From A Different Viewpoint Chapter 9

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

     Revelations and Revisions pt 5
                    (A continuation of A Different Viewpoint.)

    Inside the house, Akane announced that she was going up to bed.  Ranma decided to take a hot bath to change back before going to sleep himself.  After finishing a long soak Ranma headed for his room.  He noticed light coming out from underneath Akane's door, she was still awake.  On a sudden impulse he walked up to it and quietly knocked.

    Ranma spoke hesitantly.  "Um Akane?"

    "What is it?"  She replied quietly.

    "Can I come in?"  Ranma asked.

    There was a long pause, and Ranma had almost decided to just leave when she answered.  "Alright, the door's open."

    Ranma  slowly opened the door and entered, then slowly closed the door and leaned up against it.  Akane was sitting on her bed wearing her yellow pajamas.  Ranma still couldn't believe how cute she looked sometimes.

    "Um Akane..."  He began again.

    "Ranma."  Akane seemed equally reluctant to speak.

    They both began at the same time.  "Go ahead."

    Akane managed to blurt first.  "What were you going to say?"

    Ranma hesitated then spoke.  "I just thought maybe we should, you know, talk."

    Akane looked at him for the first time since he had entered the room.  "About why we always fight you mean."

    Ranma nodded slowly.  "Yeah, sometimes it seems like we've been fighting forever."  Akane looked away sadly.  Ranma struggled on into the silence.  "I think, we fight, well I think I'm always picking a fight with you because, because..."  Ranma fought to say something right for once.  "When we first met, you asked me if I wanted to be friends.  Then everything else happened and we ended up engaged, I just wish, that we could have gotten to be friends first."  He stopped speaking, startled by his own words.

    Akane was equally rocked.  "I did want to be friends R-Ranma, then everything happened so fast.  I was so angry, because I felt betrayed, but it wasn't you who betrayed me, it was life.  Suddenly I had no control over my life and I was angry at you for taking my life away."  Ranma looked down at his feet, unsure of what he could say.

    Akane looked at him, she had to say something.  "It wasn't your fault Ranma, it never really was. I wish we could just start over."

    Ranma looked at her, his eyes understanding.  "Maybe we can, I don't know how, but maybe we can."  He sounded dubious but Akane started to get a look of hope in her eyes.

    She smiled.  "Sure we can, why not?"  Ranma looked puzzled but willing to believe.  Akane stuck out her hand towards him.  "Hi I'm Akane, do you want to be friends?"

    Ranma smiled suddenly, softly with hope and stepped forward towards her.  "I'd like that, Akane."

    The next day was remarkably free of antagonism, Ranma didn't insult Akane, and Akane never found a reason to knock Ranma into orbit.  Ukyo noticed and hoped it was a fluke, Genma and Soun noticed and prayed it wasn't.  Johnathon and Kasumi noticed and crossed their fingers that no one would spoil it.  Ryoga was lost again, or he would have been really worried, and Shampoo was..."

    That afternoon Shampoo was making her second delivery of the day when she rode past James Cadwell.  She stopped and walked up to the address, not seeing the "Psychic investigator"  hiding behind the trash can.

    < So, that mysterious purple haired demon is back!>  Cadwell had figured out what had happened.  These demons could hide in human form, but holy water revealed their true form.  It was apparent that silver would affect them as well, since they had obviously tried to avoid it.  He listened carefully as she knocked on the door.

    "Cat Cafe!  Delivery!"  Shampoo cheerily called to those inside.

    James Cadwell nodded to himself, slowly a plan was starting to form.

    Later that day, Shampoo got a call to deliver to a hotel room in town.  When she arrived she knocked as usual and called out.  "Cat Cafe!  Delivery!"

    "Come in!"  Called a muffled voice.

    Shampoo opened the door and entered. (After a year in Japan she was pretty used to doors.) A bucket of water fell on her head, drenching her, followed by a net.  She struggled fiercely but to no avail. she was soon immobilized and the door was closed behind her.  Her captor, James Cadwell, bandaged hs hand where she had managed to scratch him.

    < I've captured a real demon!>  He crowed triumphantly.  < Still, for the big demon I'll need some help.>  Cadwell got out his portable computer and logged on to the internet.  Checking the source of his original information he typed in a message.

    Gosunkugi checked his email when he got home from school.  One message stood out.  "Have captured demon, require assistance to catch the rest.  Please inform me if any other "hunters" are in close proximity."  Gosunkugi was astounded, could it be true?  There was only one way to know, and he did know about a team of psychic investigators in town.  Quickly he dialed the Kuno estate.

    Soon, a small but highly trained group of psychic investigators joined James Cadwell in his hotel room.  Their leader, Xian Chan, was skeptical of Cadwell's story of shape changing demons, but agreed to stay for awhile in case his story held some truth.  The small white cat which was locked now in a sturdy cage seemed hostile enough but otherwise normal.  James Cadwell seemed rational and sure of himself.  She and her two associates, a martial artist named Madoka and her boyfriend, a supposed psychic, had agreed to give Mr. Cadwell a fair chance.

    Not too much later a knock came at the door.  Xian opened the door and a tall young man with long black hair came in.  He had thick glasses on and wore a white robe.

    "Excuse me."  He began politely.  "I was wondering if you had seen a girl with purple hair?"  The cat started to hiss and yowl and the boy's eyes went to her.  "Shampoo?  What's...?"

    "Splash!"  James Cadwell splashed the young man, who shrunk instantly.  A white duck climbed out of the boy's clothing and started to quack loudly.  An incredibly fierce fight ensued, if you consider there were four people trying to capture one duck.  Soon enough however, they managed to get the net on him.  They stuffed the duck in with the cat and sat back panting.  Knives were sticking out from a dozen places, it was a miracle that no one was hurt worse.

    Xian was willing to buy James Cadwell's story now.  It was an almost plausible explanation for that duck, boy, whatever he was.  His ability to produce knives from his wings was certainly black magic.

    Pretty soon the hotel manager came to complain of the noise, but a wad of bills shut him up.  Xian was worried.  If Cadwell's story was correct there was a much larger cat demon, over six feet in height, which was apparently very fast and powerful.  It had to be the same demon Tatiwati Kuno had reported.  To subdue it they could use some help.  Xian called the Kuno estate.  It was time for some reinforcements.

    Trapped in the cage, Shampoo worked at getting Mousse free of the net, for all the good it would do.  She had not felt so helpless since she had first fallen in that spring at Jusenkyo.  These people thought she was a demon.  They probably would kill her.  At the least they would keep her captive permanently.

    Shampoo bit through a strand of the net, and started on another.  Mousse was no help, she had been ecstatic upon seeing him enter the door, but as usual he had failed her.  < Stupid Mousse, why didn't you fly away?  You could have escaped if you hadn't tried so hard to get to me.> She bit through another strand.  < Ranma will save me, I'm sure> She paused as she realised that it was usually Mousse who ran to her rescue.  At Toma's island it had been Mousse, not Ranma who had come to save her in the end.  He had only barely won and she had ended up saving him from falling after he had defeated her captor.

    Shampoo bit through another strand.  < Stupid, stupid Mousse, why does he always act this way?>  She listened in on their captors plan.  They were planning on waiting for Johnathon-san and ambushing him.  < They are silly, Johnathon doesn't know where I am!>  Shampoo realized in shock that no one knew where she was!  She had jotted down the address before she had left the Cat Cafe, which was how Mousse must have found her, but Great-Grandmother was back in China for two weeks.  There wasn't anyone else in the Cat Cafe to find the address or even to understand it if they found it, because she had written it in Mandarin Chinese.

    Shampoo bit through another strand and Mousse started to squirm forward through the hole.  No one would be coming, she realized in despair.  Shampoo curled up in a miserable ball.  A voice in the back of her head was yelling at her that this was not how a true Amazon acted.  She didn't care, Shampoo was afraid she was going to die, and there was nothing she could do.

    Mousse finally got loose of the net, and moved over to the obviously distraught Shampoo.  He put a wing over her back to comfort her, and for once she didn't move away.  He wrapped her then in his wings and held her gently.  Shampoo felt comforted, and for once didn't hit him or push him away.

    After awhile Kuno arrived with his personal Ninja, Sasuke.  Xian explained the situation and Tatiwati Kuno pledged his support to the cause of capturing the big cat demon that had attacked him.  Then he took a look at the two minor demons that had already been captured.  Kuno frowned in concentration.  He had seen these creatures before, had he not?

    The duck and cat had separated as he approached and were quacking and hissing at him.  Kuno stared at them in contemplation.

    Sasuke joined him.  "Master, I have seen this duck and cat before."

    Kuno nodded.  "Yes, this cat I have seen in the company of Ranma Saotome, and my beloved pigtailed girl, as well as Akane Tendo!"

    Sasuke agreed.  "Yes, and the duck as well."

    Kuno nodded again and paused, lost in thought.  He turned to James Cadwell.  "You say these creatures had human form?"

    James inclined his head in agreement with the master Kendoist.  "Yes, I believe that holy water forces them to drop their disguise."

    Kuno looked grim.  "I see."  He stared into space for a long time.  "This must be the work of the Sorcerer Saotome!  I knew he dabbled in Black Magic!"

    This got Xian's attention.  "Oh?  Is that so?  Perhaps he is the large cat demon in disguise?"

    Kuno paused again, remembering his fight with the monster.  The sisters Tendo had been assaulted by it, but had denied it afterwards.  The cat demon had fled, and immediately afterwards Saotome had appeared from the rooftops to which the monster had fled.

    "Yes, It must be him!  The fiend has deceived me for the last time!"  Kuno gloated to himself.  "His claim on my beloved Akane Tendo and the pigtailed girl will be broken.  Then they will be free to date me!"  Bwahahahaha!"  All of the physic investigators took an involuntary step back form the deranged Kendoist.

    Soon enough they had put together a plan.  They would have Kuno summon Ranma to the Kuno estate, and there determine the truth.  They immediately began making preparations to relocate while Kuno began to pen a message to Ranma Saotome.

    Ranma received the note by Kuno express, as an arrow thudded into the door post with a letter attached.  "Saotome, I know the truth, come to the Kuno estate.  We have the cat and the duck."  Ranma snapped to his feet, wondering what the heck was going on in Kuno's tiny excuse for a brain.  Quickly he he toward the living room to tell the Tendo's and his father, but he changed his mind before he went two steps.  < No, I'll handle this one myself.>  Ranma charged off, leaving the note and arrow behind.

    A few minutes later Akane picked up the letter in curiosity.  She read it and her eyes went wide.  "Ranma you idiot!"  She ran into the house.  "Dad!  Mr. Saotome!"  P-chan Bweed in confusion as Akane entered the dining room.  Quickly she told Soun and Genma about the letter.  "We've got to hurry!  It's got to be a trap!"  Ryoga (P-chan) started looking for the bathroom.  Akane, Genma, and Soun headed out after Ranma.

    Soun was ecstatic.  "It's so good of you to look after your fiancee like this Akane."

    Genma agreed.  "Yes, you are acting as a truly loyal fiancee."

    Akane protested.  "No!  That's not why, it's just my duty as a martial artist!"

    Soun pretended he believed her.  "Yes, well the school of Anything Goes Martial Arts has a duty to protect the frail and weak and to right injustice."  Genma nodded self righteously.  Akane sighed but kept running.

    Ranma arrived at the Kuno estate and cautiously entered the front gate.  He walked forward being careful to avoid possible traps.  He noticed the front door was open and went up to it.  As he slowly moved onto the front porch he felt the ground suddenly drop away from under his feet.  He tried to jump away a split second too late.  Failing to get any purchase on the rapidly receding floor Ranma fell down a smooth slide into darkness.

    Ranma found himself in a small room far below the ground after his wild ride down a winding tube.  He got to his feet rapidly and turned around but the tube entrance had sealed.  There did not appear to be any exits to the room.

    "Kuno!  Let me out of here!" Ranma voice echoed back to him, but it was not unheard.

    Up in the control room Sasuke was watching him through a monitor.  The Kuno family ninja pushed a button that opened a small door in the middle of the trap room's wall.  Tatiwati Kuno waited in the room beyond with his bokken at the ready.  Xian was hiding on one side of the door, armed with a supersoaker filled with holy water.  James Cadwell stood on the other side with a pair of water balloons.  Behind Kuno the rest of Xian's team stood guard over a cage containing Mousse and Shampoo in their animal forms.

    Ranma started for the door that had revealed itself in the wall.  He spotted Kuno.  < This has got to be another trap.>  Ranma paused.  "Kuno!  What's all this about?"  Kuno was about to answer when another voice interrupted him.

    "Yes brother dear, what is this all about?"  Came Kodachi's distinctive voice.  "Why are you hounding my Ranma?"  Kodachi appeared then behind her brother, he did not bother to look over at her.

    "You shall see dear sister, you shall see."  Kuno brought his bokken to the ready.  "Come forth Saotome!  Do you fear my prowess?"

    Ranma sputtered in anger.  "You've got to be kidding!"  He confidently strode forward to face Kuno.
He sensed the water balloons coming somehow and leaped to avoid them.  Xian was soaked but managed to fire accurately at Ranma, catching him in mid leap, wetting him thoroughly.  But Tatewaki and Kodachi Kuno were looking right at him as he got soaked, and watched the change with eyes that rapidly went wide in utter surprise.

    James Cadwell was the first to act, drawing and throwing his silver plated knives.  "A Sucubus!  Subdue it quickly!"

    Xian stared, getting a net ready.  < A woman?  What is going on?>  She was unsure of how to act.

    Ranma dodged the knives with blinding speed and reached James in a moment hitting him a dozen times in a fraction of a second and turning back toward the Kuno's.  They were still frozen, unable to act.

    Xian was startled by Ranma's incredible burst of speed and threw the net.  Ranma dodged and caught the edge of the net, throwing it back with a spinning motion.  Xian couldn't dodge fast enough and went down as the net wrapped her up.  Ranma paused then, the Kunos still weren't moving.

    Then Tatiwati Kuno spoke.  "R-Ranma and my pig tailed goddess are the same?"

    Kodachi started to scream.  "NOOOOOOOO!"

    Ranma stood her ground.  "I tried to tell you before, Kuno, but you wouldn't listen.  Well, now you know the truth!"

    Kuno stood frozen, trying to deny what he had seen.  Kodachi turned and ran, still screaming.  The door opened for her as she reached it and she kept going.  Ranma ran after her, running by Tatewaki without getting a reaction.  Ranma headed for Mousse and Shampoo's cage.  The two physic investigators that had been guarding it backed away and Ranma shattered the cage's door with a kick, then ran on.

    "Come on you guys!"  Ranma called to the cursed animals behind her as she raced after Kodachi.  Ranma was worried that Kodachi might do herself serious harm.  Ranma was followed closely by Shampoo and Mousse who were only concerned with getting away, and hopefully finding some hot water.  They all raced up a flight of stairs, down a series of corridors and up another flight of stairs.  Kodachi was leaving the doors open behind her in her haste, leaving the path open for Ranma and company to follow.

    They were in the main house finally and Shampoo and Mousse spotted am open window leading outside.  They flew and jumped out, eager to leave the Kuno estate as soon as possible.  Ranma spotted Kodachi heading up yet another flight of stairs and followed her up.  The two girls ran to the second floor, then to the roof.  Ranma came to the roof to see Kodachi standing on the edge.  Something bright glittered in her hands.  It was a tanto, and Kodachi held it poised over her stomach.  Ranma froze in indecision.

    Kodachi was looking down at the pond and her pet Alligator.  She was speaking in a quiet tone of voice.  "You understand don't you?  My dear Mr. Green Turtle, I cannot live with this shame any longer.  You will act as my second won't you?  I know I can trust you."

    Ranma's eyes went wide with horror.  Kodachi was going to commit seppuku, and fall into the pond so her pet alligator could finish the job!  Down below, Genma, Akane and Soun Tendo had entered the Kuno's yard and were running towards the house.  They stopped upon seeing Kodachi on the roof.  Kodachi raised the dagger and plunged it towards her stomach.  Ranma reached her in the instant before the blade sunk home and grabbed her hands.

    For several long moments they struggled for the tanto while everything else seemed to stand still.  With a wrench, Ranma finally ripped the dagger free and tossed it away.  With an anguished cry, Kodachi let herself fall from the rooftop toward her alligators pool.  Ranma jumped after her, catching the insane gymnast, landing on Mr. Green Turtle's upraised snout, and jumping away to land safely on the bank.

    Ranma held Kodachi tight for a long moment, then realized how close her face was to Kodachi's.  Kodachi was looking at her with an intense expression from six inches away.  Slowly Ranma set Kodachi on her feet.

    Kodachi just looked at Ranma's face, staring the small red headed girl in the eyes.  "It is true then, Ranma, Ranma-sama.  You are my beloved's other form."

    Ranma slowly nodded.  "Yes, since before I met you I have been cursed to become female, whenever I am splashed with cold water."

    Kodachi looked suspiciously at her.  "Is this why you have spurned my love, because you are truly a female?"

    Ranma shook his head quickly.  "No!  No, I am really a guy, it's just that, it's just... Akane, she's my fiancee, I'm going to... going to marry her."

    There was a sudden thud from off to the side.  Ranma looked over and saw Genma and Soun dancing in a circle, arm in arm, and Akane lying unconscious on the ground, having just fainted.

    From the shadow of a tree nearby, Shampoo started slinking off.  She had turned back upon noticing Ranma's absence and had arrived in time to see Ranma's little speech to Kodachi.  She didn't want to hear any more.  When Ranma had come to her rescue she thought he was showing his love for her.  Shampoo realized now that he was just acting as he had always acted.  Ranma helped when anyone needed it, he had just helped her as a friend, nothing more.

    Shampoo ran toward the Cat Cafe, wondering to herself if Ranma had ever thought of her as more than just a friend.  Shampoo could have told anyone from experience, that cat's didn't cry, but for some reason the front of her face was wet by the time she got to the restaurant.

    At the Kuno's, Ranma ran to Akane's side and gently lifted her head.  "Akane?  Are you all right?"  Kodachi stood still, watching.

    Akane opened her eyes.  "Ranma, did you just say?"

    Ranma's face started to match her hair from embarrassment.  "Um, you heard me huh..." Akane frowned, waiting for the inevitable denial.  Ranma looked away.  "Yeah, well I guess, I meant it."  Akane looked shocked, Kodachi looked horrified, and Genma and Soun danced some more.

    Kodachi looked away, and after a long pause, spoke.  "I understand now, my love.  I will give up this love of mine for you, so, farewell!"  Kodachi jumped away, unto the roof and then out of sight.

    Ranma stood, giving Akane a hand up.  Akane was too surprised to resist the assistance and just stared at the shorter girl.  "Come on Akane, let's go home."  They turned to go.  As they did Ranma started trying to think of a way to keep their meddling parents from marrying them immediately.  When the shock started to wear off, Akane started thinking along the same lines.

    As they got to the Dojo they saw a Silver Mercedes driving away, followed by an enraged P-chan, who was quickly falling behind.  The car accelerated away and Akane paused to picked up her little pet.

    Akane looked lovingly at the little black piglet.  "P-chan?  What are you doing out here?"  The little pig struggled to get free, straining after the now disappearing car.  As the car went out of sight the desperate pig squealed at Ranma plaintively.

    The busty red head looked puzzled.  "Yeah pig, what's wrong with you?"  The little pig just squealed louder and tried to get to Ranma.

    Akane looked down at her pet in confusion.  "I think P-chan wants to go to you, Ranma."

    Ranma figured that something was wrong for sure.  "Maybe he just wants a hot bath?"  She was surprised to see P-chan nod vigorously in agreement.  Ranma held out her hands.  "Ok Mr. P, come here."  Akane loosened her grip and P-chan jumped into Ranma's arms.

    Akane shook her head in astonishment.  "I thought he hated you, Ranma?"

    Ranma shrugged non-commitally.  "I don't know, I'm going to give him a bath."  She walked quickly into the dojo and went into the bathroom, finding the tub partially filled with hot water already she dumped the pig in.  Ryoga burst from the water an instant later.  "Ok, Ryoga, you wanted to talk to me?"

    Ryoga nodded, a very serious look in his eyes.  "Kasumi's been kidnapped!"

  End Revelations and Revisions Chapter 5
  To be continued in Confrontations and Expectations Chapter 1


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