TRTSS15: Thanks for the Memories! – By Ocramed
Disclaimer: R1/2, SM, ST and other genres belong to their respective owners.
Note: This is a multi-genre story. This is also a 1000-plus word chapter.
Special Note: This mini-series takes place before the events depicted in "Blackest Reign and a Dark Night". As always, C&C are welcomed.
Part 9: "The Warring Heart" (I)
Meanwhile, back in the past…
"Ha!" Ryouga yelled, as he delivered a flying kick to the fisherman known as Ebiten.
"Ha, yourself," replied the dwarf, as he expertly twirled his fishing pole around, causing the line to ensnare the perpetual "Lost Boy".
"Gah!" Ryouga replied, before he was repeatedly slammed against the side of the floating boat. He cursed himself for not taking his opponent seriously.
Meanwhile, Malon was fighting Shampoo and Ukyo at the same time.
"Stay still, thief!" Shampoo replied, as she swung her clubs (called bombori) at her opponent.
"I got you!" Ukyo yelled, as she threw a volley of mini-spatulas that acted as shuriken throwing weapons."
"Too slow," Malon said, as she leaped over head, before strumming a note, enhanced by her 'ki', that created a sonic wave stunned the girls.
"AHHHH!" Ukyo and Shampoo exclaimed, before being nearly rendered unconscious.
"Shampoo!" Mousse yelled, as he was about to go his beloved Shampoo's side, only to be squashed by the very large Wu.
"Arrgh!" Mousse said.
"Uhhhhh, yeah," Wu said.
With everyone down for the count, only Akane remained, even as the twins Daikokusei and Daihokusei had bound her in ropes.
"As you can see, you have very little options left," Bishamoten said while twirling his trident, even as his opponent Kuno was about to stand back on his feet.
"I am not going to be defeated!" Kuno said, just as the Bishamoten jammed the dull end of his weapon, without turning around, knocking the wind out of Kuno in the process.
"Ooof!" Kuno said, as he fell on top of his unconscious sister Kodachi.
"You really should go back to where you have come from," Ebiten said, as he hops down in front of Akane. "You're not wanted here."
"I don't care!" Akane said. "I want to see Ranma!"
"Then, you shall," said a booming voice.
All eyes turned towards Prince Kirin, as he presents his fiancée…
"Ranma?" Ryouga said.
"No, Ranma!" Shampoo said.
"You can't do this!" Ukyo said.
Ranma appeared to be dressed like a royal princess from ancient China, as her hair cascades down her back.
"My prince!" Lychee said.
"No, MY prince," said Ranko with a smirk, as she decided to not bother to correct the fact that she was merely Ranma's girl side set free…albeit temporary. "I have to say, I am very disappointed in you all."
"Why are you doing this, Ranma?" Akane said tearfully.
"Maybe it's because I am sick of being a target? Or perhaps I no longer 'enjoy' being an object to be used for profit and gain? Whatever the reason, I've just had enough of it."
"So, that's it?" Ryouga said. "You decided that life was too hard for you? What kind of man are you?"
"What kind of man takes advantage of a girl, 'pig'?"
Ryouga grits his teeth, but says nothing.
"So, you're giving up my Shampoo?" Mousse asked.
"Give her up? She was never mine to take in the first place, 'duck'."
"I don't understand."
"Read my lips, Mousse: Shampoo doesn't like you, never has liked you, and most likely will never like YOU. The only reason she tolerates you is because you're nothing more than a substitute for ME. Ergo, when that day comes when Shampoo realized that she can't have me, she might let you beat her in a marriage challenge just because she either feels sorry for you, or because she has no one else to settle for…"
"Anything more you need clarified, duck?"
"Why you mean, Ranma?" Shampoo said tearfully.
"Do we not matter to you, Ranchan?" Ukyo asked.
"You all do," Ranko said softly. "Even Kuno and Kodachi mean something to me. But I need to know if I mean something to you all-"
Just then, everyone could hear the sound of clapping coming from Happosai.
"What do you want, Old Man?" Ranko said.
"To think that you were to be my heir in the Musabetsu Kakuto-ryu," Happosai said. "Your father should have told you that the path of a martial artist is fraught with peril. You are supposed to risk your life for the sake of the Art!"
"My life, yes, but not at the expense of my honor, which you have shown very little of…"
"In fact, I don't think are nothing more than a con-man who uses others to profit from."
"How dare you say that to your master?"
"Yeah, I dare, unless you show me what you are made of…by training Akane."
"What?" Akane said.
"Akane, when has the last time you've been trained in martial arts by your father?" Ranko asked.
"Exactly. When I was on the road with Pops, I've trained every day. Sure, there were mistakes here and there, but I became a much more prepared fighter because of it. You, on the other hand, had only Kuno to deal with, along with his schoolyard lackeys. Sure, you've become stronger and tougher, but that's all. Only a few times have you been truly a martial artist, rather than just acting as one."
"So, Old Man, what do you say?" Ranko said, as she turned to face Happosai. "You train Akane to face Prince Kirin's challenge, to prove the worthiness of your Art, and you will be compensated."
"With what?" Happosai said.
"Behold, the sacred undergarment of Quanyin!" Prince Kirin said, as he presents an encased pair of –
"Panties?" Akane said.
"Not just any pair of undergarments, but of the goddess of Mercy herself," Kirin said proudly. "Our forebears, the Seven Lucky Gods, were mortals who were granted immortality, and thus became gods themselves. One of them, Kirin's ancestor, was a lover of the goddess of Mercy, and as a token of friendship, gave her most precious treasure to him…"
"Although Kirin consider you a thief for stealing the lineage of Kirin's greatest techniques, Kirin is willing to part ways with this, should Akane Tendo prove strong enough to not only get through the challenge Kirin will have Kirin's fellow warriors partake in, but also to rescue Kirin's future bride."
"Oh, my," Happosai said, as stars could be seen in his eyes, as he became enamored by the pair of goddess panties…
"Why should I do this challenge?" Akane said stubbornly.
"You always wanted to be the hero?" Ranko said. "Now, this is your chance."
"You mean…I have to do this?"
"Yes," Ranko replied. "Not only will I know that you care, but you will be fulfilling a dream of becoming a true warrior. But, if you refuse to accept the challenge, or fail during the challenge, I will abide by my word of honor, and marry Kirin…"
"And trust me, I rather not do this, but I will if it means that you will come out of this experience…stronger."
Akane's face softens, and realized the fundamental truth: Ranma really did care about her, and was willing to pull this particular stunt in order to help her become a better martial artist."
"Master Happosai, so you agree to the terms of Akane Tendo's challenge?" Kirin asked.
"Oh, but I do," Happosai said, as he continued to be star-struck at the sight of the godly panties.
"Akane Tendo, do you agree to terms of your challenge?"
"I do!" Akane said proudly. "For the sake of the Musabetsu Kakuto-ryu, and for the sake of my honor, I accept your challenge."
"Very well, challenge acceptance is noted," Kirin said, as he hands of the family heirloom to Ranko. "In three days' time, I will marry the bride Ranma Saotome. You have until then to not only sufficiently train, but to go through the obstacles that will lay before you. Use your allies well, for your challenge will not be an easy one, for you are facing the Seven Lucky Gods…"
Kirin places his hand on a large lever.
"Good luck to you all," Kirin said, as he pulls the lever.
Suddenly, the front end of the air ship begins to tilt, even as the other Seven Lucky Gods leap to the back of the unusual vehicle.
"Don't worry, Ranma," Akane said. "I'll be back for you! Count on it!"
"What the-?" Ryouga said, as he realized that he was no loose from his binds.
"Ryouga, look after Akane," Ranko said.
Ryouga looks at Ranko's face, and nods his head, even as everyone slipped off the bow of the airship.
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!" Lychee yelled. "My prince!"
"BLURRRGGHH!" Jasmine the Fighting Elephant roared, as she grabbed her trainer with her trunk.
"Ranma!" Ukyo yelled.
"Ranma!" Shampoo said, as she begins to slide.
"Shampoo!" Mousse yelled, as he rushes to Shampoo's side.
"Fair maiden, I shall endeavor to rescue you from the foul prince!" Kuno said, as he grabbed his still unconscious sister.
"Keep those precious panties ready," Happosai declared. "I will make sure that dear Akane is ready for your challenge, count on it-!"
And, with that, all the "guests" were dumped into the water.
"Now that were done with that, we have a wedding to prepare," Kirin said, as he turned towards Ranko. "Are you sure about all this?"
"We are committed to the plan," Ranko said. "You will have my hand in marriage IF Akane defeats your challenge."
"You think she can do so?"
"If she is the Akane that I know, then she has yet to tap into her true potential. Don't count her out."
"Kirin shall see if Akane Tendo has what it takes to do so, my bride…"
A short time later, everyone find themselves washed ashore on the banks of a river.
"Akane, are you okay?" Ukyo said, after pulling her rival out of the water. Only Akane, Ukyo, Lychee and Happosai did not change when they were dunked into the drink.
"I am, I guess," Akane replied, as she shivered. "Thanks for saving me."
"No problem," Ukyo said with a smile. "But that doesn't mean I'm giving up on Ranchan."
"Humph," Akane replied with a smile of her own. "I wouldn't want it any other way."
"Akane," Happosai said somberly, as after he lit both a campfire and his pipe. "I need to make it clear that I won't train you if you do not take my lessons seriously."
"So, you're going to be serious about this yourself, old man?" Ryouga said, after he poured hot water over his head. Thankfully, he always kept a kettle of hot water in pocket space…
"If not, I can train Akane myself."
"You can contribute as well," Happosai said. "In fact, considering the amount of time we have, everyone should help Akane train."
"Why should Shampoo train 'Kitchen Destroyer'?" Shampoo said. "Shampoo rather see her lose than get 'Husband'!"
"I agree," Kodachi said. "If anything, Akane's defeat will pave a path for me to Ranma's heart."
Mousse sighs. Even now, even after what has transpired, he still couldn't believe Shampoo still wanted Ranma…
"Fear now, my beautiful one," Kuno proclaimed. "Although it wounds me, I will see to it that Akane achieves her victor, for only then will she see that it is I, not the 'foul sorcerer', am worthy of her affection."
"Thanks?" Akane said nervously.
"Lychee has only one thing to say," Lychee said, as she looks away for a moment to address the group. "If rival marries Prince Kirin, then no one will have what they desire the most. Lychee will not have Prince, and loves of rival will not have rival."
"But I can have my Shampoo, if Saotome is no more," Mousse said.
"Then you will have won by default, and not have proven yourself worthy of Shampoo," Lychee said. "You never be able to prove that you a better husband to Shampoo. What do you think Shampoo might say to that?"
"Ah, well, um," Mousse said, realizing that Lychee was right. As long as Ranma was not defeated by him for Shampoo's affections, there would always be doubt as to his own worthiness…
"Then it is settled," Happosai said. "All of us will train, with the emphasis on Akane's training. Get some rest tonight. We have some 'bitter work' ahead of us."
Akane sighs, as she looks up at the night sky. Was she really prepared for what lay ahead, or were all those times that she proclaimed to Ranma about being a good martial artist…overblown? One way or another, Akane knew that she will be pushed beyond her limits.
"Ranma, you jerk," Akane said, as she tucked herself into her knees.
Not too far from where Akane and the others were, Ranma sat on a perch. He wanted to make sure that Akane in particular was fine, when she fell into the water.
"I may be a jerk, but I'm a caring one," Ranma said, before he fades back into the shadows. After all, he had a wedding to get ready for, one that he hoped will never come to pass…
Meanwhile, in another time and place…
"This…is bad," Colonel Kira Nerys said, as she looked at the tactical data. She then turned towards Science Officer Wesley Crusher.
"Are you sure about these readings?"
"I double-checked them," Crusher said. "That energy signature is indeed coming right towards here…"
"But you know something about that signature means, ma'am?"
"Unfortunately, I do. You and Captain Hibiki were away when this station was paid a visit. The crisis had been resolved, but not without cost."
"I don't understand. How?"
"How many moons of Bajor are there?"
"Bajor suppose to have five moons," Crusher said, as he ran a check on the space around Bajor. "Wait, there are…four moons? What happened?"
"The person creating this energy signature happened," Kira said, as she presses the main intercom button, in order to address everyone aboard the station. "Attention all station personnel: Red Alert. I repeat: Red Alert. This not a drill…"
As the general alarm sounded, there was only one thing that worried Kira. She knew that the only reason why the individual generating the energy signature was because of Commodore Ranma Saotome. Unfortunately, he's not exactly himself at the moment.
"Damn," Kira said to herself. "Why now…?"