|No Need for an Honor Debt
Author: Mike's Opus PM
Sometimes an act of kindness comes back to haunt you...or help you. Washu and Ryoko run into a reminder of their past. This story does contain an OC...Rated: Fiction T - English - Washu & Ryoko - Chapters: 30 - Words: 61,499 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 01-21-12 - Published: 06-02-11 - id: 7045994
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
To all who have been following the story of Tenchi and his friends...thanks for reading, and your comments. Unfortunately, this is the last chapter written by the author before he passed away...
If there are any out there who feel inspired to continue his tale - I'm sure he would have loved the help. If you do so...please let me know so that I can continue posting to this site.
Chapter Thirty: No Need for Ceal 2.0
Washu noticed a pool of green blood spreading out from Ceal's reclining body. Blood seemed to leak out wherever his flesh came into contact with any surface. Washu took a deep, steadying breath and slipped on a pair of surgical gloves. She pressed on his abdomen; Washu could feel Ceal trying to draw breath and she could also feel each time his heart beat.
Your heart is too fast, your breathing is too slow. What's happening to you, Ceal?
The fingers of her gloves were coated in Ceal's blood, and every time she made contact with his skin, a tiny amount leaked out. Washu removed her hand, but blood still continued to seep out of the area of contact for another three heartbeats.
What is going on? Washu thought. As if rising up to answer a royal command, Ceal's eyes opened. He took a deep yet labored breath, and hissed a response.
"Lady Washu?" Ceal turned his head from left to right, searching for her.
"Yes, Ceal." Washu cupped his hand in both of hers.
He turned his head in response to her touch. The sight of him made Washu want to cry. Whatever was affecting Ceal had covered both of his once sharp eyes in a horrid reddish-grey mold.
"You don't have to keep it so dark in here; you can turn on a couple of lights if you want."
Lights..."Hush, Ceal. It's alright." Washu leaned and whispered into his ear. "Sometimes it's more fun in the dark."
Washu did not want Ceal to know that as soon as Ryo-oh-ki had left on her mission that she had turned on every light in his quarters to maximum intensity.
"Lady Washu, am I once again your prisoner...on my own ship? I doubt Night Bird will be pleased with this turn of events."
"Let's just say that, for now, you're my patient."
Washu let her glove snap back into place. Ceal turned his head in the direction of the sound, then tried to sit up. Washu gently placed her fingertips on his chest; that was all she needed to restrain him. Upon contact, spots of blood oozed out at each point of contact.
"Please lay back down, Ceal."
"Wrong...what do you mean?"
"The room is too warm, but I don't hear the heating unit or feel any warm air flowing. And, why can't I see the lights?"
"Ceal," Washu began.
"Lady Washu, please. No delays or half answers. Just tell me the truth."
Washu frowned; Ceal used the same wording that she had used towards him back on Earth, when he had been a captive in her lab, and just before she sent a painful charge through his body.
"Hey Miss Washu, Mister Ceal. Are you in there?"
Mihoshi's voice cut out suddenly; Washu heard a loud 'gong' from somewhere. Mihoshi had found the delaying trap.
"Okay, Ceal." Washu sat on the bed next to him. "We only have ninety minutes or so to talk before Mihoshi comes through that pocket dimension of yours."
"I call it my Amber Trap," Ceal said. "If you like, I can change the time ratio to 1:11,000. But at that level, I must admit, I get bored waiting for someone to pass through to the other side."
"Thirty three thousand minutes. That's over twenty-two days, Ceal. Does the same thing happen when someone leaves this room?"
"Usually, I go through the wall." An impish smile passed over his lips. "Lady Washu, please - my condition if you will. I wish to know before any of the others arrive."
"I don't know much. First off, it seems that - somehow - your skin is becoming more porous. It's expanding at an exponential rate."
"I noticed this," Ceal said in a blank manner, as if he was discussing a boring rumor already heard.
"Your eyes are being attacked by some form of mold or fungi."
"I see..." A slight strangled noise that might pass for laughter escaped his lips as he realized his ironic choice of words. "Lady Washu, I have only two more Gifts that I can pledge to you, but if you can heal one or the other, they are now and forever yours."
Ceal's tone was bitter. It was clear to Washu that he felt defeated.
"Keep your gifts. If anything, your rescuing me earlier means that we are even. My life is saved, my limbs are saved, and perhaps my soul...You certainly protected my spirit from a crushing blow."
"I could do no less than that for you, Lady Washu."
"Why? Because over eight thousand years ago, my medical team and I - a group effort, mind you - found the proper combination of chemicals -"
"To stop my people from becoming a foot note in the records of the Galaxy! Yes!" Ceal roared at her, sitting up. Then he fell back onto the mattress, exhausted.
"Tenchi. For a long, long time, I was a space pirate," Ryoko began. "I took what I needed...heh...I took whatever I wanted. Back then, anyone who got in my way - well, that was too bad for them. That includeda skinny little security guard. He was guarding some pretty little bauble that I wanted. Everyone else ran away, and there - standing in my path - was this kid. He was about 120 centimeters, nothing but skin and bones. If you yelled 'boo' at him, he'd likely piss himself. So I blew the wall out and stood there. He could see what I had done, and the kid didn't run away. And that's when I met Ceal."
Tenchi shook his head in disbelief. "Come on, Ryoko. There's got to be more to the story than that."
"Yeah, you're right. I was in a hurry. Back then, I could control the monsters I summoned. So I called one up and ordered the thing to take care of that guard while I went for the prize: some ring or necklace...I don't remember any more."
When I returned, my monster was slain and Ceal sat with his back up against the wall. He yelled at me to stop. I was mad that he'd killed my servant. I went over to him, I meant to hurt him. Ceal had a busted lip, two black eyes, and a broken nose. I was so confident then! I asked him what he thought he could do to stop me? He lunged at me, grabbed my ankle with both hands. He pulled so fast and hard that he managed to yank me off my feet."
I kicked him hard with my free foot; in the face, in the chest, anything to make him let go. By then, I was good and mad at this wet-behind-the-ears security punk. I decided to teach him a painful lesson for interfering with me." Ryoko looked miserable as she recounted the story.
"Ryoko, we can finish this later if you want." Tenchi tried to give her an out, to stop telling her tale if she wished.
"No! Let's just end this here and now...Here's what happened: I broke him like a china doll."
"Yes. All five fingers, the forearm and upper - all on the same arm." Ryoko grabbed her own left arm. "I dislocated his other shoulder and broke the wrist on that arm too. I kicked him in the ribs, stomped on his chest, then broke both of his legs. I told him that if he said my name and asked me really nicely that I'd stop hurting him. I started to twist one of his legs. And he did...he screamed my name and begged me to stop. He was barely able to get the words out."
I laughed at him; broken and helpless...I laughed. I told him he should crawl back home to his mommy. Tenchi, when I said those things to him, he glared at me with eyes colder than space. He said he would not forget me - ever."
'And you make sure to remember me, Ryoko, because I'll find you someday and I'll make sure you regret what you've done to me. Remember - my name is Ceal.' I left him behind, and I laughed as I went. When...when I heard you say that someone named Ceal had taken Washu, I was afraid he would hurt all of you. Sasami, Mihoshi, Washu, and even that damned Ayeka..."
Ryoko said the last name in a whisper, then leaned closer to Tenchi in a conspiratorial manner. "...but especially you, Tenchi. I've seen what revenge can drive a person to do."
Tenchi couldn't speak for a moment. Ryoko looked drained and even more miserable than before.
"You're not that person any more, Ryoko. You've changed. You're loyal to your friends." Tenchi lowered his voice and his head. "Even to Miss Washu and Princess Ayeka."
Tenchi smiled, then gave Ryoko a quick peck on her cheek.
"What - what was that for?" Ryoko put one hand to where Tenchi kissed her, a puzzled look on her face.
"That's the kiss I owed you for helping me and the others on board the ?"
"Yes...but I didn't get to kiss you back. I - I demand a do over. Right now." Ryoko reached out for Tenchi.
"Sorry, Ryoko, but there's a limit of one kiss per rescue. It's not my fault you were so mopey that you weren't ready for it."
"You...you...you rotten sneak! Maybe Ceal's infected you with some of his sneakiness. Come on, one more try, right here." Ryoko pointed to her lips and tried to pull Tenchi in closer.
Suddenly Ryo-oh-ki appeared in the room. She mewed loudly and disrupted Ryoko's big moment.
"Oh come on, Ryo-oh-ki!" Ryoko shouted in frustration. "Come back later and I'll give you a nice carrot...just leave me and Tenchi alone for now. Heh, be a nice cabbit and tell Washu you haven't found us yet."
"What is she saying, Ryoko?"Tenchi asked.
"Oh...Washu wants everyone to come down to Ceal's cabin." Ryoko waved one hand in a dismissive manner. "...Now," she amended, as Ryo-oh-ki glared at her.
"Is something wrong?"
"I guess that Ceal's not doing so well right now. Maybe she needs extra hands to make sure he stays put." Ryoko's glum look was replaced by a smile as an idea crossed her mind.
Ryoko closed her eyes and concentrated for a moment. Tenchi realized that some communication had just passed between Ryoko and the cabbit.
"Oh, ah...it's nothing. I just told Ryo-oh-ki to tell Washu we'll be along in a few minutes."
"Look Ryoko, if Washu asked Ryo-oh-ki to look for us, then maybe we should go find her and see what she needs."
Ryoko stared into Tenchi's eyes and sighed. "Fine. But if this turns out to be a joke or something then I'm going right back to the room I was using and take me a nice long shower. Care to come with me?"
Ayeka had heard and seen enough. "I'm sure that Lord Tenchi has better things to do with his time than to waste it with you."
The princess walked up to Ryoko and Tenchi; she had seen him give Ryoko a peck on the cheek, and was going to rush over and interrupt Ryoko's plans for Tenchi. But the surprised look on Ryoko's face told Ayeka that Ryoko had been just as surprised by Tenchi's actions as Ayeka herself was. If Ryoko feels like she needs to clean up after what she's been through for the last couple of days, then perhaps...Ayeka sniffed the air like she detected a scent.
The face Ayeka made reminded Tenchi of the time when he, Ayeka, Sasami had gone out for a picnic lunch. They came upon the dead body of a deer that had fallen into a deep crevasse. Ayeka thought she saw the creature move, so she climbed down to help the poor thing, along with Tenchi. The smell grew worse as they went. When they made it to the bottom, they realized the animal had been dead for some time. The movement Ayeka had detected was due to a family of shrews feeding on the flesh, just under the deer's skin.
Ryoko, thankfully, didn't notice Ayeka's expression. "Tenchi, I'm going to clean up. I'll meet you and Washu later."
She left the room. As she walked, she sniffed at a lock of her hair and grimaced. I've washed it five times since and I swear I can still smell that damn goo Ceal threw on me. Ryoko flung curses at Ceal, his ancestors, and any future children he might have.
"Lord Tenchi," Ayeka said and offered her arm to him, "since Ryoko is not able to go with you to see Miss Washu and Ceal, I would be happy to accompany you."
Sasami sat alone in the control bridge. She looked over a monitor screen as a list appeared - foreign words, followed by Juraian text.
Gebashu = A childhood name.
Roat = The Iron River, a long body of water near the north pole
Pi'ver = A strong but slow-witted beast of burden
Ceal = An oath keeper, or a ferocious breed of untamed carnivores
The list continued to detail nine other titles, some weren't very polite. One struck Sasami as odd...it translated to 'great-brained idiot." Sasami asked Night Bird about that one.
"That was the special nickname given to him by his betrothed."
"Ceal was engaged?" Sasami was surprised.
"Yes, but that was before he and I were partnered."
"Who was she? What was she like? Where is she now?"
In response to Sasami's query, an image appeared of a pretty young woman. She had long red hair and wore what might have been a wedding dress in a light cream color. She carried a bouquet of flowers that spanned the entire spectrum of the rainbow. It was labelled 'Ceal's Lovely Angel'.
"Captain Ceal doesn't speak much of her to me. Sometimes after many long days without sleep, when he does rest, he talks about her during his nightmares. I believe she was lost due to violence."
"You don't know/"
"There are some things even I won't pry into about Captain Ceal. That includes his 'heart's true place', as he calls it."
Sasami thought for a moment. Her desire to learn more about Ceal had made her too inquisitive - almost to the point of rudeness.
"I'm sorry for pestering you about Ceal, Night Bird."
"Princess Sasami, You are young and I believe I've told you nothing that the Captain himself would have revealed, if he were here.