"What's this grave danger you've come to warn us about?" Soun Tendo asked the bald Chinese man who had just shown up at his dojo.

"Very bad, sirs," said the Jusenkyo Guide to the assemblage of Saotomes and Tendos. Soun motioned for the Guide to sit.

Kasumi presented the Guide with a cup of tea. "The Guide was saying that some Gaijin tourists had come to Jusenkyo, father," she said. "They had heard the legends of the place and wanted to see it for themselves. He seems to think that they unwittingly set some sort of disaster in motion."

"Shouldn't this guy be telling us this instead of Kasumi?" Ranma wondered aloud.

"The author doesn't feel like writing long passages of exposition in the Guide's pidgin-speech," answered Nabiki. "Maybe he'll have to start now, though."

The Guide produced a small, well-worn notebook. "Here, sirs, here is log book from expedition." That's one way of getting out of it, thought Nabiki, but for how long? Having the best English reading comprehension skills of the group, she picked up the notebook and began to read.

"'Day one. Arrived at Jusenkyo. This place is huge! I never thought it would have so many pools! They say some of these pools can turn you into Superman or into a giant monster or something. The ugly old guy here is getting on everybody's nerves already. He can barely even speak English. Just goes on and on about something bad happening or whatever. He just doesn't want us to find any of the good pools. But how are we going to know which ones they are if he won't tell us?

"'Day two. George had a good idea for once in his life. He went out and brought back a box full of white mice. By dunking a mouse in each pool, we'll be able to see what each pool does without having to jump in ourselves. I drew a map of one section of the pools and numbered them on the map.

"'Day three. Shit! It really does work! I put a mouse into pool 1 and out came some sort of roach. The tail disappeared, of course, so I couldn't hold on to it for examination. Who wants to be a roach anyway? But this is still unbelievable! This stuff has got to be worth a fortune back home if we can just find a better pool to use. I thought about how to dunk the mice and still hang on to them when the tails disappear. Sheila finally got the idea to use some of the mosquito netting from our camping gear to make a bag, with a long spoon as a handle.

"'Day four. Dunked a mouse in pool 2. Nothing. Spent an hour or so examining the mouse for any change. None. Tried pool 3. Looked the same as 2 at first, until George noticed that the mouse that used to be female was now male. Why he was paying so much attention to those parts of the mouse in the first place, I'm not sure. But this is encouraging.'"

Ryoga spoke up, excited. "Did he write down where that particular pool was? Did he?"

"Why are you so interested in that pool, Ryoga?" teased Ranma.

"Because he's trying to help you, Ranma," answered Akane irritatedly. "Are you that ungrateful that you make fun of him for it?"

"Um, no, sorry" was all Ranma could think to answer.

Nabiki continued translating. "'We spent some time examining the mouse. Hot water turned it back into a female, and cold water turned it back to a male. This worked over and over every time we tried it. Incredible, but I don't suppose anyone could make much money by selling water that turned you into a man.'" Around here someone certainly could, Nabiki thought. And Americans are supposed to have such good business sense...

"Anyway. 'Day five. Dunked mouse in pool 4. The ground I was standing on crumbled under me and I almost fell in. The mouse turned into a slug. I was that close to being a slug. Maybe the old guy is right. The cold water - hot water thing still worked on the mouse-slug.

"'Sheila dunked another mouse in pool 5. Nothing. George tried one in pool 6. The net broke and there was one of those huge black and white bears. It got out of the pool and wandered off. Not like we were going to be able to stop it.

"'Day six. I had a nightmare last night. I dreamed that some... spirit (is that the right word?) was watching over me. She (it was a she) laughed at me and told me that we'd get nothing good out of this place. I guess that old guy is getting to me. But it's starting to look like maybe he was right. I tried pool 7, the mouse turned into a minuature black piggy. Who would want to turn into that? George tried one in pool 8, nothing. George wanted us to take the rest of today off and get drunk, but I knew if I let him get drunk around the pools he'd end up staggering into one of them and come out as a slug or something.

"'Day seven. How the hell did it happen? Sheila was putting a mouse into pool 9 when she slipped and fell in the pool. She's never been so clumsy. Before we could pull her out she turned into a goddamn duck. She went berserk and flew out of the pool. Then George, now this I can believe, tried to catch her and forgot that ducks can fly and he can't. He ran straight into pool 8, carrying the backpack with all our food supplies. It turned George into a mouse. Now we know why this pool didn't do anything to our mouse, it was already a mouse.

"'Day eight. From bad to worse. I'm getting ready to leave. No sign of Shiela. I pour hot water on the mouse I thought was George, and nothing happens. I must have gotten them mixed up. I'm getting out of here. If I stay any longer, it'll be me next. I need food. There's some kind of primitive village near here. I'm sure they'll give me food, seeing as how I've brought my gun. It looked like mostly women there.' That's the last entry. I think we can guess what happened to him."

"It sounds like these fools got what they deserved," said Genma.

"'Fools' is right," said Nabiki. "There must be a hundred ways to make money with the kind of water they found. Why, you could..." She stopped, realizing that nobody wanted to hear this.

"Excuse me," Soun Tendo politely asked the Guide, "but didn't you mention something about a terrible danger? It seems to me like these three will be in no condition to cause any trouble now."

All eyes turned to the Jusenkyo Guide. The author has no way out of it now, thought Nabiki.

"True, sirs, but what dey did in Jusenkyo will have very grave consequences," he said, slurring his "r"'s in a way that the author couldn't figure out a way to transliterate. "Pools dey call 2 and 5 dey t'ink have no effect, but dey wrong. Most Jusenkyo water store physical form of whoever first immerse in it. Some water a little different, store mental properties. Pool 2 is pool where many year ago simple village idiot drown in. That no problem. But pool 5 very bad. That one spring of drowned genius. Most brilliant man in China drowned in dat spring nine hundred year ago. Mouse now have mind of brilliant genius!"

"So you're tellin' us," said Ranma, "that there's a mouse runnin' around with a super-genius brain? I don't get it. I mean, even if it's that smart, how the heck much trouble can a mouse cause?"


In China, two magically-altered mice faced each other.

"What are we going to do tonight, Brain?" said one.

"Same thing we do every night, Pinky," the other replied. "Try to rule the world!"


In Milwakuee, the author looks at this story and thinks about whether to continue it. "Naaaaaaahhhhhhhhh..." he says.

No, I'm not going to continue this. If anyone else wants to, be my guest. I'd still like to hear any comments anyone has, though.