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Chapter 25 Main Chapters Chapter 27

No Need For A Karaoke Night

"Hello! My name is Azaka!" the log-like robot introduces itself. Kamadaki, the other log-like robot continues, "And I am Kamadaki."

"We've been designated as your DJs for this episode," Azaka says. Kamadaki contributes, "So we selected a special tune for this episode's theme song. It's '(Winter Remix song)' from 'Orphen 2', neither of which Dragonwiles owns."

"Please enjoy it," they say and bow in unison.

"You're serious?" Kiyone asked. She knew Mihoshi was, but she was so stunned she had to ask.

"Yep, I'm serious!" Mihoshi said brightly.

"But we just did that last night!" Kiyone complained.

"I wanna do it again!" Mihoshi insisted. "And Misao wants to come too!"

"Misao's coming! You invited him already? Look, Mihoshi, I'm not singing in front of other people!" Kiyone insisted.

"Aren't I people?" Mihoshi wondered aloud, not offended, but not understanding her friend's reluctance to perform when anyone other than herself was around. Mihoshi tried again, "Please, Kiyone?"

"Absolutely not!" Kiyone growled.

That evening, Kiyone, Mihoshi, and Misao were making themselves comfortable in one of the karaoke rooms at the GP Headquarters lounge.

Kiyone started and looked at her chronometer. "What! A few hours went by this time, and again I have no memory of them! Am I going crazy?"

"Come on, Kiyone, don't be so sad! Sing something!" Mihoshi encouraged her friend.

"Yes, please do," Misao requested, making an encouraging gesture that unfortunately knocked over his drink.

Mihoshi laughed as she helped him mop it up with some napkins, "Maybe we should put you back in a baby chair, little brother!" He flinched but still looked grateful for his sister's help.

Kiyone just didn't get it between those two. She'd assumed Mihoshi had invited Misao along for some sort of matchmaking with herself. If that were the case, though, why did she put her little brother down all the time?

Mihoshi always wondered why Kiyone acted the way she did. Mihoshi liked karaoke, but she knew that Kiyone absolutely loved it. Why, then, did she always have to twist her friend's arm to get her to do it?

Misao didn't really understand his older sister or Kiyone. Here they had just been stranded in a primitive backwater of space, and his sister had offhandedly mentioned something about a life-or-death battle with Kagato, and yet they were willing to return to their posting in the protected zone almost immediately. Grandfather would've reassigned them if they'd asked. Their devotion to their duty was the probable cause, and he admired that in them. Still, they had the right to spend some of their accumulated leave time here, while they could. Why were they both so insistent on returning to the protected zone?

Tenchi Masaki sighed and stretched in his room. "Finally. Homework's all done." He left unspoken the thought that his vacation was almost done too. He was going to enjoy the last part of the break. Tenchi trudged downstairs, pausing briefly to look out the window and see Sasami playing with Ryo-ohki and Mik the alien ferret in the snow.

From somewhere downstairs he heard Ayeka cough and shout, "Ryoko, stop throwing snowballs in the house this instant! Some of us actually wish to keep the house clean and non-slippery!"

"How unfun and cold-hearted," Ryoko teased, "I think I should take you swimming in the lake. The water's just the right temperature for your icy blood."

Tenchi walked downstairs. Maybe he could convince them to take the dispute outdoors, although he wasn't sure how much it'd help.

Misao clapped and offered, "Well sung, Kiyone." Mihoshi agreed, "Yeah, I liked that one!"

"Thank you," Kiyone said embarrassedly as she bowed to them both. She still was having a hard time singing in front of someone other than Mihoshi, but it was nice of them to say so. She made a mental note to practice some of the higher notes sometime.

"Let's do this song next!" Mihoshi gestured to a holographic playlist displayed on the table.

"It's a boy-girl duet," Kiyone said aloud as she read its metadata.

Misao said anxiously, "If you like, Kiyone, we could do it together, that is, if you're okay with it, or not, I'm fine either way. Just a friendly duet, if you want. Or we could do another song. It's totally up to you."

"I don't know this song too well," Kiyone said honestly.

"Then let's do it together, Misao!" Mihoshi suggested heartily.

"Great! We haven't done this one together since we were little!" Misao spoke with unfeigned enthusiasm. He and Mihoshi hurried to the mike, nearly colliding with one another.

Kiyone relaxed on her seat, relieved. Part of Misao's skittishness, she was convinced, was Mihoshi's fault for quashing his first attempt to ask her out years ago. Kiyone was flattered to see that he still appeared to have some interest in her, but she didn't reciprocate it. She could hardly think of him as something other than her partner's kid brother, mostly because he never acted like anything else. Kiyone figured if she ever were to get romantically involved, she wanted to be able to genuinely respect the guy. But she didn't want to sell Misao short. He'd surely grow up someday, and he was brave, decent, cute, and rich.

Listening to the siblings sing, she had to admit that they were also both better vocalists than she'd given them credit for.

She congratulated them when the song was over, and they had both expressed hearty gratitude in return. Mihoshi and Kiyone started scrolling through the playlist looking for another song. Mihoshi knocked over one of her empty food canisters, and Kiyone absently picked it up and threw it into the trash. Misao took several swigs of his drink, then toyed with his food.

After a few moments of silence, he asked, "Mihoshi, are you sure you won't join Grandfather and me on Beta Cygnus II? I know how much you love the springs there."

"I do," Mihoshi told him slowly, half her mind still on the playlist, "but, well, you know, I'm supposed to be on duty. Ordinarily the protected zone is pretty quiet, those last few pirates were the first we've had in years, so Grandfather's sorta right. It should be fine without us for a few days. But still, what if we're not there when something bad happens. Besides..." she trailed off, then noticed a title on the playlist and exclaimed, "Oh! I like this song!"

Kiyone laughed and pointed out, "I'd hardly call Kagato just a pirate. I still can't believe you faced him at close range!"

"I can!" Misao said earnestly. "Please, please, tell me all about it! You've hardly told me anything about the battle with him."

"Well, Ayeka and Ryoko and I had gotten aboard the Souja-" Mihoshi started, "because we thought that Tenchi had been blown up, but he really wasn't."

Misao waved his hands. "Wait, wait- do you mean to tell me you not only lived with the Princess of Jurai and the former supercriminal Ryoko, but you fought Kagato with them too?"

"Well, I got stuck in another dimension," Mihoshi told him, "so I didn't directly fight. But I did help get Washu out of a biological isolation unit."

Nobuyuki sat in the dining room of the house. He took another swig of sake before saying, "So, all these years you've actually been an alien?"

"Half-alien," Yosho corrected him agreeably, draining his own glass. Nobuyuki refilled it for him.

"And Tenchi might be king of the galaxy someday?" Nobuyuki asked.

"Are you trying to chisel my sister out of the throne?" Yosho asked dangerously.

"No, no," Nobuyuki said quickly. Yosho smiled reassuringly and told him, "I know. There's not much to worry about. They can resolve it between themselves."

Nobuyuki craned his head to see out the sliding glass door, confirming that Tenchi, Ryoko, and Ayeka were still arguing while Sasami played nearby. "If you say so," Nobuyuki said, unconvinced, then downed more sake. "I just wondered why you never told me."

Yosho grinned, "Achika would've killed me if I told you."

"Yeah, I guess you're right. Woulda been awkward if I believed, or if I disbelieved," Nobuyuki acknowledged. He reminisced for a few moments, and they were both quiet. Nobuyuki's face was sad.

"She never told you," Yosho said slowly, "because she thought it would never matter. Even if she had the means to travel the galaxy, she never would've desired it. She was always certain her destiny was here."

They were silent a while longer.

"I guess, after what happened at Tokyo Tower," Nobuyuki said, "those weird times when she'd look sad and say those odd things, you knew what she was talking about."

"Not really," Yosho frowned. "Something else happened after you were knocked out, but she'd never tell me the full details."

"Nothing less from my sister," Misao chuckled at Mihoshi later that evening. "Winning a fight with Kagato. It's amazing."

"I am rather impressed," Kiyone admitted, although impressed wasn't quite the right word. She still had no idea how her partner had managed to survive that encounter.

"Thanks, but really it was Tenchi who did the hard part!" Mihoshi said cheerily.

Misao glanced at his chronometer. "I'd better call it a night, since I have to leave early tomorrow." He looked at his older sister and said pleadingly, "Grandfather won't like me if I tell him you won't be joining us."

"Oh, Misao," Mihoshi hugged him, "I'd like to go, but duty is duty, and I'm already missing everybody back on Earth! I'll see you two off and take care of Grandfather myself, okay?"

Misao nodded. The three left the room, and had almost left the lounge when Mihoshi recalled she'd forgotten something in the karaoke room. As she left to get it, Misao asked, "Kiyone, this Tenchi. Is he good to Mihoshi?"

"Well, yeah, definitely," Kiyone admitted. "I mean, Mihoshi says he is, and he's always been kind to her whenever I've been around to see."

Misao beamed, and he looked at Mihoshi's retreating figure and remarked, "I'm so glad."

Kiyone blinked. He couldn't possibly be serious. But Mihoshi had been more giggly than usual. And Tenchi had saved Mihoshi's life. And Mihoshi was dead set on accepting yet more of Tenchi's hospitality. And Tenchi had just now been unofficially, partially vetted by a family member, and her own testimony.

Kiyone really wanted to be whole-heartedly happy for her friend. She was glad for her partner's good fortune. Still, she couldn't stop the thought to herself: "So I get stuck on Venus and she finds Mr. Right? Is this fair? At all? In any way?"

Back on Earth, the argument between Ayeka, Ryoko, and Tenchi, had been resolved by a semi-amicable, knock-down snowball fight. The amount of "knock-down" involved was considerable, when one considers Ayeka and Ryoko were two of the main contestants. Sasami unexpectedly joined the battle when she saw an opening. Tenchi swiftly learned not to underestimate Sasami's range.

The ruckus had broken up, and since the family was now dispersed around the house, Ryoko decided it was the right time to find Yosho alone.

"Yosho," she said, walking into the living room and staring at his back as he sat on a chair. "We need to finish this," she continued in a calm voice.

He turned his head and raised an eyebrow. "I had rather hoped you considered it finished after Tenchi released you."

"You locked me in a cave for seven hundred years," Ryoko said icily.

"I suppose it was silly to imagine a few months would simply smooth it over," Yosho admitted.

"I won't deny that there are complications," Ryoko admitted. "Seeing as I'm the only woman who can make Tenchi's life complete, it's not exactly fitting for me to kill his grandfather."

"Since Tenchi's future happiness is at stake," Yosho suggested, "it does seem rather better to defuse the issue now than later."

"It's complicated," Ryoko stated simply. "I always understood that you did what you had to do. So it's not like you can apologize or I can forgive you. Washu insists that simply taking revenge on you would be wrong. And of course accomplishing the revenge I once dreamed of would make Tenchi hate me. But I can't keep living with what you did to me."

"And now that everyone knows my secret," Yosho agreed, "we can't leave the matter unspoken as we had before."

Ryoko was quiet, her face calm. Finally she stated, "If it's a choice between me and Tenchi's happiness, Tenchi wins. We can consider our battle ended at last."

Yosho commented as he stood and faced her, "You are an honorable opponent, Ryoko." He bowed to her, and she did in return. "There is only one thing greater than an honorable opponent," he mentioned, "and that is an honorable friend. I hope that is what you will be to me."

"This is me we're talking about," Ryoko shrugged. "I dunno how honorable I'll get. But to compromise, I promise I'll take good care of Tenchi."

"More than sufficient for me," Yosho agreed.

"So, would you put in a good word for me with Tenchi?" Ryoko suddenly asked.

"Hm?" Yosho asked, actually taken aback. He regained his mental balance and excused himself, "Well, he's so shy, I'm afraid a word from me might have the opposite effect."

Ayeka entered the room. "What are you discussing with Ryoko, brother?" Ayeka asked, noting her brother's discomfiture but not certain as to its source.

"Oh, he just gave me permission to marry Tenchi," Ryoko hyperbolized, leering at Ayeka.

"Brother, you didn't! You couldn't!" Ayeka turned a panicked gaze on Yosho.

"You have my permission to marry him too," Yosho said with mischievous sincerity before leaving the room.

"Hey!" Ryoko protested, flying after him.

"Yosho, Ryoko, come back here and explain yourselves!" Ayeka demanded as she hurried after them.

Sasami finished petting the ten-legged lion and walked over to Azaka and Kamadaki, who had stationed themselves at a gate to the Masaki property.

"Azaka, Kamadaki," Sasami asked, fearing the answer, "what did you sense while you were aboard Tsunami?"

"Why, Princess," Azaka told her, "we sensed you, Lord Tenchi whom we had just brought aboard, and Lady Tsunami."

"As well as many readings not fully explained by current scientific theory, Princess," Kamadaki told her. "Nothing unusual for someone with Lady Tsunami's power, however."

"Good," Sasami was relieved, and allowed herself a weak smile.

"Are you troubled, Princess Sasami?" Azaka inquired solicitously.

"Do you need help, Princess Sasami?" Kamadaki queried concernedly.

"No, I'm fine, thank you," Sasami told them. She walked back to the house.

Next Chapter

Ryoko mimics Kiyone's line, saying, "'Is this fair? At all? In any way?'" Ryoko crosses her arms and pronounces, "The new girl comes in and hogs two whole chapters! I've been here since chapter one and I got one scene in this whole chapter!"

"You've had 700 years of backstory!" Ayeka protested, "and some of us hardly got any screen time in this chapter at all. If you ask me, you're the stage hog."

"And you're a prima donna," Ryoko snorted. "How spiteful can you get? No snowballs in the house, and denying Tenchi wedded bliss with me."

"The next chapter," Ayeka studiously ignores Ryoko, "is about one of my happiest memories, and quite probably one of the last historical interludes in this story."

"No kidding." Washu comments. "I wonder what Dragonwiles will do next time he needs to communicate backstory. Flashbacks or time travel?"

"The next chapter," Ayeka continues, "is No Need for Gift Logs."

"It's our backstory, which you won't want to miss!" Azaka contributes. Kamadaki supplements, "Please join us for the gripping drama."

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."

"This seems like an ideal opportunity to mention that Beta Cygnus II, the planet with great hot springs first mentioned in 'No Need For The Prideful One', is in fact entirely a figment of my imagination. I probably didn't even construct its name in the proper astronomical fashion for a planet of a star in the Cygnus constellation, and I doubt that aliens who've never seen the Earth's night sky would refer to it as such, but whatever."

"Also, I should probably mention that I have little or no idea of what the character of Misao is supposed to be, or his and Mihoshi's grandfather either. I haven't really watched any episodes in which they are actually present. So it is extremely likely that my versions of them are entirely different from all canon Tenchi Muyo. Also, I made up (I'm pretty sure I made up) the backstory in which Mihoshi quashed Misao's attempt to ask out Kiyone. I'm not sure that Kiyone exists in any canon Tenchi Muyo where Misao also exists, so that probably couldn't have happened anywhere except in this story."

Chapter 25 Main Chapters Chapter 27