Author Note: So I been working on this chapter off and on between my other projects, and between hospital visits since my health has been in and out here and there. This chapter is relatively short compared to some of my content but it is needed to further this story along to its conclusion.
I hope you will enjoy this installment, I will hope to have more very soon and when I say soon I do mean soon shortly after I get An Ultimatum Ranko another chapter which is in the works and nearly preparations for launch.
With that said on with the show! -Zeltronica
U.M. Chapter: 12
In the backroom of the Nekohanten Ke lun sat behind a table she used many a time for meetings with her staff, on the opposite side sat Neji, and her Brother Hiroto still in cursed form
Standing nearby was Sham'pu, and her daughter Sham'su along with her father Mu'su, and Ryou as well all looking on, and the elder had under the palm of her hand were some documents in a vanilla envelope.
"Would you two like some tea perhaps?" Ke lun offered as a friendly gesture to ease the tense atmosphere of the room.
The Hibiki siblings looked between one another, then gave a nod in unison, and since Hiroto was the only one of the two who could speak, "That would be great I am sure my sister is thirsty as am I."
Before Ke lun could say anything Ryou spoke up, "I'll get my half-siblings some tea Great elder." before heading in the direction of the kitchen.
"Thank you child." Ke lun called after him, proceeding to address the Hibiki twins, "Well while he goes and gets you some tea. I must say I am actually happy you have decided to approach us and perhaps you can shed some light on something that concerns not only us but our entire tribe back home."
Neji continued texting on her phone, while Hiroto perked an eyebrow, "Shed some light... like answering questions?"
"Exactly child." Ke Lun simply stated, she felt pleased as the two children seemed very polite thus far and she hoped to keep it that way.
Nodding her head Hiroto offering, "I will be happy to answer what I can. So long as you will answer some of my own questions Great Elder."
"Tiff for tatt is it very well-child I see no problems with answering your questions. What would you like for me to answer?" Cologne queried quite certain the questions had to be related to their mother.
Hiroto considered her first question carefully before speaking, "Did you know our Mother?" he queried.
Ke lun nodded her head once, "Yes I knew your mother long ago, course I called her Son-in-law back then when I felt strongly he would marry my Great-granddaughter, but that never came to pass sadly."
She paused momentarily, before going on to say, "I also taught him several of our tribes' martial techniques since he had become an honorary member of the tribe, and was considered a champion of the tribe as well."
"Wow Mother must have been something to be considered a champion of your tribe, Can I ask if she is here somewhere?" Hiroto queried.
Shaking her head negatively, "No sadly your mother is not here, and well you just answered my question since it appears you have no idea of her whereabouts either." Ke lun dully replied.
Ryou came back into the room carrying a tray, with three cups, and a kettle proceeding to set the cups on the table, proceeding to fill them with the kettles contents, he also placed a cup with several honey cubes.
Observing Hiroto looking to him, he spoke, "This is green tea, the honey is raw, if you want sugar I can get you some." he offered.
"No this will be fine thank you." Hiroto quickly said, proceeding to take one of the cups, grabbing a cube dropping it in along with a stir stick to stir the contents of her cup.
Neji also did the same, all the while still texting away, and Ke Lun did the same as she considered another question.
"Hiroto may I ask if that is how you prefer to be called while in this form or do you have a more proper name just out of curiosity?" she inquired.
Hiroto turned red slightly, but in reply, "So you know of my hereditary condition. Well my friends call me Hinata on the accounts of my family art, and some Anime/Manga the other kids like to watch, though I personally don't believe I am anything like that girl."
"Hinata is a beautiful name, but I agree Little Brother you definitely don't look like her," Ryou said as he rejoined his parents and little sibling by the wall.
Ke lun smiled at the interaction, "Yes I agree with my great-grandchild that is a beautiful name would you prefer I call you that while in this form or do you prefer the earlier?" she questioned.
"Oh Hiroto or Hinata either is fine I am not particular, though in public probably best to call me Hinata since not everyone knows curses exist even if hereditary.
Ke Lun considered another line of questioning, "Hiroto may I ask if you or either of your siblings inherited your father's condition?"
"Well neither of my siblings turn into a little black pig if that is what you are asking, and ironically they didn't get his lost condition either, but I did unfortunately, but I have a service dog named Rex as you can see that prevents me from getting lost as much so long as he is at my side," Hiroto explained, as she reached down patting her dog on the head which was lying beside the chair she sat in.
Having heard Hiroto's words Ke lun gained a thoughtful expression as she remembers that of all people Ryoga always had the best chance of finding Ranma almost as if she was the magnet that served to call the lost boy home.
She considered the theory a plan taking shape, as she proceeded to retrieve the documents inside the envelope taking the most recent picture she had of Ranma which was the woman who dubbed herself Saotome Ryoko, sliding it over to the girl across from her.
Hiroto sipped her tea, glancing to the photograph that had been slid over, reaching with her right hand she picked it up to look at it observing the coldness in the woman's only eye, she felt the hair rise on the back of her neck.
Neji had ceased her texting looking to the picture her sister held, before going back to texting once more, Hiroto spoke, "Who is this?"
"That is your mother-child, though she calls herself Saotome Ryoko." Ke lun stated simply, proceeding to slide three other photographs over to the crimson-haired child.
Hiroto observed one photo which depicted a raven-haired male dressed in red-n-black Chinese clothing, the second picture the same clothing, but a red-haired female version of the male in the first picture, then another this time of Ryoko who seemed to be posing for the camera she had spotted spying on her.
"So that is what Mom looked like as a man, and this was long before the incident I assume she lost her eye in, and well this one she looks cold but is being goofy to whoever took the photo," she observed as she looked over the photographs, Neji also ceased texting looking to the pictures a thoughtful expression to her features.
Ke lun then offered, "I have copies you may keep these perhaps if you like you can share them with your father I am sure he will appreciate them."
Neji proceeded to with her phone take photographs of the imagines, then went back to texting, while at the same time forwarding the images to her aunt Nabiki. She then typed out a message holding it out for her brother currently sister which read: I forwarded the photographs to Auntie if anyone can find Mother it is her.
She then once she was sure her sibling read it, proceeded to text once more with her friends whom she was in contact with almost on an everyday basis.
"Thank you for these photographs I am sure Father will appreciate seeing them," Hiroto said as she exited the restaurant, her sibling close at her side doing the same.
Ke lun nodded, calling from her spot atop her gnarled staff, "Of course child, you are most welcome, also feel free to stop by more often I am sure your brother would appreciate your company from time to time."
"I actually would like to get to know you all better if that is okay, maybe sometime I could come for a visit? Since your mother is also my father?" Ryou inquired of his crimson-haired half-sibling.
Hiroto turned proceeding in the direction of home, raising her right arm waving calling over her shoulder, "Sure thing Brother you are welcome to come by anytime you like as far as I am concerned also I am sure Rei would like to meet you."
Ryou smiled nodding his head, proceeding to follow his great elder who had already pogo'd back inside the restaurant, he paused in his step hearing his half-sibling call once again.
"Also thanks for walking me home that time when I got lost I really appreciate it," Hiroto called as she continued on towards home.
Ryou smiled, proceeding inside the cafe with a whispered, "You are most welcome."
Inside a cafe that served coffee, and other concoctions in Eastern Tokyo Nabiki who was older now, her hair was now long worn straight which came down to her mid-back sat at a table wearing her typical business attire, and across from her sat one of her closest cohorts with long raven-hair worn straight, and green eyes behind wire-frame glasses from high school who wore a black three-piece woman's business suite, four-inch pumps on her feet.
"Boss it has been far too long!" the woman across from the mercenary woman called with a fond expression to her features.
Nabiki looking to her friend then down to the cup of coffee on the table in front of her casually nodded her head replying, "Yes Aiko it has been quite a while hasn't it."
"Yes it has, too bad Yui passed away it would be amazing if all three of us could get back together for one last adventure." the woman revealed to be Aiko stated somberly.
Nabiki picked up her cup sipping from the contents giving a slight nod, "Yes it is to bad I still can't believe she is gone Yui was always good at getting information when I needed it." she noted.
"She went far too young Boss." Aiko said pausing briefly, retrieving a silk handkerchief wiping away a stray tear that slid down her right cheek, before continuing, "I still have nightmares you know from the accident as you know I was in the car when it happened."
Nodding her head Nabiki actually did feel for her companion as she could only imagine how it must feel for the woman who had not only been in the accident that took their mutual friends' life but had also survived it by mere chance due to being thrown from the car without any real injury at all with exception of some minor bruises and scrapes.
Retrieving her cellphone proceeding to tap the keys, she then spoke up in a change of subject, "I feel for you Aiko my friend, but I didn't call you here to reminiscence. I have some photographs I am forwarding to you via text I would like you to see if you could run a search through your contacts in the military."
Aiko let a sigh escape her lips, Retrieving her cellphone proceeding to look over the images her friend sent her, glancing up to her friend; "Who is this woman?" she questioned.
"Well, it was sent to me by one of my Nieces, according to her the Amazons... Yes, those Amazons believe this is Ranma which is her Mom and want help finding her." Nabiki casually explained, before taking yet another sip of her coffee.
Aiko picked up her cup sipping from its contents, her green eyes gazing to the photograph, perking a brow, "This is Ranma he looks so different I am getting goosebumps just looking at him. Is it true he went all girl?" she questioned.
"Yes Ranma did eventually go all-girl and whether it was due to having kids, or the split personality he gained who is to say," Nabiki explained, placing her now empty mug upon the white saucer plate on the red cloth of the table.
Aiko glanced over the photograph reading the caption at the bottom, "Saotome Ryoko for a woman who is supposedly dead looks quite lively in this picture." she called holding it out for her friend to see which showed the image of Ryoko posing for the camera of whoever snapped the photo.
"Yes quite lively for sure, so will you help me help her kids find her?" Nabiki questioned of her friend, who gave a single nod of her head.
Aiko gazed to her phone then back to the mercenary woman, "You can count on me boss I am sure with drone and satellite technology if she is out there we will find her." she assured.
At the Hibiki home Ryoga sat down at the dining room table, in his hand he held the photograph of the woman who he had known as Ranma who now went by the name Ryoko, across from him sat Hiroto in male form, Neji and Rei.
He felt relieved to know that somewhere in the world that she was alive at least at the time the photograph was taken. Though it was only a photograph that did not come with directions or an address to go on.
'Well Ranma or Ryoko as you are calling yourself now where are you?' he inwardly questioned wishing he had some way to contact her. He looked to his children inquiring as he handed the picture off to Rei who looked the photo over, "Where did you get this picture?"
"We got it from the Amazons father," Hiroto answered, sparing a glance to the picture his sister held.
Ryoga let a sigh escape from his lips shrugging his shoulders slightly not at all surprised by his son's admission especially considering by his talks with Ranma before the personality split she had mentioned suspecting she had a child with Shampoo.
"So you met the Amazons..." he trailed.
Hiroto and Neji both nodded their heads the earlier explaining, "Yes we did. Also, the boy who walked me home from the Nekohanten was our older half brother apparently his name is Ryou."
'Well that confirms the theory.' Ryoga thought to himself.
Rei glancing over the photograph taking in every detail, "This is Mom... she looks so U'm cold." she observed. Neji also looking to the photograph jotted down a quick note showing it to her sister which read: She also looks kind of sad.
"Yes, she kinda does." Rei agreed with her sister.
Hiroto then spoke up once more, "At any rate father we now have an image to go on. Also, Neji sent the images via text to Auntie Nabiki who is looking into her whereabouts."
"That is good I hope we can she finds her and hopefully she isn't too far away," Ryoga commented seeming content with the news. 'If anyone can find her its Nabiki.' he inwardly assured himself.
A few weeks later...
It had been a few weeks since Neji sent the images to Nabiki, and now Her brother Hiroto, and her sister Neji and herself all three were heading over to see if their Aunt had any luck in finding any information that would lead them a step closer to finding their wayward mother.
It was a calm Saturday evening the weather was cool with a light breeze with somewhat light cloud cover some of which looked to be threatening showers which just in case all three had umbrella's just for the occasion, Neji's was a dark blue-n-black bamboo umbrella, Rei carried a red-n-black one, and Hiroto had a purple-n-black one.
At the head of the group walking on a leash held by Hiroto was Rex who had his service vest on which features some pouches for various items being a baggie for waste, doggy treats, water, and even some spare snack and drink items for his owner.
Eventually they arrived only to observe a woman who was standing at Nabiki's front door this woman was none other than her friend Aiko who wore a baby blue summer dress, white sandals, she wore silver dangle earrings with her raven hair done up in twin pigtails.
Aiko pushed the buzzer once more as she waited patiently, then hearing movement to her left she looked over observing the group of young teens and a dog heading in her direction she smiled since she recognized them.
"You are here to See Nabiki as well are you?" she inquired of the group, Hiroto speaking up for her group giving a nod. "Yes Actually, but if she hasn't answered the door for you she may not be home."
Aiko nodded her head, "Yes it would appear so", she reached into her black bag retrieving a large red folder which was thin meaning it may only hold a few items. "Look are you planning to wait here until she gets back?" she questioned.
"Well we may go get some ice cream and check back in a bit to see if she is here," Hiroto said, as she and her siblings came to a stop just a few feet away.
Aiko considered the contents of the envelop, looking to her wristwatch before holding the folder out for Hiroto, "Could you hand this to Nabiki when you see her I have an appointment to get to soon and I am running late as it is." she inquired.
Taking the proffered item in hand Hiroto nodded his head, "Sure I'll give it to Auntie Nabiki when we see her."
"Thank you very much you are a lifesaver!" Aiko cheerfully exclaimed, quickly heading off to her next destination as the Hibiki twins and Rex watched her leave.
Eventually the woman was out of earshot as Hiroto looked to the folder taking a breath seeming to gain a thoughtful expression. Rei looking to her sibling spoke up in a question, "What's up Brother?"
"Let's go get some ice cream. However, I think this might be the information Aunt Nabiki was looking into for us we can look at it, and if it turns out to be something else I am sure we can still pass it on to her afterward.
Rei feeling reluctant about what her brother just said, "I am not sure we should open it. Let's just wait for Auntie to look it over I am sure she will share the information with us if in fact Mom was found." she offered.
"Listen Sis' everyone we know has gone out of their way to stop us from learning more about Mom, and I hate to say it but even Auntie Nabiki may also be one to withhold information and dare I might say she may try to charge us." Hiroto pointed out, tucking the folder under his right arm.
Neji having listened to her siblings simply nodded her head in agreement with her brother, Rex doing the same in unison almost as if he could understand what the humans were saying.
Eventually the teens, and dog heading off towards their destination, eventually the door to Nabiki's home opened up as Nabiki stepped out watching them round a corner, as Aiko returned also looking in the direction of the teens.
"Well they got the information they wanted, but why not just give it to them yourself Boss?" Aiko inquired with a curious brow raised since this was a missed opportunity of monetary value.
Nabiki shrugged her shoulders, "I just didn't feel like charging them for the information, So you really were able to narrow it down for them?" she inquired glancing to her friend who gave a nod of her head.
Going on to say, "Yes Boss through satellite facial recognition I got a hit ironically in a city called Roanapur. Doing some digging I also found out from my contacts within the C.I.A. They occasionally work with a woman matching Ranma's description despite the change of looks she has made. Also, I found out according to those contacts the Russian Mob refers to as Red Queen or Lady Death."
She paused momentarily before continuing, "Boss I hope you know what you are doing cause their Mom is hanging with some pretty sketch people and if they try to chase after her it may not go very well for them." she took a small intake of breath before continuing.
"She apparently is a private contractor and she is also a Madam or Manager of a seedy club/brothel that is connected to the Russian Mob according to my Intel." she paused a moment before continuing.
"I am sure it will work out. Besides, they will pass this information to their father and he won't allow them to strike out on their own. Plus they don't have the money to travel even if they wanted to so they will be forced to wait on their father." Nabiki assured since she knew the children were still young and she was banking that would keep them from doing anything to crazy since for the most part the children had always been well behaved and would surely not do anything foolish.
Though she wasn't completely sure she was doing the right thing, but after learning of Ranma's selfish request of his Alternate personality it left a sour taste even in her mouth. She couldn't imagine the pain the woman known as Red may be going through deprived of seeing her children grow up and of not being able to interact with everyone she held dear to her.
That and the pain the children feel of growing up without the warmth of a mother's touch. Ryoga as a father had been doing his best, but Nabiki was sure the children really could have used Red in their life even with the tragic circumstances behind her origins.
Across from Tokyo General hospital was a set of small stores one of these being an ice cream parlor, two red frames glass doors gave an entrance into the store, and a large set of glass windows gave a view for the patrons to look out into the street, and people to look inside.
The store was quite busy as most of the seats were packed, at a booth next to the glass storefront Hiroto, and Neji sat on the left side of the table, while on the right Rei sat nearest the window, Rex laying on the seat at her side.
On the table nearest the end next to the window was a menu, but on the table in front of each sibling was a strawberry parfait, a spoon dug into each. The siblings said a quick prayer before digging into their preferred dessert items finishing them off rather quickly.
At the middle of the table sat the red file folder that was currently open Hiroto was sifting through the documents between bites reading the information.
Neji also looking to the paperwork, while Rei just sat on her side eating her treat waiting for her siblings to finish reading the paperwork.
'Roanapur located near Trat Thailand huh?' Hiroto inwardly questioned as he read the description that said after the Vietnam war it had become home to many deserting soldiers, prostitutes and criminal factions ran wild.
"According to this Mom runs a seedy bar/brothel called the Yellow Orchid... What is a Brothel?" he questioned.
Neji looked the term up on the internet to view her phone gaining a pink tint to her cheeks and nose, proceeding to let her sibling read the translation to which Hiroto also gained pink tint to his cheeks and nose.
Rei just rolled her eyes as she already knew since she was with her grandfather one day when he made her wait outside as he went into a brothel not too far from where they currently sat located in the red-light district.
A brief scene played in her head of Nodoka her grandmother who had been on her way to do some shopping had found her sitting there, and went into the brothel dragging her husband out beating him with a broom she had picked up from somewhere.
Her grandfather swore up and down he was only in there trying to find out information on his wayward daughter's her Mother's whereabouts but yet he didn't finish getting the information thanks to her grandmother interrupting his interrogation of the young woman he had in the room.
Though she was young she wasn't stupid and due to her peers had an idea of what was going on inside the building. She had to hand it to her grandmother who truly loves her grandfather to put up with his crap that was quite obvious since the two were still together.
"Okay so we finally have an idea where Mother is and no matter her role at this place so then Brother I ask you how do you propose we get there it isn't like we have the funds to buy boat tickets for three and pay the pet fee to take Rex with us?" she questioned with curiosity.
Hiroto considered his sister's question, cupping his chin with his right hand as he gave it some thought, gaining a sly smirk, "Remember how Gramps recalled the tail how Mom saved Auntie Akane from becoming that one Prince's Concubine?" he inquired.
"You mean the one Gramp's said she stole away on a ship?" Rei questioned, not super thrilled with the idea especially considering it was a very dangerous and reckless idea.
Nodding his head, "Yes that is the one Sis' We can do that we go to the port tonight and see if we can find a ship that is heading there, sneak aboard and when the ship arrives we can go look up the address of the bar Mom is supposedly at." he explained.
Frowning at her brother Rei shook her head negatively, "I don't think that would be wise we are only twelve what if we run into a problem that requires an adult? No, I honestly think we should show this to father I am sure he will know how to proceed." she offered.
"No if we let Pop's know he will simply say we can't go, and that he will go when he gets time away from work that could be months away... I don't want to wait I am going tonight whether you are coming or not, Neji your coming right?" Hiroto questioned, sparing a glance at his silver-haired sister.
Rei grit her teeth glaring at her brother as she picked up a glass of water splashing him over the head with it rendering a change in gender, whilst shooting her silver-haired sister an equal glare, "Sis talk some sense into our brother dammit!" she exclaimed.
Neji quickly typed in a node on her phone proceeding to show it to her sibling who drooped her shoulders, Shaking her head negatively in defeat Rei spoke up, "You both are dead set on this I guess..." she trailed.
"Fine you bakas... We will go but don't cry to me when you find out this is a terrible idea!" Rei exclaimed crossing her arms over her chest in frustration closing her eyes and turning her head to the side.
Hiroto let a sigh escape her lips proceeding to wipe the water from her face with a napkin, sitting down as she looked to the documents on the table feeling quite determined despite her sibling's protest.
The rest of the day went smooth the Hibiki siblings waited until it got dark, earlier in the day while their grandmother was out shopping and their father was at work they gathered some supplies filling their travel packs with what they felt they may need for their trip.
Rei wanted to tell her father what her siblings were planning yet reluctantly kept her mouth shut even when she had the option as he was tucking her into bed for the night, as time grew closer she listened noting not a sound could be heard in the house.
Eventually, she slowly crept out of bed, reaching under her bed grabbing her travel pack placing the straps over her shoulders. She was already wearing a pair of purple trousers with a silk purple blouse, with a purple-n-black patterned bandanna worn about her neck.
She crept over to her window opening it, before slowly climbing out and closing the window taking care to not make a sound, before then making her way over to a ladder proceeding to climb down both her siblings and Rex were waiting at the bottom of the latter.
"Okay Neji did some research and found a cargo ship that will be going there we have three hours to get aboard so if we follow the instructions on her GPS we should get there with relative ease move quietly if we see cops hide," Hiroto explained to his siblings both gave a nod having heard and understood his explanation.
Neji took the lead, Hiroto, and Rex just behind her, and Rei was at his side making sure to keep an eye on her sibling to ensure he didn't go off in the wrong direction should he lose his grip on Rex's leash which was rare that happened but it wasn't all that impossible given his track record.
A few minutes later the siblings were just passing the Nekohanten not at all noticing atop its roof sat Shampoo, Ryou, and Cologne who had previously been star gazing the ancient silver-haired chibi woman observing movement in the distance.
"Looks like the Hibiki's are on the move Great-Granddaughter" Cologne observed,, Shampoo then spoke up, "Yes so it would seem great-Grandmother they are really moving," she stated as she watched the Hibiki siblings as they continued on.
Cologne turning her attention to her great-great-grandson. "Ryou follow them and see what they are up to yes?" she ordered in a question.
Ryou gave a simple nod without a word leaped off the roof proceeding to follow his younger half-siblings into the night.
The group made good time to the train station buying tickets with their pre-paid cards, eventually boarding a train, while their Amazon tail leaped on the roof of the car they were sat in before the train left the terminal thundering into the night heading to its next destination.
-Too be continued
Notes: Well the siblings are on their way to find their mother will the trip go smooth? Only time will tell. Well I hope everyone is having a wonderful week please feel free to leave a review or don't its all up to you. I hope to see you all again!.