All "Tenchi Universe" references are copyrighted by AIC and Pioneer/Geneon. This is an amateur, non-commercial story, which is not produced, approved of, or in any way sponsored by the holders of the trademarks/copyrights from which this work is derived, nor is it intended to infringe on the rights of these holders. And so it goes.
This story is dedicated with great respect to Literary Eagle, along with hopes that she doesn’t kill me when she reads this.
Ryoko stared at the beautiful woman standing in front of her and tried not to cry. She’d never beheld such a lovely kimono before, so perfectly white and soft to the touch. Its wearer peered out from under the headdress, eyes tearing slightly and lip trembling as if trying to contain the joy that threatened to explode from her heart.
The former space pirate turned away from the mirror and tried to still her pounding heart. She still couldn’t quite believe that all her hopes and prayers were about to come true today; in a few short hours she would wed her beloved Tenchi, till death do them part. This was the day she’d waited for, the day she’d worked so hard toward. And best of all, that little bitch Ayeka was stuck on Jurai for good now, her little ‘vacation’ over once and for all. Ryoko smirked and hoped she got stuck with some inbred moron with a title.
No. This wasn’t the time for such unworthy thoughts, Ryoko reminded herself. Today she must concentrate on the purity and devotion that a marriage required. Today she would leave her past behind once and for all and settle into a new life with her beloved Tenchi.
Besides, there’d be years and years ahead to gloat over her final victory.
Still, there remained one troubling thought on her mind, something that needed to be resolved before she could truly be his. Ryoko bit her lip and slowly rose into the air, then passed through the wall and went in search of her husband-to-be.
* * * * *
How Tenchi managed to take her breath away every time he smiled at her, Ryoko would never know. Nor did she particularly care, so long as that smile was just for her. He was standing outside his grandfather’s shrine, dressed in his own ceremonial robes and looking equal parts eager and anxious. But when he saw her gliding toward him, his eyes brightened and his arms opened wide to embrace her.
“Tenchi,” she whispered. “My Tenchi.”
“Ryoko…” His fingers tenderly traced her cheek, discovering the trail of a solitary tear that had crept down from her eyes. “Is everything all right?” he asked, concerned.
“Everything is wonderful, Tenchi,” she replied. “Better than wonderful, it’s perfect.”
“People can cry when they’re happy, too, you know.” She smiled up at him, then took a deep breath and steadied herself. “Tenchi…there’s something I do need to talk to you about before…” She nodded toward the shrine.
“Is it Ayeka?” Tenchi shook his head gently. “I told you, Ryoko. You’re the only I want to be with. Ayeka was…is…a dear friend, but she’s just a friend. You…” His cheeks flushed slightly. “I can’t find the words to tell you what you mean to me.”
“Oh, Tenchi,” Ryoko sniffled. “That’s so sweet! But…it’s not what I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Well…” Ryoko gulped and plunged ahead. “Before I met you, I was a pirate.”
“I know that,” he said with a gentle smile.
“Yes, but you see, I did…things. A lot of bad things. Things that I’m really, really sorry about. I just feel that it’s not fair to marry you…without telling you about them first. So you know my past, and be sure that I’ve left that part of my life behind me forever.”
“Ryoko,” Tenchi said, shaking his head. “You don’t have to tell me anything. What happened before we met…it doesn’t matter to me. What matters is everything that happened since then.” She started to speak, and he pressed a finger against her soft, full lips to shush her. “But if you really feel that it’s important, then go ahead. Just understand that I’ll love you no matter how terrible it might be.”
“Oh, Tenchi…you’re so wonderful!” The couple embraced tightly for a long moment, then Ryoko broke away and wiped away her tears. “All right. Here we go.”
“To start with, I had a protection racket going on the lemonade stands when I was five. Ryo-ohki and I made the other kids pay us a percentage of their proceeds or we’d bash up their tables, spit in their pitchers, that sort of thing.”
“That sounds cute,” Tenchi chuckled. “If that’s the worst…”
“Next, I used to go to slumber parties and break into the parents’ safes while the others slept,” she continued. “I also did a bit of loan sharking on the side, milk money and stuff like that. Oh, I also had this great counterfeit Magical Pony market going; I found an adult who agented for me, buying the fakes from a third party. Then we turned around and sold them at a huge markup during the big craze.” Ryoko sighed at the memory. “Unfortunately, I found out he was skimming off the top on me, and I had to deal with that.”
“Oh?” Tenchi squeaked.
“Yeah,” Ryoko nodded. “I had Ryo-ohki eat him.”
“Mya,” the cabbit agreed.
“Okay, that gets me up to my tenth year. I had a few sidelines going then…”
* * * * *
Nearby, behind a conveniently large set of bushes, two shadowy figures crouched down close to the ground. “Are you getting everything, Mihoshi?”
“Sure am! This boom microphone works perfectly, Kiyone! And the recorder’s got plenty of tape!”
Kiyone Makibi rubbed her hands and smiled. “If my hunch is right, Mihoshi, we’re going to get confessions for at least four or five of the GP’s greatest unsolved cases. And you know what that means…”
“Yup!” Mihoshi nodded happily. “It means Tenchi’s going to get three conjugal visits a year with Ryoko once we arrest her!” Her smile faded. “Gee, that sounds really bad, now that I think about it…”
Kiyone’s hands instantly wrapped themselves around her partner’s neck. “Pro-mo-tions,” she hissed through clenched teeth. “Think…promotions….”
“You really need to get laid sometime, Kiyone,” Mihoshi said, rolling her eyes as she sank into unconsciousness.
* * * * *
“Let’s see…Thirteen. That’s when I discovered Ryo-ohki could transform into a ship. That’s when the good stuff started…” Ryoko’s smile was downright feral; she abruptly realized her mistake—and saw Tenchi’s horrified expression—and quickly corrected herself. “I mean, that’s when I fell into a terrible life of piracy. Oh, Tenchi, it was awful. I started out with hitting luxury ships…low security, wealthy people who liked to take it with them everywhere they went. That went fine for awhile, but eventually the GP took an interest in my activities, so we had to hop around the quadrant to keep away from them.
“That was also about the time I discovered sake. Ryo-okhi and would figure out the main distribution routes of the supply ships and hit ‘em fast and furious. Heh. We used to call it ‘shopping in the express lane’. No one could touch us. Every so often some idiot bounty hunter would try and catch us, but none of them were any good…”
“Ryoko…” Tenchi began, but his bride was lost in happy reminisce.
* * * * *
On the opposite side of the aforementioned set of conveniently large bushes was yet another cluster of conveniently large bushes. This batch hid a solitary figure, also crouched close to the ground and listening intently to Ryoko’s confession. Every so often the stranger would tap several entries into a hand-held computer unit and whistle softly as the answers scrolled up.
“Huh. That one’s got a bounty of at least 20,000 credits. And the next one was around 60,000. And the bank job was…whoa. Vacation home on Seinwa for sure.”
“Yeah, and all the female cabbits you can…do whatever you cabbits do when I’m not looking. Now shut up and let me see what else Ryoko’s bounties are going buy us.”
* * * * *
“…I mean, that bank was practically begging to be robbed, Tenchi! The security was a joke, the safe took me all of five seconds to break into, and we got away free and clean! I put the funds in my special Jurai bank account—they had some incredible interest rate incentives at the time—and after playing hide-and-seek with that idiot Nagi for awhile…you know, I really wondered just why she was so damned obsessed with catching me. You’d almost think she was in love with me…did you hear something?” Ryoko’s eyes narrowed as she scoured the surrounding landscape.
“I could have sworn I heard someone choking a second ago.” Ryoko scratched her head and sighed. “Where was I?”
“Age sixteen,” Tenchi groaned.
“Oh, yeah. Great year, financially. I really cleaned up on a few pyramid schemes and of course the big Chulak Toad scam never failed to get me some pocket money while I was casing a few joints….”
* * * * *
Yes, it is a tremendous stretch of the imagination to assume that a third set of conveniently large bushes might be nearby, but sometimes it really and truly can be just that. Pure coincidence. Honest. At any rate, another pair of shadowy figures were lurking behind this third set of shrubs, and they were also listening intently to Ryoko’s endless litany.
“Azaka, Kamidake, report,” came a very familiar, imperious feminine voice over the com-link.
“We are in position, Princess Ayeka,” the elder knight whispered.
“Excellent. Are you prepared for the final step?”
“Confirmed. Once Ryoko has finished her admission of crimes, we will take Lord Tenchi into protective custody and bring him aboard your ship, leaving her to deal with the Galaxy Police detectives and the bounty hunter.”
“Splendid. I shall be eagerly awaiting your arrival. Ho ho ho ho ho…” Azaka mercifully cut the link, then motioned for his associate to prepare himself.
* * * * *
“And about that time I made a great bundle on some mercenary work. You know, taking out a few convoys here and there. It wasn’t terrible work but kept us busy, and in return the clients kept the GP off our backs. I also made a killing on selling crop futures on margin…how that tidal wave hit those crops, I’ll never know…”
Tenchi Masaki sighed and cupped his head in his hands. Sooner or later this was going to end, he’d give her one final benediction of forgiveness, and they’d go into the shrine and get married. It was the knowledge of impending happiness that gave him the strength to listen on.
He suddenly realized that his bride was at long last finished. She was looking around with a feigned nonchalance, with only her eyes betraying some secret suspicion. “Is that everything?” he asked hopefully.
She turned to him and nodded. “Yup. The whole thing. Can you forgive me?”
“Of course I can.” Tenchi rose to his feet and extended his arms to embrace her, but Ryoko stretched an arm out to halt his progress. “Ryoko?”
* * * * *
From the diary of Princess Sasami:
Wow, I was so pleased to make it to Tenchi and Ryoko’s wedding, and it was such an honor to be included in the ceremony! I got so excited when Grandfather Yosho asked if I’d mind—well, of course I didn’t! Not for Tenchi!
And I was so surprised to see Kiyone and Mihoshi there! They must have just finished a case and headed right over, because their uniforms were a little torn up here and there. They must have been really touched by the ceremony because Kiyone was sobbing all through it, and Mihoshi had this banged-up little device in her lap that must have been a wedding present, but you know how Mihoshi is with stuff.
And Nagi—I sure didn’t expect to see her there! Ryo-ohki was really happy to see Ken-ohki, and he escorted her down the aisle, too! It was soooo sweet! Nagi looked really stunned when Grandfather asked her to help out too—but she finally agreed to. Just as well, because her clothes were all ripped up too. She limped a little but managed to do everything Grandfather told her to do.
I’m still not sure why Azaka and Kamidake were there—I guess it was just their way of honoring Tenchi, since he is kind of a member of the Royal Family and all. Kamidake spent the whole time hunched over with his arms around his waist, so I guess he had something bad to eat. Nagi told him that some ice would probably take care of it, which I didn’t understand because I’ve never heard of ice helping a tummy ache, but then again, she was probably kidding because she had this big smile on her face.
And then, when Ryoko and Tenchi headed off for their honeymoon, who should show up but Ayeka! That really surprised me, because she’d made such a public fuss about not attending—I guess she changed her mind. It was really sweet of her to offer a fireworks display from her ship, but I think it spooked Ryo-ohki because she fired back and disabled Ayeka’s engines. That means I’ve gotta tow Ayeka back to Jurai. I’m always having to take care of her—honestly!
Well, it was a neat wedding, and I’m sure Tenchi and Ryoko are gonna live happily ever after. So I’ll see you later, dear Diary!