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A Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran story
by DB Sommer

Disclaimer: Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran belongs to Akitarou Daichi, Madhouse, WOWOW, and Bandai Entertainment.

Just an idea that struck me the other day. I'll probably be lucky if even five people have seen the series. Any and all C+C is appreciated. You can contact me at sommer@3rdm.net

Tsukikage Ran, beautiful maiden, connoisseur of fine sake, aficionado of elephants, and by chance, wandering samurai, sat back against a tree, enjoying the shade provided by its leafy canopy. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was a touch on the warm side. But between her refuge and a light breeze, everything felt just right. That was to say, with the jug of sake in her hand, it felt right. To prove it fact rather than opinion, she took another sip. A sip in the sense she only gulped twice before bringing the nearly empty jug down and wiping her sleeve across her lips.

"Ahh! It does indeed feel just right. There's not a thing I would change. Wouldn't you agree, Myao?"

Myao, far away from the tree and toiling under the bright sun, grunted noncommittally, then returned to her task at hand.

Ran shook her head at her friend's behavior. Myao, as much a country bumpkin as the samurai had ever come across, was obsessed. It wasn't as though Myao had never been obsessed before. Actually, she was quite obsessive. She tended to latch onto things like her namesake martial arts school, digging her claws into whatever caught her eye and maintaining her grip until someone pried her off, or she came to understand the image she had built up in her mind was not the same thing as the reality of the situation. From joining cults to having her picture painted, Myao had a tenacious energy that caused as many problems as it solved. Still, Ran couldn't envision her constant companion behaving in any other way. Nor would she have wanted a change in Myao's behavior, though she would never admit such to the girl. It was more fun to complain about it. And it did tend to keep their lives interesting.

But this time was different. Myao's obtuse, little mind had come up with something that Ran did not approve of. Mostly because it seemed incredibly stupid, even by Myao's standards. Ran had tried to talk the girl out of it, but Myao was being extraordinarily stubborn this time. Still, perhaps one more attempt would be called for.

"I still say this isn't a good idea."

Myao threw down the items she had been tying together. She stood up and stomped toward Ran, irate frown on her features. Given the worn state of Myao's clothing, dirt smudged on her hands and face, combined with the way the martial artist's look of intensity, which was similar to a five year old being told he couldn't have any candy, proved to be quite the comical sight. It took everything Ran had not to laugh aloud.

Standing above the placid samurai, Myao leveled an accusatory finger at her. "I have to do this. I'm tired of being relegated to the role of sidekick to your heroism. I am Myao of the Neko Tekken, unconquerable avenger and righter of wrongs. My martial arts are supposed to be supreme. I should be able to dispatch any evildoer with a minimum of fuss, and do so with style and grace as befitting a young woman of my beauty." Each statement was punctuated by vigorous arm motions, almost as though she believed she was a bird and could take off if she pumped her appendages fast enough.

"Your martial arts are impressive," Ran admitted. Although Myao tended to look more like an excited little girl than a beautiful young woman when she was beating the crap out of someone. Ran, on the other hand, was all composure and elegance, like a gentle leaf blowing in the wind when she went into battle.

"They are, aren't they?" Myao started to preen, then quickly returned to her former angry state. "They might be good, but they're nothing compared to your swordsmanship. Swordswomanship, whatever," Myao said, momentarily flustered in confusion.

"You're being too harsh on yourself," Ran assured her. "Think about our last fight with those opium dealers. You took out at least a dozen of them."

"I took out six," Myao corrected, her voice as flat as a sheet of paper. "Do you know how many you beat?"

"I didn’t really keep count," Ran said.

"Fourteen," Myao said.

Ran's eyebrow rose slightly. "It was sixteen."

Myao shook her head. "No, I counted the bodies in the courtyard. There were twenty."

"There were two hiding behind a paper wall that tried to ambush me while I was fighting that pair of ronin in black. I deflected both of the ronins' attacks, then slashed through the wall and got both of the ambushers with one stroke. They fell backward into the inn, which is why you didn't see them when you took the headcount."

"You see?! That's exactly what I mean!" Myao shouted. "You simultaneously fought two armed men, sensed two others trying to sneak up on you, and took them out in the middle of an intense fight. I would have my hands full with just the ronin."

Ran took another sip of the sake, finishing the jug. She stared at it mournfully. "Well, it's not really fair to compare yourself to me. You're a martial artist. I'm a samurai. It's like comparing radishes and mushrooms."

Myao shook her head. "The end results are what matters. You got fourteen. I got six. You're better than me. I need to close the gap." She walked back and restarted her tying efforts.

"But is this really the best way to go about it?" Ran continued. "Surely there's some other way to improve yourself."

Myao shook her head furiously, again reminding Ran of a bratty child that would hold her breath if she wasn't going to get her way. Even Myao's cheeks were bulging. "There is no other way," she fumed

"But there are lots of things you could do," Ran insisted. "You could practice driving nails into wood with your bare hands, or breaking rocks with your forehead."

"I can already do those."

Actually, Myao ramming her head into rocks on a regular basis would go far in explaining some of her behavior. "You should try something different," Ran said.

"Ha!" Myao held her hand up triumphantly. "I know why you're so intent on stopping me. You're afraid I'll get better than you and you'll be reduced to the role of my sidekick."

Ran's eyebrow twitched. "A pig would sooner learn to fly than that every happening."

"I'm betting this technique can do it, so you'd better get ready to take some pork on the fly. I'm so confident it'll work, I already copied it in my journal with the other techniques of my school," Myao bragged, flashing a thin book that had lain hidden in the folds of her outfit. "I came up with this great idea shortly after I first entered the opium den."

Ran jerked her head slightly. "This wouldn't be after you inhaled from the hookah, would it?"

"I didn't know what it was at the time!" Myao countered. "Anyway, it was truly inspirational. It opened my mind to avenues I had never considered before." Myao's face took on a far off look.

Ran nodded her head. Now it all made sense. This particularly horrible idea was the result of a drug induced hallucination. Ran hadn't realized it, since Myao frequently had bad ideas. The only thing that marked this as different was that it was simply the worst.

The samurai rose to her feet and walked toward Myao. "I'm afraid I cannot allow you to do this to yourself." She placed a hand on Myao's shoulder

Myao pulled a bottle out of a nearby bag and held it before her companion. "I'll give you this sake."

Ran snatched it out of her hand, undid the stopper, and took a swig. She nodded her head in approval. "You make a good argument. Who am I to stand in the way of your attempt to improve yourself? After all, as you have reminded me so many times, the path of a martial artist is fraught with peril."

"I thought you'd see things my way," Myao grinned. She seemed satisfied with her efforts at tying, and threw the coils around her body.

Ran began to walk back to the shade of the tree.

Myao gave a laugh, one tinged with nervousness. "I have one more tiny favor to ask you."

"I'll be ready to bail you out once… I mean if you get in trouble," Ran assured her.

Myao laughed again, this time with three times the trepidation. "Actually, I'd like you to do the opposite. This technique is going to be very… dangerous to learn."

"Then don't do it."

"I must!" Myao insisted. "It will work. I know it. It's just I've never undergone anything this rigorous before. I don't know as I'll be able to maintain my resolve once I'm undergoing the training. That's why I'll need you to ensure I complete it no matter what. No matter how much I beg, no matter how much I plead, don't let me stop, even if you have to throw me back in again and again."

Ran shook her head. "It's bad enough you want me to bear witness to the sacrifice. I will not be the one to hand you the dagger as well."

Myao fished another bottle out of the bag.

Ran was at her side in an instant. "But a friend stays by a friend's side, even through hard times." Ran took a swig from the new bottle, and gave an appreciative cry of joy. "So, how will I know when you've mastered the technique?"

Myao handed her the journal and opened it to the page with the technique. "Read this, and you'll know when I've mastered what will become the ultimate technique of the Neko Tekken."

Ran nodded her head. "Very well. Let it begin." And shoved Myao.

Myao's arms went flailing about as she tried to regain her balance, "Wait, I'm not readAHHH!" she cried as she finally lost her balance and fell into the pit she had dug earlier. Almost instantly Myao's screechy cries of suffering came out of the pit. "Ow! Oh my god! It hurts! Ow! The pain! The pain! Knock it off, you evil little creatures! Ow! Ahhhh! Ahhhh! I've had enough! Pull me out, Ran! In the name of all that's holy, PULL ME OUT!"

Ran ignored the cries, and shook her head sadly as she read the appellation Myao had given to the technique. It was kind of pathetic, considering it was so similar to the name of her style of martial arts already. Really, couldn't she have come up with something more original than the 'Nekoken'?



Author's notes: Well, I think it's a distinct possibility. Don't you? ^_^

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