Author's foreword: To the veteran members of the FFML: yes, this is
what you think it is.
Also, please excuse any formatting oddities; Wordpad and Outlook Express
not play nice with each other.
OE doesn't like tabs very much, no. Among other things.
At the opposite end of the valley, tied with double sets of bonds to a
splintered, uneven bamboo crucifix, was a young girl, perhaps fifteen at
most, with matted, tangled red hair. She was filthy, naked, covered with
welts and bruises, and crying. Dark rings circled her watery sienna eyes.
One set of the bonds lashing her slim wrists to the rough bamboo were dull
copper, and looked to be somewhat frayed, strands straying from the
braiding. A somewhat burnt ribbon was tied to the red braid.
I'm not too sure about the close repetition of "braiding" and "braid."
Knowing who the subject of the torture is, though (either from recognition
or hindsight after reading the chapter,) makes this a positively chilling
scene. This is one of those iconic characters for innocence and
naivete --even when the imagery might have been conjured up by Ranma's own
This is not a gripe _against_ the use of Japanese in fics, but rather an
argument _for_ the use of English: running this scene in my mind, I feel
that --for an audience whose first or second language is English-- the
"Tasukete" removes the reader one step from the intended meaning. A
translated "Help"/"Help me" would feel much more visceral, more urgent, and
it would draw the reader in more strongly.
Ranma sighed, shoulders slumping. "Man, what the hell's wrong with
me...wakin' up screamin' from a damn dream..."
It's not like it's the first time. :P
Deciding he wasn't going to be getting back to sleep soon, and figuring it
was probably close enough to morning that it didn't really matter anyway,
Ranma disentangled himself from his futon, grabbed some clothes to work
in, and headed down the hall.
Halfway to the bathroom, he looked at the clothes, muttered, and went back
to put Kasumi's spandex bustier, boots and cape back in their drawer.
It disturbed him profoundly
that the girl in the dream had looked so much like himself--and even more
that it had been he himself who had raped her.
No, that couldn't be right. Saotome Ranma was not that kind of person. He
certainly would never...
What's to say that those images aren't the only way his subconscious can
express his abhorrence for his female form?
She pulled her sodden body from the pond, shivering from the chill, and
stood at the edge, wringing her shirt out into the water before trudging
wearily back to the house.
She ignored the spectres of the nightmare girl's eyes in her reflection on
the water as best she could.
I'd suggest a more subtle "crimson" or "reddish eyes" instead of the direct
Plum removed a dirty white object from the knapsack and laid it on the
table. "It looks almost like some sort of glove," she replied. "See, here?
It looks meant to be worn on the hand."
And the fabric it was sewn from must be extremely durable, to last _that_
"You're right, it does resemble a warrior's glove," the Guide replied,
nodding. "It is very small, though...as though for a child, or..."
"For a woman," Plum replied.
...or a tiny, tiny woman. :P
The grimy white glove lay on the table, the dusty red stone on the back
gleaming dully in the soft lantern light of the hut. Suddenly, a bright
crimson flare illuminated the gem, pulsing three times, like a heartbeat.
Then it was gone, and once more the glove looked simply old and dirty.
The Guide and his daughter looked at one another.
"Run. Run now, run fast."
"Th' dream. I saw myself--or at least it looked like me--doin' awful
t' some girl who looks...who looks just like me. When I'm a girl, I mean.
Except she didn't have th' same eyes as me. An' it...it was at Jusenkyou."
"What kind of awful things?"
Ranma shook his head. "You don't wanna know that, Akane. You really really
The short-haired girl frowned. "Maybe it's part of the curse? Maybe it has
something to do with something that happened to the girl who drowned in
spring? I mean, could the curse work that way?"
Here I'll restate my suggestion from earlier: they should also consider the
possibility that it's Ranma's own guilt and dislike for his girl side that
are playing games with his mind.
"Man...I hope not," Ranma replied, shuddering. "Anyway, it's been damn
a year since I fell in that stupid spring...don'tcha think somethin' like
that woulda happened before now?"
"How should I know? I don't know a thing about Chinese curses!"
"My specialty is the Tuatha De Danann!"
"Honestly, Ranma, we're gonna be so late we're dead! And all because you
to chase that kid halfway to Suginami for spraying you!"
Shouldn't that have changed her back to male?
*ducks and runs*
"And did you HAVE to kancho that poor kid?"
"HE HAD IT COMIN'!"
"Saotome School Final Attack! Thousand Years of Potty!"
Sending Kunou off to dreamland with a final kick to the face, Akane knelt
beside Ranma, wrapping her arms comfortingly around her shoulders.
"Shh...it's okay...it'll be alright..."
She cast an annoyed glance at the heads which were popping out of windows
all over the school building, but her annoyance was overshadowed by worry.
*Ranma, what's going on with you?* The sight of the smaller girl collapsed
on the ground sobbing, rather than being her usual brash, energetic self,
troubled Akane deeply. What could possibly have happened to have such a
terrifying effect on Ranma literally overnight?
Suggest reversing the order of these paragraphs. Since Akane's more familiar
dealing with a loud, violent Ranma, she should be distraught over her sudden
weakness _before_ trying to comfort her, and even then said comfort would
probably be awkward or hesitant.
He prayed his mother and father didn't learn of the incident. He could
ignore the old man's rantings about acting like a girl, but his mother was
sure to give him a stern, disappointed look, and he didn't think he could
Timeline set: post-reunion with Nodoka, at least. Still vague about the Mt.
Phoenix frame of reference.
"Yeah, I've been thinkin' about that," Ranma admitted. "If this IS part of
th' curse..." He frowned. "If I'm livin' out some shit that happened t'
girl in my dreams..."
There's always Cologne for that...
"I wish Tofu-sensei was still in town. I'm sure you could talk to him
"Funny, he disappeared right during the time those municipal workers were
replacing the manhole covers down the street..."
Things did not improve over the course of the week. Ranma occasionally
lapsed into periods of unresponsiveness, or developed a glazed, faraway
in his eyes. It happened more frequently when he was a girl, and one day,
he'd just wandered off while in girl form.
Akane had found him an hour and a
half later, in Minato-ku, sitting on a bench about five blocks from Tokyo
You know, that's absolutely heartbreaking right there. ;_;
had, and almost insisted Ranma seek the advice of Cologne. Ranma had
that idea; while it was true the elderly Amazon knew more than anyone else
he knew about Jusenkyou, he didn't feel comfortable sharing this new
with anyone he didn't trust implicitly--and that definitely did not
Cologne or Shampoo.
Scratch that idea, then.
He especially didn't want Mousse to know about it. Two of his lapses had
resulted in his development of some unexplainable injuries, and he would
rather not have it known he was periodically vulnerable, lest one of his
adversaries decide to take advantage of the situation.
Hmm. Post-Nodoka, both Mousse and Ryouga have pretty much buried the hatchet
with Ranma as far as outright rivalries were concerned. Maybe he's more
worried about the scorn and the teasing? He does have the ego for it, and he
_has_ had similar thoughts throughout the series.
Ryouga had found out--by virtue of being P-chan--but rather than using it
against Ranma, he seemed oddly thoughtful about it all. Ranma didn't
confront him about it, but he assumed that the lost boy was probably
wondering whether or not a similar effect would happen to him.
Nah, he already winds up in odd parts of Japan with no idea how he got
Ranma grumbled as she adjusted the embarassingly short, tight bloomers
been forced into wearing. "This bites," she groused.
"It can't be helped, Ranma," Akane explained apologetically. "We were
one girl for the opposing-sexes kibasen, and as a girl, you're light
that you make a perfect rider."
"No, I meant this BITES! As in, up my butt! Oww!"
(And I was about to suggest something, but I don't know if it'd be
appropriate to have Ranma retort with a slight about Akane's weight. While
it feels like the sort of thing she'd do --especially while on a bad mood--
it'd break the flow something fierce. Your call if you want to include
something like that.)
The fire hadn't burned her, hadn't hurt anyone save her tormentor; while
mind was so clouded she couldn't even remember who she was, she did at
know she didn't want to hurt anyone.
Not anyone who didn't cling to her chest like months-old mold, leastwise.
Her eyes widened, a brand new and wholly unwelcome terror filling her
"No..." she whispered scratchily.
It couldn't be true. It couldn't.
This...was HER grave...?
Unable to cope with this newest traumatic shock in what had been an
overwhelmingly trying day, she collapsed in a dead faint.
Hrm. I dunno, I'd make this a BIT less explicit. Something like "This...
this grave was..." and cutting off before her observation states it to the
reader. That, or her wondering (with mounting horror) why her name is on
it --she doesn't _remember_ dying, does she? Given the evidence to the
contrary, she'd probably be confused and creeped out at seeing a her name on
a gravestone. The confusion, exhaustion and the conflict itself between her
and Ranma's souls could then lead to her fainting.
Otherwise, it's excellent! Much more dramatic and suspenseful than the
original ORS, with deeper characterization to boot. Can't wait to read the
slow reveal of the reason behind Ranma's condition this time around.