Continuing Tales

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 2 of 26

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Destiny's Child

The small girl with eyes filled with pain beyond her years descended from the hills and walked to the coast. Wherever she went, she would seek the best fighters and the best teachers, and learn what she could. Medicine and fighting were the two goals in her life. With enough knowledge, she may one day become a lady, rather than a young girl. For if a girl can be come a lady, then a lady can become a elder, and one day she can join her family in the heavens.

Every journey begins with but a single step. The journey to old age begins with being a lady. Ranma's goal had always been to be the greatest Martial Artist possible, and to be the manliest man possible. Now he added that while a girl, he wanted to be a lady. She travelled Japan for three years searching for knowledge when she realised that she was looking for the end of the journey, rather than the start.

Taking a boat to China, 'Tendo Yuki' headed for Jusenkyo.

* * *

Yuki looked down on the pools of Jusenkyo and marvelled at how little they had changed in the last five decades. All the little bamboo poles were still there, looking as freshly cut as when she and her father had come there the first time. Walking along the edge of the pools, she looked down into the cursed waters and wondered what spirit dwelt within the spring.

She was leaning over the water, trying to see into the depth when she heard a voice from behind her. It was unmistakably the Guide, but he sounded depressed and resigned. "Oh, little Miss. You no go near cursed Spring, is very bad you fall in."

When Yuki turned and walked away from the spring, the Guide almost fell over. People never heard what the Guide was saying until it was too late. A dozen times the Guide had seen people come to Jusenkyo and had tried to warn them away: each time they had ignored him. If a person was doomed to be cursed, they would never notice the Guide's warnings until it was too late. When she was next to the Guide, Yuki looked up (compared to the massive figure of the Guide, Yuki's slender juvenile frame made it quite a way to look up).

"Don't worry about me. From what you told me, there's no danger of me ever falling into one of the springs."

"No! Little Miss, is very bad. You should not try. Go home now. Very tragic if you fall in."

Yuki laughed. "Oh, something like the Nyanniichuan, a very tragic story of young girl which drown in spring 1500 years ago?"

The Guide patted her on the back and led her into his hut. "Don't know where you hear story of Nyanniichuan, but no risk of that. Spring of Nyanniichuan destroyed fifty year ago. Spring dry up and vanish. No more spring of drowned young girl any more."

Yuki sat down and gasped in astonishment. All of the healers and priests she had spoken to over the last three years agreed on one thing. The best chance they would have to counter the curse would be if they had a sample of the cursed water to work with. If the spring was gone, even that hope was dashed. Seeing his guest in such a distraught state, the Guide took her inside, prepared tea and pressed a cup into her hands.

Seeing the bowl of tea, Yuki looked up at the Guide and smiled. It's been so long, he probably doesn't recognise me, time for a demonstration. Reaching past the Guide, Yuki lifted the pot of hot water off the stove. When she poured and shuddered in pain, the Guide gave a short scream and stepped backwards. "No! Is not possible! Is no Nyanniichuan! You find hot spring of drowned boy?"

Ranma looked at the Guide and he seemed to be terrified out of his wits. "Calm down man! I've been here before, remember? You explained it all to me: the cursed springs, hot and cold water, the spring of drowned Jusenkyo Guide. Please, you have to remember. I need your help."

Still breathing hard, the Guide had backed to the other side of the room. Taking a few deep breaths, he finally managed to get himself under control. "I new Guide, only been here six year. You too young to have been cursed here before then. Where you get curse?"

Ranma sighed and took a sip of his tea. "I got cursed here fifty years ago, probably just before the Nyanniichuan dried up. While I was training with my father, he fell into the spring of the drowned panda. I fell into the spring of the drowned young girl."

The Guide shook his head, jowls wobbling. "Is no possible. You no more than nineteen. How you fall in spring of drowned girl?"

"Ah! There's your problem. It wasn't the spring of the drowned girl. It was the spring of the drowned _young_ girl. Do you have any idea what it's like to spend almost every minute of the last five decades as a twelve year old girl?"

Turning away, the Guide busied himself getting some simple food from the cupboard. When he had laid out a simple meal for the two of them he motioned for Ranma to join him. Ranma was just starting on a piece of hard cheese when the Guide spoke softly. "I... I no understand. I fall in spring when I seventeen year old girl. Now I spend every day as fat old man. Once... Once I great warrior. Now I nothing more than fisherman. I collect people who fall in spring, try keep them alive. Never... Never get to live my life..."

When the Guide began to cry, Ranma relented. Stepping around the table he placed an arm around the Guide's shoulders and held him tight. It didn't take long before the Guide was clinging tightly to him, crying like the woman she was on the inside. The Guide's curse was the harshest of all the curses from Jusenkyo. If the Guide died, someone would quickly fall into the spring and be curse to become the new Guide. For this reason, no one would ever try and cure the Guide. All his food was provided, but none would stay with him, for to do so was to court the danger of the legendary cursed springs.

Ranma and the Guide talked long into the night. While the Guide had never heard of anyone ever being cured of their curse, he suspected it was possible. The magic of the springs was powerful, but surely there must be some limit. Although the hope was small, the Guide continually clung to the hope that some day there would be a cure and he would be changed back into a girl. Already the best years of her life had been robbed away, and it seemed unlikely that would change.

As the fire in the hut was guttering low, Ranma spoke of his life and his goals. All he really wanted was to be able to grow old and die, to be with his beloved wife. He realised that suicide was possible, but that was just a cowards way of saying that they could not fight the way life was. Ranma was going to hang onto life until it was stolen from his grasp. He just wanted to remove the curse so that nature could take it's toll. It hurt to much to see everyone and everything you loved grow old, wither and die while you watched through the eyes of a child.

Offering Ranma a place to stay, the two turned in for the night. Tomorrow they would again pool their knowledge. Perhaps they may have a clue to the cure that the other needed.

During the night it rained.

Needless to say, the roof above Ranma's head leaked slightly (and for the first time in years). When Ranma awoke it was as a she, not a he.

Over breakfast, the Guide told Ranma of his village, the Joketsuzoku. They were mighty Amazon warriors and would be happy to take in a girl as talented as Ranma. Since they lived close to the springs, they were also the most likely to be the ones which would have a cure. Ranma in turn told the Guide of his life and love with Akane. It was three years since she had died, but every day still started as a bleak and hopeless look at the future: alone, and eternally missing the one woman who he truly loved.

Eventually Ranma left for the Joketsuzoku. As she left the Guide's hut, she promised the Guide: 'If I ever find a cure for the curse, I will return here. You won't have to take the cure, but I promise you that I will offer it.'

While he walked down the hill, leaving the valley which held the springs, he wondered which was worse: being a man in a young girls body, or being a girl in a man's body, and knowing you were loosing your own life as his time ticked by.

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 2 of 26

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