Fighting Blind

Disclaimer: Ranma and all the other characters mentioned in this

story belong to Takahashi, so go bother her.

* *: Thoughts

<" ">: Chinese language

Chapter 12


"It's good to have you here, Mom." Ranma said as Jasmine and her

traveling companions entered the restaurant and sat down at a booth.

"It's good to see you again, my son." Jasmine said as she squeezed

Ranma before she, Honey, Silk and Satin sat down.

"So how has our favorite healer and warrior been doing in Japan,

hmm?" Honey asked as she playfully ran a finger up one of Ranma's

biceps as she snuggled in closer.

Ranma's senses immediately caught the hidden message and emotions

and he swallowed nervously. "Uh, I've been doing all right."

Shampoo, Perfume and Lilac all gave the voluptuous and very

forward Honey a bit of a glare. At the age of twenty-four, she was

eight years Ranma's senior. With a figure that was a cross between a

showgirl and a power-lifter's (a LOT of er, upper-body strength), the

blonde Amazon had more than her share of male admirers. In many

cases, the healer had patients who had inflicted injuries on

themselves, just to be treated by her. Honey could have her pick out

of the dozens of eligible males in the village, but what made the three

teenage girls so irritated was that she made no secret in her pursuit of

Ranma. She wasn't like Mousse, always throwing himself in front of

Shampoo in those pathetic overtures to win her. She was very subtle

in her persistent attempts to seduce the young Unseen Light fighter.

Unfortunately for her, Ranma's blindness made him immune to visual

stimulation, but that only made it more challenging, and Honey knew

of ways of... stimulating the other senses. There was just something

about his innocence that made him so charming. And it wasn't

uncommon for an Amazon to take a younger mate.

Ranma was considered among the cream of the crop of all the eligible

village males, despite his young age. Any girl who netted him would

bring much prestige and honor to her family. Koga had left quite a

legacy in Ranma when he passed on. In addition to the skills he had

learned under the blind master, the sightless Amazon had also

inherited sizable holdings as Koga's properties had been willed to

him. This included some very choice areas in Japan, (space was

always a valued commodity in the very crowded cities), a few

property titles in some of the other countries Koga had traveled to,

(including America), and most importantly, a gemstone mine hidden

in the Bayankala Mountains. Many of the Elders have been pushing

their heirs to snare him, though for the most part, the girls would

have taken him in any case.

Not wishing to be outdone by Honey, both Satin and Silk moved a

bit closer to where Ranma was sitting and started asking him about

his life after arriving in Japan. The sightless warrior nodded as he and

the others began relating the chain of events that started when they

first came to Furinkan High.

Meanwhile, at the Saotome family home...

"I cannot believe that the time is almost here! I shall finally see my

son!" Nodoka said as she clasped her hands together.

Ryo Saeba nodded as he handed her some paperwork. "It wasn't easy

since you didn't give me much information besides that picture of

your son when he was five. Your husband was hard to track down

since he was constantly on the move for the last decade."

Nodoka nodded. "Yes, my husband had taken my son on a training

trip to teach him the ways of the Anything Goes School of Martial

Arts. For the last ten years, I had been constantly receiving letters and

postcards, telling me that things were fine and that the training was

going well. Recently, I started to doubt those letters and that is why I

hired you to find my family."

"Yes, well I finally found your husband residing at some place called

the Tendo dojo." Ryo said as his expression went from casual to a bit


Nodoka nodded again. "Ah, I remember Genma telling me about it. It

belongs to an old training partner and good friend of his. His name

was... Soun Tendo I believe. So my son is there?"

Ryo took a deep breath. What he was going to tell the woman next

was most certainly going to alarm her, to say the least. "Mrs.

Saotome, I believe that you should sit down."

"But why? Shouldn't we be going to the Tendo dojo to fetch my


"Please, sit down."

Nodoka looked at Ryo strangely, then did as he asked as City Hunter

also took a seat. "What is it?"

"Mrs. Saotome, when I said that I found your husband at the Tendo

home, I meant ONLY your husband. Your son Ranma is not living at

the dojo. I'm afraid to say that you can't legally claim him as your son

any more."

"What?! What are your talking about? Of course he's my son!"

"I'm afraid not. You see, I did find your son as well as Genma, but

through different circumstances. I also found out some very...

disturbing information over what has happened to Ranma in the last

ten years."

"Excuse me, Mr. Saeba, but you're not making any sense!"

Ryo Saeba, AKA the City Hunter, was known to many as one of the

most perverted souls on Earth (he prefers to be called nookie-

dependent). He was second only to the Dread Master of the Anything

Goes. After meeting with Nodoka Saotome, he had been getting lewd

thoughts about her. She was in her mid to late thirties, but was still

quite attractive. However, she was already married, and besides, what

he was going to say was anything but pleasant. This was also

business, and when a gun was in his hand or he was conducting

detective work, he was always serious and kept a cool head. What he

had found out about Ranma was nothing short of shocking and he

knew that Nodoka wasn't going to take it very well.

"Mrs. Saotome, are you aware that Genma is wanted for several

hundred acts of petty thievery over the last ten years?"

"Well, no but I suppose that it was all for training Ranma in the

Anything Goes."

"Excuse me?"

Nodoka was bit embarrassed but nodded as she replied. "Well,

Genma did mention that he did something very similar while training

with his friend Soun some twenty years ago under their master


"Uh... right." Ryo started wondering if this woman had all her oars in

the water. "Well, it seems that he was also 'training' Ranma in the

same acts, and this upset a lot of people as well as the local police.

Thankfully though, those charges against Ranma had been dropped.

The charges against Genma still remain though, as well as several

additional charges, including animal cruelty and... child abuse."

"Child... abuse?" Nodoka began to pale when she heard this.

Ryo took another deep breath. "Remember those charges of petty

thievery I mentioned? When Ranma was six, your husband had stolen

a large number of cats, many of which were pets from several

neighbors. According to what the doctors and the police had

reported, Genma tried to teach his son a martial arts technique that

had been banned for over fifty years, due to its dangerous training

process and horrible side effects. Unfortunately, the police had

arrived too late to stop him and..."

"Wait a minute! Did you say doctors?" Nodoka shot up from her seat

and became extremely tense. "What happened to my son? Tell me!"

Ryo shook his head sadly and told her.

Outside of the Saotome home, people who were passing by were

startled when a piercing scream was heard and the house shook a bit

as Nodoka was told of her son's condition.

"My son is... blind?" The last was said in a whisper as Nodoka was

still reeling from the shock. She didn't register herself sitting back

down as she looked at the City Hunter with absolute disbelief.

Ryo sighed and nodded. "The cats had damaged your son's optic

nerves and the doctors had no way of repairing them. Eye

transplantation was also out of the question, due to your son's rare

blood type. They did however, got rid of most of the facial scars with

some cosmetic surgery, but I'm afraid that Ranma is permanently


"My... son." Genma's spouse was in a state of absolute shock as the

information sank in. When her husband had taken Ranma away, he

had promised to make him a 'man among men.' She had the contract

to prove it, signed by Genma with Ranma's handprint. Now, her son

was no longer considered a full man. How could any boy become a

man when he could not even see and must depend on others to

survive? Both Genma and Ranma had technically failed in their duty

and now...

Nodoka took a deep breath as she steeled herself for the inevitable

meeting between herself and her disabled child. "You told me that

you had found my son and that he wasn't with his father any more. So

where is he?"

Ryo nodded as he replied. "That is another matter that you need to be

aware of. Remember when I told you that you can no longer call him

your son? Well, that's because Genma lost all legal claims on him

when he took him to China."


"Yes. You see, the local police were still after him for throwing

Ranma into that pit of cats, and they most certainly wouldn't have

given the boy back to him. He kidnapped Ranma out of the hospital's

ICU and for two years, dragged him all over Japan, and then to China

to escape the law. By that time, Ranma's condition had worsened and

he would have perished by the time he was nine. It seemed that his

father continued to abuse and beat Ranma while doing nothing for

his blindness. It was a lucky thing that a healer from an Amazon

village came across Genma and rescued the boy from him."

"Amazon village?"

Ryo Saeba explained. "There are some small, very remote tribal

villages that are female-dominated in Asia." *My kind of place. *

Ryo added silently. "They are descended from those warrior women

of Greek legend and some had migrated to China. I had to do some

extensive research. They're not too well known and what is known

about them is mostly myths and legends. The healer that had saved

Ranma came from a village called Nieucheizu, located in the

Bayankala Mountain ranges in the Quing Hai province. Ranma had

been residing with them for the last eight years and he's only recently

returned to Japan on a student visa."

"So how did you find him?" Nodoka asked.

Ryo gave a Nodoka a shrug and smiled. "Actually he found me, or

rather an acquaintance of his found me. One of the village elders, a

woman named Cologne, had substantial holdings and contacts in

Japan. She was the one who told me about what Ranma had been

doing, since he was separated from his father. She used her contacts

to find me when Ranma had decided to look for his real mother,

namely you. From there, it was relatively simple to connect his search

with yours and the rest fell into place." The City Hunter's smile

became a bit more pronounced. Usually, in his line of work, a search

for someone involved a major shootout and several people after his

head. This case had been surprisingly easy and was a pleasant change

of pace.

"So my son is here in Japan with these... Amazons?"

"Yes, he is attending school at Furinkan High in the Nerima District

and is staying at an establishment called Pepper's Place."

"Well then, let us go get my son and..."

"Hold on a moment, Mrs. Saotome. As I said before, it's not that easy.

For one thing, he's not your son any more. Legally speaking, he's now

the son of the woman who saved him."

"What?! That's absurd! I'M his mother!"

"Not according to what Cologne had shown me. I've checked and

double-checked the paperwork, and it's all legal. Ranma was rescued

by an Amazon healer named Jasmine. The boy was nursed back to

health, but he didn't remember where he used to live, nor did he know

if you were still alive. He left his home at age five, so I would think

that he'd barely remember you. With no records to be found and

Genma running from the law, the boy was marked as an orphan.

Cologne had used her connections to take care of all the details,

including the adoption papers. Ranma is now a member of the

Nieucheizu and a citizen of the Republic of China with a special

foreign visa."

"No records were found?"

Ryo was a bit embarrassed to tell Nodoka of the reason. "Well, a

little more investigation indicated that his records were... misfiled."

"MISFILED?!" Nodoka gasped. "I've been separated from my son for

more than ten years due to a clerical error?!"

"It happens." City Hunter said sheepishly. "I've seen worse cases. In

any bureaucracy, information can get lost in the system by accident."

*Though I have a feeling that Ranma's file may have been

deliberately kept from certain people for his own sake. With Genma

as his father, I can understand.* Ryo turned his attention back to

Nodoka. "However, the fact remains that Ranma is no longer your

son. He's still using the Saotome name, but ONLY for sentimental

reasons, as I was told by Cologne. Legally speaking, he is a member

of Jasmine's family now."

Nodoka was shocked beyond words. After ten long years, she had

finally found her son, only to learn that she could no longer call

herself his mother. Finding out that her child was handicapped was

shocking enough, but now it was more of a shock to learn that she

had no son. She got up, walked toward a small lamp table and

opened up a drawer. She then took out a sheet of paper that had not

seen the light of day in more than ten years. She looked down at the

yellowed page and silently read the words of the Seppuku Pledge that

her husband had signed with Ranma's handprint. Tears began to form

in her eyes as she stared at the small impression five-year-old Ranma

had made when he and her husband had left a decade ago.

"Mrs. Saotome? May I ask you what that is?"

Nodoka turned around and saw the detective standing behind her.

She quickly wiped away her tears and looked back down at the page

in her hand. She then took a deep breath and replied. "It was a

contract that my husband and my son had signed before they left ten

years ago."

"May I see it?"

Nodoka paused for a long while, saying nothing before she finally

nodded and handed him the document.

Ryo scanned the Seppuku pledge and frowned as he handed it back

to her. "Mrs. Saotome, I would advise you to get rid of this before

you meet up with Ranma tomorrow."

"What? But you don't really think that I would actually go through

with this and..."

"It does not matter what you believe." Ryo said while shaking his

head. "If Ranma were to know of this, it's very likely that he would

reject you on the spot and head straight back to China and STAY


"He would choose that other woman over his real mother?" Nodoka

became pale again.

"Please understand Mrs. Saotome." Ryo said with a soothing tone.

"The Amazon Jasmine had raised Ranma since he was eight. He

barely remembers you and isn't likely going to accept you, at least not

initially. This document WILL NOT help. From what I see, it's not

even legal. This isn't a signature, it's a child's finger-painting. Ranma

couldn't have possibly have known what he was signing when he was


"But it was signed with my husband's supervision and..."

"Forgive me for saying this, but with your husband's past record, I

seriously doubt that would hold up in court. As the Americans say it,

Genma's promise isn't worth the paper he signed on."

"Are you certain? Japanese law is rather strict on these matters."

"True." Ryo allowed. "However, keep in mind that the Amazon

Jasmine is his legal mother now, and it's a sure bet that if Ranma gets

wind of this, he'll certainly not want anything to do with you or the

Saotome name ever again. Furthermore, he is considered a citizen of

China now and the government certainly won't find this death

contract as valid. Please Mrs. Saotome, get rid of it."

"But, I didn't really intend to make Ranma or Genma go through with

it. It was simply to keep my husband on his best behavior and..."

"And did it do the trick?" Ryo asked as he gave Nodoka a penetrating


Ranma's mother paused then sighed as she shook her head.

"I thought so. Now you must decide. Which is more important? The

chance of seeing your son again, or a sheet of paper that was signed

by that (forgive me again), piece of worthless trash that you married?"

Ryo found himself a bit surprised at himself for openly referring to

Nodoka's husband as such, but after finding out about Genma, he

could feel nothing but disgust for the man. How could any father

treat his only child like that? Ryo Saeba was no saint, but he would

have never put an innocent boy through such horrible experiences.

The detective had yet to tell her of the other offenses that Genma had

committed which involved their son. Specifically the fact that Ranma

had more than a dozen fianc�es that had been arranged by his idiot

father. Ryo STILL couldn't believe that Genma had actually promised

his son to a girl for a bowl of rice, a fish and two pickles. Ryo shook

his head and decided to fill Nodoka in on the rest of Genma's crimes

tomorrow. She's had enough shocking revelations for one day.

Nodoka took a deep breath, then nodded as she held up the document

and began tearing it up into little pieces.

After depositing the remains into a nearby wastebasket, she turned

back to the detective. "What is Ranma like? Have you seen him


"I haven't met with him yet, but from what Cologne had told me, he's

grown up to be a fine young man with nearly all of the unmarried

village girls after him. He's considered to be a very capable martial

artist and a promising healer as well. Cologne told me that more than

fifty girls have already petitioned Jasmine for permission to challenge

Ranma for the right to marry him."

"Excuse me? Challenge him for marriage?"

Ryo chuckled a bit as he replied. "It's an ancient courting ritual of the

Amazons. Cologne had told me during the time she contacted me. In

the village, Ranma had attracted a sizable group of suitors, ranging

between the ages of 15 to 24. *Talk about lucky!*

Nodoka brightened up at this news. With so many admirers, Ranma

certainly could be referred to as 'manly.' With only Genma as a model

for her definition of being a 'man among men,' her perceptions were

somewhat skewed. To her, manliness included peeping and some

other lewd acts, but with Ranma blind, she had despaired that he

would not live up to those standards. However, with so many girls

considering him as prime husband material, all was not quite lost.

Still, she had to see for herself and get to know her son again before

making her final judgment. She also wanted to meet with this woman

who now held the title of Ranma's mother... the Amazon named


Ryo nodded to her as he got up. "Well, the meeting is scheduled for

tomorrow afternoon at Pepper's Place. I'll come by to take you there

and also give you more information that you should know about

Ranma and the Amazons. Oh, and one last thing before I go..."


"This will only be the first of many visits and even if he does come to

like you, he may still choose to stay with his current family for other

reasons. Do you understand?"


"Good evening to you Mrs. Saotome."

After Ryo had departed, Genma's wife was left alone with her

thoughts as she went over what the City Hunter had told her.

Whatever happened tomorrow, it was certainly going to be a day that

she nor Ranma would ever forget.

Back at Pepper's Place...

"Why that's WONDERFUL! So you won the tournament?" Silk

clapped her hands after Ranma had finished telling the visiting

Amazons of their victory at St. Hebereke.

"Lilac beat up Kodachi real good!" The red-haired teenager said with

pride. "She try playing dirty tricks, but Lilac still win, thanks to


"You all did well." The blind boy said with a smile. "I'd say that any

one of you could have beaten Kodachi if she hadn't resorted to foul


"Yes, and Ranma show everyone that it no matter that Ranma is

different." Perfume said. She avoided saying the word 'blind' as she

and the others knew how sensitive he was about his condition.

Ranma had fought long and hard to be accepted in the tribe and he

had a right to be proud of his accomplishments.

Ranma sighed a bit as he shook his head. "Let's not get ahead of

ourselves. This was only the first step. I have a feeling that it's going

to take a lot more than just winning the tournament to convince


"Still, it's a good start." Shampoo said to assure him. "Though, it

wouldn't have been necessary if that stupid Tendo girl had kept her

big mouth shut. Stupid Akane."

Ranma took a long, sad sigh. When his cousin had said 'stupid Tendo

girl,' he had started thinking about Kasumi, not her younger sister. Of

course, he had forgiven the eldest Tendo for her faux pas, but it was

still a very sensitive subject. "Now, now. What's done is done. I

suppose that it was bound to come out sooner or later."

"Now, let's not be all gloomy." Cologne said in a cheerful voice,

trying to change the subject. "Today is a time for celebration! The

girls have won a great victory and we have our sister Amazons

visiting us."

"Yes, I agree!" Pepper concurred. "Though, I'm afraid that you're

going to have to celebrate without me for a while. I'm afraid that I

have several delivery orders to take care of."

Though Ranma was glad that his Amazon mother was here and that

the Rhythmic Gymnastics tournament had been won, (though that

still didn't get Kodachi to abandon her obsession over him), Koga's

disciple wasn't in the celebrating mood. He was a bit uneasy during

the trip back to the restaurant as Cologne had informed him of a

special event that was occurring tomorrow. The detective that she had

hired had found his real mother. He had even provided her with a

name: Nodoka Saotome.

*Nodoka Saotome.* Ranma thought as that name echoed in his mind.

After more than a decade of separation and wondering what she was

like, he was finally going to meet up with her. His oldest memories

were of very blurry images of some kind-hearted woman who was

holding a laughing five-year-old boy for a photograph. But, ever

since he had been condemned to live out the remainder of his life in

total darkness, those memories of his childhood had degraded into

almost unrecognizable blobs and pushed back toward the deep

recesses of his mind. He had been tense, since he had been informed

that a meeting was set up for tomorrow afternoon. What was this

Nodoka like? What kind of person was she to have left him in the

care of that scum Genma? Had she been aware of his father's

unscrupulous, dishonorable and thieving ways when she allowed him

to take their son away from home to be trained in the Anything Goes?

Was she like that panda; willing to put her only child through torture

and torment to serve her own interests? And what would her reaction

be when she found out that her son was blind?

There were just too many 'what ifs' for the Unseen Light fighter to

handle at the moment, and this was putting a damper on the joy of

being reunited with the woman who had been his mother for over

eight years. He needed some time to think and decided that some

fresh air would be good for him.

"Pepper? If you don't mind, I'd happy to make those deliveries for you

while you help Mom and the others get settled in."

"Oh no! I can handle it. Besides, I'm certain that you and Jasmine had

much to catch up on and I won't deprive you of..."

"Please... I insist." Ranma said in a more forceful tone. "My mother

will still be here and I promise that I won't be gone long."

"Well..." Pepper was about to decline Ranma's offer, but then saw the

determined look in his face. Though she had only known him for a

short while, she knew that when Ranma was like this, he was very

hard to deny. She looked back at Cologne, who also gave the boy a

thoughtful look before nodding.

"I suppose that it wouldn't hurt. Ranma already knows the entire

layout of Tokyo, and you are a bit short-handed here at the moment."

"But..." Jasmine began to protest, but the elder held up a hand.

"You and Ranma will have plenty of time to be together later. After

all, you're not heading back to China any time soon, right? Besides...

there are a few important things that I must discuss with you,


The healer was about to protest further, but then decided not to press

the issue. If Cologne had something important to discuss with her,

then she could wait a little longer before spending some quality time

with her adopted child.

Some time later after Ranma had left...

"Now you understand why Ranma needed to go out for a while."

Cologne said as she finished with her explanations. Both were sitting

at a booth, sipping tea. Upstairs, Honey, Silk and Satin were getting

settled in their rooms as the other Amazons were helping them with

their luggage.

"I see." Jasmine said after Cologne had told her about the meeting

that was to take place tomorrow. "So... you have found his... real

mother, this... Nodoka Saotome." Her tone was slightly choked at

that last bit.

"Yes. And with all the other things that had been happening to him

since he came to Japan, I can understand how torn inside he is right

now. Especially with his idiotic father trying to force him into

fulfilling that pledge to the Tendo family, and with the school board

considering about transferring him to a school for the blind."

"You know that he will not stand for either." Jasmine said as she

gazed out at the front window panes, watching the sun as it began to

dip toward the horizon. "It took a lot of doing for me to convince him

that he should learn to read Braille, when his fingertips allow him to

read printed material just fine. Imagine how he would feel if he were

put into such a place. And I know that he would never fulfill ANY of

Genma's promises."

"I know how much he hates to be pitied and he certainly doesn't

deserve any. However, so many people can be so narrow-minded.

And I certainly agree that any promise that idiotic father of his had

made is something to be avoided. Still, the events that have happened

to him may have caused Ranma to be unsure of his identity right now

and his place in the world."

"What do you mean? He is MY son and the heir to the Unseen Light

Martial Arts. He is also a great warrior and healer of our village.

What could be more clear than that?"

"You know that and I know that, but Ranma isn't as sure as he was

when he left the village. He isn't as well-traveled as Koga was and

he's just now encountering some very harsh realities about the world.

There will be disbelievers and those that will pity him, no matter

what. Now that's something that Ranma can't defeat with his battle

skills. Furthermore, he's about to meet up with the woman who is his

biological mother and he's afraid that she might be just like Genma or

worse. She might even reject him because of his blindness."

Jasmine snorted. "Hmpf! If she rejects just because of that, then she'd

be even more blind than Ranma!"

The three-hundred-old matriarch gave the healer a disapproving look,

which Jasmine softened up.

"I'm sorry Elder. I suppose that I'm... afraid that Ranma might prefer

her over me and... I'm a little ashamed to admit that..." Jasmine's voice

trailed off.

"That you're afraid that she might take him away from you, and you

were hoping that the meeting wouldn't go well, and that Nodoka

would reject him, correct?" Cologne finished.

Jasmine gave out a long sigh and nodded. "You know that I would do

anything to ensure Ranma's happiness and..."

Cologne held up a hand. "I understand Jasmine. It is very difficult for

a mother to let go, even though he is not your natural born son."

"As I had told you when I brought Ranma to our village all those

years ago, I didn't care that he was not my child. Ranma was like a

gift from the kami, and I was determined to not lose him as I had

with... Thorn."

Cologne nodded sympathetically as she remembered how distraught

Jasmine was when she had lost her only child. She had also noted

over the years of how attached the healer had become to Ranma and

seen how happy Jasmine was that her home was no longer empty.

Still, Nodoka WAS Ranma's natural mother and this was what the

boy had been waiting for all these years. Though the blind Amazon

had done well since he had become a member of the Nieuchiezu, he

had always had a certain feeling of incompleteness. It always seemed

as if something was missing from his life and he thought that by

checking into his past, he could find what it was. However, asking

Genma about it was out of the question so that left his real mother.

Furthermore, though Ranma was legally Jasmine's son, it wasn't right

for him to be kept from the woman who had given birth to him. Ask

any female in the village and they all took motherhood very seriously.

However, who really HAD the right to call Ranma as her own? The

woman who had given birth to him and raised him for the first five

years of his life, then left him in the care of Genma, or the woman

who had saved him and raised him for eight years?

Cologne knew that this was going to be a very delicate matter when

Jasmine met up with Nodoka. She sighed and then decided to leave

Jasmine alone with her thoughts for a while as the aged Amazon went

off to deal with another matter, which concerned a myopic Master of

Hidden Weapons. Mousse was still a duck and quacking in his cage

in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, hopping across the rooftops, Ranma had completed the

last of his deliveries and was deep in thought about the imminent

reunion with his real mother. What was she going to be like? How

was she going to react to him? Would she reject him outright because

of his blindness. Is she like Genma or was she even aware of the

crimes that panda had committed over the last decade? Then there

was the fact that Jasmine was here. He was very happy to have his

Amazon mother here, but how would she react when she met face to

face with Nodoka? Though Ranma knew that Jasmine was a gentle

soul and wouldn't do anything... extreme, she WAS an Amazon and

was very protective of her adopted son. If things went bad, then...

Ranma sighed again. Tomorrow's meeting was going to be a very

touchy subject.

It was then that Ranma's sensitive hearing picked up the sounds of

gunshots in the distance. The Unseen Light fighter decided to

investigate and began racing toward the disturbance while taking out

his battle staff.

Down below in the streets, the City Hunter was fighting for his life.

On his way back to his office, he had run into a few old

acquaintances who had very bad memories of him. Specifically, they

were a group of hoods that he had sent to prison two years ago.

Ryo had been ambushed by the hoodlums and was now crouching

behind a car as a hail of bullets riddled the automobile with holes,

shattering windows and puncturing the tires. Ryo took out his

weapon and began returning fire, but his attackers had him

outnumbered five to one and were armed with automatic machine

guns. When one of his foes stopped to change magazines, the City

Hunter made dash toward a nearby alley and fired off a round, taking

out one of his attackers as the slug slammed into his chest and sent

him back. However, as he took cover behind a steel trash dumpster,

the remainder of the hoods opened up, keeping him pinned behind it.

Things looked pretty bleak for the detective as he saw no way out.

Unfortunately, the alley was a dead end and the entrance was blocked


It was then that something... someone leapt down from above and

screamed out an Amazon war cry.

The hoods didn't know what hit them as a young teenager suddenly

landed behind them and with one swing of his staff, knocked them

off their feet. As two of the attackers were temporarily dazed, the

other two got back to their feet and aimed their weapons at the

interlopers. However, before they could squeeze the triggers, the boy

aimed one end of his weapon and focused his ki.



The staff instantly elongated and slammed its end into one of the

attackers in the solar plexus, driving him back into the alley. Ryo

Saeba had to duck for cover as the man was sent hurtling back to be

hammered into the end of the alleyway, fifty feet away. The attacker

slumped down on his face unconscious after the staff reduced in

length. The City Hunter then turned to see a 16-year-old take on the

three remaining gunmen.

The next hood Ranma faced off got over his surprise and pointed his

weapon at the Amazon. However, he was a fraction of a second too

slow as the Unseen Light fighter blurred forward and knocked the

gun out of his hands, then followed through by jumping up and

hovered for a long moment in the air before delivering with a snap

kick to the face. However, as he went down, the last two gunmen got

back up and aimed for Ranma's back. Ranma's ears twitched a bit as

he caught the sound of mechanisms clicking at the same time that his

sixth and seventh senses were giving him advance warning. His

nostrils flared a little at the scents of his attackers.

"Look..." Ryo shouted out, but Ranma was already way ahead of him

and just as the hoods opened fire, the blind fighter reacted.

Ranma leaped high to dodge the barrage of bullets, and did a neat

flip to land behind the criminals. Before they could turn around, they

were knocked forward with another swipe from his staff. They went

tumbling into the alley as their machine guns clattered to the ground.

Ranma laid his staff against a wall and picked up the weapons. As

the hoods shook their heads to clear them, they looked up and saw a

very intimidating sight.

Ranma was quite familiar with firearms since his village had been

having a few skirmishes with the soldiers of the People's Army of

China. Without diverting his attention on the thugs, he deftly

stripped the magazines and tossed them away. He held up both

weapons and gave the hoods a demonstration of his Amazonian

strength and skills. His hands began to squeeze and the iron grip

began to make the metal bend and the plastics snap. He slammed the

two weapons together and began crumpling up the guns as if he was

crushing yesterday's newspaper. In less than ten seconds, he had a

fair-sized ball of metal and plastic in his hands. He then focused his

ki and applied the Advanced Breaking Point, reducing the sphere

into dust.

Ranma casually picked up his staff and slung it over his shoulder.

"You know, I really hate guns. They're so noisy."

The two remaining hoods trembled after seeing such a display and

began scrambling away.

"H-H-He's some kind of monster!"

"I'm outta here!"

The two criminals tried to make a break for it, but they didn't get far

as the Unseen Light martial artist rushed forward and with two deft

raps of his staff, knocked them out. After using his senses to assess

that they were unconscious, he then turned to the City Hunter, who

was still gazing at him with awe.

"Are you all right?" Ranma asked as he extended a hand.

Ryo stepped out from behind the dumpster and nodded as he

holstered his gun and held out his own hand. He firmly grasped

Ranma's hand and shook it. "Thanks. That was amazing! I really

appreciate the help that you gave me. That was quite a tight spot that

you got me out of."

"You're welcome." Ranma replied as he turned to leave. "Will you be

able to handle them now?" He gestured to the fallen criminals.

Ryo nodded. "Yeah, I'll call in the police and have them pick up these


"Hmm, well I would say that gunman you shot is going to feel those

bruises on his chest. That bulletproof vest he was wearing protected

him, but he's going to be pretty sore tomorrow."

"Huh? What do you mean?" Ryo asked as he looked to one he had


Ranma shrugged as he turned his head toward the body while making

his staff shrink. "I don't see any blood so I would say that your bullet

didn't get through, right? Look, there's your bullet." He pointed to a

small lead object lying beside the hood. Ranma then silently added,

*Actually, I don't SMELL any blood, and I can detect the deflected

bullet nearby. I can still sense his life signs, so I know he's not dead.*

Ryo walked over to the thug, crouched down and examined the chest

of the man. Sure enough, a hole in his shirt revealed that he was

wearing some Kevlar body armor and that the bullet had dropped off

to one side after impact. Apparently, the thug had been driven back

from the shot and was knocked out when his head hit the pavement.

Ryo stood up and faced Ranma again. "I must admit, you're very...


Ranma shrugged as he prepared to leave. "Well, I try to take in as

much information as I can. Well, if you don't need any more help,

then I guess I'll be going and..."

"Hold on a moment! I still have to thank you for saving my life and I

won't take no for an answer! How about I treat you to cup of coffee or

maybe some tea?"

"Well, I really don't think that..."

"Nonsense! It's the least I could do!" Ryo said as he gently led Ranma

toward a certain caf�.

A few minutes later...

"Falcon! I'll have a cup of coffee and my friend here would like...?"

Ryo turned to the boy sitting beside him.

"Uh, would you have any good Earl Grey or Oolong Tea?" Ranma

asked, though he could smell all the blends that Falcon kept

underneath the counter.

"No problem!" The large man said as he began brewing.

After being served their orders, Ryo took a sip of coffee and studied

the teen sitting beside him as he quietly drank his tea. He noted that

Ranma's nostrils were flaring a bit, more so than a normal person

would if taking a whiff of tea. He also made an observation about the

boy's eyes. The pupils were not focusing on anything. He began

remembering back to how the boy fought. His movements were very

similar to various Chinese fighting styles such as kung fu. Then there

was that time in which he avoided being shot from behind. It was

almost as if he had eyes in the back of his head. He then began

putting two and two together and decided to try an experiment.

<"So how Cologne do now? Is goodly?"> Ryo winced a bit as he

knew that his Mandarin was far from perfect.

<She's doing fine, thank you."> Ranma replied nonchalantly, then

stiffened a bit as realized that he had answered out of habit. He then

turned to face Ryo with eyebrows raised, though his pupils remained

the same size.

Ryo nodded as his suspicions were confirmed. "I thought as much. I

see that Elder Cologne wasn't exaggerating when she told me that

you were exceptionally skilled, Ranma Saotome. It's not very often

that one comes across a grandmaster of the Unseen Light Martial


Ranma paused as he studied the man who had deduced his identity.

"Ryo Saeba, I presume?"

"That's me. The one and only City Hunter."

Falcon became very surprised to hear this. "Unseen Light Martial

Arts? What's going on Ryo?"

Ranma studied the detective for a minute as he probed his aura. "I...

'see' that Elder Cologne wasn't exaggerating about your detective

skills. So how did you know?"

Ryo shrugged. "It was pretty straight-forward, though at first, you

even had me fooled. My first clue was the way your nostrils flared

when you fought those guys and when you ordered for some tea. You

already knew that Falcon had Oolong and Earl Grey, didn't you?"

Ranma nodded. "Actually, he's also got three different varieties of

Green Tea, Jasmine, Orange Pekoe, and a couple of herbal mint

varieties, in that order, directly in front of me underneath the


Falcon became quite surprised. That was exactly what he had and in

that order.

Ryo smiled a bit. "I have heard that blind people often develop a

highly acute sense of smell, but you've just demonstrated that your

ability to sense odors is far greater than even a bloodhound or a

shark's nose. My next clue was that your pupils never seem to change

and they didn't constrict when I surprised you with my question. I

also noted that your ears twitched a little when those thugs tried to

bushwhack you from behind. That comment you made about guns

being so noisy makes sense. I observed that you used a form of

martial arts called Amazonian Wu Shu, which pretty much fits in

with your background of being part of the Nieuchiezu. Elder Cologne

had given me many details about your life when she hired me. From

there, it was a simple matter to make the connections, along with her

descriptions of you."

"I have to admit, you've got me there. So you know about the


"Yes, well after Elder Cologne had hired me, I did some background

research. The fighting style is quite obscure and less than a couple

hundred individuals outside of the Chinese Amazons are even aware

of it. The techniques have a basis in acrobatics, and of amazing ki

manipulation, in which you had demonstrated when you took out

those four gunmen. However, even Amazonian Wu Shu pales to that

of the Unseen Light."

"You... know about that fighting style too?"

Ryo gave him a 'mmm-hmm,' as he replied. "I'm a detective,

remember? It's my job to find out about things. Yes, I had to really

dig deep for that one. It's so obscure that I had to look back over

some very old scrolls and rumors about a fighting style that was

designed especially for the blind. It was said to be able to boost the

senses of smell, taste, touch and hearing to near mystical levels and

even add additional senses as well. Cologne had mentioned that you

were clinically sightless, but had mastered an ancient discipline in

which you are now the sole heir and practitioner. After cross-

referencing very slim leads, I had come across a name... Koga

Shinuria. Sound familiar?"

Ranma nodded as he felt a pang of sorrow for his deceased teacher.

"He was my sensei."

Falcon was very surprised to hear this. "What? Wait a minute. Are

you saying that he's... blind, but he took out four armed men?"

"That's right. All he had was a staff." Ryo affirmed as he turned his

attention back to Ranma. "As I was saying, the Unseen Light is so

ancient and obscure, that just about no one was aware of its existence

or of the powers that it granted to its users. However, when I was told

by Cologne about it, though she didn't go into very much detail, I did

some more research and found out that the last known users of the

Unseen Light had died recently and with no apparent heirs."

"So what is this Unseen Light?" Falcon had become very interested in

hearing this, since he was partially blind himself.

Ranma sighed and answered. "It's a fighting style that was created

thousands of years ago by a group of blind Zen monks. In addition to

my enhanced natural senses, I also possess a couple of extra senses

that operate in ways that you couldn't possibly imagine."

"Like an enhanced martial artist's sixth sense and the legendary


Ranma was again surprised at Ryo Seaba's awareness of very little-

known facts. "You know? Now I'm really impressed. You're

deserving of your reputation."

Ryo shrugged again. "It made sense that you would have some kind

of early warning system since you dodged those bullets. There have

been reports of martial artists who have developed a form of

awareness, or sixth sense for impending danger. That is how they can

anticipate an opponent's attack or sense when they are being watched.

However, that wouldn't have explained how you could detect

inanimate objects or judge distances. You made your way toward this

counter, sat down at the stool without bumping into anything, and

picked up that cup of tea without probing around on the counter. I

assume that would have been the so-called seventh sense, right?"

"You're every bit the detective that Cologne said that you were. So do

you know what the seventh sense is?"

"Well, the few ancient texts that I did manage to get a hold of didn't

go into much detail and the most secretive of the Unseen Light

techniques were never written down. From what I observed of you, I

would hazard a guess that the seventh sense operates like a form of

passive radar or sonar. It's probably more finely tuned if you're able

to navigate so well around obstacles. When we walked here, you

acted as if you could see and easily avoided bumping into people,

signs, mailboxes and whatnot. When we came to that traffic light, it

was a sure bet that you couldn't see the lights change, but was

actually sensing the movement of the cars, right? Then I thought back

to when you showed me that guy I shot wasn't dead and even pointed

out to where my bullet had landed after hitting him."

*And here I thought Kasumi was observant.* "Very good Ryo Saeba.

I must say that is a very impressive piece of detective work." Ranma

then became nervous at the fact that he was able to deduce so much

about him.

The City Hunter noted his slight agitation and said, "Not to worry my

friend. I respect your right to privacy, and confidentiality is very

important to maintain when dealing with a client. Since Elder

Cologne had hired me on your behalf to find your mother, you are my

client and therefore, everything that we discuss will not leave this

caf�. Isn't that right, Falcon?"

"Got it." The big man replied, though he was quite curious as to how

Ranma's senses worked. They would certainly come in handy in his

line of work. It would be like having an extra set of eyes in the back

of his head.

"I believe you both. Thank you." Ranma then changed the subject.

"Mr. Saeba, Elder Cologne had told me that you had found my real

mother and that her name is Nodoka Saotome."

"That's right and I have scheduled a meeting between you and her

tomorrow afternoon at Pepper's Place."

"Can't I see her now?"

Ryo sighed as he shook his head. "I'm afraid that she's... not quite

ready to see you after I had informed her of few certain things about


"Like the fact that I'm blind?"

"Yes, well though you can't see things like a normal person, from

what I saw, you're far from being helpless. And there are a few other

things about your life that made her... uncomfortable."

"Like the fact that my stupid father sold me off to feed his fat

stomach and was the cause of me losing my sight in the first place?

Or is it because of the facts that I no longer consider myself as a

Saotome and that I am a part of the Amazons now?"

Now it was Ryo's turn again to be impressed. This boy had a LOT of

good instincts and insight. With his skills and a little training, he'd

make an excellent detective himself. "Yes, well your mother needs

some time and I have yet to inform her of some those other details of

your father's crimes."

"Genma is NOT my father. I don't consider him as deserving the right

to be called that." Ranma said with a bit of a hard edge to his tone. "It

was only by a very cruel trick of fate that he married my birth mother

and that I was born under his name. I've been considering giving up

the Saotome name completely as I have only been using it out of

sentimental reasons. Maybe that would get Genma off my case about

that stupid pledge."


"It's a long story, and I really don't want to talk about it."

"All right then, I won't press for any details. In any case, the meeting

is scheduled for 6:00 pm."

"I'll be there." Ranma said as he got up to leave, then paused to

address Ryo again. "Mr. Saeba... what's she like. My... mother...?"

"Well, she seems like a nice person and she's very anxious to meet

with you again. I will admit that she has a few strange ideas." *Like

that Seppuku Pledge. * Ryo mentally added. "However, I think that it

would be best that you find out about her for yourself. I can't give

you very much more details since I've only maintained contact with

her over the phone and just met her today to schedule the meeting."

"I... see. Well, thank you for the tea and I'll be seeing you and... Mom

tomorrow then. Thank you again and goodbye for now." Ranma then

waved as he exited the caf�.

Ryo nodded as he watched the Unseen Light fighter depart and began

wondering how Nodoka would react when she found out how very

capable her son had become. As far as the City Hunter was

concerned, Ranma was most certainly a man among men. More so

than his worthless father could ever hope to be.


6:00 pm, Pepper's Place...

Ranma was more than agitated as he and the others waited for the

arrival of the City Hunter and Nodoka Saotome to arrive. When the

wall clock chimed six o'clock, there was a knock on the front door.

Ranma stiffened as he sensed Shampoo getting up to answer the door

and then detected the familiar presence of Ryo Saeba and another

woman. The two walked up to where Ranma was at, just as the blind

fighter got up from his seat and faced them. Behind him in the

kitchen, Jasmine and the other Amazons watched and held their


Ryo took a deep breath and said, "Ranma Saotome, may I introduce

you to Nodoka Saotome... your mother."

Ranma could only say one word.


To be continued...

Author's notes

Yes, I know that I'm a stinker for leaving my readers hanging like

this, but the next chapter will be quite... interesting to say the least as

Nodoka not only must face the child she had not seen in ten years,

but also with the people close enough to him and especially with

Jasmine. See you there!