"This should be easy!" she thought.
She knew where the dragon was, there were no guards guarding it, and no alarms or traps that she could see. If she had a little more time she could test out her theory more but there was no more time. This was the final act and she was so close so very close to achieving what she wanted this whole time, her reason for being here. It was all within her grasp and yet she felt horrible.
"He dose not love me" she told herself.
"How could he, I am nothing but a thief a third class whore who played the rolled he needed me to play thatís all. He could not love me even if I wanted him to which I donít. I donít want him I just want the jewel thatís all and nothing more. I am a thief. Thatís what I am. Thatís who I am and I will never be anything more."
Bulma tried her best to stay in the shadows as she moved down the palace halls dresses in all black once again. And as always she found her target but to her surprise more doubts surfaced.
"By doing this we will never be together. He will never look at me the same. Fuck he would not look at me the same anyway if he knew the truth. I might as well have what I came here for butÖ"
"As the leader of the Northern Alliance I want to extend my gratitude to you my emperor and you my prince for welcoming me to the imperial city." Yamcha stated suavely.
"Think nothing of it." The Emperor said while Prince Vegeta simply "Humph" then received a glare of disapproval from his father.
Yamcha looked at the princeís frown and wondered what he had said or did wrong to anger the prince. He decided to change the subject to something he was well versed in.
"So Prince Vegeta I hear that you are in the process of choosing a bride. There must be so many women to chose from, you being the prince and all."
Vegeta just looked at him with disgust and said nothing so the emperor spoke up.
"Yes, well I think Vegeta has finally made his choice. Frankly I know this because no other girl has lasted here this long. She is quite a beautiful young lady."
"Really" Yamcha stated. "She must be something if she is with the prince. I would love to meet her."
Thatís when Vegeta chose to speak up.
"I believe you all ready know her." He stated with a devilish smirk.
"Really?" Yamcha asked dumbfounded. "Who is she?"
"Lady Mariko of the Yashada clan."
"MARIKO! But, but that is not possible!" Yamcha barely sputtered out due to shock.
"I am sure it is quite possible. I have yet to ask her officially, but there is no doubt that she will accept." Vegeta boasted.
"But my prince I am positive that it is not possible because she is already betrothed to me!"
"WHAT!" Vegeta screamed while picking Yamcha up by his neck ready to pound the life out of the man. "I should take your puny little life right now for lying to the Royal Prince of Japan!"
"ItÖIt is no lie sire!" Yamcha managed to spit out as Vegeta continued to choke the life out of him. Thatís when Piccolo decided to speak up.
"His word are true sire. I have seen him myself with the lady on many encounters, and they address each other as my beloved and my betrothed as sickening as that sounds."
Vegeta immediately slung Yamcha to the ground. "I canít believe she did not tell me!" he thought as he marched out of the room to go and get answers from the woman herself. As he marched down the hall, he noticed the door to his private library, which no one goes into slightly ajar. He silently moved the door planing to take out his anger on who ever dared to invade his private space. And to his surprise there stood the thief of his dreams from many days before. She was just standing there looking at the dragon as if she was deep in thought.
"I had hope you were much smarter than this and that I would not have to kill you." Vegeta pronounced regally.Bulma just turned around and said nothing. All she could do was stare into his beautiful ebony eyes.
"You do realize you are not going to leave this palace alive donít you." Vegeta stated as he drew his katana.
Bulma knew when it came down to it she was no match for the prince so she quickly scanned the room for a possible way out without having to fight Vegeta. Within a flash she grabbed the dragon and pushed bookshelf down upon the unsuspecting prince and tried to make a dash for the window. She was about to jump out it when the prince grabbed her ankle causing her to slam down hard unto the palace floor below.
"Ahhh" she screamed as her face connected with the hard floor splitting her lip. She rolled over to see a smirking prince standing above her. She swiftly swept her feet under him knocking him down and made her way out the window. Vegeta quickly followed.
"Fuck" she thought as Vegeta matched her move for move as she ran down the palace halls. She eventually ran past a group of guards, and to her surprise Vegeta told them not to move. She had wonder why in the word he would do this until she realized she should have zigged when she had zagged and ended up trapped at a dead end. All she could do was turn around a face a very angry prince.
"You know woman, you have seriously tried my patience! Why donít you take off that little mask and I will make you a deal. I wonít kill you I will just send you to the imperial prison." Vegeta spat out harshly.
Bulma knew that being sent to the imperial prison is a fate far worse than death. She would be beaten and/or raped not only by the other male prisoner but the guards too, daily. She had known women that were sent to the prison and although most never come back those that do make it out outside of a pine box are never the same ever again. It was the worse fate a woman could ever have. So she skillfully pulled out her katana and prepared herself for the death that surly awaited her.
Seeing her draw her sword Vegeta attacked furiously. She countered him move for move for awhile that was until he once again over powered her slamming her into a wall. Her katana falling from her had and landing right behind him.
He held the end of his katana pressed firmly in the center of her chest right above her heart. The slightest move by him forward would kill her on the spot, but he stopped and just stared at her.
Bulma looked down to see if her chest was exposed again and that was what he was staring at but it was not. He was just looking at her.
"Who are you?" he asked and she said nothing.
"Fine I will find out for myself!" and he moved forward to remove her mask. He did it slowly almost sensuously. Slowly reviling her neck, then her chin and then finally her mouth. The same mouth she refused to utter a word from. Her lips looked so familiar so inviting. He leaned in closer slowly moving the blade from the center of her chest and replacing it with the warmth of his body. He whispered deeply into her ear "Tell me woman, tell me who you are."
Bulma nearly lost it when he pressed his body against hers. She could feel his warmth and power radiate all around her. She had flash backs in her mind of the night before. His kiss, his touch, his warmthÖ
"Oh Kami I love him! I love him so!" she thought and did the only thing she believed she could do. "He would not understand, he could not understand."
She quickly shoved him aside and lunged for her katana.
Vegeta quickly spun around and stabbed the thief cleanly and deeply within her gut fearing for his life as she went for her katana.
She fell with a thump on the ground holding her wound crying out in pain.
"Why woman" he screamed "I would not have killed you!" He went to her side and to his surprise she spoke.
"But some things are worse than death"
Vegeta was in shock, it could not be her, but the voice was the same.
"Mariko" he called out.
He slowly finish removing the rest of the mask revealing two beautiful blue eyes filled with tears that seemed to streamed down her face.
She looked deeply into his ebony eyes and said "Not Mariko, for once please, not that I have the right to ask, call me by my real name."
"What, but Mariko I donít understand?" Vegeta stuttered out.
"Bulma" she said as she tried to move. "My name itís Bulma."
Vegeta was totally confused by all that was happening, but the one thing he was absolutely sure about was the woman he was in love with was in front of him dying. He quickly removed his shirt and placed it against her wound in the hope of stopping the bleeding.
"Woman I donít know whatís going on or what you are talking about, but I do know I will not have you die." Vegeta screamed then gently picked her up heading towards the palace infirmary.
"But I deserve to die." Was the last thing Bulma said before she lost consciousness.
Chichi had been waiting and waiting and still no Bulma.
"I have a really bad feeling." Chichi said out loud. She continued to pace back and forward on the edge of town talking out loud to herself receiving very strange looks from the people passing by.
"I should have never let her do this on her own." Chichi stated as she went forward.
"What if something happened?" she said as she paced backwards.
"She could be hurt or dying or KILLED! Iíve got to go and make sure she is ok!" with that settled Chichi marched back to the palace.
Vegeta ran down the palace halls with the wounded woman in his arms. On his way to the infirmary he literally ran into his father, Kakarrot and the others.
"What the hell has happen to Lady Mariko" Emperor Vegeta screamed.
Vegeta did not answer just rushed past them on his way to the infirmary.
"Mariko, but thatís not Mariko." Yamcha stated.
"WHAT!" both Kakarrot and the Emperor screamed totally bewildered by the whole situation.
"Thatís not Mariko. Mariko has black hair and black eyes that woman there is much more exotic and beautiful. I would love to have her!"
The Emperor and Kakarrot just looked at the man totally in shock. Kakarrot was the first one to speak.
"I better go check on my prince, and find out what happened."
The Emperor simply nodded and then Kakarrot left. Then the emperor turned to Yamcha and asked "If she is not Lady Mariko then who the hell is she?"
Vegeta got her to infirmary just in time. The physician told him that the outlook for her was not very good and that she might die before dawn due to organ damage. Vegeta wanted to kill the doctor right then and there on the spot and he was lucky that Kakarrot was there to stop him.
"You, dear doctor better make sure she survives because if she dose not you will not!" Vegeta yelled at the frighten man.
Vegeta was so confused by everything that was happening. Kakarrot told him of what Yamcha had said about the woman lying in the bed not being Lady Mariko of clan Yashada, but someone else. But who was she if not Mariko and why was she here? Was she just a mere thief? Was all that she said a lie like her name? Was all that she made him feel nothing more than a lie! The more Vegeta thought about it the more his anger grew and grew until it consumed him. She was nothing, nothing but a lie!
* * * * *