Chapter 0 -- Prologue
"Okaasan? Otousan??" a child's voice cried out as he tried to look around him. It was so dark... He was scared. Otousan said it wasn't manly to be scared, that a martial artist should not be scared of anything, but he was. He started to cry, soft little sobs of heart-wrecking fear.
His child mind tried to rationalise what had happened but it couldn't. One moment, he had been sitting down with his Otousan and Okaasan when suddenly the earth seemed to shake under them. His Okaasan had screamed out his name, reaching for him before the ceiling had fallen on her. Her hand was right next to him, the only thing he could see that comforted him. Slowly, he reached out to it, touching it. It was so much bigger than him, and it made him feel safer already. Dried streaks of blood ran down her hand. How long had it been since he had been trapped like this? He could not remember.
Suddenly, he heard something moving up above. He jerked his head up to look at the low ceiling; so low that he could not even stand up. He waited for a moment or two, hope shining in his eyes. Maybe someone had come to rescue him? The sounds continued before finally the ceiling above him was lifted up. He looked up hopefully into the face of the man who had rescued him.
Happosai sighed as he looked at the young child in front of him. True, he had been looking for revenge when he had finally broken free of that accursed cave but he would never had wished for their deaths. Yet, that earthquake had settled everything for him in a cruel twist of fate. He looked back down at the boy in front of him; who was looking at him with eyes filled with hope; an emotion he was not used to seeing in other people. He felt his heart soften, it was a miracle the boy had survived.
"What is your name, child?" he said as he started to drag the boy out.
"Ranma," he said before looking around; confused as he searched for any signs of his Okaasan or Otousan.
"Ranma," Happosai said to himself. The son of his former student Genma no doubt. He turned to look back at the little boy who seemed to be looking around for something. The least he could do was take care of the boy and make him the heir to the school of Anything Goes, he owed his former departed student that much at least.
--11 years later-
"I'M A GIRL!?!!?!?!?!" Ranma-chan said, looking down at him-uh...herself in disbelief. She put her hand to her chest and felt what were definitely breasts, causing her right eye to start twitching.
"Young customer fall into nyannichuan, very tragic story. Now whoever fall in there take body of young girl," the guide explained nervously, some customers tended to take their anger out on him after all. He hoped this customer wasn't one of them.
He noticed that the male-turned-female customer wasn't listening to him, but instead seemed to be frozen in shock. "Young customer?" he asked, waving a hand in front of Ranma-chan. When he received no response, he tried waving harder. "Young customer??"
"Sweeeeeeto!" Happosai yelled as he clutched onto the girl's bosom. He didn't quite know where she had come from, but then again he didn't care.
The guide noticed that the boy-turned-girl had started trembling violently as soon as the old man had glomped onto her. He started backing away when he saw the look on the girl's face.
Happosai looked up as the girl he was currently fondling started to shake violently. *Hm, must be from my manly touch,* he thought to himself as he started to nuzzle himself deeper into her bosom.
That was the last straw that broke the camel's back as a black ki aura sprang up about Ranma-chan.
"DIE OLD MAN!!"
Cologne watched in interest as the sounds and sights of several explosions came from Jusenkyo. It seemed like there was one heck of a fight going on there right now.
--2 weeks later--
Tsukino Ikuko looked at the postcard, and almost wept at the words written on the back of it. It was amazing how such simple words like "Coming back from China. ~Ranma" could bring so much joy into her. Her nephew was coming back, her favourite nephew was coming back. Well, actually her only nephew.
She had always been partial to Ranma, even though her moron of a brother, Genma, had fathered him. But then, it seemed that his mother's traits were more dominant in Ranma.
She beamed as she went to share the good news with Usagi and Shingo that their cousin was coming back.
In the midst of a Shinto shrine, a black-haired girl slumbered. And as she slept, she dreamed. Not just any ordinary dream, for she could sometimes had dreams of the future, of what would be. And this was one such time.
In her dream, she saw three figures locked in combat; the knight, the lady and the angel. And the angel threw fire from heaven down upon the earth, laughing as he did so. And she watched as the knight battled himself, and the lady watched from beyond.
Just as quickly as the dream had begun, so did it end and Rei awoke, cold sweat beading on her brow, the memories of the dream fading quickly. Despite her best efforts, she could not shake the sense of foreboding that had accompanied the dream.
It was a typical day in Juuban, typical as in there were several daimons running around, battling the Sailor Senshi and trying to suck out people's heart crystals. It was all going according to plan, Setsuna thought. But even so, deep inside she couldn't help feeling nervous for this was easily the most critical part of the plan, the path to the future was reaching a juncture and if even one thing went wrong... She shook her head, not wanting to think of the consequences.
She frowned as she noticed a stranger walk into Juuban. While she didn't take note of everyone who came into Juuban, it was just that he was...unusual to say the least. He was tall, and what some people might have called handsome or cute, with a long pig-tail trailing down to his waist. He walked with a lithe grace that Setsuna had only seen in a few people before, the best warriors of the Moon Kingdom had walked with that same sort of grace. However, there was an aura about him, a swirling mess of...something, she didn't know what. Nor did she know how she knew there was an aura around him, just that there was, she could feel it.
The boy was dangerous, she knew that at least. Dangerous to the plan.
He was an odd sight on the streets of Tokyo, a male in his late teens dressed in a casual black chinese shirt with pants to match, compared to the other more fashionably dressed people on the streets of Juuban. Or maybe not such an odd sight after all, for Juuban was home to the Sailor Senshi, sailor suited warriors of love.
Ranma smiled as he looked about the town. Juuban hadn't changed much since the last time he had been here. Or at least not as much as he feared it would have. He yawned, stretching his muscles as he felt the warm sun on him. It was nice to be back home, or at least back with family he thought. He hoped Auntie Tsukino had received the post card he had sent from China, since he wasn't quite sure if he had gotten the address right.
He walked along the fence, ignoring the strange looks he was getting from the other people on the street, balancing his duffel bag perfectly behind him, as well as the strange wrapped bundle he carried. He frowned as he tried to remember how to get to the Tsukino home, after all, it had been 11 years since he had last gone there so his memory was slightly rusty. *Let's see,* he thought to himself. *The guy said to take a right at the cross-roads, a left at the McDonald's, go straight past the departmental store and then take a left.... Or was that take a left at the departmental store then go straight?*
It was no use denying it, he was hopelessly lost. *I hope Ryouga's condition's not contagious,* he thought for the briefest of moment, and felt silly that he had. He sighed, no sense in putting it off. He needed to get directions again. So, it was with that thought, he began looking around the street.
Hmm, nobody seemed to be around. Strange that for such a big city, there were so little people on the street. *Hmm, I wonder if there's anybody I can ask for directions in that shrine?* And it was with that thought in mind that he bounded up the stairs to the shrine, three or four at a time.
"Anyone about?" he said, raising his voice, as the shrine seemed to be deserted as well. He waited for a moment, hoping for a reply or for someone to come out and help him.
Rei grumbled as she came out into the open, wondering what idiot it was that had shouted. Normally she would have been out fighting along with the others, if not for the fact that she was sick and Luna and Usagi had convinced her to stay at home to recover first. So she had been reading the sacred fire for hints of the future when she had been rudely interrupted. Or at least she had been trying to read the sacred fire.
" Anyone??" Ranma yelled just a little bit louder. *Funny,* he thought. *I was sure there would be people at this shrine.*
"I'm coming already!" Rei snapped as she walked out into the open. With her temperament, it was no wonder she was the Senshi of Mars. She'd teach that impatient person a thing or two, hollering in a sacred temple like that. Who'd he think he was? The Prime minister? Her grumbling died however, as she noticed the person standing in the courtyard for the first time.
Blue eyes, lean muscles that even his clothes couldn't hide. Almost immediately, little hearts began popping up in her eyes as she looked at him.
For some reason, Ranma had the urge to run as he watched the black-haired miko stare at him. He blinked, were those hearts appearing in her eyes? Nah, he thought to himself, he must have been overly tired from his journey to Juuban. Just to be sure, he rubbed his eyes and looked again. For some reason they were still there. Well, he had seen weirder things after all.
"Excuse me, but do you know where I can find the Tsukino home?" Ranma asked.
"Tsukino? As in Tsukino Usagi?" Rei asked, frowning, wondering what the cute stranger in front of her wanted with Usagi.
" Uh, no. As in Tsukino Ikuko," Ranma said, a bit sheepishly.
"Tsukino Ikuko?" Rei repeated. Wasn't that the name of Usagi's mother? Could the stranger in front of her be some long-lost relative of Usagi's? Nah, she thought, giggling to herself, that was just plain silly of her. Besides, the stranger in front of her bore no resemblance to the clumsy Usagi.
She realised that the boy was staring at her strangely, and regained control of herself. Smiling, she happily told him, if he was visiting the Tsukino's, maybe she would be able to see more of him later.
That was when it happened, a daimon, searching for easy prey to take their heart crystals, and trying to avoid the Sailor Senshi, burst into the shrine. She viewed the two teenager's in front of her, figuring them ripe for the taking. A miko, and some wandering vagabond was what she saw, instead of the deadly truth that lay beneath each.
Ranma sighed as he viewed the demon. *How did they ever manage to catch up me?* he wondered. No matter though, he would just have to persuade the demon to leave. "Look, what do you want?" he said, slightly annoyed as he moved himself in front of Rei. "If you're looking for Happosai, I suggest you look for him yourself. I don't know where he is, and I don't care," Ranma said, giving the demon the same speech he had given all the other demons.
"??" The daimon blinked. What was this strange boy talking about? Who was this Happosai for one thing? Briefly, she wondered if insanity would affect the quality of the heart crystals. But she quickly dismissed the thought, after all a fractured heart crystal was better than no heart crystal at all. "Hohoho, I am after your heart crystal humans, surrender peacefully and I promise it won't hurt a bit!" she laughed insanely, twirling her ribbon slightly as she did so.
"... Looks like I'll have to this the hard way," Ranma muttered to himself, keeping his voice low so that no one else could hear him. Rei could however, due to her current close proximity with Ranma.
He closed his eyes and raised his right hand, the index and middle held out. And what happened next nearly caused Rei to faint in surprise. Strong, spiritual energy began gathering within the tips of his two fingers. Mumbling under his breath, he began a rapid motion with his hands, weaving through the air leaving trails of spirit energy behind. And through it all, Rei saw a ward slowly take form, a simple ward though she had never before seen it's kind.
Ranma eyes shot open, and Rei could see that for a moment they were glowing with power. For a moment. "SEAL!" Ranma yelled, as the chinese character for 'seal' appeared before him, flashing with energy before flying and attaching itself to the daimon's forehead.
The daimon roared in pain as the character afixed itself to her head, and there was a bright burst of light that lit up the surrounding area. When the light faded, Ranma was surprised to see that the demon was still there, although she now seemed to be totally enraged.
"YOU!! That hurt!" the daimon screeched, as she jumped to attack Ranma.
" Hm, looks like I'll have to do this the old fashioned way," Ranma said, raising his arm to block the demon's attack, before retaliating with a kick to the stomach, sending the demon flying back.
Rei watched in amazement as the fight began. The strange boy was easily dodging most of the daimon's attack, and landing a few punches and kicks every now and then. Only problem was, the daimon didn't seem to be hurting from those few attacks. She watched in awe, a small corner of her mind reminding her that she should probably take this opportunity to go off and transform into Sailor Mars but somehow, she couldn't take her eyes off the young male as he avoided the daimon's attacks with a grace that seemed more suited in a ballroom than in a fight.
Ranma smirked as he continued to dodge the demon's clumsy attacks. This was pathetic, did she really think she could even hurt him with that stupid ribbon. That point however was quickly proved as her ribbon managed to snake around his leg, ensaring it in a tight grip. *Oh shit...* he thought before she started swinging him around like he was a toy doll.
The daimon smiled, humiliate her would he? Attack her would he? She'd show this insignificant little worm what a big mistake that was. With hardly any hesitation, she swung the boy into a tree, breaking it with the force of the impact, and continued swinging him into another, breaking that as well. When finally, several trees had been mowed down in this fashion, she released the boy in mid-swing, causing him to crash into yet another tree. No matter if he died, she would simply get the heart crystal from the girl instead.
Rei stared at the stranger in horror, slumped down on the ground as he was. Why hadn't she changed into Sailor Mars when she had the chance? All because she had been too entranced by watching the stranger fight. And now he was dead because she hadn't. Tears in her eyes, she looked at the daimon angrily. While she may not have been able to save the boy, this daimon would no longer cause any others harm. Not caring the slightest if anyone around was watching, she took out her transformation pen and started to recite the ancient speech that would transform her into Sailor Mars. "Mars star pow--" she stopped suddenly, her words caught in her throat.
For the boy was rising, a thin trail of blood leaking down from the corner of his lips. But other than that, he appeared physically fine. But his eyes... they were burning with an inner fire.
"Is that all you've got?" Ranma asked, smirking and arrogantly.
" H--how??" the daimon stuttered, almost stumbling over her words as she stepped back. The human standing in front of her had survived such a tremondous beating. Or was he even human? Panic swept over her as she turned to escape.
She had no such chance as Ranma grabbed her ribbon and preventing her from running off. "Oh no," he said conversationally. "It's pay back time.
And with that, he started swinging her about the same way she had swung him about, in a circle over his head. He was swinging her so fast that Rei could feel the huge breeze that was produced from his actions. Finally, he seemed to tire and let go, catapulting her into the sky.
"Have fun in Antartica!" Ranma yelled after her disappearing figure. He wiped his hands together in a satisfactory manner. That demon wouldn't be bothering him anytime soon!
"H...how!?!?" Rei couldn't believe her eyes. The boy in front of her had just managed to take on a daimon single-handedly. And won too. It was impossible, could he be another daimon?
"Sorry about that. You're probably not used to this kind of excitement," Ranma said. " If you could please tell me how to get to the Tsukino family?"
"...Go straight for two blocks and then turn right..." she said numbly, still in shock.
"Domo arigato," Ranma said, bowing slightly as he thanked her. And then with a flash, he was gone.
"What do you think he wanted to go to Usagi's house for?" Makoto asked, as she turned to her friends.
"I don't know, besides why did Usagi want us to come over to her house for anyway?" Rei said irritatedly, being sick really caused her to be short-tempered. Of course, she was also short-tempered when not sick.
"She wanted us to meet her cousin or something," Minako said, idly wondering if this cousin of Usagi's was handsome or cute at least.
"You don't suppose..." Ami suggested, trailing off as a thought occurred to her.
The four senshi looked at each other, before running the rest of the short distance to Usagi's house.