The Imperial Servant.

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Re: The Imperial Servant.

Postby Pata Hikari » Mon May 08, 2017 9:15 pm

TattooTheDL wrote:This fic is based on an issue I've seen in some recent Ranma fics, for why Ranma has so many problems with his harem.
SPOILER - Show Spoiler
Ranma is under the effect of a pressure point that effectively shut down his sex-drive.

Except that this is nonsensical.

Ranma does, in fact, have a sex drive. He's totally willing to make out/have sex with Akane in a dark room at least once (and that same arc has him show incredible disappointment that he doesn't actually get to see Akane naked)

The entire premise of this story makes no sense. The "problem" Ranma has with his "harem" is that there are some people interested in him who he isn't interested in, and they tend not to take no for an answer (Not that Ranma does much to discourage them). Not that he's sexually repressed. Heck, it's not just Akane he even shows physical attraction to. He does in fact show reactions to some of the other women in his life, he just doesn't go for anything because he's not Ataru Moroboshi.
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Re: The Imperial Servant.

Postby TattooTheDL » Tue May 09, 2017 5:12 pm

Alright, in a bit of a mood and not necessarily a good one, but I felt like responding to this.

Pata Hikari wrote:
SPOILER - Show Spoiler
Ranma is under the effect of a pressure point that effectively shut down his sex-drive.

Except that this is nonsensical.


Should be a rating scale for fanfiction, for how much a person is willing to suspend their disbelief to enjoy the story. Quite frankly, I found the idea lined up with a lot of Ranma's behaviors in canon, but not all of them, hence...

Ranma does, in fact, have a sex drive. He's totally willing to make out/have sex with Akane in a dark room at least once (and that same arc has him show incredible disappointment that he doesn't actually get to see Akane naked)


Don't remember that scene, care to link? And anyway, I agree that Ranma in canon DOES know and understand what sex is. His reasons for acting the way he does, well...

The entire premise of this story makes no sense.


See my earlier point, that minimal suspension of disbelief is required and there is something of an "Ah HA!" regarding this idea.

The "problem" Ranma has with his "harem" is that there are some people interested in him who he isn't interested in, and they tend not to take no for an answer (Not that Ranma does much to discourage them).


This I agree with, and frankly, Ranma's rant against the NWC contained a few of my own personal theories on why he doesn't act like a rabid horndog along with your points (And other things). Also, just because he's not shtupping the girls following him doesn't make the story any less of a HAREM anime, so I'm not sure why you "emphasized" that.

Not that he's sexually repressed. Heck, it's not just Akane he even shows physical attraction to. He does in fact show reactions to some of the other women in his life, he just doesn't go for anything because he's not Ataru Moroboshi.


This I understand and agree with. When Shampoo showed up in Nerima and started fawning all over him, the only reason he didn't stick to his guns and tell her to GTFO is because he realized how cute/pretty she was when she wasn't trying to murder him. (Genma clearly never told him 'Don't stick it in crazy'...)

I've said in the author notes several times, but just for repetition's sake, I'll say it again.

I read stories where this idea that "Ranma's sex drive was shut off" has been used. From a certain perspective, it actually does make some sense.

However

Those same stories didn't treat that pretty GD important idea with the...not seriousness (it's Ranma 1/2) it deserved, but rather as an excuse. Specifically, the fics I read would give a few paragraphs, (ONCE devoting the prologue chapter to it's removal) and then move on. And by move on, I mean Ranma would leave Nerima and never return and no one would ever know the reason he never pursued his fiance's (beyond the obvious reasons) is because he couldn't be attracted to them.

This idea, would RADICALLY shake up the dynamic of Nerima, if it were the case. But it get's used for a cheap excuse why Ranma's making out/screwing girls who AREN'T from Nerima. (as I said, always used for fics where he leaves forever) That irked me after I saw it used over and over again, and I wanted to come up with an appropriate "Counter". One where his sex drive got turned off, but he DIDN'T leave Nerima forever, the wrecking crew WOULD find out about it, he WOULDN'T immediately turn into a god of sex or turn around and act like there was absolutely nothing wrong with him after YEARS of not knowing how his own plumbing worked because this kind of thing isn't like turning on a light-switch; it's like someone being blinded as a kid and suddenly being able to see again. There's gonna be an adjustment period, get me?

And as a bonus, Genma didn't (directly/intentionally) cause Ranma to get the pressure point put on so he could "Control" Ranma in some lame-ass way. Personally, if Genma HAD done it, I would have run with the "Can't afford to have the boy being distracted by girls, better nip this in the bud!" and then forgot about it.

All's said and done, I'm thinking (hoping) that I did a pretty good job of keeping this stuff on a logistical scale that makes it easier to swallow, because as a work of fanfiction, it is INHERENTLY OUT OF CHARACTER. I can't speak for Rumiko Takahashi and I have not intention of doing so, thus I'm saying what I think would happen in this situation. However, I like a firm connection to canon in fanfiction, and I wasn't going to go off on a crazy-train and act like everyone was suddenly lobotomized with no warning.
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Re: The Imperial Servant.

Postby Pata Hikari » Thu May 11, 2017 12:03 am

TattooTheDL wrote:Should be a rating scale for fanfiction, for how much a person is willing to suspend their disbelief to enjoy the story. Quite frankly, I found the idea lined up with a lot of Ranma's behaviors in canon, but not all of them, hence...


That's the thing. It doesn't.

TattooTheDL wrote:Don't remember that scene, care to link? And anyway, I agree that Ranma in canon DOES know and understand what sex is. His reasons for acting the way he does, well...


http://onemanga.com/manga/ranma_1_2/34/143

This and the next page. The context is that thanks to Happosai Nodoka things Ranma isn't "manly" (Clearly because she thinks Ranma is gay) and as such they set up this situation where Ranma will "peek" at Akane to prove he's interested in women, and thus manly. Ranma's disappointment when he learns that Akane isn't actually naked after all that build up is what convinces Nodoka.

Doesn't surprise me you don't remember it though. Most people I've seen doing Ranma fanfic don't actually know much about the late manga except for bits of out of context spoilers about the Saffron Arc and the exploded wedding, which is why a lot of the bigger character building moments in the latter half tend to be ignored in fanfic. (I've seen a grand total of three people minus myself ever mention the "Leaves that Bind" chapter, for instance)

TattooTheDL wrote: just because he's not shtupping the girls following him doesn't make the story any less of a HAREM anime, so I'm not sure why you "emphasized" that.


Because Ranma 1/2 isn't really a harem manga.

Sure, you can say that it influenced later harem stories, but Ranma 1/2 itself is not one.

A key element of the Harem story is that, ultimately, there's dramatic tension over who in the love polygon will "win" and be the one the main character goes with. The story introduces the various harem candidates early in the story and throughout most of it there are romantic scenes with the main character and each various candidates. The reader won't know who's the one the story will end with, if any.

Ranma 1/2 isn't like that. From the start the romantic comedy elements of the story were about the relationship between Ranma and Akane. All the other "candidates" are never once even given a chance, and they are given no real romantic moments with Ranma. They exist strictly as wacky antagonists. Not to mention none of them are introduced until after Ranma and Akane's relationship cements itself and the end result of it becomes clear.

The fandom confused Ranma 1/2 for a harem anime because they had little access to it early on. So they went off a show they were familiar with that is a straight harem anime, Tenchi Muyo. Seriously, a lot of the "fiancee" dynamic in Ranma fanfic I've read is more like the dynamic between Ryoko and Ayaka than the actual dynamic they have in canon. Doesn't help that the anime openings did play up the idea of a Akane-Ranma-Shampoo love triangle, which doesn't actually exist in canon.)

TattooTheDL wrote: as a work of fanfiction, it is INHERENTLY OUT OF CHARACTER.


Holy crap no.

No it is not.

Being out of character is, in fact, a sign of bad fanfiction.

Each character should, at the start of the story, be in character for how they are at the point in canon the fanfic diverges off of. As a fanfiction author, you are actually held to a higher standard of characterization than if you were writing an original work, because an original character does not have a handy 32 Volume comic book behind them for the reader to get how said character acts in from.

This means that, when I click on a Ranma 1/2 fanfiction, When I see a story with characters shown as out of character in obvious ways, I see no reason to continue. Because it's clear that the author has failed at actually writing a Ranma 1/2 fanfic, instead there's some OC here who looks like Ranma, who kind of acts like Ranma if you squint, but is in fact distinctly not Ranma.

And, frankly, I've seen enough "fanfics" that are really original works with the names of Ranma characters in them that I have no interest in wasting my time with them.
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Re: The Imperial Servant.

Postby Sunshine Temple » Thu May 11, 2017 6:02 am

Just an admin notice:

There's no rules violations yet, but everyone should be a bit careful as the tone is getting a bit heated /and/ it's drifting off topic to general subjects such as "what makes Ranma fanfiction."


You can continue that topic if you like, but that would need to be a new thread.
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Re: Imperial Servant Chapter 2

Postby Pata Hikari » Thu May 25, 2017 3:43 am

So because the author was a fairly good sport about my criticism I decided to read further to see how things go with further characterization, let's see how things-

TattooTheDL wrote:
Instead, all hell had broken loose as Ranma didn’t have a chance to do more than gape in shock before the bluenette was on her feet with a wooden hammer in hand, and a look of pure feminine rage on her face as she screamed, “RANMA! YOU PERVERT!”


Oh.

Oooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Darn it.

And what follows is basically a calvalade of every single major Ranma cast member barging in and causing trouble. Ryoga bringing up "seeing hell" is weird since he doesn't say that beyond his introduction oh wait yeah. Common Ranma fanfic problem of taking characters as they are at the start of the story and transplanting them later.

But let's talk about Akane.

Now, yes, Ranma 1/2 is slapstick. But Akane's reaction to some girl she clearly doesn't know latching on to Ranma would not be immediately Declaration of Perversion and Dropping the Hammer. A more in character reaction would be for Akane to ask/demand Ranma tell her who this new girl is. Ranma would protest he doesn't know, Akane would say something like "She sure looks like she knows you well enough" which would get Ranma annoyed and he snaps back some retort and the two start arguing, now completely ignoring Xuriel.

At this point Ryoga and Kuno walk in, Kuno's here at school of course and Ryoga is easy to justify just wandering in as always. They overhear Ranma use some choice insult for Akane and both get pissed and start picking a fight with Ranma to defend her honor.

It is believable that Ukyo would upon hearing that some other girl's trying to get at Ranma she whips out the weapons and gets ready to use force to correct the problem, done it before after all. The Principal does his insanity and Shampoo and Mousse show up for Reasons.

While this does remind me of the infamous fanon "Chase scene" as influenced by Movie 1, at the very least this serves a purpose to the story of showing Xuriel that she was duped, fair enough.

Basically I have issue with your portrayals of Akane, Ryoga, and Kuno. (Kuno doesn't actually call Ranma a "foul sorcerer," that's fanon from Girl Days) in this scene. Also, Shampoo doesn't actually call Ranma "Airen" all the time. Most of the time she just uses his name.

Heck, I have a lot of issues with Akane's portrayal. You portray her as far more violent and combative then she actually is. But then she's basically taken out of the story early on and hasn't played much of a role other then latch on to Ranma in a drugged haze.
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Re: Imperial Servant Chapter 2

Postby TattooTheDL » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:54 pm

Pata Hikari wrote:Now, yes, Ranma 1/2 is slapstick. But Akane's reaction to some girl she clearly doesn't know latching on to Ranma would not be immediately Declaration of Perversion and Dropping the Hammer. A more in character reaction would be for Akane to ask/demand Ranma tell her who this new girl is. Ranma would protest he doesn't know, Akane would say something like "She sure looks like she knows you well enough" which would get Ranma annoyed and he snaps back some retort and the two start arguing, now completely ignoring Xuriel.


That's fair and accurate. But doesn't grab the attention of the locals in a way that an orbital Mallet-Strike would, and a big part of the fic is that greater than most of the NWC find out and reacting to the fact that Ranma had a DAMN good reason for not being an actual lech. Just to name one example; look me dead in the eye and TELL me that Kuno, had he not seen the reactions for himself, heard from the horses mouth, and WATCHED the train-wreck unfold in front of him; would have heard that Ranma is asexual and assumed it was yet another trick by his hated foe.

Granted, that could have been taken in some directions, such as the fiance brigade and others jumping on him like a trampoline, he realizing he's screwing up (FINALLY) or it could be just another fic where Kuno is a joke who's a gigantic pain in everyone's asses. I dismissed the last option, and I stand by that decision.

Basically I have issue with your portrayals of Akane, Ryoga, and Kuno. (Kuno doesn't actually call Ranma a "foul sorcerer," that's fanon from Girl Days) in this scene. Also, Shampoo doesn't actually call Ranma "Airen" all the time. Most of the time she just uses his name.


Ah. Girl days is one of my 'formative' fics that I've read, so that would explain it. But Kuno STILL insists that Ranma uses magic to cheat and there's only so many different words someone can use for a guy who does magic tricks.

Shampoo, I might have overplayed it a bit. I'll try to correct that a little.

Heck, I have a lot of issues with Akane's portrayal. You portray her as far more violent and combative then she actually is. But then she's basically taken out of the story early on and hasn't played much of a role other then latch on to Ranma in a drugged haze.


I wasn't intending as such to portray her badly, even if that is what happened, especially because it made sense to me. I replied to a similar answer on another forum that Akane's reaction was due to the overblown way Xuriel went about doing her job. The phrase I used then and now is that "a strange girl landing on Ranma's lap and implying that they'd done this-and-that threaded the needles of Akane's restraint and lead to her going full Paladin on Ranma." Plus, it seemed like the fastest and FAR most likely way for the rest of the wrecking crew to jump in, as Akane and Ranma's fights tend to attract attention.

Beyond that, she got smacked with Xuriel's kiss moments after realizing she'd been calling Ranma a pervert when she's not, and hasn't been given a chance to really process her feelings on the matter, which I hinted at in the last chapter when everyone thought Ranma was gonna be stuck the way he is forever. She's gonna have a bigger role pretty soon, and the 'drugged haze' was because I found it hilarious to think of Akane acting in a mellowed-out manner and saying stuff that she otherwise never would. Plus, tsundere is a trope that is WAY too easy to screw up and I don't think I could pull of the 'delicate waltz' of that personality type without it being hackneyed or turning Akane into an Uber-bitch.

Take heart, she'll have a MUCH bigger part in the chapter after the following one, as the kiss has worn off and now she's sorting through the memories and her own feelings on what happened today.
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Re: The Imperial Servant.

Postby TattooTheDL » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:59 pm

New chapter, peeps! Not everything is being dished out at once now that we're past the big hump, but there's still plenty left to go.

I'm glad that I have (so far) remained in the realm of coherent and sensible for most of you with this story. I repeat, that's always been my biggest sticking point with fanfiction; when the author blatantly pulls stuff out of their ass, and I'm glad I'm not falling into that pit-trap.

Responses to questions: there is a pairing, I don't plan on it being Xuriel, and there will be some romantic-ish moments in later chapters, but for now just have a bit of patience. (I repeat, no NSFW stuff for this story ATM)

As for Xuriel herself, I based her off of GrrlPower for the most part, buuuuut I didn't take everything from there, since I didn't see it as important for this story. So don't expect her to speak at length about a superhero team in America or having an alien in her ancestry...almost makes me wonder if calling her an AU Dabbler would make things clearer, where she's JUST a succubus and nothing else? Granted, that doesn't work so well considering her scene in this chapter, which is obviously based on the 'Glamour' she acquired from Sydney, but I'm just gonna say "Because magic" and drop the mic there.

Been awhile since I tossed a Disclaimer out, but just in case I need to refresh my license: I do not own the Ranma ½ series or Grrlpower, and any references to other works that are not owned by me will coincidental and unintentional.

The Imperial Servant: Chapter 6
Training

OOOOOO

While it wasn't happy hour in the Yokoshima bar bordering the edge of the Nerima district and Tokyo proper, it was full to near capacity in the middle of the day. Rather than hosting a convention of professional alcoholics however, the customers were a biker gang that had finished a transit across the highways and were generally enjoying a round of drinks.

When she walked in.

Jaws dropped and gasps of shock echoed along with choked gurgles as the roughnecks gaped at the sight of the gaijin who strolled into the bar like she owned the place. Warm brown skin, platinum blonde hair and a mismatched set of blue-and-green eyes made for an exotic package that only enhanced the effect of her alluring attire. A strained-to-the-limit black bustier and blue jeans so tight they looked like they'd been painted onto a body that was built for speed and made for sin.

If anything surprised the gang more than the appearance of the supermodel quality woman who'd walked into the bar, it was her words as she immediately cast her eye among the assembled patrons and called out, "Alright, who here is looking to get laid?"

A round of blinking came with that, and a thickset member of the gang with an eyepatch blurted, "Excuse me?"

"I've got a room at the Golden Rose and a lot of open slots to fill." The woman went on, her musical voice somehow enhancing the seriousness of her tone rather than contrasting it, "So anyone here who want's to repeatedly give me a choice piece of anatomy besides their hand or a piece of their mind, follow me, cause it's time to get your dicks out for justice, boys."

A silence descended on the bar that was so deep, the drip of condensation off of beercans and glass mugs could be heard as every man within stared at the wanton woman who'd sounded the mating call equivalent of a tactical nuke. As the shock faded, numerous lewd and predatory grins broke out among the group, and one of the gang's 'enforcers' stood up, finding himself to be a half-head taller than the hottie as he walked up to her and rumbled in amusement, "Wow, you must be really hard up if you're gonna go and say something like that."

"Not as much as you think, Lurch." the woman replied dryly with a sultry grin. "It's just an emergency situation, and I need a lot of able-bodied and suitably pent-up men to give me a really good time, ASAP." As she looked down, the blonde frowned and her eyes narrowed before she met his gaze again and said, "Unfortunately, you're not on the list."

"S'cuse me?" The larger man reached up to take hold of the gaijin's chin as he leered, "Baby, I'm a real man, and I'm gonna prove it by putting that mouth to work-"

He didn't get a chance to finish his sentence as something he couldn't see grabbed his shoulder and spun him around, and the woman he'd been trying to intimidate grabbed the middle and ring fingers of his hand and bent them backwards, driving him to his knees with a cry of pain as his arm was locked almost straight behind his back, his hand twisted palm up for extra agony by the woman's steady and deceptively strong grip.

The rest of the gang were stunned, the eager smiles disappearing from their faces as one of their member's was incapacitated by a woman easily ½ his weight and using only one hand. Her nonchalant expression only enhanced the intimidation factor as she looked among the group at large. "First off," She said sternly, "I like rough stuff every now and then, but today is supposed to be a fun time. So any of you guys' get cocky, it's not gonna go well for you."

"You...you bitch-"

The thug yowled as his arm was twisted a little more as the woman went on like she hadn't been interrupted. "Secondly, I'm doing this as a good deed, and I'm not gonna negate that by acting as an accomplice to an affair." She tapped the captured ring-finger of the man she had pinned for emphasis. "And believe me, I can spot a married man from a mile away, so if any of you guys want a roll in the hay, call up your wives and get them to take care of it. Now," She smiled, and suddenly all the intimidation and fear flew away from the assembled collection of testosterone as they were dazzled by her sensual grin. "Hands up, who here wants to get laid?"

Every hand, save for the whimpering bruiser was in the air.

Her eyes narrowed slightly. "Hands down, who here has a wife or a girlfriend?"

Slowly, with obvious reluctance, a half-dozen men lowered their hands. A seventh joined them after he was elbowed in the ribs by a guy standing next to him, who responded to the wannabe philanderer's angry glare by shaking his head and giving his friend a worried look that said 'Don't risk it!'.

(Heehee, someone just earned a bonus round.) Xuriel thought to herself as number 7 joined the crew of the 'left behind' and she gave all involved a wide smile. "Don't worry boy's, you're not leaving empty-handed. I'll be more than willing to tell your S-O's that you turned down a chance with me in favor of them. And speaking from a woman's point of view," She licked her lips in a sultry manner that reddened the faces of all who saw it. "If my man did that, I would be very grateful to him."

Everything said and done, Xuriel whispered a sleep spell under her breath and gestured with the glamoured hand that wasn't gripping her captive's shoulder, sending him into dreamland before letting go so he collapsed on the floor, cheek against the hardwood and his ass in the air. Paying him not the slightest amount of concern, the succubus turned around and purred, "Let's go boys, cause I need a recharge, tout suite." as she walked back out the door, wiggling her hips for extra emphasis and to add to the effect of her supernatural 'hypno-booty' as she led the trail of men to the best afternoon of their lives.

(Now,) Xuriel thought to herself as she made her way to the love hotel she'd rented a room at. (I wonder what happened to the stud?)

OOOOOO

Ranma-chan's eyes were lowered, deep in thought as she made her way back to the dojo. Musing on the events earlier this afternoon while the sun lowered into the orange-tinted sky, she thought on what she'd done for the last several hours...besides sulk and deny the accusations her rivals and fiancés had leveled against her.

~Earlier…~

The desk clerk wouldn't stop staring. That was the worst part of this whole endeavor, and Ranma couldn't stop himself from blushing redder and redder in embarrassment with every dirty magazine he pulled from the shelf; some of which were returned with a disbelieving scoff, some he all but threw back into their place and resisted the urge to fire a Moko Takabisha at them in order to purge their contents from the world.

Most of them he flipped through, and besides the occasional appreciation of a rather cute girl who just happened to be naked as the day she was born or wearing clothes that only barely qualified as such, they were returned to the rack he'd taken them out of with gradually deepening confusion...and more than a hint of fear as he continued to obstinately remain unresponsive to the effects.

"Yo!" The clerk spoke up finally, his wire-frame glasses perched on the end of his thin nose as he narrowed his eyes at his only 'customer'. "This ain't a library, and you're gonna pay for the mags you've been pawing through!"

"What!?" Ranma snapped in outrage. "Why didn't you tell me that earlier!?"

The thin, balding man smirked. "Musta slipped my mind. Tell you what though, I'll waive off the stuff that obviously wasn't to your tastes."

Ranma gritted his teeth, the resemblance to Nabiki while not having the protective effect of a double-X chromosome made him resist the urge to fold the scummy porno-dealers teeth back. "Well, then I'm not paying for anything, cause so far, nothing you've got has been any good!"

The clerk frowned. "Don't try to hustle me, boyo, or I'll revoke my very generous offer. You need to compensate me for the deposits in your spank-bank, or we're gonna have issues, really quick."

Ranma blinked quizzically. "Spank bank?"

"What, you never heard that before?" The man cocked an eyebrow incredulously. "Fine, I'll humor you; the pretty girlies you're gonna be remembering tonight while Rosie Palms cures what ails ya."

"Rosie who?" Ranma's confusion deepened as he asked, "What are you talking about?"

"Okay, now I know you're playin' me." The guy smirked as he made a rude gesture with an obvious wrist movement. "Now, do you got the money or…"

The clerk trailed off as Ranma continued to look at him like he was speaking Swahili, and then repeated the gesture with a slow, unsteady hand. The narrow-eye'd look of confusion on the teenager's face as he looked at his fist brought a strange sense of concern to the man, and he asked quietly, "Kid...when you said nothing's been tripping your trigger...are you being serious?"

Ranma blushed brightly and looked away, lowering his hand as he admitted, "So far, all I feel is embarrassed for bein' in here."

The clerk was quiet for a moment, letting the insult slide before saying seriously, "The second you see something you like, you come up here and pay for it. Got it?"

Ranma nodded silently, before reaching the next magazine on the rack, doubting that this would appeal to him as the girl on the cover had bleached blonde hair and artificially dark-tan, save for the white spots around her eyes that made her look like a photo-negative of a panda, which was far from attractive in his opinion.


-o-

(Perverted old man.) Ranma-chan growled to herself, remembering the disbelieving and pitying look on the clerk's face when he'd eventually left the shop of ill-repute empty-handed. He'd felt so weird following that experience that the pig-tailed boy hadn't even minded when the neighborhood ladle-lady had doused him. (So what if I didn't like what he had? Maybe if the stuff in those stupid magazines hadn't been so...messy, I wouldn't have been grossed out!)

Reaching and then passing through the front gate of the Tendo home, Ranma-chan didn't announce her presence, as she walked towards the deck, figuring she could slip into the living room and join dinner without attracting too much attention.

There was a moment when Ranma-chan took a step and wondered why she suddenly felt like lying was the worst crime in the world, but then she heard a familiar voice saying her name from the Tendo living room and was sufficiently distracted from asking herself why she wanted to put stock in Honesty Enterprises. Now curious what the family would be saying about her when she wasn't around, Ranma-chan leapt up and landed silently on the edge of the terrace overlooking the dojo's backyard, before creeping closer towards the conversing voices.

OOOOOO

Genma's arms were folded, eyes narrowed as he waited for Soun to make his play. Though at the moment, even shogi was proving an inadequate distraction from the severity of his thoughts.

Judging by the amount of time it was taking for Soun to make his move, his old friend also couldn't focus on the game. Though that could have been because Genma was staring at the board so intently, the mustachioed man couldn't cheat.

Kasumi was sitting with Nodoka and Cologne at the dining room table, all three women drinking tea to calm their nerves, while the younger Tendo daughters had adjourned to their rooms following Dabbler's departure. Thinking on the reason for the succubus' absence, Kasumi bit her lip and asked aloud, "Saotome-san, do you believe Dabbler-san can help Ranma-kun?"

Genma closed his eyes, and considered what he'd been told along with the writings from his journal and his own memories. "I hope so, Kasumi." he replied solemnly. "Because if she comes back from Toshi-sensei's empty-handed…" Genma briefly cursed the damnable magic he and the rest of the house were still under the effects of, as he couldn't prevent his voice from choking up as he admitted, "I don't know what I'm going to do."

"Assuming this Toshi is responsible for son-in-law's malady." Cologne offered cautiously. "Are you certain he is the culprit?"

"Yes." Genma declared with cold certainty, picking up a piece from the wooden shogi board and setting it down again with an audible *clack* of barely restrained force. "That was the last time the boy and I studied at a dojo where the master's daughter was a favored student, and Toshi-sensei was very skilled at the arts of acupuncture and acupressure. It all fits."

-o-

Crouched on the edge of the terrace and listening closely to the conversation below, Ranma-chan's eyes narrowed in concentration. (Toshi-sensei? Why does that name sound familiar?)

Suddenly, an image raced across Ranma's mind that had dimly flickered earlier that day, in the last moments of him verbally browbeating the wrecking crew with evidence of his superior restraint. A twelve-year-old brown-haired girl with twin pigtails in a karate gi, standing at the ready in a martial stance, looking at him with a determined expression. The name 'Tomoe' floated up, matching with the image of one of the few sparring partners Ranma had that wasn't his father. The redhead blushed as she remembered the spar with Toshi-sensei's daughter and how it had ended; not with a scored point or a winning strike, but because he and the girl had grappled and she'd let out a shriek before jumping away from him, since his young but maturing body betrayed him and decided to 'poke' her in the leg.

Her cheeks reddened further as she remembered the embarrassment following that sparring match. He and his father had apologized to Toshi-sensei and Tomo-chan, which hadn't been a big deal. Later, when old man wailed for nearly an hour about how much harder it was going to be training his son now that he had to deal with 'teen hormones' had been much more humiliating. When Genma left that night, Ranma wasn't keen on seeing if the old coot could find a way to embarrass him any further, but he'd gotten something of a blessing when he awoke the next morning to find he'd been dragged out into the woods by his old man. At the time, his pops had said it was to minimize contact with girls, though Ranma took that to mean his father had stolen something again and needed to beat feet before he was arrested.

But now the heir to Anything Goes was reconsidering the information from that event, and despite using it earlier as a valid excuse for being made of sterner stuff than the average man, it was apparent that her family were taking it as a red flag for whatever was wrong with him/her. And as much as Ranma hated to admit it, she was starting to come around to the idea as she pursed her lips and thought, (So, Toshi-sensei might have done it...but why? Me and pops apologized to Tomoe, and it's not like I was gonna do anything with...it.)

"More to the point," Genma added, his anger abating slightly. "The boy skills took a horrific backslide after we left and I attributed it to a loss of focus on the Art, due to him becoming a young man."

(Backslide?!) Ranma-chan's jaw dropped and she resisted the urge to drop down and give her father a piece of her mind, along with a few knuckle sandwiches. (I was embarrassed 'cause of what happened, and you humiliatin' me for something I couldn't control! I wasn't that bad!)

"Can you think of a reason why he would hurt our son?"

Nodoka's solemn voice chilled the blood in Ranma-chan's veins, and helped her rein back the impulse to lay into her father. Granted, it sounded like his/her mother wasn't planning to enact the seppuku contract, but better safe than gutted and beheaded.

"Not off the top of my head." Genma replied in an annoyed tone. "I remember going out the night after the boy's spar and...running into him…"

Ranma-chan cocked an eyebrow as her father's voice trailed off. The oddity of this was apparently noticed by the other's as his mother intoned, "Genmaaa…" in a way that reminded the redhead of her fiancé, it a host of very bad ways.

"Oh for the love of-I was drowning my sorrows when I ran into Toshi, and I was so blitzed, I told him about the training regimen for the Anything Goes Style!" The Saotome patriarch yelled out in frustration. "I don't even remember how much I told him, but when I woke up the next morning, I was afraid he'd steal more of my ideas and ran with the boy before he could catch us!"

Ranma-chan scowled darkly as the image of folding a certain panda's teeth back came to her mind again.

The image faded as she grinned in satisfaction, due to her mother asking in an unpleasantly calm, pointed tone, "What was the regimen, Genma?"

Her father's panicked "Eh!?" was all Ranma-chan needed to hear as she sat down, crossed her legs and folded her arms, waiting to hear what her mother's reaction would be to some of her father's 'awesome training ideas', rather than interrupting what was sure to be an entertaining punishment.

-o-

Genma nervous sweat was soaking into his gi under his wife's narrow-eye'd look, made all the worse as she asked in a too-calm 'give me a reason to hurt you' tone of voice. "Your letters only told me that Ranma was exceeding your expectations, and you were needing to adapt your...master's training methods to suit our son's skills."

Cologne nodded approvingly at the raw disdain dripping from Nodoka Saotome's words when she referenced Happosai, though she kept her attention focused on the fat panda and concentrated on giving him a shit-eating grin that had been mastered through 3000 years of Amazon history. "Yes, panda. Please tell us what sort of training you put my son-in-law through."

Genma spared a half-second to send an 'all of my hate' glare at the unconcerned amazon matriarch, while Soun's brow furrowed. "You adapted the master's training, Saotome? That's quite a risk."

"A risk I had to take, Tendo." Genma replied to his friend, thankful for the distraction of not answering the two womens mutual question. "The boy was already past our level when we started the master's training, and I had to make them harder to keep up with his abilities. Before we ran into Toshi," The burly man spat the name like it left a bad taste in his mouth. "I kept them balanced out, but when he nose-dived, I panicked and thought he needed a jump-start to keep from falling too far from the path of the Art."

"Jump-start?"

Genma pointedly looked at his wife, then away from her and quietly said, "I...taught Ranma how to sense hostile intent."

Soun's eyes widened and his jaw dropped. "S-Saotome! You didn't?!"

"Anno..." Kasumi looked worriedly between her shocked father and his nervous friend. "What sort of training is that?"

"It wouldn't have anything to do with fighting off a pack of wolves, would it?"

The eldest Tendo sister and Nodoka stiffened and looked at the seemingly honestly curious Cologne, who had yet to lose the smile that said she was enjoying the evening's events immensely. "Oba-san," Nodoka addressed the older woman respectfully in a tone that made Genma visibly shiver. "What are you talking about?"

"Detecting the hostile intent and emotions from hidden opponents can mean the difference between life and death for a warrior, and nothing short of similar scenarios will suffice for honing their skills." Cologne offered simply. "Take a plate of meat cooked in smelly herbs into the territory of a wolfpack in the middle of the night without any sort of light. When they come to take the food, you fight them off. If even a scrap of food is missing the next morning, the trainee must endure the training again."

Not seeing any point in shielding his friend in the comeuppance for his deed, Soun instead focused on a point that stuck out in his own mind. "That's exactly what we did." the Tendo patriarch offered, before redirecting the inquisition back to the older woman. "But, how do you know about it?"

"Where do you think Happi stole that training method from?" Cologne replied with a chuckle. "My Shampoo finished it in 4 nights, a little under a year before being beaten by son-in-law." Turning her attention onto Genma again, the old woman cackled, "So, congratulations on surviving a training regimen intended for teenage girls, panda!"

The fact that the barbarous and dangerous method was not a wholly unprecedented act of stupidity on her husband's part brought a rush of relief to Nodoka and she smiled thankfully while Soun and his daughter chuckled at her husband's frustrated grumbling. "While harsh, it makes me glad that my son was able to endure a training regimen that needed no improvement from you, husband."

A pregnant silence followed Nodoka's musing, and a chill filled the room as she fixed her eyes on her husband, who was pointedly looking out into the Tendo's backyard and not at any of the other occupants of the family's living room. Slowly, her hand came up and unwrapped the end of the silk covering the hilt of the Saotome family blade, and she intoned with calm menace, "Genma...what did you do to our son?"

The large man stiffened as more trails of icey sweat ran down his spine. Desperately hoping he could allay his wife's fury, Genma swallowed audibly and replied without turning around. "I simply picked a location that would be more...challenging to the boy, given his skill level before the sudden decline."

"How challenging?"

Genma closed his eyes and grimaced in dread. "The forest where I trained him was very dense, with a thick canopy to hide as much moonlight and starlight as possible, while the trees gave the wolves a lot of cover."

Cologne glared daggers at the panda's back, noting with approval the shadow being cast by the big oaf, thanks to the light of his wife's battle-aura. "While untested, I can't deny that would make the training harder." the matriarch admitted with narrowed eyes. "Provided the closest wolf-pack contained no more than 15 members, since any more than that would be utterly ridiculous."

Cologne had not made the comment as idle speculation. Rather, because she had come to realize how Genma Saotome operated, and tossed out the most obvious way that the fat panda could have screwed the pooch even more. Thus, she was unsurprised when the target of her ire seemed to freeze, and she asked, "How many?" In a low growl of frustrated disgust.

"...3 packs...at least 60..."

-o-

Ranma-chan's eye twitched indignantly, running through the night in question in her mind and how absolutely draining it'd been keeping the uncountable number of wolves away from her supper. (What the hell, there were sixty of those stupid mutts!? I just thought they were really tough! Stupid damn panda, how could he-)

The shing of metal-on-metal, the spine-chilling sound of a sword being pulled from a sheathe at great speed made Ranma-chan stiffen in terror. There was a measure of relief, though not much, as her mother apparently hadn't used the weapon on her father yet, though Nodoka's screech of "YOU LET OUR SON BE ATTACKED BY SIXTY WOLVES!?" made it clear she was a hair away from committing (justifiable) homicide.

"That part was an accident!" Genma babbled in utter terror, giving Ranma-chan a vision in her mind of her mom holding her sword at the bald man's neck. "I was desperate to get the boy back on track and I went with the first place I found with signs that wolves were nearby! I didn't know how many there were until they'd found the boy, and when they ran away in different directions, I followed their trail and found out it wasn't just one pack!"

The eavesdropping redhead twitched violently, resisting the urge to toss in her two cents and a few kicks for her pops' recklessness, and the impulse to facefault from the knowledge of his utter screw-up.

"You followed them?" Soun stated, cold disapproval making it clear that even he was furious with his oldest friend. "Saotome, you are many things, but a tracker isn't one of them. In fact, that's probably the reason you stumbled into the territory of three packs, since you wouldn't have noticed the signs of just one."

Genma grumbled, "I'm not that bad, Tendo! And I saw which way the curs ran after the boy fought them off, so yes, I did follow them!"

Ranma blinked. Then winced sympathetically at the unfriendly-yet-polite, "If it was as dark as you said, how did you see them, Saotome-san?" from Kasumi. Because if she was obviously upset, it was a sure sign that someone had surpassed FUBAR and hit the event-horizon of 'you-done-fucked-up'.

Genma realized it too, as his defensive, desperate tone slipped away into an embarrassed, "I was in a tree, watching with a pair of nightvision goggles I stole from a nearby military base."

The redhead's jaw dropped. She nearly leapt out of cover, to call her old man a liar and/or berate the jackass for leaving her with a plateful of pork cutlets and the instructions 'you're not allowed to eat this until morning' before disappearing. But then Cologne stated, "You stayed? I'm surprised you neglected the one piece of this training that made it more dangerous."

There was a buffeting warmth from somewhere underneath Ranma, and she jerked in surprise, recognizing the sensation of her old man's ki aura as he snapped, "I learned from my mistakes with the Neko-ken, you old witch! If I thought for a second the boy would be seriously hurt, I'd have saved him before the wolves tore him apart!"

"But, he didn't need my help." Genma's voice swelled and softened at the same time the warm, energizing feeling of an active battle-aura faded. "He survived and passed that training in a single night, in abysmal conditions and against vastly superior numbers. I never thought I could be prouder of him then after I realized the greater danger he'd been facing, but now that I know he'd been weakened on top of that...I've never been more certain in my life that my son is going to be the greatest martial artist in the world."

Ranma-chan's vision blurred and she felt something run down her cheek, which was quickly wiped away before it reached the ear-to-ear smile she was sporting. Feeling much better than she had before walking through the front gate, the redhead postponed the beatdown on her patriarch and made to drop down and join the family proper.

Then she stopped and realized that Akane and Nabiki hadn't spoken during the exchange. And neither of them would have kept silent for that long, especially if Akane was still under the effects of that succubus' spell, which meant they weren't in the living room.

Turning her head, Ranma-chan saw a light shining out of a particular window and turned away from the edge of the roof terrace overlooking the Tendo's backyard. As she headed for the most likely location of her absent fiancé, the redhead missed her mother asking in a quietly frosty tone, "What was that about the 'Neko-ken'?" and her father's high-pitched whimper of fear.

-AN-

First off, it's childish and immature as hell, but screw it, I will be proud of the fact that I used the phrase 'dicks out for justice' in a story that wasn't a lemon/NSFW and have it make sense in context!

Second, I like to imagine that while what Dabbler did was a mating call tac-nuke, the dirty bomb equivalent would have been stumbling in drunkenly and giggling, "I'm so wasted!"

The full details of why some schlub used a technique like that on Ranma will be coming a little later, though feel free to guess, as some of the you will probably stumble upon the correct answer, or get damn close.

Have faith...
TattooTheDL
Senshi Candidate
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