Sailor Moon Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Happi's Redemption ❯ Games? ( Chapter 3 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
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.
The Previous day at the Nekohanten
Watching the door close behind the departing Happosai, and Shampoo (Speaking Mandarin) asked, “Great Grandmother, what did the old pervert want?”
Cologne looked troubled. “He asked for Nyaniichuan water. He thought I would have kept a supply of it here.”
Now looking troubled herself, the purple haired girl asked, “Do you have any of the cursed waters here?”
The aged crone shook her head. “No child, I didn't bring any with me. That stuff is dangerous to keep around.”
Looking slightly relieved, Shampoo next asked, “Don't the elders keep a supply of it hidden away in the village?”
The Elder nodded. “At times some of the men of the village grow tired being treated as second class citizens and elect to use the water to become women. While we only rarely refuse such a request, it is one of the reasons that we have a shortage of men. That in fact was the original reason for instituting the Kiss of Marriage. The Kiss of Death was to prevent adding Outsider women to the tribe to compete for the limited number of men.”
Shampoo nodded in acknowledgement. That much was history that any warrior knew. She had met some women in the village who had begun life as males. While life in the village was not as harsh for men has it had been in the past, it was still better being a woman in Amazon society. To her it made perfect sense for a man to give up his masculinity to gain better treatment and a say in the running of the village.
Her curiosity now aroused, the purple haired girl asked, “What did the old pervert want the water for?”
Frowning, the Amazon Elder replied, “I'm not sure if I can believe him. He said that he dying and that he needed the water to stay alive.”
“Aiyaah!” The girl exclaimed. “Is that true?”
Shaking her head, the tiny old woman said, “I don't know. I suppose it is possible. His ki was very low, dangerously so. While it would be possible for him to deliberately let his ki run low in an effort to fool me, that is a dangerous tactic to use. Even if he weren't otherwise dying, letting his ki get that low would put his life in danger. It suggests an urgency bordering on desperation.”
The two women sat silently for a moment. When Cologne resumed she said, “As to what he wants the water for I don't know. If he truly is dying the water could turn him into a young girl but I consider it highly unlikely that a man such as he would be willing to take that step. No, based on his past history, I would suppose it is more likely a part of some elaborate plot, probably to turn Son-in-law permanently female and maybe his sex slave as well.”
“Aiyaah!” Shampoo realized Cologne was just speculating but the possibility mentioned was alarming to think about. She didn't want something like that or maybe worse to happen to her airen. “We must stop him!”
The old woman nodded, deep in thought. “Considering his apparent poor health, he will probably try to get help with this. I wouldn't put it past him to tell Son-in-law that he has a cure and needs the cursed water to make it work.”
The cat-cursed girl asked, “What should we do?”
The Elder said, “I see two possibilities. The first one is that the old fool didn't believe me when I said we don't have any of the water here. We should be prepared in case he tries to raid us here at the Nekohanten, looking for something we don't have. I think I would be the best one to guard against that.”
“The second possibility is that he does believe me and goes to China and likely back to Jusenkyo. Information from back home says that the flood waters have receded and the springs are working again as they used to. I think you should go to the Tendo Dojo to keep watch. If you see the old man leaving or if you see Ranma leaving with his travel and camping gear, then come back to alert me.”
She continued. “The Council must also be notified. They should be prepared on the chance the old fool tries to steal from their stored stocks of the girl water. That could still be safer than risking getting a curse other than the one he wants.”
Before she left, Shampoo put the “Closed” sign in the window of the restaurant. She had the assurance that Mousse would relieve her in a few hours to allow her to eat and take a bathroom break.
The elder positioned herself at the door to the basement. The storerooms were down there and if they did have Nyaniichuan water, that is where they would have kept it. There was only the one door that gave access to the stairs leading down to those rooms, so it was a natural place to keep valuable things.
Before taking up guard duty, the Elder had made a stop in the office to pick up the satellite phone. In the Council chambers in the village there was another phone like this one. It was the tribe's main link with the outside world.
After punching in the number she waited while it rang. A moment later she heard a voice answer. “This Elder Soap, who is calling?”
“It is I, Elder Cologne.”
The voice on the other end of the line paused a moment before continuing, “You weren't due to call for the regular weekly report for another day. What has transpired to make you call early?”
The tiny woman in the Nekohanten reported, “The old thief, Happosai, just paid us a visit here at the restaurant in Tokyo. He was asking for Nyaniichuan water. As you know we didn't bring any of that with us and I told him so. He would know we keep a supply in the village. I am calling to let you know so you may keep a higher level of vigilance in guarding the storage room.”
Soap responded, “Thank you for the warning. It will likely take at least a few days for him to reach us. We will double the guard. We will also position a lookout in Jusenkyo Valley in case. We will alert the Guide there to be watchful as well.”
Cologne answered, “Very good. I have set Shampoo to watching the house where the old thief currently lives. While she will likely try to follow, with the thief's age and experience, it would be like trying to follow one of us.”
“Hmm…” The other elder was thoughtful. “It is a pity we don't have more people there. We could put a watch on the airports and docks. After all there are only so many ways off that island. Although I wouldn't care for our private business being made public, I wonder if there would be any benefit in notifying the Tokyo Police about the famed panty-thief trying to leave the area. They could post people at the exit points.”
Cologne considered that for a moment. “I don't think that would be a good idea. At best it would likely do no more than inconvenience Happosai and would put the policemen needlessly at risk. We know his two most likely targets. If we watch them we should be able to stop him.”
The Elder in China said, “With one of his skills and power, it is unlikely we could either capture or kill the old thief, but we should be able to deny him his goal. Realistically that's about all we can count on.”
The Elder in Tokyo added, “He may try persuasion. When he was here, asking for the water, he claimed that he was dying and that the water would save him.”
Soap snorted. “Even if I believed that, why would we want to prolong that pervert's life one moment longer?”
Cologne replied, “Yes. I wouldn't want to kill him unless he forced me, but I won't lift a finger to prevent his death.”
She could hear a laugh over the phone. Cologne voiced her other concern, “One thing troubles me. What if he seeks to cheat death by becoming a young girl?”
There was a pause as Soap considered that. “That would seem very much out of character for someone like him. Still, if he were desperate enough, I suppose it is possible. We will be watching for this as well. If that is his goal then rest assured that the girl will be brought into the tribe to bear many strong daughters for us.”
The older of the Elders cautioned, “There is a chance that he may talk Saotome Ranma into helping him.”
“The boy who killed Saffron?” Soap queried.
“The same,” confirmed Cologne.
The younger of the Elders sighed. “That would complicate matters. Keep vigilance and if you or Shampoo should witness Happosai's departure, let us know if he travels alone or with company. It will help us know what preparations to make.”
“We will do what we can,” promised Cologne.
With that they ended the phone call. As Cologne put the satellite phone back on the desk she worried. She couldn't shake the nagging feeling that they were missing something in this situation. Still, they were taking all the precautions that could reasonably be taken. To do more would be the actions of a paranoid.
Back in the present: Ranma looked out the window and scanned with her ki senses. She reported, “Shampoo is still hiding in the big tree across the street. I guess the Old Ghoul got spooked when you asked for some of the girl water. Do you think she was telling the truth when she said she didn't have any?”
Happosai shrugged as he replied, “I think so. She's good enough that it's hard to tell if she's lying by a reading of her ki. Still, she sounded sincere.”
The redhead nodded. “Shampoo's been there for just about four hours. Pretty soon Mousse should be along to relieve her to go eat or take a leak. Even with his glasses on, Mousse can't see too well, so the little fake out we have planned should work.”
Akane was standing behind them. She was wearing one of Ranma's outfits of black pants and a red shirt and wearing a black wig with a pigtail. Next to her was Genma's pack. The pack was empty. The girl grumbled, “I don't see why I have to be the decoy.”
Ranma reasonably pointed out, “Of the people here you are the closest to the size of my guy form. With that wig, those clothes and the pack it should be good enough to fool Mousse. And you are the only other person who is physically fit enough to run fast enough to carry off the fake out. On top of that you have the acting talent to make it believable. While Mousse is trying to follow you, the Master and I can sneak out the back.”
Ranma broke off as she felt Happosai pulling on her sleeve. She looked out the window and saw Mousse had joined Shampoo in the tree. She grinned and nodded her head. Things should start to happen soon.
As they watched the ki trace they recognized as Shampoo leapt from the tree to the roof of the house across the street and headed off in the direction of the Nekohanten. When she could be reasonably sure Shampoo was far enough away she said, “Ok, Akane, you're on.”
The dark haired girl glared for a moment, then shouldered the pack. If she was going to do this, she would do it right.
A moment later Akane crept out the door and up to the wall. She peeked over the top of the wall as if checking to see if she was being watched. Then she said in low tones, “Alright master, I'll meet you at the train station.” She vaulted over the wall and took off running down the street. She had spoken in a soft voice but knew it had been loud enough for Mousse with his sharp hearing to have heard it. She had even managed to make her voice a credible imitation of Ranma's.
As the girl receded down the street, Ranma was whispering, “Come on, you blind idiot. Take the bait.”
Before Akane was completely out of sight they could see Mousse jump down from the tree and start running in pursuit. Happosai shook his head. “That boy really is an idiot. I'm sure Cologne gave him an order to not follow, but to report back to her. She won't be happy when she finds out that he followed Akane.”
Ranma shrugged. “She'll probably make him spend a day or more in duck form in a cage as punishment. As tough as she is with discipline, I've never known her to be deliberately cruel.”
The redhead shouldered her own pack. In contrast the one Akane was wearing, this one was full. It had spare clothing, tents, bedrolls for both herself and the old man, food and other gear.
To aid in the deception Ranma was wearing a pair of Akane's jogging shorts and a blouse of Nabiki's. She quickly tucked her hair into a black beret including the pigtail. The look was like nearly any girl headed out for a hike. The pack was a lot bigger than you would normally see a girl her size carrying, but she carried it so easily that people would likely assume the pack was not full. Also not consistent with the image was the tiny old man riding on top of the pack. Still the way she looked was so different from Ranma's normal appearance it made a truly effective disguise.
Shrugging her shoulders to settle the pack more comfortably Ranma wondered. If her girl form was only the equivalent of 13 years old and already this strong, what would she be able to do when she grew up some more?
Nabiki hung up the phone and told them, “The taxi will be waiting to take you to the airport. They'll be waiting on the corner five blocks from here. I'm putting this on your tab gramps.”
The old man laughed. “That's Ok. I do hope you realize that this is pretty much of an all or nothing deal for me. The only thing really keeping me alive right now is the ki that Ranma is forcing into me. I'll either come back as a girl or I won't come back at all.”
Nabiki frowned and shook her head. “I have a hard time imagining you as a girl.”
He replied, “To be honest, I have a hard time imagining it myself. It is one thing to be told I was born a girl and that I'm really a girl inside, and something else to really feel it. I've been male for more than 300 years. All I know about being a girl is what I've learned from observing girls.”
Shrugging once more, Ranma put in, “So, you'll be a tomboy. You'll be in good company. Mom wants me to act ladylike when I'm in girl form, but I'm pretty sure the best I can do for her is to be a tomboy. With Akane the tomboy you'll fit right in here.” She headed out the back door and leapt over to the top of the wall. From there she leapt to the roof of the next house. The huge pack didn't inconvenience her in the least.
Ranma paused on the roof of the house nextdoor to the Tendos. She asked, “Can you sense anyone watching?”
Happosai replied, “No, nobody.”
The girl nodded. “Good! Let's get to that taxi before the driver gets tired of waiting and leaves.”
With that said the redhead bounded off over the rooftops. It was a matter of mere moments before Rannma landed lightly on the street next to the taxicab. When Ranma opened the back door the driver said, “I was told to wait for a Tendo Ranko and her grandfather. Is that you?”
Ranma agreed that it was her, and Happosai announced, “Yes, she's my granddaughter. Isn't she a cutie? She'll be a real heartbreaker when she gets older.”
The girl tried to sound flattered as she growled, “I wish you'd stop that, gramps. You're embarrassing me.”
The driver thought the girl could be a heartbreaker now, but kept his opinion to himself. He said, “Your fare has been prepaid from here to the airport. Is that pack your only luggage?”
Ranma nodded as she set the pack in the center of the back seat. Happosai took up a position on one side and Ranko sat on the other side of the pack. “Yep, this is it. We're both used to traveling light. We're going be hiking in the back country and decided that camping gear and food were more important than a lot of clothes.”
The driver responded with a grunt. When he was sure his passengers were settled in their seats and the doors closed, he put the car in gear and headed out. The ride passed mostly in silence. The driver tried to engage them in conversation but most questions were met with grunts or silence. He finally gave up on talking to his fares.
When they got to the check in counter at the airport they found that Ranma's travel documents were there, waiting for them. Ranma hadn't even known that she had a passport, but it seemed that Nabiki had provided one in the name of Tendo Ranko. While glad that Nabiki had the foresight to have the documents prepared it would require her to stay a girl while they traveled.
She had known that she would have to be a girl for at least part of the trip so she could she could infuse female ki into the old man. She was prepared for that over and above the usual accidental splashing. Now she would have to stay female on the chance they might get stopped to have their documents checked. If she accidentally got splashed with hot water she would have to change to female as quickly as possible.
As they walked to the plane, Happosai joked, “Cheer up, Ranma. There're worse things than being a girl. At least I'll have something nice to look at while we travel.”
Ranma glared at him for a moment until a thought occurred to her. She grinned and said, “If you're going to be changing into a girl, shouldn't you be trying to enjoy looking at my guy form more?”
“Oh, good point,” the old man acknowledged. “Still, you have to realize that I was a girl for only one month and have no memory of it. It's going to be something of an adjustment.”
Before they were allowed to board the plane Ranma had to empty out the pack for security. There were a few tense moments on some of the items they were bringing, but it was fairly obvious that the pack really only contained camping gear, food and clothing.
With the contents of the pack approved, Ranma was allowed to take it with her as a carry-on. She grumbled about the hassle that security had put her through, but really had been expecting something of the sort.
Eventually they were on the plane. Ranma had wanted to get a seat near the window but it would appear that was not to be. The flight had been arranged on short notice and they were taking seats of passengers who had cancelled. The end result was that Ranma didn't have the view out the window to distract her.
She would have liked to talk with Happosai, but he quickly fell asleep. With his ki deficit problems the old man probably tired easily. As soon as they landed Ranma would have to give him another ki transfusion.
There was no movie on the flight. Ranma hadn't anticipated the need of bringing something to read so she had nothing to do. She decided that she would try to follow the old Master's example and closed her eyes.
In the council chambers in the Joketsuzoku village the satellite phone let out an electronic warble. The old woman there picked up the phone and said, “This is Elder Soap. Who calls?”
“This is Elder Kho Lon. I have news. Happosai is on his way.”
The younger of the Elders asked, “What more can you tell me?”
“Not much, I'm afraid,” The Elder in Japan replied. “The old pervert used a decoy. One of the people living in the house went out dressed up as young Son-in-Law and Mousse followed her instead of reporting to me as he was ordered?”
“Will he be punished?” Asked Soap.
“Yes,” responded the older of the Elders. “He will be punished more for disobeying orders than for failing in his mission. His failure was something of a punishment in its own right.”
“Oh? What happened?”
Cologne gave an amused snort. “Mousse caught up to the girl who was the decoy. When he confronted her she was able to get in a lucky punch. The girl's skills are not too great, but she has a lot of raw power.”
The Elder in China responded, “By that I assume you mean she hits hard.”
With a chuckle the Elder in Japan replied, “Very hard. She knocked Mousse out, then doused him with cold water to change him into a duck. She trussed him up with one of his own chains and brought him back here.”
The tone was confused, “She brought him to you?”
Cologne responded, “She had accomplished her mission. She let Happosai and young Son-in-Law get away unobserved. I didn't bother to tell her that the only reason we set watchers on their house was to find out if the old pervert or Ranma went out. She may have delayed my notification of that, but in the end it was Miss Tendo herself who did what Mousse couldn't do.”
“Very well,” the younger Elder replied. “We will exercise increased vigilance.”
They ended the phone call.
Sometime later Ranma was awakened when a flight attendant touched her shoulder and said, “We are on final approach and will be landing soon. Please fasten your seatbelt.”
The girl shook her head and asked, “I slept through the whole flight?”
The attendant replied, “Yes, you did. You must have been very tired.”
Ranma nodded to acknowledge the attendant. She had been up late and awakened early. She buckled the belt. Gently Ranma woke the old man and told him about the belt. He seemed disappointed that he too had missed the flight. The redhead leaned over to him and whispered, “As soon as we're out of the airport, I'm going to look for a private spot to give you another ki treatment.”
Happosai realized that his sleep hadn't restored any of his energy. He felt just as tired as he had when he had closed his eyes. Yes, a ki treatment sounded like a very good idea.
When they got off the plane they again had to empty out the backpack, for customs this time. Again there was no real problem as the inspectors could see that the two were carrying nothing but camping gear. The story they had agreed on was that Happosai was taking his granddaughter to see some of the places he had visited back when he was young. The government officials accepted the story.
Before long the two left the airport in the city of Beijing. Before heading to the train station they stopped in a park where they sat on a bench. Ranma set the pack on the ground in front of her then took the old man's hand in hers. To anyone looking it had the appearance of a child comforting a grandparent.
They sat like that for several minutes. When Ranma took her hand away she said, “Master… we may have more of a problem than we thought.”
The little man had been enjoying the feeling of renewed strength and energy. Now alarmed he asked, “What's wrong?”
The girl was frowning. “The difference wasn't big, but I could feel it. Your resistance to the ki transfer is getting worse. It's hard to say, but I'd have to guess that in two weeks to a month and I won't be able to push hard enough to get the ki into you. That's if the change doesn't get any faster.”
The old man got a somber look on his face. “I guess that means we won't have any time for sightseeing along the way. We have a time limit. We must get to where we need to be as fast as we can.”
Ranma shook her head. “Somehow I just knew something like this would happen. The trip was going too smoothly.”
The old man smirked and said, “Did you want it to be easy?”
The redhead grumpily replied, “It would be nice once in a while. Alright, let's get to that train station.”
As they left the park Ranma noticed some policemen. Since neither she nor Happosai had done anything wrong, she tried to ignore them. One of them did look at her for a moment then his gaze moved on. Apparently the redhead was not who he was looking for.
At the train station Ranma and the Master had to produce their papers. The officer who checked looked hard at Happosai then compared the name on the papers against a notebook he had in his pocket. After a moment he handed the papers back to the travelers and waved them into the station.
As they walked toward the station Ranma glanced back at the guard. “He was looking at you pretty good. Do the Amazons have friends in the PRC government?”
The little man gave a derisive snort. “Friends? I wouldn't say that. The government barely tolerates the Joketsuzoku, the Musk and the Phoenix. About the only reason they don't sent troops in to wipe out those tribes is that they stay pretty much in their own region. As long as they do that it would cost more to destroy them than to leave them alone. Regardless of how powerful Herb or the reborn Saffron may be, they aren't stronger than modern weapons.”
Ranma frowned. “So the police aren't looking for us?”
He shook his head. “I didn't say that either. They may be looking for us; they might not. For now I'll just have to assume that we bear a slight resemblance to someone they are looking for.”
The girl glanced back at the guard then shrugged and boarded the train. A short while later they were looking out the windows of the train car as it clattered down the track. They were heading to the very end of the line. After a few stops many of the other passengers got off.
When they had some empty seats around them Ranma finally asked, “So, you want to give me the rest of the answer to that question?”
The old man looked puzzled. “Which question do you mean?”
With an expression of exaggerated patience, the redhead said, “When you told me you could absorb ki from a woman's hand, I asked `why the groping?' You said it was because it was easier to find unwilling victims than willing volunteers. Even if you are sneaking up on women you could still grab a hand instead of boobs or butt. So I repeat the question, `Why the groping?'”
The little man looked sad as he seemed to study the back of the seat in front of them. Finally he said, “From what you have seen of me in the past, would you say I'm a serious person?”
Ranma frowned at the question. After a moment she replied, “No, not serious. If anything you often act like an overage little kid who wants to play all the time. You've been a lot more serious lately, but I guess that finding out you could die soon would do that to you.”
The aged martial arts master nodded. “Yes, that's pretty accurate description. Part of my way of not giving in to depression was making a game out everything I did, including getting the ki I needed to live.”
The little man nodded. “That's right.”
Renma frowned fiercely and suppressed her anger, almost trembling with the effort. “So you figured the only way you wouldn't get depressed was if you made your ki gathering fun. Is that right?”
The old man looked at his traveling companion. He could hear the anger in her voice and sense it in her ki. He wasn't sure he understood the reason for it. “Yes, that's right.”
In a tightly controlled voice, Ranma asked, “How much fun do you think it was for the women and girls you groped?”
Somewhat lamely, he answered, “Uh… not very much?”
Ranma fixed the old man with a glare. “I'm not even a woman all the time and I hated it. Even with all of my speed, strength and martial arts skills I couldn't stop you from touching me there more than part of the time.”
Her glare didn't lessen in the least. “I've talked to some of the girls at school and they explained to me the kinds of feelings I was having. I wouldn't admit to having girlish feelings, but secretly I had to agree that what they described matched what I was feeling pretty closely. What you were touching are places a girl normally doesn't expect anyone other than a doctor or a lover to touch. When a woman, even a part-time woman like me, is touched in those places by someone she doesn't trust, she feels violated and used.”
She paused a moment. “At least with my abilities I have some chance to fight you off. The girls who have no martial arts skills have the feeling of helplessness added to the violation. When you take a bra or panties off a woman without even removing her outer clothes it make the helpless feeling even worse. You may think that it's harmless fun because you don't hit the women or cause a physical injury. You probably think that what you were doing doesn't hurt them. You're wrong about that!”
The old man looked stricken. “Ranma, I… didn't know.”
The redhead continued her glare. “Have you ever heard of `emotional scars?' That's what you have been giving to those girls and women.”
She looked at him and said, “When I found you on the front walk at the Tendo dojo, I had an argument with myself. Normally I defend people, especially women, against you. I do that because of the code of honor your student, my father, drummed into me for most of my life. The code that says, `It is a martial artists duty to defend those who can't defend themselves.' Never mind that Pop's interpretation of that code is a lot more… flexible than mine, he taught me.”
The girl continued, “I could have just called an ambulance and left you to the care of doctors. Somehow I knew that wouldn't do the job. I think if I had, you'd probably be dead now. I'm going to stay with you and see this little quest to the end. Do you know why?”
The little man shook his head.
The girl settled back into her seat. “Two reasons - dead people can't learn from their mistakes. Dead people can't do anything to make up for the harm they caused. I'll stay and keep helping you because you didn't really know what harm you were doing - You were too caught up in your games to see it.”
She paused for a moment and seemed to calm down a little. Finally she said, “I'm not the kind of person who would do to anyone else what you did. If we come through this little adventure with you still alive and female, I want you to do something for me.”
The girl studied the other. “Just a little mental exercise. If you do become a girl I want you to imagine what it would be like to have a pervert grope you when you were powerless to stop him.”
The old man was surprised at the intensity of the emotion he sensed in his traveling companion. It was true, he had thought what he was doing was harmless to the women he groped. Chastened he finally replied, “I… I'll do that. I'm sorry Ranma.”
The girl nodded. “You'll see it differently when you're a girl yourself. I'm not going to accept an apology from you on this until you are a girl and can tell me you understand what I'm talking about.”
He nodded, “Alright.”
They continued to ride in silence. The trip took them to the end of the current train line to a small town. There they changed trains. The one they changed to was older and less modern, but still well maintained. The seats were less comfortable.
When Ranma had gotten over her anger, Happosai began talking to her. He taught her ki techniques that could be done while sitting on the train. Some of it involved meditation techniques.
Author's Note: As you can see, for this story I didn't want Happosai to be evil. Here he is a thoughtless, inconsiderate jerk whose threatened death has given him a serious wake-up call. If he becomes a she and gets out of this alive, she will want to turn over a new leaf.