The Heavenly Turnip is not responsible for Ranma 1/2 or Video Girl Ai, in the USA both series are copyrights of Viz Anime. It does not seek the earthy profits you mortals crave. This is a foolish story mixing two series that should never be together in the same sentence. Some knowledge of Ranma 1/2 is useful to fully understand the words of the Turnip, but similar knowledge of Video Girl Ai is not required. Praise Charles Townshend!
Chapter 1: "For Heartbroken Eyes Only"
He shook the desert sand and the snow out of his boots as he wiped the sweat and dirt from under his bandana. There was a dense thicket of broad leaf trees crowding around the small camp he had constructed. It might have struck any other young man as odd to wake up in environs vastly different from the one that he had went to sleep in, but this young man knew better. People kept on moving things around as he slept, as he walked, as he… did virtually anything. Damn those people, and Ranma too.
Ryoga decided that he was bored. That was typical. His wandering made it hard to simply survive, let alone remain entertained. He tried not to think about the monotony of his endless hike; because there wasn't anything he could do about it. This time could be different. There was a rusty, old, broken down portable television and video cassette player seated by the cold ashes of last night's campfire. Remarkable, because he was pretty sure that this was cutting edge technology. It shouldn't look so old. If this worked, he may have much more comfortable travels in the future. Material goods and frequent human contact were the things he lacked. Now he had one of them.
Ryoga turned the battered machine on. It came to life slowly, reluctantly. It moaned and complained. When it finally was finished it rumbled threateningly, and its screen displayed snow defiantly. It was about to blow every second that power button stayed pushed in. The bandana boy furrowed his thick eyebrows and bared his impressive fangs, like a wolf. He played with the rabbit ears in frustration. The only appreciable result was that the TV grunted and moaned in a new way each time it was repositioned. It clearly didn't like the attention. Ryoga took stock of the subtropical vegetation surrounding him. He was on the surface of Mars again! Of course he couldn't get a good signal! But… he had other options…
After rummaging through his backpack for a while he pulled out a worn cassette case. It was blank, except for the words "Video Girl" scrawled on it in chicken scratch. He peeked inside. There was a tape inside. No surprise there. He received this tape under very strange circumstances…
Ryoga was exhausted. He had been hauling his weary carcass across difficult alpine landscapes long after the sun had become obscured by the horizon. He saw glimmering light, florescence unnatural to the dark rural night. He was drawn towards it. Then it appeared. A lone storefront. A neon sign proclaimed to the world that this store was "PARADISE" in English. Ryoga was fluent in English, although he was unaware of it. He leaned against the outside wall for a spell. Forcing air into his lugs with long pants. He picked himself up and entered the store. He always needed to be resupplied.
He was immediately confronted by a short portly man with glinting glasses and a massive bushy mustache.
"You are very special. Only the pure of heart find this place."
Ryoga scanned the store and discovered it was a video rental. Small, but well stocked.
"Is this China? It's smaller than I thought"
"…or the extremely stupid…"
"Nevermind… Take This!"
A rectangular thing was shoved into Ryoga's grasp with such authority that he couldn't possibly refuse. He discovered that it was a cassette case. He looked at the man in confusion.
"You'll need this too"
Ryoga took the worn portable TV. He scratched the back of his matted black hair, still bewildered.
"Don't worry about it. The television is waterproof and ki-powered, which both you and this tape seem to have plenty of."
"The tape has ki?"
"Be quiet and don't think about it! Take this card! It's yours for life"
Ryoga jut nodded. Resistance was futile. He stuffed the card under his bandanna. He had just enough room in there between the granola bars and the fresh pair of socks. The man spun him around and started to push him out of the store with surprising force.
"Have a nice day valued customer!"
Ryoga found himself outside. He spun around and couldn't see the store anywhere. In its stead was a vast sea of sand dunes.
"...weirdness…the world is a dark and lonely place…"
…Ryoga pulled his thoughts back into the present and shook himself. He pushed the videotape into the TV and pushed play. The reluctant machine responded with choppy animation of a hazy image.
"For heartbroken eyes only"
Ryoga quirked an eyebrow. What kind of movie is this?
A beautiful girl appeared on the screen. She appeared to be about Ryoga's age, with bright flowing red hair in a unique style. She had low bangs with two curling cowlicks at her temples. Her blue eyes were so deep Ryoga felt like he could drown. She seemed shocked.
"Were am I?'
Her voice was pleasant and sweet.
She grimaced and peeked around her with one eye. She observed her body with disdain. She was wearing weird sci-fi clothes, and she was housed in what looked like the bowels of a computer. She peered out at the boy staring intently back at her. Her expression a confused combination of horror, hate, and hope.
"Oh shit… I… I… was hoping it was some dumb nightmare…"
Ryoga was taken aback by the volatile emotions he perceived in this girl. She wasn't even real. It was creepy.
"I gotta get outa here. I can do that, right?"
Then the unexpected happened.
Ryoga shielded his gaze when without warning the battered television exploded with blinding light. Lightning bolts decorated the air and it took all of Ryoga's unimaginable strength to withstand the force from the screen. Then he saw her again. A life-size silhouette of the beautiful girl was pressed against the screen, as if she could leave it. Then her hands pressed through the screen as two dimensions became three. The girl was almost all the way out when the old TV protested mightily. It overheated and the girl was suddenly consumed in excruciating electricity. Ryoga could feel the power ripple through the hairs on his arms. He watched in horror as the girl screamed in agony. He tried to reach out to her but couldn't. Then it was over and the girl collapsed in front of him. Very, very real. There was only one thing he could say.
Ryoga just stared. He could now fully appreciate her three dimensional form. Even crumpled up she was stunning. Her face was open and expressive. Her body was small, but perfectly proportioned. She wore a strange yellow tunic and a pair of pants. A metallic ruff folded over her generous bust and two long pink knotted tassels hung from the back of her costume. Her boots were very futuristic, strait from a b movie. Ryoga new that she was real. He could feel the powerful, almost electric, ki wafting from her body. She was clearly much more powerful than her delicate appearance would make it seem.
Was she all right? He checked for her pulse. She had no pulse… but she was breathing. She must not be human. How was he supposed be tell if she was okay if she wasn't human? Then she moaned and started to move.
So much pain… She tried to pull herself together, to move. It was hard. Did it work? Was she out of that damned TV? She forced her eyes open and saw worried hazel eyes looking down at her. She could feel her duty instinctively. It was her job to help this boy find happiness, and all that crap.
"Are you okay?"
"…stop yellin' dammit. you're givin' me a headache…"
She pulled herself up into a splayed leg, seated position. She tried to focus on the world spinning around her. Eventually she was able to make sense of the blurry universe around her. She was still a girl. She also wasn't human. She could feel the difference in her life force, and she missed the sound of her own heartbeat. She looked to her right and saw the rotten old machine. She was free… sort of. She turned her gaze to the person looming protectively over her. He was a sturdy young man, with the wilderness in his eyes. Everything about him was animal-like. He had thick black mane that careened wildly about his head. His body was tensed and powerful, with thick limbs, like a bear. His mouth seemed ready for a savage snarl at any moment. His teeth were wolfish. She could feel the power of his raging aura. It was oddly familiar. She could feel the loneliness in it, and without wishing to, she empathized with it. He was handsome in a barbaric way… what was she thinking?
"Hi… I'm a video girl, an' I'm here to make ya happy…"
She winced at the way that sounded. She didn't like this at all, this Video Girl business.
"Yup. I live in a tape. I'll always be in that damn tape…"
She pulled her knees to her chest. Two things she forgot about impeded this effort. She looked down at them in disgust. This wasn't right. Ordinary water shouldn't do these things.
Ryoga tried to restrain a blush. This girl was strange, but what could he expect? She wasn't human after all. Maybe this could make him happier. Maybe he could tolerate his endless journeys if he had some company. He looked back at the girl and frowned. She was inspecting her body with dread and curiosity, mumbling.
"Who are you?"
Interrupted from her thoughts, she looked up at him oddly. Like she didn't belong on earth with everyone else.
"Ranma Saotome… sorry about this"
"Hey there… somebody home?"
"It can't be…"
"Can't be what?"
"Saotome's… a… man."
"… how do ya know that?"
Ranma inspected the boy a second time. She knew that she must have met him before. He felt familiar. Something about bread… and being lost.
Ranma watched the vacantness in the boys face slowly disappear as the tide of red washed over it. His face contorted into wild rage. She could feel the madness and the pain. It was thick and heavy and had an acrid taste, like motor oil. She was beginning to realize that she could sense Ryoga's feelings. She never imagined that he could feel this way. He roared.
"RANMA! IS THIS SOME SICK JOKE! WHY DO YOU MAKE MY LIFE A LIVING HELL!"?
Quickly becoming incensed herself, Ranma screamed back, "WADDA YOU TALKIN' ABOUT!"
"YOU HAVE DISGUISED YOURSELF AS A GIRL JUST TO TORMENT ME!"
"YOU STUPID FUCK! I'M STUCK THIS WAY!" Ranma dug her feet into the ground and launched a haymaker. It hit him like a monster truck. He was merely dazed for a moment.
Ryoga quickly regained his focus and charged Ranma like a boar. "YOU WON"T RUN AWAY THIS TIME COWARD!"
They exchanged blows rapidly. The ferocity and speed was astounding. Had anyone been watching, this fight would have been legendary. Every strike cracked in the air as the sound barrier was forcibly broken again and again.
"I DIDN'T RUN ASSHOLE! YOU GOT LOST!"
Ranma grabbed Ryoga just above the elbow and nimbly leaped under his legs, pulling his arm all awhile. He landed face first into the dirt with Ranma straddling him, holding him in a combination lock.
"YOU WON'T BRING ME TO MY KNEES RANMA!"
Ranma was astonished as Ryoga lifted both their bodies into the air on one arm, and then launched them five meters into the air. She had forgotten just how powerful the vengeful teen was.
Ryoga wormed his way out of the lock in mid-air and drew his umbrella to slow his descent. The fact that he could use a one-ton parasol as a parachute was a testament to his skill. As they floated down he launched a salvo of bullet like punches. His attacks seemed to go through and around the agile girl. It was like trying to harm the wind with cannon balls. He had forgotten how fast the annoying teen was.
Ranma leapt to the side to avoid the cataclysmic impact of Ryoga's umbrella. If she remembered correctly the thing was made out of lead, and weighed nearly a ton. She could not afford to get hit. Ryoga managed to grab her wrist and flung her with enough force to tear through an ancient oak tree. She lifted herself from the debris with significant effort. Somehow her bizarre getup suffered no damage. Bandana shuriken flew toward her and she opened a gap in the assault by sweeping some of them away with a hand.
"Where do you get those things?"
She leapt through the hole left in the boys attack and found her hands caught in Ryoga's own. As they grappled he brought his greater bulk and strength to bear, and the ground beneath Ranma's feet began to give way. In desperation she reared back and smashed her skull into his.
They both were lying on their backs holding their foreheads in their hands. Damn that hurt. The both started to get up when their matching glares met.
"I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY FRIEND!" They both accused.
They both turned away with their arms crossed, barely restraining mutual fury. Ranma stood rigidly at attention, but Ryoga began to march away into a clearing in front of him. His rage allowed him to clear a strait path. Ranma rotated her head to watch him stomp in away. Her eyes followed him with rising panic. She recognized that clearing.
Ryoga left the trees behind him. His right foot found itself illuminated by the bright morning sun, then his left, followed by his furious mask and the rest of him. The air was clean and sweet with flowers and morning dew. The mountains were purple and majestic. The clearing revealed itself to be a wide valley inhabited by gold-green grass and a multitude of brilliant blue pools, each hiding its mystery in murky depths. It was fantastically beautiful, but Ranma remembered. How could she forget?
This was Jusenkyo, the most dangerous place on earth.
Ranma spun around in hysterics and shot like a bullet to give chase to the wayward boy ahead.
Ryoga's eyes hardened and he picked up the pace. He didn't want the jerk to catch up to him, to make fun of him anymore.
The blue pools drew closer.
This only seemed to confirm his dark suspicions. He ignored the beautiful girl in the odd garb with renewed vigor.
The pools grew still closer. Bamboo poles could now be made out. They reached elegantly out of the horrors found below.
"RYOGA! D'YA WANNA BE A CHICK TOO!"
This was not what he expected to hear. He stood stunned for an instant, and then whirled his head around.
But he was interrupted by a rock smashing into his temple. He staggered, his eyes spinning. Ranma's eyes widened in horror as she saw the boy descend into the water, making hardly a splash.
Ryoga knew he was underwater. He tried to break the surface, but there was an unseen barrier. Fear rose from the back of his throat. He needed to breathe. Then came the pain. He screamed silently. Water rushed into his lungs. He felt bones rearranging, changing. Black fur erupted all over his body. Darkness encroached from the periphery of his vision, until all was black.
Ranma stared at the pool. She was limp and unmoving. She sensed the emotion emanating from the pool. She could feel his terror, then the feelings stopped. Her eyes saw nothing, but instead reliving the past. She could no longer see his shadow in the depths. Did he transform, turn invisible? Or did the water consume him, earning Jusenkyo a new legend.
"Is too too bad. Mr. Customer fall in curse spring of drown pig. It has terrible legend of pig that drown five hundred year ago. He is pig now."
Ranma's face contorted into its own mask of fury. She vanished and The Jusenkyo Guide was thrown to the ground. Then lifted bodily with the collar of his shirt by the tiny girl. Her hands were white and clenching and her face purple, barely restraining the pulsing rage.
"YOU! WHY DID YA THROW A ROCK AT 'IM!"
The fat man sputtered broken Japanese in abject terror, "But... Ms. Customer… you and Mr. Customer was running and yelling… thought you bad person…"
"Killer or thief!"
Ranma said nothing.
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!... now listen ol' man… I ain't sayin' it twice. Get'im outa there… or I start snappin' bones."
She dropped him disdainfully on the dusty ground. He rolled to his feet quickly and ran to the pool. He drew a butterfly net from the folds of his coat and dipped it into the water. He fished around for a moment then his face brightened as he drew a small black piglet from the water. It wasn't conscious. It was still wearing Ryoga's bandannas.
"Mr. Customer not awake."
Ranma stepped up to him and stood firm, hands on her hips in an unconscious gesture of feminine anger.
"Give'im ta me"
"But Ms. Customer…"
"GIVE'IM TA ME!... I have'ta take care of him."
"He rent you?"
"Yeah, I'm playin' on his TV."
Wordlessly The Jusenkyo guide handed the small animal over to her. She cradled him and gently squeezed the water out of his lungs. The pig snorted a porcine cough.
"Outa the way, ol' man."
She pushed past the Chinese man aggressively, and walked toward the rim of the valley. She held the pig protectively all the way to the tree line, past the vined branches, and into the enveloping darkness of the forest.
Comments from the Heavenly Turnip
This story is going to go pretty smoothly. I have a vision of where this is going, and other chapters are already semi-complete. You can expect frequent updates for the near future.
Video Girl Ai is very vague when explaining the physiology and behavior of Video Girls, so I took some liberties to flesh it out. Other aspects of Ranma's nature will become apparent as the story progresses. Ranma's curse has much stronger mental impact than the spring of drowned girl. It is both a physical and mental transformation.
The Ranma X Ryoga pairing is certainly a stretch, however it is the only pairing between Ranma and a male that could possibly make sense. They are in many respects kindred spirits, and Ryoga is the only male character, besides Dr. Tofu, in the entire series that Ranma ever develops respect for.
If you are a fan of Ranma and the Genie, that story is not dead. There is a new chapter in the works, I just wanted to have another story with a slightly more serious bent running concurrently.
Thank you for being so supportive of my writing, despite my obnoxious disclaimers.
By the way... Charles Townshend really was awesome.