Akemi Akibi: My lady I thank you. *Smirks after catching breath* You .. are ... quite .... an enthusiastic reader aren't you? I'm glad you enjoyed it. That I am.
Jillian: You liked it a lot? I thank you. Here you go. The long awaited installment to my story.
Drunken Angel: Yes another cliffhanger I know. Man, I have been very evil haven't I? *smiles devilishly* Anyway, I appreciate how brave you were to review this story of mine. I have many readers of this fic but so few who review. Oh well, so it goes for me. I thank you for your praise. Shocking you say? *taps lips thoughtfully* Perhaps something shocking awaits. You'll just have to scroll down to find out!
Onto the story!
Chapter 25--The End
"How much farther do you think Misao?" Tenchi's breathless voice called out to the petite female ahead of him, his hand still entwined with Ayeka's as they continued down the corridor.
Misao did not answer at first, her concerned blue eyes darting back and forth between each set of doors they passed. Truthfully, she wondered if the corridor they were traveling on was even the right one. There must be other rooms, other corridors we could search. She thought, her eyes widening at the sight that met her eyes to the right of her. Misao came to a complete stop. She instantly turned sideways and moved forward, barely avoiding being trampled by a larger crown prince and princess who skidded to a stop, confusion on their countenances as the whirled towards the female kenshin.
The crown prince opened his mouth to ask what the hell was going on, but his voice left him, his brown eyes staring in awe and trepidation at the glass wall that greeted his vision. He moved closer, standing to the left of the petite woman, his mind trying to comprehend what it was he was seeing.
A massive open room was decked out in a vast array of machinery in organized rows. Metallic objects both large and small lay still upon what appeared to be assembly lines. And although the room was darkened, the purpose of these objects was clear.
"This looks like ... " Tenchi began then stopped, not wanting to admit the truth of his eyes.
"A weapons factory." Misao finished for him, reading his thoughts perfectly. She bowed her head, her voice troubled as she added, "Which begs the question why Nomaru would be massing weapons if his psychic enhancing weapon is so powerful. Unless .... " She paused, a sudden thought entering her consciousness.
"Unless?" Tenchi asked, turning his gaze over to study the petite woman with curious eyes.
Misao raised her head, her eyes aglow in an eerie blue light. "Unless he's unsure of his machine." She answered softly, though her features were hard.
"Why would he be unsure?" Tenchi asked, waiting for Misao to respond but it was Ayeka who ended up answering.
"Because he's never tested it before." The princess replied in an excited voice, as if she had just discovered the secrets of the universe. Her head turned quickly over to Misao, her maroon eyes alight with the thrill of discovery. "Isn't that so Misao?"
The petite female kenshin smiled. "Very good princess," She said with a nod of her head, impressed at the woman's detective reasoning. "I have seen into his mind and read his thoughts. He seemed to believe it would work. But now I realize it was nothing more than mere surface thoughts, his true motives and plans hidden from me when I probed his mind. It seems he needs a back up plan in case his creation fails."
"And if it doesn't? If he somehow manages to use his machine?" Tenchi asked.
Misao's eyes hardened as she turned to face them. "We will deprive him of that chance." She said sharply, her features full of confidence and determination as she strode past the royals, her short legs speeding her petite frame along down the corridor again.
Ayeka and Tenchi exchanged a look, both nodding their heads, their features mirroring the female kenshin's as the set off after her, continuing their search of the elusive machine.
Ryoko jumped through the hole in the wall, heedless of her safety. She had to find out where Ryan was. Had to know just how badly he was hurt. With her own eyes. But the vision that met her amber orbs wasn't the one she was expecting. For she found herself standing outside, her booted feet planted firmly upon a grass matted ground, mounds of wood chipped earth were spread about in distinct, geometric designs as far as the eye could see. Lush plants and shrubs decorated the mounds, while several tall trees of unknown species greeted her in between the landscape design. Where the hell am I? She wondered, gazing about like a curious newborn only to jump in fright as a loud explosion slammed into her ears, disrupting her sensitive hearing.
Ryoko winced, reaching up to rub behind her ears as the pain began to spread upwards towards her temples. What was that? She asked inwardly as the pain started to dissipate and her senses returned to normal. Twisting her head to the right, Ryoko's amber eyes narrowed, taking in the sight of smoke some distance away. Her eyes widened as she felt the distinctive chi of her husband, her heart filling with worry at how weak he seemed to be. And yet. She thought with a loving smile. He is still alive. Focusing on the chi of her husband, Ryoko closed her eyes. Hang on Ryan. I will be by your side shortly. And with that she disappeared instantly from view.
Ryan the kenshin stood upon weary legs within a massive garden landscape. Legs that threatened to falter under the heavy burden he had placed upon his body. He had been startled and horrified when Nomaru had buried his sword up to the hilt into the upper left side of his chest. So startled that the pain of the wound paled in comparison with the brutal slamming into and then through the stone wall he had been in front of a few seconds before. The air was knocked out of his lungs, his mind and vision darkening as he free fell down several feet, landing with a solid thud onto the floor below. For a few seconds, the kenshin wondered if he had broken his spine, the feeling of his limbs going numb as he lay upon his back. A sudden sound filtered through his pained haze and out of instinct, Ryan somehow managed to roll to the side, narrowly avoiding being cut in half by Nomaru's aggressive down stroke.
The kenshin tried to bring his left arm up, to parry the next attack with his sword, only to find it would not comply to his command. The reward for his effort sent a stab of mind numbing pain along the left side of his chest, the once forgotten wound returning with a vengeance. He had little time to deal with his agony as Nomaru attacked again using the same down stroke technique with his blade. But in the darkness, Ryan could see his attack and rolled to the other side and scrambled quickly to his feet, forcing the pain to the back of his mind as his survival mode kicked in. I must not lose focus! He chided himself as he studied the red blade coming towards him once again, a sudden plan formulating in his brain as Nomaru charged forward.
Weapon less, Ryan remained firmly planted, hands to his side as if not contesting the outcome of the match.
With a feral cry Nomaru jumped up and sliced downward only to stumble as he met empty air. Ryan had pivoted to the side a half second before the blade could make contact, striking out at the precise instant of his adversary's landing, his right hand open and surrounded by a blue light which smacked into the smaller man's face with such force, the dark one was knocked off his feet and through the far wall, opening up a gaping hole, some light filtering into the darkness which the kenshin used to search out his weapon. Leaning downward, he scooped up the sword into his right hand and engaged the blade, a fierce green light erupting in front of him as Ryan marched out into the cool darkness of the outdoors.
Momentarily energized by his offensive, Ryan strode forward, studying the surroundings with wary eyes, the blade in his right hand swinging in time with his left leg as he continued onward. He had ventured quite far into the odd but lush landscape when a sudden burst of red caught his eye. Bringing his blade up, Ryan deflected the energy attack only to gasp as a volley of consecutive shots rocketed towards him in all directions.
The energy orbs reached their target within a matter of seconds, a resounding explosion greeting Nomaru's ears and eyes as he stepped out of the bushes, a wicked smirk upon his lips as he watched the smoke rise and swirls in massive waves, his pale face stained red from the once broken but now healed nose. Nomaru paid no attention to the blood, his darkened orbs riveted on the now dissipating smoke. The dark one's smirk widened at the sight that now met his vision.
Ryan stood precariously in front of Nomaru, the cauterized wound in his upper left chest screaming with a ferocious burning pain that Ryan found impossible to ignore. Blood mixed with sweat, condensing into liquid pellets that fell in rivulets along his pale features. Air escaped from his bloodied lips in labored bursts, the mere process of breathing zapping what little physical strength remained. His right arm became heavy, falling to the side from the energy barrier he had enacted to defend himself from the barrage of energy attacks Nomaru had unleashed upon him. God he felt tired. So very tired.
His body was weakened. Weakened from the exertion of his Juraian energy to enact a barrier. Consciousness threatened to leave him yet the kenshin's gaze remained level, his blue orbs glaring at Nomaru as he approached, his red blade in front of him, pointed towards Ryan's throat.
Though weary and battered, Ryan did not move from his spot, dared not close his eyes or lower his head. To do so would result in immediate death and Ryan had no intention of dying today. I must not give up! I must fight! He roared mentally as he at last turned sideways, his head still faced forward, and brought his weapon up and to the side, adopting a stance that Normaru mistook for a defensive one as he charged forward once again, swinging in a horizontal swipe meant to take the kenshin's head, but Ryan made a move forward, parrying the blow while stepping inside to deliver a quick strike with his right hand, smashing his fist into the unsuspecting Normaru's throat.
The dark one stumbled back, clutching at his neck as he fought to regain his breath. Impossible! Where is he getting this much strength from?! Normaru snarled mentally as he disappeared from view.
Ryan let out a shaky breath, but remained alert, his eyes widening slightly as he felt the unmistakable presence of his wife. He turned slightly in her direction, his blue eyes softening as he studied her.
Ryoko met the kenshin's gaze, her worried amber orbs studying his battered body, her features tightened at how weak his chi seemed to be. She wanted to cry out to him. To tell him she loved him, but held her tongue. Now was not the time for such things. She knew her place was at his side. And so she would wait. Wait and watch over him. Just as I swore to do during our wedding bond. She thought as she gave Ryan a small nod, her features full of a determination the kenshin drew strength from.
He wanted to run to her, to sweep her into his arms and leave this hellish place. Return to Jurai for the crowning of Tenchi and Ayeka. But my task is yet undone. I have one thing left to do. Pivoting around, Ryan began to speak, his voice mocking as he began to taunt Nomaru. "What's the matter Nomaru? I thought you said you were going to finish me? " He said, holding up his right hand, the blade still engaged. "And yet it seems I have won this match. So if you give up now, I promise to spare your life and see to it you spend the rest of your days in a Juraian prison. How does that sound?"
In answer, Nomaru appeared instantly behind Ryan, slashing out at him with his sword, the blade tearing through his clothing, cutting and burning the flesh at the same time. Ryan fell forward, gasping in pain as he rolled onto his back. The dark one raised his blade to impale the kenshin only to howl in pain himself as Ryan thrust outward, his blade piercing through the upper left thigh of Nomaru. Ryan continued his movement, pushing the blade clear up to the hilt before twisting then withdrawing his weapon.
Nomaru fell onto his back side, clutching his useless leg as he scooted backwards, his once angered eyes filling with fear as he watched Ryan rise to his feet, his pale features like hardened steel as he approached the retreating dark one. This wasn't how it was supposed to go! His mind roared as he continued backward, the pain too great to allow for him to dematerialize. I cannot be defeated by someone weaker than me! I refuse!
"I take that as a no?" Ryan said, but there was no humor in his voice, only weariness and anger. The kenshin brought his sword up, his features full of a dark determination. "Then I will met out the just punishment for one who has killed so many." Ryan began to swing his sword in an downward arc, only to gasp in surprise as someone suddenly blocked the path of his attack. The kenshin stopped just inches from the person's head, his hardened eyes softening into surprise as he studied the woman before him.
She was tall, her hair as black as night and her eyes are blue as the sea. Eyes that gazed at him imploringly. Arms outstretched she spoke in a pleading voice that tugged at the kenshin's heart, "Please spare my brother!" She cried, tears threatening to fall down her tanned skin. "Whatever he has done, I will answer for it!"
Ryan stared at her in awe as he pulled the sword back and away from her, lowering it to the side. It took a few seconds to register that the woman before him, protecting Nomaru, was none other than Alyssia, sister to Koba. He had seen her picture before while researching Avinor's history. And she still thinks the man behind her is his brother? He thought incredulously. "You must move to the side Miss Alyssia Natanshi," He began in a soft voice, noticing the look of shock flash upon the pretty woman's face. Shock that he knew her name. "The man you are protecting is not your brother but a liar and thief. A man who should have died a long time ago. General Konar Nomaru," He paused, addressing the still retreating man. "Stop hiding behind a defenseless woman and fight me."
Behind Alyssia, a rapidly healing Nomaru's features turned feral. "I think not kenshin." He spat, sneering as he disappeared from view.
"Ryan!" Ryoko's voice cried out, the first she had spoken since her arrival at the battle. "Nomaru has disapp.... " The space pirate's voice trailed off in shock, her eyes widening in horror as Nomaru appeared instantly behind Ryan, stabbing him through the lower right side, the blade erupting out the kenshin's abdominal wall and into Alyssia's.
Neither Ryan or Alyssia made a sound, collapsing onto their knees as soon as Nomaru withdrew the blade.
Ryoko's shocked features quickly turned to anger. "You bastard!" She roared, bringing her hands before her. A massive red ball of energy formed, released as soon as the power was harnessed, but Nomaru sensed her assault and vanished into thin air.
Ryoko dropped her hands in shock only to cry out as she felt herself being lifted off the air and tossed violently into the trees several hundred feet away, the force of impact shattering many of the trunks as the space pirate crashed into them.
Nomaru lowered his hand, smirking at his psychic prowess. Three down. Three to go. He thought as his gaze shifted away from the destruction back towards the experimental laboratory where his machine awaited. With a swirl of a cape, the dark one vanished leaving three people to die slowly upon the grass laden earth.
Misao leaned against the wall, towards the end of the corridor, her eyes closed in concentration.
"Anything?" Tenchi asked. Standing to the right of the female kenshin, he studied the woman with curious eyes, a equally curious Ayeka behind him.
They had been standing for nearly two minutes in the empty hallway, having found at last the room they had been searching for. It was another impressive open room. The wall lined with glass, although not as big as the factory side of the building. A lone man occupied the room, dressed in gray and his features full of an almost fanatic concentration that had so far thwarted Misao's efforts to gain control of his mind.
The petite woman had hoped to spare the man any harm. But his mental shields are too strong for me to penetrate. She thought with a frown as she opened her eyes. "He is being most stubborn." She replied, turning to face the crown prince. "We have no choice. We must go inside and destroy the machine ourselves."
Tenchi sighed. He didn't want to hurt anybody. But if we don't destroy this machine, everyone we know will be dead. He thought. With determined features, the crown prince reached out with his right hand and withdrew the sword of his ancestors from the clip on the his belt, a glowing blue light springing to life as he engaged the blade. "Ready when you are Misao."
Misao smiled. He will make a great ruler for Jurai. She thought as she pushed off the wall and held out her hands.
Tenchi and Ayeka looked at each other, eyes filled with affection, before they nodded and returned there gaze upon the petite woman, walking to either side of her.
Misao reached out, gently resting her hands upon their backs, the three of them disappearing from view only to re materialize seconds later inside the room before a still focused Sojo Maitan who didn't seem to notice their arrival.
Not wasting anymore time, Misao released her hold of the two royals, disappearing for a second only to reappear behind Sojo. With lightning quick reflexes, she brought her hand up and stuck the back of the lean man's exposed neck with a chop. Sojo instantly collapsed towards the ground, but was spared from further injury as Misao caught him and again dematerialized from view. She sat him gently into the hallway, free of the impending destruction that was to come before returning into the room once more. The female kenshin opened her mouth to speak only to stifle a gasp as a sudden pain filled her mind. She stumbled forward, falling onto her knees as the pain became more than she could bear.
"Misao!" Tenchi cried, rushing to her side. "What's the matter?!" He asked as he crouched down beside her.
But Misao did not answer, her eyes brimming with tears. Ryan! Her mind cried in grief, feeling the pain and the loss of energy from her friend and mentor.
"Misao?!" Tenchi repeated, reaching out to gently shake the woman's right shoulder. "Misao tell me what's wrong?!"
The female kenshin shook her head, her voice cracked as she spoke, "Destroy the machine Tenchi! Destroy it before he gets here!"
The crown prince frowned but rose to his feet, re igniting the blade as he turned to face the monstrosity of black wire and metal adorned around a leather seat. Rushing forward, Tenchi leaped high into the air, sword above his head, and began his downward swing only to suddenly be tossed violently backwards by an invisible force which slammed him into the ground. Tenchi gasped in pain as his body crashed onto the hardened floor, the breath escaping from his lungs, the grip lost on his sword which disengaged and went sliding far out of reach into the corner of the room.
"Tenchi!" Ayeka cried, rushing to his side, only to be tossed aside by the same invisible force. Her lithe body sailed through the air, smacking with a loud thud against the far wall. She slid slowly downward, fighting to remain conscious as the air suddenly left her lungs.
"Did you really think you would destroy my machine so easily?" A deep voice boomed in the open room. A voice that chilled Misao to the bone.
Rising to her feet, Misao's fear grew quickly to anger. Anger at the treatment of her friends, of the abuse of Ryan and the people of Avinor. "Coward!" She hissed vehemently, "Come out and face me!" Although unarmed, Misao had no attention of losing.
As requested Nomaru appeared before her, raising his weapon to strike her down.
But Misao was a kenshin knight. A knight with her full powers intact. With a quick move she dodged the strike vaulting up and over Nomaru. She landed with cat like grace upon her small feet, discharging a small blast of energy which struck the man in the back.
Nomaru growled in fury, stumbling forward, turning sideways to swipe at her head only to find himself lifted off his feet as Misao unleashed a psychic attack of her own.
But the general was not to be outdone, disappearing from view just before his body crashed into the glass paned wall. He appeared some distance away and unleashed a psychic attack that struck Misao from behind, lifting her up then slamming her into the ground with enough force to create a hole through the solid floor.
Sensing her state of unconsciousness, Nomaru walked past his hiding place, towards the prone woman. And now to kill the three of you. He thought as he raised his sword up high, ready to plunge it through the back of the defenseless Misao.
Everything seemed so peaceful.
No sound met his ears.
No light met his eyes.
There was only a quiet darkness that surrounded him. His body wanted to give in. Wanted to succumb to the call of eternal sleep. But something was holding him back. Something left undone. Images began to erupt before him, drawing him out of the darkness, reminding him of his obligation and his responsibility. He remembered. Remembered his last task. To destroy Nomaru. I have to stop him. His mind vowed, his spirit energy rising. Because if I fail, my people will be gone. And all that was once bright and good will fade into nothingness.
And so despite the pain, despite the nearness of death, consciousness returned to the kenshin. Eyelids snapped open to reveal a pair of glowing blue orbs flaring with the same energy that gave him the strength to sit up right. His vision cleared, his eyes softening slightly as he looked upon the still form of Alyssia. Reaching out, he pressed his index and middle finger against the side of her neck, a small smile gracing his lips at the strong pulse beneath his fingertips. She would live. Retracting his hand, Ryan's head snapped to the side as Ryoko appeared beside him.
"Ryan?" She whispered as she crouched down beside him. "Are you all right?"
Ryan nodded, shifting his hand to the side as he clasped the weapon on his right side and rose to his feet. "I'm fine." He answered in a grim tone, his eyes hardened as he turned away to stare at the building to his left and engaged his blade. "Let's go." He commanded.
Ryoko studied her husband, in awe at the energy she felt coming from him. As if he was back to his old self. But how long will it last? She wondered as her gaze traveled to the new wound on his right side. And how long before that wound overtakes your spirit my love? She added mentally but kept her thoughts to herself as she reached out and gently clasped her husband's shoulder, the two disappearing instantly.
Nomaru sneered in triumph as he brought the blade downwards, straight towards the female kenshin's heart only to frown as a sudden blur whizzed past, his sword passing harmlessly into the floor where Misao's now missing body had been. What the hell?! His mind roared.
"Did you think you could kill me that easily Nomaru?" Ryan's hard voice spoke from behind the smaller man. "Did you think I'd let you get away with what you have done?"
Nomaru straightened his frame, turning slowly around. "But you are dying Ryan." He retorted with a smirk. "I can feel the life force fading from you pathetically weak body."
Ryan's features remained neutral as he leveled his sword at the smaller man's face. "Maybe." He conceded. "And if I am I'll be sure to take you with me."
But Nomaru only smirked, vanishing before Ryan could attack.
"Nomaru?!" Ryan yelled, his head snapping to the left at the sound of maniacal laughter.
"Too late kenshin!" The dark one cried in triumph, a black wired crown placed upon his head as his machine roared to life. "And now you will taste the pain of death just as I had to so long ago!" A bright light erupted around Nomaru, who sat upon his chair, the laughter mingling with the hum of the machinery as his black eyes began to crackle with unbelievable power.
Ryan cried out as a blast of the energy smacked into him, setting his brain on fire, the pain causing his whole body to shake as he began to convulse under the relentless attack.
"I've won this match! The universe is mine!" Nomaru roared only to gasp in shock as the light suddenly disappeared from around him, the machine silent as a ghost once more.
"Think again!" Tenchi shouted, his features as angry and dark as the pools of Nomaru's eyes as he retracted the blade of his sword from the small power box on the side of the machine, bits of metal and exposed wiring, sparking from the damage.
"You ... !" Nomaru stammered angrily, starting to rise to his feet only to find himself locked into the chair by an invisible force. "What is .. this!"
Misao appeared in front of him, her hands outstretched, her features as cold as the dark one's heart. "Your end." She replied simply, joined a few seconds later by Ayeka, and finally a shaky Ryan who brought the full gaze of his rage upon the general who couldn't even close his eyes.
The kenshin engaged his blade as he walked past the crowd of friends, of family, his features hard and his voice cold. "And now you will feel the wrath of those you have killed and the lives you destroyed in your selfish and wicked pursuit of power." He said, bringing his sword up until it was level with the blood red stone that began to glow brightly.
Understanding crossed Nomaru's features, the fear palpable as he cried. "What are you doing?! You can't kill me! I'm immortal!"
Ryan said nothing, the sword of Nagashi speaking for him as he thrust it forward, striking the death stone. A resounding CRACK! erupted in the still air as the stone exploded into tiny fragments, red dust flying all around, the metallic band splitting in two as it fell to the sides of the now limp body of Koba.
Ryan lowered his sword backing away. It is done. He thought with a weary sigh, collapsing onto the floor as the last of his energy left his abused body. He landed with a soft thud, closing his eyes in exhaustion.
"Ryan!" Ryoko shouted, rushing to her husband's side. She fell down to her knees and reached out, cradling his body into her slender arms. "Ryan! Answer me Dammit!" She shouted as she began to shake him gently.
When he didn't respond, the space pirate began to cry, leaning down to rest her forehead against his. "Don't leave me Ryan. Don't go. Don't go." She whispered in a anguished voice only to pull her head back when Ryan spoke.
"Do not weep Ryoko." He whispered, though his eyes remained closed. "I don't plan on going anywhere but home." He added, his eyelids fluttering open, his blue eyes meeting the puzzled amber ones of Ryoko.
"Home?" She murmured. "You mean Calbon?"
"No." He replied softly.
Ryan let out a sigh before closing his eyes. "Jurai." He answered before darkness took him into the land of dreams.
Two weeks had passed by since that fateful day when the Masaki clan had triumphed over the dark plans of Nomaru, conquering the darkness with the blade of Nagashi, the once proud noble of direct Juraian lineage. And now her descendent stood in formal Juraian attire befitting his house, his bright blue eyes taking in the warm sunshine of Jurai's sun. Ryan was still feeling weak from battle, the scars still evident upon his healing body. Although the destruction of the death stone had eliminated Nomaru once and for all, the kenshin's powers had not returned. But it was an acceptable price to pay for their victory, even if he had only just yesterday recovered enough strength to rise out of bed and join in the festivities of his friends. He had missed the wedding of Tenchi and Ayeka, insisting they go ahead with their plans and not to worry about him. When they had insisted on his and Ryoko's participation, he had at last revealed they were already married. After recovering from their initial shock, they conceded to his wishes and let him be.
As far as their ordeal was concerned, Koba Natanshi, although healed by the kenshin's power, no longer retained his energy and could not escape the justice meted out to him by his people. He was extradited to Jurai as punishment for his crimes and was sentenced to twenty years without parole. The leniency in his sentence was given when Ryan had written on behalf of Alyssia who had indeed survived the wound inflicted by Nomaru's blade. Now ruler of Avinor, she had been instrumental in getting Koba to surrender peacefully. And for that Ryan was grateful.
The kenshin turned around, his eyes twinkling in merriment as a demurely dressed Ryoko walked towards him, a loving smile upon her face.
"It's time." She said softly, holding out her hand for him to take.
Ryan smiled, returning her look of affection as he clasped her right hand with his left, allowing her to lead him forward, into the castle of Jurai. They walked in companionable silence down the brightened corridor, stopping before two massive doors that led to the throne room.
Two guards dressed in the light blue military uniforms of Jurai greeted the pair with a chest salute before pushing open the doors, revealing a packed house of Juraian nobles and representatives who began to cheer wildly as the pair entered the room, drowning out the loud clanking of the doors as they were closed once more.
Ryan couldn't help but smile, the dream he had so long ago replaying in his mind as he walked beside Ryoko towards the massive set of stairs that led up to the throne. His smile widening at the sight that greeted him there. The kenshin took the steps in a formal manner, releasing his hand to offer Ryoko his forearm.
The space pirate nodded slightly, resting her right hand upon his forearm, both walking side by side in equal time as the started upwards.
Stopping at the small level floor halfway up where a smiling Tenchi and Ayeka stood, both wearing the crown of Jurai, wedding bands of gold adorning their fingers, as they bowed slightly and gave their companions a slow chest salute before busting out into laughter and hugging each other.
"It's good to see you up and moving once again Ryan." Tenchi said as he released his hold and backed away.
"And it is good to see you as you were meant to be." Ryan replied, a proud smile forming on his lips.
"Yeah well," Tenchi began, rubbing the back of his neck. "I'm still not sure about this whole ruler thing."
"Don't worry Tenchi. You will be a great ruler to Jurai."
"You think so?"
Ryan nodded, reaching up to his head to tap his temple with his left index finger. "I know so." He said as he backed away, waiting for the emperor of Jurai to speak.
Tenchi cleared his throat, turning his gaze from his friend to the crowd below. "In honor of the kenshin's brave and noble actions, I hereby declare this day as a holiday! Let the festivities begin!"
The crowd roared in approval as the emperor returned his gaze to Ryan who bowed slightly and turned to the side, "After you my lord."
Tenchi shook his head and held out his hand. "No. After you." He said, bowing honorably to the kenshin who smiled but complied, taking Ryoko's hand into his own leading her down to the base floor. Ryan nodded to his fellow knights who returned his attention with formal bows. Bows of respect. Soon followed by Yosho, Azaka and Kamedaki. Washu and Sasami and Misao greeted them last. All three smiling and bowing to them before giving them a small wave.
Ryan smiled. His friends were well, his world was protected and the universe was in balance once more. The peace that had for so long eluded Jurai had become reality.
And I am home. He thought with a smile as he turned to Ryoko and flashed her a smile. A smile that spoke of the truth in his heart. That no matter what happened to them, from now on he wouldn't be alone. Because my family is with me.
Thanks to all who reviewed. I enjoyed spending time in the world of Tenchi. Hugs and kisses to Akemi Akibi whose undying support kept me going through the times I struggled with this. Thanks to Jillian for her continued support. And to all of you who enjoyed this, I thank you for the taking the time to read my drivel. THANK YOU ALL!