Subject: [FFML2] The Three Saotomes[Part 21][R.5]
From: Ryoga P Hibiki
Date: 2/16/2001, 6:41 PM
To: ffml2@listbot.com

FFML2 - http://ffml2.rcbooks.org

--------------------------- ListBot Sponsor --------------------------
Start Your Own FREE Email List at http://www.listbot.com/links/joinlb
----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Three Saotomes

    Part 21

    Let the Games Begin.

+++++++++++

    Ranma sat looking out over the Tendo's back yard and smiled to
himself. It was quiet, and calmness seemed to resonate throughout the
home. The sun was rising over the wall, bathing the yard in a soft
orange glow.

    "Here," said Kasumi as she set down a cup of tea in front of him.
She seemed distant today, not her normal cheerful self. She had been
like that for several days.

    "Thank you Kasumi," he replied as he picked up the cup and blew at
the surface of the hot liquid for a moment before taking a small sip.
"It's quiet."

    "Yes," said the girl as she sat down next to him. "I always
enjoy this time of day."

    Ranma nodded and smirked as he sat back and leaned on the palms of
his hands lazily. "It starts today."

    "I know," she said quietly in reply. "Akane marked it on the
calendar. I don't know if she's looking forward to it or not."

    "I think she is, she's finally becoming what she's bragged about
being since I met her," replied the boy with an almost wistful smile
on his face.

    "Oh? What's that?" said Kasumi with a slightly surprised glance.

    "A real martial artist. She was so unfocused before, wild, unruly.
I'm actually kind of proud of her. She's my first student. I hope you
won't say anything to her," he answered without looking back at the
girl.

    Kasumi nodded and poured herself a cup of tea as well. "I think
she knows that. That's why you bother her so much. She thinks you're
always right."

    "Hmm, could be," he shrugged absently and sat upright again,
taking another sip of the drink for a moment. "Will you be coming? To
the fights I mean? Nabiki is coming along."

    Kasumi looked at him blankly and frowned. "No. I have no desire to
watch you die."

    Ranma paused for a moment and looked at her with a neutral
expression. "Oh."

    They simply sat together after that in silence, watching the
sunrise.

+++++++++++

    Genryu woke up and looked out the window of Ukyo's room. He sat up
on his futon and saw his wife still sleeping on her bed, turned away
from him. He stood there watching her for a long moment not sure of
what to do. The sun was slowly rising in the distance, giving the town
outside an almost shadowy appearance.

    He looked up at the clock and saw the time; they still had a few
hours before they had to go meet his brother, their brother. It was
weird, thinking of her in terms of family now. He shook his head and
walked out of the room, letting her sleep a bit longer.

    About an hour later, Ukyo walked down the stairs lazily. Her face
slightly confused, it settled after she saw him sitting behind the
counter, with a cup of tea in his hands. He was just looking at the
grill, and sitting alone. Without looking up at her, he spoke quietly.


    "You're up."

    "Um, yeah," she replied nervously.

    "Well, I've got to go in a few hours. You're still coming?"

    Ukyo merely nodded her head, despite the fact that he wasn't even
looking at her. He didn't seem to care and continued to sit in
silence. She moved over to his side and put her hand on his shoulder.

    "You're worried?"

    "Yeah, Ranma's been acting weird. I'm afraid of what he might do
today," said the boy quietly.

    "Well, they are trying to kill him," said the girl with an
uncertain smile.

    "He won't die. Not today, he's still got something he wants to do
first," said Genryu as he sipped at his tea.

    "You make it sound like he might let them do it," said Ukyo half
jokingly.

    "Not them. Her," said the boy quietly.

    If Ukyo heard him, she didn't show it. "I'll make us breakfast."

    Genryu merely nodded and continued to sit.

++++++++++

    "Well, today's the day," said Tofu seriously as Xianghua met him
in the small kitchen area of his home.

    "Yes, it is," she replied seriously.

    "You don't look very happy about it," commented the man as he
moved by her with a cup of coffee in his hands.

    "What makes you think I might enjoy it?" she said calmly as she
poured herself a cup and sat across from him at the small table.

    "I didn't mean to imply that," he said apologetically.

    "I will avenge my brother, but this isn't something I'm looking
forward too," she said as she relaxed in her chair. "I assume you've
got your own reasons for going as well."

    "I just want to make sure he can't hurt them," replied the doctor
with a little more force in his voice than he had intended.

    "Or, her?" replied Xianghua coolly.

    "What of it?" said the man with a small smirk on his face.

    "Just making sure. You can't back down, if you doubt, even for a
moment, he will destroy you," said the woman calmly.

    "I am firm in my convictions," said Tofu with a serious nod.

    "Well then, shall we?" said the woman as she stood up from her
chair and started towards the door.

    Tofu blinked and looked up at her. "What? Now?" He quickly rose to
his feet and followed after her.

++++++++++++

    Matin stood in the doorway of his home, simply looking outside at
the sunrise. He'd never actually watched one before, not seriously
anyway. He simply stared forward and frowned as it slowly rose into
the sky.

"I should go," he said out loud more to himself than anyone else.

    "You're going somewhere?" said his mother as she walked up behind
him in her robe.

    "Yes. I have something to do today," he replied seriously as he
turned to look at her. "I'll be gone all day."

    His father came down the stairs, half dressed for work and blinked
in surprise. "You're up early today...son."

    "Yes, I know," replied the boy as he turned to look at the sun
again.

    His father frowned as he noticed that the boy was dressed in his
dark blue dogi. The metal boomerang he had picked up somewhere was
strapped across his back in the leather sheath he had made for it.
"This is serious?"

    "I have a promise to keep," said the boy with a shrug.

    "To...a girl?" said the man hopefully.

    "Dear!" snapped his wife irritably.

    "Actually, yes," said the boy calmly. That stopped the argument
that was about to happen cold. Both of his parents looked at him for a
moment and said nothing.

    "Oh my! What's her name dear?" said his mother with a huge grin on
her face. "Is she pretty? What's she like?"

    "I've got to go," he finally said as he walked out the door and
left them standing there. He silently cursed his mother for a moment,
she really should have known better than to ask him that. "I guess she
was just excited," he muttered to himself as he walked.

++++++++++

    Tatewaki Kuno stood out in his front yard, watching the sunrise
like so many others. It was almost a morning ritual with him; he
enjoyed such quiet moments. Simply contemplating his righteous battle
with Ranma Saotome, and what forced Akane Tendo to deny her own
feelings so.
Then again, there was Ranma. Surely he was keeping her away from him
somehow, with black magic no doubt. Still, things were not as bad as
they seemed, he was no killer, and Akane was not so completely under
his spell that she did not despise him openly. Then again, there was
also the matter of his family blade.

    He shifted his position and kneeled down placing his bokuten
across the ground in front of him to meditate further on the problem.
Ranma was indeed a worthy opponent to garner so much of his attention.
A quest worthy of a true samurai indeed. He felt that the title was
his now, for he not only wielded his bokuten, but a smaller, batto
sized wooden blade as well. Ranma would surely fall under his might
today. As would any opposition he met, after all, it was his destiny
to save Akane Tendo from the villain's clutches.

    Things were definitely going to go his way today; he slowly rose
to his feet and smirked to himself as he turned back towards the
house. After all, there was still a bit of preparation to do today.

    He paused when he saw his sister standing outside, dressed in her
gymnastics uniform, with her ribbon twirling idly in her hand. He
frowned and walked over to her. "Sister, what are you doing?"

    "Why, competing brother dear," said the girl snidely.

    "I forbid it, Ranma Saotome is my concern," snapped the boy as he
puffed up his chest and glared at her.

"Humph, I do not need your permission Tachi," said the girl snidely.
"Besides, I'm going because an old rival of my is competing. You may
remember her, the girl known as Akane Tendo. I have heard reports that
she will be entering as well."

    Kuno paused and nodded his head. He had not forgotten her
humiliating defeat at the martial arts gymnastics tournament just
prior to the Saotome brother's arrival. Akane was out of her element,
and it showed in her skills at the time. Still, the girl had fought
bravely, and avoided any serious injury, despite her inability to use
any of the weapons effectively.

    The boy smiled at his sister, he realized that this would not be
the case this time. Kodachi would be the one out of her little pond
this time,
and Akane was infinitely more skilled than she was before. "Very well,
because of this grudge with my beloved Akane Tendo. I shall allow it."
He turned away from her with a smile on his face.

    "That fool," muttered Kodachi to herself. The truth of the matter
was simple. She couldn't care less about Akane Tendo; she wanted to
see who this 'Ranma' was. He seemed most mysterious and interesting.
If he was good looking to boot, well, she knew exactly what she'd do.
She sliced up a practice dummy with a few quick flicks of her wrist
and smiled darkly to herself as she watched it fall apart. "Mine."
With that said, she began to laugh.

++++++++

    "We are ready to go," said Cologne as she turned towards the two
youths behind her. "Are you certain of this child?"

    "Shampoo know what doing," said the girl seriously as she stood up
and placed her bonbori across her back, she was also holding the
bundled spear across her shoulder.

    "This could be interesting," commented Mousse as he pushed his
glasses up his nose. He smiled to himself as he imagined himself and
Shampoo in the final battle together. They would fight, and he would
allow her to win once again. Surely she would realize it this time,
and be overcome with emotion for his pure hearted kindness. Thus, an
new amazon love would bloom for sure.

    Cologne sighed as Shampoo's aura flared with determination, thus
putting another scorch mark on her nice clean floor. That spear made
the girl stronger, and infinitely improved her skills with the time
she had spent fighting with it across China. Then again, there was a
down side to everything, if she wasn't careful, the girl could easily
set fire to the building without realizing it. The old woman hung her
head and resigned to berate her later, she needed that determination
for the fight ahead. It wasn't easy to get Mousse to clean those burn
marks of the ceiling either.

    The boy in question, was over by himself, making out with a potted
plant again,
a plant that was no doubt Shampoo in his imagination. Still, the
tournament would be good for them. It would show them both how
superior the Amazon martial arts were in comparison to the rest of the
world. Despite her insistence about finding that boy there. The flier
had given them a name at least, Ranma Saotome, now they just had to
figure out what his connection with that demon was. If there was any
connection at all that is. That was one thing Cologne was a little
more than certain about though, so it wasn't a real worry.

    "Come Children, it's time we left," she said calmly as she walked
out the door and into the street, with both teens following just
behind her.

++++++++++

    Ranma stood up and slowly started towards the door. "I'm leaving."
He said calmly.

    Akane blinked and looked up from her breakfast, she was wearing
her yellow dogi and was not really paying much attention to what was
going on. Genma and Soun had already eaten earlier and were both
sitting on the porch, playing shougi.

    "Make the Anything Goes School proud," said Soun with a small nod.

    "Right," muttered the boy lazily as he turned away from them.
Akane stood up and jogged after him, not saying a word as she fell in
step behind him.

    "Ranma, wait," said Kasumi as she walked out of the kitchen. She
pulled on his arm and took him out of the hall, leaving Akane standing
there in shock.

    The boy stood dumbly, with a surprised look on his face as he
looked at the girl in front of him. "What's up Kasumi?"

    "Here," she said as she handed something to him. He put out his
hand and accepted it, uncertain of what it was. He opened his palm and
saw a simple cross, hanging from a very thin chain of gold. "For
luck."

    "I can't..." he started with a small frown on his face as he tried
to return it.

    "Take it. Ranma, I'd like to see you back, I'll make a place for
you at dinner." The look in her eyes was almost pleading.

    Ranma sighed and took it. "Kasumi, I'll do everything I can, to
make sure you get this back. I appreciate it." He smiled at her and
she turned away back towards cleaning up.

    "I'd like that, it was my mother's," she said as she went back to
work.

    Ranma looked down at the necklace for a moment, and closed his
hand around it. "Kasumi... I'll see you around."

    The girl merely nodded, not willing to turn back and face him
again, no matter how badly she wanted too. When she finally had the
courage to do so, he was gone. At least he had the decency not to say
'goodbye'.

+++++++++

    Akane met him out in the yard and frowned at him for a moment.
"So, are you finished flirting with my older sister?"

    "Don't be an ass Akane. Kasumi's a good friend, and I'm probably
the only one she's had in a long time. She's worried," replied the boy
coolly as he passed her.

    Akane blinked and growled at him. "Kasumi's got lots of friends!"

    "Oh? Name one," replied the boy as he continued walking away.
Akane rushed up beside him and kept up his pace.

    "Dr. Tofu!"

    "Who can't even speak with her he's so hopelessly in love with
her. Try again," said Ranma.

    "Um, that guy at the grocery store! She knows everyone there?"
said Akane with a horrible realization starting to dawn on her.

    "She sees them for about two minutes of every day, and exchanges
pleasantries. I've seen it enough times to know, those are
acquaintances, not friends."

    Akane looked at him blankly. "You're Kasumi's friend?"

    "We talk a lot, both of us keep the same hours. We're both up
late, and get up early. Sometimes, it's just the two of us up,"
replied Ranma with a small shrug.

    "You keep your hands off her! Pervert!" snapped Akane as she found
herself suddenly angry.

    "Ah, to be so young and stupid again," muttered Ranma to himself
as the girl fumed behind him. She was grumbling to herself, something
about "Kasumi" and "Perverted Hands".

    "If we fight each other today, I'll show you how perverted they
can be," replied Ranma snidely.

    Akane glared at him, with her temper rising even further. She
managed to control herself and was finally content to merely stare at
his back angrily.

    "Hey, Ranma!" called a familiar voice from overhead. Both Akane
and Ranma turned to see a familiar figure smirking down at them from
the top of a wall.

    "Well, it's nice to see you still have a way with women," said
Taro with a small chuckle.

    "Hey, how ya been?" said Ranma cheerfully as he raised his hand in
greeting.

    "Unlucky as ever. I still haven't found the bastard," said Taro
angrily. "I guess I can help you out for today."

    "Thanks, I need all the help I can get," said Ranma honestly.

    "I could have told you that you lazy bastard," grumbled Akane
irritably.

    "So, she's still as cheerful as ever I see," commented Taro as he
jumped down
beside her.

    "Shall we go?" said Ranma as he jerked his thumb down the road.

+++++++++++

    A short time later, on a road that led to the train that would
take them out of Tokyo into a small town just outside the city, they
met Genryu and Ukyo. The pair was standing together, simply waiting.

    "Hi, you two kids have fun last night?" said Ranma playfully.

    "Shut up," grumbled Genryu.

    Ukyo merely blushed and frowned at the boy. Taro let out a small
chuckle and shook his head as he continued walking.

    Ranma smirked at their reaction. "Good, we've got a long day ahead
of us. I don't need the both of you worn out already."

    The pair nodded silently and followed after him as he started
walking again. Each giving him a glare that would easily kill a lesser
man.

    The train ride was peaceful; everyone kept their thoughts to
themselves as they walked out of the station and onto the road that
led out of town.

    They soon found themselves standing in an open field; most of the
others were there already. They stood around waiting, in the middle of
the field, was a concrete rink, it was made up of square slabs laid
flat in the ground that raised about two feet off of the ground.

    There were also a good number of spectators, mostly from Furinkan,
with a large number of curious parties as well. The tournament was
well advertised in the Nerima area thanks to the thousands of fliers
put out. There was easily a hunded people standing around the rink.

    Hakama stood up from a chair set up near the rink and spread his
arms. "Welcome."

    "Lets get this over with," grumbled Ranma angrily as he glared at
the boy.

    Taro snorted his agreement and nodded. "We'll get that bastard,
don't worry about that."

    "We've still got a little time before the events are scheduled to
start. Have patience," said Hakama as he sat back down. There was a
small box next to his seat, covered by a white cloth. Ranma noticed it
and said nothing as he walked over to his team and sat down on the
ground along the outside of the rink.

    The opposing team was resting opposite him, with Hakama off to the
right of them.

    Ranma raised his eyebrow as Cologne stepped out of the crowd and
eyed him for a moment. Just behind him, Mousse and Shampoo stepped up
and walked up to the edge of the rink, sitting opposite Hakama. They
were all looking directly at him, although that was questionable in
Mousse's case.

    "What the hell are they doing here?" said Ranma as he watched
them. Shampoo nodded towards him and said something to her companions.

    "Huh?" muttered Genryu as he looked over at them for a moment. "Oh
man! These guys again?" he grumbled as he recognized Shampoo.

    "That girl is coming over here," said Taro with his eyebrow
raised.

    "You, lightning boy," said the Amazon as she approached Ranma.
"Name is Ranma, yes?"

    The boy nodded to her in reply and frowned. "What do you want
here?"

    "Amazons lift kiss of death, you no is in anymore danger," said
the girl with a small bow towards Genryu.

    Ranma blinked and looked at her dumbly. "Huh? Thanks?" She stared
at him for a moment and said nothing. "Why?" he said finally.

    "Peoples hunted by demon free of Amazon law. Amazons hunt demons,"
replied the girl with a small shrug. "If demon want persons dead,
Amazons want persons alive. Is simple."

    Ranma nodded at this and smiled slightly. "You've been hunting
that thing? In China?"

    "Yes, Shampoo fight many battles with monster. Never defeat it,"
said the girl with a small frown.

    Genryu looked at her in shock. "You fought that thing?"

    Shampoo blinked again and glared at him angrily. "Of course!
Shampoo greatest warrior of Amazon tribes! She come all the way to
Japan to help kill monster!"

    Ranma sighed and put his hand up, before his little brother opened
his mouth again. "Fine, thanks. We can use all the help we can get
today."

    "Okay," said the girl with a small shrug as she turned to walk
away from them.

    Ukyo looked at the two boys and frowned. "Demon? What demon?"

    Ranma sighed and hung his head. "It's a long story, I'll tell you
later."

    The girl frowned, but seemed to accept this for the moment. She
settled back and relaxed a little.    "Hey!" called Ranma as he stood up
and jogged after Shampoo for a
moment. The Chinese girl turned to face him and frowned again.

    "What is it?"

    "Just one thing. This is Japan, not China. No matter what happens,
your laws don't apply here. This is much too serious for a husband
hunt, and there are a lot of skilled fighters. I want your word. No
kiss of death, and no kiss of marriage."

    Shampoo blinked and looked back to her great grandmother for a
moment. The old woman narrowed her eyes at the boy for a moment before
looking back at the girl again. She sighed visibly and nodded her
head.

    "Very well, Amazon laws not matter today," muttered the girl
with a small frown.

    Shampoo watched him walk back to his place, and moved over to her
group. Cologne frowned slightly. "He knows of those laws?"

    "Yes," replied the girl with a small shrug.

    "Interesting... this is the boy that you speak of?"

    "Is him, Shampoo not forget face," replied the Amazon as she
glanced over her shoulder for a moment at him again.

    Cologne narrowed her eyes and studied the boy for a moment.
"Impossible! That boy has no aura!"

    "Maybe, is just hiding it?" said Shampoo absently.

    "No child, the younger one is hiding his quite skillfully. This
boy, he is like a walking dead man. I'm getting nothing from him,"
said Cologne as she settled down in her seat and continued to stare.
"This is most interesting."

+++++++++++++

    Nodoka Saotome stood in the field; Nabiki Tendo stood beside her
with a frown on her face. "I can't believe they left without me," she
commented as she panned her camera across the field. It was a
camcorder, and probably pretty expensive too.

    "There is my son," said Nodoka as she looked over at Ranma and
Genryu. "I do not see my husband here."

    "He didn't come," replied Nabiki coolly.

    "I shall speak with him about that later," said the woman with a
frown. "I see my son is sitting with his wife, and his brother."

    "Yeah, that girl with the long hair next to them is Akane, she's
my sister," said Nabiki as she pointed the camera at them for a
moment.

    "This is the one you say my son is instructing?" said Nodoka
warily.

    "Yup, she's gotten much better. I think she's madder at him for
that than anything else," deadpanned Nabiki.

    "I see," said the older woman as she glanced over at the crowd
across the field. "These are the ones who are against him?"

    "Yeah, that blonde woman. She's the one trying to kill him, the
others I'm not so sure about. I think they just don't like him," said
Nabiki as she smiled up at the woman.

    A man dressed in a cloak walked up beside them and paused, it was
apparent he had been listening in to the conversation. "Are they
trying to kill Genryu Saotome?"

    Nabiki looked him up and down and frowned. "That will cost you."

    He looked up and glared at her for a moment, not saying anything.
She returned the gaze coolly, with a tight smile on her lips.

    "I'll find out soon enough," he replied as he lowered his head
again and walked over to the opposing crowd.

    "Genryu?" muttered Nodoka as she watched him leave. "What does he
want with my son?"

    "I dunno," said Nabiki with a small shrug. "We'll find out sooner
or later."

    Hakama stood up and eyed the newcomer for a moment. "Well, who
might you be?"

    The boy removed the hood of his cloak and grinned as he heard
Ranma mumble under his breath. "Shit."

    "My name is Ryu Kumon. I've come for Genryu Saotome's life," said
the boy confidently.

    "Oh, you're over here then," said Hakama as he pointed over to the
crowd opposite Ranma and crew. "We'll be starting shortly."

    Ryu nodded and Hakama sat back down, picking up a notebook, he
made a few changes.

    Ryoga Hibiki appeared behind him glancing around frantically. "Now
where am I?"

    Hakama jumped up and whirled around on is feet, glaring at the boy
angrily. "Who the?"

    "Oh, I'm here," said Ryoga with a surprised look on his face. "It
only took me a month to find it!"

    Hakama briefly wondered why he sounded so happy about that, and
frowned as she shook it off. "Ranma, or non-Ranma?"

    "Huh?" muttered Ryoga as he looked at him dumbly for a moment.

    "Do you want revenge on a Saotome, or are you here to support
them?"

    "Oh, Genryu Saotome! Prepare to meet your destiny!" cried Ryoga as
he pointed at his target and glared for a moment.

    "Fine, this way please," muttered Hakama. He thought it would be a
good idea to personally escort him to his spot.

++++++++++++

    "Looks like everyone showed up," commented Genryu lazily.

    "And then some," agreed Ranma as he eyed Kumon for a moment.

    "I can handle that guy," snorted the younger Saotome arrogantly.

    "Don't get cocky, he's probably got a new trick or two up his
sleeve," said the older boy with a small frown.

    "Like I don't?" snorted Genryu lazily.

    "You might be a bit rusty, don't let it go to your head kid,"
snorted Ranma in reply.

    "Right," muttered Genryu dejectedly.

    "Humph, boys," muttered Akane and Ukyo at the same time. They
paused and looked at one another for a moment, before turning away
again.

++++++++++

    Tofu sat with Xianghua and Matin with the other's keeping a safe
distance away from each other.

    "Why is Akane over there?" wondered Matin out loud.

    "I thought he was training her?" commented Tofu.

    "She's been helping me. She hates him as much as we do," said the
boy in reply.

    Xianghua glanced over at the girl; she looked quite determined.
"Perhaps not, people can change their minds."

    "I doubt that," commented Matin. "She taught me how to beat her
own style. It takes more than a passing annoyance for someone to do
that."

    Tofu looked at him for a moment and then back to Akane again. "She
always did hold grudges, even if she's a nice girl otherwise. I'm
inclined to agree with him."

    "Whatever her reasons, they're none of our business. Maybe she's
just being loyal to her school?" said Xianghua with a small frown.

    The others nodded at this assessment and sat in silence after
that.

+++++++++

    Hakama stood up and grinned at the crowd, spreading his arms wide.
"Welcome to the Strongest Under Heaven! It is time to begin. I'm not
much on formalities, so we'll get right into things. Let the battle
begin!"

    The gathered crowd cheered as he sat back down and pulled up the
clipboard, preparing to announce the first match.

TBC...

    Next time: The first match! The action really begins!

C&C to Carrotglace@juno.com

Previous parts can be found at Http://www.fanfiction.net and R&C Books
International Fanfic Company at Http://www.rcbooks.org

Ja!


______________________________________________________________________
To unsubscribe, write to FFML2-unsubscribe@listbot.com