Ranko , Part 11:
"Quit acting like a girl"


Sitting around the table in the Tendou living room, the girls are shocked to learn about Ranko's past.

Nabiki: You went to a boys' school?

Ranko: I told you that I grew up as a boy. You think pop would send me to a girls' school? No way. I put on a boy's school uniform and nobody noticed.

Akane: But surely, when you grew... [waves a hand at Ranko's breasts] um, grew up, people would notice.

Ranko: Nothing I couldn't hide. I'm sure nobody ever found out. I also changed schools a lot - we were always moving.

Kasumi: Always on training trips?

Ranko: Uh, yeah! Training trips, that's right. Anyway, last year, right before we went to China, I was at the same school as Ryouga...

Flashback to the time of Ranko's narration. In a hall of the school building the floor vibrates. A horde of boys are running down the hall at break-neck speed. They all are trying to reach the cafeteria first.

Boy: Hurry! If we are late all the good food will be gone!

And really - shortly after the crowd arrives at the outlet the curry bread already runs out. As the last one is thrown out, all arms stretch up to catch it. Suddenly one figure rises above the crowd as if propelled by a rocket backpack. It is Ranko. Her face is unmistakably the same, but she wears a boy's uniform and her female curves are strangely absent. She grabs the flying bread, uses someone else's head as a landing point and jumps clear of the crowd.

Ranko: Ha! It's mine.

A figure disentangles itself from the mass of boys. It is Ryouga, sans bandana but also in a school uniform. Two footprints on his head identify him as the victim of Ranko's jumping technique.

Ryouga: Who are you?!

Ranko: Saotome Ranma.

Ryouga: Saotome Ranma. This offense shall not go unavenged.

Ranko (voiceover): He was crying tears of bitterness. After that it became sort of a competition. There was the Chow Mein Bread.

Ryouga and Ranko are both jumping at the flying bun. Ranko catches it in her mouth, booting Ryouga in the process.

Ranko (voiceover): The Croquette Bread... Oh, and the Melon Bread...

The same scene in many variations replays itself. Always Ranko walks away with the food.

Ranko (voiceover): and the Cutlet Sandwich... and the Meat Bread...

Back in the Tendou living room Kasumi pours the tea for everyone. Nabiki frowns and Akane just stares in disbelief as Ranko comes up with still more instances.

Ranko: And the seaweed bread and the...

Kasumi: Perhaps this went on a few times too often.

Akane: What are you going to do about it, Ranko?

Ranko: What can I do? I'll have to show him the Ranma he is looking for and settle this once and for all.

~*~

The next morning Akane helps Ranko to dress up for her meeting with Ryouga.

Ranko: Yes. [holds up a long breadth of cloth] I knew I still had it somewhere.

Akane: OK, and what do we do with it?

Ranko: Just hold it here.

Ranko places the end on the strip on her back and Akane holds it in place. Ranko the bagins to wind the cloth tightly around her chest, forming a makeshift corset that binds her breasts flat.

Akane: Oh. That's how you did it? Isn't that terribly uncomfortable?

Ranko makes a face.

Ranko: Yeah. Especially now that I haven't done this for some time. [takes a breath as deep as she can] OK, I guess now Ryouga will recognize me.

She pulls on her usual Chinese clothes, picks up her bag and the two are off to school.

~*~

Later that day in the afternoon pupils gather on the grass surrounding the sports ground.

Boy: Hey, come here. I think there's going to be a fight.

Ranko and Ryouga are standing, facing each other.

Ryouga: So, Ranma. Are you finally through with running?

Ranko: Stuff it Ryouga! What're you talking about - I never ran from you.

Ryouga: Then what about our match in the empty lot? Where were you then?

Ranko: I was there you moron! I waited three days for you to turn up.

Ryouga: And when I arrived there on the fourth day you had chickened out; run away to China with your father.

Ranko: Ryouga... How did you manage to be four days late for a match that takes place less than 500 yard from your own door?

Ryouga: [fuming] Do you think I just wasted my time during those four days? I suffered to get to the place!

Images flash up showing Ryouga asking his way to the main street that connected his house with the appointed meeting place. Some of the places he went do not even lie close to his hometown.

Ranko: Boy, if you haven't got the world's worst sense of direction... If you can't keep a date for a challenge, why the hell are you going around setting one?!

Ryouga: You insulted me more than enough!

Ranko: Oh, yeah. That reminds me. [pulls out a package] Here.

She throws the package to Ryouga who catches it. It's a curry bread.

Ryouga: What's this?

Ranko: The same thing as this... and this... and this...

She throws him package after package of bread products until his arms are full.

Ranko: This is a "bread feud", right? I didn't mean to take all that from you. Are we even now?

Ryouga lets the breads drop to the ground, shaking.

Ryouga: Do you think that a few pieces of bread can repair what I have suffered through? Because of you [he puts the backpack down and pulls the umbrella from it] I have seen hell!

He jabs at Ranko, astonishingly dexterous with the unwieldy thing. Ranko evades each jab by stepping backwards.

Ranko: Wait a minute. You've still not clearly said what this is all about.

Ryouga: Quit acting like a girl and take your punishment for my humiliation!

Ranko's face becomes set. She stops walking backwards, sidesteps Ryouga's next jab and kicks the umbrella out of his outstretched hand. Ryouga assumes a basic fighting stance as Ranko advances.

Ranko: So. I'm acting like a girl when I wanna know why you attack me, huh? And girls don't fight, do they? I guess, girls spend all their day playing dolls and crying, eh? How about this then for a little girlishness?!

A crunching kick to the jaw sends Ryouga staggering backwards.

~*~

Meanwhile Akane has gone over to Ryouga's umbrella. It has made another crater where it landed and two boys are trying to pick it up.

Boy: God! That umbrella is heavy! I can't even move it.

Boy2: It must weigh tons!

Akane grabs the handle but only manages to lift it a few centimeters. She cannot pick it up. Before her mind's eye flash the pictures of Ryouga wielding the weight singlehandedly.

Akane: [thinks] And Ranko is fighting him! I must warn her.

She runs down towards the fighting ground and calls out.

Akane: Ran... Ranma! Don't stay close in with him! He has the strength of a monster!

Ranko is distracted for a moment by Akane. Ryouga quickly grabs his bandana and catches Ranko's wrist with it like a whip.

Ryouga: Heh, I guess you won't have a choice about staying close in.

Ranko looks at the tie trapping her wrist and then at Ryouga who is still wearing an identical bandana.

Ranko: Say, Ryouga, how many of them are you wearing?

Ryouga: Is that all you have to say? Then I'd better be fast about shutting you up for good.

He throws a punch at Ranko that would probably have disconnected her head - if she had been there. Thrown off balance by the force of his own punch into thin air, Ryouga teeters forward. He is met by both of Ranko's feet coming straight up, connecting with his chest. Ranko had dropped down to avoid his fist. Balancing on her free hand she has brought up her legs in a full-body blow. The force of the impact sends Ryouga flying high into the air. He lets go of the bandana in the process and Ranko frees herself of it. She jumps after him over the fence of the sports ground. A few seconds later a giant fountain of water erupts from there.

Boy: Water! They've blown a hole into the ground!

Boy2: Worse. They've smashed the water fountain.

All are running to see the action. Among them is Akane.

Akane: [thinks] Uh oh! Cold water. I wonder what happened there.

-- End of part 11.


Part 12: "She doesn't hide her feelings"


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