This is it. This is how it all ends.

"Without tragedy there can be no romance" - Unknown

Ryoko's Birthday The Final chapter, THE CURSE OF KAGATO!

40 years have passed since Part 3, and much has happened in that time.

2 Days before Ryoko's birthday:

Space. It's vast, and empty. Much like she was, empty. Ryoko sat depressed, in her seat piloting Ryo-ohki around the Earth's moon as she had done the last month and a half. She sighed, pushing a button on the device in her hand. It was the scene of her and her beloved, Tenchi, kissing on the stairs leading to the Masaki shrine. She always watched this scene on her birthday. Her mind floated back to that night. After that night, her life changed drastically, for the better. They, Tenchi, Ryoko, and all the girls, had many great experiences, but the one most precious to her was the day that Tenchi proposed to her. It came to a shock to everyone, even Ryoko had to admit it had came out of the blue. Ryoko and Tenchi, thanks to Ayeka, had a Jurian Wedding, which ironically fell on the same day as when Tenchi had released Ryoko from the cave. After the wedding, all the other girls went their separate ways, but each came back often to visit them.

"We had some great times," reminisced Ryoko. "Going for walks, shopping, even doing chores was fun with you Tenchi..." Ryoko knew her time with Tenchi would have been very short if he had not been part Jurian. That meant that he seemed to age slower. He had looked like he was still a young boy, even after all those years, and all they had been through.

"Hello Ryoko." a familiar voice said from behind her. Slowly Ryoko spun around in her chair, to face the owner of the voice. It was Washu. Washu had in her arms a baby, Ryoko's to be exact, Yosho was his name. Yosho was Tenchi and Ryoko's only kid, named after Tenchi's grandfather, to honor him. The original Yosho had passed away a few years before Tenchi's dad had died, ten years ago. She remembered how devastated Tenchi was by each death. " My aren't you looking happy today," Washu said sarcastically.

"Leave me alone Washu," Ryoko pleaded not looking up at her mother.

"Why so you can mope in this space ship the rest of your life, while I continue to raise your son." Washu yelled.

"Why not, you're a better mother than I could ever be. All I would do is fail Yosho, like I failed Tenchi." Ryoko said, sadness laced each word.

"HE'S NOT DEAD RYOKO!" Washu screamed. Washu and Ryoko had this conversation many times over the last year. "You can't stay on Ryo-ohki the rest of your life, circling the moon and living off rations."

"Tenchi might as well be dead," Ryoko slammed her fist onto the arm of the chair as she rose. "Damn Kagato! First he ruins my first 2000 years in his quest for power, now when I've finally found happiness, he manages to take it from me. Damn him!"

"Ryoko!" Washu warned, "Please control your language, you don't want your son to start talking like that do you?" Washu's voice melted from strict to sympathetic.

"I still remember that day too, you know. As a matter of fact, its been all I've thought about for the last year. Ever since you called me and said Tenchi was dead." Both women stared at each other recalling a day over 40 years ago.

FLASHBACK TO THE OVA SERIES [Battle with Kagato]

There they were, Ayeka, Washu, Mihoshi, Ryoko, and Tenchi all ready for the final show down on Kagato's ship. Tenchi had just unleashed the power within himself. Kagato and Tenchi raced toward one another. Tenchi's sword thrust killed Kagato, and Kagato's attack seemed to do no damage to Tenchi, none that wasn't fixed immediately. How wrong they all were. Kagato had poisoned Tenchi, it wasn't the usual poison that begins killing as soon as it gets inside you, no Kagato was too clever for that. It was absorbed into a person, and slowly mass produced itself in them. They might live many years before it would kill them.

[End Flashback]

Life returned to normal for everyone after the battle, they shared more adventures, enjoying life and each other, until the day that everyone went their separate ways. Then one day, the toxin struck, after decades of laying dormant inside Tenchi. It activated the morning after Yosho had been conceived. To this day, Ryoko still could not understand why that day? Her and Tenchi had made love numerous times since their wedding. Tenchi had said early in their marriage he wanted a child one day, and Ryoko was not one to dent her husband. Ryoko had awoke before Tenchi that day, and as usual checked herself to see if she was pregnant. She ran out to tell her husband the good news, but he would not wake up. Using an emergency device Ryoko had been given by her mother, she called Washu, whose lab reappeared in the Masaki household seconds later. The two of them carried Tenchi into the lab and put him in a stasis pod. Ryoko went through the pregnancy alone, having Washu to help her on occasion. But Washu had dedicated most of her time to trying to figure out what happened to Tenchi. Washu recognized the poison as one she saw quiet often on the Soja. When they finally understood what was happening, Ryoko knew there was no hope for Tenchi. Kagato wanted him dead, and in the end Kagato got what he wanted.

"Ryoko," Washu finally said after long moments. "Come back to Earth with me. I think we finally have a cure for Tenchi. I've already given it to him, I believe it should neutralize the toxin soon, by tomorrow night Tenchi will be awake, alive again. Don't you think you should be there when he wakes up? Lady Ayeka and Sasami are already on Earth, you should be too."

"A cure..." Ryoko weakly said, "Ryo-Ohki..." Ryoko said touching a crystal floating near her, "Ryo-Ohki, I think its time. It's time we went home." The mighty star ship meowed triumphantly in the vacuum of space as it blasted off toward Earth.

It was not long before they were back on Earth. The sun had been set for a few hours now, and there was a cool breeze that night. Ryo-ohki set them down near the old shrine, then transformed into his animal self. Ryoko looked around at the shrine and house, each was starting to look run down, after nearly a month and a half of no one to care for it. "Tenchi and I worked so hard everyday to keep this place looking like it had before his father and grandfather died." Ryoko reached over and took Yosho from Washu. She smiled down at her son, "He looks just like Tenchi did at his age, except for his eyes. He has my golden eyes." Ryoko looked at her son, she knew he would never know his father, and tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Ryoko! Ryo-Ohki!" another familiar voice rang out. It was Sasami, although she had grown up, now she resembled Tsunami more than the Sasami Ryoko had known so long ago. Sasami ran excitedly toward them, her robes whipping around her. Behind her Lady Ayeka walked casually with her usual grace.

"Sasami!" she yelled to her sister. "Remember your manners! 'Lady' Ryoko, and the others aren't going anywhere." Ayeka told her sister, with a very sharp accent on 'lady.' Since Tenchi had married Ryoko, and he was of the Royal bloodline, Ryoko and Ayeka became, by law, sisters. When Sasami had gotten a little closer, Ryo-Ohki leapt up, climbing her like her used to in the old days. Sasami giggled happily petting her old friend.

"Oh... Is this the baby? What's his name?" Sasami asked Ryoko.

"Yosho," Ryoko replied solemnly, she handed Sasami the baby, "Doesn't he look just like his father?" Sasami looked at Yosho nodding in agreement. "Would you like to hold him Sasami?" Ryoko asked. Sasami took Yosho in her arms, the small child was sleeping soundly. Ryoko looked around again, everywhere she looked, there were so many memories of Tenchi. The memories, and emotions they carried, became overwhelming. Ryoko fell to her knees, tears flowing down her face. "Why... Why did he have to take Tenchi from me?"

Sasami and Ayeka looked at Ryoko, they had heard from Washu, she had been hit very hard by Tenchi's illness, but they did not think that it had affected her that hard. Ryoko had always been the strongest among them, this was not like her. Washu looked around the small gathering.

"Look, we're all tired. Why don't we all go inside, we'll have a cup of tea, and by this time tomorrow, Tenchi should be up and around." Ryoko looked up at Washu muttering something unintelligible. "What was that Ryoko?"

"I said 'that's fine for all of you, but I want to see him first.'"Ryoko repeated. Washu helped her daughter back to her feet. It was a slow procession as the four girls, Ryo-Ohki, and the baby Yosho made their way back to the house.

WASHU'S LAB

There he lay, her husband, Tenchi. She stared at him as lay very still in the stasis pod, numerous devices attached to him keeping him alive, as well as providing updated information about his condition. Ryoko noticed that since they had put Tenchi in the pod, his hair had not grown at all. To anyone else it might have seemed a trivial thing to notice, but she remembered all the work she had to go through to make sure Tenchi stayed clean shaven and with his traditional haircut. In truth she had him keep that look because when she looked at him, she would always remember the boy who had freed her from the cave. "You are not allowed to grow old Tenchi Masaki!" she used to tell him. Ryoko leaned against the glass casing of the pod laying her cheek against it. She thought of all the cold nights when she would lay with her head against Tenchi's chest, borrowing his warmth. Ryoko's mind was tired, she had been putting her self through a lot in the last year, since Tenchi had gotten sick. She felt so weary, soon she drifted off to sleep.

Washu came over seeing Ryoko half laying on the pod, half standing. Hitting a few keys on a monitor that appeared when Washu needed it, a large platform appeared beside Ryoko. "That girl," Washu complained, "never did know when to go to bed." Washu laid Ryoko on the platform, a pillow and covers appeared around Ryoko. "Well this portable should be fine for tonight." Washu yawned. She looked at Tenchi in the stasis pod, "Tenchi I know you can't hear me, but you've got to get better. If you don't, I can see I'll lose Ryoko again. Damn you Kagato." Washu turned and left the lab to visit with the others.

Ryoko's Dream

Ryoko sat alone in a dark room. She stood, looking around trying to get her bearings. Then she heard a voice calling her name. "Ryoko..." the voice was calm, yet sinister.

"Who's there!" She yelled forming an energy staff. The voice laughed. Suddenly she saw where the voice was coming from as a figure emerged from the shadows.

"Ryoko, my dear, Do you really think that you can hurt me," the figure was Kagato. He held out one hand, beckoning her to him. "Come to me Ryoko. You are mine, now and forever. Don't fight it. I am your master."

"Ryoko!" another voice called. She looked behind her, there stood Tenchi wearing the armor he had that day he fought Kagato. "Leave her alone. She's not your slave, Kagato. Now I'm warning you one last time, back off." Tenchi demanded holding his sword ready.

"Boy! If you think you can kill me, go Right ahead and try!" Kagato boasted, forming his weapon, and charging at Tenchi. The two fighters met and exchanged sword blows, each strike sounding like thunder. Then Ryoko noticed Kagato began weakening, he seemed to struggle to counter Tenchi's blows. Finally he could block no more attacks, and Tenchi brought his sword down cleaving Kagato in half, like he had the first time.

"Tenchi," Ryoko cheered running toward him arms wide open. But just before she reached him, Tenchi grabbed his chest and began coughing. Then he looked at her with a look of pure pain just before a set of arms blasted out of his chest. The arms seemed to trash about widening the hole in his body. Then a figure emerged from Tenchi, the man to whom the arms belonged., Kagato. He looked at Ryoko as she fell to her knees, and he laughed.

[end dream]

Ryoko woke up in a cold sweat. She looked around noticing she was still in Washu's lab. Laying back down she tried to calm herself by remembering what Washu had told her, "Tomorrow Tenchi will be alive again."

DINNER TABLE

"Ryoko is very upset," Sasami said, sitting at the table rocking Yosho in the crib Washu had set up. With her other hand she stroked Ryo-ohki's fur as the tiny animal slept on her shoulder. Ayeka sat next to her at the dinner table, sipping her cup of tea.

"Yes," Ayeka said distantly, "I never would have imagined Ryoko reacting this way to Tenchi's illness. I would have figured she would continue with the brave front she always had. You know..." Ayeka sounded like she was about to say more, but she stopped, the mood in the air that night seemed too ominous, too oppressive, to do any talking.

Sasami decided she would change the subject, talk about the past, to try and cheer up her sister. "Ayeka, I was wondering. A long time ago you yelled at Ryoko when she suggested her and Tenchi took a walk. What were you thinking Ryoko said?" She asked trying to sound cheerful.

Ayeka laughed weakly, she knew what her sister was trying to do, "not now Sasami. I'll tell you when you're older." The two princesses continued to sit together in silence.

Washu came in, sitting down across from them. "Mihoshi and Kiyone will be coming in tomorrow, I think the antidote is working. Tenchi's vital signs are stabilizing. He should be up and around by tomorrow night." Washu said in a failed attempt at small talk. After a short time of sitting together, they all decided it was time for bed. Each was hoping to wake up into a happier world the next day, one where Tenchi was alive and well.

NEXT MORNING The Day before Ryoko's Birthday

The girls sat around the dinner table eating the breakfast Sasami had prepared, just like in the good old days. Everything was delicious, but no one seemed to be hungry, especially Ryoko who barely touched her food. After breakfast they all went outside enjoying the quiet sunny daylight.

Suddenly, quiet, was no longer a part of the day, as a spaceship came crashing down into the lake. Two women came crawling out of the lake.

"Mihoshi!" Kiyone yelled at her slower partner.

"I'm sorry Kiyone! I just got over excited and forgot how to land," Mihoshi tried to explain, both women were soaking wet. However other than that, each woman looked as young as they did when they first met the others.

Everyone, excluding Ryoko who watched everything that was going on around her, but seemed to notice none of it, ran out to meet them. The rest of the day passed very slowly. Everyone waited anxiously to see if Washu's prediction would come true, and the cure would save Tenchi. Kiyone explained the reason they still looked so young to the crowd of friends, "One day about 4 years ago we were given the assignment to catch a space criminal named Kenzar, wanted for robbing 200 planets and blowing up about 16. Well about 3 months ago, we finally got him. Instead of a medal however, we were given a special pill called Rejuvilite. It can restore one to their youthful self for about 6 months. It's very hard to come by, and only available to either the rich, or those that are to be honored. Since we had caught Kenzar, we qualified. We've been like this for about 3 months now, and boy does it feel great."

"I wondered why you looked so young," Washu said, "I can see why Ayeka, Sasami, Ryoko, and myself wouldn't look much older, but you two are human. Tenchi is part Jurian, so he should be able to live, oh I would say, about 200 to 250 years maybe."

"Wow Washu! That's a long time." Mihoshi announced.



Finally it was time. Everyone was now here, they all gathered in the lab excited, hoping for a miracle. Sasami held onto Yosho, since Ryoko was pacing about, and had extemely jaded nerves. "Well Tenchi," Washu said talking to Tenchi even though she knew he couldn't hear her. "Time to rejoin the land of the living." Washu pressed a few buttons on the stasis pod, and the life support devices pulled off Tenchi's body, then the pressure in the pod released, as the hatch opened. All eye's in the room were glued on Tenchi's body waiting for some sign of life. None came. Washu looked at Tenchi then shook her head, "I'm sorry" tears rolled down her eyes.

"No..." Ryoko's voice seemed tiny. "Tenchi..." Ryoko then screamed, her cries could be heard by anyone anywhere in the lab. Tears flowed freely from her eyes, she started talking to Tenchi her voice laced with rage and pain. "You told me once Tenchi a long time ago 'We only hurt the ones we love.' Well I must have loved you more than anything, because I killed you. If you have never met me, You never would have died. It's all my fault, why couldn't I have stayed locked up in that cave." Ryoko grabbed the locket she wore around her neck, and with one quick yank tore it off, throwing it to the floor. The locket she had received from Tenchi years ago, bounced a few times landing by Washu's feet. Ryoko turned, and vanished.

"Ryoko!" Sasami cried out in vain after she saw Ryoko disappear.

"Be quiet Sasami," Ayeka yelled in a voice that sounded heartless, as tears flowed down her cheeks. "Ryoko will be alright, she'll come back soon, but we must let her deal with her pain the way she feels is best."

Washu picked up the locket, and gazed at Tenchi's still form. Then Washu noticed something, "Oh..."she said tears in her eyes, a slight smile on her face.

A little later (Near Midnight) on the steps to the Masaki shrine

Ryoko stood on the steps to the shrine staring at the full moon, "this is where it all started Tenchi, and this is where it will all end." She formed an energy blade in her hand, "I realize now that with out you, my life is meaningless. So I've decided to join you in the next life." Ryoko was so engrossed in, what she thought of as, her good bye speech to life, that she did not hear someone coming down the stairs. Not until they stopped loudly behind her. "Whoever is there, just go away, I've made up my mind. Tonight I'm ending my pain once and for all." She excepted to hear Ayeka, Sasami, Washu, Kiyone, or even Mihoshi, try to convince her not to do it. She expected them to tell her why she should go one living. What she heard, she did not expect.

"Ryoko..." The voice said, "Am I going to have to cut your hand off again to stop you from being foolish." Ryoko turned slowly tears filled her eyes running like rivers down her face. It couldn't be she told herself, it's impossible. Then she saw him with her own eyes, Tenchi was alive. He stood right in front of her, smiling arms wide open.

"You always were impatient Ryoko. By the way you lost your locket," Tenchi held the locket Ryoko had thrown down only a few minutes ago, in his hand. Tenchi was about to say something else, but Ryoko launched herself at him kissing him deeply, wrapping her arms around his neck nearly choking him in her passion. Tenchi put one arm around her waist, the other he ran through Ryoko's silver hair. After a few moments Ryoko broke off their kiss looking happily into his eyes. Before Tenchi had returned, her energy had felt drained, her will to live had nearly totally vanished, but being in Tenchi's arms again reminded her just how special he was. She felt herself getting her strength back, her mind was no longer in turmoil. Ryoko felt stronger now than ever before.

"Come on Ryoko. Let's go home," Tenchi said to his teary eyed wife, he knelt down, and picked her up with some effort. His body was still weak from being in the pod.

"Oh," Ryoko giggled embarrassed, "Looks like I put on a little weight."

"You can't tell," Tenchi said his voice slightly strained.

"You always were a terrible liar Tenchi," she told him her voice still showing her emotions, as she looked at the stairway in front of them, her arms around his neck.

"Ryoko." Tenchi said, "I want you to promise me something." Ryoko looked deep into his eyes as he continued, "No matter what happens to me, I want you to promise me that you will never again say it was because of you, and that if I had never met you it wouldn't have happened. Ryoko if I never met you, MY life would not have been worth living. Now do you promise?"

Ryoko looked at her beloved, "Ok Tenchi, I'll promise you that, but you have to promise me you will never die."

"Ok," Tenchi said, "after all if I die what can you do to me?" Tenchi laughed.

"Oh don't you think your being dead will save your from me, Tenchi Masaki!" Ryoko growled smiling broadly. It wasn't too much longer before the happy couple reached the house, greeted by the others, who had been waiting for Tenchi to return with Ryoko. Tenchi set his wife down, and took his son from Sasami, holding him for the first time.

"His name is Yosho," Ayeka said her voice sounding very meek. Tenchi nodded, somehow her knew the boys name would be Yosho, and that there was no better name for his child.

Everyone went inside, and a festive party followed. Kiyone, Mihoshi, and Washu took turns singing on the karioke machine, and Ayeka whispered to her sister what she had thought Ryoko said years ago, causing Sasami's face to blush. After a few hours, Washu put Yosho to bed, and everyone went to their old rooms, with the exception of Ryoko, who slept with Tenchi. That night, Tenchi and Ryoko made love, much like they had over one year ago.

Ryoko's Birthday

When Ryoko awoke the next morning, Tenchi was gone. Ryoko panicked, and wrapped herself in a sheet. "Tenchi?" she said scared as she ran out the door of their room. "TENCHI!" Ryoko called as she came nearly falling down the stairs.

There Tenchi stood talking to everyone, laughing like he always had in the past. Ryoko ran over to her husband and hugged him close. The blanket fell off her.

"Uh Ryoko?" Mihoshi said, "did you know you're naked?" Ryoko's face glowed a bright red, just before she flew back up the stairs. Ayeka mumbles something about Ryoko still having no decency, while the others laughed.

"Looks like everything's back to normal. Like they used to be, eh Tenchi?" Sasami laughed, holding Tenchi's arm as she had when she was a child.

"Yes, Sasami it does seem that way," Tenchi said. "I can't predict the future Sasami, but I think that our adventures haven't reached their end. I think we're just at the beginning.

FINALE