PROLOGUE : Never-ending Story

Two years ago, on a cool summer's night somewhere in a mountain range south of Tokyo.

     A cool, lazy breeze blew through the trees, setting into motion the slightest stirring of the many green leaves. Below the foliage of the trees, the breeze caught itself in long, silken locks of ebony, gently causing the hair to sway to the side of the young girl to whom it belonged to. The girl tilted her head to the sky, closing her eyes and enjoying the slight chill the wafting air held. It had been a long, long summer, and it was wonderful to feel the calm wind, which told that autumn was fast approaching.
     The young woman, despite the tattered clothing she wore, was very attractive. For one who had spent so much time in the wilderness, her slightly-tanned skin was exceptionally smooth; even her palms and the soles of her feet were without callouses. Long ebony tresses cascaded down, over her shoulders, giving her an unkempt, almost wild look. Framed by those unruly satin strands were two lucid and very captivating green eyes.
     However, the girl looked tired; dark circles under her eyes, and the way that her shoulders drooped slightly told that the girl was exhausted. Perhaps she wished to be somewhere else, taking a nice hot bath, or sleeping on a nice soft bed. Even so, she had chosen to live like this, traveling almost endlessly for the past six years. Why she chose to live like this, it was very unclear to those who saw her as she passed them by. Perhaps, many thought, perhaps she was searching for something. Was she?


     The girl sat up straight, hearing what seemed to be a battle cry coming from a little ways up the mountainside. Curious, she sprang to her feet and quietly stalked in the direction that the clamor had come from.

     "Masaka.." It took everything in the girl's being to keep from saying anything more than that whispered word of shock. Hanging from a rope, arm extended and finger pointing towards something that obviously no longer existed, was a young man.
     A young man the girl new very well. That thick mop of black hair, that checkered yellow bandanna, those once-soft brown eyes which were now hardened with hatred. Hatred for another young man known as Saotome Ranma. Yes, there was no mistaking that he was the one; he was Hibiki Ryouga, her childhood friend and playmate, and the one that her parents had called..
     Creeping back, still in shock, a sullen murmur left her lips. Iinazuke..."


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Chapter 1 : If I Could Turn Back Time