Set page style to Cave Set page style to Fanfiction Set page style to Parchment
Chapter 45 Main Chapters Chapter 47

No Need for Schooling

Yosho sits in a seat and announces, "I'm Yosho, and I'm going to be your DJ for this episode, at the request of Dragonwiles. Our theme song for this chapter will be 'Friends Never Say Goodbye', a song which Dragonwiles doesn't own, from a movie, 'The Road to El Dorado', which Dragonwiles does not own." A sly grin spread across his face. "Dragonwiles doesn't own much, does he?" He presses a button, and the melancholy song begins to play.

1970 A. D.

Ayeka and Ryoko fairly soon had a rather serious quarrel as they headed towards the town. They were on foot, and flight on their own powers was risky, especially since they were supposed to be inconspicuous. However, Tenchi's grandfather's house, situated nearly where Tenchi's house would be in the future, was very far from the town. The campsite where Ayeka and Ryoko had begun from was a fair distance from Tenchi's house alone, and it would probably be some time before they made it into town. Two young women in school uniforms wandering about the town an hour or two after school had started would be very conspicuous.

There was almost nothing to be done about this now, but it still annoyed them, an almost unbearable addition to the lingering unease resulting from Tenchi taking so hard the insistence of most of the group that he not get too close to his mother here in the past. As a result, Ryoko was even more adamant than usual that a shortcut she knew to the bus stop would get them there in half the time, and Ayeka was more stubborn than usual that Ryoko would certainly get them lost despite having had seven centuries of remote observation to learn the lay of the land.

Eventually Ryoko agreed that they would not use the shortcut, and they were totally silent for the next twenty minutes. They arrived at the small bus stop. As in the future, it was little more than a sheltered bench by the side of the road. Finding themselves to be the only people waiting there, they both sat on the bench.

Ayeka glanced at the schedule posted on the wall, felt some disappointment that they would definitely be arriving in town later than she would've liked, and looked back at the road.

Ryoko said suddenly, "We're not going to talk to her, right?"

"Of course we are not going to meet Lord Tenchi's mother," Ayeka said dully, feeling too drained and too surprised at this exclamation to take offense at Ryoko's pushy tone.

"It just wouldn't be fair," Ryoko continued. "If you're going to insist that Tenchi has to be so many meters away from his mother, then it's not fair for any of us to talk to her."

"I never said that," Ayeka said, starting to feel her anger rise again.

Ryoko scoffed, "Well, you didn't want Tenchi to get too close to his mother, somehow, or it'd blow up time or something. Now that I come to think about it, you were awfully vague on the details, and even on the reasons why your idea made sense."

"Not that it's any concern of yours," Ayeka said defensively, "but just to set the record straight, I was solely concerned about the welfare of Lord Tenchi and his mother. I will admit that the conversation this morning about how to preserve their welfare didn't go as well as I had hoped."

"You were thinking there was a way that conversation could possibly have gone right?" Ryoko asked incredulously.

"Like the people of Earth say," Ayeka shot back, "you were part of the problem, and not part of the solution."

"Just because I disagreed with you?" Ryoko asked, then went on, "Anyhow, we're not going to take advantage of a chance talk to her, when she hasn't the opportunity to talk to her own son."

They made it into town without attracting too much attention or suspicion -their altered hair and eye colors, courtesy of Washu, contributed to that. They made it to the school that Tenchi's father had told them that he and Tenchi's mother attended. When the street was empty, they climbed up a tree, then spent a few moments silently and subtly jostling for a better position, before using some of the surveillance equipment Washu had sent along to hear and to some extent see inside of the classroom where Tenchi's mother was.

Staying on the branches of a tree grew more and more uncomfortable, for no matter how much they shifted their limbs, they were still lying against an unyielding, tough substance, while also having to maintain their balance.

Ayeka was trying to get her mind off of all of this when she thought of something. Alarmed, she said to Ryoko, "You told me shortly before Kagato attacked that you often remotely watched Lord Yosho and his family! What if, while your past self is watching Achika, you catch sight of us!"

Ryoko blinked, and put a finger to her chin in hard thought.

Ayeka waited, thinking to herself of the possible consequences to the space-time continuum.

"I think I'd have remembered if I saw either of us, or anybody in our group," Ryoko told her finally. "Of course, I don't quite remember this period of time very well, it was very boring."

"Oh, that's very hepful!" snapped Ayeka. "Even if you didn't see us before, what if we're changing history now and you do catch sight of us?"

"I'm sealed in a cave," Ryoko began to say dismissively, but stopped and grimaced. "Okay, this time travel talk is getting really weird. The other me, who belongs in this time, is sealed in a cave. What could she possibly do to us?"

Ayeka felt like she wasn't getting through to Ryoko, "But seeing us in the past could give you - or, I mean, her, knowledge to change the future!"

"Say, that'd be pretty cool!" Ryoko said, excited now. "I should go swing by and tell myself some stuff! Better yet, why not try and break myself free!"

"Ryoko, what do you think would happen to your own sanity, let alone the space-time continuum, if you saw yourself!" Ayeka shrieked.

"I was just kidding - mostly," Ryoko grumped.

A passerby looked up at the tree they were perched in, and said, "Huh? What are you two doing up there?"

"Nothing!" the two said as they hastily vacated the tree. The passerby gawked after them.

They scurried around to the other side of the school, where they had to repeat the process of finding a suitable tree, then finding a branch that could support their weight and afforded a decent view of Achika's classroom. It took them two or three trees until they finally found one, and it provided a worse vantage point than the tree on the other side.

"Nice going, Ayeka," Ryoko grumbled.

Ayeka steamed in her own embarrassment and frustration.

Ryoko blinked, then said, "Oh, I finally remember now! I was mostly watching Yosho this decade. I start watching Achika more frequently in about two years. Then I really started watching Nobuyuki a lot as the two of them started building the new house. So, we aren't really in danger of seeing me."

Ayeka was hardly relieved, but it seemed best not to push the matter further, when they had bigger problems. She concentrated on watching Lady Achika.

In a few hours more, Achika and the other students were on break, and Ayeka and Ryoko found themselves regaining interest as Achika began interacting with her classmates. Nobuyuki, Tenchi's father, was in her class, as he had mentioned before they left on the trip (which was, of course, many years in the future.)

Nobuyuki walked over to Achika's desk as she stood up. "So, did you have a good summer break?" Nobuyuki asked her.

"Oh, I did, thank you," Achika returned. "The weather at the beach was very sunny. How did you spend your break?"

Nobuyuki sighed. "I wanted to get some drawing done, but my parents insisted I do a lot of work around the house. Oh, and of course, I read the next installments of 'Avenger Komura'."

"Of course," Achika said with a smile. "So, did anything interesting happen in this one?"

"Anything interesting?" Nobuyuki repeated in mock offense. Evidently he and Achika had been through this sort of conversation before. "As a matter, of fact, yes, a lot of interesting things happened. Wandaran and Jin-Hei finally fought each other, and that was easily the best part. I was almost sure Jin-Hei's new move would let him prevail, and it got close, but their fight got interrupted anyways. Care to guess by what?"

"I'm sure I couldn't, so you can just tell me," Achika told him with a small laugh.

"Aw, man, you got the latest?" one of Nobuyuki's friends approached them. "Hey, can I borrow it from you?"

"What kind of fan are you?" remonstrated Nobuyuki.

"I don't have that much money!" complained his friend.

"Do I look like I've got that much money?" Nobuyuki retorted. "You've got to economize!"

The friend urged, "Come on, please? Look, if this is about the tea stain on the last issue, I told you, my little sister spilled it." Seeing this wasn't getting him anywhere, he appealed to Achika. "Masaki, would you please ask him? I know he'll do it if you ask."

"I don't know about that!" Achika laughed nervously. Nobuyuki also laughed nervously.

In the tree, Ryoko grinned and murmured, "How cute."

"It must be a very pleasant school experience, to share with one you love," Ayeka agreed.

Several hours later, Achika left the school grounds, accompanied by her friends. They headed towards the bus stop, where they'd take the line that led towards their houses in the mountains outside of town.

"We'll need to be right there if anything happens," Ryoko noted as she and Ayeka climbed down the tree.

"There's no other way to keep up," Ayeka agreed.

They walked back around to the front of the school. With their disguised hair and eye colors, and their school uniforms, they easily blended in with the other students leaving school. The two walked calmly to the bus stop and stayed at the fringe of the group waiting there, so they'd be further from Achika.

The bus rumbled up, and highschoolers and townspeople formed a queue. Achika and Ryoko, due to their position at the back of the crowd, found themselves last in line, but didn't terribly mind, as it might keep them further from Achika.

They climbed aboard the bus, and seated themselves towards the back, Ryoko taking the window seat and Ayeka taking the aisle seat of the worn two-person bench seat. Ayeka noted with satisfaction that Achika was sitting and talking with two of her friends about in the middle of the bus. From here, Achika probably wouldn't notice them, but they were close enough to intervene if Kain were to make an appearance.

The bus ride was long and uneventful. Ryoko and Ayeka didn't feel a need to make small talk. Ryoko slouched and looked out the window. Ayeka looked around the bus at the various people, an activity which quickly grew stale.

Some time later, the bus dawdled to a stop. Ryoko and Ayeka noticed that Achika and her two friends were standing up. The three of them walked to the front, then Achika remained on the bus as the two friends waved at her, said their goodbyes, and got off.

Achika smiled while waving her friends off the bus. As she returned to her seat, her expression quietly morphed to one of resigned ennui, doubtless due to the long distance she had to go alone.

Just before she returned to her seat, however, she looked about the bus, and caught sight of Ayeka and Ryoko. Brightening, she hastened over to them, unaware that they were both filled with sudden dread.

"Why, you must both go to my school!" she exclaimed, reaching their aisle and turning towards them. "I'm Achika Masaki, how do you do?"

Ayeka swallowed hard, then said with a smile, "How nice to meet you, Achika. My name is Ayeka, and this is my little sister Ryoko."

Achika didn't catch the look of astonished and unbridled fury that Ryoko gave Ayeka, because Achika was asking the man behind her, at the window seat of the bus, if she minded if she sat next to him. He agreed, and so Achika sat there and turned to face Ayeka and Ryoko, separated from them now only by the aisle.

The bus started its motion again, and Achika told them, "Oh, it's really a pleasure to meet you. I don't remember seeing you on this bus before. Did you just move here?"

Ayeka answered, "Indeed." She wet her mouth. Achika's questions were perfectly normal for people meeting for the first time, but those sort of questions would be difficult questions for herself and Ryoko. Achika would probably next want to know where they lived. Anything from an attempt to visit their alleged house to an unfamiliarity with the area in which they supposedly lived would give the lie to them.

"I see," Achika nodded. "I live quite a ways further down the road, and have all my life. Where did you move to?"

Ryoko promptly answered the question, without hesitation. She explained that they lived in the next village over, which had a tiny grade school, and they'd gone to a middle school further in that direction. Their parents had intended for them both to go to the high school affiliated with that middle school. However, Ayeka had had some bad experiences in her first year of high school. As a result, they'd moved closer to this village and transferred Ayeka to Achika's school for Ayeka's next year of schooling. Ryoko was now entering high school, so their parents had decided to send Ryoko there as well, so the two could look out for each other. It took a great deal of willpower for Ayeka to look appropriately sad instead of irritated at Ryoko for choosing such a motive for their moving.

"That's really terrible," Achika said with feeling. "I hope we've made you feel welcome here."

"Oh, of course. Everyone's been very kind to us," Ayeka reassured her. She scrutinized Achika's face. Apparently every detail about the region had been absolutely correct, for Achika believed them totally.

"I'm glad to hear that," Achika said, reassured. "Well, what sort of things are you interested in? Do either of you play sports?"

"Oh, no, that's not my forte," Ayeka said quickly. Unfamiliarity with rules of Earth games would be much simpler to explain if she were not a player.

Ayeka looked quickly at Ryoko, to see if she felt like contributing to the conversation. Ryoko said, "Yeah, Ayeka's a real klutz, so I'll have to make up for it for her at the school." That wasn't exactly what Ayeka had in mind, but it was too late now.

Achika shook her head. "You two make me wish I'd had a younger sister," she said with some amusement. "I enjoy playing volleyball during physical education, but I'm afraid I'm not good enough to do it on the team. I'm actually in the cooking club. That's what I love to do."

"Hoping to catch a boy the old fashioned way?" Ryoko teased.

"Ryoko!" Ayeka hissed.

Achika did not appear to be offended, though perhaps slightly embarrassed, and told them, "Well, I do hope to be a bride, and that is a very necessary skill. But it is something I enjoy myself and have always been good at."

"That's true for my younger sister as well," Ayeka agreed. Then a thought struck her. Ryoko's few attempts at cooking, had been, to put it mildly, abominable. If by some unlikely disaster Achika were to sample Ryoko's cooking, that statement would seem odd. "I mean, my other younger sister, Sasami," Ayeka added hurriedly. "She's in middle school."

"Oh?" Achika asked, interested. "Which one?"

Ryoko flashed an impatient look at Ayeka, but supplied a plausible school for Sasami.

"It's a good school," Achika nodded. "I should know, I went to middle school there."

It was remarkable, Ayeka thought, that Ryoko was so familiar with the area, but that was what 700 years of your body confined and mind free to observe could do, she supposed. Her soul shuddered at the thought, of having nothing to do for 700 years, and no ability to move one's body or interact with others - simply watch the comings and goings of the humans, their habits and their buildings and their families, for centuries. She felt a little bit of an odd sort of envy, though, for it had given Ryoko an intimate familiarity with daily life on Earth, and all this time Ryoko had known where Yosho was.

The conversation between Achika, Ayeka, and Ryoko paused for a moment. Ryoko looked at Achika. This conversation struck Ryoko both as a bad idea and as an affront to Tenchi, who couldn't be here, but they were having it now, and it was probably better to keep it up than let it stop. Ryoko was unsure how to do so, because at the moment, the only question she wanted to ask was the one she could not. It would be odd, at best, to ask Achika why she had asked her to look after Tenchi, especially considering that Achika wouldn't even ask the question for several years.

Similarly, Ayeka was still, with a question on her tongue that could not be asked. Had her brother Yosho ever told Achika about her heritage in the stars, that Achika was a princess of Jurai? Had he ever told Achika about Sasami, or Ayeka wondered, herself? Or their father? Had he told her about the proud Juraian traditions, the mighty Juraian abilities?

The bus rolled on.

When the bus had come to a stop, Achika was surprised, for she had been speaking further with Ayeka and Ryoko, trying to learn more about them and telling them things about herself. It was now Achika's stop, she noted, "and it's odd - usually I'm the one getting off last."

"We're a bit further on," Ryoko answered somewhat truthfully. The camp site was somewhat closer to the next stop, the one in front of the hot springs Tenchi's aunt ran. At this point in time, the hot springs had just started its existence, and it was run by Nobuyuki's sister, who had yet to become Tenchi's aunt.

"It was nice to meet you both, Ayeka, Ryoko," Achika said politely as she stood.

"And it was a pleasure to meet you, Achika," Ayeka told her.

"Goodbye!" Achika waved before heading out of the bus.

"Farewell!" Ayeka called. "'Bye!" Ryoko shouted.

A relatively short time later, the bus pulled up in front of the hot springs, where Ayeka and Ryoko disembarked. They set off into the forest, and once they were out of sight of the road, Ryoko asked the question that had been burning in her for the past hour.

"All right, Ayeka, what just happened!" Ryoko fumed. "I clearly recall you saying that we were not going to talk to Tenchi's mother."

"Oh, I see, Ryoko," Ayeka said defensively, "so your plan was to ignore her completely when she introduced herself to us, achieving rudeness and conspicuousness simultaneously!"

Ryoko snapped, "And your plan was to break the space time continuum!"

"We did not! Our disguises held!" Ayeka said. Ryoko agreed sarcastically, "Yeah, but our stories wouldn't have if I weren't along. And keep in mind that I don't pay that much attention to the petty things humans obsess over - I can't be counted on to maintain your alibis! Speaking of alibis, why am I the younger sister?"

"Because it came to mind," Ayeka said, but she couldn't keep a devious smirk off of her face. The whole episode had left her disappointed in her ability to think on her feet, but casting herself as the more authoritative, mature, and responsible one of the pair - which she obviously was anyway - had been a stroke of genius.

Ryoko snorted and said, "Whatever, everyone likes the little sisters anyway. We're full of interesting information about the older siblings."

Ayeka ignored this and continued walking.

Ryoko kept pace, tramping down or surmounting any intervening undergrowth, as she demanded, "Ayeka, we're not through. Did nothing I say before get to you? Tenchi's mother is gone, and if you people are going to keep him away from him, the least you hypocrites can do is distance yourselves!"

"That is quite enough!" Ayeka whirled on Ryoko, and they stopped walking. "Do you imagine that I wish to keep Lord Tenchi from his mother? Do you imagine that I wanted to take an opportunity that he could not? But what were we supposed to do when she approached us? Stare at her as though we didn't understand? We had to make the best choices available, and don't pretend you didn't make them either."

"Get all high and mighty on me, why not?" Ryoko crossed her arms. "That's your solution to everything."

"And refusing to take responsibility is yours," Ayeka sniffed.

They stood that way for a few moments. Finally Ayeka said, "Ryoko, I told you honestly before, and I tell you now, that I had no intentions of meeting Lady Achika. But sometimes life forces us to change our plans."

After more time went by, Ryoko said, "I'll accept that this time." They started walking again, as they both noticed the afternoon was waning. As they walked, Ryoko stated further, "I get what you're saying - we didn't have a choice, which is why I faked our background information. But I am still not sure you get how important Tenchi's mom is to him. He hasn't seen her in years. We'll never get to see her again. Neither of us can take any contact with her lightly."

"I agree," Ayeka allowed. They continued walking.

As they returned to the camp Achika saw Sasami standing amongst the trees some distance outside the camp, but only a short ways away from them.

"Ayeka," Sasami said in greeting, but her face and voice were sad.

Ayeka hurried to her while Ryoko continued on to the camp.

After Ryoko had gone on a ways, Sasami looked up at Ayeka. "Ayeka, Tenchi's really mad at me," Sasami said, then swallowed.

Ayeka blinked at her. "At you? Are you sure?"

"He hardly says anything to me, he stalks around the camp, he's angry with me!" Sasami sniffled.

Ayeka took her sister by the arms in comfort. "But why at you?" she wondered aloud.

Sasami started to sob quietly, "Because I said to him what Tsunami told me this morning. When I got up early, Tsunami knew I was here. After I explained to her, she, she said I ought to tell Tenchi that he shouldn't be seen, that he looks too much like his parents. So I told Tenchi that at breakfast, when we were all talking, and, now, now he's mad at me for it!"

Ayeka clasped her sister tightly. She was beginning to feel something she thought she'd never feel - angry at Lord Tenchi. Never had she anticipated she would feel that way, but now she was angry at Lord Tenchi, for hurting her little sister in this way. No one had wanted to tell Lord Tenchi what had to be done, neither Sasami nor herself nor anyone else, but they had to tell him, and now he was holding it against them!

"Thank you, Ayeka," Sasami whispered to her. She took out a handkerchief and dried the few tears that had appeared. "I know this situation upsets you too." She looked up into her sister's face. "Do I look normal? I don't want the others to know I've been crying."

Ayeka thought to herself that Sasami didn't want Tenchi to know she'd been crying most of all. Even though this matter was between them, she still didn't want to hurt him. "Mostly, and I'm sure the rest will come with time," Ayeka told her.

"Then we can go now," Sasami said, hooking her arm through Ayeka's.

As they entered the camp, Kiyone asked, "Where are the clothes from this time period?"

Ayeka and Ryoko looked at each other. Guarding Achika had driven that plan completely out of their minds. Kiyone growled and stalked away.

Next Chapter

The high-school-aged, ponytail-wearing Nobuyuki of the 1970s steps to the front of the stage. "I don't really know what this is about, but someone told me to speak to all of you, and tell you about the next chapter. The next chapter will be about myself and Achika Masaki, it seems." He looks at the paper he was given. "What sort of story is this, anyways? Why is someone doing a story about us?" He looks at the next part of the paper and comments, "And why does the next chapter's title, which I'm supposed to announce, start with 'No Need For'?" He shakes his head. "Anyway, the next chapter is 'No Need For Calm Before a Storm.'"

Continuity with Dragonwiles

Dragonwiles reposes in state in the library of his lair. Looking up from his book, he greets, "Welcome to this special segment, in which I give a few brief continuity notes.

"The woman who runs the hot springs is Tenchi's aunt in the OVA. But is it a term of respect or familiarity, or is she actually related by blood? And to whom? Achika is supposed to be an only child, so I decided she had to be a rather older sister of Nobuyuki's, if she is related by blood.

"I made up the 'Avenger Komura' action manga for this chapter. I've probably heard the name 'Komura' from some anime, but I can't think of what just now."

Chapter 45 Main Chapters Chapter 47