Continuing Tales

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 4 of 26

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Destiny's Child

Five years later it was Soap Onna Rope who was the midwife delivering Brush's wife's baby. It was a beautiful child, bright red, and coughing and crying from the first moments. Every sign was there of a healthy baby. Soap smiled as she showed the new-born warrior to Brush's wife. "You have a perfect little baby girl. What will you name her?"

The girl smiled, holding Brush with one arm and the baby with the other.


In all his years, Ranma had known a great many children. The village had lots of them, they were an essential part of its future. Akane had often been upset at her own failure to have children, given the fact that both her sisters had broods of six. The Tendo sisters and their children had visited them several times, especially in the early days when the Dojo was still in the same town that they were. Ranma liked children: there was something special about them, an energy, a naiveté, an endless joy which swept up everyone nearby.

Somehow, Cologne was special. She was the first person Ranma had known from the very moment of their birth. Ranma knew Cologne from the very first seconds of life, even before she started to breath. When Cologne was born, it was Ranma's hands which were the first sensations which she would ever feel. When Ranma was taking the baby girl to her mother, it was Ranma's face which Cologne saw the first time she ever opened her eyes.

From the instant Ranma saw her wrinkled head, Ranma loved her like her own daughter. The fact that the father was one of her best friends in the Amazon village also help matters. Over the next few days, Ranma spent as much time with little Cologne as either of her parents.

Although she eventually picked up her duties in the village again, Soap spent every spare moment with the child and happy couple. Even when she was not with them, she was thinking about them. Brush was excited by the fact that his best friend loved his child so much. After Ranma's revelation, they had become much closer. Closer to the point where Brush realised the huge burden of suffering and loss which Ranma carried. Brush sincerely hoped that Ranma / Soap's love for Cologne would help her get over the loss of his wife, and begin to accept the future.

The prospect of having Soap as a beloved Aunt was not purely selfless of course. Soap was considered one of the premier warriors in the village, if not the best. Since she was still considered a maiden, she was eligible (and encouraged) to enter the yearly Martial Tournament. Every year she refused, and it was only on years where a particularly egotistical girl took the competition did anyone _not_ suggest that Ranma could be the winner if she desired. The protection and education which was offered by having such a friend for your child could not be overlooked in this harsh world.

Similarly, the fact that Soap was one of the village's designated Mistress Healers meant free and instant medical attention. From the day Cologne could walk, Soap was there, helping her, training her. If Cologne fell, or was hurt in a fight, Soap would appear in moments with encouragement or, if needed, first aid.

Soap had just finished taping a bandage onto the little six year old's arm when her father appeared. "What happened to her this time?"

Cologne looked up at her father and smiled. "Lotion and I were fighting a monster in the cave, Daddy. Then it woke up and it got mad, so we ran back here. I tripped over and cut my arm. Are we going to hunt the monster, Auntie Soap?"

Soap patted the head of the little girl. "No, not today. Cologne-chan, you take Lotion back to Mummy. I need to have a talk to your Daddy."

Cologne nodded her head, dark hair bobbing cutely as she tried to look serious. When she was out of earshot, Soap turned to Brush and snarled. "I realise we can't guard them all the time, but when I find out who was on gate duty, we're going to have a little 'chat'."

Brush did not need to look into her eyes to see the fire that they held. The forest was filled with all sorts of dangerous animals. The villagers liked it that way: free protection from strangers, and it helped to keep them on their toes. On the other hand, the forest was not the place for six year olds to be playing unattended.

"Are we going to look for the monster?"

"Damn right. If we have a bear moving in for hibernation, we need to tell everyone where not to go. Could also be important if winter's bad."

Brush grunted and the two set off for the cave that Cologne and Lotion had described to Soap. They were approaching the cave when Brush restarted the conversation. "What was that name you used earlier? Cologne-chan?"

"Yeah. I'm originally Japanese, and I remembered that's what we used to call each other when we were young, and when we got older, that's what we called the cute little kids."

There was not much more that could be said really. Most people could tell that Soap had some sort of ethnic background, but when you considered that she had looked twelve for the last twenty years, minor details began to fall by the wayside.

In silence the pair entered the cave and looked around. It was fairly deep, and quite dry inside. A cave like this would be the perfect retreat for almost any form of animal. Something as dangerous as a bear would love this cave for the winter, or even the most dangerous animal out there: man. They had searched the cave and found nothing. The kids had probably scared it as badly as it scared them.

They were almost back at the entrance to the cave when a low growl reached them. Instantly both of them paused. Holding up a hand, Soap advanced alone. In moments she was back, stumbling backwards, shaking in fear, her expressive eyes large and flicking around the room for any sign of escape. Following her lead, Brush backed up.

If the mighty Soap Onna Rope was scared, then it must be some sort of horrid demon which was approaching. He had seen Soap fearlessly charge into a crowd of Musk warriors two years ago during a minor border incursion, so he know there was no-one - man or beast - which she feared. They had reached the back of the cave, retreating ahead of the sounds, and Brush said a silent prayer hoping for the safety of his family.

When the scent of wet fur reached them, Brush knew his demise must be at hand. Soap was starting to gibber in fear beside him, and was almost trying to push through the rock. Whatever demon this was, merely to see it must induce fear, sufficient to cripple the greatest Amazon he knew. When the creature finally stepped into view, he almost collapsed.

Sure, it was unusual to see a Bengal Tiger in this part, but he know a dozen warriors which could slay the animal without breaking a sweat, and while Soap was definitely one of them, he was not. Dropping into a combat stance, Brush prepared to meet his maker with as any Amazon should. Needless to say, his respect for his friend fell even further when she began to scream like the little girl she obviously was.

The tiger advanced. It could smell their fear, and it knew that it had not eaten in several days. If these were the inhabitants of it's new home, they would soon be lunch. With a snarl and a roar, it leapt at Brush, knocking the man to one side with a massive paw. Despite his speed and training, Brush took almost the full impact of the blow, all he had managed to do was prevent the inevitable by not being opened up by the massive claws. Turning to him, he could smell the beast's fetid carnivore breath as it arrived to deal the final blow.

The great cat had just raised its deadly paw when a snarling challenge was called out from beside it. Man and beast turned and to see the small form of Soap, crouched on the ground on all fours. Her mouth was open and hissing, while she held one curled hand off the ground in a similar posture to the tiger. All trace of fear had been washed from her face as she advanced on the tiger.

Brush and tiger both realised the futility of Soap's attempt to fool the animal. From that position, no human could muster the speed or strength to fight effectively. The fact that a forty kilo girl was less than a third the size of the cat did nothing to improve the image which she was trying to project. Before Brush could intervene, both the combatants jumped at each other.

The met in mid-air, and became a rolling, boiling ball of blood, fur and limbs. Shrill screams of pain filled the air, while blood blossomed around the cave, coating everything a brilliant red. By the time Brush had regained his feet so he could leap into the fray, he was dodging the pieces of flesh which flew from the still snarling whirlwind in the middle of the cave.

As a terrifying roar split the air, he lowered his arms and saw a blood covered Soap perched on what little remained of the tiger. Despite the fact that she was covered head to toe in blood and other bits of undetermined nature, Soap seemed unhurt. Brush moved towards his friend, only to halt when he saw the look of pure savage, vicious bloodlust he backed off. Soap leaned down and took a bite at the carcass near her hands, picking up the cat in her mouth.

Following the Soap out of the cave, Brush could only wonder at what demon now possessed his friend. He knew that Soap was no ordinary girl, and that she was stronger than most men, but what sort of strength allowed you to carry a hundred kilos of tiger corpse in your teeth? His concern grew as they approached they village. After seeing Soap fight before, and seeing how quickly she managed to kill the tiger, he seriously wondered how many people would die before they could kill whatever was controlling Soap.

They reached the wooden picket which surrounded the village, and Soap simply jumped to the top and then inside. The fence was designed to keep everyone but the strongest of animals or warrior from the village, and she had just jumped it while burdened. Yelling for help, Brush rushed for the entry gate. There was no way he could climb the stockade in time to help, all he could do was pass the news as quickly as possible.

By the time he had arrived at the gate and passed inwards, the commotion was already starting. A blood covered girl carrying a tiger in her mouth through the centre of the village is not something that you normally see. A large crowd had gathered to watch what was going on when Soap arrived at the hut where Cologne and Lotion were playing. The two children looked up and squealed when they saw their friend. All Neko-Soap did was drop her burden at Cologne's feet and purr.

Little Cologne gave a short squeal of terror and backed away, running for her mother who was standing in the doorway of their home. The woman looked down at her terrified daughter, and at the blood covered girl and frowned. "Soap, what on earth do you think your doing?"

Soap did not respond, but only bounced over the corpse and rubbed one bloody flank up against the little girl. "Soap! Stop this immediately! Your terrifying little Cologne!"

Still ignoring the adult, Soap was getting into Cologne's game. As the scared girl would retreat around her mother, Soap would follow her. Some of the Amazons were getting sufficiently concerned about the girl's odd behaviour that they started to advance. Some of the weapon wielding women had almost come within fighting distance when Liniment's aged but authoritative voice rang out over the village. "Hold! No one move!"

Instantly everyone within earshot stopped moving. Even Soap stopped, but that was because she had managed to catch up with Cologne and was happily rubbing herself against the small girl. By the time Liniment made her way to the hut, Cologne was tentatively patting Soap, wiping the matted hair back from her face, and getting a deep purr from her friend. Seeing another friend, Soap sat on Cologne's feet and began to work on cleaning her hands, licking off the blood.

Liniment was almost ready to offer an explanation when Brush appeared. The man was frantic with worry, especially when he saw the deranged girl so close to his daughter. Pushing his way through the crowd, he was preparing to rescue his daughter when Liniment pressed a paralysis Shiatsu point on his neck.

"Now that we are all here, does anyone know how this happened?"

From her he lay at her feet, Brush gave an explanation of the events in the cave. Nodding contentedly to the story, Liniment waved the villagers in close and revealed all.

"It appears that Soap has been trained in the Cat Fist. This is an awesome Martial Arts technique, which endows the user with almost super human speed and strength. The only drawbacks are the fact that almost no-one can survive the training, and it results in at least a temporary loss of sanity.

"Sometimes the loss is permanent.

"Neither we nor the Musk bother using the Cat Fist to train our warriors. It will only work on the best warriors, and even then, the cost to you forces through failures is too great to make it worthwhile.

"Some fool has trained Soap in the Cat Fist. It makes her completely terrified of all cats, even the smallest kitten. It can also make her into a deranged killer if she or those she loves are threatened.

"For now, everyone is quite safe. If no-one makes any sudden moves towards her, and no-one threatens her or the child, she should be quite harmless. Remember, now she has the mind of a cat. Treat her like a cat, and all will be well."

Liniment looked at the ground for a moment, then back at the girl who she had invested so much time and effort in training.

"Having a villager in the grip of the Cat Fist is not something we can take lightly, however. While she is safe now, she is also unpredictable, and extremely dangerous if she is aroused. We will allow her three days of rest. If she has not recovered in that time... then more desperate measures may need to be taken."

Cologne and Brush managed to wipe most of the blood off Soap in the course of the next hour. Just as they were almost finished with most of the job, Neko-Soap apparently decided that it had received enough petting for the while, and it was time for some serious playing around. Cologne had just finished cleaning Soap's hair, and was working on tying it back when Soap stuck both her arms around her and sent both of them tumbling out of the hut with a loud cry of "Miyaaa!"

All the adults who had been watching immediately charged outside, prepared to offer their lives to save the little girl, but by the time they got there, it was too late to change the outcome. Soap and Cologne had become inextricably locked in a vigorous game of tag. Sighing in relief, they watched as the two jumped around the yard, both making cat sounds as they chased, rolled and frolicked.

It didn't take too long for the grown ups to feel tired just watching the two play. If there was something to be climbed over, jumped on, or crawled under, the two managed to find it. Drawing on the almost limitless energy that only small children and elite martial artists under the Neko-ken have, they played for almost two hours straight before returning to the house and collapsing in an exhausted, boneless heap on the floor. Seeing little Cologne-chan lying on her sleeping mat, half covered by the larger form of Soap, Brush almost felt concern. But after watching them play and be around each other all afternoon, Brush began to wonder if there was actually any safer place in the world for his daughter. Soap could obviously defend her from any sort of attack, and her devotion to his daughter was quite unmistakable. Shaking his head, Brush settled down to have his own rest.

He was still sitting in a chair, half dozing when around midnight a cry of distress rent the air. "CAT! CAT!"

Immediately awake, he saw Soap sitting there, looking around with a lost expression on her face. After a moment she realised she was holding the still sleeping Cologne, she replaced her on the mat, and wandered over to her friend. Whispering, Soap asked the obvious question. "How did I get here? What happened to the c-c-c-cat?"

"What do you remember?"

"I just remember being in the cave and that... that... thing coming at us... How did I get here?"

Brush chucked quietly. "That 'thing' happens to be a Bengal Tiger, about the biggest cat your likely to see."

Soap shuddered. "I don't care how big it was, it's still a c-c-c-c... you know. I... um... have this little fear of... THEM. Did I black out? Did you bring me back here?"

"Yes and no. You blacked out, but you came back here under your own power. Do you know a Martial Arts technique called the Neko-ken?"

Soap pondered for a moment. "Oh, yeah! Sure I do. Pops tried to train me in it when I was really young. He said it was a complete failure. Just drove me nuts for a while and gave me this great fear of c-c-c- ca... THEM."

"Liniment said he succeeded. Yesterday when you blacked out, you actually went into some sort of strange cat-like state, and tore the tiger to pieces. When we got you back here, we cleaned you up, and let you play with Cologne for a while. You fell asleep about five in the afternoon. Hasn't this sort of thing happened to you before?"

"Not really. My family always knew about my phobia, so they made sure there were never any... any of THEM around. Akane told me I'd black out like this three or four times in the past when a cat did get to me for long enough, but she always looked after me."

Soap wiped a tear from the corner of her eye and tried to pull her mind away from the happiness of the past.

Over the next week, people stayed cautious around Soap, but she never relapsed. In time, all was forgotten, and people moved on. Cologne was a bit upset at the loss of her playmate, but eventually Soap relented and offered to play tag with her as a normal girl. While cats were never a popular pet in the village, they became slightly less popular, and were never seen near Soap.

One of the irrefutable laws of the universe was the fact that children grow up. Girls become young ladies, and young ladies become women. It hardly seemed to be the blink of an eye, and Cologne was sixteen and winning the yearly Martial Tournament. In the month prior to it, Soap had handed most of her duties over to other women, and was training Cologne personally. It was a close match, but when the new challenger won, everyone went berserk. The food was the offered prize, but the real prize was the esteem which everyone held for you, and the fact that you joined the elders' table in the feast that night.

The next day, Cologne sought out Soap and took the younger girl for a walk. It was time for them to discuss things, and it was probably best not to say everything in the open. Everyone who had been Soap's age when she entered the village was starting to show the signs of age. The little kids who had been babes in arms were now the current generation of adults in the village. Brush and his generation were now respected adults, bearing children, and passing their knowledge on to the youngsters.

Soap on the other hand was still twelve. She still had the big, innocent eyes; the open smile, and the childish looks. When she entered she had been a teacher of the children, and a student of the elders. For almost a decade, she had been privy to almost all the tribes secrets, and could hold her own against any three of the best students in the village.

She was also watching as everything important in life passed her by.

Near a small stream - on a patch of level ground Soap remembered well from a whole generation ago - Cologne stopped them and faced Soap.

"Your thinking of leaving, aren't you?"

Soap looked at her feet, then back up at the girl grown into a woman. Cologne had grown into a beautiful young lady, and Ranma envied the boy who would one day be her husband. "Yes. If I stay here much longer, I'll be watching all my old friends die. Again. So many of them are already gone. War, animals, accidents. It's only the lucky and the cautions which are left now. I've already watched as my friends grew old and died once. I don't want to watch it again."

Cologne held her hands in front of her and pleaded. "Please stay. We need you here. There is so much you can teach us. We need you... I need you. You're my best friend in the whole village."

Soap sighed. "Thank you Cologne-chan. I think you and your Dad are my best friends too. But I don't want to stay here and watch my best friends grow old and die. I'm sorry."

"Is there nothing I can say that could convince you to stay?"


"Then, Tendo Ranma. I challenge you. If you loose, you shall be my husband, and stay here until one of us dies."

Soap almost fell over. It had been almost a year since she had last changed into her Ranma form. She still felt the same inside, she was a guy inside, but not outside. She could have sworn that almost no-one in the village still believed that she was actually a man. For heaven's sake, she consistently had to beat of marriage challenges from the young men. She only ever had to do it once, but it almost seemed to have become a rite of passage for many boys: 'thou shalt be beaten to a pulp by Soap for proposing'.

"You can't mean this, Cologne-chan. You've never even seen me as a man, I could be hideously ugly. I couldn't even be a proper father to any children. What sort of a father changes into a twelve year old girl the first time he has a bath? How did you even know?"

Cologne shook her head. "I have my ways. And yes, I do mean this. The village needs you. I need you. You need us. I've seen you walking around. This is just a place to live to you, it's not a home. We're your friends, not your family. I want you to be part of your family. Whatever happened, you've suffered enough. It's time to move on. I want you to be part of the future here. You mean too much to all of us."

"I can't. I'm sorry Cologne-chan. I've already had a wife, and every day I wish she was still alive. I don't want to be saying the same thing about you in another fifty years. I'm sorry. I have to go. I'm going to talk to Liniment soon. I'll probably leave in another month or two."

Cologne chuckled. "You'll only leave if you can win the challenge. Let's boil some water. I want to see this Tendo Ranma who I've just proposed to."

Soap laughed at that one too. "Oh, I'll be leaving. You're a hundred years to soon to beat me, Cologne-chan."

When they fought, it was as man and woman. It was also as brief as expected. Even without resorting to special attacks which Cologne had no hope of matching, he defeated her quickly. In the end, Ranma held his best friend in a strangle hold, and gently applied a pain hold on her right arm until she capitulated.

"What? No beating me black and blue?"

"Feh! I don't mind if girls challenge me... I'm a guy. I just try and discourage the guys from trying."

After admitting defeat, the two talked for a long time. They talked of the future, their hopes and aspirations. After two hours they headed back to the village. Cologne looked at Ranma in concern. "Are you sure we don't need to find some water? People might be a little... confused... to say the least."

Ranma laughed, and to prove her point, it began to rain only minutes from the village. "The Kami hate me, Cologne-chan. They do. In the last fifteen years, the longest I've stayed a man has been five hours straight. Changing into a girl is not something I need to put much effort into."

A month and a half later, Ranma did leave. It was an emotional departure, for everybody. The Amazon village had been his home for over thirty years and been a source of comfort, help and happiness when he was at his lowest. For the villagers, Soap was one of them. She was a teacher and a friend, a loyal soldier in battle, and a revered healer when they were sick and injured.

The older people in the village remembered Ranma's arrival, and they realised that some day he may wish to leave, but there was not one person in the village which did not wish he would stay. Many of the unmarried young men fancied the cute little Soap Onna Rope... even if she did look rather young. The older men, and most of the women were sad at the loss of a friend. She was strong and sure of herself, a true Amazon. Beyond that, she was also a brilliant teacher and warrior, and a person who could be trusted in any circumstance... especially with the honour of their husbands and sons.

The village lined up and watched as she prepared for her pilgrimage. The elders had refused to accept that she would leave them forever. Unless you were cast out, you were an Amazon until the day you died. So rather than Soap leaving to find a new home, she was going in search of knowledge, secure in the knowledge that she would be able to return at any time. On the way down the line of friends and adopted family, Soap stopped and spoke, saying goodbye to each person individually.

Thirty years as a warrior, and thirty years of donations for healing, had left Soap very rich. Too rich for her to possibly take all her wealth and the many books she possessed. As she moved down the line, she passed out some of the pretty gold and jewellery to the children she knew. The adults received more practical items, salves or potions, advice, or even just a hug and kiss for those who no gift could express her friendship.

Eventually there were only two people left in the line. Soap stepped up to Liniment and held the old woman tightly. Liniment was growing old and it was showing: now when she held Soap, their heights were equal, age having shrunken her once proud frame. For over twenty years Liniment had been Soap's teacher of the healing and martial arts. Holding her close, Soap said the only words which mattered to her.

"Thank you. I will try and be worthy of what you have taught me. And you were right in what you said earlier. No matter how long I wander, no matter were I go: this will always be my home, and you will always be my family."

Liniment tried to say something - anything - but eventually she just nodded and gave a weak smile. Then she turned away, rubbing her face. Amazon's do not cry... especially the Matriarch.

Soap and Cologne held each other also. Cologne was still a girl in the eyes of the village, so she was happy enough to do the crying for both of them. After a moment, Soap brushed a tear from her cheek and looked at her pretty face.

"You were almost a daughter to me, and then you were my best friend. I always wanted to be able to teach you everything I knew, but every day I look at you and I'm frightened of what it would be like when you grow up. I don't want to be there the day that they bury you Cologne-chan. That would kill me. Instead, I'm going to find a cure for my curse, and we can grow old together... What do you say?"

Cologne sniffed and nodded. Soap took her hands looked up at her face. "You've got great potential, Cologne, almost as much as I did. Don't waste it waiting for me. I want you to have my house. It is a house suitable for the Matriarch you'll be some day. All my books and scrolls are there, the ones I am taking are just copies. Use them well. Live life, and be proud of yourself and your village. Always remember the Joketsuzoku have 2700 years of history backing them up."

With that, Soap Onna Rope left the Amazon village.

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 4 of 26

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