Prologue: BeckoningEdit

"So... I'm sure of our viewers want to know now... Just who IS Ranma Saotome?" The news anchor said. "We've seen his face in the news several times over the past weeks, both in a positive light and a negative. A man who, with the help of his friends, took down the Paved Future, a Japanese Terrorist organization not once, but twice! Our news station travelled to Nerima in hopes to get an interview with this amazing teen and his friends. Michiko Suzuhara reports."

The scene cut over to a young woman holding a microphone standing at the front entrance of Furinkan High School. "Thank you, Reika. I'm standing in front of Furinkan High School right now, the very school that Ranma Saotome, Akane Tendo and Ukyou Kuonji attend. Three of the five hero teenagers that took down the Paved Future, with assistance of the Tokyo Police Force. Today is the day that Ranma Saotome himself is scheduled to return to class." She looked around for a moment. "Excuse me," she called to a student.

A moment later, Hikaru Gosunkugi stepped onto the screen. "Are you a classmate of Ranma's?" she asked.

Hikaru nodded quietly, warily eyeing the camera.

"How do you feel about your classmates being so famous?" Michiko asked.

"It's... uhh... kinda... umm... neat... I guess..."

"Okay, thank you," Michiko said, then shooed him away. She paused for a moment, staring off past the camera, and then looked back.

"I've just been informed by our correspondent that Ranma Saotome should be reaching the school any moment now. And... yes... Yes, I think I see him coming! Ichiro, get this!"

The camera swung around to the street about a block away, where Ranma was running atop a fence, with Akane keeping up easily.

"I believe he's running along the top of a chain link fence," Michiko continued, now off-screen. As Ranma got closer, Michiko was seen running towards him.

"Ranma! Akane! Michiko Suzuhara with Tokyo Morning Action News! Could you spare a moment to answer a few questions?" she called over.

Ranma immediately paused, and jumped down off of the fence. Akane followed in suit, walking up to Michiko.

"Sure," Ranma said.

"Ranma, we're going to be late," Akane warned.

"We've got some time," he said to Akane. He looked back toward Michiko. "Shoot," he replied.

"First of all, how does it feel to take down such a dangerous organization as the Paved Future?"

"It's like anything else, you know?" He replied. "You just see something wrong, and you do something about it. The thing is, there's no way I coulda done it alone, you know?"

"Of course, the others that helped--"

"Akane, Ukyou, Ryouga, Mousse, Even Shampoo."

"How do you feel about those who were killed in the first encounter? I believe their names were--"

Ranma shook his head. "Cologne and Happosai. Well, it was tragic. Shouldn't have happened that way, but the one who's responsible died that same day."

"Now, I think the question our viewers want answered most is... just who is the mysterious girl that assisted you in the last encounter?"

Ranma paused. "What?"

"Rumors have been abound from several witnesses who claim to have seen a red-headed girl dressed much the same way as you that helped destroy the Paved Future once and for all."

"They're completely false," a third voice chimed in. The camera turned around to see Nabiki shoving Michiko away from Ranma. "Now if you'll excuse us, my client needs to get to class."

"Client?" Michiko asked.

"That's right," Nabiki replied. "My name is Nabiki Tendo, and I'm Ranma's Agent. You want to talk to him, you go through me!"

Ranma and Akane quickly sped by them and into the school grounds. A moment later, Nabiki followed them.

Michiko regained her composure and looked at the camera once again.

"Well, there you have it," she said. "Words from the mouth of Ranma Saotome himself. This is Michiko Suzuhara reporting. Back to you, Reika."

The TV clicked off, leaving a light trail in the wake of the picture tube. The figure sitting in front of it stood up and sighed.

"So, Saotome," she said. "Looks like you've made a name for yourself."

She took a cigarette out of a half-empty pack sitting on her desk and lit it, momentarily lighting the dark room, as well as the unconscious figure slumped into the corner.

"Until we meet again," she said, blowing smoke at the blank TV screen.

"I'll consider that a freebie," Nabiki said.

"Freebie? For what?" Ranma asked.

"As your agent, I am to collect %45 of all your net income from television appearances."

Akane blinked. "Forty-five? I thought agents only took fif-- mpfhph-"

Ranma looked over at Nabiki, who was currently covering Akane's mouth. "I don't think I need an agent, Nabiki," he replied. He then began running back toward the school.

"Wait!" Nabiki called. "Okay, forty percent!"

Ranma kept running.

"Thirty-five! No, Thirty!"

"Bye, Nabiki," Ranma shot back.

"Fine! Fifteen!"

Ranma was already gone.

"Damn," Nabiki muttered to herself.

Ranma sat in class, absently staring out the window. It wasn't as if he wanted to go back to school, actually, he could care less. What good was being a celebrity if you had to go to school? He wanted none of it. Especially not with the stares and googly eyes he was getting from not only the student body, but the teachers as well.

He silently ruffled through his pockets and pulled out several pieces of paper, papers he had found in his cubby hole, which was stuffed. He flipped through them with distaste. Ranma didn't even feign interest in them.

Dear Ranma, one has started.

Will you marry me?

That was all it said. Didn't even have a signature. He ruffled through the papers some more. Several more marriage proposals, photographs, some of them naughty, and a drawing of him in a fighting stance, attached to a letter asking him for the rights to do a manga based on his life.

He crumpled them up and tossed them towards the trash bin, netting himself three points... if he was playing basketball, that is.

With a sigh, he looked towards the front of the class, and finally noticed the stares.

Actually, they were less stares and more looks of adoration. Ranma grumbled under his breath a rolled his eyes.

"All right, class!" Hinako exclaimed. "Now I'm aware it's very exciting for us to have Ranma and Akane back in class, but we have more pressing matters to attend to. As you're aware, we have a test today."

Ranma straightened his posture. Finally someone would help get things back to normal. He sighed with relief as Hinako began to pass out tests face-down on student's desks. Ranma readied his pencil as the test got to his desk.

"On my mark, turn them over and began," Hinako said. After a few moments, she gave them a nod.

Ranma turned over his test and began to read.

Ranma frowned.

'Dear Ranma,' it had said.

'Sorry I didn't leave my signature, but will you marry me?'

'Love Miss Hinako.'

Ranma's shoulders fell and he groaned.

"Ahh, screw this!" he exclaimed, then promptly jumped away from his desk and ran towards the door, garnering noises of surprise from the students, and a look of confusion from Akane.

He stopped at the door and turned around. "Look," he said. "This was a bad idea. I'm going home until you people can smarten up." He looked at Akane. "I'll see you at home," he said.

And with that, he was gone.

Ranma left the school grounds the best way he knew how. By jumping the brick wall that surrounded the school and began his trek home. It's not that he hated the fame, in fact, it was quite the opposite. He loved the feeling of knowing that he had helped out the country not once, but twice, but he was sick of all the bullshit from the people.

Men and women he had never met before were coming up to him on the street, basically accosting him. He had never really had the patience to deal with it before, how was he expected to deal with it now? He kicked a lone rock on the street as he dawdled down. He was so wrapped up in his own problems that he barely noticed the diaper delivery van across the street from the school, which was now starting to follow him.

"Ranger base, this is Paladin-One. Subject is on the move. Request advice," the man inside the van said over the radio.

"Paladin-One, keep with the subject, but don't let him see you. Pegasus will approach once he gets home."

"Roger, Ranger base," he replied, then shut off the radio.

"Man, this is bullshit," Agent McCarthy said. "Following some kid around? I didn't sign up for this to keep tabs on some kid. I've got some of the most advanced military and tactics training in the world, and what do use it for? Surveillance on some punk kid."

"Nobody ever told you most of this job will be stake-outs?" Agent Nelson replied.

"Stake-outs I can handle. But stake-outs on some terrorist hide-out, or maybe even a deep cover operation in the middle east," he complained. "What's the deal with this kid, anyway?"

Nelson shrugged. "Something to do with that rash of terrorist attacks here lately. Apparently this kid put a stop to them and took out the ringleaders of the operations."

"With what? A Slingshot?"

"He's supposed to be a martial arts master," Nelson said as he looked back out the window. "Uhh... McCarthy?"

"What now?"

"He's gone," he said.

McCarthy stepped up to the window. "What do you mean he's gone?"

"I mean, he's GONE."

"Dammit. Ranger is gonna have our hides. Where could he have gone?"

As if to answer the question, or to just make a point, Ranma poked his head into the range of the windshield... He was on the roof. He spoke three simple words with a grimace.

"Stop... Following... Me!"

And with that, he leapt off the roof of the van and onto a brick wall that ran along down the road.

Nelson and McCarthy looked at each other in shock, and promptly picked up the radio headset.

"Ranger base?" he asked.

"Identify yourself," was the reply.

"Paladin-Alpha," he replied. "We have... err... lost the subject."


"He... made us and ran off."

Just then, another distinctly female voice broke in. "This is Porter," she said. "We're still tracking him on satellite. God, look at him move. He's making a beeline for the Tendo home. I can keep it from here. Paladin, move on with Archer. They're having trouble keeping track of Subject two."

"Yes ma'am," McCarthy replied, and turned off the headset.

Ranma slammed the front door and grumbled to himself, attracting the attention of Kasumi, who poked her head out of the kitchen and smiled at Ranma.

"Hello Ranma," she said. "Back from school already?"

With a sigh, Ranma nodded. "I couldn't handle it."

"Couldn't handle what, boy?" Genma said, limping down the stairs. "School?"

"No, everyone's just... acting different."

"Ahh, to be young and famous, Ranma. You know, your old man was once--"

"I'm not in the mood for one of your pick of the litter stories, dad. I just want to relax."

"Ranma, there's some food ready in the kitchen if you need it," Kasumi said, carrying laundry upstairs.

"Thanks, Kasumi," he said. "At least you don't treat me any different."

"Boy, I--"

"Shut it, Old Man," Ranma said, then fled for the kitchen.

He got himself a bowl of rice and drenched it in soya, then made his way out to the back yard.

It wasn't until he got there that he realized he wasn't exactly alone. A foreign girl was standing there, admiring the scenery.

"Uhh, 'scuse me?" Ranma said. "You can't be here."

The girl looked over at Ranma and smiled. It was then that Ranma noticed the way she was dressed-- almost like a businesswoman, but Ranma recognized the outfit almost immediately. It reeked of American Special Law Enforcement.

"Oh, great," he said.

"Ranma Saotome," she said as she neared him. "My name is Alice Porter, I'm the CIA liaison officer for the NDID." She bowed.

"The who to the what now?" he asked, sitting down to enjoy his rice.

"I'm with the American Central Intelligence Agency," she clarified. "I'm here in conjunction with the Japanese National Defense Intelligence Directorate. I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to come with me."

Ranma blanched and wiped a piece of rice from his face. "What for?"

"We can't really talk here," she said. "We need your help."

Ranma looked at the woman with disdain. "What on earth for?" he asked with clenched teeth.

Alice sighed and leaned over to him. "Jusenkyo," she said.

"Jusenkyo?" Ranma suddenly got serious. "What the bloody hell is wrong?"

"As I said, we can't talk here. If you and your father could come with me, everything will be explained in due time."

Ranma looked back into the house and sighed. "Okay, gimme a few minutes."

Alice Porter nodded. "I'll be in the car," she said.

Ranma walked out to the front entrance of the Tendo Dojo, his father in tow and quickly got into the plain black car which was parked out front. It was a spacious car, it seemed to be small from the outside, but there was more than enough room inside.

Once Genma got in and shut the door, he crossed his arms and wore a very stoic look.

"So what's the deal here?" Ranma asked.

"I'll explain what's going on, but you'll have to wait until we get to the briefing room before I can explain why we need your help."

"Fair enough," Genma said. "I'm more curious as to why an American Secret Agent would be interested in Jusenkyo, myself."

"We've known about Jusenkyo for years," she said. "We discovered it initially in nineteen-thirty-two, through a small agency that's since been disbanded. You see, in the twenties, President Warren Harding instituted an agency who's sole purpose was to seek out the unknown. They covered everything from Aliens to Vampires, seeking out information on magic, folklore and pretty much everything supernatural or extraterrestrial from all over the world. One of the things they discovered were the Springs at Jusenkyo."

"In the thirties? So... you might have a cure?" Ranma asked.

"No," she said. "Testing was minimal. They had found many more... pressing matters to deal with at the time, which I can't really get into at this moment. Classified, I'm afraid. But from their preliminary testing, they were unable to find a cure that would be sure to work. Most of their attempts ended up as strange mutations. Half-human, half-animal hybrids and things like that. It was deemed too dangerous to continue experimentation and the project was dropped. It wasn't picked up again until recently."

"Why now?"

"There is another Agency now, not officially inclusive of the CIA, called the International Mystical Research Agency. InterMyRA. While operating mainly under CIA direction, it is an international organization, comprised of different researchers and agents from countries all over the world. InterMyRA works on a different level entirely than the CIA or any world government period. The Agency allows free reign of knowledge to and from any country, regardless of wars or national attitude. The Chinese managed to find an old tomb in the mountains of Qinghai full of mystical artifacts. The artifacts were sent over to a research facility in Alberta, Canada."

"So, what?" Ranma asked.

"Among the artifacts were several jewels of high grade mystical power, and a small collection of stone tablets, each with a spell inscribed," she said. "We were never fully able to translate all of the tablets, but we did manage to save an imprint of one of the spells."

"Why are you talking in past tense?" Ranma asked.

"The facility was nearly destroyed two months ago, several buildings were burned to the ground, but the stone tablets and the jewels were never recovered. Last month, Jusenkyo was taken by a warlord."

"Jusenkyo was taken? You mean...?"

"A small army led by a woman with some extreme martial arts ability took the place over, along with the surrounding villages and the Phoenix Tribe."

"Has any group taken responsibility?" Genma asked. "Do you think this could be the Paved Future again?"

Alice shook her head. "No. We don't believe the Paved Future has anything to do with this, but we're of the understanding from some Tribes people in the area that the attacking army come from another tribe in the vicinity. The Musk Dynasty."

Ranma snapped his fingers. "Herb," he said.

Alice nodded. "That's what they said, too. But it can't be confirmed yet. Few have escaped from the area, and of the few, only an exceptional few lived."

"Wait... Nyuchezu?"

Alice nodded. "That was one of the villages taken."

"Mousse and Shampoo," Ranma said. "I hope they made it out."

Alice laughed. "They did," she said. "They're in the briefing room right now."

Ranma and Genma walked into the 'briefing room' and scanned the area.

There were more people there than he had expected. At least thirty different people. Japanese, Chinese, he spotted a few Koreans and Vietnamese, as well as several Americans. It was a collection of cultures from all over the world, actually.

"Saotome? Is that you?" Mousse asked.

Ranma nodded. "Yeah," he said. "Glad to see you made it out."

"We both did," Shampoo said, breaking in. "And that not all." She pointed across the room to a man leaning with his arms crossed against the wall.

Ranma's eyes bugged. "Tarou?" he asked.

Pantyhose Tarou shot a look in Ranma's direction and rolled his eyes. He went back to his former position and continued to ignore everything.

"Well, well. Saotome. How goes it?" A familiar voice asked from behind him.

Ranma turned to see... Akane...

"Akane?" he asked. "What are you doing here?"

"Umm, Ranma?" Mousse said. "That's not Akane."

Ranma blanked out for a moment, then reality started to flood back to him. "Kiima," he said, his teeth clenched.

"Relax, Saotome," Kiima-Akane said. "We're on the same side in this. If it wasn't for me, Masara and Kuruma, your friends wouldn't have made it out of Nyuchezu."

Just then, two more people walked into the room. The first was, to Ranma's surprise, Ryouga Hibiki, followed by Alice Porter herself.

"Ladies and Gentlemen!" Alice called from the front of the room in Japanese. Two more people repeated the statement in English and some other language Ranma wasn't familiar with. Sounded European, though.

Attention was grabbed from the whole room. Everyone fell into silence.

"You've all been apprised of the situation. What most of you don't know is that we've managed to translate the imprint of the stone tablet that was stolen from our Canadian Facility, and I'm afraid it places each and every one of you at danger."

Ranma looked around. All of them? There must be thirty people! Or maybe more! Or maybe less! Ranma was never good at counting.

"The spell allows its caster to literally absorb the true form of someone afflicted by the curse of Jusenkyo, leaving them as nothing more than their cursed form-- body, soul AND mind. Yes, we're talking about a major problem for you should this... Herb come into contact with you. I'm aware many of you have special abilities, not just in your true form, but your cursed form too. Like Ranma Saotome," she motioned towards Ranma. "Who has been in international news lately for helping take down a terrorist organization. What you won't find in the news is that he was also responsible for killing a god in China recently. Also Doctor James Edwards, the leading parabiologist in charge of the Department of Transmutations for InterMyRA."

"Wait..." Ranma whispered to Mousse. "Are all these people cursed?"

Mousse nodded. "Most of them," he said. "You're lucky you weren't here when the good Doctor over there spilled a pitcher of water. The sight wasn't pretty."

"What does he turn into?"

"Trust me, you don't want to know."

"If you two are quite finished, I need to continue," Alice said, looking straight at Ranma.

Ranma sheepishly nodded.

"Now, Intelligence has told us that Herb is planning her march on Xining within the next twenty-four hours. However, we've received another bit of intelligence from a more... reliable source that Herb is coming here," she said. "To Japan. The purpose? Well, it's sitting in this room." She gestured towards Ranma's table, which had an old piece of pottery with writing on it. Ranma couldn't recognize the language.

Wait. Ranma blinked. Herb wasn't the conquering type, from what he remembered. But if Mousse and Shampoo said it was Herb, then...

"So what we need to do is come up with a line of defense. The Chinese Government has allowed us free reign over Qinghai for the purpose of fighting Herb back. As you can understand, this isn't a cause we want to bring soldiers over for. No amount of training in any government military can prepare a soldier for the unpredictability of mystics. We do have a specially trained unit ready for deployment, but there's a request I have beforehand."

She sighed and looked around the room. "Not all of you are going to be ready for a battle like this. Not all of you will be coming along. But those who can fight... those who have skills they can utilize in the fighting of the Musk army are welcome to sign up. I'm not forcing you, this is completely voluntary," she said.

Ranma looked around the room. Several people stood up, almost immediately, others were more hesitant, but eventually stood up.

Kiima, Shampoo and Mousse also stood up.

Ranma looked over to his father. He was still weak from his ordeal with the first run of the Paved Future, but he was struggling to stand.

Ranma didn't waste any time. He stood up and cast a glare at his father.

"Sit down, old man," Ranma said. "You're not up for this."

Genma still stood, regardless.

Alice smiled, and took a quick count around the room. Twelve. Twelve people willing to volunteer. Not as many as she hoped, but it was still enough.

She started marking off her list. That Phoenix girl, Kiima was standing, which Alice had expected. After all, her Tribe would be put to slavery at the hands of the Musk. She had brought two uncursed Phoenix with her too, so they could be expected to join their General. Then there was Shampoo and Mousse, the Joketsuzoku pair. Ranma and Genma Saotome. Ryouga Hibiki. Doctor Edwards. A Russian girl named Natalya Heliskov, a Judo Champion. An American Aikido champion named Peter Ganner. An American Mystic named Marcia Stiles, who would be very useful. A French psychic named Gerard Dugaulle, and a Canadian Girl named Alexis Trepe, who happened to be a famous singer and champion kick boxer.

"Thank you," she said. "Everyone who's volunteered, report to room 1010 in thirty minutes. Everyone else is free to go, or are free to stay in this facility until things have died down."

After Alice left, some more commotion started up.

"Ever the hero, aren't you, Saotome?" a voice asked from nearby.

Ranma turned to face Tarou. "Hey, at least there's a point to my life."

Tarou sighed. "Well, that's all fine and dandy. But the only point I need to make right now is my foot up your ass."

Ranma blinked. "You want to fight? Now?"

"Damn straight, Saotome. The old freak is dead because of you. By my tribal law, it's only you now that can change my name."

Ranma laughed. "You're serious," he said.

Tarou clenched his fist. "I don't feel like attracting the attention of the armed guards around here, so how about we move this outside?"

Ranma cracked his knuckles. "There's nothing else I'd rather do, Pantyhose," he said, gauging Tarou's reaction. "But there's something else I have to do. So how about this... You come along on this little trip, and I'll name you."

"What?" Tarou choked out. "Are you serious?"

"Well, if you'd prefer to remain as Pantyhose, I could always--"

"NO!" Tarou yelled. "No! Fine," he said. "If that's the deal, I'll hold you to it. But I warn you now, Saotome-- if you screw me over, I'll make you regret it. If you die before the naming, I'll destroy everything that links you to this world."

Ranma smiled. "Fine," he said. "But there's one more part to this deal."

Tarou raised an eyebrow. "Which is?"

"You've GOTTA pick another name. I mean... 'Handsome'?"

"Hey, it's a fine name. Names are meant to describe personalities."

"I wouldn't exactly say you've got a handsome personality, Tarou."

Tarou growled to himself. "Fine," he said. "I'll think on it. And I'll go on this little trip." He remained silent for a moment. "But as soon as I think of a name, you'd better come through with it."

"As long as you don't ditch us, fine," he said. He then placed a hand on Tarou's shoulder. "You're a good fighter, and I can respect your skill. You'd be useful in this."

"Better respect my skill," Tarou muttered to himself, then smacked Ranma's hand away. "But we're not friends, Saotome. You'd better get used to that."

"The thought never crossed my mind."

Chapter One: Cry Little SisterEdit

"Hold on to me, Love,
You know I can't stay long,
All I wanted to say was I love you and I'm not afraid,
Can you hear me?
Can you feel me in your arms?"
- My Last Breath, Evanescence

"Ranma?" Ryouga called, catching up with his friend.

"How's it going?" Ranma asked, leaning up against the wall outside the meeting room. He was waiting for his father to leave, because he had insisted on being the last one out, citing the excuse that he wanted to take a closer look at the 'treasure' of Herb. Not that Ranma believed it, but he conceded anyway.

"Okay, considering," Ryouga said. "Listen, uhh... I kinda need to stay with you tonight."

"Why? Something wrong with Akari?"

"No, no... It's just..."

"You don't want her to know," Ranma said.

Ryouga shook his head. "It'll be easier on her if I sent a letter," he said. "Provided I could even find my way there and be back in time to leave."

Ranma sighed. "You mean it'll be easier on you, right?"

Ryouga thought for a moment. "Yeah... you're right." He quickly looked up at Ranma. "But if she knew, she'd want to come. And if this is really Herb we're up against, and he could take out the Phoenix... then."

Ranma nodded. "I know. I'm not going to tell Akane, either. We'll be out of the house before she even wakes up tomorrow."

"You're sure?"

Ranma nodded. "I hate to lie to her, especially after all we've been through, but--"

"Yeah," Ryouga interjected. "I know."

"Well!" a third voice called from the doorway. "Are you boys ready for an adventure? It's been a while since these weary bones have had some spice in them."

"Don't get me started, Old Man," Ranma said. "You shouldn't even be going."

Genma looked hurt. "What do you mean, boy? I'm in the peak of my physical form!"

"You've barely been out of that coma a year now," Ranma said. "you also got shot in the kneecaps. It's a miracle you can still walk."

"You can't keep a good martial artist down," Genma said. "Besides, you still need the guidance of your father."

"Yeah, whatever," he said. "Let's go."

With a nod, the three of them started to walk.

"Ranma?" Akane called as she came into the main foyer of the Tendo Home. Quickly, she took off her shoes and looked around. Kasumi stood by the entrance of the kitchen, looking blankly at her.

"Kasumi?" Akane asked. "Where's Ranma?"

"Oh my," Kasumi said. "He left almost soon as he got back this morning. He's been gone all day."

Akane furrowed her brow. "Where did he go?"

"I'm right behind you," Ranma said, his father and Ryouga behind him.

The look of consternation drained away from her face. "Oh," she said. "Ryouga! How's it going?"

"I'm fine," Ryouga said, smiling.

"We just got your letter saying you were coming yesterday! That's record time for you."

"I didn't actually leave until last night," Ryouga said.

Akane's eyes popped open. "You got here overnight from Akari's place?"

"Yeah," Ryouga said. "I... uhh... got a ride."

"Oh my, what a novel concept," Kasumi said, now standing behind Akane.

"Yeah, Ryouga's staying the night," Ranma said, looking at Akane. "I told him we'd do something tonight."

Akane smiled. "Sounds great," she said. "Is that where you were?"

"Yeah, we went to get him. He was wandering around downtown Tokyo when we got the message to come get him."

"Oh, what that the woman who was here this morning for you, Ranma?"

Akane blinked. "Woman?"

"That was my ride," Ryouga explained, quickly.

"Why didn't she just drop you off here?"

"Because... I... uhh... kinda lost her in downtown Tokyo. She came here to let Ranma know that I got lost," he explained.

Akane raised an eyebrow in confusion. "I... see... how did she know where we lived?"

"I drew him a map," Ranma exclaimed. "Before he left last time. He gave her the map."

"Yeah," Ryouga said. "A map."

"Oh," Akane said, staying silent only a moment later. She seemed to buy it. "So, I didn't get any homework today." She smiled. "And they let you off this time, seeing as you're a national hero and all. It's funny, really. We're getting the star treatment. Even Ukyou got off pretty good today."

"Cool," Ranma said. "Then whaddya say we head out and see her, then?"

Ryouga nodded. "Sounds good. Let's go."

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