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The Phoenix Chronicles: Episode Eleven: No Need for Houseguests

Beginning Theme: Illusion

Mousse felt Ryokoís strong grip on his arm as she pulled him along. His feet were literally throwing themselves forward to keep him from stumbling. And he could still hear the sound of dense steel pounding into the ground, and he could hear the steps pound closer to him. The trees seemed to fly past him, feeling the breaking of several branches as he foot came down on them. All the way, he heard his younger brother yelling, "This isnít happening! Howíd I get wrapped up in this mess?"

They finally came to a stop at a grassy ledge, which would have been a good spot to get a good view of the forest. Now, though, it was just a dead end.

Tenchi looked around, and panicked, "What are we going to do now?"

Ryoko put her arms around Tenchiís neck, and squeezed him as hard as she could, saying, "Oh, Tenchi, this was destiny. Donít ya see?"

Then the three heard the muffled pounding that the large dreadnought made as it stomped towards them. All the while, Tenchi was yelling, "Ah, let me go! I donít want to die!"

Ryoko held him closer, and purred, "But you promised me we would die together, donít you remember?"

He blanched at that, and yelled, "I donít remember even meeting you before now, let alone promising anything like that!"

Mousse stepped forward, only to have Ryoko pull on his shoulder. "Hey, Hikaru, donít."

"Iím just going to talk to him. Tenchi, when I give the signal, you run." He said, looking at them over his shoulder. He stepped closer to the dreadnought, and she could see that he was still a few yards away, so it wouldnít grab at him. He was "Listen, isnít there a way we can settle this peacefully?"

"You canít reason with it, Hikaru. It only wants to kill us all."

Tenchi narrowed his eyes at her, and flatly remarked, "Youíre serious?"

Still, it continued stomping towards them. Mousse kept his arms down fearing that the dreadnought would be motion sensitive. In which case, he kept his movements to a minimum. So, he only made a hand-signal with his right thumb, and pointing it fiercely to the left.

Ryoko looked at his hand, and cocked her head sideways. "Your coat?"

He turned his head sharply, giving them a glance over his shoulder, and hissed, "Would you run, already?"

At that point, Ryoko grabbed him by the shoulder, and pulled Mousse towards herself, and Tenchi, just as the dreadnought stumbled. It landed, face-forward, on the spot where Mousse stood only moments before.

Mousse leaned his upper torso forward, and was able to balance himself, and then stood upright. He looked that the dreadnought, which just lay there. It moved in step repetitively, like a toy soldier moving its legs in mid air in a senseless action of walking on air.

The three looked at it, and Mousse sighed in annoyance. Ryoko smiled slightly, kicked it off the grass ledge, and sent it plummeting to the ground below. Mousse exchanged a surprised glance with his brother, who returned it with a wide-eyed gaze.

Ryoko turned to them, and laughed, "WellÖProblem solved. Letís eat!"

-----------

Shampoo sat on the train that went into the country, far away from port she came into. She was sort of relieved to get away from Tokyo. All she could see of that city were the tops of buildings here and there, jutting out of the water. It all seemed so wretched to her. She couldnít get used to seeing all the people live in boats, which connected with a larger ship. It was as if the whole world had been set back some years. Honestly, she didnít think Mousse had been any better off in Japan than he had been in China. At least they were both still alive. The only two people left from the amazon village, everyone else was underwater. They had no radio, no warning whatsoever. She guessed that everyone had stood their ground, or tried to, even though the water had rushed in. The speed of it coming in, alone, was strong enough to snap oneís neck. Even if some of them survived that, which was highly unlikely, there was still the high level of radioactivity in the water, which possible burned them, even as the drowned.

She opened her eyes to look out at the countryside. At least, she thought, some of Japanís beauty survived, despite its size. She was sure that Japan wouldíve been completely submerged, but here it was. All of the beauty, and peace, of the country was lain out before her. She hated knowing that Mousse was still alive out here, in the quiet country.

She was hoping sheíd find him on some casualtiesí list. At least that way, sheíd be able to say that she was the only survivor. She would make her tribe proud. She promised herself that weaklings, like Mousse, would not beat her. She promised that she would excel at everything on carry on the tribe in her own way. She would renew the tribe. They would thrive with her as their leader.

Her train of thought was interrupted when someone came into her cabin. He was taller than she was, and he looked at her uneasily.

"Excuse me. Would you mind if I sat here?" he asked.

She flatly replied, "Arenít seats usually assigned?"

"Yes, but someone wanted to trade their seat for mine, since I was sitting near one of their friends."

"What a wussÖ" she muttered.

"Pardon?" he wanted to know.

"I said that youíre a wuss. Now, if you want to sit, do it, but stop talking to me."

He sat down crossing his arms. Then, he took out his paper, to read it. As he did so, he crossed his legs. Shampoo studied him as the train proceeded deeper into the country. She looked at his posture, stiff as a board. She looked at how he crossed his legs. It disgusted her that he was so prim and proper. It occurred to her that she liked those that were more open. Anywhere they went was their domain. Then there were people like Mousse, who did whatever anyone told them to. He had sickened her. Everything about him was so unmanly to her, and she felt that such a weakling didnít even deserve to live, let alone live a more or less quiet life. He deserved so much less, because only she felt only the strong should survive.

She looked at the suit this stranger wore, at his shoes. She looked at the way he held his paper. That made her think about the picture of Mousse she had seen.

In the picture, Mousse was tall and lanky. She also saw the Clamp boys around him, as if they were hovering over him. She also noticed the look on their faces. It was the look of fierce concern. That was what bothered her the most. It was so annoying to her that Mousseís friends were actually hovering about him protectively. She finally realized that she envied him for that, for having something that was somewhat close to a family, while she had lost her family in the village. She had no one actually related to her, only her mother, who had also encouraged her to go seek out Mousse. Her corpse was one of the many that had washed back into the ocean.

Since he was an outsider, she was required by Amazon law to marry him, or kill him. She chose the latter, hating him for beating her. She hated him even more for being a weakling. If we were a little more assertive, and actually stood up to them, had he challenged her during all that time he was there, she wouldíve married him. However, he only began to hate her and everyone else more, and more. He had beaten her, and left her vulnerable. She actually wished that he had killed her, then and there. At least, that way, she would know that her death would haunt him, and she would have died as a warrior.

---

His letting her live had taken that satisfaction away from her. After they all staggered back to the village, Cologne had approached her, and pulled her aside.

"Shampoo. You do know that that girl was an outsider."

"Yes. I will find her, and kill her."

Then Cologne leaned in closer, and whispered, "I know that was Mousse. Donít bother returning unless youíve married him, and bring him back as a servant."

"I donít want to marry Mousse. Heís a weakling fool. Weaklings deserve to die."

Cologne whacked Shampooís side with her cane, and harshly whispered, "Heís a weakling that beat you in combat, and almost killed you."

"I will kill him, then. Iíll bring his head back as proof."

"That wonít be necessary. Do what you wish. If you donít do either, you are no longer a member of this tribe."

Shampoo went into her tent, and gathered only her money, and a few some food to take along.

"Shampoo, arenít you going to take anything else?"

"Too obvious. The ones who took Mousse came from the city. Once I get to Japan, Iíll find a weapon there."

"At least take this." Cologne said, handing her the knife Mousse had taken from his arm. "It has his blood. If you can smell the blood of your enemy, it will he easier to find him."

Shampoo inclined her head, and realized that night was falling soon. She looked to the canvas that used to serve as his tent. She grabbed a branch from a nearby tree, lit it with the fire which burned beneath the large pot of boiled pig. Then, she tossed the branch at Mousseís old tent, and turned to her great grandmother.

"Now, you have two fires to keep warm with."

She walked into the nearby forest, looked back for a moment, and then turned to walk in the direction of Hong Kong. She never saw her grandmother, nor Mousseís tent, nor the village again after that. A year later, she had heard on a radio that the coastal area was taken by a tsunami, which went several miles into land.. So, she blamed Mousse for taking away the time she wouldíve had to save her family. If she had nothing, she wanted him to have less.

---

She woke up, and found that her neck was stiff from sleeping sideways, while leaning on the window. She looked up, and saw that the stranger that had come in earlier was gone. For that, she was thankful. Thinking of Mousse only brought back horrible memories for her. She didnít want to be reminded of anything about him, save for that face of utter pain, and defeat when she drove her blade into his heart.

Then, she would begin her own tribe, where only the strong would go on.

---------

Katsuhito walked about the kitchen, watching his daughter prepare dinner. She was humming. He hadnít seen Achika do that very much in the past few years, she had been doing it a lot more in the past few months since Mousse had returned home.

He had also been giving instruction to Mousse on the ways of the sword, and was pleasantly surprised that Mousse had taken to it well. He didnít gripe as much as Tenchi about it, either. He supposed that his grandson mustíve been trained during the time he was away. He made his way to the shrine, and began to walk the long staircase.

There was something else, though, about his grandson. It was a maturity that he hadnít seen in any man before. Katsuhito could actually see himself in Mousse, that same sadness that he had when Achikaís mother died. Thatís what he saw in his grandson, a sort of grief within him that seemed to haunt him. He walked into the shrine.

There was something that deeply disturbed, though. That girl, Rei Ayanami, could only soothe his grandsonís sadness. She seemed so cold, alien, somehow. It felt as if she was also the cause of Mousseís sadness, but he didnít realize that. Even worse, that conversation he had overheard that conversation between Rei and that other stranger. He looked around, because this was the very space in which Rei had talked to that man.

Perhaps thatís what bothered him was that the face this man wore was similar to the bereavement, and lack of emotion that Mousse had at times. It was as if they had a subtle similarity. The fact, that Rei connected them, made her all the more unlikable.

---

Achika didnít like Rei very much, either. When she needed help, she would ask Ranko, or Shinji. At the moment, she left the food cooking on the stove, and was calling for Ranko to help her hang the clothes.

"Ranko?" Achika called out, no reply. She tried again.

Shinji sat in the house, and heard Achika calling for Ranko. He was sitting on one of the other couches, watching TV with the volume low. However, all he heard was Ranko snoring loudly, as she had her arms out. Her bare feet were sticking out from under that blanket, twitching slightly. She barely wore anything, save for the suitcase full of tank tops, she got while in the city, and a pair of silk white boxers.

And you expect Big Brother to just fall for you? At least my mom was a lot neater, more feminine, too.

He muttered, with mild annoyance, "Oh, man. What a slob." He shrugged, and went to help Achika himself.

Achika smiled as he came out, and asked, "What can I do?"

"Itís all right, Shinji. Isnít Ranko awake?"

"Itís Four oíclock in the afternoon, and sheís still asleep. I figured, why not let big brother see her like that. So, I let her sleep. What can I do?"

Achika picked up a large white heap from the basket, which sat on the ground, and handed one end to Shinji. "WellÖyou can fold those sheets. Here, give me one end, while you take the other."

He nodded, and started backing up, holding the sheet end with both hands. He looked at his watch again.

"Say, mother. Isnít big brother supposed to be home by now?"

Achika looked at up the dimming sky, her head turned, and her hair flailing along, as it blew in the summer wind. Shinji couldnít help noticing how alike she, and Mousse, were. Even the gestures they made sometimes were so reminiscent of each other, and they probably never realized it.

That made him wish he had his own mother, so he could share some things with his mother, tell her how school went. He felt he did have some of that with Mousse, who acted as his father, and friend. Thankfully, Shinji thought, Mousse didnít act like his father. Mousse was away, a lot, but at least Shinji knew he would come back. He had been a little angry that he had just picked up and left after Yui died. He understood, though. He could see something in Mousseís eyes, when it came to Yui. It wasnít the same look that Professor Saotome had, either. Professor Saotome would leer at her, and with his big brother, it was more of a gaze. It was like the gaze, which he gave Achika now. No, it was different. The same could be said for Yui. She wouldnít look at big brother with the same eyes she gave Shinji. It was like she understood something that no one else did. How he wished, for both their sakes that Yui was with them today.

"Shinji, are you all right?"

"YeahÖI mean, yes. Iím fine."

She laughed a little at that, and again, Shinji saw his big brother in those all too rare moments when he actually smiled. Then, she said, "You donít have to be so formal with me, Shinji. You know that."

"Sorry."

"And donít apologize. I hear that all day from Hikaru."

"Well, he tells me I should be polite with everyone."

"How about Ranko?" Achika chuckled.

He muttered sourly, "Ranko doesnít count."

They both heard Ranko yelling from the living room, and Shinji couldnít help but look annoyed. He heard her feet thump on the wooden floor, as she rushed outside. She was still wearing her boxers, and her tank top was slightly drying from her sweat. Shinji looked away.

"Aw man. Canít you put something on?"

"You were supposed to wake me up when you got home from school, Shinji!"

"Well, you looked tired. So, I decided to let you sleep."

"Tired from what?" She yelled.

"Exactly." He muttered flatly.

"Well, Shinji, Thank you. Why donít you go do your homework?" Achika told him. He bowed slightly.

"Have fun." Ranko mocked.

"At least Iím going to school this semesterÖUnlike someone who missed her deadline." Shinji told her.

"Why, you-"

"Now, please donít fight. Ranko, come and help me, would you?" Achika called.

Ranko let her head fall, and sighed deeply. "Yes, Mrs. Masaki."

---

Katsuhito asked Nobuyuki, "Where are Hikaru and Tenchi? Itís not like either of them to be home so late."

"Well maybe, they met some girls on the way home." Nobuyuki suggested. He went quiet when he saw Rei looking at him.

Katsuhito went on without hesitation, and said, "No. Theyíre not like you, Nobuyuki."

"Thatís a tad rough, donít you think, father?"

The two had gotten comfortable, amazingly enough. Whereas Katsuhito was a gentleman, Nobuyuki was somewhat lecherous. Being total opposites allowed them to enjoy each otherís company. Katsuhito was thankful, at least, that both his grandsons took after him, rather than their father.

They all turned to see Mousse and Tenchi coming in through the front door, both exhausted. Rei stood up, going immediately to Mousse, while completely ignoring Tenchi. "Hikaru, are you alright?"

"Not really."

He dropped his school bag on the floor, and looked around, "Whereís Shinji?"

Rei smiled slightly at that, and replied, "Heís in his room, doing his homework."

Soon after, Mousse saw his father, and grandfather approach.

"Hikaru, Tenchi. Where have you been until now?" Achika hugged her sons as she asked.

Tenchi gently made his way out of Achikaís arms. Seconds later, he was on his hands and knees, breathing hard. He was trying to catch his breath, and looked up at his older brother who was barely standing. Mousse was trying not to lean on the doorframe, but Tenchi guessed he was just as tired.

Achika looked to Ryoko, who was smiling at them all, and patting Tenchi on back while they looked back at her with a suspicious glance. That was except for Nobuyuki, who was nearly drooling. Achika, noticing this, nudged him in the ribs.

"Tenchi, Hikaru. Who is this beautiful girl youíve brought to this house?" he got another nudge for that. Of course, that didnít stop him. He went on, "Tenchi, did you elope with this girl?"

Ryoko, enjoying herself, went with the lie, "Thatís right. Weíre newlyweds. Is it alright if I call you father?"

"Tenchi. Iím so proud of you. I always thought you were shy with the women, but nowÖ" he put his head in the crook of his elbow, and made an exaggerated gesture of crying.

That made the younger brother cough harshly, and yell, "Stop that! We just met!"

"Hikaru, you were supposed to be watching Tenchi." Katsuhito added.

Mousse began, "Well, actually. Sheís from outer space, apparently."

"Outer space?" Nobuyuki repeated.

"Thatís right. Thereís this horrible space pirate after me." She pulled out a handkerchief, and wiped her cheek, using her index to dab at the false tears on the corners of her eyes.

"You donít actually expect people to believe that, do you?"

Ryoko looked at Tenchi, and leaned on his shoulder, "Iím hurt that you canít have some faith in me."

Rei looked at her, and regarded them somewhat flatly. Ranko stood up, and put her knee on the table, proclaiming, "Well, I believe her." She looked to Mousse for reaction. There was none.

---

Mousse was hammering at boards, closing up any side entrances to the house. He chuckled slightly as he heard Tenchi griping. They managed to get most of the entrances to the house covered.

---

Ranko was saying how proud she was of Mousse for helping Ryoko out, and gushed about him doing it when she had suggested it.

He simply continued eating, as Shinji and Rei looked at him, he was looking at Ryoko. Shinji looked back to Ranko, rolled his eyes, and sighed.

Tenchi, though, blushed at Ranko, and said, "Well, I guess we could listen to her."

Mousse shrugged, and asked, "Well Ryoko, just why were they after you?"

"I told you, theyíre vicious mean space pirates."

"But they wouldnít go through all this trouble to find you. That is, unless you took something that was theirs." It was more of a guess than an accusation.

"Thatís not fair. Are you accusing me of stealing?" She stood up, putting one hand to her breast, in a grand gesture of hurt. Shinji went to the kitchen to get some more drink.

He went on, "I only say such because when we found you, you had alcohol on your breath. I donít think anyone would drink on the run. Unless theyíre the space cops, and trying to nail you for drunk driving."

He felt someone nudge his side, and saw that Ranko. She had sat down next to him, and she was giving him a wink. Shinji came back, holding a pitcher of juice. Seeing her in his seat, he yelled, "Hey, This is my seat, Ranko!"

"Well, you can sit at my seat then."

"I donít want to eat from your plate!"

"And why not?"

"What do you mean, Ďwhy not?í thatís disgusting!"

"Shinji," he heard Mousse say. He saw his "big brother" stand out of his place and offer the seat to him, "Go ahead and sit next to Rei, here. Iíll go sit at Rankoís seat, since Iím already finished, anyway."

Ranko looked to Rei, and saw the slightly disturbed look on her face. That made the redhead smirk, but then she realized that she was sitting next to Shinji, and not Mousse. That made her frown, making Shinji laugh quietly. She nudged him in the ribs, too, making him cough.

"What are you trying to do? Make me choke?"

"You shouldnít laugh at otherís misfortunes."

"Oh, right. What book did you get that from?"

"I made it up."

"Puh-leeze, YOU?"

"Yeah, Me! Is that so hard to believe?"

"Yes."

Mousse had put his hand to his head, and closed his eyes for a moment. He looked up at them, in each otherís faces. Rankoís face was almost as red as her hair.

Finally, he told them, "Would you both sit down?"

They looked at him, and Mousse smiled slightly at Shinji. Only, Ranko believed it was directed at her. She sat down quickly, "Fire away. Weíre listening."

She was about to pull on Shinjiís shirt so that heíd sit down too. He moved to avoid her grasp, and snapped. "Iíll sit down myself. Thanks!"

He calmed down when he heard Mousse sigh heavily.

After a long pause, everyone looked to Ryoko, who was hanging off of Tenchi all the while. Mousse shook his head slightly. "Well, I think-"

"I think we should let her stay." Ranko said, "I mean, after all, itís a martial artists duty to protect the frail and weak."

Ryoko snorted, "Watch it, little girl."

"Would you be quiet, for once." Rei told Ranko.

"Oh? You have something to say to me?"

"You donít want to hear what I have to say." Rei told her, flatly.

"Alright. Thatís enough." Katsuhito declared.

Nobuyuki finally spoke up. "Well, I think itís ok. Iíll stay up all night and protect you from that space pirate." Seeing him drool as he said it, Achika gave him a hard look.

----------

Of course, Nobuyuki had to sleep on the couch. Ranko was on the other one, which was connected in an L-formation. Both of them were snoring loudly.

Mousse had offered his room to Rei. At the moment, though, he helped Shinji with his homework, since Rei said she would be at the shrine.

"How was school today, Shinji?"

"It was ok. Ranko really gets on my nerves, though. Whyíd she have to come?"

"Iím not sure, actually. The guys invited her along."

"Well, maybe because they donít actually have to deal with her. If they did, they wouldíve told her to stay home."

"ShinjiÖ"

"Big brother, Itís true. Sheís like a little girl."

"Well, we have to be patient with her. I mean, I know she can be very childish, but sheís not a bad person. She was trying to help Ryoko."

"She just did that to show off in front of you because she knows you like helping people."

"I donít think so, Shinji. She just likes helping people, even if a little awkward at times."

"Do you like her?"

"Not like that, Shinji. Sheís not really what Iím looking for."

"Do you like Rei-san?"

"ShinjiÖ"

"I know you do, because she reminds you of my mom."

"Well, perhaps. Reiís a very mysterious person. Sheís a little like me, I suppose. I think thatÖ"

"Think what?"

"Donít worry about it. Is this all the work you have?"

"Yeah, Iím done."

"Ok. Well, get some sleep."

"I canít. Tenchi is in here, and heís doing his homework. Heíll take long, though."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because Ryokoís playing some game with my Saturn."

Mousse chuckled slightly, as he inclined his head.

---------

"Yeah, yeah!" Ryoko cheered quietly, pushing on the buttons quickly. "Take that, and that! Yeah!"

On the bottom of the screen was a single spaceship that moved from side to side, avoiding asteroids here, and there.

Tenchi let out a frustrated breath, and put his books into a portable stack. He stood up, tucked his chair in under the desk, and grabbed his books. Ryoko looked back at him.

"Where are ya going?"

"To someplace quiet."

He went down the stairs as he heard a knock at the door. He put his books on the little lamp table by the foyer, already moving to open the door. When he slid the door open, he saw Dreadnought looking right back at him. He quickly slid the door closed, watching Ryoko as she came out of his room.

"Itís for you!" Tenchi yelled.

"Whoís that?"

Mousse also came out, giving Tenchi a slight scowl as he came down the stairs. He joined him at the landing, and "Would you mind not yelling? People are trying

to sleep."

Tenchi looked at his older brother. "Itís the space pirate!"

Mousse grabbed Tenchi, and pulled him away from the door. Just barely since the door was punched in, falling over the foyer that was now empty.

Part of the shattered doorframe flew in, some of the wooden shards digging into Mousseís back. He looked Tenchi over, asking him if he was ok. Mousse pushed him into the living room, then started running up the stairs. Tenchi saw specs of blood speckling on the wooden stairs as his older brother ran up.

Mousse grabbed Ryoko, pulling her along as she watched the drone rush up the steps, using its thrusters, wasting no time with the stairs.

The speckled blood seemed to fade. Tenchi looked from behind the couch, looking on. Then he realized he was leaning over Rankoís sleeping body. She tried to turn over, muttering Mousseís name in her sleep. When she realized she couldnít move, she opened her eyes.

"Hikaru?"

Tenchi said nothing. He was too busy looking away. She saw that Tenchi was leaning over the couch, over her, with his knees on the edge. She saw he was trying looking at the empty staircase. She sat up, and grabbed his arm to help herself up.

Her eyes were pretty blurry. So, she could only make out the gray shirt, with the black stripe on the shoulder. Then she muttered, "Hikaru, why are you wearing Tenchiís shirt?"

He admitted nervously, "Ranko, Itís me, Tenchi."

Her eyes shot wide open. She was about to scream when Tenchi put his hand on her mouth. She turned her angry eyes at him, while Tenchi was mouthing for her to be quiet. She was about to try screaming again until she heard Mousse yelling for Ryoko to hurry.

Ranko bit on Tenchiís hand, forcing him snatch it back. He was about to yell at her when she grabbed him by both lapels, digging her knuckles into his chest.

"What is my Hikaru doing?"

"Heís helping Ryoko get away from the space pirate."

"Why arenít you helping him?"

"Because he pushed me over here, and it went after him in Ryoko."

"Weíre going to help him, Tenchi."

"How?"

"Weíre going after that space pirate, ourselves."

"No. I donít wanna die!"

"Relax. Youíre not going to die!"

----

Mousse ran down the hallway, pulling Ryoko along. He saw the window as the only way out.

Please let us land on a bush, or something.

He took the leap out the window, landed on both feet, crouching to absorb the impact. Then, he continued running. Ryoko was somewhat impressed that he didnít break his legs just then. Heís got guts. Thatís for sure.

They kept running. Up the steps of the shrine, Mousse was barely breaking stride.

Rei was coming down the stairs, herself when she saw the two coming up. He grabbed her hand, pulling her up with them. Ranko ran up the stairs, pulling Tenchi with her. She growled as she watched Mousse pulling Rei with him. Why is he so worried about that little blue-haired Bitch?

She also noticed the speckled maroon tee shirt Mousse was wearing. For that moment, she had real fear. She was afraid that he might be injured, and bleeding. She wondered if he had risked himself for Rei. That made her run faster, pulling Tenchi with her.

"Excuse me, Ranko. Just asking, why are you running around in your boxers, and tank top?" he yelled.

"Ahhh! You pervert!" she screamed.

Finally, reaching the top of the stairs, and having gone on shrine grounds, Mousse looked back once. He felt as if heíd forgotten something. He couldíve sworn that Tenchi was back at the house. At least, he hoped so. What did bother him was that he heard Rankoís voice, too. She was yelling about someone being a pervert.

Why didnít she just stay home? He wondered. It sounded as if he were complaining. He didnít mean to but she was a too friendly. His lack of attention had cost him precious time as he felt the heat from the droneís thrusters above him. He felt something metallic hit his chest, and knocking him to the ground on his back, driving whatever splinters, from the shattered doorway deeper in.

When he opened his eyes, the drone was standing right above him. He felt Rei pulling him backwards, her hands under his arms.

Katsuhito came out of the shrine, wooden boken in hand. He looked at the drone, and his grandson. He chose to ignore Reiís presence, despite the fact that she was pulling him to safety.

It seems she wants to keep him alive for some reason. Her employerís purpose, perhaps?

The thought made him grow cold. With that in mind, he turned to face the drone to protect his grandson.

Mousse groaned, "Grandfather." He tried to sit up, though Rei held him firm, unmindful of the splinters digging into her arm while she helped him sit up.

Ranko came up the stairs, pulling Tenchi. She ran to Mousse, trying to push Rei away from him.

"Hikaru-chan, are you alright?"

"Ranko, what are you doing here?" he almost muttered.

"Iím here to help you, Hikaru-chan."

"Why are you calling me that?"

"Well,"

"And, why did you bring my brother?"

"Because I thought I could help, Hikaru-chan."

"Well, youíre not." Rei told her.

She looked up to Rei, and found that she couldnít look back into those crimson eyes.

Katsuhito looked back at all of them with annoyance. They took that as a sign to quiet down. He raised the boken above his head, then charged forward, rushing past the drone so that he was standing in front of the shrine. He swung the wooden sword, loosening his wrists. With a loud, gutteral battle cry, he charged at the large machine, taking large slash at it. Finally, he stood before his grandson again. The drone crashed to the ground, face down. In a cloud of dust, the machine had disappeared to reveal a darkly tanned woman, with sandy blonde hair. She was wearing skintight dark red spandex type pants. A black stripe coming down each leg. She wore a Crimson coat, along with a black vest.

She looked back, and said, "Iíve come to arrest you, Space Pirate Ryoko."

Mousse looked at her, and back to Ryoko over his shoulder. He thought, Why Me?

ContinuedÖ

Ending Theme: "Yokan"(hunch) By Yoko TakashiÖ

I've been immune to loneliness from birth

But I couldn't resist the arms

Shaking my heart up

I have this dizzying hunch of the future

spreading

Because of your love

Holding a peice of my feeling

Mighty and tender, but somehow distressing

Drawing close to you

Having a lot of encounterd

That was always the way to forget someone I

loved

It was your warm tears that made me aware of

the pain

Bewildered by an uncaccountable hunch

Still i hold on to your hands

I wanna start over from scratch with smiling

On your chest where changes something

There is light flooding

~the black angel

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TrailerÖ

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Mousse: New Houseguests. Ranko and I have a little talk, and more. Next Episode of Phoenix Chronicles is No Need for ArgumentsÖ