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Chapter 65 Main Chapters Chapter 67

Chapter 66: No Need for Desperate Battle

Tenchi strides resolutely into the studio. "Hi, everyone, I've only got a little bit of time here before I return to my battle, but Dragonwiles asked me to be the DJ for this chapter. I felt that this song really matched the mood, so I'm playing it." He taps a few buttons, and then recalls, "Oh, yes, and Dragonwiles doesn't claim any rights to the song." After a few more button presses, the resolutely joyful sounds of "Light Hawk Wing Sword" begin to play.

"Isn't that the song from when Tenchi fought Kagato? You know, in the OVA?" Wash asks Ryoko.

"Yeah, I think so," Ryoko agrees.

The song plays on.

Tenchi's sword crashed again against Oda's, and they both pivoted their swords, vying for some way to outmaneuver each other, but eventually they both fell away. Beside him, Azaka was battling Tetta, and Kamadaki was battling Tessei. Tenchi noted in a corner of his mind that something was wrong.

Oda came in with another large attack, more similar to what King Azusa had said that the pirates used, a great slash with little subtlety but plenty of power. Tenchi blocked but felt himself pushed back by the force of the blow. With some alarm he realized what was wrong - though he could hear and see that everyone was breathing heavily, Oda was breathing more slowly than any of them. Tenchi also felt a sinking feeling as he recalled that throughout this fight, even when Tenchi was the one attacking, Oda had pushed him back. Oda evidently outmatched Tenchi in stamina and strength. Just great.

So, was that it, then? Was this one super-strong alien too many?

Even if so - this was what he could do, what he had to do - as much as he could, however far he could get!

If he was gonna win this, Tenchi also realized, he had to change the pace of the battle, and soon, before he got exhausted.

Azaka, whilst this was occurring, was gaining more and more respect for his opponent. Of course it only stood to reason that one of the king's bodyguards would be strong. He had experience, technique, and power that was masterful, to say the least. 'Twas put to shameful ill use, guarding a usurper. It was enough to make Azaka ponder what dishonor he and Kamadaki might have plunged into had they lost their way - as they had opportunity after opportunity to do.

The fighters had been entirely silent since it began, letting their crashing blades speak for them, and so it was with some surprise that Kamadaki heard his opponent state, "Legends do you justice, yet you are Juraians, not legends. We match you in skill - now see how time has advanced fighting techniques." Kamadaki had assumed that his opponent had backed up just before this to get room for a leap or flying attack, and Kamadaki had been readying a suitable counter. Instead, Tessei made a claw of the hand not clasping his key blade, and pointed it at Kamadaki. Kamadaki, in the heat of the battle, tried to intercept the strange, incredibly thin blue bolts that shot out of his foe's hand, but whether he missed or they could not be blocked by key blades, the quarrels found their mark in Kamadaki's leg. As Kamadaki reeled forward in pain, Tessei announced smugly, "Jurai's Needle. Formed from our hands' forcefields. Understand the extent of my respect for you." He corrected the aim of his hand while keeping his blade at the ready.

Azaka's watch had to stay on his own fight, not those of his comrades, but he could see Kamadaki stumble. Azaka's foe now spoke triumphantly, "You brought about Jurai's greatness in your time. How regrettable that to reclaim that greatness, we must add you both to the list of worthies we have slain." Azaka tried to gain a point during this speech, but his opponent was too disciplined, breaking off his words to counter, and then to press a new attack.

Ryoko's fatigue was smothering her, damping even the inspiring fire of her three gems. Ryo-Ohki, she knew, fared similarly. Together they had taken down at least a score of space trees, even apart from those they had defeated with assistance from their allies. More and more enemy space trees were coming now, from before and behind, and she was peripherally aware that some of the unnatural flares had been the final flicker before the extinguishing of friends' vessels.

She wanted to face squarely the horror of killing, the despair of a victory so far out of reach as to be laughable. How she did wish that she could still survive this, though! And Tenchi, and even the others - how many of them would be standing at the end of this day?

Ryo-Ohki and she threw themselves back into the fray, where they quickly found such sword work as to keep the thoughts at bay - most of the time.

Azaka found himself impressed with how hard-pressed he was, and grimly amused by his admiration for his enemy's skill. Ever since Kamadaki's foe had revealed the Needle of Jurai, Azaka's foe had kept up formidable offenses and defenses, perhaps to ensure none forgot his abilities. It was clear why his opponent was a bodyguard of a king - there was great strength and no hesitation in his movements.

Trying an attack at his enemy's feet, Azaka soon found himself forced to parry his opponent's answering strike at his head. Azaka then tried to smite his enemy's arm, but was thwarted by his enemy's parrying. It seemed certain that these confident maneuvers were the result of much practice in battle and in private.

A pity that he would have to kill such a great swordsman.

For the next few moments of the battle, Azaka knew he would be dependent upon the space tree among his allies willing to sacrifice precious energy to power his blade. No, he had been dependent upon the power of another all throughout the battle, as he had been in every fight with a key blade - did he not know that by now? That it was never he alone who was fighting? Azaka focused his attention on his key blade, allowing one moment to fix his eyes on his target, and another for gratitude for the space tree assisting him, and all his allies, and then a final moment to focus the power on what he needed done.

His enemy had taken this opportunity to get in closer, within Azaka's guard, little imagining this was but contributing to his own undoing.

Azaka's key blade converted momentarily into a tractor beam, forcing his enemy even closer than he had meant to come. He thoroughly surprised his enemy, and as the enemy drew close, Azaka converted the key blade into a sword again, and drove it into his enemy. His foe's last, hastily finished attack struck Azaka's chest. The two mighty warriors crumpled together. Azaka felt the pain of the wound, tasted of a blade of Juraian grass, looked upon his enemy, deemed him also his fallen brother, and pondered what this new and now departed brother might have been had he chosen to be great in character as well as in power. Finally, Azaka hoped his standing brothers-in-arms would finish their battles safely. All hope for a reflowering of Jurai's true greatness rode on them now.

Kamadaki quickly sorted through his options. His foe's ranged attack at a distance was not outside of Juraian dueling rules, since Kamadaki could've compensated for the distance by making a flying or leaping attack. Still, it was clear from what else he knew of the situation that these opponents lacked honor.

Tessei's face revealed his gloating as he saw Kamadaki stumble forward, unable to continue standing on the leg pierced by Jurai's Needle.

There was only a moment for Tessei's face to show his surprise before Kamadaki converted his stumble into a burst of Juraian flight, skimming over the ground, sword pointed ahead, at his foe's heart.

A moment later, Kamadaki sat up from where he had fallen, his landing having been rougher than usual with his harmed leg. He turned himself about laboriously to look at his foe. Seeing clearly that the opponent would never move again, Kamadaki then rubbed the back of his neck, sore after the combined sword-thrust and tackle, and examined the area at his right side, just above the hip, where his enemy's last desperate attempt to block had landed. It had burned through his armor and singed his side. If the opponent hadn't been using one hand for the bolt technique, leaving only one hand on the sword, Kamadaki might be joining him in death now.

"If you had understood respect," Kamadaki noted aloud to the fallen fellow knight, "we might have fought side by side."

Tenchi was still trying to determine how to change the pace of his battle with Oda when he was struck by an odd thought as he managed another difficult block. He was only still alive because he had learned Juraian sword techniques from his grandfather on Earth. Oda's blade swept and parried and thrust, but without inflicting serious injury, because Tenchi responded, using the training he'd done at his home, honing the art of a world he'd never before seen. It was as Tenchi recognized this harmony that existed in his life and his blade that he remembered something. He hadn't wanted to try it here - but if he didn't survive this, he'd never get to try anything ever again!

Oda's sword descended upon Tenchi.

There was one particular block that Tenchi hadn't gotten quite right, that one time he had the opportunity to spar with King Azusa on Ryuten after they had helped the Takebes.

Tenchi had been practicing that block ever since that day-

The Light-Hawk Wing sword swung upwards with Tenchi's arm to meet the usurper's strike-

-And Tenchi had been practicing that block ever since, and a counter to go with it-

-Crashing together, Tenchi and Oda strove against one another in that moment-

-Tenchi had perfected that block and counter, working on it over and over-

-Tenchi's sword knocked away Oda's downward stroke, then twisted away, faster than Oda expected, under Oda's still-descending arm and his guard-

-All because Tenchi had hoped to spar again with King Azusa again.

-Tenchi's sword struck true.

Oda's mortal remains fell and lay still: the block and counter had been executed perfectly.

Tenchi could only hope King Azusa would've been proud.

Looking about, Tenchi saw the two corpses from the other duels, and for just a moment had a horrible thought - but then he saw that they were the two enemies, Tetta and Tessei. Once they had been the king's bodyguards, who had accompanied the king and the queens on that visit to Earth - now they lay honorless with their reckless master. His friends and companions, Azaka and Kamadaki, were upon the ground, but still alive, gazing with somber happiness at him.

A sigh escaped Tenchi. He then laid a hand on his space tree key hanging at his belt, his namesake, Tenchi. "It's over," he reported wearily, unconsciously willing his words to be carried across the planet and to the Juraians in space trees and battlestations above the planet. "Oda is dead. It's over now."

Washu swallowed as she heard the news from Yosho and her other Juraian companions. She certainly hoped it was over - but there was one thing she had to know for certain first.

Next Chapter

"Oh, give me a break!" Tenchi exclaims. "I just beat Oda! We're done already, OK!"

"Yeah, good job," Washu says, not quite reassuringly enough because of her preoccupation, "honestly wasn't sure we'd all make it this far, but we do have another problem."

"Like what?" Tenchi asks, irritated.

"I'll tell you when I know more," Washu says with a worried look, directed not at Tenchi but at something else, probably the middle distance.

Tenchi sighs, but noting the sincerity of her alarm, allows, "Well, can you at least tell me in the next chapter, 'No Need for Impossible Odds' ?"

"Sure," she agrees grimly. "If things go wrong, I'll beg you for your help if I have to."

He looks at her strangely, but she is still looking somberly at the middle distance.

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.

"In some senses, this is very different from the Tenchi Universe episode on which it was based, but in some cases there were only moderate differences, as I kept similar ideas but gave them my own spin.

"Here are some of the similarities. In Tenchi Universe, as in this chapter, Azaka (the Juraian, not the robotic log) battles Tetta, while Kamadaki (again a Juraian and not a robotic log) battles Tessei. The Universe version introduced the idea of Jurai's Needle being used by Tessei against Kamadaki, which I kept in mine since I found it interesting. (In fact, I made up the idea that Juraians have forcefields in their hands back in my Kagato arc only partly to explain his ability to push enemies back, and mostly in order to set up the idea of Jurai's Needle.) In Azaka and Tetta's fight, I changed the energy attack Azaka uses at one point against Tetta into a tractor beam, since I thought it'd be interesting to bring back that technique which Yosho uses to steal Ryoko's gems in my story's chapter 25. (In the OVA, Yosho appears to be doing something like that to Ryoko to steal her gems.)

"Of courser, there are many differences also. In Tenchi Universe, I believe both Azaka and Kamadaki are supposed to announce that their adversaries lack chivalry that separates knights from fighters - true enough in that story and mine, but I limited it to a realization on Kamadaki's part.

"Unlike the knights' battles, Tenchi's duel in this chapter is almost completely different from the Universe storyline, even down to the identity of his opponent. The usurper in this arc of my story is Oda, a Juraian nobleman I made up, whereas in Tenchi Universe, the usurper is Kagato - the Universe version of Kagato, who is a Juraian who once fought Yosho. Also, since Ayeka is not hostage of the usurper in this arc, she is present at the time, but instead active elsewhere on Jurai.

"I did not include the vision of Earth's autumn, but I kept some sense that Tenchi is the best of both worlds - Earth and Jurai.

"I was a bit surprised myself at all that I included in this chapter from Tenchi Universe, but it's not too surprising when I consider that I planned to have this arc from the beginning of the story, and thus introduced Tetta and Tessei very early into the story, to give us more emotional investment in their treachery.

"Thank you all for waiting for this chapter, and I hope that you will enjoy the next, as well.

"Happy Easter!"

Chapter 65 Main Chapters Chapter 67