~I do not own the character's contained in this story with exception of the select few who I create and add too the story to make it work.~ (Story has some dark momenta, and serious content.)
Author note: This story starts out sometime after the events of the failed wedding, Ranma and Akane are both seventeen at this time and are two weeks from graduating High school.
I am a gamer as much as I am a writer and as such I wanted to try my hand at a different type of Ranma1/2 fic one that involved the world of virtual reality one where a player can literally interact with the people they meet both NPC and PC driven.
A world where players can conquer lands and so to in turn can the NPC's can also conquer those lands a world where A.i. is as gifted as any player in the arts of strategy/politics/Fighting, able to build constructs, and is fully capable of making war as quickly as making peace.
A world where the In-human, and the Human clash every day, however in rare occasions form alliances with one another to complete goals. Imagine a world where you can create your own fortifications, a world you can completely customize to suit your needs, sin, and vice is a constant and the righteous march across the land daring to squash true evil wherever they encounter it.
Where Good and Evil are but mere perspective and the lines can become blurred at a moments notice yes that is a game I would love to play one day... I hope through this story I will manage to capture that essence and show it to you in an intriguing way. -Zeltronica
It was a day like any other the clouds were thick and gray a cold December air settled over the district of Nerima which was one of many suburbs of the greater Tokyo area within this district were a series of both apartments and or civilian residents that happened to own homes as well as a host of established respectable business's.
Also within this district was a school called Furinkan High school, as well as two of the largest estates one being owned by The Kuno Family who for all tints and purposes was rich beyond measure at least from what the denizens in Nerima had seen so far.
The other estate was owned by the Tendo family though their estate and home were rather large compared to that of their neighbors they were not very well off at all since the Matriarch of the Tendo family had long since passed away several years ago.
This estates surrounding property line was surrounded by a six-foot white polished stone wall that was aging, at the front of the estate the stone wall gave way to a white picket fence with two gates one of which was an open arch with a stone pathway leading to the back entrance which was the challenge entrance of the Tendo Dojo which had at this point seen very few visitors.
Further down the fence was another picket archway which also features a stone walkway leading to the main entrance of the house, which consisted of a feudal designed construction featuring two floors, six rooms, three of the rooms had sliding glass windows overlooking the street below.
The house sported a fading pale off colored blue coat of paint, while the Dojo was built into the house there was another entrance featuring duel sliding wooden doors which stood before a stone pathway leading to the house's rear entrance which features a decent patio.
A small equipment shed was also set up in the southeast corner of the yard, a small flower garden was set up along one of the far perimeter walls which followed into a two-foot concrete walkway beside the house leading to the front of the house.
The main feature of the back yard was a medium sized koi-pond which had koi swimming in its waters, a few decorative rocks sat around it, also setup near the decorative rocks was a decorative Bamboo Pouring Fountain.
The roof of the house was a dark gray in color using traditional petal style tile roofing, on this roof also stood a small TV antenna, and laying on the very slightly sloped side of the house roof was a solitary individual.
This individual laid on the frost covered roof, if standing the individual with red hair tied back in a pigtail, worn over her hair was a black beanie cap if she were to stand up she would be four-foot-eight she wore a heavy white winter coat that did nothing to hide the fact she was well endowed in the chest compartment, she wore black trouser style pants, on her feet.
"Good grief," she muttered as she slowly pushed herself up in a sitting position, all the while attempting to ignore the fact her clothing was completely soaked.
"Hurry up son the show is going to begin any moment hurry up and adjust the antenna." a male voice called from within the currently wide open backdoor from below.
Rolling over the girl then pushed herself up carefully as the roof was slightly slippery due to the frost upon it once gaining her balance she slowly crossed the distance between herself and the antenna reaching up to adjust it.
"This would be so much easier if you would have come up here to help me Mr. Tendo!" she shouted in frustration. 'I hope this works I don't want to freeze my butt off any longer than I have to.' she inwardly complained.
Just then another voice called just as the red-head had made a couple more adjustments. "That's it Ranma right there don't adjust it anymore."
The red-head revealed to be Ranma grumbled something under her breath as she made sure to lock the antenna in place. Once finished she then started making her way towards the ladder at which right when she neared the last spot she was when this all began she lost her footing falling flat on her back once again sliding off and to the cold wet snowy grown below with a plop.
Meanwhile, inside the house in the main dining room, the occupants of the home all surrounded the television which had a mostly crisp picture of what appeared to be a game of some kind.
One being a rather tall and lean looking man who sat at the head of the nearby dining room table, he sported long straight brownish black hair, chocolate brown eyes, resting just under his nose above his mouth was a neatly trimmed mustache, his clothes consisting of a brown gi which was rather emasculate looking.
This man was known as the Patriarch of the estate Tendo Soun who was in his late forties, sitting just at the other end of the table facing towards the television was a larger gentleman who when standing had a stocky appearance, his balding head hidden beneath a patterned bandanna, his steel gray eyes behind wire frame glasses wearing a slightly stained charcoal white gi.
This man also in his late forties was none other than the Tendo Patriarch's good life long friend Saotome Genma who was the patriarch of the Saotome half of the Anything goes school of Martial arts.
It was both these men's dreams to join both the Tendo and Saotome schools together someday provided they could get their heirs to cooperate in an arranged marriage which was currently set for both Saotome Ranma, and Tendo Akane to get married someday.
Akane who was seventeen years of age sat on the right side of the dining room table, her hair cut short in a bob style was cobalt blue, her eyes chocolate brown when standing she stood at five-foot-one, currently wearing a yellow-n-green sweater, and a black-n-green skirt, with black tights worn just under this.
Across from her sat the middle sister of the Tendo household sporting a pageboy hairstyle the hair brown, her eyes like the youngest sister a Chocolate brown, wearing blue jeans, and a yellow long sleeve top that gave a considerable view of her midriff.
Her name was Tendo Nabiki age eighteen was known by many of her peers also by the moniker The Ice Queen of Furinkan High because of her many methods of exploiting and extortion she employed in order to make money for the household.
The Eldest sister of the Tendo Household is Tendo Kasumi age nineteen Her long brown hair held back in a ponytail via a large white bow, her eyes chocolate brown like her two younger sisters she currently was in the kitchen area she stood at five-foot-three wearing a red-n-white long sleeve dress with frills around both the collar of the dress and the cuffs, her legs bare with exception of the white socks with frill cuffs she wore on her feet.
Eventually, Ranma had eventually made her way back inside the house sliding the door closed walking past the dining room table proceeding towards where the guest room was located in the house when she came to stop upon hearing her father's voice.
"Boy, where are you going the game is about ready to start?" Genma inquired in curiosity, not at all seeming to register why his son would want to miss out since this entire thing was his idea.
Ranma shot her father a glare. "Do you even have to ask Old man?" she inquired flatly.
Upon hearing his son's female voice he then turned his head towards his child observing her angered but soft features, crimson hair, and wet clothes. "When did you?" he inquired since when his son left the house to fix the antenna he was in boy form.
"I dunno Pops I think it was the fact the gutter was clogged with nasty water and some the edge got dipped down thanks to the ladder I was using, but don't worry we got good reception, Now if you will excuse me I am going for a bath!" The red-head exclaimed proceeding to head to the guest room to grab a change of clothes.
Genma watched as his son sometimes daughter walked off down the hall until out of sight at which he turned his attention back to the television.
Akane stood from the table heading in the direction her red-haired fiancee was heading last eventually arriving at the guest room giving the closed door a knock. "Ranma are you alright?" she inquired.
"Yes I... No, I am not alright I just got done freezing my butt off in soaking wet clothing all so Pops and them could watch a stupid game." Ranma called from behind the door, a loud sound of several things falling could be heard causing the blue-haired girl to look to the door with concern.
"Arrg dammit!" Ranma exclaimed from inside only causing the blue-haired teen to continue to look to the door with a curious brow raised as what sounded like more objects crashed to the floor from what she assumed was the closet.
Akane after hearing something that sounded like glass shattering, she slid the door open only to observe a whole mess of objects that had fallen to the floor leaving Ranma on the floor in a heap pushing both items and clothes off of herself.
"You alright Ranma?" she inquired with concern as she went to help remove the objects from her fiance's person.
Ranma frowned as she continued to push items off and to the side, a picture with a shattered glass frame was tossed to the side where it shattered some more. "Yea I guess... Dammit why can't he organize stuff rather than randomly throw things in... he is such a slob!" she complained.
"It is your room too you know so if anything you are just as much to be blamed for this mess." Akane pointed out, reaching down with her right hand.
Ranma reached up taking the proffered hand allowing herself to be pulled up to a standing position, she then pulled off her coat tossing it to one side of the room, she then went to the closet bending down and opening one of the inside dresser drawers proceeding to retrieve some clothing items.
"Yea point made, but in my defense, I rarely just toss things in the closet with exception of my clothing which is always neatly folded and or hung up." she pointed out.
Akane tilted her head to the side giving her fiancee a sideways glance that didn't go unnoticed by the red-head who spoke up once more. "It's true I do neatly fold and hang my stuff up dammit."
"I was curious if later today you would like to go shopping with me Ranma?" she inquired whilst watching the red-head picking out some clothing articles she assumed was to be worn after the bath.
Ranma after retrieving a pair of green-n-yellow boxer shorts, a white tank top, and a pair of dark blue pants as well as a red-n-black long sleeve button up shirt. "I dunno Akane I was planning on later today visiting with some friends in a bit can we do the shopping tomorrow?" she inquired.
"Oh, I see... That's fine I guess tomorrow will be okay." Akane replied in a falsetto attempt to sound okay with her fiancee's offer, whilst with her right foot tapping the tip of her toes against the carpet.
Ranma having got everything she needed proceeding to step over the clutter on the floor walking past her fiancee coming to a stop just at the door, turning to face the blue-haired girl not having missed the way her fiancee had responded.
"Are you sure that will be fine and you are not just saying that... I mean I can call Dai' and them and let them know I am not coming if you really want me to go shopping with you today?" she offered as the last thing she wanted was to give her fiance something else to be angry with her about later.
Akane waved her left hand dismissively. "Yea really I am sure we can do it tomorrow go get your bath and change back," she called with a falsetto smile. 'Just today we would have gotten huge discounts on all our purchases...' she inwardly grumbled.
Giving her fiancee a long look Ranma with trepidation turned and headed off towards the bath nary a word spoken since she knew better than to say anything else as it could very well lead into a minefield with her fiancee.
Three hours later after taking a bath, and watching some of the football matches, he had wanted to watch a now male Ranma was walking along with a slightly deserted patch of sidewalk that saw very little traffic at this time of day.
Jusenkyo is a very cursed place that has over one-thousand springs each with a bamboo shoot standing at its center, each spring has its own very very tragic story of someone or something drowning within its waters.
In Ranma's case, he/she had fallen into what is known as Nyannīchuan or in other words 'Spring of drowned girl' ever since that fateful event he now every time he finds himself doused with cold water over his head he finds himself a four-foot-eight buxom, blue-eyed red-haired girl with a very ample chest, and with the application of hot water she becomes a he returning back to a five-foot-one boy blue-eyed boy with his raven-hair warn in a pigtail, with a very chiseled chest featuring quite a bit of muscle thanks to his long hard years of martial-arts training.
Currently, Ranma was wearing a white cotton button-up shirt, a dark gray sweater worn just over this, loose-fitting black trouser pants along with matching black kung-fu slippers just on the off chance he ended up defending himself from an attack since these things tended to happen a lot in Nerima since a great number of the inhabitants were martial-artists that and it would seem he had a target on his back mostly due to his own actions not that he would admit it himself.
He had thus far gotten used to having his cursed form, but that didn't readily mean he was ready to accept it as his body no he preferred to refer to that side of himself as a foreign object something that was very alien and should not exist, however that didn't stop him from taking advantage of her certain feminine charms to get things he wanted in the past.
In truth Ranma was very much masculine and preferred a heterosexual life, he had no real view on people interested in the same gender so long as they did not attempt to force their lifestyle on him though he hadn't yet had the luxury of meeting anyone like that male or female as of yet anyways up close and personal that is.
He did find himself viewing two men from afar during a shopping trip he went on for Kasumi who had shared an amorous moment together for what they had thought was a secluded area in an alley which in fact was not so hidden from prying eyes as the raven-haired martial-artist had gotten a full view which had left him with more questions than answers since it was the very first time he had seen a male on male kiss.
However, he liked to think he had an open mind since he felt it was not his place to judge lest he is judged by others in the same fashion.
He continued on his way traveling along the sidewalk eventually coming to a stop when he found a vending machine along the way which featured a variety of beverages, he reached into his right trouser pants pocket retrieving some yen proceeding to input them into the coin slot until he reached the desired amount.
Replacing the leftover yen back into his pants pocket, Ranma withdrew the same hand proceeding to push the button on the vending machine listed as grape soda, a few buzzing noises and clunking noises were heard before finally, a can clattered down the inside shoot until finally coming to rest inside the dispenser.
Bending down Ranma reached in grabbing the proffered drink proceeding to with his free hand popping the tab opening the beverage proceeding to partake of the can's contents, he slowly moved near the stone wall just beside the vending machine on the opposite side of the nearby trashcan proceeding to learn against said wall whilst enjoying his drink.
As he enjoyed his drinks several individuals walked past him without a single word said outside of their little group as if not even noticing Ranma was even there which was fine with him since it would be awkward for strangers to talk to someone outside their own group.
He continued to drink the beverage he was drinking all the while taking a long look at one of the strangers butts which was a young woman who probably was older than him by three years her long brown hair worn in a long ponytail, three sin bun needles worn just at the back who was scantily clad in a red slip dress that left nary a part of her body to the imagination most likely someone who worked in the red-light district of Tokyo.
He eventually broke his stare as an image of his irate fiancee came to mind, he sheepishly chuckled to himself realizing he was totally doing something he would call lecherous when referring to a certain man who liked to run around stealing ladies undergarments, and or attempting to grab them at any chance he got.
'Damn Akane could use some tips from that girl.' he jested inwardly to himself, however, in truth he would never suggest or want Akane dressed that way ever out in public, maybe in the bedroom someday but definitely not in public.
He especially wasn't about to suggest such a thing knowing full well it would lead to the beating of a lifetime and for good measure the payback would probably land him in such an outfit since for some reason his fiancee when she got her revenge always gave it one-hundred fold which usually involved his female half for some reason or another.
He sometimes wondered if Akane had a thing for that side of himself, however he wasn't about to ask as that would just be plain weird, plus he didn't want Akane to even remotely think he wanted to be a girl as that would make things even more awkward than they already are since his blue-haired fiancee on several occasion had made such an accusation publicly known.
Their relations with one another could be described as rocky at best leading the duo into fights over stupid things which usually starts cause Ranma had a habit of saying things he hadn't completely thought through tactfully which usually ended up backfiring in the worst ways possible.
Eventually, he finished his drink crumpling the can and tossing it into the nearby waste container proceeding on towards where his friends were surely waiting which was at a local arcade where many kids, teen and some adults gathered to partake in the various games located within.
Ranma at first wasn't sure about video gaming at all since he never has seen one up close before having always been on the road training in martial arts with his father, however one fateful day he and Akane went searching for his father who had gone missing while searching for a tree to display in the Dojo for a Christmas party The eldest Tendo sister had decided to host a year back from the day.
Both Ranma and Akane did eventually find Genma however he was not a human man, instead he was overgrown Panda due to a curse he had received at Jusenkyo called Shonmaonīchuan or 'Spring of drowned Panda' who was staying at a very well off families home as their son's long lost pet Panda.
It was there whilst in female form Ranma ended up, and even though the Mother of said boy barely knew her asked that she and Akane babysat the young boy who introduced her to video games while at the same time the red-haired martial-artist did her best to talk the boy into going outside upon Akane's prodding as she had to harshly pry Ranma from the very games that helped the sickly boy stay inside.
Eventually Ranma did remember the reason she and Akane was asked to babysit/play with the poor boy eventually becoming angry and yanking the cord of the game system out of the wall outlet and forcing the boy outside only to find out said boy was not as sick as he appeared when he was riding on Genma's back as if a horse and having a blast doing so all the way down to the nearby beach.
The one thing Ranma did feel was that video games should be treated with moderation lest one end up suffering the consequences of long term use which could possibly lead to death if not careful especially after reading a medical report in the news about a gamer who had collapsed after a long two-player battle with his sister.
For instance if one was to sit too long in a position that didn't allow much blood flow he or she could incur a blood clot in their legs which eventually once standing could travel to the heart causing instant death which is why every thirty minutes at least one should get up and stretch and walk around just to avoid such an untimely demise especially on a game they love so dearly.
Since his coming to Nerima with his father and meeting the Tendo's Ranma had come to love manga/anime as well as video games though neither he nor the rest of the family owns a game console as they were just too expensive plus he didn't need the distraction from the art any more than other things tended to distract him.
No he was content to use a console whilst at his friends homes and or the arcade, but he had no plans to own one himself in the near future, the one system he nearly did own he had Akane take back to the store since their fathers had bought it thinking it would help bond the two to one another.
Instead, with the money, they got both he and Akane went shopping and got a few clothing items as well as a bite to eat which was rather nice in itself since it didn't have either of their parents there to ruin the mood. That and not once did they have a spat over something stupid, and or silly.
Eventually, Ranma arrived at the location he was to meet his friends observing the arcade was jammed packed with all walks of life, he made his way through the entrance slowly stepping around where he had to ensure he wouldn't bump into anyone.
Scanning the crowd with his sapphire eyes he eventually narrowed in on three individual's one of which had surprised him since he hadn't seen her leave the house.
One of the boys being Daisuke who had short dark brown hair, standing at five-foot-three wearing dark colored blue-jeans, a plain black t-shirt with a brown leather jacket that was currently worn open, a pair of brown leather gloves and a dark blue beanie tucked into the right jacket pocket.
The second boy was Hiroshi who had short light brown hair, he wore something similar to what the other boy wore except he was wearing a jean jacket the inside covered in white fur like material that plainly was artificial and not real fur which probably was very warm when outside and closed up.
Last but not least was the third individual being a familiar brown-haired girl Ranma knew very well as Tendo Nabiki who was soon to be his sister in law if he and Akane should ever finally become married.
"Dang Nabiki I didn't even see you leave the house what are you doing here?" Ranma inquired as he closed the distance between himself and the trio.
Nabiki seemed just as surprised seeing Ranma as he had been of seeing her. "I was invited by your friends and since they offered to pay for food and games who would I be to decline such a generous offer." she relayed.
"Oh, I see I guess that is as good a reason as any since it is rare you would go anywhere unless it yielded some kind of profit now would it?" Ranma questioned in a jab, crossing his arms over his chest.
Nabiki gave her little sister's fiancee a falsetto innocent look. "How could you make such bold accusations... maybe I am simply here cause I wanted to get out of the house, and the offer for free food and games was an added bonus I didn't ask them for such things did I?" she inquired of the two boys watching both she and Ranma talk to one another.
"Yea she didn't ask we offered, " Both boys said in unison, at which Ranma gave them both a skeptical look however didn't bother to question further instead he glanced around the arcade giving it a cursory glance.
He then spoke up. "Well, in that case, where are we going to start?" he inquired observing nearly every system was currently taken by someone or another.
Daisuke then quickly replied. "Well since you are here now lets head to the back room we have all been invited by the owner who is expecting us.
Nabiki shot the dark brown-haired teen a questioning look. "Wait Dai-baby the owner of this establishment is expecting us?" she inquired.
"Yea really you guys know the owner C'mon you gotta be pulling our leg ?" Ranma questioned as he wasn't quite convinced since this was the first he had heard about it and he and Daisuke, along with Hiroshi had gone to this arcade on several occasion.
Hiroshi waved his hands in warding. "No, we don't know him like that... Just I and Daisuke were in here the other day playing games when we were approached by the owner who said since we visit regularly he was going to let us along with two of our friends to be on the ground floor of a project he and his kids are working on.
"Do I know these kids by chance?" Nabiki questioned, as now it was her turn to be skeptical since she wasn't so sure about backroom meetings especially individual's she barely knew.
Hiroshi nodded his head, "Of course you know them they are in the Chemistry club, their elder brother is in the science club, that and creepy Gosenkugi is here I didn't know it but he apparently when not doing voodoo stuff he is adept in programming.
Upon hearing the name Gosenkugi both Ranma and Nabiki gave each other a nervous look before turning back to their friends observing they were heading off towards the rear of the arcade, both quickly moving to catch up.
Eventually, they arrived at the door that would take them into the rear room, A blonde-haired teenage boy neither Ranma nor Nabiki had remembered seeing was waiting there opening the door ushering everyone that was allowed access through the door before shutting it, however, said teen stayed on the other side of the now closed door.
"Ranma, Nabiki I didn't think you would come, but I am glad both Daisuke and Hiroshi decided to come." a tall brown-haired teen called, he had steel gray eyes and dark gray wire-frame glasses, wearing black slacks, a short-sleeved t-shirt as well as a lab coat that was similar to the rest of the group of teens in the room.
An older gentleman sat nearby reading a newspaper Ranma recognized him as the owner of the arcade, however as per usual the old coot was so wrapped up in his paper he never paid anyone around him much attention.
As for the brown-haired boy, Ranma recognized him as one of the three boys from the Chemistry club and was the president of the said club which neither he nor the boy had gotten along, but said boy was the son of the arcade owner.
"So Kajima was it?" he inquired of the boy since he wasn't quite sure since he had never made a point to get to know the boy or the name attached to said boy.
The boy casually grinned. "Wow so you do remember my name here and I half expected you wouldn't remember Saotome-kun." he casually called.
Shrugging his shoulders slightly feeling a little tense since he already observed several individual's he knew wasn't his biggest fan in the room. "I make a point to try and remember a name especially after they attempt to blow me up with explosive mines." he pointed out, though he lied about remembering the name it was simply a lucky guess.
The boy revealed to be Kajima this time gave a shrug of his own shoulder's whiles walking up to Ranma holding his right hand out, of which the pig-tailed martial-artist hesitantly took it and they shook hands.
"Look I admit that was a bit extreme and even though I and my friends spent about a month in the Hospital we all decided to put that behind us and make peace with the fact you and Akane are engaged. If you noticed we never bugged you again," he explained to which the pig-tailed boy nodded his head since it was genuine the chemistry club never did attempt anything after the mine incident.
Tilting his head in thought Ranma nervously chuckled. "Yea I guess your right it is true you guys never even said a word or took action against me afterward, heck I don't even think I've seen you guys around much," he said, all the while Nabiki watched the exchange keeping a blank mask whilst also scanning the room as she felt the temperature drop slightly.
Kajima then gestured to his two compatriots. "This is Hotaro, and Akio as you remember from the chemistry club." he introduced, before gesturing to three more boys all dressed in a similar fashion. "These three are from the Science club Hideki, Goro, and Katsu."
Once both Ranma and Nabiki had filed and processed that information Kajima then gestured to another set of boys both looked to be twins dressed like the rest of the boys there. "These two even though they dress the part don't really do the science they are my cousins who work in the video game industry." he pointed out, before finally gesturing to the final boy who was Gosenkugi Hikaru.
"I do believe you both know Voodoo spike as he is sometimes called or Gosenkugi he apparently is a talented programmer and will be helping today with the testing of a new type of game system which we expect will revolutionize the gaming industry sometime in the future." he finished.
Gosenkugi Hikaru stood at five-foot-four he was lean with short raven-hair, his brown eyes sunken as if he was rather ill he wore black slacks, black socks, a white button-up longs sleeve shirt.
The twins both had dyed blonde-hair that was rather long, very fair features and almost could pass for girl's if someone wasn't paying close attention.
Nabiki gave the room a cursory glance observing the room was rather sparse with the exception of several broken down arcade unites against the wall, a workbench the owner was sitting at, at the center of the room sat four rather large glass compartment tubes with several machines connected to them, via several bundles of cables, as well as clear tubing that was connected into the floor via fittings that were similar to those used in plumbing.
All four tubes looked large enough to put an individual into. Her attention then moved upward observing twelve hanging shop lamps that provided the room lighting, to the far right of the room appeared to be a control room that the cables from the tubes were connected to the box like construct, through a large eight foot wide by two foot tall glass she observed the backs of several flat screen monitors which were very few however were becoming more and more available much like the cellphone.
The floor they stood on was dull gray concrete with a slight shine to it meaning it was cleaned rather regularly despite what the grime-covered walls would tell a person just upon first observation.
"So what is all this and why have you invited us here for exactly?" the brown-haired girl inquired, as she took three steps closer to one of the tubes observing every detail she could.
Kajima let out a boisterous chuckle at her question whilst shaking his head slightly. "Always the inquisitive type aren't you Tendo-san... Well if you must know we have been working on a state of the art video game platform and we would be grateful if all four of you would be the first to test it out," he explained in an upbeat tone.
Ranma held his silence as he had heard about testing a video game, however, he was dubious at the motives of all the teens in the room just simply due to past experience.
"We would be honored to be the first to test this new platform you are creating." Hiroshi quickly said with a smile to his lips since from what all he had heard at an earlier time when he got the invitation he was sure this was the chance of a lifetime.
Daisuke while excited by the prospect of what the project team had said about their invention he was slightly dubious as to whether it would measure up to the hype they had boasted about.
"So how does it work, what is our part in all this you promised us we would be testing a new game but I don't see any controls or anything." he pointed out, giving the room a quick once over with his eyes.
Nabiki tapped her right index finger on the glass of the tube she stood next to observing the wires that ran from it to what she assumed was a control room. 'No controls... but there is what looks like a headset.' she observed as she peered in through the glass.
"That is simple there are no controllers with this project, the point of this is simple it is going to be a massively multiplayer online game all based in cyberspace or in other words virtual reality," Akio explained, holding his right hand up with the back of his hand facing them, his index finger pointed upward towards the ceiling.
Hotoro then spoke up continuing. "Imagine a world where you can touch, feel just the same as you do in the real world, imagine feeling the wind blow through your hair, or even the ocean spray as it showers you for example if this test goes as planned this game platform will revolutionize the gaming world." he finished.
Shooting the twins a skeptical glance Nabiki gave the boy who had just spoken a piercing gaze. "That is one heck of a boast but cellphones and even flat screen televisions have barely become a craze you must be joking certainly technology hasn't risen to such a level in such a short time," she said pointedly as she had never heard of such a thing even be possible, much less being done in her lifetime.
"Nab's has a point I mean don't get me wrong what you are saying sounds cool but what you are boasting is a pure fantasy as far as I know. I mean sure in manga and or Anime they have games doing just that but those are just that pure works of fiction." Ranma explained breaking his silence, a skeptical look to his features.
"I can assure you both it is indeed possible I tested it myself." Hikaru called from where he was standing, proceeding to come closer before speaking "You really have to try it yourself this platform is amazing." he finished.
Nabiki still ever the skeptic crossed her arms over her chest. "Well if you already tested it Kugi-kun then there is no reason for us to test it." she pointed out as if to call a bluff if ever there was one since she observed there were tubes that looked as if they had a liquid substance in them at one point or another.
'I'll be damned if I become the victim of a practical joke.' she thought cleverly to herself.
"While It is true I te-" Hikaru had started to say finding himself interrupted.
Kajimi having interrupted the voodoo master "While it is true Hikaru did indeed test it he has little combat ability and since we are in need of someone who can perform combat we have invited Saotome-kun here, and well if I can guess Tendo-san you also have some combat training being that you are the daughter of a prominent martial-arts master." he explained.
"Oh, you must mean my Daddy. I regret to inform you but I stopped practicing the art a very long time ago the one you should have invited was my little sister Akane since she is the heir to the Tendo family dojo and Ranma's fiancee." Nabiki informed them, half expecting to observe disappointed expressions around the room however much to her surprise there was none.
Kajima chuckled at the brown-haired Tendo's words. "To be honest we already asked she turned us down saying she was very behind on homework, and well even if you gave it up I am sure you can handle yourself in a video game after all. Unless that moniker you go by what was it again? Oh, the Ice Queen Of Furinkan High is a paper thin scare tactic?" he inquired.
Nabiki's usually expressionless face turned to anger briefly, however, she quickly returned to a blank mask just as quickly. "Fine I'll play along." she dryly stated.
"Good I am glad you-" Kajima had started to say finding himself interrupted by Nabiki. "But"
Kajima stepping back a little feeling the temperature in the room drop a few decibels, as well did everyone else in the room, with exception of the old man at the desk who was now reading a newspaper.
"But?" he inquired.
Nabiki in a wave of her hand gesturing palm up. "I will agree to be your guinea pig for this platform of yours if you will agree to a share in your future profits should this project even work... U'm let us say twenty-three percent with interest." she offered.
"Hey what are you shaking me down!" Kajima exclaimed his eyes wide as if a bug.
Nabiki feeling confident and with the upper hand. "Hey do you want me in on this test or don't you?" she inquired.
"Yes I do dammit fine I'll pay you ten percent," Kajima said attempting to barter with the woman, while at the same time trying to keep a calm expression to his features that was paper thin at best.
Nabiki shook her head negatively. "If you want me in this test I expect you to pay me twenty-three percent down the road plus fifteen thousand yen by the end of next week for attempting to talk me down," she stated with finality.
Kajimi giving the brown-haired teen a piercing gaze, grumbling to himself. "Fifteen percent and that is my final offer, I'll even pay you thirty thousand yen by the end of next week so we have a deal?" he questioned.
"Sold pleasure doing business with you, don't attempt to back out of our agreement I have three witness's right here, oh and a recording." Nabiki pointed out, whilst also retrieving a tape recorder proceeding to play its contents for the entire room to hear.
Ranma let a tired sigh escape his lips, his head shaking negatively. 'Leave it to Nabiki to find a way to make a profit.' he inwardly thought.
"Alright well with all that over with how do we get started in all this?" Hiroshi inquired as he looked to the man-sized tubes.
Katsu then quickly spoke up. "Well to get started we will have all four of you completely undress." he paused realizing one of the testers was a female. "I-i I mean It is for science obvi-obv-" he then found himself interrupted.
"Why do we need to take our clothes off I mean I am the only girl here among a bunch of teenage boys and an old man?" Nabiki inquired as she was feeling even more uncomfortable now than she was before.
"Basically the testing requires all of you to be in these tubes which will be filled with a solution that will help simulate the stimulus of the game, and well unless you want your clothes soaked I would think you would wish to remove them," Hideki explained pointedly.
Ranma having heard the explanation. "Look Nab's if anyone so much as touches you wrong just let me know and I'll pulverize them for you." he offered which caused everyone in the room to take a step back including both Hiroshi and Daisuke.
He then turned his attention to the boy that had just spoken. "This solution is it water based?" he inquired.
Giving a nod of his head Hideki then went on to say. "Yes it is water based but you will be fine as for her if she would like we can leave the room and provide her a paper gown and well given your curse you shouldn't really need to worry as the solution is lukewarm so you shouldn't transform at all if that is worrying you any at all, but we need to be able to place the various monitoring devices to ensure her safety as well as the rest of you." he offered.
"By safety, I assume you mean this test is not without danger?" he inquired.
Hikeki proceeded to elaborate. "Well with anything virtual reality, especially with stimuli could result in heightened heart rate if one of you should become frightened or over exert yourselves so we will be monitoring all of your key vitals and if any of you-you approach the danger threshold we will immediately stop the test, however before we begin we will need all four of you to sign a waiver form do feel free to read it thoroughly before you sign it please."
Half an hour later...
The next half hour went by as Hikaru handed out forms, which each of the testers all read through the paperwork thoroughly some more than others as Hiroshi didn't seem to even read half of it as he was already signing it, Ranma and Nabiki, along with Daisuke seemed to take longer to read through the paperwork before finally signing their names.
Once finished signing her paperwork Nabiki was handed a gown which she proceeded to head over to what appeared to be a closet proceeding to open it stepping inside and turning the light inside on before closing the door.
As for Ranma and his two friends they proceeded to undress right there, making sure to fold their clothes sitting them on the nearby table before taking their places in three of the pod's, Hiroshi and Daisuke took the two pods on the right side, leaving the left two empty.
The pig-tailed martial artist took the far left tube, proceeding to settle down on the cold surface of the metal surface just below him. "Damn this thing is cold... you guys really should consider some type of padding." he offered.
"Yea sorry about that we will note that down for future thanks for the info," Kajima called seemingly apologetic but at the same time happy for the advice.
A few minutes later Nabiki stepped out of the closet now dressed in a pure white gown similar to those you would find in a hospital, though she hardly seemed comfortable realizing the gown could easily be pulled off of her if one of the boys so much as wanted to grab it, but she knew Ranma would make good on his promise so she walked over to the pods slowly stepping inside and laying down attempting to get comfortable.
A few moments later all the project team descended upon the pods proceeding to place the various monitoring devices as well as ensuring the visors were placed upon the subjects properly.
Nabiki observed as her visor was placed on she couldn't see anything but a pitch black screen blocking all light since it snugly was against her face, then a mask similar to that of a diver went over her mouth and nose, and then felt something wet being placed at the base of the back of her neck causing her to tense up.
"Easy Tendo-san you will feel a little sensory deprivation at first but once the test is in progress you should be fine so please try to relax," Kajima called in a soothing voice which was barely heard past the headphones that were now around her ears. Though his words did nothing to relieve her apprehension.
Ranma for his part did his best to remain calm going through similar situation as Nabiki, though he hated not being able to see or hear anything which left him at the mercy of the teens in the room should they have been up to something, however since if they had planned to harm himself or his friend he reasoned to himself they would have already attempted something by this point.
For a time Ranma laid in darkness until some orange indicator lights turned on in his vision, a set of green indicators proceeded a digital clock which displayed the current time and date.
He then felt the pod he was in vibrating due to what he assumed was the pod's lid being closed and fastened in place, though in the back of his mind he had started to hear alarm bells, but figured it was just nerves so he decided to ignore them for now.
He then felt oxygen flowing through the mask he wore, as time wore on as he watched the seconds on the digital clock tick by he felt more and more relaxed.
"Okay boy's and gal's we just need a few more minutes to get all the equipment setup so please make yourselves comfortable the best you can." came Kajima's voice from what Ranma thought had come from a speaker somewhere in the headset visor he wore somehow missing the plural when 'gals was mentioned.
A few moments later all four occupied pods had started to fill up with a strange liquid that felt warm to the touch eventually until they were all submerged, however thanks to the masks and visors they could still breath and not have said liquid in their eyes.
Ranma attempted to keep himself calm as he wasn't quite comfortable about being fully submerged, the alarm bells in his head now getting louder though he did his best to steel his nerves, however, he had started to note a drop in temperature of the liquid as it had started to cool down rapidly as if he had entered a freezer.
"Is this supposed to be getting colder?" Ranma inquired as he had transformed due to the now freezing temperature of the liquid, his now her voice becoming rather shrill.
No answer came, each occupant of the pods had started to feel uncomfortable as they realized there may have been a problem, but just as things seemed wrong suddenly they watched a count down from ten which ticked down to the number one until the screen flashed several times and their pitch black screen was replaced by a whirlpool of rainbow colored lights.
Eventually, there was a bright flash and the group all found themselves in a meadow that seemed to go on forever and ever in all directions.
All four of them were laying down, Ranma being the first to sit up and look around his surroundings feeling the wind whipping through his hair, and warmth on his skin. "Uh, guys? He called quickly covering his mouth realizing he had just spoken in his cursed form's voice.
It was then Nabiki's turn as she sat up looking around until her eyes which once were chocolate brown were now bright yellow with cat-like pupils fell on Ranma observing she was in her cursed form though with something extra being she had black angel wings attached to her back, wearing what appeared to be a very revealing black dress with dragon embroider that barely covered her ample cleavage, and was split just at her naval leaving her mid-drift showing along with the black silk bikini bottom she wore , on her right arm she observed the dress was long sleeved the wrist had frills, her legs bare along with her feet.
She blinked a few times before speaking. "Ranma are we dead?" she inquired, "I don't think so why you as-ask?" Ranma inquired as he currently she turned her attention to Nabiki stuttering at what she saw.
The girl who called to him while it looked much like Nabiki she had horns on either side of her head the tips curving towards the front like that of a ram,she wore dark black plate armor chest piece, two her sides near the hip area she had what appeared to be black feathered wings, and a tail that currently was winded around her right arm.
"Cause you have wings." Nabiki pointed out, proceeding to stand up the sound of metal clanking as she did so, giving a full view of the armor she wore which looked to be that of a maid, a cloth skirt with plate oriented at the right areas to protect her legs.
Ranma frowned as she pushed herself up into a standing position revealing she was indeed wearing a far Eastern style Chinese slip dress as the brown-haired teen had thought upon looking at her, the dress was very revealing giving ample view of her very large bosom, her legs were very exposed as her bikini bottoms were in view due to how the skirt of the dress was split, her legs and feet bare.
"I-I what do you mean?" Ranma inquired reaching back pausing indeed observing she did have wings on her back, she paused a few moments before speaking up. "Well you don't look very human yourself so if we are dead we both are in Hell." she pointed out.
Hiroshi then spoke up from his prone position. "If this is Hell then it is not near as hot as those church people would have you believe," he noted sitting up taking in the beauty of both ladies standing just before him even if they didn't look human.
Both girls shot Hiroshi a dark glare their eyes flaring crimson as he had stared at them too long, eventually Daisuke sat up looking around then observing his friend who was clad in the apparel of what an adventurer might wear in a video game being a studded leather outfit, though this had a more pirate appeal which leads him to believe his friend was to be some kind of swashbuckler.
He then looked down observing his self-observing chain mail armor over a white cotton shirt, brown trousers with black wolf skin boots, his hands clad in wolf skin gloves with bits of chain wrapped around the wrist, laying just to his sides was a round shield similar to that of a Viking, a rusty broadsword sat just to his left.
"I guess me and Hiroshi are human adventurers, and well you two are what they call inhuman or other words some would call monsters," he observed.
"We can see we are monsters Dai-baby." Nabiki quickly replied with an air of disgust, looking around taking the beauty of the field she stood in, however, the brightness of the sun bothered her eyes just as it would in real life forcing her to look away from it. 'This is so realistic I thought it was some prank but this feels real.' she inwardly noted.
"Can you hear me?" a static-ridden male voice rang out from within their minds causing all four of them to look around wildly for who had spoken to them.
"Yes, who is this?" Ranma inquired, as the voice sounded familiar but full of static.
"One moment..." the static male voice said as a few moments went by before in much clear capacity the group was able to identify who the voice belonged to being Hikaru.
Hikaru spoke up once more. "Sorry about that communications is still a little buggy, it would appear all four of you successfully were able to uplo- 'er I mean log in."
"Yea so we did Kugi' man but I have a question why do I have wings, that and why am I a girl I transformed in the pod what is going on?" Ranma questioned as she wasn't very thrilled at being in a game with a female avatar much less having transformed in real life with nothing to cover herself with.
A different voice spoke up this time being that of Goro. "Sorry about that a malfunction happened with the heating unit, however, the solution you all currently are in is perfectly safe I can assure you," he explained.
"Anyways to answer your other question we had pre-set avatars for each of you and well the way the game works if someone is a girl in real life their avatar will also be a female, mind you-you can override the setting once the game goes live but in this instance its not available so since you transformed you ended up with a female avatar that looks exactly as you do in the real world," Hikaru explained pausing to allow the group to articulate his words.
Hikaru then continued, "As for your current avatar you are a level one-hundred fallen angel who has a wide variety of spells, and of course since you have ten levels in job specification Arch Angel you also have a wide variety of combat abilities that can use a wide variety of weapons and or hand to hand combat. Of course, you also have several other job specifications but those are all in the instruction manual feel free to read them at your leisure upon receiving one." he finished.
Nabiki looked to Ranma shaking her head. 'Figures he would still be able to function as a martial-artist that just got vamped up with angel abilities bet that ego is going to get bigger.' she thought to herself before speaking on the subject of her own form. "So what am I Hikaru-kun?" she said with an inquiring brow raised.
"You are a level one-hundred succubus with several job specifications the most prevalent would be that you have ten levels of dark knight which allows you to wear plate and use a wide variety of weapons such as poleaxes, axes, swords, even shields, you also have some spellcasting abilities and a racial which allows you to charm others due to you having seven levels in First generation Succubus which allows you to create vampires or even undead minions. Of course, as I said before the rest you will need to research in the manual upon receiving one." Hikaru relayed casually.
Hiroshi after hearing both explanations that were given to the girls decided to pose his own question, "So what about me and Dai are we also level one-hundred?" he inquired.
"Yes indeed both you and Daisuke are level one-hundred adventurer's who have decided to join forces with a couple of inhuman's to tackle a very tough dungeon called House Incarnate which is typically a forty-man dungeon but we toned it down some so four adventurers could run it just to test the combat abilities of all four of your characters." Hikaru casually explained as if he was reading off notes he had written down prior to them being selected to test the game.
Another voice spoke up this time being Kajimes, "The thing about this game is there are several races in the game one of which being Human's who are prejudice against inhuman, however that doesn't mean all humans feel that way since in this game humans and inhuman are allowed to engage in parties together, of course, the same can be said about inhumans hating humans, but like I said earlier In-humans may not feel the same way as their brethren. Of course, there is a language barrier for each race, but each racial language can be learned by all races if they take the time to learn that is." he explained.
"That is pretty cool some racial divides as well as allowing for all races to get along in harmony if the players and or nonplayer characters of these different races wish it," Daisuke said as he hadn't seen many games that did that at all, since most time there was always a language filter preventing the factions from speaking to one another.
Nabiki looked around observing on the ground a black colored Nagata which was one of a series of traditional Japanese blades in the form of a polearm. She bent down picking it up the bladed flashed briefly as a crackle of dark energy surged across the blades surfaces before vanishing just as quickly.
'I guess this is mine... I haven't used one of these since I was little.' she thought to herself as she remembered a time back when she trained under her father back when her mother was still alive.
Of course, that was before she lost interest in the art since her elder sister had stopped practicing the art that and her father stopped being enthusiastic about training and since he lost interest which leads her to believe it was a waste of time to even bother.
However even though her Father had lost interest, Kasumi had stopped practicing the art all together along with herself that didn't stop their little sister from continuing on attempting to learn all she could through self-teaching whilst reading through their dad's martial-arts scrolls, and or anything she could pry out of their father when he wasn't drinking himself silly whilst pining for a woman that was long gone being their mother.
Ranma looked around after observing Nabiki picking up a weapon, however she didn't find a weapon of any kind laying on the ground, having not seen one she didn't really get worried as Hikaru had said her character was well versed in hand to hand combat which made her wonder if she could use a lot of the martial arts techniques she had learned in the real world within the game.
"So where is this dungeon you want us to test?" she inquired as she was itching to test herself in combat as soon as possible.
Hikaru spoke up once more going on to explain in detail. "Hiroshi is the lead adventurer in this test so he has the map he will need to retrieve it from his inventory which you will notice immediately that much of the map is shrouded in gray fog which like in most games is called a fog of war you will need to travel in order to fill out the map. Of course, normally you would have to buy parchment to create the map, in this case, we gave him one which has House Incarnate visible to allow you to navigate the world much easier."
"I am going to activate both Nabiki and Ranma's illusion magic abilities which will allow them to travel much easier in the event you run into any human's that are not friendly towards non-human's," Hikaru called, to which both girl's form's had started to shimmer until both individual's looked like they typically did in real life with exception they still wore the clothes they had on in the game.
Hiroshi took a moment as he looked through the various pouches he had connected to a belt he had on eventually finding the map unfolding it, on the map he observed four blue dots which he assumed was his party standing in a wide open area of the map which represented a flat grassy plain.
Upon further inspection, he observed what looked to a rather large fortress of a castle that was completely surrounded by the fog of war only slight bits of ground shown on the outside walls which he could barely make out bone and skull etchings in the ground.
'That isn't scary at all is that fortress surrounding grounds all paved in human bones?' he inwardly wondered, going on to speak.
"According to this map we need to head East and well according to my compass we are currently facing south," he observed, whilst pointing in the direction they needed to go.
"East it was always to the East we traveled," Ranma said, proceeding to face the east as indicated by her friend who had pointed with his right index finger indicating the direction they had needed to travel.
Nabiki shot her little sister's fiancee a questioning look to which Ranma gave her a cheesy grin going on to elaborate, "Hey a friend of mine let me play on his computer. And well the quote comes from a game I played if you must know."
Note: Well I am going to see how well this story is received before deciding on starting the next chapter, if the following is good enough I may write more of this fic in the near future.