A Ranma 1/2 / Oh! My Goddess crossover story
Disclaimer: Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty and Viz Communications own Ranma 1/2. Kosuke Fujishima, Dark Horse Comics and Studio Proteus own Oh! My Goddess (Ah! Megami-sama).
The sliding door was pulled open slightly, a female head peeking from behind it cautiously. The six-year-old girl looked first right, then left, before visibly relaxing. Taking in a deep breath, she slid the door some more to the side, to allow her to enter her sister's room.
Then, having quietly returned the door to its original state to create an illusion of normalcy, she tiptoed on the garish orange and purple carpet to the large make-up stand there. Sparing a disinterested glance to the cosmetics arranged lovingly on it, the girl jumped above them, hanging in mid-air while defying gravity for several moments, before her hands made contact with the mirror above her sister's make-up stand, making the reflective surface glow in response.
Having successfully sneaked out of her sister's house, Belldandy went down to Earth.
"Weak, worthless boy! You let a weak little girl beat you? And with one attack?!" Genma yelled at his son's charred form. "Don't tell me that you saw a young girl appear out of a sunbeam in this clearing near our camp, thought that to be an impressive skill in the martial arts and challenged her to a match, only to have her call down a lightning bolt on you as a reflex before returning back whence she came from!"
'A full retraining is in order,' the martial artist thought, looking in disgust at the trail of drool escaping from between Ranma's lips, as he twitched occasionally from residual electrical charges. 'At his pathetic level, he won't master the Neko-ken.' Genma frowned. 'Is training the boy anew even worth it? I can go back to Nodoka, hide her sword… it won't even be scary! Then, I can just try for a new kid.'
The martial artist was suddenly struck with a vision of himself, returning home. His cane made steady taps on the cement road, but he stoically endured the noise. Martial artists' lives were fraught with peril, especially if their ancient knees were buckling.
"Honey, I'm home again…." he called out to his loving wife in a gruff voice.
She stepped out of the house, still looking as beautiful as the day he first laid eyes on her through his glasses. Her gaze traveled to the six-year-old failure shuffling his feet at his side, and she sighed, leaning on the empty sheath of her sword. "Not again," she complained, shaking her fist at him. "That's the eighth son I've given you in fifty-six years, dagnabbit! I don't think my spine could take another romp in the sack!"
Nodoka looked like she was about to moan some more the way women always do, when Ranma the VIII went up to her and tugged on her sleeve, saying, "Hey Mom, look what I found buried in the backya— Hey, why is Pop running away?"
Ranma coughed, breaking the nightmarish daydream, a wisp of smoke wafting out from his mouth.
Genma shivered, wiping cold sweat off his face with a handkerchief. "On the other hand, there is no need to be so hasty. It was a rather terrifying technique that took the boy down for the count, after all," he mused out loud. 'Maybe I could concentrate on teaching the boy counters for it. And why stop there? If Ranma could throw lightning bolts, it would make up for his otherwise obviously pathetic martial arts skills.'
"Go to sleep, boy!" Genma commanded in a tone which brooked no argument. "Tomorrow, we'll train you to defeat this weak little girl. Maybe, some time in the future, you'll be able to graduate to fighting boys as well—"
He blinked, stopping mid-sentence. "How weak of you!" Genma wailed, tears streaming down his cheeks as he turned his head heavenwards. "To faint while your master is speaking! Oh, woe is me!"
"Why don't you fight me for real, you jerk?!" a female voice cried out in frustration.
Ranma frowned. "I ain't fighting no guys, is why."
Ukyo blinked, confusion showing on her features. "Why not?" she asked curiously.
Ranma's eyes became distant. "I'm training to defeat this girl. She's so powerful, I bet she could even take Pops out with one blow!
"Besides," he added after staring silently into the horizon for several moments, "fighting guys is pointless, since they're all so weak. No offense, Ucchan."
Ukyo's heart shattered. She had always known that he was going easy on her, but chalked it down to some dumb sexist thing he had. But now that she knew better…. If her Ranchan knew she was a girl, he would be so disappointed in her skills. Would he hate her? Would he stop being her friend?
That day, Ukyo vowed to take her martial arts training seriously. She would become a strong fighter for Ranchan, and then show him what a classy girl she was! But till that day, she would renounce her femininity, as she struggled to master the most demanding school of martial arts in existence — the Anything Goes. It just had to be, since her Ranchan was training in it, and he was the bestest ever!
"Not bad, but I have you now!"
The pretty purple-haired girl only blinked, sending rainwater flying with her eyelids, as the boy facing her raised his right arm skywards. A bolt of lightning came down from the Heavens, impacting against his waiting palm.
Clenching his fist around the crackling energy running down his fingers, Ranma smirked, his eyes flashing wildly. "Face my ultimate technique! Lightning Edge!"
A split second later, his fist impacted against his opponent's stomach, and she arched her back, screaming as voltage coursed through her body.
"She ain't The One, Pop." Ranma snorted. "Gave me the best workout so far, though," he added as an afterthought, respect in his voice.
"Not a bad technique," a wizened old woman commented, pogoing on a stick taller than she was over to the father and son. "Seems to have pretty marginalized uses, though…."
Ranma shrugged. "Well, I dunno about that. All I really need to use it is a good storm, and those always seem to be following me wherever I go, for some reason."
"Why don't we go into my house and discuss this in more detail, while we wait for my great-granddaughter to awaken?" the silver-haired old woman suggested, eyeing Ranma with speculation.
"Your great-granddaughter?" the pigtailed boy asked with a confused expression on his face.
"Ah, where are my manners?" the woman exclaimed. "My name is Cologne, and I am the matriarch of this little but proud village of strong female warriors. And my great-granddaughter is the beautiful, if I may say so myself, girl who you've just defeated in combat, S—"
"Shampoo!" a male voice yelled angrily, causing everyone's heads to turn towards its source. "How dare you hurt my love?!"
Ranma gave a disdainful look at the lengths of chain that the upstart had thrown at him from the sleeves of his robes, and dispersed the leftover electricity through them.
"And that's Mousse, a pest," Cologne continued her introduction with a weary sigh, averting her eyes from the sizzled myopic boy, whose long hair was standing on end in the most impressing imitation of an afro she had ever seen.
Father and son exchanged looks. "I think we'll go and train a bit in the area, before coming back for a visit," Ranma replied.
"That's correct," Genma added. "The storm should be clearing soon, and we must use every chance to train before another comes after Ranma."
"In that case," Cologne said thoughtfully, "there is this ancient training ground nearby…."
"Here, Sirs, is the wondrous blessed training ground of Jusenkyo!" their guide, a portly man in his mid-forties announced, spreading his arms wide. "In this valley, more than a hundred springs lie, each with its own joyous story! To decide on a blessing, two fighters must battle on top of bamboo poles."
"What are you waiting for, Ranma?!" Genma yelled, jumping atop a pole which promptly broke, sending the man crashing into a shallow pool.
Ranma shrugged. "Why go through the trouble of actually fighting? Might as well get this over with as quickly as possible," he muttered, stepping into a nearby spring melancholically and submersing his body for half a minute before coming up for a breath.
"Aiyah!" the guide exclaimed, looking at the wet pigtailed boy in shock. "Mr. Customer doesn't like ancient blessed training ground?" He shook his head sadly. "Where did I go wrong? Was it the presentation? My accent?" Fretting, he tugged at his hair. "I should have offered refreshments first!"
"It's quite all right," Genma said, walking over to the guide and clapping his shoulder reassuringly. "My boy is simply disappointed over his latest match. You see, we have trekked across China after hearing tales of strong women fighters in these parts, and—"
"I can show Mr. Customer to the village!" the guide exclaimed, brightening up immediately. "You are most lucky! Today their annual martial arts tournament is held, and the very best of the current generation will emerge as the undefeated champion!"
"Yeah, we know," Ranma said sullenly.
"We've come here after he had defeated her," Genma elaborated for the guide's sake. "It seems that once the euphoria of his win dissipated, his hopes came crushing down on him."
"You forgot that… that man!" Ranma spat in disgust, wringing water out of his pigtail.
"Oh yes… Ranma hates to figh— excuse me, waste his time on men. One of the resident male martial artists of Joketsuzoku had decided to attack him, with predictable results." Genma shrugged helplessly. "Now that I think about it, I'm not surprised at his foul mood."
The guide didn't respond, as he was busy staring at Ranma, his eyes so wide that they took most of his face. Genma followed his gaze, and boggled. "Ranma, my boy," he said in a guarded tone of voice, "since when did you have another pair of arms?"
Ranma stared at his father defiantly, his arms crossing in front of his chest as another pair of arms finished wringing out the water off his pigtail. "I could ask the same about your new hair, Pop. People in glass houses and all."
Genma reached up to touch his previously-bald head, stabbing his hand on something that had no right being there.
"Ah, yes," the guide finally spoke, having gotten over his shock. "Mr. Customer," he said, pointing at the elder Saotome, "fell into Spiky Hair Spring. The other Mr. Customer took a swim in the Twin Body Spring." Rubbing his chin in thought, he murmured, "It's very strange, though. I've never seen that spring give anyone a second pair of arms before. They just got a second body, either a strong or a weak one, and could control it at will…."
"At will, you say?" Ranma asked suddenly, showing interest in the guide's words.
The Chinese man nodded. "The shadow body was at the user's control, though the level of control varied from person to person. I've seen an especially strong person use it as fully as if it were an extension of their body."
"An extension of my own body…." Ranma mused, a smile slowly appearing on his face, driving away the clouds of anger from earlier.
"I have hair again!" Genma yelled, dancing in the background. "HAIR!"
"That Cologne was a sneaky one, eh Boy?"
Ranma snorted, shifting his backpack farther up his right shoulder as he walked alongside the elder Saotome. Several arrows fell from it, jarred free by the motion. "Leave it up to you to state the obvious, Pop."
"Are you sure she wasn't the one who defeated you that time? She's about the right size, and—"
Ranma's fist impacted against his father's face. "Stupid old man," the pigtailed boy groused, his feet kicking up dust from the rural road. "I know what I saw, and I ain't getting senile!"
Genma rubbed his nose with his right palm. "At least you managed to learn how to use your blessed form from that technique of hers," he said, his eyes becoming moist. "I'm so proud of you picking up the Splitting Cat Hairs after only seeing it once!"
"S'what you taught me to do all my life, Pop," Ranma replied, shifting his balance from his right foot to the left in slight discomfort at the unusual praise. "Besides, I ain't gonna call it like that."
"Ranma Saotome, I've come to—"
"I challenge you!" Ranma announced loudly, before settling into an aggressive stance. "You may have won against me once, but now is the rematch… and Ranma Saotome doesn't stay beaten for long!" Facing off the beautiful brown-haired teenage girl, he intoned, "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"
Looking at the hundreds of copies of Ranma surrounding her, each one cracking his knuckles, Belldandy involuntarily took a step back. "Eep."
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