A Ranma ½ fan fiction story
All characters are owned by Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video, and I'm using them without permission. Nabiki, you can put away those lawsuit forms; you of all people should know that you'd lose more money to the trial lawyers than you'd win.
Chapter Two: Hard Training and New Friends
"C'mon, boy," Saotome Genma yelled to his son as the sun began to set. "Let's stop here for the night. There's plenty of room to spar and train."
Ranma looked around the clearing his father was beckoning him toward, and he could not help but agree with the older man's assessment. The grassy expanse was a good thirty meters across with slightly rolling terrain, and through the trees at the far side, Ranma could make out the beginnings of a suburb of Kyoto. All in all, it was the perfect place to train in peace and still have access to the modern world.
Smiling, Ranma walked to his father and dropped his pack against a convenient tree. Kneeling down, the six year old began to unpack the tent and bedroll in his pack. Just as he set the two items down, he instinctively rolled to the side, just barely avoiding a kick from his father. A feral grin spread across the boy's face as he leapt to his feet and attacked. Matches such as this were common while they were on the road, and Ranma had begun to develop a danger sense due to his father's training.
Ranma and Genma punched and kicked furiously, always keeping with the Saotome Ryu's specialty of mid-air combat. Genma kept the level of his attacks just above that of his son, always giving the boy a challenge but never risking more injury than a few bruises or cuts. Ranma, on the other hand, attacked with all he had, but of course, this wasn't nearly enough to hurt his father at this stage of the boy's training.
The two continued their sparring match until the sun had finished setting, and then they quickly gathered firewood before twilight of dusk could become full night. Genma built a fire while his son erected the tent, and by the time Ranma was finished, three logs burn cheerily in the fire ring.
Tired from the sparring and work, Ranma sat down next to the fire while his father began to cook dinner. True, dinner consisted only of some rice and dried fish, but it was good fare for martial artists on the road.
It had been two months since the duo had departed from Sapporo, and Ranma had finally gotten over his homesickness. Certainly he missed his mother, but if leaving her for a while is what it took to learn the Art, he could deal with it. Besides, his father had promised that they would return within a year.
After watching his father cook for a little while, Ranma spoke. "Dad, are we going to move on tomorrow, or will we be staying here to train for a while?"
Not looking up from his cooking — Genma knew that every cooking disaster he had ever instigated came from losing concentration in what he was doing, so this had nothing to do with disinterest in his son's question — Genma answered, "I believe that we will be staying here for some time, Ranma. This is the outskirts of Kyoto, so we have reached our first destination."
Ranma smiled as he remembered all his father had told him about Kyoto. "So we will get to see all those great training grounds and martial arts masters you were telling me about?" Ranma asked in a very eager voice.
Genma took a moment to pull the pot of rice from the fire before looking up at his son. "Be patient, Ranma," said Genma, the smile on his face robbing the rebuke of any sting. "We will be going to all those places and more, but first I think we should train here for at least a week. I want to be absolutely sure that you'll pass any test the masters require before they will train you."
A smile on his face, Ranma nodded cheerfully, visions of new techniques and wondrous places dancing through his head already. Distracted as he was by his daydreams, he didn't see the pair of hashi Genma threw at his head until they bounced off. Ranma caught them before they could hit the ground, and looked at his father just in time to intercept a flying bowl of rice and fish.
"Good save, son," said Genma. "But you shouldn't have let your guard down enough for those hashi to get through."
After dinner and another quick sparring match, Genma sent his son to bed. Once the boy had entered the tent, the man sat next to the dying embers of the fire in quiet contemplation.
This was the first time he had been separated from Nodoka since they had gotten engaged, and while he had to keep his feelings hidden for his son's benefit, Genma missed her terribly. With a sigh, the man turned his thoughts away from his beloved so far away and considered Ranma's training.
The boy was the delight of his father's eyes. Ranma had enormous potential for the martial arts, and Genma was far prouder of his son than he would ever let Ranma know or believe. 'It might make the boy cocky if he knew how good he actually is,' Genma thought with a smile. 'I definitely can't allow him to find out before he is mature enough to handle it.'
After a few more minutes of contemplation, Genma walked over to his pack. Picking the large, heavy canvas bag off the ground, the martial artist returned to the fire ring. There was just enough light coming from the embers to read by, and that was just what Genma intended to do.
In addition to the usual things one would expect to find in a camping backpack, Genma also carried several rare treasures from his days with Master Happosai and a small library of training manuals. Ignoring the box where he kept the treasures, Genma spread a small cloth on the ground in front of him and set the stack of manuals on top. The martial artist smiled: this was the accumulated knowledge in all the secret techniques of the Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu that the Master had ever shared with either of his pupils. There were only three copies in the world: one held by his best friend and training partner, Tendo Soun, one he had copied himself before leaving on the training journey and was still with his wife in Sapporo, and the last set was here.
Quietly, Genma began to sort through the different manuals. First he removed three from his sorting and slipped them back into his backpack. Two were manuals describing the Saotome Forbidden Techniques: the Yamasenken and the Umisenken. While the training was not as dangerous as the third tome, Genma knew that it would be a long time, if ever, that he would train his son in those Arts. The third, set aside due to the sheer danger involved in the training, was the manual of the Nekoken. Genma could only shake his head once he'd read that one, especially since it's mastery required teaching not only the technique, but also the Touched Soul. Thinking of that, the manual describing that technique quickly joined the other three in his pack.
Left with twenty some odd booklets on the cloth in front of him, Genma began sorting them by category and skill level. First, he set all the weapons training books aside in one stack, and then he sorted out the two 'free' ki techniques from the others. Finally, he was left with mundane attacks and internal ki maneuvers. The martial artist studied the titles of the remaining manuals thinking of his purpose in this: he wanted Ranma to have at least one special technique before he learned any style other than Musabetsu. It would be a point of pride for the boy, and it would insure that he would have a greater understanding and love of the Saotome-style Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu.
Genma had narrowed his choice down to two techniques over the course of an hour, but this last one was difficult. After a few more minutes of deliberation, Genma smiled. 'Yes,' he thought. 'That will be perfect.'
The elder Saotome picked up the chosen manual and returned the remaining books to his pack before joining his son in sleep.
Ranma jerked awake as his father gave him a light punch in the shoulder, immediately rolling into a defensive position. Genma followed up the wake-up attack with a side kick at his son's head that was blocked by the rapidly waking boy. After three more blocks, Ranma finally struck back with a leap-flip-punch combination. While not wholly unsuccessful at hitting his father, the maneuver placed the six-year-old boy back to back with his father. As the pigtailed boy reached back for a trip, Genma called an end to the training exercise.
"You're getting better, son," said Genma with a grin. "Although we're going to have to continue this until you can dodge the first attack."
Ranma frowned at this. "But Dad," he said. "How can I dodge in my sleep?"
"You sense the world around you with your ki," replied his father. "And it only takes practice to keep your guard up while asleep. That's why I wake you like that."
"Okay, Dad," replied a once more cheerful Ranma. "What are we going to do today?"
Genma put a hand to his chin for a moment, thinking. Then he smiled at his son and said, "Ranma, why don't you go get us something to eat from town. I need to look at one of my training manuals for a bit. When you get back, we can eat and get back to training." Genma reached inside his gi and drew out a few yen notes. "Here is some money."
"Hai, Otousan," said Ranma as he took the proffered notes.
Ranma smiled as he dashed off toward the small Kyoto suburb, not looking back. The energetic six-year-old dashed through the trees and onto the street, looking around for anything good to eat. Not being a particularly picky eater, Ranma would normally just choose the closest eating establishment and grab as much food as he could, but in this case, a positively heavenly smell caused him to pass two restaurants. Finally, Ranma spotted the source of the wondrous odor.
The yattai, a mobile food cart, was not particularly large, but it still had three portable stools in front. A man wearing the traditional garb of an okonomiyaki chef stood behind using spatulas to expertly cook two Japanese pancakes on the sizzling griddle, and next to him, a child stood in a miniature version of that garb mixing batter with a spatula. Seeing as the man was a good one and a half times his size and the beard was a little intimidating, Ranma approached the child.
"Hi," he said cheerfully, a smile on his face. "Whacha doin'?"
The kid mixing batter stopped working and looked up. "Oh, hi," the miniature okonomiyaki chef replied. "I'm mixing batter for my father. What about you?"
"My dad sent me to buy breakfast," Ranma replied. Before the other kid could reply, her father said gruffly, "Breakfast, eh. What can I get you, young man?"
Ranma, having been concentrating on his conversation with the man's apprentice, nearly jumped when the elder's booming voice interrupted. Quickly recovering, Ranma turned to the man. "What do you have?"
While the elder okonomiyaki chef listed off toppings, Ranma hopped up onto one of the stools in front of the cart and watched the two small Japanese pizzas already on the grill cook. Once the man had finished, Ranma pointed to the grill and asked, "What're those?"
The chef smiled. "Those are my super-special combination okonomiyaki. I've been perfecting this recipe since before my little Ukyou here was born, and it's the best in all Japan!"
"Can I try it?" asked the little pigtailed martial artist, and much to his delight, the man quickly sliced a small piece off of one of his just finished okonomiyaki and tossed it on the plate in front of Ranma. It was gone almost before it landed as Ranma tossed the piece into his mouth. The boy's eyes lit up as the best okonomiyaki in Japan entered his mouth, and he immediately ordered three. While the older chef started on Ranma's order, the boy decided to talk to Ukyou.
"I'm Ranma," he said, sticking out his hand.
Meanwhile, Genma sat in the clearing, refreshing his memory on the techniques of hayabusa do, the way of the falcon. He had already been teaching Ranma the basic techniques as they were integral to performing the Saotome-style Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu. Things like using one's ki to jump higher and sense when to rebound off objects were very important to a mid-air style.
In addition to the basic technique, there were a few secret techniques within hayabusa do, all internal ki techniques. The first allowed a martial artist to defy gravity for a few moments; he would hang in the air for enough time to throw a few attacks before gravity took affect once more. The second was an attack, the hayabusa no tsume or falcon's talons. With this technique, a kick or chop could slice through inanimate material with ease. Finally, the third was called hayabusa no hagai or falcon's pinion. Using this pressure wave technique, a martial artist could actually transfer the force of a punch over a distance using air pressure alone. While the distance wasn't very great, only about three meters, it could still be a decisive attack in many situations.
Genma had just finished refreshing his memory of the techniques when his son returned to the clearing. The elder martial artist feigned ignorance as Ranma set down the takeout box next to the tent and tried to sneak up on him. At the last moment, just before Ranma struck with a flying kick, Genma whirled around and blocked. The elder martial artist couldn't help but smile as his son used the forearm block as a springboard to leap three meters into the air, but he wasn't going to let Ranma get away with a surprise attack. Genma leapt after his son, and the two traded blows all the way back to the ground.
The match continued on the ground with Ranma giving his father another somewhat feral smile and then launching into a complex series of flying kicks and punches. Genma met him blow for blow, but when Ranma slightly overextended himself on a punch, the father grabbed his arm and sent him flying. Unsurprisingly, Ranma managed to correct his flight, but Ranma was not a master of hayabusa do yet, and the tree he tried to rebound from came a little too soon for the young martial artist. Landing badly, the boy fell to the ground.
Genma was immediately at his son's side as the little boy tried to pick himself up off the ground. Barely holding back tears, the six year old let his father examine his ankle. The man sighed after determining that the ankle was twisted, and that that would end his plans for martial training for the day. Quickly covering his disappointment, Genma picked Ranma up and smiled.
"Well, with your ankle like that," he said to his son in a light voice. "We can't do any more martial training for now. We'll just have to work on less active skills."
Ranma grimaced at this; he knew what that meant. Nothing but meditation techniques and regular school work for the rest of the day, and possibly the next. Sighing, he said, "Hai, Otousan."
Kuonji Ukyou watched her new friend race off with his order of okonomiyaki for the third day in a row, but this time she decided not to just watch.
"Father?" she asked the elder Kuonji. "Can I go play with Ranma today?"
Kuonji Akira looked at his daughter and then at the departing, gi-clad boy and smiled. "Of course," he replied. "Just be back an hour before the lunch rush, alright?"
Ukyou smiled prettily and cheerfully said, "Hai, Otousan."
The little girl quickly strapped her battle spatula and bandolier on and ran after her new friend. It didn't take long before she came to the clearing where Ranma and his father were camping, but because Ranma was talking with his father, she didn't immediately announce herself.
"… see that your ankle is doing much better today, son," Genma was saying to Ranma as they finished their breakfast of okonomiyaki. "I think we can finally get back to training today, if you think you're up to it."
Ranma smiled fiercely and replied, "I'm ready, Dad! Let's do it!"
Genma smiled at his son's enthusiasm. Ukyou could see the pride in the elder martial artist. "Very well, boy," he said. "I am going to complete your training in hayabusa do. Let me show you what a true master of hayabusa do can do, and then I will teach you."
Ranma nodded once to his father, and Genma set about demonstrating the final three secret techniques of Musabetsu hayabusa do. Ukyou was quite duly impressed with the elder Saotome after he first managed to hang in the air for ten seconds while throwing over fifty punches and kicks, and then when he sliced a small boulder in half on his way down. Finally, before the falling half-boulder could reach the ground, he threw a punch from two meters away that struck the chunk, flinging it into a tree.
Ranma looked even more impressed, and he rushed up to his father. "Dad! That was awesome! And I can learn that? Can I? Can I?"
Smiling broadly, Genma put a hand on his son's shoulder. "Of course you can, son. I said I would teach you."
The elder martial artist knelt down to speak to Ranma face to face, but his lowered voice was unintelligible to Ukyou. She looked down, contemplating what she had just seen. That was absolutely amazing! Now she wanted to train with Ranma and his father. After a few seconds, she looked up, but the two martial artists were nowhere to be seen. She started looking wildly around the clearing, but of the Saotomes there was no trace. She was just about to go out into the clearing to search for them when a hand dropped onto her shoulder from behind.
Genma had just finished his demonstration of hayabusa do when he sensed someone watching other than his son. Not letting his suspicions show on his face, Genma replied to his son's enthusiastic response to the demonstration and then knelt, bringing him to eye to eye with the boy.
Genma spoke in a soft voice, "Ranma, someone is watching us. They're just behind you in some bushes. When I say go, you go in from my left, and I'll take the right, got it?"
Ranma's eyes narrowed, and he silently nodded one quick time. Genma's pride in his son increased yet again at the serious response from the six-year-old; Ranma was amazingly mature for his age, at least when it came to serious situations like this and his training in the Art.
Genma was just about to give more instructions when he felt the stranger's attention leave them for a moment. "Go!" he whispered to Ranma, and he leapt to the right. A quick glance told him that his son had leapt at the same time, and they both stood on tree limbs to either side of the stranger. The Saotome patriarch looked down, and he almost fell out of his tree. There, crouching behind a bush, was a little girl. Looking about the same age as Ranma, she wore a miniature version of the traditional okonomiyaki chef's uniform, but she had an oversized spatula strapped to her back.
Before Genma could act on this new information, he saw his son smile brightly and leap down behind the girl. Dropping a hand on her shoulder, he said in a very cheerful voice, "Hiya, Ucchan!"
"Eeeeeep!" cried the little girl as she jumped three meters into the air, and Ranma started laughing. However, Ranma's laughter died a crushing death under the girl's spatula when she hit him on the way back down. Genma could only chuckle as he dropped from the tree to rescue his son from a little girl with a very big spatula.
"Oww…" Ranma rubbed his head where Ukyou's spatula had slammed down, but he was still smiling. When he finally looked up, he could see that his father had stopped another blow from the little chef's spatula from landing on his head, and Ukyou look none too happy about it.
"Hey!" she shouted at Genma. "Leggo! Lemme go!"
She jerked on the spatula, but to no avail as Genma held the handle just below the wide, flat head. He smiled, but his voice was stern. "That's enough, young lady. There's no need to hit him again."
Then he turned to Ranma, just to be fair. "But you did deserve the one whack, Ranma."
A few minutes later, the three sat in a circle as Ranma told Genma about his friend and her father. Ranma kept stealing glances at Ukyou, still trying to figure out why his father had called his friend 'young lady.' In the end, he shrugged. It didn't really matter if his friend was a boy or a girl; she was still Ucchan.
"So," said Genma. "That is where you've been getting that wonderful okonomiyaki for the last few days."
Ukyou practically glowed at the complement, and Ranma smiled broadly. "Yep," he told his father, "Ucchan and hi- her dad make the best okonomiyaki in Japan!"
"That I don't doubt," replied the elder Saotome. He was about to say more, but Ukyou 'eeped' and said, "Oh no, I have to go or I'll be late!"
The little girl jumped off the ground and tossed a quick "Bye Ranchan, bye Saotome-san," before racing out of the clearing toward her father's yattai.
"Now I see what's been taking you so long to get back with breakfast for the last few days," Genma said to his son.
"Yeah!" replied Ranma. "Ucchan is pretty good, but not as good as me! We always spar for the first okonomiyaki off hi- her dad's yattai every morning. I always win!" Ranma said the last with a smug smile.
"Now Ranma," said Genma as he knelt to look his son in the eye, "Just remember that there will always be someone better than you in the Art. Never become overconfident or you'll stop learning."
Ranma considered his father's words for a moment before nodding acceptance, and then the boy proceeded to jump at his father, renewing their morning spar.
Another hour passed before Genma called a halt to the sparring, and both Saotomes slumped to the ground, exhausted. After a few moments of rest, Genma said, "You remember the techniques I demonstrated this morning, ne? Well, I'm going to spend most of every day for the next few weeks to teach them to you."
Ranma's immediate, enthusiastic reaction to this was, in a word, astounding. All thought of sparring for a solid hour was forgotten, the burning in his muscles was ignored completely as the boy jumped to his feet in eagerness. Genma couldn't help but grin proudly at his son, but nonetheless, he said, "Now now, Ranma. Don't get impatient. This will take time and concentration to master, so take your time and learn it right."
"Hai, Otousan!" was the only reply.
Five days passed with Ranma arriving every morning for his morning spar with Ukyou and to buy breakfast for his him and father. Things were going so well that on the third day, the elder Kuonji had moved his yattai down the road to a point just past the opening to the Saotome's clearing; he and his daughter would even watch the two spar when business was slow. Soon, Ukyou was spending more time trying to mimic the Genma's moves than cooking, but her father didn't seem to mind.
The sixth day opened with Ranma's usual victory over Ukyou for the first okonomiyaki, but when Ranma looked up from devouring his prize, Genma was standing there. Quickly getting up from where he was sitting on Ukyou — their usual positions after their morning spar — Ranma asked, "What's up, Dad?"
"I'm giving you a free day today, Ranma," said Genma, kneeling down to speak to his son at eye level. "It's not good to overwork yourself, and it's high time you did something other than train. At least for a day."
"Hai, Otousan," Ranma cried happily. Turning to help Ukyou up, he said, "Dija hear that, Ucchan? We can play all day today!"
The little okonomiyaki chef smiled at her friend, and with a happy yell, she dragged him away toward a nearby park.
Genma and Akira smiled as their children ran off to play, and a short time later, the Saotome patriarch sat on one of the yattai's stools eating an okonomiyaki of his own. After a moment, Akira began to speak.
"Saotome, I've rarely seen martial artists of your caliber, and your son seems to be on a fast track to being even better than you."
No little pride showed on Genma's face at the compliment, and he said, "Thank you, Kuonji. I'll do everything in my power to make Ranma the best martial artist he can be."
"That's a good goal for a father to have for his son," replied Akira. "Like you, I have been training my child in the family Art since she was old enough to walk, but there is little more knowledge I can impart. Unfortunately, the Kuonji-style Okonomiyaki Ryu is rather limited, and Ukyou knows all the techniques of the battle and throwing spatula, as well as how to make ingredients into weapons. Honestly, only practice will allow her to master the skills she has, and I don't want to see her waste her time on review. A child will easily become bored with that and give up the Art."
Genma nodded gravely at the man's monologue; he'd seen it happen many times before. "As I understand it," said Genma after a few moments of contemplation. "You want to see Ukyou excel in the Art, but you have no further techniques to teach. She already has enough knowledge to become a master in your style; she just lacks the skill of practice. Thus, the reason you are telling me all this is a round about way to ask me to train her with Ranma, correct?"
Akira's eyes widened briefly, but then the bearded man chuckled. "Well, I was going to get around to asking you a bit later, but since you already know, I'll go ahead. Would you train my Ukyou while you're here? It would mean a lot to me, and she would benefit greatly."
Genma sat in silent deliberation for the better part of half an hour before giving his answer, and Akira waited patiently, serving any customer to come along. The Saotome patriarch was analyzing everything he knew about Ukyou and her fighting style, trying to see how she might do in the Saotome Ryu. He was also trying to decide if he should put a girl through that kind of training. Finally, Genma replied to Akira.
"Kuonji," he said quietly. "I'm willing to train Ukyou, but it will be much less rigorous than Ranma's training."
"Very well," said the elder Kuonji with a smile. "Thank you, Saotome-kun."
When Ukyou and Ranma returned from the park, their fathers told the two friends about their deal. Needless to say, the two little martial artists were ecstatic about the news. Over the next two weeks, Ranma would continue his normal morning routine of sparring with Ukyou in the mornings, but after that, Ukyou would follow Ranma back to the clearing where Genma would instruct them both in the Saotome Ryu.
For the first week, Genma told Ranma to practice his new secret techniques alone while the elder Saotome evaluated Ukyou's level of skill. By the next week, Ranma had mastered the skill of hanging in the air for a few moments, but it would take more practice to get more than his two seconds. Still, with the basic technique learned, Ranma began to work on the hayabusa no tsume. Meanwhile, Genma began Ukyou's training in the Saotome-style Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu. The girl caught on quick; Genma never had to demonstrate a technique more than twice for the girl to get it, and the Saotome patriarch didn't have to correct her movement very often, all of which very much impressed the martial arts instructor.
Each day, Ukyou's father would bring lunch and dinner to the clearing, free of charge, and the entire group would eat their fill. Occasionally, Ukyou would produce a small, portable griddle and dazzle her father and friends with her own amazing culinary skills. All in all, the entire group settled into a comfortable pattern.
When the third week of Ukyou's training came around, Ranma's overconfidence cost him his first okonomiyaki breakfast.
At the end of the fourth week of training, Genma once again arrived at the Kuonji okonomiyaki cart before Ranma returned. This time, however, it was Ukyou who was sitting on top, munching on an okonomiyaki. The elder Saotome chuckled at this, but then, he announced that the children would be having another free day. Laughing and yelling in delight, the two were off to the park, once more leaving their fathers to talk.
"Well, Kuonji-kun," said Genma, sitting down on one of the portable stools in front of the yattai. "Your Ukyou has nearly as much potential as my son."
Akira smiled proudly at the complement, but he knew that a simple complement wouldn't be the reason Genma had wanted to talk. "Your words make me very happy, Saotome-kun. I am glad Ukyou is doing so well."
"As am I," replied Genma. "However, I'm sorry to inform you that Ranma and I must move on. We will be leaving tomorrow."
Akira's face fell at that. He didn't want his girl's only friend to go away, and the training Genma had been giving her was exceptional. Knowing that he couldn't let an opportunity like this go away, he said, "Saotome-kun, I've been thinking. The only thing besides training that I would like to give Ukyou would be a husband. Considering how well she and your Ranma get along, I think it would be a wonderful match."
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, Kuonji-kun," Genma replied, "but Ranma already has an iinazuke. There is only one other family in the world that practices Musabetsu Kakuto Ryu, and we hope that Ranma will marry one of the daughters of that family to recombine the schools."
Akira sighed, knowing that such an arrangement was usually based on the family honor of one or both clans, and so it would be futile to play his trump card. The Kuonji patriarch might have tried it if the other arrangement wasn't so sound, but a single yattai would not compare to a clan's honor.
"In that case, Saotome-kun," Akira said in a sad voice, "I have a request."
Genma replied in an equally grave tone. "Go on."
"Since I have nothing more to teach Ukyou, and I know you could teach her so much more, I would like you to take Ukyou with you on your journey. Train her and I will be eternally grateful."
Genma was surprised by this request, but the tone of the man's voice conveyed his sincerity. The Musabetsu Kakuto practitioner wasn't one to take such a thing lightly, and so he had not spoken again until the children returned from the park for lunch.
The meal was a quiet affair as the children picked up on their respective parent's moods, and afterward, Ranma and Ukyou ran back to the clearing where the Saotomes were camping to spar for a little while.
Finally, as mid afternoon rolled around, Genma looked at Akira and said, "Very well, I will take on Ukyou as a student, but you must understand that I can't promise when I will bring her back. If you accept this, Ukyou may leave with us tomorrow."
Akira's face showed a mixed reaction to Genma's words, and he could understand why the okonomiyaki chef would have such a reaction to the thought of not seeing his daughter for some time. However, the man's words were grateful. "Thank you, Saotome-kun. I am indebted to you for this service."
Ukyou hefted the pack her father had put together for her and slipped her arms through the loops. The canvas bag was heavy, but her heart was heavier. For the first time, she would be leaving her father. 'At least I'll still be with Ranchan and Saotome-sensei,' she thought.
Kuonji Akira's eyes were shining with tears as he knelt in front of his daughter and hugged her. "Don't worry, Ukyou-chan. Saotome-sensei has promised to train you well."
"I know, father," she replied, her voice tremulous with emotion. "I love you, and I'll miss you."
"And I, you, daughter. Remember all your cooking lessons and continue to practice the Kuonji-style Okonomiyaki Ryu." Akira managed a smile for his daughter as he released her from the hug.
Genma and Ranma waited a little distance away while the Kuonjis said goodbye to each other, but as the emotional scene wound down, Genma spoke. "Don't worry, Kuonji-kun; I'll take good care of Ukyou."
"I know you will, Saotome-kun," replied the elder Kuonji as he finally got his emotions under control. "All of you: have fun and learn well!"
All four waving, two Saotomes and one Kuonji walked away from a yattai in a suburb of Kyoto, their journey still only beginning.
To be continued.
Author's notes: Well, it's been a long time coming, but I hope that just makes it better. If you want to know why it took so long, read my ff.net bio (I use it for updates on my writing more than actual bio).
So, with the basic changes, we can already see some very different events from canon along with some obvious OOC action from some characters. However, I'd like to think that I'm still portraying them well considering the changes I've made to the canon universe's past.
I don't think that there really is a hayabusa do in the canon, but I needed a set of techniques that Ranma could learn for this chapter. The 'floating in mid air' technique is seen many times when Ranma and Genma are sparring in the canon, and the hayabusa on tsume is used in the Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics match when Ranma wins. He uses it to cut the pole Kodachi is standing on. As for the hayabusa no hagai, I just made it up. I like the idea and Kuno does something similar with his bokken during a fight with Ranma in the first volume and fourth episode of the canon manga and anime. In any case, it seems like 'the way of the falcon' would be an ideal set of techniques for a mid-air combat style like the Saotome Ryu.
In any case, if you've read this far, then you've managed to read all of my ranting as well as my story. Until later. Ja.
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