Ten years later . . .
A lot can happen in ten years, especially to a girl. Men seem to think girls are disposable and that they're only there to be used for a man's use. Given, not all men were like that, but it seemed to Bulma that she had all the luck in attracting those types of men. Yeah, she was given jade, gold, silver, an assortment of perfumes, along with every type of hairpiece made in the eastern world, and she was given much clothes, enough to suit the tastes of twenty different women; but when it came down to it, she was only a thing for men to use. She never made it to the prince she was supposedly destined for, and she knew now that she'd never meet the Prince she'd been longing for to come rescue her. If he'd given a damn about her, then these ten years shouldn't have passed at all.
No, her Prince wasn't coming, so she contented herself with the riches she had now, and blocked off her heart so no one else could hurt her. She conditioned and disciplined herself to be the best and she would stay the best. All the rich men came to her, and she was content to leave the less rich with the other girls. She wasn't a monster, though; what she had she let all the other girls use; and the want for money was not why she desired to be the best at all. She wanted to be the best because she was the best; it was in her blood, and she wouldn't be satisfied until she was #1 (she blamed Vegeta for that attitude in her better moments).
She sat in front of her mirror on this night, combing through her short blue hair. She had just gotten it cut earlier. The men were craving a western look, and what better way then to shorten her hair. The rest of the girls still had their traditional knots; and they were so . . . conservative. But the rich men wanted something exotic. So she cut her hair and modified her clothes; much more skin showing in every place: her slit went so high up you'd have to wonder what kept her clothes together.
There was also the hope that if she got famous enough, he'd come for her, and she'd show him a thing or two about being a bastard; she'd turn him down so fast he'd catch whiplash, and then she'd walk off with the next man, swinging her hips and taunting him because he couldn't get her. She'd show him, if he'd ever come.
A new girl had shown up today: fresh blood. She walked like she was all that, and talked like she knew what she was saying. Harpy was in for trouble tonight: the girl had been told every which way by every person that she would not be able to best Bulma in anything, and that she'd better stop before Bulma had a field day with her. She didn't listen. Her name was Lotus. So original; Bulma knew about a dozen Lotus' who were all permanently retired now. Old age is such a terrible thing, especially at twenty-four.
Pear Blossom walked into the room, smiling her soft smile. Bulma couldn't figure out why such a nice girl would end up in this dump. Pear Blossom was so soft spoken and young; she was . . . innocent. The only relief Bulma could see for the girl was that she attracted the older, nicer men. They weren't rich, but they treated her well. Every now and then Pear Blossom would borrow something from Bulma-- a hairpiece or a nice piece of jewelry-- to please her customers. Such a nice girl in such an awful place. Bulma hoped Pear Blossom would be bought or married soon before she became obsolete.
Pear Blossom sat next to Bulma and looked at her. "You look nice, Bulma-san," she said softly.
Bulma smiled. "Doomo. Is there something you need?" she asked gently. Bulma had been afraid from the beginning that if she spoke harshly, Pear Blossom would fall apart. She was very delicate.
"Could I borrow your orchard comb? Master Shiro likes orchards," she added, smiling sadly.
"Master Shiro," Bulma said, lightly touching Pear Blossom's knee, "how is he?" Master Shiro was sickly. He thought of Pear Blossom as his granddaughter, and she was one of the few customers who didn't pay her to have sex; he paid her to listen.
Pear Blossom shook her head. "He's not doing too well."
Bulma handed her the comb. "Keep it," she said. "Wear it every time he comes, and, if you want, give it to him so he can take a piece of you home with him. You do him so much good."
Pear Blossom smiled weakly. "Doomo."
"Oh, how very touching," Lotus said, leaning on the doorway. She clapped her hands three times slowly.
Bulma rolled her eyes and clenched her teeth. Lotus was being a bitch; here not even a day and she was already being a bitch.
Bulma spoke to Pear Blossom, trying hard to keep her voice soft and level. "Go on and get ready. He'll be here soon."
Pear Blossom got up obediently and left.
Lotus sat in the chair Pear Blossom left vacant. She leaned back on the chair and grinned. " `You do him so much good,'" she mimicked. "Yeah right; girl couldn't fuck a guy right even if she took lessons."
Bulma's eyes flared. "Don't you dare speak about her that way!" she snapped. "That man is dying and she comforts him."
"With sex?" Lotus scoffed.
"No, with her ears," Bulma said, her face serious. "She listens."
Lotus' face dropped and she shut her mouth, knowing her place for the moment.
Bulma continued to apply her make-up, taking special care on her eyes and lips. Lotus watched her, pretending not to care, but Bulma knew better; the girl was getting nervous. She was probably doubting the possibility of rising higher than two, if the damned girl made it to two. Bulma wouldn't be surprised if the girl was terrible at this occupation.
Cherry Blossom decided to run into the room then, startling Lotus. Bulma smirked and continued her work; Cheery Blossom had the tendency to do that.
"Something interesting?" Bulma said nonchalantly.
"A Prince is coming tonight!" she squealed.
Bulma looked at her doubtfully. "A Prince? Why here?" she said.
Cheery Blossom grinned. "He probably heard about you," she said, "or, it could be he needed a vacation from the war."
"You don't take a vacation from a war," Bulma sassed, capping her lip pencil.
"Well, whatever his reason, he's coming here," she replied. "Just thought I'd let you know. You'll want to be ready."
Lotus decided to jump in then. "I will be the one to get him tonight."
Bulma turned a heavy eye on her. "Not in this lifetime."
Vegeta cut a wide path through his camp. The men bowed in deference to him, but Vegeta just walked passed them, irritated. They were getting no where in this fight. His men were the best, the elite, and yet they couldn't seem to even dent the other army. Not that the other army was gaining anything on them either; they were at a standoff. It was frustrating.
"Strategy," his father told him, "strategy."
Vegeta wasn't and idiot, and neither was Kakkarot (the other Prince), though Kakkarot appeared to be every bit of an idiot. The man was either a fool or a genius, or possibly he was both: a genius with a fool's luck. Well, whatever he was, he was making this war hard. It should have been finished with months ago, but no: they were still here fighting the same god-damned battles, gaining no ground.
Vegeta growled to himself and blew into his tent, startling the sentries. He ignored them, and sat down angrily. This war was pointless, absolutely pointless. He couldn't even remember why it had started, just that a messenger had shown up and declared war, and then his head was sent back in a box. He'd ridden for ten days to reach where he was now, and he hadn't gained a foot in four months.
And now his men were deteriorating. The old class of samurai were still strong, but some of the younger ones had no wisdom yet. "Not enough experience," his father said, "they'll learn." Well, they were certainly going to learn tonight.
Vegeta's scowl deepened as he changed into more suitable clothes. A tea house, it was called; like they really drank tea. Geisha's were employed there. This particular tea house, he'd been told, had the best geisha's in this district, and some descriptions went as far as to say the bet in the East. Well, whatever; he'd do what he needed to do and go.
* * * * *
Note from the author: I'm not sure about "tea houses" in Japan, or anything really about Japan at all relating to such things except geisha's. I am sure about China "tea house's," though, so it's a mixture of everything.