Just another few strands and her hands would be free. Just another few bites. Ryouga could feel each strand snapping as his jaws chewed down on them. Sometimes it sucked to have the teeth of a plant eater, but thankfully, his teeth were a bit sharper than a normal pig's teeth. His fangs transferred over to his cursed form and... made it much easier to chew through things.
Just a little more and... THERE!
Ryouga oinked happily as Rin separated her hands and rubbed her wrists. "Thank you, Uncle Ryouga," she whispered. "There's hot water in this room."
Ryouga oinked curiously.
"They pour it on me when I'm bad," she said, ashamed. "There's a sink over there."
Ryouga growled the best he could. How COULD they? She was fifteen years old, hardly a threat to anyone... Those sick animals.
Rin struggled with the ropes binding her ankles together for a moment and stood up, picking up Ryouga and bringing him to the sink. She turned the hot water on very low, and then splashed some on Ryouga.
Ryouga felt himself grow to his normal size, but he unexpectedly knocked himself against a shelf, knocking the contents over onto the floor. Rin gasped as she heard the voice from outside grumble.
"What the hell are you doing in there, kid? You ready for more? HUH?"
The man swung the door open and stared into the room, at first with a sneer as he undid his belt. Then with a look of confusion after noticing the naked man standing next to Rin. Then with fear as he noticed the naked man's fist strike out against his head...
The last look on his face was a cross between that of a chicken and a paper mache mask. Of course, Ryouga rubbed his fist and turned back toward Rin.
"Stay behind me," he said, barely caring that he was in a state of severe undress.
Rin nodded and stepped out into the light.
The grenade hadn't exactly landed where Goro and Jinjiro's crew had hoped. Fortunately for the Tendos, Kasumi had been out getting the last of the laundry from the clothes lines. At that moment, she was holding a sheet that was still attached to the line.
The grenade landed softly on the sheet and rolled toward Kasumi.
Kasumi picked up the small object from the sheet and examined it closely.
"Oh my," she said. "Now who could have left this artichoke here?"
Looking around and finding no origin for the small plastic artichoke, obviously some sort of toy, she shrugged and tossed it over the fence, hoping nobody had seen her do it.
After all, whoever had lost the toy might want it back!
Humming happily, Kasumi turned back toward the Dojo.
"Shouldn't it have gone off by now?" Jinjiro asked.
"Yeah," Goro replied. "Must have landed somewhere soft, or it was a dud. "Here, lets try another."
"Oh, GOD! INCOMING!" Jinjiro cried.
Goro looked up just in time to see a small object fall toward him. Goro instinctively jumped away from the trunk of the car.
As soon as it had struck, it exploded, taking much of the car with it.
Considering there WERE over three dozen other grenades in the trunk of the car, it made a fairly impressive boom, and sent Goro's entire crew scrambling for cover.
Finally, after the debris had stopped falling, Goro peeked out from behind a power line.
"Dammit!" he shouted. "They're on to us! Full on assault, go!"
The explosion had been just the distraction he needed. Nodoka looked up in shock from the Shogi board and Soun made his move. Well, more than his move, actually. He moved several pieces of his to more powerful positions.
It wasn't until after the front fender of a 1993 Lincoln Towncar had fallen into the koi pond that he realized that the explosion WAS a little loud, and too close for comfort.
"Oh! Kasumi!" Nodoka cried, getting up and grabbing the bundle cloth she constantly carried with her. "Are you all right?"
Kasumi blinked in surprise. The sudden explosion had caught her completely off guard, as she walked back to the house, a small basket of clothing in her arms. Needless to say, she stumbled on to the clothing.
Soun blinked in surprise, just as the phone began to rang. Obviously something had happened, so what Soun needed to do...
Was answer the phone! Yes! Something told him whoever was calling could tell him what was happening!
He ran over and picked it up. "Hello?" he asked.
"Hello, Mr. Tendo? This is Kojiro, a servant for the Kuno family," the voice said on the other end. "I'm sorry it took a great deal of time to call you, but I had trouble locating your phone number. It appears as though your family and estate may be in danger."
Soun blinked. "Well, there was just an explosion outside of the walls."
"Ahh, yes. That was probably meant for you, then. Fortunate that it did not strike any of you."
Soun's ears perked up the moment he heard the telltale crack of gunfire.
"Oh... Would you do me a favour and call the police for us, Kojiro? I fear we may be--"
"Of course, Mr. Tendo. The Young Master, his sister and a young man named Mousse should be along shortly to assist you, as well."
"Of course," Soun said. "I have to go protect my family now."
Nabiki rubbed her eyes and blinked again.
The loud noise that had cause the entire house to shake had confused Nabiki at first, but this... was beyond shock.
Nabiki took a kendo stick from underneath her bed and poked the flaming steering wheel gingerly.
She then threw a blanket on it, putting the flames out.
"Well," she said. "That was interesting."
She walked over to her now-broken window and looked out. Around the yard, several other flaming pieces of debris were lying around. Including a...
Nabiki blinked. Was that a fender in the koi pond?
Suddenly, she looked toward the source of the explosion, and managed to catch a glimpse of the true cause of it all.
Nabiki dropped to the floor just as one of the men below fired a shot toward her. The bullet slammed into the wall behind her and Nabiki looked up in shock. As the shots continued, she crawled across the floor, opening the door to the hallway and finding her way out.
Finally, she stood up and thought.
She didn't need to think for long before her instincts took over.
"Daddy!" she cried, running down the stairs. "We're under attack!"
"Well, it appears our strange new friend is correct, Brother Dear," Kodachi said from atop a rooftop.
Tatewaki frowned. He had heard the explosion, but Kodachi could likely see it. "What do you see, Sister?"
"An explosion, all right," Kodachi said, staring into the distance. "I cannot make out much else, however."
"It was about three blocks away. We've got to hurry!" Mousse exclaimed, picking up his pace.
Tatewaki nodded, and did much the same.
"Nabiki, stay down!" Soun yelled. He had never been shot at before, but he was pretty sure that was the smartest thing to do.
Nodoka finished helping Kasumi into the Dojo and frowned. "They're after us," she said.
"I think it's what's left of the Paved Future," Nabiki said. "They're trying to get at Ranma by getting to us."
Soun nodded. "Make your way to the front yard. I don't know why they didn't just throw a grenade at us, but--"
"Grenade?" Kasumi asked. "Oh, maybe it wasn't a little artichoke, then."
Soun didn't let it phase him. "They think they can do this to my family," he said, clenching his fists.
"Let's go," Nodoka said, pulling Kasumi toward the front door.
Another explosion rang their ears as a second grenade came over the fence, and landed in the middle of the back yard. Thankfully it hadn't struck the house, but it was still loud enough to rock their eardrums.
Soun moved Nabiki and Kasumi toward the front door and cracked the front door open.
He saw... nothing.
"They're probably waiting outside the gates for us," Nodoka said. "It sounds like a tactic gangsters would use."
"Well," Soun said. "Let's not do that, then."
Jinjiro swore. Goro should have had him get into place before he started with things over the back fence. He was sure none of them had managed to escape yet, but still. It wasn't a necessary risk.
So now Jinjiro was in place, the pistol resting in his hands. If anyone came out of the front entrance, he would catch them. Easily.
And it wouldn't be long. In fact, they should come running out of there at any moment...
Any time now...
Jinjiro cleared his throat. Why couldn't anyone ever just die on schedule?
"Excuse me, young man?" Jinjiro heard from somewhere nearby. Sounded like an older man, and Jinjiro didn't need the interruption.
"Get lost, Old man," Jinjiro said without looking back.
"Well, that's rude, wouldn't you say, Nodoka?" the voice said.
"Indeed, Soun," Nodoka replied.
Jinjiro paused. Those voices were coming from...
Jinjiro looked up just in time to see the old man jump on him from above, wrestle the gun from his grip, and knock him into unconsciousness.
Nodoka then dropped down.
"One down. How many others would you say?"
Soun stood up and peeked around the corner. "Four," he said, looking back. "Unless..."
"FREEZE!" Nodoka and Soun heard from behind them.
Nodoka was the first to turn around. She immediately dropped the bundle she held and put her hands up in the air.
The man had obviously doubled around from the other side, and had been meant to be the backup for the man that now lay unconscious at their feet. He now stood near the front gate to the Dojo--
--which was open.
Nodoka raised an eyebrow. She was sure that they left it closed... hadn't they?
"It's not very nice to point guns at people," the sweet, innocent voice said from the entrance. The man had about enough time to look at Kasumi in confusion when the frying pan came down on his hand, knocking the gun to the floor, and then into his face.
The man fell over, unconscious.
"Oh my," Kasumi said, stepping out from the Dojo grounds. "That was fun!"
Tatewaki peered around the corner. "Four men," he said. "Perhaps more, if they are around the other side. They must have... blown up their own car," he said.
Mousse nodded. "Do we attack?"
"I shall take them from the opposite side, brother," Kodachi, who was now on the ground with them, said.
Tatewaki nodded and them unsheathed his bokken. "Come. We shall attack now."
Mousse jumped right into the fray, distracting the lot of them while Kuno came up from the side. He struck the first man from behind, knocking him several feet away, into the brick wall.
Suddenly, the lot of them got wise. Two took off in one direction, while one pulled out a gun.
"Pursue them!" Tatewaki said. "I shall take this one!"
The man growled and pointed the gun toward Tatewaki.
A moment later, he pulled the trigger.
Nodoka had rounded the corner just as the bullet had been fired. There were five of them, with one unconscious. A young man wearing a hakama, and... the boy from the Nekohanten? They seemed to be the odd men out.
Obviously, they were there to help, because the bullet had been shot toward the man with the hakama.
Tatewaki sidestepped the bullet as best he could, and brought his bokken up to deflect the it.
He was fast enough, but the bokken was nowhere near as strong. It deflected the bullet just enough to miss Tatewaki, but the bokken suffered for it.
"Nice try," the man with the gun said. "But you can't dodge this."
Tatewaki frowned at the wooden stump in his hands. "You have defiled the weapon of a Kuno. For this, truly you shall pay."
"Young man!" Nodoka called.
Tatewaki cast a quick glance over towards Nodoka as he dropped the stump of his bokken.
"Catch!" she exclaimed, and tossed her bundle toward him.
Kuno caught it without trouble by the hilt, and removed the surrounding cloth. The man with the gun frowned.
"You're too far," he said, and then pulled the trigger.
Kuno reacted in less time than it took for the bullet to get there. He swung the blade up towards his own torso and deflected the bullet with no trouble.
The man with the gun frowned, and pulled the trigger three more times.
Three more times, Kuno deflected the bullet, but the last bullet ricocheted from his sword, against the wall, and then struck the man in the thumb. He yelped in pain and dropped the gun.
The bullet hadn't penetrated his skin, but it had hit with enough force that... yes, his thumb was broken.
"Do you concede?" Kuno asked.
The man growled, and then smirked. He reached into his pocket with his good hand and pulled out a grenade. Without delay, he yanked the pin out from it.
"Deflect this," he said, fully knowing that the slightest sign of impact would set it off.
Tatewaki watched in mild amusement as the grenade sailed from the man's hand to cross the short distance between them. He turned the katana on it's side and began to prepare.
The man, however, had run for cover the moment he threw the grenade.
So, as the concussion grenade made contact with the katana, and nothing happened, it caused quite a bit of confusion. Especially for the man who was now stupidly looking out from the ruined shell of what used to be a car.
"A dud?" he asked, peeking out.
Tatewaki rolled the grenade along the shaft of the katana and caught it gently in his hands.
"A true master of Kendo need not use force to battle some opponents. It is equally important to be as gentle as a rose," Tatewaki said, looking at the grenade. "I believe this was yours?"
Needless to say, the man didn't stick around much longer. Tatewaki walked over to where the man was standing and picked up the small metal pin and placed it back in the chamber. He then placed the grenade in his pocket.
"Truly he is a coward that fears my wrath," Tatewaki said, brushing a strand of hair back. "To use the weapon of a coward, and follow in the footsteps of one."
Mousse smirked as he stood upon the unconscious body of the first runner. The other had already took his sprint down the street, but upon eying the laughing figure of Kodachi give chase, he figured he was better off left with her.
In fact, he almost felt sorry for the guy. Almost.
He took his foot off the mans head and rummaged through his pockets, hoping to disarm the man, if he had a gun.
He found a gun, and... more curiously, he found a cell phone.
Acting on a hunch, he flipped the cover open and pressed redial.
Yamagami reached for the cell the very moment it rang. "That would be Goro," he said. "I'll let you hear about the death of your family..."
Akane whimpered something under her breath, but kept it in check. She didn't want to give Yamagami the impression that--
"Goro?" Yamagami asked.
For a moment, there was no reply.
"Goro? What's the status?"
"Err," the voice said on the other end. "It's done..."
Yamagami smiled. "All of them? Dead?"
"Nope," Goro said.
"What do you mean, 'no'?"
"How can you think I'm Goro, Yamagami? Seriously... Do I sound anything like him?"
Yamagami blinked. "What... who is this?"
"Say hi to Akane and Ranma for me, wouldja?"
Yamagami's jaw dropped open. "How... you're..."
"What is it?" Shuji asked.
"It's the boy from the restaurant. How the hell did... What did he do, fly?"
"You'd be surprised," Ranma said, smirking. She tightened her defensive stance. "Now drop it, Yamagami."
Yamagami growled. "Minor setback," he said. "You're all still dead if you move."
"I don't buy this shit," Ukyou said, and then took a step.
The shot came so quickly that Ranma barely had time to catch the bullet. In fact, she had so little time that the bullet struck her with amazing force, and he hadn't had the time to arrange for a lesser impact. The bullet smacked into her hand and crushed some bone inside.
Ranma growled and held her bleeding hand. "Ukyou," she said. "Don't move."
"Impressive, Saotome," Yamagami said. "Now I know how you beat Mazuhara... But it seems you're very limited on what you can do with one hand."
Ranma glared toward Yamagami.
"Now, seeing as Hibiki is strangely absent, I'd assume that--"
"YOU'RE DEAD, YAMAGAMI!"
Mousse chuckled as he flipped the phone shut, and threw it down at Goro. Yamagami was losing, he knew it...
But if he was still up and moving now, and talking to Ranma... That meant Yamagami had something held over him.
Mousse frowned. There needed to be something--
The sirens. Yes, he had to warn the police. They could clean up some of the mess here, and hightail it over to the bay.
Mousse ran back toward the Tendo home, nodding at the woman atop a nearby fence that had a fully grown man wrapped in a ribbon. Interestingly enough, the man also had two grenades in either hand, with the pins hanging precariously from the ribbons.
Oh, well. No matter. The police would be there in a short while, and he had to warn them.
"My thanks, fair maid," Tatewaki said, bowing after wrapping Nodoka's katana back up and handing it to her. "I fear the coward may have given me a premature death had you not lent your blade."
Nodoka took her sword back and smiled. "My, you are polite, aren't you? How manly."
Tatewaki laughed. "Yes, I am quite manly, fair maid."
"Yeah, too bad modesty isn't one of your strong points," Mousse said, running up.
Tatewaki either didn't hear him, or chose to ignore it, and continued to preen himself before Nodoka.
"Are you all right, Mrs. Saotome?" Mousse asked.
Nodoka nodded. "Yes, I'm quite fine. This young man here was a great help."
"Do my ears deceive me? That you, fair maid are related to the likes of Ranma Saotome?" Tatewaki asked.
Nodoka blinked. "Yes, he's my son. You know Ranma?"
"Indeed... Saotome and I have been at odds for a great period of time... His recent absence has made my heart beat with my warrior spirit, for I wish to defeat him in combat. The knave that he is--"
"Err, Kuno," Mousse began.
"--to hide from me. Truly he is a coward that fears my prowess with a sword! When I should get a chance to meet him after--"
"Hey, uhh... Kuno?" Mousse tried to interrupt.
"--his recovery, truly we should see who is deserving of the hand of Akane Tendo and the Pigtailed Girl!"
Nodoka blinked and took all of it in. "Did you call my son a coward?"
"Truly," Tatewaki said. "How such a black devil sorcerer such as himself could come forth from the loins of one so beautiful as yourself, it does not fail to amaze me. However, you do bear a resemblance to one of my true loves, the Pigtailed Girl. Are you of relation to her?"
Nodoka blinked. "Sorcerer? Pigtailed girl?" Nodoka furrowed her brow. "I think not, young man. My Ranma is far too manly to stoop to the lengths of using the black arts in order to win a battle!"
"Ahh, but he has," Tatewaki said. "And, too has he snared the emotions of the Beauteous Akane Tendo and the Tigress Pigtailed Girl!"
"This pigtailed girl," Nodoka began. "She is yea high?" She put her hand out. "Usually wears similar clothing to Ranma?"
"Indeed," he said. "That is my love."
Nodoka began to get sick to her stomach. "That is... FAR from manly, young man!"
"Your 'love' of which you speak is none other than my son!"
Tatewaki blinked. He then let his gaze land on Mousse, who was smirking.
Suddenly, he put two and two together. This time, he didn't come out with five.
"Aggh! You mean to tell me that the Pigtailed Girl suffers from the same affliction as you, Sir Mousse?"
"Err," Mousse began. "Not... quite."
"That she is... cursed to change into that... cur?!"
Instead, he came up with three.
"Come on, Shiro... Just this one favour," Kintaro asked. "I'll even lend some men."
"How come you only call me when you need a favour?" Shiro asked. "I mean, our Gumi's aren't exactly at odds with each other, but they aren't friendly, either."
"Look, how about this... I'll take care of it all, I just need your permission."
"What is this all about, anyway?"
Kintaro sighed, and then launched into a brief explanation.
"Is that so?" Shiro asked. "Then this Yamagami is part of the Paved Future?"
"Yes. And he's killed some clients of mine, I--"
"Understood. Okay, Kintaro. You've got your help. Just this once. I'll have it set up right away."
"But the minute the police show up, my men are vamoosing. They'd just love the opportunity to nail them."
"YOU!" Yamagami exclaimed. "Why the hell didn't you drown?"
Ryouga jumped at the man, causing him to flinched and fire his weapon blindly. Thankfully, each bullet either completely missed Ryouga, or barely skimmed him.
The others worked quickly. As Shuji neared the edge of the deck, staring in shock at Ryouga, Ranma leapt across the deck, covering the distance in less than a second, and knocked him across the face with his foot, rendering him unconscious.
Yamagami worked quickly, sending his men to cover him, and rolled across the floor, barely missing the attack by Ryouga. He pulled out his gun once again and trained it on Ryouga.
However, before he could fire, Akane kicked it out of his hand, and struck him in the chest.
Yamagami scrambled to his feet as his men were knocked out, one by one, and the martial artists began to approach him. Maybe if he could jump off--
No... What the hell? Police boats? Were those-- no... not just police boats.
Yamagami watched in horror as a ring of privately owned yachts and police boats surrounded the exit to the small harbour. They were...
The Yakuza. Damn.
Turning back to the others, who were slowly approaching him, he resigned himself to his fate, and then reached into his pocket.
"Move and we ALL die," he said, taking a small trigger from his pocket and pressing him thumb down on it.
Suddenly, most of them stopped. Ryouga kept approaching, though.
"I wouldn't suggest coming any further, Hibiki," Yamagami said. "This trigger is connected to about half a ton of C-4 below deck. I'm sure you may have seen some on your way up." Yamagami noticed Rin peeking out from the cabin. "And she could tell you for sure."
But Rin didn't. She left the cabin and walked out on deck.
"Rin, what are you doing?" Ryouga asked.
Rin didn't answer. She started to walk towards him.
"Rin, he'll blow us ALL up."
"I don't care anymore, Uncle," she said.
Eichi narrowed his eyes at the young girl. "Don't fool with the big boys, little girl," he said. He then spotted something out of the corner of his eye.
He dropped his arms, but didn't let up on the trigger. "Come and get me," he said.
"Rin," Ryouga said. "Please, I don't want you hurt any more."
The motion was so quick that Ryouga didn't even realize it until it was too late. Shuji had stirred from unconsciousness and ran toward Rin, tackling her and knocking the two of them over the edge.
Ryouga yelled out loud and jumped after the two of them, and paid no attention to the protests of Ranma and Ukyou.
"You IDIOT!" Ranma exclaimed. "Your curse!"
"I've got him!" Ukyou exclaimed, then jumped over the edge, spatula in hand.
"Well," Yamagami said and smiled. "Looks like it's just you two and me now."
The girl was so small in comparison to Shuji. She was like a rag doll against his size.
While Shuji wasn't an overly large man, he was still considerably sized. And the young girl stood no chance against him as he held her head underwater as she struggled.
There was a large splash next to him and Shuji looked over, not letting up on his task.
It was a pig. A small, black pig. Shuji sneered as he realized who it was.
"What do you expect to do, Hibiki?" Shuji laughed. "I'll drown you as easily as this one!"
Ryouga's response was simple. He lunged.
Shuji screamed out in shock and pain as the small piglet clamped down on his earlobe, and he let go of the girl as he tried to pry the piglet off. He barely noticed the third splash as his struggle took both himself and the piglet underwater.
Ukyou reached the surface as quickly as she could. Shuji was struggling with the small pig that she had realized was Ryouga earlier in the night, but Rin was free, and struggling by herself to tread water.
Why was it that nobody could swim?
Ukyou easily made her way over to the young girl and swum with her back to the hull of the yacht. A moment later, Ukyou took her spatula and embedded it in the side of the hull, and then looked at Rin.
"Can you hear me, Rin?" she asked. "Are you all right?"
Rin nodded in between coughs. "I'm fine," she said.
"I want to you hold on to this and DON'T let go," she said. "Understand?"
Rin nodded and held on to the shaft of the spatula. "Uncle... Uncle Ryouga!" she exclaimed.
"I'll get him," she said, and then dove underwater.
Yamagami swiftly made his way around Ranma and Akane, putting his back toward the ring of boats.
"It's over, Yamagami," Ranma said. "Give it up."
Yamagami smirked. "Someone is going to die here tonight, Saotome. It's not going to be me, I assure you of that."
"Look around you!" Ranma exclaimed. "Rin's overboard! You think Shuji can really get away from both Ryouga AND Ukyou?"
"Hibiki is a pig. Kuonji had a minimal chance with that weapon of hers."
Ranma shook his head. If only Yamagami knew. Turning toward Akane, he whispered. "Can you make a break for it?" he asked.
Akane blushed. "I can't swim," she said.
Damn. Ranma sighed and looked toward Yamagami. If only Akane hadn't come along... he could have made it off the boat and underwater before her had a chance to set off the explosive... but with Akane there...
"Try it, Saotome," Yamagami smirked. "I'd be interested to see if you and the misses could make it before I scorch your hides."
Suddenly, the bunch of them were interrupted by a light from the row of yachts.
"Throw down your weapon, Yamagami!" the voice exclaimed. "This is the police!"
Ranma waved his hands, trying to signal something, but either it didn't work, or they ignored it.
Nothing. It was pitch black.
Ukyou swum around underwater, trying desperately to see something. Anything. But it was too dark. She knew Ryouga and Shuji had to be somewhere around here, but--
There. A flash of light from the surface. She could see, albeit very little.
But it was enough. A little glimmer of clothing swaying in the water and the small air bubbles reaching up to the surface.
Ukyou swam down to the source and grabbed a hold of the clothing, pulling it into the light. She gasped, sending a large air bubble to the surface.
Ryouga had somehow attached himself to Shuji's face, and had proceeded to suffocate him, covering his nose, mouth and eyes.
Without being able to see, Shuji couldn't tell where he was underwater.
Shuji clawed frantically at Ryouga's tough hide, creating bloody gashes all around his back. Ukyou didn't know what to do, but she had to do something. Ryouga could drown if he didn't get air soon.
Ukyou pulled on Shuji's jacket, pulling him toward the surface. It was still a good several meters upward, but if she didn't get them there in time, then--
Shuji suddenly went limp. Without the added push he was making by kicking his legs, she found herself sinking back down with him. No, she couldn't let this happen. Shuji was unconscious from air loss, but Ryouga...
Ryouga wasn't attached to Shuji's face anymore. Ukyou looked around, trying to use the light to her advantage.
There, about five feet below. She could get to him, but...
Screw it. Letting go of Shuji, she swan down and grabbed a hold of the small pig, and then swam to the surface.
Once breaking the surface, she waited for her eyes to adjust. They stung from the exposure to the air, but still manage to clear her view. She looked at Ryouga, who rested in her hand, and shook him.
"Ryouga," she exclaimed. "Come on, big guy... Wake up!"
Ryouga didn't reply. He was one unconscious pig.
Damn. She needed to get him help... quick!
She looked around. There was a police boat nearly thirty feet away from her. Now... if she could just grab Rin and--
Rin. Where was she? She was no longer on her spatula! She looked around frantically. Her hands were full enough with Ryouga, but--
There! She had made it to the police boat and was being pulled aboard. Ukyou swam over and began to yell frantically.
"Now, ain't this a sight?" Lieutenant Iwazaki chuckled as he watched all the 'privately owned' yachts line up adjacent to the police boat. He knew very well who they actually were, but it hardly mattered. He had nothing on them this time around...
"Sir," one of the officers said, saluting him. "We've got a... complication."
"We've just pulled two young women aboard, and they're saying the yacht is loaded with C-4."
"Hey, we've got to get him help!" Both of the girls yelled, pointing frantically at the pig that laid limply on the deck of the ship.
Iwazaki rubbed his forehead and took a sip of his coffee. "Good Lord," he muttered to himself, and then walked over to the girls.
"Hey, you've gotta help him! He's dying!" The older one exclaimed.
Iwazaki looked down at the animal. "It's a pig. Pigs die."
"No, you don't understand!"
"Listen, forget about the pig. What's this about C-4?"
"He'll DIE!" the girl exclaimed, grabbing the coffee from Iwazaki's hand and throwing it to the ground, right on top of the pig.
Iwazaki growled. "Listen, you stupid idiot! We've got a REAL situation to worry about. Not some stupid PIG!"
"Err, sir?" the officer began.
"WHAT?" Iwazaki exclaimed, and then looked toward where the pig used to... be... "What the hell?"
"I TOLD you!"
"Dammit, get the medics out here!"
"Yamagami," Ranma growled, taking a defensive stance. "Give it UP, I said!"
"You want to fight me, Saotome? Would you like your ass original, or extra crispy?"
Ranma sighed. "You know how I killed Mazuhara, Yamagami?"
"There are rumours," he replied, checking out the immediate area.
"The trick is, I didn't kill him. He killed himself."
Yamagami scoffed. "Mazuhara was crazy, but not suicidal."
"I didn't say I didn't help." He dropped the stance. "No more death, Yamagami."
"Oh, please. You think I'm stupid, Saotome?"
"Pump him!" the medic called. "Get me the syringe!"
Ukyou watched in abstract horror as the medics worked on the... unconscious, yes, that was it.. he was merely unconscious.
"Still no pulse," the second medic said.
"Demerol, NOW," the first exclaimed.
The second medic injected the syringe in through his neck, and continued to perform CPR.
"Is Uncle Ryouga gonna be okay?" Rin asked, pulling on Ukyou's wet sleeve.
Ukyou sighed and drew the young girl closer to him.
"Still no pulse," the medic said. "He's gone."
"Damn," the first said. "All right... prepare a spot at the mor--"
"NO!" Ukyou exclaimed, and then threw off her towel. "He's NOT dead!"
"Miss," the first medic began, but was thrown nearly eight feet away by Ukyou before he could continue.
Ukyou knelt at the Ryouga's side and smacked his face.
"Come ON, Ryouga! You're going to give up after all this?" she asked, then pounded her fist down on his chest. "You worked so fucking hard to get to this point, and that's it? You're just going to die? Is that FAIR, huh? Fair to Ranma? Fair to Rin? Fair to Akari? Fair to... fair to ME, dammit?" She continued to pound on his chest.
"Miss," the second medic said, making sure he was far enough away not to get knocked off of his feet. "He's... I'm afraid he's gone, miss."
"NO!" she shot back. "He's NOT gone!" She continued to pound. "Dammit, Ryouga! You're the strongest person I know! Are you going to be this WEAK when it comes down to it?! Huh? Come on, you Jackass! You AREN'T dying on me today!"
"Miss, his pulse has--" the medic began, and then stared down at the boy.
Ryouga convulsed as Ukyou pounded on his chest a final time, vomiting water.
"Turn him over!" the medic exclaimed. "Quick!"
Ukyou turned him to his side as he vomited the water and opened his eyes, weakly. He started to talk, but then vomited more water.
"Ryouga? Are you okay, Hon?" Ukyou asked.
"Rin?" Ryouga croaked.
"She's all right," Ukyou replied, motioning for the girl to come over.
Ryouga placed his hands on the ground and hefted himself to a sitting position.
"Sir, it's better if you lay down, I've got to--" the medic began, but then saw the look on Ryouga's face.
"Shuji?" he asked.
"He's... he's gone, Ryouga," Ukyou said.
Ryouga stood up and stared off the edge of the boat, not caring about his nakedness. "Yamagami?"
Ukyou wrapped him in a towel and pointed toward Yamagami's boat.
Ryouga stared off into the distance. Not eighty feet away he stood, holding Ranma and Akane at bay... with his back turned to Ryouga.
Ryouga smirked. A fatal mistake.
He drew his hands before him and began to focus on a single thought. A single emotion.
And emotion that... would not come to him. What?
He turned back to Ukyou and the medic, and frowned. He opened his mouth to ask, but then realized it.
The empty syringe lying on the ground near where he was lying. They had given him something.
He couldn't throw a Shishi Hokodan if his life depended on it... And as it was, Ranma and Akane's lives did.
He turned back toward Yamagami's boat and frowned. He was sure there had to be some other way--
That was it. He was SURE of himself.
He could do it. He WOULD do it.
He drew his hands before him and began to focus his energy. Confidence. If there was anything Ryouga had at that time, it was confidence in his abilities.
"I can do it," he said, and then opened his eyes.
"MOKO TAKABISHA!" he exclaimed, and then let it loose.
Ranma glared at Yamagami. There were a number of things he could do, but... what would work? If he and Akane were to jump for it, there was a chance they be seriously injured. If he were to cover Akane, the shrapnel from the explosion might pass right through him and hit her.
Either way, the only way he could do this involved the yacht exploding.
He felt a light pull on his senses as he focused on Yamagami, who stood smiling at the two.
"What's the matter, Saotome? Out of ideas?"
Ranma ignored him, but instead focused on what was directly behind Yamagami. His eyes went wide, as did Akane's.
Apparently, Yamagami noticed it as well. The glowing red light that illuminated the area behind him was somewhat unmistakable. He turned to see, and saw a large glowing ball of red energy, racing directly toward Yamagami.
"Oh, SHIT!" Ranma exclaimed. "Umm... Run!"
Ranma and Akane dove for the surface of the water and splashed down, immediately swimming down and away from the boat. Yamagami, however remained.
The ki blast struck him square in the stomach, not killing him directly, but sending his insides on a trip to the outside world. Blood flew out of several cavities in Yamagami's body as he and the ki blast flew into the cabin of the yacht.
Moments later, it exploded in a haze of flame and shrapnel. The police and Yakuza involved scrambled for cover as pieces of metal and burning metal fell down atop of them, while Ranma and Akane were safely tucked away underwater, although the blast did give them a bit of a shock.
And then, only moments later, the flames subsided as the boat started to sink under the water.
Yamagami was dead.
"Will you be okay?" Ryouga asked.
Rin smiled at the man. She had been through hell. Perhaps more hell than Ryouga himself had seen, but now she was out of it. She knew he felt responsible for most of it, but if it had not been for him... well, even Rin shuddered to think where she'd be.
But through all of it, she loved Ryouga. Perhaps not a girlfriend-boyfriend type of love, like she wanted, but a deep, respectful love nonetheless.
"I'll be fine, Uncle Ryouga" she said, embracing him in a hug. "Thank you."
She turned back and looked down at the two grave markers that had been made in honour of her parents and let a tear fall from her eyes. Ryouga placed a strong hand on her shoulder, and soon she felt another hand grip her other shoulder.
"It will be all right, child," Kintaro said, smiling down at her.
Rin looked up at the man with a raised eyebrow.
"I always take care of my clients," he said, smiling.
Ryouga smiled over at the aging Oyabun. "Thanks," he said.
"No thanks are needed, Hibiki. Come now, you'd best get on your way, and Rin here should get settled into her new home," he said.
Ryouga nodded and held Rin's hand. "Remember, I'll be here whenever you need me. Just let Ranma know and he'll be able to find me."
Rin nodded and kissed Ryouga on the cheek, causing him to blush. "Thank you, Ryouga."
Ryouga bowed toward Kintaro, and said his good-byes. A moment later, he was walking away from the two.
"Where will I live?" Rin asked the Oyabun, not tearing her gaze away from Ryouga's retreating form.
The Oyabun smiled. "I've arranged for an apartment for you to live in all your own, as well as the money needed to support it," he said. "You'll be well taken care of."
"Why can't I stay with you?" she asked.
Kintaro shook his head. "I take care of my clients, young Rin. To stay in my home would be a folly I'm not willing to pay for. But anything you need-- and I do mean that-- do not hesitate to ask, and I will supply it for you."
Rin closed her eyes. "Thank you."
"It is the least I can do."
"You think they'll be all right?" Akane asked, watching the Oyabun and young Rin talk in the graveyard.
Ranma nodded. "They'll be fine," he said, and then turned away. "Ryouga did good."
Akane nodded, and then looked at her fiance with a mischievous look. "So, Ranma," she began.
Ranma looked over to Akane. "Hm?"
"Where do you think P-Chan was during all this?"
Ranma immediately facefaulted.
Ukyou walked in to her restaurant and breathed in the air. "Sorry I took so long, Konatsu," she said, looking at the sleeping ninja. She paused.
"Konatsu?" she asked, poking him. "Hey, wake up! It's only noon!"
Konatsu stirred awake and looked up. "Oh, Miss Ukyou!" he exclaimed. "I watched the restaurant for you!"
"Why were you asleep?"
"I'm sorry, Miss Ukyou," Konatsu said. "I wasn't sure what time to close, so I kept it open all night."
"For THREE days?!"
Mousse smiled as he signed off the restaurant's deed to its new owner. "I hope you enjoy the place," he said. "I've had a great time here."
"That I would imagine, Sir Mousse," Tatewaki said. "This place will serve as a wonderful Kendo Training Hall! And with the adventures that you and I have been in, I welcome you back at any time!"
"Err... I don't think I'll be back that often."
"Brother?" Kodachi asked. "This place has wonderful kitchen facilities! It would make a wonderful restaurant! The Black Rose Gardens, yes! I can see it now!"
"Nay, woman. This is to be a Kendo Training Hall."
"Surely you jest, Brother. The Black Rose Gardens is a far better use for the place!"
"I'll... err... just let you two decide, okay?" Mousse said, slipping out of the restaurant. Hours later, he was sure he could still hear them arguing, from an altitude of ten thousand feet about Tokyo.
Ryouga searched through his pack. Everything was as it was before he had left it behind at Rin's restaurant, except it was now a few days old.
The Surume. The Kikurage. The Dango.
He'd tried the message before, although it was in vain. The recipient hadn't understood.
But now the recipient was someone else. Someone he was sure he could love, and someone he was sure loved him in return.
He looked up to the sky before him, and set off. Hopefully, he would be able to find Akari before the sell-by date passed... This time.