Sailor Moon Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction / Mahou Sensei Negima! Fan Fiction ❯ In the Shadow of the Moon ❯ Chapter 17 Hard Lessons ( Chapter 17 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
A note on the timeframe for Negima going by the birth dates listed for the girls and their approximate ages mentioned several times in the manga. When Negi started before the end of term with class 2-A, Asuna was mentioned to be 14 and that was before turning 15 at the start of the term where the class became 3-A. her birthday is given in the manga as April 21, 1988. There is a similar setup with Konoka going from age 13 to 14 with a birth date of March 18, 1989

Therefore the year would be 2003 that the negima manga is currently working through the summer of. This would lead to the spring of 2004 being the end of class 3-A in middle school and moving on to high school, in Japan the school year begins in April.

As for Kitty being an actual part of Evangeline's name. I think it makes for a better story that someone who tries so hard to maintain her image as a cold, heartless monster to have an adorable moniker as part of her actual name. I agree logically that it makes more sense for it to be Katherine, Katrina, or something similar, but a story does not always have to be logical

I remember seeing a calendar somewhere in the Negima manga listing the year. If anyone knows what chapter to look in, send me a personal message. If I am remembering incorrectly, I will make sure to correct it if I ever go back and revise the chapters. Right now I am having too much fun creating new stuff. :)

disclaimer - I don't own Ranma 1/2, Sailor moon, Ruroni Kenshin, or Negima. this work is purely for entertainment and not for profit

Chapter 17 - Hard Lessons

Ranma and company spent the rest of the morning in training. Nodoka and Kasumi were even participating in the Kempo instruction for an hour before Noriko claimed them for kendo training. Akane and Nabiki had been making progress. Ranma noted that Akane might be getting the idea that speed and control are just as important as strength. Akane's look of shock was priceless when Nabiki succeeded in tagging her multiple times during a open hand touch spar that morning.

Kenji watched in awe while Happosai and Ranma began their own practice. Nabiki and Akane's attempts to get him to join them in meditation practice were completely for naught.

An hour before noon Noriko set her charges to continuing their practice exercises and took Kenji with her into the house to clean up and get started on lunch. When the other came in to get cleaned up shortly after noon Kenji was helping Noriko to set the table for everyone. The girls took pity on Happosai and wore swimsuits while relaxing in the onsen.

Lunch was completed without issue. The girls did have to check themselves fawning over the adorable little boy several times though. After lunch everyone was assigned tasks cleaning up the grounds and buildings including the eager Kenji, who Kasumi volunteered to look after while cleaning the dust from the shrine. Nodoka and Noriko were left in the kitchen to clean the house. Ranma and Happosai were put to work throughly cleaning the onsen. Nabiki and Akane even agreed to put on miko outfits while sweeping the steps and grounds.

After finishing the dishes Noriko checks on the boys progress and comes back to Nodoka chuckling. "Martial Arts Hot Spring Cleaning, I swear Happi comes up with all these weird names purely as an excuse to play around with any task he is given."

Nodoka sighs, "It could be worse Obaa-san. At least I don't think we can blame Happosai for Martial Arts Tea Ceremony." Noriko grins and shrugs.

Noriko looks at Nodoka sweeping the hardwood floors in preparation for mopping. "I know a lot has been going on in the last week No-chan, but have you considered contacting Kari-chan? I am certain she wants to get to know her older sister and nephew."

Nodoka pauses in her task. "I would like to meet my little sister, but I know nothing about who she has become. I left her alone in our father's care when she was barely two years old. I think mother dying soon after Kari's birth was what drove father...." Nodoka wipes her eyes with a handkerchief unable to continue.

Noriko embraces her granddaughter. "I rescued Kari-chan from him before he could try to use her for anything. I know she does not blame you for Kenji's actions or problems. I have Kari's cell phone number if you want to call her tonight. I talked with her last week, and she is excited to finally get the chance to see you after her finals are done next week."

"She is coming here?!!" Nodoka stammers.

Noriko smiles at her flustered grandchild. "Well she has been attending at a boarding school but she does come home during breaks. I have officially closed the doors on that monstrosity Kenji built. Where would you expect her to be staying? I am sure she will have wonderful stories to tell the other teenagers about what life at Mahora Academy is like."

Nodoka shakes her head and sighs. "I will call her tonight. How much does she know about the situation here?"

"She knows about most of the situation including Ranma and Ranko. She is quite a level headed young woman. I believe the environment at Mahora has been quite good for her. I should have guessed something was up when Kenji refused to let you attend there." Noriko says with a wink.

Meanwhile Ranma and Happosai's cleaning of the onsen has basically degraded into seeing who can keep their balance the longest on a board with brushes tied to the bottom sliding across the well soaped floor of the onsen. Only their ability to fly has saved the both of them from some fairly nasty falls. The results are producing plenty of laughs from the both of them which the two women can only roll their eyes at and smile.

Several of the crashes are loud enough that Nabiki and Akane can hear them from by the front path. Akane is barely able to contain her laughter at all the ruckus. Nabiki just shakes her head and sighs, "At least I don't have to worry about financing the damage repairs anymore."

Akane finally looses control of her laughter and Nabiki soon joins her.

Kasumi and Kenji are busy dusting and polishing in the shrine. Kenji just smiles at all the nice people enjoying themselves. Kasumi is fairly dancing around the shrine, her thoughts preoccupied with her plans for the evening.

Akane and Nabiki are the first to finish their task and go to assist Kasumi in the shrine. They are successful in containing their mirth seeing their daydreaming sister but only just. With their added help the shrine is clean and ready to receive visitors shortly before four in the afternoon, and they usher Kasumi back into the house to get ready for when Tofu-sesei is set to arrive at a quarter till six.

Ranma and Happosai had completed cleaning the onsen and Noriko judged it ready to refill. The boys went back out to the area between the house and dojo to get some more practice in before dinner. Kasumi is the first to make use of it. Akane and Nabiki join her in cleaning up. Kenji sits quietly in the kitchen and plays gopher for his mom and aunty while they fix dinner for the family.

Having sent a car to pick Tofu-sensei up, Noriko only smiles when he promptly arrives at five forty five that evening. Tofu approaches the house through the garden path. Kasumi smiles and waves to him from the veranda.

Noriko enters the common room from the kitchen as Tofu steps up to Kasumi on the veranda. Tofu offers Kasumi some flowers. As she reaches for the flowers he takes her hand and gives his best attempt at complimenting her outfit. Finishing with kissing her hand and putting the flowers in her hand and clasping her hand with both of his. Kasumi blushes prettily under his gaze.

"Oka-san who is that man?" Kenji asks while peeking out from behind Noriko's legs. The others watching from the common room chuckle.

Noriko reaches down to ruffle his hair. "Tofu-sensei is a very good friend of Kasumi's and a good friend of our family Kenji-kun." Said with a wink to the blushing couple.

Tofu finally realizes there were other people present and coughs to hide his embarrassment. "This is a very nice home you have here Noriko-san."

Noriko grins, "It has served me well several times in the past Tofu-sensei. It generally serves as a place for traveling martial artists to stay for a time or festivals. Everyone here is working on getting back into training for martial arts." Gently pulling Kenji in front of her. "This little kitsune is my son Kenji." The boy happily waves to Tofu. "I am sure everyone would enjoy your presence if you would like to join us for practice in the mornings Tofu-sensei." She finishes with a conspiratorial wink.

With a cough followed by a smile at Kasumi Tofu replies. "I will definitely consider it Noriko-san, but Kasumi and I must be going if we are to get to the restaurant on time."

Everyone in the house wishes them well as they begin to leave. Reaching the path to the shrine Tofu glances to the roof. Ranma and Happosai are sitting on the roof. Ranma is giving him a thumbs up and mouthing "way to go". Happosai is holding a sign with "10.0 for the greeting boy!". Kasumi notices this and both she and Tofu blush.

Entering the car Tofu finally asks Kasumi. "Who was that young man with Ranma?"

Kasumi chuckles, "You mean to say you don't recognize grandfather Happosai?"

Kasumi laughs and kisses him while he recovers from shock.

Ranma and Happosai join the others at dinner and Ranma is convinced to eat with a bit more grace by glares from both his mother and Happosai. "You must try to set a good example as one of the few males in the household." His mother admonishes.

The meal goes without incident. Kenji, who had succeeded in staying awake for the entire day, curls up and falls asleep on the floor next to the low table after finishing his food. Noriko gently carries him to the extra bed she had put in her room. The four remaining youngsters are sent off to study while Nodoka and Happosai take care of the clean up.

"You might want to ask Tofu-sensei for advice on how to treat ladies Happi." Nodoka suggests playfully.

"I think I will wait to hear Kasumi regale her sisters and you two ladies with how the date goes, but I will definitely consider it No-chan." He returns with a grin.

They finish the cleanup and Nodoka thanks him for his help. He bows elaborately and playfully imitates Kuno's poetic speech in accepting her thanks. Noriko chuckles, having returning to the common room just in time to watch.

"Happi can you ask Ranma to take a break from his studies for a few minutes and both of you meet me in the dojo?" Happosai bows and goes to retrieve the boy.

The two men find Noriko in the dojo with quite a few rolled mat targets setup around her. Smiling at the two young men, "I have a ... technique that the both of you can use that I would like to demonstrate." That said she blurs into motion. Hardly seeming to have disturbed anything she returns to her original position.

A breeze blows through the open door of the dojo and all of the targets collapse some having been cleanly cut three or four times. Ranma and Happosai stare in shock. "H-h-how did you do that? I did not sense you form any Ki blades and your not carrying a sword." Happosai gets out, while Ranma still stares.

Smiling Noriko holds up her arms displaying her metallic scaled arm guards. To both men's surprise the scales shift and unwind around her arms. The scales reveal themselves to be multi-jointed curved "wings" no thicker than a sword blade, slightly more than sixty centimeters long and 5 centimeters wide. These are tools I created by channeling the metal element into my skin with a few modifications. The wings flex and change size gaining width at the cost of length.

Noriko grins, "By channeling my chi into these I can make them change size and sharpness. They can be completely dull and used to extend your reach or they can be exceptionally sharp and cut through steel like butter. Happi I believe you and Ranma can find quite a few interesting uses for these. The scales are also incredibly durable and can be used defensively as well. I developed the blade idea after seeing Kenshin use his sakabato"

Happosai and Ranma both smile. Noriko spends several hours teaching them both the technique to generate the scales and manifest their "wings". Noriko also explained the technique could be used to toughen all of their skin without changing their appearance but must be maintained daily as the skin is being renewed.

Ranma leaves first to go back to studying. Noriko smiles at Happosai. "You are going to cover yourself with flexible scales anywhere you can't put armored plates aren't you Happi?" Happosai just smiles.

Noriko becomes more serious. "I have a task for you in the morning Happi. Ku Lon has arranged for the Sailor Senshi to visit us here tommorow but can not afford to leave her responsibilities. I wish for you to meet them at the station for the Tokaido Shinkansen in the morning. Ku Lon will be waiting to introduce you to them at ten tommorow morning. I expect you on your best behavior."

Happosai nods "I promise I will keep my hands to myself and keep my eyes on appropriate places as much as possible. Will you forgive me if I try to charm the young ladies?"

Noriko grins, "As long as they are willing and you don't take advantage of them."

Happosai bows and they make their way back to the house.

---------------------------

Morning finds Happosai happily flying across the countryside towards Tokyo. No one notices his passing except for a light breeze.

Happosai chuckles and comments to himself. "The fool Genma thought he did so well with his thief's cloak technique. He hid himself from sight and detection by Ki but he did not think to hide himself from detection by heat or scent. It was wonderful watching Noriko find him because he did not wash the scent of wet panda from his gi. Thanks to Noriko's help my cloaking technique can move past all those and magical senses besides."

Arriving at Shinagawa Station station in Tokyo he calmly drops his cloak and grabs a late breakfast of beef ramen from a yatai. He smiles as he watches Mu Se walk by without recognizing him. Ku Lon almost does the same but catches herself and carefully studies Happosai's aura.

"Happi is that you? Noriko-san told me you had changed but this is amazing." Ku Lon says with a wide eyed stare.

"I finally am free of my ancestral curse Ku Lon-chan." Happosai says while bowing.

Mu Se coughs politely and they turn to the station to buy the needed tickets. Happosai notices the young man's normal looking glasses. "Congratulations on the success of your surgery boy. Are you enjoying life better now?"

Mu Se replies, "Being able to see what is in front of me is a welcome change master Happosai. Off hand though I would say you have changed a great deal more. Are you enjoying life now?"

Happosai shrugs, "I have always enjoyed life. Now hopefully I can without bearing the weight of an obsession. There is much to learn from that boy."

They discuss the plans that Ku Lon has for her teams while waiting for the Senshi to arrive. The group of girls arrive just before the scheduled time and easily recognize the elder. Ku Lon and Usagi handle the introductions for their groups.

Ami studies Mu Se like she should recognize him but can't. Ku Lon only has to nudge him a few times to get him to approach her. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Miss Mizuno." Taking Ami's hand Mu Se kisses it. Before he could say anything else the elder breaks down laughing and both teenagers blush.

Leading Ami willing over to another yatai he buys them both sushi and begin having a private conversation. Happosai controls himself better and has a discussion with the other girls about their trip.

"The ride by train is about three and a half hours. Noriko-san has arranged to have dinner for everyone at her home. There is extra room for all of you to stay the night there or you can catch a late train back here."

Usagi looks to the others who had all brought changes of clothes. "I think we will stay the night Happosai-sensei. There is much I would like to discuss with Noriko-san aside from what I need her direct help with."

Happosai nods,"That will give the other girls a chance to make use of the onsen there then. Since there are eight of you I hope you will not mind sleeping four to a room."

The girls' cheer at the mention of an onsen is hardly dampened by the likely sleeping arrangements. With thoughts of an onsen to enjoy and no monster attacks, the other Senshi quickly get food to eat on the train and spend little time separating Ami and Mu Se. The two did succeed in exchanging cell numbers before being pulled apart. Happosai gives the shocked boy a clap on the shoulder and an encouraging smile before trying to gather his charges.

Once on the train Minako and Makoto were quietly making plans and trying to flirt with the young man. Rei was curious but being sensitive to spirit entities was unsure of approaching a half demon. One person was calculating how to get Happosai alone for other reasons. Usagi and Hotaru were busy playfully teasing Ami about how good looking her new boyfriend was.

Happosai after making sure everyone was safely seated on the train for the ride to Maibara went to a private booth where there was a public phone. Haruka followed with Michiru after being unable to leave her behind. When they entered the area with phones Happosai simply bowed to them both.

"Miss Tenou I wish to apologize to both you and your family. Sakura was a wonderful girl and deserved better than that louse Genma." Happosai simply states.

Haruka recovers quickly. "So you are the master Happosai that he went traipsing off with. That creature was on of your students."

"I claimed him as a student once. I realized later what kind of man he was and tried to drive him away. He and one of his friends I like only a little more tried to kill me and sealed me in a cave for ten years." Happosai returns calmly.

"Can you tell me where to find the woman he claimed to marry and their child?" Haruka cautiously asks.

Happosai's eyes gain a less friendly look. "For what purpose might I ask?"

Michiru notices the change in demeanor and tries to warn Haruka, but she charges ahead. "My Aunt killed herself because of them. I want them to pay."

Happosai's eyes narrow menacingly. "What do you know of them child?"

"I know that if they weren't there my aunt would not have killed herself." Haruka returns seeing his change in expression.

"The boy has suffered much more than you can imagine at that man's hands and you are no threat to him girl. Your aunt was pained by Genma's actions alone. Let me tell you of Nodoka child. She was a girl younger than you are now on the run from a uncaring father that was getting ready to sell her to a man more than twice her age. Genma promised to protect her and seduced her. You would still seek to cause her more pain?"

Haruka is unable to find a response. Happosai begins to walk from the room but stops and places a hand on the girls shoulder. "There is a difference between being a defender of justice and a vigilante child. The distinction is the motivation upon which you act as much as your actions. Think carefully about which you wish to be." With that Happosai returns to the others. Michiru tries to comfort her now sobbing lover.

-----------------

Evangeline interrupts the sparring between the three ninja bouncing around her resort. "Alright mutt I know you have finals like the rest of us next week but it is time to discuss training for your fight with Ranma in two more weeks."

Kaede and Konatsu seem prepared to leave but Eva signals at them to wait. "Kaede the training I have in mind you and Konatsu would be better suited to help with. The first thing I have found about this boy is he is very fast and likes to attack from the air. There are two skills I suspect Noriko has given him that will play to this. The first is the ability of true flight not dependent on wings or other magic. Kotaro you can counter this with your inugami wheels but you need to increase your speed and maneuverability with them."

Seeing the other nod in understanding Eva continues. "The reason for this plays into the second ability Noriko is likely to give him. She can crack bridge pilings with a punch and there is a good chance Ranma's strength will be increased as well. Your best option is to dodge or deflect everything rather than directly guarding like I know you like to do to prove your tough."

Kotaro coughs at this last statement. Kaede grins like she normally does and Konatsu carefully looks away.

Eva continues after making sure the last part has sunk in properly. "Noriko has one last ability that she is fond of that I am sure she will give Ranma. She can faze through solid objects including people and weapons. This does not allow her to move through other spirits and sealing wards. So what I suggest you practice is using your inugami like with your howling burst knuckle and channeling around all parts of your body. I have videos of previous fights and techniques he uses that you can study later. The main thing I have found is that almost all of his more powerful techniques depend on taunting or otherwise making his opponents angry and using that against them." Konatsu nods at this.

Pointing at Konatsu she states. "We have a slight advantage having a witness to several of his battles with us, but Ranma seems to have a talent for making things up on the fly. Ranma only came into his new powers less than a week ago and I doubt Noriko will give him the advantage of an actual fight using his new abilities before your match. So keep your cool in the fight and you improve your odds greatly."

Kaede and Konatsu begin sparring with Kotaro again and he begins trying to put the suggestions into practice. Eva leaves them to their efforts.

--------------------------

Several large sedans await the Senshi when they arrive in Fukui. After getting the girls settled in the cars Happosai takes the seat next to the driver of the first vehicle. The drive takes them by the Asuwa River but it is still to early for the Sakura trees to be in bloom.

Haruka had managed to regain her composure before they changed trains in Maibara. Michiru was still worried for her but thought she would recover.

------------------------

Ranma and the others at the shrine could not help but smile at Kasumi nearly dancing around the house that morning. Her date with Tofu had gone wonderfully and he had asked to join them for training starting Monday. The two also planned another date for the next weekend.

Ranma had relaxed most of the morning after training, and read the manga collection he purchased during the shopping trip earlier in the week. Noriko finally informed everyone at lunch that a group of eight girls would be joining them and staying overnight. Ranma almost panicked thinking this was some massive omiai his mother and Noriko had planned for him. This took a few minutes to settle out and Ranma said he believed them. Ranko still made her appearance and refused to change back until the next day when the girls were gone.

Kenji only thought it was neat that his cousin could be a boy and a girl. Commenting on it only in passing while asking his Oka-san to read him a story. Which she happily agreed to do on the veranda.

Kenji fell asleep in her lap and was gently taken to Noriko's room by Kasumi when Noriko's guests arrived shortly before three in the afternoon. After exchanging introductions she quickly and correctly deduced what the girls, besides Usagi, were looking around for.

"The changing room for the onsen is down that hallway. But please try to keep the noise down as my son Kenji just went down for a nap." Noriko states while pointing to the hallway at the end of the common room.

The girls quickly make bows to their hostess and make their way to the changing room. Usagi has the grace to be slightly embarrassed at their haste. Noriko says with a grin at Happosai who was trying to sneak off. "Happi why don't you and Usagi come with me to the shrine and we can begin working on her issue." Happosai does his best to look innocent in front of the princess.

Arriving in the shrine Noriko creates a barrier to protect the Ginzuisho from detection and Usagi removes it from the pouch she had been given. Happosai sits off to the side with a grin saying 'I know you want me away from temptation of those cute young girls'.

"You are sure that we can disguise the Ginzuisho? Without destroying it or affecting its powers?" Usagi asks

"The bearer of the Ginzuisho can turn its emanations back on itself. This wont impair its functions but will prevent it from touching others that are not already linked to it." Noriko replies.

"Will I still be able to become Sailor Moon?" The neo queen asks.

"When the bearer is actively using it demons know to be afraid of it and will not approach. The concern is for its effects when not in use." Noriko states.

"I don't understand what is the difference?" Usagi wonders with a puzzled frown.

Noriko smiles at the girl. "When it lacks direction it appears as just a neutral source of power and that is what tempts demons. When it is active it responds to its bearer's desire to protect and heal. To demons you and your protectors then appear to be what are called celestials. True celestials are the opposite of demons and their blood enemy. Some demon hunters call upon the powers of celestials to fight and seal demons but don't believe for a moment that makes them inherently good."

Seeing Usagi's confused look Noriko explains. "Celestials are spirits that try to shape the world to meet their own image. A celestial will not hesitate to kill you if you don't fit their design. The conflicting but overlapping desires of celestials and their followers are to thank for the fanatical wars between otherwise caring and good people we see today. The danger with dealing with angels and fiends is neither try to seek a balance. So back to the point, as long as you and the senshi are using your powers demons will try to flee or fight you. What we need is for you to learn to contain the power when not actively using it."

"Wait why do we appear as celestials? Why did those affected by the dark crystal become youma and demons?" Usagi interjects.

Noriko smiles sadly. "Power is always about intent. The Ginzuisho is a neutral entity that serves the moon kingdoms queen and her subjects. Its strongest power is drawn out by a desire to protect, preserve, and shape the world. That is the intent of the celestials even if the means and result is as destructive as what demons create. Demons are drawn by desire. The desire to create and grow is just as powerful to some demons as destruction and lust is to others. You just won't have to fight the demons that do not act on destructive intent. The dark crystal was an embodiment of the pure desire for destruction and death. There are demons that desire peace for the world and lend their powers to people to fight other demons. Generally the worst you could expect from their followers is to throw wild parties and indulge themselves in pleasures the world has to offer."

"What about you?" Usagi asks

Noriko shrugs, "Well I know you found the vault and heard part of my history. The rest is that my other half was a dedicated servant of a celestial that sought to bring about her vision regardless of the cost to others. Between the two, I think I have a much more balanced perspective on life now."

"So how do we go about shielding the Ginzuisho?" Usagi pointedly asks.

Noriko grins, "The process sounds deceptively simple but must be checked regularly and redone after every time you de-transform. You simply visualize a perfect sphere around the crystal reflecting its energies back into it. I will work with you for a while on this before dinner and we can work on it more afterwards but you should have a chance to join your friends in enjoying the onsen before you leave tommorow. I think you have the imagination and will to accomplish it though."

-------------------

The seven Senshi spent quite a while enjoying the onsen. By the time Kenji finished his nap the girls had finished in the hot spring and were doing their level best to make friends with the other four young residents.

Makoto volunteered to help Kasumi and Nodoka finish getting dinner ready. Nabiki and Ami were debating the benefits of different computers and software. Minako got into a debate with Akane and Ranko over the merits of various manga series. Michiru and Haruka were sitting together watching Hotaru play video games. They could not help but grin when Kenji came out and asked to join in.

Haruka did not recognize Ranko and was unsure of how to deal with meeting Himura Nodoka after speaking with Happosai earlier. Eventually all of those not working on dinner were drawn to the television by the happy noise the two youngest in the area were making.

Everyone was soon called to dinner. four tables were lined up to seat all sixteen people The meal passed relatively calmly except for the apparent race between Ranko and Usagi to see who could eat the most, much to everyone else's amusement.

After dinner Usagi and Noriko return to the shrine. Having been left out this time Happosai does his best to impress Minako and Makoto with tales of his travels of the world. Ami happened to overhear Ranko mention elder Ku Lon and starts a conversation with her and Akane to find out more about the Amazons. She blushes heavily when Akane correctly hits on her interest in Mu Se.

Kasumi politely talks with Michiru while Hotaru and Kenji return to playing video games. Nodoka uses this opportunity to pull Haruka off to the side. "Tenou-san are you related to Tenou Sakura by any chance?"

"She was my aunt." Haruka responds cautiously.

"I want to say I am sorry for what she and your family went through because of Genma. I only learned of her existence myself this last week when my grandmother gave me a listing of all his crimes to read." Nodoka says quietly.

"I honestly want to be angry a both you and your son, but I am not sure I have any right be anymore." Haruka says with sincerity. "Where is your son anyway? Ranko is obviously related to you, but I don't remember any reports of a daughter."

Nodoka sighs, "Ranma went through a lot when I foolishly let Genma take him away from me. One thing he went through was getting a curse that turns him into a girl. Noriko recently made it so he could control the change. Ranko is what we call his female form. Ranko is determined to stay as she is while you and your friends are here. Genma had a habit of engaging him to girls to get the smallest of things he wanted, and that has made Ranma shy away from involvement with girls."

Haruka blink-blinks at this revelation. "I think I can understand that. I won't tell this to the others since you are trusting me."

Nodoka nods and they rejoin the others. Somehow they get involved the the Soul Caliber tournament that everyone else has started since Kenji fell back asleep and was put to bed.

Usagi and Noriko rejoin the others. Usagi gives her friends a victory sign to say she was successful at what they came here to do. The tournament ends with a three game face off between Ami and Nabiki. Nabiki crows at winning out in the end.

The sleeping arrangements turn into a slumber party on the end of the upstairs hallway where the Tendo girls rooms are. Happosai having the room next to Ranma at the other end of the hall. Not that Ranma slept there that night as Ranko got dragged into the slumber party too.

Happosai and Ranko gained eight more students to look after during the next morning's training session. Happosai and Ranko evaluated the Senshi's skills and identified their problem areas. Ranko finally had to admit that Ku Lon was as good a teacher as Happosai. She actually said nearly as good since Happosai was in ear shot. Ranko advised that they talk to Ku Lon about training in combat skills once they get back to Tokyo.

The girls finally give Ranko a chance to showoff her new skills and Noriko raises a barrier to keep them from being detected when flying through the air. The Senshi are decidedly stunned by watching Ranko and Happosai dash, dive, and clash through the air over the shrine grounds.

The Senshi return to the station with Happosai as an escort after a big lunch.

notes:

playing gopher - on the odd chance you have not heard this before it means someone who gets to retrieve things. ie "go for" this, "go for" that

Shinagawa Station - Station in Minato ward for the Tokaido Shikansen

Maibara - a stop on the Tokaido Shikansen that you can change to the Shirasagi line to get to Fukui.

Asuwa river - A river in the area of Fukui with large Sakura tree groves. Included this simply because the picture of the massive trees is used in wikipedia's entry on Sakura trees

Before anyone asks I have no intention of having Ranma and Usagi hook up. Chiba is still her love and I am working on the assumption that he is still going to study in America after the shadow galactica arc. He might show up in the summer.

I honestly think Tuxedo Kamen gets a raw deal in a lot of fan fiction. He is not a front line fighter but neither are the senshi really. He also is not a cradle robber or an opportunist. he is a 17 year old kid at the start of the manga and has an attitude. Usagi is 14 then so there is only a three year age difference.

I have my own reason to be annoyed with Ms. Takeuchi over his character. I know she had a reason for making him a Leo but somehow she picked the same birthday as mine. The fop gives us Leos a bad name.

Chapter 16
Chapter 18
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