9. The Guardians of Old

There is trouble at the Masaki house. Everyone wants to watch their favourite TV show- and naturally, all of them are on at the same time. Finally, Washu reveals an invention that will put an end to the problem- multiple televisions. By splicing mitochondrial DNA into a standard TV, she has produced a set that can easily multiply into four screens, enabling everyone to watch what they want. Unfortunately, as with so many of Washu’s inventions, there is a slight drawback- the televisions continue to multiply, finally breaking and exploding as they push against the walls and ceiling.

The girls quickly protect themselves from the blast, and when the smoke clears, it is with relief that they note that the original television is still intact- and not only that, but Tenchi is on the screen. According to the news, an archaeological dig in Okutama has turned up artefacts dating back 3,500 years, and Tenchi and his class are on a field trip to visit the site.

Having seen exactly where Tenchi is, Ryoko decides to pay him a visit, but her plans are foiled when Ayeka commands Azaka to keep her away from the dimensional tunnel. Slipping through the tunnel, Ayeka quickly folds the blanket up on the other side, thus stopping Ryoko from getting through. Now, all Ayeka needs to do is get to the dig site if she wants some time alone with Tenchi.

Whilst the rest of the class goes on ahead, Tenchi, Tsuchida and Amagasaki soon find themselves left behind, thanks to Tsuchida and Amagasaki’s typical goofing around. As they hurry to catch up, the duo’s antics manage to trip all three boys over, causing them to fall through a concealed hole in the ground. Landing with a bump, they find themselves in a mysterious cavern filled with ancient ruins.

As Tenchi wonders if they have made a ground-breaking discovery, he has no idea of the true nature of what he has stumbled onto. These ruins are somehow connected to Yugi, and it seems likely that, if Tenchi remains there too long, Yugi will think up some new trick to play on him.

Whilst Amagasaki dreams of the fame and fortune that will accompany his old discovery, Tsuchida has other things on his mind- like how to escape the ruins before they are all old and grey. As the trio starts searching for an exit, Ayeka continues her journey to the site, but soon finds that the Tokyo subway trains are a little too much for her to handle. As she is pushed and shoved in all directions, it seems that only a miracle will get Ayeka to her destination.

As they continue their explorations, Tenchi and the others soon begin to uncover more mysteries within the ruins. When Tenchi goes to a touch a strange stone block, an image flashes into his mind of a figure decreeing that an ‘evil one’ has been sealed away here. Not sure of what he is seeing, Tenchi does not tell the others about the vision, and the trio move on to a room containing a broken sarcophagus that once confined Yugi. As Tenchi inspects the sarcophagus, Amagasaki is quick to sit in what he believes to be a throne and proclaim himself king of the ‘Amagasaki empire’. In fact, he soon becomes so intent on his fantasy that he doesn’t even notice when the throne begins to rise.

As the ‘throne’ continues on its way upwards, all the dust and grime is blown away to reveal the familiar sight of two Jurai guardians. Confused, Tenchi initially mistakes the pair for Azaka and Kamidake, but when Amasagaki finally realises what is going on and falls down, it becomes clear that these are two different guardians.

Mistaking Tenchi and the others for the ‘evil one’ they were supposed to be guarding, the two guardians order them to get back into the crypt. Naturally, the three boys refuse, causing the guardians to start firing on them.

Meanwhile, above ground, Ayeka has finally made it to the dig site. As she starts searching for Tenchi, she is surprised to run into Mihoshi and Kiyone, who are working on the dig as part of their latest job. None of the three girls know where Tenchi is, although Mihoshi suggests that he might have fallen down a hole. Kiyone is quick to comment that that is more like something Mihoshi would do, and true to form, even as Mihoshi denies this, she manages to trip and send them all tumbling down.

As Tenchi and the others run from the two guardians, they soon find themselves trapped in a dead end. After issuing another warning, the guardians prepare to terminate their quarry, but before they can fire, Ayeka, Kiyone and Mihoshi come crashing down from above, along with a huge pile of debris that squashes Amagasaki and Tsuchida.

Seeing the guardians, Ayeka is quick to identify herself as a princess of Jurai, and when their scans confirm this, the two guardians apologise for their actions and sidle away. Ayeka confirms that the ruins appear to be Juraian in origin, but even as Tenchi considers how this can be possible, Yugi decides to put her own plans into effect. Taking control of the two guardians, Yugi overwrites their personalities with a single purpose- terminate all intruders.

Now more powerful than ever, the guardians return and renew their attack on Tenchi and the girls, even proving impervious to Ayeka’s commands. The gang quickly runs for cover, and after Kiyone fails to take them down with her laser gun, Ayeka blows the two guardians away with her Jurai power.

Unfortunately, the guardians are only temporarily delayed, and soon additional firing ports extend from their ‘heads’. As they renew their attacks, Ayeka quickly throws up a defensive shield, but it seems clear that the force of this much firepower will soon overwhelm her.

However, help is at hand in the form of Azaka and Kamidake, who sense the danger to their princess and quickly blast off to help. Just as Ayeka runs out of strength and drops her shield, Azaka and Kamidake fly in and successfully protect her. Soon, the four guardians are bashing into each other in a bizarre ‘log battle’ in mid-air.

Both sets of guardians appear well matched, but as newer models, Azaka and Kamidake have a few extra tricks not shared by their counterparts, tricks which they are quick to demonstrate when it becomes clear nothing else will do. Hinging open at the front, Azaka and Kamidake reveal their own set of firing ports, which they use to launch an energy attack. Caught in the full force of this attack, the attacking guardians are electrified, and soon drop to the ground, drained of energy.

With the battle over, Tenchi and Ayeka find themselves left with many questions as to what a Juraian structure would be doing on Earth, and just who was sealed inside. On returning to the surface, however, Tenchi runs into a more immediate problem- trying to explain to his teacher just what he and his friends were doing all the time they were gone.

Meanwhile, having watched the whole saga and been suitably entertained, Yugi turns her thoughts to the future. There are many more preparations to make and games to play, but when they are done, it will finally be time for her to step out of the shadows and bring her crystal world to the Earth’s surface…

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