RANMA, MASTER OF THE CARDS
Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2, Yugi-Oh and Slayers belong to their respective creators and etc, etc...
< >: Thoughts
AP/DP: Attack/Defense Points
LP: Life Points
Ranma-Yami: Ranma merged with Yami
Who's Your Partner?
Ranma-Yami pounded his fist into the ground in the midst of a devastated landscape. Behind him, Luna, her sister and her friends stood by
"We were so close!" The Game King gritted as he gazed upon an empty box that had the Millennium Symbol etched on one side.
"Ranma... I'm so sorry." Luna apologized. "I had no idea that my Time Crystal Trap Card would have that kind of an effect on the Millennium Item and your Time Wizard."
The spirit of the Millennium Puzzle that was merged with Ranma Saotome gave a tired sigh, then stood up. "It's all right. You couldn't have known. None of us could have known. Now the big question is... where is the Millennium Eye, or rather... when is it?"
We see Ranma and his comrades battling out with an old wizard who was in possession of the fabled Millennium Eye. It had been difficult to wrench the item from the power-mad magician, since he was able to read the minds of his opponents. Luckily, he could only read one mind at a time, so they all attacked him en masse.
However, just as Ranma-Yami had gotten a hold of the Eye, Luna had inadvertently activated her Time Crystal Trap Card. The energies of the Eye interacted with the Trap Card, causing the Time Vortex to open up. To counter the Trap Card and avoid being sucked into the gateway of time, Ranma-Yami drew the Time Wizard. It's time magic sealed it off, but unfortunately, the Millennium Eye was pulled into the vortex and disappeared.
End of Flashback...
<You have any idea where the Millennium Eye is?> Ranma mentally asked Yami.
The Spirit of the Millennium Puzzle went back to the Shadow Realm to retrieve the other Millennium Item that they had collected so far. Using the power of the Millennium Ring, he began searching the space-time continuum. Since the Shadow Realm was connected to all realms and timelines, he had access to virtually every point in reality. He was surprised when the points on the Ring began indicating in a certain direction.
Back on Ranma's world, a few moments after he had left...
A portal opened up in the Tendo home's backyard as the Game King returned to his world. However, this time he was not alone as four others followed him through the inter-dimensional rift.
Ranma-Yami reverted back to his normal self as he faced Luna and her sister. "Are you all SURE about this? I can go look for the Millennium Eye myself. You didn't have to come with me."
"I had sworn that I WILL aid you in finding the Millennium Items and help seal off the Shadow Games, Ranma." Luna stated.
"Yeah!" Lina chirped. "It's our duty to save all reality!" <Plus the fact that I can build my own Dueling Deck! Ranma did say that he gets all of his cards here!>
"We are the defenders of truth and justice!" Amelia declared.
Ranma became VERY nervous as he waved his hands at the overactive girl and whispered. "SHHHHHHHH! Please! Not so loud!"
"Yes, be more considerate Amelia. People ARE sleeping right now." Luna said as she noted that it was just past midnight.
It wasn't because that people were still asleep that Ranma was concerned about, at least not entirely. He knew that if the Tendo household and his father was to wake up and see him with three more girls, all Hell would break loose with Akane in lead, accusing him of being a womanizing pervert.
He would have a tough time explaining why he was up at night with a very attractive Sorceress Supreme (Luna), her hot-tempered and bosom-deficient sister (Lina), and a bosom-gifted Sailor Moon wannabe (Amelia). Luckily, Zelgadis had opted not to come along and it wouldn't have been too much to explain Gourry.
However, at the moment, it would be best if NONE of the Nerima Wrecking Crew were to know of Ranma's new friends. So the best solution was to HIDE them.
Fortunately, he knew of a good hotel that was nearby and began leading them to it. There was no school for the next week, due to the fact that Furinken High had to be shut down for repairs, which was attributable to the constant fiancées, rivals and the occasional weirdo dropping in. Ranma felt that would be enough time to acclimate his new friends to this technologically dominant world they were now in... he hoped.
An hour later...
Ranma carefully crept back into his room after dropping off Luna and the others at a hotel. It had been easy for them to rent as the elder Inverse sister had more than enough gold for traveling expenses. Some gold coins for the manager and his staff, and the group would be assured of privacy. After explaining a few things to them, Ranma left, promising that he would return in the morning.
As he was dropping off to sleep, he couldn't help but feel that trouble was just around the bend.
Cologne awoke from her sleep when her senses alerted her of some immense energies that suddenly appeared in this plane of existence. She suddenly had thoughts of son-in-law and was certain that he had something to do with this disturbance in the mystical and elemental forces of reality.
However, as soon as she felt the otherworldly essences, something else seemed to smother and camouflage them from her. The three-hundred-year-old Amazon began feeling a chill race down her spine. It was a sensation in which she hadn't experienced in a long time.
"So... what did Ranma call this thing again?" Gourry asked as he looked at what appeared to be a box with a glass front.
"I think he called it a... tee... vee?" Amelia replied hesitantly.
"What's it for?" Lina wondered.
"He said that you're supposed to watch it and you control it with this strange-wand." The princess of Sailoon held up the remote. "So far, I've tried a few incantations, but nothing happened."
"Let me try." Gourry said as he took the device and began examining it.
Lina snorted. "Oh come on, Gourry. If a magic user like Amelia couldn't get it to work, what makes a jellyfish-brain like you think...?"
At that moment, the swordsman found the On/Off button.
The next morning...
Ranma left early from his room to check up on his otherworldly visitors. On his futon, he left a note, saying that he was going out with some friends all day and would be back at suppertime. When he neared the area...
A huge explosion sent part of the hotel roof into LEO. This got Ranma running and as he started leaping up to a nearby rooftop, then to the top floor of the five-story building. Entering through an undamaged window, he stared in disbelief as Lina, Amelia and Gourry were struggling on the floor, each trying to take possession of... the TV remote?
"NO WAY! YOU'VE HAD IT FOR THE LAST THREE HOURS!"
"I WANT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!"
"WHO CARES ABOUT SOME SILLY GIRLS IN SHORT SKIRTS!? I WANT TO SEE THAT MAN WHO PROMISED BIGGER BREASTS!"
Off to one side, Luna sighed as she stood in her nightgown and had one hand pinching the bridge of her nose.
After giving out more gold to the manager for repairs and to keep things quiet, Ranma began getting the details on how Lina, Amelia and Gourry had gotten into a free-for-all over what to watch.
"Now let me get this straight. You three spent all night watching TV?" Ranma asked.
Luna nodded. "I had to cast a silence spell in my room. That noisy magical viewer would have kept me up all night."
"That magical viewer certainly puts all of our oracles and fortunetellers to shame!" Amelia piped up. "I've never seen so many images in such detail and what tales of heroism and bravery!" The young girl had gotten hooked on a certain sentai team after tuning into a twenty-four hour marathon.
"Hey, those other pictures were pretty interesting too!" Gourry said as he thought about the Adult Channel he had accidentally come across. That had disgusted both girls, which made them grab for the remote.
"YOU PERVERT!" Lina growled. "Anyway, who cares about your immature fantasies?"
"Yes, I wanted to see if the Senshi would triumph over the Evil Queen Beryl!" Amelia said outright.
"Big deal! It was the same thing, over and over again! I was so close to fulfilling my dreams when you banished that man!"
"Banished?" Ranma inquired.
Luna shrugged. "As far as I can tell, every time you touch that wand in a certain way, the images on the magic viewer change. Lina had seen some man who was selling some kind of device that would..." Lina's older sister blushed a bit. "... increase a woman's bosom in thirty days or your money back. I believe he called it a... Bust-Master? When Gourry and the Amelia made the images change, that's when Lina..." Luna's voice trailed off as she gazed at the damage to the room.
"You mean she blew up a room... because of an infomercial?!" Ranma exclaimed with disbelief.
"What's an infomercial? Will it make my breasts bigger like the Bust-Master?" Lina asked.
At that point both Ranma and Yami felt like crying...
"Okay, stay together, don't wander off and above all... DON'T TOUCH until I say so. We're only here to get you into some regular clothes!" Ranma was determined to keep the Slayers group from running amok.
The group was beginning to attract attention. As they were gaijin, they naturally drew a few people's attention, coupled with the fact that their wardrobes looked like they were out of Medieval Europe. Many thought they were actors for some kind of play or movie promotion. After all, since when was the last time a tall blonde foreigner wore armor and carried a broadsword in Tokyo? Naturally of course, a great deal of males was especially drawn toward Luna Inverse's beauty, while ignoring Lina.
The visitors from the magical world were in awe as they beheld their first, honest-to-goodness mall. It was quite an experience. They had seen many markets and bazaars before, but never contained within one huge, single building. The decor made them feel as if they were inside a palace. The various plants and water fountains, along with the gigantic skylights, sculptures and ornately tiled floors, it made even the great castle of Sailoon seem plain in comparison. The hustle and bustle of the crowds, the various shops, the strange background music that seemed to be coming from the walls, the delicious smells coming from the food court, and all the exotic and strange wares that were offered for sale, made the groups' heads literally spin in amazement and disbelief. It was like being in a city indoors. And the devices...
"Wow! What kind of magic makes these stairs move up? Is it some kind of animation spell?" Amelia asked.
"Uh, no... these are what we call escalators." Ranma explained. "They're just fancy mechanical stairs."
"Can you make them move the other way?" Amelia tried stepping down a few steps, only to rise back up again.
"No, these stairs only go up. The ones on the other side goes down." He pointed to the down escalators as the group reached the second floor and began following him toward a series of shops.
"Very nice." Luna commented as they walked. "It certainly eases up on the feet and I don't have to use a Raywing spell."
Ranma waved at her, while speaking to them in a hushed voice. "Uh, I think it would be best if you, Amelia, and Lina don't say anything about magic. In fact, try to refrain from using your magic, okay?"
"Well, for one thing, I'd like to keep property damage down. It's bad enough that I have three fiancées, a load of rivals after my head and Kami-sama only knows what kind of loonies that are going to pop out of the woodwork. I don't need anyone else adding to it, all right?"
"After what happened this morning, I can understand that." Luna gave her sister and her compatriots a disapproving look, which made them all bow their heads in shame.
Ranma nodded as he led them toward a clothing store. "The second reason is that a lot of people I know are power-hungry and they'd do anything to get your magic. Be especially careful of old ghouls and perverted freaks. Okay, here we are. Now let's get you all dressed."
As the group entered the shop, they were unaware that they were being watched.
Nabiki had been shopping, after separating yet another poor fool from his money, when she caught sight of Ranma walking with some oddly dressed people. The fact that Ranma was actually speaking amicably with an attractive female without fears of reprisals from his other suitors and/or rivals was attention getting in itself. Now he was going to an expensive clothing shop that was certainly way beyond his price range, or so she thought.
Among all of the people at the Tendo home, only Nabiki had noticed the dramatic changes that Ranma had been undergoing, and she didn't like it. Soun and Genma had maintained that it was just a rebellious phase he was going through and things would be back to normal eventually. Kasumi, with her usual obliviousness, had said that everything would be just fine. As for Akane, she was still miffed over the fact that Ranma would no longer eat her cooking unless she could eat it herself, and had vowed to pound him as soon as he got home. No surprise there.
Ranma actually winning at card games and one of the hottest card games to boot? He was actually good at something OTHER than martial arts? He had cowed her father and gotten out of eating Akane's horrendous cooking! Most of all, he had actually OUTSMARTED Nabiki and gotten clear of his debts to her!
There were just too many inconsistencies for the middle Tendo daughter to rule out as mere flukes. Something was up and Nabiki was determined to find out just what it was!
"I think that ensemble looks stunning on you." The store clerk said as Luna admired herself in the full-length mirrors.
The white silk blouse with short, flaring sleeves molded itself to her well-endowed torso. The material was very fine and Luna couldn't imagine her own world's tailors could produce such quality. The black leather skirt and thin, brown braided belt accentuated her slim waist and shapely hips. Going down her slender legs, she wore calf-length low-heeled leather boots. Of course, hanging on her belt was her card case that contained her Dueling Deck.
"Thank you. It's very nice." Luna said with a smile. "I'll take it."
The clerk smiled and clapped her hands as she went to the cash register to ring up the bill. Ranma nodded as he handed her his debit card. Though he could have simply given her a gold coin, he had come to realize, that showing off so much treasure would attract unwanted attention. Some time after receiving the gold and gems from Yami, Ranma had secretly converted a large portion of it into cash and set up a secret bank account, in which only he could access. He made a note to convert some of Luna's wealth as well, as long as she and the others were staying in his world.
Nabiki's eyes widened as she saw Ranma and the others exit the shop, each loaded down with at least one shopping bag. From what she had seen through the window, Ranma had paid for it all! Just where did HE get that kind of money!? And did he have more?!
With this new development, Akane's sister realized that she had LARGER cash potential in Ranma than she had realized. All the scams, the blackmail and extortion, the betting pools, that had been chump change compared to the possibilities now. If Ranma was in possession of a large fortune, then she wanted her rightful share (or all of it, but that was considered the same thing to Nabiki). Now the question was... how to get it.
"You didn't have to pay for all of our purchases, Ranma." Luna pointed out. She was carrying three bags as Ranma had bought more for her.
"It's no big deal, and I was glad to do it." Ranma said as he led them toward the exit of the mall. "Besides, throwing around a lot of gold and silver in this world does attract a lot of attention. I'll set up an account and convert some of it to yen so you can buy stuff on your own."
"Hey! Look at that!"
The group turned to see what Amelia was pointing at and winced. She had just spotted an electronics store that was displaying a sale of wide-screen television sets.
"Oh no! Not again!" Ranma groaned as he prepared to drag the young sorceress away from those overpriced boob tubes. Then a program caught his eye, and then he and the rest of the group began watching what was being announced.
"IT'S TIME TO D-D-D-D-DUEL!"
"Only two days left before the Duel Monsters Tag-Team Tournament begins!" The announcer said as images of various Duel Monsters flashed by. "Duelists from all over the world will be coming to Japan, in what promises to be the most exciting competition ever held! Hosted by the creator of Duel Monsters and head of Industrial Illusions, Maximillan Pegasus himself promises a grand prize of 10 million dollars! Even the legendary world champion Seto Kaiba has announced that he will also be competing."
Luna addressed Ranma with concern. "Isn't it dangerous to have so many Shadow Games happening at once?"
Ranma shook his head. "Not in my world. Duel Monsters is simply a card game that was based on the original Shadow Games. You can get the cards, but they have no power here, at least none that I know of. In any case, playing Duel Monsters here is a good way to practice without having to worry about losing. The power of the cards won't activate unless you pass through the Shadow Realm and have a Millennium Item with you, like my Puzzle." He held his puzzle in his right hand for a moment.
"What about my cards?" Luna asked.
"You said that they belonged to the Elder God that you serve, right? Well, I wouldn't be surprised if they're exactly like mine. Anyway, this tournament won't help us find the Millennium eye and..."
"Wait! Look at that!" Lina said as she pointed to an image of Pegasus.
Ranma's eyes widened as he saw the longhaired creator of the modern form of the Shadow Games. The left side of his face covered from view with his hair, but the Millennium Puzzle glittered in response to a slight flash of light coming from beneath those tresses.
<Could it be?>
Then the head of Industrial Illusions smiled, as if he knew Ranma was watching him and tilted his head slightly, revealing partially what was hidden behind his hair.
"It is the Millennium Eye!" Luna exclaimed.
"So that's where it ended up." Ranma said, as he became Ranma-Yami. Luna noted the slight transformation and nodded. She had long suspected that her companion had another side to him. However, she kept this to herself as he spoke. "When the Eye was sent to this world, the effects of your Time Crystal Trap and my Time Wizard must have thrown it into the past."
"And you're saying that somehow this Pegasus person eventually got a hold of it?"
"That... sounds about right. I can't think of any other way he could have gotten it, since all the Millennium Items, except for my Puzzle, had been sent to the Shadow Realm 5,000 years ago, where they later landed in your world."
"Hmmm... so in a sense, it was because of what we did, that Pegasus now holds the Millennium Eye."
The Game King nodded. "It looks like we're going to have to take part in the Tournament to get the Eye back."
After dropping off his friends at another hotel, Ranma returned to the Tendo household. Kasumi greeted him as he came through the door.
"Hello Ranma. How was your day?"
"Okay I guess. Anything happen while I was gone?"
"Yes, you just received a letter."
He nodded as the eldest Tendo daughter handed it to him. He became very surprised as he saw the return address.
Later that afternoon...
"You got an invitation to compete in the Duel Monsters Tournament?!" Akane exclaimed with disbelief.
Nabiki shrugged as she had already secretly read the letter before Ranma had received it. "I guess they've been hearing how much of a Duel Monsters wizard Ranma's become."
Genma snorted. "Hmpf! It has nothing to do with martial arts, so Ranma shouldn't even be wasting his time with those foolish card games!"
Ranma shrugged as he folded up the invitation. "Actually, I was wondering how I was going to enter this Tournament. I guess it was lucky that I got an invitation."
"FOOLISH BOY!" Genma shouted in his son's face. "A true martial artist does not concern himself with cards! You've already wasted enough time with this game! I FORBID you to take part in this tournament! You will..."
"The grand prize is TEN million dollars." Ranma said simply.
"... BE taking part in this tournament!" Genma said enthusiastically as thoughts of what he could do with that kind of cash floated in his near empty head. (I call it near empty, because he's GOT to have at least one or two brain cells in there).
Kasumi then spoke. "That's wonderful, Ranma, but doesn't the rules state that you must have a partner to compete?"
The pigtailed youth nodded. "Yes, but the rules also say that my partner can be anyone I choose, regardless of whether or not he or she has an invitation."
Soun then brightened up as he began pushing Akane toward Ranma. "Well then, it's settled! Akane would be the perfect partner for Ranma!"
"Yes! Ranma and Akane shall be the perfect partners!" Genma added.
"WHAT?! WHY WOULD I WANT TO BE PARTNERS WITH THAT BAKA?!" Akane glared at Ranma as she was still miffed that he wouldn't eat her cooking.
Ranma shrugged. "Just as well, since I don't want her to be my partner either. As I recall, I was the one who received the invitation, so I get to choose who my partner will be, and it certainly won't be Akane."
"YOU WILL CHOOSE AKANE!!!" Soun's Demon-Head roared as it suddenly came up.
At that point, the Millennium Puzzle glittered, as Ranma became Ranma-Yami. The Game King crossed his arms and stared down Soun's intimidation tactic, which to everyone's amazement, deflated when Soun couldn't maintain it against that penetrating gaze. Then the Master Duelist spoke in a firm tone.
"Mr. Tendo, may I remind you that this Tournament is a Tag-Team event? My dueling partner must be able to work WITH me, not against me. Akane has already demonstrated that she is not capable of cooperation and is therefore unsuitable for the tournament. Her pride and her temper makes her a liability than an asset."
"WHAT?!" An outraged Akane exclaimed as she about ready to whip out her mallet and pound that arrogant jerk into the floor.
"Furthermore, Duel Monsters requires patience, strategy and knowing all the rules. I'm not even certain if she even knows HOW to play."
"I DO SO KNOW HOW TO PLAY!" Akane screeched as she brought out a deck of cards. "My friend Yuka has been teaching me and I can kick your butt any day!"
"Oh really?" Ranma-Yami said with slight interest.
"FINE THEN! I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL!"
"That's the spirit, Akane!" Soun shouted out with enthusiasm. "After you show Ranma what a great Duelist you are, you two shall win the tournament!"
Ranma-Yami sighed. This wasn't going to be pretty.
Ranma-Yami: 2000 LP
Akane: 2000 LP
The dining room table...
After shuffling their decks and drawing five cards, the players made their opening move. Ranma-Yami nodded as he saw what he had drawn.
"One card face down in Defense Mode."
Akane snorted. "Hah! What's the matter, Ranma? Too scared to duel me? I attack with Granite Golem! (800/500) The card depicted a smaller version of the Stone Soldier.
"That's the way, Akane!" Soun cheered.
"And you lose 1700 Life Points." The Game King said simply.
Ranma-Yami: 2000 LP
Akane: 300 LP
"What do you mean?!" Akane protested. "You were in Defense Mode and I was attacking!"
"Yes, but here's what I had in defense, the Blue-Eyes White Dragon." He flipped the card over and Akane gasped when she saw the Defense Points.
"Twenty-five hundred Defense Points?!"
Ranma-Yami nodded. "And since your Attack was lower than my Defense, you lose the difference in Life Points. And now it's my turn. I switch my Blue-Eyes to Attack and wipe out your remaining Life Points with its White Lightning. I win."
First Duel Results
Ranma-Yami: 2000 LP
Akane: 0 LP
Soun's expression turned from cheer to shock in half a nanosecond. He gave Nabiki, who was reading a Duel Monsters Rulebook, a pleading look. "Akane didn't lose, did she?"
Nabiki nodded. "I'm afraid so Daddy. Akane charged right into that one. According to this, Blue-Eyes White Dragon is one of the rarest and most powerful of all Monster Cards. According to this book, only four were ever made."
"That wasn't fair! I wasn't ready!" Akane protested.
"You're the one who attacked first." Ranma-Yami reminded.
"There's no way anyone could win against that card! If you didn't have it, I would've beaten you! One more time!"
The pigtailed Duelist sighed as he removed the Blue-Eyes from his deck and put it into the case on his belt. "Very well. I shall duel without the Blue-Eyes."
Ranma-Yami: 2000 LP
Akane: 2000 LP
After drawing his first five cards, he removed two and placed them down. "I shall place one card facedown, and Celtic Guardian in Attack Mode. (1400/1200) Your move, Akane."
Akane smirked as she saw what she had in her hand. <Hah! This time I know what he's got on the field and I have a card strong enough to beat his!> "I'll play Skull Breaker (1600/1300) and attack your Celtic Guardian!" Akane's card had an image of a skeleton warrior with a broadsword. "Hah! You lose 200 Life Points!"
"No I didn't." Ranma-Yami stated simply.
"What are you talking about?" Akane demanded. "This time, my Monster's attack was higher than yours and we were both in Attack Mode!"
"You failed to consider the card I had facedown. It was a Trap Card." He flipped it over to reveal its image. "It is called the Shadow Seeker." The card depicted a wolf-like creature that was partially obscured by shadows. "This beast hides in wait and will ambush any attacking Monster with less than 2000 Attack Points. Its effect not only stops your Skull Breaker's attack, but it also drains away half of its Attack Points."
Akane blanched as her Skull Breaker's attack was reduced to 800 points.
"Now I shall place this card facedown and attack the Skull Breaker with Celtic Guardian. You lose 600 Life Points."
Ranma-Yami: 2000 LP
Akane: 1400 LP
"That wasn't fair!" Soun said in protest.
"Actually Daddy, that was perfectly legal." Nabiki said as she pointed to a section in the Rulebook.
Akane glared at her opponent. <Grrr! He thinks he's so smart! I'll show him!> "Here! One monster in Defense Mode! Now you can't hurt my Life Points!"
"Don't bet on it." Ranma-Yami warned as he placed another card facedown then turned over the first one.
"It's called Stop Defense. It makes your monsters go from defense to attack." He causally reached over and flipped Akane's card, revealing a diminutive monster with 800 Attack Points. "Celtic Guardian wipes out your monster and you lose another 600 Life Points."
Ranma-Yami: 2000 LP
Akane: 800 LP
"NO FAIR! YOU CHEATED!" Akane screeched, as she was about to go and pound the Game King into the floor.
However, Kasumi held up a hand as she started reading from the Rulebook. "Akane, Ranma's right. He placed that card facedown and played it accordingly."
The short-tempered girl growled as she looked down at her hand then drew a new card from her deck. She smiled as she saw that she had drawn. <Hah! Let's see Ranma get by this!> She slapped down the card and said, "Swords of Revealing Light!"
Ranma-Yami's left eyebrow arched a bit. Who'd have thought Akane would have THAT card.
"Now you can't attack for three turns!" Akane taunted as she slapped down another Monster Card which displayed a metallic warrior. "Now I attack with Iron Crusher! (1750/1200) Celtic Guardian is destroyed!"
"Way to go Akane! I knew you'd make a comeback!" Soun cheered with tears in his eyes.
Genma nodded as he gave Ranma-Yami a smug look. "You see boy? Akane is the best partner for the tournament!"
"Not really." The martial artist and duelist said simply as he turned over the other facedown card. "She walked into another Trap Card."
"WHAT?!" Soun, Akane and Genma gasped together.
"You'll love this Trap Card. It's called Mystic Reversal. It causes any Magic Card used against me to be redirected toward my opponent. The Swords of Revealing Light were taken off my Celtic Guardian and placed on Iron Crusher the moment Akane attacked. The Iron Crusher ended up being frozen and my Monster is now free to attack." He then put down another card. "This card is called Soul Strike, which allows me to add 300 Attack Points to Celtic Guardian at the cost of one-quarter of my Life Points."
Ranma: 1500 LP
Akane: 800 LP
"Now you're probably wondering why I would give up 500 Life Points, just to add 300 Attack Points to Celtic Guardian, right? Well, in addition to the Power-Up, Soul Strike allows my Celtic Guardian to bypass any monster Akane has out on the field and attack her Life Points directly. With seventeen hundred Attack Points, it's more than enough to wipe her out."
Second Duel Results
Ranma-Yami: 1500 LP
Akane: 0 LP
"ONE MORE TIME!" Akane scowled as she began shuffling her cards.
Ranma-Yami was getting bored. A Duel was a Duel, but Akane was simply no challenge. She dueled about as well she fought in the martial arts; bull-headed, relying mostly on brute force and with little strategy and patience. Duel Monsters, like the martial arts, wasn’t simply hitting and having the most strength. Those who tended to think in only those terms never lasted very long.
"Ranma, she is your fiancée and I demand that you go easier on her!" Soun said with his Demon Head.
However, the Game King’s penetrating stare once again withered down Soun’s strongest and mostly useless technique. "The other competitors at the tournament aren’t going to go easy, so why should I? There will be many expert Duelists taking part and if she can’t hold her own against them, then she has no right to be at the tournament, except as a spectator."
"HMPF! I CAN DO THIS! I CAN BEAT YOU AT THIS GAME! THOSE FIRST TWO TIMES WERE JUST WARM-UPS! THIS TIME IT’S FOR REAL!" Akane said as she angrily drew five cards.
Ranma-Yami let off another sigh and shuffled his deck.
Ranma-Yami: 2000 LP
Akane: 2000 LP
"One monster in Defense Mode and one card facedown." Ranma-Yami said, then belted Genma in the chops as he tried to look over his shoulder and give Akane hints as to what he held in his hand. The fat panda man went down like a sack of potatoes.
Akane slapped down two cards as well. "You’re not getting me this time! I’m doing the same thing! One Monster in Defense and one card facedown!" <Heh! That Trap Card I laid down will make you wish you never doubted my Dueling skills! And with what I’ve got in my hand, I’ll totally annihilate you!> In her hand, were two more Trap Cards and one minor Monster Card.
"I’ll switch my Monster to Attack Mode and attack your Defense Card."
"Hah! You fell into MY Trap Card!" Akane said triumphantly as she revealed her downed card, which was the Chasm of Spikes Card. "And not only is your monster destroyed, but one-quarter of its Attack Points will be deducted from your Life Points!"
"Yes! Brilliant move Akane!" Soun began dancing about while waving victory fans.
Ranma-Yami shrugged. "Not a bad plan, except for one little detail."
"What?" Akane asked while still giving him a smug look.
He then showed her his revealed Monster Card, which was the Curse of Dragon. (2000/1500) "My Monster is a FLYING-TYPE. It couldn’t care less about a hole in the ground."
"What?!" Both Akane and Soun exclaimed.
Nabiki nodded as she looked at the Rulebook. "He’s right. Certain Traps won’t work on some types of Monsters. Your Trap Card failed Akane."
"Now let’s have a look at your Defense Monster." He flipped over the card, which only had 1200 Defense Points. "Well, that was destroyed, though you didn’t lose any Life Points."
Ranma-Yami: 2000 LP
Akane: 2000 LP
"Of course, in revealing your Trap Card, you activated my Magic Card." Ranma-Yami stated as he flipped over his downed card. "It’s a nice little card called Trap Breaker. It causes not only my opponent’s Traps to be removed from the field, but also whatever Traps my opponent may have in his or her hand. Furthermore, Trap Breaker prevents my opponent from using any Trap Cards for the next three turns. So if you’ve got any more Trap Cards, then you’d better discard them into your Graveyard Pile."
Akane growled as she threw two more cards into her Graveyard then drew another card. She grumbled as she saw it was indeed another Trap Card, but she couldn’t place it for the next three turns! She gave her opponent a glare before resignedly putting a Monster in Defense Mode, ending her turn.
Ranma-Yami drew a new card and smiled as he saw what it was. "I’ll lay this monster down in Defense and one card facedown. That’ll do for this turn."
Akane continued to glare as she drew another card. She then smiled as she saw it. <It’s about time I got something good!> "I’m switching my Monster to Attack Mode!" She revealed that it was a monster called Crystal Ogre. (1700/1300). "And I’m also using this Magic Card called Crystal Lance, which boosts his attack power by 600 points! (2300/1300) Now I’m going to destroy that dragon of yours!"
"YES! I KNEW THAT YOU HAD IT IN YOU AKANE!" Soun was jumping for joy at this development.
Ranma-Yami: 1700 LP
Akane: 2000 LP
"Not bad, Akane." The King of Games admitted, which made her even more smug. Then he said, "Of course, with my Trap Card, you ended up losing more than you took."
"This card is called Double or Nothing." He flipped over his first downed card. "If you attack with a monster with over 2000 Attack Points, then you will automatically lose twice as much damage as you had made. I lost 300 Life Points, so that means you lost 600."
Ranma-Yami: 1700 LP
Akane: 1400 LP
"I shall also place another card facedown. And just because you destroyed my Curse of Dragon, doesn't mean much when I use this! Monster Reborn!" That allows me to revive any Monster lost in this Duel from either deck. So I’ll just bring back my dragon." He retrieved the card from his Graveyard Pile and put it back into play.
"Hmpf! So what? I’ll just destroy..."
"Ah-ah!" He wagged his finger at her as he revealed another of his downed cards. "SWORDS OF REVEALING LIGHT!"
The short-tempered girl wanted to scream at the injustice of it all.
"Now then, I shall now finish you off by revealing my last hidden card." He flipped it over to reveal a card with two crossed swords between two pots.
"What is that?" Kasumi asked.
"It’s called Black Luster Ritual. It allows me to sacrifice my Curse of Dragon and my other Monster Card that was facedown." He then revealed the card to be Gaia the Fierce Knight. (2300/1700). "In doing so, I get the Black Luster Soldier!" He then removed the two Monster Cards and replaced it with the new card. (3000/2500). "He easily obliterates your Crystal Ogre."
Ranma-Yami: 1700 LP
Akane: 700 LP
"And I’m willing to bet that you don’t have any way to stop me from attacking the next two turns, right?"
"I do so! I may not be able to attack, but I can still put a Monster in Defense to protect my Life Points!" Akane slapped down another card.
"Yes, that could work." Ranma-Yami agreed. "That is, if I didn’t have this card." He showed her a new card from his hand. "This is Magic Obliteration. It allows me to destroy any Magic Card in play, plus whatever Monsters the Magic Card is affecting, at the cost of 20% of my Life Points."
Ranma-Yami: 1360 LP
Akane: 700 LP
"I choose to remove the Swords of Revealing Light, which also means that the Monster that was frozen by them will also be removed from the field, leaving you WIDE open to a direct attack! So that means my Black Luster Soldier wipes out your remaining Life Points!"
Third game results
Ranma-Yami: 1360 LP
Akane: 0 LP
Akane could only fume in silence as Ranma reverts back to normal, collects his cards and leaves the room.
"Please Ranma? Won't you reconsider Akane as your partner? I'm sure she'll get better by the time the tournament begins." Kasumi pleaded as she spoke to Ranma. He was currently practicing in the dojo.
"Kasumi, you SAW how badly she played! There's NO WAY she could improve enough in less than two days!" He went into a fast series of punches and kicks. "She fell for the most basic of tactics, her cards were mostly low-level and she's not much in terms of strategy. If I had her as my partner, then we'd lose in the first round! The other Duelists will eat her alive."
"I'm sorry Kasumi, but my answer is no. I'll choose my own partner."
The eldest Tendo girl wanted to continue, but Ranma's intense gaze silenced any further protest.
Meanwhile, at the Ucchan's...
Ukyo nodded as she contemplated her deck. Like Ranma, she had also received an invitation to the tournament. The competition was open to Duelists of varying expertise and she had spent the last few days strengthening her deck. After acquiring several new Monsters and Magic Cards, she was certain that her deck was strong enough to take on any competitor.
After hearing from Nabiki, (for a price of course), that Ranma was entering the contest as well, the okonomiyaki chef planned to see him tomorrow and ask him to be her partner.
"What's your game, Ranma?" Nabiki asked as she confronted the martial artist and duelist when he was preparing to turn in for the night.
"What are you talking about?" Ranma asked innocently.
The mercenary sister of Kasumi and Akane gave him a knowing smile. "Oh come on now, Ranma. We BOTH know that you’re not in this tournament for the money."
The Shadow Game Duelist shrugged. "I would’ve thought that you’d be thrilled if I won that ten million-dollar prize money."
"Normally I would be, but..." Nabiki admitted.
"But...?" He pressed.
Akane‘s sister took on a thoughtful expression. "Our fathers may think that you’re competing to win the money, but you weren’t all that excited about it. You only mentioned the prize money once to get your father to change his mind."
"So I’m thinking that it’s not about money. You‘re competing for another reason, aren‘t you?"
"I saw you today. You went into a VERY expensive clothing store at the mall and bought outfits for FOUR people. You paid out enough money that would have covered our house bills for a month. Yet, you didn’t seem at all concerned about spending so much. Now where did you get that kind of cash?"
The Duel Monster player shrugged again. "Well, maybe since I’m no longer paying you off, I’ve got some money to spend for myself."
"Yeah right." She responded with a sarcastic tone. "Even without paying me, your assets weren’t much to begin with! Things have been getting really weird ever since you started playing Duel Monsters a month ago. Daddy’s Demon Head isn’t phasing you. You won’t eat Akane’s food. I heard how you beat Ryoga with one finger. You totally annihilate Akane at Duel Monsters without mercy. And you’re actually GOOD at card games now?!"
"And don't forget that I don’t owe you a single yen." Ranma reminded with a smirk.
Nabiki grumbled at that barb. She still couldn’t believe that he beat her. "Out with it Ranma! I want to know what’s going on! Where did you get all that money? What’s the REAL reason why you’re in the tournament and most of all... WHO was that girl?"
"Don’t play dumb with me! I’m talking about that girl that you seemed so hung up on in the mall! You bought clothes for those strange people, but she came out with the most bags, meaning that you spent the most for her! You never spent that much for Akane."
The pigtailed teen smirked as he leaned forward with a grin. "Do you really want to know?"
Nabiki nodded slightly as her brows furrowed. She also began leaning forward so she could catch every word.
"Well... the real truth..."
"... is a secret."
Nabiki blinked once, twice, then three times as Ranma simply turned about and walked away. Then her usual Ice Queen control began to melt away as her seldom-used temper came bubbling to the surface. She then growled and hissed at Ranma’s retreating form. "You think that’s funny, Ranma Saotome? Just you wait! I’ll find out everything and you are going to regret ever crossing me!"
"I don’t think so." Ranma said without looking back.
Nabiki considered telling everyone about Ranma being with a new girl, but decided to hold off until she learned more about her. And when she did, there was going to be Hell to pay with Ranma footing the bill!
Ranma smiled as he went to his room and lay down on the futon. Beside him and already sound asleep was his father. He was soon deep in thought as he stared up at the ceiling. He chuckled a bit as he remembered Nabiki’s expression.
The son of Genma had noticed in the Slayers world that the phrase, ‘it’s a secret,’ never failed to raise Lina’s hackles. It was the perfect weapon to irk Akane’s mercenary sister. Not knowing everything and not being in control was something she hated. What she didn’t know, couldn’t be used against him.
He knew that he’d have to be on a lookout for Nabiki in the future, but as long as he was careful and didn’t let her get too close, especially with Luna, Lina and their companions, then Nabiki wouldn’t be able to find out anything. He made a note to tell Luna and the others to steer clear of her. The only real problem at the moment was choosing a partner for the tournament.
He had initially considered Luna, but Lina’s elder sister had turned him down. Her reason was that since she was a stranger in his world, it would be best that she did not draw attention to herself or the others. Furthermore, she maintained that though she had gotten better at Duel Monsters, she still considered herself as a novice and it would be better for him to choose a more seasoned player. She assured him that she would give him support from the sidelines and help him when he needed it.
<Okay, so if can’t partner up with Luna, then who can I ask?> He began thinking about Ukyo and all the times he had played against her. Her skill level wasn’t as good as his or Yami‘s, but she played solid strategies and knew the rules well. Her deck had mostly medium level Monster and Magic Cards with a few high-powered Trap Cards. It was possible that she had strengthened her deck since the last time they had played. She was always cooperative with him, if somewhat possessive, especially when it concerned other girls.
<Hmmm, I guess Ucchan’s the most reasonable choice. I just got to make sure she doesn’t start anything with Luna. Aside from Akane, (and she’s really lame), Ucchan’s the only other person I know who can play Duel Monsters.>
Don’t bet on it, Ranma.
"Really? Son-in-law is going to take part in this... Duel Monsters Tournament?" Cologne said as her great-granddaughter told her.
Shampoo nodded as she related the information Nabiki had sold to her. "Airen will need partner for tournament! Shampoo will be perfect partner!"
"But Shampoo, you're a warrior. You don't know anything about this strange card game."
"Who say Shampoo not know?" The purple-haired girl held up a deck of cards. "Remember when Ling Ling and Lung Lung visit last month? They show Shampoo how to play! Shampoo practice in spare time. Is very fun game and popular in China! Shampoo is good player with strong deck."
"Please? Shampoo already receive invitation." She then showed her relative the letter she had received in the mail. Apparently, Industrial Illusions had realized how well their product was doing in China and wanted a representative from each region. Shampoo‘s name had been randomly selected from the thousands of people who had purchased Card Packs. "Is very big prize for winner and can get Airen too!" She smiled again as she added something else. "Too-Too-Sneaky Girl also told Shampoo that Akane not invited and Ranma no choose for partner! She no obstacle this time!"
Cologne considered for a moment, then shrugged. Having Shampoo compete would bring in more business for the Cat Café and getting the son-in-law in bargain was an added bonus. She then gave her great-grandchild her consent.
In his room, Mousse was also preparing for the tournament as he squinted at each of his cards and arranged them out on his bed.
Ever since Ranma had begun winning at Duel Monsters and had been gaining fame for his skill at the game, Shampoo had been busy building her own deck so she could get closer to him. This of course, prompted the myopic Hidden Weapons Master to learn about the game and he began training as a Duelist to impress her.
Though he had not received an invitation to the tournament, he was certain that his beloved Shampoo would choose him as her partner. Why should she not? He had amassed a considerable array of Monster, Magic and especially Trap Cards. He especially liked that part of the game as it fit in well with his penchant for hidden surprises.
Somewhere in Hokkaido...
<I'm almost there!>
Due to his numerous and unintentional long journeys to the bathroom, Ryoga had spent a lot of time on the road. Many of those times, he had encountered people who were into some new card game called Duel Monsters. He found the game to be fun and a good way to pass the time on his long treks.
Eventually, he had become a promising Duelist and had been able to collect certain rare cards on his lost trips, building a strong deck. As a result, he was very surprised when a helicopter suddenly came down toward him a few days ago. A strange man dressed in a black suit gave him an invitation to the tournament, plus extensive directions on how to get there in four days. By Ryoga's reckoning, he'd be back in Tokyo by the next day.
<Oh Akane! I just know that we'll make the best Tag-Team in the tournament!> A month ago, as P-Chan, he had learned that Akane had begun playing Duel Monsters. The thought of having her duel by his side was what kept him going after receiving the invitation.
The Kuno mansion...
Kodachi cackled as she gazed over the cards in her deck. After hearing from Nabiki, (and paying a tremendous amount in the process), that Ranma would be competing in the Duel Monsters Tournament and would need a partner, she immediately assumed that she would be chosen. Of course, in the unlikely event that he did not choose her, she still could compete as she had used her influence and a LOT of money to obtain an invitation.
The ten million dollar prize was of no concern to her, (she was rich after all), but the thought of being by her Ranma-sama sent delicious shivers down her spine. She could just imagine herself in the winner’s circle with Ranma by her side for all to see, like a conquering king and his queen!
Unknown to Ranma, Kodachi knew how to play Duel Monsters. The game had caught on at St. Hebereke and it was considered trendy to have a strong Dueling Deck. The twisted sister of Tatewaki favored a deck that used Poison-Type Monsters and Magic Cards, which crippled her opponents. Many of the Monsters were plant-based, which suited to her personality.
"Oh we shall be unbeatable together my dear Ranma! We shall first duel with cards, then later with our hearts! OH HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO!"
In another wing of the mansion, Kodachi’s brother was also preparing for the tournament. After hearing from Nabiki that the pig-tailed girl would be in the contest, (which in essence was the truth), he immediately assembled his deck and learned the rules of the game. He was certain that his sword-wielding Monsters would triumph over all. He disdained using Magic Cards as he felt that only cowards like Ranma the Sorcerer would resort to such. However, he was not above using Trap and Accessory Cards, and his deck was loaded with both types.
If he was unable to get the pig-tailed girl as a partner, then there was still the beauteous Akane. Nabiki had told him that she knew how to play, (though she didn’t tell him that she played very badly). His thoughts of having either one of them by his sides sent him into another of his delusional and perverted fantasies.
Like his sister, he too had bought his way into the competition.
In his dilapidated quarters, Sasuke sighed as he contemplated his deck. He wished he could compete in the tournament, but he had not received an invitation and he doubted that anyone would choose him as a partner. Playing Duel Monsters was one of the few joys he had in his dreary existence as the lackey of the Kuno siblings. Of course he always played against himself, but at least he had fun. And thought of winning ten million dollars was a dream that was far out of reach.
Maximillian Pegasus smiled as he sat in his posh hotel room and contemplated the approaching tournament. His Millennium Eye glittered as he began foreseeing the events yet to come. One image in particular was that of the Millennium Puzzle. Oh this was going to be so much fun!
The next day...
Ranma awoke early and left the house, leaving a note saying that he would be preparing for the upcoming tournament. His first stop was of course to check up on Luna and the others. He hoped that there would not be a repeat performance of yesterday's fiasco.
Along the way, he picked up a breakfast sandwich from a convenience store. Usually he'd stuff his face with Kasumi's delicious cooking, but this was one of those rare occasions, in which eating all that he could was not a priority. Thankfully, when he arrived at the new hotel the Slayers group was staying at, it was still intact.
When he came to their room, he heard some loud grinding and crunching noises, plus a few comments.
"HEY! THAT'S MINE!"
"NO WAY! YOU ATE THE LAST TWENTY!"
"STOP HOGGING ALL THE SYRUP!"
"PLEASE MISS LINA, MR. GOURRY, SAVE SOME FOR ME!"
When he entered the room, he saw Lina, Gourry and Amelia sitting at a dining table, which was piled high with various plates of breakfast foods, ranging from the traditional miso soup, to western-style dishes like omelets and pancakes. The Sailoon princess was eating at a relatively normal rate, when she could get at the food. Lina and Gourry however, were another story.
To Ranma, the scene reminded him of himself and his father fighting over the daily meal. Of course the two main combatants, the easily irritable sorceress and the dumber-than-dirt swordsman, weren't battling it out with the same skill and finesse as Ranma usually did with Genma. However, what they lacked in skill, they made up for in gusto.
<A guy could lose a hand in there.>
He then caught sight of Luna sitting nearby on a couch and sipping a cup of tea. On the table before her were the remnants of her own breakfast, which had consisted of fresh strawberries, croissants and milk. She nodded to the Duelist with a smile.
"Good morning Ranma."
"Hey Luna. And how is everyone today?"
"Well, it's a lot quieter, relatively speaking, since the others discovered the wonders of Room Service and a device called the telephone. It also helped, when I hid the remote-wand to this room's television. So what are you planning to do today?"
"I was thinking of going to the Card Shop and work on building up my deck. Maybe later I could... show you around Tokyo?"
"I'd like that."
Lina's head perked up as she heard the words 'Card Shop' and 'building my deck.' She immediately began having visions of obtaining some powerful cards that she could use in her world, once they passed through the Shadow Realm. She quickly finished off her breakfast, wiped her mouth, stood up and walked over to them.
"Hey Ranma. Can I come along with you and Sis?"
Both Ranma and Luna winced slightly. They knew that Lina wanted Duel Monster Cards. However, they couldn't stop her from becoming a Duelist. The Shadow Games were open to all that possessed Dueling Decks. Luna mentally reminded herself to speak to Lina about the rules and the dangers of possessing such power.
Later that morning...
Ranma smiled as he, Luna and the others exited the Game Shop with several packets in their hands. Lina was especially excited as she unwrapped her first set of cards. Behind her, Amelia and Gourry were also looking over their purchases. They too had decided to become Duelists to help Ranma in his quest. Currently, they were heading toward the park, where many of the tournament invitees had congregated to trade cards and strengthen their decks.
"What are these?" Lina asked.
Ranma glanced over his shoulder and nodded. "That's a Basic Starter series. Not much in terms of Attack Power or Magic, but they make a good Dueling Deck foundation."
"AW! I was hoping for some really STRONG cards." Lina pouted. She then began unwrapping her second packet. Her eyes perked up a bit as she read the stats on several of the Monster Cards. "Hey! Now I'm getting somewhere! These Attack and Defense Points are pretty high."
Luna nodded as she saw what her sibling had obtained. "Very nice, Lina, though don't discount the value of low-level Monster or Magic Cards. Remember that a well-balanced deck can increase your chances of winning, if you play them right."
"A good Duelist builds his or her deck to enhance its strengths and defend its weaknesses." Ranma added as he gestured to an area of the park where there were huge crowds gathered around several large platforms.
"What's going on over there?" Amelia asked.
The martial artist and Duel Monster player squinted his eyes as he looked toward the nearest platform. Various flashes of light and sound were emitted from it. He nodded as he replied. "It looks like Industrial Illusions had some practice Dueling Arenas set up for the contestants and spectators. It gives them a chance to warm-up for the contest tomorrow. Come on, let's go check it out."
“Wow!” Amelia cried out as she watched two Duelists play out on the holographic battlefield. “This is MUCH better than any illusion spell I’ve ever seen! The Monsters LOOK so real!”
Luna hushed the over-energetic sorceress, as her jumping about was making a bit of a spectacle. Though she was impressed at this non-magic that Ranma had referred to as ‘technology.’ Things such as moving stairs that required no incantations, horseless metal carriages that moved about without anything pushing or pulling them, lights that didn’t require flames, and so on.
“I will admit that it’s very impressive.” Luna remarked as one Duelist used his warrior-priest to destroy his opponent’s giant serpent. She turned to Ranma and smiled with a knowing wink. “Though these Duels aren’t as... extreme as the one we’ve been in.”
The pigtailed fighter nodded. “Yeah. At least when you lose here, you only lose a game. Are you sure you don’t want to take part in the tournament? With the both of us competing together, we’d stand a better chance at getting that Millennium Eye. The winners of this competition will get to face Pegasus.”
Luna shook her head while smiling. “I am very flattered that you want me to be your dueling partner, and we do make a good team, but I’m afraid that my answer is still no. I may have gotten better, but I can tell that a lot of these people have more experience with this game than I do.”
“That’s baloney. You’re just as good if not better than a lot of people here. We haven’t been practicing for nothing all that time we’ve been together.”
“Flatterer. In any case, someone has to keep an eye on my sister and make certain that she doesn’t get into...”
It was at that moment that both realized that someone was missing from their group.
“Where’s Lina?” Ranma asked as he looked about.
Luna also became concerned as she began using her mystic senses to probe the crowds for her younger sibling. Her expression became a bit nervous as she sensed a buildup of magic, the kind that Lina was very fond of tossing around when she was angry. She then turned and headed off into the crowds.
“Just stay here with Amelia and Gourry! I’ll be back soon!”
With those words, she disappeared into the throngs of people.
Amelia and Gourry also watched the most powerful sorceress of their world head run off and wondered what was going on.
“Where’s Miss Luna going?” Amelia asked.
“Yeah, and where’s Lina?” Gourry inquired as he noticed that his usual traveling companion was also gone.
Ranma shrugged as he replied. “Lina wandered off somewhere and Luna went to find her. I wouldn’t worry though. Luna’s more than capable of handling herself and I’m sure that Lina’s all right too. Lina probably went off to try and improve her new deck by trading some of the cards she got. There’s nothing to worry about...”
“... and forget what I just said.” Ranma then began running in the direction of the explosion with Amelia and Gourry following him. It was in the same direction Luna had went in search for her sister.
A few minutes before...
<All right! I think I made some good trades!> Lina thought as she flipped through her deck and gazed upon the new Trap and Magic Cards she had obtained. She could only imagine the power the cards would possess once they passed through the Shadow Realm. To her disappointment, she had yet to find someone with an Enchantress of Light to trade. She had found out that particular card was hard to find and only a limited number had been printed. She had hoped she could use it and a Polymerization to card to enhance her own bust as it had done with Amelia.
Standing nearby was a certain samurai wannabe who was checking out his competition as well as searching for a certain red-haired goddess and a fierce Tendo tigress. He was unconcerned with improving his deck as he was confident that it was strong enough to defeat any foe. When he caught sight of some scarlet tresses, his hopes began to rise as he saw the girl’s back. Her hair was unbound, but she was about the same height and had about the same figure. Since Nabiki had informed him that she was also in the tournament, who else could it be but his red-haired goddess?
“PIG-TAILED GIRL! I HAVE FOUND THEE!”
With those words, he rushed over and wrapped his arms around her.
“Huh?” Lina gasped as his hands began roaming around places that were considered no-touch zones.
“Oh how your scarlet, unbound tresses excite me so!” Kuno said as he squeezed even tighter. “My heart has grown wings at the very sight of you and...” It was then that he noticed that his beloved was lacking something. “My love? What has happened to your bountiful bosom?”
“AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! YOU PERVERT!!!!”
<Now where is that sister of mine?>
<Oh no!> Luna raced to the scene of the explosion. There in a clearing, surrounded by astonished spectators was her sister in a huff, and one blackened, charred and dazed kendoist lying on the ground. At that point, Lina was about to release another spell.
“Digger Vo... erk!”
Lina never got to finish as Luna walked up and grabbed her sister by the ear.
“OW! OW! LUNA!”
“Not one word, Lina!” Luna scolded as she began dragging her sister away from the crowds. Knowing that this incident would result in too many questions for her to handle, she instead decided to erase the crowds of the memories they had of this event. Using a simple gesture with her other hand, she cast a memory-manipulation spell over the throngs of people in the vicinity and placed a post-hypnotic suggestion in their minds, making them think that the explosion had been one of the special effects of the Dueling platforms.
On the ground, Kuno moaned.
“Oh my red-haired beauty. As always, you set my soul on fire!”
Looking from his balcony of his hotel room, which was beside the park, Maximillian Pegasus looked on with interest. He had been watching the pre-tournament festivities when he saw the explosion. His Millennium Eye glittered slightly as he used its power to zoom in on the Inverse sisters.
<Well now, what have we here? My Millennium Eye tells me that those two are in possession of some very formidable magic. Their very souls are entwined in some ancient mystical energies, especially that one.> He focused on Lina’s older sibling. <Their power could prove to be very useful in my plans. Now how do I get them involved?> He then spotted a glint of gold and saw Ranma heading toward the two girls. <Ah, so the bearer of the Millennium Item I seek is acquainted with these two. How convenient.>
He gestured to a man in a black suit with dark glasses and a mustache, who was standing beside him. Croquet, the right-hand man of the creator of Duel Monsters nodded as he approached.
“Do you see those two girls and the Duelist with them? I believe that his name is Ranma Saotome.”
The aide nodded as he looked through his binoculars at where Pegasus was pointing. He didn’t bother to ask how his boss knew Ranma’s name as Pegasus had demonstrated before an uncanny ability to read people’s minds.
“I would like you to send one more invitation... a special one.” As he was giving his aide instructions, he began probing the mind of the pigtailed duelist from afar, using his Millennium Eye to link with Ranma’s Millennium Puzzle. He began to see some images of certain people and began to formulate a plan.
Down below, Ranma began to feel that something was... off. He got the impression that he was being watched, though he couldn’t determine where the sensation was coming from. He shook his head and listened to Luna as she chided her sister.
“Just what did you think you were doing, Lina?” Luna scolded as she pulled her sister off to a secluded area of the park. Behind her were Gourry and Amelia.
“Hey! That pervert grabbed my chest! He’s just lucky that I didn’t Dragon Slave his sorry ass!” Lina retorted in her defense.
Luna softened a bit when she heard this. She knew how sensitive Lina was about her bust size and as a woman, she understood her sister’s agitation. “I suppose he did deserve what you did to him, but you should handled that situation with more control. You could have hurt some innocent bystanders with that fireball so close to those crowds! Who knows what would’ve happened if I hadn’t stopped you from casting that other spell!”
Lina bowed her head in shame under her sister’s reprimand. “Sorry Sis, but he had NO right to grab me like he owned me! He was some nutcase who called me his pig-tailed girl and I don’t even wear my hair like that!”
Ranma perked up at this information and asked, “Tell me Lina, was he some dope about so high...” He indicated with a hand above his head. “... with dark, short hair, wears samurai bathrobes, was carrying around a big stick, and was talking like some poetic idiot?”
“Yeah! That was him!”
“You know him, Ranma?” Luna inquired.
“Unfortunately yes. That was Kuno, the Blue Blunder of my high school. He thinks he’s the world’s greatest warrior and Kami-sama’s gift to women, but he’s really the world’s greatest pain in the ass and a nightmare to humanity in general.”
“So why did he grab Miss Lina?” Amelia asked.
Ranma sighed. Now this was a subject that he really didn’t want to talk about. “It’s probably because he thought Lina was his so-called ‘pig-tailed girl.’ I guess from behind, Lina probably looked like... her with her hair down.”
Luna cocked her head in thought, then put two and two together. “This... wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with your...”
“Yes, it does.” Ranma said, cutting her off. “It’s a really LONG story, and I don't want to talk about it.”
During their travels together, it had been impossible to hide his Jusenkyo curse from Luna’s mystic senses and he had shown it to her. Lina’s sister had been unable to reverse the curse, due to the fact that Jusenkyo’s waters had been made from ancient Elder magic left over from the gods. The only power that could undo the curse was contained within the Millennium Items and Ranma needed all seven to do the job.
However, she had been able to cast a spell to reduce his magnetic attraction toward water, though she couldn't protect him completely. As a result, he only got splashed about once a day, instead of several times. She had promised to keep his condition a secret.
“Kuno’s a total nutcase and too stupid to accept reality. He’ll grab onto any girl that he thinks is in love with him, though he’s really obsessed with the pig-tailed girl and an uncute tomboy that I know.” Ranma sighed in disgust.
“He is an enemy to all women and should be punished!” Amelia declared as she took a pose that reminded Ranma of a certain sailor-suited warrior of love and justice. “As defenders of all that is good and decent, it is our duty to...”
“Hold it!” Ranma said as he held up a hand. “Back off Amelia. I don't want you to go flying off the handle too.”
Luna nodded in agreement. “Ranma’s right, Amelia. We all agreed not to use our powers and abilities unless absolutely necessary. We’re here to get the Millennium Eye and return to our world with the LEAST amount of trouble. Throwing around destructive spells will only make things harder and we don‘t want to draw attention to ourselves.”
What Luna and Ranma did not know was that someone’s attention had already been drawn to them, and this certain someone was in possession of the Millennium Eye.
“WOW! I WON!”
Amelia jumped up and down as she stepped off the platform after defeating her opponent. Ranma and the others congratulated the young princess on winning her match.
“Not too shabby Amelia. You’ve got some Dueling promise.” Ranma remarked.
“Yes. Very nice Amelia.” Luna agreed.
“Eh, not bad.” Lina said with shrug.
“What do you mean not bad?” Gourry asked. “She beat her opponent on her first game and you lost on the first turn when you dueled... erk!”
Gourry was flat on his face after his short-tempered traveling companion slammed him to the ground with a mallet that she had pulled from out of nowhere.
Ranma sweatdropped and was glad that he hadn’t been on the receiving end after saying something stupid. <Where do girls pull those hammers out from?>
It as then that several monitors that were set up around the area suddenly lit up. The crowds became silent as their attention became focused on the screens. The monitors then showed an image in which many Duelists recognized.
“Hey! It’s him!”
“The Duel Monsters World Champion!”
“It’s Seto Kaiba!”
“Awesome! I hear that he’s going to be in this tournament!”
“Check it out!”
Ranma took his first look at the top duelist in the world and found himself disliking him from the start. He didn't know why, but he felt as if he had just met his worst enemy. Perhaps it was that arrogant expression on his face, which reminded him of Kuno. However, unlike the delusional samurai wannabe, Ranma had a feeling that Kaiba had the skills to back up his title in Duel Monsters.
The World Champion smirked as he began speaking.
“Greetings duelists teams, and welcome to the Tag-Team Duel Monsters Tournament, hosted by Industrial Illusions and Kaiba Corp. Among you are the greatest and most talented Duel Monster players, as well as those who have yet to show your hidden talents. Your invitations had been sent out randomly and many of you will have the opportunity to show off your dueling skills for the very first time! Let‘s hope that you didn‘t all come here just to be humiliated. Only the strong will survive to the finals where they will face me!”
Ranma’s eyes narrowed at Kaiba’s cockiness. Ever since he had assembled the Millennium Puzzle, his ego had been kept more in check. Now this Kaiba person made him seem humble.
The world champion continued as he held up a device attached to his left forearm. “The dueling platforms that you have been practicing on are nothing more than toys in comparison to Kaiba Corp’s latest product. Each registered Tag-Team will receive a pair of these holographic Dueling Disks! As a result, duels can be staged anywhere!”
There was a tremendous cheer from the crowds as Kaiba continued to speak.
“You all have until midnight tonight to register yourselves and your partners. Remember that you must have an invitation or be chosen as the partner of one who has been invited, in order to enter the tournament. Furthermore, there shall be some new rules to the duels, which will be explained tomorrow. At eight o’clock tomorrow, the tournament will begin!”
Another round of cheering drowned out everything else as the screens went blank.
Sometime after noon...
Ukyo sighed as she finished off the last of the lunch rush. There had been increased business because of the tournament and she hadn’t been able to leave her restaurant to go ask Ranma to be her partner. If she didn’t work fast, someone else might become her Ranchan’s teammate. She had heard that Shampoo had also received an invitation to enter. The only thing she could count on was that the Nekohanten was probably as busy as the Ucchan’s, so the Amazon had most likely been unable to ask Ranma yet.
As she prepared to out a closed sign and leave her restaurant, a group of people walked into the establishment.
“I’m sorry folks, but the Ucchan’s will have to be closed for an hour, so come back...”
“Oh we’re not here to dine, Miss Kuonji.” The person in front said as he approached her with his hands behind his back. Standing behind him were several of his hired men, plus his aide Croquet.
“Huh?” The okonomiyaki chef took a good look at the visitor and her eyes widened as she recognized him. “Hey, aren’t you the creator of Duel Monsters? You’re Pegasus, right? I saw you on TV.”
“Indeed I am.” The long-haired man replied with a smile. “I had decided to check up on some of the competitors to the tournament. I believe that you had received an invitation?”
The brown-haired girl nodded as she showed him the letter and the entry card that went with it. “I got it right here.”
“So tell me, Miss Kuomji, have you decided on a partner?”
She smiled while nodding. “I sure have. He’s a good duelist...”
“... and his name is Ranma Saotome, correct?” Pegasus said with a smirk.
This took Ukyo by surprise. “Uh, yeah. That’s his name. I was going to ask him when you showed up.”
Pegasus shook his head as he revealed his Millennium Eye. “I’m so sorry Miss Kounji, but I’m afraid that you cannot be his partner.”
“What? What are you talking about?” Ukyo began fingering her bandolier of throwing spatulas. The sight of his metallic eye also made her tense.
“What I’m talking about is that Ranma already has a partner selected for him. You on the other hand, have a more pivotal position to play.”
At that moment everything became dark as Pegasus’ Millennium Eye glowed.
Ukyo barely had time to scream.
“Ranma, is something wrong?” Luna asked as he suddenly became distracted.
Ranma became tense with the feeling that something terrible had just happened. Then he remembered that since he didn’t have a partner yet, he’d better ask Ukyo before the other girls got any ideas.
“RANMA NO BAKA!”
Case in point.
“Uh, excuse me guys, but I just remembered that I have something very important to do. I’ll catch up with you guys later.”
He then began bolting like a wild colt as Akane, Kodachi and Shampoo began bearing down on him as soon as they caught sight of him. Luckily for him, they past by the Slayers gang and assumed that they were just part of the crowds.
Ranma poured on the speed and lost himself in the crowds. As he was too busy with looking over his shoulder and checking to see that the girls weren’t still behind him, he failed to watch where he was going and bumped into a certain someone.
“Seto!” A younger voice cried out.
Ranma found himself landing hard on his rear as his belt case opened up and spilled three of his cards. At the same time, a suitcase landed on the ground as another person landed on his rear.
“Ow. Sorry about that. I should have been watching where I was going.” Ranma apologized as he began staggering to his feet, then extended his right hand to help the other person up.
However, his offered hand was slapped away as the other person angrily glared at him. “You clumsy moron! I should knock your stupid head off!”
Ranma was taken aback by his rudeness and was about to retort when he recognized just whom he had run into.
“Huh? Hey, aren’t you...?”
Seto Kaiba continued to stare angrily as he stood up and faced Ranma. He was about as tall as Kuno. Beside him was his diminutive younger brother Mokouba.
“I ought to turn you inside-out for running into me, you jerk!”
“Hey, hey! I said I was sorry.” The pig-tailed duelist said as he began to feel his own anger rise. He had already in an agitated mood and Kaiba was rubbing him the wrong way on their first encounter.
It was then that Kaiba noticed the case on Ranma’s belt and snorted. “Well, what do you know? It’s another loser who thinks he’s got what it takes to be in this tournament.”
“Hey! Who are you calling a loser?”
Kaiba shrugged. “Just about everyone here is a loser as far as I’m concerned. After all, there isn’t anyone who could match my Dueling skills. If I didn’t have my reputation to uphold and this tournament didn’t give me an opportunity to market my new Duel Disk system, then I wouldn’t have even bothered to be in this circus.”
“You’re the Number One Duelist in the world, Seto!” Mokouba chirped as he always worshipped his older sibling. “No one can beat you! You‘ve got the best tactics and the strongest cards!”
Seto nodded as he pointed to Ranma’s loose cards. “That’s right, so why don’t you pick up your pathetic cards and get out of my sight before...”
He stopped in mid-sentence as he saw which of Ranma’s cards were on the ground. Two of the cards were Trap Cards but one card made him tremble as he recognized the image.
“What?! Can it be?!”
Kaiba immediately bent down and reached for it, but Ranma’s hands were quicker. In a flash, he swept up his three cards and placed them back in their case before the World Champion could blink.
Mokouba whistled. He had never seen anyone move that fast before.
Kaiba stared hard as he faced Ranma again. “Tell me, that was a Blue-Eyes White Dragon, wasn’t it? How did a nobody like you get a hold of one?”
Ranma snorted as he replied. “I got it the way anyone else would have gotten it. I opened up a card pack and there it was. What’s it to you?”
Kaiba growled a bit, then reached down to open up the case he had been carrying. In it was a sight that made many of the people around them gasped in disbelief. The case was filled to the brim with rare and powerful cards.
“Listen here. Give me that Blue-Eyes and I’ll trade you all of these!” Kaiba said.
Ranma considered the case, then shook his head. “No deal.” <Especially from a jerk like you.> Ranma added silently.
Kaiba was taken aback by Ranma’s refusal. He was unused to the word no. “Fine then. If you won’t trade it, then maybe you’ll sell it. Name your price. I can pay anything.”
Now if Ranma was like his father, he would have jumped at the opportunity. However, he was not like Genma and he already had more than enough gold from Yami to last him a lifetime. “I ain’t interested in money. I came to this tournament to duel and I got something real important to do right now so...”
Kaiba smirked as he cut in. “Duel eh? All right. I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL!”
This caused a large, collective gasp to be heard as Ranma was taken by absolute surprise. “Say what?”
“I said I challenge you to a Duel! When I win then you will give me your Blue-Eyes!”
“WHEN you win?” Ranma repeated with disbelief at Kaiba’s audacity. “Already counting your Blue-Eyes before you got it?”
“It’s only a forgone conclusion. I have NEVER lost a Duel.”
“Well maybe I’ll be the first to beat you in the tournament.”
“I’m not talking about the tournament.” Kaiba stressed. “I’m challenging to a Duel here and now!”
“What? That’s crazy! And why should I accept?”
“So are you a coward then?” Kaiba sneered.
Ranma felt his own pride and anger well up, but fought to control himself. Calling him a coward used to be a sure-fire way of getting him to start swinging fists, but under Yami’s guidance, he had learned not to jump headlong into situations which may be too much for him to handle.
“I’m no coward, but I don’t have to prove myself now to a first-class jerk like you. You can wait until the tournament for me to kick your Dueling ass.”
Both antagonists locked gazes with each other, then Kaiba smirked. “All right. Then how about this? If you don’t accept my challenge now, then I’ll have you removed from the tournament list altogether. You won‘t be able to ‘kick my Dueling ass’ at all. So what‘s it going to be?”
Ranma winced. He knew he had to compete in order to get at the Millennium Eye. He couldn’t risk being barred from it at this point. What he did not know was that there was another reason why he couldn’t lose.
In his hotel room, Pegasus contemplated the card he had in his hand as he sat near the open balcony.
Croquet walked up to him and bowed. “Sir, I’ve just received word that...”
“That Seto Kaiba has challenged Ranma Saotome to a Duel for the fourth Blue-Eyes White Dragon.” Pegasus finished. “I already knew that.”
“Shouldn’t we stop this?”
“Why? This could prove to be MOST interesting. Furthermore, it will give us a chance to see Kaiba Corp’s latest gadget in action. Let them duel. The publicity will most certainly boost business and besides... I’d like to see this Ranma Saotome’s skills in action. I heard that he was good.”
He then chuckled as held up the card which had Ukyo Kuonji’s picture on it. <And his skills better be good, if he hopes to win his friend’s soul back!>
End of part 1
To be continued...
Whew! This chapter was so long, that I decided to split it into two parts. Ranma Vs Kaiba and the stakes have just gotten higher. Stay tuned for ch.5 part 2!