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Chapter 21 Main Chapters Chapter 23

No Need For Jurai

Kagato looks imperiously at the audience. "I am your DJ for this episode," he comments, making no mention of the fact that Dragonwiles made him this episode's theme song DJ. "The song I have chosen is 'The Phantom of the Opera' from an Earth musical by the same name." He presses the button and leaves the studio.

A few minutes later, Dragonwiles pokes his head into the studio and says in an annoyed voice, "And I don't own the song or the musical, OK?" He leaves, muttering imprecations at Kagato for not saying that part.

1289 A.D.

Seven hundred years ago, as today, the planet of Jurai was surrounded by a large asteroid field and two small rings. At the time when Ryoko and Kagato were notorious space pirates, Jurai was defended by a fleet of first-rate space trees, the most powerful battleships in known space. They were supplemented by battlestations in elliptical orbits to intercept intruders far from the planet, and in closer orbits, a tightly interwoven planetary defense network, consisting both of weapons platforms and Light-Hawk Wings which defended the platforms. All of this was supplemented by an early-warning system with the power to sense ships hours away through all known storming levels.

Kagato had developed a new, greater storming level, so the sensors were only able to give a warning of five minutes when he arrived in Souja, trailed closely by Ryoko in Ryo-ohki.

The defense fleet hurriedly assembled to face the threat, and accelerated to intercept him far from the planet, but within range of some of the outlying battlestations.

Kagato opened several ports on Souja as he cruised further into the system. Before he entered the range of the battlestations' weapons, green light streamed out of the ports. He fired several volleys at the battlestations, vaporizing their thick armor and destroying their power cores. Some of the stations exploded, while others floated dead in space.

The battleships extended all of their weapons ports and Light-Hawk Wings, but again Kagato was able to engage them before they were in range. The Wings barely held back the great spheres Souja spat at them, allowing the battleships to close to their firing range. They attacked Souja, while Souja trained both its beam weapons and its great spheres of energy upon the battleships. This combination was enough to destroy several Juraian battleships. No first-rate Juraian battleship had been lost since Kain.

Some of the battleships fired upon Ryo-ohki as Kagato sent her out from behind himself and into the fray. Ryo-ohki dodged most of the attacks from the Juraians. To the utter surprise of the battleship captains, Ryo-ohki's attacks passed through their Light-Hawk Wings as though they did not exist. The Wings were not overwhelmed, and the space trees and Juraians powering the wings were not drained or weakened by successive hits. The Wings were at full power, yet Ryo-ohki's beams penetrated them, something which had never occurred in all of history.

In the space of minutes, one of the most powerful fleets in the galaxy was destroyed, to the last vessel.

Kagato used Souja to fire some long-range shots at the Juraian planetary defenses, clearing the path for Ryo-ohki. To keep the momentum of his attack going, he sent the much faster Ryo-ohki ahead to the planet's surface, while he approached in the slower Souja. He targeted more planetary defenses, just in case, but he knew that the abilities of Ryoko and Ryo-ohki would allow them to get past the remaining defenses with only marginal difficulty. He'd let Ryoko and Ryo-ohki run amok, to show the people what would happen if they did not obey him, but he would rein them in after a time. He needed this planet intact, for it was the one place left in the universe where he could hope to find the secret of ultimate power.

Kagato prepared himself for his upcoming battle. He would challenge Tsunami herself and wrest away her power.

Tsunami seethed at the base of the Royal Arboretum, deep in the palace tree in the capital of Jurai. The space trees around her in this many-tiered and well-lit gallery communicated to each other and to her their distress and confusion as they sensed the panic of their friends the Juraians, and the death of their comrades in space. All over the planet, the Juraians were trying to coordinate a defense against this surprise attack, and the trees scattered across the world and the trees residing within the Arboretum rapidly relayed as many messages as they could.

Tsunami almost felt like she was on fire, she was so angry. Kagato had long ago forsaken the protection she had offered the royal family of Jurai, and Tsunami longed to break him, to bring him to justice for his crimes, to avenge all her friends lost in battle against him. Tsunami sensed the energy that Ryoko and Ryo-ohki brought to bear against her people, which could break through the defensive energies she had given her space trees long ago. Tsunami wished to rip apart Ryoko and Ryo-ohki, the treacherous fiends.

Despite this, Tsunami restrained her wrath. To snuff out those powerful beings required a great deal of power. If Tsunami were to unleash that power here, so close to Jurai, she would undoubtedly annihilate all the lives in the solar system, and perhaps in an even greater area. She could do it, and prove herself strong and just in her own eyes by killing Kagato, Ryo-ohki, and Ryoko, but she knew that slaying so many she had sworn to protect, Juraians and space trees, would simply birth a new evil.

Tsunami therefore watched and tried to lend patience and calm to the trees who looked to her for guidance, as the destroyers approached.

Kagato approached the planet calmly, watching Ryo-ohki hurtle through the atmosphere. Ryo-ohki was effortlessly destroying all the defenses that hindered her, defenses that could've rebuffed armadas.

Kagato scanned the system again, confirming that he had destroyed the outlying defense systems. The rest of the Juraian fleet, ironically, was spread across known space hunting for Ryoko and himself. Kagato prided himself on learning that the king had departed the day before to command one of the expeditions. It was an opportunity Kagato had determined not to miss.

He noted a party of Juraian nobles assembling on the planet's surface, ready to battle Ryoko as soon as she landed. He doubted that weakling Ryoko could defeat them, so he formed a vast green sphere to launch on their position.

Souja suddenly rocked as it was struck by a blast from the right. The vast Juraian battleship had dropped its storming level only milliseconds before the attacking so that it could sneak up to point-blank range. It was Kirito, King Azusa's battleship. The fleet of the king's bodyguard appeared around Kirito as they dropped their storming levels and attacked Souja. Kagato retargeted his green sphere, aiming it at the new threats beside him. He'd need to use all Souja's firepower against these premier ships of Jurai.

Ryo-ohki paused her descent some distance above the ground and fired at the Juraian nobles who had assembled to engage her. Most of the nobles had scattered and fallen back into buildings already, so this attack was not as effective as it might've been. As soon as Ryoko teleported onto the field, the nobles returned. They'd learned through brief battles on other worlds that Ryo-ohki wouldn't fire on Ryoko's position.

Ryoko whirled through the air, firing bolts and deploying her energy saber. The personal shields and body armor of the Juraians was based on somewhat different principles than Light-Hawk wings, so were slightly better at fending her off.

Ryoko growled as they pressed on her again. Her flying abilities were largely countered by the Juraian's ability to propel themselves through the air for a short time. They were relatively easy to defeat on their own, but en masse presented something like a danger. Ryo-ohki fired low power shots when the trajectory was right, but the nobles were mostly using their keys as swords for melee combat, so Ryoko was usually too close for Ryo-ohki to attack.

Sasami cringed. The loud noises of people shouting and alarm klaxons frightened her. She had not yet grown beyond the toddling stage of Juraian development, thus her mind was still that of a small child.

She huddled into herself, alone in her room in the palace. Sometimes there were large booms, as the battle was taking place very close at hand.

She ran to the wall furthest from the noise and clutched herself against it. Exactly how was never afterwards clear, but she apparently activated a secret passage, perhaps placed in those quarters in case of some intrigue made irrelevant by the passage of centuries. Sasami felt the wall open behind her, and since she was leaning against it, she fell backwards. She slid down a chute behind the wall and found herself in a much quieter place.

It was pretty here, in a long corridor with ancient, well-preserved decorations, the wooden walls of the passageway polished and sedate. It was also much quieter, deeper in the tree.

Sasami began to smile. This was the part of the palace she liked. She moved onwards.

Ryoko snarled. If this kept up, she might actually be in some sort of trouble. The Juraian nobles were pressing in thick. She definitely wasn't going to count on Kagato bailing her out.

Seizing upon an old idea of hers, one she had practiced when Kagato wasn't watching, Ryoko began to teleport small bits of herself away from the combat area, concealing this by teleporting away bits of herself around her wounds, then quickly regenerating herself.

There wasn't time to properly form the amalgamation she created behind the nobles, so it was somewhat transparent. Though it was large, it didn't have much substance- but that would only make it harder to damage. She also made it pale white and gave it six eyes- that ought to intimidate them.

As her three gems blazed, she commanded it to move forward, attacking her attackers from their rear. She smiled. Her creation obeyed her just as her own body would.

The nobles were taken totally by surprise. The thing waded in among them, tossed some aside and strangled others. One of the nobles who managed to react in time slashed off its arm. The arm hung in the air a moment like a small patch of fog, and even drifted downward slightly, but Ryoko's gems blazed and the arm reattached itself. The thing now blazed energy at the nobles, piercing their personal shield networks.

Ryoko had not been idle all this time. She tore into the forces opposed to her. Caught between her and the white nightmare, the nobles were wiped out.

Queen Misaki coordinated the attack of the bodyguard's fleet from Kirito while her husband, King Azusa, concentrated on helping Kirito maintain the Light-Hawk Wings. Queen Funaho was carefully observing the Souja, reviewing all the data they had on it and all the data they were gathering now, attempting to determine its strengths and weaknesses.

They had meant to leave the day before, but delays and problems quickly mounted up and overwhelmed their plans. It had been irritating at the time, but at least their delayed departure was now enabling them to defend Jurai.

In the present, Souja was taking a battering from Kirito and the fleet of bodyguards. On the communications channels, Misaki could hear the enthusiastic and slightly unnerving voices of Tettei and Tessei as they daringly pressed their attack. Those two only got excited when there was something to fight.

Kagato was proving to be a worthy opponent. He was managing to survive the onslaught. Returning fire, he was slowly wearing down or overpowering the Light-Hawk Wings of the guard's ships. Another of the bodyguard's battleships was destroyed.

Misaki winced in sympathy. Turning her head, she agitatedly asked of Funaho, a few meters away, "How long can he keep this up?"

Funaho was mostly calm, but Misaki had known her long enough to see her concern. Funaho replied, "We've never been able to determine his power source, so we must assume indefinitely." She directed her next comment to her husband, "Targeting his weapons ports just after he fires may help."

King Azusa made a noise in the affirmative, and Kirito targeted the ports as she had advised. They fired a few volleys while maintaining the Wings, and it did indeed diminish Souja's attacking power. Unfortunately, he was still destroying their fleet.

The king set his face determinedly. He hoped that Ayeka would soon reach Tsunami. If Tsunami heeded Ayeka's request and came out to shield them, they might have enough time to destroy Souja. Then they could concentrate on Ryoko.

Yosho was assisting with damage control on some of the orbital defenses, directing people as to the most critical repairs to be made, making decisions about a million things off the top of his head, keeping one eye on what he was doing, and the other eye on his planet and family in mortal peril. He also tried to remain calm.

He received increasingly harried reports from the planet's surface of Ryoko and her unearthly white monster routing all who opposed them. He wrapped up some final decisions, left others in the hands of the various commanders, and teleported to the surface to pursue the fight personally.

Yosho found the white nightmare attacking a unit of the city guard. He ran forward to help and was hurled by the creature some twenty meters away. Yosho picked himself up from the stunning fall, feeling the dirt cling to him, as though begging him to lie down and rest.

The white nightmare had gotten inside the capital and was destroying buildings. Yosho looked around and saw that the white thing had dispatched the guardsmen in the area and was laying waste to the shops, homes, office buildings, and emergency stations. He wanted to stay and defeat it, he wanted to stop its rampage, but he realized this thing had never been seen with Ryoko before. She was probably the source of it. If he destroyed the white nightmare, she might well make another, or twenty more. If he could find and destroy her, he could probably eliminate all the threats on the planet's surface at once.

He asked his ship Funaho to teleport him to Ryoko's current location.

Nagi and Ken-ohki entered the Juraian system. They had been hastily sent through the nearest checkpoint along with a reinforcement fleet of Juraian battleships. Nagi wasn't about to let these criminals get away with acts of wanton destruction, even though she knew her space yacht was clearly outclassed.

Ken-ohki yowled eagerly beside her.

"You may think differently in a little while, Ken-ohki," she told him sardonically. He meowed in a manner that she had learned was wry for him. Ken-ohki knew just as well as she that they would both regret not having participated in this battle more than anything that might happen in it.

Their fleet raced towards Kagato's rear.

Kagato's lips thinned in displeasure as he saw the reinforcement fleet attacking his rear. He summoned Ryo-ohki from the planet's surface.

The reinforcement fleet found themselves under sudden attack as a coruscation of red beams came from the brownish spaceship form of Ryo-ohki. She launched herself headlong into their midst, absorbing their first surprised and hastily aimed blast almost effortlessly, then dashing amongst them. She dodged about agilely while their shots tended to hit each other. Infused with power from Ryoko's gems, her shots struck true even through the protection of Light-Hawk Wings. Vessel after vessel disintegrated under this withering attack.

Ayeka had run through many long, twisting passages to the outer antechamber of the Royal Arboretum, near the trunk of the gargantuan tree that formed the palace. It was of the utmost urgency that Ayeka meet Tsunami in the Arboretum and request her aid in repelling the attack, so under other circumstances she would've had Ryu-oh teleport her. In this case, asking a favor from a being as powerful as Tsunami, she felt proper protocol had to be followed. There was also the fact that the entire palace was defended by the most advanced anti-spacial-warp technology known to prevent teleportation. The middle of a pitched battle against teleporting enemies was not the best time to turn off such defenses.

Ayeka didn't pause in the antechamber, but kept running. It was still a long way to go, through many sharp turns, before she would reach the the Arboretum. The difficulty of the path was yet another defense built into the palace. She ran on, her footsteps deadened by the special soundproof wood in the walls. Ordinarily their sedate and majestic coloring helped her to relax, but she couldn't relax now.

The white nightmare ripped into the trunk of the palace tree, shredding like paper the tree bark wall that could weather a hurricane. The nightmare would've been delighted to learn that Ayeka was within the path of its massive hand.

Ayeka ducked only just in time, her heart in her mouth- she had only just escaped, on sheer instinct. The nightmare began to flow into the palace after her. She quickly judged it to be faster than her. If she ran on to Tsunami, it would overtake and kill her before her message could be delivered. Such a fate was unacceptable.

Ayeka launched herself into the air with her Juraian powers and grasped the key at her belt. When the nightmare was just within range, she whipped the key off her belt. Ryu-oh provided energy to form a blade on the end in an instant, and the blade tore through the white nightmare's neck as Ayeka sailed placidly over its shoulder.

She landed on the other side, as the thing turned itself entirely about by twisting on its waist as though it had no bones. In a fluid motion, it extended its arm during the turn, swiping at Ayeka as she landed. With her back still turned to it, she heard the whoosh of air and ducked, pointing her blade in the direction she determined the attack to be coming from. Her blade sliced through the thing's wrist. Its hand, though severed, lagged the wrist only slightly as both hand and wrist passed harmlessly over Ayeka's head. The nightmare reattached its severed hand as its head reformed and reattached to its body.

Ayeka frowned as she turned in a crouch. Fighting this construct or whatever it was would be difficult.

Sasami gaily ran on through to the end of the silent corridor. Her young mind didn't understand much, but she realized that she was in the part of the palace where she was only rarely allowed to go. That secret passage had led her right to the door of the Big Tree Room!

Sasami giggled. This was her favorite place in the whole palace- she wished her parents would take her here more. But, she was here now. Without hesitation, she opened the door and breathed in delight, then let it out with a giggle.

The trees all stood serenely in a massive cylindrical vault that stretched far beneath her. Each stood tall and proud in a pool of water. Small balconies, interspersed at various heights and places on the walls, contained the pools and trees, and were the only places to light one's foot. There were no railings.

Sasami stepped out onto the balcony that extended from the door she had opened. She remembered what to do- teleporting was allowed in this room, if one used the special sky-blue circles set into the balconies. Sasami stepped onto one and was teleported to another balcony.

Tsunami had been about to set out to rescue King Azusa and the others in advance of a formal request when she and the other trees noted Sasami's presence with great alarm. What was the princess doing here? With the white nightmare nearby, she was in extreme danger. Princess Sasami, however, lacked a key, so they had no way of communicating the danger to her.

Sasami stepped off the teleportation circle on the balcony she had arrived at and forward to a tree resting in a pool of water. She bowed and said respectfully, "How do you do?"

The tree launched some communications beams into its pool of water, trying to tell her to leave and rejoin her bodyguards, but no Juraian could comprehend what the space trees' beams communicated. Sasami simply laughed and ran back towards the teleportation circle.

A piece of debris from some of the orbital defenses had been falling through the atmosphere for some time. Now it finally struck the great palace tree. The bark held against this onslaught, but there were severe reverberations in the Royal Arboretum.

Sasami screamed as she was shaken off the balcony and plummeted to the bottom of the Arboretum.

The lights on the bridge of Nagi's space yacht were off, and ice was beginning to form on the controls. Nagi had lost consciousness when Ryo-ohki's attack had destroyed the engines and almost obliterated life support. Ken-ohki worriedly leapt onto Nagi's shoulders and stared into her face. If something wasn't done soon, his friend would be as lifeless as the drifting hulks of the reinforcement fleet surrounding them.

Tsunami looked with horror at the prone and bleeding body of Sasami. Sasami had fallen to the lowest level of the Arboretum, landing on a decorative rock in the pool where Tsunami herself reposed.

She felt an overwhelming grief. There was little even one as powerful as she could do in the face of death. Tsunami had seen how Azusa grieved when he lost his father. She couldn't bear to tell him that his youngest daughter had perished. Tsunami, the mighty defender of Jurai, hadn't been able to do a thing to save her.

Was there nothing she could do? Tsunami realized there was one option, but she felt a rising panic as she considered it. It was unprecedented. What side effects might Sasami experience? What would happen to her, Tsunami, if she tried it?

The sight of Sasami's blood reaching the surface of the pool steadied Tsunami's spirit. There might be nothing she could do for Jurai, but there was something she could do for this girl, here and now.

Water rushed up in a fountain about Sasami's body, and Tsunami's energy circled in a helix about the water. The water and energy cycled, first for one second, then for another and another and another.

The water crashed back into the pool. The blood had disappeared from the rock and the back of Sasami's head. She felt her eyes open.

"You devil!" Yosho cursed Ryoko as she laughed before the building she had set ablaze. She teleported away, her saucy grin broadcasting the fact that she was toying with him.

Yosho was determined. He'd catch Ryoko if they played teleportation hopscotch across the entire planet. He asked his ship Funaho to teleport him again.

Ken-ohki knew that there were probably only a few seconds remaining. He jumped off of Nagi's shoulders and onto the floor of the bridge. The floor felt frigid to his paws, as to be expected since life support was failing.

He began to expand his entire body, very slowly and carefully, for he had never done this before and wasn't quite certain how. Once he had created a large hollow volume within himself, he opened a portal in his body and gently pulled Nagi inside with his arms. He sealed the portal in himself after making sure that he was correctly generating heat and atmosphere in his interior. He then continued to grow, slowly growing spikes and spines that reached down to the floor of the bridge. Soon he was too large for the bridge and it cracked apart as he continued to grow. He continued to expand himself, completing the destruction of Nagi's already totaled space yacht, hoping to save Nagi herself.

Ken-ohki finally stopped a few minutes later, no longer appearing as a small white lepinoid, but as a massive white spaceship, with spikes pointing downwards and a pink gem at his center. He looked around for Ryo-ohki, anticipating an attack from her, but she had already returned to the planet.

The hollow Ken-ohki had made inside himself had enlarged as well and become his bridge. Nagi revived and said softly, "Well done, Ken-ohki. You're all grown up now."

He meowed softly in reply.

Ayeka slashed through the nightmare again, but this time added a backstroke to it, slicing the thing at another location. It was slower to reform this time. Ayeka nodded to herself. She launched a dizzying series of attacks on the white nightmare, using her Juraian powers to fling herself from wall to wall, over and around the thing, slicing it again and again.

The thing drifted apart into as many sections as Ayeka had divided it into, then its components flew away from her and out the hole that thing had made only moments before.

Ayeka was breathing heavily. She placed her key back on her belt, coughed on some of the blood in her mouth, and saw a large bruise on the back of her hand. Mentally she added it to all the pain she felt on her back from where the creature had thrown her against the wall. She was surprised that she hadn't received too many more injuries.

The shattered sections of the white nightmare flowed into Ryoko and remerged with her body. She frowned.

Ayeka hurried through the last few corridors to the Royal Arboretum- the nightmare had almost fought her to the vestibule. Ayeka was astonished to see Sasami emerging from inside the Arboretum.

"Sasami! What are you doing here?" Ayeka asked in astonishment. She held Sasami in her arms as Sasami ran forward and hugged her in relief.

Hearing a noise, Ayeka swiftly turned her head to look behind her. Ryoko now stood there, her green eyes blazing malevolently. Ayeka turned sharply and drew her key, keeping Sasami behind her. Ryoko formed her own energy saber.

The hole in the bark must've formed a localized disturbance in the antiteleportation field, Ayeka realized in the midst of her shock. Ayeka wondered how many more seconds she would be able to keep her younger sister alive before Ryoko killed them both.

Yosho teleported in to Ryoko's right and leapt at her. She phased through his first attack, then stabbed at him. He stepped back just enough to avoid the attack and pressed forward again. Ayeka noticed in sudden worry that he was bleeding from a cut on his head.

"Ayeka, take Sasami somewhere safe!" Yosho said aloud. He parried one of Ryoko's attacks.

Ayeka didn't want to leave him, but she didn't want Sasami to be hurt either. Sasami couldn't be left alone- the white nightmare might target her next. Ayeka ran behind Yosho as he and Ryoko continued their lightning-fast melee.

Kagato's lip twitched downward, then returned to the horizontal, restoring his face's impassive expression. Kirito, the king's space tree partner, was too strong. He was taking too many risks facing Kirito and the remaining bodyguards in open battle. Kagato's battle was pitched too decisively- he might lose at any moment. There was no time to summon Ryo-ohki or Ryoko- as usual, they were both too slow for him.

They were of no further use. Kagato decided to leave both of them behind.

Best to regain his own strength by going into hiding, and repairing his Souja with the supplies he had onboard.

Souja began to move at top speed out of the Juraian solar system.

Yosho blinked, but he had not imagined it. As he and Ryoko crossed blades, her eyes had lost their green glow, and been replaced by eyes with yellow irises and black, catlike slits of pupils. Ryoko had stumbled forwards, but he was unable to take advantage of it because her change in momentum made him stumble as well.

Ryoko's expression rapidly shifted from malice to utter joy to maniacal bloodthirstiness. She had an unhinged look about her now, as though she knew she could do anything she wanted, and what she wanted to do was destroy all things.

He had to prevent that. They fought long and hard, he leaping as she flew, he feinting and she making murderous swings. Somehow their battle carried them out of the palace and beyond the antiteleportation shielding. Ryoko teleported over and over, out of the palace and all across Jurai, and each time Yosho followed, calling upon his vessel to teleport him again and again. Yosho called upon all of his techniques, all of his training, every trick he knew, and the fight slowly turned in his favor. Ryoko sensed it and immediately teleported away. Frustrated, Yosho looked to the sky and saw Ryo-ohki speeding away. Ryoko must've teleported aboard.

He needed to catch up to them, so he headed back towards the palace, where his partner and ship Funaho was docked at the Royal Arboretum. Funaho teleported him near the palace, but he had to run in on foot because of the antitransporation shielding. He didn't want to risk teleporting in again through the hole the white nightmare had made earlier.

Funaho used her own communication equipment to inform Kirito and Ryu-Oh that Yosho was going to pursue Ryoko, and they informed the rest of the royal family. Yosho appreciated Funaho's assistance, but also wished to speak with his family more personally. With his key, he summoned a relay bot.

A small robot that looked like an elegant branch with tiny buds of leaves flew to meet him and hovered before him, maintaining a short distance before him as he ran. It projected a hologram of the bridge of Kirito, where Yosho could see his father, King Azusa, his mother Queen Funaho, and the Queen Misaki, Ayeka and Sasami's mother. He knew the relay robot was projecting his image and voice to them. After a short delay, the robot projected a second hologram of Ayeka, who had already left Sasami in the care of her bodyguards. Ayeka was running towards the Royal Arboretum but was some distance from it.

"Dad, Funaho, Misaki, Ayeka, can you read me?" Yosho asked as he continued hastily through the vestibule of the Royal Arboretum and the docking bay.

His father's gruff voice from the hologram exclaimed, "We all do. Yosho, the Souja has retreated. Where are you?" Yosho replied, "I'm almost to Funaho, father."

Ayeka looked startled and sick with worry as she cried, "Yosho wait, take me too!"

Yosho entered the door of his space tree partner Funaho. He said slowly, "Forgive me, Ayeka. It would be best if I did this alone. If I don't return, give my love to Sasami."

King Azusa said, "I'll try to arrange some support for you. Tsunami will accompany us as we pursue Kagato. Once he's destroyed, we'll assist you. Two battlegroups are unfortunately all I can send with you immediately."

Yosho shook his head as Funaho began takeoff procedures. Yosho said aloud, "Thank you, Father, but no. Those battlegroups are needed here on Jurai, to assist in the rebuilding, and in case Kagato or Ryoko doubles back and returns. Funaho has enough speed to catch up with Ryo-ohki."

He looked in their eyes a moment longer, smiled sadly, and said, "Farewell." He ended the transmission and dismissed the relay bot. As soon as it left Funaho, she began to ascend.

Yosho felt his key grow warm as the space tree Funaho asked him privately, "Yosho, are you sure about this? You haven't got any of the supplies or clothes we planned to bring when we left Jurai for good."

Yosho shrugged. "No, I don't, but I was being foolish to have planned to bring them. I'm going to have to live like everyone else now that I'm leaving. It was wrong of me to try to comfort myself with all of those trinkets."

"I hardly think the gardening implements we planned to take were trinkets," Funaho grumped, imagining a lifetime of being pruned only by crude, blunt tools.

"I'm sorry about that, Funaho," he replied reassuringly, "but a better opportunity will never arise. When we don't return, everyone will assume that Ryoko and I killed each other in the combat, and you and Ryo-ohki destroyed each other in battle as well. I don't like to think of them mourning us, but it will pass. In time, Ayeka will ascend the throne. Only her grandmother, Lady Seto, is non-Juraian, and Lady Seto has assimilated so well with our culture that we all consider her, and Ayeka and Sasami, Juraian. The people would not accept a half-Juraian such as I, but they will adore Ayeka as their ruler."

The space tree Funaho agreed, "You're right, Yosho. I couldn't bear to see a civil war on Jurai. Let us go on then, and trounce Ryoko. One last battle before we find some quiet little planet to retire upon. For both our sakes, let's try and find a nice lake to settle by. We both love sunrise over a lake."

Next Chapter

"This is it," Ryoko says with determination. "I'm going to kill Kagato."

"Kagato, traitor to his homeland of Jurai, must die for his crimes," Ayeka pronounces.

"I will bring the supercriminal Kagato to justice, no matter what," Mihoshi promises.

The three say in unison, "The next chapter is No Need For Life Without Tenchi."

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."

"A lot of things were made up in this chapter. Wikipedia claims that Kagato and Azusa's spaceships Souja and Kirito fought at some time, but I think it was supposed to be before Azusa met Funaho. I think Wikipedia also claimed Kagato won. In any event, I never saw this in any episode or manga that I watched. All the OVA said was that Ryoko attacked Jurai- apparently Kagato didn't quite attack at that time, or nobody figured out he was attacking too. Yet in a later OVA episode we learn that Kagato hoped to capture Jurai's greatest ship Tsunami during the attack. All this was never quite clear to me, so I rewrote it so Kagato and Ryoko simultaneously attacked with the intention of taking over Jurai and capturing Tsunami. I also rewrote the battle so that Souja was a tough opponent but Kirito forced Kagato's retreat. Also, obviously, I made the battle take place after Azusa was married to both his wives."

"I made up the particulars of the thoughts of Tsunami and the other trees in the Royal Arboretum. I also made up exactly how Sasami reached them, and who she was met by outside, as well as Ayeka and Yosho's battles. For what Sasami did inside I largely followed the OVA, but I made up the reactions of Tsunami and the trees."

"I'm also not sure in the OVA that Kagato ever voluntarily released Ryoko and Ryo-ohki from mind control, but it seemed logical to write my fanfiction that way."

"I also made up Ken-ohki and Nagi riding to Jurai's defense, and this battle being the time when Ken-ohki first transforms."

"The particulars of Jurai's defense I gleaned from the Universe series, mostly the existence of checkpoints outside the scope of this chapter's battle. Most of the particulars I made up myself."

"I also made up the details of how Ryoko's 'white nightmare' works and why she ever made it in the first place. It exists in the OVA but has no name I know of, and a different explanation for how it works."

"The relay bot I entirely made up, or maybe I got the idea from Star Wars Episode I, from the scene where a relay droid helps the Sith and the Trade Federation Chancellor communicate."

"I think I made up Funaho and Yosho enjoying sunsets. I can't quite recall now. It may be from Hitoshi Okuda's manga."

"Finally, the OVA did have Yosho leave Jurai in pursuit of Ryoko, and also with the apparent intention of staying away to avoid having his existence provoke a civil war. I made up the particulars, including leaving behind lots of his stuff and equipment to prune Funaho the space tree with. I don't know that Juraian space trees even need pruning, but you'd think living ships with entire ecosystems inside might need it sometime or another."

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