Sailor Moon Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Happi's Redemption ❯ More Magic ( Chapter 14 )

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

Happi's Redemption
A Ranma 1/2 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 14
More Magic
On her way back toward the hotel from Ukyo's restaurant, Noriko decided to head for the park where she and Ranma had sparred before. If he had finished his business in Juuban, it was still early enough in the day that the boy was likely to want to get in some training.
When she got there, Noriko found that she had guessed right. The odd thing that she noticed was that Ranma was in girl form. While she wondered why that was, she didn't stop the session to ask about it. Instead, she jumped into the training session and it turned from solo training to sparring.
As they sparred, the martial arts grand master thought about how good Ranma really was. When she was Happosai, she would have resisted giving the boy the credit he was due. Now she knew she would sign his teaching certificate after the work was done to get the Grand Mastership of Tendo Noriko recognized.
After about an hour of sparring, they stopped. It was getting on toward dinner time and they needed to get back to the hotel. Before they left the park Noriko asked, “How did things go at the bookstore?”
Ranma answered, “She had most of the books I was looking for. Two of the ones on the list she didn't have and she suggested that I look for them on the Internet. She said that by doing that I could probably get those two books as fast as she could.”
The blonde nodded. “Did you ask her about getting your curse trigger changed?”
The redhead grinned and held up an index finger. She instructed, “Watch this.” With not a drop of water of any temperature, her body changed from female to male.
The former man's eyebrows went up in surprise. She asked, “She changed your trigger already? That was fast.”
Nodding vigorously, Ranma agreed, “Yeah! It turns out that the spell she used is one she created herself. She didn't need to look it up other than to get an ingredients list of stuff she needed to do the spell. Besides the ability to change at will I got a sort of mental timer that tells me how much time I have left before I'm at risk of changing randomly when my mind wanders.”
Impressed, Noriko smiled, saying, “That sounds useful.”
“That's not all,” the excited young man continued. “She's going to teach me a spell that will let me change clothes when I change form. It's a short range teleportation spell that swaps the clothes I'm wearing for an outfit I have in stuff space. No more getting caught as a guy in girl's clothing. Besides that I'll finally be able to wear clothes that fit.”
“She's going to teach you the spell?” The blonde wasn't too sure about that. “Do you have any magic talent?”
“Yep, turns out I do,” confirmed the grinning pigtailed martial artist. “When she was casting the spell I was able to see the magic. Watanabe-san said I have a natural magic talent and that I actually used her magic to create that timer myself. She also said it should be easy for me to learn the clothing swap spell and other stuff as well. I can learn magic healing. She said I have the potential to be a white mage.”
The older girl got a warm smile on her face. “I'm impressed. If you can combine white magecraft with being a medical doctor you will have a potent combination.”
“Oh, I should tell you about what else happened when I was in Juuban,” the young man said.
Puzzled, Noriko asked, “You did something besides going to the bookstore?”
Ranma nodded. “Before I got to the store I heard explosions and went to see what was making the noise. It turns out the Sailor Senshi were fighting some kind of rock monsters. Since I haven't gotten the toughening in male form, I had to use Iron Skin to use the Breaking Point, but I took out two of the three monsters and the Senshi took out the last one. The Senshi I met there were what they called the Inners.”
He laughed. “My luck was running about like it usually does. While I was getting the Inner Senshi to write their autographs in my notebook (for Akane) three of the Outers showed up right when a small rain shower changed me into a girl.”
The blonde laughed, “Let me guess, when they saw you change they thought you were a monster and attacked you.”
“Yep,” agreed the pigtailed boy. “They had me hopping pretty good trying to dodge their attacks. Well… dodging all but one. That one hurt. I kept trying to tell them I wasn't their enemy but they wouldn't listen, especially Sailor Uranus. I was at the point where I was just about to throw a Moku Takabisha at them when Sailor Pluto showed up and yelled at the Outers to stop attacking me.”
Noriko frowned, “Pluto stopped the fight? I met her about 80 years ago. She didn't seem like the type that would break up a fight like you described. I'd have thought she would have let it run just to see how well you did against her teammates.”
Ranma shrugged. “I don't know about that. She was really respectful to me. She even brought a thermos of hot water to change me back. On top of that she brought some clothes to replace the ones that got wrecked in the fight with the rock monsters. It's like she knew in advance that the fight would take place.”
The older girl's eyes went wide as she contemplated that. “That seems out of character for Sailor Pluto. Most of the time she acts aloof and all-knowing because she has a source of information from the future. “
The pigtailed boy made a helpless gesture with his hands. “Hey that was how she was. She said I was an ally and they shouldn't be attacking me."
He paused then added, "Watanabe-san said this shirt had a scent of magic to it.”
Noriko reached out and rubbed the hem of the shirt's short sleeve between thumb and forefinger. After a moment she let go of the sleeve and said, “Well the sorceress was right about the scent of magic. But there is something else here. You know that people leave ki traces on the clothes they wear, right?”
“Sure, that's how you could get ki from the women's underwear you used to steal,” Ranma answered.
“Right,” agreed Noriko, her expression thoughtful. “The odd thing is that the ki trace on this shirt is yours. It's almost like Pluto got this shirt from you in the future.”
The teen martial artist said in a thoughtful tone, “Maybe I'll work with the Senshi in the future. Maybe that's why she seemed to know stuff about me.” He shook his head and decided that it was something to be considered in greater detail later.
After a pause, he started to laugh. “Even while I was getting autographs from the Senshi to give to Akane, I'm sure I was close to getting asked for my autograph. One of the Inners and one of the Outers are martial arts otaku and were almost as excited about meeting me as Akane would have been meeting them.”
“That's fortunate,” commented Noriko. “Well, if you have to go back to Juuban for lessons on that clothing swap spell, then I guess there is a chance that you will meet with the Senshi again. That area does seem to be where they are seen most often.”
At that moment Ranma's stomach let out a fierce growl. “Uh… could we continue this conversation in the restaurant at the hotel? I sort of missed lunch.”
“Oh, you poor, poor man,” Noriko joked. “At least I had okonomiyaki for lunch.”
As they started walking toward the hotel, Ranma commented, “When we get to the restaurant, you'll have to tell me how that went.”
Before they got back to the hotel, Ranma changed back to a girl. She said, “I want to be able to spend most of the day tomorrow as a guy. I'm also going to sleep as a girl.”
When they were in a booth in the restaurant Ranma asked between bites, “How did it go with Ucchan?”
Noriko's expression became thoughtful. “I guess I could say it went better than I expected. I sort of expected to get bashed with a giant spatula and tossed out the door. She did do some yelling, but at least she listened.”
At the thought of Ukyo using her battle spatula on Noriko Ranma felt a brief rush of anger. He didn't like the idea of his oldest friend beating up on his newest one. He dismissed the feelings to concentrate on what Noriko was saying.
The blonde said, “I left her the restaurant supplies catalog. I told her she should pick out whichever yattai she wanted and I'd buy it for her. If she doesn't pick one then I'll buy the one that comes as close to the original as you can remember it. I'll have that one delivered to her at the Ucchan's. That ends the honor agreement for you two to marry and any future arrangement for such things are strictly between you and her with no need for parents to be involved.”
A look of concern on her face, Ranma asked, “You did tell her that I still want her as a friend, didn't you?”
The older girl smiled warmly. “I told her.” Her expression sobered. “I have heard of many occasions where romance ruined a friendship. I honestly hope that this is not one of those.”
The redhead shook her head. “I wonder if this would have been simpler if Ucchan had really been a guy like I thought she was when we were kids.”
Noriko studied the condiment containers on the table for a moment. “I don't know what to tell you about that. It might have been better, but then he might have fallen for your girl side and you'd have the same problem. With `what ifs' it's really hard to say. The only thing anyone can say with certainty is that things would have worked out different.”
The blonde seemed to brighten. “Before I left I told her something that should plant a seed of thought in her mind.”
“What did you tell her?” Ranma wanted to know.
The former man chuckled. “I pointed out to her that Konatsu is in love with her. Maybe that will help her get over you.”
“She didn't know that?” Ranma found it a little hard to believe.
“Apparently not,” agreed Noriko.
The redhead shook her head. “I know I'm not always the most sensitive person, but even I could see that.”
The red haired girl remembered she had something more to tell about her visit to Juuban. “Watanabe-San said she would have to do some research into Ms. Hinako's condition. She didn't know what to do about it.”
With a sigh the blonde said, “Well, it was a bit of a long shot but it was worth asking. Who knows, maybe she will find something. Maybe you'll find something in your medical or magical studies.”
She paused as another thought occurred to her and asked, “Have you thought what to do about Kuno?”
Ranma frowned. “I'm not sure if anything can be done about him. He seems to always find ways to deny anything that doesn't match what he sees as the truth. I've changed right in front of him and he just says `Saotome is a foul sorcerer who has used magic to appear to change.' He's right about the magic but he thinks that the transformation is really a substitution. Any more demonstrations of me changing would do no good. He believes my two forms are separate people.”
Still frowning, she shook her head. “I have thought of just going up to him as the `pigtailed girl' and telling him I hate him and to just stay away from me, but I doubt that would work.”
Noriko nodded. “I can figure that one out. He would just say that the `foul sorcerer Saotome had enchanted his 'pigtailed goddess' so you couldn't express your true feelings.' Was that about what you had in mind?”
Her expression sour, Ranma nodded. “I'm starting to think the only way I'm going to get him off my back is to get a restraining order. You know, one of those `don't get any closer than a dozen meters' or something like that. I doubt that would stop him from harassing me, but at least I could get have him arrested if he violated the order.”
The blonde sighed. “I hope it doesn't come to that. You might just have to live with it until you can go to University. If you're going to medical school, I doubt that he will be going to the same college.”
The redhead hung her head. “I'm just getting tired of fighting him. When I first met him there was at least some challenge, but I've advanced faster than he has. He's no challenge at all anymore. If things keep going the way they have I could end up hurting him badly. When I want to be a healer, I'd feel really bad about that.”
“I had a thought,” Noriko said. “If Kuno won't accept the truth, maybe you need to stop telling the truth.”
“What do you mean?”
“I know you don't like lying,” Noriko began. “I was just thinking that some kind of deception might be needed. Maybe we could work out a lie that Kuno could accept.”
“What did you have in mind,” asked the redhead.
The plan was beginning to evolve in Noriko's mind. She said, “Maybe you could do the Ranko/Ranma dodge. The difference would be you'd tell Kuno that Ranko is your twin sister.”
Ranma nodded. “Even if I don't like lying, it might be worth a try. Before I try to think too much about that I need to settle things with the Amazons. After them I need to confront the Tendos and my parents. Depending on how that turns out, I may end up leaving Nerima or even Japan completely. If that happens, then none of the rest of it matters.”
Noriko nodded. “You have a point. I was thinking that we would go to Nekohanten in the afternoon to catch them between lunch and dinner rushes. Depending on how long it takes there we could plan on going to the Tendo dojo in the evening. On the Kuno problem, I'll keep thinking about it. Maybe I can come up with a way to make him accept the truth.”
She let out a sigh. “I have the hotel room booked through tomorrow night. If things don't go well with the Tendos and your parents, we can come back and stay here tomorrow night. We should take our stuff with us. If things do work out, we'll spend the night at the Tendo place and I can return the keys to the hotel the next day.”
Ranma shook her head. “If things don't work out with the Tendos and my parents, I guess I'll be going back to China. Lo Shen said the village there would welcome me. My problem with that is that I'm not sure if that's what I want. I do want to be a doctor, but I don't know if I want to do it in a place like the village. Well I guess I'll think about it on Monday.”
When she got up from the table she said, “Before we head up to the room I want go to the library. I'm going to use one of their public computers to send Po Shen an email. I want to let her know we got here safely and that we're getting ready to confront Cologne and her group.”
The blonde chuckled at that. “That should be good. Lo Shen can call the Joketsuzoku and let them know that we were practically right under their noses for three whole weeks. I think that will give them their opportunity to `tweak the noses' of their sister tribe.”
Ranma grinned. “That's what I was thinking.”
She got up and headed out, Noriko went up to the room to study some scrolls. If things didn't work out for Ranma with the Tendos, she wasn't going to stay there. She would likely have to call a mover to clear out her stuff as there was a lot in the way of books, scrolls and the like. Some of the stuff she had accumulated could be disposed of now that she was female.
The next morning at the Nekohanten everyone was bustling around getting the restaurant ready for lunch. While passing by the office, Shampoo could hear the sound of a phone ringing. She looked in and found the sound was coming from what looked like a cell phone with an unusually large antenna. She picked up the phone and said, “This is the Nekohanten. How I help you?”
A familiar voice spoke in Mandarin from the phone, “Shan Pu? This is Elder Soap. Go get Kho Lon. I need to talk to her.”
The purple haired girl set the phone on the desk. Elder Soap was a grumpy old woman even worse than her Great Grandmother. She went to the door of the office and in Mandarin she called out, “Great Grandmother, Elder Soap is calling on the phone for you.”
The Elder came in bouncing on her staff. The young warrior was frequently amazed at how fast one of those elders could move in that manner. The girl was irritated when she was ordered, “Get back to work and close the door behind you.”
When the door was closed the old woman said, “Soap? Kho Lon here. Do you have some news of Saotome and the old thief?”
“News? You could say that.” The younger of the Elders sounded seriously annoyed. “Just a short while ago I got a call from elder Lo Shen of our sister tribe.”
Cologne had a sinking feeling. “What did she tell you?”
The elder in China said, “It would seem that we were premature in congratulating ourselves over denying the old thief his goal.”
The older of the elders suppressed the urge to groan. “Do we know what his goal was?”
“Oh yes.” The younger elder said, “From what Lo Shen told me, the old man's goal was exactly what he told you it was. He wanted to get some Nyaniichuan water. The problem with our approach to the problem was that we were protecting the wrong places. It seems that eighteen years ago, when he was in the area, the old man collected some of the cursed water and hid bottles of it in caves around the area here.”
She continued, “One of our patrols, led by Ei Linah, had them, but young Saotome put up a battle aura so strong that the warriors didn't think they could beat her. They let the pair pass. We set patrols to try and intercept them when they passed through on the way back but they evaded all of our efforts.”
Cologne asked, “Did Lo Shen say what the old thief wanted with the water?”
“Listen to this,” directed Soap. “That little gnome of a man who has been a thorn in our sides for so long is now a pretty blond haired girl. I'm told she looks to be about 19 years old. For her new body, she had taken the name Tendo Noriko. She's normal sized.”
The older of the Elders sighed. “I would guess Lo Shen only called because young Son-in-Law and the new girl had already left the village.”
“Oh, more than that,” Soap said. “They're already back in Japan, well out of our reach. While they were here in China they were staying at Lo Shen's house.”
Cologne sighed again. “I'm guessing that Lo Shen is having a good laugh about this right now.”
“You can be sure of that,” replied the elder in China. “If you were thinking to start searching for them, maybe at the home of the Tendos, don't bother. Young Saotome told them that he and the Tendo girl plan to visit you after lunch today. I gather they want to have a chat about Shan Pu's pursuit of the boy.”
The Elder in Tokyo rubbed her forehead with her fingers. “I'm beginning to think that this venture is becoming more costly than the possible return. My great granddaughter may be infatuated with the boy, but I'm pretty sure the methods she used to approach to him have ruined any chance she might have had with him. I will admit that we mishandled the boy from the start.”
“Yes,” agreed the younger of the elders. “We badly misjudged the boy.”
Cologne said, “I will try to salvage something out of this if I can. However, I suspect that we may have to just give up on him. That will probably mean moving back to the village because I can't imagine that Shan Pu will want to give up if the boy is still anywhere close by.”
“I begin to question whether your great granddaughter is a suitable candidate for leadership,” the younger of the Elders commented. “She is letting her heart rule when she should be listening to her head instead.”
The Matriarch said, “I can agree that she needs to do a lot of growing up before she is ready to be a leader. That, of course, is assuming that she lives long enough to gain the needed maturity. I worry that her impetuousness may someday lead her into making a fatal error.”
“That would be a waste.” Soap said, “Even if she's not ready for leadership, Shan Pu is still an excellent warrior.”
“Indeed.” Cologne said, “I may not always show it, but I'm quite fond of the child and even proud. I'm not happy for what leaving without her airen will do to her but I don't see much choice. I'm still curious to hear what arguments they will offer. After all, it wouldn't do to give in too easily.”
“Ha!” Elder Soap felt real amusement for the first time in a while. “True. I don't hold much hope for the situation, but it would be best to salvage what you can (if anything.)”
They hung up.
That same morning Ranma called the Spell Book to ask if she could get her first lesson on the clothing spell in the morning. Although Ms. Watanabe grumbled about the timing, she was willing.
Ranma went with two girl outfits and one spare outfit of male clothing in her stuff space. She reasoned that before she could combine a sex change with a clothing change she should practice just swapping outfits. She was wearing one of her boy outfits on the chance she didn't master the technique right away.
Noriko went along. When they got to the store the store owner looked over the pretty blonde girl. “Happi is that really you?”
The girl's eyes went wide. “Aomori, is that you?”
In unison they both said, “You look so different.”
The blonde laughed and said, “Please call me Noriko now. For all intents and purposes, Happosai is dead.”
The other woman nodded. “The same can be said for Aomori. You should call me Atchica now.”
The blonde chuckled and said, “Since you look older than I do now, you can call me `Nori-Chan' if you like.”
Ms. Watanabe smiled. “As you wish, Nori-Chan. When Ranma told me about her traveling companion I thought it had to be you. I'll have to confess, this," she waved her hand up and down in the new girl's direction, "seems a little extreme.”
Noriko smiled back. “Actually this is what I've been trying to achieve all along.”
The older sorceress took a step back. “What?”
The young woman looked like she was enjoying dropping bombshells on her old friend. “You see I was born female and changed to male by a spell when I was a baby. I've been trying to get back to being female for 290 some years.”
The sorceress stepped forward and gave Noriko a light slap to the back of her head. “You know you might have achieved that goal sooner if you had asked for help.”
A look of shock came to the blonde woman's face. “Are you saying you knew a way to break the curse that was on me?”
“Well, no,” the sorceress admitted. “But if you had asked, I could have worked on it. I bet I could have found something.”
Noriko shook her head. “It's more complicated than you think. If you had just broken the spell, I'd have turned into an old, and very quickly dead, woman. It had to be something like Nyaniichuan that would make me young as well as female.”
With a shrug Ms. Watanabe said, “Well, what's done is done. You've finally did what you were trying to do.”
Ranma had to give her input. “She almost didn't. In her old body he wasn't able to absorb ki anymore. I was able to transfer some of mine but his body was resisting it. In another week that resistance would have gotten so strong that there would have been nothing I could do to keep him alive.”
The blonde stepped over to the redhead and took her hands. She looked into the shorter girl's eyes and told her, “I know. I don't know if I will ever be able to adequately thank you for saving my life. It is my hope that by helping you achieve your goals, I may at least partially repay you.” She leaned over and kissed the younger girl on the forehead.
The shorter girl blushed. Part of her wanted to shout “What did you do that for?” Even in her embarrassment, though she found that she liked the emotions the kiss had evoked. After a moment she said, “That's Ok. You know, `A martial artist must protect the weak' and all that.”
Noriko wasn't fooled. She saw the look in Ranma's eyes. She didn't let anything show on her face but inside she was jumping up and down, shouting, “Yes! I have a chance!”
“Ahem!” The two girls stepped apart and looked over at Ms. Watanabe.
The sorceress said, “Sorry to intrude on your moment, but we do have a lesson that Ranma needs to take. Before we go back to the workshop I want to show you something in my office.”
As they followed her, the older woman explained, “Ranma, that room you described where you have the switch to change between your male and female bodies is what we call a `metaphor' in the magic trade. In truth it is something that you created in your own mind to make your changing easier. The fact that you have the control for the transformation and the timer for your curse is why I called it your control room.”
She opened a door and ushered them in. The room was a trifle small and normally there wouldn't have been any place for guests to sit but the sorceress had brought in a couple of stools. On the desk there was a fairly up-to-date computer. She pointed to the screen and said, “What I have on here right now is a fantasy game. I don't know how well acquainted you are with computer games, but in this type of game the character that represents you is capable of carrying more than a real human being can lift.”
She pointed to an item on the screen. “In the game it is simply called the inventory but you could compare it to your `stuff space.' The character can use the inventory to carry things like weapons, armor, food, magic items and other things. What I'm suggesting is that you play around with this for a little while to sort of get a feel for it. When you have done that you should be able to put something similar in your metaphor of a control room. I think that would greatly help with the use of the clothing swap spell.”
Ranma began moving the mouse pointer around the screen. At some points she stopped and asked questions before clicking anything. Ms. Watanabe pointed out, “In your metaphor you could touch the screen instead of using the mouse or just will it. I think it would be faster if you just will it.”
After playing with the game for a while she felt she had a good feel for it. She nodded then closed her eyes and brought up the mental image of the control room. Then she exerted her mental control so that the pedestal with the switch was transformed into a desk. The switch remained but now it was mounted on the desktop next to a computer monitor screen. Then she exerted her will and brought up an inventory of the contents of her stuff space.
She allowed herself to feel a sense of satisfaction when it worked. She saw her clothes, her notebook, a pen and some other stuff displayed just like it was in the computer game. For the moment this was all she had. She still didn't know what to do with it. She did note that she could move things around the screen in her mind by using her will. She could arrange the individual clothing items into outfits or do a mix and match.
When she opened her eyes she said, “Ok, I've got the inventory working on the contents of my stuff space. I've even noticed a couple things I didn't remember having there.”
“That's good,” encouraged the sorceress. “From now on by using this method you should always be aware of every item in your stuff space and be able to access it instantly. For the moment that is all you have but you did that very quickly. I begin to think that the spell I used to give you control of your transformations also awakened your own magic.”
Awakened her magic? That sounded good. She remembered the feeling she had during the casting of the spell to change the curse trigger. There wasn't just the sight of the lights, there were feelings too. She tried to tune into those feeling the same way she did with her ki senses. Yes! There was definitely something there.
Ms. Watanabe was watching. She said, “I see you've started to feel the manna, the magical energy that is all around us. It is stronger in some things than others but you can draw on it from the general environment. Everyone draws a minimal amount all the time without being aware of it. The designs I draw on the floor and the chanting are focusing devices. They allow the manna to be formed into the proper shapes and into the energy types that will be most effective to accomplish your purpose. Your will is the primary tool to accomplish these things.”
The sorceress said, "Before you try doing that, lets go to the workshop where we can all sit in comfortable chairs." At that urging they got up and left the office, walking down the hall to the door that the older woman unlocked with her key. Shortly they were seated at the worktable and settled comfortably.
When she felt ready, Ranma closed her eyes and tried to focus her will on drawing in the energy. When she did that there was a sense of indefinable something flowing into her body. The sorceress said, “Yes, you're doing it. Don't draw too fast or you could injure yourself.”
After a moment the older woman said, “Good, you have enough. Concentrate on the manna being a shade of light blue with a feeling of silky smoothness.” A moment later she told the redhead, “Now will the manna to form a coating on your skin all over.”
She watched with a critical eye. After a moment she said, “Good! Now you need to look into your inventory and select an outfit. Charge it and the clothes you are wearing with more of the mana then give the command. You choose the word to use.”
In the redhead's mind she selected an outfit of a Chinese pantsuit in light blue, complete with shoes and undergarments. In the metaphor of the control room the selected outfit was highlighted on the screen as well the current outfit of pants and red silk shirt with boxers and tank top. When she felt the items were charged as they should be, she mentally thrust the word, “switch” at the screen.
There was a sensation like a wind that impossibly seemed to blow on her from all directions at the same time. When she opened her eyes she looked down and found herself dressed in the pale blue pantsuit. Underneath she was wearing panties and a bra. She took a deep breath because she felt like she had expended a fair amount of energy on the switch.
“Amazing!” Ms. Watanabe was really impressed. “Child... Ranma, you are a magical prodigy. I've never seen anyone get it on the first try before.”
Ranma was still trying to get used to the idea she had magically swapped out her clothing for the outfit in stuff space. She did register what was said and asked, “Prodigy means I'm really smart, right?”
The graying shopkeeper nodded. “That's right dear, very smart. Tell me do you learn martial arts techniques quickly?”
The redhead nodded. “Yeah. Mostly I can learn a technique just by seeing it once or twice. If I don't get it perfect the first time I try it, I'll adjust and get it right on the second try. By the fourth time I do it I can usually improve the technique or create variations.”
“I see,” the sorceress said.
Ranma elaborated, “There's this guy I know named Ryoga. He was taught how to throw a ki blast using ki based on depression. It's called Shi Shi Hokodan. It's a pretty powerful attack. After seeing it, I figured out how to do it myself. The problem was that I couldn't make a strong attack of it because I wasn't depressed enough.”
“What did you do?”
She shrugged. “I created a variation that used ki based on confidence. I have a lot of confidence so my attack was even stronger than Ryoga's depression-based one. I called my version Moku Takabisha.”
She frowned a moment. “Since then I've found out that using ki based on emotions can be risky. When you use it, the emotion is reinforced. If Ryoga ends up using his depression attack too much he could get so depressed that he might kill himself. With my attack I could get overconfident, underestimate opponents and make mistakes. I've since learned to use a version of my attack that uses pure ki with no emotional base. It's harder to learn, but worth it.”
Ms. Watanabe nodded with a smile. “That explains it. If you were such a quick study in just one area such as martial arts it could have been an idiot-savant kind of talent.”
“Hey!” Ranma protested being called an idiot-anything.
The sorceress continued. “Because you have shown yourself capable of learning quickly in more than one area, that more likely means you are a genuine genius. How are you at school?”
The redhead replied, “Well, before I used to get bored in class all the time and fell asleep. Since the wedding didn't work I've been paying attention and doing much better.”
The older woman gave the young one an appraising look. “By `much better' do you mean soaking up knowledge like a sponge? Learning new concepts in subjects like math and science as if you already knew them and were just being reminded when the subject comes up in class?”
A quizzical look on her face, Ranma considered that. “I guess so.”
The sorceress smiled. “I think you will do well as a white mage and as a doctor. I see a lot of potential.”
Her tone turned more businesslike. “Well, you've learned the technique. As in most things the first time is the hardest. What you will need to do now is to practice it - a lot. Right now the technique takes more effort than if you just got the alternate clothing out of stuff space and changed clothes the old fashioned way. After you have done it enough times you won't need any great concentration to do it. In fact the time will come that this will be the easier way for you to change clothes.”
Easier? Ranma felt skeptical about that. She may have learned the technique easily, but the effort required to execute it was considerable. It would have been easier and quicker to pull the clothes out of stuff space and use chestnut fist speed to take off the old clothes and put on the new. She kept that opinion to herself. Instead she resolved to practice when she had free time.
She closed her eyes and used the technique to change back to her male clothing. After doing that she changed to male form. After adjusting the clothing to his taller form the boy said, “That was interesting. I think I'm going to need a lot of practice if I'm going to get to where I can do the clothing change at the same time as the sex change.”
Ms. Watanabe nodded. “Keep working at it. Even though you learned this technique in one lesson, I'd still like you to keep coming back. There are some other useful techniques I'd like to teach you along with general magic practice. You definitely have the aptitude.”
She paused in thought. “I'm going to put together a selection of books on magic that will give you a good grounding in the subject. They should teach you what you need so you can do magic without blowing yourself up.”
“Blowing myself up?” That didn't sound too good.
The sorceress nodded with a grin. “Now that you know how to draw manna and do some limited manipulation, you need to be careful. You may feel the urge to experiment, but you should fight that urge. Magic is something that you can do a lot of harm either to yourself or to people around you if you don't know what you're doing.”
When Ranma looked unconvinced she explained, “If it had taken you a month to learn the clothing swap I wouldn't worry. Since you learned the technique in one session it shows you have the power and talent to do magic now. With the level of power and talent you display it is urgent that you learn the basic disciplines as soon as possible.”
She paused as a thought occurred to her. She asked, “You know how you like to improve or modify martial arts techniques?”
“Don't try that with magic!” She warned, “When you know more about it, you can experiment. With martial arts you know the 'rules,' for lack of a better term. You know the kinds of moves that can work and you know what your body is capable of. You should also have an idea of what your opponent can take. At this time you lack that kind of knowledge of magic."
She continued, "For now stick to the technique as you just learned it, no changes or deviations. Until you know what things are dangerous, until you know what not to do, you can't play around. Playing around with the clothing swap could destroy the clothes instead of exchange them or it could kill you.”
“I get the point.” The pigtailed boy was getting annoyed. It was true he could be reckless at times, but he could be cautious when the situation called for it. “This is like trying to drive a car when all you know how to do is start the engine, right? (That's pretty much all I know about driving.)”
The sorceress sat back in her chair with her eyes wide. “That's actually not a bad comparison. With a car you could figure out some things, but if you try to drive without learning how, you end up crashing and either hurting or killing yourself and maybe others as well. For this comparison you should substitute a truck loaded with dangerous cargo, something that might blow up if you make a mistake.”
“Right,” Ranma confirmed. “For now limit my magic just to what I already learned. No experiments.”
“Good.” The older woman said, “Plan on coming here tomorrow, preferably in the evening. Plan on a one hour session.”
Ranma turned to Noriko and said, “It's getting close to lunch time. Did you want to go to the Nekohanten and eat there before we have our talk with them or get something before we go there?”
Noriko thought about it for a moment. “While they do make excellent ramen I think we should eat elsewhere. It would help to avoid any hostilities during our meal. Even the chance of getting the food for free doesn't make up for the attitude of the staff.”
The pigtailed boy nodded. “Yeah, you've got a point.” Even if Shampoo were likely to give them food for free and extra portions as well, eating elsewhere would avoid getting glomped. Hopefully it would also avoid getting knives and chains thrown at him by Mousse.
It was for that reason that they went to a teriyaki place a few blocks from the bookstore. The food was good but not exceptional. A plus was the fact that it was reasonably priced and plentiful.
Author's Note: Well, that's another chapter. I have things happening in my life right now that might prevent me posting chapters to multiple stories at the same time. I have less time to work on my writing. I'm still going to try to post at least one chapter per week if I can. I may alternate the stories that I post for.
Well, Ranma has learned how to magically change clothing, but needs to practice. The Amazons have been informed of how they were fooled. Ranma and Noriko are at least thinking about how to deal with Kuno. In the next chapter they will talk to Kho Lon and try to settle the matter with Shan Pu. Stay tuned.