The voice came like a splash of cold water, and Genma shot upright, looking around wildly, eyes widening at the sight of a familiar petite busty redhead leaning against the bedroom wall, the Satome honor blade held in her crossed arms and a large raven sitting on her shoulder. It wasn’t possible, there was no ki signature at all, there was nothing there! “R-R-Ranma?” Genma stuttered as Nodoka stirred beside him, opening bleary eyes.
“Yup,” the impossible apparition said, pushing upright.
“But you’re dead! We buried you!” Genma said in a choked voice, and Ranma chuckled.
“Right again, dead and damned, thanks ta you. But even in hell ya sometimes get a second chance.”
Ranma’s voice finally sank into Nodoka’s sleep-fogged mind, and she bolted upright next to her husband and stared at her child, stunned speechless. Ranma glanced at her coldly, then refocused her attention on Genma.
“Wonderful!” Genma enthused. “You escaped! I knew you would, not even Hell can hold a true martial artist. Now that you’re back, we can hold the wedding and then ...”
“One problem, Panda, I didn’t escape,” Ranma said, her voice arctic cold in a way her parents had never heard before, and Genma felt a shiver of uncertainty travel up his spine.
“ ‘Didn’t escape’?” he repeated.
“Yup, I was taken away from the demon ya sold me to by the Daimakaicho and given an offer I couldn’t refuse, ta join Hell’s elite. Funny how the test ta get in is what I wanted ta do, anyway — kill the people that sent me ta Hell in the first place and see if they enjoy it as much as I did.”
“Yeah, kill,” Ranma repeated, “an’ you’re first.” Ranma’s eyes flickered to Nodoka again and back to Genma. “Why don’t we take this out back? No point in getting’ yer blood all over Mom.” Then, when Genma simply sat, too stunned to move, his daughter added, “though here’s good fer me, too, I don’t really care that much.”
Also glancing at his wife and nodding jerkily, Genma got out of bed and pulled on his gi, then stumbled past Ranma towards the door to the back yard with the raven flying ahead of him, seeing Ranma walking soundlessly behind him out of the corner of his eye. This was Ranma, but a Ranma with all the gentleness and mercy he’d mocked and insulted her for burned out — she really meant to kill him, and Genma had no idea what she was capable of now. “What about your mother? Do you intend to kill her, too?” he asked as the pair walked out into the cool night air.
“Nah,” Ranma replied. “She helped make my life hell, but nothin’ she did sent me ta the real thing — that was you. Now, let’s do this.”
Genma nodded, turning to face Ranma as the redhead unsheathed the Saotome blade and gently leaned the scabbard by the door, his mind racing. Good, he thought, that means I only have to worry about me, and not all three of us. That simplifies things enormously.
For a time, the two simply stood staring at each other. Finally, Ranma said, “Ya aren’t going ta be able ta outwait me, Panda. After waitin’ a year while gettin’ raped on a regular basis, I’m in no hurry. As far as I’m concerned, we can stand here all night, and the next night, however many it takes.”
Genma nodded, tensed as if to charge, and suddenly Ranma was down and rolling to the side as two vacuum blades slashed through the space her midsection had been a split-second earlier. Even as Ranma rolled to her feet Genma turned to flee, wrapping the obscuring blanket of the Silent Thief over himself and immediately changing direction at a right angle of his first dash as he employed the Saotome Final Technique. If he could just make it away and into hiding, buy time to search for a way to banish his son back the hell he’d come out of ...
Then he felt intense slashing pain across the backs of his ankles and collapsed, his out of control momentum smashing him through the fence and into the neighbor’s yard. As lights went on in the neighbor’s house, Ranma stepped around to where Genma could see her plainly, casually holding her sword, blood running along its edge.
“Gee, Panda, you’ve gotten predicable in yer old age,” Ranma said almost lightly, then raised her sword in a two-handed grip. Desperately, Genma attempted a leg sweep, only to have Ranma leap over the kick, somehow slip between two more vacuum blades, the light in the neighbor’s house going out as the blades continued on and one chopped through the nearest pole and powerlines broke and sparked as the top thundered to the street. Genma desperately raised his arms and poured ki into them until they seemed to glow. He should be able to strengthen them enough to stop a blade. It would hurt, but he’d still be alive. He determinedly ignored his own cynical voice asking, And then what?
Ranma saw the uplifted arms beginning to glow. Oh, no you don’t! she thought hungrily, and something seemed to flow out of her, suffusing the sword, turning it pitch black, and then the blade sheared through both forearms and even as her father’s hands flew off into the night it continued on to slash through Genma’s fat neck and bury itself in the lawn beneath him.
Ranma stepped back to avoid the blood spurting out from the neck stump, and for a time coldly stared down at her father’s head staring up from the center of the bright red pool, then knelt and cut off a piece of Genma’s gi and began cleaning her sword as she walked back toward the Saotome residence, Thought again landing on her shoulder.
Nodoka huddled on the bed, blankets pulled around her, listening desperately for some hint of what was happening outside — there’d been the sound of something smashing through the fence, and something else smashing onto the street, but since then the night had gone deathly silent and she shook as her mind jumped from one possible outcome to another. Then she froze as her daughter strode back through the door, a hard smile on her face as she cleaned the family honor sword’s blade.
“Well, Mom, it looks like you’ll need ta report another training accident to the police,” Ranma said offhandedly, and Nodoka collapsed into a heap, the world going hazy in shock. Grimly, she held onto consciousness, forcing the world back into focus to find the raven from before perched on the bed looking her in the eyes, but ignored it to finally look up at the redhead again leaning against the wall.
Pushing herself back up to a sitting position, Nodoka forced her throat clear and in a husky voice said, “Ranma, I’m pregnant.”
Ranma stiffened, then shrugged. “So I did the kid a favor, he or she won’t have ta worry about being raised by the Panda.” Then, looking over the trembling matron huddling before her, Ranma sighed. “Relax, Mom, I never intended ta hurt ya.” Then, as Nodoka relaxed, continued, “But that doesn’t mean I’m happy with ya, either.”
Ranma began to stiffly pace in what little floor space the bedroom had, fists clenched around the scabbard they held. “Mom,” she snarled, “fer the first few months I was raped at least half a dozen times a day by that monster! That slowed down ta once or twice a week fer awhile before picking up, but that was almost worse — spending day after day doing nothin’ but hangin’ in my niche, wonderin’ every time that bloated bastard came down the hall if he was comin’ fer me and feelin’ ashamed that I was happy when some other poor girl got raped instead. Then, the rate started picking up again, up ta at least once a day by the time the Daimakaicho a’ Hell came in and got me off the wall, cleaned up, and offered me the chance to let my betrayers know what it’s like.”
Ranma stopped pacing and turned to face the bed, her face failing to soften at the sight of her mother once again huddled, arms wrapped around her knees, tears pouring down her face. Her face gone cold, she said, “Now, none a that was yer fault, it was the Panda’s and some others I’m gonna take care of. But there’s somethin’ that was. Rothgan had a favorite story he’d tell me over an’ over, as he was playin’ with my body — how I’d always been as much a tool and plaything ta my parents as I was ta him, and how even as he’d been hauling me down ta his quarters ta ‘try out’ fer the first time the Panda had been standin’ over my corpse cursing me fer a weak, useless failure of a girl and you’d been callin’ the police ta make sure that those that killed me wouldn’t be charged with my murder, ta sweep the whole thing under the rug so ya could get on with makin’ my replacement with the family honor intact.
“Well, I did a lot a' thinkin’ while waitin’ fer him ta pick me out again, and I decided he was right. So, two things — first, fer what it’s worth ya no longer have a child, just like ya never really did, just a path ta fame and easy living fer the Panda and a baby-making machine fer you. So I don’t want nothin’ from you, including the name, I’ll think a’ somethin’ else. And second, I’ll be takin’ this with me,” she said, hefting the Saotome honor blade. “It’ll make a handy pig-sticker. And I’ll be keepin’ an eye on ya and the kid as best I can, and if I like what I see, if I can I’ll return the sword in, say, around nineteen years — when the kid’s as old as I was when ya threw me away.
And with that, the revenant formerly known as Ranma strode from the room, ignoring her former mother crying out the name she’d just abandoned, the raven flying from the bed to the petite girl’s shoulder.
Sitting in her office chair in her inner sanctum, Hild nodded thoughtfully, eyes focused on the mirror on the wall showing Thought’s view of Ranma striding down the main hall of the Saotome home toward the black circle of the gate still open on the family room wall. So far, so good, she thought, smiling grimly with the memory of how effortlessly Ranma had dealt with her father. Still, don’t get your hopes up — after the deal Genma made with Rothgar and all the years of abuse, this was the easy one. Then, her smile turned whimsical. But if Ranma — or rather The Revenant Formerly Known as Ranma — passes her test she’ll make a very interesting Fury. That part with the story, abandoning even her birth name and the sword was inspired! Standing and stretching, Hild strode toward her sanctum’s door, adding aloud to herself, “So let’s welcome the conquering hero home, maybe that’ll help later.”
A/N: Originally, I was going to go with Ranma just having her skill and the strength and speed she'd had when alive. But when I first posted the chapter at Anime Addventures Lyner questioned whether that would be enough for Ranma to win, and while I still think it would that got me to thinking on how soul powers would work differently than ki. So, for this setting at least, the big difference is that ki is energy produced by the body and stored with excess constantly bleeding off (standard, I know), while the soul is energy — Ranma isn't a body encasing a soul, she's her soul made solid. This means that, unlike ki, she can't be throwing pieces of herself away as energy bolts. Still, that doesn't mean it can't be projected in a way, like Ranma instinctively did with the sword — covering it with her own essence and essentially making it one with herself for a few seconds. Lyner, thanks for kicking off the inspiration.