Dragon Ball 1/2

Title: Dragon Ball 1/2
Plot, or Lack Thereof: Attempting the Ranma/Dragon Ball crossover a second time.
Reason for Banishment: Put on indefinite hold due to indecision over where in the Dragon Ball continuity this crossover should take place.


It was almost closing time at the Cat Café. Mousse cleared the tables while Shampoo wiped them down and Cologne supervised. Shampoo was still looking very listless, Cologne noted. A week had passed since Shampoo and Ukyo had crashed Ranma’s near wedding with Akane, and Ranma had not gone anywhere near the Cat Café, much to Shampoo’s dismay. It pained Cologne to see Shampoo go from the bright, energetic Amazon to the moping, depressed girl that was now cleaning up the Cat Café whose heart wasn’t in the task. Cologne knew that things would only get worse from here: despite Ranma and Akane’s constant quarreling, it was clear that they loved one another, and it would only be a matter of time before they married out of their own volition. Not if Cologne had anything to do with it, though; she was determined that Shampoo would return to China with a husband. Of course, she knew that there existed certain escape clauses in the Amazon Laws, but she was loathe to use them, especially since that meant that Shampoo would end up having to marry Mousse. Cologne had to admit that the boy had potential, but his horrendous vision—or, rather, lack thereof—and just as horrendous incompetence was not something to be desired.

Cologne’s thoughts were interrupted when three people, who she was sure she had never seen before, entered the restaurant. Upon further examination, she saw that one of them was a diminuitive, blue, imp-like fellow dressed in a ridiculous clown’s suit and a round cap that could have been a beanie had there been a copter at the top. He was followed by a tall, somewhat attractive young lady with long black hair who was wearing what looked like an explorer’s shirt, pants, and boots. Behind her, finishing the trio, was a dog in a ninja outfit. Not the type of people one would normally expect in Nerima; then again, Chinese Amazons, cursed martial artists, crossdressing okonomiaki chefs, and underwear-chasing perverts weren’t standard Nerima fare until a while ago, either.

The trio sat down at a booth, and Shampoo went over to take their order.

“Three chicken ramen,” Shampoo called out to Cologne, who disappeared into the kitchen. In a few moments, she reappeared with three steaming bowls of noodles and tossed them to Shampoo. The girl caught them and served them to amazed customers. After getting over their shock, the three began eating. Shampoo, seeing that the customers were satisfied, returned to her cleaning duties.

“A most magnificent meal,” the short blue one sighed when he finished, rubbing his stomach with satisfaction. Turning to the tall girl, he commanded: “Mai, take care of the bill.”

“Hai, Lord Pilaf,” Mai fumbled around her pockets for a while before bringing out a small wallet. Taking out a few bills, she counted them before handing them to Shampoo, who had by now finished cleaning up the rest of the tables.

Shampoo stared at the money in her hands. “What this?”

“It called ‘money’,” Pilaf said, imitating Shampoo. “M-O-N-E-Y.”

Shampoo’s eyes narrowed. “Shampoo know it money. But it not Yen. No can take.” She glared at Pilaf. “Gaijin think Shampoo stupid because Shampoo no can speak Japanese well?”

“{Shan Pu! What do you think you’re doing?}” Cologne scolded, tallying up the day’s profits with an abacus.

“{That blue guy tried to pay me with something that he claims to be money!}”

Cologne sighed. “{Let me handle this.}” As Shampoo obeyed, Cologne hopped over to the customers. “Forgive my granddaughter’s rudeness, sirs, but she said was true: the Cat Café doesn’t accept foreign currency.”

“Well,” the Pilaf attempted a charming smile and failed. “I’m afraid that’s all we have.”

“I’m afraid that’s unacceptable,” Cologne replied, trying not to laugh at the Pilaf’s hilarious looking face. “You’ll have to work off your debt.”

***

That evening, the Cat Café’s newly acquired dishwashers began their work.

“This is humiliating! How dare that old crone make me, the great Pilaf, do dishes!” Pilaf muttered while scraping away at a pot.

“I heard that!” Cologne whacked Pilaf on the head with her cane as she passed by.

“Ow!” Pilaf rubbed the rising bump, and decided to keep his mouth shut for the time being. He shot his two assistance a meaningful look, and they nodded back. Pilaf then turned his attention back to the enormous stack of unwashed plates, bowls, pots, and utensils.

***

Shampoo stared at her reflection in the mirror and sighed. She still couldn’t understand why Ranma was so angry at her for stopping the wedding between him and Akane. Couldn’t Ranma see that Shampoo, not that ‘sexless uncute tomboy’ even by Ranma’s own admission, was Ranma’s true wife-to-be?

“{Do you still want to marry him, Shan Pu?}”

Shampoo whirled around, then scowled when she saw Mousse. “{That’s none of your business.}”

“{It’s every bit my business, Shan Pu, because—}”

“{Because you love me, yeah, yeah, yeah,}” Shampoo interrupted. “{I’ve heard it more than a million times already, and I’m sick of it!}”

Mousse sighed. “{I see.}” Shoulders slumped, he shuffled out of the room.

Damn him, Shampoo thought . Mousse always managed to hit a sore point with his constant claims of love, especially since they reminded her of her own failures to snag Ranma. Ranma’s even looked at me naked, but not even that worked. And now, he won’t even so much as come near me. Shampoo sighed. At this rate, I’ll never be able to return to the Amazon village.

Her sharp hearing picked up some strange sounds coming from the hallway. Pulling her chúi out of—well, she never quite figured out where she stashed those things when she wasn’t using them, but there they were whenever she needed them—she began tiptoeing out the door, silent as a cat.

***

Pilaf almost wet himself as a large spiked ball blocked his path.

“Where you going?” The same purple-haired girl who had earlier served as their waitress now demanded.

“Ah. Aheh.” Pilaf twiddled his thumbs. “I was wondering where the restroom is.”

The purple-haired girl put her hands on her hips. “And other two need to go bathroom too?”

“Er—um—that is—”

The lights overhead went on, and the shriveled up old woman bounced up to him on her cane.

She gave him an evil-looking smile. “And what, may I ask, is our honored guest doing up at such a late hour? Helping yourselves to my hard-earned pay, perhaps?”

Pilaf held up his hands defensively. “N-no! You’ve got it all wrong!”

Her expression changed to a frightening one. “Oh, really?”

She said something in an incomprehensible language, and Pilaf  found himself hanging upside down by his feet via the purple-haired girl. The girl shook him, hard, and his hard-won Dragon Balls fell out of his clothes one by one, followed by his Dragon Radar.

 ***

Cologne felt her heart skip a beat. Those were the legendary Dragon Balls, the treasures so rare that not even several generations of Amazon elders had seen it. What in the world was this ridiculous looking thing doing with it?

“I release you from your debt to me,” she told Pilaf. “However, I shall keep your little collection.”

“You can’t do that!” Pilaf answered, indignant. “These are mine! I spent a lot of time getting these.”

“Actually, Lord Pilaf,” Mai piped up, but was silenced with a glare from Pilaf.

Cologne drew herself up to her full stature and gave Pilaf a deadly look. “If you value your lives, you will leave. Now.”

Shampoo pointed her chúi at Pilaf again. “Yes, go, or Shampoo crush your head in.”

Man, woman, and dog hurried out the door.

“{Great-grandmother, why are you so interested in these strange looking balls?}” Shampoo asked after the three left.

Cologne, knowing full well that Mousse was eavesdropping, engaged in brief debate with herself whether or not to tell Shampoo now. She decided that she might as well: Mousse would without a doubt pass the news onto her grandson-in-law, who would of course try to follow them. It would certainly save her the trouble of going to Ranma herself, and Ranma would be less suspicious of Mousse.

“{Start packing, Shampoo, and I’ll explain along the way.}”

***

Ranma’s right eyebrow went up as high as his face muscles would allow. “That sounds almost too good to be true.”

Mousse shrugged. “Believe what you want, Saotome, but Shampoo and Cologne have already packed and closed up the Cat Café, and I intend to follow them myself.” He flashed Ranma a partial view of the camping supplies he had hidden in his robes.

“So why are you telling me all of this?” Ranma wanted to know. “Wouldn’t this be the perfect opportunity for you to get Shampoo for yourself?”

“Because as much as I hate to admit it, you’re better at dealing with Cologne than I am,” Mousse answered.

“You bet I am,” Ranma shot back, puffing up his chest.

Mousse, knowing that Ranma had taken the bait, smiled to himself. “Then I can expect you to catch up within a day?”

“A day?” Ranma snorted. “Dude, you’ll be eating my dust before sunset!”

Keeping his opinions to himself, Mousse stood. “I’ll be seeing you then.” He walked out into the backyard and jumped onto the roof with one mighty leap; soon he was bouncing across the rooftops into the distance.

Ranma made a beeline for his room and began throwing clothes onto a large cloth. He didn’t really believe Mousse, but the mere prospect of a cure excited him despite the fact that every lead he had pursued so far ended in disappointment. After he emptied his drawers, he forced the pile down and tied the corners of the cloth together. He was about to make a dramatic exit out the window when Akane appeared and leaned against the doorway.

“Going somewhere?” she asked, making a rather unsettling imitation of Nabiki in the process.

“Er…” Ranma’s mind tried to come up with something. “Laundry?”

Akane crossed her arms. “Very funny, Ranma.” she strode into the room and sat on his bundle. “I heard everything,” she informed him, leaning forward and tapping him on the nose.

“Gah,” was Ranma’s only coherent response.

“I am going with you, Ranma,” Akane continued. “You’re not going to leave me behind again.”

Ranma regained control of his tongue. Which, for him, was not a good thing. “No! You’re only going to slow me down!”

Akane barely stopped herself from hitting Ranma. “I’m a martial artist too! I can take care of myself!”

Ranma hmphed. “Yeah, like at Jusendo, right?”

Akane froze, and so did Ranma when he realized he had not only stuck his foot in his mouth, but the rest of his leg, too. This was the first time either one had spoken about the valley in China since their almost-wedding, and this certainly wasn’t the way Ranma had envisioned breaking the subject.

“Things will be different,” Akane insisted. “It’s not like we’re going after some superpowered freak.”

“Cologne would count as one,” Ranma muttered.

“But I don’t think she would attack me.”

“I don’t know, Akane.” Ranma looked away. “I almost lost you once because I couldn’t protect you.”

“Things will be different,” Akane repeated. “Anyway, my mind’s made up. I want to be there when you’re cured. And even if it turns out to be a fluke, I couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be than with you.”

Ranma turned an interesting shade of red. “Uh.”

Akane flashed Ranma a 100-watt grin. “Besides, I’ve already gotten my stuff together and I don’t want to unpack so soon!”

Ranma almost fell over.

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