A great wind blew past the solitary figure as he looked out over the city
below him. He stood on a grassy knoll just outside the city limits; earlier in
the day it would have been a crowded picnic spot. Now the area was deserted,
but if anyone had been around they would have seen a young man here, about
sixteen or seventeen years old. He had dark hair marked by an odd streak of
blueish-green in his bangs, and wore an ornate headband. A heavy backpack lay
on the ground at his side and he wore a thick, hooded cloak about his shoulders
... it gave him an almost Arabian appearance as he gazed out over the city.
Even his eyes were unusual. As he watched the town below him, one would've been
reminded of the predatory stare of a snake. That is, if anyone had been there
to see him.
Another great gust swept past him, and so absorbed was he in his own
thoughts that he wondered briefly if it was merely the wind or if it was time
itself howling past him, threatening to drag him away with it as it passed.
Ultimately it didn't matter; he was completely indifferent to both of these
So, he thought to himself. This is the area of Tokyo called Nerima. My
travels have finally brought me here. He smiled to himself. Are you still
alive? he asked a distant memory. It had been such a long, long journey ...
would it at last come to an end now, or would he continue on and achieve his
ultimate goal?
His smile widening, he repeated the phrase to himself once again. It was
such a common expression, yet it meant so much more to him ... it had kept him
going through his seemingly endless travels, through hundreds of battles
against more opponents than he could ever hope to remember. The phrase was his
epitaph, his trademark ... his very reason for living.
"Time will tell."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Masterwork Productions presents...

Ranma 1/2: The Sands of Time

Based on characters created by Rumiko Takahashi
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Part One: The Messengers Arrive

The following afternoon, the clock struck just as it did every other day.
And just like every other day, the student body of Furinkan High School exited
en masse and made their way toward home. And all of them used the sidewalk
except one ... just like every other day.
But today, there was something else. Something different.
"You're sure quiet today, Ranma," Akane observed as she walked along beside
(and slightly below) him. "I don't think I've heard you say a word since we got
to school. Even when Miss Hinako yelled at you, you just sat there like a
dunce." She turned toward him with a smirk as she thought of invoking the one
thing that she knew bothered him. "Cat got your tongue?"
Ranma continued walking along on the fence, staring up at the sky as if
lost in a daydream. "I've had a lot on my mind," he mumbled distractedly.
Akane blinked in surprise, then turned her head with a haughty snort.
"Right, like I'd believe that one." After a moment she turned back and peered
skyward, trying to see if Ranma was looking at anything special. Just clouds.
A little miffed by Ranma's distraction, Akane decided to fight silence
with silence. However, she was immediately sabotaged.
"Hi, Ran-Chan!" Ukyo called out as she caught up with them. As usual she
completely ignored Akane, all her attention fixed on her beloved Ran-Chan.
Who didn't even seem to notice that she was there.
Well, at least it isn't just me, Akane thought to herself. For some reason
the thought was strangely satisfying, although she didn't know why.
Ukyo blinked, then apparently realized Akane was present and turned toward
her as the three continued walking. "What's with him?" she asked, pointing at
Ranma, who continued to watch the clouds.
"Beats me. He's been like this all day," Akane replied cooly. Out of
irritation, she turned back to Ranma and tried again. "Hey, dummy, see any CATS
up there? Like maybe a Chinese one?"

Just around the next corner, Ryoga thought to himself. It has to be just
around the next corner. Just one more turn, and I'll be looking right at
Furinkan High School. He had to stop whatever was going to happen from
happening! Whatever it was that was going to happen, anyway. But at any rate,
Ryoga was sure it had to be Ranma's fault. Because, somehow, everything always
turned out to be Ranma's fault.
Ryoga came around the next corner ... and found himself looking down
another street, which to him looked exactly the same as all the others. He
clenched his fists in frustration. All day he'd been doing this! Ever since
early this morning, he'd been running around town trying to find Furinkan High
School, ever since he'd seen...
As Ryoga stood in the street trying desperately to decide what to do next,
suddenly he caught the faint sound of a small bell jingling. He turned to try
to trace the noise...

As Ranma, Akane and Ukyo continued their walk home (with Akane determinedly
ignoring Ranma), they suddenly heard a very loud *CRASH!!* and came to a stop.
"What was that?" Ukyo wondered aloud. Akane had been concentrating so hard
on ignoring Ranma that at first she hadn't even heard anything, but now
realized what Ukyo meant.
"It sounded like it came from up ahead!" Ranma shocked them both by not
only making this exclamation, but also by jumping down from the fence and
bounding ahead, around a corner and out of sight. Akane and Ukyo hurried to
catch up.
Rounding the bend, they nearly ran into Ranma, who was just standing in the
street with a massive bead of sweat slowly making its way down the back of his
head. The two girls leaned over to look around him, and immediately saw the
source of his chagrin. Shampoo was before them, seated on her bicycle which in
turn rested atop Ryoga, who was lying in the middle of the street with the
bike's front tire firmly wedged into the middle of his face.
"Aiyaa..." Shampoo murmured as she peered down at Ryoga. "Stupid Ryoga! If
not want get hurt, don't stand in middle of street!!"
It sounded like Ryoga was trying to say something, but the bicycle wheel
was impeding his speech. Ranma sighed and walked over to the two.
"'Scuse me, Shampoo." Ranma lifted the bike off Ryoga's face. "Yo, Ryoga.
You okay?" Ryoga's response was to immediately jump up and grab Ranma by the
shirt. "Alright, Ranma!!" he shouted indignantly. "Now what have you done?!
It's one thing when you've only got yourself to worry about, but this time
you've put Akane in danger too!!"
"Huh?" was Akane's response to hearing her name spoken.
Ranma glared back at Ryoga. "What the hell are you talking abou--"
A flash, a glint of light off a metallic surface. Ranma caught a split-
second glimpse out of the corner of his eye, and it was all it took to convince
him to throw Ryoga out of the way and leap backwards.
In that instant the shaft of a spear, thrown from an intersecting street,
split the low wall behind them as it tore through the spokes of Shampoo's front
wheel. The attack left the bike pinned to the wall, and Ranma and Ryoga could
only stare at the weapon that passed through the space they both occupied just
a moment ago. Overcoming their surprise quickly, Ranma, Ryoga, Shampoo, Ukyo
and Akane all jumped up to face their assailant.
Standing about fifteen feet away was a young man who looked back at them
with an air of confidence, even arrogence. He was dressed in samurai get-up
similar to what Kuno always walked around in, and held another spear identical
to the one thrown at Ranma and company. Whatever his age, he was even larger
than Kuno, and his broad, muscular shoulders were evident even through his
shirt. His hair was covered by a bandanna that reminded Ranma of his dad,
Genma. Behind him Ranma could see two more figures, a boy and girl about their
age, of similar build and appearance and both wearing normal school uniforms.
"I KNEW somebody was watching us! You've been doing it since this morning,
haven't you! Okay, who the heck are you?!?" Ranma demanded as his friends took
up a defensive posture. The big guy with the spear answered with a question of
his own.
"Are you Ranma Saotome?" he barked.
"Who wants to know?" Ranma shot back.
His opponent took that answer to mean yes, and continued. "Then the rest of
you must be ... Ryoga Hibiki, Ukyo Kuonji, Akane Tendo, and Shampoo." Ranma
gave him a look that said, I'm warning you... and the spear-man sneered but
obliged him.
"Very well, my name is unimportant, but for the record it's Hideaki Goda.
We are martial-artists, as you claim to be. We have heard that you're also
supposed to be the best in Tokyo, maybe even all of Japan. So, we came down
here from Hokkaido to correct this little misunderstanding."
Ranma's eyes narrowed. "Oh, is that so..." he growled.
Goda abruptly thumped the shaft of his spear on the ground. "Now hear
this!!" he bellowed. "The Anything-Goes school of martial-arts is at an end!
You may call yourselves martial-artists, but we'll see how you fare in true
combat. After your group has fallen, we will destroy the Tendo School, and
ensure that your bloodline ends here!!" He smirked at Ranma one last time.
"You've been warned."
With that, the girl behind him threw something into the air, and the sky
seemed to go black for a moment. When the air cleared a moment later, the three
had vanished.
"What the heck was that about..." Akane said to nobody in particular. Ukyo
started to say something, but was interrupted by Ranma's mad laughter.
"A challenge, huh! Well, you guys can come any time! It doesn't matter!" He
clenched his fists in determination. "There's no WAY I'm gonna lose!!!"
"Yeah, yeah, we've heard it a hundred times," Akane muttered as Ranma
continued laughing madly. Pulling the spear out of the wall behind them, Ryoga
whacked him over the head with it.
"Ow! Hey, whadja do that for?!" Ranma demanded, rubbing his head.
"Ranma, you idiot!" Ryoga yelled, seething. "Weren't you listening to what
he said?! This isn't the kind of challenge you're thinking about!"
"He's got a point, sugar," Ukyo added. "He wasn't just challenging you, he
was challenging all of us! And how did that guy know who we were, anyway? I
know I'VE never seen any of them before."
"Yeah Ranma, and he said if we lose they're gonna destroy my house!!" Akane
barked with her usual absence of tact. "So that means they must also know where
it is! Got any bright ideas about that?"
"What he say about ending bloodline?" Shampoo reminded them.
"Geez, is that all you're worried about," Ranma said, brushing them off
with a wave of his hand. "Well, I can't talk for the rest of you guys, but I'm
not worried about how I'LL fare against those punks. And since they know where
Akane's house is, we'll just go there and wait for them to show up." He nodded
to himself in satisfaction, having covered all the bases.
"Wait a minute, Ranma. You don't know what's going on!" Ryoga leaned
forward, his expression grave. "I was sleeping under the old water tower this
morning, when suddenly I awakened with a strange feeling of impending danger!"
He began adding body language to his story, and his audience's attention grew
rapt. "I jumped up and quickly looked around, sensing that my enemy was near. I
heard a sound above me, and when I turned around I was greeted by a terrible
sight!" He pointed dramatically for emphasis.
"Someone had vandalized the water tower while I was asleep!!"
Ranma, Akane, Ukyo and Shampoo all fell on their faces in unison.
"So what?! Who cares about a stupid old water tower!" Ranma yelled in
Ryoga's face, grabbing him by the shirt as he jumped back to his feet. "What
does that have to do with this challenge??"
"I WAS GETTING TO THAT!!!" Ryoga shouted as he pushed Ranma away. "Anyway,
as I looked closer, I saw a message written there, for all the world to see! It
said that when the sun rose tomorrow, the Tendo school of Anything-Goes martial
arts would be no more! I've been running around ever since then, trying to warn
you of the danger to Akane and her family." Ryoga hefted the spear. "And it was
signed with a symbol ... just like this one." He indicated a strange emblem
carved into the blade of the spear.
"Hmmm..." Ranma examined the weapon intently. "Doesn't look familiar to
me." Taking hold of the weapon, he balanced it in his hands. "And aside from
that, it seems like it's just an ordinary spear." He shrugged. "I dunno, maybe
these guys are just a bunch of wanna-be's, tryin' to scare us with a spear and
a big speech. I mean we didn't see 'em do anything really special, except for
that disappearing act of theirs."
"Well at any rate, I think we'd better go tell my dad that somebody's been
going around saying they're going to destroy his house," Akane pointed out. "In
the meantime, Shampoo, why don't you show this spear to your great-grandmother?
Maybe she'll know something about it that we don't." She took the spear from
Ranma and offered it to Shampoo, who tossed her head with a derisive sniff.
"Shampoo never do favor for Akane! Kids from Hokkaido burn Tendo school to
ground, for all I care!"
"Please, Shampoo? We really need to know more about this..."
"Okay, Ranma! Shampoo do it right away!" Taking the spear, she jumped on
her bike (which was evidently quite durable) and rode off down the street, back
the way she came.
"I've gotta take care of something at my restaurant, then I'll meet you
back at Akane's house!" Ukyo waved back at them as she ran down another street.
Akane turned to Ryoga with a look of concern. "Ryoga, maybe you should go
with her," she suggested. "That way, you'll be there if those guys try to jump
us while we're separated."
Ryoga shook his head. "Akane, now more than ever, I couldn't forgive myself
if I left you alone with an unreliable jerk like Ranma!"
"Hey Ryoga, that reminds me ... what were you doing sleeping underneath a
water tower, anyway?" Ranma asked innocently. "Isn't that kinda, y'know,
dangerous for you?"
"And why should Ryoga worry about something like that, Ranma!" Akane threw
over her shoulder as she left them behind, heading down the road toward home.
"It's not like he needs to worry about getting wet, the way you do!"
"Oh yeah, silly me, what was I thinking?" Ranma chuckled, giving Ryoga an
evil grin. Ryoga ignored him, and trudged down the road after Akane.

As the three passed by the small canal between Furinkan High and the Tendo
dojo, he watched them from below. Had he been able to smile right then he would
have, for as things were, everything was going to turn out exactly as he'd
planned. Just a bit more waiting ... and no one was more patient than he was.

"NOOO!!! They CAN'T! Not our beautiful house...!!!" Weeping, Soun Tendo
collapsed onto the staircase, hugging the railing. Ranma and Akane had arrived
home with Ryoga in tow and delivered the news, and could now only stand there
speechless. Akane's father was suffering an emotional breakdown before their
very eyes.
"You know ... we should've expected somethin' like this to happen," Ranma
pointed out. Akane couldn't argue with him there.
"Tendo! Get a hold of yourself, man! I'm sure Ranma and Akane will be able
to turn away this threat!" Ranma's father Genma hollered as he tried (without
much success) to console his lifelong friend.
"Good grief, Daddy." Ranma, Akane and Ryoga turned to see Akane's older
sister Nabiki descending the stairs. "Really, it's not as if our house has
never been demolished before," she pointed out. "It happens practically every
other day. Besides, Mr. Saotome is right. I'm sure that it's just another one
of those 'Dojo Destroyer' fads, and Ranma and Akane will take care of it."
"Aahhhhh!!" Soun and Genma's eyes lit up. "That's right! What a wonderful
opportunity! Akane, you and Ranma will stand together to defend the Tendo dojo
from this shadowy threat, just as you will carry it ON together!!" Soun's tears
of anguish had, in a heartbeat, turned to tears of joy. "In fact, we can hold
the wedding to celebrate your victory!!"
Moving with a single mind and purpose, Ranma and Akane simultaneously
elbowed their respective fathers in the head, knocking them to the floor.
"Yeah, right." Ranma growled.
"I'd rather live on the street than marry that pervert!" Akane added.
Ryoga and Nabiki watched this exchange, Ryoga's expression one of
discomfort while Nabiki looked mildly interested by the brief display of
violence. Her perpetually bored expression quickly returned, however, and she
turned toward Ranma.
"Oh, by the way, Ranma, some guy was asking about you at school today."
"Huh? Who?" was Ranma's reply.
"Some weird-looking guy showed up at school, and asked me about you. I'd
never seen him before ... he had dark hair, but his bangs were this weird green
color. And he was wearing this fancy headband, and he kind of smelled like..."
she paused, sniffing the air briefly. "...Like Ryoga. Other than that, though,
I guess he was kind of handsome."
"What?! Hey, are you saying I stink?!" Ryoga barked, clenching his fist.
"Well, let's just say you smell like the outdoors," Ranma said, wanting to
keep the subject on track. "Yeah, anyway, go on Nabiki."
"Where was I? Oh, yes. Anyway, he just popped up out of nowhere at
lunchtime and started asking me questions."
"Like what? What'd he say?" Ranma was practically drooling with
"Well, he asked me if my father was Soun Tendo, and if I knew you, and if
Genma Saotome was your father, and if you were the one that was going to
inherit the Tendo training hall..."
"You didn't tell him all that, did you??" Ranma demanded.
"Of course not!" Nabiki scoffed. "I charged him first."
Ranma and Akane groaned.
"So, then what happened...?" Ranma asked, not sure if he wanted to hear the
"Well, he was pretty free with his money. That was a surprise ... from
looking at him, you'd never guess he was anything but penniless. Anyway, then
he mentioned a few other names, asked about other strong martial-artists in the
area ... pretty much all friends of yours. And then he disappeared again."
By this time, Ranma was laid out on the floor, twitching sporadically.
"Geez, Nabiki, is there anything about me that you DIDN'T tell that guy???"
"Well, I didn't tell him that all it takes is a little cold water to send
you running to the ladies' room," she threw over her shoulder as she headed
back upstairs. She paused, and glanced back at them. "Oh, by the way, I'm
expecting company, so, umm ... please drag Daddy and Mr. Saotome out of the
"Well, at least now we don't have to wonder how that guy Goda knew so much
about all of us," Akane sighed as her sister returned to her room.
"Yeah, but now we have to worry about this other guy from your school ... I
didn't see anyone like that on the street today when they attacked us," Ryoga
pointed out. "So, how many people are we really dealing with here?"
The question even aroused Ranma's suspicions.
Their musing was interrupted by a knock at the door.
"Oh, that must be Uk-Chan!" Ranma said as he got up. "I'll answer it."
The three of them were in for a surprise when Ranma pulled the door open a
moment later.
"What the -- Kuno?!"
Kuno's initial reaction was also one of surprise; then his eyes narrowed in
hatred. "Saotome..." he hissed, but then stopped and averted his gaze. "I have
no business with you today, Ranma Saotome. You are unworthy of my attention."
"Oh, I feel so cheated," Ranma grated, the sarcasm in his voice pooling
deeply at their feet. "Well, if you ain't here to challenge me to a duel for
Akane or somethin' like that, then what the heck ARE you doing here?!"
Kuno glowered at him. "I have come here at the request of Nabiki Tendo.
This is her residence also, is it not?"
Ranma's jaw dropped. "YOU'RE the company she was expecting??!!!"
Kuno gave him a smug look. "You are but an insect to me, Saotome, and one
upon which I shall yet trod ... but at another time."
"Oh, hello!" Ranma's biting comeback was cut off by the appearance of
Akane's eternally cheerful eldest sister, Kasumi. "Right this way." She led
Kuno past Ryoga (who was blushing fiercely for some reason), over the
unconscious forms of Soun and Genma, and up the stairs. She returned alone a
moment later, and headed back toward the kitchen.
As soon as all traces of Kuno had disappeared from the room, Akane emerged
from her hididng place behind Ryoga. "Is he gone? ...Hey, Ranma, where do you
think you're going??"
Ranma stopped in mid-leap on his way up the stairs. "Hang on, I just wanna
check something."
"You aren't actually going up there to spy on Nabiki and Kuno, are you??"
The incredulity in Akane's voice turned the question into an accusation, and
Ranma hopped back down the stairs to face her while he defended himself.
"Hey, I just wanna make sure she isn't sellin' him my clothes, or somethin'
sick like that." He glared at Akane, daring her to reply, but just then the
door slid open.
"Hi everyobody, we're here," Ukyo announced. Shampoo and her great-
grandmother Cologne were with her, and a bespectacled duck followed just behind
them, quacking loudly. "Met 'em at the gate," Ukyo said by way of explanation.
"Did we miss anything important?"
"Nabiki sold us all out, and Kuno's upstairs," Ryoga replied.
"Ranma!! Shampoo came back, did just what you say!" Shampoo exclaimed,
flinging herself at Ranma. While he and Ukyo attempted to pry her loose,
everyone else turned to see what Cologne had to say. She held the spear aloft
and cleared her throat.
"Well, Son-in-law, this is just an ordinary spear, but the mark it bears
does indeed say something of your opponents. It used to be the symbol of the
most feared school of martial-arts in Asia."
That got everybody's attention. Cologne continued.
"The 'Shitsume Strike' ... it was a particular art that was practiced
mainly by soldiers and mercenaries, because it was designed for use on a
battlefield." Her eyes narrowed. "There's no denying that all of you are very
skilled in your chosen styles, but ... this was a style of fighting that was
made to dispatch huge numbers of enemies at a time. It relied heavily on blows
that would either cripple, or kill. And not much else. In fact, it could be
argued that even the most powerful attacks used by you, Son-in-law, and all the
rest of you as well, are simply 'cushioned' variations of these techniques,
slightly modified so as to be less lethal."
"Yet, you keep referring to this fighting style in the past tense," Akane
pointed out.
"That's right, my dear." Cologne acknowledged with a nod. "As far as I had
known before today, this school of martial-arts completely died out after World
War I. With the advent of advanced weaponry, no one had any need of the ability
to walk onto a battlefield and kill an entire army with their bare hands. They
could use guns or bombs instead. This skill is one that should be almost
completely forgotten by now, and yet here is the emblem of its most dedicated
practicians." She indicated the spear again. "Now, what do you make of it?"
All eyes turned to Ranma, as if they expected him to answer the question.
"Hey, don't look at me! I don't know any more than you do!"
The duck, meanwhile, doused himself with a conveniently-located kettle of
hot water, and suddenly Mousse stood there. "So, then," he began as he wiped
his glasses, "It seems that there ARE still some people around who practice
this deadly fighting style, and somehow they see the Tendo dojo as a threat or
an obstacle to them. And we are the only ones who stand in their way! Shampoo,
I swear I'll -- I'll ... wha ... what are you all staring at?"
"Stupid Mousse, put clothes on!!" Shampoo yelled as she threw a bag at him.
He hastily complied, and there was a collective clearing of throats as they
attempted to get back to the subject at hand.
"Well, if these guys are coming here, they might really be dangerous..."
Akane stated, sounding concerned. "I hate to say it, Ranma, but we could use
all the help we could get ... especially since we don't know how many of these
guys there are. Maybe we should consider calling in more people ... and asking
Kuno to stay and help."
"Great idea, Akane!" Ranma exclaimed, snapping his fingers. "We can use him
to prop the front door shut!"
"This is no laughing matter, Son!!" Soun suddenly loomed over Ranma,
causing everyone to jump back in shock. "Our HOME is at stake here!! YOUR
"Yaaahh!! Take it easy, Mr. Tendo!" Ranma yelled, trying to ward off Soun's
demonic visage. Ryoga helped by tossing Ranma into the yard.
"Don't worry, Mr. Tendo!" Ryoga declared as a loud *SPLASH!* issued from
the direction of Ranma's flight path. "I, Ryoga Hibiki, solemnly swear to
defend this house and your dojo with my life!"
"Shampoo will do whatever it take to protect Ranma!" Shampoo added.
"You can count on me, too!" Ukyo threw in.
"Thank you, everyone!" Akane beamed as Ranma came skulking back into the
room, water dripping from his now-feminine body. Kasumi entered the room at the
same time.
"Oh, my!" Kasumi exclaimed at the sight of the large crowd gathered in the
entreeway. "Ranma, you didn't tell me you were having dinner guests! I'm afraid
there won't be enough for everyone!"
Ignoring her, Ranma walked up to Ryoga. "Take my advice, Ryoga," he
growled. "Why don't you do what you do best, and ... GET LOST!!!" He drop-
kicked Ryoga through the ceiling, and he disappeared into the sky above them.
"There, that's one less mouth to feed," Ranma observed as he took advantage
of the hot-water kettle to return to his original state.
"Ranma, you idiot!!" Akane hollered. "We needed his help!"
"Ahhh, we'll get along fine without that jerk," Ranma shot back. "Besides,
I'm sure he'll be back sooner or later. He always is."
Cologne turned back to Ranma. "In the meantime, Son-in-law, I suggest you
prepare yourselves for what could be a very dangerous battle indeed." She
hopped toward the door on her cane, then paused and looked back one more time.
"Shampoo, I'll be at the Nekohanten. Don't disappoint me!"
"I fight harder than ever before to protect future husband, Great-
Grandmother!" Shampoo promised as Cologne departed.
Ranma turned to the remaining six martial-artists gathered in the
entreeway. "Okay, everybody go around and check to make sure nobody can sneak
in anywhere and surprise us, and then we'll all meet back out in front."
Akane, Shampoo, Ukyo, Mousse, Soun and Genma nodded in unison, then all ran
off in different directions. Mousse ran into a wall and fell over.
"Oh dear," Kasumi sighed. "Does this mean I should keep supper warm a while

Ranma jogged along the roof of the Tendo house, trying to take in as much
of the surrounding area as he could. Seeing no immediate threat, he dropped
back down and ducked in through the window of the room that he and Genma
shared, just to make sure everything was secure inside.
He glanced around briefly, and almost immediately noticed that something
was wrong. Something was very wrong indeed.
"Wha ... hey, what the heck...?!"
Ranma burst out of his room, yelling at the top of his lungs.
"Did you lose something, Ranma?" a voice behind him asked. Ranma whirled
around with a look of shock and confusion in his eyes.
"Nabiki! Where the hell is my bed?!" he demanded.
"Oh, that." Nabiki shrugged, completely unperturbed. "Kuno took it. He said
he simply had to see the bedchamber of his pig-tailed goddess, so I showed him
your room. The next thing I knew, he was throwing bills around. There really
wasn't anything I could do." She shrugged again, smiling impishly. "I'm
terribly sorry, Ranma, but I guess you'll just have to sleep on the floor
"AAAAARRRGH!!!" Ranma screamed as he dove out the window. He hit the ground
running and caught up with Kuno at the front gate. Sure enough, he was carrying
Ranma's futon. "Dammit, Kuno, gimme back my bed!!" Ranma shouted as he skidded
to a stop a few feet behind him.
"Saotome?" Kuno turned to face him. "What is the meaning of this?"
"Gimme back my bed, you sick weirdo!!" Ranma yelled again.
"YOUR bed?! But, this..." Kuno's brow furrowed in confusion.
"That's right, MY BED! You know, the thing I sleep on?!" Ranma was losing
patience, but stopped when he saw Kuno stiffen.
"Saotome..." Kuno's voice was shaking with rage and anguish. "You, you ...
you mean to tell me that you ... that you and ... and the pig-tailed girl ...
SHARE THE SAME BEDSHEETS????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Ranma nearly jumped back as Kuno looked up at him, his eyes practically
bulging out of his head. "YOU INFIDEL!!!!!!!!!!" He screamed, charging at Ranma
with his bokken drawn.
FROM THIS UNHOLY BOND OF SEXUAL SLAVERY--" Fortunately for both Ranma and Kuno,
at that moment Ryoga dropped out of the sky. He landed directly on Kuno's head,
and they both collapsed in a heap. Ranma simply stood there scratching his
head, trying to decide how to get his bed out from under them.
His thoughts were interrupted by Ukyo's voice. "Ran-Chan, look out!!!"
Ranma glanced up and his own eyes widened.
Hideaki Goda stood just inside the front gate, not ten feet away. He wasn't
alone, either. Just behind him stood the boy-girl pair that had accompanied him
earlier, along with four others.
The first was a boy who looked a little younger than Ranma, but brandished
a genuine katana blade with an air of utter confidence. In addition, he wore an
authentic samurai breastplate.
The second was another girl, who wore her hair in a style that was
strikingly similar to the way that Akane used to wear hers when it was long.
She wore a midnight-blue karate gi, and scowled at Ranma and his friends.
The third was a very mean-looking martial-artist who Ranma estimated to be
a bit older than himself. His hair hung about his face, and he had a pair of
vertical scars beneath each eye. He wore a dirty gray karate gi, with the
sleeves torn off.
The fourth was a very large man who loomed over even Goda, being nearly the
same height as the Dojo Destroyer. His tremendous size made it difficult to
guess his age.
By this time, Ranma's allies had all assembled in the yard and the two
groups faced off, while Kasumi and Nabiki watched from the doorway. As Ranma
sized up their opponents, he noted that none of them had any green hair. Which
meant there was probably at least one more lurking around somewhere.
Goda was apparently sizing up Ranma's group as well. His haughty smirk
didn't fade as his eyes flicked over each of them briefly. "Well, Ranma
Saotome, you certainly look prepared." He chuckled. "But how long can you all
really last, in a battle where a single blow landed will mean death?"
Ranma laughed openly at the threat, as Kuno and Ryoga untangled themselves
and faced the enemy. "I'd worry about bein' able to LAND that blow before I
start talkin' if I were you, pal!" Ranma grinned at Goda. "Good luck, an' all
that stuff."
"Great idea, Ranma." Akane muttered sarcastically. "Let's make them nice
and mad first. That'll really help things."
"Shut up, I know what I'm doing!" Ranma growled back.
"Hey, save your fight 'till AFTER we beat these guys, 'cause here they
come!!" Ukyo interrupted as Goda lowered his spear and his entire group leapt
into the Tendos' yard.
"I don't think WE'RE the ones who'll be needing luck in THIS fight!!" Goda
shouted, his sneer twisted into a grimace as he charged at Ranma, who dodged
him easily and the combatants scattered. Half a dozen fights broke out at once.

Shampoo dodged off to the side, and saw the uniform-clad twins select her
as their target. They must be siblings, she thought; not only do they resemble
each other physically, they move alike too. Then the boy lunged in low, while
the girl jumped overhead and scattered some kind of powder into the air.
Shampoo instinctively sucked in her breath and held it as the cloud enveloped
her, but whatever it was, it was so potent that it still stung her skin and
made her eyes water heavily. They were definitely playing for keeps!
As if to reinforce her thought, just then the male half of the team charged
out of the powdery cloud at her, and Shampoo saw something metallic flash in
his hand. She met him with a left-handed mace blow to the head, and as he
veered off course she spun around and pummeled him with a succession of body-
blows. He staggered past, but then a whip-like cord snapped out of the cloud.
Shampoo spun out of its path just in time, but it snagged one of her mace-
balls. She tried to use it to pull her opponent toward her, but the girl
flicked her wrist and Shampoo's weapon was sliced to pieces! Her whip was made
of razor-wire!
As Shampoo backed off and planned her next move, suddenly a mass of chains
swung up and wrapped around her enemy from below. Not surprisingly, it was
Mousse, and the girl with the razor-whip was completely entangled in his trap.
"Leave Shampoo alone, you jerk! How dare you attack her with such a
weapon?!" he yelled as he swung her around and slammed her into, and then
through, the wall surrounding the Tendos' property. That done, Mousse retracted
his chains to wherever it is that he keeps them, then looked around angrily.
"Now, where'd his sister go?!"
"You just throw her through wall, stupid," Shampoo pointed out in disgust.

Meanwhile, a few yards away, Kuno and the armored boy locked swords.
"What is this?!" the boy laughed. "You come into a life-or-death duel with
only a bokken?! What manner of fool are you?"
Kuno not only matched the boy's arrogence, he exceeded it. "The true fool
is not I, but he who trusts his weapon more than he trusts himself! The blade
has not been forged which can overcome the rising young star of the high school
Kendo world! And you, insolent whelp ... I shall defeat, to preserve the honor
of Akane Tendo!" He shoved his younger opponent away.
The youth regained his balance immediately, and readied his sword. "We'll
see about that!" He charged at Kuno.
"Don't forget, Kuno," Nabiki called from the doorway, "If you lose this
fight WE'LL be out of a home!"
"Silence, Nabiki Tendo!" Kuno snapped, turning toward her. "Do you seek to
disrupt my concentration?!"
As Kuno turned, the boy's sword sliced through the air where Kuno's head
had been a moment before.
"Why yes, Kuno-Baby, that's exactly what I meant to do," Nabiki replied.
"An opening!!" Kuno lunged forward before his opponent could regain his
balance and caught him with a blow to the midsection. However, his bokken
glanced off the boy's armor, leaving him unharmed.
"You'll have to do better than that!" The youth countered with a wide slash
as he turned around. Kuno turned away to avoid being skewered, but the blade
sliced through his shirt and drew blood. The two combatants circled each other.
"For the unforgivable crime of injuring my body," Kuno growled, "I shall
batter thee without mercy, until you cry out for hell itself to release you
from your torment!!" He lunged forward and swung low.
His young adversary grinned and jumped over the swing, then came down with
a diving kick. Kuno brought his bokken around and blocked the attack, then
countered with his infamous hundred-sword-strike as the boy landed. He brought
up his sword to resist the virtual wall of strikes from Kuno, and managed to
hold him back although the force of the attack drove him backwards a bit.
As the dust cleared, the two swordsmen grinned at each other.
Then the boy's sword shattered into a dozen fragments.
"What the..." he could only stare at the remnants of his weapon in shock.
With a battle cry, Kuno spun around and delivered a final blow to the youth's
chest. His breastplate shattered, and he was sent sprawling to the ground a few
feet away.
Kuno straightened and struck a pose. "And so do all who challenge me learn
... that it is inconceivable to best in combat, one who is possessed of so
eloquent a spirit as is my own." He chuckled to himself, then broke down and,
to the disgust of those watching, began laughing maniacally.

Ukyo jumped back to avoid the blue-clad girl's initial diving kick, then
came back with a downward swing of her giant spatula. The girl twisted to the
side, avoiding the blow by inches. Then, in a surprising move, she stomped down
on the spatula's handle, knocking it from Ukyo's grasp. She followed up with a
punch aimed at Ukyo's gut, which she barely deflected and then jumped back to
try and bring her throwing spatulas into play. Her opponent was relentless and
charged at her, but was suddenly knocked to the side by a flying elbow from
The girl in the blue gi turned and found Akane facing her, in her best
defensive stance. A brief change of opponents didn't seem to bother her, and
she immediately let loose with a snap kick aimed at Akane's neck. Akane raised
her hand and managed to block the kick, but a fierce pain shot up her arm and
she staggered to the side. The girl pressed her attack and followed up, going
for a mid-kick. Akane was left completely open and, seeing the kick, expected
broken ribs in a moment. She braced herself, but the blow never came. There
was, however, a loud *CLANG!*
Looking up, Akane saw that Ukyo had recovered her spatula and stepped in,
blocking the girl's attack. She hopped back away from them, apparently to
decide on what to do next. Akane noticed she was favoring her left leg slightly
after kicking Ukyo's spatula.
Ukyo gave Akane a sideways glance. "Ready, Akane?" She nodded.
At once, Ukyo reached into her shirt and came out with a bag of flour,
which she flung at their enemy's feet. The girl disappeared in a white, powdery
cloud. Then Ukyo dove in at her from the side, swinging her spatula with all
her might.
Again there was the loud *CLANG!* of the spatula finding its target, and
the girl flew out the flour-cloud straight at Akane. Akane was ready and met
her first with a knee, then an uppercut, and she fell to the ground.
The cloud of flour dissipated, and Akane looked at Ukyo. "Um ... thanks,
Ukyo," she said, feeling a little awkward about it. "I guess I owe you one."
Ukyo smiled back at her. "Hey, as long as we won, that's all that counts!"
she replied.

"Come, Saotome! Let's teach this boy some respect!" Soun rallied his friend
as he faced their gigantic adversary.
"Right behind you, Tendo!" Genma joined him, and they glared up at the
giant. The giant glared right back, then took a step toward them.
"Stop right there!!" Soun shouted, pointing for emphasis. The giant
answered with a downward punch at the two. Soun and Genma leaped out of the
way, and the giant's fist plowed into the stone walkway that lead from the
front gate to the house.
"It seems he means business, Tendo! Let's show him our combined fury!"
Genma hollered.
Soun and Genma leaped into the air and simultaneaously kicked their enemy.
This knocked him all of about two inches backwards, and with a hearty laugh he
swatted Genma away. He flew over the house and landed in the pond around the
"Saotome!! How could you abandon me like that?!" Soun wept, collapsing at
the giant's feet. Still laughing, the giant reared back to step on him.
Suddenly, a large panda came barrelling around the side of the house. He
plowed headfirst into the giant, and with the added body mass his panda form
afforded him, Genma knocked him off balance and he fell over. Soun didn't
notice as he was too busy weeping in anguish.
"Oh, Father. Father, Father..." Kasumi sighed, shaking her head.
The giant quickly righted himself, although he seemed confused to have
suddenly been attacked by a panda. "What the hell..." he muttered.
Genma held up a wooden sign. It read, 'I won't be defeated that easily!
Now, you must face my true strength!'
"Huh?" The giant scratched his head.
'PANDA KICK!!!' Genma's sign read as he executed said maneuver. He flew at
the befuddled giant and kicked him in the groin, then bashed him over the head
with his sign. The giant was quite dazed after this, and Genma produced a
rubber tire and jammed it over his head. Then he drop-kicked the giant, and he
bounced out the front gate.
Grinning broadly, the panda held up a sign reading, 'And stay out!'

Ryoga and the scarred martial-artist circled each other slowly, each
scowling darkly at the other. "I won't allow you to desecrate these grounds,"
Ryoga told him. He stopped circling and looked his opponent in the eye. "If you
leave now, I won't follow you."
"Shut up and fight, you simpering coward!!" the scarred one snarled as he
dove at Ryoga, who avoided his first swing. The second lightning-fast punch,
however, caught him right across the face. That was followed by a succession of
body blows, and as he pummeled Ryoga the scarred martial-artist yelled, "The
only way this fight will end is with your death!! I could've killed you with
the second hit if I wanted to, but I thought you should be taught a lesson
first!" He finished his dozen-hit combo with a roundhouse kick to the head,
intended to knock Ryoga to the ground at his right.
However, it hadn't moved him at all.
Ryoga wiped the blood off his lip and glared up at the scarred one. "Is
that right?" he asked.
His enemy was struck completely speechless, so Ryoga filled the silence
with the sound of rushing air as he slammed his fist into the man's gut. Then
he grabbed him in a crushing grip. "You've threatened Akane and her family,"
Ryoga told him, "And for that, I can't forgive you!!"
With that Ryoga jumped into the air and performed a suplex maneuver,
smashing his opponent into the ground with tremendous force. They rolled away
from each other after the impact, and each one came to a crouching position.
"Well met, kid..." the scarred one admitted. "I guess I underestimated you.
But try this on!" He flattened his hand and plunged it into the grass before
him, sending a deadly mass of rock and earth surging through the ground at
Who was ready for it. "BAKUSAI TENKETSU!!!" With his 'breaking point'
technique, Ryoga shattered the ground mass, showering them both with debris.
The scarred martial-artist wasn't expecting this, and was momentarily blinded
by the flying dirt and bits of rock. When he recovered, the first thing he saw
was Ryoga charging at him.
Before his enemy had a chance to recover, Ryoga rushed him and delivered a
decisive blow with his heavy-weight umbrella. The scarred martial-artist was
knocked halfway across the yard, and the fight was over.

"Y'know," Ranma said as Goda's spear whistled past him, "You've swung that
thing at me about fifteen times now, and you haven't hit me yet. Whaddya think
that means?" Goda stabbed at him again, and Ranma vaulted upward and landed
atop the wall surrounding the Tendo house.
Goda glared up at him. "I think it means that you're a coward, who's too
afraid to face me in a real fight!"
Ranma's eyes narrowed. "Oh, is that so..." With that, he leaped from the
wall and hurtled down at Goda with a diving kick. "C'mon then, let's fight!!"
Goda jumped back and drove his spear at Ranma again. Ranma sidestepped the
lunge, but Goda anticipated it this time and twisted the spear sideways,
knocking Ranma through the air and into the Tendos' pond.
As he moved in for the kill, Goda looked considerably surprised when a red-
haired girl emerged from the pond that Ranma had just fallen into. "What? Where
is Ranma Saotome?!" he demanded.
"Boy, you're even dumber than you look!" Ranma yelled as he grabbed the end
of the spear and used it to fling Goda into the house. There was a loud crash
from inside, and Ranma hopped up the steps to face his enemy when he emerged.
And emerge he did, looking slightly bewildered but still determined. He
leveled his spear at Ranma. "I don't know who you are ... but if you defend the
Tendo Dojo, you are also my enemy! Prepare to die!!"
He began an elaborate motion with his spear, and Ranma stepped back to
anticipate his next attack. However, their face-off was suddenly interrupted by
a voice.
"Hey, what's going on out here?! Who interrupted my TV show??!"
Ranma and Goda both stopped, and looked down. Standing next to Goda and
glaring up at him was Happosai, looking very irate. "You wrecked the reception
right when the bathhouse scene was coming up!!"
"Stay out of the way, old man!" Goda barked, completely unaware of what he
was facing. "This is a duel for the future of the Anything-Goes school of
martial-arts, and if you interfere I'll be forced to cut short your remaining
time in this world!"
Happosai's eyes bulged. "What insolence!!! Show some respect for your
elders, you punk!"
"You have forced my hand!" Goda declared as he swatted at Happosai.
Ranma had to admit that, despite himself, he immensely enjoyed seeing
Happosai catch Goda's boot with his pipe and fling him against the far wall of
the Tendos' yard. The wall cracked as Goda collided with it, and he hung there
for a moment before falling off and slumping to the ground.
Ranma approached his fallen adversary, who was shaking himself off and
struggling to his feet. Ranma heard him muttering something along the lines of,
"Impossible! Can it be, that old man is the one who..."
"Who just trashed your sorry butt? Yup, he is!" Ranma interrupted him,
grinning from ear to ear. "So, do you give up yet?"
Goda snarled fiercely at him. "I will NEVER admit defeat!!!"
Ranma shrugged. "Fine, have it your way. KATSU TENSHIN AMAGOURIKEN!!!"
Ranma lashed out and struck Goda with over a hundred blows in the space of
one second. With a look of utter shock on his face, he groaned and fell to his
Ranma sighed, crossing his arms. "That's what ya get, you jerk!"

A few moments later, Ranma and his allies had all assembled at the front of
the yard. Hideaki Goda and his companions knelt before them, their heads bowed
in defeat.
"Well, then," Ranma said, having changed back to his male form, as he
glowered at them sternly. "What've you guys got to say for yourselves?"
There was no response.
Soun stepped forward. "All right, enough of this. Tell us why you
threatened our dojo!" he demanded. "What have we done to deserve such a hateful
"Yeah, we've never even met any of you before!" Akane added, clutching her
injured wrist. It was still very painful.
Slowly, Goda looked up at them. There was a hollow look in his eyes.
"We ... we have been ... defeated." He averted his gaze for a moment, then
suddenly looked back at them, his eyes wide.
"WE ARE NOT WORTHY OF THIS WORLD!!!" he shouted, suddenly drawing a dagger.
Ranma jumped in front of Akane and everyone took up a defensive posture, but
then Genma grabbed Ranma's shoulder.
"Ranma, wait! Their position, it's--"
Before he could finish, Goda abruptly reversed the dagger and drove it into
his own abdomen.
"NO!! WAIT!!!" Ranma shouted, but he was too late.
All of Goda's companions simultaneously followed his lead, and within
moments the grass was stained red with blood.
Akane gasped in horror. Everyone present was too stunned to even speak.
As Ranma looked on in shock, Goda's dagger fell from his now-lifeless hand,
and made a clapping sound as it clattered on the stone walkway. It bounced
once, twice, then lay flat.
But the clapping continued.
Wrenching his eyes away from the terrible sight before him, Ranma sought
out the source of the noise. The others followed his lead a moment later, and
discovered that they had another visitor.
A young man stood atop the wall to their left, slowly clapping his hands.
He wore a heavy cloak and leather gloves, and through his strange blue-green
forelocks they could see that he also wore an ornate headband of some kind.
Ranma shot Nabiki a look, and she nodded briefly as if to say, 'That's him.'
"Hey, you!!" Ranma shouted, turning back to the newcomer. "Are you the one
who sent these guys here?! Answer me!!!"
The young man shifted his gaze to Ranma, who nearly shuddered at his
glance; it was like the gaze of a snake, or some other reptile. He chuckled
briefly, then spoke.
"It would appear I didn't train them quite as well as they thought I had,"
he observed, indicating the bodies on the walkway. "But, at least they followed
my instructions in their entirety."
"WHAT??! What the hell are you talking about?!" Ranma demanded. The young
man hopped down off the wall and casually walked toward the house, ignoring the
fact that everyone took up defensive stances as he neared.
"This IS the Tendo School of Anything-Goes Martial-Arts, isn't it?" he
asked, ignoring Ranma's question. His gaze flicked over the group appraisingly,
then stopped. "Well, well..." he murmured, staring past Ranma and Akane. "So
nice to see you again, old friend."
"What? The old lech?" Ranma turned to follow his gaze, and sure enough, he
was looking directly at Happosai.
Who abruptly gasped, clutching at his chest. The group parted a bit to give
him some room, and the ancient martial-arts master fell to the ground!
Ranma snorted in disgust. "Ha, nice try, old man. Gonna tell us what'cha
did this time?" He looked down to get a better view, and was surprised to see
Happosai gasping and writhing in pain.
"Ranma ... I don't think he's faking it!" Akane exclaimed. "Kasumi, quick!
Call an ambulance!!"
As Kasumi ran back into the house, Akane tried to tend to Happosai as best
she could. The fact that he didn't start grabbing at her immediately told her
there was definitely something wrong.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of quiet laughter.
Ranma and company turned back to the young man, who was chuckling to
"Well, Happosai," he said, "I'm touched that you remember me. Although, I
didn't expect quite that kind of reaction, but ... ah, well. I suppose, at your
age, things will happen. I do hope you'll live long enough for us to talk again
later." He turned to Ranma and addressed him directly for the first time. "As
for you ... you would be Ranma Saotome, correct?"
Ranma just scowled at him. "Who the heck are you?!" he shouted back.
Their visitor smiled slightly. "My name," he replied, "is Tatsunada Fushin.
And, since you are the lone successor of the Anything-Goes school of martial-
arts, you and I have a great deal to discuss." His eyes narrowed. "But it'll
have to wait 'till later. I'll see you soon, and don't worry ... I'm a very
patient man." He grinned at them -- in a very disturbing way, though no one
could quite say how -- and vaulted back over the wall and out of sight. As he
disappeared, an ambulence pulled up to the front gate. Two men emerged with a
stretcher, but stopped short when they saw all the bodies lying around.
Ukyo ran over to try to explain things, and Ranma got up to follow
Tatsunada Fushin, but as he did so Happosai grabbed his arm, startling him.
"Ranma..." he hissed, "...No matter what happens ... don't let your guard
down for even a second!!" He stared intently into Ranma's eyes. "Not ... even
... for a second!!!" He coughed, then looked back at Ranma. "I'll ... tell you
more ... later."
With that, he flopped back down to the ground. The paramedics quickly
loaded him into the ambulance, and Kuno rode along so his injuries could be
examined. Soun went back inside to call the morgue, so they could come and pick
up their unfortunate enemies.
"Ranma..." Akane called to him as he watched them leave. He glanced over
his shoulder at her. "What's gonna happen now?" she asked him, concern evident
in her voice. Ranma shook his head, then noticed the way she was holding her
left arm.
"Hey, what happened?" he asked, pointing.
"Oh, this..." Akane managed a weak smile. "I blocked that girl's kick, but
it still hurts..."
"C'mon." Ranma grabbed her other arm and led her out the gate before she
could protest. "Let's go have Dr. Tofu take a look at it."
As they walked to Dr. Tofu's clinic, Ranma's thoughts were troubled. Mainly
because he had never seen quite that same look in Happosai's eyes before, when
he saw Tatsunada Fushin.
Was it ... fear?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Masterwork Productions presents...

Ranma 1/2: The Sands of Time

Based on characters created by Rumiko Takahashi
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Part Two: The Terrible Curse

"Well, Akane," Dr. Tofu sighed as he examined Akane's wrist, "It's just as
I suspected at first. Your wrist is broken. Oh, it's not broken that badly --
in fact, it should heal within a couple weeks -- but, it is broken. How'd it
happen, anyway?" He looked at her with concern as he fit a sturdy brace on.
"Well, you see..." Akane began, but then stopped. Her mind flashed back to
her opponent in the fight just over an hour ago -- quite a brave girl to take
on both her and Ukyo at once, and a fierce fighter. Now she was dead, having
commited seppoku along with her friends after their defeat. Despite the fact
that her kick, which Akane now knew had broken her wrist, had originally been
aimed at her neck ... Akane couldn't help but feel bad about it. She'd never
imagined that anyone would actually do such a thing over a stupid fight.
"Akane...?" With a start, Akane realized she hadn't answered Dr. Tofu. She
looked at him, and saw the concern in his eyes deepen. Those beautiful eyes...
"Akane," Tofu was saying, "Don't tell me that Ranma had anything to do
"Oh, no! Nothing like that," Akane laughed, putting on her best cheerful
face. "I guess I just, um, pushed myself a little too hard. Besides, you don't
really think I'd ever let that idiot do something like THIS to me, do you?"
They both laughed, and Dr. Tofu smiled. "Well, I'm glad it's nothing
serious. Just the same, you'd better be more careful!"
"I will, Dr. Tofu! Thank you!" Akane waved as she left his office after
he'd finished with the cast. "I'll tell Kasumi you said hi." She quickly left
to avoid seeing what his reaction to her last comment would be. Returning to
the waiting room, she saw Ranma abruptly stop pacing when he saw her.
"Akane! So, uhh, how's your, y'know, your arm." he asked as casually as he
"It'll be okay, Ranma. It WAS broken, though." she replied.
"Wow." Ranma looked a little surprised. "And you said you just blocked that
girl's kick with it, huh? I guess those guys were dangerous after all. It's a
good thing nobody else got hurt, except Kuno."
"Oh, no! Is he okay?" Akane asked, sounding genuinely worried.
"They didn't say nothin' about it, but it didn't look too bad to me," Ranma
replied as they left the clinic and began walking home. Any other day, Ranma
would've taunted Akane mercilessly for worrying about Kuno, but today was
different. He had other things to worry about.
And Akane chose that moment to mention the most troubling thing of all.
"Um, Ranma?" she began quietly as they walked. Ranma was walking alongside
her on the sidewalk for a change, instead of up on the fence like he usually
did, so he had no trouble hearing her speak in such a low tone.
"Hmmm?" was his reply.
"What if ... well, I know we've all wished Happosai would die -- prayed for
something terrible to happen to him, even -- but, well ... what if he really
does die?"
"HA!" Ranma's response was so callous it even shocked Akane. "I'll TELL you
what! If that old freak buys the farm, then you won't have to keep your
underwear locked up, and neither will any OTHER girl in Japan, and our fathers
would stop acting like such a pair of spineless worms, and we won't have to
sneak around, trying not to make him mad or nothin' while HE wrecks our lives,
and you won't have to wear a bathing suit to go to the public baths, and..."
Ranma trailed off into silence as he noticed Akane wasn't walking with him.
He looked back to see her standing about four steps behind him.
"Damn it, Ranma!" she cried. "I'm SERIOUS!! What if he DIES?!" She averted
her face when she saw his expression. "I mean, yeah, I hate that old pervert
just as much as you do, but ... I don't really want to see him die! I never
really MEANT it!!" She turned away, not wanting Ranma to see her shed tears
over Happosai.
Geez, Ranma thought to himself, could she really be that upset over the old
freak? Walking up behind Akane, he touched her shoulder.
"Hey, listen, Akane," he said, "There's no way that old lech'll die from
somethin' as little as this." He grinned at her. "We're not that lucky!"
Akane actually laughed at that. Hastily wiping her eyes, she showed Ranma a
smile. "Yeah, you're right ... we're not that lucky, are we."
They continued walking in silence for a moment, both feeling a little
better. Then Ranma spoke.
"But, there's somethin' else that's buggin' me ... just exactly who the
heck is that Tatsu-whatever-his-name-is guy? If I didn't know better ... I'd
say the old freak was actually scared of him!"
Akane scoffed. "That's impossible, Ranma! YOU can't even beat Happosai --
and that guy couldn't have been any older than you are. I bet the old man just
cheated him at cards or something like that, and he's trying to get out of
having to pay him back. Or maybe he stole his sister's panties. Yeah, I bet
that's what it is. He's trying to avenge his sister's underwear." Akane
chuckled at her own joke.
"I dunno." Ranma walked in silence for nearly a minute, then spoke up
again. "Akane, don't ever tell nobody I said this, but ... when that guy looked
at me, it really gave me the creeps."
Akane was silent.
"Plus, whoever he is, he seems really interested in the dojo, too," Ranma
added. "I'm sure he'll come back. And when he does ... I'll be ready!"

A short while later, Ranma and Akane arrived back at the Tendo residence
and were surprised to see that everyone, except Happosai and Kuno, was still
here. The bodies had all been picked up, although their blood still stained the
grass inside the front gate.
"Where Ranma take Akane?!" Shampoo demanded before anyone else had a chance
to say anything.
"Yeah, Honey, where DID you go?" Ukyo asked, her pleasant voice carrying a
threatening undertone.
"Hey, calm down, you guys!" Ranma said, holding up his hands to ward off
their impending attack. "We just went to see Dr. Tofu."
"I see he had a present for Akane," Nabiki observed, pointing to the cast
on Akane's left hand.
"Oh, dear!" Kasumi exclaimed. "Akane, are you all right? Does it hurt very
"I'm fine, Kasumi, really!" Akane assured her, embarassed at being fussed
over. "Dr. Tofu said it'd heal within a couple of weeks."
"Wow, that was quite a kick! I'm surprised she didn't dent my spatula,"
Ukyo commented.
"All right, Ranma." Ryoga turned to him with an accusing stare. "What do
you intend to do about this new enemy, who can even strike fear into the heart
of the most evil martial-artist in Japan?!"
Ranma waved his hand dismissively. "Ahh, he ain't so tough. I can take him,
In the next moment Ryoga was on Ranma and had him by the shirt, shaking him
Ranma drove a knee into Ryoga's chin, then proceeded to pound him into the
dirt. Dusting his hands off, he breathed a heavy sigh. "Well, at least I know I
have a better chance than YOU do, you jerk!"
Just then, Akane noticed something. "Hey, wait a minute ... where are Dad
and Mr. Saotome?"
Nabiki jerked a thumb in the direction of the dojo. "In there, embarassing
themselves. If that's still possible, that is."
Everyone stopped and listened, and doing so found that they could hear what
sounded like singing emanating from the dojo. Peering through the evening
twilight, Ranma could make out a large pile of empty bottles outside the door.
"Ho boy," he muttered.
"Oh, Father." Kasumi sighed, shaking her head. "Father, Father..."
Mousse adjusted his glasses. "I guess they just don't care that they might
still be in danger," he observed.
As everyone looked at the dojo with varying expressions of disgust,
embarassment and wonder, Nabiki clapped her hands. "Okay, people. The Tendo
household is shutting down for the night, so all non-residents must now be on
their way." She herded Shampoo, Mousse, Ukyo and Ryoga toward the door.
"Aiyaa! You just throw us out on street, then?!" Shampoo protested.
"You have homes," Nabiki pointed out. "I suggest you make use of them. I'm
sure we'll see you all tomorrow. And the next day, and the next day, and the
day after that, and the following day after THAT one, and--"
"But, Wait!" Ukyo exclaimed. "That sign that Ryoga saw! Didn't it say that
when the sun rose tomorrow, the Tendo school would be destroyed?!"
Nabiki gave her a dead stare, then cleared her throat. "All right, in that
case, we'll see you tomorrow -- assuming that our home hasn't been leveled by
then." The gate slammed shut.
Sulking, Shampoo stomped down the street toward the Nekohanten. Ukyo stood
fuming at the gate, while Ryoga and Mousse remained next to her for lack of
anywhere else to go.
"Ranma, you stupid jackass!!" Ukyo shouted at the gate. "You'd better not
try to fight that guy by yourself!!!" Furious, she stormed off down the street
in the direction of her restaraunt.
Ryoga stood staring at the gate for about a minute longer, then sat down
with his back to it. Akane, he told her silently, the others may go, but I will
remain here all night, and make sure that you won't come to harm.
Mousse stood there for several minutes, looking at him strangely. Finally
he spoke up.
"Aren't we going to go back, Shampoo? Your great-grandmother--"
"I'M NOT SHAMPOO, YOU BLIND FOOL!!!" Ryoga shouted as he hurled Mousse in
the direction of the Nekohanten. That done, he sat back down and tried to
regain his dignity.
And so he sat with his back propped against the outer wall, staring up at
the stars above and listening for the slightest sound. About twenty minutes
passed before he heard a noise.
"Ryoga!" someone whispered.
Instantly Ryoga was on his feet, looking around intently for the source of
the noise.
His umbrella at the ready, Ryoga looked up and down the street. No
movement, as far as his eyes could see.
"Ryoga!!! Look up, you dummy!!"
Ryoga looked up to see Ranma peering at him over the wall. "Ranma!" he
snapped. "What do YOU want?!"
"SSHHHHH!!" Ranma hissed. He took a quick look behind him, then hopped over
the wall. Grabbing Ryoga by the arm, he dragged him across the street.
"Hey, Ranma, what are you doing?! You'd better not be trying to--"
"Okay, Ryoga, listen to me--" Ranma began.
"No, YOU listen!" Ryoga interrupted. "Maybe you don't care about Akane, but
I do! I'm going to protect her, and you can't stop me!"
Ranma sighed. "Okay, are you done now?" he asked.
"Huh? Uh, yeah," Ryoga answered, a little confused. "Why?"
Ranma sighed again, then looked Ryoga in the eye. "Ryoga," he said, "I
can't believe I'm gonna ask you to do this, but ... I want you to sleep in
Akane's room tonight."
"Wha...?" Ryoga looked genuinely bewildered. "What's your game, Ranma? I'm
warning you, if you're trying to toy with me again--!"
"Hey, it's no game!" Ranma snapped. "Right after that Tatsu-whatever guy
took off, the old freak grabbed my arm, and told me not to let my guard down
for a second." His tone grew serious. "I think he was tryin' t'tell me, that
guy is gonna come back sometime TONIGHT."
A glimmer of understanding shown in Ryoga's eyes. "Oh, I get it..."
"So," Ranma continued, "I'm gonna keep watch tonight, and hopefully I can
get Pop to help out. But if I try to look in on Akane, she'll start throwin'
stuff at me. So that means the only one that can protect her while she's
"...Is P-Chan!" Ryoga finished. "Okay, Ranma, I'll do it. Not for you, but
for Akane's sake." The two headed back toward the house, and Ryoga turned back
to Ranma just before they reached the gate. "But, make sure there'll be hot
water where I can get at it!" he told him sternly. "'Cause if that guy DOES
come back, we don't want to take any chances!"
Ranma nodded in agreement, and they snuck back into the Tendo house.

"Oh, come on, Nabiki." Akane eyed her sister incredulously. "You mean
you're not worried about that guy at all?"
The three Tendo sisters were sitting around the table, waiting for their
father to return from the celebration out in the dojo.
"His money was good," Nabiki replied as she bit into a cookie. "So I didn't
have any problems with him. But really, what is there to be afraid of?"
Akane glared at her. "You mean ASIDE from the fact that he's threatened to
destroy our house, and he sent a bunch of kids to fight us who killed
themselves after they lost?! What're we gonna do when he comes back? I really
think we should be taking all of this more seriously!"
Just then, their father rode through the dining room on Genma's back. Genma
was in his panda form, and he was waving a brightly-colored sign that read,
'ding, dong, the lech is dead'.
Akane could only stare in disbelief as they passed through the room. Nabiki
casually sipped her cup of tea, then glanced back at Akane.
"I'm sorry, Sis, I didn't catch what you said. Were you just asking me why
I can't take anything seriously?"
"Oh, my," Kasumi sighed. "I suppose I'd better convince them to go to bed."
She got up and left the room, leaving her younger sisters to try to convince
themselves that they hadn't really seen what they'd just seen.
As soon as Kasumi had gone, the door slid open and Ranma entered.
"Ranma!" Akane exclaimed in a scolding tone. "What were you doing out
there? Our fathers have completely lost their minds!"
"So what else is new?" he said with a shrug. "Oh, here -- I thought you'd
be worried about him." Suppressing a wince, he tossed a wet black piglet into
Akane's arms.
"P-Chan!" Akane looked at Ranma in surprise. "You mean ... you were out
there looking for him? Ranma ... that was really nice of you."
Now it was P-Chan's turn to wince.
Ranma shrugged again. "Aw, I just didn't wanna hafta listen to you all
night..." He imitated Akane's voice in an exaggerated squeal. "'Oh, no! P-Chan!
Ranma, Ranma! We've gotta go find him before something happens to him!'"
Nabiki quickly moved her cup as Akane bashed Ranma with the table. After
that, she turned on her heel and ascended the stairs to her room with P-Chan.
Ranma watched Akane leave, then climbed out from beneath the table and
clenched his fist triumphantly. "Yes! She's so predictable!" he chuckled. "I
was hoping she'd do somethin' like that! Now, I can--" He broke off as he
noticed Nabiki staring at him. "Wh ... what?" he asked.
"Ranma..." Nabiki said, "...You're really weird." Taking her cup, she
followed Akane's path upstairs to her own room.
Ranma sat there looking at the stairway for a moment, then turned around
and gave himself a motivational speech. "Ahh, who cares what they think about
me! They don't know what's really goin' on! I just KNOW that Tatsu-what's-his-
face guy is gonna try something tonight, while everybody's asleep!"
He grinned in anticipation. "Or, while he THINKS everybody's asleep!!"

A short while later, the entire Tendo household (plus their perpetual
houseguests) had gone to bed for the night. The house was dark, and the only
sound that could be heard was Genma's snoring.
Which, from Ranma's position next to him, was nearly deafening.
Aw, man! Ranma thought to himself as he lay in his futon, next to his furry
father. I can't hear a thing with all this noise! Growing increasingly
agitated, he elbowed the large panda sleeping next to him.
"Pop!" he hissed as quietly as he could. "Hey, Pop! Wake up!"
The panda continued to snore blissfully.
"Aw, geez..." gritting his teeth in frustration, Ranma punched Genma in the
side. "Wake up, stupid!" he whispered.
Genma grunted and scratched his side, then continued snoring.
Man, this is gettin' me nowhere, Ranma thought. Oh well, at least with all
the noise he's makin' nobody'll hear me looking around.
Silently, he crept out of his futon (shooting Genma one last nasty look)
and moved over to the window. Opening it with practiced ease, he crawled out
onto the roof.
Moving with absolute silence, Ranma crept across the roof. He made his way
to Akane's window, and peered inside. He could see her asleep in bed, with P-
Chan tucked in next to her.
I really hate that little runt, Ranma told himself.
He tapped on the window lightly. Immediately, the black piglet's eyes
popped open wide and he looked straight at Ranma.
Ranma gave him a quick wave, then ducked away from the window. "Well, at
least I know the little jerk ain't sleepin' on the job," he muttered under his
breath. He moved to the edge of the roof, and peered out over the yard.
His gaze swept over the trees ... the pond ... the gate ... the walkway ...
Ranma immediately focused his attention on the shadowy corner near the
door. It was dark, and he couldn't make out whether there was someone standing
there, hiding in the shadows.
He watched the spot for about thirty seconds, and saw no further signs of
movement. Whatever it was, he'd just caught a glimpse out of the corner of his
eye. It could've just been a trick of the light, or something blowing past in
the wind. And there definitely wasn't anything there now.
But Ranma suddenly had the very unsettling feeling that he was being
Glancing over his shoulder, he saw no one and nothing else on the roof. He
did a quick visual check of the windows and although it was dark inside, he
couldn't spot anyone standing behind any of them. Still, the feeling persisted.
And Ranma didn't like that at all. He decided to go back inside and have a look
Making his way back to his own window, Ranma slipped inside. Genma was
still snoring loudly, which annoyed Ranma even more now as he was trying to
listen for possible intruders. Moving through the room like an evening breeze,
he tossed a pillow over the panda's face (which at least muffled the noise a
little), and stepped into the hallway.
He took a quick glance around, making sure the doors to Akane, Nabiki and
Kasumi's rooms were still shut tight. Seeing nothing else unusual on the upper
floor, Ranma approached the stairwell. He crouched down and stuck his head
under the railing, looking for any signs of movement before he actually went
downstairs. Still, nothing unusual was visible to him.
As confident as he was in his abilities, Ranma didn't want to take any
chances this time. Before going downstairs, he opened Akane's door a crack and
shoved the hot-water kettle (which he'd placed in the hall before going to bed)
inside the room with his foot. He saw P-Chan's ear twitch as he did so.
Pushing the door shut again, Ranma turned and headed downstairs, moving
perhaps more quietly than he ever had before. He reached the bottom step and
peered around the corner, but still could neither see nor hear anything out of
the ordinary. And yet, this nagging feeling would not leave him be...
Ranma crept down the hall, checking each room as he went. He still didn't
notice anything strange, and that bothered him even more because his instincts
were never wrong. He was sure there was somebody here somewhere, but he
should've been able to find them by now! Passing back through the dining room
on his return trip, he glanced around and stopped cold.
The back door was hanging wide open.
Ranma could only stare for a moment, a whirlwind of thoughts tumbling
through his mind all at once. Then, he heard a sound above him ... not a loud
noise, just a very distinct *thump*.
His heart pounding out what felt like about a thousand beats a minute,
Ranma dashed for the stairs. As soon as he reached the top, the smell hit him.
It was a strange, but somehow familiar smell; but it didn't belong HERE. It
smelled like a pond overgrown with algae, or like rotten seaweed, or something
like that. It reminded Ranma of water, and of decay at the same time. He paused
briefly, looking around. If anything it was darker upstairs than it was
downstairs, and it took a second for his eyes to re-adjust.
Then something horrible lunged at him.
An inhuman scream shattered the silence around Ranma, and a shape emerged
from the darkness. Claws raked his back, and he dove down the hallway and
rolled into a crouch, then turned to face his attacker. He couldn't quite make
it out, but...
It appeared to have a vaguely human shape, but Ranma could plainly tell
that it was anything BUT human. It had long, spindly limbs, and it stood at
least two or three feet taller than Ranma. Its skin looked ... wet. Long, thin
strands of hair hung limply about its face, and the face ... Ranma couldn't
make out details, but in the darkness it looked more like the face of a frog,
or some kind of a fish. Anything but a person.
Ranma had only an instant to size it up, however, as it immediately lunged
at him again.
He dodged its clumsy swing, but abruptly discovered that the creature was
deceptively agile as it caught him with its other arm, throwing him against the
wall. Ranma kicked it in the side as he dangled from its grip, and it pushed
him right THROUGH the wall, and back into his room. He fell against Genma, who
somehow remained asleep.
Shaking his head to clear it, Ranma looked up in time to see the creature
follow him through the hole in the wall. Jumping up, he backed toward the
"Okay..." he muttered. "Let's take this fight outside!"
With a vicious growl, the creature charged. Ranma ducked under its claws,
then got a hold of its midsection and flipped it. It smashed through the window
and rolled off the roof.
Ranma quickly followed.

Akane was jolted awake by a terrifying sound. It had sounded like a scream
of some kind, but it barely sounded human -- and before she could get her
bearings, there was a loud *CRASH* right out in the hallway!
She looked to the door in apprehension, and P-Chan jumped to the foot of
her bed, where he stood staring at the door vigilantly.
"P-Chan?" Akane whispered to her pet. "What's going on out there?!"
P-Chan gave her what she thought was a strange look, then looked back at
the door. He seemed really nervous.
Gathering her courage and resolve, Akane slid out of bed and moved toward
the door, picking up a barbell on her way there.
Her hand was inches from the door when suddenly there was a very loud noise
behind her. Akane looked over her shoulder and saw something horrifying crash
through her window and land right next to the bed!
It looked at her, and Akane gasped involuntarily. It looked like some kind
of a giant fish or frog, except it had arms, legs and hair like a person. It
hissed and reached toward her with a clawed hand.
As it leaned over the bed, P-Chan leaped up and attacked its face, giving
Akane a chance to react. Not wanting to abandon him, she dodged sideways and
made a grab for her training bokken in the corner.
It occurred to her that this probably wasn't the wisest move she could've
made a moment later, when the creature swatted P-Chan into the opposite corner,
then turned and took a swing at Akane. She was knocked back against the wall
near the door and dropped her barbell, a bit dazed but thankful the claws
hadn't scratched her.
But now she had a real problem, as the creature lunged toward her with
frightening speed. And as hard as Akane tried to hide her fear, she was
terrified of it.
Suddenly, the door next to her opened. "Akane?" Nabiki's voice called.
"What's going on--?!"
To Akane's horror, the creature swerved sideways and went right out the
door. She heard Nabiki gasp, then a low growl from the creature drowned out any
other noise.
Struggling to her feet, Akane rushed out into the hall. At first all she
could see was the monster's back, then it drew back its arm and she saw Nabiki.
The creature had her pinned to the wall, and blood ran down her arm where its
claws had sunk into her shoulder.
Akane was amazed that her sister didn't cry out in pain. She knew SHE would
have. She then realized that she was just standing there staring at the
monster, and it was pulling back its free arm to deliver a killing blow! She
had to make herself do something!
"LEAVE HER ALONE!!!" Akane did the only thing she could think of -- she
grabbed the creature's outstretched arm and pulled. To its surprise (not to
mention her own), she managed to pull it off Nabiki. Unfortunately she didn't
know what to do with it after that, and its attention was now focused back on
Claws lashed out, and all Akane could do was cover her head to try to ward
off the worst blows. Razor-sharp talons bit into her forearms, and she gritted
her teeth against the pain.
Suddenly, the attack abruptly stopped. With a great deal of apprehension,
Akane peered out from under her upraised arms.
Ryoga was in the hallway. How he'd gotten there, Akane had no idea, but he
had the creature's arms pinned and there was a fire in his eyes she'd rarely
seen. She noticed that, by this time, her father and Kasumi had also come out
into the hall and were staring at the monster in horror.
"Akane!!" Ryoga shouted. "Are you okay?!" She managed a nod, but didn't
trust herself to reply right then, afraid she'd start screaming or crying.
"You bastard...!!!" Lifting the monster off the floor, Ryoga turned and
threw it down the stairs, then leaped down after it. The Tendos could hear the
sound of a violent and very one-sided battle erupt below them.
"Akane!! Nabiki!!" Soun and Kasumi quickly rushed over to tend to their
injuries, deep concern evident on both their faces.
"Akane, what happened out here?!" Soun asked as he leaned over her. "What
was that, that ... creature?!" His composure was surprising, under the
circumstances. Normally he'd be a complete wreck.
"...I ... I don't know what it was, Dad!" Akane said, her voice breaking a
little now that the danger was over. "It just ... I heard a scream out here in
the hall, and I was coming to see what it was, and then ... then, that THING
came in my window, and P-Chan -- OH NO!!! P-Chan?? What happened to him?!"
"Shhh, Akane, it's okay," her father assured her. "We'll find him, but we
have to take care of YOU first!"
Akane blinked. She wasn't used to her Dad taking charge of the situation
like this, and it made everything else that had happened seem even more
surreal. Maybe it was something he'd imbibed...?
"But, Akane, you say you heard a scream?" Kasumi asked from across the
hall, where she was examining Nabiki's injury. "I heard it too, in the hallway,
but it didn't sound like anyone I know ... what was it? If that monster was
outside your room, than that couldn't be it ... what could it have been?"
"This is just a wild guess," Nabiki interjected as Kasumi tended to her
shoulder, "But maybe it has something to do with Ranma?" She pointed past them.
Looking down the hall, the other three realized for the first time that
there was a gaping hole in the wall of the Saotomes' guest room.
"Ra ... RANMA!!!" Pushing her father aside, Akane jumped up and ran to the
hole. Looking through, she saw ... a snoring panda laying in the middle of the
room ... and another hole where the window had previously been.
And no sign of Ranma anywhere.
"Ranma ... he's gone!" Akane cried, turning back to her father and sisters.
"Where could he be?!"

Ranma ducked under the creature's swing, and delivered a hundred blows to
its body faster than the eye could see. The monster staggered, and Ranma did a
backflip, kicking it in the chin as he went. He landed a few feet away from it,
ready for anything else it had to dish out.
Which couldn't be very much more. It had been a long fight and the monster
was incredibly strong, but Ranma knew he was wearing it down. It told in every
movement the creature made, becoming more sluggish and labored as the minutes
passed. He knew victory was his; now all he had to worry about was finding out
exactly what the hell this thing even WAS.
Snarling as if to tell Ranma it wasn't through yet, the monster lowered its
head and prepared to charge him again. Ranma tensed, ready to deliver the
finishing blow, but just then he was interrupted by an enraged shout from
inside the house.
"SHISHI HOKOUDAN!!!!" A blast of green fire abruptly tore through the
nearest wall. Ranma could see the sillhouette of a second monster inside it,
and the blast caught the first creature in its path as well. It knocked both of
them through the wall surrounding the yard, and out into the street beyond.
Ranma blinked in surprise, then straightened up and turned toward the
source of the blast.
"Hey, nice shot, P-Chan!"
"Shut up," Ryoga growled, leaning against the remainder of the wall.
Ranma sighed in relief, glad the battle was over. "C'mon," he called to
Ryoga as he jogged towards the wall. "Let's go pick up the pieces." He reached
the hole made by Ryoga's fireball, then stopped.
There was some debris in the street outside, but no fish-monsters. Ranma's
mood instantly became serious again, and he quickly looked up and down the
street but there was no sign of their hideous attackers.
"Crap." He turned back to Ryoga, who had caught up with him. "They're gone.
Poof, disappeared."
Ryoga swore, then looked back at Ranma. "Hey, what the hell were you doing
out here, anyway?!" he demanded.
"Huh? Whaddyou mean, what was I doing?!" Ranma snapped back at him. "I was
fighting that monster, that's what! If I hadn't lured it out here, the house
would've been wrecked!"
"Well, while you were out here playing around, another monster came in and
attacked Akane!! If I hadn't been there, she'd--"
Ranma's eyes widened and he raced back inside, leaving Ryoga ranting out in
the yard.

Morning came, and customers were already waiting when the doors of the
Nekohanten opened for the day. As Shampoo hurriedly waited tables, she was
surprised to see Ryoga burst through the door. Ukyo followed shortly behind
him, and he staggered across the restaraunt toward the counter in back. Shampoo
stopped Ukyo on her way past.
"What with him?" she asked, nodding at Ryoga.
"Beats me," Ukyo replied with a shrug. "I met him on the street outside my
restaraunt. He came stumbling past just like that, and grabbed my arm and asked
me to bring him here. He didn't say why, he just said it was really important."
Meanwhile, Ryoga was banging his fist on the counter. "Hey! Old Ghoul!" he
yelled, causing some of the customers to look in his direction. A petite,
pretty girl with straight black hair sat at the counter next to him, sipping a
cup of tea and looking at him with a measure of curiosity.
Cologne popped up behind the counter. "Why hello, Ryoga. Good to see you,
boy. Any word on the Tendo training hall? Shampoo told me of your battle
yesterday against those delinquents. It seems they were only pawns of a man who
cares very little for human life."
"Listen to me, old woman!" Ryoga exclaimed, then slumped against the
counter, clearly exhausted. Shampoo and Ukyo gathered around, also wanting to
hear what he had to say.
"Last night, after the fight ... the Tendo house was invaded, by ... by two
weird creatures of some kind."
"Creatures?" Cologne repeated, clearly interested. "What sort of
Ryoga shook his head. "Monsters ... I've never seen anything like them. ...
Kinda looked ... like, I dunno, big fish. Or maybe frogs. But ... but, they
sort of looked human ... at the same time."
Cologne's eyes narrowed. "Fish, eh...? Could they have something to do with
the curse of Jusenkyo?"
Ryoga shook his head again. "I dunno ... those things ... they, they hurt
Akane!!" He clenched his fists angrily.
"What? Akane hurt?" Shampoo repeated. "Ranma is okay, yes?"
"Akane ... Akane and her sister were injured by those monsters!" Ryoga
growled. "Me and Ranma fought them off ... but, they escaped. After that ...
Ranma and the Tendos went to the hospital." He sighed in exhaustion. "I spent
the whole night ... running around, trying ... to find this place." He
collapsed across the counter.
"Great-Grandmother!" Shampoo exclaimed, turning to Cologne. "We help Ranma
fight monsters! Is okay, yes?"
Cologne nodded thoughtfully. "Fish-monsters ... I wonder what this means."
She waved her cane at Mousse. "You there! Duck-boy! Shampoo and I are going
out. Watch the restaraunt until we return." In response to his orders, Mousse
With that, Cologne and Shampoo headed for the door with Ukyo bringing up
the rear. As soon as they were outside, the conversations in the restaraunt
resumed their normal course.
Well, almost.
"Monsters...?" the girl at the counter murmured thoughtfully to herself.
She glanced back at Ryoga, who appeared to be completely unconscious. Then she
got up and left the Nekohanten.

"Ready, Great-Grandmother?" Shampoo asked as she pulled her bike around.
Cologne hopped up on the handlebars and nodded.
"Quickly, Shampoo! To the hospital!" She pointed with her cane.
"Hey, you guys!" Ukyo protested. "How'm I supposed to get there? There's no
more room on that bike!"
Shampoo looked at her with disdain. "Who say anything about us give YOU
ride, spatula-girl?"
Cologne smiled pleasantly. "I'm afraid you'll just have to run along behind
us, my dear. Hurry, Shampoo, time's wasting!"
"Aiyaa! Hold on, Ranma, Shampoo is coming!!" The bicycle took off like a
streak, and Shampoo jumped it up onto the fence that ran along the street so as
to avoid the normal traffic.
Ukyo could only stand there for a moment, shaking in fury. "Why ... that
... I'll show HER!!! Run along behind -- yeah, right!" She looked around
briefly, then dashed behind the Nekohanten.

The faces of pedestrians whizzed by in a blur as Shampoo and Cologne sped
toward the hospital. They cruised through a busy marketplace and across crowded
streets, Shampoo deftly guiding the bike with her martial-arts expertise.
Finally, they reached a bridge crossing over one of the many waterways in
Nerima, and their destination lay just beyond it.
"Akane may be rival for future husband," Shampoo told her Great-Grandmother
as they passed over the bridge, "But Shampoo still hope she not hurt too badly.
Worry about Akane, not as bad as worry about stupid spatula-girl."
Cologne was about to ask her to repeat what she'd just said in Cantonese,
to be sure she had it right, but then she heard a voice below them.
"HEY!! I'm gonna beat you yet!"
"Speak of the devil," Cologne muttered, directing Shampoo's attention to
the water on their left.
As Shampoo and Cologne were crossing the bridge, Ukyo was paddling her way
across the channel on a raft of some kind, using her giant spatula as an oar.
"Raft look awfully familiar..." Shampoo said as she peered down at it.
"It's the back door to the Nekohanten," Cologne sighed. "I had no idea that
type of wood could float so well."

Ukyo paddled toward shore with renewed determination. She supposed it
didn't matter now whether she actually beat Shampoo in the hospital's door or
not, as she'd already demonstrated her ingenuity simply by arriving at the same
time. Whereas Shampoo had had to take a longer route to cross the various
channels and waterways that cut through town, Ukyo had simply made heself a
raft and gone in a straight line. But, ingenuity aside, she still wanted to be
the first one at Ranma's side.
She was near the shore, and the water was now shallow enough to walk in.
Paddling just a bit nearer, Ukyo finally abandoned her raft and ran through the
shallows toward the banks. I find a new use for this thing every day, she
thought to herself as she sheathed her spatula. No sooner had she done that
than she tripped over something in the water, going down face-first.
She could already hear Shampoo laughing as she pushed herself back up,
turning to vent her frustrations on whatever rock had been foolish enough to
cross her path.
And the rock hissed back at her, displaying a row of needle-sharp teeth
lining a frighteningly large mouth.
Gasping, Ukyo reflexively scrambled away from the thing she'd tripped over
a moment before. Reaching a safe distance, she looked at it more carefully. It
looked like some kind of a big lizard, but nothing she'd ever seen outside a
zoo. It glared at her with what seemed like genuine anger, then slid back into
the water and disappeared under the bridge.
"Aiyaa!" Shampoo exclaimed as she and Cologne hurried down the slope from
the street above, stopping alongside the thoroughly drenched Ukyo. "Shampoo
never see lizard THAT big!"
"It was a crocodile," Cologne informed them, sounding very surprised
herself. "It's extremely unusual to see one in a place like this, however.
Perhaps it escaped from the zoo, or it could also have been a pet." Her eyes
narrowed in thought. "How strange..."

Well, I guess I won't be getting in any practice for a while, Akane thought
gloomily as she looked at her bandaged arms. I guess I should be grateful it's
only as bad as this, though. I didn't even need as many stitches as Kuno did.
Her injuries finally taken care of, she sat on a bench across the hall from
Happosai's room in a fairly vacant wing of the hospital. The voices of her
father and Genma could be heard within, chanting something. They'd been at it
all morning.
Akane's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of approaching footsteps,
and she looked up to find their source. "Nabiki!" she exclaimed, a relieved
smile spreading across her face.
"Hiya, Sis," Nabiki replied, waving as Kasumi helped her over to the bench,
where the three sisters then sat side by side. Nabiki's smile was more reserved
than Akane's, but then again, Akane had never known her older sister to express
emotion as openly as she did. In response to Akane's questioning gaze, Nabiki
pulled up her sleeve and displayed her bandaged shoulder.
"Oh, does it hurt very much?" Akane asked, her tone one of concern.
Nabiki pulled her sleeve back down, her expression unchanged. "Oh, come
now, Akane. I know and accept that I'm not as strong as you are, but even I can
handle a little thing like this," she told her.
Akane frowned. "Well, I didn't mean THAT, it's just that--"
"I'm fine," her sister replied with what Akane thought was a more genuine
She smiled back. "I'm glad."
"Both of you will have to be careful for a while, you know," Kasumi said,
reminding them of her presence. "You don't want to aggravate your injuries."
Akane laughed cheerfully. "Kasumi, we're okay! It really isn't that big a
deal. It's not like I've never been hurt worse than this. We're both fine."
"But, Akane..." Kasumi was interrupted by a particularly loud chant from
Happosai's room, and she looked toward the door.
Sighing, Kasumi turned back to her younger sisters. "Oh, dear. I'm afraid
the sake they drank last night hasn't quite worn off yet."
Akane snorted. "Nah, they're just fools."
"What are they doing in there, anyway?" Nabiki asked, indicating the
"Well, it's some kind of funeral rite..." Kasumi frowned. "...I think. I'm
really not sure exactly what they're doing -- maybe they didn't hear what the
doctor said about Grandfather's condition. In the state the two of them are
in..." She looked worried.
Nabiki chuckled. "Go on, Sis," she told Kasumi. "You'd better look in on
them. We'll be fine out here."
Kasumi stood. "You're sure you don't need anything?" she asked.
"Positive," Akane and Nabiki replied simultaneously.
Kasumi gave them one last look, then entered Happosai's room.
"Poor Kasumi," Nabiki sighed without missing a beat. "An old maid before
her time." She glanced at her youngest sister. "We can't ever let that happen
to US, Akane."
"Wh ... what? How can you say that?" Akane asked in disbelief. "Kasumi
isn't an old maid! I can't believe you'd say such a thing."
"Why? It's true," Nabiki countered.
Akane opened her mouth to argue, but she was cut off.
Turning, Akane saw Ranma walking down the hall towards them. He stopped in
front of the bench.
"So..." he paused. "They finally got done with you, huh?"
"Yup!" Akane replied cheerfully. "I'm all fixed up!" She suddenly realized
that she'd seen a glimmer of concern in Ranma's eyes, but when she looked back
it was gone, replaced by his usual arrogence.
"Well, good," Ranma replied. "Maybe now, this'll teach you not to mess with
dangerous things like monsters 'n' stuff."
"WHAT?? What's that supposed to mean?!" Akane demanded. "You got hurt too,
you idiot!!"
"Ahhh, it's nothin'," Ranma scoffed, rubbing his back. "Just a tiny
scratch." He pointed at Akane's arms. "Nothin' NEAR that."
Akane bristled. "Why, you..." she began, but was cut off again by a shout.
Now it was Ranma's turn to look up, just in time to see Kuno charging down
the hall at him, bokken drawn.
"Despite the fact that we have worked together toward a common goal, Ranma
Saotome, do not think that I have forgiven or forgotten your transgressions
against the pig-tailed girl!!" Kuno ranted as he careened toward his target.
"You cannot resist my righteous fury!!"
"Man, your fury is anything BUT righteous," Ranma grumbled as he stepped
forward to get the brief clash over with. As he did so, however, he tripped
over Akane's foot (which just happened to be stretched out in front of him). As
Ranma stumbled, Kuno's downward swing struck his head and smashed his face into
the floor, cracking the surrounding tiles and causing Akane and Nabiki to wince
sympathetically. (It also made a really loud noise.)
The dust cleared, and Kuno stood over his adversary. Ranma lay at his feet
with his head embedded in the floor. A look of disbelief crossed Kuno's face,
then he grinned triumphantly.
"Heh ... I smote him well." He turned to face the bench. "Akane Tendo, you
have born witness to this great day! Come, my love, the villain stands between
us no longer! Let us date freely, for what woman could ever refuse so striking
and polished a figure as am I." He struck a dramatic pose.
"But Kuno-Baby, I think I should remind you," Nabiki cut in, "That you
don't cut quite such a striking figure right now. You're in a hospital gown."
Kuno froze, then stiffened. He turned to glare at Nabiki.
"I must inform you, Nabiki Tendo," he intoned, "That of all the females I
have ever known, you are the only one that I have ever truly despised."
Nabiki flashed him a bright smile. "Why, Kuno-Baby, I'm so honored to have
that distinction."
Kuno turned on his heel and began walking away. He stopped after a few
steps, and looked back at Akane.
"I shall return for you when I am properly attired, Akane Tendo," he
announced. "Please retain your innocence and purity until that time."
"I'll try," Akane said dryly as Kuno departed. Then she turned her
attention back to Ranma's smoking remains. "Come on, you idiot, wake up! You're
gonna apologize for what you said!"
Nabiki sighed, leaning back against the wall. "I guess we'll have to face
it, Akane ... you and I both have really lousy taste in guys."
Akane blinked, shocked to have heard her sister say such a thing aloud. She
was so shocked, in fact, that she wondered if she was simply hearing things.
"What did you say??" She looked back up at Nabiki.
"Moi?" Nabiki replied innocently.
Akane blinked again, then smiled in understanding. She'd never hear an
admission like that again...
...Or give one in turn, she thought as she glanced at Ranma, who was still
laying at their feet.
The brief moment of peace was shattered by a loud *CRASH!* from around the
corner, followed by a lot of yelling.
As the two younger Tendo sisters looked on, Shampoo and Ukyo came barelling
around the corner at breakneck speed, bits of broken glass raining from their
hair and clothing.
"Get outta my way, ya hussy!!" Ukyo hollered at Shampoo. "I was here
"YOU get out of way!" Shampoo shot back, pushing her way into the lead.
"Shampoo beat you, fair and square!"
The two girls didn't see Ranma and ran right over him, trampling his body
into the floor. Shampoo was the first to realize what had happened and shot
back like a magnet, grabbing Ranma and yanking him out of the concrete in one
smooth motion. Ukyo was right behind her, and in an instant they were playing
tug-of-war with Ranma.
"Ranma! Wo da ai len!" Shampoo squealed.
"Ranma, honey! Are you hurt? I heard there was a big fight last night! I
was so worried!" Ukyo told him between tugs.
"Uuuwwwwwaaaauuuuullluuuaaaauuuuuugggggghhhhhh..." was Ranma's response.
"Hello, Akane. How are you feeling?" a voice asked.
Diverting her attention from the wrestling match, Akane looked around.
Cologne had appeared a few feet away.
"Oh, hello!" Akane replied, bowing slightly.
"What's this I hear about monsters who prowl by night?" Cologne continued.
Before Akane could answer, the door to Happosai's room opened, and Kasumi
emerged, looking anxious. "Ranma! Come here, quickly!" she said, completely
oblivious to the fact that Ranma was about to be ripped in half by Shampoo and
"What is it, Kasumi?" Akane asked, noting the urgency in her sister's
"It's Grandfather!" Kasumi answered. "He's awake, and he wants to talk to
Ranma right away!"
"Huh?" Ranma snapped back to reality.

Ranma burst through the door to Happosai's room, ready to wring the old
freak's neck. But first, he was going to tell them all just who the heck that
mysterious guy was, and what those monsters were.
But Ranma's thoughts came to a screeching halt when he saw the old man. He
stopped short, and everyone else plowed into his back as they followed him into
the room.
"Ruh ... Ranma ... c'mere, boy..." Happosai croaked. He lay on the bed as
though he were barely clinging to life, his eyes swollen and bloodshot. Ranma
had never seen him in a more pitiful state. He noticed there was no monitoring
equipment hooked up, but didn't think much of it.
"Geez ... what happened, anyway?" Ranma asked as he approached the bed.
"The doctors said he had a heart attack," Kasumi replied, "...But, Father,
don't you think that's a little premature...?"
Soun and Genma sat against the far wall, dressed in ceremonial robes and
chanting continuously while rubbing Shinto beads in their hands. There was a
large wooden sign between them which read 'Peace be with the soul of Master
Happosai', and a photo of Happosai in his panty-raiding mask was also pasted
onto it. Candles and incense burned at the foot of the sign.
"...Ranma..." Happosai croaked again, and the chanting increased. Ranma
bent closer to hear what the old man was saying. "It's ... about ... that ...
boy ... urgh ... that boy...!"
He winced, then went limp. Ranma was too stunned to speak, and the chanting
abruptly ceased. The room was silent.
After a moment, Soun spoke. "Is ... is he dead?" he asked.
"He is ... he's dead." Genma answered grimly. The two men looked at each
other and nodded.
"Oh my," Kasumi said.
Soun and Genma jumped to their feet. "HE'S DEAD!!!!!!!!" They shouted out
for the whole world to hear. Quickly, they reached into their pockets--
--And drew out a set of markers, with which they proceeded to deface
Happosai's photo, and write obscenities on the sign. Everyone watched in
"HEY, KNOCK THAT OFF!!!" Happosai yelled, causing all those present to fall
to the floor in shock, having nearly suffered heart failure themselves.
"Aw man, I knew he was fakin'!!" Ranma exclaimed, clenching his fist in
fury. "All right, old freak, spit it out! What the heck is goin' on?!"
"Yeah, who is that guy anyway?" Ukyo added.
"And what were those monsters sneaking around in our house last night?!"
Akane demanded.
Happosai assumed a posture of wisdom and lit his pipe, as everyone leaned
closer. "I'll tell you what I know..." he began, then looked Ranma in the eye.
"Listen well, young Ranma, for your future may well be at stake here. Not only
your future, but the future of the entire school of Anything-Goes martial
"Yeah, yeah, I've heard it before," Ranma scoffed.
"WELL THIS TIME I MEAN IT!!!!!!!!!" Happosai shouted in Ranma's face,
nearly bowling him over.
He resumed his dignified pose, then began speaking in a more serious tone
than they could recall having heard him use previously.
"Before I came to Nerima, I travelled across Japan seeking out worthy
opponents, in order to test my Kempo skills. While in Kyushu I heard of an
incredibly skilled youth named Tatsunada Fushin, who was training himself up on
Mount Aso. I was curious about him, so I climbed the mountain in order to find
and challenge him." He stopped, then looked at Ranma.
"Ranma. About how old would you guess Tatsunada Fushin is?"
Ranma scratched his head, confused. "I dunno, sixteen or seventeen, I
guess. About my age."
Happosai nodded, then continued. "I met him at the peak, and he looked
exactly the same then as he did yesterday. Green hair, fancy headband, eyes ...
like a snake." He cleared his throat, then continued. "We fought. He was truly
an incredible fighter for one so young ... much like yourself, Ranma."
Ranma was surprised by the compliment, but no one else took notice.
Happosai continued without pause.
"Our battle lasted for hours. I have never met such an opponent -- he
fought with such fury, it was as if he were possessed by the spirit of a
samurai ... or maybe even an oni. Finally, the battle came to a conclusion..."
He bowed his head.
"...And I was defeated."
Everyone gasped. Not even Cologne could defeat Happosai in a decisive
"Master ... you, you lost?! To that boy?! But HOW??" Soun stammered.
Happosai ignored him. "When the battle was finished ... Tatsunada Fushin
told me that he would spare my life on one condition ... that one day, when I
had found a worthy successor, he would return ... and defeat that person,
making my legacy his own." He bowed his head in genuine shame.
"And you ACCEPTED!" Akane said angrily.
"Of course I accepted!" Happosai snapped. "I didn't have any choice! He
could've killed me -- and he would have, too!" But then he grinned
mischieviously. "But I got him back. I showed him." He nodded, his grin
widening. "When he turned to leave, I used my final attack and knocked him off
the mountaintop to his death!"
There was a very uncomfortable pause, then everyone heaved a disgusted
sigh. "So," Ranma declared, "You took a cheap shot at that guy, and now he's
back for revenge. You deserve it, you old freak!"
"But he was DEAD!" Happosai insisted. "I saw his body with my own eyes!"
"Well then, your eyes ain't workin' too good!!" Ranma shot back.
Happosai sighed, and continued his story. "Exhausted from my battle, I
rested awhile before travelling back down the mountainside. As I was
recovering, I saw a huge flash of light, brighter than any light I've ever seen
before or since then, flare out before me. I'm sure it could be seen for miles
"Was it the vengeful spirit of Tatsunada Fushin, or an incredible technique
that he'd summoned to destroy you?!" Soun asked anxiously.
"Nah, I bet it was just a GOD comin' down outta the sky to congradulate you
on your great victory," Ranma snorted sarcastically.
Happosai continued speaking as if nothing else had been said.
"When I returned from Mount Aso ... I learned that the United States of
America had just dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Masterwork Productions presents...

Ranma 1/2: The Sands of Time

Based on characters created by Rumiko Takahashi
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Part Three: Ultimatum

It took a moment for Happosai's statement to sink in.
After a long silence had passed, Kasumi spoke up.
"Excuse me, Grandfather," she told Happosai, "But didn't that happen in
"That's right, my dear," Happosai replied.
"Oh, yeah, right!" Ranma sneered. "You expect us to believe that you fought
the same kid in 1945 who was at Akane's house yesterday?? We ain't THAT dumb!
He'd be a shriveled old goat like you by now! This guy must be his great-
grandson, or somethin' like that."
Happosai shook his head. "I tell you, it was the same boy."
"But that's impossible!!" Akane insisted.
"Hey, wait a second," Ukyo interjected. "I don't mean to side with the old
lech, but even if this Tatsunada Fushin was somehow an identical descendant of
the man he fought in 1945 ... didn't he recognize Happosai by sight?"
"That's right, dear Ukyo!" Happosai exclaimed. "It's proof that we fought
before! How sweet of you to remember..."
"That's right, Ranma ... he did say something like that!" Akane said,
looking worried.
"No way! I don't buy it!" Ranma insisted, shaking his head. "There's no way
that guy could still be around after all these years, and not look any older
than ME!!"
"The curse of immortality is not entirely unheard of, Son-in-law," Cologne
stated. "There are many legends dealing with the acquisition of eternal youth.
I've even heard of a few such cases myself, though very, very rarely."
"You obviously weren't one of them," Ranma couldn't resist observing.
"Joke all you want, Son-in-law," Cologne replied, "But be aware that your
opponent is very likely far more dangerous than you expected. He already
defeated Happosai once, and his skills have had decades to improve since then."
Even Ranma couldn't brush off a statement like that.
"Ranma, what you do now?" Shampoo cried, clinging to his arm.
"Please, Honey, you've gotta be careful!" Ukyo added, clinging to his other
Ranma looked around the room, and noticed that everyone was looking at him
"Aw, geez, whaddya want ME t'say?! I don't even have any grudge against
that guy, whatever his name is! This is all the old freak's fault!"
"But, Ranma," Happosai cut in, "As my successor, you are now Tatsunada
Fushin's target! He WILL come to challenge you!"
"And the succession of the Anything-Goes school of martial arts is
something YOU chose for YOURSELF, Ranma!" Genma declared, pointing a finger at
his son. "Be a man, and face up to your responsibilities!"
"Aw, STUFF IT!!" Ranma yelled as he drop-kicked his father out the window.
"But he's right, Ranma," Akane pointed out. "No matter what we do, Fushin
is going to come back. We'll have to think of something!"
"Well then, why don't we just feed him some of your cooking?" Ranma
suggested. "Even if that guy really IS immortal, that'd kill him for sure!"
"QUIT JOKING AROUND, YOU IDIOT!!!" Akane yelled as she wedged Happosai's
breakfast tray into Ranma's mouth. "This is SERIOUS!! I don't want to be kicked
out of my own house!!!"
"And don't forget that that leaves YOU without a home, too, Ranma!" Soun
reminded Ranma as he pried the tray loose. Ranma immediately pushed Soun out of
the way, and got into a glaring match with Akane.
"What's the matter, Ranma..." Nabiki asked quietly, "...You're not afraid
of a little challenge, are you?"
Ranma froze. Several seconds passed, and Ukyo waved her hand in front of
his face to get his attention, but there was no response. After a long moment,
he finally moved, bowing his head.
Then, he started glowing.
Happosai grinned.
"Ranma...?" Akane asked apprehensively.
"Aiyaa!" Shampoo exclaimed.
"Oh, boy..." Ukyo murmured.
Ranma clenched his fist, then raised it to the ceiling.
"All right, then ... if that's the way it's gonna be ... then so be it!!
There's no WAY I'm gonna LOSE!!!"

About an hour later, the entire group (except for Happosai) could be seen
walking the route between the Nerima district hospital and the Tendo Dojo. The
colorful procession drew stares from many other pedestrians, especially so
because there was a giant panda bringing up the rear.
"You know, Daddy," Nabiki told Soun, "You should really think about getting
a car one of these days."
Soun didn't hear her as he was busy showering Ranma with pep talk. "I'm
glad you've decided to fight, Ranma, but remember that you must be careful!
There's a lot at stake here, and this Tatsunada Fushin is no ordinary enemy!"
Ranma ignored him and continued walking with an air of complete confidence.
"Hey, Ranma!" Akane barked at him. "I keep telling you, you've gotta take
this more seriously! If what Happosai told us is really true--"
Ranma snorted. "Aw, gimme a break, Akane! That old freak was just tryin'
t'scare us. I'll betcha anything he made that whole story up."
"Ten thousand yen versus Ranma's life!" Nabiki called out.
"Hey, knock it off!" Ranma told her with a glare. "I ain't puttin' my neck
on the line here."
"Au contraire, Ranma dear," Nabiki answered. "If the old man's story IS
true, then you most certainly ARE."
"Yeah, Ranma!" Akane added. "Even if that guy isn't immortal, who do you
think taught Hideaki Goda and his gang those fatal techniques?!"
"Well ... uh ... if that guy taught those kids, he sure didn't do a very
good job!" Ranma stammered.
'Didn't he say that himself?' Genma's sign read.
"Ranma, honey, if you're determined to fight that guy, you should at least
do it on a full stomach!" Ukyo implored him. "That hospital food isn't much
better than Akane's cooking. Let's stop at my restaraunt on the way back, and
I'll fix you something."
"What was that?" Akane growled in response to the crack about her cooking.
"Ranma eat at Nekohanten instead!" Shampoo insisted. "Shampoo have perfect
dish, prepare for big fight!"
"Oh, by the way," Ukyo told Shampoo, "I forgot to mention that there's a
duck watching your restaraunt right now."
Shampoo and Cologne stopped and looked at each other as the rest of the
group continued. Then Shampoo got angry.
"No fair! That low, even for spatula-girl!" She growled.
Cologne sighed in resignation. "I hope we haven't lost TOO much business
since this morning. I'd better go take care of it." She hopped across a nearby
rooftop, and was gone. Shampoo hurried to catch up with the others.

Minutes later, Cologne dropped onto the street outside the Nekohanten. She
passed quickly through the crowd and made her way inside, where angry voices
(along with the sound of a duck quacking) could be heard.
As Cologne entered the restaraunt, she passed the girl who had sat next to
Ryoga earlier, during their conversation about the monsters. Seeing the old
woman, she tugged on her companion's sleeve and pointed. A young man of about
twenty, with brown hair and broad shoulders, he looked on with interest. They
watched the restaraunt for a moment, then the girl gave her friend a
questioning glance. He nodded gravely, and they followed Cologne into the

Having finally arrived home at the Tendo residence, Ranma peered cautiously
through the front gate. The bright morning sun shone down on the yard, making
it impossible for anyone to hide in the open, and everything within the walls
was completely silent.
Ranma stepped into the yard and took a good look around. He was followed by
Akane, Shampoo, Ukyo, and the rest. Everyone was completely alert, searching
for any sign of their enemy. Tension filled the air.
Finally, Ranma shrugged and sat down on the grass. "Aw, there's nobody
here," he announced.
The others milled around the yard, making sure for themselves that he was
right. Akane checked the house, then returned to the yard and stopped a few
feet from Ranma.
"You know, Ranma," she pointed out, "Even if everything that old creep said
is true, it still doesn't explain those monsters we fought last night."
"Yeah, I know," he muttered without facing her.
"And I suppose that doesn't worry you either," she said, glaring at him.
Ranma turned and looked over his shoulder at her. "What's the point of
worryin' about it?" he said pointedly. "It ain't gonna change nothin'."
"Truer words were never spoken," said a voice at the gate.
Everyone whirled around to face Tatsunada Fushin as he stepped through the
gate and entered the yard. He looked Ranma in the eye with his flat, almost
reptillian gaze, and ignored the others completely as they all took up battle
stances. He stopped about five steps away from Ranma.
"I have returned as promised to discuss the future with you, Ranma
Saotome," he declared. "We will decide what it holds."
Ranma glowered back at him. "Did you come here for a fight, or what?"
Fushin smiled indulgently. "Not necessarily," he replied. "But, first, I
think we should be aware of each other's positions. Has old Happosai told you
anything of me?"
"He said some stuff that didn't make much sense," Ranma answered carefully.
Again Fushin smiled. "And yet, the truth is that I met him atop Mt. Aso
when he was just a lad. There's no denying that even then, he was one of the
most talented martial-artists I'd ever encountered. That's why I've waited
until now to claim my prize."
Ranma cracked his knuckles. "And what prize is that?" he growled.
"Well, the Tendo School of Anything-Goes Martial-Arts, of course. Goda
should have relayed that message to you -- he followed all my other
instructions to the letter."
Before Ranma could reply, Akane stepped forward. "Are you saying that you
ordered those kids to commit seppoku when they lost?!" she demanded.
"Akane, stay back," Soun pleaded.
"Why, yes, my dear, that's exactly what I'm saying," Fushin replied in
response to Akane's question. "They had disgraced themselves in battle, and
besides, they had already served their purpose."
"'Their purpose'?" Ranma repeated.
"To weed out the weaklings, for lack of a better term," Fushin sneered.
"Alas, it turned out that they themselves were the only true weaklings, while
the rest of you carried yourselves quite nicely."
"You mean..." Ranma growled, shaking with anger, "...That you just threw
them at us, to test our skills?!"
"More or less," Fushin replied with a shrug. Then, he fixed Ranma with an
urgent stare. "Now, young Saotome, before you charge at me with that vengeful
fury in your eyes, let me tell you all a little story."
"When I was your age -- I mean, TRULY your age -- my father and I were
assassins for the Shogun. He had learned that one of his enemies had found a
great treasure in China, and was having it brought back by ship. We were to
travel to China and locate this ship, then kill the crew and bring the treasure
back to the Shogun." Fushin shrugged. "It was a simple enough task, and was
carried out just as simply. Afterwords, we found a large chest in the ship's
hold. We carried it back to our campsite before returning to Japan. But, that
night, out of curiosity, my father decided to open the chest. And do you know
what was inside?" Fushin raised his eyebrows and grinned at them. "Fish meat!
At least, that's what we thought it was. It must have been something very rare
for the Shogun's enemies to want it, so my father and I each decided to try
some." He chuckled softly.
Then he looked at them again, and his flat, predatory stare hardened even
more. "Well, just a moment later, my father ... changed. He became something
else ... he was no longer human. A monster, you could say. I was terrified, and
I ran to a clearing nearby, and hid amid a cluster of springs until he had
gone. That was the last time I ever saw him." He smirked. "And I have not aged
since that day either."
"Fish meat that make you live forever? What that?" Shampoo asked.
"I imagine it was the flesh of a mermaid," Fushin replied.
"The flesh of a WHAT??" Ranma repeated in disbelief.
"A mermaid," Fushin repeated. "Surely you've heard the legend, that he who
eats the flesh of a mermaid will never die, but live on forever and ever, until
the end of time. Of course there's a lot more to it than that. It doesn't work
for everyone, and those who do survive often come to curse their immortality."
"So, then..." Akane murmured. "Those creatures that attacked us last night
"They were two of my former apprentices," Fushin replied without so much as
a hint of regret in his voice. "The mermaid's meat is very unpredictable. Even
when you consider the 'ideal' effect it can have on humans, it really isn't all
it's cracked up to be. It's ultimately a sort of curse either way. However,
I've found a way to turn this curse to my advantage ... and that is why I've
come here."
"All right, I give up." Ranma said, crossing his arms. "What the hell does
ANY of that have to do with us?"
"It's really quite simple, young Saotome," Fushin replied. "I'm sure you're
aware that the world's most powerful martial-artists are also its most ancient.
Dedicated fighters who spend decade after decade training their mind and body,
seeking a perfect fusion of the two. If anyone ever reached that level, they
would be able to achieve ANYTHING. And yet, the constraints of time and the
inevitable deterioration of their bodies has always rendered this impossible.
But ... what if they didn't have to worry about growing old or dying? Wouldn't
it then become possible to achieve this perfect level of skill?" He laughed.
"And so, it is to this end that I have travelled the world, challenging and
defeating the champions of every school of martial-arts in existence. When
every school, every style, has been laid low ... then I shall create a new
school. The ultimate martial art, which combines centuries of experience with
thousands of individual techniques to forge an invincible style of fighting."
He smirked. "Modern warfare will be changed forever."
"And, lemme guess," Ranma threw in, "Since the Anything-Goes style is only
practiced by our two families ... it's one of the last ones on your list."
Tatsunada Fushin smiled. "That's correct, Ranma Saotome. And, as such, you
have a choice. You can fight me for control of the Tendo Dojo. Or, you can
become my disciple. A boy of such exceptional skill would make a truly ideal
first student. Perhaps some of your friends could also join us ... that is, if
they are worthy."
Ranma's eyes narrowed. "So ... what happens if I fight you?"
"I admire your spirit, Ranma!" Fushin laughed. "All right, I'll tell you
what will happen if you fight me. I will kill you. I will also kill any of your
allies who dare to challenge me. This dojo, this house, and everything under
its roof will become mine. The Tendo-Saotome legacy will become my own. Your
bloodline will end here, and mine will begin anew."
"Geez, that sounds awfully midieval," Ukyo muttered.
"Now, wait a minute!!" Soun hollered. "You can't do that! Ranma and Akane
are going to carry on the Tendo training hall, and it will be THEIR children
who become the next generation to inherit it!"
'Yeah, that goes double for me!' Genma's sign read.
"But, Ranma will be dead," Fushin pointed out. "And I need an anchor, a
place where my legacy can grow. It's nothing personal. This is simply the
easiest, and most efficient, way." He gave Soun a nasty grin. "The fact that
all three of your daughters are exceptionally beautiful is merely an unexpected
bonus for me."
It didn't take much to send Soun over the edge; the effect Fushin's
statement had was akin to squashing a fly with a wrecking ball. "YOU!!! How
dare you come in here and say that??!! As long as I'm alive, you won't touch
ANY of my girls!!!"
Fushin's eyes narrowed. "Be quiet, Tendo-kun. It's becoming apparent that
I'm going to have to kill at least a few people today, and I'm completely
indifferent as to whether or not you're one of them."
"I don't think he's changed his mind, Father," Kasumi observed. She sighed
to herself in annoyance. "Well, he IS older, but I really wish people would
tell me about these things ahead of time..."
Akane and Nabiki were both too busy staring at their oldest sister in utter
amazement to offer any comments of their own, and the yard was silent for a
moment. Then Ranma snorted in derision.
"Don't get the wrong idea or nothin'," he told Fushin as he cracked his
knuckles, "But I'm not gonna stand here and let you talk about takin' Akane OR
her house. It's my duty to stop you." His eyes narrowed. "You think you can
beat me, just 'cause you've got a couple hundred years of experience? You ain't
the first. And you won't be the last."
Tatsunada Fushin turned his full attention to Ranma, facing him with a
broad grin. "Time will tell, young Ranma Saotome ... time will tell."
The two combatants faced each other, and everyone else in the yard stood
perfectly still. Ranma watched Fushin's movements, trying to discern a fighting
style or tactic. The trouble was that he didn't move. He just stood there,
watching Ranma ... probably doing the same thing.
And I just gave myself away with my stance, Ranma realized. Aw, the hell
with it. I'm not gonna play his game. With a shout, he lunged forward with a
rushing punch. Fushin easily avoided it, but Ranma had expected that. It was
the follow-up reverse kick that'd nail him...
...And Ranma's foot swept through the empty air. Startled, he looked around
for his opponent and found he was above him, coming down from his jump with a
diving kick. Ranma rolled out of the way, then came back with a quick lunge,
aiming to catch Fushin with a punch while he recovered from his landing. But as
Ranma's fist whistled through the air, his opponent's head suddenly snapped to
the side, and he grabbed Ranma's arm and threw him. How can he be so fast?!
Ranma wondered even as he was flung into the air, hearing something *pop* as he
travelled over Fushin's shoulder.
He hit the ground a good three meters away, and his right arm exploded with
pain as he landed. Clenching his teeth, he realized Fushin had somehow
dislocated his shoulder when he threw him. Akane gasped, seeing his arm hanging
"Hang on, Honey!!" Ukyo yelled as she bashed his shoulder with her spatula.
"GAAAAAAHHHH!!!!! WHAT'RE YOU -- uh." Ranma realized his arm felt fine now.
"Er, thanks Uk-Chan." With that, he dove back into the fight.
"I'll give you credit for your tenacity, Saotome," Fushin told him as he
dodged the flurry of attacks Ranma launched at him. "You're incredibly talented
for your age." He jumped over the last kick Ranma threw at him and landed on
the wall above, regarding his opponent with interest. "There must be some way I
could convince you to become my disciple."
Ranma glared up at him, clenching his fists in frustration. "C'mon, FIGHT
me already!! I'd rather die than bow down to a guy like YOU!" With a leap, he
joined his enemy on the wall and quickly threw another punch at him as he
This time, Fushin caught Ranma's fist inches from his face, instead of
dodging it. His eyes narrowed as he looked Ranma in the eye. "Poor choice of
words, Saotome." he hissed. His free hand tightened into a fist, and Ranma
Suddenly the wall collapsed beneath their feet, and the two combatants
leapt apart to land on opposite sides of the gap. As Ranma watched, Shampoo
jumped onto the wall, facing Fushin.
"Shampoo will no allow you to hurt Ranma!" she declared, levelling one of
her mace-weapons at him. Fushin glowered at her and then, moving with the speed
of a striking snake, knocked the weapon from her hand.
Although surprised, Shampoo recovered instantly and swung her other mace at
a downward angle. Fushin feinted sideways, avoiding Shampoo's swing, and struck
her in the side just below her ribs. He then snapped around and backhanded her,
both attacks taking less than half a second. The force of the blow spun Shampoo
around to face Ranma. She stared at him for a moment, her eyes wide.
Then, without a sound, she crumpled to the side and fell from the wall.
"SHAMPOO!!!" Ranma shouted.
"I have no sympathy for anyone who would interrupt us, Ranma," Fushin told
him in an annoyed tone.
Ranma simply stared at him for a moment. Then his face twisted in fury, and
he raised his hands.
A blast of energy lashed out from Ranma's hands and engulfed his enemy,
tearing the shingles from the top of the wall and completely obscuring his
silouhette. When the light faded, Ranma was breathing heavily but Fushin was
still crouched atop the wall, although he'd been pushed back several feet.
Lowering his arms (which he'd raised to protect his face), Fushin grinned
at Ranma. "Impressive. That's a very unusual technique."
"...I ... won't ... forgive you..." Ranma panted.
A voice interrupted his thoughts of revenge, and Ranma glanced at the
street below them. Cologne was there, cradling Shampoo in her tiny arms.
"Shampoo will be all right, Son-in-law!" she told Ranma. "Concentrate on
your battle!"
"Who are you?" Fushin demanded, adressing Cologne.
"Listen to me, Tatsunada Fushin!" Ranma shouted, and once again he had his
enemy's attention. "Let's take this fight somewhere more private!"
With that, Ranma leapt from the wall and quickly left the area, vaulting
from rooftop to rooftop as he went.
Fushin looked at Cologne again, then turned his gaze to the Tendo sisters.
"Quite an interesting boy," he commented. "I will return." Turning, he followed
Ranma's lead.
As soon as Fushin had gone, the other wall shattered and Ryoga burst into
the yard. "Where?! Where is that guy?!" he shouted, looking around angrily.
"Ryoga! Over here!" Akane yelled, waving to him.
"Akane!! You're safe!" Looking relieved, Ryoga ran over to where the group
was gathered. "What's happened here?" he asked, noticing the damage. "What did
I sleep through??!"
"Well, you see," Kasumi began, "Tatsunada Fushin, the man who defeated
Grandfather in 1945, arrived a while ago, and told Ranma that he could either
become his disciple, or fight him to the death. He also said that he would take
over our dojo, and turn it into his own ultimate school of martial-arts, and
that everything under the roof belonged to him, including the three of us." She
blushed slightly. "Which is very rude, even if he IS older, and so Ranma
decided to fight him, and then..." she stopped, noticing Ryoga's blank stare.
"You don't need to tell him EVERYTHING, Sis," Nabiki interrupted, looking
uncomfortable. Then she turned to Ryoga. "The bottom line, lost boy, is that
right now Ranma is fighting Tatsunada Fushin somewhere in this city, and if he
loses, then Kasumi, Akane and I--" she emphasised Akane's name for Ryoga's
benefit "--will have to become his personal handmaidens, or something
disgusting like that."
"WHAT??!!!" Ryoga shouted, his blood pressure skyrocketing.
"Worry not, Akane Tendo!!" Kuno bellowed as he popped up next to them,
prompting everyone to jump in surprise. Acting reflexively, Akane punched him.
Kuno cleared his throat and continued, completely unperturbed.
"What villain is this, who insinuates such lechery against so pure and
bright a flower as thee! I, Tatewaki Kuno, the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High,
invincible master of the art of Kendo, do swear by my blade that from this day
forward I shall protect you from all harm." He drew his bokken dramatically.
"That evil brigand may do what he will with these others, but you he will never
touch, my love."
"Thank you SO much, Kuno-Baby!" Nabiki exclaimed, grabbing Kuno's
outstretched hand as Akane looked on with disgust.
Kuno blinked, then glared at Nabiki and shook her loose. Then, he grabbed
Akane's wrist. "Come, Akane Tendo, let us retreat to my sanctuary where we will
be protected from such villainy as--"
He was interrupted in mid-speech as Ryoga's umbrella slammed down on his
head, pounding his body into the ground until, when the dust cleared, only his
head and shoulders were visible.
"Oh my," was Kasumi's reaction.
"Curse you," Kuno croaked at Ryoga.
Nabiki shook her head, looking down at the fallen swordsman. "He really is
hopeless, isn't he," she observed.
"That hurt, you know," Kuno added.
"No matter what that jerk says," Ryoga growled, "I really WILL protect you,
Akane! You can count on me!"
"Thanks, Ryoga," Akane began, "But..."
"Here we go again," Ukyo sighed. "Hey, jackass!" she hollered, banging on
Ryoga's head with her spatula. "Quit standing around, and let's go help Ran-
Chan! That guy is too strong for him to handle alone!"
"And why should I help HIM?" Ryoga demanded, blocking the spatula. "Ranma
can take care of himself."
"Listen to her, Ryoga!" Cologne called from the hole Shampoo had made in
the wall. They turned to see her still holding her great-granddaughter's limp
"Oh!" Akane gasped. "But, Grandmother, I thought you told Ranma that
Shampoo was okay?"
"She will be, but it's a miracle," Cologne said grimly. "I'm stimulating
her pressure-points. If I weren't, she would've died instantly." Her eyes
narrowed. "Son-in-law will be in trouble if his opponent gets in any good
"But ... but, he couldn't be THAT strong...!" Akane argued.
"It's that old technique he's using, remember?" Cologne explained. "It's
obvious that he is the one behind its reappearance. The Shitsume Strike -- the
strategic blows he lands, aimed at the right pressure-points, can kill with
very little effort."
"And if he kills Ranma," Ryoga said grimly, "He'll come back ... for Akane
and her sisters."
"So nice of you to remember us," Nabiki commented.
"Well then, what're we waiting for?!" Ukyo hollered.
"But, before you run off," Cologne told them, "You should talk to someone."
Akane noticed for the first time that there were two people standing behind
Cologne. One was a pretty girl with straight, dark hair, who was a bit shorter
than Akane. The other was a handsome young man with brown hair and broad
shoulders, who looked a bit older than Ranma.
"Excuse me," Akane said, "But who are these people?"
"There's no time to explain," the young man said as he stepped forward.
"But that man has to be stopped. My name's Yuta, and this is Mana." He
indicated his companion. "Pardon me for asking, but ... do you have any weapons
in your dojo?"

Ranma crouched behind a low concrete wall, listening for his enemy's
approach. He heard nothing but the sound of rushing water.
He'd made it as far as Mikado Dam, and he was sure Tatsunada Fushin would
be able to track him there. Ranma's plan was that if he couldn't find a way to
beat his opponent in a straight fight, maybe he could find a way to force him
over the dam and hopefully out to sea, and out of their hair. The floodgates
were closed, but Ranma could work around that problem if the need arose.
Now, if he'd just hurry up and GET HERE... Ranma thought angrily. Geez,
that guy's as bad as Ryoga!
As if his thoughts gave birth to reality, the concrete wall behind Ranma
suddenly shattered outward in a way that could only be caused by Ryoga's
'breaking point' technique. Ranma rolled to safety and turned to face a figure
who, except for an outstretched finger, was obscured by a cloud of dust.
To Ranma's amazement, the dust cloud parted and revealed the figure to be
Tatsunada Fushin. He turned and smiled at Ranma, his snake-like eyes narrowed
to slits.
"Hello, Saotome. What, were you expecting someone else?"
Ranma wiped the look of astonishment off his face, replacing it with one of
determination. "I just didn't know you knew that trick, that's all."
Fushin laughed. "You'd be surprised at the number of 'tricks' you can pick
up, Ranma, when you literally have all the time in the world. I could match you
blow for blow, no matter what you tried." He smirked. "There's really only one
way this fight can end. Surely you realize that by now." He looked back up at
Ranma. "Come on, Saotome. You saw what I did to your little friend back there.
The old crone was lying; she's dead." His eyes narrowed. "I've had dozens of
chances to do the same to you, but I really hate to waste such raw talent. I'm
sure you know by now that I've just been toying with you."
For Ranma it was like taking a knife in the chest but, remembering his
shoulder, he was forced to admit that it was true.
Fushin continued. "However, in all my travels -- and I've circled the globe
many times -- I have to tell you that I've never met anyone quite like you."
His grin would have been almost amiable, if it weren't for his eyes... "Yes,
it's true. You really are exceptional, and it's a very refreshing thing to
find. So many of many of my opponents really didn't know what they were doing.
They didn't understand what it was all about. But, you ... it's in your very
blood! It's a part of you, just like eating and sleeping! Maybe even more so!"
He lowered his gaze and shook his head. "Not even Happosai was this good! It
would be so easy to teach you what I've learned ... you might even teach me a
few things as well! I really don't want to have to kill you, Ranma."
Then he stopped, and slowly looked back up to meet Ranma's eyes. "But if
you insist on fighting me, I will. I will kill you. Because I couldn't allow
you to stay alive, if you refused to join me."
Ranma eased into a fighting stance. "Well, then," he drawled, "I guess
you're just gonna hafta come over here and do it."
Fushin scowled. "So be it, then ... farewell, Ranma Saotome."
He took a step forward...
...And vanished.
"Huh? What the..." Ranma looked around in confusion.
And suddenly Fushin was only a foot away, his fist racing toward Ranma's
ribs. Surprising himself with his own speed, Ranma turned the blow aside and at
the same time swung an elbow at his enemy's head. It was stopped by his
forearm, and the two stood frozen for a moment, each having cancelled the
other's attack.
Fushin smiled. "Well met ... but time will tell."
They broke, and now Fushin took the offensive. He launched a flurry of
punches at Ranma, who dodged or deflected them all. He then countered with a
crescent kick, but Fushin caught his heel and threw him on his face. Ranma
threw himself backwards as soon as he hit the ground and Fushin's axe kick
cracked the concrete where his head had been an instant before. The two
combatants backed off and sized each other up, pausing briefly in their furious
battle. They realized they had moved out onto the dam itself.
As they did so, the air was split by the sound of piercing laughter.
"Aww, geez," Ranma groaned, rubbing his head. "Just when I was thinkin'
there was no way this could get any worse..."
Kodachi Kuno stood pirched atop a nearby signpost, sporting her usual
leotard and ribbon. A cascade of black rose petals seemed to whirl around her
as she laughed maniacally.
"You, there!" she pointed at Fushin. "Who are you to be threatening my
darling Ranma?! Answer me, or you will face the fury of Kodachi, the Black Rose
of St. Hebereke!"
"Another interruption..." Fushin growled angrily, but then he seemed to
realize something and suddenly laughed. "Tell me, Ranma, exactly why are those
Tendo girls so important to you? I've only known you a few hours, and it seems
to me that every female in Nerima is lining up for your attention."
"I don't just use people like you do, okay?!" Ranma snapped angrily. "Go
ahead and think whatever you want to, but I ain't that kinda guy!"
Fushin raised his eyebrows. "Well, well ... I've touched a nerve."
"SHUT UP!!!" Ranma shouted, lunging forward. But then Kodachi landed
between them, and he stopped short.
"You there!" she repeated, pointing a gym club at Fushin. "Cretin, do you
dare ignore me?! You do so at your peril!"
"Kodachi!! Get away from him!" Ranma yelled. "That guy's dangerous!"
Kodachi answered with an ear-splitting laugh. "Dangerous, Ranma darling?
How utterly ridiculous! Surely you can't mean..."
She turned back to Tatsunada Fushin, who was suddenly only inches away from
her. His flat, hypnotic eyes stared directly into hers.
"I'm feeling charitable at this particular moment," he whispered, "So if
you disappear right now, I'll let you live for the rest of the day."
"How ... how frightening!" Kodachi whimpered. "But ... but, Sir, I only
meant to give you this..." she twirled a black rose in front of him.
Fushin's brow arched quizically, and then a black mist sprayed from the
rose, as Ranma had known it would. Cursing, Fushin covered his face while he
drew back his free hand to punch Kodachi. As he did so, a chain swung out from
behind him and wrapped around it, jerking him backwards. Ranma took this
opportunity to dive forward and push Kodachi to the side, out of the immediate
line of fire. She fell in the water next to them and disappeared. Straightening
up, Ranma watched Fushin struggle with the chain, the end of which was held by
"You! What've you done to my beautiful Shampoo?!!" Mousse demanded as he
hauled back on the chain. Fushin braced himself against his pull, then suddenly
changed tactics and grabbed the chain, pulling himself quickly toward Mousse.
Ranma realized he'd been temporarily forgotten, and was not about to let the
opportunity go to waste.
As Fushin rushed toward Mousse, pulling the chain tight, Ranma leaped
between them. Landing right in front of Fushin, he snapped the chain with a
kick. At the same time he stopped him short with an elbow to the chin, then
came around with his free hand. "TENSHIN AMAGOURIKEN!!!" He pummeled Fushin's
chest with dozens of punches, driving him backwards and almost to the water's
Fushin staggered slightly, but quickly recovered his balance. Putting a
hand to his chest, he grinned up at Ranma.
"Well, Saotome ... you're very fast. But keep in mind that I only need to
hit you once, and this fight will be over."
Ranma snapped into his best defensive stance. "All right, then, let's see
you do it!!"
Fushin straightened up, but suddenly three small objects shot down and
stuck in the pavement between them, as if hurled from above. Glancing down,
Ranma saw that they were spatulas.
No sooner had Ranma looked back up than he and Mousse were joined by Ukyo
and Akane, and two others he didn't recognize -- a girl with straight black
hair, and another guy that looked a couple years older then himself.
"Tatsunada Fushin!" Akane's shout surprised everyone, including the man she
addressed. Her expression was one of grim resolve -- even courage, Ranma was
forced to admit, as she continued. "I'm not just gonna lay down and let you do
as you please around here! If you're so determined to kill Ranma ... you're
going to have to kill me too!!"
Everyone just stood there for a long moment, staring at Akane in amazement.
After a long silence, Fushin shrugged. "Suit yourself, Miss Tendo. Apparently
your sisters don't share your attitude, or they'd be here too. At any rate, it
makes no difference to me." Without warning, he lunged toward her before the
others could react.
"AKANE!! WATCH OUT!!!" Ranma yelled as he dove in to try to stop the
attack. Akane seemed to have frozen, like a deer caught in the headlights.
As Tatsunada Fushin's hand swept through the air toward Akane, the ground
abruptly exploded between them.
"AKANEEEEEE!!!!!" Amidst an eruption of dirt and concrete, Ryoga exploded
onto the scene, rising to Akane's defense.
And as he stood, the blow Fushin had aimed at Akane struck him full in the
chest. With a strangled grunt, he fell.
"RYOGA!!!" Akane screamed as he collapsed into her arms. "NO!!! Don't die!!
You can't!!!"
A shadow fell across them, and Akane looked up through the tears that
filled her eyes. Tatsunada Fushin stood over her, about to deliver the blow
that Ryoga had given his life to protect her from.
Akane shut her eyes, unable to face him.
And as Fushin reared back for the punch, Ranma's fist crashed into his
ribs, breaking at least two of them. He got in several hits in rapid succession
before Fushin regained control and, blocking one of Ranma's kicks, countered
and threw him into the water behind them.
But as soon as Ranma was gone Ukyo was on him, battering him with a fury
few could match. She bashed Fushin repeatedly with her giant spatula before he
got his guard back up, and even after that a stray shot got through and
shattered his left kneecap. Fushin staggered, but this threw Ukyo off balance
as well and on her next swing, he grabbed her spatula and pulled her toward
him. He met her on the way in with a stunning head-butt, and Ukyo was knocked
As Ukyo fell to the ground, Fushin turned back to Akane only to have
another mysterious object land at his feet. Looking down, he saw that it was a
chicken's egg.
Then the egg exploded with the force of a grenade. Fushin leapt out of the
way in time to avoid most of the blast, but Mousse met him in mid-air and
slashed his chest with a scimitar he'd produced. The two opponents landed on
opposite sides of the dam, and turned to face each other.
"You hurt Shampoo, you bastard!!" Mousse shouted. "For that, you'll DIE!!!"
Fushin chuckled. "Time will tell, boy," he replied.
The two combatants jumped at each other again, and met in mid-air. Mousse
viciously slashed at his enemy, but Fushin somehow managed to avoid the blade,
and then threw Mousse into the water below them. He lost his grip on the
scimitar as he fell, and it clattered on the pavement near Ryoga's prone form.
Fushin landed back on the dam, and looked around to see who was still
standing. He turned back toward Akane, but was surprised to recieve a heavy
blow to the face as he did so.
Akane stood there, shaking with anger. Her eyes blazed with pure hatred as
she looked at Fushin.
Who only rubbed his chin as he regarded her. "You know, you nearly broke my
jaw," he told her.
"I'll NEVER forgive you for what you've done!!!" she shouted at him.
"NEVER!!! No matter how long you live!!"
"Dear girl," Fushin laughed, "I've heard those words spoken so many times
that they long ago lost any meaning for me. And you won't live long enough to
make them any more valid." Akane swung at him again, but he grabbed her wrist.
Despite herself, she gasped as his fingers wrapped around her cuts from the
night before. Pulling her close to him, Fushin whispered in her ear, and his
voice sounded like the hissing of a cobra.
"It's really too bad I won't be able to find out what sort of children a
fiery girl like you would have given me. But, I'm sure your sisters will make
up for it."
"GO TO HELL!!!" Akane screamed, shoving him away. Fushin's eyes narrowed to
slits and he reached out to end her life, but then something whizzed through
the air between them, slicing into his arm.
Both Akane and Fushin were genuinely surprised to see Ryoga struggling to
his feet, his eyes burning with rage. "GET ... AWAY ... FROM AKANE!!!" he
roared at Fushin.
"Ryoga!!!" Akane exclaimed, running over behind him. "You're ... I thought
you were dead!!"
"You survived my Shitsume Strike?" Fushin actually sounded impressed. "The
amount of endurance that would take is absolutely incredible! It seems Ranma
isn't the only treasure to be found in Nerima!" He chuckled quietly. "I don't
suppose YOU'D consider joining me..." He obviously didn't expect the answer to
be in his favor.
And the answer Ryoga gave was even more direct. "SHISHI HOKOUDAN!!!" A
massive green fireball formed in his hands, and blasted toward Fushin ... who
was ready and waiting for it.
"SHISHI HOKOUDAN!!!" Fushin deflected Ryoga's fireball with one of his own,
and they cancelled each other out. The two combatants were both left panting
for breath after exerting such tremendous energy, but the silence didn't last.
"Tatsunada Fushin!" Yuta's shout interrupted the face-off as everyone
turned to him, having forgotten he was even present. "You can't be allowed to
continue using people indiscriminately ... just to alleviate your boredom."
Fushin looked at him strangely. "What are you talking about?" he asked
quietly. "Who are you?"
Yuta ignored his question, but faced him with a look of determination. "I'm
willing to do whatever it takes to stop you."
Before Fushin could respond, Ranma climbed out of the water behind him and
flopped onto the dam. Kodachi clung to his back, and immediately began berating
him loudly.
"You devious little tramp! Where have you hidden my darling Ranma?! Answer
me, or I'll be forced to do something unpleasant!"
"Excuse me," Fushin told Yuta and Ryoga, walking over to where Ranma lay.
"It's time to end this, Saotome. You fought well, but I tire of this game."
Pushing Kodachi aside, he grabbed Ranma by the collar and pulled him up to face
"What...?" Fushin stopped short when he noticed that the person before him
wore Ranma's clothes, but was a red-haired girl. And that instant's pause was
all Ranma could have asked for.
"Surprise." He grinned. "KATSU TENSHIN AMAGOURIKEN!!!"
Ranma pummeled Fushin with no less than two hundred fifty punches in the
amount of time most people took for a one-two combo. Spinning around, he
finished the job with a roundhouse kick that sent his opponent staggering.
And as Fushin staggered, Yuta caught him from behind in the strongest grip
he could muster. "Quick, Mana!" he shouted. "Do it NOW!!"
Mana picked up Mousse's scimitar and ran toward Fushin, but Akane grabbed
her arm just as she pulled back for a lethal swing.
"Stop it!!" Akane cried angrily. "Ranma's beaten him! You can't just
EXECUTE him like that, no matter what he's done to you!"
"You don't understand!" Mana argued, but it was too late.
Fushin had gotten his second wind, and he immediately used it to hurl Yuta
to the ground. Mana shoved Akane out of the way and made a desperate slash with
the scimitar, but Fushin avoided it easily and grabbed her arm. Reversing the
blade with blinding speed, he drove it through her body.
Akane's gasp of shock was nearly as loud as Mana's gasp of pain. As she
watched in horror, Fushin twisted the blade upward, then hauled up on it,
lifting Mana completely off the ground. Blood literally poured out at his feet,
and he threw Mana's twitching body aside like a sack of garbage.
As brave as she was, Akane fainted. Ranma and Ryoga were themselves
transfixed by the grisly scene, and were unable to wrench their eyes from it.
However, Yuta reacted differently.
"You selfish bastard...!" he growled, struggling to his feet.
Without a word, Tatsunada Fushin spun around and struck him in the chest.
Yuta choked, then fell limply to the ground, his body as lifeless as Mana's.
Then Fushin turned to face Ranma, and the flat, deadly look in his eyes
suddenly seemed far more frightening. "This is how I should have treated you
from the beginning, Ranma Saotome," he told him, his voice low and threatening.
"So, you've even been to Jusenkyo. How ironic. Quite a unique and interesting
place, but ultimately very inconveniently located. At any rate, you've provided
me with the most entertaining morning I've had in decades. And for that I shall
thank you, by sending you to that place of which I can only dream." He walked
toward Ranma. "To sweet oblivion. In your absence, I'll try to see that your
friends and loved ones ... well ... that they endure a minimum amount of
discomfort." He shrugged. "You realize that my plans are imperative, and I
can't make any promises. But I WILL try."
He stopped directly in front of Ranma, who still hadn't quite shaken off
the horror of what his enemy had done. He couldn't seem to move, but he was
aware that he was being spoken to.
"...If it's any consolation, I'm sure you won't be lonely in the afterlife
... whatever that is. Many of your friends, including Miss Akane, will be
joining you directly. Perhaps you'll all be reincarnated together, hmm?"
A shadow fell across Ranma's face...
...And he looked up with a new fury in his eyes. With only an instant to
act, Ranma seized on the first thing to occur to him.
Fushin's strike was halted as a cyclone erupted around them, and then he
was flung high into the air. It seemed to take an awfully long time for the
cyclone to dissipate, and when it finally did, he fell.
And fell.
And fell.
And kept falling, past the dam and into the canal in front of it. Which was
empty. The concrete below came rushing up to meet him, and when it did, nearly
every bone in Tatsunada Fushin's body shattered at the impact.
As his mangled frame settled to the ground, a sigh escaped his lips. As the
air left his body, the spark of life followed quickly behind.

Exhausted, Ranma made his way to the edge of the dam and peered over the
side. Seeing his enemy's broken body lying far below, he slumped to his knees.
He felt numb, and was lost in his thoughts for a long moment, until he heard
someone cough next to him.
Glancing over, he saw that Akane was coming around. She blinked several
times, then sat up groggily.
"Wha ... Ruh ... Ranma? What happened?" Looking around, she saw Mana and
Yuta's bodies lying nearby, and immediately covered her face.
"Ranma ... I ... that girl, she ... it's my fault!!" She began sobbing
uncontrollably. "It's my fault she's dead!!! If I hadn't stopped her, then..."
His feeling of numbness faded, and Ranma's heart began to ache at Akane's
grief. He reached out to comfort her, but was interrupted by a voice.
"So ... where is that guy, anyway?" Looking over his shoulder, Ranma saw
Ryoga crouched nearby, staring at him with an unreadable expression. In all the
confusion, Ranma had forgotten he was there. Then he remembered Ukyo, Mousse
and Kodachi, and looked around to find them. Uk-Chan and Kodachi were lying at
the edge of the dam near the water, apparently unconscious. Mousse -- or
rather, Mu-Mu-Chan -- had just climbed out of the water, and was pruning his
"Ranma." Ryoga's voice again interrupted Ranma's thoughts. "What happened
to Tatsunada Fushin?" At Ryoga's question, Akane stopped crying and looked
around in apprehension.
"...Oh." The sound of his own voice also reminded Ranma that he was a girl
at the moment. Shaking his head to clear it, he pointed to the canal below
them. "He's down there."
Akane and Ryoga looked over the side, and both were visibly shaken by what
they saw. Akane turned back to Ranma.
"Ranma ... did you...?" She sounded almost afraid of the answer.
"I..." Ranma's voice trailed off. "...I didn't mean to ... I didn't have
any choice...!"
Ryoga and Akane both stared at Ranma for a long moment. He couldn't think
of any further answer for them; there was no way to defend himself when he
already stood convicted in his own mind. But suddenly, Ryoga spoke.
"Hey, look!" Ranma and Akane looked where he was pointing, and were amazed
to see Yuta getting back up.
"But ... but, he was dead!" Akane stated. "I KNOW he was!"
Yuta noticed their reaction, and grinned halfheartedly. "Yeah, you're
"But how--?!" Ranma stammered.
"Well, you see," Yuta explained as he stood, "Mana and I have also eaten
the flesh of the mermaid." He looked at Akane. "She'll come back to life, too,"
he told her.
"So, that means ... that you can't be killed?" Ryoga asked.
"Not through the usual ways," Yuta replied. "If our heads were lopped off,
or our bodies completely burned, we'd stay dead. That's why were trying to
decapitate Tatsunada Fushin ... it's the only way someone like him can be
"You mean, he ain't dead yet?!" Ranma exclaimed, whirling around to look
back down at the body.
And, to his horror, Fushin was looking back at him. As Ranma watched, his
enemy's body seemed to repair itself before his eyes, and he stood up. Through
the entire process, his eyes never left Ranma's.
"You're full of surprises, Ranma-Chan," he hollered up at them. "But I told
you, I can match you no matter what you do."
"TAKE COVER!!" Yuta shouted.
Fushin's face twisted with rage. He paused for a moment, gathering his
strength, and then released it in one terrible blast.
A dark cyclone gathered around him, and then blasted upward at the dam.
Nearby buildings were torn completely apart; it was a miracle the dam itself
held. Ranma could think of only one way to avoid the destructive blast.
"HOLD ON!!!" Grabbing Akane, he leaped out and away from the dam.
"ARE YOU CRAZY??!" Akane yelled as they rode the edge of the cyclone.
"TRUST ME!!" Ranma responded, and they rode the funnel's edge down to a
surprisingly soft landing in the canal below. The deadly winds quickly
subsided, and Ranma and Akane turned to face Tatsunada Fushin, who stood just a
few meters away.
Ranma and Fushin immediately faced off, but Akane stepped in front of
Ranma. "Would you stop it already?!" she hollered at Fushin. "You've each
survived each other's strongest attacks! This fight will never end!!"
"Time ... will ... tell," Fushin hissed angrily. But then he abruptly
stopped, and looked at Ranma.
"'Strongest attacks'? You mean that's all you have in you, Saotome?" He
laughed. "A very impressive arsenal, but..." He turned halfway around, coiling
as if to throw a Chi blast at them. "...Try this."
Ranma and Akane tensed ... and Fushin let loose.
A bolt of energy flared out from Fushin's hands, screaming toward Akane and
Ranma. Grabbing Akane, Ranma jumped as high as he could and managed to clear
the wave of destruction. They landed behind Fushin, who whirled around for
another shot.
But, as Ranma turned around to try for a shot of his own, there was a
tremendous rumbling sound. At first he thought it was an earthquake, but then
"You busted the dam, stupid!!!" Ranma yelled as the concrete structure
crumbled, and millions of gallons of water came crashing down on them like an
immense tidal wave. Ranma grabbed Akane's arm and, with as much strength as he
could muster in his girl-form, flung her out of the water's path. Then the wave
struck, and he and Fushin disappeared beneath the rushing water and were washed

Ranma was completely disoriented by the force of the river he now found
himself in, and it was all he could do to keep his head above water. He knew
they were travelling very quickly, and hoped they wouldn't be washed out to
sea. Because there was nothing he could do to stop himself, let alone the
water's course.
After several minutes (each second of which seemed like an hour to Ranma),
the river struck a barrier and ceased its forward motion. As soon as Ranma
could get his bearings, he looked around. There was another dam in the water's
path which was holding it back, though the water level was rising quickly.
Swimming to the side of the canal, Ranma climbed onto a low platform just above
the rising water. Then he scanned the water for any signs of his enemy.
There was quite a bit of debris from the dam floating around, and Ranma
spotted a couple of Ukyo's mini-spatulas, as well as one of Kodachi's gym
clubs. "Hope they got out okay," he muttered to himself. Continuing his search,
he was surprised to see Mu-Mu-Chan floating calmly along in the current. Then
Ranma heard a high-pitched squeal, barely audible over the roaring water.
Looking around, Ranma spotted P-Chan across the way, perched atop a
floating object. Looking closer, he realized the floating object was Mana!
"Aw, geez ... even if she can't drown, I gotta make sure she's okay," Ranma
told himself as he dove back into the water. He reached the floating girl
within seconds, and P-Chan hopped onto his head.
"Hey, watch it, ya little creep!" Ranma barked as he turned the girl over
(she'd been floating face-down). "Uh ... hey, Miss, are you okay?"
There was no response, and Ranma sighed. "I guess she's still dead." He
gingerly lifted her shirt, and saw that her ghastly wound had disappeared.
"She'll probably come around any time now..." he muttered, and P-Chan squeeked
in agreement. Mu-Mu-Chan had also swam over to them, and Ranma glanced around
to try to figure out a way to get all of them out of this canal.
As he did so, a log floated past them and Ranma noticed an object hanging
from its side. As the log drew near, he grabbed the item and examined it.
"Hey, wait a second ... isn't this Fushin's headband?!" he asked P-Chan,
who nodded rapidly. "But where the heck is HE??" Ranma scanned the water, his
adrenalin level rising as he realized that his enemy could still be lurking
nearby. However, he saw no other sign of him -- no body, no nothing.
Then the log turned around and looked at Ranma.
Ranma blinked, then dove to the side as the creature lunged toward him,
revealing a gaping maw filled with very sharp-looking teeth. "What the hell?!
Is that a crocodile??!" Ranma exclaimed as he pitched P-Chan up onto the bank.
Then he dove out of the way as the croc lunged at him again, but found himself
up against the dam. The croc came around a third time, and Ranma leaped out of
the water and kicked off from the dam, landing back in the water behind the
large reptile. "Geez, what gives with this thing?!" he wondered aloud.
As if responding to his question, the crocodile dove beneath the water,
then erupted back up like a torpedo, aiming straight at Ranma.
"YAAAH!! This is no ordinary croc!" he screeched, barely avoiding its
snapping jaws. It came right back up again, and Ranma found himself backed into
a corner.
As the crocodile descended on Ranma, Mana suddenly dove in front of him and
wedged Kodachi's gym club into its gaping maw. The croc splashed back down in
front of Ranma, and he knocked it off course with a punch to the head. The
crocodile wheeled around, thrashing in the water to try to knock the club
loose. Then its back arched violently, and Ranma saw a trio of daggers
protruding from its neck. Looking up, he saw Mu-Mu-Chan perched on the dam
preparing another volley.
And then the floodgates opened, and Ranma grabbed hold of Mana and the
platform and hung on for dear life as the water rushed out past them. The
crocodile was immediately sucked into one of the gates but, to Ranma's
amazement, it threw out its front legs and hung on to the sides, as if refusing
to go. The club in its mouth finally gave way, and despite the rushing waters
it turned its head to look straight at Ranma.
And it stared at him with a level of hatred and malice in its eyes that no
animal could ever possess...
...And suddenly Ranma understood.
And then the crocodile's strength finally gave out, and it was washed
through the floodgate and out of sight. Out of sight and out to sea, Ranma
added silently.


The night sky over Nerima was exceptionally clear, providing a view of
every star in the sky. Such views had, for centuries, inspired men to try to
reach those stars, and to speculate endlessly as to what sort of worlds may
revolve around them.
But Ranma's thoughts were elsewhere as he lay on the roof of the Tendo
house, gazing upward. He thought of training with his father in the yard below;
of chasing P-Chan around the house; of enjoying Kasumi's wonderful food over a
(relatively) peaceful family dinner. And he thought of what it might have been
like to have had all these things taken from him.
He decided he'd rather not find out.
Ranma's musings were interrupted by a voice. "Hey, what're you doing out
there?" Akane asked from her window, where she stood holding P-Chan.
Ranma shrugged. "I dunno, just thinkin', I guess."
"About what?" Akane asked.
"Y'know ... stuff," Ranma answered.
Akane sighed in exasperation, then spoke up again. "I wish Yuta and Mana
hadn't left right away," she said. "I never got a chance to thank them for what
they did for us."
"They ran off sayin' somethin' about finding the 'lost souls', whatever
that meant," Ranma replied.
"Oh, well." Akane sighed. "I guess it's just a good thing that everybody
came through that mess in one piece, even Happosai ... and especially P-Chan!"
She hugged the black piglet, who returned her affection enthusiastically. "He
was the real hero of that whole situation, you know."
Ranma nearly fell off the roof. "What the heck did that little runt ever
do???" he demanded. "The only thing I can remember is him sitting on my head
while I was tryin' t'fight that crocodile!"
"I'll have you know he protected me from that monster that came into my
room!" Akane barked at Ranma, then went back to cuddling P-Chan. "I was so
worried about you..." she told the pig, "...But you turned up again, safe and
sound. I'm so happy!"
"I'm gonna be sick," Ranma muttered.
"Shut up, Ranma!" Akane snapped. "At least TRY to control your JEALOUSY."
"Oh, yeah, I'm about as jealous of P-Chan as I am of a pork egg roll,"
Ranma shot back. "Except I'd rather be wrapped up in cabbage, than have YOU
wrapped around me!"
"That does it! I'm coming out there!!" Akane hollered, climbing out the
window. But she stopped abruptly on her way out. "Hey, wait a second..." she
said, the anger having vanished from her voice. "Ranma, did you see these
scratches on the windowsill?"
"Scratches?" Ranma repeated. "Must be from when that monster climbed in
there the other night."
Akane shook her head. "No way, I would've seen it before now."
"Well, what's it look like?" Ranma asked.
"...I can't really see it," Akane answered. "The light's bad."
"Here, lemme look," Ranma said, moving over to the window. "Hey, it's
kanji!" he exclaimed. "Bring your lamp over here, Akane."
She did so, and Ranma quickly deciphered the symbols carved into the wood.
When he'd finished, his heart nearly stopped.
"So..." Akane prompted, noting Ranma's silence. "...What does it say,
Ranma could only shake his head in disbelief.
"C'mon, Ranma!" Akane repeated, unnerved by his silence. "What does it
say?! Tell me!"
After a long moment, Ranma looked up at her and spoke. "It ... it says..."

"...'Time will tell'..."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ranma 1/2: The Sands of Time
Written by Corey Smith

Author's notes:
Well, here it is ... my second fanfic. In case you're wondering, the first
one was a Bubblegum Crisis story entitled "Berserk", and can be found on the
web page "Anything-Goes Martial Arts!" which belongs to my friend Andrew Fors.
It can be found at and is a really cool page.
That story was written nearly two years ago and I have yet to recieve any
feedback on it, and it's slowly driving me toward suicide so if you read it,
please tell me what you think! Incidentally, "Sands of Time" was nearly twice
as long as "Berserk" but took me a fraction of the time to write ... guess I'm
getting faster. But, back to the subject at hand.
I've been a Ranma addict since 1994, and so I don't really know why it took
me this long to sit down and write a story. I can say that I only recently
became aware of the tremendous amount of fanfiction in existence, and after
reading some outstanding fan-written Ranma stories, was inspired to try my hand
at it. I'd like to pay particular homage to the creative genius who calls
himself Benares, as his work inspired me more than any other's (Benares-sama,
if you read this, PLEASE tell me what you think!!). The idea of a Ranma-Mermaid
crossover was one I hadn't seen used by anyone, so I decided to try it. I think
it turned out fairly well, but I guess I'm not the final judge here.
Special thanks are due to Mike Hunter for extensive creative input, and
especially for linguistic assistance where necessary (such as Tatsunada
Fushin's special attacks). He also deserves credit for suggesting several small
scenes including Mousse and Ryoga outside the Tendos' gate, Soun and Genma at
the hospital, Fushin using the Kamehame Ha wave, and occasional bits of Kuno
dialogue, as well as general Shampoo research (plus anything else I missed).
Thanks also to my other readers-in-progress, particularly Aaron Whiteside for
other creative input. It makes things much easier.
Future projects ... well, I have quite a few ideas. Further Ranma stories
are likely to focus on Ryoga, Ukyo, Nabiki, or Kuno (as they're my favorite
characters; could you tell?). I may turn to video game-related topics as well,
such as Phantasy Star or even Sonic The Hedgehog (don't worry, it would be VERY
different from the Archie comics). A return trip to MegaTokyo is always
possible, particularly with a new series(!) on the horizon. And eventually all
will see my own original story, Burning Road.
But, it's noon and I've been up since yesterday, so I'll break this
rambling train of thought. If you read this story, please drop me a line and
let me know what you think; comments, suggestions and general praise (I hope)
is greatly desired, and no topic is too small. Also tell me what you'd like to
see next! My brand-new e-mail address is (but it may not be
working, so if not just mail the Anything-Goes Martial Arts! page). I'll
respond to those who mail me, when and if possible.

Corey Smith 11-14-1996

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