Cruelty of Fate 2:

Chapter 01: Ryoko In Chains

20 Years Since the previous story:

Angst.  Sorrow.  Self-Hatred.  Depression.  Bitterness.  In a cell deep inside Jurai's royal palace these things bind a prisoner.  Of course, she is also set in the universe's greatest security room, which has been described as impenetrable.  Yet she feels that in less than the blink of an eye she could be free.  

Ryoko Hakubi has had a rough life.  From it's terrible 5000 year beginning, which included being a mindless slave for over 4000 years and imprisoned for an additional seven centuries, to a mere twenty years ago when her heart was crushed just as it began to love life and experience joy.  This blows, she thought eloquently while examining her confines.  The room itself was typical of a Jurian holding cell, appearing to have been grown from an ancient tree, of the same type that ruled the Jurian skies and territories. 

From her elbows to her hands, massive smooth cuffs covered her, encasing her fingers in thick metal, while interlocked chains ran between their casings.  Her feet were ensnared in heavy boots that were augmented with gravity enhancers, ones powerful enough to hold a small planet in place, making it impossible for even the strongest man to move.  Around her hips was a thick bar of wood, through which the life force of Jurai held it close to her body, tightening if she should somehow create any slack.  Yet what truly bothered her was the tight chest plate and the metal mask, which crushed her bosom and made her look like some form of a cannibal.  They could have at least left me a TV to watch.  With a heartfelt sigh, her golden eyes darted around the room, as it was the only motion she could make in such confines.  Maybe I should have resisted arrest more, that might have at least been more fun.  But no…! I had to try and be the nice girl, and now what does it get me?  Locked up in some dank prison by a tree!  It was bad enough last time, when that damn prince Yosho did it.  I am not doing that again.  I think it's time to get out of this joint. I wonder where Ryo-Ohki took off to?  Oh well, I'll find her and….

Just then a voice echoed clearly in the darkness, coupled with loud footfalls, which succeeded in gaining her full attention.  "Ryoko Hakubi, space pirate.  Believed to have destroyed countless planets, and been a servant of the worst space evil in recent times, Kagato.   Age-"

"Hey buddy," Ryoko snapped back at him, "you mind leaving me some privacy? You Jurains haven't been to hospitable so far for people who claim to be peace loving."

At that instant, the owner of the resounding voice stepped before her.  The first thing the captured woman noticed was his red hair, which glowed brightly almost like fire, then his eyes that bore into her with a great intensity.  At first glance he appeared rather young, and Ryoko felt confused as to why so young a boy would be allowed access to the inner dungeons of Jurai.  "Not all Jurains are peace loving," he chuckled darkly, tracing the outline of her cell door with one finger.  "And may I say that you are not as ugly as I had thought.  After all you are called a demon by some, aren't you?"  His voice crackled, as the young man seemed to be taking extreme joy from this situation. 

"Sorry if I'm a disappointment," she offered, trying to shrug under her massive chains.  "I try my best to look good."

Stepping back the sadistic guardsman help up his hands in protest.  "Disappointed? Hardly!  You're being beautiful makes everything even better!  You see I need a woman like you.  Jurai needs you."

Throwing her head back slightly, her movements restricted by the Jurain constructs she wore, Ryoko laughed deeply.  "A Jurain with taste?  Now I've seen it all, but that has got to be the worst pick up line I've ever heard!  Where did you get that one, the recruiting office?"

Coughing into his hand, the red-haired youth blushed muttering under his breath.  "I thought it was a good line…." As he prepared to speak again, another voice called out in the distance. 

"No talking to the prisoners," a woman shouted angrily.  "Mommy says 'No talking to the prisoners,' Kanji!"

"Kanji?" Ryoko repeated with a smirk that was hidden from her inquisitor.  "Your parents must be the most boring people on this mud ball.  I mean to give you such a lame name, even Ayeka could have done better than that!" 

Becoming even redder the young man now called Kanji, looked at the ground.  Damn, why did she have to come down here now? I was so close… so very close!  Clenching his fist, the brown-eyed Jurain bit his lip.  Just as he returned his gaze upward, a woman with dark blue hair, and intense orange eyes stepped before him. 

She seemed to be furious, and her tone showed no mercy as she threw her hands to her sides and stammered out her now infamous line, "Mommy said-"

"I know, I know," Kanji said, speaking in time with his verbal assailant.  "No talking to prisoners.  But Mayuka, this is Ryoko!"

Mayuka… the golden-eyed woman gasped, rising to her feet.   As the two argued, Ryoko took a deep breath, studying this grown woman before her who spouted the same phrase religiously.  It didn't take long for her senses to detect the answer.  It is her! She exclaimed mentally feeling power surge through her entire body.  Phasing through the heavy confining equipment, the slender space pirate soared forward, tears of joy beginning in her eyes.  "Mayuka, it's me, Ryoko! I used to change your diapers when you were a baby on Earth."  Yet the orange-eyed girl did not seem glad to see the demoness, as she stepped back, fear clutching her heart and tears of horror pouring down her cheeks. "What's the matter," Ryoko asked slowing her advance as she stretched out her arms for a hug, "don't you recognize me?"

The blue-haired woman could say nothing in reply, save on thing as she cried.  "Don't… talk… to p-p-prisoners…" she exclaimed, just as the flying woman reached the edge of her cell, and set off the electric barrier, causing a loud shocking noise, but doing nothing to Ryoko's body.  However it did something to Mayuka, namely instilling the energy to run in her legs.   Like a blur she bolted from the scene, shouting the same thing eternally.

Sighing in defeat, the once passionate for life seductress stepped back wards, phasing back into her chains as she continued to look where Mayuka had come from.  "She's been like that all her life," Kanji announced.  "At least as long as I can remember."

"Leave me alone, kid," Ryoko said bitterly.  "It's been a lousy enough day as it is."

"Well it's about to get worse," he answered stepping back.  Turing her eyes up, the slender woman hoped to see a monster or weapon prepared to destroy her, but instead she merely saw a man, an impressive man, standing directly in front of her confine.  

Looking at him briefly, and without interest, she shrugged. "Oh joy, the king of Jurai is here… how's it hanging Azusa?"

"Azusa," the bearded man laughed warmly.  "Have I changed that much since the wedding, Ryoko?"

Slowly, she raised her head; her silvery hair waving lightly around her head, as Ryoko the space pirate looked at her new inquisitor while her heart skipped a beat.  "Tenchi…?" she gasped. "Is that you?"

Beaming with pride at her recognition, the former shrine caretaker simply nodded.

"But dad," Kanji whined, "this is Ryoko you're talking to!" Pausing her looked at her then at his father.  "You know the woman you said always wanted to… you know."

"Yes, I know," Tenchi said in a firm tone.  "Now go find your sister and go to practice.  You're much too young for that sort of thing."

"Dad," he groaned louder, "I don't need to practice!  Come on…."

Folding his arms over his chest, the Jurain prince grinned.  "Oh you don't, do you?  So all that money I spent on the best tutor was wasted?  Do you think you could take me in a fight?  Why don't we test that, huh?"

"On second thought," Kanji announced, finding a reason to leave.  "I really do need to get to practice, see you later dad!" With that the red-haired youth bolted down the hall having no desire to face his father in combat. 

Watching the young man go, the two old friends smiled.  "He certainly has energy," Ryoko noted.  Tenchi merely nodded.  "So," she muttered, raising her bound hands, "care to let me out again?"

It took a few seconds before the young man grasped what it was she was saying, but finally he chuckled, and pressed button on the side of the cell, ending the barrier.  "Come on," he said offering her one hand as she phased out of her confines. "Ayeka's had a special tea party started for us, to celebrate your arrival."  Looking at his hand skeptically, Ryoko cocked an eyebrow.  "No, she won't mind," he said thinking Ryoko might have reserves about taking his hand if it might get him in trouble.

"Then why do it?" she laughed, reminding him that she did not play by courtly rules.  With that they were off, Tenchi and Ryoko, once again.

The Courtyard:

As the afternoon sun began it's decent, a trio of figures stood in a clearing inside the wondrous gardens of the legendary courtyard.  One, an older man, named Koragee, seemed to be in charge of the three, as a young man with red wild spiked hair stood with a bokken ready to attack.   Sitting nearby, playing with a bundle of fresh wild flowers, Mayuka diligently tried to create a crown from them. 

"Prince Kanji," Koragee said with a groan, having spent the last hour trying to reign in the young man's attention.  "Would you please quit going off about that woman?  We have work to attend to, and you're mind needs to be on the here and now."

"But… Man, it's Ryoko" Kanji shouted as if it explained everything as he parried three slow practice strikes from his teacher.  Turning away, he looked at the castle with great longing.  "Ryoko!" he muttered in amazement.  Beside him, Kamidake and Azaka stood at attention, the guardian logs always near by the two heirs in case of danger.  "The greatest space pirate to ever live is in my house right now!  Isn't that awesome?  Plus, did you check out the size of her brea-" Instantly the hormonally supercharged youth was cut short as a strike from his instructor's wooden practice sword silenced his lewd commentary, almost knocking him out in the process. 

"Kanji…" he warned with an old sigh.  "If you're going to think with a sword, at least use the wooden one in your hands, not your pants for once."  Grumbling a few curses he had learned from watching space pirates on his television, the red-haired prince staggered to his feet, just in time to receive another blow to the head.  "A true nobleman would never use such language," the older man proclaimed.

"Mommy says not to use naughty words, Kanji," Mayuka said without looking up.

"That's right Lady Mayuka," Koragee smiled, seeing the red-haired boy shudder at hearing his half-sister continue to utter his mom's proclamations endlessly and without fail.  Sometimes his sister seemed more like a tape recorder than a living being to the young man.  "Still, it is nice to see that other areas of your body are head. Of course, a hard head," he paused, coughing into his hand in embarrassment for his own phallic remarks, "isn't always good.  It can get you into a lot of trouble."

"Sorry sensei," Kanji uttered wincing as he gently rubbed his tender head.  "It's just that I've never met anyone like her.  There's never been anyone on Jurai like Ryoko.  She's perfect," he exclaimed trailing off for a moment like a poet doing a romantic verse.  "Just seeing her makes me feel alive, and like I could do anything.  She fills me with energy and life, and believe me I'd do anything if I knew it would win me even the slightest smile from her lips."

Laughing the old man shook his head rubbing his ancient eyes with well-worn hands, leaning his elbows on the hilt of his sword.  "So my little prince has developed a crush, huh?  Well I'd let this one go if I were you, on two counts. One, your mom hates her, and two, if even half of what I remember and Lord Tenchi has told me is true, then she's too much woman for any ten men, let alone you."

Having regained his composure, Ayeka's son, grinned menacingly.  "That could be true, old man, but I know I can handle you!"   Raising his bokken high in the air, he raced forward as his gray-haired opponent merely watched in amazement.  Yet in a flash, Koragee reacted and Kanji promptly became intimate with the life giving soil of his homeland.  Although it gave life to the all Jurai's trees, and supported everything on the wondrous planet, Kanji found it's taste repulsive. 

"That was terrible, even for you.  You're still favoring your right too much.  Watch your left side more."  Pointing the tip of his blade at his fallen comrade, the instructor knew the point was made, that in a real battle he'd be dead right now.

"You don't have to tell me what to do.  I'm not a child, and I don't need advise!" Kanji pouted rising to his feet while brushing himself off.

"Mommy says Kanji should always listen to Koragee," Mayuka announced, before falling silent again.

Gritting his teeth, the red-haired youth assumed a battle stance once again.  "Let's try that again."

For a moment Koragee studied his charge, then looked to the castle.  Finally, he smiled and dropped his bokken.  "That's enough for today.  A true fighter's heart must be focused on the battle, yours is not.  Why don't you run along, and put an end to this burning you have for Ryoko, then we'll meet again tomorrow and I'll whip you good."

"Great," Kanji shouted, throwing his training sword to the ground unceremoniously. ""See ya later," he added, as he ran back towards the castle full speed, leaving Mayuka with the guardians, who watched him run, worried where this might all lead.

Tenchi/Ayeka's Room:

Having made small talk and basic pleasantries, a custom Ryoko despised in Ayeka, the trio sat around a small table, sipping the purple-haired woman's favorite herbal tea, which she could be quoted to say, "really makes any situation festive." 

Yeah, if you're dead, the golden-eyed woman thought as she set her tea down after one sip.  For long moments they sat together saying nothing, Ayeka and Tenchi so pleased to have a guest that they didn't know where to begin. "So…" Ryoko yawned, arching her back painfully. "Where are your folks, Ayeka?  Did you have an uprising or something?"

"Hardly, Ryoko," she replied. "They have decided to visit planet Ryuten, for a vacation.  So you can understand why our security thought you were attacking and why you were imprisoned."

"Yeah, I come in peace doesn't mean what it used to." The golden-eyed woman snickered.

"If you didn't want to be treated like a criminal, you shouldn't have blown up all those toll booths on the way here, and speeded through hospital zones," Ayeka proclaimed.

"Hey it's my style, I'm a space pirate." The silver-haired woman announced.  "So there," she added sticking her tongue out rudely.  "Although that does make me think of something else, Kanji…."

"What about our son," Tenchi said finally joining the discussion.

"The name," Ryoko said, her arms still folded behind her head. 

"Kanji is a symbolic system of writing on Earth, just as he is a symbol of Lord Tenchi and my love for one another," Ayeka smiled, touching Tenchi's hand kindly in the same mushy romance style that Ryoko hated. 

"Yeah, and Washu and I are best friends.  The truth," the golden-eyed space pirate announced. "I'm not some damn court freak, I can tell a load when I see or hear it."

Flustered by Ryoko's remarks about her romantic love life, Ayeka bristled at the comment.  "Well with your bathing habits I would hardly think you'd ever notice anything foul or vulgar.  Why I would say-"

"Girls," Tenchi interrupted, "let's not fight, we haven't see each other in years, now would be a bad time to start up again, right?"  Both women nodded, appearing to bring an end to the conversation. "The truth, as you call it Ryoko, is simple.  It was a misspelling.  We were going to name him Kenshi, sort of a play on my name, but I wrote it down quickly and it was recorded as Kanji. After discussing it for a while, we decided to keep the name, for the reason Ayeka told you…."

"Well that brings me to my next question…." the lissome woman cooed, folding her fingers together to rest her lips upon them as she devoured her former rival with her eyes like a ravenous beast.  "How is he?"

"Whatever do you mean by that Ryoko," Ayeka asked in agitation sensing a deeper meaning. 

"You know exactly what I'm talking about, little princess? How is Tenchi?"

"I'm feeling pretty good, Ryoko," he answered sounding as clueless as he had when she first met him decades ago.

"I'm not talking about feeling," she remarked.  "At least not your feeling, I'm asking Ayeka.  After all, I see you had a son."

Blushing, the Jurian prince finally caught his former heartthrobs hidden innuendo.  "Well you see…" he hesitantly began.  "Ayeka and I…"

"What we do together is none of your business, Ryoko.  I would certainly not ask you such a vulgar thing."

"That's your loss," the golden-eyed demoness grinned, winking at Tenchi seductively.  "Because I'd tell you everything…." Looking towards the bearded youth's groin, Ryoko's grin turned into a vicious smile. "In great detail…."

The married duo exchanged an embarrassed look with one another, each muttering something unintelligible between them for a time, before Tenchi spoke up. "You see Ryoko, that is Ayeka and I… we've never actually…."

The look the supple woman gave them was filled with confusion and disbelief, contorting her face into what would have been a hilarious look was the situation not so serious.  "But you had a son."

With a red streak across her cheeks, showing her unease, the red-eyed princess coughed politely before speaking.  "Yes, well conception techniques have come a long way on Planet Jurai recently."

Suddenly Ryoko's mouth was agape.  "No way…" she said in sheer disbelief. "You're telling me…"

"Yes, Ryoko," Ayeka bitterly admitted. "I have not yet had relations with Lord Tenchi.  Our son was conceived through artificial means.  I did carry him, but it was not through direct intercourse that Lord Tenchi and I conceived him.  His birth was not an easy one, to be sure.  I invariably had to have surgery.   You see, Ryoko we still find sex to be… a bit too forward for us.  After all we're too happy as we are to change anything, is that not right, Lord Tenchi?"

Taking her hand in his, the brown-haired youth nodded, rubbing his wife's hand tenderly.  As the two looked up they saw Ryoko's face turning bluish as if she were holding her breath.  Finally she exhaled and laughed in a raunchy bellow.  "That's priceless," she cackled, leaning back in her chair, and promptly falling out of it. "Tenchi and the little princess… still virgins, after being married for twenty years!  I knew you were boring princess, but come on!"  Saying nothing more, the silvery-haired woman began coughing loudly as her lungs could not take the intensity at which she was laugh.  Rising on shaky knees, she wiped away tears of laughter painfully. It appeared as if she would collapse at any moment, from, what to her was, over-joyous news.  "It wouldn't be so funny, if I couldn't actually see that happening, or should I say not happening…."

Clearing his throat Tenchi tried to clarify this apparent dilemma. "You see for the first two years, mother and Lady Funaho wanted us to have a child.  Plus, father was also rather insistent on knowing we'd have an heir to the throne as well."

His words seemed to instantly shut Ryoko up.  "Father?  Mother?"

"Sorry," he amended, "I guess I've been on Jurai so long I forget, Misaki wants me to call her mom, and Ayeka feels, and I agree with her, that me calling Azusa father would be a good idea."

Sitting back in her chair the now serious space pirate glared at Tenchi.  "You already have a dad, not a father, and a mom, not a mother.  You've changed Tenchi, and I can't say for the better…." At that instant a horrid taste overtook Ryoko's mouth, and she turned from the virgin couple.  "You know it was hard," she said with her back to them.  "These past years… once everyone left us."

"What are you talking about?" Ayeka inquired looking at her husband first with concerned eyes, "who left whom?  Who is this us you are talking about?  Can you not make sense for once Ryoko?"

"The us used to be Washu, Minagi, Noboyuki, Yosho, Ryo-Ohki, and me.  But that was before."  Looking up at the ceiling, she placed her hands on her ample hips.  "Why weren't you there, Tenchi?  Why didn't you come when we called you?  They both wanted to see you one last time."

"Who?" Tenchi echoed his wife, his tone cryptic and fearful.  "Who wanted to see me, Ryoko?  Quit playing games and tell me."

"Dad and grandpa," she uttered with a whimper, as she turned to face them.  "Without my gems in your sword, your grandpa couldn't sustain his life.  I told him I'd put my gems in the tree, so he could live, but he refused.  He told me he wanted to pass away, that it was his time.  Then there was dad," Ryoko cried wiping her tears on her long red sleeves.  "At least that's what he told me to call him," she smiled for a moment.  "He took good care of all of us these past years.  Washu, Minagi, and I were allowed to stay there to keep him company, since his son was gone.  After all why shouldn't an old man have someone in his last days? Especially since you were too busy to ever call or visit us."

"But why did you not tell us? We would have come immediately." Ayeka offered sounding innocent to the situation. 

"We did," Ryoko coldly told them.  "I sent you messages everyday for two weeks after each of them died.  But we never got a reply."

"That's impossible.  We check our mail everyday, how could we miss something like that?" Tenchi said his own eyes welling with grief.  "Damn!" he yelled slamming a fist on the table before rising to walk away.  "I've been so caught up with things here I forgot to go home, I always thought there would be time…"

"Well," the space pirate sighed, "each of them told me to tell you both they love you, and that they hope you're doing well."

"Damn it, Ryoko! Why didn't you come to see us sooner?" the brown-eyed youth said furiously, "When they were still alive!"

"Because I was too drunk," she said simply. "I told the others not to come either, Washu has been busy managing our accounts and finances, the little twerp's selling all kinds of technology on Earth, and Minagi's main purpose these days is keeping the house in ship shape."

"Then what do you do all day?" Ayeka inquired nosily.

"The same thing I've done since I met Minagi and Washu on Earth twenty years ago after she filled in for me at your wedding," Ryoko breathed heavily. "Nothing.  Nothing but drink until I can't see straight.  Noboyuki tried to get me to stop, but I wouldn't listen.  Yosho never said a word, but I know he hated to see me like that.  It was like the cave all over again.  Only instead of a mystic sword keeping me in place, it was a bottle."

"What did you mean when you said, Minagi filled in for you," Tenchi said, his eyes showing he was on the verge of a breakdown. 

"Simple." Ryoko answered callously, as she faced a question she knew was coming for twenty years.  "I sent Minagi here in my place for your wedding.  I told her what to say and do through our mental link.  That way I could say goodbye without being here." Her remarks seemed to shatter the spirit of the two figures who had been so happy only an hour ago.  To put it simply, their entire fantasy world had been crushed and brought into reality rather harshly.  "Well, I did what I came to do," she whispered softly watching Tenchi sink back into his seat beside his wife resting a teary face in her shoulder weakly.  Feeling her heart wrench, the golden-eyed woman nodded.  It was the revenge she claimed to have wanted, for the hurt she had felt years ago, but seeing it delivered made her hate what had happened even more.  "I told you everything that's been going on.  So I have no reason to stay.  Have fun being Jurains you two.  I have other stuff to do.  Goodbye…" with that she started to move away, when a new voice broke the silence.

"Hello Ryoko," a heavenly voice called. "I see you finally revealed the truth to them."  Turning slowly, the silver-haired woman nodded.

"Hi kid," she told the blue-haired girl, who had grown into a woman, yet still had Ryo-Ohki perching on her head.  Apparently the cabbit starship had run off long ago to find her old friend, not thinking that Ryoko might be arrested for her past. "I see that merger thing is working for you."

"It's been too long," Tsunami said.  "I was hoping we might see each other again.  I've missed you.  I should have known it was Minagi faking you, I suspected as much, but I forgot you're better at practical jokes than I ever was."

"Coming from you that's a compliment," Ryoko grinned finally turning to face Sasami who stood behind Tenchi and Ayeka.  "But this wasn't a joke. At least I didn't mean it as one.  Tell me, if you're fused with Tsunami, why didn't you tell them when the other's died?"

Having forgotten how blunt her old friend could be, Sasami smiled and thought for a time before answering.  "I didn't want you to meet," she began then realizing that was a rather cold statement, she quickly amended herself.  "For the longest time, I've been trying to figure out something I've been sensing.  There is darkness out there, and I know it's coming for Tenchi.  I was afraid you were that darkness, since he rejected you, so I didn't want anyone to get hurt."  Sasami swallowed hard as she kneaded her hands before her.  "That's why I never said anything.  I knew about it, but I was too scared to do anything."  Looking from Ryoko to her sister and brother in law, the pink-eyed woman's voice broke as she tried to apologize. "I'm really sorry, but I was just so scared for you, I didn't want to loose you too."

"It is all right," Ayeka, said, nearly catatonic from the news.  "You meant no harm, Sasami."

Yet Tenchi's reaction was different, he did not seem to be handling all these new truths's well.  Burying his eyes in his hands he groaned. "Still, it would have been nice to have known… but Ayeka's right.  It's not your fault.  If Ryoko would have stopped drinking for a few minutes, she might have been able to come here and let us know." The words he spoke were not meant, and it was merely his own angst speaking.   Deep down, Tenchi knew he didn't blame the silver-haired woman, but of all those present he also knew only she could handle the raw emotion he was feeling at this moment. 

Squinting her eyes furiously, Ryoko glared at Tenchi as if he were Kagato himself.  Slowly she raised one hand, and electricity crackled around it.  "How dare you…?" she hissed advancing to stand toe to toe with the Jurain heir.  "How dare you say that to me?" To accent her point, Ryoko slammed one foot on the ground, nearly smashing a hole in the floor.  At this moment, had she wished it, the enraged space pirate could have easily bit her former beloved's nose, fortunately for him she was not quiet that angry, only hurt. Blowing out a deep breath through her nose, she stepped back, still glaring at him intensely.  Shaking her head slowly, she turned from him in disgust.  "You've changed," she said as if it were the worst curse imaginable.  "You promised me you wouldn't and you did.  I never thought I'd see the day when Tenchi Masaki would lie to anyone.  Is that what they're teaching you here?  How to lie?  I could have done that, but I never would."

"Well it's obvious you haven't changed," Tenchi snapped back.  "You're still as selfish and egotistical as you were back on Earth.  Can't you see what I've been going through since I got here?  I mean is it really so hard to believe that I could find some happiness without you around?  It must be, because why else would you come in here and start saying such cruel things, unless you're trying to make me as miserable as your life turned out."

Opening her mouth, Ryoko prepared to rebuke him, but her rage prevented her from speaking. Throwing her arms into the air she walked away, phasing through the door with her usual ease.  Almost instantly a loud thump echoed and the golden-eyed woman's voice rang out again.  "Move it kid! I'm out of here.  Your parents are even stupider than I thought they were.  Have fun living in hell.  I've got better things to do than be insulted by a shrine boy!"

As the enraged woman's snarling voice faded into the distance, Ayeka Jurai turned her attention to her husband. Never in the two decades she had been his wife had she ever seen him react with such emotional intensity to anything.  I have not see Lord Tenchi at this intensity since we fought Kagato on the Soja… When he came to my rescue.  No, he came to our rescue.  Pausing a dark truth fell upon Ayeka's mind.  I am wrong.  We were not there for me, or anyone else.  We went to that dreadful ship to save Ryoko, not fight Kagato.  Lord Tenchi went and we followed, so he could save her, save Ryoko… It was at that moment an old emotion returned to her heart, the emotion of jealousy. 

Soon the door opened, and Kanji slowly looked in at his parents, seeing his father glaring out of the window, his mother in a state of shock, and his aunt sobbing while Ryo-Ohki tried to console her with tender paws.   Stepping back out, the red-haired prince felt a surge through his body.  This is it, he thought excitedly.  This is what I've been waiting for all this time.  Pretty soon I'll have my chance!  Then the fun will really get started…. 

Next Time: What or who is the darkness Tsunami/Sasami senses?  Is it Ryoko?  Or could it be Ayeka, as she seems to be slipping away from her light filled world?  Perhaps it's Kanji, who seems to be up to something big?  Why did Tenchi react so strangely to Ryoko and her to him?  More information will be given next time, as everyone tries to recover from this emotional showdown.  Chapter Two: A day with Kids

Author's Note: I know you all hate me. That's cool.  Just remember that this is still the beginning, emotions are running high, so criticize if you like, but please no flames.