8. Tenchi Anniversary

Now that Tenchi has arrived home, the Tenchi anniversary party can get underway, but as the group begin the celebrations and start digging in to Sasami’s specially made snacks, none of them have any idea that another visitor is on her way. Sakuya has come to Okayama to have one more go at expressing her feelings for Tenchi, and as the malevolent Yugi watches her, she decides to give the girl a hand- by summoning a white demon monkey from a stone tablet in the forest.

At the party, Tenchi is naturally the centre of attention, although in his opinion he doesn’t deserve to be- after all, it was his mother’s crystal that really brought them all together. As each of the girls wears a single gem from the crystal, they can hardly deny its significance, but in their opinion Tenchi is equally important. He was the one who calmly and gently looked after them whilst they recovered from the exhausting battle that marked their arrival on Earth. Whether it was checking up on the unconscious Ryoko, or bandaging Sasami’s sprained wrist, Tenchi was there to do it. He even attempted to cook for them (although Sasami was quick to take over), and Ayeka, for one, found herself increasingly drawn to him, so much so that she didn’t ever want to leave.

The group are jolted back to the present by the unexpected arrival of Sakuya, who managed to get a lift back to the house with Nobuyuki. Ryoko and Ayeka are far from happy to see their rival, and Ayeka decides that she and the others need to discourage Sakuya by showing proof of their special bond with Tenchi- in other words, the gems each of them wears around their wrists. Unfortunately, when Ayeka goes to show off her gem, she realises that it has gone missing- and a quick check reveals that everyone else’s gems have disappeared as well.

Although the gem theft was the work of Yugi’s demon monkey, Ryoko is quick to assign the blame to someone else- Sakuya. Even though Sakuya protests her innocence, Ryoko and Ayeka quickly search through her belongings. When they cannot find the gems there, Ryoko decides that Sakuya must have hidden them somewhere, and is prepared to use physical violence to find out where. But as Ryoko moves to punch the information out of Sakuya, Tenchi interposes himself between the two girls, and orders Ryoko to stop. Devastated that Tenchi would choose Sakuya over her, Ryoko flies away.

The question still remains as to where the gems have gone, but fortunately, Washu is on hand to provide the answer- using her special ‘gem detector’. Sniffing out the thief, the detector points to Ryo-Ohki, but as the cabbit jumps out of the way, the real culprit is revealed- the demon monkey. Angered at the theft of their precious gems, Ayeka is quick to take punitive action- by knocking the monkey flying with an oversized fan.

Standing by herself at the edge of the lake, Ryoko realises that the anger she feels toward Tenchi is no different from when they first met. Having been defeated by a lowly country boy in battle, initially she dreamed of the revenge she would inflict once her recovery was complete. But as she lay in bed, apparently unconscious, Tenchi continually came to visit her. Time after time he would apologise for what he had done, and pray for her to recover so that he could show her all of the best and most enjoyable things that Earth had to offer. And, little by little, Ryoko found herself won over by the depth of Tenchi’ sincerity, especially after the time he came to watch over for an entire night, ignoring his own exhaustion to be by her side.

As Tenchi runs out to the lake, Ryoko realises that even now she cannot maintain her anger towards him. Calling her name, Tenchi tells Ryoko that the real thief is heading right for her, and indeed, when Ryoko looks up, she sees the demon monkey hurtling towards her. As he falls to the ground, Ryoko launches an electrifying punch at the thief, destroying him and reclaiming the gems.

The return of the gems reminds Ryoko and the others of the time when they first received them. Ryoko had just officially awakened and gone down to the lake, and a worried Tenchi came down to find her. As the two had their first proper conversation, Ryoko grabbed Tenchi’s seven-pointed crystal, and broke it into pieces so that she could have one gem shard for herself (thus preventing Tenchi from using his sword against her again). And, as Ryoko outlined her plans to stay on Earth for a while, the other five girls showed up to collect their own gem shards and announce their intentions to do exactly the same thing. And, despite his reservations, Tenchi could do little else but agree to let them all stay.

Back at the house, Sakuya is delighted to see Tenchi return to the lake, but when she sees him talking and laughing with the other girls, she sadly concludes that there is no place for her here. Grabbing her bag, Sakuya prepares to quietly leave, until Katsuhito stops her. Travelling alone this late could be dangerous, and Katsuhito advises that Sakuya at least stay the night- maybe spending a little more time here will help her to find what she is looking for.

As Sakuya considers his offer, Yugi continues to observe everyone. The strength of the bond between Tenchi and the girls has impressed her, but thanks to these latest events, she now knows exactly what she is dealing with- and how to counter it.

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