All characters copyright of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan Inc. and Viz Communications. The character of Suteko Saotome is mine.


CHAPTER SIX, part two

Back in Nerima


Time for Dinner

by LPrior


Ranma ran lightly along the fence toward the field he had told Suteko about. His father’s need to have inside information really ticked him off. Even if Ranma knew what Suteko had planned for Pop, he wouldn’t tell him. Suteko had impressed him with her honorable outlook on life, her sense of humor and, as he thought about it, her ability to stop an argument. She had stopped the usual bickering between himself and Akane at least three times he could think of. “Could use her around more often. Save wear and tear on my skull.”

He slowed down as he neared the field. He could just see Suteko’s head and shoulders as she moved slowly through some exercises. He quietly hopped off the fence and leaned against it. She was doing Katas at slow speed and as he watched she sped them up. Her speed was good but nothing like his. Her form was stiff at first but quickly relaxed and flowed. He hadn’t trained in Tai Chi but he recognized it when he saw it. He wondered just how far she had trained in it.

After a few minutes, she brought her hands together and took a deep breath. Ranma drew in his to greet her but before he could she smiled and said, “Evening, brother.” She opened her eyes. “I heard you arrive.” She looked around. “Akane decide to stay home?”

“Yeah, looks like Nabiki wanted to talk to her.”


“Her next oldest sister.”

“Oh.” She reached and pulled out her staff. Twirling it she moved a few steps away from Ranma before starting her katas. “How many sisters does she have?”

Ranma watched as Suteko spun the large staff around like it was a small baton. “She has two. Nabiki, the middle sister and Kasumi.”

Suteko closed her eyes for a minute. “Kasumi would be the girl I talked to this morning. Pretty, with long brown hair tied with a bow?”

“That’s her. She’s really nice and a great cook.” Suteko stepped to the side and brought the staff sweeping down toward Ranma’s feet. He prepared to jump but didn’t when he saw that it would miss him by a couple of inches. Suteko spun about, working the staff up and over her shoulders, then down to the ground. It was like watching a dance. She would spin and tumble, leap and vault. It looked easy, but Ranma realized that the movements were a series of parries and attacks. She was one with her weapon. Too bad they couldn’t spar. It looked like it would be invigorating to try and dodge the thrusts and sweeps. After a few minutes she brought the staff to a halt and smiled. She had loosened up finally and felt really good.

It was time to talk seriously to her brother. “Ranma?”


“Do you have any problem with me fighting your father?”

“Nope.” He smiled. “It’ll be good to have someone else beat on him a little.”

“And if I win?” She was uncertain here. Ranma seemed really relaxed but he had lived with Genma his whole life. She didn’t want to be challenged by her new found brother when she beat him.

Ranma looked serious for a moment and then smiled. “No problem there. You aren’t goin to kill him, right?”

“I would never do that!”

“No problem then.” Ranma smiled. “But that isn’t all, is it?”

“No,” she looked close at his face. “I have to give out his punishment when I finish. It won’t hurt him physically but...”


“He’s going to have to admit his crime in front of those he cares about and take responsibility.”

“How? Admit that he’s your father, something like that?”

Suteko looked down. “I’m not sure. Mother wouldn’t tell me.”

“Your mother plans on being there, tomorrow?”

Suteko walked over to the tree she had started at and sat down. She patted the ground next to her. Ranma came over and sat down. “Mother is here in Japan, right now. She told me she would be at the Tendo Dojo tomorrow at dawn.”

Ranma just nodded. When Suteko didn’t add anything else he looked closely at her. “What’s the matter?”

“I think she’s going to bring great-grandfather with her and that could mean trouble.”


“I’m not sure and that’s what got me worried. Grandfather has plans that don’t take into account what others want or need. Uncle Tanto always told me to stay out of his plans, they weren’t always honorable. I’m afraid he’ll want to do something more to your father.”

“Why should he care about Pop, more than to get him to admit he’s your father?”

Suteko played with her staff nervously. It was obvious that Ranma didn’t know. “Ranma, you’re related to great-grandfather Ito, too. Through your mother.”

“Oh.” Ranma looked a bit stunned. Through his mother. “That’s right, Pop said something about your mom being related to mine, cousins or something.”

“That’s right and Grandfather will want you for the clan, being as you are one of the best martial artist of our generation.”

Ranma puffed up a little at the praise but the words she said sunk in. The man would want him for the clan but he was already heir to the Anything Goes School. “He wouldn’t want me for an heir, would he?” The look on his face was a bit sick. He was tired of being pulled to be the heir for different schools.

“I don’t know. You were born into a legal marriage, so it could be but I don’t trust Grandfather. He doesn’t ever do what you expect. Besides, if I remember correctly, your mother’s father was disowned by great-grandfather over something, like Uncle Tanto. Grandfather was very picky about his heirs back then and disinherited half the family for one reason or another. I just don’t know.”

“Well, don’t worry about it. We’ll take care of it tomorrow.” Ranma sounded very confident to Suteko and she sighed. It was good to see someone who was that confident.


Ukyo finished up her cleaning and left the restaurant, locking the door behind her. She didn’t want to be too far behind Suteko. It would be interesting to see the girl in action. She knew little of the way the girl fought and Ukyo wanted to make sure she had a chance of defeating Genma. That old fool needed to be taken down a peg or two.

She sprinted lightly down the still damp streets to the field where Suteko said she was to meet Ranma. Seeing Ran-chan was always a treat for the chef. Even if Akane was nearby she always felt good near him. She slowed as she rounded the corner near the field. She didn’t see Suteko at first but spotted Ranma and Suteko sitting under a tree in the back of the field. They seemed to be talking quietly so she slowed and walked over to them.

The two looked up when they heard her light step. “Hey, Ucchan. How’s it going?” Ranma smiled up at his friend.

Ukyo’s heart skipped a beat at the smile and she smiled back. “Great. What you two talking about?”

Suteko looked up quickly and put a hand on Ranma’s arm. He looked down at her and she shook her head. He nodded. “Just stuff, Ucchan.” The two stood up.

“Well, have you already finished Suteko?” Ukyo was amazed. The resemblance was more pronounced when the two were together. No one could think them other than siblings when they stood together.

“I’ve done my warm up and some of the exercises, why?”

“Oh, I missed it! I wanted to see what you could do.”

Suteko smiled. “Really. Well, if you’re up to it, we could spar.”

Ukyo looked over at Ranma. He just shrugged. It would be interesting to see a staff up against the battle spatula. “Why not. She’s pretty good.”

“Okay, why not?”

The two separated and got ready. Suteko stood easily with her feet apart, twirling her staff. Ukyo pulled her spatula from her back and got into her ready stance. She waited a moment for Suteko to attack but when she didn’t, she charged. Suteko sidestepped and brought the staff down in a cutting motion. Ukyo avoided the first swing easily but didn’t see the return swing from behind. She felt the staff tap her behind the knees and flipped backward. This was going to be interesting.

Ranma stood off to the side and watched the two girls spar. He knew just what Ukyo could do but not what Suteko could. They seemed pretty well matched at first, but Suteko didn’t seem to be serious in the attacks she made. More like she was testing Ucchan’s reflexes. After a few minutes, she changed from the relaxed, easy thrusts and parries to the fancier stuff he had seen her do during her warm up. Ukyo was pressed to stay ahead of the staff and not let it touch her.

Suteko smiled. This was fun. She wasn’t sure how to respond when she saw Ukyo’s odd choice of weapon. A giant kitchen utensil was a new one for her. The chef certainly knew how to use it though. She had to stretch to stay ahead of the swings of the bladed weapon. She hopped up and over Ukyo’s latest swing and shortening her grip on the staff she swung from her waist. The blow was parried with just a little more force than truly necessary. Suteko took a quick look at Ukyo’s face. Was that look of determination turning into something else? She hoped not. Sparring was one thing, a true fight was another. She continued the thrusts and parries for a few minutes more and then stepped back, bringing her staff to the ground with a thud. “Well, that was fun. Thank you for the exercise, Ukyo.”

Ukyo stepped back and blinked. Though this was just a sparring match, she had been pushed to her limits. The girl before her was good. She wasn’t even breathing hard. She was almost as good as her Ran-chan! “You’re welcome, sugar.” Ukyo took a swipe at the sweat following down her face. “I’ve never fought someone using your style of staff work before. Where’d you learn it?”

“Great Uncle Tanto was a master in the Fukushuu family specialty and he trained me from the time I was very little.” Suteko’s eyes got sad for a moment as she spoke her mentor’s name but it quickly passed. She covered her mouth as a yawn caught up with her. “Sorry, guess I’m more tired than I thought.” She looked down at the watch on her wrist. It was just after nine PM. “We should probably head over to your place now, Ukyo. Got to get some rest before tomorrow.”

“That’s true. You must have been traveling all day.”

Ranma nodded. “You did show up at the Dojo before dawn this morning.”

Suteko shrugged. “I’m used to getting up early but I had pushed through last night so I could make it to challenge Genma at dawn today. Didn’t sleep last night.”

“That explains it.” Ukyo put her battle spatula back into it’s sheath.

Suteko smiled and nodded. After a moments thought she stepped up to Ranma and gave him a quick hug. “See you tomorrow, little brother.”

Ranma started when Suteko wrapped her arms around him but he relaxed and hugged her back. “See you tomorrow, Suteko.” He replied. “Oh, one more thing, Sis,” he added, holding her at arms length.

She looked up with a twinkle in her eyes. “What?”

“Stop calling me ‘little brother’, OK?”

Suteko chuckled and nodded. “Sure thing, Ranma.” She stepped back and turned away. Ukyo said a quick good-bye and they both waved as they walked away from Ranma. It was a pleasant walk, taken in silence. Both girls were thinking of Ranma and the following morning.

As they stopped at Ukyo’s door, Ukyo turned to Suteko and asked her a question. “Suteko, would you mind if I came with you in the morning?”

Suteko paused before answering. “Ukyo, I wouldn’t mind but my mother probably would. It might be better if you went to the Dojo alone and met me there.” Ukyo nodded. “I’ll hold up the fight until you get there, if you’re there later than me that is.” the two girls entered the restuarant and then the apartment upstairs.

Later in the bath Ukyo and Suteko soaked in quiet. Suteko nearly slipped under when Ukyo woke her and sent the girl off to bed. “Thanks, Ukyo. See you in the morning.” She mumbled and went off to the spare room.

Ukyo stayed in the tub thinking. Just how did she want the fight to go tomorrow. Genma did deserve to be beaten. After all he lied and cheated whenever possible. But he was Ran-chan’s father, so he deserved a little respect. Ukyo thought back to all the times she had seen Genma and Ranma sparring. It seemed that the old man had some ability. He would toss Ranma into the carp pond behind the Tendo house each morning, almost with no trouble. Could the girl resting in the room across the hall take the larger and older man? That was a real question. Ukyo could feel the bruises that Suteko had left on her skin with the big staff she used. The girl was quick, not as quick as Ranma and very agile. Who knew? Ukyo got out of the bath and dried off. If Genma beat Suteko, Ukyo would be surprised but it could happen. Both of them had a good reason to win. Genma, so he wouldn’t have to admit his failings and Suteko, so she could finally finish her quest. It was late and Ukyo didn’t feel like putting any serious thought into the coming morning’s battle.


Suteko settled down on the futon and pulled her sleeping bag over her shoulder. It had been a full day and she was glad that she had spent much of it in the company of her brother. What a thing! After being alone for seventeen years, she now had a little brother. Admittedly one who was only six months younger, but still someone else in her generation. She hoped to be able to spend time with him but knew that her mother wouldn’t approve. She just hoped that her mother and Great-grandfather Ito had no plans for Ranma. He was a good kid and deserved to live his life away from the politics a great family held. As she drifted off, she started to dream about running the family dojo with Ranma and his wife. She couldn’t quite see the face of the wife but she had short dark hair.


The same boardroom as earlier in the day. The dying rays of the sun streaking through the windows and throwing the man sitting in the great chair at the head of the table into shadow. “So Genma has a son. How very interesting.”

The man facing the shadow continued his report. “Yes, it seems this young man, Ranma, is the best of the new generation of fighters. He would be an asset to the clan.”

“I agree, Grandfather.” Atsuko looked over, with a arched brow. “He should be brought into the family proper. I’m sure Nokoda would love having her son added to the family’s ranks.”

“Atsuko, are you sure of that?” Ito asked, dryly. She just looked down at her manicured nails. A deep, evil laugh echoed through the room. “You are a treasure, my daughter. In the morning we will ‘collect’ the debt owed to you and the family.”

“Thank you, grandfather.”

Ito motioned to the retainer and Atsuko to leave. They left, bowing their way out of the room. As the door closed Ito spoke once more. “Yes, the debt will be paid and the family will become great once again.”


To be continued

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