Disclaimer: I do not own the Tenchi cast.  This story was written strictly for amusement purposes. 

Life Changes

Chapter 01: No one loves me

Far from Planet Earth, there is a small world, called Epsil-juon, in the Delqan System.  For thousands of years the ancient people who dwell here have lived in relative peace, in this, their own small kingdom in the Jurain Empire.  It is because of their location, and their disbelief in war, or any kind of offensive battles, which has led them to the terrible events of this very day.  Like every other day, the sun rose upon the cheerful city of Malkilon, ruling capitol of this world, showing all the beauty and splendor of this wooden planet, where nature and man live in relative harmony. 

However, the sun would not set peacefully today.  Instead as it disappeared on the horizon, it would signal the final day of this majestic and wonderful world.  For it is on this very day, when an ancient evil has cascaded down from the heavens.  A black starship with a red commander center located amidst the massive jutting spires upon its hull.  Like a demon from the darkest corner of hell, it tore through the early morning, reigning death and destruction on the unsuspecting people below.  Yet even this was nothing compared to what followed. 

After countless hours of attacks, a single warrior teleported to the city below, a beautiful woman with long cyan hair and eyes that glowed with emerald power and vile hatred.   It is this moment when the last moments of Planet Epsil-juon began, and a world was sentenced to die. 

As many citizens ran through the streets in a panic, clutching their loved ones close as they tried to find some means of transport away from the carnage, despite the fact that nearly all ships had been either destroyed or impaired due to the debris of the black vessel's attacks, the woman with glowing eyes brought the massacre to a new height of horror.  Her skills were unbelievable, those who stood before her were butchered like cattle, even those who had trained in the martial arts were nothing compared to her inhuman strength. 

Grabbing one of the dying men, who lay bleeding beside a fountain in the center of the once glorious town, the vicious demoness growled at him with a horrifying smile.  "You," she hissed, her eyes glowing malevolently as she picked the limp man's body up with one hand, "where is he?"

"Where… where is who?   What do you want from us, we've done nothing to you!"  The brown-haired citizen cried, blood and tears mingling on his cheeks as he gazed at his executioner with a look of pure fear.  "Please… let us alone, we-" With a swift turning of her arm, the lithe figure ended her prey's chatter, tossing him aside like refuse. 

Damn peasants!  Where's the man in charge?  Turning around, the murderous woman smiled at the sight she beheld.  While she had been distracted with the dying man, the remaining guards had gathered behind her, rarely used weapons draw, prepared to make a feeble attempt to saving their planet and their own lives.

One man, dressed in fine white robes adorned with a deep blue crest of a tree stepped forward.  "I am the magistrate of this planet!  I order you to leave this place at once, or we'll be forced to deal with you ourselves."

"Finally, just who I was looking for."  Grinning darkly, the cyan-haired woman threw her head back, "My name is Ryoko.  It means demon summoner.  Let me give you boys a demonstration of what that means."  Holding an arm out to each side, the sinister woman called forth spirits from the fountain behind her, small individually soon they clumped together forming a demon of water, with red eyes, massive claws, and a long wisp of a watery tail for legs.  "Go on boy," she urged her creation.  "Have some fun, but leave the magistrate for me." 

Instantly, the summoned monster reacted, lunging at the nearest solider with amazing speed.  With a single swipe of its powerful claws the beast downed the frightened man before he knew what had happened.  Those around him made a valiant effort to fight back, one even succeeding in severing on of his attackers arms, which soon grew back, before the water demon finished him as well. 

Soon only the magistrate remained, staggering back from the massacre a look of disbelief on his paling face.  "You… you… killed tehm… but why…?"

"Why not," she smirked, teleporting right in front of her foe.  Grasping his neck in a lightning swift motion, the joy faded from her voice as she slowly squeezed his neck.  "Now then, you'll tell me what I want to know, or I'll get angry.  What is the secret of Tsunami?  How can I invoke her power?"

"I…don't know," the plump man managed to breath out as he fought against her powerful grasp.  "I am not… Jurain… and even if I did know, I'd never tell you!" With a final act of defiance, the magistrate spat downward, directly onto the cyan-haired woman's face. 

Sneering the woman with emerald eyes shook her head.  "Okay then," she sighed, releasing him. "I guess I have no reason to stay.  But I will leave my friend here as a present to you…." Ryo-Ohki!  Ryoko mentally called out, tell Kagato this planet has no information on Tsunami.

MYA! MYA! A cat like voice replied into the golden-eyed woman's mind, answering her commands. 

Figures, she smirked, Kagato never did have a use for worthless things. An instant later she beamed away, leaving her horrible monster glaring at the shaking man before it, waiting for the command to strike.  It was a command that would never come, as something else was in store for this world.

As Ryoko appeared back aboard her vessel a ship thousands of times bigger than Ryo-Ohki appeared seemingly out of nowhere to rest beside her.  The large ship, adorned with large plates that jutted out horizontally form its hull, giving the appearance of plate mail from an ancient Earth samurai, soon began to pool an emerald energy at the end of its hull, and soon a tremendous amount of the evil power glowed like a sun before it.  An instant later the gathered power was released, and in a blinding light, Planet Epsil-juon was no more. 

Watching the Soja attack the defenseless planet, Ryoko gazed with a horrible grin.  "Oh well, they had their chance.  Where are we going next, Ryo-Ohki?"

"You're going to planet Jurai, my dear," an icy voice called behind her.  Spinning around the lithe woman stood face to face with a pale skinned man, dressed in green robes with a small set of glasses resting upon his nose. 

"Kagato!"  The cyan-haired woman shouted appearing flustered by her master's sudden appearance. "I thought you wanted to wait until we knew more before we attacked Jurai directly!"

"Yes I did," the white haired man announced. "But I'm getting bored with all this," he admitted, gesturing towards the dust that symbolized Planet Epsil-juon.  "And this is your last chance."

"But I did exactly what you-" stopping her mid-sentence the powerful man held one hand forward, causing unfathomable pain to arch through Ryoko's body, as she fell to the floor after her knees buckled.  "Damn you Kagato… I swear… I'll kill you!"

Laughing, Kagato shook his head, as he ended her pain.  "Oh really," he chuckled finding her words amusing.  "Why don't you do it now then?  I'm right here, vulnerable and open.  Feel free to take a shot at me."

"You're just a shadow," she hissed rising to her feet as she wiped her mouth on the sleeve of her tartan and blue dress.  "You aren't the real Kagato."

"Good, I see you can learn.  Remember you are mine, Ryoko.  Mine to command and to use, as I will.  You are my machine, made to be what I want you to be."  Reaching forward the green-cloaked figure cupped her chin between his thumb and pointer finger.  "Maybe one night, if you don't fail me again, I'll show you exactly why I made you so pretty…." Slapping her face roughly, the white-haired figure laughed again.  "But then again, you'd need a bath first, and even then I don't think anything could clean the failure from you.   You are truly a pathetic creature.  I'll be glad when we find the power of Tsunami, so I can be rid of you." Stepping back he gestured to her with one hand, "now be a good piece of garbage, and remove yourself from my sight.  You have a job to do, and I've already wasted too much of my life looking at you."  A second later, he was gone, having teleported back to his ship, where he reigned supreme.

Falling back to her knees, the slender woman felt tears roll down her cheeks.  It was the same as always was, no matter what she did, he threatened, berated, and hurt her, but there was nothing she could do about it.  Nothing anyone could do about it.  Kagato was simply too powerful.  Still his offer about a night alone with him made her flesh crawl.  I'd sooner die… she realized, sadness turning quickly into rage as she slammed one hand on the black metal floor of her ship. 

"MYA?" a floating crystal nearby asked, a picture of a strange rabbit like creature appearing before her. 

"I'm fine, but I feel like pounding on somebody.  Head toward Planet Jurai…."

"Mya?  Mya… Mya ow?" it answered. 

"No!  I don't care what happens to those idiots on Jurai!" She told her companion.  " If we're lucky, this could be our chance to be free.  If we take Jurai, then Kagato's sure to forget about me, then I won't have to…" Trailing off the slender woman shivered from something other than temperature.  "Then we'll be free, or we'll be dead.  Either way, it's better than our 'life' now.  Think about it how many times have you had to die for him?  How much pain have I endured?  We didn't ask to be what we are, and if we have to suffer, then the rest of the universe is going to as well.  Now move it, Ryo-Ohki, before I get pissed off even more!" 

With a sad meow of acknowledgement, the black starship rushed away, heading towards what could hopefully be its final battle.

Earth: Early Morning: The Living Room:  The Masaki House

Sitting up suddenly, Ryoko grasped her head, feeling the cold sweat run down her face.  Planet Epsil-juon… again… it's the same dream… just like I've had for the past two weeks… yawning the lithe woman tried to lay back down, yet as she closed her eyes she could see dream beginning once again.  At that moment her eyes snapped back open, this is just great.  Why in the world have I been remembering that place again?  Like I don't have enough trouble with Ayeka trying to take my Tenchi from me.  I don't need any more hassles! 

Laying on her back with her arms behind her head, the silver-haired woman's keen hearing suddenly heard something, the sound of distant chopping coming from the kitchen.  Sounds like Sasami's up… Hey I know!  I can help her with breakfast.  Then Tenchi will be so happy to know I worked so hard to make him breakfast that he'll forget about that flat little princess, and be all mine!  Plus if I tell Sasami my dream, then maybe they'll stop. After all she's always telling me it helps with her nightmares… Sitting up, Ryoko began to lean forward, teleporting away in the blink of an eye.

The Kitchen:

"Hi Sasami," the golden-eyed woman shouted, appearing behind the small girl, who started at the expression completely missing the vegetables she was cutting.

"Oh… hi Ryoko," the blue-haired princess said, placing one hand over her heart in an attempt to slow it's rabid beating.  "What are you doing up so early?"

"Oh nothing much," she began, quickly adding a statement under her breath in a slightly shaken tone, "bad dreams, mostly."  Then with a quick headshake the silver-haired woman looked over Sasami's shoulder. "What are you cooking?  Can I help?  Pleeeeeaaaase?"

"Well…" Sasami complained, holding a wooden spoon in her hands as she looked at the food she had been working on.  "I guess," she said caving into her friend's request, "but you have to do exactly what I tell you!" The small princess remarked shaking her spoon in warning.

However it wasn't long, before what started out as a friendly cooperative event turned into a nightmare in itself.  "No, Ryoko," the little chef declared, grabbing the bottle of sauce from her companion. "You can't add that yet, or it will…" At that moment, the boiling liquid gurgled over the edge of the pan, ruining the entire batch.  "Now I'll have to start all over on the soup," the pink-eyed child grumbled.  Suddenly looking over her shoulder, Sasami caught Ryoko just as the golden-eyed woman was about to add chucks of vegetables the size of her fist into one of the open pans.  "RYOKO!" she shouted, leaping over to stop her companion's actions. 

Laughing in an embarrassed tone, the silver-haired woman set down her tray.  "Sorry about that Sasami," she explained rubbing the back of her head tenderly.  "Say why don't we take a break.  Would you like to hear about the dream I had last night.  You see it was about my past a long time ago.  Ryo-Ohki and I were on this planet called Epsil-juon and-"

"OH!" Sasami snapped, "You ruined everything!"

Seeing her friend was upset, the lithe ex space pirate rubbed her friends head, as the pink-eyed Jurain glared at her with an agitated look. Apparently treating the young girl's ruined work as something nearly trivial was not sitting well with her.  "Don't worry, kid, I'll help you fix everything.  I mean after all how long did it take you to do all this anyway?  Five, ten minutes?"

Sagging her shoulders the girl in the large blue and pink fluffy dress sighed, "This took me an hour," she remarked, tears pouring down her face like waterfalls. "Please, just go away."

"But I want to help," Ryoko admitted. "I can help with the vegetables," she offered picking up the cleaver quickly trying to cut a carrot, which was not too hard, however as she forgot her strength, the lithe woman also succeeded in snapping the cutting board in two as well.  "Oops…" the golden-eyed helper whispered, looking to see what Sasami would do about this. 

At that moment the little girl bore an expression that showed she was about to explode.  Realizing she was in trouble, the former space pirate did what came natural in a situation like this.  She ran, leaving the blue-haired girl alone with her ruined meal, a defeated look in her eyes. 

Ryoko… she sighed, why did you have to go and break everything… Turning off the stove, the young princess felt terrible, as she realized there was only one thing to do.  "I better tell Tenchi," she told herself, "maybe he can get Ryoko to stop messing around in the kitchen…." Wiping her hand on her carrot-adorned apron, the youngest member of the extended Masaki family shook her head painfully.  It's not fair, what did I do to Ryoko to make her want to ruin my meal…?

Later: Outside:

After eating a hearty breakfast, one prepared hurriedly by Sasami, the Masaki family each went about their daily chores.  All save Ryoko, who had avoided breakfast, not wanting to see her small friends face when she told everyone what had happened earlier.  Better to let that all blow over, then come back later and apologize, the lithe woman realized as she flew high over the Masaki home.  Besides I don't want her telling everyone all at once that I'm having these dreams.  I don't care if Sasami knows about them, she's young and I know I can trust her to keep a secret, but I really don't want to explain to tell Tenchi the details of my past.  I know he's heard about a lot of it, but I don't want to burden him anymore than I have to.  It's better if he doesn't know much.

It was then the golden-eyed woman saw someone moving about near the house.  Well, well, what have we here?  Looks like Mihoshi.  She's so dumb she forgets her own name most of the time.  I really need to talk to someone, and even thought she's as slow as a turtle she is a person.  In the blink of an eye, Ryoko vanished from her position, teleporting towards her next target. 

In the warm early morning sun, the blue-eyed detective hummed happily, taking each article of clothing from a wicker basket and carefully placing it on the line.  Now let's see… she thought carefully trying to remember the instructions she had been given on how to properly handle laundry only minutes prior.  Sasami said to make sure I only do one piece at a time, that way I don't drop any of them on the ground.  That seems easy enough, she thought blankly with a matching smile.  I can't see anything going wrong with that.  Reaching behind her without looking, the slow-witted woman became rather confused, as there was no longer a basket there. "Huh?"

"Hello there," Ryoko said warmly, holding the wicker basket, resting it upon her shoulder.  "Need a hand?  You know this would go a lot quicker if you grabbed a lot of clothes at once."

"Ryoko," Kiyone called from a short distance away, as she watered the small gathering of roses.  "Just let Mihoshi do it, you're supposed to be raking leaves today I think."

"Besides… Sasami said to only do one thing at a time.  Otherwise…."

"Oh don't be such a worrier, Mihoshi," the lithe woman smiled, grabbing an armful of clothes out of the basket, dropping the remained and the container to the ground in a haphazard fashion.  As the basket struck the ground, freshly washed clothes scattered everywhere some falling on dry ground, yet most landing in an area of the nearby flower garden that had just been water moments earlier by Kiyone.  I have to hurry, if I can get this dimwit done with her chores, then I'll have someone to talk to.  Right now I don't want to handle a group, so I need to get Mihoshi out of here.

"Wait, please," the blonde woman begged, chasing Ryoko as quickly as she could, trying to catch some of the loose clothing before it hit the ground.

"What's wrong now," the over-eager helper announced. "Ready to take a break?   Come on, we can go watch that show you like.  Besides there's something I need to talk to someone about and you're just the person I had in mind." 

"I can't do that, Ryoko," the dark-skinned officer sighed.  "Now I have to start all over with the laundry…."

"Fine," she declared, dropping the clothes she had been holding.  "If you're going to act like that you can do the laundry by yourself.  "

I just don't get it, Kiyone sighed, turning off the hose to help her partner collect the clothes scattered around in the mud.  Ryoko never helps out.  She always leaves most of the work to everyone else, why did she decide to get in Mihoshi's way?  If Ayeka were doing the laundry I could understand, but Mihoshi…?   She must be up to something.  I better tell Tenchi, about this.  He'll know what to do.

Hours Later:

The Onsen:

Standing before the doors to the Onsen, the one she herself had created and given to the Masaki family, Ryoko rubbed her face tenderly.  Maybe if I have a few bottles of saki, and take a nice bath, I can calm my nerves.  Floating through the doors, the slender woman soon discarded her clothing, making her way into the steaming waters.  Yet as she arrived, a most unpleasant sight met the golden-eyed woman, as she was not the only occupant of the bath.   Oh great, Ayeka… just what I need.

"Ah, Ryoko!  There you are.  Is what I've been hearing true?" the red-eyed woman said in a voice full of mirth, as she saw her rival starting to descend into the Onsen's soothing waters.  "Have you returned to your old methods of destruction?  I figured you would one day.  It's in your blood after all…."

Looking up, the golden-eyed woman's face went completely blank as she stared at the purple-haired woman.  My old ways! What is she talking about, I may be a little rough at times, but I am nothing like I used to be…

"Isn't it true, you're on a rampage today?  First Sasami's meal, then Mihoshi's laundry, I cannot imagine what you will do for an encore. "

Preparing to respond with a rather offensive remark, Ryoko saw something just as she was about to speak.  Behind the red-eyed woman were countless bottles of saki, all empty and discarded by the proper woman.  I see, Ayeka's plastered.  That's why she's so mouthy.  Still if she is wasted, then she won't remember anything I tell her….  "I don't like doing this, but here goes," she told herself under her breath. 

"Hey Ayeka, let me tell you about this dream I had last night," the bustier of the two women remarked, forcing a laugh in an attempt to make her comrade get in the spirit of her story.  "Actually it was a real nightmare.  You see it all took place a long time ago, back before I came to Jurai, and-"

"A nightmare?" the purple-haired woman laughed.  "Aren't you a little old to be having nightmares, Ryoko?"  Chuckling under her breath, the red-eyed princess took another drink from her saki, enjoying the moment greatly.  "Although if I looked as frightful as you do, then I suppose I would have nightmares."  Laughing once again, the rather plastered royal woman shook her head. 

"So, anyway what were you saying about Jurai," she asked looking up, only to discover that she was once again alone. Snickering, Ayeka took yet another drink.  "Such rude manners… how does she ever think she'll get any help if she acts so rude towards everyone who tries to help her?"

The Living Room:

Standing before the door to her mother's workshop, Ryoko shook her head. Well the bath didn't help me relax, and I should have known Ayeka wouldn't be any help.  That damn little princess… she's always making this hard for me.  No matter how nice I try to be to her, she always starts up an insulting game.  Oh well…

Grasping the door handle firmly in her hand, the silver-haired woman tensed before turning the knob.  I'm sure Washu can help; all I have to do is resist the urge to throttle the little twerp for all her kiddy comments.  Well here goes nothing….

Washu's Lab:

As the woman in the tartan and blue dress stepped into the lab, a small crab-like structure rattle as the door bumped into it, alerting the owner of this space that she had a guest. 

"Who is it," a nasal voice called out from further in the lab.  "I'm a little busy right now, so if you could come back that would be for the best…."

"Damn it Washu," the lithe woman screamed, yawning loudly.  "I don't have time for that right now!  Where are you?"

"Oh it's you," the red-haired mother disappointedly remarked.  "I'm over her by the matter transducers."

A short walk later, the nightmare plagued woman arrived before her mother, her eyes looking rather tired from the days events.   "Look Washu…" she began.

"Uh-uh-uh," Washu said, holding up one finger warningly as she continued to work on some confusing looking machine with extreme interest.  "Please, little Ryoko, call me mom…."

Sucking in a deep breath, the golden-eyed woman spoke through clenched teeth to her emerald-eyed mother.  "Okay… Mom!  I've been having this nightmare for the past two weeks, and no one will listen to me.  I just need to tell someone, it all started long ago, back when we were still Kagato's prisoner's."

"Oh, that's nice," the smaller woman proclaimed, never looking up.  "Tell you what, tell me the rest tomorrow.  Right now I really don't have time to listen to today's gossip."

"GOSSIP!  You're not even listening to me," the silver haired daughter commented.  Slamming her fist into a nearby machine, the lithe woman's voice soon became a vicious growl.  "Washu! I'm talking to you!"

As the large machine shattered beside her, the red-haired woman looked up through her miniature bifocals, an agitated look in her eyes.  "Ryoko, I don't have time for your nonsense right now.  If all you're going to do is break stuff, then come back later.  I really don't have time to play with you.  Mommy is busy."

"But…!"

"No, I'm sorry, you'll have to go," the little genius proclaimed, getting behind her daughter, half pushed and half throwing her out of the lab.  "Don't worry we can talk tomorrow if you want, but for right now I'm very busy."  With that the super genius shut the door to her awesome laboratory, unknowingly casting her daughter out in her moment of need.

Outside Tenchi's Room:

That Night:

I don't know why I didn't come here first.  Tenchi is always nice to me, and he'll listen to me. Then the nightmares will have to stop.  I just need someone to listen to me….  Of course this means I have to talk to him about my past, and I never wanted to do that not if I didn't have to.  Yawning, Ryoko stretched her voluptuous body to its limits.  I'm so tired, but I know I can't sleep cause I won't get any rest.  Not without more nightmares.  "I better get going.  I have to find a way to end these nightmare's soon, before I fall asleep again."  With that the lithe woman took another step forward, phasing her head through the door, to peer at the young man inside.

Tenchi's Room:

In his quiet room, Tenchi Masaki sat at his desk, diligently working on something.  With his back to the door, the young man was completely unaware of the silver-haired woman's presence as she quietly drifted into his room. 

Looking at the young man's bed, the golden-eyed space pirate suddenly remembered something that had happened long ago.  When Sasami had a nightmare, she came and slept with Tenchi.  Then they stopped.  Maybe….

"Tenchi…" Ryoko began, seeing the semi-Jurain youth start as she spoke, her voice sounding unnaturally nervous on the verge of timid.  "I need to ask you something…."'

Rubbing his temples, the young man shook his head, "Ryoko," he whined, leaning over his desk as he continued to work on a ship that had somehow become stuck in a bottle. "Can't it wait until tomorrow?  I'm really tired right now, and not in the mood for your games.  I heard about the trouble you've been causing today…" he admitted in a warning tone. 

"It's no game, and I didn't mean to do anything wrong," the lithe woman admitted, rubbing her hands anxiously as her eyes darted around the room in an attempt to not look at the young man's face. "I just want to know if… well… can I sleep with you tonight."  Looking at Tenchi the silver-haired woman could tell what he was thinking.

"No," he snapped. "For the last time, I am not going to have sex with you.  Why can't you understand that," the brown-haired youth angrily asked. 

"That's not what I'm talking about, Tenchi!" she whined, "Look I just want to sleep by you.  I promise I won't tell anyone, and I'll be gone before you wake up, really."   Seeing that her beloved was more infatuated with the strange bottle than her, Ryoko swung her fist down in a swift motion, shattered the glass surrounding the ancient looking Earth vessel.   Seeing her handy work the golden-eyed woman smiled.  There, now that I got that ship out of it's container for him, Tenchi will have to listen to me.  Kneeling beside her beloved prince, Ryoko looked up at him with large tear filled eyes.  "Please let me stay here, I'm feeling especially vulnerable right now, and I don't know what I'd do if I had to be alone for another night…. You're my only hope left Tenchi…."

Oh man… the brown-haired young man gasped mentally.  I've been working on that ship in a bottle for months now! It was the only thing I had to escape the insanity of my life, and Ryoko just broke it to pieces! Grabbing the busty woman by the underarm, the Jurain youth angrily helped her back to her feet. "Like I haven't heard you try this one before…." Half dragging, half carrying the pleading demoness, Tenchi opened the door with his free arm.   "Now please," he said, his voice melting as if it were about to snap. "Just go.  I'll see you tomorrow."

"But Tenchi…" the golden-eyed woman said, tears trickling down her face.  "That won't be until after tonight, and-"

"Goodnight Ryoko," the young man sighed impatiently, not seeing the busty space pirate's tears.  "Just get some sleep, that's what the rest of us do at night."  At that moment he closed the door, and left the scared woman alone in the dark hallway.

Kneeling in defeated on the floor, the silver haired woman's tears continued to fall like rain.  No… not you too Tenchi.  Looking up, the lithe woman reached her hand towards the door, thinking she would simply phase through it.  Yet something deep inside stopped her.  I could get back in there easy, but what good would it do?  Tenchi would just throw me out again.  Maybe I could just watch him tonight, like I always do.  No.  That's not enough anymore; the dreams are too strong now.  I have to think of something else.

Clutching her hands into fists, the slender woman vanished, filling the air with a hiss, as she teleported far away. 

Outside:

The Dock:

As the moon hung high in the sky, a cool breeze blew across the still lake, causing the woman, who stood alone on the pier's, tight tartan and blue dress to blow slightly in the wind.  Sighing, Ryoko tossed a stone across the lake, watching it skip numerous times before landing on the far side of the lake.  Suddenly a faint clicking noise from behind caused the lithe woman to turn, seeing an old man in white robes with gray hair, coming out of the Masaki home. 

"What are you doing down here?" she snapped, in no mood to be bothered by her former archenemy.  "Aren't you Shinto priests supposed to stay in your temples?"

"Normally, but I felt the winds changing, as if something important was about to occur," the eldest Masaki admitted.  "So, I came to see how everyone was fairing in this storm, but apparently they are all already asleep.  What you doing up?"  He asked with a smile, " Planning something for my grandson?"

With a forced laugh, Ryoko shook her head.  "Is that all I am to everybody, a pretty face that is obsessed only with sleeping with Tenchi?" 

Seeing his attempt at humor had become offensive, the old man bowed slightly.  "I apologize I did not meant to ridicule you, Ryoko.  I merely-"

"Save it," she growled.  "I don't care anymore.  See I've been out here for a while now, thinking about some stuff, my dreams, my past, and … my future."

"Oh," Lord Katsuhito replied, "have you found any answers to your questions?"  Looking squarely into his deep red eyes, she nodded, saying nothing as her eyes told the whole story.  It was a look the man who was once called Yosho knew very well, for he had also bore it at one time.  "I see," he admitted.  "I will let the others know.  Where will you go?"

"It doesn't matter, no one wants me here anyway.  Just tell them I'm gone and that they better not bother me anymore, my future obviously isn't here.  It's time for me to make a few changes in my life," making her remark, the lithe woman began to walk away from the house, each footstep taking tremendous effort.  She could feel her former enemies eyes piercing into her back, and for a brief moment she stopped walking.

Who needs them anyway, the lithe woman thought timidly, clenching one fist in front of her before peering back at the quiet house for the last time, as a tear rolled down her cheek.  I'm a big girl, and can take care of myself.  They were all too busy to listen to me when I had a problem, so who needs them?   Taking another step forward, the saddened space pirate turned her attention to the ground in front of her, deciding in her current mood to walk instead of fly. 

A few minutes later, as Yosho watched, the silver haired woman disappeared down the path, exiting his, and everyone else's life, perhaps forever. I was right; the winds of life have changed.  I wonder if I should rejoice as Tenchi's life will now be simpler, or feel sad, as Ryoko has started down a new road alone, thinking there is nothing for her to fall back on.  Looking past the house towards his temple, the gray-haired Masaki shook his head.  "I suppose prayer is in order."  Glancing in the direction the woman who had led him to Earth had gone Lord Katsuhito smiled. "Good luck, old friend may you have a safe journey."

Next Time:  The next chapter marks the end of Ryoko, and the birth of a new character.  Meanwhile how will the gang act now that Ryoko is gone?  Is this Ayeka's time to shine, or will she mess it up? 

Chapter 02: A Purpose is found