Akane set off to search for Ukyou. She knew Ukyou had probably seen what had happened, and may have been off after Ranma. Ukyou would do that. She would want to know who and why.
As she searched the streets, she tightened her resolve not to return to the alley where she found Ranma. She absolutely refused to. But in the end, she found she had to. There was no sign of Ukyou at all. There was however, a sign of someone else.
"Well, well. Look what we have here, boys." A voice said from the shadows.
Akane sneered as the three men came out of the darkness of the alleyway. "What the hell do you want? I don't have time for this!"
The leader chuckled. "I think we'll make you have time for this."
Akane sighed and shook her head. "I said I don't have time for sexual deviants. Get lost!"
The leader blinked in surprise. "I don't think you realize who you're dealing with, bitch!"
"I don't? Why, I'm SO sorry, I didn't realize you were importany sexual deviants."
The leader growled. "Get her!" He yelled.
Akane seemed fairly certain of her victory. As the two men approached her from either side, she sent one flying against the brick wall with a kick to the cheek. He fell unconscious immediately. The leader then joined in the attack. Akane tried to lure them out of the alley, to the street. It was working for the most part.
The leader seemed slightly more skilled than the others. He could at least block some of Akane's attacks, but the other one seemed without skill, and she was having no trouble fending off his attacks, although the leader seemed to keep her occupied for the most part.
Finally they were nearly upon the main street, and Akane managed to uppercut the other henchman, sending him flying a few feet into the air, and executing a perfect nose-dive into the pavement.
There was only the leader left.
"You're pretty good, girlie."
"Like I'd accept any compliment from someone like you." She sneered. "You give up?"
"The thing is, girlie. I don't give up that easily. These two are simple fish bait compared to me."
"That must make you the worm."
The leader lashed out at her, and managed to catch her in the side, Akane yelled out in pain and then did a jumping spin kick and tried to catch him on the side of the face. He blocked it however.
Then Akane did something he never expected. As she landed, she knelt and did a straight punch, catching him somewhere men don't like to be hit. He doubled over in pain. Akane then kicked him in the stomach several times. She was so engrossed in what was going on in front of her, she failed to notice the limo come up from behind her.
"You have been naughty, miss Tendo."
Akane stopped what she was doing, she turned around. "Who the hell are you?"
"Ahh, miss Tendo. I'm an associate of your... fiance, I believe."
Akane clenched her fist and frowned. "I don't have a fiance anymore."
"Oh, that's right, isn't it. He ran from you, he left you for the love of another."
"Just shut up!"
"I think not, miss Tendo. You see, Ranma loves someone, as it is painfully evident. He loves someone with all his heart and--"
"Why miss Tendo, you'd think you would be glad to hear this."
"Why should I be glad? Who cares who that pervert loves?! Probably someone equally as perverted!"
The man smirked. "Why, miss Tendo. I did not know you were perverted."
"What? What are you--" Then it hit her.
The man continued to smile.
"Ever feel like you're being watched, miss Tendo?"
"What do you mean?"
The man pulled a video tape out of his coat pocket. "Watch this and you'll understand." He passed it to her.
"What is this?" she asked.
"I can't say much more, miss Tendo. Lets jut say my organization is interested in you and your friends..."
"I must make my leave, now miss Tendo." He said as he stepped into the car.
Akane was left standing in the night along three unconscious thugs as the man drove off. Thinking, she finally slumped to the ground in confusion.
"Ukyou?" Nabiki asked.
Ukyou turned around, startled at hearing her own name. "Oh... Uhh, Nabiki. Hi."
"There you are. We were looking for you."
"We? Oh. You mean Akane."
Nabiki nodded. "What's wrong? Ever since I found Akane, she's been acting weird. She says she couldn't care less where he was."
Ukyou considered telling her, but decided against it. "I think its better you hear it from Akane, Nabiki."
Nabiki shook her head. "She wouldn't tell me."
Ukyou looked at her. "Trust me. You wouldn't want to hear it from me."
"So, anyway. Let's go find her. She sad she'd meet me back at the hospital lobby if--"
"Actually, can you tell her I just went home. I... I just don't feel like talking to anybody today."
Nabiki frowned. "So, basically I came all the way out here today, did all this stuff for you guys to find Ranma, and now it's over? Who cares about Ranma?"
Ukyou blinked. "It's not like that, Nabiki."
"I even found an address where he might be staying, and you're not looking for him anymore... Sheesh. Try and help someone."
"I-- You found an address?"
Nabiki nodded. "Yeah. It's not far from here, either."
"Give it to me."
"But I thought--"
"Give it to me!"
Nabiki blinked and pulled the papers out of her pocket. She chose the one with the different address and gave it to Ukyou.
"Wait, what's..." She began as Ukyou began to run down the road. "Going... On?"
Nabiki shook her head and sighed as she made her way back to the hospital. She would have to tell Akane what had happened. But she tightened her resolve to get the information out of Akane. Not knowing was sometimes worse than knowing. Especially when it involved family.
As she looked back towards the retreating figure of Ukyou, she noticed something strange. Two men that had been previously talking had now abruptly split up. One in pursuit of Ukyou, then other walking toward her.
Nabiki gasped as she realized who it was.
Akane stared at the videotape in confusion. Whatever was going on, she hopes would be explained in the tape. She hoped it would explain Ranma's behavior. Why, and IF he lied to her in the alley. She also hoped it would explain what the man in the Limousine had to do with any of it.
She looked up from her seat in the hospital lobby. The triage nurse was eyeing her suspiciously, but she shook it off for the most part. She stared out the doors, hoping that Nabiki or Ukyou would walk in any second.
It was ten minutes before she was answered. Nabiki walked in, looking flushed and completely out of breath, constantly looking over her shoulder.
"What's wrong?" Akane asked.
Nabiki bent over with her hands on her knees. "I... I'm being followed." She nearly coughed out.
Akane blinked. "By who?"
She shook her head. "I don't know... Some man in a... business suit." She stood up and took a deep breath, when she noticed the videotape in Akane's hand.
"Where is he?" She frowned. "I'll take care of him. Three guys tried to get me in an alley earlier, I took care of them."
"He's not following me any more. I lost him."
Akane nodded in understanding.
"What's that?" Nabiki pointed at the videotape in her hand.
"I don't know. Some guy gave it to me after I beat those three thugs into submission. He said it would have the answers I need."
"Answers for what?"
"Ranma I think."
"I thought you didn't care anymore."
"I... I do, I guess. And I don't. Nabiki, I just don't know. Things have been happening so fast tonight, it's just..." She shook her head. "Do you want me to explain what happened?"
Nabiki grabbed her sister by the shoulder. "Yes."
Nabiki blinked. "Why would he say that?"
Akane shrugged. "I don't know. But the man in the limo said Ranma loved me. But I don't know how he knows him, or even why."
"What did the man say to you?"
"He said that his 'organization' is very interested in me and my friends."
Nabiki blinked for a moment and looked up. "And the tape would explain things."
"Well, lets watch it."
"I was waiting for you and Ukyou to come so we can go home and watch it."
Nabiki shook her head. "Ukyou isn't coming. She ran off after I gave her the papers with Ranma's new address."
Akane looked up at her. "Do you still have them?"
Nabiki shook her head again. "No. But I remember the address. It's not far from here. Maybe eight blocks."
"Well, we should watch this videotape first, lets go home."
Nabiki stopped. "Akane, this is a hospital."
Akane blinked. "And?"
"They've got VCR's in hospitals."
"They wouldn't let us use one."
"It's not like we're going to steal it. Hold on."
Nabiki walked over to the triage nurse, who nearly jumped at the sight of her. A moment later, she nodded and pointed towards the elevator. Nabiki smiled, bowed and walked back to Akane.
"Room 613, lets go."
The room was empty as the nurse had stated, and in the corner of the room was a TV with a built-in vcr, attached to the wall. Nabiki took the tape from Akane and put it in the vcr.
As the tape started, Akane closed her eyes for a moment, hoping that it would bring answers.
The date showed itself in the bottom right corner. It was today. The first scene showed Ranma. He was practicing his kata in the corner of a large gym. When he noticed the camera, he walked over.
"Get that thing out of my face, Mazuhara." He sneered.
"Come now, Saotome, don't you believe in capturing memories?" The voice behind the camera asked calmly.
"These are memories I'd rather soon forget."
The scene cut again.
"What's first?" The voice caught Akane off-guard. It was Ukyou.
"Yuka and Sayuri are waiting for us at your restaurant. I hope you don't mind, but I decided to use it as our 'base of operations'." The sound of Akane's voice was distant, but she could recognize herself easily.
"What is this?" Nabiki asked. "This was today?"
Akane nodded. "Someone must have been following us." She stared in disbelief.
The scene cut again. It showed Akane on the phone. In the hospital.
"Yes, Daddy, we're fine. I've got to speak with Nabiki."
"Nabiki, listen we need your help."
"Yes, we're at Tokyo general, we've got to find out if Ranma's been here as a patient, and the nurse won't tell us a thing."
Another pause as Akane showed her smiling face on the telephone.
"Thanks, Sis. I'll tell Ukyou."
The scene cut again.
"They must have been following you guys all day."
Akane nodded, still in awe.
The next scene showed the back of someone's head. In an empty train.
Nabiki gasped. "Oh my god."
"Is that you?"
Nabiki nodded. As she turned her head in the video, the person holding the camera ducked underneath the seat. A moment later, he rose again and continued to videotape.
The scene cut.
"Who are these people?"
The next scene was an alleyway. Akane gasped.
"Don't you get it, you stupid Tomboy?! I don't love you back, I never loved you! And... And I've got someone else now!"
Nabiki blinked as she realized it was Ranma saying those words. And again as she realized her sister was the other person in the alley, as she ran away. A few moments later, she saw Ranma appear from the darkness of the alley.
"Damn it." She heard from the videotape. She could barely make out of blood dripping from his hand, but the expression on his face was quite readable. Another moment later, she saw Ukyou emerge from the darkness.
Akane was staring wide-eyed at what was happening on the tape.
The scene cut again.
"Here's what's going to happen, Tetsuya." A mysterious voice came from behind the camera.
"Yes?" Tetsuya showed his face. Akane gasped. It was the leader of the three men in the alley.
"You're going to test Miss Tendo out."
Tetsuya nodded. "Make it look like a random crime?"
"Whatever suits you and your men, Tetsuya."
The scene cut.
The tape ended.
Akane and Nabiki were left staring.
"What's going on?" Nabiki asked.
Akane shook her head. "I don't know."
"They were following us. All day?"
Akane thought for a moment. She had been so engrossed in what was happening, she forgot about the tape.
"Wait." She said. "Rewind it, to the beginning."
Nabiki went up to rewind the tape, once she had, she pressed play again.
Ranma was in the corner of some kind of gym, practicing his kata. The katakana on the side of the wall gave it away.
"Ikanisa." Akane knew the name, but she couldn't place it.
"Wait." Nabiki said. "That's a manufacturing company."
Akane looked up. That's where she had heard the name. "Do they have any buildings in Tokyo? Nearby?"
Nabiki thought for a moment. It was her business to keep tabs on successful companies.
"They're based out of Hokkaido. They've got some holding in Tokyo. A warehouse, and a manufacturing plant."
"The warehouse. It's by the docks. This would be closest to the hospital."
"How close is the address Ranma gave to the nurse to the warehouse?"
Akane thought for a moment. "Nabiki, something is going on. Something bigger than we originally thought. You'd better go home and tell Father."
Nabiki thought for a moment. "I think that would be the best idea."
"Tell them about Mr. Saotome too."
Nabiki nodded and hugged her sister.
The apartment was empty.
Well, mostly empty, besides the clutter of papers, several receipts and wall plaster from the several holes that had apparently been punched. And one kettle.
Ukyou frowned. She had hoped Ranma would be here, but the place looked like it hadn't seen life in at least a week. The window was left open, and the carpet was partially damp, apparently from the rain they'd had a few days earlier.
Ukyou bent over to examine the papers. Several receipts boasting purchases of ramen, or fast food. One receipt showed the purchase of a thermos, hot water bottles. A mail-order package of waterproof soap. Ukyou frowned. Ranma had been there. She was sure of it.
And she was even more sure when she found the crumpled papers. They were letters. Mostly addressed to Akane, but she found one addressed to herself.
After more searching, she found something. An address. Four blocks away. The place she assumed Ranma would be.
A few minutes later, after searching the rest of the apartment, she decided it would be best to check out the other address. She left the place as she had found it. A complete mess.
Akane looked around. One of the warehouses by the docks had to belong to Ikanisa. She kept going up the row of warehouses. There were over 100 of them on the docks, and it could be any one of them. As she approached the fifteenth warehouse, she paused.
She HEARD something. She was alone on the docks, for the most part. It was fairly empty, off in the distance, even though it was past midnight, she could hear the hum of forklifts, cranes and other machinery. But at her position, she could see nothing. She slowly and quietly crept along down the row. She had to find the warehouse, or she would never learn the truth.
Then she heard it again. A scuff. The noise of someone scraping their shoe along the ground. She turned around. "Who's there?" She shouted.
She wasn't answered. "I know someone's there, come out!" She shouted again.
Again, no answer. She turned around and started to run. But she was blocked.
Three men. The SAME three men from earlier. "You again?" She said. "Why are you people following me?"
This time, they were dressed in business suits. However, it didn't do much to hide the fact that two of their faces had been covered in bandages.
"Miss Tendo. Come with us." Tetsuya said.
"Why should I?"
"You wish to see Ranma, do you not?" He asked. They walked onward.
Akane thought for a second. They weren't forcing her to go by any means. They simply walked onward.
"Wait!" She called out after them.
Nabiki boarded the train more paranoid that usual. She had to do something. She knew there would be people following her now, and past midnight, it made her even more paranoid.
She made doubly sure that she would pick the most patrolled car. She wasn't sure of the schedule of the guards at night, but assumed it was very similar to the daytime.
As she boarded an empty car, she sighed. She sighed in relief as the car doors closed and the train was on its way.
If things went as she estimated, the guard should show up at least once before every stop. She absently looked at her watch and waited.
The door between cars slid open.
The guard walked up to her, checked her ticket, and then walked past her to the next car. Nabiki was left feeling more secured than before.
Then she heard a cough.
The guard hadn't left. She shrugged it off and then let her mind wander.
The men who were following them all day must have been good at it. Nabiki was, as far as she knew, the only one to notice them. The young man in the business suit had been following her since she was on the train originally, but then she lost him in the crowd of people.
Which was confusing. Obviously he would have known that she would head back to the hospital to find Akane. Even if he hadn't shown up until after they'd gone to watch the tape, he still probably stick around to watch for her. Then he most definitely would have seen her exit the lobby and head to the train station.
But then there was nobody else in the car, except for the... Security guard...
"Hello, Miss Tendo." The voice came from behind her.
Nabiki's heart jumped. She had to remain calm. Calm and controlled. "So, why are you following us?"
The security guard laughed. "It doesn't concern you."
"Need to know basis, eh?"
"Yes, you could call it that."
Nabiki turned toward him. "Well, it concerns me because you're following me. So believe me when I say, 'I need to know'."
The guard laughed. "Need to know what, Miss Tendo? You think I'll tell you just like that? I alone know more about you than you could ever imagine."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that."
Nabiki swallowed hard. "So, what do you want with me, then?"
"You are of no major concern to us, Miss Tendo. We will allow you to live, however, I'm afraid I won't be able to allow you to tell anyone of Ranma's whereabouts... Not just yet, anyway."
As the guard leaned over to her, Nabiki let out a small whimper.
"Ah, Miss Tendo. We meet again." The man smiled.
"What's going on?" Akane asked, showing a fierce frown. "I want to know why you people are following us!"
The man shook his head. "I don't believe I've introduced myself quite yet, Miss Tendo. My name is Mesaki Mazuhara, pleased to meet you." He extended his hand.
Akane narrowed her eyes. "I don't care who you are. Where's Ranma? Who are you people?"
Mazuhara frowned. He took his hand away and pulled out a handkerchief. As he wiped his hands, he answered, "Ranma should be along any minute now. As for your other question, I'm afraid I can't explain that to your... satisfaction."
Akane brought herself into a defensive position. "You'd better damn well try."
"Please Miss Tendo. Violence is so... unbecoming of you." He looked at her. "You see, your fiance is doing some... Work for us. Work that requires his obedience, and with you in our possession, that obedience will come as no problem."
"What do you mean?"
"Look about you Miss Tendo. Ikanisa Manufacturing, Hasamoto Enterprises, Roginokami Incorporated. We own all of these companies." He looked towards Akane and smirked. "And we will own all of Japan soon."
Akane blinked. "What?" It caught her off guard, which turned out to be a mistake. Two of the guards grabbed her and forced her down into a chair.
"You bastards! Let me go!" She screamed as she tried to struggle from her chair.
"Miss Tendo, I apologize for harming a lady such as yourself. In return, after Ranma has done his task, I shall allow you and your family nobility in the new government."
Akane blinked. "New government?!"
Mazuhara smirked. "The world is ever changing, Miss Tendo. Monarchies are fast becoming obsolete." He looked at her. "Which is why Japan must return to its former stature as an empire."
"E...Empire?" Akane gasped. "My God, Mazuhara. What are you doing?"
"Only one man stands in the way. One man stands against a monarchy. And only one man can... change his mind, so to speak." He smirked. "Which is why we must rely on Ranma Saotome."
"You can't do that! It will never work! The people--"
"The people are mindless masses. Look at them. They wake up before dawn, commute in vast quantities on these contraptions, work through the day, and go home. They have no lives. I will give them purpose. I will give them something to strive for, to FIGHT for."
Akane blinked. "What?"
"It's already been organized, Miss Tendo. After tonight, the new government will reign Japan. After tomorrow, the new government will reign all the world."
Akane narrowed her eyes. "Are you crazy?"
Mazuhara smirked. "Many of the greats were called eccentric. I am simply one of them."
"But World Domination?! If you even show other countries that that's what you're after, they'll band together and destroy Japan! Don't you remember what happened fifty years ago?!"
Mazuhara frowned. "What happened fifty years ago was simply an error in the judgment of our leaders. It will not be repeated."
Akane shook her head. "You would risk so many innocent lives, just to--"
"Innocent? Who is innocent anymore? Not one person. All have... 'sin'... All should worship the very ground I walk on, Miss Tendo."
"Mazuhara, you're crazy!"
He frowned again. He made a gesture with his hand and turned away. "Do not speak to me. I must prepare for Saotome's arrival."
Akane began to speak again, but the sound couldn't get past the gag she was now wearing.
She could only stare at Mazuhara, who was looking out the window with a smirk on his face.
Ranma walked up to the warehouse. He was not in the mood for any of what was happening recently. First he runs into Akane, and then he realizes Ukyou is following him. It hasn't been a good day.
"Saotome, you're late." The man in front of the warehouse said to him.
"So what?" He shoved him aside and walked in. He gasped.
"Akane?" He looked at her. "Mazuhara, what the hell is this? What the hell is she doing here?!"
"Ranma, Ranma. I thought you would be happy. Having Akane here was the wish of the myself, who merely wished to please our greatest fighter."
"There's no need for her to get mixed up in this, Mazuhara."
"Oh, but there is, Saotome. There is. By having her here, alongside us, we can assure your loyalty. Don't think we don't know why you went out that night." He made a hand gesture. A moment later, two men walked out of the back room holding a third man between them. Ranma gasped.
"You should thank the Gods I took this lightly, before he had a chance to tell anyone, otherwise, there would be several peoples blood on your hands, including the blood of this young maiden." He cupped her chin and looked at her in the eye. She scowled back at him.
"Leave her alone, Mazuhara. I'll... I'll do whatever you want."
Muffled screams from Akane's direction distracted Ranma somewhat, but for the most part it remained ignored.
"Excellent." He smiled. "Saotome, everything you'll need to know is in that envelope." He pointed to a small table in the corner.
"Under one condition."
Mazuhara squinted his eyes. "You aren't in any position to make conditions."
"I demand it. Don't think I can't take all of you out right here and now, Mazuhara. I only do what you say because it may prevent people from getting hurt."
"And what are these, 'conditions'?"
"Let him go." He pointed at the man.
Mazuhara scoffed. "Are you insane? You realize what will happen if we let him live!"
"I do. But I also believe he is too smart to say anything to anyone at this point."
The man nodded frantically.
Mazuhara scowled. "Very well. After you have returned, it will be too late for him to make any difference, anyway. But we will not release him until you have returned."
"That's all I ask."