Disclaimer: Ranma and all the other characters mentioned in this
story belong to Takahashi, so go bother her.
* *: Thoughts
<" ">: Chinese language
"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
"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
"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
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
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."
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
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
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
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...
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!