Chapter Seven – Alternate Ending, Part Two
Snafu's notes: I know I tossed in another Fallout 3 reference in here somewhere...and I think there's a reference to Forbidden Siren around here as well...
"What is it, Nabiki?" Ranma asked after everything had calmed down for the night.
"I know about Kunou-baka and his family," Nabiki began without an preamble. "I know that your father had tried to get the both of them to sign marriage contracts to allow them to marry both of your forms, and that you sent him to the hospital."
Ranma gave the mercenary Tendou a smug grin. "I guess you found me out. I was wondering how long it would take you to figure it out."
Nabiki returned the grin. "Looks like I had you all wrong, Ranma. I should have known that 'macho jock' act was just a ruse. I'm impressed. But why hide behind a mask?"
"Easier that way," Ranma replied. "Something that fat bastard of a panda taught me – deception for one's own protection. I could have stopped you from taking those pictures of me, but I wanted to see how far you were willing to go. So why did you speak out when the parents tried to disown me?"
"Let's just say that I know the worth of my skin, as well as my family's," Nabiki replied. "And Ryouga? How long did you know that he was burakumin?"
"Just found out recently. I was going to use it as leverage against him, but the rematch with Herb kinda forced my hand."
Nabiki smiled. This definitely put a new spin on things, as she was now seeing Ranma in a new light. His ruthlessness was a near match to her cunning, which surprisingly, attracted her to him even more, despite the curse. "You know...I could convince Auntie Saotome and Dad to put the engagement back onto the both of us," Nabiki breathed as she moved closer to the cursed female. "Power and ruthlessness in a man is a major turn-on for me...aside from money."
"I never knew you were that kinky, Nabs."
"Come back and you'll find out, Ranma-kun." the Ice Queen replied. As she turned to leave, she stopped. "By the way, that debt you owe me...consider that canceled."
Nabiki had one more question. "What happened to Ryouga?"
"Hmm...never thought about that. What did happen to pork breath?"
Ryouga was still in his cursed form as he ran. The last thing he saw was Akane chasing him. He could never return to Nerima, given what has transpired. Ranma had outed him as being a burakumin. Akane would soon be disowned from her family, and despite getting his curse locked in, Ranma came out on top.
Several days later, Ryouga was wandering through the Japanese forests, now completely human. He was also lost, which was nothing new.
"Damn you, Ranma! This is all your fault!" Ryouga screamed to the uncaring sky.
He never stopped for a moment to get his bearings. If Ryouga had been paying any attention (and he doesn't) he would have noticed that he was at a small village surrounded by mountains on three sides, and a river on the fourth.
If he had been paying further attention, he would have noticed the sign that was written in both Japanese and English.
The sign which read Welcome to Hanyuda.
He did, however, paid attention to the air-raid siren that blared moments after entering the town.
It would be the last time anyone would see Ryouga Hibiki alive again.
Days later, one of the survivors from the cursed town would report seeing a shibito with a pig's snout and ears where the human's nose and ears should have been wandering throughout the village, firing off green-tinted ki blasts while cursing someone's name...or rather, he tried to, given the fact that he was literally a walking corpse.
While Ranma was away in China, Akane had some troubles of her own.
As she had already found out, if Nabiki wanted to destroy someone, she can do it totally and completely. Nabiki had done it several times before, and Akane herself was no exception. After all, Nabiki knew what Ranma was capable off given how he had destroyed the Kunou clan with ease, and didn't want her family to suffer the same fate.
Nabiki was very through. Using her information network, she had literally cut Akane's support structure from underneath her. In short, she made her now-former sister's life a living hell.
It had started that following Monday. Akane noticed that something was amiss upon arriving at the school. The Hentai Horde was there, but made no move to attack. Instead, they were all looking at the offending Tendou as if she was nothing but garbage. In fact, the majority of the students and even the faculty looked at her with nothing but utter contempt on their faces.
Akane shook it off as the weirdness of the ward and entered inside.
Too bad it had gotten worse when she had arrived at her classroom. Her friends Yuka and Sayuri acted as if she had never existed.
Miss Hinako was conducting roll call. Akane noticed that she had skipped her name. "Excuse me, Miss Hinako?" Akane interrupted, "you forgot to call my name."
The resident school disciplinarian/ki-vampire ignored her and continued on with roll call. Even Sayuri and Yuka, her friends since childhood, ignored her and carried on their conversation as if she was not there.
It was as if she was a ghost.
By the time lunch came around, she was summoned to the principal's office. Wondering what the hell was going on, Akane answered the summon.
The youngest of the Tendou girls stood before the door that had the words Riona Hiroyuki, Principal. Below that was a custom-made sign which had said, clearly to intimidate any offending student sent her way: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
Akane opened the door. Seated behind her desk, looking rather intimidating, was Principal Riona Hiroyuki. Following the disappearance of the insane Principal Kunou and his two children, months earlier, Riona had been promoted to the highest office of Fuurinkan.
"Sit down," Hiroyuki ordered, pointing to the chair in front of her desk.
"Principal Hiroyuki, what's going on?" Akane demanded. "Why is everyone giving me the cold shoulder?"
"Simple, Miss Tendou," Hiroyuki replied coolly. "They know about Ranma. They know about your crimes against him. And I can't guarantee your safety against the Hentai Horde, should they decide to attack you once again."
Before Akane could say anything in her defense, the school's P.A. System came to life. What Akane heard next made her blood ran cold.
It was a recording Nabiki had made on the day Ranma had fought Herb.
Inside the front office, one of Nabiki's henchwomen smiled as she played the copy of the tape her boss made, knowing full well of the consequences that were about to fall upon Akane.
Akane knew she was caught dead to rights. Especially when she had admitted to sleeping with Ryouga and her role in trying to get Ranma thrown out of his family and the school.
"You're damn right I did! I wanted you gone! I never wanted the engagement to you! You think all those times I had gotten kidnapped, I wanted you to save me? I ALLOWED MYSELF TO BE TAKEN, BAKA! I was the best martial artist in Nerima! Everyone talked about me! Me! Then YOU showed up and I was nothing more than a footnote! I should be the heir to the full school of Anything Goes! I hate you, Ranma! I wish you were never born! I would rather marry that fat panda of a father before I would marry you!"
Then the P.A. System cut off once the fight began.
"Miss Tendou, I am very, very disappointed in you," Hiroyuki drawls. "You have not only brought disgrace upon yourself, but onto this school by simply showing up. I'm going to have to ask you to leave. Since you're pretty much a ronin, your school records have been destroyed on my orders. You are no longer welcome here at Fuurinkan."
"WHAT?!" Akane screeched. "You can't just throw me out!"
Hiroyuki's eyes flashed dangerously. "Really?"
Akane wasn't thrown out of Fuurinkan.
Instead, she was literally chased out of the high school by the faculty, the kendo club (wielding live steel), the martial arts rhythmic gymnastics team, the Hentai Horde and the faculty, led by Principal Hiroyuki, while the students pelted her with their bentos.
Akane would never step foot inside Fuurinkan High School ever again.
The Nekohanten – three days later...
Cologne read the telegram that had been delivered to her minutes earlier. Shampoo was busy cooking, preparing for the lunch rush.
Elder Ku-Lon. The Musk has been wiped out. Prince Herb slain. Saotome boy's curse now unlocked. Chinese military finished the job the Saotome boy began. Elder Kon-diz-sho-ner.
Following the incident at the Tendou Hall, Cologne had called Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung to Japan to help maintaining the Nekohanten. At the moment, the two twins were assisting Shampoo inside the kitchen. Mousse was in his cursed form, Cologne using both the Cat's Tongue and the Ultimate Weakness Moxibustion points on him before locking him in a cage.
Cologne had notified the Joketsuzoku Council about Mousse's crimes in regards to Ranma. The council had agreed on Cologne's decision to lift the Kiss of Marriage (since Shampoo was in no position to give it to Ranma anyway, since she was knocked out by her own weapon), and also agreed to make Ranma a full member of the Chinese Amazons, given the fact that he was a 'blooded warrior' and that staying on his good side meant that the tribe would continue to exist.
However, along with the notice regarding Rama's status in the Chinese Amazons, the council has passed judgment on Mousse, for his crimes of aiding the Musk Dynasty (albeit inadvertently), who had been bitter enemies since the Joketsuzoku was formed. To aid the Musk was simply treason, and Mousse had to pay the ultimate price.
Cologne placed the telegram inside her robes and pogoed into the kitchen. Picking up the sharpest meat cleaver she could find, she hopped over to the captive Mousse.
When the lunch rush started, there was a special on Peking duck that day. As it turned out, it was the day's best seller.
Tendou Compound, two days later...
Following the 'disappearances' of Mousse and Ryouga, Ranma had returned to Nerima.
He had also returned with a flask of cursed water pilfered from the Musk – water from Nannichuan – as well as the two relics which had started this whole mess in the first place, the Preservation Ladle and the Liberation Kettle.
The first people to greet him upon returning to the Tendou compound were his parents and Soun. Kasumi was out delivering a plate of cookies to Tofuu and Nabiki was away at Toudai.
Genma was the first to say something to Ranma when he noticed the flask of Jusenkyou water. "Boy! You found some water from the Spring of Drowned Man for your poor old father?"
Ranma shook his head. "That's not for you. You of all people know that the curses mix. The Guide and Cologne said so."
Before Genma could moan about what a 'dishonorable son' he had, Nodoka silenced him by smacking him in the back of his head with her katana's scabbard, knocking him unconscious.
"Welcome back, Ranma," Soun said.
Nodoka embraced her son. "Elder Cologne told us what had happened. The Amazons had sent her a note by pigeon telling of your exploits. I am very proud of you, son."
Ranma hugged his mother back. "Thanks, Mom."
Nodoka then answered Ranma's unspoken question. "Akane has not been seen in town since Nabiki had her kicked out of Fuurinkan. Ryouga's also gone as well. Elder Cologne told us that Mousse has already been 'taken care' of and even dropped off some Peking duck." She shot off a glare towards Soun and Genma. "Apparently, those to idiots ate the duck without offering none of us some."
Ranma had a pretty good clue as to who the duck was, but kept his mouth shut.
"Oh, my. Welcome home Ranma-kun," Kasumi said as she entered the living room. Nabiki was also with her, having returned from her university classes.
"So you're finally back, Saotome," Nabiki said as she dropped her backpack.
Ranma nodded. "Yeah. Sit down. I'll explain everything over tea."
Ranma didn't leave nothing out. In a twist of fate, he defeated the Dragon Prince and as an extreme measure of payback, used the ladle to lock in Herb's curse, while using the kettle to free his own. Dressing Herb up in one of his usual Chinese-style outfits, he made sure that Mint, Lime, and most of the Musk soldiers saw him before running off with his hostage.
Upon catching up with what the Musk thought was Ranma in his cursed form, they had all but ripped him apart. When they found out that it wasn't Ranma, but rather their transformed prince that they had killed, the Musk Dynasty was in an uproar.
Unfortunately, their outrage wasn't going to last long.
Knowing full well that he could not face the full strength of the Musk Dynasty by himself, he simply turned to the local Communist Party's office and dropped the location of the Musk into their laps. Luck was with Ranma that day, since the Musk was responsible for several kidnappings and even the murder of the son of a Party official.
It was indeed overkill, but the Chinese Air Force did its job, unleashing a deadly salvo upon the Musk, while the People's Liberation Army conducted the mop-up.
But not before Ranma had ransacked the Musk, relieving them of their jewelery and martial arts scrolls and tomes.
The former is what was currently scattered all over the table, since Ranma had upended one of duffel bags her carried with him, spilling priceless gems, gold and everything else upon the table.
Even the prim and proper Kasumi was shocked. "Oh..my..."
Nabiki was practically drooling at the sight. The pieces were worth billions of Japanese yen, more than enough to pay off the family home, send Kasumi to college and what not.
Then Nabiki did something that not even Ramna was expecting.
She literally tackled Ranma to the floor and engaged him in a passionate round of tonsil hockey. Ranma was shocked at first, but quickly responded.
This, of course led to...
"Waaahh! The houses will be joined!" said the human waterfall.
Nodoka, on the other hand, pulled out a pair of victory fans and danced around the room. "Wai, wai! My son is so manly!" she gushed.
Genma, on the other hand, was still out like a light.
After a minute, Ranma broke off the kiss and looked at Nabiki. "Is this what you had in mind, Nabs?"
"Pretty much," the mercenary Tendou replied.
"Fine. I'll accept the engagement to you on one condition," Ranma said. "The blackmailing and betting pools stops now. You can still sell information, but the blackmailing and racketeering has to stop."
"Deal," Nabiki agreed.
After all, with the jewels Ranma and swiped, it was more than she and her pools have made many times over.
She then resumed her liplock on Ranma.
The reason why Ranma had a flask of cursed Jusenkyou water soon became clear. He knew from experience that Akane was something of a sore loser and would soon return to get her revenge upon not only Ranma, but her former family and all of Nerima.
So why change your traitorous ex-fiancée into something she despises the most?
Of course, Akane could not do it alone. She needed allies. Ryuu Kumon was out of the question. Happi as well since he had kicked her out of the Anything Goes School.
That left Pantyhose Tarou.
Ranma's intuition proved to be correct. Two months later, Akane had struck, with the monstrous form of Pantyhouse Tarou as backup.
But thanks to Ranma, he had seen this coming.
With the aid of Happi and Cologne, the pseudo-winged minotaur with the tentacles on its back was subdued. Akane, in the meantime, had charged at Ranma, prepared to rip apart her former fiance limb from liimb.
Ranma simply sidestepped the attack and tossed Akane to the ground. Then, before Akane could do anything, Ranma splashed her with a cupful of Jusenkyou water.
"GAH! THAT'S COLD!" Akane screamed.
It was at that moment, that Akane noticed that something was horribly wrong.
She felt strange. Ranma watched this with an evil grin on his face. Even the Tendous and Saotomes were shocked to see this strange turn of events. Not that Akane didn't ave it coming.
Akane looked down and opened her gi. Instead of a pair of breasts, she saw only a flat washboard chest. When she screamed about how cold the water was, her voice had gotten deeper. Her hands went to her crotch, where her eyes widened in horror as to what she felt.
She was no longer a woman. She was now a he.
Ranma 'tsk-tsked.' In a perfect imitation of the Jusenkyou Guide, he said, "Too bad. You got splashed with water from Nannichuan – Spring of Drowned Boy. Very tragic story of boy who drowned 2500 year ago." Ranma continued in his normal voice. "Since you think all boys are perverts, you can be one."
"NOOOO!" Akane-kun howled to the sky. She – or rather, he – turned back to Ranma. "YOU BASTARD! DIE, RANMA!"
The now-cursed Tendou charged. One Kachuu Tenshin Amaguriken barrage and Akane was out cold. Thenn Ranma locked Akane's curse in using the Preservation Ladle and destroyed both the ladle and kettle, locking Akane's curse in for life.
Of course, when Akane came to and found out that Ranma had taken her womanhood from her, she had all but snapped.
Within minutes, the authorities were called and Akane was taken away in a straitjacket, his destination being the mens' asylum for the insane.
He was also ranting at the top of his lungs, struggling against the burly orderlies, but to no avail.
"The sky will fall, the Earth will rise! The stars will shine open their toothy grins and caress the sun with their love!" Akane turned to one of the orderlies, who paid him no attention. "You don't know, you can't know! Little fools, you with you knew! YOU WISH! BUT ONLY I KNOW! ONLY ME! ONLY ME! ONLY MEEEE!"
That was the last anyone in Nerima would ever see of the former Akane Tendou again.
As for Tarou, after being doused with hot water, Happi conceded and granted Tarou's request for a change in name. He returned to China, back to his mother's village.
Things in Nerima had calmed down afterward. Nodoka had ordered Genma to make reparations to those who he had cheated on pain of seppuku. Kasumi had entered nursing school and had married Tofuu in her senior year.
Nabiki had kept her promise to Ranma and had stopped the blackmail schemes and the racketeering, and Ranma accepted the engagement with no problem. Nabiki's choice of dropping her rackets came at a good time as well, since the Japanese government had recently passed several laws in which anyone caught racketeering would be slapped with an automatic fifteen-year sentence. Despite Soun and Genma's pressures to have them married as soon as possible, Ranma and Nabiki decided to hold off on the wedding once their careers were established.
The Tendou compound was paid off, and the Saotome home was also rebuilt. Ranma – with Nabiki acting as his tutor – graduated from Fuurinkan and managed to nail an athletic scholarship to Waseda University, where he pursued a physical education degree. Nabiki graduated from Tokyo University at the top of her class with a degree in business and opened her own business firm in Tokyo. Ranma graduated a year later, also at the top of his class, and with Happi's blessings, opened the School of Indiscriminate Grappling.
A year after Ranma's graduation, he married Nabiki in a private ceremony. This time around, no suitors and fiancees crashed the wedding. Ukyou attended, having made her peace with her father, who acknowledged her as his daughter. Cologne, Shampoo (by this time, she has learned how to speak Japanese perfectly), Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung also attended, Cologne returning to China to run the tribe, while Shampoo and the twin Amazons remained in Nerima, running the Nekohanten.
Inside the mens' asylum, the man formerly known as Akane Tendou was forgotten, and will remain so for the rest of his life.
Snafu's Notes: Finished. Finally! After going through several revisions, rewrites for the past couple of months, I've finally settled on this version of the alternative ending. Well, it's been fun, but now, Pride Comes Before The Fall is officially over and done.