7. The Night Before the Carnival

With Ryoko watching over him all the time, these days poor Tenchi never seems to get any time to himself. Not only does she stand over him while he is asleep, but if he isn’t careful, she follows him into the bathroom as well. It just isn’t easy to get some time away from a girl who can phase through walls.

Ryoko is more than a little distressed about Tenchi’s lack of appreciation for her, and things only get worse when he brushes her off to give a present to Ayeka. The present is actually from Tsunami- a seed for a new Ryu-oh.

Washu has created an extra-dimensional lab in the broom cupboard, and Ayeka decide to pay her a visit to see if the genius scientist has a unit in which she can plant the Ryu-oh seed. With a little persuasion, Washu (or, as she prefers to be called, “Little Washu”) agrees to help out, and lets Ayeka plant the seed in a special unit Kagato had originally intended for Tsunami.

Whilst Tenchi is busy planting carrots out in the fields, Mihoshi and Sasami have discovered Nobuyuki’s library of shoujo manga, and have quickly become enthralled. Sasami explains to a curious Ryoko that the comics are filled with Earth-style love stories- the perfect handbooks for winning Tenchi’s heart.

By the time Tenchi returns, Sasami has finished preparing breakfast, and she sends Tenchi to get the others. Tenchi and Ryo-Ohki head to the lab to find Washu and Ayeka, only to discover that Ayeka has already left to plant Ryu-oh in the unit Washu summoned for her. After sending Ryo-Ohki to find Ayeka, Washu decides to use her time alone with Tenchi to good effect. After trapping him in a special restraining unit, she begins to collect samples from him in the hopes that analysing them will help her discover how he created the Light Hawk wings.

When the first wave of sample collecting is completed, Washu realises that there is one thing she forgot to get- a sperm sample. Completely trapped, Tenchi is unable to escape as Washu advances on him with her ‘magic fingers’, and is only saved when Mihoshi wanders in. Washu is distracted by Mihoshi’s unintentional destruction of her equipment, and soon forgets about Tenchi. Tenchi may have been saved from giving a sperm sample, but in exchange he ends up missing out on breakfast.

After reading a pile of graphic novels, Ryoko decides that it is time to give the Earth-style methods a try. Now free from Washu, Tenchi is sweeping up out in the yard, and whilst an amused Sasami watches from indoors, Ryoko goes out to join him. Inspired by the novels, Ryoko tries the classic meeting tactic of ‘accidentally’ knocking Tenchi over. Introducing herself as if they really had just met, Ryoko tries to play the embarrassed maiden, but her plan is soon ruined when Mihoshi comes outside. Mihoshi mistakes Ryoko’s blushing for the first symptoms of a cold. She drags the struggling Ryoko away for some medicine, leaving behind a bewildered Tenchi.

Ayeka sees the end of this exchange, and after Sasami explains what is going on, she decides to do some reading of her own from the vast selection in Nobuyuki’s collection. Like Ryoko, she too arranges a manga-style ‘first meeting’ with Tenchi by setting up a tripwire on the steps up to the shrine. When Tenchi trips over, she runs over to give him a handkerchief, introduces herself, and then runs away like a shy heroine, leaving the confused Tenchi to wonder just what is going on.

Even going to sweep up outside Katsuhito’s house provides no escape for Tenchi- the girls follow him up there and spy on him from behind Azaka and Kamidake. Neither girl realises that the other is there until Katsuhito spots them both. Both Ayeka and Ryoko beat a hasty retreat, leaving Tenchi even more bemused as to what they are doing.

Returning to the books for more inspiration, Ayeka and Ryoko decide to move onto the next phase- it is time to impress Tenchi with their skills. Ayeka dreams of presenting him with a hand-knitted jumper, but she gets carried away and ends up knitting one that is miles too long. In the meantime, Ryoko decides to woo him with some home cooking, only to discover that her culinary skills are sorely lacking- even Ryo-Ohki cannot stomach her cooking.

By the time Tenchi returns, the girls have abandoned their earlier projects, and instead greet Tenchi with the fruits of their research- each of them has am astrology book claiming that they are the perfect match for Tenchi. Tenchi is unimpressed as the books are more than ten years old, and Washu readily agrees. According to the latest publications, Ryoko and Ayeka are the worst possible matches for Tenchi- his perfect partner is none other than Washu herself!

Ryoko and Ayeka haven’t quite run out of ideas yet, and each one decides to give it another go. Ryoko decides to appeal to Katsuhito for permission to get engaged to Tenchi, hoping to obtain his blessing and scoop an automatic betrothal. Katsuhito seems agreeable to this, but only moments after their meeting Ryoko sees him talking to Mihoshi- suggesting that the earnest and hard-working Galaxy Police officer would be an ideal girlfriend for Tenchi.

Meanwhile, Ayeka bribes Ryo-Ohki into delivering a love letter to Tenchi, asking him to come and meet her later. Ayeka excitedly rushes over to the specified meeting spot, but whilst Tenchi has every intention of going, he is distracted when Sasami asks him to get some vegetables. Unfortunately, the vegetable shed has already been raided by a large number of Ryo-Ohkis that Washu has set up in the lake, who each take a carrot before turning back into gems and leaving. In all the excitement, Tenchi completely forgets about the meeting, and poor Ayeka is left standing outside for hours.

The next day, a dejected Ryoko and Ayeka have a soak in the floating bath, and come to the conclusion that their problems stem from all the extra competition there is for Tenchi’s attention. As they wash themselves, the two girls agree to an uneasy truce whilst they work together to eliminate their competition. Washu can easily be sealed into her lab with a force field, whilst the gullible Mihoshi will be tricked into returning to the GP. And after that, each girl has their own plans to make sure that in the end, she comes out on top.

After bathing and dressing in their best clothes so as to be ready to impress Tenchi, Ryoko and Ayeka get to work. Returning to Katsuhito’s house, Ryoko uses the phone to call the Masaki home. When Mihoshi answers, Ryoko poses as her superior and orders Mihoshi to return to HQ as soon as possible. After hanging up, Mihoshi realises that she has no space ship, but Ayeka conveniently appears to suggest that they ask Washu to retrieve her ship from the subspace vortex into which it fell.

Being the genius that she is, Washu easily retrieves Mihoshi’s ship, although unfortunately the monster that Ryoko summoned at the hot springs also comes with it. Remembering the destructive power of the monster, Ryoko and Ayeka run away, only to watch as Washu easily dismisses the beast.

It is time for Mihoshi to leave, but whilst Ryoko and Ayeka couldn’t be more pleased, Sasami is tears at saying goodbye to her friend. With Mihoshi herself also unwilling to go, Tenchi invites her to come back when she gets the chance. The invitation makes the goodbye less permanent than Ryoko and Ayeka has hoped, but with any luck she won’t be back for a while.

With the competition eliminated, Ryoko decides that it is time to turn her attention back to her main rival. Determined to finally get some time alone with Tenchi, Ryoko ties Ayeka up, and leaves her in the shed.

In the meantime, Mihoshi has returned to GP headquarters, where her commander finally has some words of praise for her. Her report on the death of Kagato, combined with the GP’s own confirmation of the Souja’s destruction, has landed Mihoshi back in their good books. Thanks to her part in destroying the eternally wanted criminal, Mihoshi has earned herself a place back at the central office.

To her commander’s surprise, Mihoshi has no intention of returning to the central office- she wants to be assigned to the solar system area. Patrolling this area does require permission from Jurai, but Mihoshi believes that Tenchi’s invitation to return should cover that- after all, he is a member of the Juraian royal family.

Back at the Masaki house, Ryoko is finally ready to make her move. Creeping upstairs, she creates a duplicate of herself in order to practise talking with Tenchi. After manufacturing a conversation in which Tenchi will be forced to admit his love for her, the two Ryokos recombine and prepare for the real thing. Unfortunately, sneaking into his room without knocking activates a sensor set earlier by Ayeka, and instead of getting into Tenchi’s bed, Ryoko is teleported into the middle of the lake.

Returning to the house, Ryoko discovers that Ayeka has freed herself and is waiting for her outside Tenchi’s room. Ryoko is angry over falling for Ayeka’s ‘cheap trick’, and tries to embarrass her rival by offering to let her seduce Tenchi first. After all, that is what Ayeka wants to do, isn’t it- although if she’d rather hold back, then maybe Ryoko herself should go first. Naturally, pretty soon their words become more heated, until finally yet another fight breaks out.

Meanwhile, poor Sasami has worries of her own. After awakening from a nightmare in which she is hurt and unable to move whilst a woman named Tokimi steals Tenchi away, she decides that she needs some comfort. Passing Ayeka and Ryoko in the corridor, Sasami heads to Tenchi’s room, deactivates the sensor by knocking, and goes in to talk to him.

Distracted from their fight, Ryoko and Ayeka are horrified to realise that Sasami has beaten them to it, and matters are only made worse when they hear Washu’s voice and realise that she is in there too. When Washu announces that she, Tenchi and Sasami should all sleep together, they cannot help but rushing in, but by forgetting to knock, both girls end up getting teleported into the lake.

Unfortunately, the excitement isn’t over quite yet- for even as the others try to settle down, they are disturbed by the sound of something approaching at high speed. Mihoshi’s shuttle is returning to Earth, and the hapless GP officer has forgotten that the planet has no guidance controls to land her shuttle for her. Having neglected to engage her own landing systems, Mihoshi manages to crash her shuttle- right on top of the Masaki home.

With the entire house destroyed, everyone was forced to take refuge in Washu’s lab, where they spent the night sleeping on the floor of the new Ryu-oh unit. But whilst things may look bad, there is one small ray of hope. The Ryu-oh seed has begun to sprout, and the tiny seedling is already able to communicate with Ryo-Ohki. Perhaps the day wasn’t a total loss after all.

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