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Happosai's life of DOOM: Chapter 4, Phoenix Rising.
by
Rebecca Ann Heineman

Ranma 1/2 and the characters therein are the property of Rumiko Takahashi. Oh! My Goddess characters were created by Fujishima Kosuke.

I don't own these characters. Please don't sue me, kill me, sue me, kill me, sue me, kill me, sue me, kill me...



In the quiet of the early afternoon, the Tendo compound was calm, with only the sound of a distant bird breaking the silence. The noonday sun shone in its brilliance, warming the ground with an affection that was very much like the love in the heart of the woman working in the kitchen. Kasumi, hummed to herself as she washed a dish. She paused as she felt something wasn't right and looked up into the daytime sky. The tranquility of the yard was quickly broken as a boy sporting a thick mop of black hair, tied in a pig-tail, came screaming down to Earth. "AAAAAAHHHHH!"

Waving his arms in unison in an unsuccessful attempt to fly, he hit the surface of the pond with a huge splash, sending a torrent of water temporarily up into the air and back down again. The koi occupying the sloshing body of water just accepted this as business as usual.

Kasumi, standing in the kitchen near the sink, looked up from the dishes she was washing to see a red-haired girl emerge from the koi pond dripping wet and angry. The Tendo put down the sparkling clean dish she was holding and took a towel from a rack, and wiped her hands dry with the white cloth. She reached over into the cupboard, extracted a heavily abused teakettle and filled it with water. She turned on a small heating pad and set the teakettle on it without a conscious thought about her actions. It was then she realized the possible error of her ways. She debated for a moment about turning off the burner due to current circumstances, but she decided that maybe today was the day things would change for the better.

She glided out of the kitchen and she slid open the door leading to the backyard, all the while, whistling a happy tune. She patiently held out a towel for the drenched girl to take. "Here you are, Ranko." She made sure to put some emphasis on the feminine version of Ranma's name.

Ranko sighed at the normality of the unusual chain of events. She reached out to take the towel, only to notice that she was still wearing handcuffs. With a flick of her wrists, she snapped the metal links binding the handcuffs together. Taking the offered towel, she vigorously rubbed herself with it to dry off. "Thanks Kasumi. Do you have any hot water?"

Kasumi stopped herself from answering that the kettle would be ready in a few minutes. She looked left and right to see if anyone was nearby to overhear the conversation. She leaned slightly forward and whispered to her brother-in-law to be. "You should stay in your girl form right now. We have company."

"We do?" Ranko blinked.

Nodoka Saotome, Ranma's mother, came out of the laundry room carrying a large basket filled with freshly washed clothes. She gave a motherly smile at her favorite Tendo. "Hello, Ranko. Nice to see you again."

"We do." Ranko moaned.

"Beg your pardon?" Nodoka asked. Ranko glanced at her wrists and decided that she didn't want to explain the handcuffs to her "aunt" just yet. She hid both of her hands behind her back, giving a cute girlish smile to draw her mother's attention to her face and not to her hands.

The Saotome matriarch paused for a moment and then glanced at the clock on the wall after realizing that Tendo tomboy was home before lunchtime on a school day. She asked to see if there was reason school was dismissed early. She had heard rumors of Furinkan's odd principal and hoped nothing newly strange had happened. "Did school let out early today?"

She scratched the back of her head nervously. "Heh... You could say that. But... I... Er... I think we're going to have more company in a minute or two." Kasumi took the cue and went back into the kitchen to prepare more tea. The incoming guests were going to be thirsty.

Ranma's mother raised an eyebrow in curiosity. "What's that on your wrist?" She pointed a finger at Ranko's hand, giving a approving grin. "I didn't know you were into that. Have you been with my son for long?" Visions of her manly boy, having his way with this beautiful girl filled her mind with thoughts of the eventual grandchildren.

Ranko froze, turned her eyes to the handcuff she had inadvertently exposed, then instantly swung her arm behind her back. "Uh... It's... Uh... All the guys... I mean.. Girls are wearing them." She gave a cute smile again. "It's the uh... latest fashion, yeah, that's it."

"You've never wanted to wear jewelry before." The elder mused, still thinking about how Ranko was Ranma's secret mistress. She was going to have a private talk with Ranko about the subject of being a more discreet lover to Ranma in the near future. "Have you changed your mind, Dear? We could go shopping for some earrings for you. I know this great jewelry store and they'll pierce your ears for free."

"Oh, man." Ranko groaned while still keeping her cute girl face on. "Sure, Mom, how about next month?" Or never, she silently wished.

Nodoka shuddered at hearing the word Mom. It reminded her just how much she missed her son, yet coming from this girl, it seemed to be the most natural way to be addressed. Her thoughts were in painful and joyful confusion as she loved this girl before her and hoped that very soon, she would be able to hold her son alongside Ranko as a family. For now, she had Ranko, and she wanted to get closer to her. She couldn't understand why, but this girl needed her and deep inside, she needed her as well. She remembered seeing a set of earrings that would look beautiful on Ranko and would match her vibrant red hair. That's it! A shopping expedition is just the thing to help get Ranko to stop being such a tomboy and be more like a traditional Japanese girl. "Why wait? We could go this evening."

Ranko needed an excuse and it had to be made now. Pierced ears weren't exactly manly. Seppuku contract or not, Ranma the guy, wasn't ever going to have pierced ears. "I've uh... Mmm... Got homework! Yeah, I gotta catch up with my homework."

"What subject? Maybe I can help you." She gave a look that couldn't be resisted. A happy shine of a mother wanting to help her child and Ranko desperately wanted to get closer to her mother.

The tiny girl replied with just a tinge of sadness. She wanted spend some time with her mother but couldn't because she had to keep up the deception that she was Ranko Tendo instead of Ranma Saotome, her son. "Sorry, M... Auntie Saotome, but I really need to study tonight."

Kasumi held back a chuckle.

"I'm proud of you, Ranko. A good education is necessary for you to be a good wife. Perhaps if you hurry, we could have some time later to get you those earrings." With a happy smile, she left to the laundry room.

It took a few moments for Ranko to stop being depressed about her mother's comment about being a good wife. Every time Mrs. Saotome said that, it cut her to the bone.

The elder Tendo sister spoke from the kitchen. "You should tell her."

Sighing, the red-head tiptoed away to a large rock in the backyard. She tapped her left handcuff on the stone to shatter the steel band into tiny pieces. She thought to herself about her ten year adventure with her dad. "Gee, Pop's special training sure came in handy. With the number of times he got busted..." She shattered the other handcuff with the same ease as the first. "I've had a lot more practice doing this than I ever needed in my life."

Kasumi smiled and blissfully ignored just why Ranko had arrived wearing handcuffs. "Are your friends going to be staying? How many shall I expect to stay for lunch?"

Brushing off the last fragments of metal from her hand, Ranko rubbed her wrists to loosen up the muscles after being constrained for so long. "Oh, seven, maybe ten... You know how it goes." She scratched the back of her head with more vigor and grinned.

"I'll have lunch ready for everyone in ten minutes." Kasumi went back to the kitchen to gather the ingredients for a typical crowd of Ranko's fans. Nodoka came back from the laundry. "We're expecting company."

"Of course, here, let me help." She took some plates from the cupboard to help set the table, thinking about how many grandchildren that three or four mistresses would produce.

Ranko groaned quietly. "Mom's here. That's just great." In the distance, she could hear the fiance brigade approach. "Oh man, I've gotta hide."

Shampoo's bike sailed through the air, clearing the wall, and landed next to the dojo. She dropped the kick stand and happily bounced toward the object of her overzealous affection. "Airen! Shampoo come to take you home!"

An instant later, Kodachi flipped over the wall and landed on her toes. She followed Shampoo's charge with her gaze expecting her love to be where the Amazon was running to. She happily called out to her imaginary lover. "Ranma darling!" She saw the red head instead of her boyfriend-to-be and turned red with rage. She pointed a gymnastic pin at the hussy. "YOU! What have you done with my beloved!"

Ukyou stood on the lip of the wall, snickering at Kodachi's statement. "You're such a ditz. Hey sugar! You can hide out with me!" She waved at her childhood friend.

Ranko ran toward the center of the backyard to gain some distance from her mother before one of the girls blew her cover. Kodachi ignored the girl for now and went to the back door to greet the elder.

Nodoka welcomed the new arrival with open arms. She made mental notes that the leotard clad girl had excellent child bearing hips. "Young lady, Kodachi's your name, isn't it? Have you seen Ranma?"

Going into her prim and proper mode that only a Kuno was capable of, she returned the greeting with a respectful bow. "Why yes, mother. I followed him oof..." Shampoo impaled a bonbori into Kodachi's belly.

"Crazy girl no harm Airen." She pressed her attack by taking aim at Kodachi's skull. A place that most people would agree would cause the least amount of permanent damage.

Kodachi backflipped to avoid the incoming blow. "You hussy, you want Ranma darling for yourself."

Ukyou jumped into the fray, gently pushing Mrs. Saotome aside to keep her out of harms away. She pulled her giant baker's peel from her back and brought it forward. She growled at the other two girls. "Ranchan is mine and mine alone!"

The three girls wasted no time exchanging blows and formed a dust cloud with weapons protruding from the melee.

"Ranma darling is under my protection!"

"Shampoo protect Airen!"

"Back off you two! Ranchan is mine!"

"Only a Kuno can bring him justice!"

"Airen is Amazon ambassador!"

"I'm his cute fiancee, you Jackasses!"

Nodoka held her hands together in awe. "My son is so manly. He has an entire harem fighting over him."

Ranko watched her mother's expression while Nodoka swooned with delight, then held her head down, shedding a tear in sadness. "Yeah, right." She stood forlorn at the edge of one of the koi ponds, looking at her reflection in the surface of the still water. Cupping a breast with her hand, she had all the proof she needed to fear her mother. Fear that she couldn't live up to her mother's over imagined idea of the perfect man-among-men. She took a deep breath and looked hard at the image on the pond, letting sadness take hold. "This is so manly? Yeah, right. I hate this curse."

Akane stood next to the compound wall feeling sorry for herself. She had watched the entire battle with the other girls at first with morbid glee, then softened as she watched her fiance mope by the pond. Noticing Ranko's mood, she regretted how she had treated her and felt sympathy about her plight. She whispered. "Oh Ranma, I'm sorry." She dropped her mallet, releasing the anger that came with it and she slid to the ground. "I... I... I didn't mean to..." The young Tendo wished she could see her mother again. Her mother would know what to say to make things better. She always did.

Ranko sat on the large rock, not caring about the carnage occurring only five meters away, feeling even sorrier for herself than before. Her own mother wanted a son that Ranko believed she could never become, at least, not as long as she was burdened with her curse. She felt utterly alone.

Akane shared the feeling. She was silent and lonely. In a courtyard full of people, she too was alone.



"Happosai, rise!" Hild lifted her arm above her head in a grand gesture to welcome her latest minion. "Time for you to get to work."

Happosai stirred, raising his hand to his forehead. "Why'd you have to hit me so hard?"

Looking over her handiwork in the form of dark marks on Happosai's face, she doubled checked for any mistakes in the transformation. Finding none, she declared in her mind that the descent into demonhood was a complete success. "I didn't hit you as you claim. I created your connection to my realm and it required an update your spiritual essence. Four out of five demons recommend the procedure and would gladly do it again. I take it that you're the one out of five. Pity."

"Hey!" Happosai jumped up into a stance, hands at the ready for punching or... Well... You know... Touching? "You said it wouldn't hurt! What other promises do you plan on breaking?"

"Hmm... What do you know about the promise system?"

"I know enough that if you make a promise, you've got to fulfill it."

Hild laughed at the remark. "That's for those goody two shoes upstairs. Demons find promises more like a guideline than a rule. However..." She produced a small dagger in her hand. "A contract signed in blood is much more binding."

Happosai took a step back to stay out of slashing range. "I ain't signing anything!"

"You already did." She pointed her dagger to the ground, bringing to the lecher's attention a parchment with microscopic writing in the language of the gods on it. Happosai tried to read the document, squinting his eyes at the tiny dots and dashes that made up the ancient alphabet. The moment he read the title, since it was in a large font in Japanese and really the only thing that was legible, the scroll vanished in a puff of smoke. "Don't mind the fine print, I've got the best lawyers, in fact, all of the lawyers that ever lived working on the text. It's pretty iron clad."

Happosai crossed his arms in defiance. "I don't remember signing it."

Smiling in smug satisfaction, the white haired dark queen lovingly gazed at the razor sharp blade of the dagger. "If I got a yen for every time someone said that to me..." There was a small amount of blood still remaining on the cold metal giving away the fact that the act of contract consummation had already transpired. "But of course, you were unconscious at the time. After all, you did say yes to my initial proposal."

The balding old man was furious at having been so close to a pretty girl and not being awake to enjoy it. He raised his battle aura in preparation for a fight. "That's not fair!"

"You're in hell, darling! Of course it's not fair. Nothing's fair here. Now, about your first assignment..."

The excitement level in the old pervert's body began a change. He felt a tingling sensation as his spine shifted. "Just what did you do to me?" Happosai felt bulges coming out of his back as his battle aura grew in strength. He reached behind and grabbed one of the tail-like appendages and yanked it forward. Holding the pink snake like fleshy thing, he shouted at his new boss his distaste for whatever it was. "What the heck is this?"

The demon queen held a hand over her mouth to control her laughter. "You mean you don't know? Tentacles are standard equipment for any lust demon."

With a straight face from years of not really knowing what he was supposed to do with a woman, he answered. "What use are these things?"

"You're kidding, right?"

Happosai coiled up the tentacle and tossed it like a rope. "Hmmm... I can find some uses for this. I think." He pulled the fleshy rope back and used it like a set of nunchaku. "It will take a little while for me to perfect a technique with this."

Hild's eyes twitched. "You're kidding, RIGHT?"

The pervert twirled one of his many tentacles over his head like a lasso. "Okay, this can come in handy. Although I think it will hurt if I tie a loop at the end if it." He gently tied the end into a hoop. "Hmm... I guess not, although it sure feels funny when I rub it."

Hild's eyes were really twitching. "Oh, c'mon, you know what you're supposed to do with that. You're been molesting women for over three hundred years for crying out loud."

"Women?" The demonic gnome's eyes gleamed. "Yes, I know what I'm supposed to do with this." He focused his attention on Hild for a moment and a pair of vines sprang out and hit their marks. They landed on the ground on the left and right sides of Hild, snaked upward under her dress and yanked her panties off. With a fluid motion perfected from Anything Goes martial arts, the panties were in Happosai's clenched fist.

He danced around, retracting his new body parts into his back. "Yes! I've freed you my silky darling!"

Hild shot a fireball at the ecstatic sex demon, hurling him into a stone cave wall. She waved her hand, teleporting her underwear back to where it belonged. "Here's a standing order for you. Hands off my merchandise!"

Sliding down from the wall, Happosai groaned. "P-P-pretty lady..."

A scroll bounced off his head from Hild's perfect aim. "Read your assignment and perform your duties. I'll be evaluating your performance after your job's completion. You'll find the chant you need to return to the mortal realm inscribed within."

Grasping the scroll, the old freak used it like a crutch to get back up. "Hey, what do I get out of this?"

"Perhaps you need a reminder." Instantly, the cave of fire and brimstone became a women's bathhouse filled with elderly women, very elderly. Happosai became a statue in terror. "Now, you see, I can make things difficult for you."

An instant later, they were back inside the cave of pain and fire. "Read your assignment. It explains everything. Besides, a deal's a deal." Hild vanished in a anti-flash of sheer darkness.

Happosai smiled. He opened his hand, finding Hild's bra in it. "Don't worry my darling, you're safe now."



A kilometer away from the Tendo compound, sat a bridge over a canal. Ranma sat on the embankment of the canal under the bridge gathering his thoughts. Earlier, he had made a quick stop at a gas station restroom to get the hot water needed to regain his birth form. He looked around for any sign of the three fiancees he had left behind as they all huddled around his mother, nursing the wounds they inflicted on each other, and discussing how manly Ranma was. They were too busy trying to win Nodoka's blessing for their union with him, that they forgot he was there. That last fact, suited him just fine since it allowed him to sneak away since Nodoka was about to take the women out to the shopping mall.

He watched the afternoon sun move slowly behind the drifting clouds, passing the time away. A gentle breeze blew some dry leaves along the ground, giving a scraping sound that interrupted Ranma's meditation.

"Why?" He looked at the sky, expecting no answer to his repeated prayers. "Do I have to turn into a girl?" He laid back on the concrete with his arms behind his head like a pillow. "Why can't I find a cure?"

Akane sat in the shadows, watching over her fiance. Desperately wanting to be near him, but not wanting to start another fight. Waves of empathy emerged from the young Tendo as she felt compassion for Ranma's plight.

"Oh ancestors, what should I do?" Ranma sighed. "Give me a sign."

A clap of thunder was heard from the heavens and ten seconds of rain drenched the red head. "Okay. It's official. You hate me."



"Special delivery for a Mr..." The truck driver glanced down at his manifest to refresh his memory. "Soun Tendo."

Kasumi gawked at the contents of the flatbed truck that had just loudly lumbered in front of the Tendo compound. "Are you sure that my father ordered all of this? We haven't had much damage to the dojo recently."

Tossing his cigarette off to the side, much to Kasumi's distaste, the rough man began to get impatient. "Hey lady, I just deliver the goods. Is Mr. Tendo here to sign for this or not? I haven't got all day."

"I'll get him." Kasumi bowed, not taking her eyes off the massive amount of wood that awaited her father. She stepped inside and called out to her parent. "Father! There's a delivery here for you."

Instantly, a jovial Mr. Tendo appeared in the doorway, wearing a brown martial arts robe and a giant smile and having not a care in the world. "Excellent! Please, please bring this out back."

"Sign here and I'll get my boys to unload everything."

Soun scanned the inventory list for any errors. "I see you had enough gasoline cans to fill my order."

"Mind my asking Sir, but are you planning on having a block party? We usually don't get orders for two hundred kilos of charcoal briquettes."

"Why yes, it is a party!" He danced a silly jig. "Everyone is invited."

Kasumi held her hands to her mouth in surprise. "Father, I don't really think that this is proper."

Holding his daughter's shoulders, Soun beamed with happiness and joy. "The Master deserves nothing less! We must give him a proper send off!"

Moments later, a giant pile of firewood, bags of charcoal, numerous gasoline cans, and coils of rope were stacked in the backyard. Genma and Soun held their hands at their hips, gazing at the bounty before them.

Genma thrust out his chest. "I never thought I'd see the day."

"Same here Saotome, this is a great day to be alive. It's like ten years ago."

Genma sulked a bit. "Of course, he came back you know."

Slapping the bald man on the back, Soun cheered, "but he's not coming back this time! Your son has done the world a great service."

"Indeed. I knew my boy was going to prove himself to be a man." Perhaps now, his wife would tear up the contract? He secretly hoped.

Soun beamed proudly. "Yes, he has proven himself to be worthy of marrying my daughter."

Giving a devilish grin, Mr. Saotome leered at his friend. "Are you pondering, what I'm pondering? Eh, Tendo?"

Deep in thought, the elder Tendo nodded. "I think so Saotome. But where're we going to get enough marshmallows for all of the guests in this short notice?"

"Good idea! Didn't think of that." Now that he did, his stomach growled for some food. "But I was referring to my son and your daughter's little problem."

"I'll call the minister at once!"

The two danced a jig together exclaiming in unison. "The houses will be joined! The master is gone! This is the happiest day of our lives!"

Kasumi watched the spectacle from afar. "Father, don't you think you're overreacting?"

Soun and Genma held one hand in the air and spun in a circle in a celebratory dance. Her father replied. "I don't think we're doing enough! Kasumi, order marshmallows and hot dogs! We're having a roast!"

Kasumi shook her head in displeasure. "Oh, father."



Cologne entered the morgue holding a stack of papers. Her face held back a look of utter joy while showing to the world an image of solemn thought. Even though she wanted to dance and sing, a part of her was disappointed that her arch-rival was no more. That part was sliced out, hacked up and shoved into a blender. She had work to do. Looking up from her vantage point, about a half meter below the edge of the reception desk, she asked while preventing herself from whooping out in glee. "I've come to claim the body of Happosai."

An attendant who was eating his dinner, put down his chopsticks, stood up and looked around. "Who said that?"

"Down here." Groaned Cologne.

"Oh. sorry, I didn't see you." He bowed to greet the elder.

The old woman sighed.

"Happosai, Happosai, ah, he was the guy they brought in this afternoon. Do you have the release forms?"

"Of course." She handed him the proper paperwork.

"Let's see. Oh, yeah, hmm... You're pretty quick. They usually wait a few days before they come and pick 'em up. Follow me." He got up, buzzed the door and waved for Cologne to enter. He walked down a sterile corridor, devoid of any wall hangings or posters except for the sign that said, '5 days without a mislabeled body. Keep up the good work!' The number five was crossed out and a number one was taped over it.

He stopped at a steel double door and went into a cold room. The chamber had a steel autopsy table and a wall filled with large drawers. He stopped at the wall.

The tall man checked his clipboard and noted at the proper container. "Here he is, body number three hundred five, Happosai. No family or clan name." He pulled out the drawer to expose the contents within. "There's not much left. Let's see, the body was brought in five hours ago, coroner already signed off the guy, cause of death was... Wow. Heart attack?" He looked at the body again, noting that it was less than a meter tall, burned to a crisp and smashed flat. He turned back to the clipboard and read the notes. "Oh, the Doc's got the burns and the impact traumas listed, but death by heart attack?"

The amazon pulled out a ward from her stack and placed it on Happosai's forehead. She jumped back in anticipation to some sort of response.

The man looked at Cologne as if she had gone nuts. "Lady, he's dead. He ain't getting up."

She answered cryptically. "Don't be too sure about that."

"You're weirding me out." He handed her a pen. "Sign here and he's all yours."

She signed the release form. "Here." She handed back the clipboard.

"So, how do you want him? Paper or plastic?" He held out two bags, one was a simple black plastic trash bag, the other was brown paper sack that had written on it, 'For burial at sea, call 1-555-DEEPSIX'.

The Amazon asked dryly. "What's with the advertisement?"

With a stern look, he answered. "Budget cuts."

"I see. I'll take plastic."

He pulled a small brush from his belt and swept the crispy Happosai parts into the plastic bag. "Normally, we use the oven in the back for this, but since he's already been cremated, I don't see a need. Do you already have an urn?"

"That's not necessary." Cologne smiled as she took the bag and quickly encased it with dozens of wards. She used some wards to create a box which she put the plastic bag inside. Then, she covered the box with wards. The wards received a layer of wards, also covered in wards which they too, were ward covered. Satisfied, she wrapped the package in ward covered wrapping paper and tied it with a ward. She placed the box on a ward that was placed on the floor. "Please stand back." She gently pushed the man away, took his brush and encased it in a ward. She tossed it into the open body drawer. "I have to cleanse this of evil."

The attendant groaned. "Not again. That's the third time this year."

She covered the drawer with wards and poured holy water on everything. In seconds, the water steamed and the wards burst into flame. Howls of the damned echoed in the room for a few moments. She repeated the process three times until the howling stopped.

"This room... Is clean." Cologne smiled as she bounced away, tenderly carrying her precious cargo to send it to another plane of existence, far from this realm.

"Woah, that was cool!" The attendant whispered in awe. "I've got to have her come over more often. She's does it a lot better that than Juuban shrine maiden. Now, how am I getting out of this?" He spoke finally as he realized he was mummified in dozens of wards.



"This is all your fault." Ranma glared at his father then looked out of his bedroom window at the growing crowd below. Word has spread quickly about Happosai's death and it seemed like most of Nerima had come to see it for themselves. He slid the curtain closed. "Because of you, I can't go and see Mom."

Genma was dressed in a freshly laundered gi and was clean shaven and had a hint of cologne. "It will be all right son. Today, you'll be seeing her as a man."

"That's what you said last time. Instead, we had to hide from her as Ranko and Mr. Panda. What's different this time, eh, Pops?"

"Why this!" He held out a copy of a newspaper. Happosai's death was near the back page. "You're a hero!"

Ranma snatched the paper and read the article. He threw the paper back at his father. "It says that I'm under suspicion for murder, how does that make me a hero?"

"Your mother knows the truth about the master. She never approved of my study under him."

"You actually told her that you hung out with that freak?" Ranma replied in shock. "How did you stay married?"

"She was attracted to my manly charms." He made a martial arts pose.

Ranma rolled his eyes. "Fine, I'm going down there and tell her the truth about me. It's time." He then walked firmly toward the door.

Genma blocked the exit. "Now, don't be too hasty, these things need to be handled delicately."

Ranma delicately threw his father out the window and proceeded out the door and down the stairs.

Mrs. Saotome was serving a guest an hors d'oeuvre when a splash was heard behind her. She turned around and exclaimed. "Why Mr. Panda, were you hiding there all along?"

Mr. Panda held up a sign that read, 'Hello there, somebody else's wife.'

While Nodoka was reaching out to help Mr. Panda out of the koi pond. Ranma walked into the kitchen and paused. There she was, his mother, and he was a guy. Kasumi looked up from her chopping block and gasped in anticipation. She smiled and nodded in approval.

Nabiki, standing next to Kasumi simply smirked and waited patiently for the impending disaster.

Akane, who was in the living room blinked her eyes in horror. All Mrs. Saotome had to do was turn around to see her son. Will he be killed? She prayed that his mother would see him for the man he was.

Ranma took a step forward, out the back door, only a few meters away from her. He raised his hand and called out. "Mom!"

Could it be? Thought Nodoka as she instantly spun around and saw her favorite Tendo right in front of her. "Where's Ranma?"

"Yeah, cross dresser, where is he?" Pantyhose Taro laughed as he dropped his now empty cup. "Oh, that's right, he's too busy putting on make-up."

"Why you!" Ranko jumped on Pantyhose and the two grappled on the ground.

"Are you?" Mrs. Soatome asked Pantyhose. "Are you my son?"

"No way!" Ranko did a flip and landed near her mother. "That's Pantyhose Taro"

Pantyhose slugged Ranko in the head. "Stop calliing me that."

"That's your name." She slugged him back.

"Shut up! So what if it is!"

Nodoka frowned in disappointment. "I must have imagined I heard him." She took Ranko by the hand. "You're not properly dressed." She pulled a petrified Ranko back into the house.

"Oh my! And he was so close." Kasumi shook her head in disapproval. Outside in the back yard, a party was in full swing at the Tendo Dojo with over fifty guests in attendance. At one table sat the Gambling King, Tsubasa Kurenai, Azusa Shiratori and Mikado Sanzenin. Another table had the Kuno family and Miss Hinako and several students from Furinkan High School. Gosenkugi lurked in the shadows, taking pictures of the festivities and Akane Tendo.

Soun stood proud at the party in front of him. He eyed each and every table to ensure that all the guests were having a grand time. Kasumi, holding a tray of snacks tapped her father's shoulder. "Father, I know those people are from school and those over there are friends of Ranma." She pointed to a long table with a mixed bag of assorted nuts seated there. "Who are those people?"

Soun nodded with conviction. "Insurance."

In a corner, feeling depressed, sat Ranko in a kimono and Mr. Panda. Nodoka was seated next to them with a sullen expression. "I do hope I can see my son tonight. Oh, where could he be?"

Ranko whispered to her panda, anger evident in her face. "Yeah pops. Where is he anyways?"

A sign appeared over the panda's head. "Remember the pact boy!"

Ranko grabbed the sign and smashed it over her panda's head. "Grrrr...."

"Now Ranko!" Mrs. Saotome scolded. "That's not how a lady treats her pet."

Another sign appeared next to the bear. "Listen to your aunt."

Ranko crossed her arms on the table and laid her head down on them in sadness, keeping eyes locked on her mother. Mrs. Saotome craned her head, looking into the crowd, trying to find her husband and son, not knowing that they were sitting next to her. A tear welled in Ranko's eye as she kept her thoughts to herself. "Aw, mom. I'm right here."

A knock was heard at the compound gates, letting everyone know that even more guests had arrived. Kasumi answered to greet a stern Cologne who looked like she was on a mission to save the world. The elder wordlessly took her cargo and laid it atop the massive pile of firewood. She then layered wards on the box and at strategic points on the funeral pyre.

Soun stood in front of the guests, holding a small cup of sake in preparation for a toast. He tapped his glass to get everyone's attention. "Everyone! It is time." He coughed to clear his throat.

"We're here to honor... Hee hee... The memory of a great man. Hee hee..." He coughed again to stop chuckling. "Today, we are not here in mourning, hee hee, but in celebration for the founding Grandmaster of the Anything Goes school of Martial Arts has finally earned a well deserved rest." He bit his lip to keep from shouting in glee. Taking a deep breath, Soun continued. "We now commit the master's body back to where it came. We shall not be saddened by his death. We shall cherish his life and his teachings."

Ranko muttered. "You mean his lessons on panty raids?"

Nodoka placed a finger on her lips and held her niece tight. "Shh.. Ranko."

Holding a microphone high in the air, he announced his message like a he was introducing a pro wrestler. "And after the master's body is no more, we shall further celebrate with the wedding of my daughter to her fiance, Ranma Saotome." He pointed to the minister in a corner, standing behind a wedding altar under a canopy of flowers.

The crowd's reaction was mixed. Most cheered at the idea that Ranma and Akane were finally going to get married while the fiancee squad raised their battle auras. Gosenkugi pulled out a voodoo doll that had black hair in a pig-tail and a red shirt and he shoved a long needle through it and into his own hand. Mousse clasped his hands in joy. "Shampoo will marry me now!"

Ryoga wanted to shoot off a Shi-Shi-Hokodon at Ranma, but he couldn't with her sitting next to her mother.

Tatewaki Kuno placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. "Akane will not wed that foul sorcerer. I forbid it."

Ranko and Akane sank in the respective chairs wanting to escape immediately while Nodoka clasped her hands in expectant joy. "My son is coming tonight! I can finally see him. Oh, I just know that he'll be manly."

Ranko buried her head even deeper into the wooden surface of the table. She turn her head to face her father. "This was your idea, wasn't it?"

The panda was playing with a tire. "Growf?"

She grabbed the panda by the scruff of the neck, ready to smack him into next week. "Admit it!"

"Growf?"

"RANKO!" Nodoka voiced with an air of motherly command. "You put down your pet and sit here. That's no way for a lady to act."

"Yes, Auntie." She released her death grip, but not before she had applied enough pressure to send her furry father to dreamland. She brushed her kimono clean of panda fur and took her place by her 'aunt'.

Soun nodded to Cologne. The Amazon had finished placing the final ward on the pyre and gave the all clear signal. Mr. Tendo gave a thumbs up to the Shinto priest who then lit a torch in preparation to ignite the pyre.

Shampoo stole a glance at her currently female husband. She plotted the quickest course she'd have to take after she grabbed her husband to escape with her. "Shampoo take Ranma tonight for sure."

Ukyou held a mirror up to help her apply makeup on her face. "I'm going to look my best when I marry my Ranchan." She tapped her bag full of gun powder laced okonomiyaki, gathering her courage to do what she had to do to ensure her future happiness.

Kodachi smirked. Under her funeral kimono, she wore a black rose wedding gown. "I'm ready for you my Ranma darling. Come out, come out, wherever you are?"

Akane slid under the table. She crawled away to find her middle sister, hoping against all hope that Nabiki could come up with a plan that didn't cost a fortune to get her out of this mess.

A catholic priest chanted last rites. A jewish rabbi spoke from the Torah. A Shinto priest spoke some prayers. A man in an Indian robe chanted, "Hari Krishna, Hari Krishna." A Mullah bowed in respect for the dead. A witch incanted a spell for the deceased. Cologne threw some anti-evil powder into the air. Soun was taking no chances this time around. If there truly was a god, whomever speaks to him will let him know that the Master is on his way to wherever souls go when they die.

Minutes passed, the holy men and women finished their prayers and incantations. They all gave the signal to the priest holding the torch.

With a solemnness reserved for sad occasions like this, the Shinto priest touched the wood pile to send the body to nonexistence. The fire quickly grew, fueled by the liters of gasoline that had completely soaked the wood, sending a fireball dozens of meters into the air. The crowd was pushed back from the intense heat coming from the tall flames.



Elsewhere, in Niflheim, a perverted demon finally opened his scroll. He read a few passages. "She wants me to do that? You've got to be kidding. Hmm, and now let's get to the good part." He skimmed the scroll down a few paragraphs and found one with the subject line of 'passage to Midgard'. "Let's see. It says." He squinted his eyes to read the strange words written down in fine print. "Ah, here it is. I'm supposed to say..."



Mr. Panda awoke to the sound of flames. He pulled out a stick filled with hot dogs and marshmallows. He sat next to Cologne, Soun and Pantyhose Taro who were all watching the fire with happiness.

"Finally." Taro was relieved that his nightmare was at an end. "With him gone, I can finally ditch this stupid name. Goodbye, old man. Goodbye Pantyhose, hello Handsome Taro!"

Soun had tears flowing from his eyes in happiness. "Yes, the Master is finally at peace, forever."

"Growf."

Cologne stood still, watching the pyre intently, leaving nothing to chance. She knew that somehow the old man had made deals with Death and it seemed that his death came too suddenly and too easy to be real.

The fire raised in intensity as a bright orange circle formed in the center. The ball of flame solidified and became human shaped. It took a step closer to the four people and tripped. The man made of fire rolled on the ground leaving burn marks behind on the concrete. It came to a halt in the center of the crowd of people.

"Fire!" Ranko stepped forward with a bucket of water and splashed the burning mass. "There, that got it." She ran off to refill the bucket from the pond.

Cologne recognized the ki signature instantly.
"Oh, no! NO! NO!" She produced a ward and threw it at the smoldering object. Why did she have to be right? "Begone, foul demon!"

Happosai shook off the black soot that covered him. "Who're you calling a demon?" The ward landed squarely on his forehead and burst into flame, setting him on fire again. "Ow! Ow! Ow!"

Ranko jumped back to the center, saw that the object had re-ignited and dumped the bucket on it again. "I'll get more..." She shuddered as she saw what she had just done.

"Ranma!" Happosai exclaimed in glee. "Glad to see that you've got some compassion for me! How about you let me rest in your bosom?"

Nodoka perked up. "Ranma?"

"Begone, foul beast! I send you to your doom!" Cologne threw another ward at the shriveled old man.

Taking his pipe and deflecting the ward without any effort, he leered at Soun and Mr. Panda. "Hello boys, I'm BACK!"



Author's Notes: Please review my story. It makes me feel oh so happy and I won't sneak into your house while you're out and cut paper dolls out of all of your blankets.

Last edited on Sunday, July 1, 2007



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