Dual Destinies
Ranma 1/2 and crew belong to the Rumiko Takahashi. I'm using her 
characters in order to tell a story.
                                 Chapter 17
     Akane Tendo woke up with a scream that startled all that were present 
in the house of Nodoka Saotome. In an instant, the mother of the Saotome 
twins rushed into the guestroom to see if Akane was all right. Behind her, 
Shampoo's great-grandmother hopped inside a moment later. Both women 
were wearing looks of concern as they leaned over the bed and took the 
sobbing girl in their arms, trying to soothe her agitation. Akane cried 
uncontrollably as she began reliving the terror and horrible torture that 
she had received at the hands of the Dark World demons.
     "MAKE IT STOP! OH PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!" Akane shrieked as 
she gripped Nodoka and Cologne with a viselike grip that would make 
Shampoo's Amazon glomp seem like a light embrace.
     In the living room, Ranma Red, Ranma Blue, Ukyo and Shampoo 
looked in the direction of the screams and the voices of the two women 
as they tried to calm her down.
     "Whoa! Soren and Taron weren't kidding when they said that Akane 
would have some real painful memories!" Ranma Red remarked as he 
looked at the adjoining door with sympathy.
     "I'd feel the same way if I almost had my soul torn apart." Ranma 
Blue added. "Come to think of it, we almost did."
     "Ran-chan. You mean that story about Akane really dying is true? 
You went into the Kami Plane to get her back?" Ukyo said with a 
slightly fearful voice.
     Ranma Blue looked at his fiancée and slowly nodded. "We had to. It 
was because of us that she committed suicide. If we hadn't gotten to her 
in time…"
     Ukyo began to have fears that she might lose her future husband to 
Akane again. Shampoo also began thinking the same thoughts. Both 
twins noticed their expressions and decided to put their fears to rest.
     "Ucchan. The reason why we risked our lives for her is because she's 
our friend!" 
     "That's right. No matter what she's done to us in the past, we couldn't 
just stand by and let her slip away like that." Ranma Red said. "Right 
now, she needs our support, more than ever."
     "We really made a mess about the whole fiancée business and our 
biggest mistake was not talking to Akane about all this sooner!"
     "We love Akane, but it's not the same kind of love as we have for you 
two. More like a sister and her brothers. It wouldn't be right to just 
leave her like that without at least saying goodbye. After all that we've 
been through with her, she deserves that much. We have to get her to 
understand that it won't work. Neither of us can marry her. We love you 
two! But we don't want to leave her like this either! We went through a 
lot to get her back! We wouldn't want her to kill herself all over again."
     Both girls relaxed a bit when they heard their words of reassurance. 
They each gave their beaus a kiss, then took a deep breath and looked 
into their eyes. After a long silence, Ukyo decided to speak. "Go to her 
Ran-chan. She needs you both."
     "Shampoo understand. No want Akane to like this."
     Both brothers looked at their fiancées with small smiles, then turned 
towards the guestroom, just as Cologne hopped into the living room.
     "Ah son-in-law! I assume that you and your brother wish to have a 
word with Akane?"
     "It's a discussion that has been long overdue." Ranma Red replied as 
he and his other half nodded. "Is mother still there with her?"
     "Yes. She finally managed to calm her down. Although I had to use 
several pressure points in order to relieve some of her convulsions. I 
was just going to the kitchen for some water to help in easing her back 
to sleep."
     "Convulsions?" Ranma Red asked concerned.
     "Yes." Cologne's expression took on a very serious look. "Whatever 
she experienced in the Kami Plane has caused extensive damage to her 
psyche. I fear that Miss Tendo will have a long and difficult road to 
     "If you would wait for a little while Cologne." Ranma Blue said. "My 
brother and I need a bit of privacy with her."
     "Very well. I will wait here with the girls. Please call me immediately 
if you need any assistance with her."
     The boys nodded as they headed into the guestroom. They saw their 
mother sitting on the bed, cradling a whimpering Akane. She looked up 
and saw her sons standing next to the bed. Their expressions were a 
mixture of sadness, sympathy and a bit of apprehension as they gazed 
upon the trembling Tendo girl.
     "Mom…" Ranma Red began.
     Nodoka held a hand and said in a gentle voice, "You don't have to tell 
me. I knew that the two of you would need to speak with her sooner of 
later." Looking down at Akane, she quietly whispered, "Akane-chan. My 
sons would like to talk with you. Will you be all right?"
     Akane gazed up at the two Ranmas standing in front of her then 
turned her head to their mother. With a little sniffle, she nodded. 
Nodoka gave her a gentle hug. She then stood up and left the room, 
quietly closing the door behind her.
     As soon as they were alone, Ranma Red brought his hands together 
as if he was praying. His aura glowed briefly as he uttered a single word.
     "Akane looked at him strangely and asked, "W-What was that?"
     Ranma Red shrugged and replied, "Just a simple spell of silence. I 
wouldn't be surprised if Ukyo, Shampoo, Cologne and Mom were 
leaning with their ears against the door right now. I mean, that sort of 
thing always happened at the dojo, right?"
     The twins gave her a playful smile and gave a little laugh. Akane 
couldn't help but laugh with them. Her smile warmed their hearts. Each 
Saotome walked to the opposite sides of the bed and sat down next to her.
     "So how do you feel?" Inquired the blue-shirted Ranma.
     Akane let out a tired sigh and her expression became slightly fearful 
as she remembered what Arcodos and Zuruka had done to her. She 
shuddered at the memories. "It was the most horrible thing that I ever 
went through. I… I… can't get them out of my mind! Every time that I 
close my eyes, I see them tearing my soul apart and laughing! Even 
when I'm awake, I can still feel them as they ripped me apart!" As her 
shivering became worse, Ranma Red reached out with a glowing hand 
and placed it on her shoulder.
     Instantly, the shivering stopped. Akane gave Ranma Red a half-smile, 
which soon became a frown. "Thanks, but it doesn't help me much. Even 
the pressure points that Shampoo's great-grandmother used aren't enough 
to deaden the pain. I can still see them in my mind. You don't know what 
true agony is until someone tears your soul apart, little by little. I felt as 
if I was losing my entire being. I wasn't Akane Tendo any more. I wasn't 
anybody. You can't know what it's like to totally lose what you are."
     Both Ranmas nodded their sympathy.
     "You're right Akane." Ranma Red agreed. "Compared to what you 
went through, the pounding that those two monsters gave us was nothing."
     "How long were you in the Realm of Oblivion? How did you end up 
     Akane sighed as she began her story. "I wandered around the Kami 
Plane for what seemed like hours. I had thought that after I had… died, 
the pain of… losing the two of you would go away. It didn't go away. I 
still felt those feelings! During my wanderings, I met up with a lot of 
famous people who had died over the last few hundred years. They all 
had stories to tell and the regrets that they had in life. Unfulfilled 
dreams, mistakes, wrong decisions and missed opportunities."
     Sounds familiar." Ranma Blue said, his tone expressionless.
     Akane looked at him for a moment before nodding. "Listening to 
their life stories made me remember my life. And how… badly treated 
the two of you."
     Both Ranmas nodded as they waited for her to continue.
     "It was one ghost in particular that made me realize that I was all 
wrong about you. Both of you."
     "That ghost wouldn't happen to have been George Armstrong Custer, 
now would it?" Ranma Red asked.
     Akane's head looked up in surprise. "How did you know?"
     Ranma Blue gave her a shrug as he replied, "We met him while we 
were following your spirit trail."
     Akane let off another sigh as she brought her knees up and crossed 
her arms over them. "Well anyway, what he said about respect and 
treating other people better stuck with me. I should have done that with 
you. I should have treated you better and given you more respect. It 
wasn't your fault that you were cursed from the Spring of Drowned 
Girl. It wasn't your fault that your stupid father engaged you to all those 
girls. Just because I was fighting all those boys at school didn't mean 
that you were like them. You didn't ask to be put into an engagement 
that was made before you were born. But no, I didn't take into
consideration of what you felt. All I could think about was myself. I 
made a snap judgement about you the moment I walked in on you that 
first day. I never thought about what you were going though."
     "Akane…" Ranma Red began.
     "No." She interjected. "You were right. You've had to put up with my 
temper for almost a year. At first I thought you were nothing more than 
a self-centered, egotistical jerk, but after being dead… I realized that it 
was just as much my fault as it was yours that we fought a lot. I did 
assume the worst when something went wrong. I always thought that 
you were the cause of the problem because it was so easy and … it 
became a habit. I just couldn't stop!"
     "Well Akane. You have to admit, we weren't exactly the perfect 
gentleman." Ranma Blue commented. "I guess deep down, we really 
didn't want to upset you or make you mad, but then again we were 
sharing the same body and developed a taste for foot. We certainly had 
it in our mouth a lot."
     "It was really easy to go into the usual fights and arguments." Ranma 
Red added. "Talking it out just seemed to be impossible for all of us. 
We just couldn't open up. We couldn't tell you how we felt. Heck, there 
were a lot of things that we wanted to say, but we just couldn't do it!"
     "Speaking of things that you wanted to tell me," Akane's face took on 
a hardened look as she said in an irritated tone. "Why didn't you tell me 
about Ryoga?" 
     "Tell you about what?" Both Ranmas asked in a nervous voice.
     Akane frowned as she said in a very annoyed voice, "Why didn't you 
tell me that Ryoga was P-chan!"
     "Y-You know?!" Both Ranmas stammered.
     Akane nodded. "While those demons were torturing me, they teased 
me as to how dense I was as to not being able to figure out that Ryoga 
and P-chan were the same person. They even pointed out all the clues. 
They were never seen together. Both would go missing for days or 
weeks. They both had the same bandanna. You would always get mad 
whenever I held him or defended him. Ryoga was always afraid of cold 
water and he never ate pork. Then there were those incidents with the 
Tattoo, the Rhythmic Gymnastics Tournament, the Skating competition 
and so on. Ryoga would always get excited whenever he heard of you 
getting a chance at curing your Jusenkyo curse. They even reminded me 
of the fact that you used to call him P-chan right in front of my face. 
Why didn't you just TELL ME?!"
     "It's because we promised Ryoga not to tell anyone." Ranma Blue 
replied. "Since you know the truth, I guess it's all right that we tell you 
the whole thing. You see, after we had gotten cursed, we were so mad at 
Pop that we weren't thinking straight."
     "We were more than willing to pound him into the next century and 
we chased him around the training grounds. We were so angry that we 
didn't notice that Ryoga was there. He was still after us for missing that 
duel behind his house. You know, the one that we waited three days for 
him to show, but it took him four days to get there? Well, he had followed 
us to China and was standing near a cliff that overlooked the springs. We 
had chased Pop over the cliff and… accidentally knocked Ryoga into the 
Spring Of Drowned Pig. We didn't know about it until after P-chan 
showed up later. Remember when you asked us to give him that bath?"
     Akane nodded slowly as look of realization crossed her face. <So 
that's why Ranma was so mad when she came out screaming after P-
chan… I mean Ryoga. And here I always accused him of picking on 
him. Why was I so stupid?> Akane let out another sigh as she looked up 
and asked, "So who else knew about it?"
     Ranma Red cocked his head and then replied, "Well, besides us, Pop 
knew about it. That's another reason why Ryoga was so mad at us. Just 
after he got cursed, Pop found him and almost made him into Sweet and 
Sour Pork. Ryoga turned back into a human after being dumped into a 
wok of boiling water."
     "Shampoo and her great-grandmother knew." Ranma Blue added. 
"Cologne found Ryoga as a pig and… tried to boil him for lunch."
     "Mousse knew. After all, he did get captured with him and Shampoo 
when that Secret Society of Jusenkyo were after them. Also, he did 
team up with Ryoga against us that one time."
     "And we really hate to tell you this Akane, but your father knew as 
     "WHAT?!" Akane yelped in disbelief.
     "It's true! Ryoga had used the dojo's bathtub several times to change 
back into a human. Twice he used it when your father was still in it. We 
never could figure out why he never told you about it, despite the fact 
that we were supposed to be engaged. You'd think a father wouldn't let 
another guy sleep with his daughter when she's supposed to marry 
someone else!"
     "RYOGA NO BAKA!!!" Akane raged.
     Ranam Red shook his head in sympathy as he watched Akane fume. 
<Well, at least she's not mad at us this time around.> He was so 
absorbed in watching Akane getting angry with his rival that he had let 
his control over his spell of silence slip a bit.
     In the living room, four females were sitting around the table, 
sipping tea and discussing the events of the past few days. Suddenly, 
they heard Akane scream out her thoughts about Ryoga.
     Nodoka and Ukyo were understandably alarmed when they heard the 
shout. Shampoo and her great-grandmother however were not. 
     "What's happening in there?" Nodoka asked in concern as she began 
to get up.
     "No need to be concerned Nodoka." Cologne said as she gestured 
her to sit down again. "It seems that Miss Tendo has just realized that 
she has been lied to, from someone that she had considered as a good 
     "About time Akane know truth about Ryoga." Shampoo affirmed.
     "What do you mean? Why should she be angry at Ryoga?" Ukyo asked.
     "That right. Future sister-in-law not know it yet! Ranma promise no 
tell anyone because of honor. But Shampoo and great-grandmother 
know secret!"
     "That's right. And unlike son-in-law, we are not bound by that pledge. 
You see, besides Mousse and Shampoo, Ryoga also has a Jusenkyo 
curse. He had gotten it when Ranma accidentally knocked him into one 
of the pools in Jusenkyo! Son-in-law felt that it was his fault that Ryoga 
had gotten cursed, so he swore not to tell anyone, especially Akane."
     "Why especially Akane? What does he turn into…?" Ukyo then 
paused as she started to put two and two together. Unlike Akane, she 
came up with four. "You don't mean that Ryoga is… P-chan?!"
     Shampoo nodded as replied, "Is true! Great-grandmother found 
Ryoga as pig! Thought he make good lunch. Tried to boil him, but 
forget idea when Ryoga turn back!"
     Ukyo gave off a low whistle. "NO WONDER Ran-chan never liked it 
when Akane slept with P-chan!"
     "Akane slept with Ryoga?!" Nodoka said in shock.
     "Is true Mother-in-law! Ryoga is nothing but pervert. Shampoo knew 
that he in love with Akane, but he never told her truth! Always lying to 
her! Ranma try to stop it, but Akane no listens and always hit him! Always 
believe that P-chan do nothing wrong, and think that Ryoga is innocent!"
     "Ryoga was always talking about how dishonorable Ranma was for 
not showing up for their duel." Cologne continued. "Judging as to how 
he has suffered Akane's abuse due to upholding his vow to the Hibiki 
boy proves that he has a great sense of honor. Both Ranmas."
     "If you knew about Ryoga's secret, then why didn't you tell Akane?" 
Nodoka inquired.
     "As you remember Nodoka," Cologne responded, "we came to Japan 
in order to persuade Ranma to accept his marriage to Shampoo, as 
according to our Amazon Laws. Ryoga considered himself a suitor for 
Akane's affections. That would have helped our cause. Telling Akane of 
his secret would have been counter-productive and drive her into
Ranma's arms."
     "I see." Nodoka thought for a moment. "Although I understand your 
reasons, I still find it uncomfortable that you did not inform Akane. It 
would have been the decent thing to do."
     "I suppose it would have been." Cologne agreed. "However, you must 
understand, we were under great pressure to get Ranma to return to 
China with us! Our laws are most strict when it comes to marriage! They 
have preserved our way of life for thousands of years! As I told you 
before, we were forced to use… underhanded methods in our attempts to 
win your son. It is something that I truly did not want to resort to."
     Nodoka nodded as she said neutrally. "As I have told you before. I am 
in favor of your great-granddaughter's marriage to Ranma Red. I had 
hoped to get to know my future daughter-in-laws better today." Ranma's 
mother then turned her attention to Shampoo. "Shampoo-chan. As it 
will have no affect on your engagement to him, would you please tell 
me of your history with my son? Please be honest with me."
     Shampoo became very nervous as she began recalling all the times 
that she had tried to drug, trick and magically influence her future 
husband's affection for her. She glanced at her great-grandmother for 
support. When she saw Cologne give her a slight nod, she took a deep 
breath and began her story.
     In the guestroom, Akane had finished her bout of fuming at Ryoga. 
Needless to say, the twins were gratified that they were not the recipients 
to her anger this time. They were silently happy that Ryoga would finally 
receive his due for all the trouble that he had caused. Of course, they 
didn't really wish for anyone to be subjected to Akane's wrath.
     "I can't believe that he lied to me!" Akane said despondently. "All this 
time he's been sleeping with me! He saw me in my nightclothes! He 
saw me undress! I always wondered why P-chan would get nosebleeds!"
     "What can we say Akane?" Ranma Blue commented. "We couldn't do 
anything about it because of our oath. The most we could do was to 
keep an eye on you and make sure that things didn't go too far."
     "Ranma… I'm sorry that I blamed you for all those things. Both of 
you. It wasn't your fault after all."
     "We're glad to hear it Akane." Ranma Red said tenderly. "Now that 
we got that out of the way, it's time we started talking to you about what 
we came here to say."
     Akane's heart started to beat a sorrowful rhythm. She knew what they 
were about to tell her.
     Nodoka was more than speechless after Shampoo had started telling 
her story. The Amazon had begun when she first met Ranma at the 
Annual Martial Arts Tournament in her village. Nodoka could not 
comprehend anyone swearing to hunt down a person and kill him, just 
for eating some of the First Prize. The resultant chaos that occurred 
soon after was also unbelievable. Ranma's curse had made it awkward 
since Shampoo was honor bound to marry his male side, yet kill his 
female side. When the truth was finally revealed to her, albeit the 
wrong way, Nodoka could not help but feel sympathy for the purple-
haired girl, whose hopes of happiness had been shattered when Ranma 
had announced that he was really a girl.
     Cologne's great-granddaughter continued with her tale. Returning in 
disgrace after not fulfilling either law had earned her a Jusenkyo Curse. 
The subsequent revelation that Ranma was really a man and his fear of 
cats were told. Shampoo displayed her sadness after her discovery that 
she had become what he feared the most. Her very curse drove him 
away from her.
     She then went into the subsequent encounters between her great-
grandmother and Ranma. She told in detail of the Full-Body Cat 
Tongue, the Phoenix Pill, the Chestnut training and the battle in which 
Ranma had used her in order to defeat Cologne. She followed up with 
her encounters with Mousse, Kodachi Kuno and of course, all of her 
battles with Akane.
     It was just after she started telling Nodoka about all the potions, 
drugs and magical means by which she tried to win Ranma's love that 
she got the most negative reaction from her future mother-in-law. 
Nodoka frowned as she was told about the Xi Fang Xiang Gao Shiatsu 
technique, the Instant Naniichuan, the Magic Mushrooms, the Love Pill 
Bracelet and the Magic Thread. By this time, Nodoka had become 
most… disturbed as to how anyone would do such things.
     Shampoo noticed Nodoka's expression and nodded. "Nodoka is right 
to think that is bad things to do to Ranma. Shampoo know that now. 
Shampoo wanted to have happy marriage with Airen, but she know that 
he no be happy ! If he no happy, Shampoo not happy either!"
     Nodoka nodded as she began to get an understanding of how Shampoo 
was feeling.
     Shampoo took another deep breath as she continued. "Shampoo was 
very sad when she try to show Ranma that she love him, but he no want 
to be with her. Shampoo wonder why he no even like her. I no hit him 
like Akane. I never call him names. I no blame him when things go bad. 
But still, he show he like Akane better. Akane violent and always treat 
Ranma bad before! Always say she no want to marry him, but if other 
girls show they like him, she get very jealous, then call Ranma pervert!"
     Shampoo was clearly becoming agitated when she recalled Akane's 
treatment of Ranma. "Shampoo no like to see Ranma treated like that! 
Ranma no always deserve it! Ranma not perfect before he have twin 
brother! Was very arrogant and like male chauvinist! He sometimes 
have big mouth! Get into trouble lots of times! Many times he treat 
Shampoo the same way as Shampoo treat Mousse! But Shampoo STILL 
LOVES HIM! Many people say that Shampoo should marry Mousse, 
but Shampoo will no be happy with Mousse! Be only happy with Ranma!"
     "Why?" Nodoka inquired. "If I went through all the trouble that you 
had gone through, I would have given up on him."
     "Some time ago, Shampoo ask herself same question. First guess 
was because of Amazon Law. Later, Shampoo know that not it. Is no 
because of Amazon Law! Shampoo always trying to win Ranma because 
Shampoo fall in love with him! No can imagine life with no Ranma! 
Ranma is strong, brave and have good heart. Also stood up to great-
grandmother! Shampoo never saw anyone do that before! Even 
Shampoo no do that! After he save Shampoo from Ghost Cat, Shampoo 
knew that she love him! Is only reason why she still chase him!"
     "Ghost Cat?" Nodoka asked.
     "Shampoo's curse to change into cat was why she was kidnapped by 
Ghost Cat. Wanted to make Shampoo as bride! Ranma come and he 
save her! Shampoo knew that Ranma DO care about her! No other 
reason why he face greatest fear! If Ranma care for Shampoo, then is 
good chance that Shampoo can get him to love her!"
     "But what about all those potions and spells. Aren't those unfair ways 
to win my son?"
     "Shampoo know that! At time, Shampoo and great-grandmother 
thought it only way to make Ranma come back to village as Shampoo's 
husband! After Ghost Cat, Shampoo decide to change! Will tell 
something now! Seven days before Ranma become twins, Shampoo 
almost use potion again! Great-grandmother make very strong potion! 
Just like lifetime pill of bracelet. Only make once! Cannot do again! 
Ranma come to restaurant and Shampoo about to give food with potion 
in it. Too, too easy chance! BUT SHAMPOO NO DO IT! Finally figure 
out why Ranma no love her!"
     "And what was the reason Shampoo?" Ukyo queried.
     "Very easy reason. Shampoo stupid not to figure out before! Ranma 
no love her, because he no trust her! Shampoo always use trick on him! 
Give him potions! Use magic! Try to trick him to take her on date! 
After Shampoo figure out reason, she promise Ranma no more potions! 
No tricks! Great-grandmother no like when Shampoo tell her."
     Nodoka looked at Cologne. Cologne's features hardened a bit, but 
she nodded and replied, "Yes, it's true. I was very angry as I thought that 
my only family was about to throw her life away. At the same time 
however, I couldn't have been more proud of her."
     "Why?" Nodoka inquired.
     "She stood up to me. In well over two hundred years, no else besides 
son-in-law had ever defied my authority. In the past, Shampoo had been 
the perfect obedient great-granddaughter. She never questioned my 
orders, nor did she ever object to any of my plans to catch Ranma. That 
all changed when she threw away that potion. She was prepared to take 
responsibility for her actions. She knew the consequences, if she were 
to fail in gaining Ranma as her husband. She had decided to take control 
of her life, instead of letting me decide for her. In that respect, she was 
growing up. Over the last few months after we had arrived in Japan, she 
had been acting in a rather childish manner, especially toward Ranma. 
Her attitude was seen like a tart's and many people referred her as a… 
bimbo. Yes, that's the word they used."
     Ukyo lowered her head when she heard that remark. She couldn't 
deny it though. Until recently, she too had thought of Shampoo as 
someone of loose morals.
     "Her new maturity was what finally began to win Ranma over. At 
least one of the souls that was trapped within his body. She gave him a 
few things that Akane had not in the past. She trusted him and she 
respected him. Ranma was not a possession in her eyes anymore. In 
effect, she wanted to start over with him."
     "Shampoo know now that what she do before was not right! Shampoo 
want Ranma to love her because He WANT TO! Not because of potion, 
magic or Amazon Law. Now Ranma DO LOVE Shampoo! He fight her 
again to make Amazon Law count!"
     Cologne nodded to her great-granddaughter before speaking to 
Nodoka again, "You see Nodoka, we are from a culture that prides itself 
on strength and wisdom. Our laws have ensured that our people will 
remain strong! Now our ways may seem harsh and somewhat cruel, but 
we are not a heartless people! We value honor and we do show respect 
to those who are worthy of it. And we think that love is a rare and 
precious commodity. It is considered a good thing for an Amazon to 
have a strong husband. However, an Amazon who has a strong husband 
who LOVES her is considered one of the most fortunate members of 
the village. As of now, Shampoo is extremely fortunate indeed."
     "Still, a law which forces a girl to marry a total stranger just because 
she was defeated by him. That leaves her with very little options," 
Nodoka remarked.
     "And how is THAT any different than Genma's arrangement for 
Ranma to marry one of the Tendo girls before he was born? Son-in-law 
had told me that neither he nor Akane and her sisters had been informed 
of the engagement until he arrived in Nerima. He was also not given any 
choice. And I recall that before Urd showed you the truth about Genma, 
you were also going to make one or both of the twins go through with 
that vow for the sake of honor."
     The mother of the Saotome twins remained silent for a very long 
while as she considered what she had been told. Finally, she nodded and 
replied, "Once again Cologne, you have made your point." She then turned 
her attention to Shampoo. "Shampoo-chan, I still do not approve of your 
past treatment of my son, but your great-grandmother assures me that you 
do love him. It is also apparent that he in turn loves you and is happy. So 
long as you keep him happy, I will be content. Do you understand?"
     Shampoo's eyes became tear-laden as she smiled and leaned forward 
to embrace the Saotome matriarch. "Yes Nodoka!"
     The wife of Genma smiled as she patted her back and said fondly, 
"Please Shampoo. I told you to call me Mother."
In the guestroom…
     "We're… not marrying you Akane. Neither of us. We're in love with 
Shampoo and Ukyo." Ranma Blue said in quiet voice.
     For a moment, Akane felt the despair and heartache that she had the 
moment before she jumped off that building. Then she recalled all that 
had occurred afterward and decided that she had no desire to repeat the 
experience. The pain and anguish that she had been subjected to was far 
worse than any nightmare she ever had. She looked into their eyes and 
feverently hoped she could see something that told her that they still 
loved her. However, this was not to be. Although she saw great concern 
and caring in their blue eyes, she saw absolutely no trace of the love 
that they once shared for her. Even though Ranma had never admitted it 
in the past, she knew that deep down, he did indeed love her. She had 
many hints over the past several months. Whenever he regarded her as 
cute or peeked around corners at her when he thought she wasn't aware. 
He would always become jealous when some other suitor appeared and 
he really did like it when she smiled. Now, their feelings of love were 
in favor of Shampoo and Ukyo. That last thought finally made her 
realize the futility of clinging to an impossible dream. She sighed and 
decided that it was time for her to accept the truth.
     In the living room, Nodoka had just finished her embrace with 
Shampoo and had now turned her attention to Ukyo. "Ukyo-chan. I am 
now satisfied that Shampoo is a good match for Ranma Red. Although 
you do have a valid claim to Ranma Blue and I would have allowed your 
marriage to him anyway, I am still curious about you. Other than what 
my sons and that Goddess had told me, I still do not know much about 
     Ukyo nodded as she began to tell her future mother-in-law her side 
of the story. "Ran-chan and I met when we were just kids. We were both 
six-years old. At the time my father Haruka Kuonji was raising me. We 
kind of started our friendship in combat."
     "Combat?" Nodoka was bewildered.
     "Well, every day, Ran-chan and me would fight for a free okonomiyaki 
from my father's yattai. Ran-chan would always win. I'd complain about 
always losing but back then, it really didn't matter. Ranma honey was very 
lonely, since he didn't have any friends while he was training with his 
father. I didn't have many friends either since my Dad's business kept us 
moving around a lot."
     "I see." Nodoka nodded for her to continue.
     "Well, after a while, I started to fall in love with Ranma and my Dad 
noticed this. He wanted me to be happy so he went to talk to talk with 
your husband and… well, you know what happened after that."
     "I do indeed."
     Ukyo let out a depressed sigh as she began recalling what followed 
afterward. "I was so angry at them leaving me on the side of the road, 
that I decided not to trust any man again. That was the time that I started 
to dress up like a boy. I made arrangements to have myself registered as 
a boy at an all-boys school and when my body started to… change, I did 
what I could to conceal it." Ukyo slowly undid her blouse and showed 
her chest bindings to the others. "Even though Ran-chan accepts me as a 
girl, I guess I've been doing it for so long that it's became a habit."
     "It is habit that you will have to break Ukyo-chan." Nodoka said in a 
motherly tone. "You cannot deny what you are."
     Ukyo nodded as she redid her blouse. "Back then, it was easy to deny 
that I was a girl. All I had to do was think about that day. Of course there 
were some problems."
     "Such as?"
     "Well, most of the other students were convinced that I was a boy. 
Except for one. Tsubasa Kurenai. He figured out that I was a girl and 
chased me around just as badly as Mousse did with Shampoo."
     "I take it that you did not want his affections?"
     "That would be putting it mildly." Agreed the okonomiyaki chef. "He 
also had a weird way of thinking. He dressed like a girl since I was 
dressed like a boy."
     "Oh dear!"
     "And when I say dressed like girl, I mean the whole nine yards. 
Dress, make up and… women's underwear. It really annoyed me! Not to 
mention the fact that he did this in public at an all-boys school! It was 
so embarrassing!"
     "I can imagine."
     "He also had this fetish for disguising himself as inanimate objects. 
Mail boxes, fire hydrants, soda machines and Kami-sama only knows 
what else!" 
     "I can see that you've had a rough time of it. Did you try and convince 
him that you weren't interested?"
     "Kami-sama, did I ever! Unfortunately, Tsubasa understood the word 
'no' about as well as Mousse did! I tried to be subtle, and when that 
didn't work, I had to tell him bluntly. That also didn't do any good and I 
even hit him several times with my spatula to try and get him to leave 
me alone! None of it worked though. Out of desperation, I told him that 
I already had a fiancée!"
     "I take it you were referring to my son?"
     "Yes, but at the time I really didn't mean it. Of course, technically 
since your husband did take my dowry, I was engaged to Ran-chan."
     "Yes, I suppose you could see it that way."
     "Tsubasa left me alone for a while after that, which suited me fine 
since I had no intention of ever getting close to a man again. That all 
changed when I moved to Nerima. When I found out that Genma and 
Ranma were in the area, I thought that I had my chance to get even."
     "What happened?"
     "I first challenged Genma and beat the living daylights out of him." 
Ukyo looked at Nodoka for any sign of offense. Nodoka simply 
shrugged and nodded her to continue. "I then met up with Ran-chan in 
class when I transferred to Furinkan High. After Ran-chan recognized 
me, he was really excited at seeing me again. I wasn't"
     "I don't understand."
     "Ran-chan still considered me as his old childhood friend. In fact, he 
didn't know that I was a girl or of the arrangement that our fathers had 
made ten years ago! I was so hurt at his ignorance that I challenged him 
to a fight."
     "Who won?"
     "Who else? During the fight, Ran-chan finally… discovered that I 
was a girl." The Kounji girl's cheeks reddened at the memory. "He 
confronted his father about the yattai and Ran-chan even offered to let 
me beat him up. I was about to take him up on it, but then he did 
something that I never expected."
     "What that?" Shampoo asked.
     "He called me cute. It was in that moment that I realized that I still 
loved him. Maybe deep down, I guess I was always in love with him. 
After that, I just couldn't stay mad at him."
     "So you then acknowledged yourself as one of my son's fiancées?"
     Ukyo nodded. "Of course, it didn't help my situation when I found 
out that Ran-chan had been engaged several times and had three other 
girls after him."
     "Well, there was Shampoo of course. And then there was Kuno's 
twisted sister Kodachi. But my biggest rival was Akane. She'd repeatedly 
deny that she didn't want to marry him, but I knew that was a crock. If she 
didn't want him, then she should have been glad that he had someone else 
that he could marry. I also knew that Ran-chan had some feelings for her. 
Being his best friend made it easy for him to talk to me when he was 
feeling down."
     "It sounds like that you've been a good shoulder for my son to lean 
on." Nodoka said.
     "Well, he was my fiancée. Furthermore, he was my friend. With all 
the craziness that was going around, Ran-chan really didn't have too 
many people supporting him. Akane was always blaming him for 
everything, even when it wasn't his fault. Shampoo was always drugging 
him and trying to trick him. No offense Shampoo."
     "Is okay. Shampoo already admit that she do wrong. Of course, 
future sister-in-law also no innocent."
     Ukyo's expression sobered at the thought as she gazed back at 
Nodoka. "It's true. I'm not really a saint either. I have tried to break up 
Ranma and Akane on several occasions."
     "Tell me about those occasions." Nodoka said.
     "Well, the first time I tried to split them up was when I found out that 
Ryoga was in love with Akane. I tried to set them up, but it didn't really 
work. After that, I found out about Ranma honey's curse. Another time I 
tried was when Shampoo and me came across this pamphlet about the 
Tunnel of Lost Love."
     "What is that?"
     "It's a cave that has ghosts and booby traps that were designed to 
break up happy couples. I even roped Ryoga into the scheme, but…well, 
to make a long story short, I ended up getting caught in my own trap." 
Ukyo let off another sigh. "Now that I think back on it, there were a lot 
of things that I did that I wasn't very proud of. For one thing, my goal to 
get Ranma had caused me to make snap judgements of other people. I 
was one of those people who thought that Shampoo was bimbo, just 
because she spoke bad Japanese and kept on throwing herself at him. 
After listening to her story, I realize that I had been wrong. Shampoo was 
doing what she could to get Ran-chan, just as I was doing. Most of all, I 
held a lot of resentment toward Akane, since she kept on abusing Ranma. 
But I got so mad at her engagement to Ran-chan that I put her down every 
chance I got. I'd tease about how poor a cook she was, or how unfeminine 
she was. There were times that I wanted to strangle her, because despite 
what she did to Ranma, he always stayed by her side. I could never 
understand that. I treated Ranma with respect and love, but he still 
considered me as only a friend! It was driving me out of my head!"
     Ukyo calmed down a bit before continuing. "I never had anything 
against Akane personally, other than the fact that she had a claim on my 
Ran-chan. But that didn't stop me from putting her down a lot and try to 
make her look bad. After hearing about her committing suicide and 
what the twins had to do to get her back, it made me realize how badly I 
had treated her. Oh sure, there were times that I wished she was out of 
the way, but I want you to know, I never meant it!"
     "Mrs. Saotome... I mean, Mother. I love your son. I've loved him ten 
years ago and I love him now. I've lived so long as a boy, I never would 
have admitted that kind of thing to anyone, but him. He is my life. My 
reason for living. If I had to choose between okonomiyaki or him, I'd 
choose him. It was the happiest moment of my life when he finally said 
he loved me and proposed to me. I love him so much that… if he 
wanted to go back to Akane, then I wouldn't stop him. But even then, I'd 
still fight for him! I love him that much!"
     Nodoka was silent as Ukyo finished her tale. <Such loyalty! Such 
devotion! My sons are very fortunate to have such girls as fiancées! 
Now, it is time to tell them.>
     In the guestroom, Akane was near to tears as she quietly whispered, 
"Ranma, I hope you will be happy. Both of you. I… renounce my claim 
on either of you."
     Both twins were speechless. Akane was giving them up? 
     "Akane…" Ranma Blue began.
     The Tendo girl shook her head as she said, "No Ranma. This whole 
experience has made me see that it was not meant to be. I'm going to 
tell my Dad that I'm not going to marry either of you. I'm going to 
convince him that I'm serious this time."
     "But Akane…" Ranma Red said.
     "Leave." Akane said as tears streamed down her face.
     Both twins made no move.
     The twins still did not move toward the door. Instead they placed 
their hands on her shoulders and brought her close to their chests in a 
three-way embrace as Akane quietly sobbed. As they watched Akane 
pour out her final tears for them, they realized that they still retained 
one element of their former personality as the single Ranma. They still 
could not bear to see a girl cry, especially if that girl was Akane.
     After a few minutes, the crying stopped and Akane finally 
succumbed to exhaustion. The Tendo daughter drifted off to sleep and 
her breathing soon became regular. For a long time, neither brother 
said a word as they watched over her. Then, it began again.
     At first, Akane's body let off a slight tremor, as if she had received a 
slight shock of electricity. Then her quivering began to increase in 
intensity. Her breathing became labored and shallow she let off short 
gasps. Her face contorted into agony as she began remembering her 
experience after her suicide. She started to let off whimpers, which 
grew into moans of pain.
     Both twins became alarmed, when they witnessed their former 
fiancée become even more agitated. They were caught off guard when 
Akane let off a piercing shriek.
     "GREAT-GRANDMOTHER!" Ranma Red called out. He tried to 
hold down Akane's arm as she thrashed about in the bed. His brother 
was doing likewise with her other arm. Despite the fact that they could 
have easily restrained her with their enhanced strength, they did not 
want to cause her any harm by holding her down too hard. Her jerky 
movements threatened to tear her apart.
     Cologne was inside the room in an instant. A moment later, the 
others came in as well. They all stared in shock as they saw Akane 
screaming in pain and writhing around like an octopus.
     Ranma Blue and his twin were in a state of panic as they tried to 
think up a way to calm her down. Then suddenly, he decided on a gamble.
     "Cologne! Formula 110!"
     For a moment, the matriarch of the Amazons was confused, but then 
realized what the twins wanted. Leaping forth with a speed that defied 
logic, she produced a small bottle and some hair care instruments and 
shouted out the technique.
     In an instant, Cologne's hands blurred over Akane's head as her hair 
was subjected to effects of the herbal shampoo and to certain pressure 
points on her scalp. In less than five seconds, Akane had once again been 
the recipient of the dreaded memory-erasing technique of the Amazons.
     As soon as Cologne had finished executing the process, the youngest 
member of the Tendo clan stopped in her convulsions and lay still in the 
bed. Much to the relief of all those present, Akane's breathing had 
returned to normal and she seemed at peace with whatever had been 
going about in her mind.
     "What was that?" Nodoka asked.
     "That one was Xi Fang Xiang Gao Shiatsu Technique!" Shampoo 
replied. "It very effective in erasing some memories. Shampoo use that 
one before to try to make Akane forget about Ranma. No work since 
Akane's memory of Ranma too strong!"
     "Yes." Cologne agreed. "Although I am far more skilled at the 
technique than you are child." She then looked at Ranma Blue. "What 
gave you the idea to use that technique to calm her down?"
     Ranma Blue became thoughtful as he replied. "I sensed a lot of 
anguish and pain in her mind. I figured that she was reliving the torture 
that those demons had put her through. I was hoping that you would be 
able to erase those memories from her mind."
     "A good plan Ranma Blue. However, I'm afraid my ministrations 
were a temporary measure at best. The damage done to her mind goes 
beyond the physical realm, as it deals with her very soul. I managed to 
dull some of her most painful memories, but the damage was just too 
extensive. I fear that she will have these terrors again."
     "I take it we can't use the Xi Fang Xiang Gao indefinitely." Ranma 
Red said.
     "Very good son-in-law. You're right. I may be able to use this 
technique a few times, but repeated exposure to the Formula 110 has 
been known to cause the person to build up immunity to the herbal 
extracts of the shampoo. I suggest using the technique only as a last 
resort. I'm afraid that Akane must suffer these experiences, until we can 
find a better way to cure her of it. For now, my ministrations have 
alleviated her symptoms and we should let her rest."
     "We'll look after her until she wakes up." Ranma Red said as he and 
his brother took up their positions at her bedside. 
     After another long while, the Saotome twins and Akane emerged 
from the guestroom and headed to the den. Akane looked like she had 
more or less recovered from her ordeal, but everyone knew that it was 
only a temporary respite. The four females spotted them and they were 
soon all sitting down around the table.
     Akane set her gaze on Cologne with a soulful expression. "The twins 
told me what you had done for me. I know that we don't see eye to eye 
very often, but… thank you."
     "My pleasure Miss Tendo, but I would have done it, even if Ranma 
Red was not marrying my Shampoo."
     "Y-You would?" Akane said, slightly surprised at the comment and 
the warm expression Cologne had toward her. In the past, she had never 
shown Tendo girl any kind of friendly gesture, other than basic courtesy 
toward a stranger.
     "You needn't sound so surprised Akane. Although I did not like the 
fact that you were the main reason, why my Shampoo had not gotten 
Ranma sooner, I had no malice toward you. In fact, I rather like you. 
You remind me of myself when I was at your age. Also, the fact that 
you instilled devotion and loyalty with Ranma, also tell me that you are 
a very special person. How could I not aid you?"
     Akane was taken aback. Never had she been described so eloquently 
by someone whom she considered as a cold-hearted and cruel 
individual. It was then that she began to rethink her evaluation of her. 
Perhaps she had been making snap judgments again. 
     As she sat down, the twins informed those present that Akane has 
now released them from the vow to unite the Tendos and the Saotomes.
     "That is all well and good Akane-chan, but I'm afraid that it won't be 
enough." Nodoka then moved toward Akane and took her hands into 
hers. "Before I continue, I would like to apologize for my past outburst 
when I was at your home. I made some quick judgements about you and 
I should have chosen my words with more care. I never intended to 
offend you or your family in any way."
     Akane shook her head and replied, "No. You were right to think of 
me as unfit for your sons. My experience in the Kami Plane has made 
me realized how I had been taking Ranma for granted. My past 
treatment of him… them, had been less than stellar quality. I should 
have been more understanding and trusted them better. Ukyo and 
Shampoo have shown them love far better than I ever did. I can only 
hope that your sons will be happy."
     Akane stood up and moved toward her former rivals. "Ukyo… 
Shampoo… please take care of them. Just remember that they need a 
lot of love. And… don't forget about me?"
     Both girls stood up and took Akane into their arms. All three had 
tears in their eyes.
     "Forget about you? Not bloody likely!" Ukyo said tenderly.
     "Shampoo never forget her friends!"
     "Friends?" Akane said, very confused. This was the first time she had 
heard Shampoo say anything civil toward her. She assumed that since 
Shampoo was getting Ranma Red, she had no reason to be hostile 
toward her.
     The Amazon shook her head, as she knew what her former adversary 
was thinking of. "Last few days show Shampoo that Akane is no enemy! 
Ukyo and Akane is closest Shampoo have to friends in Japan! Be very 
sad if Akane no be there on Shampoo's wedding!"
     "Wouldn't be right if our maid of honor wasn't present!" Ukyo added.
     Akane was a bit shocked to hear those statements. Then she got 
another shock.
     Shampoo reached behind her back and withdrew a pair of gold 
bracelets. Each band was adorned with the crest of her tribe. She placed 
one on Ukyo's wrist and then slipped the other on Akane's. As she 
looked up in surprise, the Amazon gave her a warm smile. "I give you 
Bracelet of Friendship. It important for Amazon to remember best 
friends. Shampoo want to start over with Ukyo and Akane. Even though 
she marry Ranma Red, Shampoo want Akane and Ukyo to be close to 
her. Shampoo ask to give her another chance, yes?"
     Akane felt a twinge of anger as she remembered her past 
relationship with the purple-haired girl. <She's just trying to buy me 
off! I know she is! She got what she wanted! She just using this piece of
 junk jewelry to…> 
     Akane never finished her thought as she looked up and saw her 
tearful expression. Looking into her violet eyes, Akane saw the 
desperation and sadness in their depths. <Does she really mean it? She 
really wants to be… friends?>
     "Shampoo," Akane said slowly, as she removed the bracelet and 
placed it in her hand. "I… can't really forgive and forget all that you've 
done to me, but… I want you to know that I'm glad that Ranma has 
found someone that he loves. You were able to give him some things 
that I couldn't do. Now you're asking me to give you my friendship. 
That's something that I can't do right now. I'm not even sure about 
myself anymore. I can't accept this bracelet now. But that doesn't mean 
that I won't ever accept it. I… just need some time."
     Shampoo clearly became disappointed. But soon gave Akane a warm 
smile. "Is okay. Shampoo can wait. Having Akane as friend very important 
to her. If Shampoo need to prove to Akane, then that what she do!"
     Akane's expression turned into a small smile and she nodded. The 
three of them shared a good-natured laugh and then saw Nodoka 
smiling, while gesturing them to take a seat. As they all sat down, 
Nodoka informed them that she wished to discuss one further matter 
with everyone present.
     "Girls, I am very proud to be associated with you all. I now am quite 
satisfied that my sons will be happy. However, there is still the matter 
of satisfying the family honor between the Tendo and Saotome clans. 
Even though I had invalidated the vow and Akane has renounced her 
claim, I'm afraid that Soun and Genma will still press my sons into 
marrying Soun's other daughters."
     "Wouldn't Pop still be afraid of the promise of seppeku?" Ranma 
Red asked.
     "Yes he would, and I will hold him to it, if things get too far out of 
hand!" Nodoka replied. "However, Soun will be of a different mind. I 
believe that he will still maintain that it is a matter of honor that one of 
you will marry a Tendo girl. Besides the threat of seppeku, which I am 
quite reluctant to use even on my idiot husband, there is only one other 
way I can think of, to release you both from that oath, without 
impugning on the honor of either family."
     Both twins became silent as they suddenly realized what their 
mother was implying. Still, they had to ask.
     "What is it Mom?" Ranma Blue asked quietly.
     Nodoka took a deep breath and said, "You two must renounce the 
Saotome name."
     The room suddenly became silent as the Ranma brothers considered 
their options.
To be continued…
Author's Notes
     Whoa! After having to recreate my web page and studying for an 
exam, I have been quite put out as to how to write this chapter. Ranma 
Saotome has always been proud of who he was and honor was always a 
big issue. Now the twins are faced with a choice. In order to marry 
Shampoo and Ukyo, they must either get their father to commit 
seppuku or renounce their family name, which would make them as 
outcasts in Japanese society.
     I was inspired by this plot line after rereading the second chapter of 
the Long and Winding Road, and receiving a few suggestions from 
several of my readers. Now that Akane has finally given up her claim on 
the twins, we will be going into the heart of the Tendo clan. Nabiki and 
Kasumi, characters that I think have been greatly neglected in
both the anime and the manga will be the main focus in Chapter 18.
     For those of you who think that I haven't pointed out all of Ukyo's 
faults, just remember that this story takes place just after Volume 20 of 
the manga. Many of Ukyo's crimes have not yet occurred, and probably 
won't happen now that she's engaged to Ranma Blue. All in all, I think 
that I had made Shampoo reflect on her past misdeeds in good detail. 
     In response to a few readers who say that I rushed through this 
chapter and said that Akane recovered too easily from her ordeal and 
forgave the Amazons too quickly, I hope this rewrite has satisfied those 
people. Akane does indeed have a long road to recovery to travel and I 
will be expanding on it.