Disclaimer: I guess I should disclaim this, right?
< >: Thoughts
Lilacs and Black Roses
"What?! What do you mean that we can't use the lot?"
"Is true, Ranma. Man come yesterday and put up sign. He say that
new building going to be there." Lilac said as she and her sister
Amazons ate their lunches with Ranma.
"No have place for gymnastics training. No have anywhere else to
go." Perfume added.
"Oh great. This is just perfect." Ranma gave a depressed sigh as
he began considering his options. He had planned to use the empty
lot behind Pepper's restaurant to help prepare the three girls for the
upcoming gymnastics meet with St. Hebereke, but now their usual
sparring area was closed off. He had considered the Furinkan High
gymnasium, but decided against it, since it was just too open and
well known to Kodachi's spies. He had been hearing rumors of
opposing gymnastic groups being attacked by St. Hebereke before
the match, forcing them to forfeit. Based on what Furinkan's team had
told them about the underhanded tactics of this so-called Black Rose,
Ranma had planned to train the girls in secret, so they could have a
bit of an edge against their opponents. He had decided that the time
had come to begin Shampoo, Lilac and Perfume's training in the
Unseen Light. Since no one knew about their usual sparring area, and
with Cologne and Pepper keeping an eye on things, he thought it
would be safe. However, with no place to teach Koga's secret
"Now what do we do?" Shampoo asked.
Ranma thought for a few minutes before he shook his head. "For
now, I'm not sure. We'll discuss it after school, okay?"
News about the Amazons competing on behalf of the Furinkan
team spread like wildfire throughout the school. Just about every
male student had begun daydreaming about seeing those curvaceous
female warriors in skimpy leotards. Dozens of boys developed
nosebleeds as their imaginations went far beyond anything decent.
The worst among them was of course Kuno, as he went rambling off
on his fantasies about his Amazon beauties in all their gymnastic
glory as they showered his person with loving devotion and passion.
Meanwhile, Nabiki was at the moment shadowing Ranma as he
went through the school day. Through her spies, she had gotten
wind of him being the coach of the new gymnastics team. A totally
blind, yet very formidable martial artist training a group of gymnasts
was very unusual and this only made Nabiki ever more determined to
learn more about him. She saw this as more than just a financial
opportunity, though she was sure she could get top yen for any
pictures of the Amazons in their leotards. Kuno would certainly shell
out enough money to put the dojo in the black for a month for those
photos. This was also a chance to try and get close to the unseeing,
but very handsome and interesting male of that strange culture.
Nabiki hid in the shadows as she silently tailed Ranma. As he left
the school grounds at the end of the day, she maintained a distance
of about sixty yards and tried to keep out of sight. Though Ranma
was blind, Nabiki had a strong suspicion that he could detect her
presence whenever she got too close to him. The way he defeated
Kuno every time, even when he charged from behind, only
strengthened this suspicion.
The middle Tendo girl looked around the corner and was very
confused to see that Ranma had disappeared. She began looking
around for any sign of him, but could find nothing. It was then that
she was tapped on the shoulder.
"Yaaaaaaahhhh!" Nabiki whirled about with a hand over her heart.
She was breathing quite rapidly as she saw Ranma standing behind
her. The Unseen Light martial artist had made no sound whatsoever
when he snuck up on her and Nabiki felt as if she was on the verge of
a heart attack.
"Miss Tendo, you and your spies have been tailing me and my
sister Amazons ever since we got here, and I'm beginning to find it
very annoying." Ranma stood with his arms crossed and with a stern
"Y-you knew I was following you?" Nabiki gasped as she tried to
regain her composure. The fact that a blind boy had gotten the drop
on her was very unsettling.
"From day one." Ranma affirmed with a forceful tone. "Just
because I'm blind, doesn't mean that I don't know what's going on
around me. Now, why don't we skip the pleasantries and get right to
the point? What do you want?"
Nabiki calmed down and considered the boy before her. It was
obvious that he wasn't some dumb jock that she could manipulate
like Kuno or the other boys at school. He seemed to convey a sense
of awareness that went beyond the physical realm and he had already
displayed keen instincts. Furthermore, Ranma had already proven
that he was someone not to be taken lightly. After seeing what he did
to Kuno, Akane and Ryoga, the last thing Nabiki wanted to do was
get on his bad side.
The middle daughter took a deep breath. "I was just curious about
you, that's all. I mean, it's not every day that a blind person can do all
the things that you've done so far. Now the word is that you're
training those Amazons to compete against St. Hebereke's
gymnastics team next week."
"Yeah, so what business is it of yours?"
Nabiki gave Ranma a slight nod as she replied. "Well, it's very
obvious that you need someplace to train the girls, since the place
where you usually spar with them has now been closed to you. I
know all about the empty lot near Pepper's place. Since the team
hasn't practiced in the gym, I'm going to assume that you intend to
teach those girls a few secret techniques. Am I right?"
Ranma became a bit uneasy. Apparently, this Nabiki was more
perceptive than normal and had known about their training area. He
kept up his face of indifference and said, "Go on."
Nabiki smirked a bit as she said, "Well, considering Kodachi
Kuno's habit of taking out the competition before the matches, I can
understand why you would want to train those girls in secret. The
gym at school is just too open. And I'm willing to bet that whatever
tricks you teach them will have something to do with those Unseen
Light martial arts of yours. I can understand you wanting to keep that
a secret too. However, that still leaves you a problem of getting a
secure place for Shampoo, Lilac and Perfume to train."
"And I suppose you have the perfect spot?" Ranma's voice
dripped with a bit of sarcasm.
Nabiki nodded. "The Tendo Dojo."
Ranma was silent for a long while, then responded to Nabiki's
suggestion. "If this is your idea of a joke, then let me tell you, it's not
The middle daughter had expected Ranma's reluctance. "This isn't
a joke. I'm offering you and the girls the use of our dojo for a week.
No strings attached."
"And why would you want to do that?" Ranma became really
Nabiki made a show of being hurt, though it was pretty much
wasted on the blind martial artist. "And why wouldn't I be? As I
recall, you did save my sister and I think that letting you use the dojo
would be a good way to pay you back. In any case, the Amazons are
helping out our school by going against St. Hebereke. It's my
scholastic duty to help out any way I can. Besides, if your team wins
the tournament this Saturday, then this will most certainly boost your
standing at Furinkan."
"And what do you get out of all this?"
"Why do you assume that I may have an ulterior motive in helping
you?" Nabiki would have put on her best 'hurt' look, but that only
worked if the person could see it. She tried to sound really hurt
Ranma frowned as he replied. "I don't know. Perhaps it's because
your sisters have already caused me some considerable pain? Or is it
the fact that your father is set on trying to get me to fulfill that stupid
pledge? Maybe it's because my goddamned father is there?" That
last statement positively dripped with venom. "Now why would I do
something as stupid as go there? If I went there, your father and that
bastard of a panda would try to make sure that I never left. The
Tendo family has been nothing but trouble. Thanks, but no thanks.
We'll find another place."
Ranma turned to leave, but Nabiki put a hand on his shoulder.
"Please, wait!" When Ranma paused, Nabiki knew that she had to
think quickly. This was a prime opportunity and she had only
seconds before it slipped away. "Look, I know that you don't really
like my family and I can understand that. For all that they've done to
you, you have every right to be angry. But that doesn't mean that
we're ALL bad. I haven't done anything to you, now have I? My
sisters and my father have made really big mistakes. Kasumi
shouldn't have told Akane about your blindness and Akane
shouldn't have blabbed it out to everyone at school. Daddy shouldn't
have tried to kidnap you. But I'm not like them, and I think you
should get to know me better before you decide on putting me in with
the other members of my family. At least give me a chance to prove
that I really want to help you." Nabiki lowered her head a bit and her
cheeks reddened a bit. "And besides, I would like to get to know you
Ranma used his senses to probe the aura of the girl. He was very
impressed at the control Nabiki had over her innermost emotions. She
hid them well. However, Ranma could detect something on the very
edge of her aura. It was very faint and he almost missed it. It was
sincerity. He could tell that it was genuine as it conflicted with the
impressions of avarice and cunning that Nabiki also displayed. There
was no doubt in his mind that Nabiki was planning something, but
she was definitely willing to help him out.
<She isn't lying, but she's also holding back a lot of things. Aw,
who am I kidding? Going to the Tendo Dojo would be like throwing
myself into that pit of cats again.> Ranma shivered at the memory,
then turned and started to walk away. Without turning to face her, he
said in a quiet voice, "Nabiki Tendo, I thank you for your generous
offer, but I must refuse it. Good day to you."
Nabiki watched as the blind boy walked off. As he got further into
the distance she called out to him. "The offer still stands if you
change your mind." When Ranma was out of sight, she started to
walk home. She became very occupied with her thoughts as she
headed toward the Tendo dojo. At first, when she had offered the
use of the dojo, she had been thinking of getting photos of him and
the girls to sell to Kuno and the other students. It was also a chance
to learn more about Ranma's abilities. However, when she heard the
sadness and bitterness in his voice, she couldn't help but feel for him.
The blind boy had a certain� something that made anyone near him
feel whatever emotion he was feeling. Then all of a sudden, she
found herself defending herself against that accusation that the
entire Tendo family was trouble. Which was quite ironic, considering
her background. Yet, when she was with Ranma, she felt an
overwhelming urge to get close to him. She could feel nothing but
sadness over what he had endured since becoming sightless at the
hands of his father. She could sense the strength and determination
within him, yet she could also feel the sensitive and very vulnerable
side of him as well, which only made him even more attractive.
Nabiki sighed as she approached her home. She hadn't felt this
emotionally drained ever since her mother had died. That was when
she had cloaked herself in a veil of the Ice Queen and started her
mercenary ways. Yet, something about Ranma seemed to make the
idea of using him for financial gain as ugly and repugnant. She had
thought that he would be just a golden opportunity to make a
fortune, yet the more she was with him, the less she thought about
money. She began to realize just what Kasumi had been feeling when
she had made her promise not to hurt Ranma. The idea of hurting him
also unsettled Nabiki as she thought about it more.
Suggesting the Tendo dojo had been an idea for Nabiki to get a
few snapshots and learn more information about Ranma. Now, she
wasn't so sure anymore. Making money didn't seem as important as
making a friend in Ranma. She had always been a very lonely person,
and found the idea of getting close to Ranma very appealing.
Meanwhile at St. Hebereke's gym�
"All right girls. That's enough for today." Kodachi Kuno stood in
a blue leotard with her hands on her hips, as she addressed the
members of the gymnastics team.
Many of the girls were sighing in relief as they began picking up
equipment and got ready to head for the showers. The group
considered their leader as a slave driver and wondered why they
should be practicing at all. In the past, they always won by default,
as Kodachi would ambush their opponents and rendered them unable
to compete. This year wasn't going to be any different. Already, their
leader was conversing with one of her spies who had just handed her
the address of Pepper's Place and the names of the new substitute
members of Furinkan High's gymnastics team. She gave off a short
laugh as she saw Lilac's name on the paper. She opened a locker,
which was stocked with various medieval-looking instruments,
selected a large metal mallet, and then wrapped herself in a dark cloak.
Giving her lieutenants a sharp salute, she leapt into the night to carry
out her dastardly deed.
Ten minutes later�
At Pepper's Place, Ranma was just speaking with Cologne and
Pepper about what to do about the lack of a training ground. When
he mentioned about Nabiki's offer to use the Tendo Dojo, the two
women flatly turned the idea down. However, with so few places that
were secluded enough, Ranma didn't really have any idea as to where
he could teach Shampoo, Lilac and Perfume the secrets of the Unseen
At the moment, all three girls were preparing for bed. Each had
retired to her room and was in the business of settling down for the
night. Outside the building, a shadow was darting about and making
its way toward the three unsuspecting girls.
Downstairs, Ranma was continuing his conversation with the elder
and the restaurant's owner when he suddenly stopped talking and
cocked his head to one side.
"What is it, Ranma?"
"Someone's� here. I sense� danger." Ranma quickly got to his
feet and took out his battle staff, extending it to its five-foot length.
Cologne and Pepper knew that Ranma was never wrong when it
came to sensing danger. They quickly got to their feet and waited in
ready stances. Then suddenly�
CRASH! WHAM! BAM!
"Aiyaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! You again?!"
"You no wants to get Amazon womans mad!"
Recognizing Lilac's voice, Ranma quickly bounded up the stairs,
followed closely by Cologne and Pepper.
Just before they reached the door to Lilac's room, they heard
another series of crashes, followed by a huge boom as it sounded like
glass breaking. As they entered the room in ready stances, they saw
a broken window. Apparently, the intruder had been launched
through the window, courtesy of an uppercut from the angry
Ranma wondered just what was going on, when his sensitive
hearing caught the sounds of a fight that was taking place some
distance away. He decided to investigate and leapt through the
opening. He then began heading toward the sounds of battle. Just
after he left, Shampoo and Perfume came into the room.
Meanwhile, on the rooftops several blocks away, Kodachi was
having a running battle with Lilac. The Black Rose hadn't counted on
meeting such formidable resistance. She had thought she could just
sneak into Pepper's Place, and quietly eliminate her competition.
However, Lilac had proven to be no pushover and had demonstrated
just how powerful she was by belting Kodachi out the window. The
insane gymnast was currently rubbing her sore jaw and had several
cuts on her body as she dodged and countered each of Lilac's tonfa
The two made several passes at each other as they tried to beat
each other's brains out. They then leapt away from each other and
faced off at about fifteen feet from each other.
"Well now, it seems you DO have some skill. I hope you'll do even
better when see each other at the tournament." Kodachi sneered as
she took out her ribbon.
Lilac became really annoyed at this girl's attitude and replied with
scorn. "Hmpf! You nothing but coward and cheater! Lilac no believe
stupid flower girl try to attack her when she sleep!"
"Cheat? Moi?" Kodachi said with mock sincerity. "Why I would
do such a thing? I believe in fighting fair, before the contest of
course. I was just seeing if you were a worthy enough opponent,
"You want fight? No problem with Lilac!" The Amazon began
powering up her battle aura.
Kodachi smirked as she began twirling her ribbon around her,
causing a whirlwind and rose petals to appear. Lilac was forced to fall
back as she held up her tonfa in defense.
"Another time, China girl. We'll meet again and next time; I will not
be as lenient! OH HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO!"
With this she bounded off into the distance. By the time Lilac
raised up her head, Kodachi was already gone.
It was at that time that Ranma had begun bounding toward the
area. He had no doubts that his sister Amazon could take care of
herself and had decided on a different route, in hopes of intercepting
whoever had attacked Lilac. His senses were scanning the area and
had locked onto the spiritual trail of the assailant. It was then that his
sensitive hearing caught the sounds of insane laughter.
Kodachi was deep in thought as she fled from the area. <Hmmm.
That little witch may be more formidable than I thought. No matter! I
shall vanquish her as easily as all the others. No one can ever hope
to stand against the Black Rose!> She let off another one of her
ludicrous laughs as she closed her eyes and imagined herself
standing over Lilac's beaten and bloodied body.
Ranma felt a shiver down his spine when the heard that laughter.
He felt a chill run through his body as he vaulted over the next roof.
With the sounds echoing off the walls of some of the more towering
structures, plus the fact that his senses had now just detected
Kodachi's warped aura and psychotic tendencies, Ranma was a bit
put off by the sensations. So it was understandable that he was
distracted and almost didn't notice that his sixth sense was giving
him an alert that he was about to run into someone. He managed to
swerve to the side, just as Kodachi was abruptly pulled from her
daydream by the sudden movement.
The Black Rose yelped as she twisted to avoid a collision.
However, she tripped over a loose roof tile and went tumbling down
toward the street. Her head hit the surface of the roof as she fell,
causing her to become dazed.
Without a second thought, Ranma dove after her and let his
seventh sense track her descent. Catching her in his arms, he made a
neat flip and then vaulted back up toward the roof. He landed without
a sound and then considered the person he held in his arms. A
moment later, he heard Kodachi begin to regain her senses.
The gymnast looked up and focused her eyes upon the face of her
savior. When her vision cleared, she let off a small gasp as she
beheld probably the most handsome man she had ever seen. Then
again, considering that she went to an all-girls school, she didn't see
very many men.
<What a man!>
Ranma stiffened as he began detecting the all-too familiar
emotions being directed at him. From his long experiences in the
Amazon village, he knew that this meant trouble. In addition, he also
began sensing a madness that seemed to reflect a tortured past as
well as loneliness. When the girl looped her arms around him and
said in a trembling voice to hold her, Ranma's danger senses went
from yellow alert to full red.
A few rooftops away, Lilac had been joined with Shampoo and
Perfume. They had informed the red-haired beauty that their fellow
Amazon warrior had gone in search of whoever had attacked her.
Now the three girls were out searching for their blind friend.
Meanwhile, Ranma had just set Kodachi on her feet and took a few
steps back with his battle staff held in one hand in a casual, yet ready
manner. At the moment, he was trying very hard to get out of this
awkward situation when it was apparent that Kodachi was beginning
to form an attachment to him.
"Uhhhh� well, now that you're okay, I guess I should be going."
Ranma said this a hurried voice as he began taking a few more steps
back. Unfortunately, Kodachi started moving forward.
"Please, tell me you're name!"
"Uh, Ranma Saotome. Well in any case, I better get going and�"
"Oh no, kind sir! I must properly thank the strong and brave man
who saved me!" It was a good thing that Ranma was blind, otherwise
the hungry look that Kodachi was giving him would have scared him
out of his wits. <So brave! So handsome! Oh to think that I thought
I'd never get a man! I guess an all-girls school was the wrong place to
look. And now that I've found him�>
Ranma became even more agitated by the second as he continued
to back away. The emotions that Kodachi were emitting were making
him very uncomfortable. Despite living in a culture that was female-
dominated, he was still pretty shy when it came to dealing with the
opposite gender. With his enhanced senses and empathic nature, he
could feel Kodachi's amorous intentions with all the subtlety of a
"Look, I really don't think that's necessary and besides, we just
met." Ranma halted when he sensed that he was at the edge of the
roof. Ranma gulped as he trained his senses on her once more. It was
then that he noticed something else as he struggled to compose
himself. He started to feel the psychic impressions that he had
detected back in Lilac's room when she had been attacked. It was
then that he realized that he had just saved the person who had
ambushed his sister Amazon.
"Hold on, you're�"
It was then that Kodachi made a bouquet of flowers appear and
shoved them toward Ranma's face. "Please take these as a token of
"Huh? What are you�" Ranma's sixth sense went off as his
superior sense of smell caught the whiff of some strange chemicals.
His reflexes took over as he swung his staff and knocked the bouquet
out of Kodachi's hands and up into the air. When the flowers landed
on an adjacent roof, they exploded and let off a cloud of noxious
anma was fully on guard as he went into a battle stance, held up
his staff and angrily said, "Okay, now what was that for?!"
Kodachi was about to reply in a sweet voice that the paralysis
powder in the flowers was only to prevent him from running away,
when she caught sight of three Amazons heading their way. She
smirked and then blew him a kiss. "We shall meet again dearest
Ranma, and continue getting� acquainted. OH HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO!"
Ranma shivered again when he heard that laugh as the Black Rose
leapt away and vanished into the night.
<Something tells me that my life just took a really bad turn�>
To be continued�
I'll make my comments at the end of this chapter.