Splitting Heirs

Chapter Two

Disclaimer:

All characters portrayed in this story are owned by their respective creators
and companies. All others belong to me.

*********

Part 2

It was then that the air opened up above Ranma's head and a mass
of flailing appendages engulfed the martial artist. Voices raised in surprise
and anger were drowned out by a cute meow, and then a guttural scream
of primal terror.

Nodoka and Akane heard another cry of panic rise from the pile of
bodies, and then all was silent for a time. Akane's face drained of color
and her eyes bulged fearfully. Nodoka cursed her husband's stupidity in a
number of very un-lady-like ways as she disengaged herself from her
father's arms. She had never seen the effects of the Neko-ken, but the
stories that she had heard from Akane and Soun were enough to cause her
worry.

**Ignore the fact that a group of people just fell out of thin air. Ignore the
fact that your father just changed his clothes and tattooed his face without
even moving at all. Just get to Ranma and calm him.**

Nodoka began yelling for everyone to move away quickly. Each of
her guests, whose faces were not obscured by another body, looked at her
like she had grown another head. She didn't have time for this. Akane
jumped to her feet and started untangling bodies as delicately as the
situation merited. Ryoko found herself airborne in short order. A loud
crash followed her startled cry.

"Hang on Ranma! Fight it!" She called down into the pile.

Nodoka began to help Akane free her nephew, Tenchi, from his
very compromising predicament with the blonde, very tanned, gaijin
woman. The poor boy kept holding his nose for some reason, and the
idiot woman wouldn't help at all! She just kept giggling and talking
nonsense. "Wait till the honeymoon" indeed!

Nodoka heard Akane say something about "pervert women" under
her breath, and the Saotome matriarch found herself agreeing with the
girl's assessment. Someone deep in the pile growled in consensus with
Nodoka and Akane. There was a time and a place for such things, and
now was not it!

Another quiet meow sounded from deep within the pile followed by
a small whimper, causing Akane to wince. A wave of frustration and fear
ripped through her. It was taking too long! With a grunt and a vicious
heave, Tenchi discovered what a liberating feeling flight gave a body.
That is until he hit the wall.

Nodoka cursed again and began to untangle the young girl with
blue pony tails from the top of the heap. The blonde gaijin kept tangling
her arms and legs in impossible knots that prevented Nodoka from freeing
the girl. "Akane help me!"

Perhaps it was the fear in Nodoka's voice, or the frantic way Akane
had Mihoshi by her ears and was tugging mercilessly, that forced the
remainder of the people in the room into action. Whichever it was, the
realization came too late. A distressed meow floated up from the bottom
of the pile, and was succeeded by a deeper, angrier yowl that caused
everyone to try and free themselves at once. Misaki and Nodoka freed
Sasami, while Yosho and Tenchi tried their best to help Akane extract
Mihoshi.

They weren't quick enough.

The pile exploded in a hail of screaming bodies and a red blur flew
into the air, bounced from the ceiling, and rebounded off one of the
room's walls. A yowl that seemed to cry out "FREE AT LAST!" echoed
throughout the tea room.

Ranma-Neko came to rest near his mother, with a small, disheveled
cabbit held in his mouth by the scruff of the neck. Nodoka looked down
at her son in pained sorrow, while the rest of the room looked at Ranma in
shock. The way that he supported himself on his knuckles was as
unnatural as the way that he moved.

Azusa had known quite a few felinoids, but this was the first human
or Juraian that had moved like a cat. And he did a really good job of it
too.

Akane planted her face in her palm and shook her head in
exasperation. **It could have been worse. He could have been splashed
with cold water.** she repeated the mantra over and over, hoping to
convince herself of the fact. Thunder again rolled in the distance, sending
a chill down Akane's spine.

Yosho looked down at his grandson's fiancee. "Genma , he
didn't. Did he?" Akane only nodded in embarrassment. Well, at least
Ranma hadn't decided to take a nap in her lap. Yosho cursed under his
breath, and wondered what else Genma had done to the boy. He wasn't
sure that he really wanted to know.

Ranma-Neko eyed Azaka and Kamidake playfully. It had been a
while since he had last sharpened his claws. The Guardians backed away
nervously from the boy and wondered if there was any way to save
themselves and the royal family in one fell swoop.

From the way the strange boy seemed to stalk them it didn't seem likely.

********

Mynai, the first moon of Abata - the fifth planet in the Juraian
system, was in laymen's terms a heavily populated market. Business here,
like any other bazaar in the known universe, consisted mainly of the
necessities of life. Food, clothing, transportation, and the occasional pet
could be bought and sold at fair, regulated prices.

These were not the commodities that Lord Segota, a not so distant
cousin of the Emperor, was in search of. His interests lay along the lines
of a more intellectual nature. Hidden secrets, buried wisdom, and
forbidden knowledge were his staples. The gossip and lies of the Royal
court were his appetizers, and Science was his dessert.

He had graduated from the Royal Science Academy with honors,
and had since been assigned to be the Emperor's personal advisor on
matters of science. It wasn't the best position to be in, but he was able to
glean tidbits of useful information every now and then. Unfortunately, for
over two weeks now, the court had been empty; with the exception of the
First Regent and his wives, and they weren't nearly as interesting as some
of the other courtiers. Which is what brought him to Myrai in the first
place. He needed information and he needed it fast.

He moved quickly through the Plaza of Gulem, to a small jewelry
shop. The place sold high quality trinkets for barbaric prices, but this was
merely a front in order to draw suspicion away from the real business that
went on behind its closed doors. The owner, one Malik E'efa, was very
particular about his clientele and went very far to make them feel at ease.

He had a variety of establishments like this all over Myrai. Some
were restaurants, others, respectable art galleries, and each had an
underlying commonality: they catered to the obscenely rich, and they were
very expensive just to enter.

Malik himself was native Myraian; a blue and red scaled humanoid
that resembled a walking fish. His lips were large and his eyes rolled in his
head like deranged marbles. But, take the sentient anywhere near water,
and he sank like a stone. His people had established this great bazaar over
fifteen thousand years ago, first for their own civilization, and then for the
denizens of Jurai and the surrounding planets. The Myraians had become
a very wealthy people over time making difficult, at best, to deal with them
on a level playing field.

Money was common place to them, and to offer currency while
bartering was often considered an insult. They wanted to be entertained,
and so they often accepted services such as singing, and dancing as
payment. Segota had seen many a fool capering about, and caterwauling,
for a small crowd of laughing Myraian merchants. It was demeaning. But,
for a race who had just about every comfort that money could buy, it was
more precious than gold.

Pitiably, Malik was a Myraian of eccentric tastes. Segota thought
his diversions gaudy at best, but then again, not everyone could have
enlightened tastes like himself. He hoped that Malik would accept his
"payment" this time. Segota dreaded the prospect of singing the Phillish
bar anthem again. The Juaian lord shuddered in disgust, as he entered the
shop. Such was the price one paid for an addiction.

The small boutique was lit elegantly by candle light, filling the eyes
with a soft, warm glow that set the patron at ease. Near one of the display
cases stood a very attractive woman. She was Juraian by the look of her,
with cyan colored hair and blood red eyes.

She was heavily cloaked from shoulder to waist, leaving her
sculpted legs to be freely admired. Segota fancied himself a connoisseur of
beauty, and she was in his eyes, powerfully beautiful. Danger clung to her
in such a fashion that he could feel it calling to him like a siren's song.

The woman looked up at him as he walked in, and immediately
took his measure. Her perusal took less than three breaths, but she had
evaluated him as a threat and found him wanting. Her disinterested look
fueled Segota's curiosity.

Malik read the exchange easily and mentally began preparing his
mind for a good haggle. Segota was a master of the art, and always
challenged Malik - making him fight for every bargain. It was a
stimulating exercise, but one that Malik always won.

By the look of lustful distraction in the lord's eye, Malik knew that
today's bargaining was going to be short and disappointing. He finished
with his current customer, and sent her politely on her way. Her payment
would come later, in the form of a Nhulish totem that he had seen three
days before. It would cost her a nice, sizable sum. But, well, it was only
money.

Lord Segota watched the woman leave hungrily, and when she was
gone he turned his attention back to his original task. His earlier burden of
boredom had vanished at the prospect of a long term seduction. But that
would have to wait. Right now he had other business to attend to.

"Good day to you Merchant." Malik nodded passively as Segota browsed
the display cases casually. "I pray that business is good."

Malik smiled toothily. "As well as can be expected for this time of
year I'm afraid." Meaning that he had profited more than the combined
annual salaries of the Executive Chiefs of the Galaxy Police. Segota
sneered at the thought. "Might I interest you in Odessian sundrops, or is
there something in particular that you are seeking?"

Segota seemed to ponder for a moment and then threw an intense
gaze the information broker's way. "I'm looking for a Juraian soul gem,
might you know where I could obtain one?" Malik's smug appearance
broke slightly.

"A very . . . rare stone." Malik gulped visibly and motioned Segota closer
to the counter. "A very rare stone indeed." He slipped his hand beneath
the counter and touched a panel, summoning one of his staff to watch the
store front. A young Juraian, with pale violet hair, entered the front of the
store. "I have some business to attend to, Lias. I will be in my office.
Please don't disturb me until it is complete." He motioned for Segota to
follow him. "I will make myself available in two hours for any special
requests. Nothing more." The boy nodded again and watched as Segota
made his way up the stairs at the rear of the store.

The boy tapped his finger against the counter twice and grinned as
the subspace recorder began its next session.

*******

Ryoko was mad. Not really mad, just a little annoyed. The little
witch had tossed her clear through a wall. There had been no real damage,
save for Ryoko's pride, but the whole principle of the thing set her off.
She hadn't been manhandled like that in over seven hundred years! Well
not counting Misaki's enthusiastic greeting from last week of course, but
that didn't really count.

The former space pirate stepped through her impromptu exit, and
started looking around for the little scrapper. **Heh! This is turning out
to be more fun than I thought!** It didn't take her long to find the dark-
haired girl.

She was facing away from Ryoko, watching something intently.
Good. The element of surprise was hers. She chuckled at the thought of
playing with someone new for a change. Aeka was really fun, but way too
predictable. And while the princess' "Mommy" was here, there was no
way that they were going to be able to have any fun at all. As she
pounced, she thanked whatever gods were smiling down on her.

The link that she shared with Ryo-ohki suddenly went active,
sending a jumble of emotions crashing through her brain. The tangled
mess suddenly resolved itself into two coherent thoughts:**Look out!**
and **Wheeee!**

********

Ranma-Neko looked at everyone, mildly bored. He was out from
underneath the smelly pile of ear scratchers, and the not-quite-kitten was
safe. Now he felt like playing a little, maybe get some milk afterward, and
then curl up in a nice warm lap and sleep for a while.

He put the not-quite-kitten down at the feet of the warm
lap/mother/care giver person and stretched lethargically, and meowed
complacently. The flying scratching posts were moving away slightly. He
decided to let them relax before he pounced. The game was never as fun
if they didn't run anyway. He began grooming himself, trying to get the
person scent off of him when his eye caught something more interesting.

It was coming up behind his almost-mate, stalking her. And doing
a pretty good job of it too. But then again, his almost-mate was
practically deaf to begin with. Well, two can play that game! Ranma-
Neko picked up the not-quite-kitten by the scruff in his mouth and slunk
forward.

Everyone else in the room froze, with the exception of his prey.
His almost-mate looked like a cornered mouse, her eyes were wide and
she trembled slightly. He could smell her fear and longing as he moved
toward her, too bad she wasn't his prey today. Chasing her might have
been fun.

*********

Akane watched in horror as Ranma got that "hungry" look in his
eyes. It was the same expression that he got right before a battle, the one
that said: "I'm the best and there's no way you can beat me."

Today it was saying something else entirely. Today it said that he
was the hunter and she was his prey. Her face flushed under the intensity
in his gaze and she willed her body to back away. Predictably, her mind
had severed all communications with her body until further notice, so it
stayed rooted where it was at.

**Ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease! Don't do anything stupid
Ranma!** she closed her eyes, waiting for the inevitable contact that
would mark another embarrassing moment in her life. Again, a la Ranma
Saotome. She felt the heat and the anger begin to rise within her. She just
knew that he did this on purpose! The thought was squelched as quickly
as it had come. Ranma had no control over himself when he was like this,
and she knew it.

They had to find a way to get passed this. And about a half a dozen
other things. If they couldn't, how was their marriage ever going to
survive? **Huh!** Akane's eyes popped open. **Where in the world did
that come from!** In her introspection, she failed to notice Ranma
crouch.

*********

Ryo-ohki dangled miserably in Ranma's mouth. She just hated
being treated like this. It was so humiliating. Fun? Sure, but it made
her feel like a baby. Humph! As if. Something in Ranma's stance
changed, causing the cabbit to strain her neck in order to catch a glimpse
of what the boy saw.

Ryoko had that silly grin on her face, that she always had when she
was playing with Miss Aeka. Uh, oh. The cabbit looked from Ryoko, to
the pretty dark-haired girl and back again. Ranma began to purr deep in
his throat, and began moving toward Ryoko. It wasn't the same purr that
Ryo-ohki had when she played with Ryoko, but this cat-boy certainly
seemed in a playful mood.

The way he moved reminded her of the way Ryoko played with
Tenchi. Well, she supposed that it was okay for him to play with Ryoko.
But then again, what if Ryoko didn't think that he was playing? What if
she thought that he was attacking her! Well, he was Tenchi's cousin,
which probably meant that he could take care of himself.

Inspiration struck. She would scan him to see how powerful he
was, if he didn't cut the muster, well she knew that she could protect him.
He was too cute to let Ryoko fry anyway. She just knew that he would
feed her carrots like Tenchi and Sasami! A great smile sprang to her cute,
furry face. All she had to do was keep him from getting hurt and then she
could get some carrots! Yum!

Ryo-ohki began her scan. It finished quickly, and she tallied the
results. The new scanner that Mama Washuu had given her worked wonders.
When she finally got the bottom line, her little eyes bulged. No way. He
couldn't be THAT strong. She re-scanned the boy, taking special care to
evaluate every reading. The data didn't change. Ryo-ohki trembled slightly.

Washuu had made her scan Tenchi not to long ago, to evaluate his
current power level and perhaps get a better idea of his true potential. The
raw power that she had read in Tenchi seemed limitless, but it was
random. The power of Jurai was hard to read in general, but these readings
were so chaotic that she had a hard time cataloguing them. Her scan of
Ranma showed him to be Tenchi's equal in sheer strength, but it was much
more ordered.

Another thought slammed home, one that turned her stomach.
What if he didn't think that Ryoko was playing? She shuddered. Things
could get messy really quick. She looked at Ryoko with a sense of dread,
and opened their link. She tried not to panic, but she knew Ryoko too
well. Once she started playing with this boy, she wouldn't stop until he
gave in. And based on her readings, he could go on indefinitely. She had
to stop her! This guy, while really cute, was really dangerous.

She sent everything at once across the link, but it came out in a
tangle. She tried sorting it all out, but then the boy started moving again.
She shut her eyes tight to help her concentrate, but then she felt him
crouch beneath her. Uh. Oh. She cut through the jumble, and sent a
panicked warning.

**Look out!**

And then he sprang.

**Wheeee!**

*********

The entire room tried to follow the red blur that was Ranma, as he
launched himself over Akane and into Ryoko's gut. The former space
pirate grunted with the force of the blow, and tumbled backwards into a
very stunned Azusa. Azaka and Kamidake flew into action; their Emperor
was in danger from a rehabilitated felon and an unknown. Throw in a
curious Kasumi and Nabiki into the mix and you had a very nasty mess.

Nodoka stood rooted to the floor. Next to her, Yosho and his
mothers mirrored her. Sasami and Washuu were rolling on the floor with
tearful guffaws, holding their sides against the pain as Ranma bounced
from one body to the next. The look on Azusa's face alone was priceless.
Mihoshi looked very confused, as she was still trying to untangle herself
from a very aggravated Aeka.

Tenchi walked up to a very surprised Akane.

"Is he always like this?" He asked. Akane stared at the writhing melee in
awe, before she answered quietly.

"Only when he thinks he's a cat." The sound of Tenchi planting his face on
the floor didn't phase the tumult in the least.

*********

Ranma-Neko was in heaven! He hadn't ever had this many
playmates before, and he was loving it. His newest playmate, the flying
almost-cat, was the most fun. She would try to scratch him with her long
claw, but at the last minute he would jump free, to land on one of the
floating scratching posts.

The scratching posts would try and scratch him with their claws,
but he would jump away before they could touch him. They would end up
scratching the stuffy, old tomcat who would get really mad and growl at
them. The kitten was still in his mouth, and was hampering his fun. So he
decided to give it to the pretty warm lap/food person who was trying to
play too. Ranma-Neko leapt onto Kasumi, who had just entered to
investigate the noise.

Kasumi saw Ranma-kitty coming toward her, and did her best to
brace for the imminent impact. It was a light fall, sitting her flat on her
bottom. Ranma smiled at her brightly, and she returned the gesture with
as much love and enthusiasm, then he was gone again into the fracas. A
ragged meow drew her attention to her lap, where she found the most
curious creature she had ever seen. Her hand went to her mouth.

"Oh my!" She exclaimed happily. "How adorable!" Ryo-ohki's limbs
wobbled gelatinously from the stress of playing with Ranma, and her eyes
rolled up into her head and passed out in Kasumi's lap.

Nabiki chose that moment to try and sneak out of the room and
somehow got swept up into the fray. Energy blasts caused her to start
dancing and weaving in order to avoid being hit. It was truly a foreign
experience for Nabiki.

The flying chick with the chi sword, or whatever it was, barreled
passed her cursing Ranma for all that she was worth. The air pressure was
enough to set Nabiki into a forceful pirouette. It was time for her to leave.
She never liked being in the middle of things, and quickly determined that it
was passed time for her to be on her way.

Ranma-Neko saw that Nabiki was not having very much fun and
decided to help her out. He tackled her, causing her to roll out of the way
of a barrage of energy blasts and sword swinging, that, more than likely
would have pulped her. They rolled out of the conflict, and ended up with
Nabiki flat on her back and Ranma perched on her chest in a very "touchy"
situation. Nabiki blushed, Ryoko joined in on the laughter with her
mother and Sasami, and the rest of the group nodded dumbly at Kasumi's
very appropriate. "Oh my."

The room's temperature dropped considerably, and everyone's
attention was drawn to Akane, whose battle aura flared a bright icy blue.
Tenchi took the opportunity to move to the other side of the room.

Most of the others followed his example.

A low growl escaped her lips as she flexed her fist. Ranma-Neko
looked up at his almost-mate, with a very puzzled expression. He could
tell that she was upset, but he couldn't see why. He looked around at the
others to see if they had done something.

All that he saw were blank faces. Then he heard the purring below
him, and looked down.

His almost-mate's sister was looking up at him with a very hungry
expression, that made him want to run. He never saw the kick coming.

********

Akane's chest heaved like a bellows, in her anger. **That
PERVERT! How dare he molest my sister like that! And in front of
company no less!** She stared after him through the hole that he made as
he flew through the ceiling. Everyone in the room watched her warily as
she seethed at her departed fiancee. Ryoko leaned over to an astonished
Azusa and whispered in his ear.

"She'll fit right in, don't you think?" Azusa bobbed his head numbly.

Akane felt a tug at her dress and looked down at her sister. Who
had a very stern expression on her face. "What!" She snapped in
exasperation.

Nabiki looked up at her cooly. "That was a heck of a way to thank
your fiancee for saving my life, don't you think?" Akane looked miffed.

"He was groping you!" She yelled.

"Yeah and you ruined it." Nabiki said flatly. Sweat drops adorned the rest
of the occupants of the tea room. Silence fell on the room, and then
Ryoko's laughter roared throughout the room.

*********

Ranma walked into the house about an hour later, holding his head
wearily, supporting himself on a tall staff. The state of the tea room could
be summed up in one word: Decimated.

**So much for making a good impression.** He thought drearily. He
made his way towards the kitchen to assuage his sorrows with food. As
he neared the dinning room, he heard his mother's voice.

". . . and we are descendants of the Royal family of Jurai?"

**'Royal family'?** He stopped outside the entry, and listened intently.

Yosho smirked at his daughter. "That is correct No-chan. You are
a princess to one of the most noble and powerful thrones in the universe."
There was a large crash from the hall, causing everyone to look up.

"Ranma-kun's back." Nabiki smiled dryly.

Tenchi made a move to get up, but both Nodoka and Funaho
motioned him to stay seated. They all waited quietly for Ranma to recover
and join them. There was a scrambling as Ranma salvaged himself from
the shock, and then he burst into the room. The smells of left overs
assaulted him, and the looks of worry, anger, and intense curiosity washed
over him.

His stomach chose that moment to rumble embarrassingly.

He stood there, balanced precariously on one foot, with his mouth
gaping comically. Words were trying to form futilely, reminding each of
the diners of a very large, very flabbergasted carp.

Aeka broke first, surprising everyone as she tittered gracefully
behind her hand. Sasami joined her, followed by Akane and Ryoko. Soon
everyone around the table was laughing at Ranma.

It took all of his will power not to explode. He supposed that he
must look pretty stupid, but that was no reason to make fun. Well, he was
determined to show them just how manly that he could be! With a slow,
deliberate display of restraint, he settled himself to the floor. Yosho and
Funaho looked slightly impressed, Nodoka and the Tendo sisters looked
pole-axed. Ranma smiled pleasantly, and moved to the first available seat,
next to the pretty blonde woman.

Akane growled, snapping her chopsticks as she closed her fist.
Ranma, mustered all the suave charm that he could and looked directly at
his mother.

Nodoka looked at her son breathlessly. He was such a manly man!
"I'm sorry for being late mother " Akane and Nabiki face-faulted on the
table painfully. With only the barest of hints he continued. " . . . and I
apologize for my earlier . . . misconduct." He hoped that was the right
word, he had heard it on tv last night, and it seemed to fit, so . . . .

Kasumi choked on her tea at this point, trying to desperately keep
the laughter suppressed. It earned a worried glance from Ranma, and a
raised eyebrow from Funaho. Sasami reached out and whacked her on the
back until she gained control of herself. She excused herself, and went
into the kitchen before she laughed out loud.

Akane and Nabiki boggled at Ranma, silently wondering who the
imposter was that sat before them. Nodoka beamed at her son, a silent
celebration raged in her heart. **He listened!**

"That is quite all right Ranma." Yosho, who once again wore the face of
Katsuhito Masaki, spoke from his place next to Nodoka. "Your mother
has informed us of the . . . vigorous training that you undertook with your
father." Ranma cringed involuntarily. "To have mastered the Neko-ken,
and retained your sanity, is a worthy feat."

Ranma smiled wanly at his grandfather, wondering exactly how far
his mother had gotten in his life story and which topics she chose to avoid.
He looked to his mother for any sort of confirmation, but was met by an
odd, glazed, look on her face. "Thank you Grandfather." He said as he
bowed respectfully.

"Scary." Nabiki whispered in her sister's ear. Akane nodded,
casting a worried glance her fiancee's direction. She was starting to get
really alarmed. Sure Auntie had grilled him on etiquette (at sword point),
but this was just not him. Ranma was acting too polite. He cast her a
hidden smirk, while the rest of the group resettled themselves, that made
her see red. She was about to denounce his duplicity, when he railroaded
her. Neither noticed the small smile that graced Funaho's lips.

"Grandfather?" Yosho looked up from his tea.

"Yes Ranma?"

"What were you tellin' mom when I walked in?"

"Oh, nothing special. I was just recounting to her a little of our family
tree." He pointed to Azusa. "This is your great-grandfather, Azusa, the
Emperor of a vast interplanetary empire."

Ranma stared at the gruff man and blinked. **Interplanetary?**

Yosho continued without missing a beat. "This is your great-
grandmother, Funaho. She is my father's first wife and Minister of
Diplomacy." Ranma looked at Funaho his eyes were growing wide.

 

"First Wife?" Ranma squeaked.

Funaho bowed demurely as Yosho moved on. "This is Misaki, my
father's second wife, the Consul of the Juraian Royal Knighthood and the
mother of my sisters, Aeka and Sasami." He pointed out each in turn, but
Ranma barely noticed.

**Second Wife?**

"Last in our line is Tenchi, your cousin." Ranma looked up at Tenchi with
a slightly glazed expression. His gaze slid from his cousin without any
sign of real recognition, to take in the other guests. As he passed over
them, they each introduced themselves.

"Ryoko. Retired Space Pirate, and Demoness." She smiled caustically at
Aeka who snorted in disgust.

"Washuu. Greatest scientific mind in the known universe. Could you
please pass the tempura?" Sasami reciprocated. "Thank you."

"Your welcome Washuu-chan!" Sasami, some distant part of Ranma's
mind told him, could give Kasumi a run for her money in the
"Pleasantness" department. He didn't stop there, but turned his attention
to the woman next to him. She looked up at him, her mouth full of onigiri
(Rice ball). She smiled sheepishly at him, which he returned weakly.

"Meefoshfi." She said, spraying little chunks of rice in his face. Ryoko
bounced a chopstick off of her forehead, and scowled.

"Don't talk with your mouth full! It's not polite."

Aeka barked out a laugh that she barely hid behind her hand. Her
mother glared at her meaningfully, but the irony was too much for her -
Ryoko defending proper behavior!

"Wahahahahahahaha!" The First princess of Jurai toppled over on her
back, holding her sides against the mirth.

Ryoko scowled at Aeka, and was about to launch her second
chopstick when Misaki tossed a look that froze Ryoko in mid heave. With
careful decorum, she laid the utensil quietly on the table, while Misaki
dealt with her daughter. Ryoko thought she heard something about a
spanking, before Aeka was upright and eating as if nothing had occurred.

Misaki sent Ryoko another look before returning her attention to
Ranma.

Mihoshi had by this time swallowed her mouthful, and washed it
down with a quick drink of water before bowing to Ranma. "Mihoshi.
Detective, first class of the Galaxy Police." Ranma bowed slightly in
return, before returning his gaze to his grandfather.

"Yosho! You forgot somebody!" Sasami said. Akane cringed as the
pony-tailed girl reached beneath the table. Ranma looked in her direction,
and gazed at the brown rabbit in her hands.

"Hey! He's pretty cute! What's his name?" He asked. It was just a rabbit.
A normal earth creature.

"Her name's Ryo-ohki." Sasami answered brightly. Ranma mouthed the
name, to which the cabbit beamed. Her new friend thought that she was
cute!

"Meow!" She said in her most joyous tone.

Ranma twitched violently, and then his eyes rolled up into his head
as he passed into the sweet embrace of oblivion.

Nabiki looked at his twitching form with a sardonic grin. "Well, he
took it better than I hoped."

********

Mihoshi was never good under pressure. Just ask any of her old
partners and they would grumble and fuss about how dangerous she was
to everyone, good and bad alike. One particularly gruff senior partner,
Mihoshi's first in fact, had said that Mihoshi was " . . . the @#%#@#$
essence of $$&$##@$%! Chaos itself!" given flesh. To put her under
pressure was like shaking up a bottle of soda pop. The carbonation builds
until it reaches critical mass, and the resulting explosion gets really messy.

When Ranma had returned, he had been calm and very polite. He
didn't act like a cat any more, which put her at ease. The whole episode
that afternoon had almost overloaded her, and she hadn't even been
involved. The boy was very cute when he was under the control of the
Neko-ken, but he had also been really scary too.

But now she could feel the panic start to rise again. Ranma had
passed out and was now twitching violently. It reminded her of all those
emergency medical training videos that she had been forced to watch over
and over again. After the thirty seventh loop, Mihoshi could practically
perform an emergency tracheotomy on nineteen different species.
Unfortunately, she had slept through the part on seizures every time.

********

Washuu noticed the warning signs early on. She had made it a
point to study Mihoshi's behavior, as a safety precaution and as an early
warning system for anyone near by. The fact that the blonde time bomb
was rocking back and forth, was normal. It was the twitch in the right
eyebrow that set off alarms inside the scientist's head. She had never done
that before. Washuu's stomach developed a seriously cold lump, and it
felt like death had started to crawl up her spine.

********

Nabiki, who up until then had been seated next to Mihoshi, began
to edge away from the table. Her finely honed danger sense had just
kicked into overdrive. Those who were observant enough followed her
example. Which left only three people at the table: Akane, Tenchi, and
Mihoshi. When Tenchi realized his plight, he began scrambling away from
the table rapidly, trying his best to get Akane to do the same. Time seemed
to slow, as Mihoshi's face snapped itself into an unnatural calm.

Her eyes emptied themselves of all coherent thought, and with a
great cry of "TOURNIQUET!" she descended on a helpless Ranma.

The snapping and popping that ensued turned Akane's face green,
forcing her to speed herself to the bathroom where she promptly emptied
the contents of her stomach. She would have nightmares for years to
follow, some with Ranma the victim of the onslaught, but more often than
not she was the one being tortured.

********

Ranma's world exploded in a wave of indescribable pain, as his
limbs were stretched and pulled in ways that nature had never intended.
Both of his shoulders were dislocated, and his right leg had been wrapped
around his neck. He suddenly thanked the old man for the accelerated
yoga training.

There was no doubt that he would have been crippled without
them. He also praised the gods when the blackness of unconsciousness
claimed him again. He would feel the pain of this for days to come, but at
least he wouldn't have to face it now.

 

********

The blind rage that Mihoshi had fallen to subsided as quickly as it
had come. The Galaxy Police officer took stock of her work, and smiled
with pleasure! She had done the Xi'Obidan tourniquet perfectly! And she
cried out in triumph at her victory. She had always told Goi-sensei that
she could do it! Hah! If only he could see her now.

There was one problem. Her patient wasn't Xi'Obidan.

The sight of Ranma made her face turn green, and she looked up at
the cowering crowd around her. They all flinched in terror. She made to
move forward, and they all retreated. Large tears welled, and sprang forth
in a gush. She had done it again.

"Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!"

The fear that the group felt diminished at the display of emotion.
Tenchi warily approached the Class A detective, and tried to comfort her
the best he could. "It's okay Mihoshi. Please don't cry. I'm sure that
Ranma will be fine." She took one look at Ranma and cried harder.

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!"

Sasami couldn't help but feel for the young officer. She had only
tried to help. She needed a friend, and if it was one thing that Sasami was
good at, it was being a friend. She broke free from her mother's
protective embrace, and avoided the mad scrambling to recover her as she
made her way over to where Mihoshi wept. Tenchi looked down
nervously at the little princess, and watched in horror as she wrapped her
arms around Mihoshi in a loving hug. Mihoshi flinched at the gesture,
causing the others to cringe.

With a wail of despair Misaki had to be forcibly restrained, as her
baby girl was wrapped in a sniffling bear hug by the blonde woman. But
Sasami showed no signs of being bent or folded, relaxing everyone there.
A small conversation passed between the two, producing a very large, very
bright smile from the GP operative.

"You will!" She exclaimed. Sasami nodded cheerfully, rousing a giddy
squeal from Mihoshi. The golden curls began dancing on her head as she
bounced in place, and the table she was next to jumped in time with her.
Mihoshi's water glass chose that moment to leap from the table, emptying
itself on Ranma's battered head. There was a collective gasp from the
observers and a throbbing groan from the abused boy as his curse
activated.

Washuu cried out with joy at the prospect of another guinea pig,
Miskai cried out with joy of having such a cute great-granddaughter, and
Yosho turned to his cringing daughter.

His, "Is-there-something-else-that-I-should-know-about" grimace
made Nodoka want to find a nice rock to crawl under and hide until
Ranma was old and grey. Poor Azusa chose that moment to join his
great-grandson in the peaceful darkness of unconsciousness. Maybe when
he woke up it will all have been a dream. A really bad dream.

********

After the long and unsettling tale of Ranma's life story, Yosho had
decided that it would be best if everyone returned to the Masaki home.
"To avoid disturbing the neighborhood." He had said. Nodoka had readily
agreed, and had been very excited at the prospect of seeing her old house
again. When they retired to the Masaki home, Funaho, Misaki, Aeka,
Mihoshi, Washuu, and Ryoko were all of the same mind: if they ever
crossed paths with Genma Saotome, Justice would be served.

********

Somewhere south of Oita, on the island of Kyushu, Genma
shuddered and sneezed violently as a foreboding sense of doom crept over
him. He looked over at his traveling companion, and wondered silently if
Soun would go for an extended training trip with him. He'd always
wanted to visit Brazil.

********

End Chapter Two 

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