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






by LPrior


Doctor Tofu looked up from his reading as the phone on his desk rang. He reached over and picked up the receiver. “Hello, Doctor Tofu speaking.”

“Hello Doctor, it’s Nabiki Tendo speaking.”

Tofu smiled. “Hello, Nabiki, can I help you with something?”

Nabiki launched into a short description of the morning and the help they needed. Tofu’s expression changed from pleased, to confused, to determined. “I’ll be right there, Nabiki. Tell them to keep pressure on the wound and to watch her for signs of a concussion.” He hung up the phone and grabbed up his bag. He put out the closed sign and rushed over to the Tendo household.


At the Tendo household, most were in the dojo, dealing with the confusion there.

“Calm down, girls. Let Suteko gather her wits,” Kasumi gently admonished the two concerned fiancees. She placed a clean towel against the girl’s cheek to stem the blood flowing down her face. Everything will be all right, Suteko. These things always work out for the best.” She continued to speak soft, calming nonsense to the distraught girl. “It wasn’t your fault.”

Nabiki strolled back in, carrying a second towel. “Kasumi, Doctor Tofu said to keep a firm pressure on the wound.” She paused for a moment. “Oh, I see you already are.” She raised a brow. Big sister was sure good in these situations. Kasumi never seemed to lose her composure. “He said he was coming right over.”

Suteko tried to get up, “He doesn’t have to do that. I can go to his office.” She was pushed back down, gently by Kasumi.

“It’s no problem, Suteko. He’s on his way.”

“But, won’t that be expensive? I mean, a doctor, making a house call.”

Nabiki understood right away. She smiled down at the girl who looked so much like Ranma but reacted differently. “Don’t worry; he doesn’t charge us for housecalls. We’re his best customers,” she added with a sly look at Akane, “isn’t that right, sis?” Akane shot a quick look at her sister. She really didn’t feel like being ribbed about her sending Ranma to Doctor Tofu so often.

“I’ll pay for his visit. I don’t want to cause any more trouble.” Suteko’s voice was muffled by the towel pressed against her face but it was clear she ashamed at the problems already caused by her family.


“There you go, young woman.” Doctor Tofu smiled as he sat back. It was amazing the likeness this girl had to Ranma-chan.

“Thank you, sensei,” Suteko answered with a weak smile.

“Sensei ,have you ever heard of this ‘three blind mice’ technique?” Akane looked hopeful. Doctor Tofu had always been a source of esoteric information.

Tofu looked at the anxious young woman. “I’m sorry, Akane. That’s a new one on me. I can go through my books of lore, but I’m not sure that will help.”

“Please, sensei, if there is a chance to save my brother, we must look for it,” pleaded Suteko. Ukyo and Akane nodded, agreeing with Suteko.

“Well, then I’ll go,” he started to rise.

“Let us help, sensei. Three extra pairs of eyes should make the search go much faster.”

Doctor Tofu looked at the three young women. The concern was obvious, that and the fact that they needed to do something. “All right, girls.”


The streets were empty this early in the morning. They made their way quickly toward Doctor Tofu’s clinic but not without incident. Just as they reached the intersection closest to the clinic they heard a familiar “Nihao!” Suteko dodged to the side as a purple haired girl on a bicycle came crashing down were she had been standing.

“Watch where you’re going!” Suteko shouted. What did this girl think she was doing, crashing down from above. How’d she get the bicycle up in the air in the first place?

Akane looked over bored, “Hello, Shampoo.”

Suteko did a double take. This was Ranma’s third fiancee. The Chinese amazon. She could understand why Ranma would be engaged to this one. She was stunning. In America, the girl could demand top dollars as a model.

Shampoo sneered at Akane, “I not say Nihao to you, violent girl, I say Nihao to airen.” She turned her pretty head toward Suteko. “Nihao, Ranma, why for you change your hair?”

Suteko stood confused for a moment. The girl’s Japanese was not very good but she was sure the girl had just called her by her brother’s name. “Um, hello, Shampoo,” she smiled. “I’m not...” was as far as she got before the girl grabbed onto her with a glomping sound.

“Ranma go date with Shampoo, now?” She looked into Suteko’s eyes with stars in her own for a moment. But then they changed and she backed off quickly. “You not Ranma. What go on here?”

Suteko stood shocked. She was still dealing with being grabbed and forcefully hugged by another girl. Akane just chuckled but Ukyo took pity on the poor girl and explained. “Shampoo, I’d like you to meet Ranma’s older sister, Suteko.”

Shampoo looked over at Ukyo, back to Suteko and then back again. “What you saying, spatula girl? Ranma no have any sister. I know.”

Suteko finally pulled her mind back and answered that. “Shampoo, I am his sister. We share the same father.”

“I no believe you.”

Akane snorted. “Well, you better, you bimbo. Ranma’s father is her father. She was born to a different mother the year before.”

Shampoo started toward Akane with an angry look on her face. Suteko prepared to step between them. “Ranma no tell me he had a sister.”

“That’s because he didn’t know about me until yesterday.”

“Why not?!” Shampoo turned her anger toward Suteko.

Stepping back, Suteko calmly explained. “Because my mother left Japan seventeen years ago and raised me in the States. Genma didn’t even know I existed until yesterday, so how could Ranma?”

Shampoo tilted her head, so that she looked like a puzzled cat to Suteko and thought about that. “All right, then I will believe you, sister-in-law.” Shampoo then reached over and gave Suteko another hug. “You tell sister-in-law where her husband is now?”

Akane exploded. “He is not your husband!”

Ukyo joined right in. “We don’t have time for this Akane. We’ve got to find that information.”

Akane paused. “You’re right, Ukyo. Ranma needs us.” She turned away from the amazon and started toward Tofu’s clinic again.

Shampoo looked confused. Something wasn’t right here. Akane not wanting to fight? Shampoo turned to face Suteko. “Why does Ranma need violent girl and spatula girl?”

Suteko looked embarrassed and quickly told the amazon what happened. Shampoo immediately volunteered to help. “Maybe great-grandmother hear of this three blind mice technique,” she turned and bounced away on her bicycle. She called over her shoulder. “We come back as soon as I know.”


The girls and Doctor Tofu spend the next few hours going over his magical tomes. As they were scattered about reading various scrolls and tomes Shampoo and Cologne entered the clinic.

“Well, young one, have you found anything in your books?”

Suteko looked up from the tome of old Japanese that she was slowly wading through. In front of her was an ancient woman, perched on a tall knarled staff. “Hello? Um, not yet.”

“I’m not surprised. The technique you spoke of is a very ancient and evil technique. I had thought all knowledge had been wiped from the planet.”

Doctor Tofu walked into the room carrying a dry, crackling scroll. “I think I may have found something.” He looked up. “Hello, Cologne. I’m glad you’re here. I need you to translate this.” He carefully unrolled the scroll and weighted down the edges with paperweights. Cologne hopped over on her staff to take a look.

“How?” Suteko started but Akane shushed her quickly.

“It’s just something she does.”

“Ah, here’s what we’re looking for. The scroll says that an ancient warlord by the name of Tetsu Fukushuu became disgusted with his heirs modern views on how to treat their peasants. To make his son follow his plan for the future he developed the three blind mice to wipe his heir’s mind clean and to implant the personality he wanted in it’s place.”

“Sounds like your memory loss shampoo.” added Ukyo.

“Be quiet, girl! This is nothing like that. This technique does not just repress memories, it wipes the soul clean. The spirit of the victim is removed and another is implanted. If allowed to succeed, this effectively kills it’s victim. The body lives but all that made the person who he was is gone.”

“No!” The cry came from four young throats simultaneously.

Suteko dropped her head to the desk. “Then it’s too late. I have destroyed my brother.” She started to sob.

“No, wait child.” Strangely, the old crone’s voice was gentle. “It says here there is a chance to reclaim the lost one. A slim chance but definitely one.”

Akane and the other two fiancees crowded around the desk. There was a sparkle of hope in their eyes.

“What is it?” asked Akane.

“Tell us great-grandmother.”

“Us, tell us.”

“It says that the entire process takes just over 24 hours to complete. The victim will sleep for 8 hours and then the technique must be applied again. The first time knocks the victim out, the second blocks the memories. A third and final strike, exactly 8 hours later, clears the soul and prepares the body for it’s new personality. How long has it been since son-in-law was taken?”

Suteko looked up, drying her tears. “Um, about four hours.”

“Good, then they haven’t given him the second treatment, yet. There is a chance. Tell me child, do you know where they have taken son-in-law?”

Suteko thought for a moment before answering. “Most likely they have taken him to the Fukushuu compound. It’s in the Tensa district. They have a large home surrounded by a tall fence.”

“Then let’s go!” Ukyo started for the door. Before she got two steps Cologne was in front of her.

“Stop girl. The Fukushuu family are master spies and infeltrators. Don’t think you can just stroll in there without plan.”

Suteko spoke up with a glimmer in her eyes. “She’s right, Ukyo. You can’t just barge into the clan’s holdings but there is a way.”

“What are you speaking of, child?”

Suteko took a deep breath. She was about to tell a group of mostly strangers her secrets. This was something she didn’t feel comfortable talking about. “Akane, Ukyo, do you remember how my mother disappeared this morning?”

Shaking her head Akane answered. “She was standing there one minute and then she took a step and disappeared.”

“That’s right!” Ukyo snapped her fingers. “How’d she do that?”

“Like this.” Suteko stood up and took a step sideways. To the watching people it was like she vanished. She reappeared a few feet away. “It’s a clan secret.”

“Can you teach how to do that?” Asked Shampoo.

“Not in the time we have,” she slowly shook her head. “But I can use it to get us in the compound.”


“This secret is only taught to the close family members. Only my mother, Great Uncle Ito and I should know this right now. Uncle Tanto told me that Ito had refused to teach the younger members of the clan this secret. He had learned it from his uncle before he died. So unless Ito decided to change his ruling I should be able to get past the guards and find a way to let the rest of you in.”

“That is a start.” Cologne said.

“There is more, do any of you know where I can get some temporary hair dye?”

“You can get some just down the street at the market. Why would you need that?” Asked Doctor Tofu.

“Akane, could you get me some water?”

A look of understanding crossed both Akane and Ukyo’s faces. Akane got up and came back with a pitcher of cold water. She handed it to Suteko who swallowed and dumped it over her head. As the water slid down her body it changed. Shampoo and the others looked surprised as Suteko grew taller and became a blonde version of Ranma. “I, too have a curse.”

“Now, I believe you, sister-in-law. You are Ranma’s sister.”

“You plan on making yourself look like son-in-law?”

“Yes, once inside. I can distract the guards inside by being places where Ranma shouldn’t be. That should give you others a chance to get to Ranma and get him out of there.”

“But doesn’t your family know about this?” asked Ukyo.

Suteko shook his head. “Mother and I haven’t talked much since Uncle Tanto died. She just told me what to do and left me to my own devises. By the time I..” He turned away from the others before continuing. “I don’t share things with the family anymore. I was ashamed at how I got this and decided it would be best to keep it a secret.” He turned back “Now, it’s a good thing I did.”

Cologne signaled to Shampoo to go get the dye. “You have a good idea, child but we need to add a few props.” She looked Suteko up and down. Suteko was dressed still in the gi that he had worn for the morning challenge. It now was much too small and it was obvious that it was meant for a much smaller person. “Akane, we need some of Ranma’s clothing. This ‘outfit’ of Suteko’s does not match what son-in-law wears. Can you get something approximately matching what he wore this morning?”

“That should be easy. He was dressed in his usual red shirt. He has a bunch of those. I’ll be right back.” Akane turned and sprinted out.

“Now, child. We need to work out the rest of your plan.”

Suteko nodded. “Yes, honored elder. I can slip into the estate easily enough.” He turned to Ukyo. “Ukyo, I need you to go get my pack. There’s something inside that should help us immensely.” Ukyo got up and ran off. Suteko turned back to Cologne.

“Just how many of your clans secrets do you know?”

Suteko looked steadily at the old woman for a few moments. Should he tell? This was clan business and even though raised away from the clan he had some honor. But did his clan? That was the sticking point.

Cologne could see the inner battle going on. She understood the child’s dilemma. But this was son-in-law. He must be gotten out of the hands of Ito Fukushuu or the reign of terror the old man could effect would be horrible. She knew that Ranma was the greatest living martial artist of his generation. His inner code of honor was what kept him from harming people with his power. Take away that code of honor and he would be a monster. “You tell only to protect and save your brother, child.”

Suteko closed his eyes. He had secretly hoped to be accepted in the clan. For his abilities. But it was obviously not to happen. The clan was worse than Uncle Tanto had painted it before he died. He opened his eyes and spoke. “I know of a few. Not the total as I was just a young maiden when my Uncle passed on.”


Ukyo ran up the stairs of her shop and into the spare room. She spotted Suteko’s open pack sitting on the floor next to the bedside table. She grabbed at it and accidentally knocked it over. The contents spilled out with a clatter of glass. Ukyo quickly replaced the clothing and reached for a small case that had sprung open. She paused a moment to look into it out of curiosity. It was filled with dozens of small vials with English lettering on the sides. She tried to puzzle out just what the words said. “Healing? Interesting.” She closed the case and stuffed it on top, then hooked the pack over her shoulder and ran out.


Suteko and Cologne spoke quietly while waiting for the girls to return. Shampoo was the first back. “This right color, great-grandmother?”

Cologne took the small box and checked. “Yes, child. This should do nicely.” She turned to Doctor Tofu. “May we use your bath?” Tofu nodded and led them inside his living quarters.

As they were drying Suteko’s hair, now a deep black like Ranma’s Akane showed up with a set of clothing. She stopped suddenly when she saw a familiar face, “Ranma?”

The face smiled and it was then that Akane spotted the bandage still on Suteko’s face. “So, I was right.” Suteko was relieved. “If I can fool you, even for a moment, I should have no trouble at the estate.”

“It’s uncanny.” Ukyo added. She walked around Suteko. “With the right clothes you can definitely pass for Ran-chan.”

“Here.” Akane thrust the bundle of clothing at Suteko. Suteko turned and walked back into Tofu’s living quarters to change.

Cologne turned to face the girls. “Now that we have the physical disguise set I need to know just how good a fighter this Suteko is.”

“She’s not bad.” Ukyo looked thoughtful.

Akane added. “This morning she defeated Mr. Saotome in combat. So she does have ability. Why?”

“In all things dealing with son-in-law there seems to be a battle of some type. I want to be sure this girl can carry her own weight if she must.”

Akane and Ukyo spoke up quickly in Suteko’s defense. “I sparred with her last night and she had me on the run the whole time. She wasn’t even using her full potential.” Ukyo looked amazed.

Akane added. “Besides she’s Ranma’s sister. She has the same potential.”

Suteko stepped back into the doctor’s office. “I can take care of myself, elder but I will say that I am no match for my brother’s skills.”

“Ah, there you are.” Cologne looked over Suteko’s disguise. In male form, with black hair, Suteko was a near perfect match for Ranma. The only difference was in how Suteko held himself. It was obvious that he wasn’t comfortable in the body he know wore. “I see our first problem. You don’t spend much time like this, do you?”

Suteko blushed. “No, I prefer to stay a girl.”

“Well, it may cause a problem. Try walking for us.”

Suteko moved across the room. He had the unconscious grace of a martial artist but there was still a hint of uneasiness in the walk. Cologne pondered for a moment. “There is little we can do about this now. But once we have retrieved son-in-law you will need some training. If you have the curse you must learn to deal with it.”

Suteko nodded slowly. He didn’t want to think about that right now. He turned to Ukyo. “You bring my pack?”

“Yep. Here you go.”

Suteko noticed the disarray inside but didn’t comment. Reaching inside he pulled out a tube and undid the stopper. “When Uncle Tanto was last in Japan he picked up a set of these.” He pulled out a roll of papers and spread them out on the table he had been working on before. “These are floorplans for the Fukushuu compound.”

All eyes turned quickly to the plans. “How did he get these, child? The head of the clan is known for his overcautious nature. I thought these were all destroyed.”

Suteko looked proud. “Uncle Tanto was a great man. Even though he disagreed with the usage that his father put the family skill, he was the greatest of the family’s heirs. He knew every technique and counter. He knew when he last visited that someday the floorplan would be needed so he ‘appriated’ a set.”

“It is good that he did, child.”

“Yes, now,” turning to the unrolled plans. “As you can see the compound is walled and there are checkpoints around the parameter. The only place that isn’t patrolled is the family temple, here.” He pointed at a medium sized building on the northside of the compound. “Uncle Tanto told me of a secret tunnel running from a shop, under the street and up into the temple. It was used by some past mistress to visit the then clan leader. He said that the tunnel had been forgotten by the current generations. He found it on his way out and it was inches deep in dust. We should use this as our entrance into the compound.”

“Hopefully no one has discovered this secret passage in the time since he last visited.”

“We will just have to hope. Now, I will go in first and distract any of the guards in the compound. You three should then head here.” Suteko pointed to a room in the basement. “As far as I can tell, this is where Ito keeps those he wants something from.”

They worked out the plans. Cologne pointed out a few problems that were easily worked out. The girls then left. The first eight hours were almost up and they needed to get to Ranma before the second treatment was delivered. Though it was reversible, it would be best if they didn’t need to.


As the four rounded a corner they heard to voices crying out Ranma’s name.

“Saotome how dare you!!”

“Ranma I’m gonna make you pay for leaving me at the airport!”

Two blurs rushed toward Suteko. He dodged to one side of Ryouga’s flying fist but ran straight into Mousse. “Wait!!!”

Shampoo grabbed at Mousse and pulled him back. “Stupid Mousse, that no Ranma!”

“Ryouga, that’s Suteko!”

Both boys stopped and looked confused. “Akane, what are you saying? That’s Ranma.” Ryouga did a quick double take. “Wait a minute, since when does Ranma have green eyes?”

“He doesn’t Ryouga.” Suteko spoke. “It’s me.” He looked embarrassed.

Ryouga pointed. “You have a curse too!”

“No kidding, sugar. Now can you two back off, we gotta rescue Ran-chan.”

“Why does Saotome need rescuing?”

The girls quickly filled in the two and they agreed to join in the rescue. They all set out again.


To be continued

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