Biting on another cracker, Nabiki’s brown eyes watched as Ranma led two young women through another kata, mother and daughter each having control problems of very different kinds. The former was having control difficulties with her body, either going too far too fast, or not believing her instructor when he told her what to do, specifically things she didn’t believe she could do.
The latter was grinding her teeth as she grimaced through a kata her new ‘master’ seemed to have thought up on the spot, most of which left her purposefully sprawling on the mats. While Akane humiliated herself, said master was working on her over endowed mother, his hands brushing her shoulders, waist and stomach, going on about ‘breathing’ and focus. Dark thoughts were starting to form a storm on his fiancée's face as Ranma paused from the red head to change Akane’s current kata, the Saotome technique having her physically throw herself to the mat, and snap back up to her feet as quick as she can.
Shaking her head, Nabiki leaned to her elder sister also standing against the wall of the dojo watching the trio train. “He’s embarrassed, he blushed touching Akane’s arm, but can push Mom’s backside in without thought.”
Kasumi nodded, “And Akane’s noticed.”
“Yeah, but look at her face, she doesn’t get why he isn’t handling her as much. Four to one odds we hear a pervert cry before their done?”
“I’m more worried about her hurting Mother, or herself, if Ranma has them spar each other,” Kasumi said with a touch of inevitable acceptance in her voice.
“True,” Nabiki said pursing her lips, before she shrugged and called out to the training master. “Hey Master Ranma, I thought sparring would have been your favorite training method, like with your father?”
Four heads looked at Nabiki, but the older girl left her gaze on the new trainer.
Ranma shrugged. “Yeah, but I got no idea how good Mrs Tendo is compared to Akane for if it would be too much for either of them.”
“But aren't you good enough to take them on at the same time?”
“Course I am, b…” he got that far before his body swerved around his fiancée’s first kick, missing him completely.
“Come on Mom, let’s show our ‘master’ his ego is bigger than his ability!” Akane stated with renewed enthusiasm.
“There, problem fixed,” Nabiki said to the more buoyant Kasumi.
Kimiko frowned as she watched her grown up daughter’s anger, and she looked for Ranma’s reaction, slightly dismayed by it. The pigtailed boy stopped weaving, using one hand to defend against his fiancée, blocking her strikes, stepping back whenever Akane tried a power kick that might push his defense. That he had turned his head away from his shorter opponent just inflamed Akane more, but Kimiko could see he was goading her, his focus between herself and the floor, peripherally watching herself and Akane’s shadow.
“Ranma, are you trying to keep my daughter angry when using the art?”
Akane’s fist froze, her anger turning on the red head and was about to scream about not being angry, but something in her mother’s blue eyes held her, and she flushed with embarrassment.
“Well, I don’t know any other way to make someone control ya anger. Better she learns in here than in losing a real fight.”
Seeing Kimiko’s frown, Nabiki stood up, “Akane is just a little snappish when things don’t make sense to her,” she defended. As Akane’s glare turned on her, she just smirked.
“And she doesn’t get why Ranma is so shy to touch her even in training. With you Mom he is all professional, he’ll just shove your butt in to straighten your form. With her, he likes nice safe words rather than risking liking his hands on his fiancée.”
Straightening his shoulders, Ranma was about to rebut the implication, but suspicious eyes from Akane reminded him how there was probably no safe answer in this. It was the red headed Kimiko who defused the situation.
“Ranma-sensei, perhaps if you could not goad Akane for now, I will take over training her emotional control for now?”
“Nah, it’s cool. I got it.”
A snigger from Nabiki and a dark look from Kimiko made him glance away to Akane, her confused face not helping. He glanced back to try and explain better, “I mean, Akane, she’s got plenty a power out of her anger, she’s got to learn to control it, not turn it off and lose that power.”
Akane wasn’t sure if she should smile or get angry over Ranma’s words, looking to the still frowning returned mother of the girl’s.
“That’s exactly what I plan to do Ranma-kun. The foundation in the special techniques of our families school, will help her better than pushing her till she breaks.”
“Tendo family secret techniques?” Ranma inquired, Akane perking up beside him at the claim.
“Actually they come from my side of the family, and the main style I am afraid you can’t learn. Well men can learn it, but I’m not sure your mother would forgive me for teaching it to you.”
Smiling slyly at his confused look, she shook her head. “How about we spar for a while, then you can leave me to teach my daughters?”
Frowning, Ranma tilted his head, “Daughters? Kasumi and Nabiki too? But they don’t even do martial arts?” The two girls in question looked up at this.
“Let’s just say it is a style that may inspire them back into the art,” Kimiko said cryptically, even as she moved around Ranma, putting him between herself and her youngest daughter and giving Akane a meaningful nod.
Ranma just dodged clear of their first double team.
With a sigh, Ranma reluctantly shut the doors to the dojo, half tempted to stay and listen to the instruction on this Tendo family martial art, but the image of an Akane glared at him in his mind, with a smug Nabiki who’d probably trick him into admitting he spied. With a final thought of the disappointed faces of Kimiko and Kasumi should he be caught, he turned out into the grass of the yard.
“Having students was sure weird,” he mulled to himself. Two hours of training had flown by, and though he didn’t feel tired in his body, more like how mentally tired he felt over trying to learn his emotional ki attack, the Mokotakabisha. Moving to a punching dummy across the yard, he turned from his normal preferred target to the next one one, the one Akane used, with the fake pigtail attached. Moving in long slow steps, he flicked feather light punches, while looking it its blank face.
“Sensei,” he told the dummy, frowning at the word. He said stuff, and the girl’s listened and did stuff. Well most of the time, they just obeyed. Well Akane had resisted at times, especially at the start, having her mom doing what he said made Akane follow, and as it went on if he kept them busy enough she followed instruction without even thinking.
It was actually pretty cool. Like having the power of authority over them. His mind drifted into ideas of ordering Akane around in another setting, his cheeks getting pink before he shook his head. He flicked through recollections of many masters, some fun, some serious, and some, like his father or Happosai, who had power trips when in charge. He didn’t want to be like them, but if he respected one thing about his old man, it was that he could teach the art.
Again doubt assailed him, wondering if he could be a teacher, and not just lead a class. But even as he threw a series of punches, each faster than the last, his eyes widened. It wasn’t that he couldn’t be an instructor, he doubted he was the master his Pops was.
As well as teaching him, which showed how good the old man really was as a teacher, Genma had invented training regimes, become a good fighter, and made moves for the school. Well he had stolen some no doubt, but he had created two branches that he had proved more powerful than any other he had seen in the Saotome School. Two schools that came naturally to the old criminal, but so strong he had actually had to seal them, for they were both dangerous and potentially corrupting, especially to an old thief like Genma Saotome.
The Yamasen-ken, or Thousand Mountain Fist, that equated its move to a bandit, storming in loud and destructive, and the Umisen-ken, or Thousand Ocean Fist, the moves of which based on a sneaking burglar, stealthy taking from the opponent.
He knew he could make his own special training regimes, and he could sure beat him in a fight, regularly. Now all he needed was his own branch school to beat these.
Still not really sweating, he shrugged and headed inside to the bath, his mind whirling with ideas.
“Okay girls, clothes off.”
Three sisters blinked rather stupidly at their younger red headed mother who already had her gi top off. “Chop chop girls, we don’t have all day, down to your underwear only.”
Akane glanced to the door her fiancé had left through, then back at the red head, eyes suspicious, but as Nabiki then Kasumi followed suit, she swallowed. “Why do we have to do this naked? Is this something…”
“Perverted?” Nabiki supplied a little too amused, earning a glare, but her voice dropping some as she looked to her returned mother, “You sure this isn’t a marital art, Mom?”
Placing her folded gi pants and top against the wall, clad in the plain white bra and pink hipster panties, Kimiko looked back at her middle daughter with an amused expression, “Like any martial art, its usefulness does extend beyond fighting.”
Blushing at thoughts of moves she and Ranma knew being used… after marriage, Akane slowed in getting her pants off, then found an avenue of anger at her sister. “Nabiki, those are mine.”
The middle sister glanced down at her unmentionables, seeing the blue panties her sister was mad about. “So what? We are sisters,” she stated with a shrug. “And anyway, I remember when Ranma first saw you in these, didn't he say blue wasn’t your color?”
Kimiko held up her hand, “Enough teasing girls,” she said plainly, looking over Kasumi and Nabiki as Akane shyly took off her gi top to show the old worn yellow sports bra and brief white panties.
“Daughters, you have all grown up into fine young women. Goodness Kasumi-chan, that bust line must have come from Soun’s side, I was, before this new body,” she clarified with her hands pointing at her own chest, “I was about the same size as Nabiki-chan.”
Nabiki smirked at her older sisters embarrassment at the compliment, missing Akane crossing her arms over her own chest, eyes down. Kimiko didn’t, “Akane dear, you may not be so big but you're not flat, you're a beautiful young woman."
Still not looking up, Akane nodded slowly, “Yeah yeah, we're all so beautiful," she mumbled quietly in a down voice.
A huff made the youngest girl look up, Nabiki looking penetratingly, "Akane, you were always the most into sports and the art. Despite what Ranma says you haven't got enough fat to survive without food for a week. If you didn't have those abs and muscles I'd worry that you had an eating disorder, Sis."
“If anything dear,” Kimiko spoke up, “I’d say you need to eat more and look a little healthier. It’d really help you fill out.”
“Then Ranma will really be on about me being fat,” Akane said, pinching a tiny bit of skin on her flank with a frown.
Kimiko’s eyes flared, but Nabiki beat her to the punch on the truth of it all, “Are you still listening to the denials of your idiot fiancé? He'd eat your cooking before he'd compliment you, especially in front of anyone else. You want the truth of his feelings, don't listen to his big mouth.”
“How degrading has Ranma been?”
Akane looked up as her mother’s anger turned on her fiancé, Nabiki again laying it out, “He called her a lot of names, most all of them to get under her skin or to deny how he really feels. Uncute, unsexy, he says those a lot. Then again Akane tends to call him a dishonorable pervert so often I think she is trying to goad him into sneaking in her room again.”
“He does not! I do not!”
“Oh give it a rest,” Nabiki said smirking at her sisters anger, “I can prove he likes how you look Akane.”
Akane seemed ready to call Nabiki on this claim, but Kimiko held up her hand. “Enough girls, we are losing time and what Ranma likes really is a distraction to the truth of my mothers style.”
“Grandmother knew the art?” Akane asked, going with the change of topic.
“Your Grandmother was more gifted than me, and your Great Grandfather was even better. He was one of the trainers to Emperor Hirohito, and an advisor during the early days of the war. After the surrender, the government moved him to a diplomatic position, being sent to embassies in many countries with his wife and daughter.”
“It was while in the Middle East, and Mother was entering puberty, she apparently crossed with local authorities, who thought her learning to fight was not appropriate. She still trained, generally in private, but, and I imagine like any teen, she rebelled against anyone telling her what to do,” Kimiko’s eyes narrowed on Akane with a teasing grin, “and when some of the embassy staff insisted she keep her practices in private only, she found an outlet that let her pursue her art from hiding.”
Standing before the girls, she showed a pair of small castanets hidden in her hand, the small clappers impacting out a fast beat with deft moves of her fingers, her hips shimmying in time to the beat, raising her arms like snakes as her body undulated to in time.
Her eyes closing, the red head twisted her body in circles, faster and faster, her short hair wavering, arms undulating around her, her feet oddly silent though small charms on an anklet rang in counterpoint to the castanets. Her pale flesh glistening with sweat, Kimiko kept moving in the dance, rhythmic steps forward and back, round and round, hips and shoulders shimmying, stomach and back undulating, till finally the clapping wooden castanets reaching a crescendo, her hands and feet slapping the down on the wood floor.
Her body stooped in a bow at her daughters, Kimiko breathed deep heavy breaths before leaning up, blue eyes bright as she looked at her girls, smiling as Kasumi and then Nabiki clapped.
“Go Mom,” the middle sister said, “Way to move that booty.”
Kimiko shook her head gently, one hand wiping at the sweat on her face. “It’s much deeper than that Nabiki-chan. It is about Ki.”
“Ki?” Akane asked in a cool voice.
“Ki isn’t just something of martial artists. Any discipline can touch such power. Many great artists or sportsmen and women touched on their ki in their work, and others have empowered all sorts of activities. When one is in touch with their center and can control their ki, they can change the world.”
“Martial arts bellydancing can change the world?” Akane asked with all the enthusiasm of Ranma for algebra.
“The Tendo school of Martial arts Bellydance is undefeated daughter. Would you like to try to stop it?”
“So you understand, it is magic that is making my niece Ranko turn from you and pursue my friend Soun here,” Genma said, outright lying in selling the story.
“Truely,” Tatewaki Kuno said, sipping his tea and listening to the fat older man as he begged for the protection of the Kuno home.
Soun looked embarrassed at the easy lies of his friend, but his need for a safe place to hide was greater than his desire to call his old friend on things, mainly that the cursed form of his son was actually his sister's daughter.
“So if you let us hide out here for a week till this magic goes away, I'm sure my niece Ranko would be very thankful, and so would I as her guardian, if you catch my drift.”
“I cherish that day,” Kuno stated smiling, before his eyes narrowed on Genma. “But how is it you are her guardian? Wherefore are her parents?”
“Ah, very tragic story really, sleazy father abandoned her and her mother ended up in prison.”
Kuno frowned before smiling. Such dishonor only made the choice of who to marry and who would be his mistress out of his fierce Akane and irrepressible Ranko so much easier.
“Are you ready Akane?” Kimiko asked, taking a casual stance before her daughter.
Suppressing a blush as the blue eyes appraising the stance of her half naked body used to be her fiancés, nodded and moved to a more open and aggressive stance. “Bring it!”
Kimiko shook her head ruefully as she closed the distance, shoulders rolling, the movement extending down as she dodged the first kick, stepping straight into Akane’s reach, back arching to pass a punch. Undulating arms snaked out to block blows, Kimiko keeping close to Akane as she tried to pull back, her mother too close for her strongest blows.
The with the suddenness of a cobra strike, soft flowing blocks from one arm flicked out, her lower arm bashing the side of Akane’s head, while a whipped pelvis brought both girl's hips in collision.
Pushed back hard, Akane stayed standing, shaking her head to clear the stars, painfully aware that the strike to the head was purposefully pulled, not in power, but extended to the surface of the red head's lower arm than the point of the elbow, which could have gone for the jaw, behind the ear, or the temple.
“Wow, this body is so fast,” Kimiko said, glancing at her arms before worriedly at Akane. “Are you okay?”
Akane’s humility returned to anger, “I’m not a China doll, I can take a shove like that. Don't you start holding back like Ranma does!”
A chuckle from Nabiki got Akane’s attention, “You learn how to jiggle like Mom and I’m sure Ranma will hit you just as an excuse to put his hands on you, Sis? Now that you aren't shouting at each other he'll be looking at some way to get under all that skin your showing?"
A return glare faltered, Nabiki seeing the moment where Akane’s brain escalated things, “I’d never be able to jiggle like your thighs Sis.” Akane held her sisters cool gaze, knowing she had used a low blow and would pay for it later.
“Actually,” Kimiko cut in, “Some jiggle is very nice when you dance for a special someone.”
Akane huffed, grudgingly turning back to her mother. “So as a fighting style, its all very close in fighting, with fast elbows and knees, and hip shoves to keep them unbalanced?”
Kimiko grinned and began to shimmy her hips as she approached one of the training posts, on its stand near the wall. “Once you can feel your ki, you can move it in your body, wherever you need more strength, but by making yourself loose, making your center like a bowl, you can make it swirl inside like rolling water in a glass.”
Her hips stilled as she stood beside the post, slightly shorter than the rope wrapped top. “Makes for very hard shoves.” Only Akane even saw the hip flick the inch to the post, the hard wood cracking and splintering, the upper half toppling from the break.
Akane and Nabiki wear open mouthed, but it was Kasumi who spoke. “That hurt didn’t it mother?”
Breaking from her grin to wince, the red head rubbed at her hip, “Ow ow ow. This new body isn’t as resilient in the hips yet.”
The sound of the girl's coming into the outer chamber of the bathroom had Ranma already climbing out of the tub, hands wiping the hot water off him as he made for his towel.
“Are you still in there Ranma-kun?” Kasumi called through the door.
“Yeah, sorry, I spaced out. Just coming out now.”
“Nabiki,” Akane’s voice hissed from the ante room, “He’s coming out here.”
“You know your fiancé has probably played with Mom’s chest right Akane? So what if he sees me in my bra?”
Drying himself quickly, Ranma wrapped the towel around his waste and moved for the door. Stepping from the steamy room, he kept his eyes off Akane who was standing in front of Nabiki, his eyes narrowing on Kimiko and the disheveled gi she wore. As the blue eyes of his own body looked down at his bare chest he didn’t bother to ask about it, instead reaching for his pants and going for the door.
He just reached the door out when he remembered something important, “Oh, Nabiki, can I see you for a second?” As he turned to see his red faced fiancé still shielding her sister from his view, a sister who was kicking off her jeans. The undressing girl in question, hurrying if only to irritate her sister after that jiggle comment earlier, looked surprised at the boy over her sisters shoulder, hands reaching to cover up before she controlled herself.
“You pervert!” Akane accused, Ranma’s face snapping back to look out the door.
“I didn’t mean it like that, I mean I need a favor from her? A fully clothed favor!” he defended.
Kimiko frowned at her daughter’s actions and reactions, but judged the boy as innocent. “I’m sure Nabiki will be happy to help after our bath. Perhaps you could help your mother? She’s been cooking while we were training.”
“On it,” he said simply, using the excuse to flee, flicking the door closed behind him.
Belldandy smiled in relief as she read the sign before her at the side of the big gate to the Tendo home.
After tea and a long talk with the retired monsoon spirit, Belldandy thanked her host and moved back into looking for the Dojo, only to be distracted by helping a young man in the most adorable kimono who needed help cleaning up after being slashed with mud while running an errand for his employer. If she had time she might have to take him up on his offer of a meal at the okonomiyaki restaurant he worked at.
But that was for tomorrow. Though happy at arriving, she pursed her lips at the sign suggesting people coming to fight the master in brutal combat use the rear gate. She supposed that it was best to sort those who were violent from the more honorable visitor, but did they get so many aggressive people like that for this weathered old sign to be out here?
When a pair of shadows jumped the wall over her head, the goddess’s eyebrows rose, wondering if it was very often. She smiled demurely again and whispered prayer, her form shrinking even as the gate opened for her and closed behind her flittering three-inch high form.
Ranma had only just gotten into the main hall when he was ambushed, a cascade of cold water flowing over his bare chest, his hands coming up as he spun around, “Hey!” he cried, rounding with arms up, expecting the old letch, but found two others instead.
“So what my great granddaughter says is true,” Cologne stated with a sneer as she eyed the young man from her perch on her walking stick.
“All man now,” Shampoo stated with a leer at the wet young man.
“Ack,” Ranma stated, realizing his towel had dropped, a twisting jump through the air he pulled his black pants from over his arm, up his legs, deft fingers knotting the top even as he landed facing the Chinese pair again. “Yes I’m cured, no more bribes over locking the curse to make me marry Shampoo, sorry to disappoint you.”
Shampoo frowned heavily but was silent standing behind her gnarled elder on the gnarled walking stick, “Watch your tone, boy, or I’ll teach you some manners. I want to know how this came about? What magics have you been playing with?”
“Not so all knowing, huh Old Ghoul?” The pigtailed boy smirked, before shrugging, “Akane says she was watching me with Mom, and then wished her mother was alive. Big lightning bolt to my noggin, and we both nearly drowned in the pond with Mrs Tendo’s ghost in my girl body now.”
Ignoring the big grin on his smug face, Cologne considered his words, frowning at her own experience with ‘wishing’ magics. Before she could ask where the sudden wisher or the newly returned other victim was, Shampoo started to dive past her to latch on to him. “Shampoo too too happy for husband!”
The old woman’s eyes watched the Japanese mans face, discontent with resignation in it as his beautiful bride latched onto him. She didn’t expect him to react with joy or lust, but instead of resisting, his apathy showed just how little he acknowledged her great granddaughter.
“Son-in-law, where are the Tendo women, I need to speak to them while you entertain your wife?”
The cold voice from down the hall didn’t cheer Cologne up. “Although Shampoo’s desire for my son is appreciated, I would ask you not embarrass yourselves by claiming this unconsummated Amazon marriage, while here uninvited in the home of his true fiancée.”
Shampoo paled, freezing enough for Ranma to free his arm, bending to grab up the wet towel, holding it ready to put between them should the prideful woman try to latch on again.
Cologne looked back with tired eyes at Nodoka who had come out of the kitchen, her lack of support had become opposition after the failed wedding. The opposition of the boy's mother was very inconvenient, though hardly insurmountable. But that was a problem for later, when she could be approached in a more agreeable mood. “No disrespect intended, Nodoka-san. We are here because of the magic that has cured your son. So many types of magic come with a price, hopefully this one will not have a cost that will make your son’s future with any girl moot.”
Kimiko shook her head at the old woman’s questions, only part of her mind paying attention to the seemingly harmless old woman, the rest watching as her youngest daughter grumbled and huffed beside her fiancé, who though he had ignored the pretty foreign girl for most all of dinner, was now talking politely to her, pretty obviously after the last of the food on her plate. “No Cologne, I never saw anyone with strange markings on their face or claiming to be gods. I remember I was in hospital, talking to Soun about how tired I was, then suddenly I am wet on the engawa waking up in this body with my husband ten years older and my girls all grown up.”
The old woman frowned, as the blue eyes of the boy she knew looked with wistful, loving eyes of a mother, at three of the girls at the table. She glanced towards Akane, tempted to go over her story once more to see if she wasn’t recalling the words she used to make this ‘wish’, but the irritated young woman was far from helpful in this mood. Actually aside from irritation, the only emotion she had shown was to sway or wiggle slightly with a dark smile at Shampoo.
“I would suggest you all stay wary of the magic that caused this. There is no magical lottery were lucky winners get a free wish. The price of this cure has yet to appear, we may be lucky if only Happosai is behind this m…”
“I wish!” cried the aged master of Anything Goes martial arts, bouncing from under the table even as all the girls shrieked and darted back from the pervert. “I could think of better things to waste a wish on!”
The old freaks eyes glazed at whatever perverted fantasies he would have wished for, but he still caught Ranma’s fist as it rocketed in at his bald head, flicking the boy straight out the shogi to the yard outside, a splash of water showing his landing point in the pond.
Ranma head re-emerged fast, black haired and male, making Happi sigh dejectedly in loss, but his lips turned up into a wide grin as he turned at Kimiko, “Lil Kimi. I figured you were lost to me? Your talents, your art, but the biggest loss. Where are they Kimiko Tendo? Where are my treasures? My greatest pretties had all rotted away in the attic, but what of the other two? The Flame of Chuang-Mu and my…”
Whatever crescendo the old man was building two when demanding his great treasure back, was ended by blindingly fast swing of Cologne's old walking stick, forcing the pervert back once, then a second jump from a follow up and the old man was gripped suddenly in the powerful fingers of his soaking wet heir.
”The Flame of Chuang-Mu is an Amazon treasure!”
To be continued…