Outlaw Star Fan Fiction / Tenchi Muyo Fan Fiction ❯ Of Princesses and Space Pirates ❯ Chapter 10: When You Can't Run Anymore, Part 1 ( Chapter 12 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

I do not own the rights to any of the characters, nor do I claim to. The idea, however, is mine! Enjoy!
Of Princesses and Space Pirates
Chapter 10: When You Can't Run Anymore, Part 1
"Sasami, this is delicious!"
The Juraian girl smiled at Jim, who had paid her the compliment. She and the others sat gathered around a table in the suite Washu had reserved for the occasion. The table was completely covered with the dishes Sasami prepared for them to eat. Azaka and Kamidake sat across from each other at opposite ends of the table, while Sasami and Ryoko sat side-by-side, and Jim and Gene sat across from them. Ryo-oh-ki sat close to Sasami and Ryoko happily munching a carrot.
"Yeah, you're a great cook," Gene complimented, his mouth full of food. "If you don't mind me saying so," he continued, after swallowing his food, "this type of atmosphere seems natural for you. It's strange a princess would know her way around the kitchen."
"Gene," Jim exclaimed, elbowing him roughly in his side.
"It's okay," Sasami laughed. "When we were back on Earth, I did most of the cooking."
"You mean all of it," Ryoko interjected. "No one ever helped you out with the housework."
"That include you, too," Gene asked. Ryoko looked at him across the table with a narrowed look.
"I was the laziest, aside from Mihoshi, perhaps," she answered, setting down her fork. "That could account for a lot of things."
"That's not true, Ryoko," Sasami objected. "You would help Tenchi with the yard work, and if you hadn't, then he wouldn't have been able to tend the vegetable garden, or get in his training with Grandfather."
"Oh please," Ryoko muttered.
"Ryoko, Tenchi really did appreciate your help," Sasami stated. "There were afternoons when he came home exhausted from his morning chores and training sessions with Grandfather. But he wouldn't have to worry about the yard work, sometimes, because you had already taken care of it."
"Sounds cozy."
Ryoko sent Gene another dirty look, but remained silent. By this time, her food was cold and forgotten.
"This Tenchi guy," Jim began. "You lived with him while you lived on Earth, right?"
"That's right," Sasami answered, when Ryoko didn't offer to speak up. "We lived there with him, his father, and grandfather. And, like Washu briefly explained, our connection - my sister, Ayeka, and mine - is to Tenchi's grandfather. He's our half-brother, Yosho."
"Yeah, I still can't get over that," Gene stated. "It's really strange."
"When you're all finished, let me know," Ryoko interrupted, standing roughly from the table, so that her chair scraped against the floor. "I'm sick and tired of hearing about the past."
"Ryoko," Sasami exclaimed, watching as the brooding woman walked to a couch, and lay down, her back towards the Juraian princess and the others.
"It's okay, Sasami," Ryoko began. "If you want to relive the last couple of years of our lives, then have at it. But I don't want anything to do with any it."
"Okay, fine then," Sasami began quietly, breaking the awkward silence that had grown in the room. "I want you to tell me what really happened on Sentinel, when I passed out."
Her unexpected question caused Ryoko to slowly sit up and look at her. "Sasami," she trailed, shaking her head. "No, now's not the time to talk about that. Let's just wait for Washu-"
"You mean you never told her what happened," Gene demanded, cutting Ryoko off mid-sentence. "Sasami," he began, gaining the girl's attention. "You were amazing! You saved my life. I was about to be killed, when you stood in front of me and these… these things just-"
"Gene, please, just be quiet," Ryoko pleaded, cutting off his sentence. "This - none of this - is any of your business."
"Ryoko, this just isn't like you," Sasami trailed, looking into the woman's face and searching for some kind of explanation. "It's so unlike you to sound so desperate about anything. Why won't you tell me what it is?" Ryoko just shook her head, before turning away from her.
"I wasn't there at first," Jim offered, "but whatever happened to you, you were in a lot of pain."
As confusion crossed Sasami's face, Azaka quietly cleared his throat. "Perhaps it's best to drop the matter for the moment, Princess Sasami," he suggested. "I assure you, Lady Washu will have some sort of explanation when she returns."
"And what am I to do until then," Sasami demanded, anger beginning to fill the tone in her voice. "Ryoko, you owe me an explanation," she continued, turning her anger towards the woman. "You made me a promise, Ryoko! You promised not to ever lie to me, or keep anything from me."
"Just drop it for now, Sasami," Ryoko answered, her voice shaking with frustration. "I'm asking this as your friend."
"I said to drop it," Ryoko yelled, cutting off the girl's sentence. "Drop it now, Sasami!"
"You're acting just like Ayeka!"
Sasami regretted the words as soon as they left her mouth. A numbing fear passed through her as she watched Ryoko stand from her seat and stalk over towards her. A frightened cry escaped her throat, as Ryoko roughly pulled her from her seat, and proceeded to drag her back towards the couch.
"Lady Ryoko," Kamidake exclaimed, rising from his seat as he watched Ryoko unceremoniously push Sasami to the floor, in front of a mirror-top table. He stopped only because Azaka cleared his throat loudly. Glancing briefly at the older man, he slowly sat back down in his seat.
"Take a good look at yourself, Sasami," Ryoko began savagely. She knelt down next to her, and forced the girl to look down into her own reflection. "Think about all that's happened to you; your dreams and premonitions, and what happened aboard the Outlaw Star!"
Ryoko released Sasami as the girl reached a shaky hand up to touch the tattoo-like symbols upon her forehead; ones, she realized with cruel realization that was not her birthright. She sat back from her reflection, and stared up towards the former space pirate.
"R-ryoko," she stammered, as tears filled her eyes.
"You don't remember summoning the Lighthawk Wings because she has suppressed your memory." Ryoko finished her statement in a much quieter tone than she began.
"T-tsunami," Sasami hiccuped. "S-she c-can't…" She allowed her voice to trail, and tears fell freely down her face.
Swallowing down the lump that formed in her throat, Ryoko slowly stood up, turning away from the troubled girl. "I'm sorry, Sasami."
Those three, simple words sent reality crashing into Sasami, and her will broke like a dam. Moving much faster than anyone in the room had expected, Sasami stood from the ground and rushed towards the door, stumbling along the way.
"Sasami, wait," Jim yelled, as she reached the room's door. Once she reached the door, she threw it open, and ran out of the room. Without a moment's hesitation, Jim was out of his seat, and ran after her.
"Washu told me to watch what I said," Ryoko whispered almost inaudibly. "Azaka, Kamidake-"
"Don't worry about the Princess," Azaka finished for her. Silently, he and Kamidake left after the two children, closing the door behind them.
"I, uh," Gene began dumbly. "What the hell just happened? Where did all that come from?"
"I need some rest," Ryoko stated, her voice filled with a sudden exhaustion. She looked at him, giving a weak smile. "If anything else happens, come and get me, will ya?"
Gene could only watch in confusion as Ryoko walked towards one of the bedrooms. He released a sigh as she disappeared behind the quiet whoosh of the door sliding closed.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
"May I ask you a question, Lady Washu?"
Washu looked up from her typing on the ship's main console, as Gilliam floated in front of her. Smiling, she nodded her head. "Sure," she replied. "But please, call me Washu-chan."
"You're my true creator," Gilliam said. "I couldn't."
"What did you want to ask me," she smiled. Aisha's ears perked up, and Suzuka casually turned her head to listen to what Gilliam had to say.
"What do you expect to find on planet Dragon?"
"Yeah, I was kinda wonderin' the same thing, Washu-chan," Aisha exclaimed.
"It's not what I expect to find," she answered. "It's what I hope not to find."
"What are you so worried about," Suzuka pressed. "What could be so dangerous there, that you needed both of us to come along with you?"
"Oh, it won't be dangerous," Washu laughed. "If it were going to be dangerous, I would have brought Ryoko instead."
"What's so great about her," Aisha growled angrily.
Shaking her head, Suzuka cleared her throat. "So, why waste our time by dragging us along?"
"I wanted the company," Washu replied simply. She continued, waving a finger in the air, "Do you really think Gene would have just let me take this ship, with only Melfina to accompany me? You all saw what I did." She paused to type in midair as her laptop appeared before her. "Besides, I had a feeling you had been there before. After doing some searching through the ship's travel archives, I discovered my assumption was correct."
"But you said earlier it would be dangerous," Aisha pouted. Washu turned in her seat to look at the Ctarl-Ctarl woman, and laughed as she saw the frown on her face.
"I said it could be dangerous," Washu corrected.
"I hate to interrupt," Melfina interjected, "but we're approaching our destination. Should I prepare to enter Dragon's gravitation pull?"
"That won't be necessary," Washu replied. She turned back to the console, typing something momentarily. "Gilliam," she began. "Set the ship to stand-by mode." The sound of the navigational center rising from the ground sounded behind the pilot's chair, as Melfina rose up from her station.
"Washu-chan," Melfina protested, "I can not navigate the ship this way!"
"As I said, that won't be necessary, Melfina." Washu typed something into her laptop, and as she did so, a shimmering light began to surround her, Melfina, Aisha, and Suzuka. The three women gasped in surprise as they began to disappear.
"What's going on," Melfina gasped, concern filling her voice.
"Not to worry, Melfina," Washu answered. "It's only simple physical transference." Looking back over her shoulder at the three women, Washu smiled. "You can open your eyes, now, by the way."
The ship's three crewmembers had, indeed, closed their eyes involuntarily. As they opened their eyes, they found themselves yet again surprised. They found themselves on the planet, instead of on their ship.
"Wow, Washu-chan," Aisha exclaimed. "How'd you do that?"
"That's not the only surprise." Aisha looked at Suzuka, unsure of what she meant. But, as she looked in the direction Suzuka was staring, her mouth dropped open slightly. Melfina and Washu looked as well, and Melfina shook her head in confusion.
"I don't understand," she stated in a quiet voice. "This shouldn't be!" Spread out before them in the distance, stood the temples that had been destroyed in the earthquake.
"These buildings were destroyed, Washu-chan," Aisha exclaimed. "I watched them crumble to the ground." She didn't get a response from the other woman, however, as the red-haired genius was already making her way towards the buildings.
"Washu, wait," Melfina exclaimed, as she began to run after the woman.
"Something's going on," Suzuka said to Aisha. "I don't like this at all. We need to get some real answers from Washu."
"I agree."
"We should keep a close eye on Melfina, too," Suzuka continued, as the two began to follow after Washu and Melfina. "The last time she was here, something reacted to her presence."
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
"Sasami," Jim called out. He had been running after the girl, and had to stop to catch his breath. The gate he stood in front of was familiar to him, and he recognized at once where the chase had led. A noise behind him caused him to turn around to see Azaka and Kamidake. "Oh, you scared me," he breathed.
"Do you know where the Princess went," Kamidake asked.
"I think so," Jim replied, straightening up. "But I'd like to talk to her alone, if you don't mind."
"That might be a good idea," Azaka agreed.
Giving a weak smile, Jim turned and walked through the gate. Following the cobblestone walk led him to a water fountain. Sasami sat there on the ground, her face resting against her arms as she leaned against the fountain, crying. "Sasami?"
She jumped slightly in surprise, before she looked up in his direction. "Jim," she stated in a hoarse voice.
"I won't say anything," Jim began. He walked over towards her, and knelt down next to her. "I just want to be here with you, that's all. But if you wanted to talk, though, I'll listen." He allowed his voice to trail, as he sat down, his back resting against the fountain.
"The rivalry between my family and Ryoko started so long ago, it's hard to remember if there was ever a time they got along," she began quietly, after several moments' silence. She sniffled softly, before continuing. "When I was younger, Ryoko attacked my kingdom. There was a reason behind her actions, but that's a long story. Everything was chaotic, but I was oblivious, because I was in the tree nursery." She paused, looking at Jim. "You know about the Juraian trees, right?"
"A little, I think," Jim replied. "I had heard, that the trees are the heart of Juraian flagships."
"That's right," she replied with a small smile. "The way the nursery is set up is that the trees are positioned in different levels of maturity, and bridges connect them. Below them, there's a water reservoir. As I was crossing one of the bridges to leave the nursery, an explosion rocked the entire palace and I fell. It was a long fall, and…" She allowed her voice to trail, and looked up at Jim, who had a shocked look on his face. "As I lay there dying, Tsunami appeared before me," she continued. "She saved my life, by giving up hers, in a way. It's difficult to explain, because I don't understand it all, myself. All I do know is that her destiny and mine are one, now, and when the time comes, we will completely assimilate." She paused, placing a hand against her chest as tears formed in her eyes once again. "She exists inside of me."
"Sasami," Jim whispered, as she began to cry again. He wrapped an arm around her, and she allowed him to pull her into a hug. "Shh…"
"I thought I had already dealt with this issue long ago," she cried. "But now that all this is happening, I'm not so sure anymore. These marks," she continued, gesturing to her forehead, "these are the marks of Tsunami. It's already beginning, and I'm scared. I don't want to lose myself, to become my future self."
"That won't happen, Sasami," Jim said, taking one of her hands in his.
"I hope not, Jim," she replied, squeezing his hand. "Thank you for listening to me. It really means a lot."
"Any time, Sasami."
Several moments passed, and the two sat together, enjoying one another's company. "Can we just sit here for a while," Sasami asked quietly. "I don't want to go back yet." She smiled as she felt him give her shoulder a squeeze. Releasing a small sigh, she rested her head against his shoulder.
To Be Continued . . .