Story: Tenchi Muyo: Conquest (chapter 24)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 24

Part twenty-two

        Minagi grinned ferally as the blue haired warrior dodged and weaved through the Earth soldiers, her energy sword blazing as she cut through the weapons they carried like paper. On her other side Ryo-Ohki's cabbit-woman form moved almost like her mirror image, tearing into the enemy with a great deal of enjoyment.

        Problem was, the enemy just kept coming.

        Then.. the soldiers faltered in their attack. One held his hand up to his helmet's earpiece, listening to something intently. His eyes widened, then all around Minagi the soldiers began to cast their guns to the ground. It was like a spreading wave, all the troopers in her line of sight laying their weapons down.

        Minagi kept her energy blade ignited as she softly muttered, "What is going on here?" Not far away from her, Ryo-Ohki seemed equally confused.

        'Don't worry,' Minagi heard Ryouko's voice coming through on the mental link the sisters shared in battle, 'the reins of power have shifted.'

        "What do you mean..?" Minagi started to ask, but the link was gone again. "I hate it when she does that," she muttered irritably.

        Far above the blue green world two space fleets exchanged weapons fire, one growing smaller with each passing moment. "This is turning into a slaughter," Mitsuki scowled from Swordbreaker's captain's chair, "and I don't want to have to kill all these bastards." The redhead turned to the communication's officer, "Rei?"

        Rei Ayanami's hands danced across the controls, then the light blue haired woman shook her head, "No response to our hails."

        "They're down to less than half their warships," Asuka Langley reported from where she sat at her tactical station. The orange haired girl sounded frustrated as she continued, "They should have surrendered by now!"

        "Baka," Ruri muttered from her seat at the ship's navigation console. The silvery haired captain said with real regret in her voice, "We continue on."

        "Wait," Rei leaned forward, "there's a powerful signal coming from Earth." She listened, her eyes widening, "It seems... the King is dead."

        The Earth fleet's weapons stilled as they received their orders from their new leader. Slowly the surrender signals began to come in to the Manticore and Moon Kingdom ships, until the entire enemy fleet had yielded.

        The young queen of Earth stood by her father's side, her eyes dark as the attendant's arrived to take the King's body away. One of the men nodded to where the Vizier's body lay, "What should we do with the king's father, Noboyuki?"

        Queen Tenchi closed her eyes, her face showing the deep pain she felt. "I would ask you to cast the traitor's body out for scavengers," she bit out, "but I feel certain they would refuse him." Her eyes popped open, dark violet, "Burn it."

        "His father did this?" Ayeka said weakly. The Queen of Jurai almost felt ill at the idea, and as Ryouko lent her a supporting arm she smiled up at her in relief.

        "I'm sorry," Ryouko said to the young queen softly. Her eyes narrowed slightly, "We know that this Noboyuki ordered the attacks on Jurai and the Moon Kingdom, but..."

        Queen Tenchi met Ryouko's gaze steadily. "We will take responsibility for all the harm that we've done," she said to her firmly, "I give you my word." Her voice dropped down, "But for now, let me bury my father."

        Ayeka and Ryouko exchanged a glance, then Ayeka said, "Of course." She hesitated a moment, "I would be honored to be there, if you would allow. We are related by blood, after all."

        "I think he would have liked that," Tenchi said softly in reply.

        Not long afterward the three met outside the palace, Ryouko, Minagi, and Ayeka, talking together softly. "So one man caused us all this trouble?" Minagi looked pissed, "And it was this King Tenchi's own father?"

        "Looks like it," Ryouko said grimly. She looked up the sky, seeing none of the flashes that would be visible from a space battle, even in daylight. "You mind taking Ryo-Ohki up there and make sure everyone knows what's going on?" she asked Minagi.

        "Got it," Minagi nodded to her twin, "You want me to ask Serenity to keep a tight rein on Mars, Jupiter and Uranus while I'm up there?"

        Ryouko made a face, "Good idea." Ayeka looked over at her curiously and she explained, "Those three are the warriors of Serenity's court. If they have their way, they'll continue the war until the Moon Kingdom's safety is guaranteed."

        Ayeka thought of the three pleasant young women that she had met and softly said, "They wouldn't really..."

        "Lady Mars loves Serenity," Ryouko smiled at Ayeka wryly, "So I wouldn't put much past a woman in love. And Uranus and Jupiter are both fiercely loyal to Mars, they'll follow her lead."

        Minagi picked up Ryo-Ohki with surprising gentleness, tossing her into the air as the cabbit expanded to take on the form of a crystalline starship. "I'll be back soon," Minagi waved before she and Ryo-Ohki zipped off into the sky.

        Mitsuki leaned forward in her seat as they saw the vessel rising up from the Earth's atmosphere. "Hail them," both she and Ruri ordered at the same time. Mitsuki smiled slightly, "And link us up to the Moon Kingdom and the fleet, it'll save time."

        "Right," Rei made the connections smoothly.

        Minagi's face came up, and she smiled wryly. Before anyone could ask she said, "Ayeka and Ryouko are still on the planet. Sit back, it's a long story."

        A few minutes of explanations later, and Queen Serenity was nodding gravely. "That one man's treachery could have caused all this," she said sadly.

        Putting it as diplomatically as possible Minagi said, "Ryouko also requests that the Kingdom only pursue military adventures if the situation on Earth can not be resolved."

        Serenity smiled wryly, "I'll keep an eye on Mars and the others."

        The screen shifted, and Misaki and Funaho, the queen mothers of Jurai appeared. "Has there been any sign of Yosho on the planet?" Funaho asked gravely.

        "Sorry, not yet," Minagi said softly, "but I have met the new Queen, and she carries the family resemblance, ma'am."

        Misaki beamed, "Then I look forward to meeting her."

        It had only taken a few hours to prepare, and they were here in a remote part of an island nation called Japan. The shrine around them was well maintained, the graves in a secluded grove not far from the main buildings. Two stone markers, one new, one older, were there. ' Katsuhito Masaki' the older marker read, underneath that etched in, 'Yosho.' Beside, the new marker was for Tenchi, his remains already buried beneath the rocky earth.

        "I was almost expecting some kind of state funeral, not this quiet ceremony," Ryouko finally said thoughtfully.

        "My father was happy here," Queen Tenchi said softly, "before his Grandfather died, and he discovered the records of his Juraian heritage. I thought he'd prefer this."

        Ayeka gazed down at the grave of a boy she would have liked the chance to know, then her gaze turned to the other one. Some part of her had hoped that he might still be alive, despite the odds against it. "Elder brother," she sighed sadly.

        Ryouko moved over to her side, gently laying her arm over Ayeka's shoulders. "At least we know," she said softly, "and your Mothers can visit here."

        Queen Tenchi had the oddest look on her face. "I still can't quite get my head around the idea that Yosho's family still lives, even after of all these centuries," she murmured.

        Ryouko smiled wryly, "I suspect they want to meet you."

        Tenchi paled, "There's something to look forward to."

        The three moved away from the graves, continuing to talk softly. The trees gave way to the shrine grounds, then a long stairway, leading down to where the transport was parked. It was felt to be disrespectful to have such things on the shrine grounds themselves, so they landed it out there.

        "They're not so very fearsome," Ayeka said softly to her.. grandniece. It was odd, they looked the same age, but Ayeka was so much older than her. She smiled slightly, "And I suspect my mother Funaho will be charmed to know that you were named after her."

        "I hope so," Tenchi said softly.

        The next day the sun rose above a most momentous meeting, the formal peace talks. The Moon Kingdom was represented by Serenity and Lady Mars, Tenchi was there to stand for the Earth, and Ryouko ad the others were representing Manticore and Jurai's interests.

        Tenchi stood apart from the others, oddly alone, until two figures broke away from the Jurai delegation. Masaki and Funaho made their way over to the girl's side, and as they neared the girl the resemblance between her and Funaho was obviously apparent.

        After a searching gaze Funaho smiled at the girl gently, "It's good to meet you at last, grand-daughter."

        Tenchi bowed without even meaning to, both women's presence washing over her. "I'm honored," she said, face towards the floor.

        "She's so cute!" Misaki gushed, nearly strangling the girl in one of her death grip hugs.

        Ayeka had to smile, shaking her head. "Well, that certainly broke the tension," she remarked to Ryouko cheerfully.

        "Good," Ryouko smiled wryly, "I find myself liking the kid."

        Queen Serenity tried to keep her face grave, but even her lips twitched with a smile. "We should get started," she said softly.

        They sat around the table, a long moment of silence as they settled themselves. Ayeka rose first, "We might want to state our expectations first, to help us begin to negotiate."

        Serenity rose first, her long golden blonde hair flowing down her back. She smiled grimly, "The Moon Kingdom merely seeks the safety of our citizens. I'm just not sure how to achieve that."

        "Disarm them," Lady Mars said crisply once she was done, despite the scolding look that Serenity gave her.

        "Jurai has only been inconvenienced by this," Ayeka rose to say diplomatically, "but we are concerned by the blood ties between our peoples."

        "I'm concerned by that as well," Ryouko got up and admitted, "as well as how quickly and effectively the Earth was able to build their military forces. I don't want to fight this battle again in twenty or thirty years."

        "I think I may have a solution," Tenchi rose, her face grave. She took a deep breath and said, "I'd like to formally request that the Earth be admitted into the Republic of Manticore." At their surprised expressions she continued, "Under Manticore's rule we will be neutralized as a threat to either the Republic or the Moon Kingdom, and I'm willing to swear the same oaths as the families of other nobles have."

To be continued...

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