Work Header

Nodoka 2/1

Chapter Text

Nodoka 2/1
The Chroma Series
Act 1 Part 04


 This is a work of fan fiction. All of the characters and events are also fiction. Even I am mostly fiction! I own few of the assets for this story. I have nothing. Please don't sue me! This is just for fun, and practice.

 No animals were harmed during the writing of this chapter, though they will eventually die, like we all will.



 -Thank you to everyone, especially my main editor, Hiryo, and those of you who take the time to comment. I love to hear what you all think, and what you would like to see in our story. Your reviews help me to improve at a faster rate, and many scenes have been influenced or added based on your feedback, so I hope to continue that trend as long as they do not run counter to what I do have planned. The better reasoned the 'argument' and/or the more people who want to see it, the more likely it is I will try to work it in, or do something similar anyways.

'Thought' {And other emphasized items}
{Author's Notes & *Translations* Feel free to skip these}


GLOSSARY (from the last chapter)

Shijuhatte - The Japanese Kamasutra.
Yogarinaki - 'Joy Sob' or 'Squeal of Delight'

Sakuranbo(u) - Cherry (the fruit) {As opposed to Sakura - A cherry blossom}.

Itsudemo - any time (at), always, all the time, at all times.

Ana - hole.


Chapter 14
The Art of Having Class


 They were preparing to leave, when Ranma heard Kikyo's voice. Looking up, he saw Kikyo ...or what she might have looked like as a child. "Kikyo-san! What happened to you?!?!?"

 "There is no need to worry, Ranma-sama. I am not the real Kikyo-sama. I am but a shikigami, made to protect you, and to learn about the modern world for my lady."

 "Well, I doubt I will need any protection, but I can understand wanting to learn more. The first thing you will have to learn then, is that young children are not allowed in high school, except under special circumstances, and I doubt following me around would count."

 "Do not worry Ranma-sama, 'that' will not be a problem." She floated up and toward Ranma, shrinking as she got closer, before landing in the breast pocket of his jacket, looking like a small doll.

 "You definitely need to stay hidden when you look like that, or at the very least, stay perfectly still. I don't think the world is ready for a walking, talking doll quite yet. I am sure someone would think you are a possessed doll and panic."

 "That is not exactly far from the truth..." The shikigami agreed, trailing off as she pretended to be 'just a toy'.


 Kikyo had been making some progress setting up the shrine, and felt it was a good time for a break. She did not want to spy, but her curiosity had been beating her to a pulp, and she could not resist. Taking a seat, she began to mediate, and before long her eyes began to glow, followed by the rest of her. She watched as they walked to school, but had been disappointed when her shikigami ducked into Ranma's pocket, and she had to make do with only listening.


 As they approached the front of the school, Nabiki glanced at the time. "It looks like we have plenty of time before homeroom starts, so how about we give you the basic tour? We can show you around, starting with my clubroom, and the other 'important' places around campus."

 "That sounds like a good idea, we looked over the map you brought us, but that just isn't the same as seeing it firsthand." They all agreed, but as they neared the main building, they found that a small welcoming committee had other plans.

 "Good morning everyone!" Kaede waved an excited greeting, unable to contain how ecstatic she was feeling that morning. "I am impressed that you were able to get your uniforms made so quickly! They look perfect, especially yours Ranma-kun! I am sure the girls here are going to just LOVE it!" Ranma was used to getting stares, and normally enjoyed it, but he suddenly felt a bit self-conscious about his bare chest for the first time in his life.

 "Well, we did have some help, we found a really good seamstress." Ranma's coat was much like his normal one, but it was maroon, like the female uniforms, and had the school's crest on the breast pocket and back. With that, he wore his usual black silk pants, sarashi, and soft-soled shoes.

 Pai was mildly disappointed that along with Nabiki, she was the only one with a normal uniform, not enough to want a curse for the excuse, but she felt left out nonetheless. On the other hand, she took solace in, again with Nabiki, being the only other one with Ranma in the upper-class lessons.

 Shampoo's maid uniform had a large opening in the back, near her shoulders for her wings, giving her a low-cut, open-back, which remained mostly covered by her long tresses.

 Ukyo's looked like a normal French maid's uniform, yet it was the most intricate of all of them. The very short, and low-cut dress, looked as though it were one solid piece. However, it was actually several long strips of thin fabric, intricately folded to look like pleats, and designed to come unraveled and fall off with enough pressure from the inside, including the 'underwear'. She felt as though she were wearing origami, as if her dress was art, and she was the canvas. It had taken her several tries to learn the correct way to fold them the first time, but she had worked her time down to only several minutes. In time, she believed that she could get it done in the time most people take to put on a normal dress. She really preferred the ease of her usual attire, but sacrifices had to be made... For Ranma's sake, she would overcome any obstacle, even fashion!

 Mikan had not moved nor reacted until that moment when she pushed her glasses up with her middle finger. Her tone of voice was calm, yet stern, and left no room for argument. "Yes, about that, Saotome-san, I believe that we need to see 'you' in the office, immediately! The rest of you, enjoy our school, if you follow the rules, we will get along well. I look forward to seeing some of you later in the servant classes. That goes for you as well Fubuki-'sensei', remember, you represent the faculty now." Mikan looked at the way Fubuki was fawning over Ranma. "Even when you are 'not' here in that capacity." She turned to walk away, dragging a 'kicking and screaming' Kaede by her shirt's collar, while mumbling under her breath. "Former students working for current students... That was not how I expected our alumni to return."  

 Ranma looked over to Nabiki and Fubuki who both nodded. Nabiki lowered her voice to a whisper. "You had better go Ranma-kun. Mikan-sensei is very strict. Would you like us to wait for you?"

 Ranma shook his head as he handed Kikyo's Shikigami to Nabiki. "No, you guys go ahead… I will catch up when I can. Take care of Kikyo-chan for me, this way you can all get a feel of the place." The shikigami wanted to protest, but saw the logic in going with them and getting 'the tour'. "Sorry about this, I will catch-up as soon as possible."

 "This isn't your fault, Ranma-kun."

 Fubuki debated following Ranma or the others, but the look she had received from Mikan did not leave her debating for long and she hurried after Nabiki and the others.


 In complete contrast to Kaede's child-like enthusiasm, Mikan sat through Ranma's explanation and demonstration with a seemingly emotionless detachment. She had hardly reacted at all, other than to give Kaede a stern look, preventing the other woman from getting overvehement, even after witnessing Ranma's gender change, twice.

 "Ucchan and Shampoo also have a similar curse, and if at all possible, it would be helpful if we could avoid anything having to do with cold water. Especially with Shampoo, whose curse makes being around water even more of a problem. Let me ask you, 'have you ever tried giving a cat a bath'?" Seeing both of them shake their heads, Ranma figured he would need to explain further. "Let's just say that Shampoo's cursed form does not like to be submerged in water, and leave it at that."

 "What about swimming classes?"

 "Is your pool heated?"

 "Of course it is!"

 "Then it should be no problem."

 "That is good, we have enough 'problems' here as it is. I am told that you will be taking over teaching my students their combat lessons with Fubuki-san in your father's absence."

 "Yes, Genma-san has ...gone ...on an extended training journey, for an indefinite period of time..."

 "And exactly how well do you know this style? As I understand it, you have been away until recently..."

 "Correct, I have not fully mastered this style, having trained in it for less than a week so far..."

 "Then how do you expect to teach my students, when many of them have been studying for years?"

 "Had you let me finish, I would have also said that I have been on my own training journey, ever since I was four years old, I have mastered numerous styles, and even created a few of my own. I have more than exceeded all of the requirements laid down by our school's founder to become a certified master and instructor in our art, and most of all, I have the support of my friends and family to back me up! Have no fear, 'your' students' education will not suffer, even if it takes me a week or so to master this style, I-"

 "A week? How good do you believe you can get in a matter of days, when most spend years?"

 "Well, it usually takes me a few weeks to absorb a new system, but this one was designed to be easily digestible by anyone who has mastered the basic movements. It was designed so that someone skilled in the art of keeping house could learn in a few years, what would take most people decades to learn in another art. So, the better you are at cooking, cleaning, and serving, the more quickly you will be able to learn it, and the more effective it will be for you."

 For the first time since their meeting, Ranma saw Mikan's expression change. Her eyebrow raised by the slightest of margins. "And these are things at which you excel?"

 "Well now, I would not say that, but I do know my way around a kitchen, and I have always liked to help when I could. For now, until I have learned how far along each student is, we will be going over the basics anyway. Besides, you are never so advanced that there is no need to review the basics."

 Mikan was fingering one of her pens. "I believe that I will need to see a demonstration of your abilities."

 "Well Mikan-sensei, as much as I would LOVE to do that, I doubt there is time for that now, it is almost time for ...what do you call it ...homeroom? This is my first day, so I do not want to be late. It's a big campus, I might get lost... nobody wants that."

 Mikan might have normally made a point of correcting such obviously defiant behavior, but the aquatransexual had a point. If the boy was worth having as an instructor, then a proper demonstration would take time, and that was no excuse for missing class, even if it was only homeroom. "Fine, then we will do this another time, before you are allowed to lead my class. The servant classes and discipline are my responsibility, and I take my responsibility 'very' seriously. If you prove yourself capable, and do not prove to be the delinquent you appear to be, you will be considered a student-teacher. You will be in charge of the servant classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You will be let out of your other afternoon activities to do this."

 "I was thinking for this year, since we will all be here anyway, we can teach those classes here, and save us all the travel time. The evening classes will still be at the dojo for those students who wish to join us for them though, since they include students who do not belong to this school."

 "That will be fine. I will arrange for a training location here on campus. It may have to vary though, depending on what rooms are available."

 "That is also fine, I am quite used to that. Weather permitting, outside is also fine by me most of the time."

 "That can be arranged, if you prefer. Once the morning classes finish, the servant-class students split up to do various jobs. Some of them serve in the dining room, others clean the classrooms, and so on. After that, the upper-classes resume their studies, and the servants have their special instructions, which include your classes two days a week, as we covered earlier, whether you are there ...or not." Mikan looked up from her clipboard, and down her nose at Ranma.

 Feeling a bit uncomfortable, and not really caring for the implications, Ranma decided it was time to go. "I 'will' be there, count on it, but I need to go find my class." Ranma inched his way over toward the window.

 Kaede decided to interject at that moment, whether it was to 'save' Ranma or if she was oblivious to the tension in the room was debatable, either way, she quickly stood up, smiling and waving. "Have a good day, Ranma-kun! I hope you enjoy your time in our school. ...I know there will be 'many others' who enjoy your time here!" Kaede winked as she finished speaking.

 Mikan shot Kaede a stern look, which caused the other woman to stiffen. "You may be excused, Saotome-san."

 Ranma glanced over at the two educators before he opened the window. "If you would like a small example of what I can do, I will leave you with this." Ranma slid out of the window to stand on the outer sill, from there he leapt several stories higher, where he vanished from view.

 "...But, it's the third floor!!!"


 Ranma was looking behind him as he landed on the far side of the next building over, and that was unfortunate for a small group of friends who happened to be walking passed at that particular moment.


 Kazayuki and her friends were chatting and giggling as they walked to class, and like most people, never once having looked up. It was a choice they would have regretted, if they had realized it had been a choice in the first place.

 Their walk to class was interrupted as the three of them were knocked down, and completely covered by a handsome young man and his long coat. They were surprised by how little of an impact they had felt, Kazayuki was rubbing her face on the rock-hard, bare chest of the young man who fell on them. Even her bodyguard was not built that well!

 As Ranma tried to get up and offer his apologies, he felt hands groping his chest. As a martial artist, and one long practiced in situations such as this, Ranma's hands tended to work on their own, without conscious thought. The result of which was Ranma hitting pleasure pressure points as he tried to help them to their feet, while healing their minor injuries.

 None of these young ladies had ever experienced anything like that before, so they were having trouble speaking and their legs would not support them.

 An angry crowd began to form, all of them shouting accusations at the boy who flew in from out of the sky. "Who are you?" "Where did you come from?!?" "What did you do to those girls?!?!?"

 Ranma, realizing how things looked and that he was starting to run out of time, decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and took off like a shot. Many of the schoolgirls tried to give chase, and many of the others stayed to see if they could aid the three 'fallen' girls.

 "Are you girls all right? What did that awful guy do to you?"

 They all had dreamy looks on their faces as they stared off into space. "I can't walk, but I have never felt better in my entire life..."

 "That man has the hands of the kami!"

 "That was the BEST!"

 Seeing the delirious state their fellow students were in, the rest of the girls decided to join in the chase ...for 'various' reasons.


 Ranma could not believe the mob that was chasing him as if he were some kind of pervert! If that were not bad enough, he had been so distracted that he had stumbled into a few others, with similar results. With the mob growing, he had thought to lose them by jumping over the building, and sneaking in through the back door, a feeling not wholly unfamiliar to him, when a young woman, with a long dark ponytail tied with a white ribbon, burst through said back door being chased by a taller boy, in a black  hakama and a blue kimono.

 Ranma landed right in between them with a hand on each of their shoulders, preventing their progress, and keeping anyone from falling, or being trampled, namely himself...

 Ranma could feel the girl trembling under his hand, and her voice was very meek, Ranma could barely make it out. "...Please, help me..." Her distraught eyes looked into his, imploring his aid.

 "Who dares place a hand on Tatewaki Kuno? ...oh, and the fair sword-maiden Yukie as well? How dare you, you ruffian?!?"

 Ranma looked down and saw that the girl in question, did in fact, have a sword on her belt, and unlike the one strapped to Tatewaki's belt, it was a real one! He was curious as to why she would be carrying such a thing when it was illegal, maybe that was why she was not defending herself, or perhaps it was just for show. "I must ask you, what are 'you' doing with 'the fair sword-maiden, Yukie'? It does appear as if your attentions are unwanted..."

 The boastful lad in the dark hakama tried to push Ranma away from him and down the stairs as he drew his bokken, however Ranma was not the 'pushover' that Tatewaki expected. The young martial artist scooped Yukie into his arms, and leapt away from the building, where he gently sat her down before leaping back toward the taller student. "This is not the time, nor the place for fighting, but if you insist on forcing yourself on this girl, I will stop you."

 "You are new, and you look like a delinquent, therefore, you will not address me as 'you', you will address me as 'senpai'."

 "Why? I am a third year and part time instructor, what are 'you'?"

 "Your better! I am a rising star in the field of kendo, known the nation over as the 'Blue Thunder of Hakureiryo Academy'!" As the boy raised his bokken into the air, a crash was heard in the background. ...It was not thunder, and the shouts that followed it worried Ranma.

 Ranma had looked quizzically at Yukie who was trying not to be seen, yet shaking her head emphatically 'no'. "Well, I am Ranma Saotome, head of the Musabetsu Kakuto Benkyo Saotome Ryu, and I am in a hurry, so if you want to fight, please do so quickly."

 "You fool! You should have run while you had the chance!" Tatewaki charged in, yelling out his strikes.

 Ranma stood there calmly, as Yukie looked increasingly more worried. At what seemed like the last moment, Ranma spun on his feet, his coat flying out and hiding his motions from his opponent's eyes. Before either of them were aware, Tatewaki was completely tied up with his bokken pressed against his face, and rope holding a cloth in his mouth.

 "Sorry, I do not have time to play with you today." Ranma looked over at Yukie. "It's been a pleasure to meet you, Yukie-san was it? Are you all right? You aren't hurt anywhere, are you?"

 Yukie was too nervous to speak, or even think of getting her 'friend' to do her talking for her, so she just blushed while shaking her head, her eyes never leaving the ground. She finally managed to squeak out, "...I'm okay."

 "You should be fine for a while, and if you ever need help with this guy again, or anything else, let me know." Ranma bowed before turning back to the bundled kendoist. "I hope you learned an important lesson about who is 'better'. You can keep the rope as a parting gift, consider it a learning tool. Now if you both will excuse me, I need to get to class." With that, Ranma bounded over the building again, looking for another way inside as the doors burst open and students poured out. This left Yukie to openly gawk, and Tatewaki to flop around, his muffled yells ignored by all.


 Ranma had climbed in through the bell-opening in the clock-tower, and had just made his way into one of the main halls of the building that contained his goal. He was fairly certain that he was even on the correct floor. Ranma sensed that the still growing mob was still outside, and confidentially strolled toward his classroom.

 He stopped at the latest intersection and was looking around for a sign, when another student suddenly turned the corner and ran right into his bare chest. She had long, black hair that was tied to the side in a ponytail, and her bangs were teased up to look like a flower. In fact, she was also carrying a single black rose, and her uniform was darker than most, with the normally white parts, black in her case.

 She looked at the broad, muscular chest in front of her, and blinked several times before looking up into the eyes of the bishonen wall, blocking her path. 'A MAN! I guess a mostly all girls' school was the wrong place to look for mister right... Wait, is this not 'the' man, the one that hung in our clubroom for so long, the legendary Saotome Ranma? The pictures did not do the boy justice!' Wrapping her arms around him, she sighed. "Thank you for saving me, you prevented a nasty spill. Whatever would I have done if you had not prevented me from falling...?"

 "Probably not fallen in the first place..."

 "Please, is there anything I can do to repay you? ...and I 'do' mean 'anything'..." Kodachi's hands began to wander, playing with his chest.

 "Nothing comes to mind ...unless you can tell me where room 'Three N' is located..." Ranma sensed the mob quickly approaching, and changed his mind. "Never mind, I think I see it now..." Ranma tried to dislodge himself and take off, but the vice-grip that was attached to him was not having any of that.

 "Wait, I will show you the way, it is the very least I can do for you."

 Not wanting to get the 'innocent' girl involved in his mess, Ranma made his move. When he slipped his arm around the girl's waist, she smiled like an alligator. He had planned to tap her shoulders to get her to let him go, but she quickly moved her arms around his neck and tried to plant her lips on his, which caused him to 'tap' just a bit sooner than he had intended, hitting her lower back instead as she arched it. This caused the rather forward young woman to collapse to the ground in spasms of pleasure. "Oh, I am awfully sorry, I didn't mean to do that." Ranma bowed and took off down the hall as the mob came roaring up the stairs.

 "Oh, don't be sorry ...and don't ...leeeeEEEave!" To her credit, she was not only able to speak mostly coherently during the best orgasm of her young life, but able to pull a long studded whip out from somewhere best left unmentioned, and use it to try and snag the fleeing boy's ankle. Ranma continued to dodge each strike as it got close, but it was impressive that she could even try. "That is ...the wrong waaAAAaay...!!!"


 Ranma felt that he had finally lost his pursuers, and he slowed to once again, look at the signs to see where he was, while at the same time, feeling out for his friends to see if they were close enough to make out in this crowded building and soon picked out the very familiar ki of his oldest and dearest friend. As he walked down the hall, out of nowhere, his arm was grabbed, and he was dragged into the room he had been passing.

 Before he realized it, Ranma was in the 'lady's room', completely surrounded by women who let out very little aura, despite their predatory grins, he could have sworn they had been trained in the art of ninjutsu. His mother had once told him that true ladies of high society were trained from birth to blend into the background. These ladies were well trained indeed. "Hey, I ...shouldn't be in here..."

 "It's okay, they haven't built very many restrooms for men yet."

 "We don't mind if 'you' use this one..."

 "Exactly, not like that other boy!"

 "The one who tries to barge in, always looking for a date?"

 "That guy is probably going to die a virgin!" The room filled with giggles that seemed to echo off of the walls, making them louder than they were.

 "You really did have a good idea Nihako."

 "Thank you." Nihako turned back to Ranma who was quickly looking for a path out that would not involve hurting or feeling up any more people. "You led us on quite the chase, but it ends now. It is time you paid the piper..." All of the 'ladies' present swarmed Ranma.

 The world went dark for Ranma as he fell under the pile of bodies, hands groping every centimeter of him. His hands worked feverishly, doing their best to follow the directions his instincts were screaming at them, telling them the best way to extricate himself from this situation.

 Moments later, his head finally emerged from under the pile, and he had gotten his first hand free, when the door burst open, revealing another large group of ...'ladies'. Ranma sighed as the world went dark once again.


 Ranma's hair was disheveled, he had scuff marks, footprints, and lip prints all over, and his coat was hanging off of one shoulder as he finally opened the door to his classroom. His voice was tired and weak, it held none of his usual energy. "I made it. Sorry for the intrusion..." Everyone in the room looked over at him as he embarrassedly entered the room. "I'm Ranma Saotome, sorry about this..."

 "There you are!" The teacher, a tall woman with reddish-brown hair tied into a tight bun, a stern look on her face, and black business skirt-suit, turned back toward the class and gestured toward Ranma. "Our final new student finally graces our presence. Class, meet Ranma Saotome, who is not dressed quite the way I had expected... Apparently 'someone' does not care about appearances." Several of the maids began to murmur upon hearing the name 'Saotome'.

 "That isn't true, Yamura-sensei! I am sure there is a good reason Ranchama looks that way! ...A reason I had better hear about in great detail later..." Ukyo, Pai, Shampoo, and Nabiki all gave him a look at said that a full explanation would be needed later.

 Yamura-sensei gave Ukyo a stern look before turning back toward Ranma. "Would you like to introduce yourself to the class?"

 "No, I think we have covered that already..."

 "So you would not like to say anything about yourself? Or do you just wish to be known as 'that tardy boy'?"

 "...and handsome..."

 "...and handsome. ...Hey!" Yamura-sensei shot another dirty look at Ukyo while giggles filled the room.

 "If you insist. I am Ranma Saotome, head of the Saotome School of Anything-Goes Martial Arts Diligence. I am now also, head of the Saotome School of Kaji-ken. Many of you will soon be my students as well. I apologize for transferring so suddenly, and for my tardiness, I had ...some 'trouble' getting here after this morning's meeting. I hope that it doesn't happen again." Ranma bowed to the class after straightening his coat. "Thank you, I will be in your care." Many of the girls swooned.

 "Very nice, however being a part-time instructor does not excuse your being late, though we also hope that it does not happen again. Don't we, girls?" She paused for the class to collectively nod as several of the students spoke out.

 "Yes, please do arrive sooner next time."

 "Perhaps next time you can show 'more' skin?"

 "Get here early next time, so we can have some fun with you before 'uptight-sensei' gets here!"

 "Ladies do NOT speak that way!" Being too distracted to see who spoke out this time, the homeroom teacher did not know where to direct her stern look, so settled for turning back toward Ranma. "I hope that next time you give yourself more time to get here. Now, fill those two buckets, and go stand in the hall."

 "Hai, sensei." Ranma did as he was told, and Yamura-sensei tried to resume the announcements of the day.

 Before long, a commotion slowly built up just outside of the room, and protests were heard.

 "Hey, what are you doing?"

 "Sorry, my hands are sort of busy holding these buckets right now..."

 "Hey! Watch where you are pointing that thing!"

 Growing more annoyed by the moment, Yamura-sensei had finally gotten tired of the noise, and opened the door to yell at Ranma. What she found surprised her.

 Ranma was being swarmed by quite a number of girls, who were apparently skipping classes, while doing his best to keep the buckets of water at arm's length without spilling a drop. Some of them had various long objects in their hands, and the looks on their faces ran the full gambit, from lusty to furious, and everywhere in between. "What do you think you are doing in the halls during classes?!?"

 The sharp tone of voice and the look they received caused most of them to freeze in their tracks. Ranma just managed to avoid being splashed by some of the water that did not stop when the bucket did. The angry girl with the broom who was standing behind him at the time was not so lucky. "Sorry about that..." Ranma took solace in the rate of evaporation from her hot temper assuring him that she would be dry before long. She did not have time to react further however, as Yamura-sensei interrupted her indignation.

 "Get back to class, all of you. NOW!" Yamura-sensei watched as the girls all scattered before she grabbed Ranma by the shoulder, pulling him back into the room. "Get back in here, it's less distracting that way..." The sound of splashing water was heard as she pulled her newest student back into the room.

 "Aw, and here I was doing so well..."

 One of the students raised their hand. "Yamura-sensei! Who is that?"

 "It is Saotome-kun, of course, who did you think it was-..." The teacher quickly retracted her hand from the shirtless redhead, as she backed away just as quickly.

 Ranma looked down, glad that at least his new coat managed to, barely, conceal his breasts from view. 'Shimatta! I really hoped to avoid this.' Ranma looked up quickly, pointing out of the window. "Is that the guy you are looking for?" As soon as the whole class turned to look, Ranma pulled a thermos out of his 'pocket', dumping some of its contents over his head. Back in his normal gender, Ranma looked at his new teacher. "So, which seat did you say was mine?"

 "But, that girl, where, who, how, huh? ...and why are you wet?" This was echoed throughout the room.

 Ranma looked confused. "You know ...the splashing buckets, but what girl are you talking about, there were quite a few in the hall there, and many more lovely ladies in here?"

 Moments later, Yamura-sensei regained her composure. "Never mind. I did not say, actually, but there is only one open seat. There, next to Tendo-kun. I have been led to believe that you know each other already anyway."

 "Yes, childhood friend, and all that." Ranma made his way to his new seat to the sound of a few disappointed, along with some heartfelt sighs, while turning down several offered handkerchiefs to dry himself. Ranma noticed that all of them were conveniently seated together, much to his relief. He whispered to Nabiki as he got close. "How did we manage that?"

 "The girls Kaede-chan transferred out of this class were all chosen by how close they were seated to me." Nabiki whispered back, with a grin on her lips, as Ranma took his seat, feeling slightly guilty at that thought. Seeing the look on Ranma's face, Nabiki decided to as a footnote. "Ranma-kun, don't worry, they were mostly snobs anyway."

 The last few moments of homeroom were mostly uneventful, other than one last stern look Yamura-sensei shot Ranma before she left the room.

 Nabiki looked over at Ranma, with a sly grin on her face. "Well stud, you sure know how to make a first impression!" Nabiki could barely contain her laughter.

 Ranma was about to retort when his desk was surrounded by the rest of the class, all wanting to ask questions of the 'fresh meat'.


 Kikyo had stopped paying attention once the tour was over, and went back to work, but she had told her shikigami to alert her when Ranma held her again. It was taking a lot longer than she had expected, and she was starting to worry about how much tome had passed, and was wondering if she should 'check in'...

 When she was finally unable to bear her curiosity and concern any longer, she sat down to 'reconnect' with her mini-avatar. After the shikigami gave her its impressions of what it felt, the first thing Kikyo noticed was that it was quite noisy. With a bit of effort, Kikyo managed to poke her head out, and see that she was inside of Nabiki's book bag, under her desk. 'Next time, stay where you can see better, if possible.' She saw that most of the students in the room were all pelting a disheveled Ranma with questions.

 'Getting over there will be a problem if I am not to be seen.' Kikyo wrote a small note, shrunk herself even further, before returning to her 'paper doll' appearance. As discreetly as possible in her tiny form, she slid across the floor, and climbed into Ranma's pocket before returning to her 'plushy' size and shape. It had been a close call when one of the students dropped her pencil, and Kikyo had to hide behind the chair's leg.

 Ranma felt a tug in his pocket and glanced inside where he saw the shikigami, holding a small note that read, 'We need to talk.' "Oh would you look at the time. I am sorry ladies, but something suddenly came up. If you will excuse me for a moment, I will return shortly." With that, Ranma hopped across the room, landing by the door, and ran into the hall.

 "You have better hurry back Ranma-kun, you only have five minutes before class starts. You don't want to be late to every class today!" Laughter followed Ranma out of the room.

 "Serve Ranma right. Is for being too too sexy, ne?"


 Ranma found a quiet place and pulled Kikyo's shikigami out of his pocket. She grew in size a bit before speaking. "Ranma-sama, I have been instructed to inform you that I have sensed youkai energy in that classroom. I was unable to detect where it was coming from, but it left not long ago."

 "It was the teacher, I thought I felt the same thing."

 "Ranma-sama, what shall we do?"

 "Well, considering the situation, we cannot just confront the thing openly, and we do not know their intentions. We know now, and should definitely keep a close watch. I will see what 'Biki-chan knows about that teacher and maybe see what I can learn from Kaede-sensei. I will try to go during lunch or something. If at any time, you sense any form of hostile intent, let me know."

 "Hai, Ranma-sama! It will be as you ask."

 "Thank you, I really appreciate your assistance keeping watch."

 "Keeping you safe is my primary reason for existing. Do not concern yourself with such things."

 "Well, thank you and Kikyo-san all the same. Keeping you and the others safe, if my primary reason for existing.  Now, let's get back to the classroom before that bell rings."


 The bell rang again and Ranma and the others looked over at Nabiki. "What's next?"

 Nabiki looked back with a grin. "Lunch! ...But that was only the first bell, for the servant classes to go, the rest of us wait." Nabiki turned to Shampoo and Ukyo. "You two should go, but remember, Kaede said you could each be assigned to one of us, so you won't have to worry about serving anyone else."

 "I wish we could all go together, but I guess we will see you in a few minutes."

 Ukyo and Shampoo each kissed Ranma on a cheek.

 "We see you soon too, Shampoo can't wait."

 "I guess we will be leaving then. Will you miss us, Ranchama?"

 Ranma placed his hands over his heart. "Oh yes, part of me will ache until we have been reunited."

 Ukyo winked, as she grinned slyly. "I know which part I want it to be, and I will be sure to rub it until the ache goes away..." She blew him another kiss and started for the door.

 "Ukyo-chan, you might want to watch doing that sort of thing around Mikan-sensei. That woman is very strict about such things."

 "Good to know, hard to comply with, but good to know..." The two 'maids' ran off to follow the others to the dining room they were shown that morning. The other 'ladies' in the class were completely enraptures by the exchange, sighing and squeeing at all of the right moments.

 It had been a long morning, filled with strange people, including some of the teachers. Especially that Yoshimine-sensei. She squirmed and seemed to enjoy being the focus of attention. There was another Yoshimine in their class as well, and the embarrassed way the seemingly shy girl appeared to be reacting to that teacher, along with their similar appearance told Ranma they were probably closely related.

 Ranma finished reflecting on the morning as the second bell rang. Turning to Fubuki, Ranma chuckled. "I am surprised, I really would have figured you and Kasumi-nee would have made sure to pack us a lunch... I never had a real school bento before. I was kind of looking forward to it."

 "Well, Ranma-sama, outside food is not brought into the school dining room. They consider it quite rude, an insult to the chefs. Were we to do that, we would have to eat outside..."

 "That sounds lovely." Ranma got a far-away look on his face for a moment.

 "...but Ukyo-sama, and Shampoo-sama, would not be allowed to join us."

 Ranma's mood visibly darkened a bit. "Oh? But I thought they were 'assigned' to us personally?"

 "They are, but you are expected to eat your lunch in the dining room, because the food is free and only of the absolute 'best' quality."

 "Oh yes, it is to die for."

 "I am quite sure that either of you could prepare something much better than anything they could offer us here. Well, that is just one more thing I need to talk to Kaede-sensei about when I get the chance."

 "You need to see Kaede-chan? Why?"

 "Well, aside from this, there are a few other issues. Tell me, what do you know about our homeroom teacher?"

 "Jun Yamura, Ancient Japanese History and Mythology instructor. Hired last year when Kaede expected a large influx of students when we opened up to males ...that never seemed to happen due to Mikan-sensei having such 'high standards' for the entry requirements. So far, only a few have made it in, and most of them due to Kaede-chan's insistence, such as with you, and a nephew. Yamura-sensei is harsh, that might have been why Mikan-sensei approved, but really seems to care about some of the students. It is hard to say, I do not know much else of value. Why do you ask?"

 "Well..." Ranma's voice lowered to barely a whisper. "I believe that teacher is a youkai. The real question is intent, is it a good youkai, or a bad youkai? Considering the situation, it is unlikely to be a neutral one."

 Shocked, Nabiki just stared for a moment before recovering and focusing on 'the real question'. "Why is that?"

 "Well, there are both good and evil youkai, and everything in between, just like with people. The most likely reasons for a youkai to be a teacher is either to prey on the students, or the joys of helping people learn, and I hope for the latter. Anything else seems fairly unlikely. So, if this youkai 'does' harbor ill intent, I want to find out, and put a stop to it. I will not allow my precious friends or students to be harmed if I can help it. Keep your ears open detective-san, if you hear anything, please, let me know."

 "Uh, sure Ranma-kun, no problem... but for now, here is the dining room, where the school provides several meals a day, and drinks at almost any time."

 "All right! Let's go find Shampoo and Ucchan, and enjoy our meal!" As Ranma opened the doors they saw Mikan on the other side with a stern look on her face, as usual, her glasses gleaming in the light.

 "Good, you are finally here, I suppose expecting you to show up quickly was too much to ask for." Mikan looked at Nabiki and Pai. "You two, enjoy your lunches." She then turned back toward Ranma. "You, will come with me..."

 Mikan walked back into the hall, and Ranma followed.

 Pai leaned in, and whispered into Nabiki's ear. "Not likely, Ranma would last way longer." The two of them giggled together before walking off in search of their friends' table.


 "So, after all of that talk, you were still late to class..."

 "It's not my fault, I-"

 "So, you were 'not' the one who thought it was better to show off, than to wait for a guide?"

 "I didn't get 'lost'. I was attacked, and then mobbed, there's a difference."

 "The ladies you 'assaulted' give a different version of those events... A couple of them wanted us to press charges, ...if not for the rest of them begging them not to, and your tentative connection to the school, I would have done just that."

 "Urk! It was an 'accident'! It was self-defense, I SWEAR!"

 "An 'accident' that continued to happen, repeatedly, that caused an uproar across the 'entire' campus... An accident prone martial artist, who seemed to only have 'accidents', with the 'ladies'... Is this what I am supposed to believe?"

 "Well, I wouldn't put it like that, but it IS the truth... and there was that one guy..." Mikan looked disgusted. "IT WASN'T LIKE THAT! Ask that girl with the sword that guy was chasing around!"

 Mikan visibly ignored it, but knew instantly who Ranma was talking about. The chairman's nephew was exactly the sort of lecherous male she had been working to prevent from attending their school, and not only was she prevented from kicking him out, but nothing she ever did seemed to get through his skull. As bad as she thought Tatewaki was, at least he kept his lechery to a select few of the other students, but if this morning’s incident was an indicator of things to come, this new male was hundreds of times worse, and she was NOT going to let him get away with it! "Close to half of the student body was involved in this morning's incident, and who do I find started it all? There is no way some of the stories I have heard today could have been due to an accident. Even life-long train molesters, could not have done that much, working their hardest, and this was an 'accident'?"

 Ranma expression quickly changed, from embarrassment, to outrage in an instant. "HEY! Don't compare me to those 'perverts'! I would 'never' intentionally grope someone! ...Not unless they wanted me to do it. But, that is beside the point! I stop those guys whenever I see them! I am nothing like them!"

 "And 'how', exactly, are you any different?"

 "Simple, 'I', did NOT do it on purpose! I was not going around, getting my 'jollies' from feeling up innocent, unwilling victims for fun. It ...was 'accident'!"

 Mikan crossed her arms, and gave Ranma a cold stare that would have shattered lesser men. "No one in their right mind would believe anyone could molest more than one hundred ladies without meaning it. Touching women, in places like that, in public no less!"

 "I DIDN'T MOLEST ANYONE! I didn't touch anyone's 'private places'." Ranma forced himself to calm down. "Look, you clearly have some skill in the art." Ranma sated as a matter of fact.

 "What does that have to do with anything?"

 "Everything, the art is life. When you are fighting or doing a kata you know inside and out, do you think about each move you make, or does your body move on its own? Do you think about every step you take when you are walking?"

 "Do you have a point?"

 "I thought I made it well. When someone attacks you, do you stop and think about it, or do you just react?" Ranma paused until he saw that she had processed the question. "I learned many arts other than just fighting, among which, are healing and massage."


 "It started because I was not looking where I was going, and bumped into some people, and knocked them over. I was instinctively checking for injury, but when I was getting groped, my hands reacted and my training kicked in."

 "And 'that' is when you started molesting the girls?"

 "I already told you, I didn't! I was just trying to get away, it was a massage technique. It's for healing, there is nothing improper about it!"

 "No proper 'healing' techniques would do such a thing!"

 "Exactly, how many ki healing techniques do you know madam?"

 "Well, not really any..."

 "Then, no offence intended here but, what then, do you know about it? I have been studying this stuff my entire life."

 "Prove it, without molesting me, show me one of these 'healing' techniques."

 Ranma had already begun examining her with his ki, in anticipation of this command. He knew how this worked, some people just would not believe certain things without proof, and some would not believe even with proof... What he learned in this exam, was that Mikan had one of the biggest 'knots of tension' he had ever seen on any woman he had ever examined. "Molest you? I do not even have to touch you for these techniques anymore, though it does help..."

 Mikan's voice took on an even more dangerous edge. "What, you do not want to touch me? Am I hideous?"

 "No, you are, indeed, very attractive, but you clearly do not like me, and I have no interest in 'touching' people who do not want me. There are plenty enough people who DO want me to touch them. Besides that, I am not here for that, I am here to study, learn, and help others do the same, nothing more. If sex was all I wanted, I would have stayed home!" Ranma gave Mikan a condescending look of superiority, something she was used to giving, not receiving. "Why would I even bother coming here? But if you really want me to give you a demonstration, then you had best sit, or better yet, lie down."

 Mikan sat primly in a wooden chair. Ranma ignored the fact that her back was against the chair, and used his ki to manipulate her back, and started to work out her tension, a little bit at a time.

 Before Ranma had gotten anywhere near her largest 'knot of tension', Mikan was already convulsing in a muted orgasm, one she was clearly resisting with all of her considerable will. Not wanting to 'over do' things, Ranma considered his point made. "Now, if you will excuse me, I have a lunch to eat before I have to get back to class, thank you." Thankfully for Ranma's sake, the upper class students had a long lunch break.

 Mikan would have tried to stop him, but could not speak due to biting her lower lip to prevent herself from moaning out. A thin trickle of blood began to flow from her lip as the door to her office closed. That certainly did not go the way she had expected, and she had been completely unprepared for such an 'attack'. Her very first orgasm lasted for quite a while, and it gave her a lot of time to think. While her thoughts were not clear over all, one was like crystal, 'Ranma Saotome is a danger to the order I maintain, I am going to have to watch that one very closely.'


 Nabiki and Pai had both finished their lunches, and were starting on their desserts. Pai was feeling as if this lifestyle really suited her, it was something she wanted to maintain in the future. Eating this rich food, both here and at her new home, was just heavenly. She could not decide which she liked better. Luckily, for her self-esteem, before she started drooling over her cake, Ranma entered the dining hall, and was met by Fubuki, who was waiting by the door for him to arrive.

 As Ranma walked up, Ukyo and Shampoo both bowed and pulled out the chair that was between Nabiki and Pai.

 "Welcome back, Ranchama."

 "Ranma take too too long. Real man no keep too too cute maids waiting, ne?" Ukyo casually stepped on her 'partner's foot. "Oh, is too too sorry." Shampoo straightened herself up, and bowed again. "Welcome goshujin-sama. What can Shampoo do for you?"

 Ranma smiled up at his two 'maids'. "What a lucky guy I am, to have three of the most adorable maids on the planet..."

 Nabiki favored Ranma with a sly grin. "Ah, but you forget, 'goshujin-kun', for the time being, Ukyo-chan is 'my' maid, and Shampoo-chan is 'Pai-chan's maid. You will have to 'settle' for what you 'brought from home'."

 Ranma saw Fubuki bristle a bit under the jibe. "Well, then it is a good thing I brought the best! Isn't that right, Fukibuki?"

 Fubuki blushed, but said nothing of her doubts to the truth of that statement.

 "What can we serve you today Ranchama? Lunch?"

 "You want drinks?"

 "...Or us?"

 "Well, whatever it is, it just needs to be something I can eat quickly. I still have to try to see Kaede-sensei before the next class starts."

 "Oh you don't have to worry about that, Ranma-kun." Ranma's eyes begged the question, 'Why?', so Nabiki continued her explanation. "As third years, in this school, our afternoon classes tend not to be important ones, and since I planned ahead, I got most of my classes out of the way during the last two years. Most third years use this time for either clubs activities, or studying for entrance exams. Best of all, because Kaede-chan gave you the same schedule I have, you can pretty much do whatever you want after lunch, so you have as much time as you need." Nabiki grinned broadly at her friends.

 Ranma relaxed and his smile and aura brightened the room. "Oh, well in that case, bring me whatever you recommend, you both have excellent tastes."

 Since they knew Ranma wanted to speak to the headmaster, and they had to leave when lunch was over, Shampoo and Ukyo decided that they would refrain from offering 'to be the meal', and ran off to gather as much actual food as they could carry.

 Pai felt mixed about this latest bit of news, and as usual, it showed plainly on her face.

 "Pai-Pai, what's wrong?"

 "Well, it's probably nothing, but I did not really get here on my own ability, so I am just worried about keeping up. I can't believe I am saying this, but I am almost disappointed our class day is so short."

 "Don't think of it as less class time, think of it as more time to study what you need. Besides, you don't have to worry Pai-Pai, you have us and ofukuro-chan to tutor you whenever you need help. You do not have to do it alone."

 Pai felt a little better with Ranma's reassuring smile, but she still had concerns. She had to admit to herself, a girl in her position could not ask for a better deal. She had not really spent much time in school, and there was a lot of it that eluded her. So for her, to only need four more classes and some tests, to be able to graduate from one of the top schools in the world, was as if she had received a gift from the heavens. Even if she did not go to collage, if she could pull this off and manage to pass the final exams, it would help her get much further in life. Her dream of being an actor did not necessarily require an advanced education, but this certainly had to be better than being a dropout. She looked up to see Shampoo and Ukyo, each with several plates of food, returning to their table.

 Despite the earlier claims of who each 'maid' served, the contest between the three maids to see who could feed Ranma the most, was heated indeed. Surprisingly, none of the food was spilled. "Oh my, you are trying to spoil me..."

 "Why yes, yes we are."

 Ukyo and Shampoo gathered the dishes and cleared the table, as they were leaving, Shampoo turned her head back and added, "...and we do again, soon."

 Moments later they returned, and Ukyo presented Ranma with a small tray. On this tray lay three pieces of candy, and a small piece of paper. "Your bill, Ranchama."

 "Huh? I thought the food was free..."

 "The food 'is' free, our services are not. You can pay now, or later, when we get home..."

 Ranma looked at the paper as saw an itemized list of services, each with a 'value' listed in kisses, hugs, and 'other'... "I am terribly sorry, but I am afraid that I left my wallet my other pants. All I have on me right now is this..." Ranma leaned in and kissed them each. "You will have to come collect the rest later."

 "Would you look at that Shampoo-chan? What a deadbeat goshujin-sama." Ukyo walked behind Nabiki, and Shampoo went behind Pai.

 "Is too too good thing we find new goshujin-sama. No work for goshujin who no pay bills..." The two girls winked as they stuck their tongues out at Ranma.

 "Oh, you'll get what you're owed..." Then Ranma's eyes shot open wide. "Wait, so you two already 'paid your bill'?"

 Nabiki winked at Ranma. "Wouldn't you like to know?"

 "Well, it is time for us to get ready for our afternoon classes. Don't have too much fun without us, Ranchama."

 "Fun? Without you? Perish the thought!"

 After watching the two maids saunter off, Nabiki thought it was a good time to press on to their next activity. "It looks as if everyone is done eating now, maybe we should be on our way. Pai-chan, if you want to join our club, and remember where the room is, we can meet you there after I take Ranma-kun to see Kaede-chan. Or perhaps, Fubuki-chan would be willing to help you get there."

 "If Goshujin-sama approves..."

 "I don't mind."

 Pai looked slyly at Nabiki. "Oh I remember where it is, but I think I will follow you just the same. It would be strange for me to show up and nobody knowing who I am anyway."

 "You know Konatsu-chan, and Fubuki-chan..."

 "Nabiki-sama, perhaps it would be best if 'you' took Pai-sama to 'your' club. I can show Ranma-sama the way. It is my duty after all."

 "I am the one who knows Kaede-chan the best, so I should be there."

 Ranma did not like where this was going, and decided to put an end to it. "Why don't we all just go together? It's more fun that way anyway."

 "But Nabiki-sama, do you not think that your club members will need you?"

 "This isn't official club time, so I think they can manage without me for a few more minutes..." Mentally Nabiki chalked up a point for Fubuki, Nabiki did not like being out maneuvered, but she was proud of how well Fubuki had been learning from her, even if the girl did have help this time around. She was fairly impressed with Pai as well, for a girl who claimed to be bad at learning, she seemed to have a sharp mind.


 Things went well, they were able to learn a few things they didn't know without alerting Kaede as to why they wanted this information. Unfortunately, nothing they learned helped them with their query, at least not yet. They did get her address and last place of employment. Now they would have to do some real investigative work.

 Almost to the clubroom, Nabiki and the others saw a petite student. Well, Ranma assumed she was a student, she was not wearing a school uniform, but rather a light pink, lightly flower patterned kimono. She had long black hair, tied into two braided buns, similar to Pai's, but less kempt. Pai's twin tails were also braided, this girl's were not, but her bangs framed her face, and called attention to her bright purple eyes, and the haughty look upon her face.

 This kimono-clad girl covered her mouth with her hand as she laughed. "Nyohoho! Tendo-san, so these are the new students we have been hearing so much about?" She looked both of them up and down, her eyes lingering on Ranma for a moment before staring openly at Pai for the briefest of instants.

 Nabiki tried to stifle her laugh at the other girl's reaction. "It is nice to see you as well, Fushikawa-san, and yes, these are two of our newest students. Ranma-kun, Pai-chan, may I present first year student, Fushikawa-san, 'a member of one of the three noble families in Japan'?"

 Ranma bowed, while Pai just stood there, wondering why she felt such animosity coming from the other girl. "Tendo-san, must we remind you to address us as '-sama'? You are only here as a charity, hardly better than the servant-ed classes."

 Wrapping her arms around one of Ranma's, Nabiki smiled. "No, I am here because Ranma-kun's family helped to support ours in our time of need, and through our hard work and talent."

 "Exactly, hardly better than those freeloading maids." The 'noblewoman' turned toward Ranma. "At least you have some manners, it is important to know how to greet your betters. With our noble status, and being the personification of Japanese beauty, few can compare. 'You' may address us as 'Kokoro-sama. Consider yourself honored." Kokoro extended the back of her hand, Ranma ignored it, not particularly caring for the young oujo's treatment of his friends, nor the way in which she referred to the servant classes.

 "The truly noble person emphasizes the good qualities in others, and does not accentuate the bad. Only the inferior person does."

 Kokoro was mildly offended at the slight, but her 'noble' upbringing would not let her show it, though her face was a bit more pink in tone, than the pale ivory it had appeared to be moments before. She turned her attention back to the familiar target. "So, what is this man to you?"

 "Didn't I tell you that already? You really ought to listen to people when they are talking to you, you might learn something. To answer your question though, besides being our family's sponsor, I am staying with their family."

 "What?!? A boy and a girl who just met, living together, we are jeal... we mean 'That's Immoral'!"

 "Well, it's not 'just' us, there are almost ten of us living there... Think of it a dorm."

 "Oh, well, I guess that's different then..."

 "...Or is it? But on that note, we should probably be going."

 Kokoro's face was bright red, her twin tails were flowing out like ribbons in the wind, and it looked as if steam would start coming out of her ears at any moment.

 "The noble-minded are calm and steady. Little people are forever fussing and fretting."

 Watching the 'noblewoman' get flustered was one of the highlights of Nabiki's life. With a bit more bounce in her step, Nabiki led the rest of the way to her clubroom.


 The servant classes had gathered at the indoor pool. Their uniforms were all perfect, and they were standing in a line near the edge of the pool. There had been a few raised eyebrows at Ukyo's 'French' styled uniform, but no one had said anything aloud. Ukyo and Shampoo were both looking a bit nervous. Ukyo raised her hand. "Mikan-sensei? There might be a problem, you see, we were not expecting this, and do not have swimsuits..."

 Mikan completely ignored Ukyo. "The Hakureiryo Academy servant-ed, trains maids, and occasionally butlers, to do anything they can to fulfill their master's requests. If necessary, to also give advice on matters public and private. Similar to a personal secretary. For that, you need to have lots of knowledge and good manners, to provide unyielding care and possess a strong mind and body."

 "What you mean?" Shampoo jumped back as a fountain pen embedded itself into the stone floor at her feet.

 Holding a second pen in her hand, Mikan did not even look in their direction. "Did you have a question?"

 "No, is nothing!"

 "In that case, get back in line." Shampoo quickly followed the instructions.

 One of the maids next to her whispered into her ear. "You shouldn't provoke Mikan-sensei. It isn't ...healthy."

 "Shampoo see."

 Walking closer to the edge, Mikan began to speak again, still not looking directly at her students. "So, today's lesson will be titled: 'Swimming Pool Emergency - Prologue'. Everyone, jump directly into the pool like this."

 Ukyo and Shampoo were still a bit nervous. "Um, sensei, um, Ah think this might not be the best idea..."

 Mikan stood directly in front of Ukyo, as close as she could be, and whispered to her. "Don't worry, it is a heated pool." Before Ukyo had time to think, Mikan had grabbed her arm, and tossed her into the pool. Everyone else jumped in on their own, not wanting to be thrown in themselves.

 One of the first year students was feeling a bit confused. A young maid, with green hair, and large round glasses. "Sensei, I am not complaining, but out of curiosity, what does swimming in our uniforms have to do with what you were saying?"

 Mikan's glasses shined with a bright light, reflecting from the sun through the skylight. "For instance, your precious master has fallen off of their yacht, if there is no time for you to remove your clothing, you will have to jump in with them on. Otherwise, you will surely regret it."

 "But, how likely is something like that? Don't maids usually just clean houses?"

 "Are you a housekeeper, or are you a maid? The true members of the maid profession are a great many things, a housekeeper is just one of them. Unusual things happen, and we train our maids to be willing and able to do almost anything to help their masters, from preparing food, to protecting them in a crisis. One never knows what you may be called upon to do as a maid, and we will try to train you for most of them."

 "Even ...THAT?"

 Mikan almost blushed. "No! Of course not!"

 Ukyo raised her hand. "I will."

 "Not here, you will not. We have had enough problems like that today. I knew we never should have started letting men in here..." 'But then, that is probably EXACTLY what that perverted headmaster of ours wanted...' "That is not proper behavior for a maid!"

 "Oh I don't know, most of the real maids 'I' have met say it is one of the best perks of the job!" Embarrassed giggles filled the room.

 "Well, if you are done playing around, let us move on to the next part." Mikan pulled a lever on a control panel. 'Vents' opened in the pool, and water began to churn, simulating a very turbulent ocean. The students had to swim hard to stay afloat, several had lost control, and were just going with the flow, doing their utmost to stay above the water.

 Ukyo was having other problems, the power of the waves was forcing water under her clothing, and causing the thin strips of cloth that made up her uniform to come unfolded from the pressure inside and float away. She did not allow it to hinder her swimming though.

 "You have to swim across fast moving waters with clothes on, or ...not."

 "If it is to save Ranchama, then, I don't care if the whole world sees!"

 "That is a commendable attitude, let us see if you can keep it up."

 Shampoo was having a bit of trouble, she had been through far worse training, but swimming in the shoes Ukyo had picked for her was causing problems. Nonetheless, she was managing to stay afloat, and make headway into the waves, until that is, she got hit in the face with straps of wet cloth that wrapped around her head. If that was not bad enough, while struggling to remove the cloth, and unbeknownst to her at the time, she collided with one of the out-of-control maids, the same one who spoke up earlier.


 "Please, no yelling. Shampoo hold you, you remove cloth, tell Shampoo where to go..."

 "AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!! HELP ME!" She was clinging to Shampoo's head, pressing her breasts into her face, and causing Shampoo to go down ...a feeling not wholly unfamiliar to her.

 "Shampoo IS helping, need you help too." Shampoo was getting no assistance from her panicking passenger, and just could not get ahead. With the pantyhose and shoes slowing down her kicking, and holding the other maid preventing her from using her arms, she was quickly losing ground, and started to go under. "With last breath, Shampoo curse ...fancy clothes!"

 Shampoo's head had gone under for the second time, and she was desperately trying to think of a technique she could pull off like this to get them to safety, when she felt an arm go around her chest, and two bare breasts press into the open spot on her back. "Ah got yah, Sug, just relax. Sorry 'bout that." Ukyo swam on her back, keeping her fellow maids above her, and out of the water, until she was able to get to the side of the pool. After helping them out of the water, Ukyo removed the cloth from the head of her friend.

 "Ukyo come swimming to save Shampoo, so happy!" Shampoo threw her arms around Ukyo.

 "Ah'm jus' glad yer okay."

 "But, next time, Shampoo wear flat shoes..."

 "Okay, whatever yah want." Ukyo returned her friend's embrace, not caring in the slightest how many people were staring at her nude form while hugging the other beauty, there only seemed to be women in the class anyway.


 Nabiki never thought she would be the type of girl who would enjoy walking down the hall hanging on the arm of some jock, and even though she had only done so to spite Kokoro, she found it was far more pleasant than she ever imagined. Of course Ranma was not just 'some jock', he had a great many talents and skills, and most importantly, a sharp mind. She did not even mind that another girl was currently doing the same thing to his other arm.

 "Everyone, here we are. The manga and anime club, our home away from class, and a place you can always come to get away from the outside world." Nabiki opened the door, revealing the room and people inside. "Welcome."

 The room was one of the larger ones he had seen so far in the building, much larger than any of the normal classrooms in which he had been. Various computers and drafting tables lined the walls, and other desks and tables were lined up near the center. Only two other people were in the room, and they seemed to be working frantically and had not noticed anyone had entered. Nabiki looked up, and whispered to Ranma, "They always wait until the last minute to do their projects. I would help them work on better time management, but they do their best work under pressure. I just started making sure to give them sooner deadlines than anyone else so they get more done, otherwise they would just play around until it was almost too late. Of course, with how shorthanded we have been, I don't have to do much adjusting. They really are quite talented."

 The next thing Ranma noticed was that the top half of the walls were almost completely lined in portraits of himself and Ukyo, all framed in some of the finest frames he had ever seen outside of a museum. The paintings show the two of them at various ages, and as almost all of the ones he had ever sent them were hanging up in here, it was as if he walked into a gallery of his recent life. There were a couple more of Ukyo than himself, and he knew that the latest two they had sent were in their clubhouse, so a couple of him seemed to be missing, but all things said and done, he was overwhelmed.

 "Oh, I hope you don't mind, I brought in your first paintings to the club after you sent us the second ones, and Kaede-chan paid to have them framed... and I just kept it up. Other than a few that are in other places on campus, this is every other painting you have sent us. At least one club member has joined just to be able to look at them every day. You have fans all over the school, especially among the maids, who all heard tales from your father, who loved to relate your 'manly adventures' to the students, though accuracy was never one of Genma-san's strong suits. Over here are the dolls we used to finance our clubs, and they are the subject of the primary manga we work on here."

 Ranma looked over the dolls, many of them had several variations, including his own, of which there were four. There was one that he did not recognize, though it did seem awfully familiar, as though he had seen it before, somewhere recently... "I know most of these, but who is that one?"

 "Oh, that is the main 'villain' of our story, and one of our club members, Kodachi Kuno, who I am sure you will meet soon."

 "I think I have..."

 "Kuno-sama? Where?"

 "False alarm, Kodachi-chan probably won't be here until after classes, but while I have your attention. Aoi-chan, Fumiko-chan, I would like you to meet Ranma Saotome and Pai Chan, two of our newest members, and Fubuki-chan has returned to help Ranma-kun."

 "Oh, it is sooo nice to finally meet you!"

 "We have heard so much about you!"

 "But, as much as I would love to get to know you better, we are late for a deadline!" The two young women got back to work, furiously drawing and inking away.

 "They really are fun people, but terrible workers if their asses are not on the line... They have great talent, if they could just manage themselves better." Nabiki shook her head, it was the job of the leader to manage their talent correctly, and she only did what she had to do. With any luck, she planned to give them a break after this project by giving them a longer deadline for their next assignment. "So, let me show you around, explain how we do things, and then you can tell me what you feel like trying your hand at first."


 Ranma wanted to try drawing, Nabiki had figured that with his painting skills, it would be easy, and she needed more artists. Ranma saw the logic in that concept, but it was just not making the transition to reality. Drawing with a pencil and painting were just not the same to him, and he was finding it far more difficult than he expected. A pencil did not 'flow' across the page like a brush did, and he was beginning to become frustrated.

 Fubuki noticed this, and tried to think of a way to help, after a moment her head popped up, and she was shining. "Excuse me goshujin-sama, I will be right back." Fubuki ran out of the room as quickly as she could, and made her way to the nearest art classroom. After speaking to the instructor briefly, Fubuki gathered what she needed, and hurried back to their clubroom.

 Fubuki ran back into the room, with her new supplies, and carefully set them down near one of the drafting tables.

 "Fukibuki, what are you thinking?" Aoi and Fumiko both looked up with a curious look on their faces upon hearing the nickname 'Fukibuki'.

 "Well, Ranma-sama, I saw that you were having difficulty with a pencil, and thought, perhaps, a calligraphy pen would not be much better, but then I remembered that in the old days, we wrote with brushes. So, I asked one of my old teachers for some supplies, and thought we could try this." Fubuki had set up a page on the drafting table, and had prepared the ink. "If it would please you goshujin-sama, may I offer you this."

 Ranma accepted the offered brush and walked over to the table. He stood there for a few moments waving the brush around a few times before ever getting near the ink. Before long, Ranma arm sped to work, and flew over the page, as an image formed underneath.

 Everyone stared at the speed in which his hands were moving, as one hand moved the brush and the other moved the inkpots and a cloth. Within seconds, a sloppy manga page was complete, drawn and inked in one step. Ranma was not pleased with the result, but he mused, it was certainly a vast improvement over what he had been doing before. "Ink is not as forgiving as oil paints. This might take some practice..."

 The rest of them were rather impressed, while the quality was not the best, the speed at which it was drawn was beyond belief, and in ink no less. Ranma just stared at his work, analyzing every detail. "Maybe if you slowed down it would be easier, Ranma-kun."

 "Perhaps, but I can get in more practice this way, and get used to the inks instead of the oils. Oh well, let's try again." Ranma removed the page, and was about to crumple it up for the trash, when Nabiki stopped him.

 "NO! Please Ranma-kun, don't ruin that! I want to save all of your practice pages, I ..."

 "Okay, no problem, whatever you want." Ranma handed the page to Nabiki, who quickly put it somewhere safe to dry, planning to add them to her scrapbook later.

 "Thank you Ranma-kun, if nothing else, it will be good to see how you progress."

 Ranma had looked slightly pained for a second, but smiled warmly at Nabiki immediately afterward. "Well, normally I don't keep anything I am not happy with, but if it will make you happy, then you are welcome to keep them." Ranma returned to the drafting board, and set up several sheets of paper in a row, before preparing his brush again. Ranma's battle aura started to flare a bit, and for those who could see it, a larger version of the upper half of his body extended from his waist, glowing brightly. Unfortunately for them, Nabiki and Fubuki's ki sight needed a lot of work yet, and Aoi and Fumiko had none whatsoever.

 What they did see, was that after a moment's concentration, Ranma's hands flew into action, quickly filling page after page, with Fubuki replacing each page with a fresh one as they were filled, handing them off to Nabiki who found a place to dry them. Before long they had hundreds of nearly identical pages, each slightly better than the one before.

 After Fubuki had sent Aoi and Fumiko to get more ink a couple of times, since they had long since stopped working anyway. Finally, Ranma had a page he was proud of and he passed it over to the others to be critiqued. Pai was impressed, but she was used to Ranma impressing her, as he always did. The others were completely blown away. Fubuki and Nabiki had seen his painting skills, when he painted Kasumi's aura, but to see how quickly he improved was stunning. Aoi and Fumiko had never seen anything of the sort before, and were moved well beyond words, though not desires, they both desperately wanted to learn how to do that, they would never have to worry about another deadline as long as they lived! Though in reality it would likely make things much worse...

 The last page Ranma drew looked almost like it was covered in actual black and white photographs ...that just happened to be in a manga-like world. There was no use of 'screen tones' or anything, it was all beautify shaded and filled in completely and evenly. It had gone beyond being a manga, and was much closer to art. "By the kami Ranma-kun! If you can do this from a storyboard, we will have the number one manga in Japan!"

 "Let me see what you have. What are you working on right now?" Fumiko and Aoi began to show Ranma their storyboards and discuss what they were doing and why. Before long, they were completely absorbed in their work.

 The door to the room opened, and the smell of roses filled the room. "Ohohohoho, Tendo-dono, I desire an audience with you."

 Nabiki looked up from her script. "Oh? To what do I owe this honor?"

 "I have been considering our plot all day, and I would like to make a change."

 Nabiki laid her pen down, as she looked more seriously at Kodachi. "What, exactly, would you like to change?"

 "My loyalties."


 "There is no need to shout. I have been giving this a lot of thought, and I feel it is time for some development my character."

 "Then what will we do about a foe? I thought you liked being 'The Nemesis' of our heroes."

 "I did, a lot, it was fun, but I do not wish to be thought of as the 'evil witch' forever. We introduce a greater villain, one that we have to team up to stop. I like working with you ...maybe fall in love, and join your team. Someone else can take over as head of the evil order of witches."

 Nabiki gazed slyly at Kodachi. "So this is about Ranma-kun then...?"

 Kodachi pretended to be shocked at the very thought. "What? Who said such a thing?"

 "You did Kodachi-chan, you are always too easy to read."

 Kodachi looked mildly frustrated for a moment, but it passed with a sigh. "Well? What do you think?"

 "Well, we would have to come up with a new leader for the group, and you might have to 'convince' our newest artist." Nabiki nodded toward Ranma who was busy working on the new pages. "We will need to rework the plot and dialogue quickly, because at this rate, before long we could be caught up for the year, and then we can start on the anime version!"

 "Well, we could use my brother for the leader of the group..."

 "I am sorry, what I meant to say was 'we would have to come up with a COMPETENT leader for your group'..." The two young women shared a laugh at the other boy's expense.

 "We should probably stop thinking about it as 'my group' then. Speaking of my nii-san, have you seen the lug today?"

 "No, I can't say that I have..."

 "Oh well, let's work on that plot. I am sure the others will be along soon, and the fool will turn up eventually, probably off chasing skirts again. I truly feel for any that get caught..."

 "As do I."


 Fumiko and Aoi were still explaining what they needed and why to Ranma as he worked, and Pai had joined Nabiki and Kodachi brainstorming ideas for the plot, after taking some time to look over what they had done so far this year and watching Ranma work for a bit.

 Konatsu had arrived and brought tea and snacks, having arrived before the servant-ed maids, and happy to assist, though having forgotten Fubuki would be there as well. "Welcome back, Fubuki-senpai, it is good to have you with us again."

 "Thank you, Konatsu-chan, it is good to be back."

 "How are you liking the new assignment and accommodations?"

 "Oh, very much, very much indeed. It is far better than I ever dreamed! How are you liking the new head of house?"

 Konatsu's face gained a faraway look. "I hope I find someone like that one day. Someone I can serve with all of my heart. I love working for the Saotomes, and Nodoka-sama is wonderful, but it wrong of me to dream of more?"

 Fubuki put a concerned arm around her friend's shoulders. "Not at all Konatsu-chan, I am sure you will find your perfect master one day."

 "I just hope that they understand that I am happy with them, I love working there, and I owe them everything. They truly saved me, but I just feel like something is missing."

 "Do not fret Konatsu-chan, we work for very understanding masters, talented too. You should watch that." Fubuki indicated Ranma working.



 After the servant classes had ended, Mori introduced herself to Ukyo and Shampoo, having recognized Ukyo from her portraits and Shampoo from Nabiki's description, and offered to walk with them to the clubroom. They stopped on the way to gather more snacks and supplies. For some reason, Mori just had a feeling it would be necessary, and she 'always' trusted her instincts in such matters, they had never led her astray before.

 Ukyo had to admit, she was impressed. This woman was everything a perfect maid should be. She was beautiful, graceful, elegant, poised, and overall, just perfect. She was both jealous and excited at the same time. At one point, when Mori had gone to collect supplies while they held the snacks, Ukyo leaned into and whispered to Shampoo. "This woman is everything we are striving to be, perfection incarnate. We need to pay attention, there can be no better role model than this. We might also want to watch out around Ranma, I am not even sure Kasumi-chan can compete, it would be a hard battle."


 Mori came back moments later, supplies in hand. When she got to the door, she twirled around saying, "Thank you very much" before walking back into the hallway.

 Ukyo and Shampoo both looked at each other with wide eyes, before nodding and following the other maid to the clubroom. When they arrived they found a hotbed of activity, papers were being shuffled around the room, conversations were going, and two girls they did not know were bowing at Ranma's feet! "Please sensei, you must train us!" Ukyo took that in stride, and strolled in behind Mori where they placed their things on the table.

 Ranma looked over and saw his friends enter the room. He whispered a quick, "I don't know that I can, but we can try, it will be grueling work." before jumping over the table to be by the new arrival's side. "Ucchan, Shampoo, you're back! So, how were your classes?"

 Ranma was about to give both of his friends a hug when Shampoo worked up some tears as she fell to her knees. "Oh, was terrible, Shampoo almost drowned ...again!" Shampoo glomped onto Ranma as tightly as she could. "Shampoo need Ranma give kiss of life!"

 "As long as this isn't you trying to say that it is a marriage kiss, then you can have as many as you want." Ranma took her into a more 'normal' embrace, looking deep into her eyes. "I am sorry you are having a hard time."

 "Can't say Shampoo no try, but this no is bad either..." She leaned in the rest of the way for the most passionate kiss either of them had received all day. "You give Shampoo harder time later, is okay?"

 Having trained for many years, as a good maid should, Mori spoke so quietly that only Nabiki, her acting master, could hear. A whisper was downright loud compared to this technique. "You were not joking Nabiki-sama, that aura is difficult to resist."

 Nabiki winked, and whispered back with a grin. "You don't have to resist ...if you don't want to."

 "Oh no, I couldn't!"

 "Well, if nothing else, you should ask for a good hair brushing'll 'love' it."

 "I suppose 'that' would be all right, but I could 'never' ask, it is not my place!"

 "Well, you just think about it..."

 There was a knock at the door, and Mori literally jumped at the chance to change the subject. Opening the door, Mori found Keiko, Anastasia, Yume, and Natose on the other side. As usual, Keiko took the lead. "Nabiki-kun, we are here to offer to join your club."

 "What about the track club?"

 "We quit today."

 "Why would you do that? I thought you enjoyed the exercise..."

 "We do... but we knew you were shorthanded, and wanted to help our friend!"

 "Well, as you can see, we are not shorthanded any longer..." Nabiki indicated the flurry of activity.

 Ranma was showing Ukyo some of the tips he had picked up in his practice for the difference between oil paints and inks, and Shampoo, Aoi, and Fumiko were paying rapt attention to his instructions. Pai and Kodachi were discussing character ideas, and Fubuki was serving tea.

 Seeing how quickly Ukyo was now 'painting' pages, and the number of drying pages around the room, they were amazed. "Wow, you are not kidding! ...Does that mean you won't let us join? I thought we were friends..." Yume looked as if she were about to cry.

 "Of course not, I just wanted you to admit you came because of Ranma, and not because of some altruistic reason."

 "Well, Mii did, Yume cares more about being around Ukyo-san I believe, and I just came along for the ride... However, I think our experience with the game, will allow us to be useful to some extent anyway, even if some of us are not artistically inclined." She spared a glance at Yume, who was still staring at Ukyo's rapidly moving hands, guided by Ranma's own.

 Nabiki chuckled to herself a bit. "Close enough. If nothing else with any luck, we will be needing some voice actors soon anyway. Just fill out the forms before you leave, so I can give them to Kaede-chan." Nabiki glanced over at the clock. "...Who should be arriving before too long, unless something happened."

 All four of them cheered up at their good news while Natose cheered her master on. "Yokatta, Yume!"

 Anastasia jumped toward Ranma with a yell of "-Master-!!!", but Ranma sidestepped out of the way, allowing her to land face-first, on the floor ...much to her enjoyment.

 Distracted from his work, and finally paying attention to the other people in the room, Ranma noticed Kodachi and did a double take. "It's you, that girl from this morning! I knew that doll looked familiar!" Ranma's head drooped as he looked a bit embarrassed. "I am sorry about this morning. I hope it did not cause you any inconvenience..."

 "Yes, good afternoon Saotome-sama. So good of you to finally notice me. I wish to thank you, I have never had a more pleasant 'run in' with anyone in my life. I do hope that we all work well together." Kodachi finished with a mildly predatory grin.


 Tatewaki Kuno was a proud young man, 'too proud' some might say. However, his day had been a rather humbling one. That new student had humiliated him that morning, and left him tied up, the beauteous Yukie had taken the time to leave a 'kick me' sign on him before running off to class, and if that had not been bad enough, during lunch, a group of girls had found him. He had hoped that they would free him, but alas, they had hung him, upside-down, from a tree. Their kicks and punches were not enough to distract him from his thoughts, the blood once again rushing to his typically underfed brain as he hung there in contemplation.

 It had seemed like such a wise decision to leave Sasuke to care for the mansion whilst he was away to this boarding school, especially in one that trains servants to care for their masters. He was here as a master after all, but for some reason he could not figure out, none of them would work with him. He certainly missed the pint-sized ninja now.

 Tatewaki was not sure if it was just all of the time he had been having to think that day, or perhaps from all of the blood rushing to his head for several hours, but he felt like something needed to change in his life, though what, he could not be sure. He noticed that the sun had begun to go down, it was quite beautiful, from what he could see through the trees, and he had been hungry for quite some time. As he stared off into the wooded area behind the school, he heard footsteps coming toward him from the building.

 "Ohohohoho, the chefs here certainly do know how to prepare French cuisine, do they not onii-sama? I had wondered where you had gotten off to, and here I find you. I must say, you have never looked better. This is a good look for you, I am impressed, very nice knot-work. The one who tied this was certainly a master..." Tatewaki was trying to say something, but gag did an excellent job blocking the sounds he tried to make. "Oh yes, you would probably like me to get you down, unbind you, yes?" He nodded as quickly as he could.

 "Well, I have had a wonderful day, and I would hate for you to spoil my mood, so I suppose I will help you." Kodachi walked around him a few times, considering her options. After a few moments, she chose to untie the rope from the branch, but was unable to, so she chose to cut the branch, and use the loop for a handle. He ...and the branch, dropped like a rock, where he landed neatly on his head, which WAS the safest place for him to land. It was not enough damage to knock him out, but the branch that landed on him a moment later came close.

 Kodachi took her new 'handle' and started the long trek back to the dorm, taking the bumpiest route she could find, including every flight of stairs she came across. By the time she arrived at his room, he looked like he had been through a massive brawl. Kodachi tossed her brother onto his bed with a flop before walking over and tucking him in. "Well onii-sama, I hope you reflect well on whatever it was that caused this mess. I am sure the girl who did it had a good reason. Good-night onii-sama, I do hope you sleep well." Kodachi ignored her brother's muffled yelling, and happily strolled out of the room with a skip in her step.

 After returning to her own room, Kodachi called in a 'wake up call' for her brother. ...Whoever got that job in the morning was going to be in for a surprise.


 After arriving home, and finishing their class, Ranma showered off and ran to the kitchen before anyone could catch their breath. When they finally 'did' catch up, Ranma chose to not allow anyone else to enter. "Sorry ladies, but tonight you will have to allow me to do the cooking. I have been home for more than a week, and I have not been allowed to cook a meal yet, for tonight, it is my kitchen and my turn."

 Kasumi and Fubuki both looked disappointed, but only Kasumi was willing to say anything about it. "Surely you wouldn't mind some help though, ne?"

 "I am sorry nee-chan, as much as I love cooking with you, I want to do this myself. Any time after this, I would love your assistance, but please, this one time, allow me to be selfish, and cook for you. You all worked hard tonight, and we all had a long day, so allow me to take care of this, and you all relax, you've earned it. Fukibuki, would you be so kind as to run and tell ofukuro-chan that dinner will be ready in about an hour. Formal dress is optional, attendance is not."

 Most of them were more than happy to follow the suggestion, and wandered off, Fubuki making her way to the other house. Kasumi was not one of them, she was starting to get frustrated, going through cooking withdrawals. Even her father had not come by looking for a meal, she had been tempted to make one to bring him, but held firm in her resolve. She stood there, silently vowing to herself to wake up before anyone and make breakfast! She looked downright adorable in her discontent, shifting from one foot to the other, and unconsciously chewing on her lower lip, as she gave Ranma and the kitchen a forlorn look.

 Ranma could not help but smile. "Kasumi-nee?" Kasumi jumped slightly at her name being called. "Would you mind keeping me company while I work?"

 Kasumi felt a bit better, at least she was not being kicked out of the kitchen entirely. 'Maybe I can help after all...' Her usual mood returning, she smiled as she made her approach. "Certainly Ranma-kun, is there anything else I can do ...please?"

 Ranma's resolve was starting to crumble seeing the look on her face, and figured as long as he did the actual cooking it would be the same thing, there was a lot to prepare after all... "Shimatta, I just can't say 'no' to that cute face..." Ranma sighed. "Maybe you can help me washing the vege-tables?" Before he had finished his sentence, Kasumi had washed her hands, donned her apron, and was doing just that.

 It took Ranma a moment to get back into the swing of things, but before long, pans, food, and utensils began to fly through the air, and the sounds of cooking filled the room. "So Kasumi-nee-chan, how was the rest of your day?"


 Kikyo followed Nabiki as the rest of them left the dojo, she had been wanting to speak to her alone for some time now. "Nabiki-dono, do you have a few moments to speak with me?"

 "Sure Kikyo-san, what can I do for you?"

 "It is about this organization of yours in that place of learning. What are those things you were making?"

 Nabiki smiled, she caught another one. "Well, let me tell you all about it. First, follow me downstairs, and I will show you as much as you want to know, including some of what Ranma-kun did for us today." Nabiki's grin widened considerably.


 It was some time after dinner, and Hijo had started to prepare the furo when there was a knock at the door. Fubuki had barely heard it, and wasn't sure if it was real or her imagination playing tricks on her, but she decided to play it safe, and check anyway.

 What she found upon opening the door was a very damp Akane, looking rather pitiful. Her eyes were red and swollen, her face was puffy, and she looked completely miserable. "Good evening, Fubuki-san. Is Ukyo-san here?"

 "Yes, Ukyo-sama is present, we are preparing for bath time..."

 "May I come in?"

 "Please, wait here, I will check with goshujin-sama."

 The door softly closed in Akane's face, she wanted to get upset about it, but could not find it in herself to be angry, it really was her fault after all. It had taken her a while to reach this point, she had gone through many stages beforehand, but seeing them at the same school forced her to face the situation, and her friends finally made her admit what she was feeling, and confront it. She had been crying since they left the school. After hours of walking around town, thinking and crying to herself, she found herself at this door, assuming correctly that the new house on their lot would be theirs.

 The door opened again, revealing Ukyo on the other side. "Akane-san, it is good of you to come. Please, come inside."

 "Thank you, Kuonji-san. I need-"

 Ukyo placed her finger on Akane's lips. "Tut, tut, for now, just follow me." Ukyo led the way to the nearest room, the library. Ukyo offered Akane a chair, and sat beside her. "Akane-san, I know we do not know each other well, but I would like to ask you to make up with your sisters..."

 "I want to, but, that's not why I am here! To be honest, I do not even remember walking here, but I owe you an apology, and I-"

 "No, it's fine. 'That' isn't a problem. 'I' am not the one you need to apologize to."

 "But, you almost DIED! I heard it all from onee-chan! I am SO, so, sorry...." Akane's tears started to flow again.

 Ukyo tried to comfort the other girl. "Hey, Akane-san, 'that' was my fault, I should never have given you an open target like that. I am not upset about 'that' in the slightest. There are people you 'should' be apologizing to, but I am not one of them." Her cheerful attitude turned icy in an instant and Akane felt her blood go completely frigid. The look on Ukyo's face terrified her to the core. "But, let meh make 'one' thang, perfectly clear. IF yah *EVAH* attack mah Ranchama again fer no reason, ya'll *WILL* regret it!" Ukyo had not witnessed, and been the target of, Ranma infusing ki into his voice so many times for nothing.

 ...And with that, the chill in the air was gone, Ukyo's accent faded, and her mood was completely cheerful again ...yet the chill in Akane's bones remained. "Now, Akane-san, how about you join me in the kitchen for some of Ranchama's leftover dessert, I guarantee is to 'die' for." Ukyo turned her head and twinkled as she smiled.

 Akane was suddenly worried, but decided she had little room to negotiate. She really wanted to make this right, it had been tearing her up all week, and her stomach reminded her that she had not eaten anything since breakfast that morning.


 Akane was floating on a caramel-mousse cloud, covered in chocolate sauce, and conversing with Ukyo ...or at least that was the way it felt to her. From the moment she took her first bite of the dessert she was in heaven, all of her previous problem had floated away. Time seemed to stretch out, it felt as though they had been chatting forever in this bliss.

 The doors to the kitchen opened and looking down from her cloud, Akane saw that Ranma entered the room. 'Kuso!'

 "Ucchan! There you are. I wondered what happened, everyone is waiting on you in the bath. I am finished, so why don't you go relax, I will take good care of our guest while you are gone. Don't you worry about a thing." Ranma gave her his warmest smile, and an embrace to match.

 "Mmmmm, okay Ranchama. You sure do smell nice and clean. I can't wait to change that!" Ukyo kissed him quickly, and ran off to the furo.

 "Good evening, Tendo-san. What brings you here on such a lovely evening? I had assumed you moved away..." Ranma's voice remained light and cheerful, though his eyes were as hard as steel.

 Akane did not realize it, but her small desert fork fell from her hand, clattering on the table. Her voice was still hoarse from the day's tears, and her nervousness had returned in spades. "Well, um, I'm sorry I came so late. I came to apologize..." Ranma raised an eyebrow at that. "I know I should have come sooner, but I felt guilty, I was ashamed of what I had done. Once onee-chan told me what happened, I, I, just didn't know what to do!"

 "I would think that would be obvious..."

 "Hey! I am not good at this-"

 "That much is apparent, Tendo-san. Ucchan forgave you, and I will abide by that, but never forget, if you ever hurt a member of my family again for no reason, then you *WILL* live to regret it!" It had looked as if flames erupted from Ranma's eyes as he spoke, but his voice remained at a low volume. "I don't believe in killing if I have 'any' other options, and you have *NO* idea how many ways I know to make you regret *EVER* hurting someone I love again." The flames died, and Ranma's voice returned its normal, happy tone. "I 'do' hope you enjoyed your desert, they are one of Ucchan's favorites, so I make them for special occasions, like our first day of school today." Ranma noticed that her plate was empty. "Would you like another piece?"

 Akane could manage to do no more than nod. It was scary how much alike those two could be, despite how different they seemed in their approach, and yet there was a similarity to it as well, the edge of the blade underlining their pleasant tone in a way that only her own mother and on very rare occasions, her older sister could manage. Akane decided that once her business here was done, she would do her best to avoid this place ...and its primary residents.


 Pai had heard what was going on, and after Ukyo came for her bath, she hurried off to follow Ranma. Listening at the door, she waited. She wanted to make sure things had calmed down before she took her turn. Considering her history with the two of them, she felt as if she were the best one to speak on the subject.

 She waited until Ranma had said his piece, and was well into explaining what went into his 'wonderful' dessert, before she opened the door and saw that Akane was mostly done with her second helping.

 "Ranma, Ukyo needs your help. Please, allow me to take your place and watch our guest."

 "Thank you Pai-Pai! I will go see. Tendo-san, please consider what I said about meditation techniques..."

 "Feel free to take your time..." Pai smiled as Ranma ran toward the furo.

 Akane mumbled to herself, " we go again..."

 Pai ignored it. "Good evening Akane. How are you doing?"

 "Could be better, could be worse, I suppose..." Akane's head sunk, as she braced herself for another tongue-lashing, and ice-cold stare. She would be feeling this one for a while.

 "Hey look, I kind of know how you feel-"

 "Really? You know what this is like, huh?"

 "Well, not exactly, it was different for me. For starters, I hit Ranma, not Ukyo, and so I only had to go through one of these talks, but Ukyo did not make it easy, threatened to break my fingers, and actually had my finger in hand, ready to go. We were on a rooftop, and on a mission at the time! I really thought it was going to happen, I almost wet myself!" Thinking back on it, Pai had to chuckle. "The look on Ukyo's face was just terrifying, you should have seen it!"

 Akane could not believe what she was hearing. It seemed they were being much nicer to her, what could this other girl have done to earn the level of brutality? "What did you do, to earn that kind of wrath?"

 Pai chuckled again. "I slapped Ranma out of spite. They did not speak Cantonese well, and I took offence to a particular wording. It wasn't the way Ranma intended it, but it sounded like something dirty to me, and I was young and brash. I didn't care for most men a whole lot, and was being hunted by people who wanted to do perverted things to me, so I just had it on the brain."

 "Is that all?"

 "Ukyo is VERY protective of Ranma..."

 "I guess! ...But, doesn't Ranma do perverted stuff to you now?"

 "Well, I suppose you could say that, but I wouldn't change THAT for anything in the world! Now it is 'my' choice, that's different."

 Akane looked disgusted, but resisted the urge to lash out. She had gotten used to 'girl talk', she did not care for it, but she could tolerate it, not like when men get all perverted, that was 'totally' different! Girls could not be perverts, they are girls! It just was not possible. ...Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew she had seen evidence to the contrary, but as usual, she glossed over it. "I just don't know how you can say such things so easily! Is that a Chinese thing?"

 "Hey! That is offensive, and it was not at all easy at first. In fact, it is still quite hard to get out when I am talking to Ranma..."

 "Well, I only know two Chinese people, and they both confirm the idea that all Chinese girls are gorgeous sex-pots, I am sorry if that is wrong! What am I supposed to think?"

 "So, you think...? Aw, that's so kind of you to say..."


 "But, do you really have 'no' idea what it's like?" Pai whispered in close. "Have you never even done it with yourself?"

 "Oh come on, that's not even possible, unless you are some kind of freak, and you say it like it's a given!"

 "Oh please, has nobody taught you anything?"


 Pai grabbed Akane's arm, and took her into the tunnels, and down to the clubhouse. "Promise me you will not tell 'anyone', and I will give you a lesson."

 "Akane stopped and jerked her arm back. "Who says I 'want' a lesson?"

 "Well, you 'need' one, and since you have gotten this far, and no one has given one to you, I guess I have no choice. Don't you want to know what your body is truly capable of doing?"

 "...but, that's perverted. Girls don't..."

 "No, it isn't, it is a perfectly normal, natural, and altogether wonderful experience. Your body is a part of nature, so how can anything natural be perverted or wrong?"


 "Believe me, besides, it might even go a long way toward helping you with your problem..."

 "I don't have a 'problem'!"

 "Don't you? Then why have you spent the last week away from your home? Why did you come here tonight in tears? Why-"

 "Okay, okay, I get it, but even if I 'do' have a problem, how could something like that even help anyway?"

 "That would take a 'really' long time to explain, and it's late, can we do that part of this another day? I would be happy to explain it, but maybe tomorrow, okay?"

 "Fine! So, show me what you got!"

 "What? No, you ...never mind, here, just lay back over here. Good, now close your eyes, and picture the most attractive person you can think of, and they are saying something romantic to you. What do you do?"

 Akane grinned. "I punch the pervert into the next prefecture!"

 Pai shook her head. "We have got a lot of work ahead of us..."


 Akane had finally managed to have a small orgasm, and Pai felt like it was an enormous accomplishment. Pai had never before had a greater desire to know how to do Ranma's 'trick' in her life. It would have saved them a lot of time, but it was probably for the best, she knew Akane needed to 'work this out' on her own.

 "Well, think of it like a ...what do you call it here, a 'kata'? It IS a form of exercise after all. You just keep practicing, and one day you will master it, and then ...looook out! The dam will break, and the pleasure will wash over you in waves, like the ocean. Besides, the more you put into it, the better work out you will get! Trust me, you just keep practicing on your own, and it will get better, I promise you."

 Akane nodded shyly. "So, it's like exercise?"

 "Exactly, just think of it like a cross between a workout, and meditation, the best of both worlds!" Pai grinned at Akane, hoping to encourage the other girl out of her box.

 A slow smile crept over Akane's face as the wheels turned. Her thoughts calmed as her rationalizing slowly allowed her to begin to relax. "I gotta ask, why do you let that guy call you 'Pai-Pai', don't you know what that means?"

 "Well, of course, if you ignore the written character, but then just saying 'Pai' in your language isn't much better, now is it? At least it's cute, and it could always be worse, ne? It's not 'chichi' or 'munemune' or anything."

 "No, I guess you are right... But if anyone called me anything like that, I would deck them!"

 "Which brings us back to the point. First, the only person I can really be mad at about my name, are my parents, and if I get the chance, I still might 'deck' my father then, for other reasons, but I can't blame anyone else for using the name I was given, even if it sounds strange in some foreign tongue." Akane had a hard time thinking about the idea of Japanese being a 'strange' or 'foreign' tongue, and it showed on her face. "Second, even if the threats to my life had never been made, and I had not mostly forgotten about them, there is no way I could bring myself to hurt that man again now. Not only did Ranma turn out to be more than everything I never could have dreamed, but I just can't bring myself to do anything that might drive a wedge between us." Pai paused to look off into the distance with hearts in her eyes.

 "I had never cared to look for a 'man', with my father as an example I didn't see the point. All I had ever thought about was my training, and getting my revenge on my father. But now, all I can think is that the day Ukyo promised to break my fingers, was the best day of my life, and it has only gotten better since then! It was a real wake-up call, I was heading down a very dark path, and they led me away from it. Now, I wouldn't change any of it for anything. The way I feel around Ranma is unlike anything I have ever felt before, it has to be love!" Pai refocused on Akane, and looked into her eyes. "One day, you will find the right person, and you will feel the same way."

 "Well, maybe..." Akane looked a bit nervous as she twiddled her thumbs. "Um, hey, Pai, look, um, not to change the subject, but would you like to, um, spar with me again sometime? You gave me the best workout last week, the best that I have ever had. No one has ever really pushed me like that before, and I would really like to see that bird thing again..." Akane was able to get out a small smile.

 "I think I would like that a lot. I feel the same way. I can tell how much the others have to hold back when we spar, and it is embarrassing!" Pai gave the shorter girl a hug, and wiped away one of her leftover tears. "For now, let's go get you cleaned up, and then I will take you to see your sisters. I know they have been worried about you."


 After 'recovering', Akane had been able to have a long talk with her sisters, by the end of it, most of the household was feeling better about life, the universe, everything, and the fish, and everyone had been there to see Akane off when she was ready to leave.

 Ukyo gave her the warmest smile in the group, and Akane had a difficult time reconciling it in her mind with the woman who had threatened her earlier that evening. "Have a good night Akane-san! Please come visit us again!"

 They all waved as Akane ran back to her home for the first time in a long time. Her mind was a jumble of emotions, and it was going to take her a long time to sort them out... She needed to spend a lot of time, alone, in her room ...'meditating'. Both Ranma and Pai had recommended it, and they both seemed to know what they were doing...

 As soon as the door closed, Pai grabbed Ranma's hand and started pulling him toward their shared bedroom. "Please Ranma, I can't wait any longer, I am so worked up I can't STAND it! Please let it be my turn now!"

 "What brought this on, Pai-Pai?"

 "Don't ask..."


 Kasumi awoke, sore after their previous night's activities, thinking of what she would make for her loving family's breakfast. She was looking forward to having the kitchen to herself, the little bit Ranma had let her do to help with dinner had just made her want to cook even more. When she fully awoke, and opened her eyes, she found that she was only hugging a pillow, and was the only one left in their large bed.

 Looking at the clock, she panicked, she had never slept that late in her life! She rushed to get up, and ran for the furo to change when she heard someone call her.

 "Kasumi-sama, breakfast is ready. Are you ready now, or would you like to keep something warm for you? I can bring something to you if you would rather."

 Dejected, Kasumi started walking toward the dining room. "No, I am coming."


 In the Tendo home, loud sobs were heard. "Waaahhhh! My daughter has returned to me, oh happy day!"

 But then, noises were heard coming from the kitchen. "Oh why does my daughter have to try and cook for me?!?!? Waaahhhh!"

 "Who said I was doing this for 'you'? I am cooking for myself! If you don't want any, cook for yourself! I heard what you said about my cooking..."

 "Waaaahhhhh!!!! Akane's mad at me!!!"

 "Who are you crying to? No one else is here!"


 Fubuki and the students arrived at school, once again with Kikyo's shikigami riding along in Ranma's pocket. Waiting for them at the gate was their group of friends from the role playing game, Yume, Keiko, Anastasia, and Natose. Anastasia's wrists and ankles were tied together, and she hopped over at their approach. Akane did not even pause, and ran straight for the building, hoping to make it to her classroom before the usual morning antics started, not wanting her good mood to be spoiled.

 Seconds later, a rose sailed passed where they stood, right through where Akane had been moments before to land several meters away. Tatewaki slowly stepped out from behind a tree with his bokken in hand.

 "The toll of the bell at the temple of Gion shows us the transience of it all, and the color of the blossoms on the trees demonstrates that all which prospers, must someday decline. However-" Tatewaki noticed that the person to which he was speaking was not present, and quickly began to look around, looking for either of the primary objects of his affection...

 Remembering the boy from the day before, Ranma looked on with a perplexed look upon his face. Seeing this, Fubuki leaned in to whisper into Ranma's ear. "That is Tatewaki Kuno, the eccentric scion of their family, elder brother of your fellow club member Kodachi Kuno, and nephew to the headmaster. Kuno-san harasses most any beautiful woman, none of whom seem to be able to stand the guy's narcissism for long."

 Ranma kept his voice low to match. "So Fukibuki, you have experienced this as well I take it?"

 Fubuki blushed at the implied complement. "As have Kasumi-sama and really all of us at one point or another. Kuno-san knows little in the way of restraint, nor how to take 'no' for an answer."

 Keiko joined in as well. "Yeah, the pervert is always trying to get all 'grabby', basically a stalker! Luckily for us, the guy tends to stay focused on a select few..."

 Anastasia felt left out, while she did not care for Tatewaki in any particular way, she would not object to being manhandled like the others, but some days, she felt as if she were the only one their resident molester avoided. Was she not pretty enough, or was it just because she was willing? She had no idea, but it made her feel dejected, neglected, and rejected when she would have liked to have been selected.

 Ranma was a bit annoyed, he took a moment to confirm a few things in the boy's aura before stepping forward. "I suppose we will have to give the guy another lesson in 'restraint' then..."

 The motion of Ranma stepping forth from within the circle of attractive beauties that included Akane's sister and maid caught Tatewaki's attention. "You there, I recall you from the prior morning! What have you done with the savage beauty that is Akane Tendo?"

 "Nothing, nor would I! Tendo-san is probably in class by now. Weren't you paying attention, or were you too busy planning how to harass another girl? From what I saw yesterday, and the stories I have heard, I am starting to think you have some serious problems, man."

 "You cad! What about you? What is your relationship to all of these girls? You certainly seem awfully close." Tatewaki waved his bokken in the girls' general direction.

 "Yes, we are very close. What, do you think I should send them away and not 'allow' them to be near me? Who is the 'cad' now?" Ranma took a step closer. "Not only are you no better than a molester, but now you have a problem with my friends?"

 "You surround yourself with these beauties, forcing them to do ...what? The kami only know! And yet, you dare to accuse the Blue Thunder of such slander!" Kuno leveled his Bokken toward Ranma's chest. "For you to hold so many women in your sway, while in the presence of the Blue Thunder! ...I say it is just not possible! It must be sorcery I tell you!"

 Ranma's eyes began to glow, his voice was low, but crystal clear to anyone in close range. "I have *NEVER* forced anyone, to do anything! I am *NOT* the one forcing their attentions on others, Hypocrite-san! You sir, are a classic case of 'projection'. Every girl *I* have ever been with, has been there by choice! I don't pester anyone, I don't chase anyone, and I 'certainly' never harass anyone who has told me 'no'!" Ranma's aura had gotten brighter and hotter with each syllable, causing all but Ukyo and Kuno to back off. Ukyo was not bothered by it, and Tatewaki was blindly ignoring it, having a very 'dulled' sense of pain.

 Tatewaki looked defiant. "That is not the tale the students tell of a rampage on campus in the wee hours of dayspring..."

 "THAT WAS AN ACCIDENT!" Ranma's aura flared up again, incinerating most of the wooden sword that had been touching his chest. "Besides, I was groped first!"

 "You've gotta admit though, Ranchama, it 'did' look bad."

 "I can't help that, and you know I wouldn't do that intentionally."

 "I wish you would!"

 "You're not helping." Ranma stuck his tongue out at his friend, and along with his sing-song voice, completely ruining the mood. "Oh never mind, I said I would teach you some restraint and I will." Less than a second later, Tatewaki was tied up in a different position from the day before, and flying through the air, right on target to be snagged by a tree branch that could support it. Mii was begging to be 'taught restraint' as well, while most of the ladies watching broke out into cheers and applause. Many of the students who saw the perfect landing decided it was a good time to pull out magic markers and practice their artwork...

 Ranma was taking a moment to calm himself, while some of the impressed onlookers marveled at how easily he had dealt with the annoyance. Seeing that the show appeared to be over, most of the students returned to their morning activities.

 "Well, it looks like we have plenty of time, and nothing to do before class today, so why don't we-?"

 Off in the distance they all heard someone yelling. "noke! noke! noke! noke! noke! Noke! Noke! Noke! Noke! Noke! NOKE! NOKE! NOKE! NOKE! NOKE!" The yells were quickly getting louder, along with the thunderous sound of a stampede! They all looked toward the sounds, and saw a plume of dust trailing from the other side of the gate, and it was rapidly approaching along with the sounds.
{*Noke = the 'continuative' form of the verb 'nokeru', or 'to move aside', in other words, someone is yelling a warning to move out of the way.*}

 "Oh, that's right. I'm on duty today... Jaa mata!" With that, Keiko took off for the building as quickly as her feet could carry her.
{*Ja Mata = 'see you later'*}

 "'On duty'? I thought the servant-ed students were the only ones required to do cleaning here?"

 "They are, and it is too early to start for those who 'are' on that duty, we were ditched."

 Within seconds, the source of the commotion came into view. A teen, in a school uniform matching their own, came running up at high speeds, to stop at the entrance gate, cracking the sidewalk from the force of coming to a quick stop. She was surrounded by her flaming aura as she placed her hands on her hips, and held her head high, and proudly laughed before she declared, in somewhat formal language, "FUAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Everyone, Good Morning!" As the battle aura faded, they saw that the boisterous student had long silver hair held back by a maroon headband, golden eyes, and a scar on her forehead in the shape of the letter 'X'.

 "Ageha-chan, good morning to you!"

 Noticing them, the newcomer walked over. "Yume, my good friend, you are looking well!"

 "I thought you were supposed to be out of the country until next week on business, what happened?"

 "FUAHAHAHAHAhahahahaha! I received some good news while I was away, so I returned early. So, tell me, my trusted friend, you seem to have acquired the company of several attractive people, and Fubuki-dono, are you joining us again?"

 Fubuki bowed. "Welcome back, Ageha-sama, I hope your trip was productive. I have returned in the service of my new goshujin-sama, as I am no longer a student."

 "Fuahaha! Well done! Your dedication deserves a reward! Here, for you!" Ageha whipped out her dansen uchiwa, piled high with konpeitou and offered them to Fubuki, who knew better than to try to turn it down.
{*Dansen Uchiwa = A type of solid war fan, typically with an hourglass shape. / Konpeitou = A type of colored confection, similar to rock candy.*}

 Yume congratulated her friend. "Yokatta, Fubuki-chan!"

 Fubuki just smiled and offered some to Natose and then the others after popping one into her mouth. She had pulled a plate out of her pocket to serve the candy, as a maid she wanted to keep everything neat and tidy. "Ageha-sama, where is your personal steward? It is unusual to be so far behind."

 "Fuahaha! Sadly, for what I must do today, Kojuro would only get in the way, so had to be left at home."


 A young man, with spiky golden hair, a green bandanna, and a butler uniform, was completely tied up with metal cables and gagged as he struggled to escape his bonds. The young man flopped like a fish out of water as several maids and an older looking butler looked on.


 Ageha took in Ukyo and Shampoo, and their maids' uniforms, both of them standing out among the other maids at the school. "And who are these two new maids? At what skills do you excel?"

 Ukyo smirked. "You want to know what skills I have, do you? Would you like a demonstration?"

 Ranma stepped forward, not wanting to offend Yume's friend. "First off, they are both 'extremely' multi-talented 'many' ways, and neither of them are actually 'maids', they are just taking the classes for fun, and advancement in the art."

 Ageha's ki sense was not the most developed in the world, but she was proud of it, and it told her that several of the people present were strong, and that interested her very much indeed. "Fuahahaha! Wonderful, see how the other half lives, advance your skills, and all of that, very commendable!"

 "Ageha-chan, these are the people I told you about on the phone the other day, this one is Ukyo Kuonji, my distant cousin."

 Ageha's excitement level seemed to go up again. "Ah, well met, Kuonji-dono, I hold your family in the highest regards. Call on me if you need anything! How about you two, by what names should I know you?"

 "Is Shampoo. Warrior of Nujie Zu." Ageha's eyes opened imperceptibly wider, it seemed as if her instincts were once again correct.

 "Well met warrior Shampoo, I would love to see you in action."

 Shampoo was not quite sure how to take that. "Is that challenge?" Within an instant, her chui were clutched in her hands.

 "FUAHAHA! No, my dear warrior, it was a complement, and one rightfully deserved. That was a fine demonstration indeed! However, if you do wish to spar with me, I would gladly take you up on that when there is more time."

 Ranma leaned in and spoke softly to Shampoo. "Remember, even if you do lose, no kisses of death, it's just practice."

 "Shampoo know ...but make no promise." Shampoo grinned as her weapons vanished as quickly as they had appeared. "But you no worry airen, if Shampoo fight, Shampoo win!"

 "Yup, just like you did with Ucchan..." Ranma saw her expression fell, and instantly knew why. "Shan Pu, I am not implying you are weak, but it is never a good idea to underestimate any opponent. No matter how strong you are, there will always be people who can beat you. I am not trying to tell you not to fight, nor spar, I just would like you to remember that none of us are invincible."

 Ageha appraised Ranma, taking in his words, and lingering briefly as she looked over his bare chest. "You also have the look of a warrior, sir. By what name are you known?"

 "I-" Ranma was cut off before he could even start.

 Ukyo jumped in, always looking for a reason to 'toot' Ranma's 'horn' more ways than one. "Before you stands a hero, a star! The man who has mastered a hundred styles, beaten a hundred youkai, and conquered a hundred women. Star of the screen, and legend in our own time! The one, the only, Ranmaaaaaa Saotome!!!!!" Applause was heard coming from all around them.

 "Ucchan exaggerates..." Ranma was embarrassed, but his training kicked in, and he reluctantly bowed to Ageha, and then to the crowd.

 Ukyo turned away in a bit of a huff. "Not much! I do keep track of these things..." She kept mumbling to herself, though no one paid her any attention. "...keep a notebook ...full of lists one cares..."

 "FUAHAHAHAHA! Quite impressive, this woman speaks quite highly of you, Sao-tooh-my-god!" Ageha froze, her jaw dropped, and her skin lost all of its color. "Ra-Ra-Ranma? Ranma Saotome? As in 'future head of the Saotome clan and school', 'that' Ranma Saotome, is that what you said?"

 Those who knew Ageha, or had even seen her around more than once, were almost as stunned as Ageha herself. No one, not even her family, had they been there, could recall seeing her less than completely confident before, in anything. For Ageha, this qualified as 'speechless'.

 Ranma was taken aback by the sudden change in tone from the boisterous young woman, and he started to get nervous. "...yes? That is future head of the Saotome family, and 'current' head of the Saotome schools, but yes, is that ...a 'problem'?"

 Before Ranma had finished his sentence, Ageha was on her knees, with her head bowed down, and hands on the ground before her. "Please, forgive my impertinence, I had hoped to do this in another way. ...As you may be aware, I am Ageha Kuki, eldest child of Mikado Kuki, future head of the Kuki family, and of the Kuki Group. I have looked forward to this moment for years... Saotome-sama, I humbly present myself as your bride!"

 "WHAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?!?!?" Everyone who was not already doing so, stared blankly at Ageha.

 "No, I am sorry, but no. I may get married one day, but if I do, it will not be through some arranged deal out of the blue. That would not be fair to these others who I have known for years, and care deeply about..."

 "There is no way that is possible!"

 "Yes! Shampoo here first!"

 Ageha finally looked up, unfamiliar emotions written plainly on her face. "But, my, you ...Saotome-sama has been my promised husband for almost as long as I can remember!"

 "I hate to break it to you Kuki-san, but no one bothered to tell your 'Saotome-sama' this information. I have been on the road, on a training trip, for more than twelve years. How then, do you think we have some kind of arrangement? Especially since we have never met."

 Ageha felt as if her whole life had just fallen apart, it was really only a small fraction, and she knew that, but that did not change the way it felt. Her emotions began to turn to something she was a bit more familiar. Being upset was not something she was very used to either, but it was, at least more familiar territory than heartache or disappointment. "You knowing about it is not really important, what matters is that the head of my family made a deal with the head of your family, and-"

 "I hate to break it to you, but that is impossible."

 "It isn't, I saw your father, on the day of the arrangement, myself. Though I have to admit, I am very glad to say, that there is little resemblance."

 "You're not the only one!" All of those who knew the man, nodded vigorously.

 At the mention of his father's name, Ranma's mood finished going completely cold. "Therein lies the crux of the problem, not about there being no resemblance, of that I think we are all grateful, but Genma-san, is not only not, head of my family, but also gave up all parental rights when I was four years old. So, unless this deal was before that, I do not believe you will find it very binding."

 Ageha was crushed under the weight of her life's plans crashing around her. She had known about this arrangement for many years, and had never even considered dating before. She had found it convenient, free to concern herself with the other things in life, her studies, her training, and learning to run a multinational corporation. She had to admit, she knew very little about this man, but she could tell he was strong, and handsome, and from a somewhat prominent family, if he could satisfy her needs, what more could she ask for? Even if he could not, she could always take on a lover, like most of her family had done. She may not have made the best first impression, but this on the other hand, was something she never could have expected. For her, of all people, to be so flatly rejected, by the man she had been promised to wed, it was unthinkable! There was no way for her to take this lying down, and so she stood, and pointed to the sky. "I'll sue!"

 "Well, if you can find the guy, good luck with that. But you will not get anything out of us, we were not involved. You should have checked to make sure the person you were dealing with had the right to make that deal. I guess that is what happens when people just assume the 'man' is the one in charge, ne?"

 The idea of a man schooling her on sexism was not wasted on her, but she did not let it slow her down. "You know, it is because of our family, that your family's school is what it is today. We paid for the land it is on, we moved some of the buildings on that land, and we paid for the construction of the school itself! Most of our servants are trained there. We could make things very difficult-"

 Ranma got right in her face, finger poking into her chest. She had tried to break it once, but Ranma was too fast to be caught. "Threatening me and my family is supposed to get you on my good side in what way? Because the actual head of my family, will not permit any marriage that is not of my choosing, so you are out of luck until I am twenty if these are the kinds of tactics you wish to use, and I assure you, that you are far more likely to end up married to my old man than me at that rate. If you wish to blackmail someone, you would have better luck finding the old man. I have looked over the titles, we legally own everything on our property have no legal footing. I am sorry you were scammed, and honestly, I do not really care about 'that' school, I only got involved with it a week ago, I have my own school to worry about. If you wish to hurt the school, use strong-arm tactics to coerce and get your way, ...well, you do *NOT* want to find out what happens when someone makes an enemy of Ranma Saotome." Ranma visibly calmed down as he turned back to his family. "Homeroom is about to start, let's get out of here." Ranma started toward the school, but not before turning his head, and shooting Ageha a very unpleasant look.

 "...How dare you talk to me that way? Do NOT turn your back on me, we are not done here!" Ageha Kuki was used to getting her way, things tended to come rather naturally to her, and people tended to bend over backwards to make anything she wanted a reality. Even if she had asked someone to die for her, they more likely than not, would, not that she had ever tested that idea. Ageha was more than willing to fight her own battles after all, which was why she wanted to do this alone, but she never would have anticipated a reaction like that, and it affected her in way she did not understand. Other than the anger, she did not recognize the other emotions, and she could not tell which was stronger, but judging by her unusually quiet voice trailing off with, '...don't go." Many of the gawking onlookers would guess 'rejection' the strongest. Ageha had no way of coping with these feelings, and for the time, just dropped to her knees, completely unaware of the stares she was receiving...

 The rest of those who had stopped to watch the commotion, could not believe what they had seen, even Nabiki was doing her best impression of a fish breathing. It was unbelievable to any of them that someone could talk like that to a member of the Kuki family, or refuse them anything. They were one of the most powerful families in Japan, and even the emperor took their calls! As impressive as the scene was, Nabiki was quite concerned, Ageha's family could completely ruin them, or whole nations, if they were so inclined, probably even have them deported, or worse! She needed to talk to Ranma about this at some point private.


 The bell was about to ring, and Akane was in a good mood, for better or worse, she had made up with her family, she had made it to class without being accosted by that molester-senpai, and now, her least favorite classmate, was almost late, missing her butler, and looking as if her pet died was a good day. Akane did not like to admit to taking joy in the suffering of others, but it was hard to resist when bad things happened to people she didn't like. Egotistical girls like that, who thought they were better than her, just really got to Akane, and Ageha was, in her opinion, one of the worst! She was just so much better than her at almost everything made Akane sick! She tried to think back on her meditation lessons from Pai the night before and calm herself again before the bell rang.


 Kikyo had been feeling rather good about herself and the work she had done setting up their shrine, it would not be long before she could begin the consecration ceremony, imploring the aid of a kami. They would need to choose who they wanted o ask soon, she had a few in mind, but wanted to give Ranma the final say on the matter.

 Deciding she was ready for a break, her curiosity drove her to check in with her shikigami. The scene that had unfolded before her had filled her with mixed emotions. She was slightly disheartened by the fact that yet another girl had tried to lay claim to Ranma, but she was considerably bolstered by the fact that for the first time in her experience, since Shampoo’s youngest twin sisters, Ranma flat-out turned a girl down, and the reaction of the crowd showed her that it was not an expected reaction to them either. To her, it had seemed as though she were the only adult woman Ranma had refused, and while she did understand his reasons, she had felt quite singled out, despite Ukyo's assurances that she was not the only one.

 Kikyo already had old rejection issues that ran deep, and her resistance to the pain it caused was low. Some women talked about the pain of 'being traded in for a newer model', but few of them have experienced such a 'literal' example, and in a way, she has turned around and done the very same thing herself! She still loved Inuyasha, and probably always would, but it, and the pain of being rejected, were finally starting to fade into the past as 'mostly' fond memories.

 Kikyo was also quite familiar with arranged marriages, few marriages in her day had been otherwise, and she had learned that even in this age, almost half of the marriages in the country were arranged by their parents, though that number was rapidly declining and might well drop below one-third before long. Though, her talks with Nodoka had led her to believe that Ranma would not be put in that position, and so she was taken aback by that element of the situation. She had never really held any expectation of being Ranma's wife, she was happy just to be seen, and loved, as a normal woman, but were she to have any expectations at this point, it would have been for Kasumi to have been Ranma's bride ...or perhaps that was just her desires masquerading as a prediction. ...Even the best miko made mistakes.

 She did not know what to think about this 'new girl', on the one hand, she did not like the threats to her new family, but she felt the other woman's pain. The pain of rejection was a unifier, and she could sympathize with an overreaction. She had no 'moral high-ground upon which to stand in that regard, that did not mean was about to allow anyone, no matter their history, to harm the people she loved. Perhaps she would need to prepare another shikigami to keep an eye on her, better safe than sorry. The path of the jilted lover seeking revenge is not a pretty one indeed, and if that is the path taken by this other woman, then Kikyo intended to stop her.

 So decided, Kikyo set about the preparations, she wanted to make sure it was ready to go by morning, so the others could take it with them to their school. Including the one they took that morning to watch over the youkai-teacher, it was going to take a lot of her attention, which was exactly why she was taking the time to infuse them with as much power as she could spare, that way they were mostly independent, and she would not have to watch them at all times. Her old soul collectors were simple, they required but one command, and could mostly function on their own, but for a job like this, they needed almost full sentience, and the ability to appear as real people when necessary took a lot of effort and energy on her part. It seemed the shrine would have to wait another day.


 Nodoka was bored. Most of the younger people, including the staff, were going to school, and the ninja were nowhere to be seen as they rarely came out of hiding, and tended to stay in Ranma's new home anyway. The only other person around was Soun, and he had not been pleasant company of late. She still invited him for lunch, since she felt sorry for the guy, but as disturbing as her thoughts had been lately, she would almost rather be alone with them, than with Soun. Almost ever subject seemed to come back to him crying over his daughters and either their helping him, or their refusal to help him. It was no wonder her husband spent most of their time together playing games, the man was just not much of a conversationalist, and she had little interest in playing boards games with a man who cheated like a child. That is not to say that children were cheaters, but rather his skill in cheating was at a child's level. Even when she ignored the pathetic attempts to cheat, she still beat him handily, every time.

 So with Kasumi working, and Kikyo busy in her shrine and 'not' allowing visitors, she was alone ...again. Either they were going to need to hire more staff, or she was going to have to find a hobby, something to take her mind off of ...everything. It was already taking every bit of her willpower to resist following 'her children' to 'document' their day in school, and she had broken most of her favorite 'toys' recently in her frustration. She decided to go shopping while she thought about it.


 Nodoka had been wandering from shopping district to shopping district for several hours and found herself in a part of Tokyo called Akihabara, where she found many interesting shops. Several of which carried 'toys' that she thought might make good replacements for the ones she had recently broken. In one such shop, while waiting for one of the young employees to return with her requested item from storage in the back, she got a twinge of nostalgia and started to browse the manga on one of the shelves.

 "Oh... my..." Nodoka was no prude, and had been familiar with 'romantic' manga in her youth, but never had she seen anything like what was depicted before her. Before the young man returned with her 'item', she had read several, and unwittingly brought a very large stack of them with her to the counter.

 "Here you are miss." The youth looked down and noticed the pile of manga Nodoka was carrying. "Would you like those as well?"

 "To what are you referring?"

 "The manga, the ones in your arms, would you like me to add them to your total?"

 Nodoka looked down and finally realized she did in fact, have a large pile of manga in her arms. Embarrassed, and not wanting to further embarrass herself, she just nodded. As the cashier rang up the books, and placed them into discreet bags, he noticed a similar theme among a hefty percentage of the titles. He was not the type to judge, they served all kinds there, but he did have to wonder why a woman, who looked to be barely out of college, was interested in that sort of thing... She had not yet noticed it herself.


 Taking a more direct way home, Nodoka was stopped by a handsome young man, who was smiling brightly as he handed out fliers. She had assumed it was for a host club and was preparing to find a gentle way to turn him down. "What school do you go to, onee-san?"

 "Oh my, no, I finished high school some time ago..."

 "You didn't go to a university? Do you have a job lined up?"

 "Oh no, I had an arranged marriage, before I even finished high school, and had a very manly son." Nodoka beamed with pride.

 "Well, I must say, you certainly do not look like you've have a child, but I guess as a new mother you wouldn't have time for this..."

 Without thinking about it, Nodoka responded as only someone desperately looking for something to do could. "Well now, my son is in school, and I do seem to have a lot of free time these days. What is it you have there?"

 'Hooked! I sure hope this onee-san joins up, I would love to see more beauty like this around the center!' "Well now, I am glad you asked. We have been sent out to encourage adults with free time, such as yourself, to engage in the pursuit of lifelong learning!"

 "Such noble goals..."

 "Our local Ministry of Education had recently remodeled, and reopened the social education center near here after a ...martial mishap. It would have taken much longer, but thanks to a very large anonymous donation, it was finished well ahead of schedule. It is also thanks to those donations that we are offering these classes completely free of charge to any citizen who would like to expand their horizons! Unlike most cultural centers, our benefactors felt that no Japanese Cultural Center would be complete without at least basic self defense lessons, I do recommend those, a young lady as cute as yourself, cannot be too careful."

 "You flatter me. I do not believe that would be necessary. I am, however, interested in what else you have available, perhaps a class in flower arranging would be nice, I have not done that in years..."

 "Certainly onee-san, there are many classes like that and much, much more! Make sure you take a good look around before you decide, of course you can take as many classes as you like, for as long as you like here, it is all up to you. Just head down this street, it's on the left, you can't miss it, the recently renamed 'Kuki Cultural Center'. Since it is the grand opening, some of the instructors have set up recruitment tables displaying their work to attract people, reminded me of club recruitment drives in school. Just present this flyer at the gate, they will know I sent you, give you a discount, and take extra special care of you."

 The warm smile from the crier helped to make up her mind as she took the flyer. "Why, thank you very much young man. I will be sure to look into it, one can never know too much after all." Nodoka smiled as she continued in the direction the young man had indicated, which happened to be the way she was already going. "What a nice boy."

 As she approached the center, she saw, and heard, quite a commotion. It was like a cultural festival mixed with an amusement park, complete with rides! 'You really would have to be deaf and blind to miss this!' A few other attractive young people had started to approach her, but backed off with a disappointed look upon their faces as they saw she already had a flyer.

 There were a number of people behind tables near the entrance, collecting the flyers, and handing out badges. As Nodoka walked up she was asked if she had a flyer as well. "Why yes, that nice young man down the street said that I should give you this for a special discount."

 "Yes ojou-sama, thank you, each of these flyers are numbered, and our donors promised a bonus to everyone who handed one out to someone who actually showed up."

 "So, there is no discount then?"

 "Oh no ojou-sama, everything is free to anyone who wants look around. May I ask you to sign in here please, and I will get you a badge?" The attendant passed over a clipboard and a pen.

 "Thank you very much." Nodoka signed in and received her badge.

 "You are very welcome. Here is a key for a locker to place your things, they are just inside to your right. Please, enjoy our exhibits." The attendant smiled brightly.

 Nodoka bowed before entering the rebuilt campus. She was amazed at the opulence of it all, and it took her several moments before she even considered looking for the lockers.


 Kasumi was leaving the television station. She had finished recording her normal segment for the news program, and was on her way to the nearby convention hall to do a special report. She was having to hurry so they could get their new 'commercial' filmed, after they opened, before the crowds got too bad, and in time for the special effects to be added before they aired.

 There was a new expansion coming out for the role playing game, Youkai the Façade, and she had been chosen for the advertisement due to being a known celebrity, who was also a player. They were going to sell some advanced copies at this convention, and she would get a few of them for herself as part of her payment for the report.

 They wanted her to do the report in costume as her magical girl character from the game, to help sell the product and generate more buzz. Her having to travel to the location of the shoot, in costume, compounded by the fact that it was also her character in the manga of which she was the star, was certainly having the effect of generating 'buzz'... People were constantly coming up to her, asking for autographs, and wanting to know what she was doing out in costume. Kasumi was not a suspicious woman by nature, but she was starting to think that was the point of making her take public transportation, and meet the crew, who was already set up and waiting on her.

 The shoot itself had gone smoothly, and made them the most popular booth at the exposition, though she was mobbed by fans whenever she would get some free time and she was unable to do any of the things she had wanted to do on her breaks, including going to the restroom. While she was really looking forward to giving the books to her friends in the group, she had more pressing concerns and she needed to hurry, but every time she tried to get away, the crowd would gather around her, and she was unable to get passed.

 Getting desperate, Kasumi found a large sack no one wanted any longer, having sold all of the items it previously contained, cut eye holes into it, and put it over her head, before once again, trying to get to a restroom. People still tried to talk to her, but this time they were asking if she was a character from a new Nintendo game, so she was truthfully able to deny that, and move on toward her goal.

 Finally finding the relief she had sought, Kasumi was able to relax and think. Despite the problems, and possible plotting of her colleagues, she had a fun day. She rather enjoyed dressing up in costumes, especially when she saw the joy it brought to others. It was her favorite part of the job, seeing the looks of happiness that she was able to bring to the faces of so many people. She especially loved events such as this one, where she was able to interact with the public and see their enjoyment in person. It did not compare to the pleasure she felt when she was able to help those in need, rather than just entertain, or helping her family...

 Helping her family... Kasumi's mood darkened slightly, once again she felt regret over accepting that television job so many years ago, but every time she would talk about quitting, someone would inquire how her 'fans' would feel about it, and she would not be able to bring herself follow through with it. She had not felt as though she had been able to be of much help to her family of late, everything always seemed to be done before she could get to it. She missed the cooking most of all, she had not really gotten to cook a meal since she had taken Ranma to see the shelter ...the shelter! They always need her, and ever so happy when she cooked for them. They had planned on making dinner together this evening, but Kasumi felt she need to do more than that, and decided she would make an extra trip to visit her friends there and make them something. It might help her feel better, she had been feeling fidgety lately, and she did not care for it. She had been having daydreams of preparing food, her hands would subconsciously go through the motions, and she had even had a nightmare that morning. She might have even awoken in a cold sweat if not for the warm embrace of her loved ones.

 She remembered her sister, and several other girls holding her down, while the rest of her family made meal after meal, as they laughed, told her how much they loved her, how they would take care of her forever, and forced her to eat such lovely food... She had awoken thinking that she would never get to cook again! It had taken her a while to get back to sleep after her ordeal, and possibly added to why she had overslept that morning...

 Kasumi calmed herself, thinking about the rest of her plans for the day. After helping to teach the Kaji-ken class, she looked forward to cooking with both Ranma and Fubuki, she knew that she could find more ways to feel useful that night, and started to regain her usual cheer.

 Realizing that she was still in her costume, she thought it would be best if she changed back into her street clothes before heading back to work. As she started to change her clothing, she pointed, looked up toward the ceiling, and spoke her character's transformation phrase with a giggle.


 Ranma's fourth period history class was about half over, and they had all been given free study time for the remainder of the class. Since he had already memorized the lesson, Ranma thought he was see if he could get out of class a bit early, and prepare a few things for his afternoon class, and not have to miss lunch to do it.

 "Well, normally I would tell you to do it during lunch, but since it is you, I suppose you may go. I saw your entrance exam scores, you don't need this class..."

 Ranma smiled. "Thank you, sensei."

 Her smile suddenly turned cold. "...and I do not need you in this class, stay gone as long as you would like."

 Ranma took that in stride, history was one of his best subjects anyway, and he had far more important things to worry about that day. Ranma looked over his fellow student teachers, and nodded. Ukyo, Shampoo, and Fubuki got up, and started forward, but their teacher stopped them. "No, I am afraid not. You may not need to study this material, but the same cannot be said for the rest of you."

 "Sensei, Ucchan scored almost as well as I, we covered this era three years ago..."

 "Review your own statement, and I am sure you will see why that is..." Ukyo took offence to that statement, and vowed to do better, so as not to be left out in the future.

 Ranma resisted saying 'because you're a bitch', which made him appear to have considered her statement. "I would consider this a challenge and would suggest that we have a contest to see which of you knows the material better, but the less help I have, the more I need to hurry. Fukibuki, let's go."

 "As I said, 'you' are the only one allowed to leave."

 Fubuki stepped forward, not willing to be kept apart from her master. "I have already graduated, and you will not keep me from my duty."

 "Then why are you in my class?"

 As a maid, she knew her place, especially when it came to the rules of this school. "To tend to Ranma-sama. If you check the school charter, you will find that the upper-class students are allowed to have their personal attendants attend them, as long as they are needed, and I have personal approval from the headmaster to be here. I am also an instructor, along with Ranma-sama, and we need to get set up."

 "Saotome-kun, you maid's talking back will go down in your personal record, now leave."

 Ranma grabbed Fubuki's hand, before he led the way out of the room and down the hall. Once they had gotten to the backdoor, Ranma stopped and turned around to face Fubuki, who looked distraught. "I'm SO sorry, goshujin-sama! I shouldn't have spoken out!" She dropped to her knees, begging forgiveness.

 "Fukibuki..." Ranma spoke gently.

 "I'm sorry, I'm sorry.."

 "Fubuki!" Ranma said her name in a commanding tone.

 "Hai, goshujin-sama!" Fubuki stood up, snapping to attention.

 Ranma placed his hands on her shoulders and looked her in the eyes. "I am proud of you. I loved watching you standing up for yourself."

 "But, ...but, ..."

 "No 'buts', this is important, you are more than just a maid, you are a very important person, who has rights, and feelings that matter just as much as anyone else."

 "But, you do not understand, goshujin-sama. I am not just a person doing the job of a maid, I AM a maid. It isn't just a job I do, it is what I am, to my very core..."

 "And you do it 'very' well, but I think you can be more than that. How about this, I would like to see you do at least one thing a day, not because of duty, but for entertainment, something just for the fun of it, something just for yourself."

 Fubuki looked up and smiled. "Okay goshujin-sama, it will be as you command! I will start with this..." She threw her arms around him, and gave him a deep kiss, which he returned passionately. "Everything I do, is because I want to. I live to serve you, and I love doing it. I can think of no greater pleasure in life. This is what I have aspired my entire life to be, and I have obtained my life's dream right after graduating from high school. The only thing I have left to do is to live it out! My life could not be better, and as long as you are pleased with my service, then I could not be happier!"

 "You are the best, I could not be more thrilled that you have chosen to join my family, and I hope that we prove worthy of your dedication."

 "No, goshujin-sama, I am not the best, but I strive to improve for you."

 "You will always be the best to me." Ranma grinned as he gently squeezed the maid in his arms. "Now, lets go get things set up for our class."


 "Now, since I am still learning this particular style, and we do not know each other yet, instead of doing what you would normally be doing, I would like to cover some basics." Groans were heard among the class. "Then I can properly gauge each of your skill levels and adjust the curriculum accordingly. Many of you second and third years, may remember Fubuki-sensei who will be supervising my instructions, and making sure I do not make too many mistakes." Ranma winked before he shot Fubuki a smile, causing most of the maids, to sigh.

 Fubuki perked up at the attention. "I am sure you will do wonderfully, goshujin-sama!"

 Murmurs of "Goshujin-sama?" filled the room, as gossip started to stir.

 Ranma spoke up, to quiet the commotion. "Yes, as some of you may already know, Fubuki-sensei is also my personal maid, and head of my household staff. I 'do' hope that will not be too much of a problem for anyone here."

 There were quite a few sighs of disappointment around the room from the maids who had been hoping to fill that role when they graduated, but no one outwardly complained. If he had a 'staff', there would always be the chance of another opening. ...The personal attendant's job was always the hardest anyway, even if it could be the most ...'rewarding'.

 "Good. While I have not yet mastered this style, I do know a 'few' things about the martial arts, so I hope that we can all learn something from each other."

 "I am sure you can teach us a lot of things!" A pen suddenly appeared at the feet of the maid who had spoken out, embedded in the floor, causing her silencing her quickly.

 Ranma turned toward Mikan and spoke. "Mikan-sensei, for now, I would appreciate it if you would not do that during my class. If I have a problem with discipline, I will handle it. Thank you." Turning back to the class, he resumed. "However that brings us to my first point. Ucchan, would you join me for a demonstration?"

 Ukyo jumped up and slid up to Ranma's side. "Of course, Ranchama! ...I mean, 'sensei', gomen." More murmurs and sounds of surprise filled the room.

 Mikan shot a glare at the class, quieting them down, but it was quickly returned by a stern looking Ranma before he backed toward Fubuki.

 Ukyo picked up on what he wanted her to do, and pretended to be going after 'the master'.


 Ukyo whipped a 'throwing kote' out of her skirt and whipped it at Fubuki's head. Ranma snatched it out of the air and casually tossed it back, causing Ukyo to dodge as the kote embedded itself into the wall behind her. After spinning out of the way, Ukyo launched herself into the air and aimed a powerful kick at Fubuki, her foot glowing with ki. Ranma jumped up to block the attack, his own arms glowing. He nodded at Ukyo as they landed softly, ending their demonstration.

 "The first and most important part of the martial arts is defense. Protecting yourself and others are what the martial arts are all about. All kata begin with protection. The best defense is avoidance. It is difficult to hurt someone you cannot hit. However, as any experienced fighter can tell you, this is not always an option, especially when you are defending another. I would like to ask that you all put your safety first, but I also know that can be a difficult choice." Ranma paused a moment to spare a glance at Ukyo as he said this. "I will ask you to consider this. How much will you be able to protect anyone if you are too injured to move, or worse? Dead people are very limited as to the amount of protection they can offer." Ranma waited for his words to sink in.

 "A true martial artist never hits first in a battle. Observe, anticipate, and react. By the time you see an attack with your eyes, it is already too late though. You must seize the moment when your opponent's mind moves. Read the mind of your opponent, their aura, sense the slightest clues and react to what they do, before they do it." Ranma nodded at Ukyo again and she came at him throwing punches at chestnut speed, faster than many of the maids could see. For his part, Ranma casually stood there, deflecting or blocking each attack with one arm.

 Ukyo winked and whispered to Ranma. "Show off."

 Ranma winked back. "You know the rules."

 "Ah, good old number twelve..."

 Ranma turned back to the class, after signaling the end of that example, noticing that the class was murmuring about 'rule number twelve'. He was just about to speak up, quieting the class, but instead changed course and leaped over the heads of the class, doing a somersault at the peak of the leap, and landing near the back of the room. Ranma handed the pen he had snatched out of the air back to Mikan. "As I said, I would appreciate you *NOT* attacking my students in my class. If you do not like the way I handle discipline in my class, you can talk to me about it later. That was two, I will not tolerate a third."

 The class suddenly got deathly quiet, all of the maids to stunned to utter a single sound. No one had ever seen anyone stand up to Mikan, even the headmaster was afraid to cross the woman, and their new teacher had just done it, twice! None of them wanted to miss what happened next.

 Other than a dark aura, Mikan's expression had not changed. "Yes, we 'will' speak of this later..."

 Ranma hopped back to the front of the room before she had completed her 'threat', and tried to regain the focus of the room. "Now, all of you at once, what do you hope to gain in this class?" Ranma listened as his class all shouted out their responses. "Control, good. Yes, combined with a good diet, this IS a very good type of exercise to improve your figure. No, I cannot introduce you to Jackie Chan. The most common response was 'the power to protect', a noble goal."

 Ranma turned around, facing away, with his left arm behind his back. "But what is power?" One of the maid raised her hand. Without turning around, Ranma responded. "Yes, you with the blond hair?"

 Gasps were heard around the room before the blond maid stood to give her answer. "Strength?"

 "Good answer, but there are many kinds of strength, strength of body, strength of mind, strength of character, strength of will, and may more. The one we will be focusing on today, is strength of technique." Ranma raised his right arm and index finger at that point, before turning around. "Technique is what puts the art, into the martial arts, and what separates a martial artist from a common brawler. It is what allows a skilled practitioner to defeat much larger opponents, and against greater odds. For example, it takes much less force to misdirect, or deflect an attack, than it does to block it."

 Ranma nodded at Ukyo again who pulled out her large baker's peel, and gave it a powerful swing, arcing down, as if it were an ax aimed for Ranma's head. Ranma sidestepped slightly, and used his still extended index finger, to lightly push on the flat side of the weapon, causing it to embed itself into the floor beside him. Ukyo had to actually put forth some effort to yank it free.

 "As you can see, this powerful blow was easily turned aside by exploiting that fact. Using your opponent's strength against them, in this case, getting Ucchan's weapon stuck so it could not be used for an immediate follow-up attack, is one of the key techniques you need to learn. Knowledge of physics and geometry certainly do not hurt either, but don't worry if you do not have that background, we will teach you the fundamentals you will need for the basics." Groans were heard in the class. "Don't worry, we will have fun demonstrations, you'll enjoy it, I promise." Ranma twinkled as he grinned, and the girls in the class ate it up, many of whom squealed in joy.

 "All right now class, I would like you all to think back, and practice the very first kata you learned for this class. You first years who were not here in middle school, do not worry if you have not yet mastered it." All of the maids ran over to the equipment racks, and each took a broom before returning. Each of them spaced out to about two meters apart, and began 'synchronized sweeping'. It was rather beautiful to see, the full class, almost all moving in complete unison.

 Ranma looked over the class, watching each one of them performing the moves he had only just learned himself. "Very nice technique, it is always good to refresh the basics, it makes learning the more advanced skills easier. Power does not create technique, but technique will bring speed, and speed adds power." Ranma walked around the room correcting a few stances and body movements as he went. "Power is a result of the strength of your technique, not the other way around. Some people have trouble with that one, thinking that strength powers technique, "

 Ranma watched as his class finished their kata, reasonably impressed by how well they were doing over all. "Well done class. Now I would like you to try a new kata. Fubuki-sensei, would you be so kind as to collect their brooms?"

 Fubuki jumped up to do as requested. "Hai!"

 Ranma waited until Fubuki had returned to her seat, though she chose not to sit down. "Follow my movements, and do as I do." Ranma began a simple kata, but one not from this school, wanting to see how quickly they were able to grasp it. "This is not to decide who is stronger, nor to show your technique to others. It is to simply repeat the basic techniques, to improve your body movements. That is kata practice." Everyone in the room, including Fubuki and even Mikan, were following along. It was easy enough, that even the newest students were able to mostly follow along. Once Ranma finished, he gave them a moment to breathe, and then looked back up at them. "Okay, one more time, now proceed." This time Ranma did not perform the kata himself, wanting to see how well they retained it as a group.

 After watching their performance, Ranma quickly moved around the room, pairing people off by where he judged their skill levels. He paired Shampoo with Fubuki, and asked Ukyo to spar with Mikan. Ukyo was happy to comply, but Mikan tried to refuse. "Oh my, no, I am just here to observe..."

 "That didn't stop you from joining in during kata practice a bit ago."


 "If you are going to be here, you might as well participate, maybe you will learn something. Besides, I cannot have one of these students fighting with Ucchan, it wouldn't be fair." Seeing the look of resolve on the older woman's face, Ranma started back to the front of the room as the students gathered their preferred weapons. As he passed Ukyo, he whispered into her ear. "Take it easy. Seems to mostly be a ranged weapon user."

 Ukyo nodded as she faced off with her 'normal' instructor, waiting for the signal to begin. Ranma waited for everyone to be ready. "Until further notice, these are to be your partners. Whenever we team up for sparring, or anything else, this is to be your partner and your rival. You are looking at the person in class who's ability most closely matches your own, I hope you can push each other to new levels, but for now, just take it easy, and get used to your partner. Begin!"

 Everyone bowed to their partners, and began to feel each other out. Shampoo and Fubuki, having fought before, quickly escalated, but Shampoo was restricting herself to the new style, while studying Fubuki's moves, and so was at a disadvantage. Some of the other more advanced students followed suit, upping the ante, and starting to test the other person's limits. Mikan had immediately jumped back, pulling out two handfuls of pens, Ukyo casually dodged while pulling one of Nabiki's old pairs of feather-duster nunchaku, also trying her best to stick to the kajiken moves.

 Mikan tried to stay out of range, so as to better throw her pens, but Ukyo was faster, and moved in to 'dust' Mikan's face, since it was only light sparring. This caused no damage, but it certainly embarrassed and frustrated her sparring partner, which was part of her goal. Ukyo was trying to goad her instructor into opening up, and broadening her technique, and to get her to use the style of the class. Ukyo was technically an 'instructor' in this class after all. "Come on sensei, I know you can do better than that. How long have you watched these girls practice anyway? Don't you know the style at all?"

 "This is actually one of the first classes I have attended. My only concern is that these male instructors do not try to take advantage of our lovely maids." Mikan circled around to try and find an opening.

 "You should, no matter how good you are with your preferred weapon, where would you be without them?" Ukyo swung her feather dusters around, quickly knocking the pens out of her teacher's hands. Ukyo looked down at the pens, and then back up at Mikan before shrugging. "You should step out of your box, challenge yourself."

 Mikan stopped moving, looking mildly annoyed, but still confident. "You wish to see what I can do, do you?" Ukyo nodded with a smile. "If that is what you wish..." Suddenly Mikan vanished, appearing behind Ukyo, and lashing out at her back.

 Ukyo dropped and rolled with the attempted blow, kicking out with her feet, and knocking Mikan's legs out from under her. Mikan was stunned for a moment, not expecting her move to be anticipated, and that had left her wide open to be knocked onto her face. It took her a moment to recover, and as she started to stand she saw a broom heading her way, sweeping the floor in front of her. She blocked as it neared her head, and tried to jump back but she hit the wall. A lock of hair had fallen from her bonnet, and her face wore an increasingly heated look.

 Ranma watched their exchanges, as Mikan slowly lost her cool, and her attacks started to get less focused. Before long, Fubuki and Shampoo had stopped their sparring to watch.

 Mikan was unaccustomed to expending this much energy in a battle, and it was showing, while her opponent appeared to be paying more attention to 'their instructor' then their sparring. This girl was infuriating. Mikan might have lost her temper fairly often, but she had never lost her cool. However, it seemed as though there was a first time for everything, as she was throwing all of her power behind her attacks, yelling out as she went.

 Taking Ranma's earlier lesson to heart, Ukyo stood there, easily deflecting and misdirecting any of the attacks that came close to her, waiting for the right opening. Once that opening presented itself, Ukyo Flicked Mikan's forehead with her finger and a shout of "Dekkopi~in!"

 Mikan flew back, hitting the wall, and making a small dent, where she collapsed to the floor. By the time the fight had ended, the whole class had been watching, cheering on Ukyo, they never thought anyone could beat Mikan, and they were all amazed by the feat. "Now you can see what happens when you allow yourself to lose your concentration in a fight. Anger can help you raise your power, but without control you only end up destroying yourself. However, if you are able to maintain your center, you can focus that anger like a laser to increase your damage. Other emotions can work as well, but anger is the one that most people think of first, or worse yet, one that is commonly mistaken for anger, fear. Fear is what causes us to panic, to act without reason, and typically make very bad choices."

 Ranma had run over to Mikan while he was talking, wanting to make sure she was okay, and started healing her minor scrapes and bruises, that is until she regained consciousness... "What are you doing to me? Don't touch me!" Mikan scooted away, clutching her chest.

 Ranma looked mildly offended. "I was not touching you, I was healing you..."

 "Like you did yesterday? I do not think so. I will not let you do that to me again!"

 Mikan ran off to get cleaned up and changed to the murmurs of, "Yesterday? What happened yesterday?"

 Ranma got everyone's attention again. "Is anyone else hurt? Bruises or anything?"

 One of the maids raised her hand. "If I say I bruised my bum, will you kiss it and make it better?"

 "I 'will' make it better if you 'did' hurt it, no kissing necessary." Disappointed sighs filled the room as the maid in question walked over to Ranma and bared her bum. "See, my beautiful buttocks is blemished!

 "You didn't need to take them off, I can-"

 "But, then how would you see how shapely it is? Please, help me, save my perfect posterior! Otherwise, how else will I get a nice goshujin, like you?"

 "Did you hear that Fubuki-sensei? This student says you have a perfect posterior." Ranma grinned.

 One of the other students shouted out, "Is that all it takes? Please, look at mine too!"

 "Shampoo bottom pert too!" Shampoo huffed.

 "Yes Ranchama, what about mine?"

 Ranma spoke quickly, too quickly some might say. "Yes, they are all quite nice! I love each and every one of them. Now, can we get back to class?"

 "How Ranma get so popular with maids so soon? Is only day two!"

 "Oh, we have been hearing stories from Mori-senpai for years! Then, of course, there was yesterday morning..."

 "What happen yesterday morning...?"

 "Oh yes, do tell..."


Ranma finally got their bruises healed, and the class back under control before Mikan had returned, looking as though nothing had happened. She quietly when back to her seat at the rear of the room as Ranma continued his lesson.

"In typical fights, big movements don't work well. In the real thing, move fast, and precise. There is a time and a place for big, flashy attacks, but that is not the primary focus of this style. Your goal is to stop anything before it becomes a problem for your goshujin, in the most discreet way possible. You want to make sure you hit your target, quickly, and accurately. You want to strike a weak place before your opponent is even aware that you moved." Ranma walked over and stood more than a meter from where a fifty kilogram kicking bag hung. "Okay, watch closely and tell me if you can see the moment I punch this bag." Ranma stood perfectly still as everyone looked over at the bag. All of a sudden, the bag exploded, sending sand everywhere. "Did anyone see my attack?"

 Other than from Shampoo and Ukyo, a collective "No!" was joined by shaking heads. One of them shouted, "I sure didn't, and I assure you, I was watching VERY closely ...go-shu-jin-sama!" This was followed by giggles, nods, and quite a few shouts of "Me too!"

 "Good, as a martial artist, you should always be observing everything that is going on around you."

 "I saw WHEN it happened, but I didn't SEE it happen!"

 Mikan had been among those shaking their heads, she had never seen anyone move so fast. 'This could be a problem. I am going to have to watch them very closely. Anyone that talented could be trouble.' She had never liked Genma, he seemed 'shifty' to her, and long ago, she had learned to trust her instincts. If the apple did not fall far from the tree, then she could really be in for it. Genma's one 'saving grace', to her, was that she had never heard about, nor caught him in the act of doing anything with any of the maids of which he had been in charge. If that had happened, then even Kaede would not have been able to save him from her wrath, no matter how good of a teacher the man was!

 Fubuki had been rather impressed herself, she had barely even seen him move. Not wanting to admit defeat in front of her 'students' or her master, she faintly nodded. This caused more of a shock through the students than anything else had thus far. Quite a few of them were pointing and asking if it was true.

 Ranma saw that he needed to regain control of the class, before it got out of hand. He turned and mouthed, 'Good job, Fukibuki', before facing the students. "I used almost no power in that attack at all. As I said, 'it is all about finding the most vulnerable spot, and hitting it quickly'." Ranma waited for the roar of disbelief to die down before he continued. Ranma gave them all a sly grin. "What, you do not believe me?" He looked on with a feigned hurt look. "Well to prove my point, I prepared a demonstration. Please follow me."

 Ranma led the class to a mostly empty area behind the school building. Well, normally this was an empty area, currently however, it contained a boulder, larger than any of them were tall. "I brought this here earlier, we will clean up the mess afterward. I would like all of you to inspect this boulder, to make sure it is a solid chunk of stone that I dug out this morning."

 Several of the maids, as well as Mikan, went around, feeling and tapping on the piece of mountain. Satisfied that it was, in fact, a solid rock, they returned to where they had been standing. Ranma even rolled it around so that they could inspect every last part of it.

 "Okay then, I would like you all to stand back, as far as you can, this will be messy. We do not want to see anyone get hurt from this." Watching as they backed off, Ranma continued his explanation. "Everyone, and everything, have weak points. Some are just harder to find and hit than others. Observation, this is the first tool of the martial artist. We observe ourselves, we observe our fellow practitioners, we observe nature, and we observe our opponents. Many times, those things overlap." Ticking off on his fingers as he continued. "Observing, studying, and understanding, these are the three stages of learning. No matter how much we learn, no matter how we me master a technique, there is always more to know. You need to learn to use all of your senses to observe the world around you. Sometimes the slightest detail can mean the difference between success and failure, and when you are in a battle, that can mean life or death."

 Seeing that Shampoo had gotten everyone a reasonably safe distance away, Ranma walked over to the boulder. "Now, did any of you find any weak points in this thing, any cracks, or anything like that?" Getting a negative response from all of them, he pretended to look disappointed for a moment. "I am sorry to hear that. While this is a solid piece of stone, like all of them, it has a weak point." Ranma made a show of walking around the rock, his arms behind his back. "Now, I will show you what using only observation, and precision, can accomplish with a simple touch." He walked around until he was in full view of the others, and touched the breaking point as the boulder exploded into dust and pebbles.

 The sunlight glinted off of Mikan's glasses, and her calm 'mask' was firmly in place as she stared where the bounder once sat. "What did you do, fill it with explosives?"

 "Would I be standing next to it if I had? Feel free to bring your own boulder if you would like to test that conjecture. You are also welcome to inspect the shrapnel for signs of an explosive device before we clean it up."

 "Can you teach us how to do that?"

 "No, that particular technique is one I cannot teach. Ignoring how dangerous the training method is, I gave my word that I would not teach that techniques to 'outsiders', but if you do as I said, you may be able to figure it out on your own one day. Since our time is almost up for the day, I would like to see if any of you have any questions."

 Most of the class raised their hands, many even making noised to help them get noticed. Ranma called on one of them who asked, "Is your household looking for any more maids, or any other help?"

 "We are not sure yet, depending on how things go, we might." Cheers went up from the class, loud enough that students were glancing out at them from the windows of the school. Three of them jumped up, slapping their hands together in a three-way hi-five as they shouted, "Victory Pose!"

 "Okay." The hands went up again. "Does anyone have a question about 'class'?" More than half of the hands went back down.

 "You are amazing! How can we get as strong as you are?"

 "Thank you. Power will come with training, it is not something you need to worry about. If you focus on speed and precision, everything else will come to you in time." Ranma looked thoughtful for a moment. "Of course, all of that comes secondary to making sure our defenses are at their best. After all, the martial arts were designed to protect what we hold most dear."

 Ranma continued to answer questions until the bell rang, signaling the end of class, and the beginning of clean-up. As he began to clean up the mess he had made, some of the students shyly came up to him. "Sensei, you don't have to clean with us, it is our job after all."

 "Oh no, it wouldn't be right, I made the mess after all."


 Nodoka had been enjoying her tour around the center, each of the instructors had set up displays showing examples and demonstrations of the arts and crafts they taught, including samples from the various food related classes.

 She listened to music being performed, she enjoyed various art works of all sorts, she was even asked to help out in a self defense demonstration, surprising the instructor ...who noted her badge number. It had been a delightful afternoon of masterful artistry, and she not only distracted from her problems, but inspired. She had considered a photography class, and she did have a nice chat with the instructor, but figured that taking that class might be counterproductive to her current goal. She had once tried painting along with Ukyo and Ranma, but never quite got the hang of it, so ended up choosing to try a sculpting class. The instructor had given her an 'hands on' demonstration, and she did enjoy the feeling of the clay in her hands.


 After the clean-up, Ranma and the maids were started heading toward the clubroom. It had taken a bit longer than was normally given to clean-up their mess, and they were hurrying, but Ukyo tugged on Ranma's coat sleeve, looking up into his eyes. "Ranchama, do you really think that Mikan-sensei was the best partner for me?"

 Ranma shook his head. "In a way, yes, but not the way you are thinking. I did not make that choice because I thought Mikan-sensei was up to your level. You were the partner sensei needed, not the other way around. On the other hand, if you plan to help me teach these classes, you might as well get used to it." Ranma grinned at his longtime friend, who smiled back at him before kissing his cheek.

 "Mori-san, what did you think of our first class?" Ranma knew the others here were used to his style of instruction, except for Fubuki, who was just as bias, and he wanted an outside opinion.

 "You were very impressive, Saotome-sama..."

 "Mori-san, I told you yesterday, 'Ranma' is fine." Ranma looked stern for a moment, causing Mori to blush.

 "Of course, Ranma-sama! Though is very hard to tell after only one class, but you seem to be a more 'fun' instructor than your father, and you certainly seem to be more talented. Your teaching methods and helpful personality will certainly be more popular, and you seem to have developed a large fan-base among the maids already. I am sure many of them would love to join your team." Mori smiled, brightening up the hallway.

 "Aw, I am already surrounded by the best maids this school has to offer... What more could I ask for?" Ranma winked at his friends as they heard the most beautiful piano music of their lives coming from down the hall. Ranma and Ukyo both looked at each other, and started heading toward the awe inspiring aria. Shampoo and Fubuki quickly followed, and Mori was not far behind.

 They quickly arrived at the source and gazed into the room to see a solitary young woman. She was sitting at one of the grand pianos, and playing her heart out. Her eyes were closed, and she was completely lost in the music. Her long blond hair was flowing along with the swaying of her head as her fingers flew over the keys.

 Ranma whispered to no one in particular, "Who is that?"

 "That is Yukari Kamishiro, known as the 'Performer of the Sunset', the person who has won the Vienna International Piano Competition three years running."

 Ukyo looked impressed, and she was slowly walking toward the pianist, having already pulled out her violin, she was doing her best to match the tune. Yukari still did not seem to notice her company and continued to play. Shampoo grabbed Ranma's hand and started to dance. Fubuki and Mori just watched quietly from the sidelines.

 Mori had never seen anyone dance that way before, she had only ever seen ballroom dancing, especially to classical music, and she found it quite ...interesting. The beauty and grace in their movements was as apparent as blatant erotic nature of their dance. Her structured life had never left any room for anything so primal and free, and it was exhilarating to watch. That fact that it seemed to so contradict the music and yet flowed with it at the same time, completely drew her in, and made her want to study every movement.

 As all good things do, her song came to an end, and Yukari quickly rushed to jot down what she remembered from her improvisation. Her hands flew over the sheet music for several moments, before she looked over what she wrote. "Wait, I don't remember playing that! Where did that...?" She looked around the room, and saw the others smiling and waving at her.

 "I am sorry if I disturbed you, it was so beautiful, and I could not resist joining you. What was that song you were playing?"

 Yukari backed away, almost falling off of the bench she was sitting on. "AH! Um, it wasn't ...well, not yet anyway. I was just playing the music I hear in my heart..."

 "Then it must be a lovely place. You are wonderful!"

 "Who are you people? What are you doing here? I thought I was supposed to be alone..."

 Ranma stepped forward, not wanting to have any more problems. "We are terribly sorry ojou-san, we did not mean to disturb you. We were walking to our club, and we heard the most alluring music. We just had to find its source, and it seems as though our hunt has found us a rare treasure. Thank you ojou-san." Ranma bowed deeply, trying to show as much respect as he could muster. "I am Ranma Saotome, and these are my friends. I am pleased to make your acquaintance."

 "Oh my, I did not see you there too. You must be that new guy everyone is talking about, and they were right, you ARE cute! I am sorry too, you all just surprised me. I am Yukari Kamishiro, it is a pleasure."

 "Purple, White-God?"

 "Oh no, it is spelled 'Fragrance from a Village' and 'Top Ranked Replacement'. How about you, is that 'Wild Stallion'?" Yukari got a bit of a lustful look on her face.

 Ranma was about to respond with, 'Yes, you could say that...', but was interrupted by Shampoo, before he could get a word out. "Stallion too too wild, in more way than one!"

 Ukyo slapped Shampoo on the back. "You know it sister!"

 This time it was Ranma's turn to be embarrassed, and he tried to slink off, but Shampoo and Ukyo were not having it. "Where Wild Stallion think going?"

 "Yeah Ranchama, you can't leave now. That would make us look like liars!"

 Ranma faced Ukyo, looking slightly stern. "...And what did you want me to do?"

 "Prove it Ranchama, prove how you are the wildest stallion around!"

 "How, exactly, did you want me to do that? We are in school, and late for our club meeting, if you recall..." Ukyo looked embarrassed for a moment as Ranma turned to Yukari. "Sorry about my friend, Ucchan can be a handful at times..."

 Ukyo pretended to be offended at his words. "Only one? I will have you know I am at least 'two' hands full, thank you very much!"

 Ranma looked back at his oldest friend and smiled. "...And I am sure you would be more if I had more hands." Ranma turned back toward the pianist. "You are incredibly talented, I hope we get to hear you play again soon."

 "If you bring snacks, you can come back here anytime you want, I don't get down to the dining hall often, I tend to lose track of time..." Yukari blushed at her confession. "I am also playing in a recital here this weekend, if you give me your contact information I would make sure you got tickets..."

 "Sure, no problem..." Ranma started to pull a pen and paper out of his pocket when Fubuki stopped him by handing him a sharpie and glossy photo of himself. "...Fukibuki, why do you have this?" He was so surprised that he failed to notice the snacks that Mori had arranged on a small plate on the piano.

 "Autographs. Always be prepared, goshujin-sama." Fubuki bowed before backing off.

 "Why would I need that?" Ranma pondered that for a moment.

 ...At least until Yukari derailed his train of thought when she said, "Can you make it out to 'your biggest fan, Yukari-chan'?"

 Ranma teetered a moment, almost face-faulting.


 "There you are, we were about ready to send out the search party for you." Nabiki grinned at the newcomers.

 "Sorry, clean-up ran long, and we ran into something on the way here." Ranma smiled back. "So, what did we miss?"

 "Well, we think we have the idea worked out, but Kodachi-san wanted to run a few lines by you, since it is 'your' character that is reacting..." Nabiki maintained a neutral expression, but she fidgeted a bit, not entirely sure what to make of Kodachi's plan.

 Ranma arched an eyebrow, but went along with it. "Okay, what do I need to know?"

 Kodachi grabbed Ranma's wrist, and pulled him into the next room, which was empty. "Well, Ranma-sama. ...You did say that I could use your given name as well, did you not?"

 Ranma was taken aback, but he had said that to the whole club, wanting to keep a friendly atmosphere, so he saw no reason to take it back now. "Well, sure, I don't see why not..."

 "Thank you, Ranma-sama. I do hope that I meet your expectations..." She spoke softly as she leaned in closely, looking up into his eyes. 'When this scene is over will be all mine!'

 "What was that?"

 Kodachi blushed and turned away. "Worry not, Ranma-sama, it matters little. Our plan is for my aunt to tire of my continued 'failures'." Kodachi bristled at this. "Troops are then sent to 'remove me from office', while your team is stopping my latest ...'failure'. Seeing them about to eliminate me, you rush in and save me." Kodachi threw her arms around Ranma's neck. "Once we escape, you use the healing power of your love, to purge the darkness from my soul!" Kodachi got down on her knees. "I swear my love and loyalty to you, Ranma-sama. ...If you will have me." From her position, she looked up into his face, with the pleading eyes, that only a daughter could manage.

 "Um, well, what am I supposed to say? You didn't give me any lines?"

 Kodachi stood quickly, intertwining herself around Ranma's body as she purred. "Say 'yes' my darling, and I will forever be by your side." She deeply kissed Ranma, enjoying the sensation more than she expected. "Forget that I can aid you against my aunt, and that I know many of their secrets, just think about all of the fun things we can do together. Think about all of the ways in which this grateful maiden can reward the handsome hero in our free time." She kissed him again, several times, and left a trail along his neck and down his chest.

 Ranma was paralyzed, it was not that he was scared, no, he just could not move much more than his eyes. Trying to figure out what was wrong, he sped up his metabolism. While he could not move, he could feel everything she was doing to him, from the kisses down his chest to her hands roaming awfully near his waistband. One of the skills Ranma never thought to truly master was ventriloquism, he could speak clearly at low tones, but he had to be able to move his mouth normally to do that. At best, he could manage a muffled mumble at present. "Ay! Ah ah oo oon? Eh an beh ah uh eh ih." ("Hey! What are you doing? This can't be part of the script!")

 "Do not concern yourself with the details, my love, we shall make the most exquisite couple! Ohohohohohohoho!" Kodachi's hands found the drawstring on Ranma's pants and began to untie them. "It seems that you have decided to stay with me, I am so happy, and I will make you happy as well-"

 There was a flash of Ranma's ki as it lashed out and Kodachi found that she was the one who could no longer move, not because she was paralyzed, but rather due to Ranma holding her wrists. "I was not staying, I couldn't move!"

 "OHOHOhohohoho.... Were my noble charms too mu- ...Oh dear-" Kodachi's face lost what little color her pale skin had as she froze and her head drooped.

 Ranma let her arms go, and stood up before walking over to open the door to the room. Behind the door was a wall of women, who all had their ear pressed against the door, including a couple of other maids Ranma recognized from his class. Ranma gave them all a stern look. Most of them shrank back from his gaze, but Anastasia collapsed in pleasure.

 "You two are from my class, what are you doing here with the rest of them?"

 The taller of the two maids, with long purple hair tied back into three tails, held together with holders that looked like the heads of large mallets, and wearing sunglasses stood up to speak. "Well sensei, we were just walking by, we saw the eavesdropping, and wanted to join the fun!"

 "The rest of you, how long were you going to wait, huh? What the hell is going on? Did you all plan this?"

 "Ranma-kun, what's wrong?"

 "What's wrong? What's wrong? You left me in here with a crazy woman!"

 "Kodachi might be a bit eccentric, but I would not say crazy..."

 "Oh? Then what do you call-" Ranma stopped when he felt a hand on his shoulder from behind.

 "Ranma-sama, please, it wasn't intentional. Please, forgive me, I ...I ...forgot-I-had-it-on! It's a self-defense device! Paralysis lipstick, I am so sorry!"

 Ranma turned on Kodachi, is eyes starting to glow. "Assuming I believed that, where would you even get such a thing, why would you have that? Are ladies attacked so often here?"

 Kodachi's usual boldness had fled the moment she realized what she had done, and the look in his eyes caused her to shrink back even further. "I make it myself, it was my aunt's training..."

 Nabiki tried to intervene. "Wait, Ranma-kun. I am not sure what happened here, but Kodachi-san had a rough upbringing, at least hear the whole story. If it wouldn't be rude I could tell you horror stories, but it is not my place."

 "Nabiki-san, you do not have to defend me, my 'upbringing' is no excuse. I made an egregious error, and I must atone for it." Kodachi took a moment to straighten herself up, before bowing down before Ranma. "My aunt taught me that the only way to keep a man was using that, or similar method. My time here with my other aunt, and your friends have shown me that my aunt is, in fact ...beyond eccentric, to put it nicely. Old habits die hard, but that was not my intention, this was simply a horrific mistake. This is almost the first time I have ever kissed anyone by choice, including my family, and I have become so caught up in the moment that it completely slipped my mind that I had been wearing that lipstick, it is mostly out of habit after all. I can see how this would appear to you, and cannot blame you if you are unable to forgive me. I swear to you that things are not as they seem... I never intended anything like that with you."

 Kodachi paused, heaving a deep sigh. "All I can do is offer my sincerest apology, and my promise to do anything to make this up to you. Even if you do not forgive me, I will repay my debt. If you wish to never see me again, I will understand." Kodachi stood up, bowed to Ranma, and turned to Nabiki. "Nabiki-san, tell what you must, but I am afraid I cannot bare to listen to it, too many painful memories, so I will be taking my leave." Kodachi ran from the room, tears and black rose pedals trailing behind her as she ran. "Oh, to have planned this out so well, only to fail on such an important detail!"

 Nabiki had a pained look on her face. 'Well, at least we are ahead of schedule for a while, so we have plenty of time for it, as painful as this will be...' She turned to Ranma, and looked him into the eye. "Please, tell me what happened here first, since it will take less time, and then I will tell you what I can about Kodachi-san's upbringing." Ranma slowly nodded. "Let's go back to the other room and get comfortable, we are going to be here a while..."


 "Well 'Biki-chan, you know the people at this school the best out of all of us, what do 'you' think of this situation?"

 "Well, I do not actually know Kuki-san personally, so I do not know much more than the rumors and common knowledge. I can tell you that the Kuki Corporation is one of the top in the nation, even the world." Her voice held the slightest hint of jealousy. "Their family is impressive, dating back for many generations, they have their own style of martial arts, and Kuki-san, their eldest daughter, is in Akane-chan's class..."

 Ranma lost his focus near the end. "...own style of martial arts... Interesting... very interesting..."

 "Uh oh, I think we lost Ranchama..." Ukyo started waving her hands in front of Ranma's face when the doorbell rang, snapping him out of it.

 Fubuki stood up, rushing for the door. "I'll get it!"

 "Well, there is one thing you can say, Kuki-san certainly follows rule twelve, ne Ranchama?"

 "Isn't that the truth!"

 Nabiki looked to Ukyo. "So, when are you going to show me these 'rules'?"

 "Anytime you want, how about after dinner?"

 "Okay, it's a date!" Nabiki winked before turning back to Ranma. "There isn't a whole lot more I can tell you that isn't apparent. Normally, a butler follows Kuki-san around, but was not there today."

 "There was a 'Kojuro Takeda' missing from class today..."

 "That's the guy, not very bright, but extremely dedicated. From what I understand, Takeda-san is the weakest of the Kuki family's one thousand servants."

 Most of those present went wide-eyed at the idea of that many servants. "But why would they assign the weakest servant to the head daughter?"

 Fubuki announced her return, with a guest. "Ranma-sama, may I present Akane Tendo."

 "You may." Ranma chuckled at his own jest.

 Fubuki entered the room, followed by Akane. "I now present, Akane Tendo." Fubuki gestured to Akane, who looked a bit annoyed at the formality.

 Ranma laughed. "Sorry Fukibuki, I couldn't resist. You do not have to be so formal all of the time, this is your house too."

 Nabiki looked over at her sister, who was quickly getting over her annoyance at Ranma forcing Fubuki to act so formally, and to serve him like a maid! "So, what's up, Akane-chan?"

 Akane shoot of the last of her annoyance at that to make room for a whole different set of issues. "Are you talking about Kuki-san?" Akane though back on the day, and remembering the bad day Ageha had, she smiled.

 "Yes, we are having a bit of an issue with their family at the moment."

 "HA! I am not surprised, that girl is serious trouble! Always causing problems in class, along with that baka-butler! High-strung, spoiled, know-it-all, self-important, mean-spirited... The perfect example of everything that is wrong with this school, and the world at large!" Akane had sat at the dining-room table, and was talking loudly with her hands. "No matter what you do, it is never good enough, for Perfect-san!"

 Ranma turned to Nabiki, nodding at Akane as he did. "Akane-san doesn't care for Kuki-san much, ne?"

 Akane looked livid, her hands opening and closing, her finger pointing at her face, imitating flames. "Oh yes, I hate Kuki-san, sooo much..." Akane was fuming as she started to stammer. "It-it- the f - it -flam - flames. Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl- heaving breaths. Heaving breaths... Heathing..."

 "Well, this could be a while, and it is close to dinnertime. Kasumi-nee and I should go get cleaned up before we start cooking." Ranma and Kasumi quickly left for the furo, followed soon after by most of the others.

 Nabiki waited for her sister to calm down before she spoke. "I am sure that Kuki-san was not why you came to visit, so, why are you here?"

 Akane looked back at her sister, a worried look replacing her angry one. "Why are you two angry at oto-san?"

 "What did you hear?"

 "Just that you were both mad, and not speaking."

 "Okay, I will tell you the whole story..." '...well, most of it anyway...'


 "Oto-san said ...WHAT?!?!"

 "Ignoring the part about wanting to keep Kasumi-nee as a servant, yes, oto-san said your cooking was poisonous..."

 "That bastard ...can starve!"

 "Calm down, Akane-chan. Do you want to stay for dinner? They are probably about to start cooking, I can ask them to add one more place if you hurry..."

 "Sure, I..." Akane trailed off as a tremendous roar was heard, and the house shook...


 "Aaaaah! That was a nice bath, ne?" Ranma sighed, enjoying the feeling of Kasumi hugging his arm.

 "Oh my yes, we should do that alone more often." Kasumi blushed at her own boldness, and gripped Ranma's arm more tightly as they walked toward the kitchen. "I am really looking forward to cooking with you tonight, I have not been able to do much cooking lately and-"

 The house began to shake as a deafening sound was heard from outside. They rushed out of the house, along with the rest of the neighborhood, to see what was the matter.

 Away to their lawn they ran in a flash, looking around frantically, expecting a crash. When what to their wondering eyes should appear, but a fleet of helicopters, the largest in rear. More noisy than earthquakes they came, even if the rest of them all looked the same. The laugh of an ojou they started to hear, gave Akane the creeps, and a feeling quite queer.

 The neighborhood wondered what was their plan, looking around there was no where to land. The ojou in question jumped out of the chopper, and everyone wonder why nobody stopped her. Ranma rushed off to catch the poor girl, as her parachute started to unfurl. Soon after that, more people did jump, not a single one landing on their rump. With platters of food those servants did serve, while Kasumi was thinking that they had some nerve! To show up with food, on her cooking night, when she'd waited so long, it just wasn't right! "Shimatta!" she cried, and ran into the house, but she knew they were helping and felt like a louse. She ran to assist those setting up food, it was the least she could do, and it brightened her mood.

 Outside Ageha was perfectly pristine, even her hair had a very nice sheen. The ball gown she wore, sparkled and shined, and the look on her face read 'you will be mine'! Ranma himself, was unsure what to do next, the look on 'his' face read, 'I am perplexed'.

 Akane, disgusted, she wanted to run, the rest of the evening would not be much fun. Seeing the food, Akane just pouted, and then to her sister she looked and she shouted. "I do believe that I will just go, and I'll cook for father, just so you know." To her homestead she ran, with nary a care, to just get away from her source of despair.

 The woman looked stunning, and her laughter was loud, she certainly knew how to draw a crowd. From blocks away the people, they came, they gathered around to hear her exclaim. "Ranma Saotome, the groom that I chose, with witness galore, I hereby propose!"

 Ranma was bold, and not very shy, but having a bride-groom drop out of the sky, was more than his heart wanted to take, and to happen in public was sure a mistake. Inviting her in, he did not look pleased, but she followed along, thinking him a big tease.

 Hearing the reason, Akane did laugh, she giggled and chortled and ran for the bath. Lucky she felt, as she looked to the sky, it could not have happened to a nicer guy. Looking skyward while running was not the best plan, she hit a wet tile, and slipped as she ran. Hitting her head, she heard a loud 'thwap!', and decided it was time, to take a long nap.

 Karma it seemed, had played them for chumps, for everyone's problems were about to grow lumps.


 Genma could not believe his luck, he was concerned that even with his Umi-senken, he would be noticed with so many others around who knew what to look for. He had been hoping for a distraction, but to have helicopters hovering overhead, was more than he could have ever hoped for. The gods themselves must be on his side! Of course we will not speculate as to which gods might be willing to help a guy who is breaking into their friend's house, even if it is not to steal their friend's things.

 Activating his Umi-senken, Genma snuck into the Tendo's house, happy to find that no one appeared to be home. He quietly made his way into the attic, and over to where they had stored their master's things after he had been sealed away. He noticed a few new trap doors that he did not remember being here the last time, but being in a hurry, he chose to ignore them. He took anything he thought he might be able to sell quickly, including a large sack of, now slightly outdated, ladies' unmentionables, before sneaking back out of the building.

 He made sure to get at least a block away before dropping his cover, and he felt something that made him wish he had not done just that. The moment he stepped out of the shadows, he felt eyes on his back coming from somewhere nearby. He could not tell from where it was coming, but he felt it sure as anything he had ever felt before. Whoever it was, saw him step out of the shadows, and was paying close attention to him. He was not sure if going back into his stealth mode would help now that he had been spotted, but figured it was better than not and did his best to erase his presence again. Genma ran as quickly as he could, hoping to lose his witness, and find a store that would buy some of his newly acquired loot. With any luck he would not go to sleep hungry that night.

 Unfortunately for Genma, the presence 'had' followed him and he had to run strange patterns around the city, trying his best to get lost. Once he no longer felt the 'presence', he circled back around to a shop he knew dealt in ...'second hand items'.

 The shopkeeper had no interest in some of 'his' items, but was willing to buy enough of them that Genma was quite pleased. He was waiting on the old man to get back with his money when another customer entered the shop. He was hoping the old man would hurry, normal stores would be closing very soon, and he wanted to get food, and booze, before it was too late again.

 The old man soon returned with Genma's 'hard earned' yen, and Genma thanked him, before running out of the shop as quickly as he could, hoping to get to the nearest convenience store. As Genma ran down the street, counting his yen, he paused momentarily, as he thought he heard horrified screams, yelling in utter terror.

 Genma shrugged his shoulders, and continued on his way, he had more important things to worry about, like ...dinner!


 Omake 14

{I am not a fan of this song over all, but when I was trying to think of nicknames for Kuno to use for Yukie, and this was one of them that came to mind, and this idea formed... My apologies.}

 The audience was seated around the gymnasium, not an unusual sight in a school. What was unusual, was that the floor was oval shaped, and the bleachers curved around with it.

 The lights dimmed until almost complete darkness filled the gym, but then a disco ball came down, along with multicolored strobe lights, lighting up the room. The audience applauded as the two opponents came skating out on roller-blades, each of them with a wooden bokuto in hand. Nabiki turned to Ranma, and pointed toward the female participant. "My money is on Yukie."

 "Unless that is the guy's name, then mine is too. With the difference I see from here, this should not take long either... Well, not as long as there is no holding back. It is surprising that it has drawn such a crowd."

 "It's because of who is competing, it may be a short battle, but it should be fun to watch."

 The main lights dimmed as the strobe and colored lights came up while the disco ball began to spin. The music to Abba's Dancing Queen began to play.

You can swing, you can strike, been training for all of your life...
Watch that girl, fight so mean, praisin' the fencing queen.

Feigning high, but the strikes come low,
Best look out for a place to go.
Where they play the right music
Getting in the swing
You came to beat that thing!
Any attack could beat that guy
The night is young and the fight is neigh
With a bit of restraint, we can keep it alive
You're in the mood for dance
It's time to take that chance...

You are the Fencing Queen, shy and sweet, only seventeen
Fencing Queen, feel the beat from the tambourine
You can dance, you can fight, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, digging the Fencing Queen

You're a teaser, you turn 'em on
Leave them burning and then you're gone
Too shy to discover, they will talk to you too
You're in the mood for a dance
And when you get the chance...

You are the Fencing Queen, shy and sweet, only seventeen
Fencing Queen, feel the beat from the tambourine
You can dance, you can fight, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, digging the Fencing Queen

 The music faded as Tatewaki's body went flying through the ceiling, crashing somewhere off in the distance.

 Nabiki checked her watch. "Wow, almost four and a half minutes! That's a new record for Kuno-kun."


 Omake 14b


 "I only play the music I hear in my heart..."

 "It must sound lovely, may I listen in closely?" Ukyo leaned in closely, placing her ear to the other girl's breast. "Oooo, soft too. Ranchama, you should feel too, they are very nice."

 "Hey, wait, I don't mind, but can't I at least get a drink first? ...Maybe some food?"


 End Omake


Author's Notes


 -Shikigami - Spelled with the characters for 'ritual' and 'spirit', it is a 'tool' of an onmyodo mystic. They are usually made from what appear to be paper dolls. The form they take, and the abilities they have are up to the mystic, limited only by their power, ability, and their imagination. They tend to serve in a similar capacity as a familiar for a western wizard or mage, though in a less 'permanent' capacity.

 -Onmyodo - 'The Way of Yin and Yang'. A combination of early science and mysticism. Introduced to Japan from China near the end of the sixth century, it mixed with Taoism, Buddhism, and Shintoism over the next hundred years where it gained influence until the mid nineteenth century, where it was prohibited as a superstition. It was primarily used as a form of divination, by studying nature, calendars, the stars, and other 'tools' to predict fortunes. A very famous example was Abe no Seimei, who lived from 921-1005CE. For a fun way to see more about them, check out Abenobashi Maho Shotengai (Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi).

 Yes, I am aware that Kuno did not start off calling himself Blue Thunder until Ranma showed up in canon, but remember, this is taking place at least six months after the start of the original. He has been calling himself that for some time now, but no one pays him much attention, even less now than usual, since he is not as privileged here as in Furinkan. He isn't even close to the richest person in school, nor is he even in the kendo club, let alone its leader. His aunt being the headmaster is the only reason he has not been kicked out for his antics so far.

 I won't be using it, but in case you were curious, the Japanese used for 'Blue Thunder' is 'Aoi Ikazuchi'. Aoi can mean blue or green, and Ikazuchi is thunder. Although if I do make a joke about 'Green Thunder', you will know where it came from.

Musabetsu Benkyo Ryu (Anything-goes School of Diligence/Study)
Musabetsu Benkyo Saotome Ryu (Saotome School of Anything-goes Diligence/Study)
Musabetsu Kakuto Benkyo Saotome Ryu (Saotome School of Anything-goes Martial Arts Diligence/Study)

 Social Education or Shakaikyoiku, this is what the Japanese call 'nondegree-oriented education', also known as 'lifelong learning'. Large companies and local governments sponsor 'cultural centers', which allow people to take informal classes, typically centered around literature, the arts, and languages. Some are also held in local schools and libraries. The national Ministry of Education is pushing to continue to expand this program, and encourage their use.

 I have been informed that the phrasing 'most any' is not as common as I expected, and I have been requested to explain... "Most', as in, 'not all', and 'any', and in 'anything similar', so 'most any' is similar to, 'almost anything/one', or 'not quite all'.




{Here I will list all of the important, non-Ranma characters, used in the chapter and where they are from.}

Kikyo - From Inuyasha. Her name, Kikyou, is Japanese for the Chinese Bellflower. She has no surname.
Kogarashi the "Maid Guy" - the title character from Kamen no Maid Guy
Fubuki - The soon-to-be 'Maid Guy Tamer' from Kamen no Maid Guy
Kaede Tenjoji - The headmaster of Hakureiryo Academy from Ladies vs. Butlers.
Mikan is her 'assistant' and the Head Instructor.
Mariana Nankyoku 'The Black Rose' - Penguin's mom, Kodachi's aunt, and Kaede's oldest half-sister. She is an abusive person. (She was not in the story, but mentioned).
Mori - A maid, who will later, like her mother, to whom she bears an uncanny resemblance, work for the Amatsuka family, in GJ-Bu, as the family's 'chamberlain'.
Pai Chan - Taken from Virtua Fighter.
Yume - A cute girl with long pink hair. She is from the game/anime, ‘They are My Noble Masters’ (Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de).
Anastasia Mistina - A strange friend of Yume, and a minor character from the same series.
Keiko Inamura - Another friend of Yume and Anastasia. The 'normal one' in their group.
Natose - Yume's Personal attendant, and the head of security for her family's home.
The Colonel (Taisa in Japanese) - Taijiri Yasushi - The head butler of Yume's family.
Yukie Mayuzumi - A shy girl from Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! {*Seriously, Fall in Love with Me!*} The story was an alternate reality spin off of They are My Noble Masters, and this is the version of Yukie from the 'Noble Masters' world, though she did not appear in that story, I am saying she existed in the world. They shared some characters, so I figure they had to all exist in some form.
Ageha Kuki - From both Kimiaru and Majikoi (oh, and Tsuyokis, in a way), she is the eldest of three children of the Kuki family. Her name means Scatter(ed) Feathers and Nine Demons/Gods.
Kojuro Takeda - Ageha's Butler and Steward, and has served her for many years. Technically his name is Kojuurou, but I chose to go with Kojuro to keep it simple. He is the weakest of the Kuki family's one thousand maids and butlers.
Kokoro Fushikawa - Also from Majikoi. Her name means {Not-Dead River, Heart}. She is a bit younger in this timeline.
Fumiko - The manga artist, and mother of the main character from Kemeko Dx. This is obviously well before that storyline. She is bad with deadlines.
Aoi-chan - In Kemeko Dx, she is Fumiko's editor and assistant.
Yukari Kamishiro - The music teacher from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (Haruka Nogizaka's Secret).
Two of the maids were featured, but not yet formally introduced, they are also from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu.
Mitsuka Yoshimine - The future teacher from DearS, currently a shy student in Nabiki's class. She has black hair, usually tied into a ponytail, brown eyes, and fair skin, normally she even wears her winter uniform in the warmer months.

Hisho Fukumi - A member of the Fuma clan, just a bit older than Ranma. Her name means; "Hisho - (1) secret or hidden place; (2) (euph. for) woman's genitalia; (3) the underworld; the other world" Fukumi - implication; hidden meaning; latitude; atmosphere; tone; sentiment; inclusion. It uses the characters for 'hold in mouth; cherish; contain' and the number 'three'."
Hijo - Hisho's younger brother. His name means 'hidden' 'help/assist/aid'. He is a year or so younger than Ranma. {They are OC}