Sailor Moon Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Happi's Redemption ❯ Happi's Tale ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Happi's Redemption
A Ranma One Half Fan Fiction
By Michael A. Ivins
Ranma along with all of his friends, enemies and acquaintances are the property of Takahashi Rumiko. I'm just borrowing them for my own amusement and hopefully that of my readers. Sailor Moon and the Senshi aren't mine either. Please don't sue me.
This story takes place after the end of the manga.
Chapter 2
Happi's Tale
Once upon a time (or 305 years ago if you prefer) there lived a cruel and ambitious man. He was a military man, in charge of troops that were to defend his territory. To further his ambitions he desperately wanted for his firstborn child to be a son. I'm sure Saotome and Tendo here can understand that feeling.
When his wife became pregnant, he was delighted. He was sure he would have the son he wanted. He told all of his friends and the men in his charge what things he would do with his son and the things he would teach the boy. With the cruel man's teachings, the boy would rise to a position of power higher than his father had.
When the child was born the cruel man was severely disappointed. The baby was a girl. All of those ambitions would come to nothing, the plans not completed.
For most men such a disappointment would not be a major thing. They would just shift the fulfillment of their plans to the next child or the one after that. This was not so with the cruel man of this story. Besides being cruel, the man was impatient. He didn't want to wait for a second child. He reasoned that the second child might also be a girl and then what would he do?
In the next nearest village there lived a witch. This woman helped out her neighbors with minor spells, love potions, good luck charms and the like. It was claimed that she had real powers and could accomplish much bigger enchantments than the simple spells she used in her village.
Based on this reputation, the cruel man sought out the witch and asked that she use her magic to change his firstborn child into a boy so that the man's ambitions might be achieved. The witch refused. To work such a change on a baby was a terrible thing and could be damaging to the child's mind. It could even cause the child to go mad when he grew up.
The cruel man didn't take the refusal well. He insisted. When the witch stood by her refusal, the cruel man had her beaten. When she had healed enough from the beating he told her that if she didn't do as he demanded, he would have her given to his soldiers as a party favor. She would be raped over and over again. When she finally became pregnant, she would be tossed aside.
Faced with such a fate, the witch agreed to cast the requested the spell. The cruel man's daughter became his son. The cruel man was satisfied and paid the witch handsomely and let her go. Some thought it odd that the witch left her home in the next village and disappeared. The cruel man shrugged it off. Likely the witch didn't fully trust the word given that she would not be bothered again. It was not important.
The father set about training his child. From the first moment the child could walk, he was trained in martial arts. He was to become the greatest martial artist alive as well as educated in other things as well. When the time was right the boy would move out of the home town and become a leader.
There was a problem with the child. He didn't grow like he should have. He remained small for his age. When the boy reached the age of eleven he began puberty. While small for his age, he was only a little short, not freakishly so. When puberty hit he stopped growing and began to get smaller. The child finally came to resemble a gnome.
The father was furious. He could tell that the witch had done something. There had to have been something wrong with the spell she had used to change the child from female to male. While angry, the father didn't feel that his ambitions were destroyed. His second child was born male and he had begun to have that child trained as was the first. He had reasoned that something could have happened to his firstborn and it was only wise to have a backup plan.
Showing the kind of man he was, the father disowned the boy and threw him out, leaving him to fend for himself. Fortunately for the child, part of the training he had received included survival skills, so he was able to travel and live off the land when he could. Few people wanted to associate with the child because of his appearance and small stature.
In spite of the martial arts training the boy had and the hard exercise that had toughened him up, he found himself sickening after he set out on his journey. In only a few cases did he find himself feeling strong. Oddly enough those times were after he had been touched by a woman who had thought him to be a child.
Not long after that he entered a village where the witch had moved. Since the woman had moved away while the boy was still a baby, he didn't recognize her. The witch was able to see her magic on the boy and approached him to find out what had happened.
The woman learned of the truth of the boy's story. When she realized what had happened she wad filled with remorse. In trying to get back at the man who had abused her, she had afflicted an innocent child. Her attempt at revenge had failed. What she had done to the child had been an inconvenience to the cruel man, little more.
The witch explained to the boy what she had done, the spell that had changed a female baby into a male. There was also a curse on the child separate from sex change spell and yet linked to it. It had been that curse that had caused the child to change into the gnome-like creature when he reached puberty.
The boy had wanted to hate the witch for what she had done to him, but he found he could not. He realized that she had been desperate. She was beaten and threatened with rape and was fighting back in what may have been the only way available to her. He did think to ask why the witch couldn't have simply cast the sex change spell and think up a way to attack the cruel man directly later. The answer was that she simply didn't think of that until later, she was too angry at the time. By the time she was able to think more calmly, it was too late to correct her error.
The witch felt guilty for what she had done to an innocent child and vowed that she would do what she could to help. She told the boy that the reason for the strange weakness and why the touch of a woman could relieve that weakness. It was a side effect of the curse that caused it and the fact that the soul within the male body was still that of a girl. The male body couldn't generate enough female ki to sustain the female soul within and the boy needed infusions of such ki to stay alive and strong.
The combination of the sex change spell and the curse created a condition of imbalance in the body and the boy would need infusions of female ki for the rest of his life. There was a chance that the boy could someday be cured and restored to a female body. One way to do that was the water from the Spring of Drowned Girl at Jusenkyo in China. However, there was a problem with that cure. The magic of the curse was so structured that the curse in the girl water would fight with the magic of the original curse. The witch was not sure, but thought that this conflict would cause the curse victim to die painfully.
What would be needed for the boy to be fully cured was a two step process. First the curse had to be neutralized. Then an application of water from the Spring of Drowned Girl would change the boy back into the girl he should have been from the start. To neutralize the curse would require magic that the witch no longer had access to. She knew of a number of charms and talismans that might do the job but didn't possess any of them herself.
So it was that the young boy and the witch began to travel together. They spent nearly twenty years together searching for one of the talismans that would either break the curse or at least suppress it. Even suppressing the curse would do the job and allow the girl water to make the transformation. Once the boy was changed back to a female the curse would dissipate on its own when the spell that was its anchor was removed.
In the twenty years of traveling together the witch taught her companion all she knew of magic. The young man would also use their travels to further his training in martial arts. Thus it was that on their travels they would stop at times to study with various sorcerers, witches, martial arts masters, temples and the like. While the young man and the witch traveled together, she gave him regular infusions of her own female ki.
After twenty years of travel Noriko, the witch, came down with an illness and died. The young man continued his travels and furthered his training.
Happosai stopped the telling of his story.
Ranma looked confused and asked, “You knew about the cursed waters of Jusenkyo?”
The old man nodded.
The pigtailed martial artist shook his head. “Then I don't understand. If you knew about the cursed waters why did you bathe Taro in a cursed pool? Didn't you know what would happen to him?”
The aged grandmaster shook his head. “Noriko told me that cursed magic water was what I needed to cancel out the spell on me. She knew that the water came from China, but she didn't know where in China.”
Akane broke in, “So when you were at Jusenkyo…”
He finished, “I didn't know that was where the cursed water came from. Needless to say, when I saw the effect the water had on Taro, I figured it out.”
Nabiki now asked, “When you found out that you were at the source of the water that could reverse the spell on you, what did you do?”
The tiny man said, “You have to remember that I was not able to use the water on myself while my curse was active. What I did do was to carefully collect some of the water into bottles that I then sealed. I hid those bottles in caves in some of the valleys around Jusenkyo. There were valleys that nobody lived in and as far as I know nobody lives there now.”
Nabiki then asked, “What I don't understand is why girl water? Sure you were born a girl, but if you were changed to male when you were a baby, would you have any memory of it at all?”
He shook his head. “No, I have no memory. The problem for me now is that I am losing the ability to absorb female ki from women. Ranma, when you were giving me your ki did you notice a problem?”
The boy frowned as he nodded. “When I was pushing my ki into you I felt some kind of resistance. It wasn't strong. I was able to overcome it easily.”
Happosai explained, “That resistance may not have stopped you from pushing ki into my aura, but it is enough to prevent me from absorbing ki from a woman by simply touching her. When I told you I was too weak to grope you last night when you carried me upstairs, I was only telling part of the truth. Even if I had groped your breasts, it wouldn't have done me any good because of the resistance.”
From a pocket he pulled out an object strung on a leather thong. “Ranma saw the leather thong on this but I was gripping it too tight for her to see.” He handed it to Ranma who took a closer look at it. It appeared to be a carving of stone. The carving looked like something from South American Indians, Mayans or Incas or something like that. (Ranma was a little weak on the subject of those ancient tribes.)
As Ranma handed the carving to Akane, Happosai said, “It is called the Amulet of Ortiz. The story goes that a Spanish wizard named Ortiz went to an ancient Mayan city and took a piece from a broken statue of an ancient god. He carved it into a smaller representation of that same god and then infused it with his own magic.”
As she handed the amulet to Nabiki to look at, Akane asked, “What does this amulet do?”
The tiny man replied, “It was created as a magical defense. In a fight between magic users, having an amulet to handle at least part of your defense means you could devote more of your energy to offense. It could mean the difference between winning and losing.”
Ranma asked, “That sounds like it's meant to stop a new curse. Will it work on a curse that has been in place for hundreds of years?”
The old man raised an eyebrow. It always surprised him when Ranma showed these flashes of intelligence in maters outside of martial arts. “That's actually a good question. I checked and it will work on my curse. It doesn't do anything to a curse like yours.”
Nodoka asked, “If it will do what you need, why don't you put the amulet on now?”
The old man got a grim expression. He asked, “Have you ever seen a movie where a very old man was using magic to keep him alive and young?”
They all nodded except Ranma. For the boy's benefit, Happosai explained, “I think movie makers are a little too fond of this special effect. When the old man in the movie loses his magic you see him start to age rapidly so that in seconds he's nothing more than dried up skeleton and a short time later a pile of dust that usually blows away in a breeze. If I were younger that wouldn't be such a problem, but now…” He shook his head.
He paused a moment and said, “It would take minutes for me instead seconds, but my true age would catch up with me in a relatively short time. That's why someone must have Nyaniichuan water ready to throw on me as soon as I put on the amulet.”
Ranma frowned at this. He asked, “No offense old man but, why wouldn't the cursed water just turn you into an old woman who looks like the old ghoul's sister?”
The aged martial arts master looked surprised. “You didn't know?”
The pigtailed martial artist looked annoyed. “Didn't know what?”
“About Jusenkyo curses?”
Ranma wondered what the old man was babbling about. The boy almost growled, “Just tell it!”
The little man looked down for a moment before saying, “I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you, but water of Naniichuan is not a cure for you or even someone with an animal curse.”
“WHAT!” Genma almost screamed. “If that were true, why didn't you tell us? Why did you let us go on believing that we could get a cure that way?”
The old man chuckled with little humor. It didn't seem so funny to him now. “I was messing with you. When you get as old as I am there isn't a lot left that can provide entertainment. Watching you scramble for a cure was fun to watch.”
Controlling his anger, Ranma decided that it was time to ask a slightly more intelligent question. He was pretty sure he already knew the answer but wanted confirmation. “Why wouldn't Naniichuan be a cure for another Jusenkyo curse?”
Happosai was glad to see the boy was not allowing anger to cloud his reasoning. He asked, “Do you remember what happened to Taro when he got another curse?”
“What's he talking about, boy?” Genma demanded.
The young man nodded as if he had been expecting the old man's answer. He now said for Genma's benefit, “When we first met Taro he had the curse from the spring of Drowned Yeti riding a bull, holding an eel and a crane. The cursed form that came from that looks like a flying minotaur. Later he got splashed with water from the spring of drowned octopus. All that did to his cursed form was to add tentacles and gave him the ability to shoot ink.”
Scowling, Genma demanded, “So? What is all of that supposed to mean?”
Ranma shook his head sadly. “I don't know why I didn't see it before. Maybe I did see it because didn't want to believe it. What the Master is saying is that Jusenkyo curses don't replace each other, they mix.”
The bald martial artist looked confused. “What do you mean, mix?”
The pigtailed youth said, “If I understand what he's saying right, you really don't want to get splashed with Naniichuan water. We often call you `the panda' or `panda man' as a sort of nickname. If you got splashed with Naniichuan you would be a panda man for real. Your cursed form would be a half panda, half human. If I got splashed with it, I'd turn into some kind of half man, half woman.”
Happosai nodded. “I think the medical term for that is `hermaphrodite.' It's a person with both male and female organs. At the wedding when that cask of Naniichuan water was being thrown around I pretended to mistake it for sake and drank it. For the curse to affect someone it has to get on their skin, not be drunk. By drinking the water, I rendered it harmless.”
Ranma looked shocked. “You knew about that water?”
Happosai, looked embarrassed. “I didn't want to see my lovely Ranma-Chan turn into that kind of freak. I had to take a hand.”
“You saved me?” The young Saotome wasn't sure how to feel about that.
The little man replied, “Do find that so very hard to believe?”
The young man shook his head. “I'm sorry master but the way you act all the time is selfish. Anybody watching you would think you don't care about anybody but yourself.”
The old man looked thoughtful. “Living as long as I have, I guess it's become a habit to act that way. One tries to not to make too many friends because it hurts when they die before you do.”
The pigtailed martial artist was still trying to process this. “Are you saying you would think of me as a friend and not just the heir to Anything Goes?”
Happosai was indeed very much out of character this morning. He said, “Ranma, you are brave, loyal, honorable and kind. You are a young man any father would be proud to call his son (present company excepted.) I never did understand why Genma is always saying what a disgrace you are. You are dealing with a difficult situation in an admirable fashion even to working toward overcoming some of the shortcomings that your upbringing caused you.”
Angrily Genma demanded, “What `shortcomings?' He is the greatest martial artist of his generation.”
The little man shook his head sadly. “This may sound strange coming from me, but even I am aware that there is more to life than martial arts. Have you looked at the grades he gets in school?”
Genma was indignant. “What does that have to do with anything?”
The elderly man reflected on what he had observed of the father and son. Genma would claim that Ranma's excellence in the Art was due solely to the father's skills as a teacher. In truth Genma was a merely adequate teacher. The only reason Ranma had achieved such heights because of his innate talent and ability to modify and improve techniques after he'd learned them. That and the many masters of they arts they had studied under in their travels.
The martial arts master shook his head sadly. “By keeping Ranma ignorant you guarantee that when he and Akane take over the dojo, you will be the one actually running it.”
The panda man insisted, “That's a lie!”
In a dangerous tone Ranma said, “Is it? I don't think so. I've known for a long time that you were hoping to retire on my labor. This makes just as much sense as that. The only problem with your plan is that you don't know how to run a dojo either. With you in control we'd be broke and out in the street in a year or less. Think about that the next time you want to say something about how `useless' my classes in school are.”
Happosai interrupted, “As interesting as this is, we are getting off the subject. Ranma asked a question. He thought that my getting splashed with Nyaniichuan would make my cursed form an old woman. That is not true.”
He paused and said, “You have been told that Naniichuan is Spring Drowned Man. That is correct but doesn't give all the information that you need. In fact it literally is Spring of Drowned Man, as in man - not boy. To fully define it, that means an adult man. If a girl below the age of twenty were to fall into Naniichuan her cursed form would be an adult man. If a woman over the age of twenty fell in her cursed form would be a man of the same age. If a boy under the age of 20 fell in his cursed form would be that of a man of 20 or just a little over.”
He let them think about that for a moment. When he resumed he said, “Nyaniichuan is the Spring of Drowned Young Girl. If a girl under the age of 20 fell into the spring she wouldn't get a curse. If an old woman fell into the spring she would have a young girl as her cursed form. If a young man or boy fell into Nyaniichuan his cursed form would be a girl of the same age or slightly younger, like Ranma. If an old man was splashed with Nyaniichuan water, his cursed form would be a teenaged girl.”
“Whoa! What a minute!” Demanded Ranma. “What was that about, `slightly younger like Ranma?'”
The old man laughed. “You mean you haven't figured out yet that your girl form is younger than your boy form?”
Happosai sounded thoughtful. “I'd estimate about two years younger, maybe more. Let me see if I have the times figured right. You were 15 when you fell into the spring, right?”
Ranma nodded.
The old man continued, “You had your sixteenth birthday during the 3 weeks you were on the run from Shampoo while she was trying to kill you. Also right?”
Ranma nodded again. He said, “You're saying that when I first got the curse my girl form was only 13 years old or maybe as young as 12? What 12 or 13 year old girl has boobs that big?”
“I did,” said Nodoka quietly.
Ranma turned to look at her and asked, “What?”
Happosai turned toward Ranma's mother. “Nodoka, I'd have bet you were an `early bloomer.' What did your figure look like when you were 13? How did it compare to Ranma's current girl form?”
The auburn haired woman blushed a little. After a moment she said, “The way Ranma's girl form looks now is pretty close to what I looked like at 13. I was close to the same height too.”
Ranma took a few moments to absorb that. Finally he said, “So you're saying the reason why my girl form is so short is because it hasn't grown up as much as my guy form?”
The old man nodded. “Likely, your girl form only ages when you are in that form. I would guess that since you look so much like your mother you would probably grow to be about the same height as she is.”
Ranma cast a look at his mother and said, “Well, if I'm going to be stuck changing into a woman for the rest of my life, at least it's a really pretty one. I do look forward to getting taller in girl form.”
He paused a moment and turned back to Happosai. “So what you need is to have some of the Nyaniichuan water ready to pour on yourself as soon as you put on the amulet. You have to try and splash yourself before the speeded up aging kills you.”
The old man nodded. “I was sort of hoping that I could have someone standing by with the bottle of cursed water to pour it on me. There is a chance that the rapid aging could start so fast that I won't be able to splash myself in time. I was hoping I could ask you to help me.”
Ranma nodded. He had been expecting this. He suspected that not all of those fine words the old man had had spoken about him were honest but an attempt to butter him up in preparation for this request. It wouldn't be wrong to say that Ranma had the old freak in his power right now.
While the pigtailed martial artist could take this opportunity to make the old man squirm, he didn't want to do it. It was not in his nature to take advantage of another person's weakness. He said, “I'll agree but first I've got to ask if we could talk to the Amazons. They might have some girl water on hand. We should ask them before making a trip to China.”
With a shake of his head the aged martial arts master said, “Don't bother. I already asked them. Cologne said she doesn't have any Nyaniichuan water on hand and wouldn't share it with me if she did. I confess that the Amazons have no reason to love me.”
Ranma nodded. “I seem to remember Cologne telling me something about you stealing some of their treasures.”
The old man nodded. “That's true. They had a storehouse of magical artifacts, probably still do. They weren't using them. The items were just sitting on shelves gathering dust. I was trying to find a talisman or charm that would cancel or suppress my curse. In addition to such items, I did take the Nanban mirror. I tried to use it to go back in time and stop the witch putting the curse on me, but it never worked out right. I had to give up on it.”
And never gave the mirror back,” Ranma thought. The young martial artist said thoughtfully, “Knowing how they feel about women being superior, I bet you could have gotten them to help if you had asked them the right way.”
Happosai frowned. “What do you think would have been the right way?”
Ranma grinned. “When you wanted to `borrow' their magic items you should have just told them you were born a girl and were trying to become a girl again. I'll bet they would have helped.”
The old man considered that. “You could be right, but they would probably insist that I become a member of the tribe and stay in the village to have strong babies. As I recall you weren't too fond of the idea of moving to the village yourself.”
The young man gave a theatrical shudder and a rueful nod. “Since you've already talked to the Amazons, I doubt it would do any good for me to talk to them too. They'd probably just say you had conned me into helping you and wouldn't believe anything I told them. If I did tell them about you wanting to get back to your birth gender, they'd say it was a lie.”
Ranma thought about it some more. “When I left the area, Jusenkyo valley was flooded, mixing all the springs into one. I don't know if that makes it some kind of strange mix of all kinds of curses or if the flood diluted the water from the pools so there were no curses at all.”
Happosai considered that. “Floods like that are rarely permanent. Very likely the flood waters have receded and the springs are back to the way they were before.”
Ranma countered, “Even if that's true, Jusenkyo might be a dangerous place for us to visit. From what you said before, it would be `very bad to fall in another spring.'” He did a good imitation of the Jusenkyo guide. “Besides that the Amazons, Musk and the Phoenix tribes all know about the place. If it were a place nobody ever visited, why bother to have a guide who lives there?”
The old man had to concede the point.
Author's Note: That finally gets the back story established and sets the scene for what's coming up. I thought Happosai being born a girl and changed to a boy made for a semi-plausible reason why he had to absorb female ki.
This began its existence as a writer's block story that I started because I was running out of ideas on another story. Now I have three stories that I have done substantial work on. None of them are finished. I have decided that I will post the first two chapters of each of those three. I will use the reviews to decide which story I will concentrate my efforts on to finish first.