Chapter Six: Neko-Spawn Edit
Ranma silently prowled along the inner hallways of the bottom floor of the Tendo Dojo. It had been a full hour since he had made use of the Cat-fist, and he had since been unable to recover his former self. Visibly bored in the feline sense, Ranma began to play with his chains as if they were nothing more than a tail as Soun sighed, watching.
He managed a brief look outside, and noticed that Mousse had since removed himself from the porch overlooking the koi pond, for some higher ground. He was on the roof.
Soun couldn't blame him, really. Ranma would hiss and yowl whenever he would come near, but it didn't seem as if he wanted to hurt him, as long as he kept away. Soun, on the other hand was given the royal treatment. Ranma would rub against his leg and make mock purring noises. He let his mind wander for a few moments before he snapped back into reality. Something would have to be done about Ranma.
Soun recalled hearing the story of what had happened from Mousse, of the demon that he never saw engaging in combat with Ranma. How Ranma almost lost until he thought to enable the cat-fist. How the so-called 'Neko-Spawn' had ripped the being to pieces and then proceeded to preen himself. Soun sighed for a moment. He would have to stay awake until he could figure out what to do with Ranma. If he fell asleep, there would be a great chance that Ranma would leave, and wreak havoc around Nerima.
Soun got up as he decided. Before, triggering Ranma's curse would break him out of the trance state. Maybe the shock of cold water would bring him back. And if that didn't work, he may have to use a last resort. Akane.
Ranma gave Soun a detached look as he got up to go into the kitchen. A brief sound of running water, and a quick return to the tea room, and Soun had backed Ranma into a corner. Ranma watched the object in Soun's hands intently, knowing full well what it was.
Ranma didn't wait any longer. He lashed out, using a chain to knock the bucket clean out of Soun's hand and onto the floor. All that was left was a stunned looking Soun, holding one empty hand in the air.
"I don't think he wants to get wet.", Mousse's voice came from outside.
Soun frowned for a moment, and looked towards the source. Mousse was poking his head down from the roof and watching with an amused look on his face. Ranma stopped his preening long enough to his at the man, but then continued.
"I guess that won't work eh? I'll have to try a different approach."
Mousse shook his head, "Not a good idea. There is the possibility that it may work, but theres also the possiblity that it may not. And if you get him wet, he may not be happy."
Soun looked at Ranma, who was now circling the same spot several times. A feline instinct that strangely seemed to fit Ranma.
"I suppose you're right. But the only other thing that managed to break him out of the Cat-fist was--"
"I don't think Ranma would appreciate that very much."
"I know. I only want to use it as a last resort."
"Still, there has to be some way. Maybe if you talk to the 'cat'. Maybe Ranma will come out."
Soun shook his head, "I doubt it."
Mousse closed his eyes for a moment and thought. "What about the others?"
"Well, if Akane could bring him out, what about Nabiki? Even Kasumi?"
Soun blinked and pondered the suggestion. In all theory, he could call up Nabiki or Kasumi and get them to have a go at bringing Ranma out of his trance. After all, if Akane could do it, what about the other Tendo Sisters? Even Kinami? Maybe it was just a female presence that would break him out of his trance.
Soun glanced at the time and hesitated for a moment. Then he decided the situation was an emergency and proceeded to pick the phone up and dial.
Nabiki's eyes shot wide as the phone next to her bed rang. There were two phones in the restaurant, one downstairs and one in her room, right now, she wanted to destroy the latter.
She picked up the phone and groggily answered. "Hello?"
"Nabiki? Dear, I think you should get to the dojo."
"What? Why?", NAbiki glanced at the time. It wasn't as late as she had thought. "It's 11:30!"
"Something happened to Ranma, and I think you may be able to help. Possibly even Kasumi."
"Wait. Whats wrong?"
"Its hard to explain, dear. But the gist of it is that he's gone into the Cat-fist trance."
A distinct thump was heard from another room and an angry voice yelled out, "Nabiki! I was almost asleep!"
"How?", she asked her father, temporarily ignoring the sounds coming from the adjacent room.
"I'll explain it all later, but you need to get here. Bring Kinami, maybe she can help."
"Fine, call Kasumi and get her to bring Tofu."
"Of course, maybe he can help."
"Alright, we'll be there in a few minutes."
And with that, she hung up the phone. She got up to face an angry looking Kinami at her door.
"What was that all about?"
Nabiki frowned. "We've got a problem."
"Ranma has turned into a cat."
"Again with the curses?!"
Nabiki laughed and shook her head. "Just come with me and you'll see."
Tofu nearly jumped out of his shoes when the phone rang. He was usually up till around this time, but had not expected the phone to ring this late. He frantically picked it up.
"Ahh, Tofu. Is Kasumi awake?"
"Oh, hello father. She went to bed about ten minutes ago. Why?"
"Its hard to explain. But I can explain it all when you both get here."
"Can you tell me anything now?"
"Not without causing some problems. Just get over here and I'll explain it to you both."
"Okay, I suppose.", Tofu replied, unsure of the problem, but acknowledging the weight of it.
"Thank you, Tofu. Come quick."
"Alright, see you soon."
Tofu hung the phone up and stood. He turned around to walk into the bedroom of he and his wife and proceeded to wake her up. She opened her eyes and smiled.
"Whats wrong?", she asked asfter seeing the look on her husbands face.
"I don't know. Your father just called, theres something wrong, and he needs us at the dojo." "Oh my. Both of us?"
"I wonder if Nabiki and Akane are going to be there too."
"Only one way to find out.", he smiled, helping his wife out of bed.
Kasumi gave Tofu a quick peck on the cheek and began to dress herself. Tofu smiled and left in search of his shoes.
"They're on their way now.", Soun directed outside.
"How long before they get here?"
"Not long. A few minutes. Nabiki will probably get here first."
"Well, I'll meet them outside."
Soun nodded. "Of course. But you'll have to help me explain Ranma to Tofu and Kasumi."
Mousse nodded. "After seeing me, they'll accept it without much question."
Mousse perked up and listened closely. He looked at Soun and said, "Someones here."
"How can you tell?"
"I can hear a car."
And sure enough, Nabiki walked through the front entrance of the dojo, followed by Kinami.
"Boy you guys were quick. Took us an hour and a half to walk home."
Kinami shrieked in surprise and then glared at Mousse. "Do you _HAVE_ to do that?", she asked, shaking her fist.
Mousse shrugged. "Why are you so jumpy?"
Nabiki shook her head and began to focus. "Where is he?"
Mousse thumbed towards the dojo, and Nabiki walked on. Kinami stuck around with Mousse, with a look of pure confusion.
"Whats going on now?"
"Eh?", Mousse asked.
"Well, Nabiki told me Ranma turned into a cat. I thought he turned into a girl."
"He does... err... did.. But he could also turn into a cat."
"And how, pray tell does that happen?"
Mousse shrugged. "Not sure. He's scared to death of 'em. Whenever he's too close to one, his mind pops and turns into one."
"So now theres a cat walking around that used to be Ranma?"
"Well, not quite. Theres a Ranma walking around, that thinks hes a cat, that used to be, and still is, Ranma... In a way..."
Kinami shook her head. "I _DON'T_ want to hear anymore."
"Oh my.", a familiar voice was heard from the gate. Kasumi stood there shocked for a moment, and then smiled.
"Oh, hey Kasumi.", Kinami greeted.
"Hello Kinami, how was the advice I gave you?"
"Well, it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but thanks anyways."
"Oh hello Kinami, how are---", Tofu began, then he spotted Mousse.
"Uhh.. Hi, you two."
Kasumi nodded and greeted Mousse warnheartedly, as Tofu yelped and fainted promptly.
"Uhh, Dr. Tofu, you okay?", Kinami asked, approaching the unconscious form.
"Oh I'm fine, Betty.", he replied.
Tofu blinked for a moment, then looked up at Kinami. "Oh", he said, "I'm sorry Kinami, I just imagined something.", he laughed as he got up, "My eyes must be playing tricks on me. I thought I saw Mou- -"
Mousse smiled and waved at Tofu as he prompty yelped and lost consciousness, a second time.
"I hope this isn't going to happen every time he wakes up."
Kasumi looked down at her husband for a second and sighed. "I suppose we should get him inside."
"Kinami, give me a hand here please", Mousse asked as he grabbed Doctor Tofu's arm and hoisted it over his shoulders. Kinami did the same.
"So Mousse, I suppose you didn't die after all.", Kasumi pointed out.
Mousse shook his head. "No. I survived. It was hard, but I managed."
"What about Ranma?", she asked as if it were as simple a question as "Would you like some tea?"
"He.. uhh.. Well..."
"He's dead.", Kinami interupted.
"Boy you're blunt."
"Is there a problem with that?"
Mousse smiled and shook his head. "Kasumi, Ranma died five years ago. Seriously, but--"
Kasumi just kept walking, never losing her smile as she interupted. "So he is dead."
"Not quite", Nabiki said at the door.
"Oh, hello Nabiki.", Kasumi greeted her sister.
Nabiki managed a smile as she hugged her sister. She was quick to help bring Doctor Tofu inside.
Once inside, Mousse tried to take it easy. Ranma already knew that he was inside, as he could tell from the hissing, however right now was not a time he wanted to spend outside. He helped put Doctor Tofu on the ground near the stairs and then backed towards the wall. Kasumi let her smile drop for a moment as Ranma cautiously walked into the room.
"Oh my.", she exclaimed, visibly shocked.
"Mrowr...", was Ranma's answer, although it was directed more towards Mousse than Kasumi.
Doctor Tofu chose this moment to wake up. Not noticing Mousse, but instead looking at the mass of chains and red cloth slowly approaching his wife, his male instinct went into play and jumped to action. He quickly wedged himself between the creature and his wife, taking up a defensive stance.
"Get back Kasumi!", he yelled, ready to defend if the creature would attack.
Ranma simply looked up at Tofu casually. Tofu was still holding up a defensive stance when Ranma stopped his hissing and began to preen himself. Tofu then dropped his stance, and began to feel dizzy again.
"Doctor Tofu?", Soun asked.
Still dizzy, he managed to answer. "Eh?"
"I believe you know Ranma.", he said, motioning towards the creature preening itself.
Tofu couldn't take any more of it. He hit the ground, hard.
No. Not dreams. Nightmares.
Nightmares of things long past. Nightmares of pain and misery, in remembrance of his life.
Nightmares of Ranma. Nightmares of Mousse. Nightmares of the entire Kenoru ordeal.
Nightmares of past mistakes. Of family secrets and mysterious ailments.
Nightmares of the truth. His truth.
A vision. A vision that takes the pain away. A face. A beautiful face. Kasumi.
The Nightmare turns lighter.
Not for long. Kenoru returns. Kasumi's smile fades into an evil grin.
It's not Kasumi. It's Kenoru.
He's saying something...
"Tofu!", Soun yelled, trying drastically to wake him up.
Slowly, one eye opens, and a gasp escapes from Tofu's lips.
"What?", he asked, rubbing the back of his head. After he noticed his glasses sitting on the table beside him, he picked them up and returned them to their normal position on his nose.
"Thank goodness you're awake!"
"You aren't going to faint again, are you?", Nabiki asked.
Tofu shook his head. No longer dizzy, that was for sure. It took him a moment to realize what had caused him to faint earlier. After he had, a lightheaded feeling, and he was finally in control of the situation.
"I'm fine.", he said. "Ranma and Mousse are alive then?"
"I am.", Mousse said from the oposite side of the room.
"Ranma... Well, thats a bit iffy..", Kinami continued.
"Iffy? What do you mean?"
"Well, right now he's not Ranma. He's Spawn, the wonder- cat.", Kinami quipped.
"Spawn? Wha?", he asked, watching Kasumi stroke the creatures head.
"It's hard to explain Tofu, but he did die, and has just returned. Not," Soun glanced at the time, "Twenty-four hours ago."
"We still aren't %100 sure, but apparently, he's been recruited by some demon god named Malebolgia to be a warrior in some kind of demon army.", Nabiki continued.
"Yup. That creepy old guy in the trenchcoat told us.", Kinami informed him.
"Creepy old guy?"
"Yeah, he called himself Saint Nicholas De Clockiolo or something."
Nabiki shook her head, "It was Count Nicholas De Cogliostro."
"Yeah, that guy," Kinami said, snapping her fingers.
Tofu still couldn't grasp the notion, but decided to play along. "How did he get like this?"
"That was kinda my fault.", Mousse spoke up, "He was fighting some demon thing and would've lost if I hadn't thrown a cat at him."
"But now we've got a bigger problem. Getting him back to normal!", Nabiki interupted.
Mousse shrugged, "Either that or he be the one ripped to shreds!"
Tofu shook his head again. There was no time to get dizzy, he was needed for something important. "Have you tried triggering his curse?"
"Well", Soun interupted, "He no longer has his curse."
"What about Akane?"
Nearly everyone except Kasumi shook their heads. Soun spoke up, "Not an option. He doesn't want her to know he's back yet."
"Were there any other known methods of retrieving him from the technique?"
"Not that we know of."
"Wait. There is someone who would know.", Nabiki said.
Nabiki smiled and looked straight into her fathers eyes. "Genma."
Soun was about to dismiss the idea when he thought. Genma had trained with Ranma for six years after his learning the cat-fist, and he would certainly know how to get him out of it. However, contacting him would be a problem.
"Can we call him?"
Soun nodded. "Yes, but theres no guarantee he would be there. Nodoka might, but I doubt he would be."
"He's always going on training trips, remember."
"Oh yeah. Call now, maybe we'll get lucky."
Soun nodded as he reached for the phone and began to dial. He waited a few moments, and was beginning to look disheartened when he heard a groggy answer.
"Hello?", Nodoka answered.
"Nodoka? Its Soun, how are you?"
"Soun?", she answered, "It's 12:30! What do you want?"
"Ahh, well.. That is...", he kept saying until Nabiki took the phone from him.
"Mrs. Saotome? We need your husbands help. Is he in?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact, he is. But he's sleeping. In panda form, and you know how hard he is to wake."
"Its a bit of an emergency."
"Okay, hold on a minute."
Nabiki held for a moment as she heard a few sounds in the background. A muffled growl, some footsteps a splashing noise and a muffled yell. A minute later, another groggy voice was on the phone.
"Mr. Saotome. It's Nabiki."
"Do you know how late it is child?!", he yelled. Nabiki smirked as she heard a distinct smack. "Ow!"
"Its an emergency."
"Well, we've got someone here that was trained in the same method that Ranma was."
A moment of silence on the other end of the phone went by. "The Cat-fist?"
"Yes. This person is under the influence of the cat fist, but he doesn't have a Jusenkyo curse. I was wondering, before the curse how did he come back to normal?"
"Well, he did go under the influence of the training a number of times before he was cursed, and it was always harder to bring him out. What you do is this..."
Nabiki nodded and commited Genma's suggestion to memory, giving a dirty look at it, she continued. "Is that the only way?"
Genma stood silent for a minute. "Well, there is another way, but you may not want to do it."
"Ever had the hiccups?"
"Yes, of course."
"You know the methods of getting rid of them, right?"
"Well, thats definately not something you want to do. I brought him out of the Cat-fist once, but not before getting beaten to a pulp."
"Mind if I ask a question?"
"Who is it?"
"Who's under the cat-fist right now. Who?"
"Its just a friend of ours."
"Would I know him?"
"You might." Nabiki definately didn't like the direction the conversation was going.
"Should Nodoka, Ranko and I head over there? If we leave tomorrow morning, we'd be there in an hour. You know, in case the methods don't work."
"Well, I don't think--"
"Good, we'll be there tomorrow morning!"
"It would be a good-- Wha?", Nabiki continued, but stopped upon hearing that Genma had hung up.
"Whats the matter?", Soun asked.
"They're going to be here tomorrow morning."
"What? Couldn't you stop them?"
"You try and stop him when he wants something!"
"So, what did he say to do?"
"Well, there were two suggestions. Both of them sound dangerous."
"Well, the first one might not be so dangerous to us, but to the one who has to be in the romo with Ranma, definately."
"Hold on. I'll be right back, Mousse, Kinami, come with me."
A few minutes later, Kinami and Nabiki returned. A slight commotion coming from outside.
"I suggest we get everyone out of the room, except Ranma."
Ranma was already tensing up, as if he could sense something wrong.
Everyone oblidged and stepped out into the yard, shutting the door behind them. Nabiki and Kinami walked outside and took places by the windows. She nodded towards Mousse.
In a split second, Mousse had manged to deposit three vicious dogs in the front door of the home, and slipped out again, locking the door. Sounds of barking, yowling and screeching were heard from outside, but Ranma had knocked the lights out somehow, and the group was unable to see what was happening. A moment later, three dogs went running out of the window, and down the street, yelping as they went. A quick glance inside at Ranma, who was now preening himself again left Nabiki seriously disheartened.
"Okay," she said. "Time for plan B."
"Plan B?", Mousse asked.
"Heres what we do.", she said, motioning Kinami and Mousse together and giving them a quick talk.
A few minutes later, Mousse had managed to slip into the window of Nabiki's bedroom, and donned the mask he had been wearing for the past several years. The mask felt strange on his face, even though he was used to it. But after having his change of heart earlier, he had decided not to wear it any longer.
He slipped down the stairs silently, walking more on the wall than the stairs themselves, making sure not to create as much as a creaking noise. He had slipped into the entrance room of the home when he noticed Ranma paying close attention to the window.
Kinami was there, tracing her finger along the opposite side of the window, attracting Ranma's attention as he playfully batted the window with his 'paw'. This would give Mousse the time he needed to put the plan into effect. He slipped into the kitchen and began to set up the system. Soun would have been sued to property damage by now, so he could do it with a clear conscience. It took him thirty seconds to set it up, and he was about to leave when he heard a frantic rapping at the window. It was Kinami pointing towards him. After another moment, he realized she wasn't pointing at him, but behind him. Slowly he turned around to see a hissing Ranma approaching him.
As he backed away from the creature, he heard another frantic rapping, but his heart was pounding faster now. The idea of being ripped to shreds didn't exactly appeal to him as he backed further away. Another frantic rap at the window and Mousse felt something strange happen.
First thing he noticed was broken glass fall around around him, then he noticed everything around him dissappear, literally. Last thing he noticed was a pond hurdling towards him at monster speeds. Then he lost consciousness.
"Oh my god.", was the first thing he heard after waking up. Kinami was standing over him mouth agape.
"Mousse? Is that you?", she asked.
"Of course its me. Damn! I should've remembered the trap!", was his answer, although it came out more as a "Quack Quack Quack.. QUACK!" Than anything else.
"Its true. Oh my god its true!", she yelled. She picked Mousse up and prodded him around, recieving several angry quacks.
A moment later, Kasumi returned with a pot of hot water, and poured it on him. She smiled and just walked away.
"There, you happy now? Damn trap. Oh well, lets try again."
"No need.", a voice came from the patio door.
Mousse spun around and looked at the standing figure of Ranma, who has just apparently come out of 'Cat-fist mode'.
"You came out? How?"
"Well, you literally scared the hell out of me.", he laughed. "I remember stalking you in the kitchen, and I was about to attack when the next thing I knew you literally flew out the window and into the koi pond."
"I'm still not sure if you just scared me, or made me laugh so hard it hurt."
"Oh.. great. Glad to help.", Mousse said flatly.
"This Jusenkyo thing _IS_ real?", Kinami shouted.
"Yes it is. Feel glad you witnessed my transformation, its the last time."
"Mousse.", Ranma shouted from the patio, amongst the growing crowd walking towards him.
As Mousse turned towards him, he could make out the growing facial expression of a smile under his cowl.
"Thanks," he said.