Author note: Admittedly I have been sitting on this chapter for nearly a year, and got busy with many of my other stories, I am going to release what I have here for Chapter nine as a filler, the next chapter will be full and I plan to get started on it tomorrow.
Regrettably I am sorry it took this long, and sorry I waited so long to release what I did have down.. but I have been under a lot of stress and I have way too much on my plate as many of you have figured out though that is hardly an excuse for my silence.
A.U.R. Ch:9 (Filler)
Stepping out of the subway both Nabiki and her younger Sister gave their surroundings a once over observing Ranma walking towards them with three other young women, all still dressed in their school uniforms.
"Akane Nabiki I didn't expect you both to be here so soon," Ranma called, as she finally came to a stop, her new found friends doing the same.
Nabiki looked to her sister's fiancee. "Actually your the one running late Ranko we left at the normal time we always do."
"Ah yea guess you are right.. my new friends and me stopped for coffee on the way to my grandparent's house. Speaking of I should introduce them to you." Ranma then gestured to her blonde haired friend. "This is Kokawa Aiko.. and the goth chick her name is Takeda Saiya.. and last but not least this is our class representative Kaneko Arisu."
"Nice to meet you." All three girls said in unison, giving a friendly wave.
Akane gave a friendly smile and wave, replying with. "I am Tendo Akane, and this is my sister Tendo Nabiki." she said the last with a gesture towards her sister.
"I know who you are... You're the infamous Ice Queen Of Furinkan High." Arisu stated in a seemingly indifferent tone, her gaze fixed on the middle Tendo sister.
Ranma looked between her friends feeling the air surrounding them seeming to drop in temperature. "Eh we are all friends right certainly we don't need to fight right?"
"Mwah fight this is me you are talking about Ranko-Baby," Nabiki said coolly keeping a blank mask while looking to Arisu. 'Grr its that bitches little sister!' she exclaimed mentally.
Ranko breathed a sigh of relief. 'I guess that was foolish of me to think she would actually get physical with anyone.. still seems they have history with one another.. wonder what had happened to ruffle their feathers?'
"It is getting late so we all should probably head home," Akane called, as she turned to walk towards her temporary home.
Nabiki turned to follow her sister. "Yea. Say Ranko how was school?"
"It went better than I had expected.. I made three friends and well I wasn't dodging Pineapples and stuff so went great actually." she replied cheerfully, as she and her friends started to follow.
China, Joketsuzoku village.
The village of Joketsuzoku was rather large surrounded by farm lands, along with rather dense forest which surrounded the plateau it was built on. A wall surrounded the village with only four entrance's which were guarded by four sentries each.
After two months of constant travel Herb and her retainers were currently traveling through the south field towards the village.
One of the sentries scanned the area observing three familiar travelers. 'It's that woman again who was looking for our matriarch now what is it she is after?' she wondered to herself, speaking on her thoughts. "Halt traveler what is your business this time do you seek someone else?"
"Actually I have come for personal reasons.. I need to consult with one of your medicine women." Herb quickly relayed, coming to a stop, her retainers also coming to a stop behind her.
The sentry considered the cloaked traveler's request a moment. 'This is starting to remind me of that time that outsider kept showing up and asking for directions.. He was wearing the strangest yellow bandanna. Yes he was a character that one.' reaching a decision."You may enter.. but those males will have to remain outside the village."
"Lime Mint stay here until I return." Herb commanded, before walking past the sentries and into the village, shortly vanishing from sight leaving both Lime and Mint to fall into conversation with one another whilst they waited.
Herb stopped walking briefly scanning her surroundings, turning to a soft voice calling to her.
"Miss are you looking for something?" a Amazon girl who was rather young, dressed in a green silk shirt, and brown skirt, her straight purple hair done up into a ponytail inquired.
Feeling lost Herb looked to the young girl giving a nervous smile. "I need to visit your villages medicine woman will you take me to her please?" she requested.
"Yes follow me." the girl called, gesturing for the dragon princess to follow, at which the two quickly went further into the village wading through the crowds of Amazons in the market area, arriving at a small hut a few minutes later.
The young girl then gestured to the hut. "Here you go Miss.." the girl called, turning an expectant gaze towards the older woman.
"Thank you," Herb replied, reaching into her cloak retrieving a gold coin of which she offered to the girl who happily accepted the coin before running off into the crowd.
Herb approached the entrance to the hut, her anxiety building with every step she took, many thoughts playing across her mind, before finally walking through the entrance lowering her hood as she did so.
At a rather large hut which wasn't very far away, several Amazon elders were exiting the structure, along with a rather tall middle aged gentleman dressed in white silk pants, and matching long sleeve silk shirt that did nothing to hide his finely chiseled chest and muscular arms, his hair raven, eye's green.
At his side a attractive young woman who could have passed for Herb's twin dressed in a white silk robe with decorative flower patterns, her tricolor hair was done in a bun adorned with two gold decorative sinbun needle's, white bangs shadowed her amber eye's, a staff in her right hand that was made of oak, crowned by a crystal skull which resembled that of a dragons head.
"Dear is that our son?" the woman inquired, pointing towards the hut Herb was in the process of entering.
The gentleman looked towards where his wife had indicating observing a brief glimpse of a pink Mane, decorated with a gold ornamental comb. 'Strange why would he be here?' he wondered to himself, before giving a brief nod. "So it would seem would you like to go say hello my dear?"
"Yes I would.. I also want to know if he won that rematch he went all the way to Japan for." the woman cheerfully whispered, before walking towards the hut with her Husband at her side of whom was also rather curious to know the results.
Inside the medicine Hut Herb scanned the room she now was standing in observing a shelf with various ingredients strewn across its surface, several scrolls were stacked on another nearby shelf, a small table sat nearby with a human skull sitting on it's surface crowned with a candle that was currently lit providing light for the small structure.
A door was on the east wall which lead to an adjacent room which probably was the medicine woman's bedroom, a young woman with straight raven hair, dressed in a purple robe was currently in the process of reading a scroll not yet seeming to notice she had a visitor whom was standing by a table made from tree limbs that was setup on west wall underneath a small window frame.
The woman continued scanning the scroll she was holding when her attention was called to someone clearing their throat. "Oh hello sorry about that can I help you." she quickly apologized, turning to the dragon prince.
"I-I well am in need of your services." Herb nervously replied since she wasn't used to seeing an amazon much less a woman about an illness.
The medicine woman set her scroll on a nearby table. "What is the the nature of the problem?"
"I am not sure. I have been sick in the mornings.. and it comes and goes during the day." Herb explained, still rather nervous not directly meeting woman's gaze.
The woman looked thoughtfully towards the dragon princess. "Well, lets have a look at you then."
Anxiety building Herb opened her robe fixing to remove it, when the medicine woman walked up stopping her with her right hand, and with her left placed it on the dragon princess's abdomen, unbeknownst to them two individuals had just entered the hut behind them.
"Well I have good news I think." The woman said as she continued to feel her patients belly.
Herb bit her lip slightly in concern. "Wha-what is it?"
"Congratulations you're pregnant." The Amazon woman cordially replied.
Herb stood there mouth opening and closing like a fish, before her eye's rolled to the back of her head passing out due to mental stress and physical exhaustion, the Amazon woman catching her before she could hit the floor, Herbs father seeming to nearly fall as well but managed to recover, while the mother seeming to gain an excited expression.
"Grand-babies grand-babies!" The mother sang letting her staff rest against the wall, producing two fans with the Musk crest on them, proceeding to dance.
The woman carefully lowered Herb down, observing the woman who was singing. "Hello, are you the Mother?"
"Why yes I am and this is his 'er should I say her father." Herbs mother replied ceasing her dance, her husband walking further into the hut, gazing down at his son currently daughter in bewilderment.
A day later... in a rather large hut that was reserved for visiting dignitaries, of which was furnished with everything one royal taste could possibly need, the structure consisting of six rooms, one of which the Musk Royal guard consisting of eight men two of which were Lime and Mint were staying in, in the second largest of the six rooms Herb was in her futon sound asleep, Her Mother sitting at her right currently reading a book, her staff leaning against a bookcase that was nearby.
In the largest room Herb's father slept soundly, a couple guards were stationed outside the door, in the living area, four more guards were protecting the main entrance.
Herb started to stir, a rather feminine yawn escaping her lips while stretching her arms and legs causing the blanket that she was resting under to rustle, after a minute she sat up. "Uhg.. my head is killing me. And I had the strangest nightmare some Amazon told me I was pregnant.. but that is impossible." she sleepily mumbled aloud.
"Oh but it wasn't a dream it was all very much real your pregnant my dearest darling child." a familiar voice called, of which caused Herb to tense up, her head turning almost mechanically.
Observing her mother was indeed sitting to her right Herb once again fainted, at which her mother shook her head, lifting her left hand palm outwards towards her daughter a bright glow seemed to manifest.
"Oh no, you don't dearest! your not getting out of this that easily Son or should I say Daughter." the mother stated coolly, at which her son turned daughter's eye's once again opened, her facial features taking on a fearful expression.
Herb slowly sat up the blanket falling revealing she was unclothed, at which she quickly picked the blanket back up out of embarrassment, her cheeks turning red. 'What is she doing here?' she internally questioned, then her eye's going wide. "Is he here?"
"Of course your Father is here silly he is asleep in the other room." Herb's mother curtly replied, giving her son turned daughter a cheerful smile.
Herb looked down at the blanket observing flower patterns on it which looked hand stitched. "What are you doing here?"
"Well, a lot has happened since you were away in Japan for your rematch. Beijing has been increasing troop movement near our borders and are overstepping their bounds. She paused a moment before continuing.
"With great reluctance since we are a proud people your father and me had come to the Amazons for a diplomatic meeting in hopes we could combine the strengths of our two tribes.. unfortunately they are a stubborn people and think they can handle this threat on their own..if only we had more leverage to make them see that only by combining the strengths of the two tribes can we hope to weather the coming storm." the mother explained followed by a weary sigh.
Herb sat silently her features still one of worry. 'What are the odds they would be here now of all times.. I had hoped to not see them until after I found out what was wrong with my curse this changes everything dammit.' she thought glumly.
"Now then I think you have some explaining to do.. firstly I would like to know if you won your rematch and gained your honor back?" The mother questioned in a motherly tone, while looking at her daughter expectantly.
Breaking from her thoughts Herb gave a silent nod, not yet meeting her mother's scrutinizing gaze.
"Well that is good to hear.. considering it all started with your getting cursed in the first place." the mother said coolly.
Herb with a weary sigh. "How long have you known?"
"Awhile now since before you left for your rematch with that Ranma person.. Your father is half dragon, and I am a full dragon dear did you think we wouldn't smell the difference between a boy and a girl?" the mother said with a slight giggle.
Herb feeling sheepish, looking up to her mother briefly. "I guess I was a fool to think I could hide it from my own parents."
"The thing that troubles me Dear is.. when you said you were going for a rematch to bring home this Ranma as your bride. I hadn't expected you to come back as the bride and a pregnant one at that." the mother said with a cute innocence.
Herb slumped her shoulder's, gaze downcast. 'I'll never live this down... I will be the laughing stock of the entire kingdom!' she thought with terror wishing the ground would open up and swallow her whole.
"So who is my new son-in-law?" the mother questioned with heightened curiosity.
Herb looked up to her mother looking as if a deer caught in headlights. "Well you see after our battle I offered to get Ranma a drink and we went to my tent and drank together I was a man at the time.. at some point I ended up doused with water.. and well afterword we left together and I took Ranma part of the way home..." she trailed trying to remember.
"Please tell me it wasn't either of your retainers?" The mother questioned with a look of concern.
Herb furiously shook her head negatively. "No..no it wasn't them it was.. it was.." she trailed off, the vague memory of the event playing across her mind.
It was around seven o'clock in the evening, the sun slowly going down leaving Prince Herb's camp, as well as the beach that had served as his and Ranma's battlefield for they're duel in shadowed darkness. Ranma sat near a campfire in female form, her hair still saturated from the ocean she had been kicked into at some point during the duel, a white towel wrapped around her torso, shaking as the cool air attacked her skin, the fires warmth seeming to calm her emotions.
"I..I lost." she muttered inaudibly, staring directly into the fire, clutched in her right hand fist was a chain that dangled down, which looped through a silver ring which sparkled in the moonlight. Herb for his part sat triumphantly on the other side of the fire, in his left hand was a bottle filled with some kind of alcohol, in his right he held a tin cup which he poured some of its contents in.
Hanging above the fire from a chain connected to an arched piece of metal that was staked into the ground was a teakettle, steam rising from its spout.
Herb looked too his red-haired possible wife to be, gaining a slight frown. "Yes so you lost.. but it isn't the end of the world you know.. here drink this it will help your mood." he called, holding the tin cup he had just filled to the red-head, who looked to him with her blue orbs, slowly taking the proffered cup.
"Hows it not the end of the world.. I.. am to be married to a man.. I am a man.. supposed to be a man among men.. how am I supposed to explain this to everyone back home huh?" Ranma half shouted, before sipping from the cups contents, its taste tangy and sweet.
Herb exhaled a slight breath. "You did agree to the terms of the match so you knew what you were getting yourself into should you lose.. you did.. but I am a man of my word.. I gave you an item that will allow you a chance to control the curse.. and tone back the chaos involved.. I myself have a ring just like it." he explained, lifting his right hand showing his ring finger.
"What good is it if I will never be a man anyways huh? How do I know you don't get me back to that palace of yours you won't lock me with that ladle.. huh?" Ranma questioned, a stray tear fell down her cheek since depression was reining supreme among her emotions.
Herb shook his head at the red-head. "I have no intention of locking your curse unless it is your wish.. I am genuinely interested in you.. Ranma as a whole.. not one side or the other.. I promise you I just simply wish to get to know you.. if we don't work out.. well I'll send you back home.. and you can keep the ring as a token of friendship." he explained calmly, while pouring himself a drink.
"How do I know you will keep your word huh? It wouldn't be the first time you locked my curse.. you tried to kill me. give me one reason I should trust you?" Ranma countered, finishing her cups contents.
Herb sighed in slight frustration. "I give you my word." he paused standing up from his spot walking over taking hold of the kettle bringing it over to the red-head pouring its contents over her head returning her to male-form.
He then continued. "I as I said before I am a man of my word.. I will even give you some time to get your affairs in order.. all I ask is that when the time comes you come home.. we get to know each other.. and if we can possibly love one another equally we will get married.. if not I will send you either home or to wherever it is you want to go safe and sound, and you will be able to keep the ring as both a token of friendship, as well as a way to control your curse." he explained, before downing his own cups contents in one go.
"You give me your word.. and promise?" Ranma hesitantly questioned, looking to the prince with suspicion, of whom gave a nod of his head.
Herb nodded to the raven-haired boy. "I promise Ranma. I say with sincerity I won't break my word with you."
"I still don't trust you Herb," Ranma stated, not bothering to say the man's title who stood before him.
Herb gave the raven-haired boy a mused expression, Tossing the kettle aside. "Very well... but until I can prove it shall we drink together? I have quite the assortment of liqueurs." he offered.
"Sure I guess.. do you have something sweet?" Ranma hesitantly questioned, turning his eyes back to the fire before him, a slight aura of depression surrounding his person.
Herb gave a nod. "Of course." he called offering a hand to the raven-haired boy, whom reached up taking the proffered hand of which Ranma took to help him stand, then both walked over to the tent where they went inside to sample the various contents of liqueur inside.
Herb attempted to recall what happened past them entering the tent, however it was all fuzzy only thing she could clearly remember was walking Ranma home in the dead of the night.
'I just don't understand how this could have happened.. Ranma why? I had no intention of getting with you while you were drunk.. did you do it to me as revenge for losing the match?' she inwardly queried knowing full well the object of her question wasn't around to answer. Of course she also knew deep down it was just the alcohol the Ranma she had come to know wouldn't stoop that low or so she thought.
"I see so perhaps its time I meet the man who is the father of my grandchild or grandchildren." her mother stated, reaching up with her left hand stroking her daughter's hair ever so softly.
Herb looked at her mother with an inquisitive gaze. "You sure you wish to meet him now. I mean its such a long ways away and you were just talking about Beijing?" she queried.
"You forget who you are talking to dear.. unlike your father and you I have quite a bit of training in the art of sorcery, which means travel will take less time." her mother responded.
Adding in behind that. "Oh I wish I could have actually been able to raise you from birth.. but your father had decided and insisted it was best to separate us due to Musk law.. too bad I only got to meet you once you were quite older I could have had you on my level of magic by now, but I digress shall we be going soon?"
"My father not going to scold me before I go?" Herb inquired of her mother, her gaze directed to the covers.
Shaking her head negatively. "Actually your father isn't ready to see you just yet.. may be best to give him some time to think about it. I won't say he is happy about everything going on with you.. but I am sure in the end he will come around.. besides the fact you are with child at all is a boon for the tribe as you well know birth rates have been low among our people." she pointed out.
Upon considering their destination. "Dearest what attracted you to this Ranma anyways?" she inquired.
"I-Uh well I when I found he had a curse like my own and was quite attractive it made me curious.. and well with the use of what little magic I possessed had established that his female form was compatible.. and had the highest chance of success to bear a child for me." Herb explained, not once looking up.
Her mother gained an intrigued expression. "So you did at least put some thought into all of this.. but it backfired it would seem that it is not this Ranma bearing your child.. but you who will bear his."
"Mark my words if things work out.. he will find out what its like," Herb promised, a slight bit of angst to her features.
Her mother smiled at her words. "Oh, I should hope it works out.. because due to Musk law... and due to his sense of Honor if he has any at all I do believe he will be obligated to marry you." she pointed out.
"I don't wish to force him.. I truly want this love to grow equally. To force him would only serve to damage this fragile chance we have together." Herb stated, turning her gaze to her mother.
The mother nodded her head. "I am not saying to force him.. but the fact remains you are indeed going to have his child.. it is a simple fact he should do whats right and at the very least give you a chance to be his especially if he has a shred of decency in him at all. Not to mention it would be the honorable thing to do." she countered.
To be continued...