Chapter 7: Vision Quest

                     Ranma 1/2: Curse of Darkness
                              Chapter 7
                             Vision Quest

The story so far: when last we left our heros, the Joker had placed
them in his diabolical gas trap...err...wait, wrong script.  I won't
bother detailing _everything_ that's gone on; suffice it to say things
have changed, and read the last six chapters or the FAQ.  In our last
episode, Tarou-everybody's favourite poorly named
aquatransabomination-helped Ryouga train to fight Ranma so he could
force him-or rather Senchi, his female half-to pose for Happousai.
But when Ryouga defeated-yes, I said _defeated_-Ranma, Tarou found it
impossible to get to him.  But Pantyhose Tarou has far from given

(Opening scene: a dark, forbidding landscape.  Mount Fuji can be seen
in the distance.  A traditional Japanese castle sits perched
precariously on a cliff extending over a yawning chasm.  At the
entrance of said fortress three people stand.  Two are in the robes of
daimyo lords and have ridiculously large hairdos, and the third is a
woman.  She has long brown hair, tied back in a ponytail that falls to
her ankles, and is dressed in loose pants and a t-shirt that does
little to hide her feminine physique.)

Big-haired man #1: We have lost contact with Amigi, Shiad.

Big-haired man #2: And we fear he is hiding something from us.

Shiad (the girl): If he is, he will regret it.

BHM#1: Before he disappeared, his last report stated he was on the
trail of one Ranma Saotome, an...initiate.

Shiad: (turns to walk away) That's all I need.

BHM#2: (as Shiad gets out of earshot) Can she take down Amigi if it
comes to that?

BHM#1: Shiad is our best seeker.  If she cannot, then no one in


(Scene: Ucchan's.  Pantyhose Tarou is helping to wait tables.)

Tarou: [I can't believe my plan failed.] (pauses) [But I can
understand why.  It was because I made the stupid challenge too
public, and gave those morons a chance to interfere. If only I could
find a worthy pawn uninterested in a public confrontation...]

Ukyou: Tarou!
(Tarou walks over to the counter.)

Tarou: Hai?

Ukyou: (holds up a box) Delivery for you, 736 Ookami street.

Tarou: (pulls out a map) Hmm...I could probably run it there, but...
(picks it up) How much?

Ukyou: Vegetarian special, 500 yen.

Tarou: (walking away) Okay...

Ukyou: (frowns) [He seems so distracted lately...]


(Scene: a dilapidated old house.  Tarou-minotaur lands outside with a
thud, walks up tot he unusually large double doors and raps lightly.
With an ominous, theatrical creak the doors open.  Tarou looks at this
for a moment with an amused expression, and then enters, bowing his
head to avoid hitting the frame.  Behind him, the doors slowly close
with another creak and finally shut with a final-sounding clang.
Tarou-minotaur glances around the room.  It has two entrances, and
several dust-covered pieces of furniture have been pushed to the side
to clear a large section in the centre.  In one corner is a table
which has been recently cleaned, on top of which rests a tea-kettle.
Suddenly a low, ominous-and somewhat familiar-chuckle fills the room,
and a ball of fire erupts in the middle.  Tarou uses his free hand to
shield his eyes from the glare, and the fireball burns out of
existence, allowing Amigi-who else?-to step out, his shoulders and
hair on fire.  He smiles for a moment, then sniffs the air.  Suddenly
he shrieks in pain and begins running around in circles, trying
desperately to pat out the flames.)

Amigi(screams): AAAHHH!!!  Somebody help me!!!
(One of the chairs comes to life and Tsubasa's head and limbs pop out
of it.  He runs over and snatches up the kettle.)

Tsubasa: I'll save you, Amigi-sensei!
(He throws the contents of the kettle in Amigi's face, more or less
extinguishing him.)

Amigi: (now sopping wet) About time...
(The minotaur chortles in amusement.)

Amigi: Oh yes, our guest...
(The minotaur holds out his delivery.  Amigi blinks, and then waves

Amigi: That was only a way to get you here.  You see, I have a
(Tarou snorts and pushes the delivery forward again.  Amigi's eyes
narrow.  He snatches the package and throws it away.)

Amigi: Fine, I took it.  Happy now?
(The minotaur shoves the bill in Amigi's face.  He sighs in
consternation and hands over several bills.  Tarou gestures for Amigi
to continue.)

Amigi: Perhaps we should change you back to human, so we can talk.
Tsubasa... (notes Tsubasa holding the empty kettle) ...why don't you
go boil some more water.
(Shift to later.  Tarou and Amigi are talking.  Tarou is wearing a
brown gi-apparently Amigi doesn't have all that many dragonscale
vests-and looks bored.)

Tarou: What's your game, Diatonobi?

Amigi: I know you taught Ryouga those tricks, and secretly helped him
defeat Ranma.

Tarou: You're well-informed, but what's your point?

Amigi: If you want Ranma gone, then I can help you.

Tarou(sneers): Your help I think I can do without.  Besides, I don't
particularly care about fem-boy.  What I need is Senchi to please
Happousai so I can get my new name.

Amigi: Ah, so that's it.  Well then, I _can_ help you.  I've recently
come across an item that could be used to banish one of the
personalities from Ranma's body.

Tarou: (cocks an eyebrow) Go on...

Amigi: However, it only works if one of them willingly decides to give
it up.  So if we make Ranma's life so miserable that he can't stand

Tarou: I get the picture, but how does this help me?

Amigi: How _grateful_ do you think Senchi would be if you helped free

Tarou: (thinks for a moment) Hmm...fine, but how do I know you won't
double-cross me?

Amigi: Awfully suspicious, aren't we?

Tarou: With you?

Amigi: Touche.  Very well... (he pulls a tiny tuning fork from one of
the pockets of his charred armani suit) This tuning fork is a mystic
vibration channeler.  When operated by a trained user, it can create
sympathetic vibrations in inanimate objects and destroy them.
(He walks over and taps the wall with the fork.  There is a low hum.
Amigi hold the rapidly vibrating fork tot he wall and the hum grows in
intensity.  Soon cracks begin to appear as the stress becomes too
much.  Amigi bursts into megalomaniacal laughter as the wall
crumbles...on top of him, burying him in rubble.)

Tarou: [If this is the best DMSESREPBHPTT has to offer, no wonder they
haven't conquered the world.] (dryly) Most impressive.
(Tsubasa helps Amigi dig himself out of the rubble.)

Amigi: Well yes, but you can see the power of the fork.  I offer it to
you as collateral.

Tarou: (takes the fork and examines it for a moment) Alright, this
seems good enough.

Amigi: Now we need a plan...

Tarou: I already have one.  (tucks away the fork) I assume you know of

Amigi: The blind hidden weapons expert?

Tarou: Hai.  What better was to make Ranma miserable than to have him
defeated again?

Amigi: Nani?

Tarou: I heard from Ukyou that Ranma's been extremely upset ever since
Ryouga defeated him...of course, that might have had something to do
with the two of them being put in the same hospital room...

Amigi: Are they still repairing?

Tarou: (shrugs) Last I heard.

Amigi: So how do you propose we help Mousse?  Remember, the
Dum-Sum-Sing technique only works with people of absolutely _no_

Tarou: No, that isn't it.  I want you to give Mousse his most powerful

Amigi: Most powerful weapon?

Tarou: (smiles) Vision.

Amigi: You want... (brightens) me to make it so Mousse can see!

Tarou: (nods) Hai.

Amigi: Well...I have several pairs of magic spectacles...

Tarou: (snorts) Ranma would just knock them off.  What about a
medallion, or a spell...

Amigi: No spell I know of can restore sight for more than a few
minutes... (smiles) I know, the mystic contact lenses!

Tarou: lenses?

Amigi: A relatively new concept in magical visual correctives.  (holds
out his palm) Behold, the mystic contact lenses.

Tarou: Where?

Amigi: In my hand.  Like any contact lenses, they're hard to see.
(Tarou reaches out and picks something out of Amigi's hand.  He
examines it closely and discovers that yes, there is indeed a contact
lens there.)

Tarou: (evil chuckle) These will do nicely.  (He accepts the other
lens from Amigi) [And once Mousse pounds Ranma senseless, I'll get my
name without having to do anything for Amigi.]

Amigi: [And once Ranma is in my grasp, I can dispose of Tarou like
yesterday's garbage.]
(They both smile evilly.)


(Scene: the Tendo Dojo.  Ranma is training, with a look of pure
determination on his face.)

Ranma: Now you're gonna _pay_, pal!
(He launches a powerful flying spin kick that cleaves the head from
the straw dummy in front of him.)

Voice: Those dummies cost money, Ranma.
(Ranma looks over sharply at Akane, who is standing at the entrance.)

Ranma: So get better dummies if you don't want me breakin'em!

Akane: Geez, you don't have to take it out on me.

Ranma: (sighs) Sorry, Akane.  (Akane blinks; the Apocalypse comes one
step closer) I'm just...everything's falling apart...

Akane(concerned; walking inside): Ranma...

Ranma: I'm not sure I can handle Senchi and Ryouga and's just so... (growls) _frustrating_!  (He smashes his
hand into the wall.)

Akane: Ranma, it really must be hard but...

Ranma: (turns away) But...but...but...everything's but.  But Ranma,
what if Senchi gets loose...but Ranma...

Akane: You can't lose faith, Ranma.  Everything will work out fine;
you'll see.

Ranma: (walking away) I've been telling myself that since Jyusenkyou,
Akane.  It doesn't help.  
(He steps out.  Akane starts to move after him when she is stopped by
a hand on her shoulder; she turns to see Kasumi.)

Akane: Oneesan?

Kasumi: He needs some time alone, Akane.  Don't worry about him too
much; he's just confused.
(Outside, Ranma sits on the largest of the rocks surrounding the pond,
gazing into it intently.)

Ranma: [Senchi, are you there?]
(The reflection in the pond shimmers and Senchi appears.)

Senchi(sneers): [Where else would I be?  A baseball game?]

Ranma: [Can the sarcasm.  I want a serious discussion.]

Senchi: [Why don't you jump in?  Then we can talk all day.]

Ranma: [Very funny.  Do you want to talk or not?]

Senchi: (sighs) [What do you want?]

Ranma: [Why do you keep trying to hurt Akane?]

Senchi: (smiles evilly) [You can hide your soul from yourself, Ranma,
but you and I are intertwined, and you can't hide _anything_ from me.]

Ranma: [What _are_ you talking about?]

Senchi: [Never mind.]

Ranma: [Well, I want you to stop...]

Senchi: (laughs) [You expect me to just _stop_!?  To just give up and
sit back while _you_ control this body?] (angrily) [Well, I'm not
stopping _anything_, Ranma.  I'll get this body no matter who I have
to kill to do it!]

Ranma: [Why?  Why do you feel this way...]

Senchi: [Would you do any different in my place?  Give up, Ranma.
I'll win, I'll always win!]

Ranma: (now angry; out loud) Well I'm not giving up, Senchi!  I can't
believe I was actually considering... (clenches his fist) I'll fight
you to protect my friends.  I'll fight you to my dying breath!
(He turns to leap away...)

Kunou: With whom wert thou speaking Saotome?  Hath thine ever
incessant siniristy* driven thee to the crevice of most inhuman
(*ooh!  New word!)

Ranma: GAAAH!!!  When did you get here!?

Kunou: (whips out his bokken) It matters not if thou art mad, for in
truth my skill of sword shall surely smite thee!
(He thrusts at Ranma, who unconsciously leaps back...and straight into
the pond.  The large boulder obscures Kunou's view, and thus he almost
attacks Senchi when she pops out of the water.  He stops, a look of
surprised delight on his face.)

Kunou: Pig...uh...Senchi!  How wonderful to see you!

Senchi: (gives him a cutsie smile) Domo arigato, sempai.  (she grabs
him by the collar with one hand) [Dying breath this, Ranma.] 
(She yanks Kunou's face to hers and plants a wet one right on his
mouth.  Kunou's arms stick out and his hair looks like he just stuck
his finger in a electrical socket.  After a moment she pulls back from
the stunned Kunou.)

Senchi: Now go away.  (she tosses him into the wall) I've got business
to take care of...


(Scene: Ucchan's.  Tarou is just entering when Ukyou pops up in front
of him, a pissed off expression on her face.)

Ukyou: And _where_ were you!?

Tarou: (waves his arms placatingly) I...I was just...I decided to walk

Ukyou: (holding up three boxes) You're lucky I don't fire you!  These
orders piled while you were slacking off and you only have five
minutes to deliver them!  Now move it!!!

Tarou: (gives a crisp salute and puts on a stern face) HAI!!!

Ukyou: (smiling despite herself) Get going before I kick you out!

Tarou: (walking out) Right away, Ukyou-sa...uh... (he quickly steps
out and closes the door) [What am I doing?  Wasting my time helping
her when I could be...] (shakes his head) [Oh well, a job's a job.]


(Scene: the Tendo living room.  Akane is sitting in front of the TV,
irritably flipping through the channels at .8 the speed of light.
Nabiki walks in and notes the continuously shifting blur of images.)

Nabiki: Television tends to be more enjoyable when you stay on one
channel for longer than a second.

Akane: (stops; stares absently at an episode of Slayers Next) I'm just
so frustrated.

Nabiki: That's nice, Akane, but Ranma has some _real_ problems to deal

Akane: (turns and glares at her) What makes you think I feel

Nabiki: (smiles) _I_ never said that.  Later, Akane.
(She leaves.  Akane stares after her for a moment, then starts as the
door opens behind her.  She turns to see Ryouga standing in the
entrance, his clothes and body covered with the dust of the road and a
weary look on his face.)

Akane: Ryouga?  Where have you been?

Ryouga(absently): Korea.  I've been trying to find my way back since I
got out of the hospital.  (he walks over to her) Akane, I've come to
ask you something important.

Akane: What is it, Ryouga-kun?

Ryouga: [This is it.  Without Ranma to come between us, I can finally
ask Akane on a date!] (nervously) Akane, I...that is, would
you want...would you consider...

Akane: (blinks in confusion) Consider what?

Ryouga(sheer determination):!!!

Senchi: (glomped onto Ryouga from behind) Ryouga-chan!

Ryouga: Gaah-ahh-ahh!!!  Get it off!  GET IT OFF!!!
(He runs out the door, Senchi still firmly attached.)

Akane: (sighs) I'm beginning to think he magically attracts her...


(Scene: Ucchan's, that evening.  A tired-looking Tarou is sitting in a
chair, as the restaurant is deserted.  Ukyou walks in from the

Ukyou: Busy day, wasn't it?

Tarou: (takes a deep breath) You can say that again.
(He starts to get up, but Ukyou waves her hand dismissively.)

Ukyou: Why don't you take a break?  I'll clean up tonight.

Tarou: (actually smiles) You're the ideal boss, Ms. Kuonji.

Ukyou: (walking out; over her shoulder) You're not such a bad
(Tarou leaves and starts walking down the street.)

Tarou: [Now to find Mousse, and the most likely place to do that
is...] (evil chuckle) [I may finish this up tonight.]

Voice: Help!

Tarou: (stops) Nani?
(He watches as Ryouga runs down the street towards him.  Close behind
him is Senchi, who is easily keeping pace.)

Ryouga: TAROU!  (looks desperate) You've got to save me!

Tarou: (trying to sidestep) Why should I?

Ryouga: (stops) Please, you helped me...

Tarou: (slapping a hand over Ryouga's mouth) I thought we agreed _not_
to discuss that.

Senchi: (sitting on Ryouga's head, her arms wrapped around his chin)
Discuss what?

Tarou: Nothing. (sighs) I guess I can help you, Ryouga. [If only to
shut you up.] What seems to be the problem?

Senchi: Everybody keeps interfering with our privacy.

Tarou: I was talking to _Ryouga_.

Senchi: Oh, how rude of me!  Ryouga, answer the man.

Ryouga: Mrpmf mrphf!!!
(He is apparently having difficulty speaking, probably due to the fact
Senchi's arms are still wrapped around his chin.)

Senchi: How thoughtless of me! (she leaps down, hugging herself to him
from behind) I could have choked you, Ryouga-chan...

Ryouga: Tarou!  Get her away from me!

Tarou: How?

Ryouga: I don't care!

Tarou: I really don't see what the problem is. _I_ wouldn't be all
that opposed to a beautiful young lady fawning all over me.

Senchi: Domo.

Ryouga: But it's Ranma...ow!

Senchi: (twisting his arm behind his back) _Who's_ Ranma?

Tarou: As Senchi has pointed out on numerous occasions, she is _not_

Senchi: Hai, so many people forget that.  (she releases Ryouga's arm)

Ryouga: offence, Senchi... (big smile) but you're so...evil.

Senchi: (snorts and tosses her head) Good and evil are concepts
created by society to protect the weak from the strong.  Only life
matters, Ryouga, and life doesn't distinguish between good and evil.

Tarou: She has a point.  After all, is the tiger evil because it kills
the boar to survive?  Or is Senchi evil because she is driven to
desperate action to survive?

Ryouga: Whose side are you on anyway!?

Senchi: (leaning lovingly on his shoulder) He's on the right side.

Tarou: Really, what's the problem, Ryouga?  From what I hear, no girl
has loved you like Senchi here...

Ryouga(grimaces): But she doesn't love one does...ow!

Senchi: (twisting his arm again) _What's_ that, Ryouga?

Ryouga: Ow! OWW!  Nothing...ow!  Senchi!

Tarou: (evil chuckle) How long have you two been married?

Ryouga: We are not-ow!-married!

Senchi: (releasing him) He was making a rather lame attempt at humour,
but he can be forgiven.

Ryouga: (leans over to Tarou) Please, get her away!

Tarou: (frowning) I already asked you how...
(Ryouga whispers for a few moments into Tarou's ear.  As he does so,
Tarou's expression changes from annoyed indifference to annoyed
amusement.  Yes, that's hard to do.)

Tarou: (as Ryouga leans back) Why don't you just tell her?

Ryouga: Because she'll kill me!

Tarou: And she _won't_ kill me?

Senchi(annoyed): And why would I kill either of you?

Tarou: (sighs) Because you don't really love Ryouga.

Senchi: (blinks) Nani?

Tarou: You've been enchanted by a magic scroll, which you apparently
read during that birthday party.  It made you fall in love with

Senchi: You're _lying_!!!  (she grabs Ryouga around the neck) Tell me
you're lying, Ryouga-chan!

Ryouga(gasps): It's are...enchanted...

Senchi: (releases him; sneers) You forget I have all of Ranma's
memories.  I know when a person's under the effects of a love potion
or spell.  You're just saying this to get me to leave you alone.

Tarou: Senchi, what's the major clue that shows that a person is under
an enchantment like that?

Senchi: A sudden change in their behavioural patterns... (she drifts

Tarou: And what were your behavioural patterns _before_ the party?
Oh, I forgot, you didn't _exist_ back then.
(Senchi stares at Tarou, her mouth opening and closing silently.  Then
she leaps up and away, going from roof to roof.)

Ryouga: Domo arigato!  (bowing) You saved me from a fate worse than

Tarou: (walking past) That's two you owe me, Ryouga.  (stops; over his
shoulder) And I'm a man who collects on his debts.


(Scene: the Tendo Dojo.  Mousse-about time he showed up, considering
that we're half finished-is in combat position. _We_ can see what his
opponent is-one of the straw dummies-but he apparently can't.)

Mousse: Prepare to die, Saotome!  (he chops the dummy to bits)
Hmm...easier than I thought...
(We hear low clapping.  Mousse turns and we see that it is coming from
none other than Tarou.)

Tarou: Well done.  If you could just do that to the _real_ Ranma, I'm
sure Akane would fawn all over you.

Mousse: (puts on his glasses and squints) Pantyho... (Tarou jabs him
in the face) ow...

Tarou: Don't call me that!

Mousse: (backing up) Why'd you go and do that?

Tarou: (calming down) Never mind.  Mousse, you _really_ dislike Ranma,

Mousse(cagily): Hai...

Tarou: Then I'm going to...if you'll excuse the cliche-make you an
offer you can't refuse.


(Scene: a rooftop somewhere in Nerima.  Mousse is standing, looking
out at the half-moon; Tarou is sitting indian-style on a nearby

Mousse: You mean you can make me...see!

Tarou: Yes, I can give you that...a weapon more powerful than any

Mousse(awed): To finally see.  To not be subjected to the
blur...I would do anything!

Tarou: Glad to hear it.  Now I assume, once you can see, that you'll
want to fight Ranma.

Mousse: Hai.  For the fair Akane, I must destroy Ranma.  (he turns to
face Tarou) Why do you ask?

Tarou: Because I want you to promise me something.

Mousse: What?

Tarou: Don't kill Ranma.

Mousse: Huh?

Tarou: I need fem-boy alive.  You can pound him, crush him and even
slightly maim him, but I need Ranma alive.

Mousse: But why...

Tarou: My business, Mousse.

Mousse: (holding one hand behind his back) Very well.  I promise on my
warrior's honour not to kill Ranma.

Tarou: (walks over) Then I will give you these.  Hold out your hand.
(Mousse holds out his hand and Tarou drops something in them.)

Mousse: Contact lenses?

Tarou: Magic contact lenses.  Just put them in your eyes, they're
supposed to go in easily.
(Mousse shrugs and pulls off his glasses.  He then carefully inserts
the contact lenses.  He blinks once to insure they are in place, and
then he opens his eyes...)

Mousse: (sharp intake of breath) I can...SEE!!!  (he turns) The
moon...the stars...the sky... (tears) It has never been so clear, so
beautiful... (clenches his fist) This world is so lovely!  Why was I
forced to endure it through these accursed eyes!?  It really makes me

Tarou(bored): Uh huh...

Mousse: And who better to take out my anger on than Saotome?  Hai,
tonight he dies!

Tarou: (blinks) Hey, wait a minute...
(Mousse lashes out with a shower of chains, wrapping them around Tarou
and immobilizing him in short order.  He smiles evilly as Tarou
struggles to escape.)

Mousse: Heh.  I no longer have a need for you, Pantyhose.  (Tarou
growls) But since you gave me this gift which spells Saotome's doom, I
will let you live.  Too bad can't say the same for our friend Ranma!
BWAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  (he leaps away)

Tarou: [If he kills Ranma, I'll have lost my only chance at a new
name.] (sighs) [Never thought I'd be helping fem-boy.] (he gets to his
knees with difficulty and moves towards the chimney, where there is a
thermos standing) [And if he thought he took me out...]


(Scene: the Nekohanten.  Shampoo is busier than usual serving the
customers, since Mousse no longer works there.  Cologne is somewhat
taxed too, and has recently placed a help wanted sign in the window.
Too bad everyone's heard how she treated Ranma and Mousse when they
worked there...)

Cologne: [I'm beginning to regret some things...]

Senchi: (popping down from the ceiling) Konnichi wa.

Cologne(nonplussed): Greetings, Senchi.  Shouldn't you be chasing
Ryouga or trying to kill Akane?

Senchi: Actually, I thought I'd take out Shampoo today.  (Cologne eyes
Senchi) Just kidding.  Shampoo annoys Ranma too much to bother
removing her from the picture.

Cologne: What do you want?

Senchi: Now that's the Cologne we also know and hate.  Actually, I
came to find out if I'm enchanted.

Cologne: Nani?  Of course you're enchanted.  You have a curse, and are
the _product_ of a enchantment.

Senchi: I know that, but do I have a _third_ enchantment on me?

Cologne: A _third_ enchantment?

Senchi: Like a love spell.  Oh... (she smiles) In case you're thinking
of doing anything dumb, I've planted explosives all over the
Nekohanten, and if I do the wrong thing this place will be levelled,
and you with it.

Cologne: You think you're clever, don't you?

Senchi: I know, if you please...


(A street somewhere in Nerima.  Ryouga walks down the road, obviously

Ryouga: [Damn!  I finally get rid of Senchi, and now I can't find my
way back to the dojo.  Just my luck.] (he spots a figure moving
towards him) Hello.

Mousse: (stepping out of the shadows) Greetings, Hibiki.

Ryouga: Mousse, where are you heading?

Mousse: The dojo, to deal with Ranma once and for all.

Ryouga: That's nice...but shouldn't you be wearing your glasses?

Mousse: I won't need them.  (he starts to move past; then stops and
looks at Ryouga, his eyes narrowing) You love her too.

Ryouga: Nani?

Mousse: (clenches his fist, snapping out a set of claws) I never did
correct you for that little unprovoked attack not so long ago.

Ryouga: (instinctively snaps into combat position, grabbing his
umbrella) You want to fight me?

Mousse: I want to try out something...some special techniques I've
recently developed.  (smiles) But don't worry, I won't kill you.  Only
one boy shall die tonight.

Ryouga(growls): Arrogant little... (he rushes at him) I'll teach you
some manners!


(Scene: Ucchan's.  Ukyou is just finishing sweeping up.  She leans on
her broom.)

Ukyou: Maybe I should go visit Ranma...
(At that point the door bangs open and an aggravated-looking Tarou
stalks in.  Ukyou blinks.)

Ukyou: I thought I gave you the night off.

Tarou(walking in back): You did, I just need something.

Ukyou: What's that?
(After a moment, Tarou walks out, a satchel over his shoulder.)

Tarou(grimly): Protection.

Ukyou: From who?

Tarou: (walking out) A new enemy.

Ukyou: (sighs) [He's always so close-mouthed and suspicious...] (she
leans her broom against the wall) I think I'll go visit Ranchan now...


(Scene: the Tendo Household.  The family-sans Ranma-is settling down
for dinner.  Akane seems...preoccupied.)

Kasumi: What's the matter, Akane?

Akane: It's Ran...I mean, Senchi.  (quickly) She could be out there
preparing to kill me.

Nabiki: Senchi won't even get into the house, Akane.  After the money
you put into my traps she...

Senchi: (walking in) She what?  (Senchi too seems preoccupied)

Nabiki(flabbergasted): How did...

Senchi: ...I get past the traps?  (sneers) Do you think I'm as dumb as
Ranma?  (looks hard into Nabiki's eyes) Don't underestimate me...
(darkly) and never interfere with me again, because all the money in
the world won't save you.
(She walks up the stairs, leaving an expressionless Nabiki behind.)

Akane: Nabiki...

Nabiki: Let's continue eating.  (frowns) [I think Senchi's beginning
to get too pushy...]
(There is a hiss from upstairs.)

Akane: Is that the tap?
(A moment later Ranma comes running down the stairs.)

Ranma: What happened?

Nabiki: (blinks) She changed back...

Akane: ...on her own...


(Scene: a rooftop.  Mousse is walking along it; he has an evil smile
on his face and his arms crossed in front of him, hidden by his
voluminous sleeves.)

Mousse: Sooooooon...very, very soon...
(He hears the ringing of a bike bell and doges to the side just in
time to avoid Shampoo's bicycle.  He stares at Shampoo, who glares
back at him.)

Shampoo: What you do in Shampoo's way, stupid Mousse?

Mousse(cold): Shampoo.  Only now can I see the haughty beauty that
hides your true ugliness.

Shampoo: What you talking?  Shampoo no have time for you.  She go give
Tzubi-husband love po...uh...good food.

Mousse(cracking): Oh, this is going to be sweeeeeet.  To finally get
revenge for all those years of degradation, humiliation and rejection.
(hisses) To think I ever loved you.

Shampoo: You stupid...wait second, you call Shampoo ugly!  Shampoo
hurt Mousse for that!


(Scene: a road in Nerima.  Ukyou is walking along in her usual chef
getup and combat spatula, staring off to the horizon thoughtfully.
Thus, she almost trips over the tiny object lying in the road.  She
looks down, and gasps in surprise as she sees Shampoo-neko.  The cat
is unconscious and in very bad shape.  Not only is she battered and
bruised, but she is also wrapped up in a web of tiny interlacing

Ukyou: (leaning down) Shampoo... [Who could have done this to her?  If
I didn't know better I'd say these chains belong to...] (shakes her
head) [No, that's silly.] I guess I'd better take you to Dr. Tofu's.
(She picks up the limp cat with a sigh and starts off in another
direction.  Taking a shortcut through a nearby alley, she stops and
stares at a large gash opening the wall in a good foot.  She continues
on, putting herself on guard and watching for any hidden attackers.
Therefore, she easily notices the object hanging from what appears to
be a shining thread.  Walking over, she pulls it into the light and
gasps in surprise.)

Ukyou: R-r-ryouga...  (hai, it is indeed P-chan, who is in the same
condition as Shampoo-neko) [Whoever did this is _really_ dangerous.]
(pauses) [Guess that eliminates Mousse...but who else would use chains
like his?] (she pulls Ryouga down) [The Nekohanten is closer than the
doctor's...and this is pretty serious.] (sighs) I guess Ranma will
have to wait...


(Scene: an alleyway, across from the Tendo Dojo.  Tarou is hiding
behind a garbage can, listening through a pair of earphones which are
connected to a large antenna dish.)

Tarou: [I hear fem-boy...but it seems Mousse hasn't arrived yet.  I'll
just stay here...wouldn't want to tip my hand and lose my job.]
(Behind Tarou in the alleyway, Mousse watches both his benefactor and
the home of his victim.)

Mousse: [What's Pantyhose doing here?  I hope he isn't planning on
interfering...] (shakes head) [No matter, but I'd better law low for
awhile.  I wouldn't want to tip my hand if Ranma isn't there...]


(Scene: the Nekohanten.  Cologne is cleaning up, and does _not_ look
pleased to be doing so.  She looks up as the door opens and Ukyou
steps in.)

Cologne: What are _you_ doing... (spots Ukyou's cargo) What have you
done to Shampoo!?

Ukyou: I did nothing to Shampoo.  (she carefully places Shampoo-neko
and P-chan on a table) in case you haven't noticed, Ryouga is also
here, and unless you think I did this to him...

Cologne: So I assume you know who's responsible?

Ukyou: Nope, but I found them within two blocks of each other.

Cologne: (examining Shampoo) Hmm...this was done with a series of
precises atemi blows, followed by the use of some painful, but
non-lethal bladed weapon assaults.  Only then were they rendered
unconscious and tied up.

Ukyou: So whoever did this was patient, and chose their targets.

Cologne: Hai... (frowns) These atemi blows seem unusual, distorted
(She places P-chan on the floor and pour a kettle over him; Ukyou
averts her eyes.)

Ukyou: What is it?

Cologne: They were done by...a duck's bill?

Ukyou: Then Mousse...

Cologne: That's impossible.  (Ukyou covers Ryouga with a tablecloth)
Atemi attacks rely on perfect 20/20 vision to be able to exactly judge

Ukyou: Who else would sue a duck as a weapon, and has reason to
dislike Ryouga and Shampoo?

Cologne: You have a point, but Mousse could not have gotten in this
many lucky shots.  He'd need to be able to see.

Ukyou: Well...maybe he can see now somehow, and decided to take
revenge... (she gasp) Ranchan!

Cologne: You go warn son-in-law, I shall see to these two.
(Ukyou rushes out, running as if her life-or somebody else's-depended
on it.)


(Scene: the outside of the Dojo.  Tarou is still watching it, and
Mousse is still watching him.)

Mousse: (frowns) [I can't wait any longer, or Shampoo or Ryouga might
recover and warn Saotome.]
(Mousse walks over behind Tarou, who is too busy listening tot he
going's on in the house to notice.  Mousse clears his throat and Tarou
spins around to face him, only to be met by a swirl of chains and
ropes.  Mousse smiles evilly as Tarou struggles.)

Mousse: Nice to see you again, Pantyhose...  (Tarou growls) ...but I
told you not to get involved.

Tarou: Actually, no you didn't.

Mousse: (walking past) I'll get in a good shot on Ranma for you.  (he
leaps over the wall and in)
(Tarou struggles with the chains, and as a consequence falls over and
loses sight of the dojo.  This, of course, due to the law of
incredible plot-enhancing coincidence, is just the chance Ukyou needs
to walk right by him and into the dojo, neither one noticing the
other.  Shortly after she enters, Tarou leaps up, free of the chains.)

Tarou: [Good thing I haven't forgotten everything that old ninja
taught me...] (sighs) [I _never_ thought I'd be saving fem-boy's
life.] (he walks to the dojo)


(Scene: the living room.  Ukyou, Akane and Ranma are talking.)

Ranma: ...ridiculous, Ukyou.  Mousse is an idiot.  He probably can't
even see Ryouga, much less beat him.

Ukyou: But I saw Ryouga with my own eyes.  He was in really bad shape,
and Cologne said...

Ranma: I trust that old hag about as far as I can throw her.  I'm
surprised you listened to her...

Ukyou: But Shampoo was in equally bad shape...

Akane: She has a point, Ranma.  What if Mousse _did_ beat them?  He
would be coming for you next.

Ranma: I beat Mousse before and I can do it again.

Ukyou: That sounds dangerously familiar...

Ranma(snaps): What do you expect?  Ryouga was _invincible_!!!  If he
hadn't been invulnerable to my attacks...

Voice: Saotome!  Tonight you will die!
(Ranma turns to see Mousse threatening the television; he has his
glasses on his forehead.)

Ranma: See?  Blind as a bat.

Ukyou: I don't understand...

Mousse(turns to face Ranma with an evil smile; slow, obviously
rehearsed voice): Oh, there you are, Ranma.  I couldn't _see_ you.

Ranma: Of course not.  What do you want, Mousse?
(Outside, Tarou is walking towards the open patio door.  He can see
Ranma, Mousse and Akane, but Ukyou is out of his line of sight.)

Tarou: [There he is...] (cracks his knuckles and chuckles evilly)
[Time to give duck-boy a lesson in humility!]  (He begins running at
Mousse, but just then Ukyou steps into view.  Tarou grinds his heels
in a desperate effort to stop himself and ends up flat on his back.)

Tarou: [Oh, great.  With Ukyou there I can't attack Mousse.] (stands
up) [I'll just hide out here and wait for my chance.]

Kasumi(behind Tarou; loudly): Why hello, Tarou.  How are you?
(Tarou grimaces as everyone in the room turns to stare at him.  He
gives a big smile and waves.)

Ukyou: Tarou?  What are you doing here?

Ranma(suspiciously): Yeah, what _are_ you doing here?
(Mousse smiles and stands, his hands hidden by his cuffs.  Tarou looks
blank for a moment, then collects himself and reestablishes his cool

Tarou: I just came to see Nabiki about a business proposition.

Kasumi: (watering the lawn) Nabiki went out earlier, Tarou.  Would you
care to leave a note?

Tarou: (walks in) No...if you don't mind, I'll just wait here.
(Ranma continues to watch Tarou suspiciously, but everyone else
ignores him, as people coming around at all hours looking for Nabiki
is not into that what you will. ^_^)

Mousse: (to Akane) Well Ranma, do you fight me or do you yield?

Ranma: I'm over here, you idiot.

Ukyou: Be careful, Ranchan.  I don't like this.

Tarou: Try not to get yourself killed, fem-boy.

Ranma: Oh?  And why are _you_ so concerned?

Tarou: (evil chuckle) If you die, Ukyou leaves and I'm out of a job.

Ranma: All you people must think I'm a wimp just  cause I lost to
Ryouga once!  Well, I'll pound Mousse here into pulp and prove you

Mousse: (facing Ranma; smiles) Come, Ranma.  Let us dance...the dance
of death.

Ranma: Hai, but let's do it someplace more appropriate.


(Scene: the dojo-where else?-where Ranma and Mousse are facing off
from across the room.  Tarou, Akane and Ukyou watch.  Ranma is
cracking his knuckles; Tarou stands with hand interlaced in his cuffs
and is grinning evilly at Ranma.)

Mousse: I hope you've made peace with your maker, Saotome.  You'll be
seeing him soon.

Ranma: Sure Mousse, and maybe pigs will fly... (doesn't that just give
you a ludicrous picture of a little P-chan with wings?)  Let's get
this over with.
(Ranma runs at Mousse, who stands calmly.  As he reaches the halfway
point, Mousse unfolds his arms and holds them above his head like
bird's wings.)

Mousse: Now DIE, Ranma!!!  Fist of the White Swan!  HAKUKEN!!!  (he
flashes his arms forward...)

Ranma: (throwing a powerful punch) Not that old trick...
(Ranma's fist connects with the swan-shaped training potty...and he
leaps back with a cry of pain and surprise, his arm falling limp at
his side.  Mousse carefully tucks away his weapon.)

Ranma: (grasping his paralysed limb) How in...what did you...
(Ukyou and Akane are flabbergasted; Tarou grimaces.)

Mousse: It's much easier to use atemi-waza when one can _see_ one's
opponent.  (he pulls off his glasses and throws them to the ground)

Ranma: You _can_ see!

Mousse: (grinding his glasses under his foot) Yes, and my vision
spells your doom!  (he snaps back his hand) KEIRAN KEN!!!
(A hen pops out of his cuff, alys a half dozen eggs in his hand and
disappears again.  Ranma immediately begins to backpeddle but Mousse
throws the exploding eggs with deadly accuracy that Ranma is thrown
into the wall.  Ranma's tunic has had a hold blown in the side where a
bomb hit, and he is leaning against the wall in obvious pain.  Mousse
leaps up and spins once in mid-air, then comes sailing down on Ranma,
wielding a katana.)

Mousse: DIE!
(Ranma attempts to roll away, but his paralysed arm throws him off and
Mousse makes a shallow cut along his back.  He grimaces in pain but
doesn't cry out as he regains his feet and faces the smug Mousse.)

Ranma: I've had just about enough of you!

Mousse: Really?  That's too bad, because I'm nowhere near finished.

Ranma: (clenches his fists) Yeah, well... (blinks) Hey, my arm...

Mousse: Of course.  The effects of my neural atemi only last a short
time.  But your arm can't save you now!
(He runs forward with the sword.  Ranma leaps as Mousse slashes the
blade in a long sweeping arc which barely misses, but Mousse waves his
other arm and sends a trio of chains wrapping around him.  He then
snaps his arm around, sending Ranma flying into the far wall.  He
retracts the chains as Ranma slowly crumples to the floor, leaps up
and fires four giant metal staples which nail Ranma to the floor at
his wrists and ankles.  Ranma growls and tries to pull his arm free
with no luck.  Mousse leaps again and raises his katana, this time
intending to gut his opponent.)

Akane(horrified): RANMA!

Ranma: NO!!!
(He somehow kicks his legs up and pulls them loose, then bends his
body up so his soles touch the wall.  Mousse plunges his sword into
the floor where Ranma's chest was a moment ago.  Ranma draws back his
legs and kicks Mousse in the face, sending him staggering back.
Following the momentum of his kick, Ranma rips his arms free, rolls
under Mousse's guard and delivers a punishing uppercut that sends him
flying.  Mousse regains his feet and Ranma stalks forward.)

Mousse: (wiping some blood off his lips) This only makes my victory
taste all the sweeter.

Ranma: If I were you, I'd be more worried about escaping a hospital
stay then winning.

Mousse: (waving arms in mystic patterns) I see I must use my most
powerful technique against you.  A technique so powerful, it is feared
by all those who practice the martial arts.  A technique so
incredible, it has spawned countless cheap imitations throughout the
world.  A technique only _I_ have truly mastered!  (pulls arms to his
sides) Face now, the OWL'S CLAW FIST!!! 
 (He flashes one arm forward and sends hurtling at Ranma...dramatic
pause...a pair of spiked brass knuckles.  Ranma catches his wrist and
elbows him in the face.  As he stumbles backward, Ranma brings both
arms to his side and holds them in launch position.)

Ranma: You're going down, Mousse!  (Mousse snaps his palms and
something folds out of his cuffs...)  KACHUU TENSHIN AMAGURIKEN!!!
(Ranma launches his punches at .3 the speed of light, but Mousse
reacts first and holds up to metal disks about the size of ice cream
container lids and uses them to deflect all the punches.  Ranma steps
back out of range, holding up his bruised knuckles and staring at
Mousse in surprise.)

Mousse: (snaps his palms again and the disks fold like fans and
retract) A simple enough trick.  I just couldn't use it before because
I could never _see_ the exact moment of the attack.

Ranma: (launches a pivot kick) OH SHUT UP!!!
(Mousse ducks under Ranma's kick and wraps a net around his other leg,
he then pulls Ranma off the ground and swings him up into the ceiling.
Letting go of the net, he launches a swarm of razor blade-tipped paper
airplanes at him.  Ranma twists and dodges, but one of the planes gets
through his evasions and sticks in his shoulder.  Ranma cries out as
he hits the ground and yanks the airplane from his shoulder.  Mousse
pulls out a knife and sends it spinning at Ranma.  He backflips and
launches himself over it, but finds himself surrounded in mid-leap by
a half dozen eggs, which explode and throw him to the ground.)

Tarou: [Come on fem-boy, you can do better than that!]

Ukyou: Oh no...

Akane: _Ranma_!  Don't give up!
(Mousse stalks in as Ranma kneels, head bowed in pain and arms
clenched to his chest.  A low yellow glow drifts out from under Ranma
and Mousse's eyes narrow...then Ranma leans back like a snapping snake
and releases a Moko Takabisha which tears up the ground, but Mousse
just isn't there, as he had already leaped, and comes down on Ranma
with a giant tenderizing mallet and pounds him flat.  The Chinese boy
backs up a few steps as his opponent rises shakily to his feet.)

Mousse: How pathetic you now seem.

Ranma: It isn't...over...yet...

Mousse: (smiles) The fight is over, but my revenge is not.
(Mousse lashes out with a claw which tears a shallow slash in Ranma's
chest, then follows up with a thrown knife which cuts his calk and
finally snaps a length of barbed wire around his arm and pulls it
tight, cutting into Ranma's flesh.  He then laughs megalomaniacally
and, releasing the wire, pulls out a three-foot long sword.)

Mousse: Now it ends...

Ukyou: No...

Akane: Ranma!  Keep fighting!  You can've got to win...

Tarou: [This has gone just about far enough...]
(He takes a step forward, then notices Ranma is glowing slightly with
a yellow aura and stops.)

Mousse: (laughs) I want to hear you beg me for mercy, Ranma.  Do so
and I will make this quick.

Ranma: (pulls himself into an aggressive combat stance) Never!  KACHUU
(Mousse pulls out his shields in time to deflect Ranma's hyperfast

Mousse: You already tried this, and it already failed.
(Ranma however, has now switched to palm strikes; his aura is growing
more intense and energy seems to be flowing to his hands...)

Mousse: W-what are you doing?

(His voice echos as suddenly his lightning-fast blows no longer end in
mere strikes but in baseball sized spheres of yellow force.  They come
out in a storm, dozen striking within seconds.  Mousse's shields are
blasted into a million pieces and the technique drives into him like a
freight train, blasting him around like a rag doll.  Then Ranma
suddenly stops and pulls back his hands, and as Mousse topples forward
he thrusts them outward until they are right in front of his face and
performs his super ki blast.  The beam of yellow force lifts Mousse up
and drives him through the wall of the dojo, through the stone garden
wall and finally into the neighbours wall, where the manoeuvre loses
power and disperses, leaving an aftertrail and tiny glowing sparks.
Mousse crumples to the ground, and we see the burnt and cracked
contact lenses fall from his eyes and to the ground.  Meanwhile, back
at the dojo, Ranma is barely conscious, what with his wounds and
having expended so much power.  Tarou frowns as he watches Ukyou and
Akane-though Akane is less obvious about it-worrying over his
injuries.  Shaking his head, he stalks over.)

Tarou(mutters): If you want something done right...
(He lifts up Ranma's head as Ukyou and Akane blink in confusion.)

Tarou: I can't believe you survived Ryouga _and_ Mousse.

Ranma: (dawning realization) You mean you...

Tarou: Hai... (drops Ranma) ...but I can't trust these idiots to do
anything right, so I guess I'll have to do it myself.

Ranma: (standing up painfully) Do what yourself?

Tarou: I'm challenging you, fem-boy.

Ranma: (eyes narrow) Fine.  Let's finish this once and for all!
(The two's eyes lock, and a cold chill fills the air as they put all
of their enmity and hatred into their glares...)

                        To Be Concluded...

     Author's Postscript: Well, that ends that.  Or at least that
portion of the Tarou triad, the conclusion of which occurs in our next
chapter.  Let us take the space to answer a few questions you might
     First off, who is Shiad and when will she show up?  Shiad is
obviously a new character who is coming to interact with our CoD (no,
it is _not_ a fish) cast and crew.  How long she remains and her exact
effect must remain a mystery, but stay tuned.  As for when she shows
up, she is tentatively scheduled for Chapter 10.
     Second, what is the deal on Ranma's new super move?  It's very
simple.  We combined the amaguriken and the moko takabisha into a
single move.  Why?  Because it was obvious!  I don't see why Ranma
hasn't done it before...true, he usually uses both hands in the blast,
but a ki technique isn't based on physical movements but mental
     Some upcoming story arcs for CoD (which is in now way related to
a certain aquatic lifeform) are the Curse of The Silver Spatula,
Betrothal Bliss and Kodachi Complex, any of which may run into
multi-parters.  Also, the end draws slowly near, as we plan to wrap up
the series around chapter 25 (math majors, only 18 chapters away),
which has a nice round sound to it.  As always, comments can be
directed to Blade at, who handles the PR
^_^   Jya na,

Blade and Epsilon

Atemi-waza: Vital Point Attacks

All content unless stated otherwise is ©2021 Chris McNeil. He can be contacted here. The banner picture is courtesy of Jason Heavensrun. You can find more of his stuff at Checkmate Studios.