By Aaron Ziegler
Chapter 9: Recovery Time
Ranma awoke a while later to see the concerned faces of Ukyou and Dr. Tofu. Dr. Tofu, the Tendo's family chiropractor, was a tall, handsome, bespectacled man in his mid-twenties. Ranma found himself male again, and in much less pain than before, though he felt an uncomfortable throbbing in his left leg. "Ah, good, you're awake," said Dr. Tofu. "How do you feel?"
"Much better!" exclaimed Ranma with a bravado he didn't really feel. He sat up suddenly, and was nearly overwhelmed with a headache.
"Don't move too rapidly," Tofu warned. "You were beaten up pretty badly."
"Nnnn," groaned Ranma, lying down again. "'mpossible. Mousse can't beat me up."
"He nearly killed you," scolded Ukyou.
"Jus' caught me by surprise, tha's all." He suddenly noticed something. "Hey, I can't move my foot!"
"You twisted your ankle pretty severely," the doctor explained. "You're going to have to leave it in a cast for a couple of days until it heals. I want you to put as little weight on it as possible until then. I'll be loaning you a wheelchair for the time being."
This got Ranma's attention. "What? I'm no cripple! I can walk perfectly well!"
Dr. Tofu looked stern. "I mean it, Ranma. No walking if you can help it."
At that point, Soun Tendo burst into the room. He collapsed to his knees, tears streaming down his face. "Oh, my poor, poor son-in-law! Ukyou explained everything over the phone! To be maimed for life! Cut down in the prime of youth! What a tragedy!!!" Soun broke into convulsive sobbing.
"Mr. Tendo, I'm not maimed for life!" mentioned a somewhat exasperated Ranma. Soun was too far gone to hear his words, however, huddled at the foot of Ranma's bed.
"Are you OK, son?" came his father's gruff voice from the doorway. Genma stepped through, a concerned look on his face.
"Look, I'm fine!" insisted Ranma. "I've had much worse, really!"
Ukyou looked sheepish. "Well, maybe I exaggerated a little over the phone..."
"You said he was DYING," accused Genma.
"No, I said he was nearly killed!" Ukyou shot back.
"You mean to say that you dragged all of us down here for-"
"All of you?" asked Ranma suddenly. "Even...Kasumi?"
Genma paled. Soun stopped crying and looked up in horror. "Oh, no! She'll be here any second!" Soun exclaimed. "We've got to get out of here!"
Too late. "Good afternoon, Doctor Tofu!" Kasumi smiled cheerfully, standing in the doorway.
"Ka-kasumi!" stuttered Tofu, his glasses fogging over and his brain shutting down, "Imagine meeting you here!"
Kasumi giggled. "Well, this is your office, Doctor. How's Ranma?"
"Oh, he's fine, fine. I was just about to remove Betty-chan's appendix. It's been inflamed something awful!" Dr. Tofu suddenly grabbed Betty, the skeleton he always kept around his clinic, and threw her onto the operating table. Unfortunately, Ranma was still there, and he yelped in surprise. Dr. Tofu grabbed a random scalpel and swung awkwardly at the table, neatly shearing away a lock of a startled Ukyou's hair on the way. Ranma cried out, and rolled to the floor with the skeleton on top of him. Ranma cautiously peered over the edge of the table, and saw the scalpel, quivering slightly, buried up to the handle in the smooth table surface--right where his heart would have been.
"Oh, my," said Dr. Tofu, "I wonder where Betty's run off to? I guess she wasn't sick after all." Dr. Tofu leapt up onto the table top and began trying to pull the scalpel free.
"Now's our chance, boy!" exclaimed Genma. He grabbed Ranma up off of the floor, and shoved him into a wheelchair. He wheeled him madly toward the door, grabbing Soun with a free arm. He crashed into Ukyou, who was feeling her hair, stunned, knocking her off her feet and onto Ranma's lap.
Kasumi, still enthralled with the mad doctor, nevertheless calmly stepped aside as the frenzied foursome careened out the door. "I'll see you later!" she called to them. "I'm going to stay with Doctor Tofu for a little while longer."
"Just be home for dinner!" called a diminishing Soun, afraid that if Kasumi wasn't home to cook dinner, Akane would....
* * * * * *
A while later, the breathless group coasted to a halt at the Tendo home. "We're alive!" laughed a crazed Genma. "We're alive! We're alive!"
"Um, you can get off of me now, Ucchan," said Ranma, a bit embarrassed. Ukyou had decided that she didn't at all mind her unplanned position atop her fiancee, and had taken advantage of the opportunity to snuggle. Reluctantly, she released her cozy embrace, and stepped to the ground.
Ranma started to get up as well, but Ukyou pushed him back down. "Oh no you don't, Ranchan. Doctor Tofu said that you had to stay off your feet for a while."
"No buts," his father interrupted. "If that's what the doctor said, then that's what you're gonna do, boy," Genma insisted. Seeing that Ranma was still unwilling, he added, "Do you want us to tie you down?" Ranma sagged, and shook his head miserably. "Good."
Then Ranma perked up. "What about Robo? He can probably use his Cure Beam thing to fix this right up!"
"Sorry, He left with Frog and Ryoga on a trip to downtown Tokyo for the weekend."
"They wanted to search the libraries there to see if they could pinpoint the exact location of Jusenkyo, so we'd be able to find it again if we ever returned to China."
At that moment, Robo, Frog, and Ryoga were standing by the Eiffel Tower, looking confused and drawing stares. "I didn't know that they moved the Eiffel Tower to Tokyo," Ryoga muttered.
"I knew it was a bad idea to let Ryoga lead the way," said Robo.
"Hey, I've been all over Tokyo!" Then he began to look uncomfortable, "Of course, never exactly where I wanted to go, but..."
"That does it. Give me the map, Ryoga."
Back at the Tendo home, Soun had broken down and started to sob anew. "And we're all out of french fries!"
Ranma was frustrated. "So, I'm stuck in this stupid chair until they get back. Just great."
"I'm home!" Akane announced, strolling cheerfully into the house. When she saw Ranma in his wheelchair, she gasped and dropped her brown paper bag. "Ranma! What happened!"
"He just got pounded by Mousse," Ukyou offered helpfully.
"Hey, I wouldn't say I was pounded exactly-" protested Ranma.
"M-mousse?" said Akane weakly, taking a step back. "He did this to you?"
"Yeah," Ranma grumped, "he decided to exercise all of his new, improved, patent-pending, hidden weapons on me. He couldn't have picked a worse time, either. I was following--er, on an important errand. I don't know how he found me."
"How bad is it?" asked Akane fearfully, bending down to pick up her bag (which, fortunately, hadn't spilled any incriminating cookware onto the floor).
"The cuts and bruises should heal quickly, but this sprained ankle's gonna take a few days--hey, Akane, what's wrong? You look pale."
"It's nothing," she answered. "Er, I'll be in my room, ok?" She quickly rushed upstairs.
"What's the matter with her?" asked Genma.
Ranma's face darkened. "I have my suspicions. I need to talk to Akane. In private!" he added, noting Genma and Soun's interested looks. Ranma rolled to the stairway, and then looked up at the stairs, temporarily balked. He slid out of the wheelchair, and folded it into its flattened storage shape. He then flipped into a handstand, picked up the wheelchair with his good leg, and proceeded to climb the stairs on his hands.
"That's my boy!" grinned Genma, pleased. "Saotome's have always thrived under crippling conditions."
"I'm NOT a cripple!" Ranma called back, irritated. At the top of the stairs, he unfolded the wheelchair again. He climbed in and wheeled his way over to Akane's room.
As he raised his hand to knock on her door, he heard Akane say, "Come in, Ranma." He entered the room, shutting the door behind him. Akane was sitting on her bed, gazing at the floor guiltily.
"You told Mousse where to find me, didn't you?" he asked. Akane nodded. "Why?"
Akane looked up angrily. "Why? I told you! I didn't want you to follow me. I had hoped that you would have gotten the hint after Kunou and Shampoo!" She looked down again. "But I didn't want you to get hurt, not badly anyway. I was certain that you'd be able to mop up with Mousse, just like you always do when he challenges you. I wanted enough time to get too far ahead for you to follow."
"Well, your little plan worked," said Ranma, bitterly. "I sure won't be able to follow you like this."
"You idiot!" exclaimed Akane, channeling some of her guilt into her anger. "Why were you following me anyway!"
"You're my fiancee. I need to take care of you," said Ranma softly, gazing at Akane solemnly.
Akane deflated like a balloon. 'I hate it when he's like this,' thought Akane to herself. 'He's so easy to deal with when he's a pompous, arrogant, chauvinist pig. But this, this I don't know how to handle. One part of me wants to slug him, and another wants to hug him!'
Ranma, for his part, saw only that Akane was sitting on her bed, fists clenched tight. Her eyes were wide, and confused, and she was opening and closing her mouth. 'Oh, shut up,' he told the section of his brain that had begun wildly cheering for him. Ranma slowly turned, and rolled toward the door.
He opened the door, and Genma and Soun collapsed into the room. "You're worse than Nabiki," he told them, and proceeded to roll ungently over them and out the door.
Downstairs, Ranma found Ukyou gazing into a mirror. She turned as he approached, and he noticed for the first time how lopsided Doctor Tofu's impromptu haircut made Ukyou look. She smiled wanly at him. "Looks pretty bad, doesn't it, Ranchan?" Ranma nodded sympathetically. "Guess I should get the rest cut then. Do you think I'll look all right with short hair?"
"Even bald you'd look great, Ucchan," said Ranma simply. Ukyou blushed, and said goodbye, heading out the door.
Ranma mused thoughtfully for a moment. 'Why is it so easy for me to compliment Ucchan, and so hard to compliment Akane?' he wondered.
'Because she's Ucchan!' the other, normally dominant (and resenting its temporary submissive state) part of his mind answered. 'Good ol' Ucchan! Best buddy Ucchan.'
'Well, Akane's just...just...too violent.'
'Ucchan can be and has been just as violent as Akane.'
'Er, Akane's a tomboy.'
'Ucchan lived as a boy for ten years after we abandoned her.'
Ranma slumped. 'Then I guess that has to be the answer,' he thought with a sigh..
* * * * * *
The weekend passed. Akane continued her cooking lessons without Ranma's unwanted company. She worked on perfecting her rice boiling, and was now able to consistently cook up a pot of boiled rice that was not only non-toxic, but actually tasty. At the same time, Dakochi had her periodically try some more complex recipes, but these attempts continued to result in meals which produced sickness and nausea in laboratory animals.
"Hello, Dakochi!" Akane greeted cheerfully as Dakochi let her in for Monday's lesson.
Dakochi shut the door and grinned widely at Akane. "Ah, I have good news, Akane! Today is your final lesson!"
Akane was confused. "But I've hardly learned anything," she said.
"Oh, but I've learned so very, very much!" Without warning, Dakochi pulled a long gymnastics ribbon out of her pocket. She whipped it at a startled Akane, and it twirled around her body, wrapping her up like a mummy. Only Akane's head was uncovered.
Akane struggled briefly in her encasement, succeeding only in falling to the floor. She froze as Dakochi laughed an unpleasantly evil laugh. Dakochi threw off her lab coat, flipped off her glasses, and posed triumphantly in her purple and black leotard. "Kodachi!" gasped Akane.
"I just wanted to thank you, Akane," Kodachi purred. "You've taught me things about poisons that I had never dreamed of! And now that your secrets are mine, there is nothing standing between my darling Ranma and I!"
Akane's face burned as she realized how she had been used. Dakochi...Kodachi! It was so obvious. "Ranma will never submit to you!" she yelled.
"Of course he will, you silly girl! Especially when he sees... this!" With a flourish, Kodachi produced a syringe filled with a greenish-brown liquid (from where she produced it was uncertain, as there seemed to be nowhere to hide such an item on her form-fitting leotard). "This is the essence of your cooking, a poison more potent than any I have concocted before! When Ranma sees that I have mastered your art, you will have no more hold over him!"
Kodachi stepped over Akane and grabbed the door handle. "Oh, don't worry. Once darling Ranma and I are married, I'm sure you will make an excellent test subject in my lab." Kodachi laughed again. "But for now, accept this gift as a thank-you for all you've done!"
Kodachi tossed a an object at the prone figure. A bouquet of black roses landed in front of Akane's face, and emitted a cloud of black gas. "Kodachi!..." said Akane again before falling unconscious, evil laughter ringing in her ears.
Kodachi laughed and laughed as she leapt and bounded across town, vaulting easily from fence posts and rooftops to lampposts and car tops. Occasionally, she even touched the ground. Her mind was a happy jumble of thoughts, visions of her and Ranma together (often very close together) dancing through her head. Soon she reached the Tendo residence, and found Ranma practicing katas from his wheelchair. 'A wheelchair?' thought Kodachi angrily. Someone would have to pay for hurting her dearest Ranma. Then she sighed dreamily, just watching Ranma for a few moments from her position atop a neighbor's roof. He was so exquisitely handsome! The epitome of the male form, and soon he would be hers, heart and soul--and body... But enough daydreaming. Her time was at hand.
Kodachi flipped easily through the air and landed in front of Ranma. "Ranma darling!" she enthused.
Ranma, Kodachi noted, responded with his usual coyness. His eyes bugged out, and he said "Gyahh!" while trying to leap backwards, succeeding only in flipping his wheelchair onto its back. It was just too precious!
Kodachi flicked out with another ribbon, and pulled Ranma and chair back up, strapping Ranma firmly to the chair in the process. Kodachi knew that Ranma liked her to be assertive. She crawled seductively into his lap and whispered into his ear, "Finally, we can spend some quality time together..."
Ranma was sweating and twitching feebly in his confinement. "K-k-kodachi," he finally managed to babble. Oh, how sweet his voice, even overcome as he was with joy at finally being united with his one true love! "G-get off! We c-can't, er shouldn't-"
Kodachi frowned, and then smiled. Of course! He still lives in fear of Akane! Now is the time to show him. "Don't worry, dear, I've taken care of that nasty Akane! You don't have to worry about her any more."
"WHAT?" Ranma suddenly regained his composure. "What have you done with Akane?"
Kodachi laughed, "Oh, nothing yet. But I'm sure we can come up with a thousand ideas once we marry."
"You're going to marry Akane?" Ranma asked, confused.
How delightful his naivete was! "Of course not, silly! I'm going to marry you!"
"No you aren't!" answered a panicking and still thoroughly bound Ranma.
'Hmm,' thought Kodachi. 'Still he relents. Akane must have quite a hold on him.' Time to reveal her newfound prowess. She once more produced the syringe. "Do you know what this is, Ranma dearest?" Ranma gazed at the greenish-brown liquid suspiciously, and shook his head. "This is the essence of Akane's cooking, in its purest form! All of Akane's secrets are mine! Mine!"
"Gyahh!" yelped Ranma again, and managed to flip his chair again in his efforts to put as much distance as possible between himself and the syringe. Kodachi fell off of him and rolled to her feet, being careful to avoid breaking the syringe or injecting anyone with it.
Kodachi once more pulled Ranma upright, and frowned at him thoughtfully. Still uncooperative. Time to get tough. But who...
"IS IT IMPOSSIBLE TO SPEND A DAY IN NERIMA WITHOUT SOMEONE THROWING WATER AT YOU?"
Kodachi turned at the sound of the unfamiliar voice, and saw an unfamiliar blue-haired girl in a white robe ranting at Ryoga and that funny frog person. 'Perfect,' thought Kodachi with a smile. A flick of the wrist, and Kodachi's ribbon unwound itself from Ranma. A subtle twist, and the ribbon arced through the air and coiled tightly around the surprised blue-haired girl. A quick tug, and Kodachi yanked her close. She held the needle to her impromptu victim's throat.
"Now, listen carefully, Ranma dear," Kodachi smiled. "You have until the count of ten to tell me that you'll marry me, or you'll get to see what it's like to have Akane's cooking coursing through one's veins. One."
Ranma leapt to his feet, yelped with the sudden pain doing so produced, and fell back into his chair.
"Break free, Robo!" called Ryoga, "You're more than strong enough!"
Kodachi grinned to herself. 'Robo's her name, huh? Well, she's not going anywhere.' "Three." 'She isn't even struggling, the loser.'
Robo's eyes were wide, and all of the color had drained from her face. She was hyperventilating, and her heart was beating wildly. All in all, she was clearly scared spitless.
"Four." Without even looking, Kodachi tossed a couple of gymnastics pins over her shoulder, striking the approaching forms of Ryoga and Frog in their foreheads, dropping them cold.
"Look, can't we talk about this?" sweated Ranma. "I mean... marriage! It's just so sudden."
"Five. Oh, don't worry, Ranma. We'll have plenty of time to plan for the wedding, after you've given me your word of honor that you'll marry me. Six."
'Word of honor?' thought Ranma with a gulp. Akane, Ukyou, and Shampoo would kill him if he promised to marry Kodachi. But Robo was dead if he didn't. Then he had an idea.
"How about I let you be my fiancee," he asked desperately.
"Seven. Don't insult me. I know you already have three other fiancees. I want you as a husband, not as a fiancee. Eight."
Ranma stared at her, hopelessly. He tried to envision a future with Kodachi as his wife, and shuddered. He tried to think of some way to delay Kodachi, but his mind drew only blanks.
"Nine. Best make up your mind, Ranma dearest." Kodachi pressed the needle against Robo's throat, drawing a single, bright drop of blood. Robo gasped slightly, and began to sob.
Ranma seemed to collapse. He gazed up at Kodachi with despair, and said, "All right, Kodachi. You win." Kodachi gazed at him with a look of feral joy. "I, Ranma Saotome," Kodachi leaned towards him anxiously, but without losing her grip on Robo, "solomnly swear," 'Forgive me, Akane!' thought Ranma, "on my honor, and the honor of my family," 'Yes! Yes!' thought Kodachi, 'Go on!' "that I will marry Ko-"
"STOP!" a commanding voice suddenly called. Kodachi whirled in irritation, and abruptly found herself soaking wet with uncomfortably warm water.
She sputtered and spit. "What? Who? Someone dies! Urk!" Kodachi was abruptly cut off, as she felt something metal clamp tightly around her neck. She was lifted off of her feet. Kodachi felt herself being turned, and soon she was face to face with a rather wet robot. It was wearing Robo's robes, and had several pieces of torn gymnastics ribbon festooned about it. It had a tiny scratch on its surface where the head met the torso, right about where Kodachi's needle would have been. Though its face was incapable of expression, the robot still gave the impression of being very, very angry.
Without a word, Robo took the syringe Kodachi was still holding loosely in hand. He threw it to the ground, and crushed it beneath a heavy, metal foot. All of the grass around it instantly died. Kodachi looked at the machine innocently. The robot's glowing eyes returned her gaze impassively. Then, Robo threw Kodachi up into the air, and spoke the words, "Uzi Punch!" He reared back and punched into the air at Kodachi. His fist disconnected from his arm on a chain and slammed into Kodachi with blinding speed. It retracted and flew out again, and again. After several dozen lightning-fast punches, Kodachi's still form flew out of sight, trailing a comet's tail of wilted black rose petals.
"Wow, that looked painful," noted Ranma, eyeing Kodachi's receding form.
"She was needling me," answered Robo. "But where did that water come from?" He and Ranma turned, and saw the small wrinkled form of Cologne perched on her staff atop the Tendo wall. She was holding a water bucket.
"I couldn't very well stand around while my future son-in-law proposes to some other woman, now could I?" asked Cologne. She leapt to the ground and whapped Ranma on the head with her staff. "You are for Shampoo! Never forget that, boy!"
"Ow!" protested Ranma, rubbing his head.
"But how did you know-" began Robo. But Cologne had already vaulted out of sight.
Ranma sighed. Cologne had her ways, and it was little use trying to decipher them. Suddenly, he remembered that he had been waiting for Robo to return. "Oh, Robo! As long as you're here, would you mind fixing up my leg?"
"Very well, but then there is something I must do." Robo began to charge up his Cure Beam when he suddenly realized that Frog and Ryoga could use some attention as well. "Heal Beam." he said, and spun around. A wave of light spread out from his metal form, and the air sparkled around all present. Ranma's leg ceased throbbing, Robo's scratch disappeared, and Frog and Ryoga began to wake up.
With a few well-placed blows, Ranma shattered his cast. He stood and did a few experimental leaps. Satisfied that his leg was in working order, He turned to thank Robo. To his surprise, he saw Robo leap into the Tendo pond, and surface as a girl. Without a word, Robo walked across the yard and stood before Frog.
"Frog, I apologize," she said. "You were right. I should have been spending more time in this form."
Frog nodded solemnly. "Thou hast made a wise choice. Didst thine encounter with that madwoman affect thee so deeply?"
Robo shuddered. "When she was holding that needle to my throat, I was so scared that I could not move. All I could think of was how vulnerable my human body was. I did not like that sensation." She turned to Ryoga, "Ryoga, would you help me to train this body? I do not ever want to feel so helpless again."
"What're ya askin' that wimp for?" snorted Ranma. "If anyone should help you its-augh!" Ryoga grabbed the boastful martial artist and chucked him into the Tendo pond before he had a chance to finish.
Ranma surfaced and launched herself at Ryoga, shouting, "I was talking, you moron!" Soon the two were in pitched battle. Sighing, Frog led Robo into the dojo to wait..
* * * * * *
A half-mile away, a battered Kodachi made a rough landing in an open dumpster. The battered Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnast groaned painfully, and brushed a banana peel out of her face. Getting her bearings, she discovered that she had landed only a few blocks away from her rented apartment. 'They will all pay,' she thought angrily. 'Once I retrieve my notes, I will be able to make as much poison as I choose. Nothing will stand between me and my darling Ranma!'
She pulled herself out of the dumpster, and dropped to the ground. She stumbled a moment, and grabbed onto the dumpster for balance. Her equilibrium restored, Kodachi staggered to her apartment. Kodachi opened her door, and walked into the room, utterly failing to notice that Akane was no longer on the floor. In the next room, she found that the floor was covered with tiny scraps of white paper. "No! My notes! But who?--Uh oh." Kodachi whirled around, just in time to see a large, painful, and rapidly descending wooden hammer.
When Kodachi came to, she found that she had been tied down to a chair in front of a dining table. "Hello, Kodachi," said a cheerful voice. "Did you sleep well?"
"Akane!" hissed Kodachi. "When I get free I'll-"
"Oh, I never did get to thank you properly for your lessons. I felt that the best way would be to treat you to a meal, just to show how well you've taught me!" Akane produced a platter of steaming food, and set it down in front of Kodachi.
Kodachi eyed the food with horror, the color rapidly draining from her face. "No..." she whispered hoarsely.
"I hope you're hungry," continued Akane. "I've prepared a seven course meal..."
Kodachi began to scream. The screaming didn't stop for a very long time.
Oh, the Horror! The Horror! Not even my Dark Id would wish a fate like that on Kodachi (though it was able to think of it).
Chrono Trigger Tip #9:
I'm Mindlessly Obsessive, and-
Aren't we all?
-er, whatever. Anyway, I'm trying to get my characters to level 99, and I was wondering where I might find a good place to build up Experience and gather Tech points.
That's not a question.
Allow me to rephrase. Can you tell me where I might find a good place to build up Experience and gather Tech points?
WHERE CAN I FIND A GOOD PLACE TO BUILD UP EXPERIENCE AND GATHER TECH POINTS?
Well, why didn't you just ask me that in the first place?
I hate you.
Actually, the best places to get Experience are not necessarily the same places that provide a lot of Tech points. Probably the best source of Tech points is on the Black Omen, where you can fight those weird little blue blobs that use Lock All to prevent you from using Techs or Items. The little buggers are hard to hit with your weapons, but if you manage to kill them, you get tons of tech points.
As for Experience, there are really two good options. Probably the better of the two is in Geno Dome in 2300 A.D., Robo's place of origin. When you enter Geno Dome, you are forced to ride along a conveyor belt where you are attacked by scads of enemy robots. Ride the conveyor belt a few times, and you'll build up a lot of experience.
This, however, can become boring. To balance it, I would suggest using the Black Omen. Technically, it's possible to destroy the Black Omen three times each game. How? After it first appears in 12,000 B.C., the Black Omen continues to hover in the air for many millennia, as it also exists in 600 A.D., 1000 A.D., and 2300 A.D. In 2300 A.D., it isn't worth much to you. After all, Lavos has already won, and Queen Zeal will just laugh at you when you try to board her fortress. However, you can still destroy the Black Omen in the other three time periods--as long as you remember to start at 1000 A.D. and work backwards. After all, if you destroy it in 12,000 B.C. first, then it just won't exist in the future anymore. So, destroy it in 1000 A.D., then go back in time and destroy it in 600 A.D., and then in 12,000 B.C. (Paradox? What Paradox?)
As I mentioned, destroying the Black Omen isn't as great a way to gain experience as fighting the robots in Geno Dome, but it does provide a welcome break from the monotony of riding the conveyor belt.