Author Note: Well it's been awhile hasn't it? I decided to launch this fourteen-page chapter so I can get this story moving again.

I will be working on Ch:6 soon as possible, but I have been rather busy as of late so quite a bit is on my plate.

I do hope that you will enjoy this edition to a great story, and I look forward to continuing it at a future date. Thank you for your continued support. -Zeltronica

R-C Chapter:5

As the morning progressed, the table was set and all the inhabitants in the old Tendo/Hibiki home were stirring. Ryuu rushed to finish preparing the table for her family and their guests for when they all would sit around the dining room table.

Spice stood by the south wall, observing an older man in a brown gi enter the room. Soun walked towards the dining room table with his usual newspaper just under his arm.

"Good morning son," he called, of which Ryuu headed back towards the kitchen replying over her shoulder. "Good Morning Grandfather."

Soun took his seat, placing his paper on the table, looking to his left he observed a new face in his house, of whom gave him a cheerful smile. "Um Hello there little one."

"Hi." Spice replied simply, keeping her cheerful smile.

Ryuu walked back into the room, observing the exchange. "Ah, I see you met our little house guest grandfather she been helping me with the meal."

"Ah, I see," Soun said as he picked up his newspaper to begin reading through it's contents, just as the doorbell had begun to ring.

Ranko now up and about was in the process of walking down the hall towards the familiar ringing of a doorbell, when she was stopped by her female son.

"Oyaji I got it," Ryuu called, as she headed to answer the door While Ranko didn't answer instead headed into the dining room taking a seat in her old spot at the far left side of the table, Spice walking over and sitting in her lap.

Ryuu walked to the front door, opening it to reveal her grandmother and grandfather had both stopped by. "Hello, Granny Gramp's."

"Good morning Ryuu," Nodoka said in kind. Genma looked to his red-haired grandson sometimes granddaughter. "Mornin' boy."

Ryuu stepped back for both the elder Saotome's to step past. "Won't you come in we are fixing to have breakfast."

"We would be delighted deary," Nodoka replied, as she and her husband stepped by exchanging their shoes for slippers, and headed towards the dining room.

Ryuu shut the door, following her grandparents down the hall.

Meanwhile out in the dojo both Lime and Mint were still asleep, while, in the second floor of the house Ryoko, Akiko and Kaito made their way down the stairs and promptly headed for the dining room table. Ranko looked to her charges.

"Good morning guys did you sleep well?" she questioned, as she placed her arms around spice giving her a loving squeeze of which Spice leaned back against her closing her eyes enjoying the embrace.

"I slept as good as can be expected.. we did get home a little late." Ryoko tiredly replied, followed by a feminine yawn.

Akiko and Kaito both just sat at the table on the right side both looking as if in zombie mode. About to respond Ranko turned her head hearing a familiar male voice observing her parents and her son entering the room.

"So did you win boy?" Genma questioned as he walked beside his wife, Ryuu trailing behind.

"Well Almost Ryoko kinda interrupted the match before I could finish them off." she called observing the strange raven-haired girl was now sitting in her father's lap.

Genma stopped walking as he and his female son made eye contact, both looking to one another with uncertainty.

"Hey, Pops been a while." Ranko said both uneasily and unsure of what to expect from her father considering his and her past history surrounding a locked curse.

Genma gave a nod then calmly. "Yes, it has been awhile boy."

Nodoka started walking towards the table when her gaze fell on the beautiful raven-haired girl who was sitting in her daughter's lap. "That can't be is that Spice?"

"Yea that's her she's gotten a lot bigger since you last seen her," Ranko replied cheerily.

Nodoka was all smiles, as she closed the distance. "Yes, she has when she was born she was tiny probably could have fit in a shoebox. So I take it he finally allowed her to live with you?"

"Yea guess so... kinda glad I missed her she's my baby." Ranko said with pride, observing her son currently daughter looking to her.

Ryuu continued to gaze at her father. "You did go all girl didn't you Oyaji?"

"Didn't have a choice on the matter." Ranko simply replied, turning her attention to spice. "Dearest this is your Grandmother."

Spice looked to the older red-head with wonderment. "Hello, Ol' Lady I am four years old."

"Hello, little one," Nodoka replied cheerfully while Genma looked to his son expectantly.

Ranko noting her father. "Oh and that is your grandfather."

"Hello... Grandpa-panda." Spice called, recalling the phrase used by her mother when she talked about her grandfather.

Genma gave a falsetto smile, as he didn't much enjoy the nickname used. "Nice to meet you," he casually replied. 'So this is the secret my wife has kept from me... My only heir reduced to being that of a woman.. and to have had my granddaughter on top of that.' upon considering this information he then turned his gaze to the object of his troubled emotions. "I would expect we can talk after breakfast?"

"Sure... Ol' man." Ranko replied with a feeling of apprehension washing over her, however, she did her best to maintain a positive attitude.

As the morning progressed and breakfast had come to an end, Ryuu and her siblings with the exception of Ryoko and Spice all had left to head for school the room fell into silence as none spoke a single word. Ranko picked up her cup sipping from its contents, her daughter was sitting beside her still eating her food, Genma was in the process of finishing, sparing glances to his daughter.

Soun who was drinking his tea decided to break the silence that had begun to rein over the table since the children had left. "So Saotome my friend how have you been as of late?"

"I have been fine my job is treating me well," Genma replied, missing a thoughtful expression Ranko had worn at the mention of having a job.

Ranko considered this new information. 'Pops holding a job pshh.' she thought to herself, breaking into laughter.

"Whats so funny?" Ryoko questioned looking to her 'mother.'

Ranko calmed herself, another chuckle leaving her lips before she could calm herself. "Its just funny to hear your Grandfather has a job... I mean where at a zoo or something?" she questioned, before breaking into another fit of laughter.

"If you must know I am working for a construction company," Genma stated, glowering at his daughter.

Nodoka shook her head at the display. "Dearest that was uncalled for apologize to your father," she chided.

"Sorry.. just old habits die hard you know," Ranko said apologetically, before looking to her father. "So you got a job that is nice... Good to see Mom isn't havin' to pay fer ya anymore."

Genma bit his lip attempting to stay calm. "I got tired of sitting around the house is all. Ryoko honey could you please take your sister upstairs so we adults can speak?"

"Sure thing Grandpa," Ryoko said in a rather unenthusiastic tone, as she stood up offering her hand to spice, who took hers in return before heading upstairs, Before leaving the table spice grabbed her mother's plate and chopsticks taking them with her.

Ranma placed her now empty cup on the table, looking around the table briefly before looking to her father. "Okay the kids are gone and now its just us so go ahead and speak your mind."

"If you will excuse me I believe I have some things to attend," Soun stated before Genma could speak, as he got up and left the room leaving only the three Saotome's in the room.

Genma considered possible questions looking to his wife, before shifting his gaze back to his son turned daughter. "No-chan I really need time with our 'daughter' alone."

"You want to take this conversation to the dojo just the two of us Oyaji?" Ranko questioned calmly observing her fathers features while standing up from her sitting position.

Nodoka looked as if she wanted to protest but stayed herself, as her husband stood up giving a slight grunt, at which both father and daughter left her sight.

Dojo conversation...

Ranko walked ahead of her father, her bare feet making barely a sound as she walked, Genma following right behind his daughter, his gaze settled on her back as if a predator stocking his prey while walking with a rolling walk, his feet seeming to jar the wood below him.

The duo entered the dark confines of the dojo, light peering in through the observation windows providing the only current light, Ranko continued further into the dojo heading over towards the back door, sliding it open allowing more light to enter, in the far east corner both Lime and mint were still asleep under their perspective blankets.

Her gaze shifted from one part of the backyard to another observing the koi-pond hadn't changed very much since her last visit though brief as it was.

Ceasing his walk Genma eyed the red-head considering a plan of action while Ranko turned and faced him, both seeming as if analyzing one another, the red-head walked back towards the middle of the dojo anticipation washing over her.

"Here we are Pops just you and me," Ranko stated calmly, placing her hands to her side, taking a relaxed stance.

Genma gave a nod. "Yes, so it would seem. You have a lot of confidence since the last time I had seen you not at all the suicidal wreck you left as Ranma," he said in kind.

"I have a lot going for me these days Oyaji... I have a daughter and two elder children, plus my friends little ones to watch over.. I don't have much time to dwell on something I cannot fix." Ranko replied, steeling herself for what she expected to be coming giving her fathers track record.

Genma seemed satisfied with his daughter's words, before deciding on his next course of action, observing something unusual about his daughter's aura. "Guess the question I face now is just how soft has Motherhood made you?"

"Why don't you try me and find out Pops. But be warned I am no longer the person who left here so long ago." Ranko warned as she backed away a few steps.

Genma scoffed at his daughter warning, before launching into an attack. "We will see about that!" he called out as he unleashed a dozen quick strikes, that his daughter bobbed and weaved around with seeming ease.

"C'mon Pop's your gonna have to try harder then that if you expect to defeat me!" Ranko called, before stepping into her father and jack hammering her fists into his abdomen in a blur, at which the larger martial artist decided to put some distance between himself and his daughter.

Genma backed up a few more step, Ranko doing the same, both seeming to circle one another for nearly a minute before both launched into one another again seeming to become blurs as they traded blows.

The duo continued their fight for several more moments, before finally breaking off, Genma stood winded looking worse for ware, while his daughter seemed as if she had plenty of energy to burn, though she now sported some rips in her clothes, and her hair was disheveled.

Ranko smiled inwardly as this fight made her feel alive, relishing in the moment as she straightened her posture. "It gets harder from here ol' man try to keep up," she said calmly.

"Speak for yourself Boy I am just warming up!" Genma exclaimed, as he leaped towards his daughter preparing to strike, when she effortlessly leaped into the air to meet him and in two kicks sent him rocketing backwards, at which she once again landed softly, while Genma plummeted to the floor below where he landed in a heap causing a heavy thumping sound on the dojo floor that reverberated on the walls, the observation window rattling.

Genma cried out Oomph as the air in his lungs seemed to expel, before he regained his breath, and started to stand once more, he prepared to defend when he witnessed his daughter leap into the air and seemingly glide over him.

"Ryu Sei Hisho" (Soaring Dragon Spirit) she shouted at which with her right hand Ranko launched two blasts of ki that hit the ground rebounding into her fathers back sending him once again tumbling to the ground face first were he skidded to a stop, before she herself softly landed, spinning on her right heel to face his fallen form.

Genma slowly managed to stand, a look of surprise to his features. "Where did you learn a move like that?"

"My husband was a good teacher." Ranko simply replied, falling into a horse stance, however, her father didn't seem to take on another fighting stance instead he seemed to be studying her.

Genma contemplated remembering the child that was sitting at the breakfast table. "Well it is good to know someone was there to keep you on the path of martial righteousness and has seemingly taught you some new tricks.. but you still need work."

Ranko didn't answer her father as she rushed forward sending a flurry of kicks into Genma before finally with one final palm strike rocketed him out of the dojo's door and into the familiar koi-pond.

Genma hit the water with a splash, seeming to float on its surface dazed, a smiling and satisfied Ranko walked out to inspect his floating form.

"And you're still too slow Ol' Man." she stated, her pupils seeming to change to reptilian glowing a florescent blue briefly before returning to her normal sapphire orbs.

After a minute or so more and sure Genma who was now in his panda form wasn't getting back up anytime soon, Ranko finally stepped into the pond to fish her father out, however when reaching forward she found her right forearm seized by an iron grip, at which she found herself being thrown up and over through the air where she slammed into the brick wall that surrounded the Tendo property leaving an indention of her body, where she then fell to the ground onto her shoulders in a heap.

[I ain't finished with you yet Boy!] Genma-Panda signed, as he stood up with his hind legs, water streaming from his thoroughly soaked fur, he reached up with his right paw removing his glasses that were sitting crookedly over his eye's, water streaking the lenses.

Ranko groaned to herself, feeling pain in her back from the violent hit she took when hitting the wall, looking to the overgrown panda that was her father who from her vantage point looked to be upside down. "Arg" 'Should have seen that coming'. Good show old man.' she thought to herself though she wouldn't openly admit it.

Meanwhile upstairs in the Saotome twins room, it's soul occupants being Ryoko who was sitting at her desk working on one of her many projects, Nodoka who was sitting on Ryoko's bed along with Spice who sat across from her on Ryuu's bed.

"So you are my granddaughter you sure grew up to be very pretty honey," Nodoka said happily, a smile on her lips appraising the newest edition to her grand babies.

Spice beamed at her grandmother's words. "Thank you, Grandma. Mom says I have beautiful eyes."

"You do indeed just as pretty as your Mothers." Nodokasaid in kind, as she marveled at her granddaughter's beauty.

'Very beautiful for a gaijin child far better than I had expected.' she observed in thought while she memorized her newly acquainted granddaughters features.

Back with Ranko who stood across from her panda bear father who seemed to be circling her for a few minutes, unbeknownst to the two combatants, Ryuu sat on the other side of the roof looking over the edge to observe their battle.

Ryuu continued watching as the battling duo sprang into action once more leaping into mid-air dishing out blows faster than her eye's could follow. 'Damn they are so fast..' she noted before sliding down just as the battling duo leaped from the ground taking their fight to the roof where she currently was hiding.

Ranko launched forward throwing four solid strikes that Genma countered with his paws, then the panda seemed to perform a roundhouse that actually caught the red-head sending her flying into the koi-pond, at which he then leaped down preparing a drop kick at the dead center of the pond.

Looking up through the water observing fish swim by her vision she could make out the shape of her father coming fast towards her, at which she then rolled sideways rather quickly springing out of the water narrowly missing getting kicked.

The panda then leaped out of the pond continuing the attack sending Ranko on the defensive his strikes being blocked by her forearms.

"You guys are so awesome!" Ryuu exclaimed from her hiding place causing the two fighters to disengage.

Looking up to the roof observing her child Ranko then gestured to her. "Get down from there and come over here Ryuu," she called retrieving a flask from her pocket tossing it to her father who caught it with seeming ease.

Pouring the flasks contents over his head, Genma returned to human form. "Son, why aren't you in school?"

"Yea Ryuu why aren't you at school did you get suspended again?" Ranko questioned while producing a towel from nowhere wiping the sweat from her brow.

Ryuu shook her head. "No, I didn't get suspended Oyaji. I kinda skipped school cause I want answers."

"So you skipped school just cause you want answers?" Ranko questioned her son making sure she heard right.

Ryuu nodded her head.

"I would be interested in hearing the answers to his questions myself," Genma called as he walked over to the porch sitting down, while Ranko found a seat on the rocks by the koi-pond her son doing the same, a flock of geese flew above them until they were out of sight.

Ranko looked to the ground to her son currently daughter's right, before Ryuu herself cleared her throat. "I am up here Pops not there look at me," he stated, at which her female father looked up to her.

"Why did you leave us behind?" Ryuu questioned with an air of angst to her tone.

Ranko let out a sigh of sadness to the question. "Look do we have to go there its very painful?" she questioned.

"Yea we do Oyaji all, this time, I thought Mom abandoned you. I gave her and my stepfather Hell because of it. I even gave Kaito and Akiko a hard time. then to find out you were the one who abandoned us... I want to know why were you so much of a coward? Did you not like the idea of being a father?" Ryuu grilled once again, Genma for his part sat nearby with a blank expression.

"You have it all wrong I did like the idea of being a father.. heck when I found out I was actually really happy. I never thought the day would happen.. Its just that.." Ranko paused taking a breath. "Well a few weeks later after your Mom found out she was pregnant we set out for China.. at the time she could still travel and well we went to Jusenkyo so I could finally cure my curse."

Ryuu filed away her fathers words. "Okay, you went to Jusenkyo to cure your curse then what happened?"

"Well when we arrived at Jusenkyo it had just recently returned to normal, but the guide had forgotten to put up the signs.. course I didn't know that at the time and was in such a hurry I raced off towards where I had thought was the location of spring of drowned man." Ranko explained, hearing the splash of a koi leaping out and back into the water.

Ryuu pondered on her female fathers words. "So from your words spring of drowned man is supposed to be the cure.. then why are you still a woman?"

"I didn't know it at the time. however since the signs were not up properly I jumped into the wrong spring.. it was spring of drowned girl. I double dunked myself locking my curse." Ranko explained while scuffing the ground with the heel of her shoe.

Genma sighed at his son turned daughter's words. "It wouldn't have worked anyways boy.. the springs when they became flooded mixed your lucky you didn't come out with something worse than the curse you already have."

"If you knew that why didn't you tell me back then huh pops?" Ranko snapped giving her father a slight glare.

Genma held his hands up to ward off his daughters anger. "Actually, I went to Jusenkyo a year ago to search for you since your Mother didn't want to tell me anything. When I arrived I thought I might cure my curse the guide saved me the trouble and told me of the springs current state."

Upon considering the young girl from earlier "Oyaji whats the story with that girl that was sitting in your lap at the breakfast table?" Ryuu questioned, gesturing towards the house with her right index finger.

Ranko gave a slight smile. "Well, that girl as you call her is named Spice.. she is my daughter which makes her you and Ryoko's little sister."

"So that's the reason you left Mom and us cause you met a man some time after you were locked?" Ryuu questioned, giving her father a piercing gaze.

Ranko shook her head violently. "No.. no no that isn't it.. that was few years ago.. I well you see the story starts much earlier when I became locked I was a complete wreck Pop's can vouch for that he had to stop me from doing something really stupid..even Your Mamma and Granny then eventually I straightened out and left home to try and find a cure which upon exhausting all my leads I finally decided to go to the only person I knew that might have the answers was Prince Herb of the Musk.. well there were the Amazons, but Shampoo, if she knew I was locked, would attempt to kill me due to a kiss of death promise she had given me when I was a teenager."

"Wait that's the guy Mom told us kids about that you battled with destroying a mountain.. but she said he tried to kill you.. why would you go to him for answers?" Ryuu questioned with a curious brow raised, Genma also listening intently.

Ranko arched her back causing a few bones to pop. "Well he did attempt to kill me that is true and well I ended up saving his life and he gained a kind of respect for me and I for him.. he owed me a favor and I went to cash in."

"Go on then what happened?" Ryuu questioned with an interested expression, while re-positioning herself on the rock she was sitting.

Ranko collected her thoughts a moment before going into an explanation.

"Where do I begin..." she trailed.


six and a half years ago...

The Musk stateroom was rather large, the furnishings were rather nice, a long oval table made of black marble sat as its centerpiece, a large window with a view of the courtyard, tapestries with the Musk crest decorated the wall's, along with paintings depicting various people, a beverage cabinet sat on the western wall.

The current lighting of the room was provided by the observation window, two large decorative chandeliers, hung above the table.

In front of this cabinet stood both Ranma and Herb who currently engaged in conversation, on either side of the door that served as both the rooms entrance and exit stood Lime and Mint, on the outside stood two rugged guards in leather battle armor, each wielding halberds that were crossed in front of the door barring entry.

Ranma looked down at a glass of wine she was holding in her right hand taking a drink from its contents, then looked out the window. "I have to say you have an interesting palace.. and this wine is great."

"Saotome I am a busy man.. surely you didn't come here just to tour my palace, and compliment my wine. What is it you want?" Herb dubiously questioned, keeping his gaze directly on the red-head before him.

The red-head turned from the window walking over to the table setting her glass on its surface, then turned to face the prince. "Well I am currently running out of leads.. and the Amazon's are currently out of the question."

"Leads? What are you babbling about?" Herb questioned, with an air of annoyance, his amber gaze still on his latest guest.

Ranma met the Musk prince's gaze. "Well I am currently seeking a way to either unlock my curse or even cure it.. so far I have exhausted all my leads.. and I can't go to the Amazons cause Shampoo will attempt to kill me."

"Just go to Jusenkyo and use spring of drowned man." Herb simply stated, before drinking from his own wine glass.

The red-head sighed at the prince's words. "I already tried that.. that is how I became locked to begin with.. it turned out I jumped in spring of drowned girl again."

"fu..fu. fu" Herb chuckled attempting to calm himself, before finally breaking into full-on laughter which only served to annoy his friend and rival.

Ranma's features turned to one of annoyance. "Ha ha ha yuck it up buddy.. do you know of any other ways to unlock the curse or something?"

Attempting to calm himself. "Look I hehe.. am sorry. Its just that we went through all that trouble to get the kettle of unlocking just for you to get your curse locked once more." Herb explained between chuckles, straining to keep a straight face.

Observing the red-head didn't look amused he sighed to himself tiredly. "Other than that kettle which was destroyed during our last battle there isn't anything I know of that can unlock your curse."

"Your people made the kettle and the ladle right? Surely you still have the forge that was used to create them?" Ranma questioned with an air of hope.

Herb gave a slight nod. "While its true the forge that was used to create them is below the floor we are standing upon.. there is no one who knows how to operate it anymore. The glyph that were used is of a forgotten language my people used thousands of years ago." pausing for breath before continuing.

"That and forging the items is one part however you also would need knowledge in spell casting to imbue the item you wish to create.. again we have no one who can even use magic." he explained calmly.

"Couldn't you use magic you are of dragon decent are you not?" Ranma questioned, looking to the prince with hope.

Herb gave a nod. "Yes I can use magic, but the magic I can wield couldn't hold a candle to the magics that were used in the forging process."

Hearing words she didn't wish to hear Ranma's shoulders slumped, as she looked to the window seal, pain plainly written on her features, while the rooms other occupant took yet another drink from his glass.

"So there is little hope for me to get my curse unlocked or even cured.. its just not fair." she concluded, before falling to her knee's, a green aura emanating from her person.

"I can't return home like this.. 'it's over'," Ranma said the last in a mere whisper, fighting to reign in her emotions not wishing to shed tears in front of anyone.

Herb walking over to the beverage cabinet he proceeded in pouring two glasses of bourbon, before picking both glasses up, offering one of them to the red-head who slowly took the proffered glass.

"I am very sorry I didn't have the answers you seek Saotome.. but you are welcome to stay here at the palace as long as you like.. I can have Mint find you proper commendations that will suite your needs so long as you are here." the dragon prince offered in kind, raising his glass taking a sip from its contents.

(End Flash-back)

After listening intently, Ryuu pondered on her female father's words. "Okay Oyaji so he let you stay at his Palace.. but still that doesn't tell me about my little sister," she paused a moment then pointed out.

"According to Mom and anyone that knew you had said you were vehemently against a relationship with another guy.. and I think much less than someone who had tried to kill you."

Chuckling at her son's words, Ranko then gave him a nod. "At one time that held true... most likely one of the people you heard it from was your grandpa there. Let me start by saying people can change," she paused considering her words "And well after staying at Herb's palace.. after getting to know him as a person.. and after getting used to my curse and the fact it was locked and would never be unlocked again.. after training with him.. I guess I eventually came to a decision.. to move on with my life.. and for the record believe me when I say it took everything I had when Herb proposed to me not to send him to the moon.. it was so embarrassing.. he proposed in front of everyone in the kingdom."

Genma listened intently, his eye's gaining dollar signs. "So you and Prince Herb got married is that right boy?"

"I married Emperor Herb that is correct.. but before you speak any further I warn you that you will not receive one gold piece from the treasury." Ranma calmly stated, giving her father a slight glare since she had an idea what her father was thinking.

Ryuu gaining eye's like saucers, then pointing with her right index finger. "So that makes you an Empress.. which means.." he paused gesturing to the house with her right thumb. "That my baby sister in the house, there is a princess?"

"Yep." Ranko simply said, giving a casual nod.

Ryuu then considered all the implications of his fathers story, then gave her female father cheesy grin. "So if you are an Empress that means you are rich right?.. which means you can pay back child support!." she pointed out.

"While I am an Empress that doesn't mean I have money to burn.. besides I already have been paying child support to your Mom.. who you think paid off the house hmm? And who do you think has been paying for you kid's allowances?" Ranko pointed out while posing a question.

"That can't be right Mom says she pays for everything with the money they get from the funds made at the dojo.. she even sai-" she was then cut off by her female father. "Ryuu your still a child I cannot expect you to understand everything.. but what she told you was what I told her to say if you or anyone asked," she explained calmly.

Genma sighed rather deeply, depression weighing him down.

"So your Mother wasn't the only one who knew exactly where you were the whole time.. yet no one told me." he lamented his downcast gaze to the lawn.

"That is only partially correct. You see the story I gave Akane was that I was working a job. I never told her about Herb.. however as for Mom, she was there for Spice's birth." Ranko pointed out adding insult to injury, her sapphire gaze fell to the shimmering of the pond.

A tear fell from Genma's eye. "So when she went away for a month it wasn't a business trip after all.. she was overseeing the birth of our third Grandchild.. you wound me with this Ranma.. you really do why couldn't you have trusted me your own father with being in your life?"

"I dunno let us think back Pop's.. perhaps we can find some clues as to why that is?" Ranko questioned, as she produced a projector, along with a white pull down screen, standing up she now dawned a hat similar to that of a school teacher, in her right hand she held a wooden pointer.

Both Genma and Ryuu realizing somehow they were now standing in the middle of the dojo, Genma quickly moved forward tearing the screen down. "That will not be necessary boy." he stated emphatically knowing it was best his grandson never learns about how his father was raised up.

Considering what he had just witnessed and comparing it to the events that unfolded earlier that morning with her little sister. "Pops you have to teach me that technique.. especially that dragon souring ability."

"I cannot.. neither is a technique you can ever learn through pure martial training alone." Ranko nonchalantly explained, giving her son an apologetic expression.

Ryuu giving her father a resentful glare. "Why not?... I am the future heir to the Saotome anything goes school am I not?" she questioned.

"Yes it is true you are.. but Ryuu these techniques as you call them come at a high cost.. you have to be willing to give something up in order to gain." Ranko explained with some sadness in shown in her eye's, before abruptly leaving the dojo.

Ryuu looked to her grandfather with a questioning gaze. "High cost what does he mean Gramps?"

Shrugging his shoulders. "I don't know... but from the look in his eye's Ryuu I would say the cost far outweighs those of what he gained." he replied calmly, before starting a rolling walk to leave the dojo, Ryuu herself continued to stand in place contemplating on the conundrum of his fathers words.

Balancing 101

It was now around Noon, both Lime and Mint were now busy in the backyard setting up two bamboo poles in the koi-pond overseeing their work was Ranko who wore an outfit consisting of a pair of blue jean shorts, an orange tank top, her feet bare.

Setup next to where she was standing was a white lawn chair, with a black umbrella decorated with flower print, a white outdoor table stood next to it, and on its surface sat a glass of pink lemonade.

It was at that time Ranko hearing movement from the direction of the house. "Ah you arrived just in time saves me the trouble of rounding you two up." she said with a motherly lilt.

Ryuu and Ryoko both looked to their current guardian with querying expressions, while Spice gazed to the koi-pond with a dreadful expression.

"Mom, what do you mean?" Ryoko questioned, looking to her 'Mother'.

Ryuu also looked to her female father. "Yea Pops whats going on why are those two putting bamboo in the koi-pond."

"I am so glad you asked Ryuu.. well while you played hooky to get some answers from me.. Your mother would never have allowed you to get away with it without some form of punishment involved." pausing while gesturing to the koi-pond. "So for your punishment, both you and Ryoko will practice balancing on one foot while holding two half-filled buckets of water.. if you fall you will repeat the process until the timer I will set buzzes signaling an end to your punishment." she explained.

Spice looked to her retainers. "Set up a third please."

"Yes, mistress right away." Mint called, as he walked over gathering another bamboo pole, before walking over to the koi-pond, then held it in place while Lime hammered it in.

Ryoko looked to her 'mother in disbelief. "You can't be serious can you? I am not a martial artist."

"While you are not a martial artist you still caused your Aunt grief.. this is your Punishment, now come over here." Ranko said in a stern tone, her right index finger pointing at the ground before her.

Ryoko hesitantly made her way over to her 'mother', her gaze falling to four half-filled buckets of water.

"This looks easy Pop's.. I could do this in my sleep." Ryuu said boldly, as she also walked over now standing at her twins side.

Looking to her son with a somewhat serious gaze. "Is that so?.. well then good news for you Ryoko your sister has offered to hold your other bucket."

A few minutes later found the Saotome sisters standing on their very own bamboo pole, Spice for her part didn't seem to struggle in fact she seemed well practiced, in her hands she held a book she currently was reading, while Ryoko struggled to maintain her balance, her expression pained, with both hands she held her bucket in front.

As for Ryuu, she seemed to also be struggling to maintain her balance, since she not only held both her buckets, but she also balanced her twins bucket atop her head.

"Pops how much longer?" Ryuu whined as she started to lose his footing, managing to catch himself at the last second.

Spice piped up in her mother's stead. "Until the timer buzzes.. now quiet before you fall." she urged, all the while her gaze never left the book she was reading.

'My foot hurts.. ugh.' Ryoko thought to herself, attempting to shift onto her other foot, when she began to lose her balance, dropping her bucket of water which clattered to the ground its contents pouring out, grabbing onto her twin for support sending them both tumbling to the ground, water from the buckets sloshing everywhere soaking their clothes.

Ryuu sitting up with a bucket over her head as if a helmet. "Ryoko you klutz!" she snapped.

"I am sorry I fell." Ryoko meekly apologized, while getting back to her feet a downcast expression crossing her features, she then picked up a bucket then proceeded in refilling it, then stood before her perspective perch, her mother joining her in the koi-pond to help her back up.

Grumbling to herself Ryuu did the same, however, she received no help with the exception for the third bucket to be placed back atop her head by her female father.

Giving her female father a glare, she then turned to her right only to observe Spice while reading a book hopped up switching to her other foot with seemingly no effort at all.

'Does Pops punish her like this all the time?' She thought with wonderment, and with that, she decided to speak on her thought. "Pops do you punish Spice like this regularly?"

"Actually, I only did it for a little bit before her father and I had a falling out; though it appears he kept not only the punishment's but also the training regime I had planned for her." Ranko said with pride, before picking up a manga book off the table and started to read it.

Ryuu filed her words away before considering another question to pose. "Pop's think you can train me in the art?"

Looking up from her manga to her female son. "First you must learn to crawl before you can run."

"Whats that supposed to mean Pops? I have had plenty of training from Mom, Grandfather.. and I can handle myself in a battle you seen for yourself." Ryuu argued, giving her father an angered expression.

Ranko chuckled at her son's words. "Well then if your so highly trained then you don't need what I have to teach you." she countered, while continuing to observer her son's features. 'A regular chip off the old block.. but that angered expression definitely reminds me of his Mother.'

"So you won't train me at all?" Ryuu questioned her words a mere whisper, a depressed aura overtaking her person.

Ranko tiredly sighed to herself. "I'll train you in time.. but for now, like I said first you must learn to crawl before you can run." pausing a moment she looked to her youngest then decided to speak. "If you can beat your little sister there in a match I will train you." she paused her expression becoming serious.

"I will give you a word of warning your sister not only had a few months training from me, but she constantly trains with her retainers.. and I would imagine Herb was also training her it won't be an easy win." she warned.

Brushing her fathers warning off, turning her attention to her little sister. "Pops you can't be serious she's only four.. she can't possibly take a blow from me.. you are joking right?"

"Do I look as if I am joking with you?" Ranko questioned all the while keeping a serious expression to her face, as she laid her manga across her lap. -To Be continued