yeah yeah yeah... legal stuff... i don't own anything from Tenchi Muyo!, Tenchi Universe, Tenchi in Tokyo, any of the movies, blah de blah blah blah... it's all on Pioneer and whoever else has copyrights to it... ¬¬* i'm just a lil fanfic writer, so KEEP AWAY FROM MY PENNIES! i like my pennies! they're my friieends! so leave them alone!! Grr... as if I could ever own Tenchi... bahh... the only things so far in this fic that I own, MEE!, are Torimu, Dirtball, and Qorath. so MEH!
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Tenchi sighed, leaning against the hoe, and smiled. Weeding the carrot field was rough work, but he enjoyed it. The last of the weeds uprooted, he was taking a short break before joining his grandfather for his training. Ryo-oki padded up to him in her toddler form, grinning at him. Tenchi laughed at her cute expression, saying, "Don't worry Ryo-oki, the carrots will be ready soon." She miowed happily in response, and wandered off to help Sasami in the kitchen. Tenchi sighed again, watching her go, and put his hoe up. Trudging up the steps to the shrine, he reflected on the peacefulness of the forest around him...

*TWACK!*

Tenchi yelped slightly as a wooden pole hit his back. Katsuhito's eyes showed much amusement, but he didn't smile. He merely handed Tenchi his, and they began the training routine. "Remember, eyes on the chest, not the hands. The chest shows most accurately the moves of your foe," Katsuhito instructed. Tenchi managed to dodge three lightning fast blows before the grey-haired man before him knocked his feet out from under him. Rubbing his head, he got back up, and they began again.

***

From her hiding place in a nearby tree, Ryoko giggled softly to herself. She sighed, then frowned. Why was she doing this? Why was she spying on him? The answer came, simply and quickly. She loved Tenchi, with all her heart and soul, and needed to be near him. But it used to be so easy to push her feelings down. Ever since she and Zero had melded, it was so much harder to hide her feelings from him. But why should she hide her feelings? Didn't Tenchi love her, too? The answer to that question did not come back as quickly as the first, and it was not as reassuring. She didn't really know. He always seemed so exasperated with her when she tried to hug him. Maybe she should just leave. Sighing, she decided that maybe that was truly best. Then, he could claim Ayeka without having to worry about hurting her feelings. She called Ryo-oki to her, and told her to transform into spaceship mode.

"Miyaa?" asked Ryo-oki. Ryoko sighed. "We have to go for a while," Ryoko responded. "Mya myaa? Miyaa!" the cabbit exclaimed. Ryoko laughed. "Of course we'll come back, someday. Just need to take a vacation, kay?" Ryo- oki transformed reluctantly, but Ryoko ihad/i said they would be back... She just hoped it would be a quick trip. Ryoko phased aboard, and they left.

Tenchi glanced up to see if it was Yagami taking off, and was rewarded with a glimpse of grey and brown before Katsuhito's bokken slammed him to the ground. "Never let your attention wander, Tenchi," he said, helping him back up. Tenchi scanned the skies, but by that time they had disappeared into the blue.

***

"Ryo-oki! Ryo-oki! Where are you?" called Sasami worriedly. She had searched high and low for the little cabbit, only to find no trace of her. "Ayeka, Mihoshi, Kiyone, I think Ryo-oki's missing!" she said unhappily, running into the living room. Ayeka and Mihoshi were absorbed in some sappy romantic show, but Kiyone looked up from the book she was reading. "Kiyone, I think Ryo-oki's missing!" Sasami repeated. Kiyone smiled.

"She's probably just off visiting Tenchi or the carrot fields, or she might even be with Washu," the green-haired police agent said reassuringly. "I'm sure she'll turn up." Sasami nodded slowly, then went back to the kitchen to finish making lunch. Surely she would turn up soon, just like Kiyone said. Sasami smiled confidently. If all else failed, Ryo-oki would definitely be home for dinner.

***

Ryoko leaned back in the one chair. Ryo-oki's face appeared in one of the crystals nearby, and miowed unhappily. "Dinnertime? Already?" Ryoko said, astonished. She had been lost in her thoughts for that long? She sighed, shaking her head to dispel the dark, painful memories of the time she'd been trapped in that terrifying cave. Of the countless times she'd killed people, innocent people. Children. And she had laughed. Ayeka was right to call her a demon, regardless of the fact she had not been her own.

"Miyaaa!" Ryo-oki said comfortingly. Ryoko smiled wanly at her. "Let's stop off at the next system, I guess I'm hungry too." Ryo-oki's face disappeared from the crystal, and she set her course.

***

Sasami was really beginning to worry now. Neither hide nor hair of Ryo-oki had been seen all day, and it was dinnertime. Tenchi came in from the baths, cleaned up and refreshed. Ayeka and Mihoshi wandered in from the living room, discussing whether or not Kori should have left Mizuko for Kashira. Kiyone came in from working on Yagami, and Washu even deigned to leave her laboratory for dinner. "Have any of you seen Ryoko or Ryo-oki?" she asked as they settled around the table. All of them commented that they hadn't, not since breakfast. "Miss Washu, do you think you could find them?" Sasami asked her pleadingly.

"Of course I could! I'm the universe's greatest scientific mind ever!" she said, giving her the V-sign. Sasami grinned. Washu would find them, they were probably just busy somewhere. Tenchi thought back on the day. "I think they might have left," he said slowly. "I thought I heard a spaceship taking off, and I think I saw a flash of brown and grey, but I'm not too sure." Sasami stared at him aghast. "But... why?" she asked tearfully. Nobody had an answer for her, and she fled the room, crying.