The katana in his hand seemed to drink in what little light remained as Shikarou moved silently across the yard towards the residence part of the Tendo dojo. His ears rotated as he listened to the noises coming from the lower level, soft noises that seemed to issue from the kitchen.
He was glad he’d insisted on setting up his tent. After the short tour Akane had given him of the place, he now knew that if he hadn’t he’d probably have been forced to sleep with Ranma and Genma in their room and Genma’s snores made the glass in their windows rattle. It was a wonder that Ranma didn’t have hearing damage from the uproar.
It wouldn’t have helped that right now they shared their room with the priest. He kept fingering his spirit wards every time he looked at Shikarou and muttering to himself. It was very likely that he didn’t believe Shikarou’s warning and sharing a room with him would have resulted in someone dying during the night.
Not that Shikarou had any qualms about killing the priest; after all he’d been warned. However, he was trying to stay friendly at least until he learned where the other Ranma was and he suspected that would definitely sour his welcome.
He moved slowly, testing each step for sound. He’d walked the route while everyone was awake, but obviously couldn’t check each board for squeakiness at that time.
Lunch had been as bad as promised but Kasumi had pulled out all the stops for dinner. Half cooked rancid beef and vegetables, egg stir burned rice and baked pickle surprise. The surprise had been that the pickles had been replaced with scorchingly hot peppers and old anchovies. Not that the idea of baked pickles had been popular to begin with.
Genma and Soun had escaped by going to the baths for the evening, until Shikarou had asked curiously how they’d gotten through the barrier. This had caused a search of the property until the two adults had been located hidden in an outbuilding with a cache of fresh fruit and wine.
The food had been confiscated and the elder Saotome had been thrashed by his son. Shikarou had found Soun’s response the most amusing. He’d pointed a finger at Shikarou and announced that he was a bad excuse for a future son in law.
He’d only stomped off when Nabiki had pointed out that Shikarou wasn’t his son in law at all.
Shikarou eased into the hallway and soundlessly headed for the kitchen. A dim light was visible through the doorway and he cautiously peeked into the room as a quiet scratching sound issued from it. He whispered a spell to deaden any sounds coming from the kitchen. This might get noisy.
Kasumi was in her nightdress and he could see the flash of a knife as she did something at the table.
He crept forward until he stood behind her and raised his katana. “Kasumi.” She jumped and whirled as she raised the knife. Shikarou plucked it from her fingers and flipped it point first into the wall across the room where it shivered the light as it vibrated from the impact.
Shikarou tossed the katana on the table and spun Kasumi around to bend her over the tabletop. The demon spoke as he slid his hand to the middle of her back and pinned her struggling form down. “If you kill this shell, you will cause untold pain and suffering.” Its voice was hers with a gravelly overlay filled with anger and hate.
Shikarou snorted. “Kasumi is not going to be punished for your actions. I will have to hurt her to get you out, but it’s far better than leaving you inside her to do whatever you please.”
“Release me and this shell will give you delights beyond your pitiful reckoning.” The possessed woman twisted her head to peer up at him with one eye. “She will be yours to do with as you will.”
Kasumi suddenly stopped struggling and spoke in her normal voice, “I will not!”
With his free hand Shikarou pulled up her nightdress, bunching it around her waist. He caressed her rump and squeezed a panty clad cheek gently, causing her to jump. “Nice ass.” With an effort he pulled his mind back to duty.
His hand rose and fell with a solid “crack” on her buttocks. Kasumi yelped and jerked. He spanked her once every five seconds, alternating cheeks with each blow and checking between them to see if the demon was coming free. She cried out quietly and struggled briefly with each blow.
Finally he felt a spike in energy that indicated the demon was coming free and looked up as it pulled from her head and upper back. It was muscular and powerful and it grinned at him. “Too late, too late. I have already absorbed enough power to change and I will drain this urk.”
Shikarou snatched up his sword and impaled the creature on the wall with it. It screamed and jerked at the blade before expiring noisily. “I see that the habit Oni have of talking too much exists here as well.” He realized that he was still holding Kasumi down and pulled her nightdress back down before lifting her to sit on the edge of the table. She winced.
“Sorry. I forgot.”
She raised an eyebrow. “You forgot you spanked me?”
“No, that I could never forget.” He grinned as she turned pink. “I forgot that you might be sore.”
Suddenly she threw her arms around his neck. “Thank you for rescuing me. Everyone else was willing to wait for the demon to let me go.” She released him and looked around with a frown. “What’s that smell?”
“Decomposing demon. The kitchen will smell like it for a few hours until it’s gone.” He bobbed his head. “Would you like some tea?”
“Not with that smell.”
“I have some tea in my tent, if you are willing to trust me.”
“Are you going to spank me again?”
“Not unless you ask nicely.” She turned even redder. He chuckled. “I’ll be good.”
“Then some tea sounds nice.” She smoothed her nightdress. “Oh, my. Look at what I did to the tablecloth.”
Shikarou glanced at the cutouts, which formed a chain of people. “I’ll get you a new one.”
She looked surprised. “I’d say you didn’t have to, but I fear that’s the only way we could afford a new one.”
“I’ll buy you a new one, whatever you want; if you don’t tell your father I spanked you. I may have to stay here for a while if Ranma isn’t around.”
“I wasn’t going to tell father anything except that you saved me.” She followed him outside. “I think you are talking about the other Ranma, the poor lost one. He was here for a while, but then he left. He did say he would be back in about a month or so.”
“I don’t suppose he said where he was going?”
“No. He’d already visited his mother; only she’s not, is she?” Kasumi shook her head. “It’s all very confusing.”
Shikarou frowned. “You know how there is this world and the spirit world and some say there is heaven and hell? There are also other places that are just as real as this one and some of them are very much like this one. Ranma comes from a different place that is very much like yours.”
“He was accidentally brought to a third place and when the people there tried to send him home; they sent him here by mistake. I’ve been asked to find him and bring him back so they can send him to his proper home, where his people are.”
He lifted the tent flap and motioned her inside. She stopped just inside the tent. “My, this is much larger on the inside. Magic?”
“That’s correct.” He smiled. “I was worried you’d be upset.”
“I was just possessed by a demon and rescued by you. Right now there’s little that you could do that would upset me.”
He motioned at the table. “Please sit and I’ll get the tea.”
Kasumi shook her head. “The demon attacked me when I was alone. Can I go with you?”
“Sure.” He led her into the kitchen and pointed at a chair as he grabbed a kettle.
She gingerly sat and looked around alertly. “This is very nice, but it’s rather big for one man. You don’t live here by yourself, do you? You’ve got a harem, like he does.” It wasn’t a question.
“I don’t know if it’s like his, but yes, I do have a harem.” Shikarou dumped tea into the pot.
“Where are they?”
“Considering the situation and the fact that I didn’t intend to get discovered as being a kami, my alpha and I thought it best to keep them hidden for another day or so.”
He handed Kasumi a cup of tea and laid a plate of cookies on the counter next to her. “Thank you.” She nibbled at a cookie. “This is very good.”
“Helen made them. Please tell her that you liked them when you meet her.”
Kasumi drank some tea and frowned. “You said this place is like here. Does that mean that the Kasumi in Ranma’s harem is me?”
“She’s the daughter of the Tendo Soun of the third world, not Ranma’s and while she may bear the same name, she is not you. We call the different people analogs and that Kasumi analog has had a very different life than you have. So has her sister Nabiki and the rest.” His ears flicked. “However, it is very likely that there is a Kasumi analog on his world, along with the rest of the Tendo family. I wonder if he’s thought about what that might mean, considering that there have been agreements between the Tendo’s and the Saotome’s on two of the three worlds.”
“That Kasumi is a Griffon and she gets to fight.” Kasumi took a deep drink. “I don’t do that. I take care of here.” There was an odd tone in her voice.
“That Kasumi is a pokegirl. Did Ranma explain what that is?”
Kasumi nodded. “He tried, but I got the impression he has the same problems our Ranma has at expressing himself and when he was explaining, Akane was very upset about some of it, so he was hard to understand. She can get pretty loud when she’s angry. She was also upset because the here Ranma spent time talking with the other Ranma’s pokegirls and Akane is his fiancé.”
“You are taking all of this remarkably well.”
She smiled. “You are easy to understand. Why did you come here?”
“I was told that there was no one else who could rescue Ranma, at least not easily. There aren’t that many dimensional travelers in the pokegirl world and none at all in Ranma’s.” He smiled slowly. “That’s why I’m here to rescue a man I’ve never met along with his harem.”
“You’ve never met him? It was very nice of you to come here.” She cocked her head. “You rescued me. Do you make a habit of helping people you don’t know?”
“Actually, after I rescue them, I often find they are like you, people very much worth knowing. If I didn’t rescue people, I wouldn’t get to meet them, which would be my loss.”
She nodded. “Do you think I could meet your harem?” She cast her eyes down and hesitated before continuing in a small voice. “It would be nice to have someone like you to talk to who is also a woman.”
Shikarou nodded. “I understand there are a lot of things you can’t discuss with me.” She jumped when he summoned his pack to him but remained quiet after it appeared. He pulled a pokeball from it. “This is a pokeball. It is a storage device for pokegirls and works by translating them into an energy state for containment. I don’t think Ranma came here with any of them.”
Kasumi smiled. “I don’t understand.”
“Pokegirls can be stored in here. I’m going to let one out; there will be a red light.” He activated the pokeball and released Branwyn. “Kasumi, this is Branwyn, a Unicorn pokegirl and my alpha. Branwyn, this is Kasumi Tendo, from this world.”
Branwyn bowed as Shikarou had shown her. “I am Branwyn,” she said in heavily accented Japanese. “Shikarou is teaching me how to burp,” she paused and Kasumi giggled, “talk in Japanese, but I am not very good yet. Sometimes I don’t know the right word.”
Kasumi smiled. “You are doing well and I’m sure you’ll improve in no time.”
Branwyn returned the smile. “I hope so.” She turned to Shikarou. “How long?”
“Only a day. Kasumi would like to meet the harem. Any suggestions? I do want her to meet Helen. Oh, and we may be here for a couple of months.”
She cocked her head. “Helen, Elizabeth, Circe, Yushiko and Dorothea are my choices. Helen and Circe are the only ones that look significantly nonhuman but you specifically wanted Helen and I want Circe available so we can use dreamtime to finish teaching everyone Japanese. After that, we’ll start rotating them into and out of storage.”
She frowned. “How hard is this illusion spell to learn?”
“It’s quite easy.”
“Good. Everyone who can will learn it and so you can get your guard back.”
Shikarou nodded and pulled another pokeball from his pack. “Kasumi, this is Helen’s pokeball. Helen is a Milktit and doesn’t look very human so I wanted to let you know I was going to release her before I did so.”
Kasumi nodded. “Thank you.” She looked interestedly at the Milktit as she appeared. “My.”
Helen glanced at Kasumi and then at Branwyn. “We have a new harem member?” she asked in Japanese.
Branwyn smiled. “No, this is Kasumi Tendo and she’s a human from this world.”
Helen smiled. “Greetings, Kasumi. I’m Helen.”
Kasumi returned it. “I wanted to compliment you on your cookies. They’re very good. I was wondering if I could get the recipe.”
Helen suddenly looked shy. “You liked it? I don’t think there would be a problem with you getting the recipe.” She looked at Shikarou. “Is that ok?”
“It’s your recipe to do with as you please.” Shikarou reflected that he needed to improve Helen’s interpersonal skills outside the harem. She’d gotten used to interacting with people at Caomh Sith, but remained shy around strangers. Maybe working at the Tendo home would be good practice for her. “I’m sure the two of you could teach each other a lot, maybe, if Kasumi is willing, you could work with her.”
He frowned at another thought. Maybe bringing her a battered and bloody Ruiling would help her more. This would bear thinking on.
The Milktit looked pleased at his words. “Thank you!” She turned to Kasumi. “Could I?”
Kasumi smiled. “I would love your help.”
In short order she’d been introduced to Circe, Dorothea, Yushiko and Elizabeth. Shikarou didn’t discuss the various pokegirl species in detail with Kasumi since he wasn’t sure how a psychic type with telepathy or a Vampire would be taken. They were all friendly to Kasumi and she was polite back.
The meeting broke up when he noticed Kasumi fighting to stay awake. “I’m sorry, I didn’t think about the time.” He gave her an apologetic smiled. “Can I walk you back to the house?”
Branwyn shot him a look. “She’d dead on her feet. Yushiko, pick her up and we’ll put her in the guest room.”
Kasumi protested a little but was quickly bustled off. When Branwyn returned, Shikarou had moved to the living area and was seated at the table while Helen worked in the kitchen preparing some beverages for the harem. The Milktit brought out some drinks and sat when Branwyn motioned to her.
The Unicorn settled down next to Shikarou. “Explain why you were alone in our home with a strange human woman who had a bruised bum and you without an illusion spell.” Ears pricked and pokegirls leaned forward interestedly.
Shikarou gave them a brief description about what had happened since he arrived at the dojo. There was laughter when he described how he spanked the demon out of Kasumi.
Helen chuckled. “That explains the bruise. You have got find someplace other than tables for your fun.” Everyone other than Branwyn looked puzzled for a moment.
Circe twitched an antenna. “Does this mean we are stuck here waiting for Ranma to show up whenever?”
“We are going to remain here, but I want Dorothea or Pythia out all of the time and I want you and Pythia,” as he turned his attention to his Seraph, “trying to locate Rei or Usagi.”
Dorothea looked thoughtful. “I’ll see what I can do, my lord, but I fear that may be far less than what thou thinks I can accomplish for thee.”
“Do what you can. Aggie is monitoring the television and radio networks for any news that might be him or his harem and I want us to get newspapers and magazines on a regular basis for the same purpose.”
Elizabeth made a face. “So this is the grand adventure? Newspapers and magazines?”
“I never said it would be either grand or an adventure. On the other hand, while picking up the magazines and such I also would like everyone to be shopping for other things, like movies and music. We have an opportunity to get shows, books and songs that were lost during the Fall and let’s make the most of it.”
Yushiko smiled. “And if we pick up catalogs we can have Selene make us new clothes when we return.”
Helen glanced at Elizabeth and noted her expression at that thought. “I don’t think everyone wants to wait that long.”
“Then we’ll buy some clothes too.” He smiled. “Maybe you’ll get lucky and find some cosplay stores.”
He grinned. “Find out.” Elizabeth perked up at the idea of a quest and rubbed her hands together.
Shikarou turned to Branwyn. “It’s very early morning right now. We need to get some rest so as to be awake when everyone else is.”
Branwyn nodded. “Everyone to bed. What about you?”
“I’ve got a few things to take care of so I’ll be staying up.” He shrugged. “There’s a dead demon to clean up and if the skeleton doesn’t fall apart I’ll be collecting it. Even such a puny demon should have some magical properties in its bones and waste not, want not.”
He frowned. “There’s one more thing. Everyone will either have to have an illusion of clothing or actually wear clothes. I’d prefer the latter. The local mores are such that it is necessary around the house or if anyone goes out.”
Branwyn nodded. “I’ll break the news to Pythia and Kebi. Marzia will be more of a problem as she categorically refuses to wear clothing.”
“Give her the option. If she refuses then she may stay in stasis while we are staying here.”
“That works. I’ll tell everyone to wear clothes unless they are in the bath or in their own rooms in case we have visitors.”
“Thank you, Branwyn.”
“So my Kasumi tells me that you killed the demon last night after it left her and that the threat is over.” Soun was seated at the breakfast table with Genma and Shikarou. “She also says that Helen is a Milk, er a Milk, um, she’s a pokegirl and part of your harem?”
“She’s very impressive!” Genma still looked a little shell-shocked from meeting Helen this morning. While she was wearing a very demure dress, it couldn’t hide the fact that she was an animorph with a muzzle, horns and a tail and did very little to hide her tremendous breasts. Genma had stared at her bosom and stuttered a greeting.
Shikarou smiled. “She’s a Milktit.” Soun winced and Genma flushed darkly. “She wanted to help Kasumi with breakfast and since your daughter is still a bit weak from the possession, Kasumi said she’d be happy for the help. They do seem to be working well together.”
A shadow appeared in the doorway. It was Kasumi with a tray and she was closely followed by Helen, who had the breakfast dishes. The Milktit started putting out the dishes while Kasumi spoke. “The demon dying in the kitchen made some of the food smell odd, but I found some cereal for breakfast that seems fine.” She put down the box of cereal and a pitcher of milk. “When I go shopping today, I’ll replace what we have to throw out.” Shikarou picked up the box and looked it over.
Soun was staring at Helen’s bust. “That will be fine, Kasumi.”
“Shikarou?” He looked up. “If we could, I’d like to replace that tablecloth today.”
He nodded as he returned to reading the cereal box. “All right. Just let me know when you want to go out.” He turned to Soun. “I understand the priest is having some trouble removing the barrier spell he put on the gate.”
Soun watched Helen’s ass as she disappeared. “What? Oh, yes. He’s working on it right now.”
Shikarou pushed to his feet. “I’ll see if he needs some help.”
Soun blinked. “You don’t want any cereal?”
“Thank you for the offer, but I’ve read the ingredient list and there are too many preservatives for me. Please don’t be insulted, I can eat preservatives but I haven’t in almost a year and I want to work up to them slowly.”
Soun nodded absently. “Very well.” He picked up his newspaper as Shikarou headed to the front of the complex.
The priest was standing and muttering angrily at the gate. Shikarou nodded to him. “Good morning, are you having problems?”
He got an annoyed glare in response. “I appear to have used the wrong glue on these wards and I can’t take them down.”
“What kind of glue did you use?”
“It’s supposed to last for three hundred years.”
Shikarou looked startled. “That’s impressive. So the wards aren’t coming down anytime soon.”
“This could be a problem since we don’t have enough genetic diversity or room to set up a farming experiment. May I try?”
The priest’s eyebrows went up. “If I can’t take them down, you certainly cannot, but go ahead.”
Shikarou summoned his sword and struck, using the tip of the katana to carve an X across the first ward and slicing the paper into triangles. The sheet of paper burst into flames and was gone. “Who said anything about taking them down?” He repeated the process on the second barrier spell. “All done.”
The priest tried to look pleased but failed. “Very good. Well, I’ll be on my way.” He scurried through the gate and down the street as Shikarou thanked his sword and it faded away.
Ranma stuck his head out a window. “What’d ya have to do that for, now I gotta go to school.” He pulled his head back inside as Shikarou heard Akane’s angry voice calling her fiancé down to breakfast.
“Eventually we would have run out of food and been down to eating visitors,” Shikarou muttered. “Bloody pup.”
A few hours later he was walking with Kasumi as they headed to get the groceries and a new tablecloth. Branwyn had taken Elizabeth, Dorothea, and Yushiko shopping for stuff for the harem as well as newspapers while Circe was hovering several hundred meters above her Tamer and Helen had nipped off to the tent for a workout and some rest.
“Shikarou, we may have a problem.” Kasumi gave him a slightly worried look. “One of the reasons the other Ranma decided to leave for a while was because,” she looked slightly embarrassed, “I explained to him that we couldn’t afford to feed his women all of the time. And there was the other thing.” She looked away and flushed slightly.
He could guess. “The tamings, or as it is still called here, the sex?”
Her blush deepened. “Yes,” she said in a barely audible voice. “Akane was very upset when she found out and the first time she thought it was our Ranma. She’s thought he was a pervert for a while and when she came across him with, well she has quite the temper.”
“How did she take Helen? If our presence is going to be that much of a disruption, then I can move the tent off your property.”
“Helen was in the kitchen and none of the children met her this morning.” She rolled her shoulders in a shrug. “They’re usually running late and today wasn’t an exception. They ate and ran off for school.”
She looked puzzled for an instant. “No matter what my sister thinks, she’s in school and is still a child. I was speaking about all three of them.”
She gave him a sideways glance. “Why, are you interested in Nabiki? Akane is the only one of us with a fiancé.”
He snorted. “While I guess I didn’t think of Nabiki as a child, she’s definitely not a grown woman, no matter how worldly she tries to be.” He frowned. “And if it’s any help, we will provide most of our food and I’ll pay for anything of yours that we use.”
Kasumi smiled. “That will be a pleasant change. All of our other guests are,” she paused and looked thoughtful for a moment, “non-contributors to the household finances and between the food and the repairs, they can be quite considerable.”
He snickered and she gave him another curious look. “What is it?”
“I’ve been told what the other Ranma said about his father and if this Genma is anything like that, he’s a bone idle layabout who breaks out in a rash at the word work and falls over in a faint if there’s actually any that needs to be done. Outside of martial arts, that is.”
Kasumi had started laughing and continued to do so until she lost her breath and had to lean against a lamppost until she got it back. “That’s a mean way to describe Saotome-san.” Her eyes sparkled. “Accurate, but mean.”
“Well, I won’t be like that. I have money and I intend to spend it on the Tendo family while I’m staying on their property.”
“Don’t tell Nabiki you said that or she’ll want you to take her shopping,” Kasumi warned him softly.
“I said I’d spend my money on the Tendo family. I suspect buying Nabiki clothes doesn’t benefit the rest of you, no matter how she might see it.”
Kasumi watched Shikarou out of the corner of her eye as they headed back home. He had a fifty pound bag of rice draped over his shoulders and carried two heavy baskets without any obvious strain. They weren’t talking, just walking along in a comfortable silence and she appreciated that. It was one of the reasons she tended to shop alone.
Shopping for the daily groceries was the one chance she had to get away from the house. It gave her an opportunity to center her soul as well as to prepare for the calamities that seemed to be endlessly striking her family since her mother had died. It had gotten progressively worse since arrival of the Saotome family and she needed some quiet time on a regular basis to remain calm.
Nabiki was always conniving to get any change and endlessly speculating on whom she could get money from next. If Akane and Ranma were along with her, it was as if she was watching a running battle.
She supposed it was good that they would get the fighting out of the way before they married, but is was so tiring to have to listen to them go on like that all of the time.
Of course, she didn’t usually have to put up with Ranma and Akane for long, either one or the other would leave in a huff and the remaining one would either go after the first or stomp around and grumble for the rest of the trip.
She didn’t care for those trips either, so usually she’d change her normal path to go by someplace that sold fast food before going anywhere else and then she’d give them a little money and not have to see them again that day until dinnertime. It meant that she’d have to haggle a little harder for some of the items she needed, but she thought the cost a pittance compared to the peaceful day she received in return.
Shikarou had been quiet the whole trip and he hadn’t tried to interfere with her shopping, merely paying for whatever she’d gotten and taking the items before she could say anything. He’d even wandered away while she was looking over replacement tablecloths, although he’d vetoed the first one she’d picked and sent her back for a more expensive linen one that he claimed would last longer. He was right, but the cotton would have been almost as good.
And then Shampoo had shown up.
There were several reasons that Kasumi didn’t like Shampoo very much. The first was, of course, that she was Chinese. The second was that she was a Chinese Amazon. These things weren’t Shampoo’s fault and Kasumi, as a modern woman, was willing to overlook them.
However, there was the fact that Shampoo came into her house without ringing and waiting to be admitted, the fact that she often destroyed parts of the home during her visits and the fact that she routinely tried to kill, embarrass or otherwise harm her sister Akane and steal Akane’s fiancé, Ranma. These things Kasumi had more trouble putting aside.
The fact that she rode her bicycle around with little regard to pedestrians was just another sign of her arrogance and disrespect for others.
Today Shampoo had been weaving her way through the pedestrians and nearly running more than one of them down when she saw Kasumi and Shikarou and came screeching to a halt.
She glared at Shikarou. “Who you?” she asked imperiously. Kasumi recognized the glint in her eye that hinted the Amazon was looking for a fight.
Kasumi decided to try to keep things civil. “Good morning, Shampoo. This is Shikarou and he’s a guest at home. Shikarou, this is Shampoo, an Amazon.”
Kasumi felt her heart sink as Shampoo turned to Shikarou with a smile that belied the aggressive way she spoke to him. It hadn’t worked.
“Why you there? You there for Akane, no? You take her and go now, leave Ranma for Shampoo.”
Shikarou smiled pleasantly. “I’m afraid you are mistaken, I’m not here for Akane. Sorry.”
Shampoo’s eyes narrowed. “So why you here?”
His smile grew. “Kasumi was nice enough to take me shopping and let me see a little of the area.”
Shampoo stamped a foot. “No! Why you stay at dojo?”
“I’m afraid that’s personal.” His smile vanished. “Good day.”
He started to step around Shampoo but she turned her bike to block his passage. She had a smile that said she’d found her victim. “You answer question.”
He gave the same pleasant smile, but Kasumi could feel that it was somehow no longer friendly. “No.” She lunged for him and he hopped back and hit her with a sleep spell. The Amazon toppled over along with the bike and a wet stain spread from the wooden box on the rear of the vehicle across the ground and into Shampoo’s clothes and hair.
He sighed and straightened his kimono. “I’m sorry for that Kasumi. Shall we continue on?”
“I would like that,” Kasumi replied and off they went.
About an hour later, Shikarou had bought them some yogurt drinks and Kasumi had to visit the bathroom. She was coming out when she saw Shampoo and her great grandmother, Cologne, drop from a rooftop to confront Shikarou. Kasumi sighed and moved to stand near him.
Cologne’s eyes flicked over her and dismissed her presence as Shampoo pointed to Shikarou and angrily yelled, “That one who pull sneaky trick on Shampoo.”
Cologne smiled and rattled off something in Chinese, apparently aiming her words at Shikarou.
Shampoo looked shocked. “Him no speak Chinese!”
Shikarou smiled and replied in Japanese. “I don’t believe Kasumi speaks Chinese and it would be impolite to carry on a conversation in it in front of her. I hope you speak Japanese.”
Cologne looked surprised and glanced again at Kasumi, this time with an appraising look to it. “I asked why you attacked my granddaughter.”
Shikarou nodded. “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard your name and I know it would be very rude of me to call you what I use in the silence of my mind. I am Shikarou, which you probably got from the guards at your gate. And you are? Or would you like me to call you a midget on a stick?”
Shampoo turned white and then red suffused her features and she suddenly looked furious. “You no speak to grandmother that way.”
Kasumi cocked her head curiously. His words were friendly and his tone was friendly, but there was an undercurrent hinting that this conversation was over if Cologne didn’t answer.
The way Cologne’s eyes narrowed suggested that she’d heard it too. “I am Cologne and I am the leader of Joketsuzoku. Shampoo is my granddaughter and Ranma’s husband. Why did you attack her?”
“I didn’t. She attacked me. I merely reacted and put her to sleep.”
“You didn’t fight her?” Cologne looked curious.
“You said something cryptic when we first met about your girls needing a husband and maybe I could beat one of them. Those statements made me think that fighting an Amazon is a bad idea unless I’m ready for marriage to one.” He shrugged. “So I didn’t fight Shampoo.”
Cologne looked impressed. “You’re smarter than the average Japanese too. It’s too bad Shampoo is already married to Ranma, she might do better with you.”
“I’m not interested in her.”
Cologne’s eyes crinkled with humor. “Now you’ve gone and made her mad. I guess you will have to fight her after all and we’ll finally get to see just how good you are.” Shampoo went into a crouch and began to advance.
“Remember how I surprised you last time? Get ready for that feeling again.” He winked at Kasumi. “Circe, would you please handle this for me?”
Kasumi’s eyes went wide as someone spoke to them, but not in her ears. It would be my pleasure. I know, no killing.
There was a snapping noise and a nearby power cable for a shop ripped itself free and proceeded to hogtie Shampoo. She screamed with fury until part of her blouse stuffed itself in her mouth.
I’m starting to understand why you don’t want to kill them. Humiliation is much more fun.
Cologne stared in astonishment as Shikarou sketched a bow in her direction. “Another day, perhaps?” He picked up the basket with the stuff they’d gotten so far. “I think we should be going on with the shopping, don’t you?”
Kasumi gave him a big smile. “Yes, I do.”
They were almost home when he paused and put the baskets down before shrugging his shoulders and catching the bag of rice. He laid it gently down next to the baskets, turned and gave the startled Kasumi a formal bow. “I am very sorry for what happened today. I was hoping for a quiet shopping expedition and I think my presence is the reason that it didn’t happen.”
Kasumi smiled. “Shikarou, compared to what I often have to put up with, that was a quiet trip. Thank you for coming along and carrying all of that for me.”
He gave her an odd look. “It was no trouble and I had a good time.” He picked up the stuff again and they headed home.
When they were unloading the supplies, Kasumi turned to him. “I know you’ve already given us so much, but could I ask for Helen’s help in the kitchen while you are here? She’s nice to talk to and she knows so many interesting stories about your world.”
He nodded. “If Helen wants to do it, then I won’t interfere. If she doesn’t, then she won’t.”
“Thank you, I’ll ask her myself.” Kasumi went back to unpacking.
Circe headed down the hallway of the dojo. She was supposed to meet Shikarou in the training hall for some last minute instructions before her Tamer headed out on his now daily shopping trip with Kasumi. She was also hoping for a quickie before they left and was reminiscing about that when something smashed through the roof and landed in front of her. A voice cried out, “I’m back everyone!” She got a quick impression of a wizened, almost hairless dwarf in a red gi before its eyes widened. “Heaven, I’m in heaven! Come to me, my pretties!” It launched itself at Circe and rubbed itself against her chest while making happy noises.
The Alaka-Wham’s eyes narrowed and she used her telekinesis to peel the dwarf from her body and held it a few feet from her. “Do I know you?”
It gibbered and frothed. “Give me my pretties!!!” It was spitting on her so she turned it to face away from her and headed back to the residence, sending a message to Shikarou as she did. I’ve been attacked by a red cockroach. Her antennae twitched. Its name is Happosai. I think it belongs to Soun or Genma, it’s thinking about them rescuing it from me. Pause. But not my tits. It wants my tits.
I’ll be right there.
Circe walked into the dining area with Happosai hovering in front of her and looked at the two men playing chess. “Does this belong to you?” Her voice was frosty.
“Genma, Soun, tell her to release me right now or I’m going to get angry.” Happosai folded his arms and looked furious. Circe thought it merely looked petulant. He twisted around to glare at Circe. “You don’t want to see me when I’m angry.”
She raised an eyebrow. “You groped me, you little cockroach. I don’t want to see you at all.”
Genma turned white. “Master! I didn’t know you’d returned!” Soun swayed and collapsed backwards in a dead faint. Circe noticed that one eye opened just a bit so he could see the unfolding events.
“Cockroach! Woman, er,” he froze for a second as her antennae slowly moved, “whatever you are, I am the master of the School of Anything Goes Martial Arts. You will release me this instant!”
Circe looked down at herself. She was wearing overalls and there was a nasty stain where Happosai had drooled on the fabric constraining her massive breasts. “You stained my clothes! Do you have any idea just how hard it is to find something that fits me?” Her eyes narrowed. “This had better come out or I’ll fix you.”
“You cannot harm me!” Happosai spat in her direction. “I know what you are. I see that misbegotten other Ranma has returned. Where is the freak who won’t share all his lovelies with me?”
Circe’s mouth thinned dangerously. “My Tamer is not a freak!” Happosai suddenly sailed out into the yard and hovered over the koi pond. “You will apologize this instant!”
Circe shoved him two feet under the water and held him there. Happosai thrashed for a few minutes in froth of bubbles which slowly started to subside. Suddenly Soun stood next to her. “Do it! Finish him!”
Genma danced in front of the pond. “Die you old bastard!”
Shikarou touched her shoulder. Let him up.
He called you a freak. I grow tired of these impertinent humans. First the incident with Shampoo and now this thing insults you. Perhaps they will show a little respect for you after this.
Shikarou shook his head slowly. We do not have the right to kill him for insulting me. I’m pleased you’ve become so protective, but in this case it’s misplaced. Drop him next to the pool. He gave her a wry grin. We can always kill him later if it becomes necessary.
Circe looked into his eyes and nodded. Happosai’s limp form lifted out of the water and dropped to the ground at the edge of the pool. “What now?”
“Kasumi can wait. Let’s go to the tent and I’ll do horrible things to you.”
She gave him a quick grin. “Promise?”
“Promise.” The two of them turned away, ignoring the suddenly horrified Soun and Genma as their master began to stir.
Happosai puffed on his pipe. “Your pokegirls should be more respectful of me.”
Shikarou smiled slightly. “You shouldn’t go groping them, although I really can’t stop that. They can defend themselves and you’ll only get what you deserve. I have issued them instructions not to kill you; anything else is fair game since you will be starting these altercations. However, if you hurt one of them in your little games, I will get involved and the rules will change.”
The tiny master gave him an amused look. “You seem to think that should worry me.”
He received a serene smile in return. “I do seem to think that.”
Happosai scowled. “I don’t care who you are, I’m not worried about you.”
“It’s probably best if you don’t.” Shikarou pulled a bottle from his pack and glanced around the rooftop they’d adjourned to for this discussion. “Sake?”
“Thank you.” Happosai took a long pull from the bottle. “Ah.” He clutched the bottle to his chest and puffed contentedly on his pipe. “That’s much better.”
Shikarou pulled a much smaller bottle from his pack and held it up. Happosai peered curiously at it. “And what is that?”
“Antidote.” He nodded toward the bottle in the master’s lap. “For the lethal poison in the sake.”
Happosai turned pale. “You’re joking, right?” Suddenly sweat appeared on his forehead and he clutched at his chest as fire began to grow inside it.
“I don’t lie. There is a lethal poison in that sake and you’ve ingested it. You should be feeling the effects right now.” He offered the bottle. “Here.”
Happosai gulped it down and tossed the sake bottle several streets away to shatter against the street. His color slowly returned and his chest pain faded away.
He stared at Shikarou as the kami spoke quietly. “Now this was just an example. If you hurt one of my pokegirls I will not give you challenge, I will not let you know what is coming. I will just kill you without warning. I may remove your head with my sword from the shadows or I may put a poisoned pin in the shower cap you wear when you bathe.” He rose and smoothed his kimono before picking up his backpack. “I leave it up to you to decide if you should be concerned about that.”
Kasumi stepped out on the porch where Shikarou, Genma, Soun and Happosai were sitting. Genma and Soun were playing chess and Shikarou was letting Happosai beat him at cards. It wasn’t hard; he’d never been good at them. “Shikarou, may I ask a favor of you?”
He put his cards down and pushed a pile of yen at the little letch. “You win.” Happosai crooned happily to the money as he gathered it up.
Shikarou slid to his feet. “Of course you may. What is it?”
“Akane left in such a hurry that she forgot some of her homework. She called and asked if I could bring it by and I was wondering if you would run this errand for me.”
He smiled. “It sounds better than having to watch Happosai take more of my money.”
The little man grinned. “Come back when you want your education furthered, but bring more money.”
Shikarou rolled his eyes. “So where is the school?”
A little while later he looked the place over as he approached it. Furinken High School was a very nice looking school with old trees that were obviously well cared for and a well maintained building.
He could see students all over the place; it looked like it was lunchtime or there was some kind of break going on. It was going to be difficult to find an individual girl at this time.
Fortunately Akane knew someone was coming and was waiting near the gate. She waved to get his attention. “Shikarou!” He chuckled and changed direction.
“Oh, thank you for this.” She gave him a merry smile as he handed her the homework. “I would have been in so much trouble without this.”
“It was no trouble, Akane, and actually gave me a reason to travel in this direction. Cities aren’t this big where I come from.”
Akane’s expression hardened as she looked behind him and a voice asked in a singsong: “What knave is this that allows the fair maiden Akane’s name to fall sullied from his lips?”
Shikarou sighed and didn’t turn to see who’d spoken. “I don’t suppose he’s a friend of yours?”
Akane shook her head. “Nope.” She raised her voice. “Hello, Kuno. Shikarou was just bringing me my homework.”
Something hard poked him in the back of the head. “And just what relationship do you have with the virtuous Akane that allows you to handle her homework? Turn and face me, knave.”
Shikarou gave Akane a bland look and turned around to face a young man in a blue kimono. He was holding a bokkuto in one hand. “I am Shikarou and I happen to be staying at the Tendo dojo for a brief time. Akane’s sister, Kasumi, asked me to bring her homework to her.”
The man’s cheeks reddened. “You stay in the home of the fair Akane?” His eyes began to bulge. “You dare!”
“Actually, I don’t. I have a tent that her father has allowed me to set on the edge of his property and I stay there.”
Kuno frowned and the growing rage faded. “Oh? Nothing more?”
“No. Akane is a very pretty young lady and very nice too, but she’s already betrothed and my pursuit of her would end in failure.” Shikarou watched Akane flush with pleasure at his words. “So I do not even make the attempt.”
“That is very wise of you.” Kuno declared pompously. “Chasing the fair Akane would be foolish for one such as you. You are far too old for one such as her.”
“If that’s what you say.”
“Indeed it is.” Kuno said dismissively and turned away.
Akane sighed. “He’s such a jerk.”
“What?” Akane looked shocked.
“He’s an arrogant jackass.”
“You can’t say things like that!”
He gave her a quick grin. “I’m old, remember, I can say adult things and that young man is an arrogant jackass.”
Akane stared helplessly at him for a minute and suddenly dissolved into giggles.
Elizabeth grumbled to herself as she slipped the straps of her dress over her shoulders. “All I wanted was a drink of something that wasn’t blood and I made an honest mistake when I confused Helen’s raw milk with the cooked. It could have happened to anyone.”
She pulled the dress down around her waist and reached for the bottle she’d brought over with her. “And Branwyn makes me clean the training hall over here at the Tendo house just because I gave her some of it. It’s not like I’m not oozing milk too.” She began expressing the milk into the bottle. “And she’s forbidden me to go to Shikarou for help with my problem. Bitch. I know she’s going to him for relief, why can’t I do it too?”
She didn’t see the tiny eye staring at her from a hole in the ceiling.
Happosai quivered with joy as he watched the black haired woman squirting milk from her breasts into a bottle. This was much better than watching Akane bathe. His breathing sped up and his mouth began to salivate as he watched her. Ooh, he could almost taste her milk and it was almost too much to bear. He whimpered quietly as she finished up and got dressed again.
Elizabeth checked the level of the bottle. “You should be good for one more time. I’ll see you in three hours.” She tucked it under some blankets and let herself out of the changing room
The little man lifted the loose board and dropped easily into the room. He grabbed the bottle from its hiding place and danced for joy before sitting down to his feast. All too soon it was gone and he sighed before secreting it back where he’d found it.
He grinned. “I’ll see you in three hours myself, when you hold more precious elixir. Shh, it’ll be our little secret.” Silently, he crept out again.
Three hours later Elizabeth was back and, of course, so was he.
Happosai trembled with delight as he watched her strip to the waist and dig out the bottle.
She looked at it and frowned. “What the hell?” She glanced around and shook her head. “This is too weird.”
The letch froze and cursed silently as Elizabeth put the bottle down before beginning the process of tucking herself back into her dress. “No,” he whispered. “Don’t do it.”
His prayers were to no avail and as he watched her tucking the second glorious breast into her clothes, he suddenly jumped up and ripped the board away before dropping into her arms and fastening his mouth around her still exposed nipple.
Elizabeth reacted automatically to the intruder, lifting him and the breast he refused to let go, sinking her fangs into his shoulder and tearing viciously with all of her enhanced strength.
Shikarou was in the kitchen and talking with Kasumi and Helen while they worked on dinner when they heard the thin scream. The conversation died as the noise quickly grew louder and suddenly Happosai came wailing by, blood pouring from his shoulder. He vanished into the living area and they heard Genma’s and Soun’s cries of alarm.
Shikarou raced the other way, following the trail of blood to its beginning. There he found Elizabeth doubled over and retching uncontrollably. He grabbed her and she panicked, struggling to get away. “Elizabeth, it’s me. Your lover.”
She froze. “Shikarou?” Sanity returned to her eyes and suddenly she was in his arms. “Oh, it was that horrid little man. I bit him and he tastes just so foul.” Tears heated his chest. “I feel so bad, my stomach hurts so much.”
He pulled her to the ground with him and settled her into his lap before rubbing her lips against his neck. “Take what you need.”
She took a deep breath of his scent and slowly relaxed. “Shikarou.” She kissed his neck and bit, taking small sips of his blood and pausing with each one to savor his flavor. His eyes closed as her arms crept around him and she shifted in his lap until she was straddling his waist.
After a bit, she moaned softly and began to rub herself against his kimono, slowly at first but gradually increasing speed until she ground herself against his crotch and shuddered as she came.
She lifted her head. “You healed.” Her head sank back down and she bit him again as her hands pulled up her dress to her waist and reached between them to open his kimono.
Freeing him, she raised herself up slightly and rubbed his head against her wetness before slowly sinking down again, impaling herself on him. She hissed with pleasure against his neck and bit him again, drinking deeply as she began to slowly ride him.
Her moans became louder as she slowly lifted herself almost off of him before dropping down and once more trapping him inside her. “Oh, kami,” she whispered against him. Suddenly her body quivered and she threw her head back. Shikarou grabbed her and pulled her forward by the hair, trapping her cry of pleasure against his shoulder.
His eyes slowly opened as Elizabeth began to ride him once more and then widened in shock when he saw Kasumi standing frozen in the room, her eyes wide and her hands twisted in her apron as she stared at them.
He smiled softly. “Please, close the door on your way out.” Kasumi jumped as if stung and flushed scarlet before almost dashing out of the changing room and sliding the door shut as Elizabeth began moaning once again.
“So did you talk to Kasumi after that?” Branwyn cocked her head and refilled his tea.
“I tried to, but she told Helen that she wasn’t feeling good and went to her room to lie down. I figured that meant she didn’t want to be disturbed by me.”
“That’s probably a wise decision.” She nodded. “And Happosai?”
“I healed his arm, but he’s still wandering around and whining a lot.”
“So, he’s normal.” The Unicorn picked up her tea and leaned back. “And you brought Elizabeth here, where Candace has determined that she’s going to be fine.”
She glanced at him. “I was wondering how much trouble Happosai was going to be. Are you aware that there is an analog of him on our world?”
“Yes, but I don’t know any details.”
“Fiend is too good a word for him.” She sighed and leaned against her Tamer. “Happosai is a living embodiment of the worst elements of a Tamer. He was so bad that after he was betrayed by Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo, he was locked away for life without any chance of parole.”
“He’d been wanted alive or dead and other than him, only Mephaesta was so despised.” She shook her head gently. “In fact, after he escaped again, his death sentence was reinstated and he’s the only human on the planet a pokegirl can legally kill without any warning or punishment.”
“Yes, and this one seems to be cut from the same cloth. He didn’t cause Elizabeth any physical damage, but you do know that he frightened her very much. What are you going to do about it?”
“I only said I would kill him if he hurt one of you, and technically he didn’t violate that proscription.” Shikarou sighed. “I’ll be more specific if we have to deal with the one on Ranma’s world.”
“So, technically I shouldn’t kill him out of hand.” He frowned. “I have to do something, though, or Elizabeth will feel unloved.” His frown became a snarl. “And if I don’t do something soon, not too long in the future I will look into his smiling face and tear it from his skull.”
“You have a plan.” It wasn’t a question.
“I do, but it depends on whether or not Elizabeth wants to help me get him for what he’s done.”
“As long as she doesn’t have to bite him again, she will,” Branwyn responded confidently.
Happosai looked up from his breakfast and blanched as Shikarou and Elizabeth settled at the table. Shikarou smiled pleasantly. “Morning.”
Elizabeth leaned over and peered into Happosai’s eyes before sitting up and nudging her Tamer. “They’re bloodshot. It could be the first symptom.”
Akane looked over at the letch and surreptitiously eased away from him. Elizabeth grinned. “Don’t worry; it’s not contagious at this stage.”
“This stage?” Happosai’s voice rose and wavered slightly. “What is she talking about, Shikarou?”
He sighed and glanced over at the Vampire. “Should we tell him?”
She smiled. “He brought it on himself, but yes, I think so, before he becomes a threat to others.”
Shikarou nodded. “Why don’t you tell him?”
“Ok.” She gave Happosai an evil smile. “I infected you and you’re going to become a Vampire, like me.”
Worry appeared on his face and he turned slightly green. “What do you mean?”
Elizabeth grinned. “You’ll have to drink blood and you’ll be able to fly and walk through walls and even become a bat. You’ll be able to become invisible and drain the energy of your enemies.”
Happosai’s worry vanished. “Wow. That’s wonderful. Will sunlight kill me?”
“Oh, no. You won’t like it a lot, but if you are careful it should only prove a minor inconvenience.”
The little man grinned. “All right. I’ll be even more powerful than I am now!”
Elizabeth nodded. “That’s right.”
Akane looked disgusted. “That’s horrible, now he’ll be an even worse pervert.”
Happosai chuckled evilly. “That’s right my dear Akane, and you, Ranma, might want to reconsider that bra.”
“Not in a million years, you old man.”
Shikarou chuckled. “If Happosai becomes a Vampire your girl side will be perfectly safe, Ranma, and so will you, Akane.”
Happosai glared. “Ha! That just goes to show you don’t know everything.”
“Elizabeth, you forgot to tell him something.”
“Oh, did I?” She looked thoughtful for a second. “Oh, you’re right. How could I forget that?”
Happosai grinned. “This is perfect! Nothing could be better!”
Elizabeth gave him a broad smile. “There’s one more thing, the process of making you a Vampire will make you a girl first. There are no boy Vampires and while you’ll still be a pervert, now you’ll chase males like Genma and Soun.”
Happosai turned chalk white and abruptly he wailed like a damned soul.
Name: Urufu, Shikarou
Residence: Caomh Sith, Blue Continent
Security Clearance: Eta
Master Tamer Y
Species Name Level
Alaka-Wham Circe 72
Unicorn Branwyn 59
Milktit Helen 57
Seraph Dorothea 50
Armsmistress Urufu Yushiko 48
Ria Kebi 47
G-Spliced Pythia 47
Vampire Elizabeth 46
Sphinx Lorelei 43
Mini-Top Nanu 41
Blazicunt Marzia 40
Badges: Scotland: Stornoway, Rum Island, Glasgow
Wales: Magicunt Village
Name: Saotome, Ranma
Security Clearance: Delta
Master Tamer Y
Species Name Level
Griffon Kasumi 40
Herochan Shampoo 37
Cheshire Nabiki 35
Angel Rei 29
Megami Usagi 27
Mareen Rain 25