Continuing Tales

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 5 of 26

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Destiny's Child

As the small girl struggled up the mountain side, Tendo Ranma pondered her future. All she owned, she carried on her back. True, she carried a weight heavier than any twelve year old should possibly be able to lift, but it was all her worldly belongings. A century of muscle strengthening and Ki focusing allowed her to move a fairly weighty quantity of possessions.

As she walk through the lush forest, Ranma catalogued what she had. A change of clothes, and some cold weather gear. Some knives and a pot for camping. A week of rice and dried meat. A small book filled with meticulous summaries of magic and herbalism. The book of Amazon law. A sealed, waterproof case holding three pictures of Akane. And slightly over a hundred kilos of gold and jewels.

Travelling light was no reason to travel poor.

Ranma spent almost two years in the vast forests of China. She wandered most days, idly trekking first north, then heading east, having decided to find the ocean. By the time she reached the northern reaches of the Pacific Ocean, Ranma was firmly convinced that the life of isolation and meditation was definitely the wrong way to find a cure.

Ranma admitted that he had never been the brightest student around. While he could learn most things fairly well, unless it was fighting, he had few new ideas. At least after two years of trying, no-one could say that he had not tried being a wandering hermit or scholar. Best to leave no stone unturned. There would be a cure to this curse, it was only a matter of finding it.

Heading south along the coast of China, Ranma tried the studious life in the cities. While there, she would sometimes convert some of her wealth into investments. Living off the income of a small trading company made life easy, and let her hire the scholars or mages she sought.

This passed another six years, washed away in the sea of time. People's faces changed, cities changed, but only three things stayed the same: big business, big taxes, and little Ranma.

Eight years from her home wasted, and nothing to show for it. In all her time, no new ideas had occurred, no mystics with an infallible cure, no new hope. All that had happened was that a few careless investments had bloomed, and she had accidentally doubled her money. As if that mattered.

Leaving his investments in the care of managers, Ranma again hit the road. He had considered going to Japan, land of his birth, but that felt too much like defeat. To return now, uncured, would be to acknowledge his failure. He would be no better that a wandering Ronin, drifting and worthless, eternally cursed and worthless. He would not, could not, return now. Not until the day he could face his deceased wife with pride, and say that for all eternity he was the man he could not be for her in life.

Southwest it was. To India, a land of mystics and meditative wise men.

It was an older, wiser and much humbler Tendo Ranma which walked north over a century later. The Indian mystics were vast libraries of spiritual knowledge, and he had learnt all that was available. Ranma already potent battle aura had soared to level levels, and then shrunk again as she learned to control her aura and hide it from view.

When Ranma walked north, strength buoyed by Ki, she radiated no more aura than any normal person. Unless she was truly aroused, Ranma could shield her spiritual strength from even the most observant.

Stopping through China on the way to her next destination, Ranma disposed of more of her accumulated gold. Living frugally for so long had dampened her lust for material wealth, even though it had been small to start with. Since the trading companies she had invested with earlier still existed, she turned their control, and most of her assets over to a group of investors. They would hold her money in perpetual trust and investment until she or her descendants chose to withdraw it.

Properly prepared for the aesthetic life she expected, Ranma headed north to Tibet.

For many years she moved from place to place. A decade here, or a few months there, she sought a cure, and learned all that was available on spiritualism and Martial Arts. Then she found the Tewon Monastery.

It was situated at the top of the sharp spire, in the middle of a set of inhospitable, rocky mountains. The first question Ranma had asked when she found out it's existence was 'why there', the answer was simple: no-one would visit there unless they were very serious. Monks hate tourists.

The second question which occurred was 'what could they possibly eat there'. Ranma wondered this as she ascended the mountain side. The spire was a difficult climb, even for someone as experienced as her. The rock was almost vertical in most places, and the rough edges were as sharp as glass, ready to cut the hands and feet of the unwary. Carrying a pack and walking staff only made things harder.

Eventually Ranma made it to the top and looked around. The top of the spire was almost a perfect circle, and would have been about three hundred meters across. It was not the fact that people lived here which shocked her the most. It was not even the large and ornate stone temples - they may have been carved from the spire before it was levelled.

The most impressive aspect of the entire monastery was the symbolic entryway. The entry was comprised of three massive wooden poles, two vertically, and one horizontally at the top. Each pole must have been over half a meter thick, and five meters long, and must have weighted over a ton. There could never have been trees like that up here, and even though she had walked here, Ranma had not seen any suitably sized trees for three days walk. How could the possibly have moved them here?

Recovering from her awe, Ranma looked for signs of life, and eventually found a meditating Monk sitting directly below the entry. When she approached, the Monk looked up and offered her a seat on the ground. When Ranma was seated, she bowed and spoke. "Wise One, I have come seeking knowledge and a cure for my curse. May I have you assistance?"

The elderly Monk nodded his head. "Yes, young one. Any who are willing may learn all we can teach. I will begin your first lesson when you get me a bucket of water from the well."

Ranma looked around, then did a quick search of the village. Returning, she sat in front of the Monk. "Wise One, where is the well so that I might get you the water?"

"Down that hill, and two kilometres east."

"WHAT? How am I supposed to get a bucket of water up this forsaken mountain?"

The Monk smiled and looked her squarely in the eye. "That is your first lesson. All will be explained when you bring the water."

It took her two months just to complete that first task. Every time she ascended the mountain, the old Monk was sitting there. After a while, she wondered what he ate and drank. That was lesson five.

Over time Ranma learned much. If the Indians had taught her the depth of spirituality, then what the Tibetans taught her was nothing short of magic.

The Monks taught her to see the world as it really was, and to see her curse as a blessing, and not something to be countered. As the decades rolled by, Ranma learned the ancient and hidden secrets, known only to those who dedicated their lives to the pursuit of such things. Lesson twelve revealed the meaning of human existence in the greater scheme of things... a lot of the strange events in her life made sense after having that explained.

Much time had passed when Ranma felt a presence moving up the side of the mountain. Sitting in the entry way, she rested her Tibetan staff next to her. Ranma waited for the weary seeker of wisdom to approach her, time was something she had ample of. Despite her apparent age, she could hear the respect in the seeker's voice as he asked. "Wise One, I come to the monastery seeking knowledge and understanding. Is there someone here who can teach me?"

The Ranma nodded her head. "Yes, young one. Any who are willing may learn all we can teach. I will begin your first lesson when you get me a bucket of water from the well."

The seeker looked around, then did a quick search of the village. Returning, he sat in front of Ranma. "Wise One, where is the well so that I might get you the water?"

It was when those words were spoken that Ranma came to a revelation. She had failed. She had given in. She had spent decades in this useless place, no closer to a cure than before she arrived. Truly she had gained much knowledge, but she had forsaken who she was. No longer was she the man that Akane had married all those long years ago. Now she was a stranger. A stranger who had relinquished all pretences at searching for a cure.

"Wise One? Where is the well?"

"Where indeed? I shall show you the well. When you return, another will continue your education. This is no longer my place."

Without a backwards glance, without a wave goodbye, Ranma lead the seeker of knowledge to the edge of the cliff and looked at him. "You may come with me, but I fear you will not like the path I travel. The well is two kilometres east."

With that, she gripped her staff in one hand, stepped off the edge and plummeted to the ground, hundreds of meters below. Moments before becoming one with the rocky floor of the valley, Ranma called the words 'RAY WING!', and continued to walk, apparently ignoring both the fall and the laws of physics. Perhaps not everything she had learned was useless. Turning east she went home, to the year of 1939.

Reaching China, she discovered there was a war. From Ranma's perspective, it was a civil war. When he was born, it was in Japan, and there he had been raised. His wife, the woman he missed every day of his life was there, her spirit a part of that proud nation. China was the land which had become his home. China was the land of the Joketsuzoku. It was the land of Deodorant, Liniment, Brush, Cologne and many other Amazons. It was the land that had taken him in when the pain of loss in Japan was too strong to live with.

Ranma turned east. There was no way he could fight in a war between China and Japan. They were both his family, and he owed his loyalties to them both. If he could not go home to find himself, to restore the inner youth which he had sacrificed for wisdom, then he must again travel.

The land was cold, and the languages strange when she again stopped travelling. Ranma had found what he sought. His own cause, so close to futility after three centuries of searching, was worn and decayed. When he found the Polish partisans, when he saw the horrors of the German invaders, and the equal horror of their Russian liberators, he found a new cause.

Ranma the Rebel. It became a name to fear. Apparently a small girl, this rebel leader had risen through the ranks of the Polish partisans, fighting for the freedom of a country and a people she never knew. The girl was a master of disguise and evasion; despite the best the authorities could do, she could never be caught. Even after a traitor identified the tavern in which she was staying one night, she managed to slip out somehow, to all evidence having escaped with the men released.

With the return to his first true love, fighting, Ranma again found his inner child. He found the strength to move on, to fight again. To continue the search, and to succeed where success was needed most.

All fights have winners and losers. As much as Ranma hated to admit it, this was one fight which his side had lost. After three decades of resistance, his compatriots were worn out, and no longer willing to continue the fight. That was Ranma's cue to leave: when she was the only person who called for action, who rallied for resistance, then the fight was over. The same night she realised this, she said goodbye to her few surviving friends, and vanished forever from that part of the world.

Even as he walked back across Europe and China he thought on what he had learned there. The Indian and Tibetan knowledge was grand, but it was not who he was. War and guns was also not who he was. He was a fighter and a teacher. He was a man who fought fairly and openly with hands and feet, not hiding behind a barrel.

Ranma knew that he could have fought differently in Poland. With his knowledge, he could even return to the Joketsuzoku and finally rid them of the Musk - assuming they were still fighting. But that was not how he wanted to be. After searching and excelling so long, he wanted to be normal. He wanted normal problems, and normal answers. Even though he had been raised in violent times, Poland had shown him the futility of killing.

Fighting was fine, but to kill another human being... Nothing was accomplished. Friends or family would take up the cause, and you would be back where you started. However, the man you fight with today, may become tomorrow's ally when differences are reconciled. It was time to start again. Time to shed the years of his searching, and regain his lost youth. From there, he would search anew, his quest until the end of time.

The very minute that his foot touched Japanese soil - as soon as he left the gang plank - Ranma wondered why he had ever left Japan. When he walked away from the dock and into a park, he literally kneeled down and kissed the ground of the land that he was born in. In the fight to free himself from the curse, he had been knocked down, but he had stood up again. He realised that there could be no defeat, only surrender.

Even as he stood in the park and rallied against the Kami, they showed their opinion and sent rain. Changing to a girl, Ranma laughed and danced in the light rain, revelling in the feelings of happiness. It was good to be home. Home for the holiday, home to rest and think. Somewhere to stay and regain her zest for life. Somewhere that she was the local, a person who belonged.

It was also time to visit her wife.

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 5 of 26

<< Previous     Home     Next >>