RUNE SOLDIER RANMA

Disclaimer: Help! Iíve started writing about characters that donít belong to me and I canít stop!

*Note: This story begins sometime after the Moxibustion Point storyline.

< >: Thoughts

Prologue

Starting Over

Ranma Saotome, heir to the Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts, sighed as he limped home. Today had been an especially bad day. It had begun during lunch at school as his uncute fiancée had decided to poison, er treat him to what she had referred to as lunch. Of course, his mouth had moved faster than his head and he had told Akane that a true martial artist shouldnít resort to biological warfare. And like clockwork, the youngest daughter of Soun Tendo did not take kindly to his rude, but honest opinion of her attempts at culinary creation. She was all set to try for her record at sending Ranma into LEO, when who should appear but...

"AIREN!"

"RANMA HONEY!"
"RANMA DARLING!"

And of course, when these three showed up, guess who is not too far behind?

"RANMA, PREPARE TO DIE!"

"RANMA SAOTOME, YOU FOUL SORCERER! RELEASE AKANE TENDO AND THE PIGTAILED GIRL!"

"CHARRRRRRRGE!"

"SHAMPOO IS MINE!"

Well, you get the picture. Just another normal day.

After fending off those who wanted him dead, and evading those who wanted to marry him in a long and intense running chase/battle, Ranma ended up with a collection of bumps, bruises and cuts, as well as a sprain in his left leg, hence the limp. The entire debacle had reduced several blocks of Nerima and the surrounding districts into disaster areas. One can bet that insurance rates skyrocketed, while property values plummeted.

Ranma groaned as it was near sunset when he finally made it back to the Tendo home. His faceís appearance was one of great depression and contemplation. As he came through the door, he was greeted by Kasumi.

"Hello Ranma. You missed dinner."

The pigtailed seventeen-year-old sighed and nodded. "Yeah, well I ended up near Mount Fuji today and I kind of hurt my leg. It took me longer to get back."

"Oh you poor dear. Here, let me help you with that leg."

----------

"There we are." The eldest Tendo sister said as she finished wrapping up Ranmaís ankle. Currently, he was sitting on his futon in the guestroom.

Genmaís son smiled as he admired her handiwork. "Thanks Kasumi. Youíre pretty good at this. You ought to be a nurse."

The brown-haired girl blushed a bit at the simple compliment. "Iíve been watching Dr. Tofu at his clinic, and Iíve had some practice with tending to Akaneís injuries whenever she trained. When I was young, I had dreamed of going to Tokyo University to become a nurse, but when mother died..."

"You had to take care of the family, right?" Ranma finished as he showed some unexpected insight.

Kasumi was a bit surprised to have Ranma understand her situation. Ever since he had come to her home, she had always thought that he only cared about the martial arts.

Ranma noted her puzzlement and gave her a lopsided smile and a shrug of his shoulders. "Hey, even I noticed how much you do for this family and how you put up with Pops and me. We can be real stupid jerks sometimes, especially with the trouble we cause."

"Oh no! Youíre no trouble at all and..."

"Hey, you don't have to sugarcoat it." Ranma said as he held up a hand. "Iíve had a lot of time to think about it while walking back here, and I just realized that I never really shown any appreciation for what youĎve done for me since I came here."

"Please, you really donít..."

"No, let me finish. I need to say this to you. Kasumi, you deserve better than this. You shouldnít have to put up with a freeloading dope like me or Pops. And Iím to blame for a lot of stuff thatís put you and the rest of your family through the wringer. Iíve got a big mouth that I don't know how to shut. Iím way too cocky for my own good. And I just don't know how to get out of the messes that I get into, either by me or because of Pops."

"Ranma... Iíve never heard you talk like this before. Usually, youíre always so sure of yourself."

"Yeah, well that last fight made me start thinking about some stuff and it finally got through my thick skull that my life is a total mess. The constant fights, the fiancées, the people after me because of something Pops did, my own ego... I guess itís all starting to get to me."

"Ranma..."

The martial artist took a deep sigh. "You know Kasumi, at times like this, I really wish I could go back and restart my life."

----------

The Cat Café...

"What is that great-grandmother?" Shampoo asked as she saw her relative with a strange-looking pendant.

Cologne smiled as she held up the ancient heirloom. "Itís a very old, very precious heirloom of our family. Itís a magical pendant, which is able to grant the bearer a single wish. It is one of the few treasures that Happosai had not stolen all those years ago."

The purple-haired girlís eyes lit up as she thought of the possibilities of such a magical item. "Aiyah! Is really true, great-grandmother?"

The Amazon Elder smiled as she could guess what her heir was thinking of. "Yes, child. This could finally be the thing to bring son-in-law into the tribe. However, there are a few stipulations to this necklace. First of all, it can only be used once every five hundred years, and only outside during a full moon. Thatís the main reason why I havenít used it before. Secondly, the person must carefully phrase the wish, as the pendant will fulfill the wish word for word. It may take the wish literally and there have been records of a wish going totally awry. Finally, once you have made the wish, you cannot undo it, nor do you have any say as to how the wish will be fulfilled."

"Aiyah! Must be very careful."

Cologne nodded. "Indeed. And tonight is the night, in which the pendant will be active. By midnight, Ranma will finally be yours."

"Shampoo cannot wait!" The Amazon said happily as she began to dream of her life with Ranma as her loving husband.

----------

Another Amazon became very excited as he heard of the Elderís explanation of the necklace. Mousse had been listening in on the conversation and saw this as the best opportunity to finally claim Shampoo as his bride. Now the trick was to get that pendant away from Cologne. Knowing that he didnít stand a chance in defeating the old crone in physical combat, he instead decided to use his Jusenkyo curse to his advantage. Quickly spotting a bucket of cold mop water, he dumped it over his head and waited for the right moment near the doorway to the restaurant.

As Cologne and Shampoo were heading toward the front door to make the wish, the duck-boy tensed up from behind a stool, then when he saw the magical necklace, took off and snagged the chain in his bill.

"What the...?!" Cologne had been taken by surprise, as she had not expected Mousse to try and steal her magical item in his Jusenkyo form. She could only curse after the duck as it soared away into the night sky.

----------

Mousse was elated as he flew high above the city of Tokyo with the necklace in his bill. The full moon was rising toward his zenith, and he was all set to make his dreams come true. At that moment, the mystical jewelry glowed with an eerie and a strange voice was heard from the pendant.

"What is thy wish?"

Taking special care not to drop it by flying vertically, Mousse made his wish.

"QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!"

(Translation: I wish to be married to Shampoo!)

However, the pendantís response was, "I do not understand. Please state your wish."

The myopic Hidden Weapons Master realized that as a duck, he couldnít speak. He would have to land and find some hot water before making his wish. However, at that moment, Fate had decided to play another joke upon the Mortal Realm, specifically on a certain martial artist who was currently more depressed than Ryoga.

At that moment, the midnight flight from New York to Tokyo was on its way to the airport and with Mousse flying high above the city; he inadvertently wandered into the jetlinerís flight path. Mousse barely managed to swerve out of the way as the huge plane thundered past him, but the duck was caught in the transportís jetwash, causing him to tumble in the air. This made him lose his glasses AND the necklace. His only chance to winning Shampoo plummeted toward the ground. He tried to fly down after it, but with his poor vision and the darkness of night, he lost sight of it within a few seconds.

----------

On the roof of the Tendo Dojo, Ranma sat in silence. He couldnít sleep at the time and had decided to do some more thinking. This had not been a good day.

After Kasumi had tended to his ankle, who should appear but Akane, and she had immediately jumped to the conclusion that Ranma had been flirting with her sister. Ranma had been a heartbeat away from gaining more frequent flyer miles by Air Akane, but Kasumi had chided her sister and explained that she had merely been tending to his wounds, which she added, that Akane had a part in causing.

This made Akane to thinking that Ranma had turned her sister against her and she went on with her temper tantrum, which in turn had her father and Ranmaís father team up, saying that he should apologize to her and have the wedding tomorrow. This got Ranmaís temper steamed and things went downhill from there.

As he sat on the roof, Ranma sighed as he began listing out loud of the things that had caused his life to be such a mess. Unknown to him, a certain magical item was falling toward him. Still intent on granting a wish, the pendant began listening for anyone who was making one. It soon locked onto Ranmaís sorrowful voice.

"Man! My life is total crap! But then again, I really donít have anyone to blame but Pops and myself for that. Iíve got this stupid fear of cats, which I could do without! I may be the best martial artist, but what has that gotten me? Nothing but people after my head, either to kill me or marry me. I don't know much more than what Pops has taught me, and it just seems to get me into more trouble. I donít have the slightest idea how to straighten out this mess! That uncute tomboy never believes me. That Amazon is always trying to trick me. Ucchanís not a friend; sheís also a fiancée. Pops and Mr. Tendo are always harping on me to fulfill that pledge of honor, (damn, I really HATE that). I give nice people like Kasumi more trouble. And on top of all of that, Iíve got a stupid Jusenkyo Curse that gives me nothing but headaches, headaches and more headaches. My life became nothing but crap ever since that stupid training journey. I REALLY wish there was a way that I could start over without those problems!"

At that moment, the pendant fell in front of the young manís face for one brief moment and said, "Wish granted."

Ranma Saotome disappeared within a flash of light and the pendant then shattered into a hundred fragments when it struck the roof tiles. With its destruction, the energies released went out of control, as the magical item did its best to fulfill the parameters of Ranma's unintentional wish.

----------

Ranma groaned as he came to. At first he thought he had fallen asleep on top of the Tendo roof, but immediately found out that he was in a forest with huge trees, and that he was lying near a river. The skies were clear and it was morning. As he looked about, he saw a rustic-looking village in the distance toward the west. His confusion grew as he tried to determine just where he was and how he got there. He decided to wash up at the river and winced as he realized that the water was probably cold. There was a bit of a morning chill in the air, and he decided that he would have to build a fire to heat up some water. Otherwise he would be stuck as a girl for a while.

Without bothering to glance at his reflection, he knelt down at the water's edge and used his hands to splash some water onto his face. He waited for usual tingle that accompanied his transformation from a he to a she, but for some odd reason, it never came. Looking down at his chest, he expected to see a swelling of breast, but all he saw was his flat pectorals. He then looked down the waistband of his pants.

"What the?! I'm cured! I'M CURED!"

However, just as he was about to jump for joy, he looked into his reflection in the water. His eyes widened in disbelief as he saw a face that he not seen in eleven years. It was a really cute face and seemed to emit total innocence and trust to anyone who gazed upon it. Then he looked down at his hands and saw that they weren't quite as well developed as he remembered them to be. And it had just occurred to him that his clothes were very baggy. He was almost swimming in them. Then he realized why everything seemed so big to him.

Ranma was six years old again and it was a safe bet that he wasn't in Nerima any more. The pendant had given him his wish, literally. A chance to start over with none of the problems he had before. He was no longer in the place, which caused him the same headaches. The question was... where was he?

To be continued?