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Chapter 48 Main Chapters Chapter 50

No Need for Questions and Answers

"I am Tsunami," Tsunami introduces herself, "and I aid Jurai. I am one the most powerful spaceships known, and Sasami and I are assimilated. Dragonwiles asked me if I would be the DJ for this chapter's theme song, and I accepted. I chose the song used often in the Earth television series 'Naruto' when one character is explaining the secrets of the distant past to another character. Naturally Dragonwiles owns neither that song nor Naruto, nor anything owned by anyone else."

Tenchi's Present

Tenchi and his grandfather Yosho sat down beside the training field, both breathing heavily after their sparring. They both looked out at the surrounding landscape, sitting side by side as they always did after practice.

Yosho noticed that Tenchi lingered longer than usual. This usually meant that Tenchi wanted to talk about something. After a time, Tenchi asked, "Grandfather?" He paused, searching for something to ask, to make sense of what he'd seen in the past, but found himself without a question to ask. So he asked the only question that came to mind, one that had never come so strongly before: "Why was I named Tenchi?"

Yosho nodded thoughtfully and put his hand to his chin as he gathered his thoughts. Tenchi had his undivided attention. Yosho began to speak.

"You've probably noticed by now that not even Juraians name themselves Tenchi." Tenchi nodded, and Yosho went on, "This is because, and Ayeka or Sasami may've mentioned this, the name Tenchi has always been the name of the sword wielded by the king of Jurai. In fact, the sword Tenchi which you now hold is the original sword Tenchi wielded by the first King of Jurai."

Tenchi blinked and looked at the sword at his belt, then whipped his head back up as his grandfather went on, "Most Juraian key swords are used for a specific Juraian to communicate with his own space tree partner. They are therefore carved from a central area of the space tree in a delicate and even mysterious process. Lady Asahi, the young lady from Ryuten that you helped, or her father, Lord Takebe, might be willing to explain some of that, if you asked them. However, the sword Tenchi was given to us by Lady Tsunami herself, and she told us that she removed it from Tenju, the mighty tree that is the palace of the King of Jurai. It thus not only represents, but also actually gives, authority over all space trees, as well as all Juraians."

"So that's why I was able to order Ayeka's ship to open a channel to Ryo-ohki, back when we first met, before we crashed!" Tenchi exclaimed excitedly.

"Yes. Of course, there are limits of range, concentration, and numbers. Ordering about a single space tree, just as intelligent and emotional as you or I, let alone an armada, is generally done through more conventional means of orders and loyalty," Yosho informed him.

Tenchi nodded. It was interesting to know more about the sword and his name, and he knew that his grandfather would somehow manage to tie in all of this to his actual question.

"Therefore, one of the reasons for which I named you Tenchi is an acknowledgement of the possibility that I might need you to assume the throne of Jurai."

Tenchi was stunned. Yosho continued, "When I left Jurai 700 years ago, implicitly abandoning my claim to the throne, I thought it would be enough to be missing. Father was in good health, and there were Ayeka and Sasami as heirs should misfortune strike. However, after some centuries on Earth, it occurred to me that the worst might have occurred- that my father would die and Ayeka and Sasami would tragically die, and the Juraian throne would be without heirs. Or, it occurred to me that after Father's death, Ayeka might refuse the throne and become regent instead, until she found me and installed me in the throne."

"I, however, through my half-Juraian biology and the circumstances on Earth, am entering my twilight years, and unsuitable to become king. If it came to it, I would proffer you as the heir to the throne of Jurai."

Tenchi protested, "But when Kagato attacked, you said that you originally left Jurai because they were xenophobic and would never accept you as king! Grandpa, I'm even more of a human than you, so why would they accept me?"

"It was a long shot based on a contingency plan," Yosho agreed mildly, "I had no way of knowing whether such a necessity would ever come. But I had to be prepared. And seven centuries is a long time, even for Juraians. It was possible that attitudes would have changed."

Yosho allowed Tenchi to mull that over for a moment, then continued, "The other reason that I named you Tenchi was because it embodies protection and the defeat of enemies. Months before any of us knew you were coming, your mother Achika asked me to train her son in swordsmanship. I suppose we now know why she did - she knew from Ryoko's memories that you would need it. Between that time and the time you were born, I had come to the conclusion that if I was going to train someone in swordsmanship, I should prepare that someone to finish what I had started: redeem or slay Ryoko."

Tenchi stared at his grandfather. This seemed so unlike him - calloused planning, and decisions about the fates of other people before they were even born. Tenchi asked slowly, amazed he ever even had to ask this question of his grandfather, "So, I was to be a weapon?"

"Not to be a weapon," Yosho said kindly and firmly. "You were to wield a weapon. There is a great difference that I believe you will see in time."

Tenchi nodded. "Thank you, Grandfather," he said, and by unspoken agreement, they stood and headed for home. As they walked, Tenchi pondered the information further. It still felt odd to hear of his grandfather's plans in that way, but then, a prince or a king was often called upon to decide people's fates at a moment's notice. Besides which, his grandfather never had pretended to have anyone's fate mapped out - he made plans as best he could like anyone else. Tenchi was also quite confident in his grandfather's love, for he had shown it in word and deed many times. Against that knowledge was the new information, that he had been prepared to kill Ryoko, if needed. It made him feel like a cog in a machine or a pawn in a game, impersonally directed and used.

However, he then considered what might've happened had his grandfather done the opposite, had he never informed him of the danger or prepared him for it. If Ryoko had somehow broken loose and wreaked havoc on their home, Tenchi was quite sure that he would've been very angry at his grandfather for failing to do anything about the problem. Preparing him to face the known threat of Ryoko meant that they now had peace with her, and it also meant that he had been able to save their world from Kagato, a threat his grandfather hadn't anticipated. Indeed, Grandfather informing him of the danger and readying him to meet it had been by far the more loving course of action.

Their whole conversation just now, Tenchi realized, had been an expression of love. His grandfather had laid bare his thoughts, which he was under no obligation to do, and had taken the risk of distancing Tenchi with those truths. His grandfather cared more about satisfying his curiosity about his origin and telling the truth than artificial goodwill maintained by ignorance and sugar-coating. Tenchi decided he could trust in the love his grandfather had shown him and was showing him now.

"I sure hope I'm living up to your expectations," Tenchi said, half-joking, as they neared the house.

His grandfather smiled. "Redeeming Ryoko and killing Kagato? You're exceeding my expectations."

Tenchi smiled at the ground, abashed, and said his thanks in a low voice. They went inside.

Kiyone had another rest period to herself now, as Mihoshi maintained patrol in orbit. Kiyone hoped to put this time to good use, carrying out her self-appointed task of learning more about the secret of Jurai. She was beginning to realize how important Lady Tsunami was to that secret. When she had learned at the hot springs that Sasami and Tsunami were connected, her earlier misconceptions about Tsunami had been brushed away. Kiyone's conversation with Ayeka and Ryu-Oh some months later, after Dr. Clay was captured, had further cleared away ignorance about the space trees, and how Tsunami was again involved, and wasn't herself a space tree. The next thrust of the investigation would have to be about Lady Tsunami. She was too involved with the space trees and with Jurai for the secret to not involve her somehow.

This made things uncomfortable for Kiyone. Ordinarily, she would've been forced to stop at this point, for she was not a Juraian herself, and she had an infinitesimal likelihood of ever being able to convince the Juraians to allow her to see Lady Tsunami in the palace on Jurai. However, she knew Sasami, and Sasami was very close by, and since Sasami was, or was becoming, Tsunami, contacting Tsunami would be easy for her. Kiyone hesitated because she had seen clearly at the hot springs that Sasami's assimilation with Tsunami troubled her deeply, and Kiyone didn't wish to disturb Sasami just to satisfy her curiosity - but at the same time she did want the answers she sought.

She set out and found Sasami tending to some of her alien pets. Kiyone made her request quietly. Sasami's face grew sad, and she said, "Oh." Sasami thought a moment and nodded. Seeing how uncomfortable Kiyone looked, Sasami attempted to brighten her face and voice and say, "Yes, that'll be fine. Let's go inside."

They went upstairs, to a mirror, and there was Tsunami in the reflection of Sasami. Kiyone had managed to prepare herself for that, mostly, and so said normally, "Lady Tsunami."

"Kiyone, it is good to speak with you in this way again," Tsunami replied. Sasami's lips didn't move, and the expression she gave her future self was unreadable, but Kiyone forced herself to stop noticing those things. Tsunami continued, "What can I help you with?"

Kiyone stated, "I've been learning something about the history of Jurai and the space trees, things I hadn't known before. I was interested to learn that you are not a space tree, yourself. Would you mind describing yourself, what sort of being you are?"

"What sort of being I am?" Tsunami asked. "What sort of being are you?" she riposted playfully. Kiyone answered, "Humanoid, range 2 by 1/2 by 1/2." After a moment she added, "Sorry, that's a bit of police jargon - when standing, the individuals of a species range in size from zero to 2 meters tall, zero to half a meter wide, zero to half a meter deep."

Tsunami considered, then replied, "I doubt I can put it quite so succinctly. I am basically like a space tree. The few physical differences relate to my greater abilities. Does that answer your question?"

Kiyone thought quickly. She'd recognized from experience the calculating look and rapid sideways sweep of the eyes that Tsunami had performed before answering. Tsunami had decided not to tell her something important. In a normal police investigation, she'd use her authority and further, probing questions in order to find out what it was, or at least get an idea of what was being concealed. In this situation, though, she had asked a friend for the favor of asking an extremely powerful being very personal questions. Kiyone hadn't expected Lady Tsunami to answer as much as she had.

Kiyone decided to let the question drop for the moment, and pursue a slightly different line of inquiry. "Yes, thank you. I am curious, though, about why the space trees acknowledge you as their leader, if you are not one of them."

Tsunami smiled slightly. "I never really thought of it that way," she explained herself. "The space trees and I were and are the most similar beings I have encountered. I was born with a body much like theirs, simply greater in capacity. My overall perspective is different from theirs, but in many ways I see the world like they do, so I was a natural choice as the overall leader. Tenju, who now is the palace of Jurai, was and is the space trees' natural ruler. He handles most day-to-day matters. It was a division of labor and acknowledgement of leadership that simply happened naturally."

Kiyone noted, "Space trees sound much more governable than many species."

Tsunami sighed. "They have their share of bad fruit, on their own initiative and at the behest of their Juraian partners. Still, I am very happy that they and the Juraians have grown as much as they have."

"Do you believe you've grown, Lady Tsunami?" Kiyone asked her.

"I suppose so," Lady Tsunami mused aloud, "mostly through the long-running conflict with Kagato. I think I shall grow even further," she looked at Sasami, "through our bond." Sasami smiled nervously and put a hand behind her head.

Kiyone inquired, "May I please ask a more personal question, Lady Tsunami?" Tsunami nodded, and Kiyone went on to ask, "What are your desires? What do you want to do in this world?"

She found herself unexpectedly hurt when she saw that Lady Tsunami held something back again, and she was somewhat confused as to why Tsunami would. Most honest people were rather free with those things. Lady Tsunami didn't seem in the least dishonest, though, but as though she were weighing her words and determining how far she could trust Kiyone. Of course, they actually didn't know each other that well, so perhaps her reticence was natural, even justified. Kiyone reassured herself that Lady Tsunami had at least trusted her to talk this long with her.

"I desire the growth of the space trees and the Juraians," Tsunami answered. "I want them to be remain together, and to maintain their honor even in trying circumstances. I know that they are capable of this, and they have already exceeded my expectations in many ways. I'm very proud of them. If I may ask, Kiyone, what are your desires?"

Kiyone thought a moment. "When I was young, I was always hearing about how there were various criminals and bad guys who would get away. I didn't want them to get away - I wanted for there to be justice. I always wanted to know why no one was pursuing the ones who got away, and whenever I asked that, I'd be told that the Galactic Police were pursuing them. I decided that was what I wanted to do - to be one of those pursuing the bad guys. It doesn't last forever, of course - at some point in life, you get unsuited for field work, so you either retire or you go to a desk job. If that's what is going to happen, then I don't just want a desk job - I want as high a desk job as I can get, so I can make a difference at the Galactic Police, so more of the criminals can be caught."

Tsunami replied, "I admire your sense of justice."

"Thank you," Kiyone responded. She decided that it was time for the interview to end. "Thank you for your time, Lady Tsunami."

"Not at all," Tsunami replied. "It was a pleasure."

Sasami stepped away from the mirror eagerly. "I admire your sense of justice too, Kiyone," Sasami said. "That's how you've always felt?"

"Nearly all my life," Kiyone agreed.

Tetta and Tessei were strolling deep in Tessei's private garden, located in the center of his lands. They both came here often enough, but they both felt that their purpose in extending and accepting the usual invitation was different. Things had been the same for too long.

They'd run the standard antibugging checks - not unusual for security-conscious captains of the King's bodyguard, or indeed for any noble who wanted a bit of privacy, but still they kept their voices low. Nothing was ever certain. Tessei therefore said in a very quiet voice, "We've given him 700 years, and the things that need changing have not changed. We are not really that much a greater empire."

Tetta was quiet a moment before responding, "Our support for him lasted even through his exo-Juraian marraige, through Kagato's attack and the loss of an heir. It is not lightly we do this. He has had ample opportunity."

"But again and again it is thrown away!" Tessei said, growing more excited now that the thoughts he'd mostly kept inside the past century were being let loose. "Yosho, if the king acknowledged him again, or that grandson Tenchi of his, they have great potential, but the king leaves them to rot on Earth."

"Now, let us not be unfair to them. They vanquished Kain," Tetta brooded.

"Exactly! A feat impossible for anyone else!" Tessei gesticulated furiously. "But does the king employ their talents against the few pirates left? Does he showcase our empire's strength? No, it is left to idle on a pastoral planet! Meanwhile the lords he keeps about are idle, useless dogs. They'd run home yapping before the merest pirate. Does the king remove them from their posts? No! He removes our kinsman Tatestsuki from his post as royal tree carver. The fool deserved it, certainly, but many deserve much worse, and they do not get it."

Tetta brooded a moment longer, then looked at Tessei sharply and said, "We are not yapping dogs."

"We are men of action," Tessei agreed grimly.

"He's returned from the outer boundaries now," Tetta said quietly. "The only one who can make this a reality."

Tessei told him, "I've heard that he already has the same desire we have - to make Jurai honorable and strong again."

"Then let us call on him, as soon as we may," Tetta determined.

"Yes, too much time has been lost already," Tessei concurred.

Next Chapter

"That sounds ominous," Mihoshi commented. "It's like there's some sort of conspiracy going on, isn't there? But why don't we get to learn who they're talking about?"

"Dramatic effect, suspense," Dragonwiles put in.

"But I wanna know!" Mihoshi said in frustration, shaking her head.

"Soon enough," Dragonwiles told her.

"In the next chapter?" she asked hopefully.

"No," Dragonwiles informed her.

"So what is in the next chapter, then?" Mihoshi asked.

"It's a secret," Dragonwiles said reflexively, then recalls that this is the next chapter preview. "It's going to be the beginning of yet another new arc, and right off the bat we'll find Tenchi and his friends fighting for their lives. You won't want to miss the next chapter, 'No Need For Assassination.'"

"That sounds really ominous," Mihoshi said nervously. "Are you sure you don't want to try making this story a little lighter?"

"It's a romantic comedy despite its action elements as it is," Dragonwiles explained wearily, "I want to have more action and drama in it!"

"But you can get plenty of those out of a romantic comedy!" Mihoshi said. Dragonwiles attempted to slither away, but she followed him, still explaining her point.

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."

"Yosho names Tenchi according to the denouement of the 'Tenchi Muyo In Love' movie on which this arc is loosely based. However, to my knowledge, no Tenchi canon gives Yosho's reasons for why he chose the name Tenchi. Therefore, I made up reasons. I'm not sure that any of the reasons - for example, the powers and origins of the sword Tenchi - are in canon."

"Similarly, I made up Kiyone and Tsunami's conversations, and the content thereof."

"Finally, I made up Tessei and Tetta's conversation, as I have made up most of their conversations throughout the tale."

Chapter 48 Main Chapters Chapter 50