From A Different Viewpoint Chapter 29

All Ranma characters are property of Rumiko Takahashi, first published by Shogakugan in Japan and brought over to North America by Viz Communications. Sailor Moon was created by Naoko Taeuchi.

                                            A Different Viewpoint pt 29

    As Nabiki left the Tendo house she tried to think of someone who could help her. A kindly face came to mind, framed by glasses.  < Dr. Tofu... He's a doctor after all.>  Nabiki nodded to herself and hurried toward the chiropractors office.  Nabiki entered his office and found no patients waiting in the waiting room.  She called out.  "Doctor?  Dr. Tofu?"

    The good doctor came out of the back room.  "Yes?  Ah, Nabiki, how can I help you?"  He paused.  "Is, Kasumi..?"

    Nabiki hesitated before answering.  < I should tell him, but will he be able to help me if he's incoherent?>

    Dr. Tofu looked worried.  "It is Kasumi, isn't it.  She's stuck as a cat, isn't she?"

    Nabiki nodded slowly.  < I can't lie to him.>

    Dr. Tofu nodded back, seriously.  "I've been researching the problem.  I haven't had any luck so far.  I'm afraid the Phoenix pill may be the only cure."

    Nabiki blinked.  < He knows?  He's handling it well.>  "Actually Doctor, that's not why I came."

    The Doctor blinked.  "Oh?  What is it?  Are you alright, Nabiki?"

    Nabiki shook her head.  "I'm not sure what's wrong, but no, I'm not alright."

    Dr. Tofu looked at her patiently.  "Why don't you tell me what the problem is, and we'll see if I can help."

    Nabiki slowly explained about the video tape.  "Every time I played it, I blanked out, and five minutes passed without me noticing.  It happened several times.  I wasn't positive what was wrong.  Then I played the tape backwards instead of just rewinding it... and I watched myself... I saw myself..."  She couldn't say it.  It was just too humiliating.

    Dr. Tofu noticed Nabiki's distress.  "What did you see, Nabiki?"  His voice was patient and understanding.

    "I... stripped."  Nabiki said very quietly.  "Right in front of Hiroshi.  I handed him my clothes and stripped for him... Only I can't remember it, and I can't remember watching the tape."

    Dr. Tofu looked concerned.  "Are you sure?  You can't remember any of it?"

    Nabiki nodded.  "Not anything!"

    The doctor paused.  "Do you have this tape?"

    Nabiki nodded again.  "Right here.  I think I'm going insane.  This can't be real, but it is!  Isn't it?"

    Dr. Tofu hesitated.  "I think, that you should show me this tape, so we can determine the cause and figure out the problem."

    Nabiki blushed.  "I... I think you should... see it.  Just so you can tell me I'm not imagining things."

    Dr. Tofu nodded.  "Right, I have a VCR in my apartment.  Why don't you play me the tape."

    Nabiki nodded back.  "OK, show the way, Doc."

    Dr. Tofu took Nabiki around behind the clinic to his apartment.  It was adjacent, so that he would be available in case of emergency.  He showed her inside.

    Nabiki found herself mentally pricing the furnishings and appraising the decor.  < Nice.  The doctor does pretty well for himself.>  She caught herself.  < Not now girl, concentrate on the problem at hand.>  The chiropractor pointed out the VCR and Nabiki brought out the tape and put it in.  Nabiki hesitated before starting it.

    Dr. Tofu spoke gently.  "Don't worry Nabiki.  I'm a doctor.  You can trust me to keep your confidences and not to take advantage..."

    Nabiki shook her head.  "I know that Doc.  It's just, I hate the thought of losing control of myself like this, I..."  < I don't want to be weak... especially... in front of you.>  Nabiki pushed the play button, then looked at the doctor.  "I trust you..."

    Nabiki's eyes went blank as the young man on the screen spoke.  "So, how much do I owe you?"  Nabiki imitated the actions of herself on the screen, handing Dr. Tofu her shoe.  The doctor peered into her eyes as the tape continued.  Nabiki looked... blank.  He looked at the screen.  The boy standing in front of Nabiki spoke again.  "How much do I owe you?"  The Nabiki on the screen took off her other shoe.  The girl in his apartment did the same, handing it too him.  Dr. Tofu kept an eye on the screen as Nabiki imitated her own actions, removing her socks, then her school jumper.

    The doctor waved his hand in front of her face.  "Nabiki?  Can you hear me?"  Nabiki started taking off her shirt, mirroring the TV image.  The doctor hesitated.  < She's obviously in a hypnotic trance.  The key phrase is "How much do I owe you.">  Nabiki finished taking off her shirt and handed it too him.  He looked back at the screen.  < I should stop this.>  Dr. Tofu shook his head reluctantly.  < I need to see the whole thing, find out as much as possible.>  He watched the tape, and felt Nabiki place her bra on his shoulder the same way she did to the boy on the tape.  He had at least, turned around at the end.  No, he was turning back again to face her.

    The Nabiki on the tape appeared to wake up.  "Hiroshi, what's wrong with you?  Are you feeling alright?"  Dr. Tofu quickly checked on Nabiki, but she still seemed to be in a trance.  At her own words she took her bra off his shoulder.  Nabiki, eyes still glazed over, began dressing. Dr. Tofu looked at the TV.  She was still mirroring her actions.  When she finished dressing the tape ended, going to static.

    Nabiki blinked.  "Dr. Tofu?  Oh no, it happened again!"

    The doctor nodded and hit stop on the VCR.  "I believe I understand what's happening to you,
Nabiki."

    The middle Tendo daughter looked at him expectantly.  "You do?  Is there anything you can do?  What's happening?"

    Dr. Tofu paused.  "I believe you are under the influence of a powerful hypnosis."

    Nabiki looked grim.  "I don't know how he did it, but Hiroshi will pay for this."

    Dr. Tofu looked thoughtful.  "I'm not sure if he is the one responsible.  Let me test a theory."

    Nabiki looked confused.  "What theory?"

    The good doctor cleared his throat.  "Nabiki, how much do I owe you?"  Nabiki's eyes glazed over and she removed her right shoe, handing it too him.  He waited.

    Nabiki's eyes unglazed after several seconds.  "What theory?"  Dr. Tofu held up her shoe for her to see.  Nabiki didn't appear to notice.  "Well?  Explain doctor.  What did you have in mind?"

    Dr, Tofu blinked.  "Nabiki, I'm holding your shoe in my right hand."

    Nabiki blinked.  "What?"

    The doctor held it up to her face.  "Nabiki, can't you see it?"

    Nabiki craned her head a bit to the left, ignoring the shoe.  "See what?"

    Dr. Tofu nodded slowly.  "I see.  Nabiki, what am I holding in my right hand?"

    Nabiki paused, her eyes glazing over just a bit.  "What?"

    The doctor frowned.  < This hypnosis is very strong.>  He looked right at her face.  "Nabiki, you are under the affects of a powerful hypnosis."

    Nabiki nodded.  "You said that already."

    Dr. Tofu continued.  "When anyone says a certain phrase, you take off your clothing."

    She blinked.  "You're kidding!"

    Tofu shook his head.  "I wish I was.  Also, it seems you can't recognize your own clothing after you remove it."

    Nabiki looked doubtful.  "That seems hard to believe."

    Dr. Tofu sighed.  "Um, Nabiki, look at your right foot."  Nabiki looked down, then brought her head back up, her eyes glazed.  < Oh my.  This is going to be difficult.>

    Nabiki blinked.  "Dr. Tofu, what did you just say?"

    The doctor looked into her eyes.  "What is the last thing you remember?"

    Nabiki hesitated.  "You told me that I couldn't recognize my clothing after I removed it, right? That's silly."  She looked doubtful.

    Dr. Tofu nodded.  "It's true.  You also can't tell you're not fully dressed."

    Nabiki chewed on her lips.  "I find that..."  She hesitated.  "Really?"  He nodded.  "I'm not fully dressed?"  He nodded again.  Nabiki started to look down, then her eyes glazed.  She looked up and blinked.  "I, I can't tell."

    Dr. Tofu nodded once more.  "I believe we are making progress."  He turned to the VCR.  "Let me check something."  He hit the rewind for a bit then pressed play.  On the tape Hiroshi had his back to Nabiki again.

    Nabiki's eyes went wide as she looked at the picture.  "My god, I'm only..."  Hiroshi had turned and Nabiki heard herself start to speak.  Her eyes glazed over and Nabiki took her shoe back from Dr. Tofu and put it on.  She blinked.  "Hey!  I'm..."  Nabiki paused, watching as she finished dressing on the screen.  "I saw it this time.  More of it anyway.  I was... naked, almost. Then I was partially dressed and getting dressed, like I was in a trance."  She pointed at the tape.

    Dr. Tofu nodded and stopped the tape.  "I think I've got it.  There are two phrases.  The first causes you to take off your clothing, and not remember doing so.  The second causes you to get dressed, and not remember doing so."

    Nabiki sank into a chair.  "That's... I have to believe it, but that's..."  She sighed.  "You said you're not sure Hiroshi did this to me."

    The doctor nodded slowly.  "The command phrase is common enough.  He could have stumbled across it.  Did Hiroshi owe you any money?"  He watched her carefully.

    Nabiki blinked, but the words didn't set off her hypnosis.  "Yes, he did.  He paid me finally, but it took him forever to get around to it..."  She paused, then looked thoughtful.  "He was acting funny, and he kept walking off without explaining what he wanted."

    Dr. Tofu nodded in understanding.  "That explains it then.  He came to pay his debt, and triggered the hypnotic suggestion.  He must have figured it out, and used it to make this tape."  He frowned.

    Nabiki frowned as well.  "The little bastard.  He knows, and want's to blackmail me!"

    Dr. Tofu nodded.  "That would fit, but it also means he probably was not the one who hypnotized you."

    Nabiki grimaced.  < Think girl, think.  How did it happen, and who knows?>  "So someone else knows.  Hiroshi found out on his own, and who ever filmed me, and who every hypnotized me... and who ever they've told...  Oh god!  This is out of control!"  Nabiki closed her eyes. "Calm down girl.  Hiroshi's probably kept it quiet.  He want's to blackmail me.  The camera man is with him on this... who could it be?"  Dr. Tofu looked at Nabiki, worry plain in his eyes. Nabiki continued to ruminate.  "Gosunkugi!  He was acting funny to.  I bet he was the camera man.  It fits, and my underwear was missing after Gosunkugi talked to me alone... and he vanished without saying anything."  Nabiki looked at the doctor.

    Dr. Tofu shook his head.  "I couldn't tell you, you'd know better than I who might have done this or know about it."

    Nabiki sighed.  "This isn't going to be easy."

    Dr. Tofu looked seriously at her.  "You should get someone to help you, your sister perhaps, or
Ranma."

    Nabiki shook her head violently.  "No!  I can't... I can't tell them."

    The good doctor frowned.  "It's your right of course, but they will find out anyway unless you can break the hypnosis."

    Nabiki shuddered.  "No, no I've got to deal with this myself.  Doctor, can you help me?"

    Tofu nodded.  "Of course.  I'll do what ever I can.  Why don't we see what I can do about the
hypnosis first."

    Nabiki nodded.  "Alright Doctor.  What are the command phrases anyway?"

    Dr. Tofu looked thoughtful.  "Well, saying them will just make you forget.  I'll just write them down.  We'll see if that works."  He went to get a pen and paper.  "Oh, Nabiki, does anyone else
owe you money?"

    Nabiki blinked.  "Huh?  Yes, I usually collect outstanding loans today.  Oh my god, I would've..."

    Dr, Tofu came up with a pad of paper and a pen.  "Yes you probably would have."  He wrote a couple of sentences down.  "Have you collected any other debts recently?"

    Nabiki nodded slowly.  "A couple of others."  She thought back.  "I think it was just Yuki... She acted kind of funny..."  Nabiki froze.  "Oh no, not her too."

    Dr. Tofu looked sympathetic.  "Here, look at this, but don't say the words aloud."

    Nabiki looked at the pad.  < How much do I owe you?  Are you alright?">  Nabiki frowned, then looked at the doctor.  "Are you sure those are the phrases?"  He nodded.  Nabiki sighed. "OK, let me try something.  Dr. Tofu, how much do I owe you?"  Nabiki's eyes glazed over. She removed her right shoe and handed it to him, then blinked.  "How much do I owe you?"  She removed her other shoe and handed it too him, then blinked.  "How much do I owe you?"  Nabiki pulled off her sock, handed it to the doctor, and blinked.  "How much do I owe you?"  She removed her other sock, handed it too him, and blinked.  "How.. mmph!"

    Doctor Tofu placed his hand over her mouth, dropping her shoes and socks.  "Nabiki, you've said it four times.  You should stop now."

    Nabiki slowly nodded and he released her mouth.  "I, I did?  Four times?  I don't remember..." She paused, then started to look down.  Her eyes glazed over and she ended up looking at him again.  "I, I can't tell."

    Dr. Tofu nodded.  "Alright.  Let me try something."  He picked up Nabiki's shoes and socks and took them out of the room, then came back.  "OK, Nabiki, read the second line."

    Nabiki nodded.  "Are you alright?"  Her eyes glazed over and she glanced around for a moment, then blinked.  "Are you..."  She stopped.  "I've said it already once haven't I?"  Dr, Tofu nodded.  Nabiki looked down.  "My socks and shoes!"  She looked up.  "What happened?"

    The doctor explained.  "The first phrase makes you take off your clothing.  The second makes you get dressed, and brings you back to normal.  So when you said the first phrase, you removed your shoe, forgot you said it, and said it again, removed your other shoe, forgot you said it again and... That continued until I stopped you."

    Nabiki nodded her understanding.  "OK, so I took off my shoes and socks before you stopped me.  I guess I would have just kept going if you hadn't."

    Dr. Tofu nodded back.  "Then you said the second phrase.  You looked around for you shoes and socks then stopped.  You seemed to realize you had said the phrase, and noticed your bare feet."

    Nabiki nodded to that.  "I, I still don't remember saying it, but I could tell something had changed.  You told me that I had said the first phrase four times so I expected it.  Oh!  You must have taken my shoes and socks into the other room when you left for a second.  I noticed you leave, but I couldn't seem to think about what you were doing."

    Dr. Tofu frowned.  "You understand what the command phrases are, right?"  Nabiki nodded. "And you recognize the symptoms?"

    Nabiki hesitated.  "Pretty much, there are usually small clues, but it's very hard to concentrate on them."

    The doctor looked very troubled.  "This isn't normal hypnosis.  Normal hypnosis should be broken be now.  You know the cause and effect, so you should be able to resist it, but... you can't."

    Nabiki started to get a determined look on her face.  "No way.  I'll beat this thing!  OK..."  She
tried to focus on staying in control.  "How much do I owe you?"  In an instant her look of determination was gone, replaced by a blank look as she took her jumper off and handed it to Dr.
Tofu.  He stepped forward.  Nabiki blinked.  "How much..."  The doctor covered her mouth again.  She shut her eyes.  He slowly removed his hand.  Nabiki looked steadily at him.  "How many times?"

    Tofu just shook his head.  "Just once.  I stopped you after the first time."

    Nabiki nodded.  "OK."   She resisted the impulse to look, knowing it wouldn't do any good. "Am I still dressed?"

    Dr. Tofu sighed.  "You can't tell?"

    Nabiki shook her head.  "I..."  Her hands flexed and her eyes blanked out for a second.  "I can't
even really think about it."

    He nodded.  "OK, if you can't think about it then that means..."

    Nabiki closed her eyes.  "That means I'm not..."  Nabiki trailed off then opened her eyes. "What did I just say?"

    Tofu grimaced.  "Your mind rejects any suggestion that you're not dressed."

    Nabiki blinked.  "What?"

    "Nabiki, are you all right?"  Dr. Tofu asked quietly.  He waited until she had her jumper back on and explained.

    Nabiki understood right away.  "So, I can't even think about it.  Any time I might realize that I'm not dressed I blank out.  No matter how I try to approach it."  She paused.  "I already tried to resist the command phrase didn't I?"

    Dr. Tofu nodded.  "There was no hesitation, your resistance had no effect.  This is not normal hypnosis.  I believe I may know the source."

    Nabiki looked hopeful.  "Really?  Spill it Doc!"

    He scratched his chin.  "Three days ago, Kasumi called me to the Dojo.  Ranma had been stuck in his cat personality and nothing seemed to bring him out of it.  Johnathon and I finally deduced that he had been hypnotized.  Johnathon figured out that Happosai  had used a hypnotic incense on Ranma.  He told me that his cat senses let him detect the distinctive smell.  He had recognized the scent of a hypnotic incense from a magic shop in China.  We deduced that Happosai had tried to bring out Ranma's suppressed female side, but he got the cat personality by accident.  Later on, Akane called me to tell me that Ranma had recovered."

    Nabiki looked excited.  "If that's so, maybe they know a cure!"

    Dr. Tofu nodded.  "That makes sense."

    Nabiki mused.  "This explains my safe being open.  Happosai must have gotten the combination from me with hypnosis.  Then he decided to play with my brain!  That little pervert. He's going to pay for this.  I swear I'll make him pay."

    The good doctor put a hand on Nabiki's shoulder.  "Revenge isn't healthy, Nabiki.  Leave Happosai to others."  < If I find him, I'll just have to deal with him myself.>  Tofu blinked at the
uncharacteristic thought.

    Nabiki shrugged.  "Whatever you say Doctor."  < Yeah right.  Happosai pays!>  She looked at him seriously then.  "Dr. Tofu, could you ask Akane how Ranma was cured for me?  I, I don't want her to know."

    The doctor nodded.  "If that's what you wish... but what about the people who already know?"

    Nabiki frowned.  "Leave them to me.  I'll convince them to protect my secret."  Dr. Tofu looked at Nabiki doubtfully.  She smiled.  "Don't worry, doctor.  I won't go overboard.  I'll just get them to keep my secret, nothing more."

    Dr. Tofu sighed and nodded.  "I understand, but what will you do if someone asks you... that
question?"

    She paused.  "I'll get my friends to collect all the outstanding debts without my help.  As for the rest, I'll just have to be careful, eh?"

    Tofu sighed.  "I can't tell you what to do, Nabiki, but I don't think this is wise."

    Nabiki sighed.  "I know, but I have to handle this myself, I have to!"

    The doctor heard the sincerity in her voice.  "I think I understand.  I'll write you an excuse for being late.  I assume Ranma and Akane will be home after school?"  Nabiki nodded.  "Then I will talk to them then and ask about the cure."

    Nabiki looked at him gratefully.  "Thank you doctor.  I really appreciate it."  She smiled at him.     < He's really a nice guy.  It's too bad he couldn't have gotten over his problem with Kasumi.>  Dr, Tofu quickly wrote her a note and she headed for Furinkan high school.  < Stay on your toes girl.  Don't let your guard down.>  Nabiki headed into her third period class and showed the teacher her note.  Soon lunch time rolled around.

    Nabiki immediately went to her lieutenants.  "OK girls, you'll have to handle debt collection today.  I have other business to conduct."

    They nodded.  "Right Boss!"

    Nabiki started looking for Yuki.  < Easiest first.>  She found the girl heading for the cafeteria. "Yuki, can we talk privately?"

    Yuki looked at her with a puzzled expression.  "Sure, why?"

    Nabiki gauged her expression.  < She doesn't know.  Yuki was never one to be sneaky.> Nabiki shook her head.  "Never mind Yuki, it's not really important."  She left Yuki behind. < She must not have figured it out.  Or she just didn't say that phrase.  Maybe she started to, then asked me if I was alright?>  Nabiki shrugged.  "Whatever."  Nabiki started looking for Hiroshi. < Might as well get this out of the way.>  She spotted him sitting outside eating lunch and went over to him.  "Don't say a word Hiroshi, just listen."  He froze.  Nabiki spoke with soft menace. "I've watched your little tape.  So, what do you want?"  Hiroshi turned to look at Nabiki.  She radiated confidence and subtle threat.

    He stammered.  "N-Nothing, Nabiki, I'll leave you alone, and you'll leave me alone."

    Her eyes narrowed.  < No blackmail?  What is he up to?>  Nabiki decided to press her advantage.  "Oh?  Is that so?  I think you'll give me the copies you made, and the original."

    Hiroshi swallowed nervously.  "Copies?  What copies?"

    Nabiki shook her head.  "Don't try to con the master, kid.  The copies you and Gosunkugi made."

    Hiroshi froze again.  "How do I know you won't blackmail me back... or worse once you have them?"

    Nabiki stared glacially at him.  "Have I ever been known to break my word?"  Hiroshi hesitated then, then slowly shook his head.  "Fine, then I won't show Ranma my copy.  That way he won't break all your limbs."  His eyes went wide.  "And I won't show Akane... so she won't tear off any... vital pieces of your anatomy."

    Hiroshi gulped.  "OK, OK, I only have one copy.  You'll get it tomorrow."

    Nabiki smiled sweetly.  "I'd better, or you won't have to show that tape.  I will, and I'll light a candle for you at your funeral."  Hiroshi nodded nervously.  Nabiki turned away.  He sat back in
relief.  < That was tight.>  She thought to herself.  < Gosunkugi must have the original.  He might be tougher.>  Nabiki immediately started looking for him.  She spotted Hikaru Gosunkugi on the far side of the cafeteria.  < Ah, there he is.>  Nabiki immediately started across.  Several students noticed her.

    One of Ryoga's tutors came up to her.  "Hey Nabiki.  I'm a bit short this week..."

    Nabiki's eyes went wide.  "No, don't..."

    The girl failed to notice Nabiki's sudden look as she was going into her purse.  "So how much do I owe you?"  Nabiki bent down and came up with her shoe.  Nabiki handed the confused girl her shoe, then blinked.  "...worry about it.  You can pay me later."  The girl looked puzzled.  She looked down at the shoe in her hand and scratched her head.

    The girl looked up as Nabiki quickly walked away without her shoe.  "What the heck?"  She looked at the shoe.  < Her feet hurt?>

    Nabiki was halfway across the room when a guy stopped her.  "Hey Nabiki, how much do I owe ya today?"  Nabiki blankly handed him her other shoe, then blinked.  He stood there looking at her strangely.

    Nabiki put her hand up to stop him from speaking again.  "Not today, I'm in a rush."  She walked off quickly once again.

    The boy looked at the shoe, then looked around at his nearest neighbors and shrugged.  He put the shoe on his table and sat back down to finish eating.  Nabiki crossed to Gosunkugi without further mishap.  He watched her intently as she walked toward him, taking note of her lack of shoes.

    Nabiki immediately went on the aggressive.  "Alright Hikaru, I want the tape, and any copies you may have."

    Gosunkugi looked from side to side, as usual he was sitting alone.  "Oh?  I suppose Hiroshi blabbed?"  He looked calm.

    That made Nabiki nervous but she didn't show it.  "That's right.  Now give me the tape if you know what's good for you."  < If I scare him, the little wimp will cave right in.>

    To her surprise, Gosunkugi smiled.  "I don't think so."

    Nabiki blinked.  "What?  You know, that with one word from me, Ranma will beat you into a pulp."

    Gosunkugi shrugged.  "I've been beaten before.  Besides, Ranma won't beat up a wimp like me, especially if there's no proof I've done anything."

    Nabiki started to get mad.  "Akane won't be so kind.  She'll grind you into meat if she finds out about that tape."

    Gosunkugi sighed with a smile.  "Ah, to be beaten by my beautiful Akane... pure bliss."

    Nabiki shivered.  < He's serious, this is bad.>  She reached for him angrily.  "Fine then, I'll just do it myself."

    The thin, pale boy smiled.  "Go ahead and try."

    Nabiki growled.  < I don't go around beating people up, but for once I'll make an exception.> She raised her fist... and blinked.  Her hands were now at her sides.  < What the...?  Uh oh.> Gosunkugi was smiling at her, and she couldn't take a good look at his right hand.  Her mind shied away from thinking about it.

    Gosunkugi looked at her calmly.  "Care to try again?"  Slowly Nabiki shook her head.  "Ah, you've figured out the hypnosis.  I thought you might have.  Especially if Hiroshi showed you the tape.  Hikaru smiled at her craftily.  "It still works though, doesn't it."

    Nabiki stopped moving, she looked down at him slowly.  "What do you want, Gosunkugi?"

    He stared at her intently.  "The secret.  The secret of the hypnosis."

    Nabiki gaped at him.  "What?  I don't know that!"

    Gosunkugi looked right and left, ascertaining that their conversation was still not being overheard.  "No, but you know who does.  You can get that information, Nabiki, can't you?"

    Nabiki hesitated, looking pale.  "So if I get the information, you'll destroy the tapes?"  He nodded.  "And what if I don't?"  She asked slowly.  Nabiki blinked, Gosunkugi had vanished from in front of her.  She whirled around and found him standing behind her, holding both of her socks in one hand.

    He stuffed them in his pocket and went to sit back down.  "Does that answer your question? Nabiki looked down and her bare feet, then back and Hikaru, she nodded.  Gosunkugi smiled. "Its a simple business transaction.  I have something you want.  You pay me what I ask for it, and you get it."

    Nabiki closed her eyes.  < Be strong girl, you can handle this.>  "Fine, I already have that information."

    Gosunkugi blinked.  "Oh?  Then why are you still hypnotized?"

    Nabiki looked from side to side.  "It's a special hypnosis incense of Master Happosai's, OK? You've got your information, now give me the tapes."

    Gosunkugi shook his head.  "That's not enough.  I already knew it was Happosai.  I need to know where to get this incense, and how to use it, or no deal."

    Nabiki looked desperate.  "How am I supposed to find that out?"

    Hikaru shrugged.  "You'll find a way.  When you do, I'll cure you personally and give you the tapes.  I'm not a monster you know."

    Nabiki paused.  "Alright, you win.  I'll do as you say."

    Hikaru nodded.  "Good.  Oh, just in case you find the cure and want to use it, don't, or I'll broadcast the tape over the P.A. system."

    Nabiki swallowed.  < Damn!  I'm giving to much away.  I'm losing control!>

    Gosunkugi reached into his bag and brought out a small electronic device, then gave it to her. "I was saving this for Happosai, but I'll get another.  It's a microphone.  I'll be listening in on you constantly.  Don't tell anyone or ever leave it behind, or I'll play that tape for the whole school." Nabiki looked at the tiny device.  Gosunkugi took out a radio receiver and put it in his pocket.  It
trailed a long cord with an mini ear phone, which he put in his ear.  He hit a switch and smiled. "There, now I can hear everything you do.  Attach it to your clothes, over you heart.  If I can't hear your heart, I'll wait ten minutes, then play the tape."  Nabiki slipped it into her shirt pocket. Gosunkugi nodded.  "Good enough."

    Nabiki paused.  "I've already told someone..."

    He straightened.  "Who?"  Nabiki didn't speak.  Gosunkugi shook his head.  "One short phrase and the cafeteria gets quite a show..."

    Nabiki lowered her head.  "Dr. Tofu, he's going to try and find a cure."

    Gosunkugi nodded.  "Tell him you've already been cured, you can think of something to tell him.  Just get him to stop.  No one else knows?"  Nabiki shook her head.  "Good, and he won't talk, he's a doctor."  He looked at her seriously.  "Give me your word that you will get me the information I want, and not tell anyone about all this."

    Nabiki looked puzzled.  "You'll take my word?"

    Gosunkugi nodded.  "You've never broken a contract, right?  I won't either.  The microphone's just to keep you honest."  Nabiki paused.  "If you don't give your word, I'll play the tape right now.  The whole school will get an eyeful, and the cafeteria will get a double eyeful, as you strip in time to the tape.  I'll sell tapes for a bundle, and will just have to be satisfied with that."

    Nabiki shuddered.  "I... I give my word.  I'll do as you ask, if you do as you have said, and destroy the tapes."

    Gosunkugi nodded again.  "I will destroy the tapes, and remove the hypnosis from you, as I have said, Nabiki, you have my word."

    She shivered.  < How can I trust him?  Do I have any choice?>

    Gosunkugi rose.  "You had better get started, before it's too late."  He walked out of the cafeteria.  The bell rang, signaling that it was time for classes to begin.  Nabiki stayed standing there as the crowd broke up, heading to their classes.

    A girl walked up to her.  "Um, Nabiki?  You forgot your shoe."

    Nabiki turned quickly and took her shoe.  "Right, thanks."  Nabiki suddenly remembered that this girl owed her money.  Nabiki walked away quickly.  "Can't talk right now!"  Nabiki spotted her other shoe on a table and grabbed it, and quickly left the cafeteria.  She went straight to a phone.  < I've got to head off the doctor, at least until I have a plan to get out of this mess.>  She dialed his number.

    The phone rang twice, and Dr. Tofu picked up.  "Dr. Tofu speaking."

    Nabiki closed her eyes.  < I've go to do this, so stay calm.>  "Doctor?  It's Nabiki.  I took your
advice and you were right.  I've already broken free of the hypnosis!"

    Dr. Tofu sounded surprised but pleased.  "I'm glad to hear that.  How did you do it?"

    Nabiki coughed.  "Oh, um, Ranma found Happosai, and made him undo it."

    Dr. Tofu nodded to himself, unseen by Nabiki.  "That's good.  Any side effects?"

    Nabiki spoke quickly.  "No Doc, I'm fine, see you later."  She hung up.

    Dr. Tofu put down his phone moments later.  < That was, slightly strange...  Oh well, I suppose she was just feeling the stress.>

    Nabiki hurried to class, trying to think of a plan.  < Happosai.  I've got to find Happosai and get the incense from him.  But how?  I need a trick.  He's weak now, and he'll be wanting revenge on Ranma.  Where would he be?>  Nabiki gave that some thought.  < He'll appear near Ranma some
time, for his revenge.  If I was to guess, I'd think he's try to get me to help him...>  She froze  < He
will, he'll come to me and try to blackmail me into helping him get back at Ranma.  I've got to be ready when he shows up.  He won't appear at the house, or at Auntie Saotome's with Father and
Genma there.  He'd be afraid of them now.  He wouldn't come to the school either, he's too well known and can't fight back.  He'll come at night, when I'm alone.  I'll just have to be ready for him.>

    Doctor Tofu's voice came back to her then.  < Tell Ranma, tell Akane, they'll help you.>

    Nabiki shook it away.  < I  can handle this myself.  I don't need anyone's help.>  Nabiki thought
through possible problems and accidents that could happen.  < I'll just have to turn things over to the girls for awhile.  I'll tell them I've got an important client, and they can handle things.  I've got to be careful no one else figures things out.  How do I deal with Gosunkugi?  Can I trust him?  He says he trusts me... but he's listening to me constantly.  How can I trust him?>  Nabiki shivered and glanced down.  < I'm still dressed, but Gosunkugi could play that tape right now, and I'd strip for the class, and never even notice until afterwards.  I could be naked right now and not know it.>

    Nabiki resisted the impulse to check.  < Don't go there girl.  If he plays that tape if doesn't matter anymore.  He'll have lost his bargaining chip.  He's smart, he'll wait.  I gave him my word, but should anyone be allowed to have that kind of power over others?  What can I do about it?> Nabiki slowly shook her head.  < Nothing for now.  When I get the incense, however, maybe I'll have a chance.>  Nabiki started to let herself get her confidence back.  < That's just tricky enough to work, Nabiki Tendo, you may get out of this yet.>  When classes let out, Nabiki headed quickly for the exit.

    Before she could get outside, a large guy stopped her.  "You brushed me off at lunch, but I've got your money I and I don't want to wait."  Nabiki frantically tried to think of a way out of this. "How much do I owe you, Nabiki?"  The boy asked.

    Shadowing her from around the corner, Gosunkugi swore to himself.  < Not now!>  He rushed
around the corner to her rescue.  < I can't let anyone else know.  That secret is mine!>

    Nabiki blinked.  < What's happening?  I've got to get away...>  Gosunkugi ran up.

    The large senior was looking confused.  "What's wrong with you, Nabiki?  Just answer my question, how much do I owe you?"  He waved her shoe for emphasis.  "And why do you keep
handing me your shoes?"

    Gosunkugi stepped in and took the shoe Nabiki had just removed.  "Nabiki, are you feeling alright?"  Nabiki calmly took her shoes back, put them on, and blinked.  Before the senior could say anything Gosunkugi interrupted.  "Sore feet, Nabiki?  I thought I saw you limping."

    The senior blinked.  "Wait a minute, I just want to pay a debt, OK?"

    Nabiki looked at him and nodded.  "Sorry, my feet are killing me.  Um, you owe me 2400 yen,
alright?"

    The senior nodded.  "Right."  He got out his wallet and counted out the correct amount.  He handed them to Nabiki.  "If your feet hurt, you shouldn't be running around so much."  He turned and walked off.

    Nabiki turned to Gosunkugi.  "You helped me, why?"

    He shrugged.  "What good is it to me if everyone knows the secret?  Be more careful next time."  Gosunkugi turned to go.

    Nabiki watched him leave.  < Was that the only reason?>  She headed for the door.  < I wonder.>

    As he walked away Gosunkugi wondered much the same thing.  < Was it only to keep the secret for myself?>  Part of him resisted.  < That was indeed all.  Don't forget all the things that have happened to you.  You need power.  It's in your grasp.  Don't give it up!>

                                End part 29

 

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