October 27, 1995
based on Ranma 1/2 characters and situations © & created by Rumiko Takahashi
Editor's note: I wrote this last year, and it could really used some editing, but I haven't got around to it yet. With all the really strange Ranma fan-fics out there, I like to think of this as getting beck to the basics. It seems to be more in the style of the early Ranma episodes and manga. But enough rambling, on with the story...
Ranma stared at the ceiling of his bedroom and listened to the sounds of the Tendo Dojo awakening around him. He could here Kasumi in the kitchen, up already fixing breakfast. Nabiki shuffled past his door in her bathrobe brushing her teeth. Soun rustled his newspaper in the dining hall. As he lay in the early morning sunshine, he reflected that it wasn't a bad life living here. Now and then, it was even kind of peaceful.
"Ranma Saotome!" Genma yelled as he threw open Ranma's door. "How can you lie there in bed when it is only one day until the samurai tournament? You should be training already! You must prove that martial arts are superior to the sword! You must uphold the honor of your father! You must urf growl urgl!"
His tirade ended in a grumble after Ranma flicked a pail of water lying in the corner of the room onto his father with one swift motion of his feet without getting out of bed, leaving Genma in panda form. "What's that, pop?" he asked sleepily. "Don't worry about me, I can take a clumsy swordsman any day." Growling again, Genma whacked ranma out of bed with a large wooden sign reading, "Practice makes Perfect!". "All right, all right, I'm up!", Ranma yelled as he sailed out the door.
Akane, however, was already up and practicing in the training hall. With a succession of moves to fast to follow with the eyes, she nailed a set of targets tacked to the wall, leaving dents in their place. "You're up awfully early," observed Ranma as he leaned against the doorway. "Perhaps, unlike you," Akane panted without relaxing from her training posture, "some people want to win this tournament for the Tendo Dojo." "You take everything too seriously," retorted Ranma, "After all, the only one around here any good with a samurai sword is Kuno, and even you can beat him." "And just what do you mean by that?!" Akane growled as she hurtled one of the heavy circular targets towards Ranma's head. Ranma quickly ducked the projectile, which careened past him, sailed into the yard and rebounded off Genma's head just as he was drying off from a hot shower, knocking him into the pond where he immediately returned to panda form. "Violent tomboy..." muttered Ranma as he wandered off to train elsewhere. Akane glared after him before returning to her training with renewed energy. "Ranma, you jerk!"
The Tendo's and Saotome's were not the only ones up early this clear Saturday morning. Kuno Tatewaki stood with sword outstretched and eyes closed in his own training hall, the sun rising through the window behind him. "The samurai tournament," he intoned to himself, "is an opportunity that cannot be missed. When I win, surely Akane will see that the might of my sword is superior to the uncouth fist-fighting of that scoundrel Ranma. I shall defeat them both and win the tournament, and then she shall date with me." Here Kuno raised his sword to the heavens. "And I will win, for am I not the rising star of the high school fencing world, the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High, Kuno Tatewaki!" He then brought his sword down in a wide slash, neatly slicing in two the stone pillar which stood before him, and smiled at victories to come.
Shampoo was serving breakfast customers at the Cat Cafe as her Grandmother Cologne hopped over to the window on her staff and examined a bill poster there with squinting eyes. "Look at this Shampoo," she called, "I bet Ranma will enter this samurai tournament. If you enter and beat him he will surely be attracted to you." "Ah," said Shampoo as she came over to look at the poster, "is good idea, Grandma. Shampoo will use her hunting sword, win tournament. Then Ranma date with Shampoo!" Smiling at the thought, Shampoo almost tipped the plate of chow mein she was balancing expertly. "We will be ready tomorrow," croaked Cologne, "for now, attend to out customers." "Okey-dokey, great-grandma."
Unknown to everyone in the town of Furinkan below, another contestant stood on a high hill looking down at the city. He was clothed completely in traditional samurai garb, and his face was concealed behind a black veil. A long and polished samurai sword was clutched in his hand and gleamed in the morning sun. As he gazed at the peaceful town below, he spoke: "But one day more. One day more and I shall bring all these pathetic commoners to their knees. The true power of the samurai clan of Gengi shall be known once more." The mysterious figure laughed an evil laugh to himself, a laugh which was carried by the wind down into the town.
Ranma, training in the yard with Genma, glanced up momentarily when he thought he heard a strange sound, and Genma, back in human form, took the opportunity to land a blow which sent Ranma sailing straight into the pool. "Ranma!" he yelled, gazing into the water into which the boy had sunk, "You are too slow! You must not let down your guard in the contest! You must..." and got no further than that when female ranma jumped out of the pond and bounced off his head, sending him into the water as well. The panda arose dripping, holding a sign which read "PRACTICE!". "Oh, give it a rest, old man," Ranma grumbled as she stalked off to find some drier clothes.
The day of the tournament was bright, sunny, and noisy as the entire township of Furinkan gathered near the high school's athletic field to see who would sign up for the day's activities. Kuno, spotting Ranma and Akane in the crowed, called out, "So, Ranma, have you come to sign up for the tournament, or would you just like to concede my superior abilities with the sword right now?" "Put a sock in it, Kuno," Ranma replied. "Such an attitude," Kuno retorted, "is unbecoming one of your low birth Ranma. I, the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High, shall win this championship." "You seem sure of yourself today," Akane chimed in. "Dear Akane," Kuno replied "if you perchance defeat me in this tournament, I shall allow you to date me." "So who asked you?" Ranma interrupted, and proceeded to send Kuno flying over the crowd with a swift kick." "Hmph," Akane glared at him, "and who asked you for your help?" But just when Akane was about to apply a swift kick of her own in Ranma's direction, another voice called out. "Ranma!"
"Ranma," Shampoo called, pushing her way through the crowd, "I look all over for you!" "Hey Shampoo," Ranma returned, "what brings you out here?" "I enter contest," she replied, "win I." "You? You gotta be kidding." "You no think I win? Then Ranma promise make. If Shampoo win, Ranma date with Shampoo?" "Huh? Uh.. I" Shampoo fixed Ranma with an extremely cute stare and fluttered her eyelids. "Uh.. sure," Ranma stammered, "I.. uh.. don't see a problem with that." Akane, who had been watching this exchange with a blank expression, decided that this would be an opportune moment to finish that swift kick she had started back in the last paragraph. "Ranma, you jerk!" she exclaimed as Ranma sailed off to other parts of the crowed. "Hm.." Shampoo glared at Akane, "you I see in tournament." "That you will, Shampoo," Akane grumbled, stalking off into the crowd.
A few minutes later, the crowd quieted as loudspeakers around the field clicked on. "Attention spectators," they droned, "the contestants have all been chosen. The competition will be done on an elimination basis. Every time someone loses a battle, they will lose a point. If you lose too many points, you're out of the tournament. The last contestant left in wins. We will now begin the tournament. First match: Ataru Morobishi versus Shutaro Menduo." Ranma, watching the first bout from the sidelines, noticed Nabiki standing nearby. "Hey Nabiki," he called, "what brings you out here." "Oh, there's always money to be made at a contest," she replied. "Of course," Ranma said, "So who's got the odds in this match? Do you know these people?" "Yeah, they're just some out of towners from Tomobiki. Menduo's pretty handy with the sword, but Ataru could beat him if he puts his mind to it." "Uh-huh. So, who do you favor to win the tournament?" "Well, that's a tricky one. You're pretty good, Ranma, but you never know when Akane might get the better of you. Kuno doesn't stand a chance. But then there's always that weird guy over there..." "Huh?" Ranma asked, following Nabiki's gaze to where a man dressed in extravagant samurai robes and holding a long samurai sword stood among the crowd. "How odd we didn't notice him before." "Yeah, I don't think he actually entered the tournament, though. But he's sure dressed for it..."
"Second fight: Ranma Saotome versus Akane Tendo." Ranma strode into the field, saying, "So, Akane, looks like we get a warm-up match together. Too bad I have to take a point away from you." "Don't get your hopes too high, Ranma," Akane, still in a sour mood, growled. "You know, Akane, you're not very cute when your in such a bad mood." "Ranma, you jerk!" Akane yelled as she opened with a flurry of well-placed punches which Ranma just barely blocked. "Not bad," he remarked, "for a start." "Well, unlike some people," she replied, "I've been making good use of my time and practicing." Akane proceeded to get in a volley of kicks, which Ranma again barely blocked. "You know something?" Ranma pondered, "Maybe you're right, Akane, I could use a bit more practice." At that, he pulled a quick kicking move which tripped Akane, then bounded off the field. "Ranma, you jerk!" Akane repeated, "You can't run away when you were losing! You make me so mad!" After a pause, the loudspeakers declared, "The judges were unable to reach a decision, so the match is declared a tie."
Several hours later, the loudspeakers had a special announcement: "The tournament has no come down to four contestants remaining. Akane Tendo, Kuno Tatewaki, Ranma Saotome, and Shampoo. Each of them need lose only one more fight to be eliminated. The next match will be... hey, who's that on the field?" All eyes turned toward the extravagantly clothed figure suddenly standing alone on the grass. "I wish," the figure said, "to enter this tournament." "Sir," the loudspeakers replied, "I'm afraid the time for entering is past. Now if you will kindly vacate..." "I wish," he repeated more forcefully, "to enter." "Um.. you see sir, that would be highly irregular..." At this point the figure raised his large, gleaming sword and pointer it towards the official's stand. "I will," he said, "enter the tournament." "The mysterious man with the large sword will enter the tournament," the loudspeakers agreed. "The tournament has no come down to five contestants remaining. Akane Tendo, Kuno Tatewaki, Ranma Saotome, Shampoo, and the mysterious man with the large sword. Now then, the next match will be Kuno Tatewaki versus Akane Tendo."
As Kuno and Akane took their places on the field, Kuno intoned, "Remember, dear Akane, that there are rewards if you beat me." "Oh, you mean I never have to see you again? That would be worth fighting for," Akane replied. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, Nabiki had taken the mysterious figure aside for a chat. "So," she bargained, "you'll give me those samurai shoes in exchange for my sneakers if I help you thin out the competition? You want to get rid of the other guy with a sword, and the Chinese girl, right? Then take this bucket and.." She whispered in his ear and then walked off, asking anybody who cared to listen if they would like to buy an authentic pair of Samurai footwear.
On the other sideline at this time, Ranma was watching the fight with interest while Shampoo clung to his arm like a parasite. "Shampoo," he complained, "you're getting in my way; I can't see." "Shampoo preparing for date with Ranma," she replied. "Look, Shampoo," Ranma squirmed, "you haven't won ye.." But he got no farther before the two of them were both doused with a bucket full of cold water. Ranma took one look at the cat clinging to her arm and bolted across the field, running straight between the battling Kuno and Akane. "Pig-tailed girl!" Kuno exclaimed, and bent over to kiss her hand as she passed. "An opening!" Akane shouted, and with two quick kicks knocked away Kuno's sword and sent him flying high into the air. "Akane's point!" the loudspeakers boomed, "Kuno Tatewaki is out of the tournament, and quite likely out of the city as well by now. Next match: Shampoo versus the mysterious man with the big sword."
"Wait a minute," the loudspeakers corrected themselves a moment later, "we have just been informed by the mysterious man with the large sword and half-empty bucket that Shampoo is no longer available. By the way, someone get that cat off the field! Anyways, in that case Shampoo is disqualified and our next match is the mysterious man versus Akane Tendo." Akane and the mysterious man moved into position across from each other on the field. "All right, whoever you are," Akane said, "let's see how good you are." She moved in and began with a series of swift and accurate punches which the man effortlessly blocked with his blade. Meanwhile, Ranma returned to the sidelines, damp but male, having purchased a rather expensive kettle of hot water from Nabiki. As he arrived he saw Akane try out a flurry of kicks which the mysterious man again blocked. This went on for some time, until Akane finally stepped back for a moment, winded.
"So," intoned the man, "do you wish to admit defeat now, or shall we continue this futile exercise?" Akane merely glared at him for a minute, when suddenly a smile came over her face and she giggled. "Eh?" the man wondered, "has my prowess with the blade driven you mad?" "No," she replied, regaining her composure, "its just that I think I know how to defeat you." "Really?" the man replied, "In that case..." Saying no more the man reached out with his long sword and neatly stuck the flat side of it through a strap of Akane's dress, then lifted her off the ground. "H.. hey!" she yelled, "put me down." The man then calmly proceeded to deposit Akane outside the field boundary, and declared loudly "Akane Tendo has left the field and thus forfeited the match." He punctuated his statement with brief but meaningful jabs of his sword in the direction of the officials' stand. "Yes," the loudspeaker agreed, "Akane forfeits." "But," it added as an aside to the mysterious man, "don't push your luck. You won't get away with that again." The man nodded in slow assent. "Next match: the mysterious man versus Ranma Saotome."
"What?!?" spluttered Akane from the sideline. "I'll handle this guy," Ranma said as he strode past her onto the field. "You better hope you will," Akane shouted after him, "I'll never forgive you if you let this guy win." When Ranma had reached his position, the mysterious man addressed him, "So, Ranma, we meet at last." "Do i know you?" Ranma queried. "Perhaps I shall tell you," replied the man, "after I beat you to a bloody pulp." "We'll see about that," Ranma retorted, and rushed forward to begin exchanging blows. The battle was fairly even for quite a while; neither opponent could get through the other's defenses. However, after some time had passed, it was clear that Ranma would tire sooner. Eventually, Ranma let a sword strike slip through, and the mysterious man nicked his shoulder, drawing blood. Ranma winced, and the man nicked his other shoulder. As Ranma began to let down his guard, the man yelled "Flat-Sword Baseball Hard Strike!" and knocked him a stunning blow with the side of his blade which sent Ranma sprawling across the field.
"Ranma, you idiot!" Akane yelled from the sidelines, "How can you let yourself get beat up like this? What the heck have you been practicing all day?" "This," Ranma replied, getting shakily to his feet. "I wish," he announced to the officials' booth, "to forfeit the rest of my match and leave it to Akane Tendo instead." "What?" Akane shouted, striding to meet him in the field, "you can't quit now!" "But you're in better shape to fight him." "I was disqualified! What's with you anyways?" "You silly girl, can't you see I'm trying to apologize?" "Apologize? By getting yourself beaten?" "Hey, if you think that was fun out there..." While the two continued yelling, the mysterious man, growing impatient, wandered over to the officials' booth.
"Maybe you're right," Ranma said, as Akane agreed, "yes, perhaps you are." "I'll fight him," they both concluded at once. "What?" they both asked. Suddenly they were interrupted as the loudspeaker announced, "The mysterious man has announced that he will now fight both Akane and Ranma for the prize. Resume the fight." "Huh?" Akane and Ranma looked at each other in confusion. The mysterious man immediately took advantage of their indecision: "Flat-Sword Second Strike!" he yelled, and knocked them both backwards with his sword. "Hah hah.." he chuckled, "it will indeed be a pleasure to beat you both soundly once and for all." As he recovered from the blow, Ranma remarked, "My, but isn't he the mass of cliches this afternoon." "Look, partner," Akane reminded him, "if we're gonna beat this guy together we've gotta regroup." She then whispered something to Ranma who looked surprised for a second, then intrigued. "Not a bad idea," he remarked, "for a normally slow chick like you." "Just shut up and follow me," Akane yelled.
Akane and Ranma both ran towards the man as he raised his sword again. He drew back and yelled, "Flat-Sword Third Strike..." Before he could swing Ranma jumped up and landed, balancing expertly on his sword. As he looked up startled at Ranma, Akane ducked below his sight, and Ranma jumped off the sword and over his head. The man began to turn quickly to follow Ranma's movement, but as he began to do so he suddenly found himself falling flat on his face, whereupon Ranma landed on his back and sent his sword flying from his grasp into the air with a swift kick. "...and you're out." Akane declared, as she caught the sword and pointed it at his nose. "Point, set, and match to Akane and Ranma!" the loudspeakers declared joyously.
Back at the Tendo Dojo, Genma and Soun were congratulating Ranma and Akane on their victory. "That was quite some stunt you two pulled," Soun commented. "Yes," Genma agreed, "how did you manage it?" "Well," Ranma replied, "we knew we weren't getting anywhere with a straight attack, so we needed something else." Akane continued, "I noticed while fighting him earlier that their was something odd about his costume. It was all perfect for a samurai, except for his shoes, which seemed to be a pair of blue sneakers. So anyways, I just tied his shoelaces together." "After that," Ranma concluded, "he was a pushover, you might say." "Ah, Genma," Soun gushed, "is it not truly a miracle to see this young couple working together at last?" "Indeed," Genma agreed, "It warms my aging heart. I'm so happy for you son!" Upon which he patted Ranma on the back so vigorously that he knocked him straight into the backyard pond....
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Last Modified 2/24/96; ©1996 by Ben Elgin