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Chapter 47 Main Chapters Chapter 49

No Need for Troubling the Tower

"I'm Mihoshi Kuramitsu, your DJ for this chapter," Mihoshi says to the audience. "We've got this song here, 'Amrita', from a 'Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles' movie 'Princess of the Birdcage Kingdom.' Of course Dragonwiles doesn't own any of that stuff. This song is so happy and sad, I don't know whether I'm crying because I'm sad or I'm smiling because I'm happy! I guess I'm doing both!" She sobs and smiles as the song plays.

1970 A. D.

The field trip to Tokyo Tower was well underway. Ayeka and Ryoko had been there in their school uniforms, and talked with Achika and her friends as the train rolled towards their destination. In the meantime, Tenchi and the others were dispersed throughout the train, ready to leap into action should Kain arrive that day.

The train arrived in Tokyo in time for a bit of sightseeing before they checked into the hotel. During this time, Nobuyuki showed off the 8mm camera that he had gotten for the trip. His friends were very jealous, and he obligingly took the time to record the silly faces they made for it.

Tenchi, Sasami, Ryo-Ohki, and Kiyone watched this from some distance away, while Ryoko and Ayeka and Mihoshi kept a closer eye on everything. Tenchi watched his father's antics with a smile. Then his lips pursed. "Tomorrow evening they'll be going to Tokyo Tower. I wonder if Kain will come then."

"Hard to say," Kiyone commented. What else was there to say?

That evening, after they had eaten, they arranged for shifts of their party to watch the hotel where Achika and Nobuyuki's school were staying. Due to issues of funds and planning, Tenchi and his group had been scattered to many different hotels throughout the city. Ayeka had taken the first watch, and Mihoshi was now on her way to relieve her. Mihoshi crossed through a large park. The wind was fierce, and she jammed her straw hat down on her head. It pricked the tops of her pointed ears a bit, but she had grown used to it. She continued along for a bit when another massive gust of wind came. She reached up her hands, but before she could reach her hat, it was blown off her head and several meters away. Mihoshi frantically chased it for several seconds as the wind kicked it along. It finally came to rest near a woman who had been walking along one of the paths. The streetlight helped this woman to see and snag Mihoshi's hat for her.

"Oh, thank you very much!" Mihoshi said exuberantly. "I didn't know how I was going to get that back, it just kept getting further away."

"No trouble," said the woman politely, then she began staring at Mihoshi's head. "Your ears," the woman said confusedly.

Mihoshi froze in a panic. That was the whole reason for the hat, to hide her ears from the people of Earth. Now one of them had seen her ears, and Kiyone would be mad!

"Why, those're the ears on that 'Star Trek' television show, are they not?" the woman said in mild confusion.

Mihoshi blinked. There was that 'Star Trek' thing again. Apparently people other than Nobuyuki's father in the future knew about it. But what was it again? She never had found out before she left. "Oh, uh, 'Star Trek'?" Mihoshi said, feeling a bit silly.

"Yes, it's the character of Spock, he has ears like that because he's an alien!" the woman said, remembering now.

Mihoshi chuckled nervously. "But, I'm not Spock of course, nothing to worry about with me!" She didn't want to lie and say she wasn't an alien - she didn't want to say she was an alien either. Oh, what should she do? She wished she were away from here!

"Yes, I remember seeing that television program a few years ago, when I went to the States," the woman said reminiscently. "I'm a little bit surprised that you know about it, though."

"Well, I, uh, don't know too much about it!" Mihoshi said. "A television program, eh?" That was like an ancient version of Galactic Television. Finally, this was getting somewhere she could understand. She still wanted to understand it somewhere else, though. How could she get away without raising this woman's suspicions?

"I'm a little bit surprised though, that you like Spock enough to make your ears look like him," the woman continued. "From the little I saw, he seemed like a rather cold and distant character."

Mihoshi blurted enthusiastically, for she hated to hear others talked of badly, even if she didn't know them, "But I'm sure he's got a warm, caring heart, deep down!"

The woman blinked at her and allowed, "Maybe. I didn't watch too many episodes, really."

"Well, it's been nice talking to you, but my friend's waiting for me, gotta go! Bye!" Mihoshi shouted cheerfully as she bowed, jammed her hat back onto her head, and ran as fast as she could.

"Goodbye," the woman called after her back. She shook her head. Strange as that woman had been, she was likeable. Still, the idea of people dressing up as their favorite character from a story in public setting was rather outlandish, especially considering how careful the young people were nowadays to look, how was it, "cool", in front of their peers. Probably this sort of role-playing trend wouldn't last very long.

Tenchi woke up and examined the sword that he was wearing. Before they had left, he and Ayeka had left their swords in his grandfather's care, because apparently Kain's method of feeding on living things meant that the energy of the space trees which powered their space tree keys would be sent away too. Instead they had taken energy blades that were produced through artificial means. Tenchi hadn't been clear on whether they were more powerful than natural space tree keys or not, and seeing the reverence that Yosho and Ayeka treated their keys with, he decided it might be better not to ask. Instead, he had accepted their instruction on the use of the weapon. When they told him to turn it on, he saw for himself that it was indeed very similar in its shape and handling to a space tree key. Its increased similarity to a lightsaber was another thing he did not mention.

He'd also been trying not to think about whether he would cease to exist if the mission failed. That simply wasn't worth thinking about, so of course it kept reappearing in his mind.

When he met the others, some of his thoughts must've been showing on his face, because Ryoko said, "Oh, don't look like that, Tenchi. Your parents will be as fine as anyone can be in a time like this."

"Thanks," he said awkwardly. He began to feel terrible for worrying more about himself than his parents, but tried to push all of those thoughts aside. He focused on what they were here to do.

On the next day, the students came to some of the gardens and began splitting into small groups to explore them. Nobuyuki offered to walk with Achika, saying, "You like this sort of thing, don't you?" She smiled, surprised for a moment, then went with him.

They walked along together silently, Achika drinking in the exquisite sights, before she realized that she was being watched. Turning to Nobuyuki, she saw that he was taping her with his 8mm camera. "Nobuyuki, really! Do you bring that thing everywhere?"

"These are memories of glorious youth for posterity!" he cheerfully insisted. "Come on, smile at the camera."

She looked away and said, "Now you're embarrassing me."

Nobuyuki allowed, "Okay, then just keep watching the garden like you were."

Achika relented and smiled at the camera, then returned to looking at the grounds. She didn't feel quite as natural now, but it was hard to feel discontent in the face of so much beauty.

From a hiding place, Ayeka commented, "So, this must be where your father's 8mm tape came from, the one that we were watching."

Ryoko nudged Tenchi with her elbow and said, "Now you know how it was made."

"Yeah," Tenchi said quietly, absorbed in watching his parents.

That evening, all of the students were queued up at Tokyo Tower. "This is very exciting," Nobuyuki enthused, slapping his pockets yet again to make sure he had plenty of film. His friends teased him about doing all of his filming of the tower itself and not having any for the view at the top of it. Achika smiled at them. It was a very clear evening, with a beautiful full moon, so she felt sure she'd find something to enjoy in the view at the top.

A group of Nobuyuki and Achika's friends, as well as part of an adult tour group and some younger schoolchildren joined them on their elevator to the observation deck. The doors opened, and they filed out. There were various cries and gasps from the group as they all walked out towards the windows. Nobuyuki went to a window near his classmates, took a fairly smooth panning shot of the view, then stopped his camera and took out the roll and put it away, fishing in a pocket for a new roll. The elevator door behind them opened up.

There was a strange thumping or popping sound, like a giant balloon exploding, and some leaves and airborne debris rushed by the windows. Something else suddenly appeared outside, simultaneous with the noise, a large shape, hovering beneath the moon and stars. It looked like something in a giant cape, with a silvery mask as its face, floating in the air. The strange wind had stopped, but the figure remained, silent. There were screams, and people began to back away from the windows, then to stampede towards the elevators.

Nobuyuki and Achika looked in shock as the figure suddenly advanced on the tower. They both began to run towards the elevators. Before they had gotten very far, however, there was a sound of rending metal. Nobuyuki cried out and shoved Achika forward, in front of him. Achika fell face-first to the floor, and when she twisted around, she saw the area around them covered in debris. The thing had ripped open the side of the tower. Nobuyuki was sprawled out over her legs, and he was nearly buried in the debris.

Achika breathed in and out very slowly, partly because she felt pain, partly because of her horror. Nobuyuki wasn't moving. He was breathing, but he looked badly hurt. Would he be breathing much longer?

The manga she'd read and he'd read had laid out this sort of extreme situation fairly clearly. Of course the high school sweethearts were supposed to protect each other, and of course they were supposed to be OK afterwards, and of course, his promise to let her visit the house he built would eventually be fulfilled. But Nobuyuki might not. Her high school sweetheart might be dying right in front of her, and he might never build that house. She wanted to make bargains, make deals, make promises, with him, with anyone, if only she could have at least a little while longer with him.

The figure entered and looked around the tower, its face appearing like a silvery mask. It had three eyes, a third, vertical eye open in the middle of its forehead. It fixed its gaze on Nobuyuki and Ayeka, and with a thin smile, reached out an enormously long arm towards Nobuyuki.

Three people then rushed into view. Ayeka flew through the air with some sort of glowing sword in hand and slashed at Kain's arm, slicing it through about at the wrist. The hand disappeared and a new hand grew, but Kain still roared with pain. Ayeka alighted and stood as well as she could on the rubble before Nobuyuki, while Ryoko took up position before Achika, and a young man about Achika's age, whom she had never seen before, rushed forward towards the figure with his own glowing sword and kept its other hand from reaching towards her. Ayeka managed to lift some debris off Nobuyuki before having to fend off the arm that still hovered near him.

"Sorry we're late," Ryoko said to Achika with a fierce grin. "This place is really popular."

The crowd exclaimed and swarmed closer to the building. There had been some sort of horrendous noise at the top of the tower, and the people coming out of the elevators were saying unbelievable stuff.

Mihoshi fought through the crowds to get into an elevator, while Kiyone stayed at a safe distance with Sasami and Ryo-Ohki. Kiyone hoped Sasami and Ryo-Ohki wouldn't become targets anytime soon - Kain would dearly love to absorb their massive reserves of energy. If he didn't go down soon, though, he'd have the energy of Tenchi, Ryoko, and Ayeka, and everyone in the city as well. How many would have to die to contain him this time if that should happen?

Achika shook her head. "So it wasn't a coincidence after all," she said, finding something faint and akin to humor or an appreciation for irony in this moment. "You two are Ayeka and Ryoko, who my father talked so much about."

Ryoko unexpectedly picked up Achika with one hand and flew back a few paces as Kain's right arm reached around Tenchi towards her. Tenchi severed the arm, and it disappeared. Kain regenerated the arm but bellowed all the louder. Ryoko kept her grip on Achika as she set her down, and told her, "I'll probably have to straighten out some misconceptions if you heard his side of the story," Ryoko said casually. She briefly recalled everything she'd have to tell Achika about - the years in the cave and how Achika and Tenchi had helped her change - and everything she wouldn't. Then Ryoko noticed something odd - under her grasp, Achika had suddenly become tense, her muscles taut, then she had relaxed again. Ryoko looked down at Achika to see her staring at her in utter astonishment. Ryoko sighed. "What, now that you know I'm that Ryoko, you hate me?" She asked the question sarcastically, but Achika didn't seem to react to her tone. Instead, Achika's expression shifted slightly into one of intense sadness as she shook her head negatorily several times. Why would Achika look like that? Then Ryoko gasped. "Did-" And Achika nodded as a small tear formed in her eye. Ryoko's whole body froze in horror.

Kain roared again and drew back slightly from Ayeka and Tenchi, and drew his arms in much closer to his body. Everyone in the room suddenly felt a horrifying chill and the throttling of their throat as Kain subsumed their lives into himself. Tenchi's Light-Hawk Wings unfurled as a shield, and he kept them that way, not bothering to coat himself in armor before making more to be a shield. The others felt immediate relief, but the wings began to curl, then bend towards Kain. Kain made a noise of displeasure, but continued to siphon the energy, and Tenchi fell to his knees while the wings continued to warp.

Ayeka and Ryoko moved closer to Tenchi, seriously alarmed by this turn of events. The two of them slashed at Kain as he began to try to extend his arms around or over the Light-Hawk Wings. Ayeka was sure that Kain's stature had shrunk since the combat had began, but he was not diminishing anything like rapidly enough. History was repeating itself; the situation was selfsame as when her grandfather's fleet faced Kagato. Would someone have to sacrifice himself like her grandfather had?

Achika unexpectedly appeared parallel to them, off to the side. They slewed their heads and stared at her in amazement as she stood there, tall and steadfast. "You won't have him," she informed him. "Not while there's breath left in my body." She had never, she knew, had the aptitude for controlling what Juraian energy she possessed, so her father had not pushed her too far in training. Achika had little idea what should be done in this situation, but she could either do what was right or die, and she chose. Kain tried to reach out his hands towards her, but the Wings and the swords of Ayeka and Ryoko were interfering. Forth from Achika there suddenly shone a brilliant silhouette of herself, that traversed the distance between herself and Kain and illuminated him. He roared with pain while Tenchi, Ayeka, and Ryoko blinked. In the next moment, the light was gone, and Achika was still standing, tall and serene, the only evidence that something had happened being her shock and Kain's distress. Then, they realized there was another evidence. The Wings were straight, and no one labored for breath. In addition, Kain was dwindling before their eyes.

Tenchi didn't know quite how, but he was able to meld the three shielding Light-Hawk Wings into one sword, like the one he had slain Kagato with. He and Ryoko and Ayeka all swung at Kain, and he roared and shrank by half a meter. He reached out his hands to grab at them, but they swung again, and this time he shrank still more and his limbs did not regenerate. They smote him a third blow each, and Kain roared in his pain and hunger before finally he dwindled into nothingness.

They all stared where he had been for a moment. Tenchi's Light-Hawk Wings disappeared. Ayeka scrutinized Achika. She did not appear at all disheveled or exhausted, but Ayeka could not help but wonder if she might still have been some manner of sacrifice.

Then, without speaking, they all hurried to Nobuyuki, and began to move debris off of him. "I think that he will be well," Ayeka said to Achika reassuringly after they had managed to move the debris off of him. Achika smiled at her. "I know that he will. But I thank you anyways. After what all of you have done for us, it wouldn't do to simply assume he will be well and leave him like this, would it?" She smiled at Tenchi. Tenchi stared back, not comprehending. Ryoko said nervously, "Tenchi, please, you won't be angry with me, will you?" Tenchi stared at her, still uncomprehending. What could she have done just now that he'd be angry about?

"My son," Achika said, and Tenchi was dumbfounded by her addressing him as such, "Ryoko inadvertently showed me the future through her memories, when we touched."

Tenchi was still a moment, then asked, "Mother, so you even know-" but he couldn't finish the question. His eyes were starting to water. "Yes, I saw that I would have to leave you sooner than either of us would've liked," she said quietly. Ryoko clutched at Tenchi's sleeve and said urgently, "Tenchi, please, I didn't mean to, I didn't know I could do that!" Tenchi told her absently, but honestly, "It's not your fault, Ryoko." He tried to think about something else, so he looked down at his father. "Should we move him?"

"I think it is a risk we will have to take at some point," Ayeka weighed in. They prepared to carry him towards the elevators, and just then Mihoshi emerged from them. She helped them carry Nobuyuki to the elevator. By the time they were at the ground, authorities and ambulances were arriving. Tenchi, Ayeka, Ryoko and Mihoshi somehow managed to move into the crowd and away while Achika waited with Nobuyuki for the paramedics.

On the next day, Kiyone and Mihoshi managed to locate the hospital where Nobuyuki had been admitted. Achika was already there, and vouched for Tenchi and the others as friends of Nobuyuki's, so they were admitted to his room. They walked and talked softly, for he was finally in a normal sleep. He was bandaged and his legs were in casts, but he was expected to make a full recovery. His hair was shorter and unbound now, Sasami noticed after she closed the door. It already looked more like the short style he wore it in the future.

"I feel somewhat embarrassed now," Achika said, trying to bring some levity to the situation. "All of you were following us, and we didn't notice?"

"Not at the same time!" Mihoshi said reassuringly. Sasami pointed out, "And you noticed my sister and Ryoko!"

Kiyone spoke, "Lady Achika, I hope you don't mind my saying this, but I think it is imperative for your benefit and that of the future if we discuss what to do with your memory. We're in contact with an associate from the future who may be able to help." Sasami produced the communicator and turned it on, making Washu's image appear, and Tenchi said, "But what can be done? This is something that can't be forgotten."

"That's the problem," Kiyone said. "This knowledge of the future could undo it. Besides which, if I may be so free, it is a terrible burden. Was- Little Washu," Kiyone corrected herself, "is there any sort of memory erasure device that you could send to us?"

"Nothing like that's been invented," Washu said seriously. "Besides which, much as I appreciate Kiyone's point, this was actually necessary."

Mihoshi asked, "But why would she need to know that?" Ryoko, however, nodded knowingly.

"It's a problem that has occupied Ryoko for some time, and myself when I learned of it," Washu said. "Somehow Achika, when Tenchi was an infant, knew to look in the cave where Ryoko was imprisoned, and speak to her as though she knew she'd be gone soon. None of us could understand how she could've known that."

"But now you do, thanks to me," Ryoko sighed.

"I don't blame you for it," Achika said earnestly.

"I intended for your telepathic abilities to create our mindlink," Washu told Ryoko, "as well as a mindlink with one of the cabbits. I didn't realize until later there was a slight possibility of brief telepathic contacts under other circumstances as well. So if we're going to blame someone, I'll take it."

"I blame none of you," Achika said, her eyes moist. She looked at them, her happiness and sorrow mingled. "You faced an unbeatable enemy for us, and I'll never forget that. Besides which, I'll have nothing to regret. Why are we all looking so sad? I'll marry the man I love, and we'll have the best son any mother could ask for. We're going to live in a big house in the country with my father, and live happily ever after. I can stand a bit of pain to have that sort of life."

When Tenchi said "Mother," and they embraced one another, they all realized they had said all that could be said on the subject.

Eventually, Tenchi and his mother broke apart, and she said to them all, "I know the future is in good hands, and I'm so glad to have met all of you. It is up to you from now on." They each took their leave of her, one by one, and each had a kind word for the other. Achika noticed that Ryoko hung back, even longer than Tenchi did. When Ryoko finally came around Nobuyuki's bed to bid her own farewell, they were alone in the room.

Ryoko had appeared unsure, or nervous, before this, but now she spoke without preamble, with determination, "When you asked me, that day you took Tenchi as a baby to my cave, if I would protect Tenchi, I didn't have a chance to answer you. Now I do. And I will protect him, I promise it."

"Thank you, Ryoko," Achika said. With that understanding, Ryoko left the room and joined the others in the hallway. Nobuyuki finally stirred and asked sleepily, "Achika?" She leaned down and said quickly, "I'm here." Nobuyuki let his tired gaze roam the room. "So, you made it out okay?" Achika took his hand from under the covers and said, "Thanks to you." He smiled and said, "Always wanted to be a hero, like in my manga. Any water?" She gave him some from a cup a nurse had left, and he thanked her after drinking it. "Did I have visitors just now, or was I dreaming?" he mumbled. Achika grinned and said with double meaning, "I'm sure you'll meet them again. You can rest now." And he did.

Outside the hospital, Ryo-Ohki hopped out of the bushes and bounded to Ryoko and Tenchi, mewing at them sadly. Tenchi told her, "Thanks, but I think it'll be all right. No, I know it will. Dad and Grandpa always said she had a happy life." Ryoko took up Ryo-Ohki in her arms and whispered to her, "I did it." Ryo-Ohki made a soft, joyful mew, and nuzzled her nose against Ryoko's neck.

Months Later

The cashier looked at Achika askance. "But these aren't your size, are they, dear?"

Achika insistently pushed the money for the uniforms at her as she told her, "They're for friends." The cashier wondered just why her friends weren't bothering to buy their own, but it wasn't really her problem, so said no more on the subject.

Thus Achika returned home with uniforms for Ayeka and Ryoko to use when they traveled back in time. It was somewhat intimidating having to guess at their sizes, but Achika was confident in her eye and her memory, and they had looked like they were fitting properly when they were wearing them. Achika promptly stopped thinking about the potential paradoxes involved. She smiled at the thought of how many sci-fi time travel stories Nobuyuki could probably have come up with that contained similar parallels to her situation. Now she just needed to be sure to store the uniforms so they'd be preserved, but someplace where her father and Nobuyuki could easily find them, even though she herself would be dead.

She shoved the morbid thought out of her mind. It was getting harder and harder to do. The sadness was growing more keen but, she reminded herself, her happiness was becoming even more keen, too. And to take her mind off that thought, she thought of how she was giving a gift forward in time to her friends. It was a strange gift that she had been given, being able to not only meet her father's dear sister and the pitiable alien that he had subdued, but to become friends with them. When he spoke of them to her, he'd always worried for his sister, alone on Jurai, waiting for her brother, and always wondering whether he'd made the correct choice regarding Ryoko, and whether she would ever be freed from Kagato's grip over her life. Achika was glad to have known them, and glad that she, through her son, could help them, and ease her father's heart. And her own role was so simple, and pleasant - to live in happiness with Nobuyuki and Tenchi and her father for as long as possible. The rewards were well worth some tears.

A Few Years Later

Nobuyuki and Katsuhito, as Nobuyuki then knew Yosho, stepped out of Achika's room in the maternity ward while she and the baby slept.

"Congratulations again, Nobuyuki." Katsuhito told him. "First a wonderful new house, and now a wonderful new son. It's like I'm seeing the future being built before my eyes. Although personally, I would've gotten the son first. I wouldn't have minded the drafty old house a bit longer."

"Hey, that wasn't exactly something I could control!" Nobuyuki protested in good humor, and they laughed together. As they strode down the hall, Nobuyuki said, "We'd be honored if you were to name him."

Yosho closed his eyes for a moment as they walked, then kept them open after nearly running into a nurse. He remained thoughtful until finally he said, "Tenchi. That's a good name for the boy."

"I like that, thank you," Nobuyuki said. "Tenchi. He's gonna be great!"

"Indeed," Yosho nodded.

Tenchi's Present

Washu greeted them all. Ryoko's greeting, for once, was not sarcastic.

They told, in detail, what had occurred, to Yosho and Nobuyuki that evening. Nobuyuki shrugged and said, "So, I guess that explains everything. Why she'd be sad sometimes without any apparent reason, why she wanted Tenchi to learn how to use a sword. She knew."

Yosho nodded slowly, then said, "She was a good daughter."

"And a good wife," added Nobuyuki.

"And a good mother," Tenchi completed it.

Mihoshi looked sadly but happily at them. They were sad, but they were happy, too. She had to agree. She was very glad to have gotten to do something for Tenchi's mother and father, especially after Tenchi had done so much for her. It was more wonderful than she could say at the moment.

Next Chapter

"I learned a lot from this chapter," Tenchi said, "and I've got a lot to think about. And there's so much I still want to know. I may get to learn more in the next chapter, No Need For Questions and Answers. And Dragonwiles said to tell you that the next arc would be a really big and exciting one." Tenchi frowned. "I don't think I liked his grin when he said that. Must be something dangerous, again. When am I going to weed the carrot patch if I keep going on these quests?" He puts his hand on his hips and stares off at the carrot patch, while Ryo-Ohki nudges his feet and meows her shared concern for the carrot crop.

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.

"Naturally, of course, I own neither 'Star Trek' nor lightsabers. Indeed, I do not even own Tokyo Tower, should it happen to be owned or copyrighted by someone. I have no idea why it would be, but you never know. Further, I entirely made up the scene with Mihoshi losing her hat.

"Also, the artificial blades are not entirely my invention, but I made up the reason why they might have been invented - to help fight Kain.

"I should, perhaps, clarify that Achika asking Ryoko to protect Tenchi when she couldn't is, so far as I can recall, entirely my own invention - although it might be from or be heavily inspired by something Achika says to Tenchi's friends at the end of the 'Tenchi Muyo In Love' movie, the movie upon which this arc was based. I can't quite recall now. In any event, many things were changed from the movie, and many remain the same."

Chapter 47 Main Chapters Chapter 49