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The Lair of Dragonwiles
fanfictions both comedic and serious
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|Chapter 1||Main||Chapters||Chapter 3|
No Need For Legends
Tenchi says through a studio microphone to the audience, "Hello, I'm Tenchi Masaki, and I've been asked to be your disc jockey, playing an opening theme song for this chapter. I realized that a good one for this chapter would be the theme song for the first Tenchi OVA. A little obvious, I guess, but, it works!" He begins playing the song.
Tenchi Masaki stood outside the cave.
Both his hands rested on the hoe by his side. He could afford a few minutes' rest from his solitary labor in the fields. The air was still, and his close-cropped black hair was undisturbed. Multitudes of cicadas chirruped as the sun began slowly to rise. Tenchi's brown eyes stared into the cave's dark mouth as he pondered.
For as long as he could remember, he had been drawn to this spot as much as he had been drawn to the story. This cave, Tenchi had been told by his grandfather Katsuhito Masaki, was a dangerous place, for a demon had been sealed there. He recalled the story easily, for he had often asked his grandfather for its retelling, and Tenchi loved to come to this spot and think about it.
Whenever Tenchi asked him to tell the story, his grandfather would get that faraway look behind his glasses, staring off into the distance through his own violet eyes, and begin, "Know, Tenchi, that this is a true story. Seven centuries ago, two terrible demons came to this land, with a power that no one could contest. Three gems for power had they, endowing them with energy beyond comprehension. The rage of their hearts was like a forest fire. Many faraway cities were consumed in the blaze. These demons could have ravaged the entire land if they were not stopped." Five years ago, when he was about twelve, Tenchi began to notice that his grandfather's hand would always clench at that part.
Grandfather would continue, "Someone did contest them. A mighty warrior on a vessel formed like a tree came to our land, and fought with the demon Ryoko. With his sword Tenchi, he parried and smote. His tree also had the breath of life, and it was named Funaho, and it contested with the second demon, Ryo-ohki. The shock of the battle of Funaho and Ryo-ohki was such as to rend the land asunder and create the great lake near our dwelling. The fury of the warrior and Ryoko whirled as loud and fast as a typhoon. For many days and nights the clamor of these four combatants resounded on the hills and great bolts of light could be seen as far away as the mountains, and even the starry host above.
"Eventually, the warrior and his vessel prevailed," and here Grandfather would relax his hand. "His ship Funaho sealed Ryo-ohki the swift in the lake. The warrior sealed the other demon, Ryoko the terrible, in this very cave. The three gems he set in the hilt of Tenchi. This warrior was your ancestor, and his name was Yosho."
When Tenchi was much younger and hadn't heard the story so often, he would always say, "Grandpa, Tenchi's my name!" His grandfather would laugh and ruffle his hair. When Tenchi grew slightly older and wiser, he asked for the first time, "Grandfather, when you tell this story to myself and Dad, you never put Dad's name in for the name of the sword. Why?"
"As I told you," Grandfather said seriously, "this is a true story, not like the old stories where I insert the audience's names to keep them interested. You were named after the sword." Tenchi had then asked, "Why?" Grandfather would reassume the faraway look and say, "I will tell you when you are older."
Tenchi stirred from his reverie. He should finish tending the last plot before breakfast.
Tenchi wasn't overly tired, yet he wanted to just sit on the nearby rocks and watch the cave longer. He shook his head, and turned away, feeling an odd, wistful sadness.
It was an odd feeling, because he had nothing to be sad about. He was content with his life here. Tenchi shrugged and kept walking.
He approached the large, two-story house his father Nobuyuki had built for his mother Achika. It was a wonderful dwelling place, large, expansive, pleasing to the eye, with a wonderful view of the lake and the forest. Unfortunately, all this land had a price, and that price was being far out in the country. They couldn't have afforded this wonderful home in the suburbs or the city. His father complained about the commute to his office a great deal, but he was an architect, and he had designed this home for the woman he loved. The long commute was a small price to pay.
Tenchi sighed for a short moment as he walked. He wished his mother could've lived longer and enjoyed more of her life in that house with them. It had many rooms, built in a time when his parents had imagined they would have many children. Tenchi, however, had been their only child when his mother perished. Now the rooms were empty, and sometimes the voids lent the house a dead and lonely air of silence.
Katsuhito Masaki, Tenchi's grandfather, paced slightly in his room in the house. For many years he had been aware of the presence and stirring in the cave. He should've been more alarmed, but he sensed that the presence there was different. It was softer now; still proud, but willing to change its ways. The presence had dwelt on Tenchi ever since he was born, and most of its changes had occurred as it watched his grandson.
He shook his head slightly. He had thought everything could stay the same. When he first came to this area, he had imagined that everything would remain the same forever. Katsuhito now realized that was impossible. Nothing had truly ever remained the same. He and his daughter Achika had moved from their old house on this land into this new house Nobuyuki, his son-in-law, had built. Achika had given birth to Tenchi, and later Achika had passed away. There was always change occurring. Someday, Katsuhito mused, his own father would die. Many changes would occur then. It was time he, Katsuhito Masaki, prepared for the changes.
Tenchi was still too young, he reckoned. Katsuhito had instructed him in honor. Tenchi excelled in swordsmanship, and he had potential and plenty of discipline. Still, Tenchi needed more experience. The preparations, though, they could begin now.
Katsuhito climbed the steps to Tenchi's room on the second floor. "Tenchi!" he called.
Tenchi opened the sliding door to his room. "Yes, Grandfather?" he responded.
"Do you still want to go inside the cave?" Katsuhito asked. A few feet inside the entrance, an iron gate had been installed so that animals would not make a home and foolish humans wouldn't get hurt and sue them. Katsuhito had never let Tenchi go beyond the gate.
Tenchi nodded eagerly. "We'll have to see if you've trained well enough," Katsuhito informed him. "The keys to the gate are inside my pocket here," he slapped the pocket, and the keys jangled, and he felt their cool smoothness through the cloth on his hand and chest. "If you can take them from me, then you may enter the cave."
There was a certain facial expression Tenchi had whenever he tried for something that was clearly out of his reach. Katsuhito recalled that it often appeared on Tenchi's countenance when he tried to reach farther than his arms stretched, or when he strove to complete all of his chores in a quarter of an hour. It couldn't be denied, though, that sometimes when he wore that expression and backed it up with determination, he succeeded.
This was not one of those times. Tenchi rushed at Katsuhito headlong, with no style or defensive blocks. Katsuhito swept Tenchi's feet out from under him with a kick and shoved him into the wall.
"Remember what I told you about defensive positions, and keep working at them," Katsuhito told him, and left the room, leaving Tenchi half buried in the wall. As he had thought, Tenchi still needed some more experience. Probably in another year he'd be ready. He walked down the hall.
"I had a very good teacher," Tenchi said behind him. Katsuhito turned around in surprise to see Tenchi grinning from ear to ear and holding up the keys. Katsuhito slapped his pocket and felt nothing.
Katsuhito smiled wryly. Indeed, nothing remained the same. "Then let us go to the cave."
"This seems awfully risky, Grandpa," Tenchi said to Katsuhito as they neared the cave. "Are you sure the demon's had a change of heart?"
"There's only one way to find out," Katsuhito said simply. "Besides which, we really shouldn't leave something as dangerous as that demon locked up. What if it got loose someday and caught us unaware? Better to face it now when it is weak and we are armed."
Tenchi gulped. He hadn't been anticipating a fight. So far as he knew, neither he nor his grandfather had on their person so much as a garden knife. Their wooden practice swords were at the grove where they trained, some distance from here.
"Once you get inside the cave," Yosho reassured him, "you can use Tenchi to fight the demon, if necessary."
"Oh, yeah, of course. And then I just have to cut off all three of her gems like Yosho did in the legend. Then I'd beat her for good! You're right, I was getting worried for nothing!" Tenchi laughed. Katsuhito simply smiled with a faraway look. Tenchi stopped laughing. He knew that look. It was the one Grandpa always gave him before giving him an insanely difficult task, like hopping across a stream- while walking on his hands.
Grandfather rested on a rock while Tenchi entered the cave. Tenchi unlocked the gate and proceeded inside the cave for the first time in his life. He felt the cool air on his skin a moment, then turned on the flashlight he'd brought from the house and went inside.
Tenchi the sword he found lying in honorable repose- and a great pile of rust and dust. Tenchi picked it up with disappointment. "Well, I guess it only stands to reason that it'd rust over if you left it in cave for 700 years. How am I gonna fight a demon with this, though?"
He decided to swing it about a bit anyways. It had good balance, he'd say that for it. To his amazement, the entire blade suddenly was flung off the wooden hilt. Tenchi counted himself fortunate that he wasn't in its path- instead it clanged off the cave wall and fell to the floor.
"Tenchi!" his grandfather called from outside the cave. "Break the seal on the demon!"
"Tenchi's blade just came off!" Tenchi shouted back. Katsuhito shrugged and shouted back, "That's not its real blade! It was affixed later! Just use it as though it had a blade." Tenchi furrowed his brow. "The blade was put on later? What do you mean?" Katsuhito replied, "It says so in the scrolls! Just do it!"
"Oh, whatever," Tenchi muttered in frustration. He finally got inside the cave and all it had was darkness and dampness and a rusty sword. Why had he always liked this cave anyway?
After a few moments, he used his flashlight to locate a rock with writing and a large node of tree roots resting on it. There were no trees this close enough to the cave that there would be this many roots here. Pushing that thought aside, Tenchi guessed that the writing was the seal. He tried to pretend that the sword now had an invisible blade and sliced through the rock with it, but nothing happened. Irritated, he slammed the hilt on the rock, and to his surprise, the roots withdrew and the rock cracked in half. The hilt had almost seemed to glow for a moment.
Tenchi moved his flashlight as he heard a rustling. For a moment he thought the whole far wall was covered in flailing worms. Upon further observation, it turned out that the whole far wall had been covered in tree roots, which were now withdrawing. As they left, a crack appeared in the middle of the wall, which lengthened until it reached from floor to ceiling. Only two massive roots now remained, one on each side of the crack. They pulled in opposite directions, and the rock slid horizontally, making the crack into a gap wide enough for a person to fit through with ease. Those two roots now withdrew as well. Tenchi pointed his flashlight at the ceiling, but all the roots had totally disappeared.
Stepping through the gap, Tenchi almost slipped. The stone floor was slick and set at a very steep angle. The beam of the flashlight showed him that a vast network of grooves collected and held the seepage, lending the air a musty old smell. Tenchi tried to proceed normally, but slipped again and fell to the end of the passage.
When he picked himself off the floor, he was surprised to note the motes of light in the large chamber, which sometimes would change positions rapidly. He turned off his flashlight. The circular room was arranged around a depression in the floor, full of water and a large glowing ball of light. Tenchi stepped towards it and was amazed to see something like a human dessicated and gnarled, with an inhuman face and no skin, half submerged. He was thankful it did not smell. The thing stretched out its full length on its back. Tenchi hadn't noticed that as he approached it, the three gems in his sword began to glow.
It had previously been totally motionless, but with a faint rippling of the water, it began to move. Tenchi swallowed hard. The motes of light began to zip about. The main ball of light fused with the creature as it sat up, and now it stood up and faced Tenchi. The thing made a rasping cackle, and Tenchi grasped the flashlight tighter.
"Ryoko," Tenchi croaked out, for he was sure this was the demon, "change your ways and surrender to me. Stop destroying things or we'll have to kill you."
Its eyes glowed, and all the motes of light in the room dove into its form, drenching the cave in starless night. The thing moaned at him, "Tenchi, 700 years is a long time to be trapped in this darkness." Tenchi slipped and took a step backwards. "Yosho did it all to me," it groaned, "and I desire revenge." Without even touching the floor, it rose a few inches and advanced on Tenchi.
Irritated, Tenchi pointed out, "But I didn't seal you in here! Why take your revenge on Yosho out on me?" It didn't listen and continued to advance. Tenchi's heart pounded; he was perilously close to the wall, and running out of room to maneuver, trapped in the dark with a mummy demon. He ran for the remembered location of the sloping incline and pulled himself up it with all his might, heaving himself back up whenever he lost his purchase on it.
Gaining the summit, he rushed to the sealing rock and tried to rejoin it to no avail. He stayed very still in an attempt to hide, but when Ryoko gained the top of the stairway he could sense the demon turned towards him. Tenchi turned his flashlight on the creature and let out a yelp of surprise. He ran the beam up and down it. The thing had entirely changed. To his utter astonishment, Ryoko now appeared to be a comely young woman, except for her left arm, which was still mummified. As he watched, she muttered in a newly-gained smooth and young voice, "Oh yeah," and ran her right hand along her left arm. A small red gem on her right wrist lit up, flesh contorted and was created, and when this was done, the arm was restored and clad in a blue sleeve matching the rest of her outfit.
Tenchi turned the flashlight beam back on her face and was surprised to see the light reflect back from her eyes when he held the flashlight at a certain angle. "Stop that," Ryoko complained. Tenchi suddenly realized he'd been holding the light in her eyes in an attempt to make the reflection occur again. "Uh, sorry," he managed to say. Then he remembered himself and asked, "Demon Ryoko, do you renounce your former ways of violence? Cuz if not, I've gotta stop you. I mean, I like my house, and I don't want you to blow it up."
Ryoko smiled fiercely at him and laughed. "Now, Tenchi, about my revenge," she chuckled, and launched herself through the air at him like a missile. Tenchi barely dodged, accidentally dropping the flashlight, and she plowed into the cave wall, furrowing it with a great crack and showering Tenchi in rock splinters. Retrieving her fist from the cave wall, she swung it at Tenchi, and he found himself flung against the other wall ten feet away.
Tenchi was trying to recover himself from this shock when he saw a red glowing light, the only thing he could see at this point. Quarrels with red luminescence launched out at him from the one red light as Ryoko laughed again. Tenchi threw himself to the floor and was again showered with detritus from the quarrels' impacts on the rock wall behind him.
"C'mon, Tenchi," Ryoko sighed, "I thought you'd be having fun." Tenchi hurled himself at the red light which he knew was on her wrist and struck where he guessed her face would be. He was only off a little, hitting her cheek, but he was confused a moment. The way his hand hurt, it felt more like he had assaulted the stone of the cave. Changing tactics, he grabbed the red light and tried to throw Ryoko against the wall, but to his utter surprise she disappeared with a laugh while his hand was firmly closed around her wrist. His eyes were now adjusted to the tiny light admitted from the far off entrance, and he could see that she had reappeared several feet away.
"That was more fun!" Ryoko grinned, "No, Tenchi, you aren't Yosho. Still, I do need some exercise to wake me up after such a long nap." Tenchi looked down at the floor, but there wasn't enough light to see clearly. Perhaps he could bludgeon her with the flashlight, as though that'd help against a flying demon who could punch through rock. He scrabbled about, couldn't find the flashlight, but he realized that he was still tightly clutching the hilt of the sword, so brandished that instead.
Ryoko snapped her fingers. "How silly of me! Give that to me!" Tenchi shook his head, "No way!" he yelled though he had no idea how he could prevent her. She was too fast to escape. He'd just have to stop her somehow, though she was probably going to kill him. Well, at least he wouldn't have to work those fields every day if she killed him!
It was something of a shock to see that there was now a glowing blue blade emanating from the sword.
"Tenchi, dear," Ryoko demanded, "just give it over. I don't want to do this again."
"Hyaaaiii!" Tenchi shouted and charged. He was feeling a lot better, now that he had his own lightsaber! This was really cool, his own- and then Ryoko created a short column of red energy in her right hand and stood to face him. "Great," Tenchi thought, "now we both have lightsabers. What, is she going to cut off my hand and tell me she's my mother?"
Tenchi used all of his practice in swordplay, swinging his sword in a short arc. Ryoko blocked it and tried to punch him with her left hand, but he had twisted away and used the momentum to strike at her legs. She backed up and he feinted, then he aimed a vicious strike at her unguarded midsection, he had her now- and she teleported back several feet. Tenchi ran forward, dodging the energy blasts he'd guessed she'd aim at him. She barely had time to reform the saber before he crossed blades with her again. She forced his arm back, but he disengaged his sword and struck at her head. She sidestepped smoothly and complained, "How dare you strike at a pretty girl's face!"
They were around a bend in the tunnel and nearly at the mouth of the cave now, there was light to see by, and Tenchi had to admit it was a pretty face, though her cyan hair and golden, catlike eyes, were hard to get used to. He pointed out nevertheless, "Who cares! All you want to do is blow stuff up! You're a monster!"
Ryoko glared at him now, as a red arc traveled the length of her saber. "A monster?" she growled. Tenchi swallowed hard. Suddenly she struck a blow to free his head from his shoulders; he ducked and she teleported behind him. Tenchi turned around barely in time to prevent her blade from severing his legs, and took four steps back from the force of the encounter. On the second step, he had to block an incursion upon his left side that Ryoko threw at him to keep him off-balance. After finally recovering from these assaults, Tenchi backed up a few more steps in hopes of getting some time to think, but Ryoko flew at him to close the distance.
She was low to the ground, so Tenchi couldn't duck. The tunnel was now too narrow to sidestep. He instead ran backwards the last few steps out of the cave, and with this room to maneuver sidestepped. Ryoko flipped onto her back and looked at Tenchi, still flying, as she emerged from the cave. Tenchi leaned forward to attack her, and she raised her right hand and saber to block it. Tenchi wasn't quite sure what he meant to do, or what had actually happened, but in the next few seconds he realized that Ryoko was standing before him, minus her right hand.
Tenchi wished he was less startled so he could think more coherently; all that seemed to be occurring in his head was the idle thought, "Well, I'm certainly not her father!"
For several seconds more they just stood like that, then Ryoko said lightly, "Oh, don't worry about that!" A duplicate gem had somehow appeared on her left hand, which she clamped to her stump. She moved her hand forwards, and her right hand reappeared. The gem on her left wrist was absorbed into the hem of her sleeve, and a gem simultaneously appeared and swelled to full size on her right wrist.
"Wow!" exclaimed an awestruck Tenchi. Ryoko smiled and told him, "Thanks, Tenchi. I'll see you soon, cutie!" She promptly phased into the ground. Tenchi cried, "Huh?" and ran forward, examining the spot where she had disappeared. "Grandpa?" he asked, still looking at the spot. He looked up and realized his grandfather was nowhere in sight. "Grandpa?" he called louder.
Katsuhito emerged from his hiding place. "I was watching the results of your training," he informed Tenchi. Tenchi stared back. "You're not calling me a liar, are you?" Katsuhito asked threateningly. "No, just wishing you would've helped out more," Tenchi grumbled. Katsuhito clapped him on the back of his shoulder, complimenting him, "From an old man like me? You did fine on your own." They returned to the house uneventfully.
That night, the old, giant tree near the house thought to itself a moment, "I hope you know what you're doing." It finished checking the roots it had retracted and confirmed they were unharmed after sealing Ryoko for so long. A series of rainbow beams suddenly burst from the underside of the tree's branches and leaves. The beams bounced reflected perpendicularly off the water surrounding the tree and rose into space, bearing a message.
Azaka, a large, painted, loglike robot, comments, "In the next chapter, the lovely Princess Ayeka arrives on planet Earth!"
Kamadaki, a similar robot, but painted in a different color, agrees, "She tries to take the law into her own hands and subdue Ryoko."
Azaka continues, "Will Tenchi's family survive this encounter?"
Kamadaki concludes, "Don't worry, we'll be there to protect everyone in the next chapter, No Need For Alien Abduction."
The two logs bow, and Azaka whispers, "What do we do now?"
"I think we stay like this," Kamadaki whispers back, still bowed.
Azaka remains inclined and whispers again, "How long?"
A silence falls on the stage.
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