7. No Need for Carnival!

Tonight is a very special evening- the carnival has finally come to the Masaki shrine. Sasami is eager to look around, and Tenchi has agreed to accompany her as they investigate all stalls- including the ones run by the other girls. For a change, they will be working hard whilst Sasami gets the night off.

Arriving at the shrine, Tenchi and Sasami make their way to the first stall- a goldfish scoop game. Players get to keep any goldfish that they manage to scoop out of the water- but whilst Tenchi is a natural at the game, Sasami does not fare so well. Even though she finally manages to catch a fish, her paper scoop rips and it soon falls out. Poor Sasami is left empty handed- at least until the ever-gallant and generous Tenchi hands over a water-filled bag containing the four fish that he managed to win.

Catching sight of them as they move along, Ryoko motions Tenchi and Sasami over to see her stall- another goldfish scooper. Ryoko isn’t getting much custom, perhaps because there are no fish visible in her tank. Insisting that there are indeed fish in the tank, Ryoko hands Tenchi a snorkel, and he ducks his head underwater to take a look. Indeed, down in the depths of the tank there are a number of fish- but far from being innocuous goldfish, they are somewhat larger and more esoteric specimens, including an oversized creature that leaps out of the tank to announce “I am Big Fish”!

Ryoko may not have quite got the idea of what makes a playable game, but Ayeka is certainly doing well. She has set up a shooting gallery (with little chibi Ryoko dolls as the targets), and the crowds are loving it. Who knew business could be this much fun?

Always looking for a way to make some extra money, Kiyone and Mihoshi have set up a fried noodle stall, and Sasami and Tenchi are eager for a bowl. Unfortunately, whilst Kiyone has been doing a great job with the noodles, Mihoshi has made a mess of the shredded cabbage. Worse yet, Ryo-Ohki has snuck into their carrot stores and cleaned them out- and, with no vegetables left, the two GP officers have no choice but to close up.

With her first stall having been shut down, Ryoko heads off to a different spot to try something different. After summoning a large frog and a pile of bottles, Ryoko divides herself into two halves, one “carny” and one “mark”. Carny Ryoko pretends to reel in her other self by explaining how she cooks and bottles the sweat from this amazing toad and uses it as a miracle oil. As the other Ryoko pretends to be amazed, a crowd of spectators gathers around. All seem spellbound and ready to hand over their money for the ‘miracle oil’, at least until Tenchi and Sasami show up and tell the divided Ryoko to stop fooling around.

Moving on, Tenchi and Sasami decide to take a look inside Washu’s Haunted House, subtitled “The Eight Worst Hells”. At first glance, the house doesn’t look like much- until Tenchi opens the door and almost falls into a sea of magma presided over by a massive devil. Quickly pulling the door shut, Tenchi and Sasami back out, only to find themselves in the second hell, a range of hills covered in crystalline spikes.

Opening the door once again, Tenchi, Sasami and Ryo-Ohki almost take another fall, this time into space. Fortunately, Tenchi manages to grab onto Sasami and Ryo-Ohki, and by clutching the door with his feet, all three are saved. Dangling precariously, the trio find themselves an unwilling audience for a supernova- and when Tenchi tries to pull them out and out of this “hell”, he accidentally slips and sends them all tumbling into the blackness of space.

Fortunately, Tenchi and Sasami somehow manage to survive all eight stages of the haunted house, and eventually get spat back out in one piece, much to Washu’s surprise.

Ayeka’s shooting gallery is still doing well (despite a brief period in which she was having so much fun playing that she didn’t let anyone else have a turn), and, in typical fashion, Ryoko decides to rile the princess by setting up her own shooting gallery next door, with chibi Ayekas as the targets. Naturally, Ayeka is less than pleased at Ryoko’s actions, and soon the two are shooting corks at each other.

When cork warfare doesn’t prove satisfying to either’s temper, Ayeka decides to move the destruction up a level- by demolishing Ryoko’s stall. Always one to retaliate, Ryoko quickly smashes up Ayeka’s stall.

Meanwhile, Mihoshi and Kiyone have decided to try their luck at a new food stall- this time selling cotton candy. Their delicious product has attracted many customers, Sasami included, and thanks to the special machine Washu made for them, they can make any amount of cotton candy they need. Unfortunately, as they soon find out, the machine isn’t without its problems- not only does it start continuously pumping out candy, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to shut it off.

As Ayeka and Ryoko face each other and plan their next moves, they cannot help recalling that this isn’t the first time they have run into each other at a carnival. According to Ayeka, back when they were children she visited a fair, and briefly stopped at a toy stall run by a young Ryoko. Ryoko was quick to force an ugly Ryo-Ohki doll on Ayeka, before snatching her purse as non-refundable payment. Naturally, Ryoko remembers things differently. She was at the fair selling a selection of hand-made pottery when Ayeka told her she didn’t have permission to have a stall, before proceeding to smash all of Ryoko’s merchandise.

No matter what the truth of that past incident was, Ryoko is feeling particularly wronged and angry, and decides to settle the score. It looks like another of Ryoko and Ayeka’s explosive fights is going to break out- at least until a giant wave of cotton candy washes everyone away.

Later that night, whilst everyone else sleeps off the chaotic events of the evening, Sasami lies awake, staring at her goldfish. After the carnival, Tenchi worried that Sasami might have been disappointed at how messed up the whole fair became, but Sasami was far from unhappy. She had a great time at the carnival, and now, thanks to her evening with Tenchi, she has a whole new bunch of memories to cherish.