Categories > Anime/Manga > Ranma 1/2 > The Raven

New Pieces on the Board

by Narsil 1 review

Category: Ranma 1/2 - Rating: PG - Genres: Crossover - Characters: Akane - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2012-08-11 - Updated: 2012-08-11 - 1973 words - Complete

From a nearby tree on the grounds of the Hikawa shrine, a confused Urd watched Akane take yet another spill onto the grass, the youngest Tendo’s feet knocked out from under her by a single sweep of her sensei’s foot. The nineteen year old girl tucked into a roll as she went down, and fought to spin to face her short, muscular, bald tormentor circling about her as she came out of the roll on her feet, only to stumble and fight to keep standing as she staggered to the side for step after step, arms and bokken flailing for balance.

Her sensei didn’t give her a chance to recover, stepping forward and casually kicking her in the chest, then following her down to land across her abdomen, a hand pinning the hand she held the bokken in to the ground as he laid his own bokken across her throat. “I would say you have a problem, little one,” he chuckled.

She stared at him for a moment, a glare on her pasty, sweat-streaked face, then grudgingly agreed between gasps for breath. “I yield.”

His chuckle turning into a bark of laughter, he rose to his feet and offered his student a hand. “Good of you, not that it was necessary,” he said as he pulled her to her feet and took the bokken from her quivering hand. “You were well and truly screwed, and we’re training for real combat, not tournament play. But enough kenjutsu for the day, time to practice your ofudas.”

Akane nodded jerkily and turned toward the shrine’s living quarters, only to stagger, her sensei catching her arm to hold her up.

Urd floated free of the branch she’d been sitting on, a slight frown on her face as she carefully maintained her obfuscation spell. She slipped into the quarters behind the pair, cursing her lack of practice since moving into the temple with her younger sisters and Keiichi — not much use for a spell to turn away mortal eyes when living with one.

Inside, the sensei led his pupil to the family room of the living quarters and helped her kneel before a low table before stepping over to a cabinet to pull out a stack of blank parchments, a brush, and a small metal tin. Placing them before the still gasping Tendo, he said, “Now, let’s see how well your studies have stuck — the complete series to date, in reverse order.”

“Of course, sensei,” Akane replied, reaching out a still shaking hand to pick up and carefully open the metal tin. Picking up the brush beside the sheets, she pulled a parchment from the top of the stack, dipped the brush in the ink inside the tin and slowly started to write a string of kanji and symbols down the sheet only to have the writing spattered by ink drops from the quivering brush. Putting down the brush, the raven-haired girl lifted her hands and glared at them. When the shaking had decreased to a barely perceptible tremor, she again picked up the brush, dipped it in the ink, and started over.

Shifting around so that she could see what Akane was writing, the goddess’s frown deepened along with her confusion — the ofuda the Tendo was creating, done right, would definitely ruin the day of a low-level demon. Maybe even make things difficult for a mid-level. And in spite of the need to take things slow because of her exhaustion and shaky hands, Akane was doing it right.

But the Akane that was pushing through her near collapse level of exhaustion to kick out intricate calligraphy to give demons fits was not the same girl that Urd had encountered when she’d read through Ranma’s file.

Urd had actually enjoyed reading that file, at first — the chaos and excitement surrounding Ranma had struck a chord ... until she reached the marriage that should have been the happy ending and instead had been a complete fiasco. And then the final scene that had had her fighting not to lose Belldandy’s excellent breakfast, especially when she read which demon Genma had bargained with. Then she finally noticed the time-stamp, and promptly lost her fight and the meal. A year Ranma had hung on that wall, before Hild finally turned her loose like a coursing hound. And Akane had helped put “her” there.

That girl had been caring and abusive in turns, always ready to assume the worst so long as it was Ranma she was doing the assuming about, outwardly confident in her skills as a martial artist and inwardly probably jealous of her fiancé’s accomplishments. She hadn’t been the worst offender in that file, but, between the abuse and the part she’d played in Ranma’s death, she had earned her place on Raven’s little list.

But this girl ...

“Good, Akane-chan, very good,” the sensei — no, the Shinto priest said, looking through the teenager’s efforts. “Driven to the point of collapse, and every one of these would be at least useable and some of them powerful. You should have no trouble creating more so long as you’re awake, so we’ll switch to creating them under adverse environmental conditions — rock, sand, forest, grasslands, wind and rain when the weather cooperates. So, let’s move on to recognition.”

He shuffled the newly-created ofuda into a stack and set them to the side, then rose to fetch another stack from the cabinet. Kneeling across from his student, he set the new stack in front of him and turned over the first sheet to reveal an image that Urd instantly recognized — a figure that would look equally at home in a ball gown or a business suit, slender, young ... and with tattoos of a diamond between her eyes and two slashes on each cheek.

“Amaki,” Akane promptly said. “A demoness 3rd class, limited, specializes in seduction and blackmail, no preference for either sex. The ofuda that can deal with her are too many to quickly list, but I’m unlikely to get the chance to use any of them as she can run faster than I can.”

“Correct.” The next image revealed a very familiar image — Urd’s white-haired mother, a puckish smile on Hild’s seemingly innocent face.

“Hild, Queen of Hell. If she shows up I’m done: nothing I’ll have will do more than irritate her, I can’t run fast enough to escape her, and an appeal to higher powers is not likely to work within her own domain.”

Urd missed the next image as she stared in stunned amazement at the girl she’d been prepared to despise. She’s planning an assault on Niflheim, she’s planning to go after Ranma! Urd thought. Not that she’s going to need to, with Ranma — Raven — coming after her.

But this makes no sense, what am I doing here? I thought Father was just putting me through another ‘teaching moment’, but if Akane’s actually repented, if she’s doing what she can to fix what she did, if an Intervention is needed to save Akane’s life when Raven finds her, it should be a valkyrie here, not a system administrator — get the valkyrie/fury relationship off on the right foot, and all that. So why didn’t Lind get this assignment, instead of me?

A clatter startled the platinum blonde goddess 2nd class, jerking her from her circling ruminations. She looked up to find Akane on her feet ... barely, a miko helping her stay up on feet now covered in ink from the spilled tin. Akane was stammering an apology while the miko was assuring her that it no problem, but the priest’s head whipped around to stare at Urd. Belatedly, the Norn of the Past realized her obfuscation spell had weakened while she was distracted and hastily focused to bring it back to full strength. Had he actually seen her, or just sensed something ... ?

But after a long moment, the priest simply nodded respectfully to her, then strode over to sweep his student up in his arms. “Relax, Akane-chan, no harm done. But let’s get you down to the furo without tracking ink all through the temple. A good massage and a long soak, and then I’ll give you your night’s homework. Miyoko-chan, if you could go ahead and get the doors?”

The miko hurried ahead, followed by the priest with Akane, and a still-confused goddess bringing up the rear, not even smiling at the somewhat ludicrous scene of Akane being carried in the arms of the smaller man.


Skuld frowned. With her two sisters on assignment, Peorth filling a shift at the Earth Help Center, and Keiichi off at his job, this was the perfect time for some delicate work on Banpei’s latest upgrade. Unfortunately, the circumstances leading to the empty temple were conspiring to distract her.

She tried to get it right this time, really she did, but in spite of her best efforts the bare wires crossed just as they were about to slip into the two tiny holes in the new rocket launcher she was building for her guardian robot, Banpei. A shower of sparks shot out from the crossed wires, and the childlike goddess leaped back as two rockets roared out from their launchers and slammed into the ceiling, exploding in a gentle shower of sparkling confetti.

Diving for the doorway, she rolled out into the hall to slam into the opposite wall as the confetti drifted down to coat the floor, shining like so many nighttime stars. Sitting up and rubbing her head, she stared at the mess in her room and fought to keep from saying any of those words that goddesses just weren’t supposed to use, however old they got, as she contemplated the long hours of excruciatingly precise cleanup that lay before her. On the other hand, that rant would feel so good, and neither of her sisters was home....

“Skuld! There you are.”

The youngest of the Norns looked up to see her middle sister walking briskly toward her, Lind beside her — though the lips of the famously stoic valkyrie were twitching suspiciously. But Skuld’s nascent anger vanished, jaw dropping, as a wave of joyful hilarity washed over her from the tiny point of light her sister’s hands were cupped beneath, centered between her breasts. “Belldandy, what’s that? !” she gasped out.

“It’s half a soul,” the Norn of the Present replied, smiling fondly down at the friendly star.

Half a soul? But that’s not possible, a soul is an infinite object — split it, and you have two infinite objects.”

For a moment, Belldandy’s smile faltered. “You’re normally right, but there are some circumstances where the usual rules don’t apply. Now come along, we need your help to find this little one a new home.”

My help? But I don’t know anything about assigning reincarnations yet! How can I help?” Skuld protested.

“You don’t need to, this task is intrinsic to our natures,” Belldandy assured her younger sister.

The two newcomers had walked up to the sitting child, and Lind glanced into Skuld’s room and froze. “Skuld, is that ... that ... ?”

“Okay! Let’s go, can’t keep the baby waiting!” Skuld enthused, leaping to her feet and grabbing the other two goddesses’ hands to pull them down the corridor. “Uh ... where are we going?”

Lind glanced over Skuld’s head at Belldandy, her lips pressing into a firm line to keep from laughing out loud at the older sister’s rueful smile.

“Let Lind take the lead, Skuld, she knows where we’re going,” Belldandy said with a sigh.

“Oh, right.”
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