Alright, by 'Rated M', I totally meant 'Rated T'.
Also since I forgot to mention last time. Places, Special Attacks and Thoughts are in Italics. All signs, be they of places or of Panda variety are in Bold.
Here's Chapter 2
Training Ground: Twenty-Two
"Soooooo...What exactly was it you wanted us to do again?" Ranma drawled out, thankfully still a guy. "Just go wild on a bunch of testing dummies? That doesn't exactly seem hard." He blinked a few times as he stood next to Ed, looking down the field with his arms crossed behind his head.
"Well, not exactly that. You'll be dodging attacks from hidden displays and other things like that. This is the easy part though, it's just a simple combat testing ground." A Jounin by the name of Ebisu remarked.
"I can destroy every single one of those dummies from here," Ranma replied with a faint shrug, "and that's just my main move. I can't really use any of my real special stuff without to much destruction." he grimaced at the thought of letting loose his Hiryu Hyo Toppa in a place that wasn't completely open-ended like Jusendo was.
"Oh, this isn't the training ground for Ninjutsu, this is for Taijutsu, just checking your hand-to-hand skills." Ebisu said, pushing his sunglasses back up along his nose, closer to his face.
"I think we should move beyond just a simple stage like this and do something a bit more complex anyway." Ed finally muttered, this was an insult. He could even see the traps here and there. "I mean, seriously, this looks like it was built to be attacked by kids."
"That's because it was. It's a training ground for the Academy Students whom range from the ages six to twelve." Ebisu sighed. "Look, this is just where we start at. The faster you both get to it, the faster we move to the harder parts of the evaluation."
"Alright, fine, fine. How many do you want us to get rid of each?" Ranma sighed, idly playing with his pig-tail, looking down at the straw targets with a bored look on his eyes.
"Ranma, you will take the left half, when you're done, Edward will take the right-half." Ebisu nodded with a satisfactory grin on his lips. "You can take out the traps if you want too."
"Huh." Ranma mumbled and smirked at Ed, "I'll leave all the traps for you, they're not going to to touch me, I'm to fast for that."
"Stow it, would you? You don't have an extra near hundred kilo's weighing you down constantly." Ed growled, looking at Ranma who suddenly smirked even more viciously.
"Of course I do. Everything is training." Ranma supplied as he dropped his arms to his sides while pulling out his bracers and clasping them on with practiced ease. "Ready whenever."
Ebisu simply nodded when he pulled out a stopwatch and simply said: "Go."
That was what Ranma did, he went and he went fast. Ever since the trip to China, Genma had been forcing Ranma to try and get as fast as his girl form, of course, they found out the problem with that was that she was always faster. The more speed Male-Type gained, the more it added on to Girl-Type as well. He still wasn't as fast, but he was getting close to her old speeds, and despite being the full length away from the targets, he was down there before the traps even had been sprung and was viciously taking apart each straw dummy with precision and incipacitating attacks. Not but even ten seconds later, they were all dealt with and only a couple more seconds before Ranma was back to where he was originally.
"See, told you. Pointless." Ranma sighed bored. "I didn't even get to use any random styles." He sighed dejectedly. What was the point of all his training if he didn't actually get to use it?
"Yes, well, maybe you'll find the next stages a bit harder." Ebisu said, trying to sound nonchalant at the speed. He really didn't expect much out of these boys, but he really was starting to learn that first impressions weren't always the best. Ranma had seemed lazy at first, but apparently it stemmed from just how easy he found things like this. "Edward, you turn."
"I told you, call me Ed." the blonde grumbled and eyed Ranma who grinned back at him. "Thanks for letting me do the hard work."
"It'll keep you entertained." Ranma quipped. He knew Ed wasn't as fast as him, so this would be interesting to see.
"Hand-to-hand only, huh? Guess that means no Alchemy." Ed sighed and waited until he got the nod from Ebisu.
Instead of speeding past all the traps, Ed simply dismantled every single one he came across, methodically and quickly. Sure he couldn't do the entire thing within fifteen seconds, but he took care of the ones that would be dangerous and nothing was in his path when he took care of the straw dummies. Whereas Ranma had gone for incipacitation, Ed went for killing blows and the field was strewn with straw bodyparts soon enough. All in all, it did take less than a minute and despite Ed's metal limbs, he seemed pretty flexible and good jump quite high for someone relying on just standard martial-arts.
"Well, that's not so bad, wasn't it?" Ebisu remarked, taking down the time, and going over everyhting right quick. "Ranma, you went for non-lethal attacks. Edward, you went for lethal. Why the difference?"
Ed and Ranma looked at each other and then looked at Ebisu. Their difference in experiences was the main deciding factor in this, and Ranma motioned for Ed to go first, wanting to hear his reasoning before giving his own. Ed paused a moment to gather his thoughts before going on.
"I've been in life or death situations since I've been Ten years old." Ed said simply, "And I told you to call me Ed. It's them or me...and I prefer to be living over dead. I do what needs to be done to survive. When you're in a country that's run by the Military and people are trying to kill you for fame, you buck up real quick."
Ebisu canted one of his eyebrows, nodding at that. His was a life of war and he took that in stride, though, starting at that age? That was a bit much to the specialty Jounin. "And you Ranma?"
The pig-tailed teen tapped his fingers to his jaw. "I'm good enough to do it that way. I'm a Martial Artist and it's my duty to protect the weak, not kill my opponents. However, if it comes down to it, I can kill someone to protect another. I've done it before, I'll do it again if I need to. I just don't like it." He looked away, despite everything, he was still ashamed that he had killed Saffron. "Besides, can't get information out of a corpse."
Ebisu nodded at that. "Both valid reasons, and thankfully we're now in a time of peace. If you had both shown up just a few months prior, Edward would be the better choice to send out into the field. It's kill or be killed with most Ninja and you're both old enough to not be coddled like most of the Academy graduates, since they're usually Twelve."
"You send kids out into a field at twelve?" Ranma blinked, clenching his fists.
"Only on small missions. Picking weeds, chasing down animals, things like that. They're also accompined on all missions by a Jounin-sensei, and not a specialty one like I. Combat missions require a class of B and no Genin are sent on those." 'Unless something like that Land of the Mist bit happens.' Ebisu added mentally after he finished speaking.
"You'll have to explain that one." Ed said after a moment. He was used to military terms, but it was best to get used to the foreign ones as well.
"They're ranked from D to A and finally S-class missions. D ranked missions are the easiest and smallest paying. Paint some fences, walk some dogs, to get used to working as a team, those sorts of things." Ebisu nodded, beckoning the two of them to follow as he started towards the next stage of their training. "C ranked missions are usually escort missions. From here to another town to watch a caravan. There might be some danger in bandits, but usually it's cut and dry."
"I personally don't like the sound of 'usually'." Ranma snorted.
"Yes, well, sometimes clients lie because they can't afford it. It's really only happened a few times." Ebisu shrugged. "B ranked missions can also be escort missions and things like that, but with more danger envolved. Bandits aren't really anything to worry about, but enemy Ninja can make a situation turn worse. Those are usually taken by Chuunins, though there's been known to have an advanced Genin take part."
"I can get that." Ed added, "I'd say most of my life has been a B mission then." he finished with a snort.
"Just as well, A ranked are usually missions that are hunting down Ninja, or infiltration missions of some sort. Dangerous stuff, usually at risk with your life. Jounin's take these missions." Ebisu added quietly, taking a turn past small fenced off area and heading towards a large building.
"Okay, so maybe it's more like A rank then." Ed shook his head ruefully, following behind.
"FInally, S-Rank missions are usually taken by only the strongest Jounin or the Hokage themselves. They're usually involving S-Class criminals that can kill with just the flick of a finger or the blink of an eye." Ebisu stopped in front of the building and opened the door with a key for Ed and Ranma. "They are also the highest paying of all missions. Though, not many of those usually come around, thankfully."
"Been in a couple of those myself actually." Ranma said. "I suppose Saffron and Herb would count." he shuddered at the thought of those two fights. At the question that came about, he answered before it could come. "Herb was a Half-Dragon. He could fly and throw around huge balls of energy like it was nothing. Saffron was self-proclaimed Phoenix God-King. He's the one I killed. Could regenerate limbs like nothing too. Hell, he tore off one of his wings and it turned into a blazing inferno as he threw it at me. Yeah, he could fly too." He shook his head, remembering how Akane almost died in that fight. He still wasn't sure that she hadn't after that. "Oh yeah. Good times." he said sarcastically as he shook his head.
"I wonder if some of the Homonculi I've fought would count. I'm sure Fuhrer, King Bradley would count really count as an S-Class criminal. That man scares me." Ed shuddered slightly. "Well, most of them would be considered S-class because they're 'immortal'." he mused slightly, following Ebisu inside of the building. "So, where are we?"
"This would be the usual Ninjutsu training area." Ebisu nodded, looking towards the several people within the room. "These people around here are Barrier Experts and can keep your attacks contained, we also have some recording equipment to guage the power of your abilities."
"Ah." Ranma said, rubbing his chin. "Uhm, I'm not allowed to use some of my abilities unless they're in a life or death situation. Sealed and Forbidden techniques and all that." Ranma said, almost sheepishly.
"Ranma, I think living in a land of Ninja with no way home would count as a life or death situation." Ed replied sardonically while looking at Ebisu. "Also, I'm not sure you can record one of my abilities."
"Good point." Ranma said while nodding, looking at Ebisu as well.
"Well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Edward, you go first, please." Ebisu smiled politely, pushing his sunglasses back up and taking Ranma a step backwards so they wouldn't be within the barrier when it formed.
"Sure...and call me Ed, dammit." the blonde grumped, taking his jacket off and tossing it back to Ranma along with his gloves. "I don't want my coat and gloves being ruined this time."
Ranma nodded, taking another look at Ed's mechanical arm, he could also tell that Ebisu was staring at the limb and so were the other Ninja around. It looked strange to all of them. A limb like that shouldn't exist, it was beyond their technology. Honestly, the scars were kind of horrifying to most of them. Ranma leaned over to Ebisu and whispered. "He got that just after he turned Eleven he said, lost it when he was ten or something."
"I...I see." Ebisu nodded, shaking his head. What had that child gone through? "Oh well. Begin!"
With that, the barrier went up and targets started to flip up from the ground and also in the air. Ed clapped his hands and the blue electric current of his Alchemy pulsed through the air as he made a polearm out of the ground he was standing on, leaving a crater in it's wake. He whipped it around, decapitating targets here and there, discarding it as a huge shuriken launched itself through the air and bisecting the weapon in half. He responded with another clap as giant spikes appeared out of the ground, obliterating and impaling another couple of targets while catching another shuriken with one of the tips, stopping it from hitting him.
Suddenly a trap sprung up as a bunch of Kunai were launched at one at him and with another clap, Ed suddenly had a spiked shield in front of him, deflecting the kunai with ease, another or the repeating motion and suddenly he was using the shield as a ramp as it went through the air, still connected at the base as it made a fist and smashed into the trap. He kept up the usual Alchemy attacks, using his right fist like Major Armstrong would be, launching rocks that turned into javelins into other targets and with the final two targets, he simply touched them, blowing them to bits as he stopped at the stage of Deconstruction, there was no flash like the rest, just an explosion of material.
Ranma whistled while watching. It looked like a very useful way to fight, especially with that shield thing Ed had done. Make one up and attack from behind. "Awesome, Ed." he called out, there wasn't much in the way of collateral damage, so the Barrier Ninja hadn't worked all that hard and the barrier came down with a simple release. "Though, what was that last attack?"
Ed looked at him almost blankly for a moment as he walked back. "Just a thing I picked up a while back. It's Alchemy that doesn't end up being completed. Pretty much I can kill someone with a touch."
"Seriously?" Ebisu asked after a moment. That was a dangerous ability.
"Yeah. It's disgusting, isn't it? Pretty much implodes you from the inside." Ed sighed a little. "I suppose I should put this all back." He was about to clap his hands together as Ranma dropped his hand onto Ed's left shoulder.
"Nah. I wanna try something first before you do. I've been trying to learn something, this gives me a perfect chance to use it against some rock." Ranma grinned a little, looking at Ebisu. "Hey, can you make it hot in here? It'll be easier for me to use some of my bigger attacks." he then looked over to the Barrier users. "You guys might want to put this to maximum output, I might blow it apart otherwise." he mused that one over a moment. "Hell, I might blow it apart anyway." he rolled his shoulders with a shrug.
Ranma wandered over to the arching fist that had been made out of the shield and looked it over for a moment, his eyes almost glazing over as he continued to examine it as he nodded. Ryoga was really a good source of moves after all and with a cry of "Bakusai Tenketsu!" the thing cracked and exploded outwards, spraying the area with debris. "Sweet, I can do it after all. He really shouldn't've shown me that move so many friggin' times." He paused and looked back at Ebisu with a grin. "I'm ready to go whenever."
With eyes that could almost be seen from behind his sunglasses, Ebisu nodded, "Go!" He then looked back at Ed for a second. "Maybe this wasn't a good idea..." he trailed off.
"He'll be holding back I bet. He's that kind of guy." Ed said with a shrug.
Though his eyes widened at the huge ball of white-ish blue energy that Ranma seemed to grow out of his hands as he launched it into one of the training dummies turning it into a fine mist of destroyed parts with a cry of "Moko Takabisha!" After that, Ranma systematically started to go through his specialty moves, going through various different styles of Martial Arts except for the ones that required equipment. Soon enough, everything had been dismantled and the terrain had been pretty much destroyed. He even surprised everyone when another kunai thrower popped up by catching and tossing away every single one of the 75 kunai in a manner of seconds with a blur of fists.
The entire time he was just carrying on with Ebisu and Ed in a relaxed conversation. He really wasn't trying and with every advanced technique everyone's eyes went more and more wide. Finally he ended the phase with a simple punch, destroying the kunai thrower as if it was made of rice paper.
"Oh my." Ebisu said after a moment. He had completely forgotten about the fire that Ranma had requested and within the pause, Ranma looked like he was waiting for something. It didn't come and the barrier came down. "Those Forbidden Techniques are quite amazing, Ranma."
"Huh?" Ranma said with a frown. "I ain't used any of those yet." he looked around the destroyed terrain within the building and he mumbled, "Oops, forgot about that."
"Don't worry, I'll fix it." Ed said, clapping his hands while concentrating. Everything that actually had been part of the actual ground had been restored, all the obliterated targets would require a bit of a softer touch. "Wait, none of those were your forbidden stuff?"
"Nah. And I didn't have enough heat to throw my power moves." Ranma said with a nonchalant roll of his shoulders. "That's just basic stuff."
"Breaking rock with a finger and throwing around Chakra like that is basic?" Ebisu wondered aloud.
"Chakra? Why would I throw my Chakra gates around? That's just Ki. Y'know, life energy." Ranma said simply.
"Yes, Chakra." Ebisu nodded. "Not many people can do that."
"Er, where I'm from, it's called Ki. There's eight points in your body called the Chakra points though." Ranma said with a frown. "The terminology might just be different though. So, you want to see my big moves or not? There's nothing really around to use the Senkens on."
"I suppose. Perhaps you'd better explain them first if those weren't used yet." Ebisu said softly, looking at the Barrier Ninja, some of them were a bit tired out by all the explosions and Ranma's Ki/Chakra blasts.
"Well, the first one, I can create a tornado." He said, ignoring the stunned looks. "Usually that's enough to deal with the idiots that attack me, but I can also use it myself to throw modified ones. I can throw them both Horizontally and Vertically." he paused at that one. "There's a couple more where I infuse them with even more cold. I can blow up a mountain with my most powerful version, only been able to do it once though."
"...A mountain?" Ebisu deadpanned.
"Oh yeah. I could probably dismantle this entire village in less than five minutes, leave it as a crater I suppose." Ranma said absently. "There's also one ability I just can't show you at all." Ranma said with a nod. "It's way to dangerous."
"We might as well put it on the file just so we know about it and how to avoid it's use then." Ebisu said softly.
"Right, I was gonna bring it up ealier with you, Ed, but I figured it'd be best." Ranma said softly, his entire body wracked with a shudder of memory. "It's one of four things Pops regrets, but he says it's one of only two things he wishes he could ever take back on the training trip." The memories from back then were still cloudy and unpleasant, even after all of these years. "Anyway. Back when I was 6 or so, Pops found this training manual. It contained the 'Ultimate Martial Arts' technique and such. Unbelievably powerful, completely unbeatable. All those fun things like that." Ranma snorted.
"So, what was the bad point?" Ed asked, interested.
"Oh, there was more than just one bad point. Y'see, it could only be taught to kids that were impressionable, it wouldn't work on older people. Pops would've tried it with me otherwise." Ranma snorted at that. Training really was everything. "Anyway. Y'find or dig a big enough pit or something of the like and find a bunch o' c-c-c-cats." he shuddered in revulsion at saying the word. "Ya toss 'em all in and let them starve for a few days. Then when they're good an' hungry, you wrap up the one learning in fish."
They could see where this was going but didn't say anything.
Ranma went on. "Then, y'throw 'im in." he shrugged slightly. "If they don't learn the technique after eight hours, you take 'em out, try a different fish and throw 'em back in."
"A brutal training technique, to be sure." Ebisu nodded slightly.
"Oh yeah. Pops finally finished reading the training manual, he had skipped the last page, of course, it was only after I learned the stupid thing. It really was the ultimate technique and all." Ranma said with a shrug.
"And the final downside?" Ed asked quietly, sure him and Al had lost Mom, but it was their own idea to try and bring her back and it was their fault they lost their real bodies, but that was also when they were ten, they knew what they were doing, partially. Ranma had been six and his own Father forced him into it. "Also, no offence, but your Father is really an idiot."
"Told ya so." Ranma half grinned. "Anyway, yeah. The Neko-Ken really did end up working. However now I'm deathly afraid of those furred hellspawn and if I'm around them long enough, I go c-c-cat..." he trailed off, shuddering a little. "I nearly killed Pops when I first learned it...I guess some old lady got me out of it, but ever since then...when I enter it, I don't know what I'm doing and I just react. No memory of what goes on. Stupid berzerker state. Yeah, I can shred things from a difference. Pretty much rip solid stone into pieces with a swing of my hand."
"Note to self, keep cats away then." Ed said softly with another nod. "If we ever meet my brother Al, I'll have to tell him. He loves picking up strays. Was there anything else?"
"Yeah, if I do go into it, I'll try and find someone I trust. I'll shred anyone that wants to harm me. I'm apparently like a playful kitten for the most part. Uhh...switch my gender to wake me out of it or let me have a nap, that usually does it. I really don't wanna have that happen while I'm a girl for the next week." he shuddered at the thought of being in the Cat-Fist while...yeah.
"Well, we'll make sure to cross that usual beginner mission off the course you'll take then." Ebisu chuckled lowly, getting odd looks from the two of them. "Oh, it's like an initiation. Every team has to go find the pet of the Lord's wife. But you two will probably be paired off with a more experienced team."
"Yeah, if it's one of those cursed hellspawn, you can count me out." Ranma said resolutely. "So, am I going to show you the cool stuff or not?"
"You really shouldn't show off your trump card like that, y'know." Ed said with a shake of his head,
"Hey, if I can kill a Phoenix with it, what are the chances of a human, even if they're a ninja, can survive?" Ranma retorted.
"Anyway." Ebisu said, cutting in. "Next up Genjutsu." he looked at them, "I doubt you have any experience with any of that, so we'll see how you handle it. If you can't...well.." he trailed off and shrugged, leading them abck out the way they came and off to another building. It took them only a moment before they came across a woman and three younger teenagers. "Ah, Kurenai-san. These are the boys I mentioned. Meet Ranma Saotome and Edward Elric."
"Ah, Ebisu-san." Kurenai said, looking at the two older teens with narrowed red eyes for a moment. She was a rather attractive woman with almost a mane of black hair. "Good to meet you, Ranma-kun, Edward-kun."
"Please, Just Ed." the blonde said.
"Ranma for me, please. I'm not really the kind of guy to use honorifics." the raven-haired boy said.
"Sensei, what's up with these two?" One of them said, a brash looking boy with a dog sitting on his head. His eyes narrowed on Ranma. "That one smells like a girl and a cat."
"I'm a guy dammit. It's just a stupid damn curse." Ranma nearly hissed at the boy. "Besides, kids shouldn't talk that way to their betters." he snorted, looking down on them.
"Kiba, keep quiet, these two are here for an evaluation." Kurenai said, looking at one of her Genin.
"You mean they don't even have the skills of a Genin. Hah. I could take both of them on without breaking a sweat." Kiba boasted, looking up at his dog who gave off a bark of a laugh.
"K-K-Kiba-kun...you should, shouldn't talk that way about g-g-guests." the girl said. She looked like she was blind and she sure did fidget a lot.
"Agreed." said the one covered in a jacket as if he was trying to hide something from the world.
"Psh." Kiba muttered.
"Cocky little shit, aren't ya?" Ed snorted.
"Hey, I'm taller than you, brat." Kiba said absently, looking snide.
"WHO THE HELL ARE YOU CALLING SHORT AS A SMALL BEANSTALK, HUH?!" Ed yelled, almost lunging at him if it wasn't for the fact that Ranma had to bodily hold him back. "LEMME GO! I'LL KILL HIM!" Ed snarled angrily enough to cause Kiba to blanch and Akamaru to whine a little.
"Ed, calm down, he didn't say anything like that." Ranma said with a roll of his eyes before looking at Kiba and narrowing his eyes. "You best shut up or I won't hold him back next time." He bapped Ed on the back of the head as he let him go.
"Ahem." Ebisu coughed into his fist. "Yes, well, Ranma, Edward..."
"...Call me Ed."
"...This is Yuhi Kurenai, the one testing your Genjutsu abilities."
"Or lack there of. Ranma snerked a little.
"To right, most likely." Ebisu laughed. "She is the Jounin Sensei for these three Genin. Hinata Hyuuga, Shino Aburame and Kiba Inuzuka." He pointed out in each turn. "Ranma and...Ed," he smiled at the younger of the two, "are here from seperate dimensions apparently. "I'd personally put Ed at a high Chuunin level." He directed his gaze to Ranma. "Ranma however seems to be holding back from his full potential and I can tell he'd be suited as a Jounin."
"Hey. I didn't want to destroy the building...or the block...or that area of town." Ranma said with a cough. "I mean, your barrier guys could barely hold back my Ki-blasts, how're they supposed to deal with tornadoes?"
"A tornado? Now I know this guy is full of shit." Kiba barked. "Prove it then." he grinned.
Ranma instantly narrowed his eyes, the cocky exterior dropped for a cold and serious one. "Is that a challenge?" He was following one of the first Tenets of Anything Goes. A practitioner much accept any challenge throw at him at anytime.
"You're damn straight it is." Kiba narrowed his eyes. "You've got no ninja training and I bet I can kick your ass."
"Kiba, now is not the time for this." Kurenai said, stopping as Ranma held up his hand.
"Sorry, I've gotta take this. It's part of my school of Martial Arts, all challenges must be taken." Ranma looked to Ebisu. "You got an open area nearby?"
"Yes, it's where we were headed." Ebisu sighed and shook his head. Children these days. "Come on you lot, let's go."
Not but five minutes later they were out at one of the more popular training areas. It had extensive work over the years and it was the perfect place for random training. Ranma sighed and looked at the sky. At least the day was warm out. It felt nice too, it was a shame he'd have to throw up a Hiryu Shoten Ha for everyone to see. "Alright, since you challenged me, you get to help me make it or are you to afraid to attack the guy without ninja training?" Ranma's stance was deceptively open and undefensive.
"I'll make you eat those words." Kiba growled, pulling Akamaru off of his head. "You stay here, I won't need help with this buffoon."
"Oh, the brat can use his brain to come up with insults. I'm still not impressed." Ranma deadpanned. "I'll even let you throw the first few punches. It's not like you'll hit me." Ranma grinned, he could already see the heat of Kiba's aura. This would be way to easy.
"I'll make you eat dirt!" Kiba yelled and charged at Ranma, throwing a large right cross which was easily avoided.
"To slow! Oh man, you wouldn't hit a rock like that." Ranma stuck his tongue out as he danced backwards, weaving and swaying around the onslaught of Kiba's attacks.
"What is he doing?" Ebisu asked, frowning. "It's like he's trying to get Kiba angry."
"He usually focuses better on his opponent that way too." Kurenai nodded, her opinion of Ranma not very high. "Are you sure this boy has the kind of skills you're saying?"
"I watched him catch and discard Seventy-Five kunai in a manner of seconds and launch a Chakra attack with just a shout. He also caused an explosion with just a poke of his finger."
Kurenai canted an eyebrow at Ebisu and shook her head for a moment. "Hinata, could you please?"
"Y-yes, Sensei." the young Hyuuga said, "Byakugan." as the veins in her head started to show. It really freaked Ed out and he tried to shy away from her vision, not sure if he could or not. "O-oh...!" Hinata gasped.
"What is it?" Kurenai asked softly.
"It's his Chakra system. It's coiled so tightly, like he's not even using any of it." Hinata whispered, "There's a build up that he's keeping tight rein on as well, it looks like it's going to explode and a part near his back that seems to be holding onto something."
"Anything else, Hinata?" Ebisu asked suddenly, narrowing his eyes as he watched the little fight. Ranma was goading Kiba on, dodging by just a hair's breadth here and there. There was also something about the movements that seemed to be off, yet he could quite place it.
"He's concentrating some of it into his fist. Ebisu-sensei. It looks like it's barely enough to use for a Henge." Hinata shook her head in wonderment, wondering exactly what one could do with little energy like that. "It also looks cold. His entire Chakra system is cold and getting colder."
Everyone blinked at that ecept for Shino who remained the ever stoic. It didn't take long for them to see or hear why though.
Ranma continued to take Kiba into the lazy spiral. His Soul of Ice undetected by Kiba's raging inferno, but it was proving easier and easier. "Come on, that the best you got?" Five...
"I swear, your ass is going down." Kiba snarled. Four...
"Nyah nyah. You can't hit me." Three...
"Shut it!" Kiba yelled, trying to swipe Ranma with a kick. Two...
"Poor sucker!" Ranma taunted one last time. One...
Át the same time as the last step was taken, Akamaru started to whine suddenly, but it was to late for Kiba to figure it out. As usual, even if his rival or opponent noticed, they always fell for it. "HIRYU SHOTEN HA!" Ranma yelled suddenly, throwing an uppercut that barely missed Kiba's face. The smirk on his lips fell into shock as he felt himself ripped up into the air and thrown around in the midst of a tornado.
Kiba was thrown wildly into the air, knocking him back and forth within the fury of the Dragon's Blast. The Tornado didn't last to long though as Ranma let up the Soul of Ice halfway through his uppercut. He didn't want to kill the kid and he was sure he wasn't as sturdy as Ryoga. Nevertheless, the feral teen slammed into the ground, hard, a rather painful thud grinding itself into everyone's ears while Ranma just trotted back to the others, ignoring everyopne's dropped jaws.
"So. When we gonna do this Genjutsu thing anyway?" he asked as if the past fight hadn't even happened.
"I, but...you...How?" Kurenai asked, momentarily dumfounded.
"Sorry, Chinese Amazon secret. They'd kill me if I told anyone." Ranma said. "He should be fine, I made that not a pretty small one since I wasn't sure how sturdy he was." He scratched his chin slightly. "I'd say that was just under Twenty-Five percent. for that."
"You mean...that's not the one you used to blow up a mountain?" Ed asked after a moment, scratching his chin. He somewhat understood the technique, it probably had something to do with that spiral and the uppercut. Hey, he was a scientist after all, he could figure these things out.
"Nah. I could probably only pull of something at half power with him. His aura ain't hot enough. He's calculating enough to not just get pissed." Ranma shrugged. "And I didn't want to freeze the kid, I'd've probably killed him if I went deeper. Can't have that now." He looked down at Akamaru for a moment. "You might as well go check on him. He'll be fine in a bit though if my guess is right."
The dog gave Ranma an odd look and barked slightly before trotting over to his best friend and master.
"Well, I guess I can explain part of it." Ranma said after a moment. The Soul of Ice would be useful to these people if they cold ever master it. "Here, hold on a sec." he said as he pulled out his backpack from his Ki-folded Hidden Weapons space and dropped it onto the ground, rifling through it until he pulled out a thermos and a mug. "Ed, hold onto the for me, will ya?" he uncorked the thermos and poured some steaming hot water from it into the mug before handing him the Thermos when it was sealed again. "I don't want my source of hot water to get cold." He then proceeded to show everyone the steam.
Hinata watched with fascination. She could barely see the Chakra the Ranma was using. When he launched that attack, it was only a small portion used, and she could see the 'cold' seeping out from him once again. This time though, she could feel it and suddenly there was another flash before her eyes and she watched as everyone else went wide-eyed, and cold. "You're brely using any energy for that." she muttered, barely loud enough to be heard.
"Ah, yeah, practice makes perfect, he said, turning the mug upside down, there was no water coming out. "I am the best after all." Ranma said with a grin. "Anyway, I make myself and the area around me cold with the Soul of Ice and I use it against my opponents. That should be about the best I can say with keeping my own life in my hands." Ranma said nonchalantly as she handed the mug over to Shino since he seemed to want to inspect it.
"Intriguing." he murmured, handing it over Kurenai.
"It's...solid ice. You flash froze this?" Kurenai looked at the teen who was scratching the back of his head sheepishly.
"It envolves deading my emotions, becoming a mask of ice. I can do it slowly, but it's more uncomfortable to those around." he said softly.
"Fascinating." Ed said after a moment. "Using your own life energy to cool the air, it's like the opposite of that womanizer who can make sparks and explosions with his Alchemy." Ed rubbing his chin in thought. It was all just a martial arts technique too. It was something he could learn! He'd beat Al yet! "Oh right. Anyway. Genjutsu, right? What exactly is that again?"
"Illusions that effect the mind, would be the simple way to put it." Kurenai said, handing the mug back to Ranma who put it down onto the ground so it wouldn't melt on him.
"That don't sound to bad." Ranma said with a shrug.
"Well, they can go from causing pleasure, to pain to outright killing you." Kurenai continued calmly. "Since you have no clue how to use Ninjutsu and seals, it's pretty much a guarentee you don't know how to use or counter Genjutsu." She was momentarily interrupted by a groan of pain coming from Kiba but she went on. "I'll be using minor genjutsu to see how you deal with them, and if you can, onto more advanced ones."
"Cool, though, I wanna see those Hand Seals first, that okay?" Ranma blinked a couple of times as she went through them with practiced ease, at the last, he frowned. "One more time, will ya?" Kurenai did, causing him to frown some more.
"What is it, Ranma?" Ebisu asked.
"Those are the Twelve Chinese Zodiac. I learned those when I was a kid. You mean I can use Ninjutsu and stuff just by using those?" Ranma frowned again, looking at Ed whom just shrugged. He'd personally never heard of it. "Well, from where I'm from, each year has a different animal of the Zodiac." He made a symbol for the Rat. "This one is Rat and is supposed to happen in 1984 where I'm from, which is in a couple of years." He ripped through them mechanically, calling out each as he did.
"Let me try." Ed said, it took him a few times to get a few of them, but he was a genius after all, and not even a few mintues later, he had all of the handseals down, he just couldn't race through them as easily, though, Monkey gave him the hardest time. "It's harder with these gloves." Ed said dejectedly, it'd be even harder without them on too. Stupid Auto-Mail.
"Well, to get yourself out of a Genjutsu, or someone else you use this handseal and say 'Kai'." Kurenai proceed to show her two new students as Kiba made his way back over, giving Ranma a death glare which the teen promptly ignored.
For the next two hours, they went through the motions of Genjutsu. Ranma wasn't quite as adept at getting out of them, he was about on average like most genin's were, it was really to be expected with him, though anything that dealt with water was promptly gotten out of. Ed on the other hand, Genjutsu just didn't seem to work on him. His mind was overly analytical due to his proficiency with Alchemy and having seen The Truth. It also didn't help that he could also suddenly feel his arm and leg in every single illusion, ensuring it was completely off to begin with. All in all, it was a valid experience for the two, and Ranma was certainly inspired to add this kind of stuff to his training regime, especially if it meant ways for him to one up everyone once he got him. The old fart would have nothing on him soon enough.
After they were all said and done, waving goodbye to the team, even Kiba grudingly giving respect, they made their way back to the village proper. "Thanks for helping us, Ebisu." Ranma said. "Can I just use any of those training grounds to practice?"
"No problem." Ebisu paused and frowned ever so slightly. "I'm not sure really, I'll ask Hokage-sama, but the roof of the palce you're staying should suffice until then. It's pretty sturdy considering whom lives there."
"Yeah, that Naruto kid. Who is he anyway?" Ed butted in, snapping out of his silent reverie. "And why's he gone?"
"Ah, Jiraiya-Sama decided to take him on a three year training trip. He's just a Genin of the village." Ebisu shrugged, Ed frowned at that but didn't voice his suspicions on the matter. Soon enough they were back at Naruto's place. "I'll go see Hokage-sama now and I'll get back to you soon." With that, the training Jounin disappeared.
"I don't like this." Ranma suddenly hissed. "We're stuck in a village of people that could kill us whenever they want and there's nothing we can really do about it." He looked over at Ed. "Hold on for a second." He picked up the smaller teen and jumped up, using a couple ledges here and there to make it to the balcony.
"Damnit, Ranma, give me more warning next time." Ed cursed under his breath and shook his head when Ranma let him go. "I agree though." he added sardonically.
"You catch what Ebisu said just a moment ago too, huh?" Ranma canted an eyebrow, pulling himself up to the roof while Ed watched.
"Why would this 'Jiraiya-Sama' guy take a mere brat, for one. Three years no less. It's kind of suspicious. Ugh. I need to find out some more information." Ed sighed, leaning against the railing. "I should go snooping around to see what I can find." he shooks his head and muttered under his breath.
"Oh well." Ranma replied from the roof. "I figure it'll be best to wait until tomorrow sometime. I mean, he'll be back later today and we want to play the gracious guests. Especially considering we've only know each other for what, minutes before we met them?"
"Yeah, but you're not a ninja. The two ninja I've come across before this attacked me outright. Though, I suppose they're both okay people." Ed mumbled, thinking about Lan-Fan and Fu. "Ugh. I don't know what the hell to think."
"Then don't. Just react for now." Ranma said with a faint grunt. "Just move, sometimes you don't have the time to stop and look over the situation, just keep going and don't look back. No point in judging or regreting the past."
Ed peered out frm where he was on the Balcony, shifting himself up to look over the roof, watching Ranma stand there in a one legged pose, his other leg was at a Ninety degree angle in front of him while he started to throw small punches. He even crouched down, keeping the leg straight in front of him as he continued to throw the punches. Everything about the motions screamed 'perfection' to Ed. "How long have you been training again?"
"I never mentioned that, did I?" Ranma said without looking away, switching legs very slowly, painfully slow to Ed. "Been able to throw a solid punch since I was Two, or so I'm told. Pops took me on a Twelve year training trip once I turned Four. The Neko-Ken was at Six and 'cause of it, I don't remember anythin' from before then." He paused as he stood up, stretching a little bit more and started to do the same workout, just on his hands instead of his feet. "Well, I got minor things here and there I can remember, but other than, ain't got nothin' for memories."
Ed watched and listened with fascination. Sure they had gone over each other's stories, well, the quick notes version anyway and had decided that they'd trust each other, for now, just ebfore Ebisu came and grabbed them. "One more question." he stated, making sure to avoid the 'That was just one.' crack.
"Shoot." Ranma said as he switched to his other hand.
"Can you help me with my own Martial Arts? I don't have my brother here to spar with and I don't want to get rusty." Ed asked after a moment. "And if you want, in exchange, I could teach you some bits of Alchemy."
"That's an interesting trade." Ranma said, scratching his chin with his free hand despite being at a very odd angle while kicking in a few directions. "Sure, I'll take you up on that. Though, I'm not exactly the world's best trainer. The one person I tried to train got pissed at me because I never hit her. Stupid Tomboy didn't understand what I was trying to do." he grumbled.
"That Akane girl you mentioned before Ebisu came by?" Ed snickered slightly. "Sounds like she tries to hard and fails as a result."
"Yeah, she's got no patience whatsoever." Ranma said with a sigh and threw himself into the air, several metres no less, just with one arm and came out of the stance with a twist of his body and two spinning kicks before landing with practiced ease. "Can't cook, can't swim, has a temper with no fuse..." he trailed off and shook his head ruefully. "Yet I still like her for some reason."
"Well you spent however long with her. I guess it's 'Adapt or Die' as Sensei would sometimes say." Ed nodded and dropped back down to the balcony, leaving Ranma alone for a moment.
"Adapt or Die...Anything Goes after all." Ranma said with a sigh as he looked to the sky, suddenly depressed, but at least this time he knew why and he could finally think for himself and for once he finally understood where he feelings really fell.
Notes from the Author:
That was more reviews than I thought I'd've been getting, I do hope I get more, they keep my heart a flutter. The above chapter is pretty much the last of the introduction crap outside of a minor bit and Team Guy and Anko showing off in the enxt one, I think. I honestly don't know, I'm writing this as I get it and posting it when I figure a good break would help. Oh, and Sakura, I suppose. I guess she is kind of important. *cough*
However, onward! Not much to say to the reviewers except the one note about my typos.
I use Wordpad and I really don't go over my own stuff, I'm sure I've capilized some weird things in here with this one and written words differently here and there. Probably Automail being one of them and I know I'm off with my numbers. I don't know if those should be capped or not. I also don't have a spell checker normally and I don't use the one up there because I didn't notice it until just now. Wow. There's my new thing learned for the day.
Anyway hope you enjoy, it's not quite as long as the first one...but I did type it up in two days instead of over the week like I did the first one. The third one probably won't be coming until the weekend due to the fact that I work Splitshifts now on Wednsday and Thursday (Suuuuuucks). Please drop a review if you've got the time.
Finally: Yay March. I can't wait until the 9th. ._.;;