did not escape his notice that one pearl was missing from its setting, which opened up a new field of speculation that his fertile imagination was quick to supply with the details. A pearl that could transform hate into affection? Sounded very much like Amazon magic at work here, the kind they often used to ensnare innocent young men into their crafty clutches, such as when all else failed in procuring a man for a husband.
A love bracelet! He felt like dancing for joy at the bounty the fates had left for him, and to think he had such a thing in his possession for years but never even suspected! Even more chastening to think that he had been ready to make a present of it to Cologne when with the power inherent in these pearls he could have the pick of the best women of either Japan or China! Why waste it on an old crone in a young body…?
And then something almost clever for him came to mind, the perfect revenge to be had for all those lonely years pining away for his lost almost-love, the childhood sweetheart who had obviously become embittered during their years (or centuries) of separation.
If one Pearl could turn a woman's thoughts from violence to lust, then what more perfect use to employ one than to make the Old Woman repent all those years of rejecting him? The more he thought on it the more the notion appealed to his perverted nature. Cologne on her knees begging his forgiveness, supplicating herself to his tender mercies and allowing him to finally lay hands on the temptations offered by her comely body? To reduce her to a virtual sex slave and make her wallow at his feet until he inevitably forgave her and granted the boon of his returned affections. YES! It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up! He smiled just at the thought of finally humbling the proud Matriarch of all the Amazon cuties who had denied him their affections. The more he thought on it, the more convinced he was that this plan was the perfect way of getting even.
Small wonder he had noted a trace of worry, perhaps even fear in Cologne's expression. She doubtless knew the potential of the bracelet to make her come around to seeing things more from his perspective!
Cackling a merry chuckle to himself, he turned around and darted back towards the beach, intent on finding Cologne and putting his theory to the test before she had time enough to organize an effective counterstrike, possibly even recruit more allies.
One way or another he was going to have his way with her at last, and the idea of that alone got him so incredibly excited that he actually ignored the bounteous charms of the other cuties around him, intent on his chosen target with all the dedication that was in his predatory nature…
"Hey," Minako called out to her friends, drawing their attention to the blond-haired youth passing near to where they were gathered playing Volleyball with some Furinkan High students, "Does that guy look familiar to you guys? I could swear we saw him just the other day…"
"You're right," agreed Ami in surprise, "He was there in the building where we fought that Cybernetic Youma."
"You mean the creep who stole our panties?" Rei snarled, still remembering the horrifying embarrassment of discovering WHY it had felt drafty on that particular occasion.
"Yeah, how'd he do that?" Usagi wondered, "I thought they were a part of our costumes when we change into our Senshi forms."
"Are you going to argue about that again?" said a black moon-cat at her feet with a faint trace of exasperation.
"Heck no," Minako replied, "But whatever that guy's doing out here, he can't be up to any good, which means we gotta follow him, right gang?"
"Right!" the other three chorused, but then Ami voice a secondary concern, "What about Makoto? Should we ask her to join us?"
"Naw," Rei replied, "She's with her Senpai, and I for one would hate to interrupt them while they're having fun."
"I can't say I blame her there," Usagi beamed brightly, "He's such a dreamy hunk, I wouldn't hind hanging around with him myself…"
"I thought you had Mamoru?" Rei eyed her with more than slight irritation, "It's the rest of us who don't have boyfriends."
"Oh yeah," Usagi amended lamely, I kinda forgot..."
There was a chorus of sighs from the other three senshi, and had this been an anime series you would have also witnessed a massive sweatdrop. Being "real life," however, they merely resolved to follow after the pervert-thief and "discuss" with him the hazards inherent in stealing somebody's undergarments, preferably through "vigorous" forms of persuasion uniquely at their disposal…
Shampoo's Diary Continues:
I saw Great Grandmother approaching us with my husband's kinsman and his companions, and without needing to ask I could tell that something had my kinswoman deeply worried. Great Grandmother is not always so transparent in revealing her thoughts with her expression, but on this occasion she seemed both disturbed and distracted, which is why I did not need to hear the words she spoke to know their significance as Great Grandmother informed us, "We have a problem…"
"Trouble Great Grandmother?" Perfume asked, sitting alert without concern that she had been laying facedown on her blanket with her halter top unfastened. Such a thing would not normally warrant my attention, of course, but for the way I saw and heard the Japanese half of our family group react to the sight of her full bosoms, including the round-eyed look that she received from my darling husband. (Or wife, if that does not sound too confusing)
"Yes," my Elder nodded, taking in the both of us in a casual glance before turning her attention towards an area of the beach itself as she continued, "Happosai has one of the treasures of the Amazons, and-worse still-I fear he may have discovered how to use it."
"So what's the problem?" Ranma asked, "How powerful is this thing supposed to be anyway?"
"Simply put it is a Bracelet of Love," Great Grandmother replied, "One that normally contains three pearls, each of which grow once every generation when the bracelet regenerates the spells that are use to form them…"
"THAT THING AGAIN?" I heard Mother bolt upright with a shocked expression on her features, "I thought that miserable item had been lost during our last visit!"
"No such luck it would seem," Silk remarked, "Apparently the old man retrieved it from the storm drain where we had thought it lost. A pity we forgot that the pearls would eventually be restored to it so that it could bedevil yet another generation."
All of our eyes turned to regard my mother and favored Aunt with various degrees of mutual astonishment, at which point I asked the question, "You have encounter a thing like this before, Mother?"
"Ah…" I was puzzled at why my mother suddenly grew very pinkish hued…I did not think that she had been exposing herself to that much sunlight (inadequate protection against burns notwithstanding).
"It's a long story," Silk rather hastily amended, "Suffice to say, for the sake of you young people, that it is best to avoid contact with the three pearls for they have the power to cause one to instantly fall in love with the first person with whom you make eye contact following ingestion."
"I thought that only worked if the person you view were of the opposite gender," my father-in-law, Soun, offered, thus demonstrating a prior knowledge of the bracelet that I found most…unnerving.
"Ah…right," it was Ryoga's mother who voiced that, and I was further surprised to note that she was avoiding eye-contact with my mother, who was similarly preoccupied studying the recent cloud formations.
"Perhaps it would be more accurate to suggest that the pearls will intensify feelings towards anyone for whom you might potentially share an interest," Silk amended, "It can't actually make you change your preferences, but it will most definitely remove what inhibitions stand between you and the object of your affections."
"Oh my," my mother-in-law, Nodoka, remarked, "That could be very awkward if you look into the eyes of the wrong person, wouldn't it?"
"You could say that," my mother replied in a voice that sounded remarkably like one reluctant to expand upon that topic.
I noticed that another pair were doing their level best to pretend that the other did not exist, the blue-haired demon-girl and the purple haired lady who called herself a Juraian Princess (and I keep racking my brains to remember where I have heard that term employed before, perhaps in regards to Great Grandmother). My husband's kinsman, however, exchanged pleasant greetings with Ranma before sparing a look of concern for his two Airen. I wondered if there might be a connection to the bracelet, only to have my suspicions confirmed moments later by Great Grandmother.
"Each Pearl has a different duration of effect," Silk was explaining for our benefit, "One Pearl only makes you fall in love with someone else for a brief moment…the effects wear off almost instantly, or within a few seconds. The second pearl will cause one to fall in love for an entire day, and let me stress that the level of attraction here is not to be underestimated. The party affected will literally rip your clothes off if you allow yourself to become their object of affection."
"And the third pill?" Ukyo asked, "How long does that last?"
"A lifetime," Great Grandmother replied, "And let me assure you that the first pill has already been accounted for, meaning that it is the day and lifetime pill that must concern you."
"So why should we be worried if Great Grandfather has it…" Akane started to ask, only to realize the enormous stupidity of her own question, "Oh!"
"That's right," Ukyo's Aunt replied, "A thing like that in the hands of the old pervert is a terrifying concept. He could force any one of us to become his helpless love slave. Why, he might even try something evil like that on me, can you imagine?"
Fortunately for our peace of mind, very few of us have that sort of imagination. I have met women who were far less physically attractive than Kuonji Yumi-Cabinet comes readily to mind-but with her rough and tumble nature she seems even more Amazon than most Amazons, and I wonder just what sort of a wife she might have made for my father-in-law had she prevailed against the competition.
"Gotcha," Ranma nodded, "So you want our help separating this bracelet-thingie from the old freak?"
"No, Son-in-law," Great Grandmother replied, "I want you most of all, and Shampoo as well, to stay as far away from him as possible. Do you think he would spare you knowing that one of these pearls may turn you into the obedient student he has always wanted?"
"Huh?" my husband gasped, "But I'm a guy! I-Oh…" she glanced down at herself as if suddenly remembering how often the Demon Master liked to grope her.
"Wait a minute," Hinako glanced at all of us, "A magic bracelet that makes people fall in love? Are you serious?"
"As serious as the plague itself," Great Grandmother continued to look around then ask, "Where is Nabiki?"
"She's with the old woman," Ryoga replied before I could, "I mean…the other old woman…ah …honored Elder…"
"Ah," Great Grandmother nodded in comprehension, "If she is with Lotion then she is probably in no danger. It is the rest of us who must be on our guard. We must divide ourselves into teams and begin searching the beach until we find him…"
"Divide and Conquer, Elder?" I heard Ambergris remark, announcing her arrival with typical nonchalance, "Not the best strategy for dealing with one as dangerous as this Happosai."
Before continuing, I must say that Amber has more than a bit of the showman in her the way she somehow managed to effect making herself a real presence whenever she puts in an appearance. The swimsuit that she was wearing was as impractical as my own, consisting of a few red bits of cloth tied together with string and barely covering the areas that Japanese seem to consider most taboo in public situations. I thought she looked very handsome and distinguished in a way that made me briefly wonder why I had never considered her a potential lover, like my Lotion. Her arrival, however, seemed to spark the opposite reaction in Great Grandmother."
"I do not recall inviting your counsel, Warrior," my Elder remarked in clear disapproval, "Especially in matters of a strategic nature."
"With due respect, Elder," Ambergris replied, "Master Happosai is among the most dangerous opponents that you have ever faced, even granted that he is weakened in his cursed form, and your past association with him may have a direct influence in your assessment of his potential threat value. Dividing our forces would not necessarily insure success unless each group had a proper balance of elements where the strengths of one are bolstered by another…"
"I am well aware of this," Great Grandmother replied testily, "And if I were you, I would wait until you are in my position before you think to start offering counsel. Besides which, as you say, I do know Happy and of what he is capable…"
"Happy?" Hinako-Sensei blinked her eyes, "Uncle Happy?"
"…And I don't recall asking your advice either," Great Grandmother concluded with unusual sternness in her voice.
"Matriarch," Amber said without hint of taking the reprimand to heart, "I meant no disrespect in making my suggestion, only this humble warrior's observation from a tactical standpoint…"
"I can see that you have lots of such…suggestions," Great Grandmother replied gruffly, but turned away as if to avoid making eye contact, "However, only a fool would ignore good…advice when it is offered. A balanced mix of talents and abilities is the wisest course of action, and parties of no less than three to watch each others' backsides, preferably larger, with no more than six to a group to avoid getting in the way of one another."
"That is what I would suggest," Amber bowed, "And I am pleased that my ideas meet with your approval, Elder."
Sometimes I truly do not understand people like these two, such as the word game being played between them. That Great Grandmother seems to resent my once-best friend far more than seems reasonable, and the way Ambergris baits her with such politely honeyed words…it is like no combat skill that I have ever trained for, and one for which I have little stomach, though perhaps my Nabiki would understand this form far better than ever I could manage.
At any event it was plain enough that Amber's recommendation would be followed, and as was always the case for as long as I have known her, her counsel was wise to follow, even tough under these particular circumstances we were all about to be tried in ways that none, let alone I, could imagine.
Of course where it comes to the old man, the unexpected is almost a given…
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