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Wish you never left chapter 7
Kasumi frowned at the damaged doorway from the family room to the outside engawa, She didn’t like everyone yelling and fighting, but she could have sworn she saw a tiny flash of blue and brown near the edge of the broken doorway. Like a small animal or something.
“What is this Flame of Chueng'ma?” Nabiki asked with a firm tone, holding her ground as the two aged martial artists glared each other down.
“It’s a jewel, a ruby,” Kimiko replied calmly, eying Cologne more than Happosai with a quiet confidence.
“How big are we talking? How many carats? What about it’s clarity?”
“Irrelevant,” Cologne stated, getting annoyed with the child’s avarice questions, “The jewel belongs to my family, you will return it to us now.”
The old man began to sneer at the old woman, even as Kimiko shook her head, blue eyes on the old woman. “After I defeated Happosai for the third time over that stone, I had it held, probably in a bank vault somewhere in the city. Happosai knows that, just as he knows no one will see it till the condition is met for it to be released.”
Akane nervously leaned back from the table as the old man focused on her.
“What condition? That stone is a danger when misused,” warned Cologne, the old man frowning in surprised as Kimiko gave a knowing look at the old woman.
“He doesn’t know its power, guard your words,” the young red head stated quickly.
Cologne’s frown matched the lecherous old man's, “He must know. Why else would he want the stone if he doesn’t know it’s terrible power?”
Kicking out of Ranma’s grip, Happosai pulled out his pipe and puffed up quickly. “Looks like we all think we know why we want it. And that stone was a gift from heaven, the Amazon’s must have stolen it so don’t go claiming rights Lil’ Cologne.”
Nabiki smirked slightly at Colognes reddening face, but kept her eye on the prize, “So what is this condition to get the stone?”
“Simple enough,” Happi grinned, then leered at Akane, diving at the girl. Weaving past a hand raised in hasty defense, latching not onto her chest, but around her neck. “Lets get married Akane-baby!”
“Hell no,” Ranma stated, trying to move past Shampoo and get the old man off his fiancée, his Amazon wife grabbing a leg.
“Ranma let Kitchen-wrecker marry old pervert. Be too too happy together?”
Jabbing a chopstick at the old man to dislodge him, Akane twisted out of reach, getting to her feet. “Marry?” she demanded incredulously, slightly revolted as she watched Happosai.
“I’m sorry Akane-chan, I thought he would have died before now. I had the stone held by a law firm until you’re married, then it will be returned to you.”
Akane blushed, glancing at Ranma, catching him just looking away with a blush. Cologne sneered even as Nabiki went white.
”And on that day,” Happi stated with a firm voice, taking a puff on his pipe. “I challenge you for the Flame of Chaung-ma, just like your Mother honourably did to take it from me.”
Cologne smiled darkly as Akane paled, then straightened, her will accepting the challenge like a fool, “And I shall face the winner.”
”Oh hell no!” Ranma stated, stepping up. “Ain’t neither of you beating on Akane for some dumb stone. You wanna touch her you go…”
”Ranma, this is a matter of honour!” Akane stated holding herself up despite the butterflies in her stomach.
The old crone nodded, “And should Akane manage to trick Happosai out of victory, I will allow my Shampoo to take my place instead and face this girl.”
Shampoo didn’t lose the frown at this time, arms still holding her husband’s leg. “When kitchen wrecker get married? Shampoo be great grandmother before find blind masochist for…. Oh, Kitchen-wrecker marry Mousse? Is perfect!”
All glaring ended as Akane jumped at Shampoo with a leading fist, Happi dove over them at Cologne trying to take out her staff with his pipe, and the rest scrambled to safety.
With a crash of a knocked over vase and a splash of water, a cry of “Cat!” rang out.
The goddess in the mortal world shook her head as she took in the piece of herself that scouted the talk, challenges, and fighting in the Tendo home over the 'Flame of Cheung'ma' that so many wanted.
Walking down the street to a phone booth, Belldandy entered the booth, placing her hand against the side and not putting in any coins, before lifting the receiver and letting her nimble fingers dance on the keypad.
“Goddess releif line, Urd speaking.”
“Hello Sister,” Belldandy replied warmly.
“Hey Sis, how's the mortal world? Found the wish yet?”
“Yes, but not yet what gave a mortal the power to make the wish.”
“Do you need a hand investigating? I could come down?” Urd asked eagerly.
“I need your help but I need you there, Urd,” Belldandy replied. Ignoring her enthusiastic sister's disappointed sigh, the goddess explained. “It appears that the wish revived a woman who died over a decade ago, but it made her a new body by stealing the magic of a shape-changing curse on a local boy. Something called a Jusenkyo curse, do we have anything in it on Yggdrasil.”
“Let's see,” Urd replied as Belldandy smiled imagining her beautiful sister working at a terminal with a smile. “Grrrr, I sent Skuld to the mainframe to deal with some bugs but she takes so long, their still messing around, I just got a recipe for pickles. “Here we are, or at least some of it. Basics are it is a curse, strong one too, hard to get rid of, class three at least with.... argh, stupid thing, I can't be sure till I get this system up again but I think there is some backlash misfortune, so don't go curing anyone else you find without backup, Bell.”
Frowning Belldandy nodded, “Very well, but how will this affect the System Force this wish has attached?”
“If the Jusenkyo curse is resisting the wish, it could explain that high power drain the System Force is using maintaining it.”
“Maybe... That could be awkward to balance.”
Urd's voice came down the line slowly, “Very, because word from above is they want to cancel it and reset the System Force before we get another illegal wish which could crash the enforcement programs.”
“But Urd,” Belldandy said shocked, “If the System force is rebooted with unstable elements, it could end the wish, killing this woman again.”
“So could another wish, and that would break a lot of current wishes. I'm kind of surprised they're giving us a week.”
The tentative knock on the door made Nabiki look up from the papers scattered on her desk.
”Who is it?”
With a huff, she put the large old filing box from her lap to the floor, and moved to open the door. With a quick glance she dragged him inside. He frowned at the boxes and papers spread around the room,
“Don’t ask,” she stated reading his expression as she closed the door. “So what is this about, the engagement, Akane herself, or did you really want to see me naked down in the bathroom?”
Ranma’s beat red face showed he wouldn’t be thinking about the mess of her room, and she pointed him to sit on the edge of her bed as she retook her chair by the desk and swung it to face him.
”Ah, not you, er not Akane, er, nothing about naked,” he stumbled, calming as she watched him with an impatient frown. “Look, its about me being your Mom and Akane’s master.”
“What about it?”
”I can’t do it yet,” he stated, eyes looking past her at the wall. Actually the wall into Akane’s room, but even had he developed x-ray vision, Nabiki doubted it was about her sister, motioning him to continue to a point.
”I, I can teach em stuff, but I’m not a master yet. And with this challenge Akane needs a master even faster if she thinks she’ll ever be able to beat Shampoo let alone the old letch.”
”And what would do you think you lack to be a master? Do you think someone better than you and Mom can train her?”
The black haired young man shook his head. ”Nah, probably not, but I can beat Pops up, and I can teach, but I gotta beat Pop’s where it matters most. The old man made a set of techniques, powerful techniques. I gotta make a style even stronger.”
”So?” Nabiki asked, not sure where he was going.
”Pop’s made those styles on two lifestyles, being a robber and being a burglar.”
”The Yamasen Ken and the Umisen Ken?”
”You know of them,” he asked in surprise.
”Nope,” she stated sarcastically, “Get to the point.”
”Right, well, Pop’s probably did that kind of stuff before he made then sealed those styles. Now I don’t want to steal stuff, but I think I can make another style, if I learn how to steal better than he did, I can make a stronger style, the Sabakusen Ken!”
”The thousand desert fist? Okay, what has that got to do with me?” She frowned and glared at him to hammer home the point, “I’m applying to major colleges, I don’t need you breaking the law and risking my future?”
”Exactly!” Ranma said with a big smile, “You got away with all this stuff and your not even thought badly of. Teach me how to be a con artist like you?”
Nabiki blinked several times, before her eyes stayed closed and she took a deep breath. “Firstly, if you call me a con artist ever again, you’ll wish you were born a girl. Secondly, why aren’t you talking to your fat fraudulent father, he is the con man, not me.”
Ranma wasn’t sure what kind of event would make him want to have been born a girl, but then thought he didn’t want to know. “Okay, you’re not a con artist, and that’s why you’re better than Pops. You just make people want to give you money and do stuff you want, you make em see things your way.”
Still frowning, Nabiki watched him for just long enough for his nervousness to reach its peak, “You want me to teach you how a con artist works, so you can not be a con artist but make a con artist martial art?”
”A martial art that makes the other guy use his best moves on stuff other than me or even makes him use it against himself. A martial art that makes the other guy think he is winning when he is losing and losing when he is winning,” he stated, with growing enthusiasm for his goal, “A martial art that steals the other guys power and strength without him even realizing he is lost!”
Nabiki’s shoulders shook with an internal chuckle, her eyes on his, “I’ll help you make this style, but you know, that makes me your master right? You do what I say when I say it?”
He watched her for a long moment, ”But you ain’t gonna make me do stuff that bad with your Mom around right?”
”Looks like you have some potential for this Ranma,” Nabiki said with a bit of a laugh, “But what Mom never finds out, won’t hurt anyone but you, will it?”
Nervous again, he nodded, “You can order me to do whatever, as long as it teaches me this style or doesn't too badly dishonor me. After that, you can’t do anything worse or more embarrassing that Pop’s has done to me.”
He knew even as her left eyebrow rose that he had opened his mouth too much again.
”Ever dreamed about sleeping with my Sister, student?”
“Relax, to tell the truth I don't want to know the details of your sick fantasies.”
“Hey, they aren't sick.”
Blushing, Ranma's shoulders slumped, “I ain't ever gonna be good enough to do that.”
“Firstly, I wasn't born this way, Ranma. I am smart and I think fast. You may be a dope in school, but if you practice thinking about your priorities when you talk and act, you will get better.” Nabiki smirked as her words showed in his obviously improving posture. “As it is you already have the key element of a conman, you know how your mark will think and react because you know martial artists more than they know you.”
Nodding now eagerly, Ranma looked her in the eye, “I'm ready to learn master.”
With gentle fingers, the goddess Belldandy slid the door to the master bedroom of the Tendo home open enough to peek inside at the pretty redheaded girl snoring on the bed in the darkened room.
It was after midnight and all seemed still when the goddess intruded into the private domicile, an unfortunate requirement that she couldn't ask permission to enter but absolutely needed to view the magical energies involved in the woman mysteriously returned from the dead by an illegally accessed wish.
With a whispered prayer to the spirits, magic left the goddess to cross the distance to the sleeping woman, her head tilting to the side as the snoring stopped, Belldandy smiling as she saw the mortal sink into a deeper sleep that would not be lightly broken as the goddess examined her.
If it was true that this woman was made from an illegal wish and a curse of magic from this 'Jusenkyo' place, the magic could be unstable in all sorts of unpredictable ways.
Ranma listened to the sounds of the darkness of the night, trying to still his mind to get to sleep again. He had fallen to sleep easily after the long day and late night the day before, then woken after an odd dream about fighting Ryoga with a celery stick.
Whatever it had meant, he had spent the last few minutes thinking over Nabiki's words, reviewing his regular opponents in his minds eye, how they fought, how they thought, what they prioritized.
Without his fathers snores, the house was relatively quiet, he might even have thought old man Tendo was home by the snores the returned mother of the Tendo home was making. He briefly wondered if she always snored, or he did and she got it with that new body he had gotten from his former curse.
The snores from downstairs stopped as he considered how he might trick her into revealing whatever this 'Secret Tendo art' she was teaching Akane, Nabiki, and Kasumi, and he heard the click of the bad roller on the master bedroom shogi.
Adrenalin surging as he sat up, he knew something was wrong about the sounds and silently jumped to his feet.
Flitting down the stairs without a sound, he found the shoji door to the master bedroom slightly ajar, the view within a thin long haired woman with her hand on Kimiko's head.
He feared it was Shampoo up to amazon tricks in the night but probably worse the thin silhouette made him think it was the local loony no doubt with drugged flowers.
Sliding through the door like a thief, he grabbed her.
“What are you doing, Kodachi?”
Belldandy slowly nodded, surprised at how stable the magics were despite the nature of those involved. And her aura showed she was mentally handling things rather well.
She couldn't help but give a little shriek as rough hands grabbed her arms, yanking her back from the bed and turning her away, a male voice behind her now between her and the returned Kimiko Tendo yelling at her.
“What are you doing, Kodachi?”
Ranma was very surprised at the more yielding less tightly muscled arms giving away this wasn't Kodachi immediately, but her light weight, much less than expected, he knew exactly who she was, the strange woman from the Kuno compound the night before that Kodachi tried to have Mr Green Turtle eat.
Before he could ask the strange foreigner her name, she exploded.
Thrown backwards, Ranma cried out, as he fell backwards on the bed.
Kimiko shook awake as a body fell on hers, her arms wrapping the broad shoulders of her husband as she woke.
“Oh Soun,” she moaned, squeezing her husband.
“Mrs Tendo!” her apparent husband cried out before jumping free. “Wake up!”
Suddenly alert, Kimiko was glad for the darkness as she realized the man in her bedroom was her daughter's fiancé, “Ranma?”
“There was a ghost or something attacking you, wake up!”
Jumping to her feet as Ranma turned on the light, Kimiko looked around the room for this ghost, Ranma looking everywhere but the red head in cute pajama pants and a lacy bra.
“There!” Kimiko said, pointing to the closing window.
“What what was it?” Ranma asked, diving out the window in a smooth motion.
“It looked like a doll or little person!” Kimiko called, running through the house to catch up, darting by Kasumi and Akane coming down the stairs.
Held in the grasp of the martial artist, Belldandy reacted to being grabbed, bursting apart into twenty miniature versions of herself.
Running out the door, window, and through the vanity mirror to escape, most made it free and clear to the outside walls of the Tendo home, looking back as the nimble Ranma pursued out the window.
With concern, several of them watched as one fellow Mini-Bell sought refuge near the garbage tins, too late to avoid the notice of their pursuer.
Behind the garbage tin, Mini-Bell was was shocked to find she wasn't alone, coming face to face with another earth native, her mind flitting to the emotional states of those she had observed fighting earlier in the evening, after she had eavesdropped on the challenges over the 'Flame of Cheung'ma', a smile lit her tiny face as she asked for help.
“Ranma, what is going on?” Akane demanded, as she saw her fiancé stalking towards the bins, her mother under-dressed as she moved to the other side from him.
“A demon or something was after ya Mom.”
The mini-Bells on the wall frowned at being called a demon, and several were about to speak up to draw attention from their trapped copy when with a yowl a tiny kitten dove from the bins at Ranma.
Like a shot, Ranma jumped behind Akane, hands wrapping her to hold her against him terrified.
Shocked, Kimiko missed the tiny Mini-Belldandy darted from the bins and reach the wall, floating up and over it like a shadow. The returned Tendo mother more worried why Ranma was looking terrified while holding her youngest daughter very tight.
Blushing red at her fiancé's hold, Akane spun in his arms, grabbing his chin as he pulled her to his chest again, making him face her, intimately close to her face but the fear in his eyes ruining that idea. “Ranma, focus on me, ignore the cat or I will hit you for groping me.”
Ranma suddenly released Akane, keeping his eyes on her even as he didn't back away from his fiancé in the pajama top and bare legs.
Dressed in a long plain summer nightie, Kasumi rushed out on the grass and picked up the tiny stray kitten, taking it inside quickly to get it clear of Ranma.
Kimiko shook off the wondering what was going on between her under-dressed daughter and her fiancé, to go and move the bins, looking for the tiny doll person she had seen before but was now gone.
“What just happened?” Kimiko asked.
“Ranma has a problem with cats. Because his father was cruel, he can't stand them.” Akane replied, blushing as she pulled away from her warm fiancé.
“I wouldn't say cruel,” Ranma defended, “Just stupid.”
Akane elbowed her fiancé.
Kasumi nodded to her baby sister, “I'll keep her in here with me and in the morning take her to a vet and see if she has one of those electronic tag thingies in her ear that can tell us who lost her.”
Smiling as she agreed, scratching the cute baby cat under its chin, Akane briefly recalled how Ranma reacted, earlier and that first time he went into the neko-ken at school. Tightening her hold on her pillow, she heard the front door opening, knowing it was Ranma returning from searching around the neighborhood.
Waving Kasumi back into her room, Akane walked to the stairs, looking down at Ranma, “Did you find whatever it was?”
Ranma shook his head as he took off his shoes. “Nah, whatever she was is gone.”
The tone in Akane's voice made Ranma look up tiredly. “A freaky exploding not person she with... legs...”
Akane frowned as her self-defending fiancé's voice trailed off, his eyes wide before turning away from looking up the stairs at her.
With a gasp Akane blushed, covering her thighs with her pillow, having forgotten that her pajama top wasn't very covering below the hips, especially with him looking up.
Kimiko entered the hall seeing Ranma blushing as her daughter angrily came down the stairs. “I'd give you two a private moment but its very late and a school night, up to bed with you Ranma. And be careful not to wake your mother.”
Ranma nodded and moved to get around Akane but frowned as his fiancée followed Kimiko towards the master bedroom.
“You're goin with her? What if that thing comes back?”
“That's why I'm going. It's a double bed and it's my mother Ranma. If that monster comes back it'll have to not wake either of us. She can't have you stay with her.”
“Like you ca...” ranma's voice trailed off looking between Akane and er returned mother in a womans dressing-gown. “Good idea, night.”
“Ranma,” Kimiko said in a tone of a mother, “Please explain that.”
“You ain't seen how Akane sleeps, have ya?” Ranma smirked, “She'll keep you awake all night kicking and tossing and no demons gonna sneak up on ya then.”
Akane's mouth fell open at her galling fiancé's insulting words.
Kimiko's mouth fell open for another reason. “Ranma how do you know how my daughter sleeps?”
“Ack, not like that!”
“In his dreams!”
To be continued.