I know how I will do it.
Lying quietly in the aftermath beside him, waiting, waiting for my chance. His muscular arm circles me, his hand playing with my hair. Not a word has passed between us. I shift position, turning on my side, my right hand free. My left strokes his chiseled abdomen lightly, my head resting on his chest. I make as if to stretch and let my arm fall to my other side, brushing the pile of clothing on the floor. Luck plays with me. With one deft, invisible movement, the minuscule object I need is between my fingers.
I had carried more than just a knife yesterday in my assassination endeavor. Why I chose the knife, I do not know. But a full shot seems much more useful to me now.
I turn my head to look in his dark coal eyes. He is unsuspecting. Good. I smile slightly and kiss him on the lips. Meant to be light, emotion suddenly chokes me, and I pour all the rest of my heart into him. He responds just as hotly, that mutual bond between us linking our pleasures and pains. I don’t want this to end. If only it could go on forever…
But no. I must do it now, while his guard is down. Before I can change my mind, I slip the needle into his skin, my lips still wrapped up in his kiss. I open my passion-drunken eyes to behold the frozen expression on his face.
"You…" he gasps, clutching my shoulder convulsively with one hand, already weakening.
"It’s for the best," I whisper, my voice cracking. I give him a last, fleeting kiss. "Please trust me."
Disentangling myself from his heavy limp arms, I rise, and shut his eyes with my fingers. He will be out for a good while, I hope, long enough for me to succeed in saving him and Kakarotto…and perhaps not myself. I throw my clothes on and walk towards the door, stepping over Kakarotto’s unconscious body.
I begin dismantling the compartments of the controls room. My mind set to one goal, everything in line, calm, methodical, no time for error. Piece by piece building my magnum opus. Digging deep in the back of my brain to retrieve the information I need, numbers I thought I had long forgotten drifting back in precise order. Retracing my steps, ensuring everything is working right, with this plan of construction—and ultimate destruction.
Holes. I see them now. Missing parts I cannot substitute for. Holes in the plan. Keep calm, Bulma. Plan B swings into action as soon as we land this baby. We will be touching down exactly where we took off. Vejita really had learned too much from me. Outsmarted me. But this time, it is I who will win—and then lose.
My patience is steady as the ship slows, rattling through atmosphere and burning through particle-saturated space. I finger the little device in my hand. Will it work? No time to question. I make sure every little screw and chip is in place, and tuck it safely into a pocket I have cut into these training pants.
How much a man has changed me in a night. Thrown me helplessly into a measureless abyss of…I guess it could be called love. It is no use wondering why my heart has taken this path. The Gods have abandoned me. Bardock has cursed me.
But I will save him.
Minutes before the ship lands, I rub my face with grease and waste, spreading it on my clothing as well. I burn a section of my hair. I tear my shirt in several places, and spread animal blood over it. I am ready.
The engine dies down as the ship lands. Plan B commences. My mind calm as a placid lake, like an actress about to step onstage to face an audience of millions. I step down on the soil of Xethyros, the wind ruffling burnt strands of hair. Right away I stumble, staggering clumsily with a limp, heading for nowhere. Moving, moving, distancing myself from the ship so it may be safe. When I judge it is far enough, I fall to the ground with a cry. I lie there stupidly and begin to cry, tears now coming easily when I need them.
Please, please, I pray silently. Please work. Fall into my trap.
My wails continue, loud and full of pain. The device vibrates against my thigh. They are coming. My throat tenses up, the fear of this moment threatening to overrun my composure and ruin me. But as the actress can still speak with confidence and move with grace, I hold firm. For the murderer whom I love. For the hope that he loves me.
Two boots land in front of me, worn brown leather; my boots. Looted from me along with the rest of my clothing from home. I raise my head weakly, dazed eyes staring blankly up at the pristine face with the almond blue eyes, framed with the beautiful golden hair.
"Back for more, sweets?" The voice glazed with delight. I do not answer, only moan.
The corners of her mouth turn down in a mocking pity-frown. "Aw, what’s the matter? You look a little roughed up. Are you still gonna try to kill me?"
Roving aimlessly, my eyes resemble those of a madwoman’s. "I…killed…I—killed them already."
"You’ve lost your mind," she comments coolly, pulling me up by the throat. I thrash helplessly in her iron grip, trying to pry her hands off my neck. Taking pleasure in seeing my face turn blue, she finally lets me go, and I steady myself on wobbling legs.
"I should just kill you right now," Juuhachigou says, boredom now evident in her voice. I suddenly snap to awareness, out of the shock that played on my face before, and fear etches its way across my features.
"No, don’t kill me," I plead weakly, hands clasped together to beg. "Don’t-"
"You called me a bitch last time. Plus you shot me in the eyes and let my Saiyajin toys escape. Ticked me off just a little bit, don’t you think?" she says, looking away as a ki ball forms in her hand.
Here it is, the pivoting point of the plan. Will she buy it?
"No! Stop!" I shout, desperate. "If you kill me, you’ll die too!"
"What?" she says, cocking one fine eyebrow at me.
"The—the bomb inside you, Juuhachigou. It’s going to blow."
"What the hell are you talking about?" she demands. Then a smile creeps across her face. "Oh…so you came through with your promise after all, eh? What are you waiting for? Go ahead, blow me up."
"No—you don’t understand. Vejita—the Saiyajin—oh Gods I’ve been through hell with him…he wanted to kill you this way. Once we landed he planned to track you down and set off the bomb inside you."
"Oh, no, no. Please, cowardly human, spare me the excuses. Why don’t you just take responsibility for this all? ‘Cause guess what? Vejita knows nothing about the mechanics of me or Juunanagou," she alleges straightaway. "But you do, don’t you?"
"He used me, Juuhachigou," I mumble, my head drooping. "I thought I could trust-"
"Idiot girl. You think I have a computer as a base for no reason? You think I’ll believe your shit?"
"Please listen to me-you’re running out of time! Just let me go and I’ll remove it!"
"‘Oh please Juuhachigou, don’t gut me,’" she mocks, her tone dripping sarcasm. "All right, where are they? The two Saiyajins—they should be jumping me by now."
"They’re dead," I blurt. "I killed them."
Her cackle rips through the air. "Oh my, little human, maybe I will keep you alive for the sheer entertainment. You, kill two Saiyajins? Who are you trying to fool?"
"They have weaknesses," I say, barely holding back tears. "One was women. The other was poison."
"Okay, okay, so let me get this straight," she says, still grinning. "You seduced the monkeys, killed them, built a machine to kill me, and then landed here and actually left your ship to find me? Do you think I’m stupid? Do you really think I’m that stupid?"
"You have to believe me!" I beg. "It’s going to blow in fifteen minutes."
"Why would you want to save me? I thought you made it a point to kill me. Why build a kill switch and then try to save me from it? Your time’s up," she snorts, and suddenly slaps me to the ground. "I’m tired of this game. Bye-bye, human!"
"No!" I scream as she raises the ki blast over her head. Desperately I fumble in my pocket and toss my unfinished device out, clattering to the ground. The digital numbers are counting down in red. 14 minutes, 30 seconds. It beeps urgently as it hits the earth, and skips ahead five minutes. Nine minutes, 25 seconds.
"You can’t be serious," she says derisively, but I see a little flicker of hesitation in her eyes.
"Why wouldn’t I be? I’m going to die!" I cry.
"It’s just a toy. It’s nothing. Just a trick," she says, a look of anger and uncertainty on her face.
"No, Juuhachigou. I would not lie now," I whisper fearfully, cowering on the ground before her. "Please, let me go. I’ll deactivate the switch if you let me go."
Her foot crunches down on my ankle, shattering the bone, grinding it to bits. I scream out in pain as she stomps on it again for good measure.
"Liar," she accuses once more, prim satisfaction plastered across her face. "I should’ve killed you before you spoke your first word. Answer me this: why did you come here?"
Amidst the real tears I am crying now, I continue my part. "I—I killed them…they forced me to come back here with them…that’s when I decided to kill them—oh Gods, their bodies are still warm…"
I close my eyes, tears streaming through them, and feel no blow fall.
"All right," she says slowly. "Let’s see if you’re really stupid enough to still be lying."
I scramble up on my knees and grab the remote. Eight minutes, 40 seconds. As I whirl around to face her, my index finger presses a button on the back of it. Quick and inconspicuous. Narrow, suspicious eyes watch my every move. Bardock, please protect me now. Don’t let me die yet.
"So why did you leave your ship, human?" she sneers. "And why did you bring that out with you, if you say you have no intention of killing me?"
"It’s the killing…it’s all a game to you. But death isn’t a game to me. I—I shouldn’t have killed them. You don’t know what kind of madness possessed me after—after I did it," I stutter, my shaking hand prying open the remote. The scan has been done, and I stare at the vital details filling the small screen, my hands removing some useless pieces I put in on purpose just so I could buy myself more time. I now know exactly what parts to change around in order for the remote to function. Hurry…hurry…please, Vejita, don’t wake up…please, Juuhachigou, don’t kill me just yet…
I sprawl on the ground, dazed, the side of my head stinging with the harsh blow. My hands are empty.
I double over as I am kicked in the stomach, coughing and gasping in pain. She pulls me up by the hair and slaps me in the face, the grease I had applied earlier smearing across my cheek.
"Shut up," she snaps, and swings me around to look at my kill switch, lying in pieces several yards away. "Stupid girl. You thought I believed your crybaby shit?"
Before I can answer she throws me to the ground again, my head banging forcefully against the hard earth. I spit blood, and feel more pooling inside my mouth.
"All you scientist types must be the same. I’m beginning to think you’re worse than Gero," she says scornfully. "He used to stare at me exactly the same way you were staring at your little toy, figuring out how to use me and then get rid of me. A bomb for a safety measure. Hah. You were just too obvious. Trying to fix your gadget so you could kill me with it."
Well, here it is. Game over. I tried.
Instantly my act drops.
"Yeah bitch, that’s right," I shoot back, mustering all the malice I can spare into my voice. "I would have killed you."
"Oh, and just for that I’ll make sure you die a very fun death," she says gleefully, clasping her hands together. "Juunanagou!!"
I continue glaring at her with burning hatred, lying helpless, waiting for this slow death she promises me. I tried. I really had. The only pain I feel right now is for Vejita. I have failed him.
"Juuhachi, you could’ve called me in earlier. It looked like you guys were having fun," an amused male voice calls from behind me.
"Remember what we agreed on about sharing," she pouts like a child. "You’re lucky I even thought of letting you have this one."
They both laugh, merciless and diabolical, the artificial humans who will take my life. Juunanagou sets his eyes on me with interest. "You’re a bad actress, human. But you’ve got spunk. I like that."
He kneels down beside me, fingers holding my chin up so he can look at my face.
The blood has pooled in my mouth long enough. I spit it all in his face.
"Ahhh! You insolent bitch!" he yells, swiping at his eyes with the front of his shirt. "You’ll pay for that!"
"Make me pay, android," I jeer. "Make me."
Juuhachigou whistles and steps back. "You’re asking for it."
"Well, since my sister here doesn’t let me do this to her, I guess I’ll try it on you," he grits, forcing an insidious grin that barely hides his anger.
My stomach curdles as his foul lips encounter mine, his hands holding me down; I writhe but am unable to break loose. His tongue forces itself into my mouth, roving, pushing against my tightly clenched teeth. All right, he wants to play? I’m game.
Abruptly releasing me, he screams and holds his jaw with one hand. His palm is bloodstained. I drag myself up on my elbows and laugh at him.
"Quite inexperienced with women, are we? Never try to rape a girl ‘cause you’ll get bitten," I dare to mock him.
"Juunana…just let me-" Juuhachigou sighs.
"Shut up!" he shouts with rage. "I’ll handle this!"
Before I hit the ground I know my nose is broken and bleeding. He continues to kick me, out of control with childish fury, his feet connecting with my head, my chest, my stomach, my legs. As much as I try to hold it in, I cannot contain the screams that rip out of my throat. My vision is a blur as he yanks me up by one arm.
"Had enough yet?" he asks brightly, twisting my wrist cruelly in his hand until the bone splinters with an excruciating snap. "Sorry. We just got started."
My arm drops to my side, the wrist misshapen horribly, and I notice that I am crying. No, no more tears! I cannot show any more weakness! But each hit, each bone-breaking blow drains more and more out of me. My face slashed across the cheek, my arm broken, my eyes bruised so badly that I can hardly see, one leg useless, my clothes in tatters, my lungs heaving for air. The breath rattles in my throat, shallow and leaking. Will I die yet?
"Don’t give out yet, I still got some ideas," he says, and I feel a faint jerk as he shoves my legs apart. Die now, Bulma, I scream at myself. Before he can-
His heavy body smothers me as it lies on top of me, his filthy hands on my breasts, his hardness rubbing against my opening. No…I can feel myself slipping, Juuhachigou’s sigh of exasperation sounding distant and hazy. Juunanagou, please get off me, I’m feeling tired, I try to tell him. Why can’t you leave me alone?
The weight is suddenly off me and I feel lightheaded. Thank you, Mr. Android Guy, I giggle.
Another faint voice in the quickly fading background.
"I’m going to kill you both. But you first, bastard."
My heart flutters weakly, and I struggle back into full consciousness. He has woken.
The damn bitch had drugged me. I can’t believe I didn’t see it coming. Why did she do it? To give her life in noble sacrifice in an attempt to spare me from battle, thinking I’d actually forgive her for that? The sight of her broken, battered body violated so brutally fuels my aura greater, pushing me to the maximum in power…and still pushing higher, pushing the limits. I am going to kill these androids. Butcher them.
"You just had to butt in, didn’t you? Just as the fun was starting," Juunanagou, soon to be my first victim, says wistfully. The red mark on his face, a vestige of the vicious blow I had dealt him, is beginning to fade. "You like the makeover I gave her?"
"You know it’s really too bad I’ll only get to beat you to death once. Because I would kill you ten times over just for laying hands on her."
"Oooo, I’m scared," he says, waving his hands in mock fear, his eyes widening. "Hah. You ran last time. What makes you think you won’t run again?"
"This time, you’ll do the running. Or at least you’ll try to, before I gut you and make you eat your insides," I reply coolly, my mighty aura almost blinding, flashing white-gold. I am intoxicated with power.
"All right, sis, you wanna go finish off his woman while I show this guy who’s gonna eat what?" he suggests to his twin.
"My pleasure," she sighs, her expression bored, and walks back towards Bulma.
Before I can move, Juuhachigou is bowled aside by a bright fireball. Kakarotto quickly rockets after her and punches her upward. That is all I can watch before Juunanagou charges me, and the final battle begins. No running. No cowardice. Only a path toward life or death.
I move quickly, my arms blocking the punches he aims at me, all precise and purposeful in technique. An android that was built to be perfect. I break from the defensive position and hit him hard across the jaw, sending him plowing headfirst into the ground. I will defeat this so-called perfection. Nothing can match me.
I let him rise and wipe the blood from his lip. He smiles crookedly and speaks. "Practice is over."
Suddenly I am flying backwards, spinning crazily in the air before I can right myself, and then just as swiftly I am struck in the other direction, hit back and forth like a toy ball. Juunanagou’s fist blurs across my vision as he hits me again, laughing. I grit my teeth and explode with ki, sending energy everywhere at once, slowing my momentum down and regaining balance. That stuns him for a second. Then I am on him, enforcing my muscles with ki, my strikes compact and powerful.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
After three initial blows that connect with his face, he begins blocking and parrying with easy grace. I pick up speed and strike faster; he increases speed also, matching mine, meeting every hit and stopping me. Keep it steady, keep in control, I will succeed. This is methodical work, a task to destroy a machine. All machines can be worn down, this artificial soul with its metal alloy shell is nothing compared to the true warrior, natural in power and pure in life force.
One fist slips under his arm, meeting his stomach and quickly pulling out as he lurches forward with the blow. I lunge for him to get him in a headlock, but I am shoved off at once, and begin my solid barrage of attacks again. I feint a blow, and as he reaches up to block it, I swing my leg around, crushing his left arm against his side. His body twists with the impact, but just as I bring up my other leg to kick him upwards, his left fist hits me hard in the jaw, jarring me loose from my planned attack sequence. And suddenly the blows rain on me left and right, like a cloud of hammers striking everywhere on my body. No time to block or charge up. I try to whirl backwards but double over with a knee to the stomach. A smash to the ribs breaks several, and my eyes fill with blood from a gash on my forehead. Mad cackling rings in my ears, only inflaming my frustration through the mounting pain. My head snaps back from a punch that hit home, senses reeling to catch up with the instantaneity of my opponent’s moves. Only a robot, I can defeat him…I can still win…
"Care if I join?" The female levitates down, arms crossed cockily, but I only concentrate on the android whom I have targeted first. He grabs me by the neck and tightens his grip, choking the air out of me, kicking at my stomach and chest, easily evading the mad blasts of ki my body shoots out.
"Juu—ha-chi-gou…go-away," Juunanagou orders, accentuating each syllable with a blow.
"Well sor—ry," she says, miffed. "His friend got a bit boring."
Kakarotto. Down already? I cannot believe the fool could give up this early! Juuhachigou unfolds her arms and flies around me, now both androids surrounding my body. Juunanagou from the front, aiming for my torso, shattering the bones there, while his twin punches me repeatedly in the back, so that I swing back and forth like an erratic pendulum, struggling with the vise around my throat so I can breathe. I cannot handle this two-front battle!
"Had enough yet, Saiyajin?" His voice mechanical, flat, but so maddening with its condescension. With a choked snarl I swing my fist at him, but to my shock he merely moves his head to the side to avoid it. He releases my neck in a millisecond and grabs my outstretched arm, punching the elbow with one fist, crippling my arm. Quickly I bite back a cry of agony, but in this moment of painful distraction, Juuhachigou slams me hundreds of feet down, rocketing to the ground headfirst.
A hundred yard ditch forms, the trail my body makes as it plows through rock and earth. Spitting dirt weakly out of my mouth, I try to get up. What…what is this? I cannot move my legs. I cannot feel them at all. My lower spine has been severed…
Juunanagou’s voice carries down from up high, crowing with arrogant triumph. "Ready to give up? All right then!!"
Dragging myself around on my back, I look doom in the face. The ki blast engulfs my vision with its white brilliance, an enormous star shooting down; I know it is quickly nearing to swallow me whole. I raise my ki as a last-resort defense, shocked again to find nearly all of it gone. What have these androids done to me to win so easily?
Nearer. I feel the heat, getting hotter and hotter like a burning furnace. Here comes a warrior’s death.
Grimy, bloodied fingers continue to work mechanically, eyes not chancing to leave my task. I must finish. One hand drastically outpaced by the other, the mangled wrist only allowing me to do so much. Ignoring the wheezing sounds that pass for breathing. Ignoring the fatigue and numbness that hovers over my mind, a cloud ready to descend. Ignoring the intense pain that is beginning to dim only because I am close to fainting.
"Don’t die, Bulma," he whispers, fallen and broken in a dozen places beside me, left there for dead by Juuhachigou. He still manages a smile. Good old Kakarotto.
"You don’t die," I reply, choking back tears. Another jolt to the heart as Vejita is hit, faltering, weakening every second. My voice strained now. "Go to your Prince; your duty lies with him. Don’t worry, I’m almost finished."
Wordlessly he rises, shrugging off the lances of pain inside him, returning to battle, rejoining the struggle we are rapidly losing. Keep fighting for me…please hang on…I will be finished…
Each piece snapping into place, my mind focusing through the violent clashes ringing in the air and inside me. A choke in my throat as Vejita is struck again, and again, and more, quickly fading, dragging me down, leaving me to fight against the dropping tide. Through the pain, through the blood, through it all, I must survive. This must succeed.
Then I am blasted again from the inside, hard enough that I actually fall, gasping, to the ground, clutching my masterpiece feebly in my hands. He is close to being gone…close to losing everything. Lying now on my side, I resume making the last modifications to my instrument of victory. Hold out a little longer…
Doom spreads like an unstoppable virus in my chest. Simultaneously, ki accumulates in the sky, escalating, swelling, ultimately set to finish it all off. Laughter, taunting, coming from the heartless machines set to destroy to no end. Massing for their final attack. They will bring it down.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" A valiant cry, piercing through the thick, blood-reeking air. Wrenching my eyes away from my task, my head snapping up.
I watch in helpless horror as the next sequence of events begins in slow motion. Kakarotto, ki suddenly flaring beyond control, tearing up the rest of his battered body as he throws himself in the path of death. Instantly swallowed whole by the ghostly light, the hell-sent fireball plummeting from the sky. The silent explosion rocking the very air of this godforsaken planet and chilling all the blood in my body. For several seconds the world turns completely white, my eyes filled with empty blankness and my ears shot fully deaf by the immensity of the impact. Turbulent updrafts of wind whip my hair back, threatening to blow me away. I shield my face with my arms, flattening myself on the ground. Dirt and sand roll in layers over me, forming a blanket, suffocating me.
I do not know how long I lie there, stunned. Time suddenly does not seem so crucial to me anymore, although it is running out for me. Then, the instant I move, my slow-motion-world abruptly ends, the debris flowing off my body, my hand wiping my eyes so I can see, my body rising from the sand. I set my eyes on the lone figure lying on the ground, my heart jumping as he stands. The look of pure anguish and earthshattering loss engraved on his beautiful face, sending waves of overwhelming grief through me. His raw, unrestrained howl of agony spearing into my mind, and suddenly I am not deaf anymore.
Kakarotto died on him. Saved his life by giving up his own.
Almost subconsciously my fingers move the last bit of my creation into place. Legs moving forward, dragging, crawling, I do not know, but moving me towards him, towards reaching the goal Kakarotto died for. Muscle propelling faster, no longer feeling the shooting pain, as the androids drop down from the sky like vultures of death and begin tearing him apart. The only pain coming from the inside again, every blow he receives now magnified tenfold in my heart. Somewhere in the chaos I scream out. Vejita…
The enemy stopping their assault, turning with newfound interest towards me. Two hated faces appearing before me at once, close enough to stop me in my tracks. Her mouth moves, forming words I do not listen to and cannot hear, her hand forming the energy that would destroy my life and his as well. But no, they will not succeed. For he will live on.
Vejita, my Prince. I love you.
Click. It takes the last of my energy to push a button.
And as the enemy blows apart in my face, death flashes before my eyes, finally making the pounce after hunting me down for so long.
I have always wondered what happens to the soul when the body dies.
Now, I will find out.
The world turns white before me even though I am far from where she is. Juuhachigou didn’t have time to scream before she was gone, her twin going with her just as suddenly. Twin explosions, instantaneous, rocking the death-filled air, filling it with billowing clouds of smoke.
A split-second later, something horrible breaks inside me, as if a blazing torch has been shoved through my heart, and I scream, unable to stop, unable to breathe for the pain. Worse than all the beatings my body has received, more wrenching than death itself. Fingers clawing into the ground, drawing deep grazes through rock. Mind reeling with this violent flood of insanity, pounding everywhere inside me. Screaming through the blood running down my throat, through the sudden silence in the air. The pain!!!!! How can anything like it exist?!
Finally it stops. My jaw trembles as a last whimper escapes my lips, a dribble of blood following it, and slowly my vision clears. My heart loses its beat as I see her. Motionless. Unbreathing. Thrown a hundred feet by the deaths of the enemy she alone defeated.
She is dead.
A startled, broken cry tears from my throat, and somehow I am beside her in a second. My arms already cradling her still form. Tears already falling, adorning her blood-washed skin with salt.
She is dead.
Victim of my pride. Her death means mine as well. I stare down at her. My eyes grasp her breathtaking beauty for the first time, seeing through the horrible wounds on her face. I can never look in her eyes again, for all I see now in her blank stare is a reflection of myself. A broken swan with no hope of flying again. Quivering, my lips cover hers in a kiss, futilely yearning for her to return it. She is dead. I will not leave her. I cannot tear myself away from her.
So here, the last of the Saiyajin race will make his grave. Next to hers. Forever.
end of a dark story. I had a lot of fun writing this…although it was torture at times…and I hope it was thoroughly enjoyed. happy endings are not my type. for me, a depressing story with a somewhat deep ending makes a bigger impact than a fast-paced story with an action-oriented plot that seems to tie all loose ends in the conclusion. real life is not a basket of sweets, and neither is the tragic tale of echo and narcissus. I hope I portrayed the myth conspicuously enough (VERY loose connection), although it only showed through in the last chapter. thank you for reading. and thank you adimra for holding another wonderful contest.