As far as I know, the characters in Slayers or Ranma do not belong to me. That doesnít mean they arenít mine, however; maybe, by some cosmic coincidence, I am listed in the wills of certain Japanese creative minds, and will inherit all rights someday.
I really doubt it, though. Iím just sayiní thereís always a chance. *Sniff* Donít shatter all my dreams!!!
Anyway, that makes this thang fanfiction, as you well know. Read, enjoy, and don't bother suing me if you are a big-time exec in any number of anime-related jobs, because you have all my money anyway.
Seriously, the real thing:
'Ranma 1/2' and all characters therein belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
'Slayers' and all characters belong to Hajime Kanzaka, Rui Araizumi, Kadokawa Shoten, TV Tokyo, Softx, and Marubeni.
Once upon a time, there were two gods who decided to become roommates because They were fed up with the obscenely high rents in the only available dimensions...
Maybe that isn't the best way to start it. Maybe it's the only way. I really can't explain what, exactly, these two gods agreed to on that 'afternoon', any more than I could explain this computer to a butterfly. As long as you accept that anything and everything in this story is simply a metaphor so your poor heads won't explode trying to comprehend the infinite, you'll do just fine.
Now, back to the story. These two gods had been friends for a while, and They often hung out together to be amused by the worlds the Other had created. So, when One called and asked if He could come over...
Genders. Gods don't really have genders. What they show us puny mortals is a persona they don just as easily as you put on a swimsuit, and for much the same reason. When it's just us gods, however, they tend to let it all hang out and don't really bother with being male or female, because they're too busy simply BEING. If you can understand that, you'll be well on your way to the secrets of the universe.
Anyway. So, when One called and asked if He could come over, the Other naturally accepted. When the first god showed up at His friend's door, He could see that His friend had come over because He was seriously bummed.
"What's wrong, My friend?"
The first god came in and sat down on a convenient mountaintop. "I just got a look at what They want for the upkeep of My little corner. I don't ask for much, just to be left alone the chance to play with the lives of My mortals a little! Is that so wru-hu-wrong?!" And then, to the acute embarrassment of the second god, His friend started weeping, causing massive flooding all through His finely crafted world.
The second god sent out a hasty mental command to some of the less stable people in His realm, commanding them to build big boats and cram everything they could onto their newly built survival devices. He added that He didn't know how long the flood would last, so hold on tight! Confident that His puny mortals would be saved, He turned back to His friend, who was still sniveling like a weakling demigod.
He said kindly, "Could I see this bill?" Still flooding, the first god handed the second a small slip of paper. The second god was literally floored. He sat down suddenly, creating a "God's Basin" that was deep enough to take all the water His friend was leaking all over His nice world. The less stable people were left high and dry, and mocked for their lack of faith. Hallelujah.
"This is outrageous!! How do They justify such high prices!"
The first god sniffled. "They say it's because My world has magic in it. They're raising rates on all the worlds that have magic built into them."
The second god managed to get to His feet. Still staring at the bill, He said, "But Your world only has a little magic in it! My world is... built... on... magic?" He looked at His longtime friend for an Eternity, then a jangle sounded, announcing a visitor.
The second god answered His door. Behind it was a minor angel-construct, holding a slip of paper. "Yer energy bill fer this month, yer Holiness."
Ripping the note out of the angel-construct's hand, the second god quickly scanned through it. He would have turned pale, then flushed bright, bright red in anger, had He owned capillaries. "By Myself! This is obscene!"
The angel-construct held out its hands in a defensive gesture. "I don't write the bills, yer Holiness. I just deliver 'em. Please don't smite me, I'm so insignificant!" It groveled, just for good measure. One thing it had learned about this god, He didn't call Himself the Sea of Chaos for nothing.
Fortunately, the Sea of Chaos was too busy being angry at the Universe in general to focus His attention on one puny construct. He waved His hand absently. "Go back to your masters, insect. Tell Them the Sea of Chaos will not take this lying down!"
The angel-construct fled whilst it still could. The Sea of Chaos paced back and forth, accidentally creating a race of demons in His rage. After absently creating a bunch of dragons to combat the threat, He turned to His friend. "What are We going to do about this travesty?" He demanded, shaking the fist that the two bills were clenched in.
The first god sniffled again. "I thought of a whole bunch of stuff to do, but the thing is, all of them require a friend in They. They hate us, remember?"
The Sea of Chaos waved His empty hand in a dismissive gesture. "You win a couple of holy wars here, a bet on a true worshipper there, and One gets a few enemies." Then, the full import of what His guest said struck Him. "Are You saying that They are all against Us?"
The first god nodded.
The Sea of Chaos boiled. "We won't lose to Them! We can't!" He paced back and forth more furiously. "Don't worry, I'll get a revelation soon..." He snapped His fingers, letting slip a fragment of Himself. "I've got it! We can become roommates, and share the energy bills! No problem."
The first god stood up and confronted His friend. "I'd say there's a problem. It isn't as if either of Our worlds is a complete fantasy land where anything could happen..."
The first god trailed off, then nodded. "When can I move in?"
The Sea of Chaos waved His hand. "Give me a millennium or so to prepare My world. How about Yours?"
The first god shrugged. "I'll freeze it where it is now. Just to make things more interesting for both of Us. So, what do You have planned for a thousand years from now?"
"Look for Yourself."
The first god accepted the invitation, peering at the skein. He nodded, then His brow furrowed in deep thought. "I have another thought for You. What do You think will happen when Lina Inverse and Ranma Saotome meet?"
The Sea of Chaos shrugged. "I don't know, Jusenkyou. Let's find out..."
Jusenkyou (for, lo, that was the nickname He'd been given by His friends after inventing a really great drinking game) knocked on the door leading to His friend's home. He'd spend most of the last millennium deciding what to take with Him, and what to leave behind. It had been a tough choice, but He'd finally decided to take the three things most important to Him: Japan, Jusenkyou and the surrounding territories, and one more thing...
His monorail of thought jumped the track when a bright, cheery feminine voice said "Nice to see You again, Jusenkyou! What do You think of My new outfit?" The Sea of Chaos twirled dramatically for Her friend's benefit.
Who shrugged disinterestedly. "It's okay if You like Your mortals gold-skinned, flat chested, and with a skinny butt. My tastes, however, run in a different direction."
Jihad erupted. The Earth moved, seas boiled, fire stopped burning, and the sky turned to ash. Or, at least, it should have, which is why immediately after Jusenkyou's mouth (which lived Its own life, wild and free) spoke, the rest of Him cringed away from the Sea of Chaos. When the smiting failed to descend, Jusenkyou cracked one eye and looked at His roommate, Who was still grinning. "Why are You so happy today?"
The Sea of Chaos danced a little jig. "I finally won My bet with Order! The bit of Chaos I planted in His world cracked it wide open, and He'll spend eons trying to fix it!" She mimed picking up and dialing a phone, then said, "Duh... is dis de Maytag man? Can ya fix a unaverse for Me? It went on de fritz, and I is too stoopid to fix."
Jusenkyou leaned in close. "I always wanted to ask You... Why did You ever decided to date Him?"
The Sea of Chaos flushed a brighter shade of gold. "One of My mortals said something about opposites attracting, and I wanted to see if it was true, that's all!" Then, She sighed for dramatic effect. "I was much younger then..."
That's for sure. Jusenkyou, not really caring any more about the conversation, held up what was left of His world. "I'm ready to move in."
Jusenkyou nodded. "Yeah, this is about all I had that was unique."
"Heehee... b-but... nyahaha... it's soooo small!" The Sea of Chaos settled down a bit and said, "That's right, You used one of the generic templates, didn't You? Should've gone whole hog and built an original world like Me. Luser." That sent Her off into fresh gales of laughter.
Jusenkyou waved His free hand defensively. "I just wanted to focus My efforts, and not waste time with little details, that's all!"
"Yeah, suuuure. Whatever You say, old friend." Then, the Sea of Chaos held up one finger. "What did You do with what was left?"
"I sold the generic template to a God that was renting from Me. His sense of humor is a lot like Mine, but He says He doesn't want the magic..." Then, Jusenkyou held up a finger of His own. "What have You done about somewhere to put My mortals and My creations?"
The Sea of Chaos led Him to a strange, shimmering shield that sheltered part of Her world from the rest. She stepped outside of it and gestured at a random spot in the ocean. "For some reason, My creations have made this shield. I was thinking that You could put Your island right here." At Jusenkyou's questioning look, She nodded. "Don't worry about Our creations not interacting with each other. The shield will go down in a little while.
"As far as the springs go..." She rubbed Her chin, then walked to a mountain range back inside the shield and pointed. "Not many people explore this area. You could put the springs and the other stuff around it right here and not cause too many problems."
Jusenkyou said angrily, "What about continuity? How the hell are half of My favorite mortals supposed to get from there" He pointed to the place the Sea of Chaos had suggested for Japan "to here?" He swung His finger to point at Their feet.
"How about this: Release the stasis from Your creations exactly two years after the shield goes down. A minimum of meddling with memories and shebang!" She made a grand flourish. "I am worried about one thing, though.... What if Your creations cause an Industrial Revolution in My world? I wasn't planning on ever having the sort of technologies that clutter up other worlds."
It was Jusenkyou's turn to rub His chin in thought. "I guess I could make My island slip backwards in time while preserving My favorite mortals intact. I'll tell You this much: I wasn't too fond of technology Myself. That's what happens when One buys a template..."
The Sea of Chaos jumped up and down in excitement. "Good! Now we're finally ready to pull this off!"
Jusenkyou set down both His island and His springs, then remembered that He had one more thing in His hands. He put it away for later disposition, and didn't even notice when it slipped out of His pocket with a chuckle. "I want to ask You how You plan to bring Your favorite mortals into contact with Mine?"
The Sea of Chaos snapped Her fingers. "No worries. I've got just the thing..."
Lina Inverse loved three things above all else: Good food, good fights, and good finds. She was starting to appreciate good friends, too, but she would never give up food, fights, and finds for mere friendship. Her quest for these three things had led her across the face of the known world, and sometimes farther.
Case in point: Lina sat in a tiny inn, drooling over her latest find. She held up a small piece of paper that had strange runes printed all over it. A picture of an attractive, buxom woman with purple hair was prominent. "Behold! This will lead me to the legendary Lost Restaurant of the Cat!"
Gourry looked at the piece of paper. "That looks like an advertisement flyer," he said.
Lina glared at him. "It is an advertisement flyer. For the legendary Lost Restaurant of the Cat!" She power-posed, trying to impress upon Gourry just how cool, amazing, and incredible this flyer was.
He didn't impress. In fact, he seemed even more confused than usual. "Lina, when we found that, didn't you say that thing was a thousand years old at least?"
Gourry continued. "But if it's a thousand years old, how do you know the restaurant is still open?"
Lina sighed. "I don't."
Hammering what he considered to be the point home, Gourry asked, "Then why go?"
Lina actually looked down at the plate of food in front of her, and with some shock Gourry realized that she hadn't touched it in the five minutes since they'd been served. "Because I'm bored, Gourry. Roasting bandits and grabbing their gold doesn't have the same thrill it used to. How many times have we saved the world?"
Gourry shrugged. "I don't remember." Lina gave him a sharp glance.
"Are you trying to make a joke or displaying your total ignorance?"
Lina sighed again as she looked up at the ceiling. "Forget that I even asked." Gourry did so without difficulty. "I just wanna go off on a quest again. Is that too much to ask?"
Gourry had stolen a piece of garlic bread whilst her attention was elsewhere. "Grtg mt." He swallowed and said, "Maybe is."
"Who asked you!" Lina smacked him with a convenient fan, then realized where his snack had come from. "Hey, that was mine!"
Xelloss watched from a safe distance as the two started squabbling once more. He shook his head and clucked his tongue. "Those two are so cute when they fight." He stood up and left a generous tip on the table. Since any gold he created would vanish a day later, Xelloss felt it was his obligation to tip generously. After all, the rage that a man felt when he reached into his pouch and found his hard-earned gold gone had such a... delicate flavour.
The two wanderers didn't even look up from their squabble (which now centered around the pizza that was placed between them) as Xelloss walked past them, for which he was grateful. "Thank the Lord of Nightmares for small favors. Speaking of Her" He looked up at the clear night sky "I wonder why She wanted me to make sure Lina would get that map in the first place?"
He chuckled nastily. "That's probably... a secret." He teleported away, leaving only a faint tinge of fear behind.
The Sea of Chaos watched in satisfaction. "There you go. Now My creation will not rest until she has found Your island." She turned Her attention to Her new roommate. "So, now how do You plan to explain the sudden change to Your creations?"
Jusenkyou shrugged. "I don't."
The Sea of Chaos broke into laughter. "I like that! Could be fun!" Then, her face straightened and She asked quietly, "But are You sure they won't care?"
"Not really, but what can they do about it?"
The Sea of Chaos smacked Her friend in the head with a paper fan. "Don't be an idiot! You've created some powerful mortals there, and the last thing We need is one of them messing around with this patchwork job and making it come unraveled. Now, explain it to them as something. Maybe... a magic spell gone wrong?"
Jusenkyou pushed up His sleeves. "No problem." He got started.
Happosai glared at Ranma and the others from inside the pentagram they'd used to seal up his evil. "How dare you do this to an old man?! When I get out..."
Genma laughed heartily. "When who gets out? You'll never escape, you senile perverted washed-up wannabe of a stinky little old man who couldn't get a woman with ten thousand yen dangling out of your pants while walking through Shinjuku!"
Soun patted his old friend on the back as he cried (type #35: Tears of Victory). "I couldn't have said it better, old friend."
Genma shrugged and tried to pretend to look modest. "I've been saving that up for a while."
Ranma suddenly recoiled from the pentagram. "What the hell?!"
Happosai had swelled up to seven times his usual size, pressing grotesquely against the barrier put up by the pentagram. "YOU DIE!" Then, he thundered "CICADA SHELL TECHNIQUE!"
And reality cracked...
The Sea of Chaos smacked Her roommate again. "That's the stupidest, lamest, least original idea that I've ever seen! Try again, jackass."
Jusenkyou cast a momentary glare over at Her, then sighed. "I guess you're right. Using Happosai's evil to suck Japan into your world? That's so stupid only a fanfiction author would come up with it."
The Sea of Chaos shuddered. "Please don't mention any of the Writer's creations. He scares Me for some reason, and His world is just creepy! Filled with people who'd rather write about adventure than go out and have some..." She trailed off. "I think You were trying to distract Me."
Jusenkyou sighed. Thwarted again. Then, He rewound His world a bit, and started over.
Ranma held out one hand to Gosunkugi. "Don't do it, man! That demon's just lyin' to ya!"
Gosunkugi peered out from underneath his black candles. "You are the liar, Saotome. Nylarthotep is the only truth!"
The Sea of Chaos stared, dumfounded. "I stand corrected. That was the lamest thing I've ever seen. I'll give it points for originality, though."
"Fine, fine! Spare Me the sarcasm. I hate thinking on the fly!" Jusenkyou rubbed His forehead, then nodded. "I've got it!"
"Akane?" Ranma stared at what had been the kitchen.
"Remember when I said that good cooking shouldn't bend the laws of reality?"
Ranma turned from the strange, swirling portal that was slowly expanding around the stove and yelled at his fiancťe, "WHY DIDN'T YOU LISTEN!?!"
Akane said, in a very small voice, "I'm sorry, Ranma. I just...I just... Ijustwantedtomakeyouanicemeal, that's all!" She started sobbing, and Ranma put his arms around her.
"Well, we might as well face our end together..."
The Sea of Chaos was left staring again. "Were You born stupid, or did You use some kind of advanced study plan to reach the depths I just witnessed?"
Jusenkyou said defensively, "It just takes Me a while to get warmed up, that's all!" He paced back and forth, then snapped His fingers. "I've got it! But I'll need to use one of Your mortals."
The Sea of Chaos shrugged. "Go ahead."
Jusenkyou cackled madly as He prepared His final effort.
The Kunou mansion echoed with maniacal laughter, sending all the servants running for cover. Tatewaki looked up from his meditations, wondering just what could be inspiring his sister to such lung-busting efforts.
Not wanting his meditations delayed further, he immediately stood up and stalked to his sister's labs, where she spent her days dreaming of vile concoctions that would draw the wretched Saotome to her side. He feared the worst: that she'd finally managed to mix something which would give her what she most desired.
HOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO!" Without pause, let, or break, the wretched laugh assaulted his ears as he wrenched open the basement door, battled a bugbear that had taken refuge in the family labyrinth, avoided several traps, and finally knocked down the door to Kodachi's lab.
"Dearest sister, what has compelled you to drive away all of our servants? Whilst the bonuses they demand upon returning are a pittance, nevertheless our fortunes cannot withstand such excess too often." The laugh stopped halfway through his speech, and Kodachi turned to regard Tatewaki steadily.
"I have no brother, young man. No doubt you are confusing me with someone else, for I am Naga the White Serpent, and I have finally discovered the secret of traveling the dimensions! OHOHOHOHOHOHOHOOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO..." Tatewaki fled, leaving his sister in the grips of the foul demon.
The Sea of Chaos nodded in satisfaction. "That was adequate, Jusenkyou."
Jusenkyou continued to cackle madly. "You ain't seen nothing yet!"
Gosunkugi looked over Happosai, who was staked in the middle of a sacrificial circle, at the horde of martial artists surrounding him. "You cannot take me alive! In the name of my master, I will open wide the gateway that Akane has cracked. Look!" He pointed with his curved knife at what remained of the Tendou's kitchen. The black ball of energy that had engulfed much of the house swirled with silver lightning. Gosunkugi laughed madly. "We Will All Be Destroyed!!!!! Is there any way more glorious to die than at the hands of a God?"
Suddenly, even madder laughter echoed out over the back yard. "OHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO! I, Nagachi the White Rose, have not traveled the dimensions and merged with this fine, intelligent young woman simply to be destroyed!" Everyone in the yard stopped and turned to the woman who'd just shown up. She was wearing a short, short black-and-white fuku, accessorized with the latest in spiked shoulder pads and a violet cape. Nagachi posed. "Prepare to die, worm."
Gosunkugi plunged the knife into Happosai's chest just as he croaked out "Cicada Shell Technique" and the woman dressed in the fuku shouted "SPELL SHATTER!"
It would be wrong to say all hell broke loose, because no expert on the afterlife had ever said anything about penguins debating the virtues of giant flaming wombat conscripts and plagiarism.
Everyone blinked. Twice. The sound of their blinks drifted on the air like pink smoke, obscuring the penguins. The smoke faded away, gradually revealing a thousand monkeys banging on typewriters. One of the monkeys stood up, ripped the sheet from his typewriter, and started reading aloud. "Four score and seven years ago.... Aw hell, this ain't right."
Thankfully, the monkeys faded away after that impassioned declaration, revealing... the backyard of the Tendou dojo. Happosai was standing up, Gosunkugi was gone, and everyone else simply stood there until Ryouga asked quietly, "What just happened?"
The Sea of Chaos cackled in time with Her roommate. "They'll never figure that one out! By Myself, I'm having trouble keeping it straight."
Jusenkyou stopped laughing long enough to say, "That's because none of them did it. It was Us all along."
The Two stood silently for a moment, then the Sea of Chaos asked, "What did You do with all the extra population? Your tiny island couldn't support all those people now."
Jusenkyou nodded. "You're right. I sent most of them back to My old place, but I kept enough of them and turned them back right along with the island that it shouldn't be a problem. I wonder what My mortals are going to think about being transported back to medieval times? With a few changes. The feudal system is so boring. I wonder how well the Diet would function in the Dark Ages?" He chuckled nastily. "Democracy is so fun."
"Okay, that should keep them occupied for a while. And We can enjoy Ourselves by watching them try to figure out what just happened!"
"Until Lina Inverse shows up. Then the real fun will begin!" Jusenkyou had a sudden burst of memory. "Wait a second. I've still got one more thing..." He reached into His pocket, only to find it empty. "What the - they're gone!" He started scrabbling around on the ground as the Sea of Chaos watched, bemused.
"What are You looking for?"
"An object that could destroy everything We've put together!"
The Sea of Chaos gaped for a moment, then asked, "You mean like the One Ring thing that what's-His-name let slip onto His world?"
The Sea of Chaos smacked Her roommate again. "YOU IDIOT! I can't understand why Anyone would allow such dangerous things! What's the form this object takes?"
"Yes, My Keys. I added a bit of magic to them one day, just so they wouldn't get lost, but somehow the magic only made My Keys intelligent. Due to the nature of keys in general, they started to enjoy being lost for as long as they could get away with. I added more magic to them, hoping to offset this, but My Keys just absorbed it and got more powerful.
"It was like a game between Us. They'd get lost somewhere in My world, and I'd spend time looking for them. I added a bit of magic to them that prevented any mortals I've created from using them, because My Keys, when used, can bend reality and travel dimensions."
The Sea of Chaos stood silently for a moment, then said softly, "What You're saying is that if any of My mortals get their hands on Your Keys, they could walk the dimensions and bend reality in their favor? They'd become minor Gods?"
Jusenkyou shrugged. "That's about right."
The Sea of Chaos started scrabbling around Her world, frantically searching for Her roommate's Keys. "Then what are We waiting for? We've gotta find Your Keys!"
"If any of Your mortals have found them already, it's too late." Jusenkyou shook his head slowly. "If the Keys are being carried by a mortal, they can hide themselves in his aura easily."
Amelia Wil Tesla de Saillune skipped merrily down the road, looking for her friends. She'd been delayed by a royal dinner she'd told Lina it was just a reception, not wanting the local duke eaten out of house and holding. Last night she'd paid for her horrible, horrible lie with horrible, horrible nightmares, but today was such a nice day she quickly forgot about them. She was hoping to catch up with Lina and Gourry quickly, but with how fast they moved sometimes...
Distracted by this worrying thought, she tripped over something in the road and slammed her forehead into a rock. "Owwie..." she whined as she rubbed the already-forming bump. Her attention was caught by the bright shiny object that she'd tripped over, and she reached back to pick it up, forgetting her pain.
"A set of keys." She leapt to her feet and power-posed, raising one Fist of Justice to the sky! "I bet some poor merchant has dropped his keys, and no doubt is locked out of his house! I shall go to the nearest town and see if this misfortunate man lives there!" She dropped the keys into her pocket, then promptly forgot about them. All according to what the Keys wanted...
To be continued.
I hope it was worth the wait. That's about all I can say. Of course, you only waited a week, so enjoy it anyway, dammit!
I misspelled 'loser' and 'flavor' as 'luser' and 'flavour' intentionally. I like the term luser because it's a reference to Slayers Virtual (an improfic that I like) and Xelloss asked me to spell flavour that way.
I present a challenge to my readers! (all three of 'em) Count the puns inherent in the title Slayers NIBUNNOICHI! Just thinking about it gives me a headache. Win a free metaphysical cookie, existential chocolate chips included with no additional charges for shipping and handling!
Thanks go out to Xelloss (whom I forgot to thank the first time) and everyone who responded to my teaser with ideas, or even just a "WRITE THE STORY, OR I SHOOT THIS BABY DRAGON!!"