Dual Destinies
<>: Thoughts
<" "> Chinese language
                                  Chapter 13
                               A Time to Reflect
     A week had passed since the creation of the Ranma twins and their 
subsequent departure from the lives of the Tendo family. Needless to 
say, things have not been the same since. As expected, Soun Tendo and 
his friend Genma Saotome were not getting along as well as they used 
to. They were still the best of friends, but due to Genma's misdeeds and 
the invalidation of the oath between the families by his wife, the two 
martial artists had an uneasy relationship between them. Soun would
alternate between three moods. He would go into his demon-head at the 
mention of Genma's past crimes and give his friend a scare, bawl his 
head off for hours over the fact that the schools may never be united, or 
go into a false sense of hope that Happosai would bring those two boys 
back. In any case, living at the dojo taxed the patience of the Saotome 
patriarch. At times, he had considered going back to his wife. However, 
the memory of how angry she was during the time she invalidated the 
oath made him shudder.
     Today was different however. Instead of playing their usual game of 
shogi after breakfast, Soun and Genma were sitting out in the porch, 
staring out into the backyard. They were having a quiet conversation 
about the turn of events that had taken place over the last several days.
     "I can't believe this has happened Saotome! We had two excellent 
chances to unite the schools and we just let it slip away!"
     "I know Tendo! Ranma has changed a lot ever since he became twins! 
He's not as cocky as before and he seems to take responsibility for his 
     "Not like SOME OTHER PEOPLE!" Soun growled as he cast a 
withering glance at his long-time friend.
     Genma sweated a little as he tensed up and gave Soun a nervous 
smile. Soun's demon-head was the last thing that he wanted at the 
moment. "Heh! Heh! Heh! Let's not go into that right now, okay? 
What's important is that we have to figure out a way to bring those two 
back here and get them engaged to your daughters!"
     Soun cooled down a little as he nodded and turned his head back 
toward the backyard. "Yes. If we don't get those two back, the Anything 
Goes Schools of Martial Arts is doomed! Furthermore, Akane has not 
been the same since!"
     "She's really taking it hard isn't she?"
     "Yes. Even though she tries to deny it, she does miss Ranma."
     "You know Tendo, by the way those two went at it, a person might 
think they didn't want to get married."
     Soun was about to object to that statement, but then decided to think 
about it. It was true that Ranma and Akane had been fighting a lot more 
than usual lately before he had become twins. He began to remember 
that Ranma had been going out of his way not to antagonize her. For 
over a week, he had not even called her uncute. Of course, this did not 
make much of a difference to Akane. She had still thought of him as an 
insensitive, arrogant and perverted jerk and took it out on him. Now that 
he thought about it, Akane did tend to react badly to anything that 
disrupted her world.
     Soun sighed as he realized that perhaps he had been pushing it a little 
too much when he had engaged her to Ranma that first day. Akane had 
become very emotional since the death of her mother Kimiko. She had 
thrown herself into her martial arts training in order to deal with the 
pain. When the boys at school started challenging her, she became even 
more short-tempered. Kasumi had tried to teach her in the ways of 
proper manners and better social skills, but Akane was a very slow and 
poor learner in those aspects. She tended to let anger get the better of 
her and had little patience when things did not go her way. Whenever 
that happened, she would let loose with her anger at full force. For the 
most part, Ranma was always the target. When the Ranma twins had 
announced that they were going to marry Ukyo and Shampoo, his 
daughter had made the disastrous mistake of attacking them in front of 
their mother! Soun had to admit. That was not a good impression to 
make to a future mother-in-law.
     Soun sighed again as he shook his head. He realized that if his 
daughter ever wanted to marry one of the twins, then she would have to 
learn to BE the disciplined martial artist that she always claimed to be. 
If she could not improve her patience, understanding and respect for 
others, especially toward either Ranma, then she would be doomed to 
spend her life alone.
     In her room, Akane had been sitting in silence on her bed for several 
hours. Her eyes and cheeks were red and puffy from her latest bout of 
crying. In her mind, she had been fuming at how the Ranma twins had so 
callously thrown her away in favor of her two biggest rivals. <Those 
jerks! How could they do this to me? Then again why should I care? 
They did nothing but insult me! They called me uncute! They called my 
cooking toxic! They...>
     Akane stopped in her mental ramblings as she realized that it was 
that kind of behavior, which drove them away from her in the first 
place. Additionally, her bad reaction toward them in front of their 
mother was also what doomed her engagement to them. Akane became 
very despondent as she recalled her past relationship with the heir to 
the Saotome School of Anything Goes. They certainly got off on the 
wrong foot that first day. Ranma was then an only child and cursed to 
changing into a girl with a splash of cold water. At the time, Akane was 
glad to help out the lonely red-haired girl. She was also relieved that a 
girl had defeated her and not a boy. That was her first mistake. Her 
second mistake was when she had walked in on Ranma when he was 
taking a bath. She had instinctively reacted as she did with all members 
of the opposite gender. She freaked. 
     Akane let out a tired sigh as she replayed the events that followed 
that encounter.
Several months ago…
     "Why would I want to get engaged to a pervert like that?!" Akane 
roared at the Ranma-chan.
     "Hold on! Who are you calling a pervert?!" Ranma-chan shot back, 
her temper rising as well.
     "You saw me in the nude you lech!"
     "Hold on, you walked in on ME!"
     "Oh yeah? Well it's different when a boy sees a girl! Pig! Lecher! 
     "Hah hah hah! You see girls? They're already the perfect couple!" 
Soun stated with amusement.
     "WE ARE NOT A COUPLE! WE'RE FIGHTING!" Akane shouted 
toward her father before turning back to Ranma-chan. "There's no way 
I'd ever marry someone like that!"
     "Oh yeah? The same thing goes for me!" Ranma-chan shouted.
Present time…
     Yes, Akane had to admit that they certainly had a rocky beginning. As 
she considered it, she realized that he was right. SHE was the one who 
walked in on HIM. Kasumi had often chided her on her lack of basic 
courtesy, especially toward Ranma. She could have simply knocked on 
the door. Why didn't she? 
     Akane then began to recall all the other times that they had been 
fighting or when she got mad at him.
After the Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics Competition…
     "Wait! You didn't lose! It was an accident!" Ranma backed away from 
     "Be a man! And take your Kiss of Death!" Ryoga shoves him into 
Shampoo's embrace.
     Shampoo hugs him with a dreamy look in her eyes, then says, "Wo ai 
     "Wo ai ni? It's you I love?" Kasumi said as the Panda held up a sign.
     "Love?" Akane said.
     That was when Shampoo puckers up and lands a direct hit on 
Ranma's lips.
     "What the?!" Akane gasped as she sees Ranma in a passionate session 
of osculation with the Amazon. After watching Shampoo enjoy her lip 
session with Ranma for a full minute, Akane picked up one of her 
broken bonbori and introduced it to Ranma head, temporarily rendering 
him unconscious.
     "Airen!" Shampoo cried as her future mate fell to the floor. She then 
glared at Akane, who glared back at her before leaving in a huff.
     "What's going on here? What's all the fuss about?" Soun asked as he 
entered the room.
     "Oh father… " Kasumi said as she tried to explain. "I don't Know all 
the details but this girlfriend of Ranma's came from China to finish him 
off… or to finish something off. I think. Something like that."
     "Girlfriend?!" Soun glared at Ranma. "Well?!"
     "Now wait a minute! That's not what happened!" Ranma tried to explain.
     "But it's mostly what happened. Right Ranma?" Ryoga said with 
     "She has never seen me as a guy before, okay?"
     "So you say."
     "Still, you two seem awfully close!" Soun said with a stern voice.
     "Oh what? Do you see me like that too Mr. Tendo ?" Ranma shot back.
     "I can't see you any other way!"
     After a few moments of watching Shampoo pour affection on 
Ranma, Akane burst into the room and said, "Ranma… as far as I'm 
After Shampoo had left…
     "Geez Akane! If I'd known you were going to be like this, I'd never 
have gotten your memory back!"
     "I wish you didn't! I wish I'd never heard of you!"
     "You are just so uncute!"
     "Stay away from me Ranma!"
     Akane exited the room, leaving Ranma-chan with a thermos stuck to 
her face.
     "She's so uncute!"
Cookie time…
     "Akane Tendo! Allow me to make you happy!" Kuno cried as he 
rushed toward her with knife and fork in hand. He is stopped in his 
tracks by Ranma, who lands on his head.
     "I'd think about this Kuno, considering her cooking has killed before." 
Ranma is promptly squashed by a fire extinguisher, courtesy of Akane.
     "Ranma, before you give any of your stupid remarks, at least try some!"
     Ranma began looking at the cookies with a dubious eye as Akane 
proudly said, "Cute huh? They're animal crackers!"
     "These are animals?" Ranma picked one up and said, "An octopus?"
     "Stupid! It's a penguin!"
     "A hermit crab!"
     "It's a lion!"
     "A water flea!"
     "A rabbit!"
     "Loch Ness monster!"
     "It's a swan!"
     "A Power Ranger!"
     "A raccoon!"
     "A salamander!"
     "I know! It's a platypus!"
     "A KOALA!!!" Akane became fuming with rage before she said in a 
dangerous voice, "You better eat one now BEFORE I GET MAD!"
The Magic Mushrooms…
     "Did you see how that guy held her? Oooh, I could just die!!!" Yuka 
said in reference to the movie.
     Akane began having flashbacks to how Ranma had held Shampoo. In 
her mind, the words repeated over and over. <How he held her. Held 
her. Held her.> That was when she got mad.
     "He's the one who's going to die!"
     Her friends looked at their companion fearfully as her temper began 
to boil.
     "He couldn't help but grab her! If he thinks he can get away with it, 
he's got another thing coming!" Akane ran off blindly.
     "Akane! Watch out!"
     Akane emerged from an open manhole and screamed, "When.. I… 
find… him… HE'S A DEAD MAN!!!"
Here Comes Ranma's Mom (anime)
     "Is that what you want me to do Akane? Leave?"
     "It's just that you mother hasn't seen you in a long time. And it's 
only natural that she'd want you to go live with her."
     "Fine then! I hear you loud and clear! Should have known that an 
uncute girl like you wouldn't understand!"
     "Oh here we go again! Whenever something wrong happens to you, I 
get called UNCUTE!"
Present time…
     Akane became even more depressed as she recalled all the fights, 
arguments, insults and of course, bodily harm they had done to each 
other. Well, the bodily harm that was inflicted on Ranma. She 
remembered that he would never strike a girl. This also infuriated her 
whenever they sparred. He did nothing but dodge. This made her 
especially mad during that Super Soba incident.
     Akane is busy throwing wild punches as Ranma is casually evading 
each of her attacks while reading a comic book.
     "Ranma! You said you'd help me train! How do you expect me to get 
     Ranma dodged her last punch and sits on her back, driving her to the 
floor. "Oh I'm sorry Akane. Were you saying something?"
Present time…
     Akane sighed again, this time more heavily. Despite his lack of 
social skills, Ranma had demonstrated that he could be tender and 
caring toward her.
Several months ago… 
     "You know Akane. You should smile more often. You can be real 
cute when you smile!"
Martial Arts Skating Competition…
     "Listen up! Akane is my fiancée! You touch her AND I'LL KILL 
The cookies…
     "So I guess you won't mind if I help myself to these?"
The Super Soba incident…
     "Ranma… I guess I got carried away and I thought you were jealous 
     "I'm surprised at you Akane. I thought you'd know me by now."
Present time…
     In the final analysis, Akane could only think of one reason why she 
was so distressed at Ranma's departure. It wasn't because of the future 
of the two schools. It wasn't because she actually liked having 
arguments with the Saotome heir. It was not because he had done so 
much on her behalf. Saving her from kidnappers, giving up on several 
opportunities to be cured or letting her pound on him, whether it was 
his fault or not. The reason was straightforward and simple. It wasn't 
something that she wouldn't admit to anyone, but…
     She was in love with him. The thought was very unnerving to her, but 
she couldn't deny it. Somehow, during the months that he stayed at the 
dojo, his quirks and carefree nature had won a place in her heart. He 
could be insensitive and sometimes even cruel, but deep down, Ranma 
was a caring individual. He never backed down from a challenge and was 
always ready to defend her, even if she did not want it. He was always 
there for her. Whenever another girl showed interest in him, Akane 
would become jealous, even though she would always deny it. She just 
couldn't stand the thought of him being with another. 
     With this revelation, came more sadness. Akane had been constantly 
pestered by her father to admit her feelings toward her supposed 
fiancée. Her friends had always tried to get to know how she felt about 
the pigtailed boy. Akane had steadfastly denied having any tender 
feelings toward Ranma, despite the fact that she did. It wasn't that she 
did not want any of those feelings. It was just that she did not know how 
to express those feelings. She had little experience in the ways of 
intimacy. Her natural dislike of boys in the beginning did not help. With 
his constant insults, Ranma had become the perfect target for her anger 
and frustration. However, when it came to showing tenderness toward 
him, Akane was very lacking in that department.
     Shampoo had no problem in showing affection toward Ranma. Ukyo 
also made no secret that she loved him. Recently, they had changed 
dramatically. Before Ranma had become twins, Shampoo had become 
more mature. She was no longer trying to drug Ranma and did not 
glomp onto him at every opportunity. She did not become hostile 
towards her or Ukyo. After the twins had appeared, she had begun 
showing a newer kind of love toward Ranma Red. It wasn't the usual 
overabundance of affection. Instead it was an unconditional love which 
was based on understanding, trust and respect. Akane had seen it in their 
eyes when Ranma Red had challenged Mousse that day.
     Ukyo had also changed. In the beginning, she had been after Ranma 
because of that promise that was made to her ten years ago. Although 
she did love her Ran-chan, she would always constantly remind him of 
their engagement. She would seem overly possessive and would 
contradict anyone who would question her claim. Now, she was 
different. She was now wearing a dress to school and was proud of her 
femininity. Her love for her fiancée was very apparent to all those who 
saw them together and no one doubted it. She and Ranma Blue shared a 
bond, which made them appear almost as one. The same thing was 
happening to Shampoo and the other twin.
     Akane began to feel tears well up in her eyes again. It was just so 
unfair to her. She had loved Ranma but was too afraid to admit it. There 
had been so many close encounters and missed opportunities to 
develop that love. Shampoo and Ukyo had one advantage over her during 
that time. They were not afraid to admit their feelings. Akane realized 
that it was simply a matter of being too late. Her constant denials and 
poor treatment of Ranma had cost her. Not caring that this was the 
umpteenth time, Akane cried uncontrollably.
The Nekohanten…
     Mousse was still in some pain as he began packing his bags to leave. 
The old matriarch had given him a week to clear out and leave Japan, 
now that he was able to walk. If he was not long gone by then, she 
promised him a beating that would make what Ranma Red did to him 
seem like a day at the beach. And if there was one thing that Mousse 
knew about Cologne, it was that she never bluffed.
     As he carelessly packed some of his clothes into his travel bag, he 
began having dark thoughts about his rival, who now had the undisputed 
right to marry his love. <Damn you Saotome! How dare you steal my 
Shampoo! It wasn't a fair fight!> It was then that he replayed the events 
of that day.
     Mousse was more than shocked to have been challenged to an Honor 
Duel by Ranma. It was even more surprising to have received the 
challenge letter in perfect Chinese. He recognized Ranma's 
handwriting. He had come to the school as he saw this as the perfect 
opportunity to permanently end Ranma's influence over Shampoo and 
perhaps show Cologne that he was worthy of her great-granddaughter.
     Mousse's dreams had soon been dashed when he accepted Ranma's 
challenge. Not that he had any choice. Amazon laws were very strict 
when it came to Honor Duels, especially with the males. Men of the 
Amazons were expected to uphold the appearance of strength and 
honor, despite the fact that they were still considered as inferior by 
most of the women of the tribe. To refuse an Honor Duel, especially 
from an outsider would be considered as an act of cowardice. The 
penalty was usually extreme.
     As soon as he tried to achieve a fast victory against Ranma Red, 
Mousse found himself in way over his head. In the past, Mousse had 
been unable to decisively defeat Saotome. He may be the Master of 
Hidden Weapons, but his greatest strengths were on distance and 
surprise. Ranma however, was his superior in speed, skill and raw 
power, especially when it came to close-quarters combat. He also had 
the ability to effectively adapt to any weapon that Mousse could use 
against him. Added to the fact that Cologne had trained him in several 
Amazon techniques. Techniques that he had apparently improved on.
     The myopic magician frowned as he remembered being pummeled 
by more than one thousand rapid-fire punches. His blades had been 
reduced to scrap in less than a nanosecond and his body had followed 
suit soon afterwards. In all his years, he had never been so soundly 
thrashed in so little time. He was still wondering how Ranma had gotten 
so strong and fast in the short time that they last fought.
     The Moko Takabisha was a technique that he was familiar with, but 
never personally experienced until recently. The blast hurt like the 
dickens. Ranma's other chi technique; the Power Blaster hurt even 
more. The myopic martial artist shook his head in despair. It so unfair!
     The biggest surprises for Mousse were Ranma's other techniques. 
Somehow, Saotome was now able to disappear and reappear at will. The 
Soul Arrow and the Spirit Fist had caught Mousse unawares, but the 
biggest shock of all was when he pulled out that Dragon Spirit 
technique. It had defeated his strongest attack and left him as a mere 
shell of his former self. Although he had been reputed to know black 
magic, his hidden weapon techniques were not really magic-based. His 
opponent however, truly knew magic and had used it to humiliate him. 
Mousse began to have even more dark thoughts about him. 
     <He cheated! I know he did! But those damn Amazon laws don't care 
about it! Because of them, I can't marry my darling Shampoo!> As soon 
as Mousse thought about the purple-haired Amazon, his face became 
sorrowful. He stopped in his packing and began to recall all of his 
memories of his lifelong, yet unrequited love for Cologne's great-
     He remembered way back to a simpler time when he was three. 
There was no girl in the Joketsuzoku who captivated him more than 
Shampoo. He could still remember her cute little face more than 
thirteen years ago.
Thirteen years ago…
     A little boy of three faced a cow with an adoring look in his eyes. As 
he gazed into the bovine's eyes, he was more or less oblivious to the 
angry little girl who was right behind him.
     <"Oh Shampoo! There would be nothing I would like better than to 
be your husband!">
     Immediately, Mousse was smashed forward as a three-year old 
Shampoo kicked him in the head. <"What are you talking about?! That's 
a cow! Shampoo is over here!">
     Mousse picked himself off the ground and turned around. He squinted 
a bit as he tried to focus on the girl who had just kicked him. Finally 
recognizing her by her hair color, he tried to catch her in an embrace. 
<"Oh my darling…"> He was promptly stopped by a fist to the face.
     <"Hmpf! I don't want to marry an idiot who can't tell the difference 
between me and a cow! You are a stupid boy!"> Shampoo stomped off, 
leaving Mousse sprawled on the ground with a bleeding nose.
     The future Master of Hidden Weapons lay on the ground with a 
dreamy look on his face. <"She touched me! I love her! What a woman!">
The present…
     <Okay…> Mousse thought. <So maybe that wasn't the best way to 
make a first impression! But that didn't stop me then!>
Mousse at age six…
     Mousse is kneeling and holding the hand of what he thought was his 
beloved Shampoo. In actuality, he's holding the hoof of a pig. <"Please 
marry me Shampoo!">
     Shampoo is in the background, carrying a bucket of water. She shook 
her head in disgust as she watched her would-be suitor propose to a pig. 
<Bad enough that he's obsessed with me! Now he can't tell the 
difference between me and a pig! Stupid as ever! He would be better off 
marrying that pig!> Shampoo left the scene in a huff.
Mousse at age eight…
     <I did it!> Mousse was strutting along with a grin as he walked away 
from three older boys who were sprawled on the ground. For several 
months now, the other boys of the village had been beating him up and 
teasing him, because of his near-sightedness and lack of fighting skills. 
It was only a few weeks ago that he had began training in his family's 
fighting style. It was a style known as the Hidden Weapons, in which 
one could hide a great assortment of weapons in very little space. Many 
of the villagers considered the methods as a form of black magic.
     <Now Shampoo will see just how much of a great warrior I am!> 
Mousse went off in search of his love and found her practicing with a 
two batons.
     <"Shampoo!"> Mousse rushed over toward her, intending to give her 
his usual embrace. Of course, he wasn't wearing his glasses again and 
ran into a tree, knocking himself out. 
     Shampoo looked down at Mousse and once again had a look of 
disgust. <"You're as stupid as ever Mousse!"> She then went back to 
practicing her movements, leaving Mousse senseless on the ground.
Mousse at age ten…
     Mousse was feeling pain as he got up from the ground. Although he 
was eager to show Shampoo how much he had improved, he had 
neglected to consider that she too had gotten better when he asked to 
spar with her. He had intended to battle her and see if he could discover 
any weaknesses in her fighting style. Weaknesses that he could later 
exploit if he had to challenge her to a Marriage Duel. He was still 
fervently hoping that he could get her consent before she turned sixteen, 
the age in which an Amazon becomes eligible for marriage by combat.
     Mousse winced in pain as he received a blow to his temple. Even at 
the tender age of ten, Shampoo had gotten strong enough to wield the 
bonbori with moderate skill. None of his hidden weapon techniques 
were having any effect at the moment. Mostly because he was too 
afraid to use some of the more dangerous weapons on her as he didn't 
want to hurt her. He had been restraining himself to stun weapons such 
as padded clubs and paralysis powder hidden inside bird eggs. None of 
these things mattered to Shampoo.
     In the end, Mousse just couldn't keep up with the ferocious pace that 
Shampoo was fighting at. The arsenal inside his robes were weighing him 
down and his sparring partner wasn't letting up for any reason. The 
myopic magician was knocked to the ground a final time. Before he 
could get up, Shampoo pinned him down with a foot and raised one of 
her clubs. She looked down at him with contempt and said, <"You are not 
even a challenge Mousse! I would never marry a weakling like you!"> 
With that she delivered a hard blow to Mousse's head, knocking him out.
Mousse at age thirteen…
     It was the time of the Annual Martial Arts Tournament. Shampoo was 
very excited to go and see who would compete. Mousse was also 
interested in going, as it was an opportunity to get close to Shampoo. 
He soon spotted her beside her great-grandmother in the crowds. 
Everyone present were watching the combatants battle it out on a log 
that was suspended in the center of the village.
     Instead of his usual rush to embrace her, Mousse decided to 
approach the purple-haired Amazon calmly. This way, he would not 
mistake someone or something else for her. As he slowly made his way 
toward her, he heard her clap her hands and said gleefully to her great-
grandmother, <"Someday, I will be the village champion!">
     Cologne looked at her relative with a smile. <"Perhaps child. 
However, you still have three more years to go before you are eligible 
to compete!">
     <"I will be ready!"> Shampoo declared.
     <"That would be something to see Shampoo. However, I must warn 
you. The tournament is very demanding! Many Amazons in the past have 
found their skills taxed to the very limit when they compete! Indeed, 
even the winner is all but exhausted!">
     <"I can handle it!">
     Just as Mousse heard this, he became very excited. <That's it! That's 
how I can win Shampoo! All I have to do is wait until she becomes 
sixteen and competes in the tournament! If she wins, she'll be too tired 
to fight! That's when I'll challenge her to a Marriage Duel! By Amazon 
law, she'll have to accept it! Even if she doesn't win, she'll still be 
exhausted! I could beat her easy enough without having to hurt her! It's 
perfect! I'll admit, three years is a long time, but she's worth it! All I 
have to do is keep those other boys away from her until then!>
     Mousse grinned as he watched the contest continue. A few meters 
away, Shampoo noticed him and wondered why he wasn't throwing 
himself at her as usual. She also saw that he was smiling like a cat that 
had just pounced on an unwary bird. Something was up.
Mousse at age sixteen, fifteen minutes before the tournament…
     Mousse was giddy with excitement as he prepared for the day. Today 
was the day that he would finally gain Shampoo as his wife. It had been a 
hard and long three years. It wasn't as difficult as he thought it would 
be, keeping the other village males away from his beloved. As a Master 
of Hidden Weapons, he was by far the best male fighter of his 
generation in the tribe. No, the hard part was dealing with Shampoo's 
shoddy treatment of him. As he had become confident that he would 
win Shampoo this day, he had been getting more affectionate with her. 
Of course, Shampoo would have none of it, declaring that he was 
nothing but a pathetic, lovesick fool. She had also gotten irritated when 
he drove off all the other prospective suitors. As a result, she had been 
pounding on him frequently, saying that it was his fault that the other 
males were avoiding her. 
     Not that any of this mattered to him now. Today, he was going to be 
rewarded the fruits of his labors. He could hardly wait.
     In her house, Shampoo was preparing for the coming contest. As she 
started her warm up exercises, her thoughts had drifted back to the last 
three years. She frowned as she remembered all the difficulties that 
Mousse had caused her. For the last thirty-six months, Mousse's 
obsession with her had intensified. He had been steadily driving off any 
male who had shown an interest in her. He would openly declare to 
anyone that he would be her future husband. His pathetic overtures 
toward her had made him an object of ridicule and he would have lost 
all respect, were it not for his status as a Master of Hidden Weapons. 
Shampoo found it all revolting. It would seem that Mousse would never 
give up on her. 
     Sighing to herself, she cleared her mind of these thoughts and 
steeled herself for the tournament.
     Mousse had just left his home and was heading toward where the 
tournament was being held, when Fate had decided to intervene. Just as 
he rounded a corner, he had bumped into a villager who was carrying a 
large basket of food, intended to be part of the prize of the tournament. 
The collision had caused the two of them to stumble to the ground, 
causing the food to scatter. It was at this time that Mousse lost his only 
means of finding his way around places, his glasses.
     The villager had begun yelling at the nearsighted martial artist for 
not watching where he was going. Mousse paid him no heed as he 
frantically searched for his eyewear. It was then that he heard a sound 
that made him pale.
     <"NOOOO!!!!"> Mousse cried out as he zeroed in on the sound and 
reached out with a trembling hand. There he encountered the foot of the 
villager. Grabbing his foot, Mousse upended the already maddened 
person and reached down. With tears flowing in his eyes, he picked up 
the remnants of his glasses. Panicking, he began searching the inner 
recesses of his robes, hoping to find the spare pair that he usually kept 
with him. He had literally unloaded everything that he had in his clothes 
and had a considerable pile of weapons beside him.
     <"Where are they? WHERE ARE THEY?"> Mousse muttered to 
himself, ignoring the foul language of the villager. 
     After twenty minutes, Mousse's robes were all but empty. He then 
smacked his head as he remembered that he had left his spare pair of 
glasses on the table in his bedroom. Getting up, he ran off in the general 
direction of his house. He knew he had to hurry for the tournament was 
about to start. The villager was still shouting at him as he ran away.
     Mousse could only see faint blurs and colors as he blindly dashed 
toward his house. It was fortunate that he knew the general area 
surrounding his house, but in his haste, he made a slight miscalculation 
as to where the front door was. At full speed, he ran headlong into the 
doorframe and was promptly rendered unconscious. (This seems to be a 
recurring theme).
     Mousse regained his senses three hours later. Remembering that 
Shampoo must be exhausted by now, he quickly retrieved his spare set 
of glasses, reloaded his robes with new weapons and headed to where 
the tournament was being held. When he came to the spot, he saw that it 
was deserted and Shampoo was nowhere in sight.
     <"If you are looking for Shampoo, you won't find her here!"> 
     Mousse whirled around and saw Cologne hopping toward him. 
<"Where is she? I need to see her!">
     Cologne shook her head as she replied, <"Shampoo is long gone 
now. She must fulfill a Kiss of Death!">
     <"Kiss of Death?">
     The aged matriarch nodded. <"Yes. When she had just won the 
tournament, an outsider girl and her pet panda had come to the village 
and had eaten some of the first prize. This of course angered Shampoo. 
The little upstart challenged my great-granddaughter and beat her. 
Shampoo was too tired from the contest to give her a good fight. 
Afterwards, she gave that girl the Kiss of Death and has since left to 
fulfill it!">
     Mousse was in a state of shock. The long preparations that he had 
made for the last three years had been wasted. Shampoo could be 
anywhere now. Forgetting whom he talking to, Mousse shouted, <"Tell 
me where she went, you old mummy!"> 
     Mousse was once again unconscious on the ground as Cologne 
looked at him with a stern gaze, <"You should address your elders with 
more respect!">
The present…
     The Master of Hidden Weapons scowled at that memory. It had been 
a golden opportunity for him to win Shampoo as his wife. It had been 
ruined when Ranma Saotome had entered into the picture. Mousse had 
spent many months searching China for any sign of his beloved 
Shampoo. Eventually, he discovered that she had been living in Japan 
with Cologne and had gone to claim her. It was then that his whole 
world had been turned inside out.
     Shampoo was still as unresponsive to him as ever. That did not surprise 
him as he was still confident that he would someday have her as his bride. 
What made him angry was the fact that some outsider male had defeated 
her in combat. During his first encounter with Ranma Saotome, Mousse 
had thought of him as a pushover. Furthermore, Saotome seemed 
unwilling to fulfill the marriage contract and already had a fiancée to boot, 
so Mousse assumed that he wouldn't be a problem. All of plans for his 
future with Shampoo still seemed possible at that moment.
     It didn't take long for Mousse to reconsider his opinion about his 
rival. For one thing, Ranma Saotome was far from the weakling he 
thought he was. Their first battle was proof of that. After taking a 
pounding from the pigtailed martial artist, Mousse had decided to train 
himself again for a rematch. Unfortunately for the Chinese boy, he 
couldn't have chosen a worse place to train than Jusenkyo.
Several months ago…
     "Here sir, we come to famous Training Ground of Cursed Springs, 
Jusenkyo!" Said the guide proudly as he gestured to the many pools.
     "I'll train here and put an end to the evil Ranma!" Mousse walked 
toward the springs with his glasses on his forehead.
     "No sir! What you doing?! Practice on POLES, not in cursed spring!" 
The guide frantically waved his arms, just as Mousse turned his head 
and took a step forward.
     "Uh oh! He fall into Yahzniichuan, the Spring of Drowned Duck!"
     Mousse struggled for a few moments before sinking beneath the 
surface. The Guide continued his explanations.
     "There very tragic story of duck that drown there 3000 years ago! 
Now whoever fall in spring take body of unfortunate duck! It is very 
cursed spring! I no want swim in there!"
     Soon a white duck comes to the surface, wearing Mousse's glasses. 
The duck quacked in despair as the Guide addressed him.
     "Oh sir! In many years I work as guide, no one EVER fall in spring on 
purpose! What you do that for?"
Present time…
     <If ever there was a place that a duck could drown, it's Jusenkyo!> 
Mousse's mood darkened even more. <It's all Ranma's fault! If he 
hadn't stolen away my darling Shampoo, this wouldn't have happened!>
     Since that encounter, Mousse had been repeatedly trying to make 
life miserable for the heir to the Saotome School of Anything Goes 
Martial Arts. His plan to change him into a duck had been a dismal 
failure. Akane's plan to have Ranma throw a fight had also met with 
disaster. Even his team-up with Ryoga had soured, with Mousse getting 
blown up by his own time bomb.
     When Ranma had lost his strength, Mousse had thought he had the 
perfect opportunity to finish off his greatest obstacle to Shampoo's 
heart. He was thwarted by Ryoga the first time, then he found himself 
on the receiving end of the Hiryu Shoten Ha afterwards. Since then, it 
had been nothing but one humiliating defeat after another. It was so 
unfair! It seemed as if Fate had been against him ever since he was three.
     As he stuffed some of his belongings into his robes, Mousse began 
to think back to the times that Shampoo had actually shown him some 
moments of kindness. After his battle with Ranma, in which Ranma was 
supposed to lose on purpose, Shampoo had actually carried his battered 
duck form home and given him a place to stay at the Nekohanten. Of 
course, she still treated him badly, but it was the first time she had 
actually shown some concern for his well being.
     There were other moments in which she would not be as cold toward 
him. Every time she played with him when he was a duck, she seemed 
like the playful three-year old again. Seeing her smile was a welcome 
sight to his eyes. Nothing seemed more beautiful to him than seeing 
her happy.
     When the Ghost Cat had kidnapped Shampoo, Mousse saw that as the 
best opportunity to win her affection. He figured that if he could save 
her before Ranma did, then she would shower him with her gratitude. 
However, Ranma had proven to be just as determined as he was and in 
the end, Ranma had saved her. After that incident, Shampoo had undergone 
a dramatic personality change, much to Mousse's displeasure.
     Mousse shook his head sadly as he finished packing the last of his 
things. It was too late for any more regrets as to how his life had turned 
out. In the end, Ranma had won. He was now enthusiastically returning 
Shampoo's affection. Mousse found this strange that he would be doing 
this now, considering how many times he had steadfastly refused her 
overtures before. He had been so sure that Ranma would eventually 
pick Akane. He had been shocked beyond words when his rival had 
chosen his beloved over the Tendo girl. 
     His mood darkened again as thought of all those times that he tried 
to win Shampoo's heart. He had failed miserably, while her attempts to 
attain Ranma's affection had succeeded. He knew something was up 
when he learned that Shampoo had decided not to resort to potions and 
such to gain Ranma as her husband. Mousse had become fearful as he 
realized that if she had failed, it would mean her death! Since that time, 
he had come to the conclusion that the only way to free her from that 
Kiss of Marriage law was to permanently eliminate Ranma.
     He had attacked Ranma on several occasions during that period, but 
as usual, Saotome had proven to be too tough a nut to crack. Mousse 
had also become jealous of Shampoo's new attitude toward Ranma. She 
was now treating him like a person, instead of a trophy husband. She had 
been totally ignoring the near-blind Chinese boy. Granted, her previous 
behavior toward Mousse was less than what he wanted, but at least he 
could take solace in the fact that she was acknowledging his existence. 
With her new outlook toward her intended future husband, Mousse had 
become something that didn't require her to take any notice 
whatsoever. As he watched Shampoo become ever more distant from 
him and more closer to Ranma, Mousse had gone into a rage.
     <It should have been me that she should have treated better!> Mousse 
would have paid to have Shampoo treat him as a person. If she could 
acknowledge him as a human being, then Mousse could have hope that he 
would one day that he would wear down Shampoo's reluctance to accept 
him as a mate. However, it was not to be. As he began to head out the 
door, his thoughts went back to his last conversation with Shampoo.
     Shampoo had been very angry at him when she last spoke to him. She 
was very annoyed that he still believed that she loved him. She had 
become almost mad enough to kill him on the spot, if it were not for 
his injuries. She had informed him that she did not like to be treated 
like some sort of prize to be fought over, just as Ranma was. 
    < Did I treat her like a prize?> Mousse thought. He thought back to 
the last three years. He had been driven to beating up all the other boys 
in the village in order to ensure that Shampoo would not have any suitors. 
He had continually declared that he would be her future husband to 
anyone who would listen. He would state that she was his and his alone. 
Despite Shampoo's declarations that she would never marry him, he had 
ignored her words on the pretense that she would eventually come 
around and become his wife. He had never considered anything that she 
said in the past about her not accepting him as a husband. He had 
continually thrown himself at her, and each time, she would refuse his 
affectionate gestures. Any chance that might win him the Amazon, he 
would take, no questions asked and with no regard for the consequences. 
It was then that he realized something that shook him to the core.
     Shampoo had been acting exactly the same way toward Ranma! She 
never listened to him whenever he said that he wasn't marrying her. She 
had repeatedly thrown herself at him, which usually had him trying to 
pry her off. She continually fought with Ukyo and Akane over Ranma in 
any kind of competition, whether it was fighting, cooking or anything 
else. So long as Ranma was the prize, she would go all out. She had 
resorted to blackmail, potions and even enlisted the aid of her great-
grandmother to win Ranma. In a way, she acted toward Ranma in the 
exact same manner as Mousse did toward her! It was just after she had 
changed her attitude toward Saotome that she had gotten better results. 
Ranma no longer pried her off whenever she hugged him, nor was he 
suspicious of her cooking. By treating Ranma as a person, instead of a 
piece of property, Shampoo had gained his trust, understanding and 
eventually, his love.
     Mousse was close to tears as he realized how much time was wasted 
in his pursuit of Cologne's great-granddaughter. He started to realize 
that perhaps he may have gone about it the wrong way. If he had treated 
Shampoo as a person and considered her feelings, perhaps she wouldn't 
have been so unresponsive toward him. He let out a tired sigh as his 
body ached slightly from his healing injuries. <I've spent so much time 
and I have so little to show for it! Life is just so unfair!> 
     Mousse turned around for one final look at the Nekohanten before 
he went out the door and into an uncertain future.
Somewhere in Hokkaido…
     Ryoga Hibiki was emanating a huge aura of depression as he 
wandered the streets. As usual, he had no idea where he was or where he 
was heading. In this case however, he didn't really care. He had been 
doing a lot of thinking ever since his last battle with Ranma Blue.
     At first, he had become angered that Ranma had beat him yet again 
and that he was now free of his curse. Furthermore, because of the 
terms of their final duel, Ryoga could no longer challenge his biggest 
opponent. Ryoga's greatest dream was to be free of becoming P-chan 
and telling Akane how he really felt about her. If he had won that fight, 
he would have been able to fulfill that dream. However, he had lost 
miserably against a seemingly unbeatable Ranma. As of now, he was 
still wondering how Saotome had gotten so powerful. As Ryoga thought 
back to his last encounter with his lifelong rival, he wondered what had 
caused him to change so much. Ranma was not the same anymore.
     In the past, Ranma could act like a totally insensitive jerk and had an 
ego the size of Mount Fuji. He was cocky and pompous. He wasn't very 
responsible and he didn't treat Akane very well. Ryoga often wondered 
what she ever saw in that dope! Ranma would tease him in front of 
Akane and even go as far as call him P-chan in front of her face! 
     It was after Ranma Blue had defeated him that Ryoga realized that he 
had changed. He had lost just about his entire egotistical attitude and 
had become more serious. He did not go into his standard taunting after 
he had beaten the lost boy. In fact, he had tended to his wounds and had 
wished him the best of luck. It was all so confusing.
     The eternal lost boy's thoughts went back to the first time he met 
Ranma Saotome.
An all-boys junior high school…
     The cafeteria was jammed packed with shouting and starving 
adolescent boys as they pushed and shoved each other near the front 
counter. Behind the counter, a heavyset woman wearing an apron is 
holding up a food item with a set of tongs.
     "All right you boys! This is it! The last curry bread of the day!" 
     The lunch lady drew back her arm and tossed the curry bread into the 
mob of hungry students. Ryoga shoved his way towards the flying food 
item and makes a leap.
     "I got it! I got it!"
     Just as he's about to grab the bread, someone bounced off his head 
and catches the curry bread in his mouth. Ryoga is left stunned as his 
lunch is claimed by another boy wearing a pigtail. His anger soon flared 
as he glared at the offender as he landed on the opposite side of the mob.
     "How dare you?! Who are you?"
     The youth takes the bread out of his mouth and replied casually, 
"Ranma Saotome."
The present…
     <Stupid jerk! That bread was mine!> Ryoga's mood went deeper into 
depression. <And it didn't stop there!>
The next day in the cafeteria…
     "Smell it and weep boys! The last chow mien bread of the day!" 
Announced the lunch lady.
     Ryoga is introduced to Ranma's foot as the bread is caught in the 
pigtailed boy's mouth.
     "The last croquet bread!"
     Ryoga is crescent-kicked away as Ranma scores yet another victory.
     "The last melon bread!"
     Ryoga meets the back of Ranma's head.
     "Cutlet sandwich!"
     "Meat bread!"
The present…
     <Egg bread! Seaweed bread! Everything that I tried to get, he'd get it 
first! That pig!> Ryoga winced as he heard that word in his mind. 
<Okay… that was a bad choice of words! Still, he was nothing but a 
stupid jerk! Bad enough that I always went hungry, but then he had to run 
out on that duel!>
The day of the Big Fight…
     A younger Ryoga rushes out of his house and heads straight down 
the street. Unfortunately, he does not make the left turn, which would 
have led him to the empty lot where Ranma was waiting for him.
     "No, this is Hiroshima…"
     "No, you idiot! This is Osaka! Can't you read a map?!"
     "What are you nuts?"
     "You've got to be kidding! This is Yokohama!"
Four days later…
     "I… I… f-finally… finally made it!" Young Ryoga staggered into the 
empty lot and finds Ranma gone. "Damn you Ranma! You coward!" 
With these words, Ryoga collapsed from exhaustion.
The present…
     <That jerk's got no honor! So I took just a little too long in getting 
there! He should have been at that lot!> Ryoga stopped in his train of 
thought as he remembered that Ranma had been at that lot for three 
days. <So he waited three days! So what? He should have waited a little 
longer! He knew how bad I was with directions! Hell! He had to lead me 
to school and back home every day!> It was at that thought that caught 
his attention. <Wait a second. Why… did he help me get to school and 
back every day? Weren't we enemies back then? I mean, I always said 
that I didn't need his help, yet he would always help me find my way.>
     Ryoga cocked his head as he tried to figure out this confusing point. 
He shook his head as he began to recall his other grudges against 
Ranma. <What am I thinking? It's his fault that I turn into a pig! I almost 
ended up as Sweet and Sour Pork!> 
A few months ago in Jusenkyo…
     Ryoga is standing on a rocky cliff that is overlooking several of the 
pools. Suddenly, he hears the sounds of heavy footsteps as something 
large crashed through the bamboo plants behind him. Ryoga turns to see 
a huge panda rushing toward him. 
     "Yaaaahhh!" Ryoga screamed as he leapt high to avoid colliding with 
it. It was at that moment that he heard a girl's shouting in his direction.
     "Wait up you old fool!" Ranma-chan screamed as she charged in 
from above, intending to pound Genma into next month.
     Ryoga was knocked downward after his head collided with Ranma-
chan's outstretched knee. As he plummeted down toward one of the 
pools, the red-haired girl continued to chase her cursed father. "Come 
back here! Come back here!"
     Ryoga found himself disoriented and shocked beyond words as he 
found himself trapped inside a much smaller form. It was at that time 
that the Panda came across him.
     Picking up the little piglet by the bandanna, Genma considered all 
the possibilities one could do with such an animal. (Of course, we all 
know that Genma is a slave to his stomach. So what else would he do 
with a tender-looking piglet ?)
     Ryoga soon found himself in the hut of the Jusenkyo guide. It wasn't 
long before the Guide was thinking along the same lines as Genma was.
     "Oh sir! You find too, too delicious-looking piglet! Looks very 
juicy!" The Guide stood up andwhipped out some sharp utensils. "I make 
our famous Cantonese-style Sweet and Sour Pork for you!"
     <NOOOOOOO!!!> Ryoga wriggled and struggled as he was hung by 
one leg above a wok of boiling water. He tried to voice out his protests, 
but in this form he could only grunt and squeal.
     The Guide busily sharpened up a nasty-looking cleaver while Genma 
stoked the fire. As they prepared to cook Ryoga, the Guide began 
telling Genma about a certain cursed pool.
     "In here in Jusenkyo, there very famous, very cursed spring called 
Heitoniichuan! There very tragic legend that of black piglet what drown 
there one thousand two hundred year ago! Oh, very terrible! Now, 
whoever fall in spring take of body of black piglet!" The Guide held up 
Ryoga and smiled. "I think maybe this one from Spring of Drowned 
Black Piglet, no?" 
     Ryoga frantically nodded.
     With that the Guide dropped Ryoga into the wok and said with glee, 
"Oh sir! I make very funny joke! No?"
Ryoga came up in his human form and naked. His body was red all over 
as he fumed at the two.
     "AIYA! You human, not pig! No can eat this one!" Said the Guide.
The present…
     <It's not fair! I used to like eating pork! Now I can't even go near the 
restaurant district without fearing that someone would try to make me 
into the lunch special! Damn you Ranma! After all that you've done to 
me, you could have at least told me how you got cured!> 
     Ryoga was really in a foul mood as he found himself in the midst of 
a forest. <Huh? How the the heck did I end up here? Damn! I should 
have watched where I was going! I was so busy being mad at Ranma 
that… arrrgh!>
Five hours later, near the outskirts of Nerima…
     Ryoga had finally found a road, which led him to one of the main 
highways. By luck, he had managed to follow it to Tokyo. As he 
wandered the streets, his thoughts inevitably went back to his 
relationship with Ranma.
     As he thought about his former rival, he could not help but rember 
all the times, in which they actually came close to getting along like… 
     The first of his memories was when Happosai had removed his 
strength. Ryoga had come across the weakened Ranma just as he was 
about to be totally destroyed by Kuno, the Principal and Mousse.
     <Why did I save him that time? After all that he's done to me, I 
should have let him get beaten up!> After thinking about it for a while, 
he realized that he did it because he couldn't help but feel sorry for 
Saotome for being in such a pathetic state. He knew what it was like to 
be helpless. It happened to him all the time, whenever he became P-
chan. Furthermore, defeating Ranma when he so weak would not have 
set well with him. There would be no challenge. Ranma had proven 
himself many times over to be his biggest rival. Whenever Ryoga would 
become a little better than Ranma, Ranma would train and become 
better than he. That would force Ryoga to also train. Now, with the feud 
over, Ryoga was left without an adequate opponent. Not that it really 
mattered. From what Ryoga had seen, Ranma had achieved a skill level 
far beyond anything that he could ever hope to attain. The thought made 
him even more miserable.
     Another memory that came to him was the time that he received the 
Mark of God. Granted, it gave him the power to consistantly defeat 
Ranma, even as P-chan, but the silly-looking thing made him too 
embarrassed to be seen in public. Also, Akane had thought it stupid-
looking, which put him into a deeper funk. Ranma had figured out a way 
to get rid of it, albeit using an underhanded tactic. Ryoga knew that 
Ranma had done it for his own benefit, but he couldn't help but wonder 
what would happened if Ranma had not agreed to help him get rid of it.
     Other memories of their relationship came forth. The numerous 
times that Ranma had kept Akane from learning that P-chan and Ryoga 
were the same person. The time that he rescued him from that 
swordsman from the Cult of the Muscle Sword. Thoughout all the 
fights, arguments, grudges and misunderstandings, one thing was 
constant. Ranma was always there.
     Ryoga sighed heavily. With Ranma gone, the lost boy found his life 
strangely… empty. There were no more fights, no more rivalry. It seems 
as if his entire life had been built on the constant conflict. Ranma may 
have been an egotistical and insensitive jerk, but Ryoga had to admit, he 
was also honorable enough. He never backed down from a challenge. He 
was always there for him, even when Ryoga refused his help. For Ryoga, 
Ranma Saotome had become an integral part of his life. His reason for 
going on. Without Ranma to fight, Ryoga's life had become dull and 
listless. With a shocked expression, Ryoga realized that Ranma was 
about the closest thing he had to a… friend. Life was pretty lonely when 
you get lost all the time. Looking forward to beating up Ranma had 
always given him a boost in the morale depatment. It was an all-
consuming obsession of his. It was what drove him to train. Now…
     Ryoga sighed as he headed toward the Tendo dojo. (Not intentially 
of course) As he walked steadily toward Akane's home, he began 
wondering what path his life would take now that Ranma was no longer 
a part of it.
     At the home of Nodoka Saotome, the twins were just coming around 
five minutes after they fainted. 
To be continued….
     The reason that I wrote this chapter was that I felt that some of the 
other characters were being neglected. I also wanted to explore the 
inner thoughts of Akane, Ryoga and Mousse and their connections 
toward Ranma Saotome. Akane has now realized that Ranma was not 
totally to blame for their unstable relationship and their eventual break 
up. Ryoga has come to realize that with Ranma no longer a rival, his life 
has now become empty. After waiting so long for the conflict to be 
ended, Ryoga has now discovered the downside of his wish. And 
Mousse? Well, I have some big plans concerning him in the near future. 
Just remember, both he and Ryoga still do not know about the Ranma 
twins. Stay tuned for Chapter 14!