Subject: [FFML] [Dark][SI][Multiple] The end of pain (chapter 4 minor rewrite)
From: "Shadow Dancer" <liath@softhome.net>
Date: 11/20/2005, 11:37 PM
To: ffml@anifics.com

******
ch. 4
******

You've never sent anyone to help me with the pain 
before.

"No, we didn't. And we didn't do it this time either. 
You journeyed to them. As you were supposed to 
with the rest."

There isn't any that can help with the other 
pain...not until this world...

"Yes there are, actually. You just have to look to 
find them. Anyways, you aren't dead now, just 
sleeping. Go back."

One question first?

�What is it?�

Do you know why I shrunk?

�Yes we know. Your age was reduced to match 
your current experience with the female form. Also, 
to match your current emotional level.�

Yeah, I kinda thought so. Okay, I�m going now.

�Take care,�

***

It has now been two months since my brother and 
the old man have left me here. Ryouga has shown 
up, infrequently, but he has shown up 
nonetheless. I think, however, that Ranma and 
Genma won't return...at least they won't without 
being dragged.

Genma won't, at least. Ranma, if he remembers 
me, would come willingly.

In the first month, they tought me meditation 
techniques, to help push the pain away. To isolate 
it, when I really needed to be around others. They 
also tought me how to let it go...that is the hardest 
part. "You have to forgive yourself, and you have to 
forgive the one who hurt you."

Forgive myself? That's almost 
impossible...especially with how much I hated 
myself before. Oh well, I try, and that is the most 
important part.

Shampoo tried several times in the first week to 
ambush me and claim me...but each time, before 
she could get too close to succeeding, her 
Grandmother would appear and forbid her to do 
so. With how fast she moves I now find it very 
believable how good she was 'reported' to be 
before. Shampoo gave up after that first week, and 
disappeared completely. For some reason I think I 
know where she went.

Grandmother has asked me, and I honestly say, 
each time, "I have suspicions only, I can not prove 
where she went. But my guess is Japan." What, 
oh that? Yeah, I call her Grandmother sometimes. 
It's harmless...it makes her smile, she's always so 
serious, plus everyone gives me a wide berth 
because I do call her that. IS there a relationship 
there? Only one of student and teacher, nothing by 
blood.  Heck, my body was made purely out of 
magic, there is no blood relation of me to anyone.

When Genma turned tail and ran, avoiding that 
first month, Grandmother began to teach me basic 
skills with my magic.  She was surprised at what I 
knew before, and my proficiency in them, but 
everything else was new to me. In a way it still is, 
as I have to build the spell-forms in my head from 
scratch. Grandmother chided me on that, "You 
have to do it step by step, don't leave anything 
out," she admonished me one day.

"But Grandmother, all the steps you show me form 
one thing only with the magic, and I can do that 
without the hand waving and chanting."

"It's the principal, child. You have to give the 
opponents a sporting chance to defend 
themselves."

"But I'm not sporting,"

"Try to be," That was the end of that conversation.

Actually, it is fun to do it that way, and it's even 
more fun to build one spell form, and chant 
another...really throws my sparring partners off that 
I chant out the fireball spell, and instead fly over 
them without doing any damage. THAT one got 
me 'bread and water' for two days...and 
congratulations from the entire village.

The _down side_ to how I do spells, though, is that 
it takes months of practicing and memorizing to be 
able to do the simple ones even relatively 
quickly...and I only have four of them memorized to 
that point so far. The tiny spell book in my hands, 
however, holds all the spells I know even 
peripherally.

It's not enough to make me a super-power in the 
world, not that I want to be one. But it will let me 
survive in the coming years.

I find that I want to survive now...as long as I can.

Ryouga steps up from the forest, "Can you tell me 
the way to Joketsuzoku?" he asks me...then stops, 
and grins sheepishly, "uhm, nevermind. Hey Liath, 
are you ready to go?" I giggle softly then turn to 
the village. Only two guards can be seen, but I 
know others are watching. I raise my arm, and 
wave a fond farewell. I then turn, grab the lost 
boy's arm, and lead him south.

Towards home.

*****

I check the map again, and try to compare the 
characters on it to the ones on the sign ahead of 
us. "Uhm, Ryouga?" I wish my Japanese was 
good enough for this, "I hate to say this, but we are 
going in the wrong direction. How about _I_ lead 
us, this time?" I look up at him with my eyes wide 
open. He shuffles his feet, looking down, "Yeah, I 
know, you don't like to talk about it. Let's just 
accept it for now, and try to get home straight 
away?" He nods. "Good, let's go in here first," I 
grin, "I think we're getting low on food and I want to 
spend some of this money Cologne gave me."

We walk around the town looking for the 
marketplace. We can hear the people, but it 
seems to be a bit far out of the way...either that, or 
the access to it is deliberately confusing.

Ryouga points to the side, "I think it's this way." I 
turn and stare at him. "Really, I think it is."

I sigh, "Okay, let's try it your way this time. but if we 
hit forest, we turn back, okay?" He nods, "Let's go 
then." I grab onto Ryouga's arm before he moves, 
just in case.

We slip into the side alley, and a voice behind us 
says, "Hey, what will you sell the girl for?" A 
sudden feeling of vertigo assaults me, and I almost 
fall as Ryouga turns to the person.

"She isn't for sale, mister. Get lost." His voice 
seems far away to me. Grey clouds my vision, and 
I stumble...

"Hey, she's sick. I'll take her off of your hands, 
then." There is a quiet *snick* of metal against 
plastic. I fall to my knees, gasping..."Hey!" the man 
yells, then there is a *whack!* of something solid 
hitting cement.

Ryouga kneels beside me, holding my shoulder, 
"Are you okay?" he asks worriedly. I raise my 
head...multicoloured spots fly past my eyes...it's 
almost a minute before I can focus on his face.

"Don't move!" I snap, as I try to pull myself up onto 
my feet again. Ryouga stands, and I again have to 
look up at him. 'I wish I wasn't so small,' I think. I 
grab his hand again, "Okay, we aren't where we 
were before, Let's see if we can get directions."

"How do you know?" I glare at him. "Right. Sorry. 
Nevermind." He stares at me as I stumble over to 
our attacker and start to rifle through his pockets, 
"What are you doing??"

"He attacked us, therefore, in honour, he forfeits 
anything he has on him."

"That's not right!"

"He attacked us, right?" He nods, "He was trying to 
buy me, then steal me, right?" Again, Ryouga 
nods, albeit reluctantly. "Well then, he is paying for 
me, but to be healthy this way, instead of paying to 
own me. Does that work for you?" Ryouga looks 
sullen, but nods again, grudgingly.

A female voice behind me makes my blood go 
cold, "Is spoils of war, of course is right." I turn 
around, and see Shampoo right behind me. 
Ryouga growls, standing up. "Shampoo glad pig-
boy take good care of sister." My eyes feel like 
they're going to fall out of my head.

"What???" he growls, falling into a fighting stance, 
"What do you mean 'sister'? You never liked her!"

Shampoo nods, and steps back, "Is true. No like 
Li-ya." I try to scramble away from her, "But not Li-
ya fault. Shampoo now know Li-ya try to make 
peace with Shampoo. Not fight. Not eat prize. Try 
stop Li-ya father from eating prize. Amazon law say 
sister no kill sister." I relax, slightly, "Law no say 
sister no _hurt_ sister." I squeak, and try to run 
behind Ryouga as a bonbori crashes into the 
cement where I was just kneeling. Her hand 
flashes back to ready position as I scramble 
around my friend. "Anyway, Li-ya owe Shampoo for 
broken bones. Shampoo break Li-ya's bones."

"Stop!" yells Ryouga, "She's innocent! She was 
only defending herself then!"

"Matters not to Shampoo."

"She's sick right now! Can you, in honour, attack 
someone who is helpless?"

Shampoo stops. "Li-ya sick?" Ryouga nods, 
"Shampoo see. Will come back later, try again." 
She then jumps onto a rooftop, and away.

Nearly five minutes later, my shivering stops. 
Ryouga looks down at me, "Are you okay?"

"I okay" I whisper. He looks at me strangely for a 
second, "I need use Japanese here. Is Japan 
here." Ryouga nods, then turns at me, looking 
somewhat bewildered, "Trust me!" I grin as he 
groans.

"Trust a little girl that looks half my age." he 
grumbles. I gasp, he looks up, "What's wrong?"

"Half your age?" I stumble over the words, "I shrink 
again?"

He looks me over, "Only a little bit. The way you 
hold yourself makes you look older, though." I nod, 
breathing a quick sigh of relief.

"Okay. We go find someone. You know where 
Ranma is?" he nods, "Good. We ask next person 
we see, where that place be."

"He's at the Tendo Dojo." I nod, and then pull him 
towards the exit. 

I pull Ryouga out of the alley and look around. We 
apparently have our pick of people to question, 
but, just out of sheer perversity, I walk over to the 
policeman standing nearby.

"Excuse," I call out, "Can please show us way to 
Tendo Dojo?" The policeman looks at me 
strangely, then points to our left at a gateway with 
a sign. I turn to Ryouga, "What sign say?" I ask.

"Tendo Dojo." he looks a bit sheepish...I wonder 
why?

I grin, "There, that not so hard, yes?" he shrugs 
and blushes. Turning to the man, I bow and say, 
"Thank you very much," Turning around, I see 
Ryouga walking towards the gate. "Stop!" I yell, 
hoping...miraculously, he stops mid-motion. I 
gape.

"Why stop, we're already here." he looks confused.

I grin and run over to him, "No walk without me. 
Ryouga might get lost, yes?" he blushes and 
hangs his head. I lead the way, and pause at the 
gate, but Ryouga keeps on going straight in. 
"What you doing?"

He smiles, "They know me here, and I can bring 
friends along, yes?" his smile turns to a frown, 
"Ranma's a bit strange though..."

We walk to the front of the house, then we're 
stopped by a voice. "Ranma? Is this another one 
of your friends?" A girl I can only assume to be 
Akane snarls, "Isn't she a little young for you?"

My brother looks at me, and voices up, "I don't 
even know who she is." he declares, "Hey, 
Ryouga, who's the kid?" Pain clouds my vision, fills 
my heart...

"She's your sister, Ranma! Remember? From 
Jusenkyou?" Ryouga seems to be getting angry. 
Why should he? He doesn't need to protect me.

"Jusenkyou?" Ranma looks startled, "All that 
happened there was me getting my girl curse. I 
want to go back there to get rid of it, but the old 
man won't let me," The pain hardens, becomes 
almost solid in my heart...

"You already tried to get rid of the curse, 
Ranma...and she showed up when you did. You 
told me about that when we went to the Amazon 
village, re-mem-ber?"

Ranma looks thoughtful for a second, then shakes 
his head, "Nope, can't remember at all."

The pain wells up from deep inside me. I can 
barely see, I can barely hear...all I can feel is the 
pain. Vaguely, I can tell that Ryouga and Ranma 
are starting to yell at each other.

"Ryouga," My whisper vanishes in the noise with 
surprising ease. I try again, "Ryouga!" Sudden 
silence, "We go now. We not welcome here," The 
lost boy nods, picks up our packs, and I lead him 
from the house.

"And don't come back!" Akane's yell shatters the 
silence...and my heart.

I reach into myself, into the wellspring...and feel, 
below my feet, yet another one. No, not a well, 
more like a river...or an Aqueduct. I reach to that 
one as well, thinking, 'away...I just want to get 
away!' A hand touches my shoulder.

The world goes black.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

not too much different from the last post, but 
enough to make a difference in the later (and 
earlier) scenes.

I await the flames!


Shadow's Edge

The shadow is longer than the sun itself,
Its edge goes on to the light,
Walk ye at the edge of the shadow,
To finally understand the night.
(c) Liath Corrine Hidson, June 14,2002




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