23. Here, There and Everywhere

Money, jewels, drink, even fine dresses- Ryoko and her henchman have plundered them all, and, to be perfectly honest, Ryoko has had enough. She has more material wealth than she could ever possibly use, and yet somehow, it all seems useless and empty to her.

Back on Earth, things don’t seem to be going well for anyone else either. Afraid to be alone, a scared and depressed Sakuya spends all her time at Tenchi’s apartment. And whilst Sasami continues to agonise over Yugi’s true identity, Ayeka is still busy setting bigger and better defensive traps around the house. Only Washu seems to be in a positive frame of mind- she has just completed her research on the gem Tenchi gave her, and is ready to move on to her next subject- Sakuya. With the help of ‘Analytica’, an upgraded version of her surveillance robots, Washu plans to gather all the data she can on Tenchi’s girlfriend.

As she wanders in the snow outside her hideout, Ryoko finds herself whimsically building a giant snowman. Her thoughts are drawn to her friends, and she cannot help imagining what Sasami and Mihoshi would think of her creation. Cheered by the thought of her friends, Ryoko’s mood improves, and she even feels better disposed towards Hotsuma- after all, given all that he has done for her, it wouldn’t hurt to be a little nicer to him.

However, on returning to the hideout, all of Ryoko’s good feelings quickly evaporate when she overhears Hotsuma talking to someone about her. He is communicating with Yugi via a crystal, explaining how much he hates working with a person as selfish and egotistical as Ryoko. Hearing this, Ryoko angrily departs, and Yugi orders Hotsuma to eliminate her. Tsugaru will be taking care of the others, whilst Yugi herself will be concentrating on none other than Sakuya.

Taking a hot bath at the hideout, Ryoko finds herself unable to deny that she really does have all the character flaws Hotsuma mentioned, but consoles herself with the fact that, unlike him, she is an open and upfront person. And it is time for her to be upfront about the fact that life as a space pirate just isn’t living up to her expectations. And, as she looks at the photos from her date with Tenchi, Ryoko makes up her mind- she is going to go back to Earth.

With that in mind, Ryoko heads for Hotsuma’s ship and teleports aboard. However, Hotsuma himself has been watching her every move, and once he is sure that Ryoko is aboard his ship, he blows it up with a remote detonator.

Meanwhile, Kiyone and Mihoshi have also found themselves drawn back to Earth, but even as Kiyone pilots their shuttle back from Pluto, Mihoshi is in trouble once again. This time, she has lost the gem that Tenchi gave her, and as she frantically searches for it, Kiyone threatens to delay their return to Earth until it is found.

Back in Tokyo, Tenchi is busy completing his chores at the Tsuchida Shrine- even during summer break he can’t take a day off. Even as he works, however, Tenchi is concerned about Sakuya- and rightly so, for Yugi has already made her move. By crushing the crystal that represents Sakuya in Yugi’s crystal ‘diorama’, Yugi has erased the girl’s existence, causing her to disappear from pictures, photos, and even people’s memories. For, although Tenchi still remembers Sakuya, when Amagasake and Tsuchida pay him a visit at the shrine, it becomes clear that they have never heard of her. As far as they know, Tenchi doesn’t have a girlfriend, and they are more than a little sceptical when he tries to remind them about Sakuya.

Now more than a little worried, Tenchi rushes back home, only to find that Sakuya is gone. To his relief, her name and address are still on the class list, and he rushes off to her apartment. Even as he departs, however, her name vanishes from the list- for, as Washu’s scans have revealed, Sakuya has no true substance.

Gleefully watching the burning wreckage of his ship, Hotsuma is certain that he has finally put an end to Ryoko, but, as he soon discovers, nothing could be further from the truth. Just as she boarded the ship, Ryoko realised that she had forgotten to bring the photos from her date with her, and teleported back to get them just as the ship exploded.

As they confront each other outside the hideout, Hotsuma is quick to ridicule Ryoko’s feelings, reminding her that Tenchi has already chosen to be with another girl. But Ryoko has finally realised that this is unimportant; her feelings for Tenchi are what really matters. And, as her gem begins to glow, Ryoko sense that Tenchi is in trouble. It is time for her to go to him, but unfortunately, one obstacle still stands in her way- Hotsuma.

Everyone else’s gems have begun to glow too, and although no one but Washu seems sure of what this means, all of the girls know one thing- something is coming which they will all have to face together. With that in mind, Kiyone and Mihoshi set a direct course for Earth, but even as they enter the atmosphere, their ship comes under attack from a mysterious force. Their attacker is none other than Tsugaru, and he watches in satisfaction as their damaged ship plunges towards the ground.

Meanwhile, Tenchi finally makes it to Sakuya’s apartment, but when he goes inside, he discovers that the place is bare- no one could possibly have been living there recently. And indeed, no real person has been living there, for as Washu has already discovered, Sakuya is not a person, but only a shadow- of none other than Yugi. But, real or not, a remnant of Sakuya still remains, alone and afraid in her illusory existence.