RUNE SOLDIER RANMA
Disclaimer: Well, what do you want me to do about it? Ranma and Rune Soldier do not belong to me, so I think that’s all that needs to be said.
< > Thoughts
The Temple of Mylee...
“I must say that this is a landmark event in the history of the Order of Mylee.” Jenny stated as she spoke to her two most promising disciples. “Never before has two priestesses been given the SAME Valiant Champion to serve. Then again, considering that I’ve always knew that Ranma was the most unique individual I have ever met, I shouldn’t be too surprised. You two should be honored to support him and I see great things in your futures.”
“Head Priestess Jenny, I must protest!” Melissa exclaimed. “Isabelle’s Chosen Hero CANNOT be HIM!”
“Oh? And why not?” Isabelle asked. “I am a loyal follower of Mylee, and I had received the message from him to serve the courageous champion who saved me from peril!”
“Yes, but... he’s...” Isabelle’s rival couldn’t believe things had come to this. Wasn’t it bad enough that her Chosen Hero was a rude, boorish, and insensitive lout? Hadn’t she already suffered through unimaginable torment and pain? Just what did she do that was so terrible that Mylee would punish her like this?
As for Jenny, she was either oblivious to Melissa’s distress or she knew that things would be all right in the end. Since there were no set procedures for such an unusual circumstance, she had decided to leave the matter up to Mylee’s will. Therefore, both priestesses were to follow and assist Ranma, wherever he might go. Knowing Carwess’ favorite pupil, things were going to get very interesting.
Melissa could only hang her head in despair. Could things actually get any worse?
“Are you sure you need all this stuff?” Ranma asked as he hefted a huge sack of supplies and artifacts on his back. The load was more than ten times his size and any passerby who saw him gazed in awe. Walking in front of him was Ila. Draped over her right shoulder and slumbering peacefully was his Rune Cat Shin. Currently they were on a shopping trip.
Ila looked down at the list she had in her hands then addressed her childhood companion. “Just a few more things and then we’ll be done Ranma.” She gazed upon the sack he was carrying and wondered just how he was handling such a heavy amount of things without any signs of straining whatsoever. He wasn’t using that strange spell that allowed him to hide things from sight, but the fact that he was hauling the equivalent of five oxen as if he were toting a feather pillow...
“What?” Ranma asked as he noticed that his friend was giving him a strange look.
“How do you do that?”
“Carry all that and not break your back.” Ila said in wonder. “I mean, it’s no trouble for me to call in a porter and a cart. Come on, tell me the truth. You’re using some kind of weight-reduction spell right?”
Ranma shook his head. “Nope. You know me Ila-chan. I don’t use magic unless I have to. This is just strength training, though it’s nuthin’ like what I usually carry in my pack. And I used to know of a moron who could lift ten times as much.”
“You’ve got to be kidding! Nobody could be THAT strong. That’s just not normal.”
The Rune Soldier chuckled. “Well, it’s not like I could call Pig Boy normal.”
“Forget it. It’s not like I’m EVER gonna see him or any of those other jerks ever again. Besides...”
Ranma stopped in mid-sentence when something wet and cold fell on his cheek. He and Ila looked up in confusion as white flakes began floating down from above.
“That’s impossible!” The bespectacled girl exclaimed. “It’s snowing in the middle of summer?”
Her companion nodded as he continued to watch the unexpected snowfall. He also noted that the symbol on Shin’s forehead began to glow. That meant that magic was somehow connected to the bizarre weather. The natural mystical fields of the environment were being disrupted, and the Rune Cat’s senses were especially sensitive to such changes. Something was up, and he hoped that it would not turn into a full-blown disaster. He was already saddled with a Know-Nothing-Know-It-All, two Uncute Tomboys, and now a second Priestess of Mylee, who happened to be the lifelong rival of Melissa.
He did NOT want any more new headaches...
Little did Ranma know that several of his OLD headaches were about to come back into his life...
At the Nekohanten, Cologne was just about to cast her spell. It was the most critical point of the ritual, and she needed no distractions. If she misspoke one word, then there was no telling how the spell would go awry. With all the rare ingredients she had collected, this would be her one and only chance.
Shampoo steeled herself as she stood in the middle of the circle that her great-grandmother had drawn. Soon she would be reunited with her Airen and nothing was going to come between them. No one was going to stop her now.
Unfortunately, several people were converging on the Cat Café with that very thought in mind. Soun and Genma were running like mad, after receiving information from Nabiki that the Amazons somehow had information on Ranma’s whereabouts. They had decided right then and there to drag Ranma back, kicking and screaming if need be, to the Tendo Dojo, where a priest awaited to perform the marriage ceremony. Of course, they neglected to tell Akane about the arrangements, but they decided that she would understand, once she got home from school.
Coming in another direction, Mousse and Ryoga were preparing to interrupt the ritual that Cologne was performing, to ensure that Ranma would never return. They had waited until the Matriarch was already underway with the incantation to catch her off-guard. Once the spell was stopped, their hated rival would stay lost and out of their lives forever. Then Shampoo and Akane would belong to them!
Coming in a third direction, a certain pair of deranged siblings were on their way. Kuno wanted to end Ranma’s life so that the beautiful Akane and the pig-tailed girl would be free to shower their affection for him. Kodachi wanted to find Ranma and make him hers forever. Both had paid huge sums of money for the information that Nabiki had given to them.
And one individual who was on his nightly panty raid, had decided to take a shortcut over the rooftops, and was coincidentally toward the Nekohanten. Now Happosai had been concerned over the disappearance of this pupil and heir, and had gone in search for him, (though he also used the excuse to go on his underwear thievery). Also he wanted to nuzzle in Ranma-chan’s bosom again.
It was at that moment that all four groups came onto the property of Cat Café that everything went wrong.
Cologne was just nearing the end of the incantation as the shards of the Mystic Pendant began to glow. It was then that a large pounding was heard on the front door and an adjacent wall was blown out.
Simultaneously, just as Happosai landed on the roof of the restaurant, a section of it caved in, dropping the perverted martial artist into the room below, just where Cologne was just about to complete the spell. A certain Lost Boy and Hidden Weapons fighter rushed into the room through the hole they had made, followed by the Kuno siblings. Soun and Genma broke down the door and forced their way in.
Cologne could only let off a old Chinese swear as the spell enveloped everyone present.
In the other world…
Ranma leaned against the wall in Genie’s cabin as he and Ila spoke with Melissa, Genie, Merrill, and Isabelle about the strange weather they were experiencing. In his arms, he casually stroked his Rune Cat. The feline’s symbols were occasionally flickering and he was a bit restless.
“Master Banarel?” Ranma said after Ila had explained about a letter she had recently received from an old instructor. “I don’t remember that name at the Academy.”
“I’m not surprised Ranma.” Ila affirmed. “He was the one who taught me the basics of magic before I met you and attended the Academy. He had discovered some ancient magical devices that dated back to the time of the Old Magic Kingdom. He left the Academy to devote his life to study it, long before you and I started there. In his letter, he said that he finally unlocked the secret to controlling these devices. The machines were supposed to be able to control the weather.”
“Whoa. Hold on.” He gestured with a thumb to window, which depicted snow continually falling. “So you’re saying that this strange weather we’re having is because your old teacher is messing around with nature? No wonder Shin has been acting up.”
The bespectacled girl nodded as she explained. “As you know Ranma, the weather is controlled by the spirits of nature. When the water spirits are dominant, it rains. When the fire spirits are in control, the sun shines. However, when the balance is upset, we get tornadoes, floods, droughts and so on. Shin is a Rune Cat and is attuned to the mystical forces that govern the environment.”
“So what you are saying is that the spirits must really be angry to create weather like this.” Genie surmised. “And it’s all because of one old magician?”
“Is that possible?” Merrill inquired.
Ila shrugged her shoulders. “Possible but it’s not easy. I’m not sure if it was done right.”
“You’re not sure?” Isabelle asked.
Ranma nodded. “Well, just remember that we’re talking about controlling the weather over a large area here, and also that the device is from ancient times. There aren’t many records of those machines from the Old Magic Kingdom, and what we do have at the Academy’s Archives are pretty sketchy.”
“I see. So what you’re saying, is that this Banarel is now experimenting with a device that could destroy Ohfun, due to the fact that he may not know how to properly operate it?”
“That’s it in a nutshell.”
“Sorry. Old saying from where I come from.”
Melissa shook her head. “With such power, one could easily conquer a kingdom or two. This is definitely against my will.”
Ranma snorted a bit and said a quiet, but sarcastic tone. By this time, he had gotten tired of hearing her say the same thing. “Since when is something NOT against your will?”
Melissa gave her Valiant Champion a glare. Why was he STILL speaking so crudely to her, and yet showing her rival such courtesy?
Ranma sighed as he turned to his childhood friend. “Let me guess. You need help investigating this, right?”
“You know me well, Ranma. So will you…?”
“Come on, Ila-chan. You should know by now that I’ll always lend a hand whenever you need it.”
It was then that Melissa perked up a bit. Such an adventure would surely bring fame and recognition to her Hero, thereby finally showing to all that she was not tied to a rude, and ill-mannered boor. “I think that…”
“It’s wonderful!” Isabelle cut in. “This will be SO exciting! It will be my first adventure beside my Valiant Champion! I shall do everything in my power to assist you, Ranma!”
“Uh, thanks.” The Rune Soldier said as he was unused to getting such eagerness from a priestess of Mylee.
Melissa gave her rival a bit of a hard look. Why was she so energetic? This was Ranma they were talking about. Well, she’ll change her tune when she got to know him better.
An hour later, Ranma and his group were trudging through the forest. Shin was draped over his right shoulder. Of course, the two Mylee priestesses were honor-bound to follow their champion. Both Genie and Merrill were tagging along after Ila had promised to pay the two a reward for assisting her in her mission to confront her old mentor. As always, Merrill was busy figuring out the amount of money she was going to make in this endeavor. Ranma had even pointed out that Magic Guild might reward them for bringing in the magical device.
As they made their way through the snow-covered grounds, Ranma took on an introspective expression. Isabelle was the first to notice it.
“What is it, my Champion?”
Ranma nodded to her. “I’m feeling that we’re missing someone from our group.”
Genie’s eyes furrowed a bit. “Oh? And are you suggesting that we’re not up to the task?”
“Don’t get me started, Ms. I-Can’t-Fight-Without-A-Weapon. What I meant was that since the spirits are really ticked off right now, it might be good to have a spiritualist in our group. You know, someone who can talk and control the spirits?”
“An excellent idea!” Isabelle remarked. “Now that is the kind of thinking that marks a True Hero!”
Melissa felt like throwing up. She just couldn’t stand the fact that her rival was kissing up to this lout, and that Ranma was being so civil to Isabelle. He had done nothing to deserve such praise. Okay, so he said something that made perfect sense, but did he have to insult Genie like that? She then decided to get in a word edgewise. (1)
“I thought your Rune Cat was already attuned to the spirits of nature. Couldn’t we use him as our spiritual link?”
Ranma snorted a bit. “Ila and I said that Shin is ATTUNED to the spirits of nature, but most of his magical abilities are internal, not external. We never said that he could call spirits up and control them. If he could, then I would have never suggested that we need a spiritualist.”
Isabelle nodded in agreement, while giving her rival a smug look. “Yes, it makes sense. Please listen more carefully to what our Hero says, especially when he says something important.”
Melissa barely managed to rein in her anger, when suddenly a gust of wind blew in, causing the group to stop in their tracks. Then, as suddenly as suddenly as it appeared, it died down. Then Ranma looked up as he sensed a familiar presence come floating down toward them.
Celecia the elf smiled as she landed lightly on her feet. She was dressed in a forest green outfit that was used to glide on the winds. She nodded to the Rune Soldier.
“It’s been a while, Ranma.”
A little later…
“So you’re here as punishment for letting us into your village the last time, right?” Ranma asked as he and his group continued on their way toward Banarel’s castle. Currently, he and the elf were a little ahead of the others as Ranma wanted to speak in private with Celcia.
She nodded. “Yes. Father told me that I had to find out what was causing all of the disruption in the elemental spirits. He suspects that this is the work of a human who has access to some ancient magic that is causing this chaos in nature.”
“Well, he’s got some good intuition for a stubborn old goat, no offense Celecia.” Ranma replied. “We’re on our way to an old wizard’s place because Ila thinks that he may be cause of all this funky weather we’re having.”
“Excuse me, what does ‘funky’ mean?”
“Sorry. Old expression where I come from. It means strange or odd. In any case, I was just wondering about having a spiritualist in our group and since we’ve got the same goal in mind, why don’t we join forces?”
“Well, actually I hoping that I would be able to join your group. Though I don’t know just how much help I can be with the nature spirits in the condition they’re in right now.”
“Hey, it’s okay. It’s good that you’ll help us. Sometimes I think elves are a lot more sensible than SOME humans I know of.” He made a quick glance at Ms. Know-Nothing-Know-It-All, Ms. I-Can’t-Fight-Without-a-Weapon, and Ms. I-Shouldn’t-Be-So-Greedy. “Man, it’s been a while since I’ve traveled with an elf in a group.”
“You’ve traveled with elves before?” Celecia inquired with interest. She had assumed that she and her tribe were the only elves Ranma knew of.
“Oh yeah. It was about two years ago. I went traveling past the kingdom of Ohfun. I ended up on some really big island and I met up with a headstrong guy and his High Elf companion. I ended up fighting alongside them against some dragons and stuff. They were some of the best people I ever met.”
“Really? Sounds interesting. Tell me more.”
At that moment, a certain rival of Melissa’s walked up to them, along with Ila, happened to have Shin perched on her shoulder. Naturally, Isabella wanted to get closer to her new hero, and after hearing from Ila about how he and Melissa didn’t get along, she saw this as the perfect opportunity to one up on her competition.
“What’s this I hear about my champion?” Isabelle inquired. “You’ve been to somewhere beyond Ohfun’s borders? How exciting! I want to hear more!”
Ranma smiled slightly. Sure it was blatant flattery on her part, but at the very least she was doing something that Ms. Know-Nothing-Know-It-All had yet to do… which was to ask.
Walking behind them at a distance of over twenty paces, Melissa and her companions looked upon Ranma with disdain. The Mylee priestess gave her rival an especially harsh glare. To her, Isabelle was just doing some more fawning over that boorish lout. Genie and Merrill were of the same mind and wondered why he was in the lead for this mission. It was then that they heard an excited cry from the other Mylee priestess.
“REALLY?! YOU WERE THERE?! YOU ACTUALLY MET THEM?!”
Ranma nodded as he reached into one of his pockets and showed her a small shiny object, then put it away. Ila smiled with pride, and even Celecia seemed impressed.
Although this piqued the curiosity of the three, they remained silent as they didn’t want to give Ranma the satisfaction of knowing that they were interested. The sooner this mission was over and they collected their reward, the sooner they could get away from the source of all their woes.
It was then that Ranma signaled to them as he and the others stopped at a clearing in the forest. When the entire group was together, he turned to Celecia.
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
Celecia nodded and replied, “I must know the full extent and damage this wizard has done to the nature spirits. If I am to be of any use to you, then I need to see if I can call and control them.”
“Okay, it makes sense.”
Isabelle nodded in agreement. “An excellent idea my Champion!” Ila nodded as well, as she always trusted in Ranma’s judgment.
Melissa scowled a bit, even though it did make sense. Genie and Merril said nothing, though they did ready themselves in case something went wrong. Which in Ranma’s case, was always for them.
The elf walked out toward the center of the clearing and started to chant. The wind began to swirl about as she invoked the summoning spell to call upon the air spirits. At first, everything seemed to be going well. Then suddenly, Celecia let off a scream as something went wrong…
(1) Melissa is now competing with Isabelle, so of course, she is having a harder time keeping her composure. In the original Rune Soldier anime, whenever she gave Louie a compliment, it was always in a condescending tone. Guess she can’t take what she dishes out, so it’s going to be a while before she finally realizes that she has to show courtesy, in order to receive it.