Hi everyone. I'd like to thank you for the many positive reviews this story got. It really came as a surprise to me to a little prologue like that garner so much interest. I hope you'll appreciate this chapter just as much.
I'd like to thank the people at Fukufics and the Fanfiction Forum for their constructive advice. I think it really helped improve this chapter.
Okay. I think I've said enough now, so without further ado let me present to you the next chapter of 'A wish gone horribly wrong'.
What has gone before:
Ranma tried to call for takeout from the Ucchan's but reached the Goddess Relief Office instead. Very soon a woman stepped out of a mirror and pretended that she was a goddess who had come to grant him a wish. Ranma vehemently refused as he had come to seriously mistrust magic after having been screwed over by it one time too many. Unfortunately, that didn't do him any good as some poorly chosen words, not even formulated as a wish, activated Belldandy's goddess marks anyway and he was sent to another universe, much to the Norn's shock. Dismayed and thoroughly confused Belldandy hurried back to Asgard to find out what went wrong.
Tears threatened to leave Belldandy's eyes as she fled the Tendo home. A situation like this had never occurred before as far as she knew and she was at a loss as how to resolve this mess. Feeling responsible she vowed to get to the bottom of this fiasco and find a way to make it up to the unfortunate boy who already had enough on his plate without adding to it. If she had known about the curse and how the boy felt about it she'd probably have handled the situation differently.
She knew that she only had herself to blame for as she finally realized how complacent she'd become in her job. This would never have happened in the past when she always took the time to seriously study the files or observe the recipient of the wish, but nowadays the job had become a routine and she often just skimmed the files.
The cause for her recent laxity was evident when she thought about it: regular sex; it really DOES change you as she now knew. She just hoped she didn't have to cut back on it to get back her old efficiency. 'Don't think about it, Belldandy old girl. Now that you've identified the problem it will be easy to take countermeasures'.
However, she had more important things than her sex life to take care of at the moment, among others finding out where Ranma got sent to and read his file; seriously this time.
Unfortunately, those plans had to be postponed for a while as an unexpected crisis had developed in her department, a fact she immediately took notice of when she stepped out of the mirror inside the Goddess Relief Office and saw the chaos reigning all around her. Gods and Goddesses were hurrying along in a panic and didn't take notice of her at all.
She grabbed one of the panicking goddesses by her arm. "What happened? Are we under attack?"
"BUGS!" She hysterically shouted. "An army of them; running amuck and causing some serious damage. We have to stop them or all will be lost."
The Norn let go of the agitated goddess and followed the crowd who was running towards Yggdrasil. If her suspicions were correct it was there she would find out why the wish backfired.
Belldandy was not a system debugger, but if the problem was really as bad as the other goddess had implied she needed to do her part. She grabbed a debugging mallet and joined the others in their hunt. She found her little sister not far away playing Whac-A-Mole with a group of the eight-legged, rabbit-like creatures and obviously having fun doing it.
"Are you alright?" The worried goddess asked her sister. "Do you need any help?"
"Everything is A-OK. I'll show them who's boss around here. No one causes trouble on my watch."
Skuld seemed to have everything in hand on her side and so Belldandy decided to leave her to her fun and instead concentrated on another group of bugs who were about to overwhelm a god and a goddess who had a much harder time dealing with the critters than her more experienced sister did.
About 30 minutes later the invasion had been successfully dealt with and everyone was relieved that the action was finally over and that they could take a breather. While the others were resting Belldandy checked up on Ranma and when she saw that he was in no immediate danger she grabbed his file as well as the one on the place he landed in. She had only gotten a very short summary when she had called earlier, but she needed a lot more information if she wanted to help him. Reading about Ranma's life was fascinating even if some of his adventures were hard to swallow, but she knew that the files never lied. While Ranma's early life before the training trip was rather normal she shook her head when she learnt about the suicide pact. Her mood really didn't improve when she found out about the nekoken and some of the other stupid training methods Genma had devised and she was really tempted to teleport back to Earth and strangle the idiot. Once they moved in with the Tendos things got even worse with the unending increase in chaos caused by the fiancées as well as the increasing number of rivals and suitors.
She was sure that she'd never seen anyone with so much bad luck and being the compassionate person that she was she couldn't help but feel sorry for the unfortunate boy. Oh, she knew he was no saint and that he could be an obnoxious, insensitive jerk at times, but he was a good person at heart who'd unfortunately been raised by a moron, and even if he was responsible for some of his problems most of them were not his fault. If there was anyone who could use a bit of luck it had to be him.
So absorbed was Belldandy by Ranma's life story that she didn't notice her sister join her.
"Hey, big sis!"
No reaction at all.
Belldandy remained dead to the world, her attention entirely centered on the file in front of her.
Skuld pouted. She hated being ignored and realized that she had to try something else to get her sister's attention.
The older Norn flinched when she saw a hand being waved in front of her eyes and looking at the owner of said hand she recognized her sister who was grinning at her.
"Finally! I've been trying to get you attention for a while now."
Skuld's good mood was infectious and it even affected Belldandy who smiled at her sister even if she really didn't feel like it. "Sorry. I didn't hear you. How are you doing?"
"I'm doing great. That was an excellent workout just now. I must have squashed at least a hundred of them."
"Good job," the Goddess of the Present praised her younger sister. "I see that your skills are still as good as always. I only got about twenty."
"Heh! Of course. Did you expect anything less? I am the best after all. There's no way that some bugs could get the better of me," the younger girl boasted until her curiosity got the better of her. "Say, what are you reading? Must be really interesting if you didn't hear me? Ugh! I hope it's not one of those boring romance novels you like. No idea what you see in those things."
The brunette grimaced. She really didn't want to burden her sister with her problems, but she knew that once the younger Norn's curiosity was aroused there was no stopping her in getting to the bottom of it.
"No, unfortunately it's not a novel. This document here is Ranma Saotome's file. He's a mortal who was granted a wish and which I was in charge of. Unfortunately I didn't prepare the mission beforehand and ended up making his life even worse. The system bugs haven't helped the situation any either."
"What happened?" Skuld grabbed her sister's hand out of concern
"I was sitting in my office waiting for Ranma's call. I answered and immediately teleported to the girl's location. I told her who I was and why I had come, but she didn't even let me finish explain the modalities of the wish before she flat out refused."
"She refused? Is she stupid or what?"
"That's not the worst of it," Belldandy continued. "I tried to get her to change her mind, but unfortunately I didn't know the young girl was actually a boy inflicted with a curse that turns him into a girl."
"Wait! What? You're joking, right?"
"I wish I were. Suffice it to say my suggestions as to what SHE could use the wish for were not really well received. My mission was made harder by the fact that additionally to his unwanted curse he has had some very bad experiences with magical artifacts, some of which were cursed and should have never ended up in mortal hands. I told him that a divine wish was different and very safe and that there were no strings attached."
"Well, that's right. Unlike all that low quality mortal magic Yggdrasil is completely reliable," Skuld agreed. "I should know; I'm a system administrator after all."
"That's what I thought too; until today. I tried to make him see that his curse was not that bad, but he took it the wrong way and didn't agree. Well, after reading his file I can see why."
Belldandy leaned back as she considered this mistake and the others she'd made today, but seeing her sister's anxious look she continued with her story.
"As he was ranting my goddess marks activated and his wish was granted, much to my surprise."
"Why were you surprised? He must have made a wish during his rant, no? I don't see why that's bothering you. It's his problem if he makes an ill worded wish."
"That might be true… if he had made a wish. His statement wasn't worded as a wish and yet it seemed to have been interpreted as one. I immediately came back here to look for a solution and when I heard that we had an invasion on our hands I realized that the bugs must have caused an error in the system. However, it would be unfair to put all the blame on the bugs as I'm sure this would never have happened if I had actually taken an interest in the person I was supposed to help and made my homework before taking the mission."
"How can you be sure of that? Maybe this was preordained? I mean, the odds of something like this happening are astronomical."
"For what purpose? No, I think this was probably once again Ranma's bad luck at work."
"So, what will you do now?"
Belldandy shrugged and gave her sister a sad smile. "I have no idea. As far as I know this has never happened before."
Tears were forming in her eyes and slowly running down her cheek as she continued. "That poor boy. He's had it rough all his life and has had more problems to deal with in his young life than most people in a lifetime, and I only managed to make things worse, especially after I told him that everything would be alright. I- I have to make it up to him."
Skuld was at a loss as to what she could do to help her distraught sister. This was the first time she'd seen Belldandy in such a sorry state.
She needn't have bothered as a gleam was appearing in her eyes.
"NO!" Belldandly suddenly banged both of her hands on the table as hard as possible, the tears in her eyes having dried up in the meantime and her confidence restored. "I won't leave it at that. It's my fault he's in that mess and it's my duty to get him out of it."
"How will you do that?"
Belldandy stared intently at her sister, her confidence and resolve not shaken in the slightest. "I have no idea. But I'll find a way. Failure is not an option."
Suddenly, Skuld had a flash of genius. "Hey, I know! Why don't we ask father? If anyone here knows what to do it's him."
"You're right. I'll ask him right away. He's probably the only one who can help us."
Her mind made up she confidently walked out of the room and towards her father's office.
Ranma was not happy; not happy at all. Her head was killing her and her ears were ringing. She rubbed her forehead to alleviate the pain, without any success. She tried to open her eyes, but this only intensified the pain and so she kept them closed for the moment. It had been a long fall and while the landing had been anything but soft it didn't explain the pain. Ryoga hit much harder after all, and she brushed off his blows rather easily.
Just as fast as it had come the pain was gone again. She opened her eyes to find out where she was, but the stench that was assaulting her nose should have clued her in already. "Ah, crap."
She was just about to jump out of the stinking dumpster when she spotted a teen gawking at her with wide eyes, a line of drool trickling out the side of his mouth. The boy had spiky, blond hair and was wearing a simple grey t-shirt and black jeans. He looked surprisingly normal to Ranma and probably didn't present a threat to her. However, she didn't like the intensity of his stare.
"What's YOUR problem, creep?" She rudely asked the stranger.
Not waiting for an answer she jumped out of the dumpster and over Jason's head, landing not far away from the astonished teen.
Jason could only gape at this feat of strength, which confirmed his earlier assumption that the redhead was indeed Ranma Saotome from the Ranma ½ manga.
Dismissing the pervert as unimportant Ranma looked around in order to find out where she was, but unfortunately she didn't recognize any of the landmarks. However, one thing she noticed right away was that the few people wandering about were all foreigners.
'I'm definitely not in Nerima any longer', she concluded.
She massaged her forehead in frustration, trying very hard to recall the events that had led to her presence in this unknown location, but she came up with a blank. 'I-I can't remember'.
She was really starting to panic now and frantically looked around trying to find at least one familiar landmark, without any success. Her eyes fell once again on the teenager who had calmed down and was following her every movement with mild curiosity.
Jason noticed the redhead's stare and tentatively asked, "Are you Ranma Saotome?"
The martial artist blinked in surprise at having been recognized. She'd never realized she was this famous, but it was a boost to her ego to know that the stories of her exploits had crossed the borders of Nerima. "Sure am. Who are you? Have we met?"
"No, but I know everything about you," he pretended and enumerated several facts to prove his claim. "You are Ranma Saotome, heir to the Anything Goes school of martial arts; you've been training since you were little; you are a boy who is cursed to turn into a girl; you are a chick magnet and have many rivals and enemies... and you're my second favourite comic book redhead, just after Jean Grey from the X-Men. I have the complete Ranma ½ manga collection and I've seen every single episode of the anime. I also..."
"Hey, hey, hey! Slow down!" Ranma interrupted the teenager. "Alright, you know who I am. But who the heck are you? And where the hell am I? And why do you know so much about me?"
Her eyes narrowed dangerously as she asked the question which would determine Jason's fate. "Are you responsible for my presence here?"
"No! I didn't do anything." He vehemently denied the accusation. "I was just strolling past when I heard a long-drawn shout. I looked up and saw you fall from the sky and land in the dumpster. I have no idea how you got here, but I have nothing to do with it. We are in Tandy Gardens, in the USA."
"Huh? I'm in America? Then how come I can understand you? My English is not really all that good."
Jason just shrugged indifferently. "Maybe a wizard did it. I stopped trying to make sense of magic ages ago. Just go with the flow and you'll avoid a lot of headaches in the future. Trust me; I have a lot of experience."
"Magic? Hmm... that sounds familiar." The specifics were still eluding her, but she remembered a magical accident.
She was trying hard to recall the exact cause of her physical displacement when another statement from the boy registered in her mind and she jerked her head violently towards the stranger. "Wait! What was that about a manga?"
"The Ranma ½ manga, of course. It's one of the best-selling titles in the USA. I especially love the curses. Now that's an idea that really sets it apart from similar manga."
Ranma couldn't believe her ears. "There's a manga about my life?"
Seeing the boy nod she cursed once again.
"Damn! As if my life didn't suck enough. When I get my hands on the bastard who sold my story without asking me for permission he's gonna pay. I bet it was Nabiki. Wait till I get back. She'll be really sorry."
"I don't think that's it," Jason interrupted Ranma's monologue.
"Huh? What do you mean?"
The boy cursed internally and nervously tugged at his collar. It looked like Ranma hadn't realized yet what that meant and he hopen that the redhead wouldn't take offense to his next statement. Fortunately Ranma was one of the more restrained characters in the manga, but he had no way of knowing if this Ranma was similar to the manga version.
He summoned all his courage and exposed his theory. "Don't take this the wrong way, but you're only a fictional character; you don't exist... at least not in this universe."
"Yeah, right. Good one. You almost had me there... NOT!"
"I can prove it," he continued undeterred. "After reading the manga I got curious about Nerima and looked it up on the internet. I found out that the real Nerima is nothing like the version described in the manga. There is no Tendo Dojo, no Kuno mansion, and no Furinkan High."
"In-ter-net? What's that? Something like a library?"
"AHA!" Jason victoriously pointed a finger at her. "See? There you have it. You don't even know what the internet is. At the time the manga was published almost no one had ever heard of the internet."
Ranma just gave him a dubious look.
"Okay. Need more proof? Can you tell me what a cell phone is? An MP3 player? An iPhone?"
"HA! I knew it!"
"Hey, there are probably plenty of people who've never heard about those things."
"You can't be serious," Jason groaned as he had no idea what else to do to convince the martial artist.
When he saw a man reading a newspaper walk past he clicked his fingers as he got an idea.
"Alright then. What year is it?"
"1996 of course. Stupid question."
"Meeeep! Wrong! The right answer is 2011."
"WHAT? No way!"
Jason shrugged his shoulders. "Just grab a newspaper and you can ascertain for yourself. That should be proof enough. Not that it will help you get back. Now if you knew how you got here we might at least know where to look. Are you sure you don't remember?"
Ranma frowned as she tried once again to recall past few hours. Magic was involved; she was sure of that at least. She remembered the phone... and calling the Ucchan's for takeout. Suddenly everything came back to her and she remembered the goddess and the wish. "Ooooh shit! I knew she was bad news!"
"Huh? Who are you talking about?"
"I think I know how I got here. You see, there was this goddess..."
"That was definitely not in the manga!" Jason interrupted but shut up immediately when he saw her glare at him.
"This is MY life we're talking about and not about some manga character."
"Ah, right. I'll shut up. Go on."
Ranma told the story and Jason calmly listened without interrupting her again.
"That really sucks. Guess you really are a magnet for bad luck. But hey, look at the bright side; at least you're still alive. Trust me. With all the crazy stuff happening here sometimes I wonder how come I'm still alive."
"Oh, yeah. I'm sooo lucky."
"Hey! I got an idea. We know that you're here because of magic, right?"
Seeing the martial artist nod, he continued. "Well, in that case it's obvious that magic is also your ticket home. In fact, I can help you there. You see, I've got this friend who is the Wotch. She might know how to send you back."
"Not in this life! Absolutely not! No magic! I got more than enough trouble with magic. After the failed wedding I've decided to keep away from magic. No more wishing swords, no more magical mirrors and especially no more supposedly cures for my curse. You can't trust magic; it's only out to get you. And by the way, don't you mean witch?"
"Nope, she really is the Wotch. You see, everyone makes that mistake when they first hear about her. There are a lot of witches, but there can only ever be one Wotch."
"Witch, Wotch, I don't give a damn! I've had it with magic. I'm sure I can find some other way home."
"Good luck with that; you'll ready need it," Jason sarcastically answered shaking his head. "Look, why don't you talk to her. You've got nothing to lose. I doubt there are any other ways."
"No chance in hell! Forget it!"
"Asking doesn't hurt. You can always say no if you're not interested."
"You don't give up easily, do you?"
"Alright then. My answer is... NOOOOO!"
Before she could leave Jason stepped in front of her, blocking the way.
"What are you doing? Get out of the way."
"Please calm down," he tried to stop the redhead. "Think about it rationally. What will you do now? Wander the world in hopes of finding a way home that probably doesn't exist? Look, you don't know anything about this world and without money you won't get far. Let me help you."
"Alright, alright, I won't force you. You'll meet my friend anyway if you stay. She's a great girl and would never hurt anyone on purpose."
"No tricks?" Ranma asked.
"No tricks," Jason answered.
"Okay. What do we do first?"
"The first thing YOU will do is take a bath. Sorry to tell you, man, but you stink. Your garbage bath hasn't left you smelling like a rose, that's for sure."
Ranma sniffed her clothes and made a disgusted face. "Yeah, I guess you're right. I had completely forgotten about that. Are there any public bathhouses here and a shop where I can get new clothes?"
"You can use my bath if you want to and I'm sure we can find some clothes for you at home."
"Hey, thanks a lot. That's really nice of you. Usually people only help me if they want to get something out of me."
"Don't worry about it. In fact, I'm the one who should thank YOU. I mean, how many people can claim having met one of their favourite comic book characters?"
"I'm NOT a comic book character!"
"Still in denial? I'll show you my Ranma ½ manga and anime collection once we're home and you'll see I'm right."
When Belldandy stepped out of the mirror in the Tendo dojo sometime later the place was in an uproar. She heard a lot of shouting coming from the living room and as she got closer to the action she could hear loud accusations being thrown around. She peered into the room and saw a loud crowd sitting at a table and insulting each other, except for a middle-aged woman in a kimono who was calmly watching the spectacle sitting in seiza, a sheathed sword resting on her knees, a young woman in a simple housedress serving tea and a shorthaired brunette who was throwing calculating looks at the others, an amused grin on her face. The heteroclite crowd's behaviour left a lot to be desired in the Norn's opinion, but she had a mission to accomplish and teaching them proper manners was not part of it.
She examined the assembly and recognized the people immediately after having read about them in Ranma's file. All the Tendos were there, as were the Saotomes. Also present were Happosai, the Kuno siblings, the okonomiyaki chef, and the Amazons. Even Ryoga had somehow managed to find his way to the Dojo.
She knew that listening to other people's conversations was impolite, but the words 'Ranma' and 'kidnapped by a glowing woman' really garnered her interest as she really wondered how they'd found out about it. She cast an invisibility spell on herself and silently approached the table. From the information she got it was easy to reconstruct the whole story. The middle Tendo child had witnessed the whole scene after coming back from her date much sooner than expected. When the goddess learnt the reason for her quick return she shook her head; as it turned out the boy was not as rich as Nabiki had initially thought.
She sadly shook her head as she knew that the middle Tendo daughter would probably end up in Hell and it really didn't come as a surprise to her that the first thing the greedy girl did was call the usual crowd to tell them the news, for a modest fee of course, and it hadn't taken long for everyone to gather at the scene of the 'crime', all of them for their own selfish reasons.
Having heard enough the Norn cancelled her invisibility spell and introduced herself.
"Excuse me," she tried.
"That ungrateful son of mine! How dare he run away without taking his fiancée with him?"
"HE'S NOT MY FIANCÉ!"
"You're damn right he's not. He's MY fiancé. He was promised to me when we were kids and I've known him a lot longer than you. I know that he would have taken me with him if he had run away. After all, I'm his cute fiancée."
"HOHOHOHO! You are so amusing. My darling Ranma would never marry a commoner like you. Only I, the Black Rose of St. Hebereke, am worthy to be his bride."
"Erm, hello?" The goddess tried again, a bit louder this time.
"I have to agree with you, husband. This is not how a man among men should act. I think I'll have to discipline him once he returns."
"Saotome! How dare your son run away and abandon my daughter? I demand that you bring him back immediately!"
"Yes Genma. The ungrateful boy still hasn't modelled the latest pieces of my collection. Oh, how lovely she'd look in this little red number," he cried fake tears into the lingerie in question.
"HELLO?" Belldandy tried again, a little louder this time, but to no avail. Her left eyebrow started twitching as an electric field formed around her and the nonexistent wind was picking up inside the house.
"Mercenary girl, where husband?" You know something. You call us here."
"Yes, Miss Tendo. I have to agree with my Shampoo here. It would be in your best interest to tell us right away or I will have to use other means. Either way I WILL get what I want."
"Hey! I have no idea where he is, but for some monetary compensation I could try and find out. Interested?"
"The reason for the vile sorcerer's flight is obvious. The vile cur has fled my mighty sword as he finally realized that a low-born commoner like him could never defeat I, the Chosen of Heaven, the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High."
Anger veins popped out of the Norn's forehead and the wind had changed into a lightning storm as Belldandy had finally had enough of the silly spectacle in front of her. "QUIEEETTTTT!"
If the goddesses outburst hadn't been enough to shut them up the ensuing mayhem would definitely had done the trick, as lightning strikes destroyed furniture left and right and the strong winds blew the people into a corner where they cowered in fear of the natural disaster that was destroying the house.
Just as fast as the storm had come into existence it was gone again. When the group saw the person responsible for the chaos they were surprised to see a lovely young woman standing there. The look she was giving them, however, promised a lot of pain to come if they didn't shut up.
Even more surprising to them was the reaction of the two ancient gnomes who reacted quite uncharacteristically.
Cologne had immediately recognized the woman standing in front of them for what she was, and fell to her knees, pressing her head firmly to the ground, wondering why a goddess would grace them with her presence.
Happosai on the other hand simply ran away, as fast and as far as possible. He was not eager to find out if Heaven had finally come to make him pay for stealing those sacred panties all those years ago.
"Lady Goddess, to what do we owe the honour of your visit?"
"GODDESS!" Was the collective reaction of the incredulous crowd.
They turned their attention towards their visitor who was just standing there, calmly without any sign that it was her who had been responsible for the earlier storm.
Belldandy tried her best to regain her composure and succeeded more or less to bring her usual serene smile back on her face, happy that diplomacy had once again won the day. She just hoped that there wouldn't any more interruptions as her head had started throbbing and she could already feel the killer headache knock at her door.
She bent down and put a hand on Cologne's shoulder. "Rise, elder. There's no need for that. As to the reason for my visit, well, I'm here in a matter pertaining to one Ranma Saotome."
The others were still rooted to the spot, stunned by the earlier revelation.
Nabiki was the first one to recover and she immediately pointed an accusing finger at the goddess. "IT'S HER! That's the woman who kidnapped Ranma!"
The predictable reaction to that revelation wasn't long in coming as it seemed that everyone had already forgotten what the woman in front of them was capable of.
"My son is so manly! He even seduced a goddess," one overjoyed mother was dancing around the room, wielding her victory fans, lost in her fantasy world."
The fiancées, wannabe fiancée, and wannabe wife on the other hand, immediately took up an offensive stance, stimulated by Mrs Saotome's outburst, knowing that a new girl usually meant trouble. They eyed each other and then nodded. The message their gazes conveyed had been clear to all of them; getting rid of the new competition before she could become a serious contender for Ranma's heart was their first priority. After all, there were already enough girls after the prize.
Ryoga and Mousse were observing the situation although Mousse was staring in the wrong direction.
Ryoga had noticed the angry look on Akane's face after the arrival of the new girl and vowed to make Ranma pay for once again upsetting the love of his life.
The fathers uncharacteristically kept quiet, and although they weren't the brightest tools in the shed they were far from stupid, and seeing their master run away instead of glomping the girl was proof enough that angering the insanely powerful being in front of them could be the last mistake they'd ever make.
Kuno was usually unpredictable, but his reaction to the situation still came as a surprise. He kneeled before the brunette, much like a samurai would in front of his daimyo and solemnly said, "My Lady Goddess. It pleases my heart to see that Heaven has finally answered my prayers and sent an envoy to help me rid the world of the sorcerer Saotome and break the spell he has put on my two loves, the fiery pigtailed girl and the fierce tigress Akane Tendo. The vile fiend will finally understand that his foul magics are useless against God's chosen avatar. My Lady, my sword is yours to command."
"ENOUGH!" Belldandy banged her fist on the table before rubbing her forehead. That darn headache was really killing her now and could probably explain why she had finally run out of her legendary patience.
"What is wrong with you? I come in peace to explain what happened to Ranma and what do I find? A group of egoistic people bickering like children, accusing each other of the most ridiculous things and not really giving one ounce of concern about the poor boy. You don't even let me finish before jumping to some ridiculous conclusions."
She was shaking in anger now, having talked herself into a rage and probably not thinking rationally, but the time for diplomacy, civility, and politeness was over. "Well, you WILL listen... and listen good! First of all, the elder is right. I am indeed a goddess; Belldandy, first class goddess, second category, unlimited license. Earlier today Ranma was granted a divine wish, but due to a system error in the heavenly computer, Yggdrasil, the wish misfired and he was sent to another universe. I've come here to put you minds at ease and to tell you that I would bring Ranma back, but after witnessing your selfishness and lack of real concern for his health I changed my mind. You don't deserve him."
Studying their reactions the goddess was satisfied to see them finally shut up and listen.
"What-What does that mean?" Nodoka hesitantly asked, afraid as to what the Norn's words implied.
"That's quite simple," she continued in a no-nonsense tone. "I'll leave him where he is now. It can't be any worse than here. At least in that other universe he might find some people who will appreciate him for himself and not for what they can get out of him."
Having said her piece she turned around leaving the shocked assembly to digest her words.
When they realized what that meant some of them protested, shouted, and even outright begged while others rejoiced at the news. The goddess brushed them off as she had a more pressing problem on her mind: finding some headache tablets.
She stopped in front of the mirror and before entering the reflective surface she twisted the knife even further in, probably aided by the headache that was killing her now. "You only have yourselves to blame for this. Think very hard about what you did wrong and how you would handle things differently if you had another chance."
She stepped into the mirror and left the crowd to their thoughts.
The first thing the goddess did after reappearing at the Tariki Hongan temple where she lived with Keiichi was to go to the bathroom and grab a pack of the strongest headache tablets she could find. She took a few pills and went to the kitchen to get some fresh water to help in swallowing the bitter medicine. When she entered the brightly lit room she had to close her eyes as the bright light only sharpened the pain. Keeping her eyes closed she took the first bottle she found in the fridge and had a drink of water to help swallow the pills.
Her eyes opened in shock when she realized that the liquid didn't taste like water. Her eyes widened when she saw what the bottle contained instead: cola. Its effects kicked in almost immediately and it was a giggling Belldandy who took another sip.
When Urd arrived an hour later she was in a rather good mood... until she found her sister snoring on the couch in her room, completely out of it, a few extremely familiar sake bottles lying next to her. The older goddess immediately ran over to her secret hiding place and let out a howl of disappointment when she found it completely empty.
Urd's anguished cry was loud enough to wake the dead, and as it turned out the drunk too since the comatose Norn slowly opened her eyes which landed then on her sister who was slumped down in front of the bottles offering a silent prayer to the unfortunate victims of Belldandy's drunken binge who were deprived of the honor of ending up in her own stomach.
"Hi... *hic* Urd," a giggling voice could be heard from behind the white-haired woman. "Want... *hic* want some?" I think... *hic* there's still some... *hic* left in this one," she continued in a slurred voice, demonstratively shaking the bottle she had picked up.
Urd, who had spontaneously decided to be the responsible one for once, immediately confiscated the bottle from the inebriated Belldandy who tried in vain to get back at least one of the three bottles her three (!) sisters were holding.
"I think you've had more than enough," the older woman admonished her sister, the irony of that statement not lost on her. "What in father's name is wrong with you? Since when do you drink? And more importantly, how can you even get drunk from alcohol? I know you are immune to its effects?"
The berated goddess let her head fall in shame, burst into tears and hugged the very surprised Urd. "I'm... *hic* I'm so sorry. I... *hic* I ran out of cola but I was... *hic* I was still thirsty. Please... *hic* Please Urd, forgive me."
"Aaah, don't cry," the panicking white-haired woman tried to calm down her sister. "I'm not angry with you; only disappointed. This is so unlike you. Why don't we sober you up and you tell me what happened? I know juuuust the right cure to hangovers. I saw it in a movie about a time travelling car and I even improved the recipe to make it even more effective. One wake-up juice à la Urd coming up."
Belldandy's gaze followed her sister's every move with interest, but she couldn't focus well enough to recognize the ingredients she put in the glass. One minute later she came back with a glass of... something held in her outstretched hand, pinching her nose with the other one.
The most accurate description for the concoction would probably be 'steaming pile of vomit'.
Showing no mercy for the protesting Belldandy Urd removed her hand from her nose and quickly pinched Belldandy's, waiting for the woman to open her mouth to breathe.
The brunette unwillingly complied after a few moments and Urd forced the liquid down her sister's throat.
The effects of the potion were spectacular. Belldandly turned fire red as steam erupted from her ears with a loud hiss. She grabbed her burning throat with both hands and a few seconds later she breathed out a huge gout of fire before running for the nearest water tap and dousing the fire burning in her belly with several litres of water.
She closed the tap and slowly returned to Urd's room, still recovering from the foul tasting liquid. However, she had to admit (much to her surprise as she was well aware of some of her sister's most spectacular foul-ups when it came to brewing) that the concoction had really worked as advertised.
"So, are you ready to talk now?"
Belldandy timidly nodded and sat down next to her sister.
"Okay, I'm all ears. Shoot!"
Belldandy calmly told the whole story to her sister, starting with the wish and finishing with the scene at the Tendos', although she left out the reason for her unpreparedness. She really wasn't in the mood for Urd's teasing. "I shouldn't have lost my temper like that. It's not becoming of a goddess. And I was so horrible to them."
"Hmpf! If you ask me, they deserve everything they got. I would have done much worse. Honestly, the nerve of those people."
"Where did he end up by the way? Did you check up on him?"
"Yes, I did. At the moment he's safe, but he seems to attract trouble wherever he goes."
"Well, at least he can start out with a blank slate as I doubt that his problems will be able to follow him there. I'd say it's an improvement of his situation."
"That might be true, but it isn't right. I know I've overreacted and maybe the Tendos and Saotomes really need a wakeup call; but Ranma is completely innocent. It wouldn't be fair to just leave him there, especially since he only ended up there because of a system error. I just want to bring him back and grant him another wish."
"How boring! I got a much better idea."
Seeing her sister's dubious look Urd quickly elaborated. "Don't give me that look. I have good ideas too, you know; well, from time to time. Look! You sent Ranma into another dimension, right? Well, how about you leave him there for... say three months? You can always bring him back later if he doesn't like the place. Just tell him you're sorry and that he'll get another wish. It's a win-win situation for the boy. On the one hand he'll get a much needed vacation away from his problems and he'll still get his wish once he's back, and on the other hand he might like it there and not want to return at all."
"You got a point there, but what if he gets into trouble? He doesn't know anything about that world and might end up in a bad situation."
"Well, that's where the second part of my idea comes in. One of us will monitor the situation over there and bring him back immediately if things get too hairy. After all, he's there because of a system error and as such if we help him it can't really be seen as interference since he shouldn't even be there. And since you and Skuld have your duties here and I'm on vacation I'm the only one who can take care of this arduous task."
"YOU are volunteering?" The incredulous goddess asked. "Why? What's in it for you? Don't tell me you're doing this out of the goodness of your heart."
"You wound me, little sis," Urd put her hands on her heart and gave Belldandy the most pitiful look she could manage. "Do you really think so little of me? That I would only offer my help for selfish reasons? What have I done to arouse so much suspicion?"
Belldandy didn't buy Urd's little performance at all. "Stop your little show! You're not fooling anyone."
"Oh, alright. I'm booooored. Happy now? There hasn't been anything interesting going on here lately. This Ranma guy on the other hand really sounds like he could be a lot of fun."
"So that's the real reason. I should have known. You just want to have some fun at the expense of the poor boy"
"Hey! That's not true. I'm not going to interfere. I'll just watch and get him out of there if things get dicey. Honestly. So what if I have my own reasons? It's not like he'll even know I'm there."
"You're really not going to interfere?"
"Well, not on purpose anyway."
"That's probably the best I can get out of you. Okay, I'll trust you. I might end up regretting it, but I will give you a chance. Before you go, however, I want you to read Ranma's file; ALL of it."
"Thank's sis. You won't regret it."
The older goddess left in a flash leaving a worried Belldandy behind. 'I already do', she thought.