Extra Epilogue Scene: The First Day of School
"Furinkan High is really a very nice school," Akane explained as she led Kohei, Miki, and Aremi onto the grounds for their first day as full-time students. They had already drawn some attention when people began to notice that she and Kohei were holding hands, but the two Amazon girls were drawing even more attention as any and every guy they passed became attracted to them immediately. What Akane felt most glad of all, was that she was now able to attend school every day without interference of any kind. Sadly, she was wrong.
"Oh, the lovely Tendo Akane," Kuno's voice as he came running towards them, "I have missed you ever so much!" He stopped when he saw that her hand was clasped with her fiancé’s, "I see that the foul Ikimono has returned and placed you under his spell after Saotome deserted you."
"Kuno-sempai!" Akane exclaimed in disbelief, "You graduated! What are you still doing here?"
"The Blue Thunder can never leave Furinkan while evil still lurks within its halls!"
Kohei released his grip on Akane's hand as he stepped forward and entered his stance, "Ranma was right about you, conceited swordsman, you have yet to learn humility at the hands of a fighter more skilled than you. Compared those who I have recently fought, this victory will feel almost trivial."
"We shall see. For I have been in heavy training and meditation ever since our last meeting and have grown much more powerful!" With that declaration, he drew his bokken and the two of them prepared to enter their duel.
"Wait!" Aremi interrupted as she ran in between the two men.
"Such a beautiful woman..." Kuno nearly stared, "I'm afraid that I've neglected your gift for today. But I see that he has also cast a spell over you and that lovely green-haired girl as well."
"You've got it all wrong," she shook her head, "Mi-chan is Ko-chan's younger sister and I've known both of them since we were children. He has given Akane-sempai his heart and she has accepted. He hasn't cast any spells or used any sorcery on any of us."
"I see that he has hypnotized you into spouting these lies."
Miki tapped Akane's shoulder and whispered, "Is this guy always like this?"
"Unfortunately, yes," the short-haired girl sighed.
"You aren't listening!" Aremi chided.
"It will do no good, Are-chan," Kohei told her, "he refuses to allow anything in the world that doesn't fulfill his desires to pass."
"I see," she turned to face her childhood friend, "may I take this fight?"
"You won't break a sweat," he smiled.
Aremi turned back towards Kuno and declared, "As a fellow user of the sword, I shall fight in Ko-chan's place."
Kuno broke out into laughter, "A woman kendoist? To challenge Kuno Tatewaki with the sword is to surrender before you begin!"
"We shall see," Aremi spoke calmly but confidently as her face took on its battle expression and she threw off her school uniform, revealing her normal blue combat dress underneath. Her weapon stood ready at her waist as always, "I won't even unsheathe my blade."
Several seconds passed without incident while Kuno stayed in his own stance while Aremi didn't appear to even enter a fighting stance at all. She simply stood there.
"Even for a ravishing woman you are foolish to leave yourself open!" Kuno charged forward to deliver a single finishing blow in the form of a thrust. Aremi's expression didn't change as she simply leapt atop the wooden sword.
"Your attack is too predictable," she advised.
"Silence! Kuno is a kendo master!" He prepared to throw her aside, but she acted first.
Akane had never seen Aremi fight with a sword before, but what she did see now was nothing short of impressive. The long blue-haired girl appeared to strike from all possible directions at once as her speed easily confused her opponent. She stood true to her word and fought with her sword while it was still in its scabbard. As soon as her assault was complete, she leapt a few meters to the side and landed in the same stance she had started in. She didn't even bother to turn around as, with a motion of her hand, Kuno fell to the ground.
"Now he can't deny that he was defeated in a kendo match," Akane looked over the bruised and beaten Blue Thunder, "there are too many witnesses this time."
"Akane-onee-chan," Miki asked, "what are you talking about?"
"Over a year ago there was a rumor that he lost to a junior high student who had been transferred here by mistake. But nobody actually saw the match."
"I should have warned him," Kohei obviously didn't show any pity as he simply stepped over the man he had no respect for, "to challenge Aremi with the sword is to dig your own grave before you begin."
Akane looked up and blinked, "You're serious?"
"I am. Are-chan is at her best when she wields a sword. From the day she perfected her style, nobody has ever beaten her with a blade. The blood of her father is strong."
"Ko-chan, you're too kind," Aremi, who had already put her uniform back on, smiled.
"But it's the truth," Miki insisted.
"They're right," Akane nodded, "you'll be the new captain in no time if you join the Kendo Club."
The four of them continued towards the school and nearly reached the inside of the building before they were interrupted a second time.
"Good morning, everyone!" Ukyo called as she and Ranma caught up with them.
"Why's Kuno lying there?" Ranma asked, "Did we miss something?"
The group of four who had arrived first simply looked at each other and broke out laughing.
Alternate Ending 1
(Change begins right as Kohei steps behind the hut to cure his curse)
"What's he doing?" Ranma asked as Kohei had just announced that he had one final matter to attend to before leaving China and stepped behind their rented hut, "I thought he wanted to leave right away."
"Be patient, Ranma," Akane rebuked him, "if he wants to say good-bye to his homeland we should let him."
The seven young men and women spent the next minute conversing amongst themselves on other topics before they heard a loud shriek of surprise come from the direction where he had gone.
"Kohei!" Everyone shouted (or with the individual variances of his name that some of them used) as they scrambled away from the two boats and towards the sound of the cry. What they found was more than enough to put all seven into a state of shock. Kohei, whose height was reduced by a few inches, eyes were wider, and body size smaller and more rounded in certain places, stood there with head hung.
"Somebody mislabeled this vial," she sighed.
Alternate Ending 2
(Change begins during the three days while Kohei watches over Akane)
Akane's Requiem: Ode to Lisa (Soul Blazer)
Before Shampoo could draw back the curtain to check on Akane and Kohei, she was surprised to see her cousin come out of the room first and looking very dejected.
"Kohei," she asked as he walked by without saying anything, "what happened?"
"Xian Pu," he spoke very quietly, "please gather everyone. I have terrible news to deliver," and sat down on one of the now-empty beds, resting his elbows on his knees and his hands in his face.
Shampoo already knew that he wanted to weep alone, but she could never have imagined what was troubling him so. Nevertheless, she obeyed his request and gathered Mousse from the hot springs and Ranma, Miki, Ukyo, and Aremi from the training field. It wasn't until the six of them returned did Kohei open his mouth and explain.
"Hashin claimed a piece of victory in our final battle after all," he stated bluntly, having removed his hands from his eyes but not looking up, "Akane-san is dead."
After the initial gasps from the reaction of the announcement were delivered, several minutes of profound silence passed as they were able to fully absorb the bad news. Ranma was the first to break out of shock and speak up.
"What happened?" he demanded as he angrily rushed up in front of the younger man.
"She stopped breathing over an hour ago. Her little remaining life energy after protecting me from the Shishi Hokodan was so busy trying to keep her alive that it couldn't replenish itself. I did all I could to breathe for her and keep her alive, but it wasn't enough. After failing to revive her after the full hour I realized that even if I did succeed, her brain would have been so badly damaged that it would have been impossible for her to return to living normally. I then made the hardest decision of my life and said good bye. I'm so sorry everyone..." he said nothing more as his head fell even lower. The only audible sounds for the next several minutes were those of his sister as she sobbed into Aremi's chest.
"It wasn't your fault," Ranma, who was angry, but now understanding, assured.
"Ranma's right," Mousse agreed, "you did what you felt was best for Akane."
"And from the look on her face when she fell into unconsciousness, she didn't regret what she did," Ukyo added.
"I feel like a murderer," Kohei shook his head.
"That's not true!" Miki released her grip from her friend and ran over to him, "You weren't the one who fired that Shishi Hokodan! You weren't the one who destroyed our village and killed our parents! You did everything you could to keep her alive, and while her soul is needed in the heavens, you still weren't the one to kill her!"
"Mi-chan would never lie to you," Aremi sat next to him, "You feel as though you were responsible because her life was placed in your hands and you decided to let her go so she wouldn't be miserable. You're still an honorable man, Ko-chan, and Akane-sempai wouldn't want to hear you talk this way."
"Listen from experience," Ranma tried to fake a grin to add a little humor, "you never felt her mallet."
"Actually... I did," he chuckled a little, but it soon faded. Nobody knew what else to say for another few seconds.
"Can we see her?" Shampoo asked. The green-haired man only nodded.
One at a time, everyone from their group entered the room where Akane lay covered with her blanket, never to awaken again in this mortal life. Once they had paid their condolences and spent the days in mourning before and after she was buried, Kohei soon gathered everyone again to make another important announcement.
"Ranma and Ukyo-san," he asked, "when do you plan on returning to Japan?"
"Well," Ukyo thought for a moment, "it'll take about another week to get everything together and help rebuild the village a little."
"Why do you want to know?" Ranma questioned.
"Akane-san's life was in my hands," he stated, "it is my duty to deliver the news to her father. And as for Ryuchiezu, I have left a curse upon it that can only be undone if I leave. Therefore I will never return here again."
"What are you thinking!" Ranma shouted, "What about your sister!"
"What about me?" Miki asked, "I'm going with him."
"And if they go, I go," Aremi added.
"You're not leaving us behind," Shampoo placed her hands on her hips, "Mousse and I will go too."
Mousse folded in arms and nodded in agreement, "Shampoo took the words right out of my mouth."
"Then it's settled," Kohei announced, "we'll all leave with the two of you at the end of this week."
(The incident at Nyuchiezu remains completely unchanged.)
Late in the night, Kohei found himself sitting by the bank of the river he and Aremi had set up camp next to. That night was the first full moon since the battle with Hashin and he found himself unable to sleep. The only audible sounds in the area were the constant plops of the rocks that he threw into the water after having shattered a larger boulder with the Bakusai Tenketsu. He didn't know how she knew, but after about a half-hour of this, Aremi came out of her tent to join him.
"Ko-chan," she inquired caringly, "can't you sleep?"
The older man simply shook his head and threw another rock into the river.
"Your eyes are so red and bloodshot," she observed, "have you slept at all since we left Xian Pu's village?"
"Not much," he answered, "I've been spending the recent nights deep in thought."
"You're still mourning Akane-sempai's death?"
"No. I was able to find peace soon after allowing her to rest. Three nights after she died, she appeared to me in a dream and told me she was about to enter the spirit world. I didn't know exactly what she meant but she said that's where all of our spirits go when we die and that her mother had been the one waiting to escort her there. She said that she'd been watching over me those three days and told me that I had done the right thing. As she disappeared, she also told me that there was someone who I could share my love with as much as I wanted to with her. That final statement has been the great weight on my mind these recent weeks. It wasn't until we were leaving Xian Pu's village did the meaning of that statement ring clear in my mind."
"What did you find out?" she smiled.
Kohei looked into the eyes of his childhood friend and returned her happy expression as he told her, "Are-chan, I don't want to make you wait any longer. I knew about Grandfather's arrangement for you to become my bride last year and how you rejected it in order to allow me to make my own decision. I've decided."
Aremi's permanent smile remained in place as a red tinge appeared on her cheeks and she asked in disbelief, "Ko-chan, you mean...?" she couldn't finish.
"Yes," he reached into his pouch and produced a small box that contained a gold ring with a dragon engraved along the band, "will you be the one to grant me the honor of becoming my bride?"
Aremi didn't hesitate as she answered, "Of course, you would never have to ask me twice," and lifted her left hand. While Kohei slipped the ring onto her finger and she gave him a long, loving hug, he thought, Akane-san, I now understand what you meant. Even though you would have been my first choice to ask to be my bride, I feel that Are-chan and I will reach the level of love and understanding for each other that I'd prayed we would have achieved. I'll never forget you, Akane-san.
As Kohei held his future bride while she slept, using his chest as her pillow, he failed to notice the spirits of six people standing around them. The two sets of parents and a mother with her youngest daughter all smiled.
Kohei and Aremi met up with Ranma's group the next day and soon arrived in Nerima after another few weeks of travelling. They were married right away and lived together in the attic of the Nekohanten. Soun did not take the news of Akane's death well, but while his wife's passing had changed something in him, so did the passing of his youngest daughter. After several weeks, he was able to forgive Kohei and understand that Akane had gone to China, knowing that she would possibly never return alive, on her own free will. As a token of his forgiveness and for the sake of the daughter he felt that he'd forced something she didn't want onto her, he renounced the promise with Genma and gave the Tendo dojo to Kohei and Aremi for a wedding present. Genma was infuriated, but Soun with his devil-head and Nodoka with her katana soon changed his mind, knowing that Dr. Tofu probably wouldn't have taken the school anyway. In his honor, they kept the name of the Tendo School of Martial Arts but taught their students in the Ikimono family style. Not long after their first-year anniversary did Aremi give birth to a daughter with the sapphire blue hair of her mother and the ocean-blue eyes of her father. They had no hesitation in naming her Ikimono Akane.