Of Demons and Cursed Springs

Huh. Despite being pretty unpopular when it was actually first published, the amount of fans of this fic have increased a lot since then, especially considering there were only two chapters of sub-par writing... I FEEL LIKE A RENAISSANCE ARTIST! YEAH!

Chapter 3

Propelled by the violent strike to his face, Yusuke tumbled through one of the paper doors in the ancient-Japanese-styled house, straight into an enclosed garden. They had an enclosed garden? 'Jeez, these people really embraced ancient Japanese culture, didn't they?' Yusuke thought, spying a banzai tree among other stereotypical ornaments. Honestly, it looked like something out of an old samurai movie... Yusuke jumped to his feet to prepare for Ranma's next attack. Sure enough, the black-haired martial artist was already flying straight at him with another kick. Yusuke jumped to the side and grabbed Ranma's leg, swinging him around towards a small pond located in the center of the garden.

"Woah!" Ranma shouted shifting his midair position and therefore his momentum, managing to land on the other side of the pond. For once he actually looked shaken, paling as he seemed to consider the possibility of falling into the pond. However, this display of fear was suppressed so quickly that Yusuke wasn't sure he'd seen it at all. "Look, Urameshi!" He called across the small body of water. "I could kick your ass here, but we would risk damaging Akane's house, and trust me: neither of us want to be on that tom-boy's bad side."

"Tom-boy!?" Akane shouted from the house, completely enraged, but Yusuke and Ranma ignored her.

"If it's that important to ya, fine." Yusuke conceded. "But it won't change a thing. I'm still gonna pound you flat, just like last time."

"Just keep telling yourself that." Ranma muttered, jumping from the interior garden onto Akane's roof and then off of the other side as Yusuke followed.

"Hey, Urameshi! Wait for me!" Kuwabara said, gearing up to follow.

"More tea?" Kasumi asked.

"Oh, yes please." Kuwabara said, returning to his kneeling position around the Tendo's traditional-style table.

Kurama swung his whip around, killing the last of the demons, and the grimaced slightly. He'd meant to keep one of them alive, but that strange directionally-challenged boy had entered the fray to 'help' him, throwing his entire battle strategy off-kilter. Still, he was impressed by the stranger's skill in battle. When he'd first met him earlier that day, Kurama noticed that while his spirit energy wasn't as weak as most humans, it definitely wasn't anything special. However, his physical strength was far higher than he'd anticipated. Indeed, to swing such an umbrella around with one hand, and indeed, it must have been heavy, being made apparently out of metal and due to the damage it inflicted on the attacking demons, this boy was no slouch. Kurama was a bit perplexed as to why he'd fight with an umbrella of all possible weapons, but he himself fought with a rose whip, so Kurama decided he was in no position to judge.

For the first time, Kurama actually looked at this enigma, studying him out of sheer habit. He'd always been slightly paranoid, but with good reason; with both demons and demon-hunters after him for the majority of his life, it never hurt to be cautious. This boy, despite being very strong, looked relatively scrawny. That didn't mean much, considering Yusuke's strength for his size, but it was interesting to note. Of course, the boy's slightness was probably exaggerated by the incredibly large backpack he was carrying (Kurama surmised he had been returning home from a camping trip), and he also seemed to like the color yellow a lot, wearing a yellow long-sleeved shirt as well as a yellow-and-black headband in his messy dark hair.

Before Kurama could thank the stranger, yet another person descended on the scene, this time being a young woman with blue hair and wearing a pink kimono while riding on a flying paddle. Kurama instantly recognized her as Botan, or, as she occasionally liked to be called by her charges, the 'grim reaper.' Kurama almost laughed at the juxtaposition. Even ignoring her appearance, Botan was likely the least grim person he knew.

"Kurama!" She shouted, descending on the two. "Spirit World just detected a massive spike of demon energy here! Is something wrong?"

"Demon energy? Spirit World?" The boy asked in confusion.

The red-haired student shook his head. "No, this young man and I handled the problem. Although," He got more serious. "I am curious as to why you're discussing this in front of an ordinary human."

Botan seemed to notice the boy with the headband for the first time. "O-Oh... well, it seems like he was helping you, so I just assumed..."

"Well you assumed incorrectly." Kurama said, but with a slight smile. He didn't care either way what this boy knew. Besides, he probably didn't understand a word she'd said...

"Demons?" He asked again, and suddenly puffed his chest out in a show of bravado. "Well, no thanks are necessary, you two. As a martial artist, it is my duty to combat-"

"More importantly, these demons were all working together." Kurama said, not paying him any attention and motioning towards the pile of corpses that would likely have to be cleaned up by some Spirit World ogres. "I've never seen demons, let alone unintelligent low-class ones like these, work as a team in such a large number. There's something wrong here."

Botan nodded in comprehension. "I see. I'll get Yusuke on this right away." She tilted her head, sensing for him. "...Why is he in Nerima?"

Both Kurama and the strange boy started at the mention. Kurama had not planned on walking the stranger to his destination, but he thought it would be prudent to team up once again with Yusuke. After all, there was something going on... something big.

Botan seemed to be thinking the same thing. "I'll fly on ahead. Kurama, you get there as soon as you can."

Kurama tilted his head in bemusement. "Now since when have you had the authority to order me around?" When Botan flushed and began stuttering, he just smiled and said, "I'm only joking of course. I myself am curious about this turn of events. And I can take this stray boy home while I'm at it."

"It's Ryoga." The boy said as Botan took off.

"Well, Ryoga. I'm Kurama." The demon said, extending his hand and seeing no reason to hide his real name since Botan had already shouted it aloud. "Let's get moving."

Yusuke was once again surprised by the agility of the supposedly-ordinary human, but he still kept up with Ranma easily as the student from Furinkan led him to a deserted area. "Just don't run away if you end up hurting a weak little girl again!" Yusuke warned.

"...Weak...little...girl?!" Ranma growled, turning on Urameshi.

"Yeah, you heard me." Yusuke challenged. "I mean, I never pegged you for a coward, but after last time, I'm not so sure." He taunted.

Ranma clenched his fists in rage and looked around. The two had made it to a large grassy field far from the Tendo household. There was the occasional house here-or-there, but for the most part, the two seemed to be in a deserted area. "That's it. We finish the here." Ranma declared.

Yusuke smirked. "Fine with-"

Before the words were even out of Yusuke's mouth, Ranma had leaped forward and delivered a powerful punch, hitting Yusuke in the face once again. As the Spirit Detective stumbled backwards, Ranma took advantage of the situation and, after muttering something about "chestnuts" and an "open fire," he struck Yusuke countless times in the stomach at insane speeds.

Pantyhose Taro observed his longtime rival Ranma battling some other boy in green from afar. He glanced up at the cloudy sky. 'Good...' It was sure to start raining again soon, and once that happened, those two would be no match for him. Taro's mouth widened into a sadistic smirk. 'Let's see you get out of this one, Saotome.'

Yusuke returned Ranma's attack with strikes of his own, forcing the Furinkan student back. "You sure don't pull any punches." Yusuke muttered, trying to regain his composure after the barrage on his gut.

"Then why are you?" Ranma asked angrily. "You've got that 'Spirit Gun' move, right? What's stopping you from using it?" He smirked. "What, are you afraid that you might hurt little-old-me?" Yusuke grimaced, which made Ranma smirk wider. Just seconds before, Saotome had been the angry one, but he'd somehow turned the tables on Yusuke. "Trust me, that attack is way to weak to lay me out." He taunted.

"...Weak, huh?" Yusuke growled, getting back up. He knew Ranma was goading him, but that punk's superior attitude was really getting onto his nerves. He aimed his pointer finger at the other student, gathering his spirit energy. "Well, you want it, you got it: Spirit Gun!"

Yusuke's entire vision was taken up by the glow of the powerful blast, temporarily blinding him. Apparently, this is what Ramna had counted on, appearing in Yusuke's peripheral vision. However, the Spirit Detective was unable to move in time and was once again decked by Ranma, sending him flying for the umpteenth time.

'DAMMIT!' Yusuke practically screamed in his head. He knew he was stronger than Ranma, but Saotome was just too damned clever! He'd only seen the Spirit Gun once, but had already figured out a way around it! He'd goaded Yusuke into shooting at him, and before Yusuke could finish the shot, he'd dodged the blast attacked from another angle! The boy was clearly hotheaded like Yusuke himself, but his intelligence in battle reminded Yusuke of Kurama. Yusuke knew he had to end it quickly. Sure, he still had moves like his Shotgun, but with his ace in the hole gone, Yusuke determined his best bet was to pummel Ranma into submission before he could determine a way to beat his entire fighting style.

Yusuke quickly landed on the ground, and, reversing his trajectory, rushed straight at Ranma, swinging wildly. However, not a single one of his punches hit their mark. Ranma was expertly dodging the strikes, keeping a serene look on his face. This, of course, made Yusuke even angrier and he began attacking more wildly, never noticing the spiral shape their footprints were making in the soggy grass. Once they reached the center of the spiral, however, Ranma's foot caught on a rock and he stumbled backwards.

'Perfect!' Yusuke thought, bringing his fist up to strike at his enemy. At that exact moment, however, lightning struck and the rainstorm returned in full force. Before he knew what happened, Yusuke was no longer staring at Ranma on the ground, but that red-haired Ranko girl. He noted, however, she didn't have the weak-and-innocent look she'd been sporting before. Instead, her eyes were fiery with determination that matched that of Ranma himself.

"Wait, how did...?" Yusuke paused as he was caught utterly off guard, which, incidentally, was just how Ranma liked it.

Ranko, or rather, Ranma brought her fist up, uppercuting Yusuke and propelling him into the air by means of a powerful tornado. "Hiryu Shoten HA!"

Well, I think Yusuke just learned the same lesson most Ranma 1/2 villain learn fairly quickly: Even if you have the advantage initially, once Ranma Saotome knows your fighting style, all bets are off! You see, most of the YYH characters, being from an action show where they usually win with brute force and perseverance, are going to be more powerful. However, the Ranma cast, being from a comedy manga where most people win by learning enough about their foe to outsmart them, will generally be intelligent enough to give them a run for their money. At least generally.

Wow... I just called the Ranma cast smart, didn't I?

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