Disclaimer:I do not own Dragonball Z or the characters attributed to the show
Author’s Notes: Sorry for the delay in this update. Life keeps throwing monkey wrenches at me. Also, I have faulty M on my keyboard. I tried to catch the majority of misses, but if you should happen to come across one or two, forgive me. And remember, this story will be continued in Conquest.
"Juuhachi!" Juunanagou yelled at his sister as she hovered above a small mountain village. The night sky would have hid her save the brilliant hues of yellow-orange light reflecting off her face. "Hey, did you see the way those farmers ran out of their house?" He had never seen anything so amusing. They had scrambled like mice in a field when he had sent a blast into the barn, sending it shooting into the sky with a massive explosion. The entire area burned now in a flaming blaze of glory, spreading from the farm buildings to the surrounding fields and forests.
"They were easy pickings." Juuhachi shrugged in boredom, pushing a loose strand of blonde hair behind her ear. "What losers. I’m bored with this, Juunana…let’s go somewhere else."
"Where else is there to go, sis? Doctor Gero said we couldn’t terrorize populated areas yet. He’s not ready for all the attention." Juunanagou cocked his head, searching her pale face intently.
"Why must we always do what Doctor Gero wants? I’m tired of staying out here in the backwoods, Juunana. I want to move on, I want to be free of the Doctor." With a sigh, she turned brilliant blue eyes at him. "Don’t you want more than this life of servitude to the bastard? I know I do."
"In time, Juuhachi. Now isn’t the right time to kill him. I haven’t been able to find that damn remote yet…" Juunanagou trailed off, seeing her look of irritation. "I will find it, you know that."
"When? As Doctor Gero is turning us off? Juunana, I cannot be shut off again. I will not allow him to do that to me again." Juuhachigou turned her head back to the blazing fire, sending another blast into it in frustration.
With a sigh, Juunanagou flew to her, wrapping a loose arm around her shoulders. "I know that, sis. And I promise that I will find it. In the meantime why don’t you and I concentrate on having some fun, okay? There has to be another homestead around here somewhere."
Juuhachigou stared at her brother, piercingly, for a long, silent moment before nodding. "Fine. Let’s go. I’m bored here."
"There has to be something around here that’s more exciting." Juunanagou swept the perimeter of the land around him, looking for any sign of remaining life. "Come on, let’s head over that way…see if we can find anything else to destroy." With a quick grin at his sister, he was off, rocketing to the east in a flash of light.
"You’d better be right, Juunana. You had better be right." With a shake of her blonde head, Juuhachigou followed.
"I still don’t understand why you didn’t kill him where he stood?" Toma’s deep voice broke through the stillness of the night air, as he made his way, along with Bardock and Vegeta to the lab. It was where Vegeta could sense Bulma, and where they now were headed to fill her in on Saiya-jin ways. "The man all but threatened you. Any other person would have been dead, Vegeta…so why not him?"
"Fool," Vegeta spat. "Right now, he is my only connection to a group of Saiya-jin somewhere in outer space. I can’t kill him now, I still need him." And that thought brought him nothing but black rage. He hated playing games, and none were more irritating than games of a political nature. Still, as irritating as his father had been about tradition and duty, he had played the game well enough, and Vegeta could honestly say that he had learned his lessons from watching the man…when he had not been tangled up with Frieza.
And that, Vegeta thought, is really where father and I differed. He was content to play the game and stick with the old ways, and I could care less. Time away from Vegitasei and his father had taught him that one must roll with the punches if one wanted to survive, and that in the universe, he who was strongest prevailed. Being pinned under Frieza’s obsessive thumb had certainly hit that piece of knowledge home to him time and time again. Yes, Vergerom had absolutely no idea what he was dealing with.
Vegeta turned sharp black eyes towards Toma. "Rest assured, as soon as his usefulness has worn off, I will not hesitate in ending his pathetic excuse for a life." Vegeta clenched a fist to his side. It was an unfortunate negative aspect to being a ruler. One had to play both sides of the war well, and unfortunately…Vergerom was his only connection to a people that he wanted to see grow and flourish. Until he had them all in the position he wanted them in, Vergerom was a necessary evil. He might not play the game in the same way his father had, but he understood it well enough. The wait, however, would make ending his life all the more satisfying. When the time finally came to destroy the miserable bastard, he would be more than ready. His father had been far too lenient with the council, and their attitudes had been too long ungoverned. Vergerom might make a perfect example to the rest of the population that was left…when the time was right. "Just let the bastard make one move to oppose me…" Vegeta said tersely. "I will ensure that he lives to regret it."
"Bulma and Trunks will have to be watched very closely. Vergerom’s way is subterfuge and cowardice. If he seeks to end this ‘travesty’…" Bardock said sarcastically. "…he will go after her first. He will perceive her as weak, and devoid of resources."
"Then he definitely doesn’t know Bulma." Toma grinned. "One should never underestimate that woman."
"True, but…he might even go so far as to make it look like an accident, perhaps even set one up. This man is no fool, and I suspect that he learned from the best. There was an assassin that he held close council with, back when the council still flourished…Bestrom. I have no idea if he survived with the rest of the group…but he was bad news, and he and Vergerom were sure to have used subterfuge to end more than one life on Vegitasei." Speaking the words made him feel sick. The memory of Negi…of that terrible night so long ago, of holding Negi’s broken body in his arms, made his stomach churn. He felt bile rising up in his throat. and he swallowed hard to keep himself from choking. "I have not had an opportunity to question Paragus, but he will know. As soon as I can get to him, I will find out who on that damn council has survived, and how many of their entourage."
"Yes, well that brings up one question that I would like an answer to." Toma interjected. "It was never the Saiya-jin way to send an entire family along with a warrior or a politician for that matter on business. Why in the hell would the council have been treated any differently for their trip to Reiketsu? It makes no sense to me."
"I questioned it as well," Vegeta said tightly, mood growing darker by the moment at all the images and thoughts that Bardock’s words had invoked. The thought that any of these bastards would even think to send an assassin after his woman, or his brat, left him cold and far more vulnerable than he would care to admit. How could he stop all of these threats at once? Worrying about Koola had been difficult enough, and now…he broke off the thought with a low, imperceptible growl. He had other things to think about at this moment, there would be time for agony while he was training. God, how had he let himself get to such a point of weakness?
Turning his head towards Toma, he met the taller Saiya-jin’s piercing black gaze. "It was unlike my father to encourage familial closeness. After my mother’s…death," Vegeta said derisively. "He went out of his way to discourage family ties. You both know that. I asked Vergerom, why he would have been allowed to take his family. He said that my father had asked them to be ambassadors to Reiketsu in order to further our relations with Frieza. He claims they were looking at a long term stay on a miserable planet, so they were allowed to take the creature comforts from their homes, and this included immediate family, such as mates, and children."
"That is a load of bullshit. Your father would not have been so kind." Bardock snorted. "Does he really expect us to believe that?"
"I mentioned this to him," Vegeta smirked. "His reply was that it was at Frieza’s bequest that my father allow this. I have no idea how true this is or why Frieza would care one way or the other. "
"Especially since he planned on destroying Vegitasei anyway." Toma rubbed a hand through his short, spiky hair. "What was his angle?"
"You don’t think that the council might have been in league with Frieza, do you? Perhaps Vergerom coveted the power enough that he was willing to work with Frieza—sell his soul to the devil more, in order to gain it for himself." Bardock stopped before the laboratory door, and stared at Vegeta. "You’ve already considered that, haven’t you?"
"I don’t credit him with enough brains to accomplish that." Vegeta shrugged, laying his hand on the control panel to the door. "Besides, if that were the case, it would seem that Frieza betrayed him as well. He has no power, and if he is looking to me to give him some…" Vegeta let out a low, deep chuckle.
"Still, he’s alive. And as long as he thinks he can control you, we will not have any trouble with him. Until this situation with Koola is ironed out…perhaps we should manipulate him. It might help us keep Bulma safe and sound…and we could quite possibly get to the bottom of what went on." Toma crossed his arms, looking hard at Vegeta. "If he knows he will only be killed when you have what you need from him, then he will be forced to an act of desperation. And we don’t need any extra trouble right now."
"I don’t need any advice from you, Toma." Vegeta spat. "Now wait here while I speak to her alone. I’ll call you in a minute." Whirling, Vegeta keyed in the security code, waiting for the door to slide open so that he could go and face the wrath of his woman. And judging by the way she had stormed out of dinner, Vegeta was sure that it wasn’t going to be pretty.
Bulma jerked haltingly at the small circuit board that was her cloaking device. It had been such a good idea on paper, but now—now it was merely the bane of her existence, refusing to work properly, and taunting her with her inability to perfect it. Why wouldn’t the damn thing work? She had done everything she could to make it work, but still it eluded her. Yet, here in the quiet sanctity of her lab, things were calm and peaceful, well within the realm of her control, and the urge to tear into it and correct the problems overpowered her desire to trash the thing and be done with it. Working with her hands had always helped her deal with troubles. It had always soothed her troubled existence.
After her first separation from Vegeta so long ago…when she and Kakkarot had been forced to go into hiding, she had survived by throwing herself into her work. She had perfected her ship, and began to process the synthetic oil that she had designed. She had worked herself to the bone, but it had numbed her and kept her from dwelling on what Vegeta might have been going through. Perhaps it would help her now. The work had always given her something safe and comforting to fall back on when everything else seemed to be lost.
With a small sigh Bulma laid the board on the desk, dropping her head to her hands, she rested her forehead upon them. Who was she kidding? Things were far different now. What in the hell was happening to her life? A year ago, hell not even a year ago, a few months ago, her life had been orderly and peaceful. She knew what to expect, and she knew how to deal with it, but now…things were frightening and confusing, almost as they had been when she had been dealing with Frieza.
"What am I going to do?" Bulma whispered into the heavy silence of the room. It was a good question, and it was one she had no answer for. The head council member had despised her, and his feelings or her merit—she wasn’t certain if they went hand in hand or not—were apparently not even up for debate. Neither Vergerom nor Vegeta had even given her the chance to speak up in her own defense. Instead, they had both stood there and discussed her as if she were some piece of meat. And that thought, that she wasn’t even allowed her own voice angered her in a way that nothing had in a long time.
"Why should I even have to defend who I am, anyway?" She whispered again. She was who she was, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. She knew she was gorgeous, she was at least the adopted daughter of royalty, her intelligence stood on its own, and she had killed Frieza. That was not a small set of accomplishments for a woman her age. So why in the hell was this Vergerom acting as if she were the one with the disease? It should be him that had to justify his worth to her.
The door sliding open jerked her from her angry thoughts, and she recoiled violently, unsure what to expect after the evening’s events. For a moment, she was lost again, and all she could see was Turles, and he was blocking out everything, suffocating her with his presence, and this time there would be no one to save her.
"Woman," Vegeta’s deep voice boomed into the room, shattering the quiet solitude completely, and breaking through the sudden, panicked recollection.
Relaxing ever so slightly, and seeing him as he strode into the room, walking with single-minded purpose towards her, Bulma snapped angrily at him. "Dammit Vegeta! I have told you repeatedly not to startle me like that." Her eyes narrowed as he shrugged.
"I could care less about that. Are you so stupid woman, that you would run out here unattended for another Saiya-jin to attack you? Do you want to make yourself an easy target for them?" He hadn’t meant to sound so angry, but Bardock’s grave words had shaken him, leaving him with a rather unsettled feeling that both pissed him off and left him vulnerable, reminding him again that his feelings for this woman were a serious weakness.
Bulma opened her mouth; unable to fathom that he would even say that to her…implying that she had invited Turles attack on her. "Why you son of a bitch." She muttered, locking eyes with him. "How dare you come out here and say that to me? Did I seem to be enjoying myself when Turles was trying to rape me? I—" She gulped, unable to continue on.
"Then why don’t you ever think?" Vegeta continued on ruthlessly. Damn the woman, she was missing the point, twisting his words into something that he had never even thought of. "You know what happened to you earlier. Dammit woman, I barely got there in time to save you, and now…now you come bolting out here alone. What if there was a Saiya-jin out here waiting for you?"
"Then why go through the trouble to mark me?" Bulma shrieked back at him. "You told me that it would keep them away from me, that all Saiya-jin males would see me as your property. Isn’t that all I am to you, Vegeta—property?" She stumbled back, breath coming fast and hard from her struggle to stay calm. She would not sob over this in front of him. She absolutely would not.
"Bulma," Vegeta said warningly. "I don’t know what this is about…"
"What do you mean, ‘what this is about’?" Bulma stared back at him, blue eyes sparking with an unholy glow. "I live here with you for the better part of three years, I give you a child, and all of a sudden these Saiya-jin bastards show up, and think they can dictate to me that I am not worthy for their Prince? I don’t think so, Vegeta. And you stand there like a pompous ass, and have some kind of show down with Vergerom as if I were not even worthy enough to speak on my own behalf! You discuss me as if I am not even there, and then you come in here and have the nerve to berate me for getting angry about that! And what’s worse, you seem to think that I’m inviting all the trouble that seems to be following me around. I'm sorry; but did you hear me ask Turles to rape me, Vegeta? Did I look like I was enjoying myself?" She watched his eyes narrow, but she couldn’t stop, not now. "Well fuck you, Vegeta. Fuck you, your race, and that stupid, idiotic council." The tears would not be held in anymore, and she hiccupped, backing away as he took an angry step towards her. "No," She murmured, holding out a hand to stay his progress. "I—" God, she had gone too far. His eyes were cold and narrow, his jaw was clenched, and his cheek twitched spasmodically.
Vegeta narrowed his eyes as she retreated from him, and he cursed her stubbornness. This fucking woman was more of a plague to him than anything else. Still, here he was reaching for her, jerking her body against his, even as he cursed her for the hold she seemed to have over him. "You go too far…" He whispered coldly into her ear. "You go too far." His grip on her tightened, and for a moment he saw her pain through the fury and hurt that shone like a blaze of light fro her watery blue eyes. What in the hell was there left to say to her? How could he convince her that he would have his way with that damn council one way or the other?
"I go too far?" Bulma pushed at him, not moving him an inch. "Damn you, Vegeta, in a matter of days my life has been turned upside down. All of these things I was taking for granted might not come anymore, and you tell me that I go too far?" She laughed hysterically. "That is rich, Prince."
"Dammit woman, how many times do I have to fucking tell you that nothing will change between us? Do you think I really give a shit what that ridiculous council thinks of you? You really don’t know me very well if you think that my actions will be dictated by that ostentatious fool. I am the King, Bulma! I make the decisions! My father might have been comfortable playing around with them, but they will not tell me what to do." With a low growl, he shoved away from her. "Why you put such stock in anything they say or think is beyond me. You are weak and useless to me when you are like this." Whirling, he strode towards the door.
"That’s right, Vegeta," Bulma swiped angrily at her tears. "Run…heaven forbid you should actually deal with me or my feelings. Coward!" It was the wrong thing to have said, and she knew it when he turned back to face her, eyes cold and narrow, black brows furrowed deeply. Still, it was too late to go back now. Squaring her shoulders, she stood her ground as he stalked back to her.
"What did you say?" Vegeta asked softly, voice low and cool. "Wasn’t it me that you were screaming for when Turles had you pinned to the ground? Was I such a coward then, Bulma?" Lifting his hand, he slid it into the blue silk of her hair, clenching his fist tightly in it, and holding her head immobile. "If you were anyone else," he said, usually smooth, deep voice turning menacing. "If you were anyone else, you would be dead." Cognizant of her trembling, he smirked, going in for the kill. "You should be grateful that you fuck me well." With a low growl, he shoved her away from him, and turned his back, striding from her quickly before he decided to go back and try to comfort her. The stupid woman had called him a coward! It was more than his already tattered pride could handle. He had bent over backwards in his attempts to reassure her, and this was what he got for it. The instinct to lash out at her and cause her pain overrode rational thought. Let Bardock and Toma deal with her and her irrational hysteria. "You really are acting pathetic." He threw over his shoulder. "Your lack of true royal blood is showing."
Bulma watched as he slammed a fist into the side of the wall, before exiting through the open door. Sliding to the ground in a silent sob, she buried her face in her hands, unable to focus on anything but the cold, cruel words that he had spat at her before he left. They had cut her to the very marrow of her bones. God, she had all but forgotten just how cruel he could be when he so chose. It wasn’t often that he turned it on her, but this time…he had, and God, it hurt. Was that how he really felt about her, or had they been cruel words designed to hurt in an impassioned moment of anger. She had not meant hers…she had just been stupid.
God, she was just so confused, and he wouldn’t help her. When she had seen him turn his back to leave, she had been desperate to make him stay and deal with her feelings…so she had thrown out the first thing that had crossed her mind. What was she supposed to do, now? Sobbing hoarsely, she lay her head down on the cool floor of the lab. What was she supposed to do?
"Bulma?" Bardock’s voice startled her, but before she could react to it, she felt two strong arms haul her up. "Bulma, this will all be okay. I promise you."
"How can you say that?" She sobbed against his chest, clinging to him weakly. "Now even Vegeta hates me. Bardock…what am I supposed to do?"
"Calm yourself, Bulma. Vegeta hardly hates you." Toma’s voice sounded next to her ear, and this time she did startle, jerking her head away from Bardock’s chest to stare into the black eyes of the man. "You hurt his pride, Bulma, and God knows that is always a mistake." Toma smirked at her. "You both wield words as if they were swords, and neither of you have the sense to stop until after you’ve slit someone open with them."
"He started it." Bulma stuttered out childishly, irritated as Bardock chuckled.
"You are both worse than children sometimes." Bardock shook his head. "You made your bed with Vegeta, and he did the same with you. Toma and I can’t straighten that out. We came to talk to you about the council. I—" He paused briefly, gripping her arms tightly. "We thought that perhaps you would be better able to fight if you understood the structure of Saiya-jin society and how it runs. Vegeta can hardly expect it to be easy for you." He watched as she dashed the wetness from her face, and fought hard against the urge to lift her in his arms, carry her away, and ease all her troubles away. This was Vegeta’s woman, and that had never been clearer to him than it was now.
"Bardock…" Bulma shook her head, staring up into the obsidian depths of his eyes. "I—I’m not sure it really matters. Nothing I say or do is going to change a thing, and to be honest…" Breaking away from Bardock, she strolled towards her desk. "To be honest, I’m not sure I should have to validate my self-worth to any of these bastards. And to watch Vegeta struggle to do it for me is painful at best."
"Vegeta doesn’t particularly care what the council says one way or the other." Toma shrugged, crossing his arms. "You shouldn’t be bothered by it either.
"That’s just it, Toma." Bulma sat down in her chair, leaning forward, and resting her elbows heavily on the desk. "I was raised in a royal court. Perhaps Vegeta was right when he said that I have no true royal blood running through me, but dammit, I know the responsibilities and sacrifices that go with the position and watching him…" She paused, glancing away from Bardock’s disconcerting gaze. He had a way of looking straight through her, and for him to do that tonight…when she needed someone to understand her and her feelings, was a mistake that she could not allow to happen. "Watching him, it is so obvious that he cares, and that he was born to this position. He can say what he wants about not caring, but in the end…if his people demand that royal protocol and traditions be upheld, is he going to be able to walk away from them?" Shaking her head, she stood, and walked to the window. "That is my fear, and that is what he can’t seem to understand."
"Bulma, I can’t say what Vegeta understands or doesn’t understand…but—" Walking up behind her, Bardock laid his hands on her shoulders. "But you have to have faith that he will do what is right for you. Regardless of the things you two say to each other, Vegeta cares deeply for you." Bardock’s hand caressed gently over the mark that was visible along the curve of her neck. "This mark shows his affection for you, and his desire to keep you as his. This means something to him, Bulma. These are not given lightly." He grit his teeth at the sight of the mark that marred her skin. The thought that it should have been his left him feeling shaken and confused, and he forced himself to move a few inches away from her. What were these sudden thoughts tormenting his mind? He had been content for years knowing that she belonged to Vegeta. Had he been deluding himself?
Suppressing a shiver at his light touch, Bulma turned to stare up into his black eyes. God, that she could just give in and let him hold her…she always felt like things were going to be all right when Bardock was near her, and the way he was looking at her, as if there was nothing more important in the world than her. He had this way of making everything seem so—
With a shake of her head, she tore her gaze away from him, breaking off the thoughts. She couldn’t go there right now. She was far too hurt and vulnerable to trust her own judgment. Mixed with her anger over Vegeta’s cruel dismissal, she was likely to do something rash, and play on this man’s emotions for her. And that was something she absolutely couldn’t do. "There isn’t anything you can say or do that is going to make this all better. I need to just wait and see, and…"
"I still think that you need to sit down and listen to what we have to tell you about the Saiya-jin culture, Bulma." Toma interrupted, inclining his head, eyes narrowing as he watched the interaction between the two. "Knowledge will always aid you. I’ve learned that the hard way."
Bulma regarded him earnestly for a moment, before slowly nodding. "Alright," she replied finally, moving to sit in her chair. "Then tell me everything you know."
With a curse, Vegeta fired a ki blast, blowing away three trees in the process. Damn his woman, and her idiotic hysteria. Why was she acting so insane about this, and worse, how in the hell was he ever going to go back to her after the vicious things he had said? His words had cut far deeper than hers. He had seen that in the statement on her face, and he had regretted them the minute he had turned his back on her. With a growl, he shot another blast, watching in mute satisfaction as a gargantuan tree came crashing to the ground.
Fuck her; it was her own damn fault anyway. She had been the one that had lashed out at him. He had been worried about her, Bardock’s words about Vergerom had hit home. Now instead of just Koola to worry about, he had to look at his own race as possible threats to her life. Was she so oblivious to that? Was she so oblivious to his pride? He lowered it every time he made his feelings clear to hear, went against his Saiya-jin upbringing to tell her. His father, and later on Frieza had taught him that feelings were pointless, and emotions made you weak, and got you killed. It was a lesson that he had been shown well…until he had met her. Would she ever understand the giant step he had taken in accepting her all-consuming presence in his life? He was a man of discipline and focus, but where she was concerned he seemed to know none. Didn’t she understand how that made him feel? It didn’t matter that he loved her. He had suffered a lifetime of pain and abuse, of beatings, and of reiterations that feelings only served to make you week. He wasn’t sure he would ever be able to rid himself of the specters of his past.
And now, after long since resigning himself to a life of complacency, of resigning him to the fact that the planet, and the race he had been born to rule were gone, he found himself suddenly faced with putting a civilization—culture even, back to rights. The Saiya-jin race had always been one steeped in tradition, and tradition said that half-breeds and aliens tainted the blood of the warrior. He knew it to be bullshit. Trunks was far stronger than many purebred Saiya-jin he had known, but still…the people were narrow-minded and rigid. The council would continue to foster their fears in order to keep them in line, and generate a need for their services. It was a power game, and suddenly he found himself in the middle of it.
Which was more important—his needs and desires, or the desires of his people? He could have Bulma, and the throne to, quite easily. She had only to be a concubine, and his son would no longer be an heir. But to marry another woman…father another child? He wasn’t sure he could do it? He didn’t even want to imagine it. And therein was the problem.
His father had been a King that took care of his people. Where duty lay, he was able to follow. For him the choice would have been simple…either the woman would be a concubine, or she would be gone or dead. By rights, if he was a strong ruler, he would be able to do the same, but he had no will where Bulma was concerned. And no matter how much he loved her, or how much he wanted her; he would never be able to stand that side of him that was so damned needy. It was shameful, and disgusting, and it left him weak and vulnerable. Was she so wrapped up in her own feelings and fears that she couldn’t sense his, or the turmoil that seemed to be fast claiming him with each passing day?
"What do you want from me, woman?" Vegeta growled, turning his head to the sky, he regarded the stars, searching out each one that he knew. "I have given you everything, and still you want more." God, she owned his fucking soul, and she didn’t even know it. And that was exactly the way it would stay. The little hellion could never know the depth of his feelings for her. And neither could anyone else. If anyone even suspected that she was as important to him as she was, they wouldn’t hesitate to use her against him. He could never allow that, for it would force him to make decisions that he had no desire to make. Weakness could not be allowed, it had never been allowed, and though he seemed to be full of it, he would never be able to let another living being know the depths of it. That was becoming clearer with each passing day that went by, as more threats seemed to be popping up out of the woodwork with the intent to harm.
"You are driving me insane, woman." He murmured again, sinking to his knees on the hard, cold ground. Listening intently to the sounds around him, Vegeta sat silently, attempting to calm himself completely. He needed a few moments of this…utter peace. He needed to regain his bearing where she was concerned. He had let himself get far too close to her, and now the feel of her permeated every cell, every fiber of his being. It was too much…
"I will end this insanity tonight, woman. You can be sure of that." Slipping his eyes shut, he felt his body tremble once with the force of his emotions for her, before he willed himself to a place of utter calm. Yes, woman, he thought. It will most definitely end tonight, no matter what we want. I cannot go on like this anymore. I have to purge you from my system. This is not natural.
"Finally," Babidi stepped from the door of the ship, looking back to ensure that it was properly concealed from any prying eyes. "I didn’t think that we would ever land on this miserable planet."
"Where should we begin our search, Master?" Dabura perused the area intently. "Do you have any way of finding Buu?"
"What kind of question is that, you impudent fool?" Babidi spat, flailing his arms wildly. "Do you think that I would be unable to feel my father’s wonderful creation?"
"Forgive me, Master…I meant only to see what plans you have for our retrireview of Buu." Dabura bowed his head in a show of deference. "It was not my intent to upset you."
"Then watch your mouth, Dabura," Babidi turned glowing yellow eyes towards the demon. "Of course, I can locate him. If he’s here, I will sense him…the only problem is getting close enough to trace him. After thousands of years locked away in that abysmal ball, he’s in a weakened state."
"How long will he be weak, Master?" Dabura studied his Master’s face curiously. "I had thought to begin our conquest of the universe immediately." Dabura bared his teeth in an evil grin, causing Babidi to chuckle gleefully.
"Patience, Dabura…. all will happen in good time." Babidi chuckled lightly. "For now, we need to find Buu. After that, we need only to gather abundant amounts of power life energy to power him back up. Once that is accomplished, there will be no one in the universe to stop us." Throwing his head back, Babidi gave into the impulse to laugh wildly. It was all so close to being done. And then, his father could be avenged.
Dabura frowned as he stared intently into the forest. "There is someone coming, Master. "They are approaching at a high speed, I can hear them…but I’m unable to sense any life force from them." His brow crinkled as he tilted his head, the sound of rushing air reaching the bat like appendages with the clarity of a beating drum.
"It is probably one of the pathetic weaklings that call this hideous planet home. Pay it little mind." Babidi waved a hand impatiently in the air. "Now, if I were that little rat Shin, where would I hide something like Buu?" Rubbing his whiskered chin, Babidi searched his mind. He had done some basic research in the chart located in the computer of his ship’s navigational systems. It was a planet teeming with life, and water.
"Perhaps, Master." Dabura turned to stare at the small wizard. "Still, I feel that we should prepare ourselves. "There is no telling what we might find here."
"Please, all the information we pulled up showed Chikyuu to be full of weak humans. There is no significant power here. And even if there were, I was under the impression that you could handle anything that came your way?" Babidi’s voice cracked with impatience.
"Of course, Master…there is nothing I cannot defeat. " With a small bow, Dabura turned his back on the approaching beings he could sense. Whatever they were, they were of little consequence. If they tried to interfere with their plans in any way, he would crush them in the palm of his hand.
"That’s better, Dabura. I was beginning to worry about you." With a small laugh, Babidi turned his head back to the ship. "My gut instinct is telling me that Shin hid the ball in the water. At the time he concealed Buu, this planet was in a primreview state. I don’t even think these miserable humans were walking upright. And there is a great abundance of water…always has been according to the charts. It seems the most likely answer."
Dabura had just opened his mouth to reply when he saw the flash of light barreling from the sky towards his master. With a hoarse growl he launched himself forward, grabbing up the small wizard, and sending him careening towards the ship before whirling back to face the attacker. It had to be one of the things he had heard flying towards them. "Master," he spoke urgently. "Stay down, let me handle this." Looking up into the sky, he could see them hovering, eyes glowing a demonic red. Grinning, he nodded his head. He was up for a good battle. He would take great joy in killing something. It had been far too long since he had been given the joy of ripping something limb from limb.
"Well, hurry up and get it over with." Babidi snapped, retreating to the shelter of the ship. That had been fat too close for his liking. "We have better things to do."
"Of course, Master. I will not fail you." With a harsh grin, Dabura leapt into the sky.
"Well, sis, looks like you got their attention." Juunanagou grinned wickedly at his sister, slanted blue eyes glowing evilly as he watched the large pink creature rocket towards his position. "I’m not sure what they are, but this should be good."
"What a stroke of luck to find something with such a large power level in the middle of the forest." Juuhachi smirked, tossing her head. "This might actually be a challenge."
"You mean we get to have some fun. I hate these humans that just roll over and die. I want some action." Juunanagou smirked, lowering himself into battle stance as the pink thing closed the distance between them. "Should I let fight first?"
Juuhachi shrugged nonchalantly. "Sure, I’ll handle him. He can’t be that big of a challenge."
"Alright, I’ll just sit back and watch. I might go and toy with the little, ugly thing." With another wicked smirk, Juunanagou drifted away from his sister, retreating and leaving her to handle the creature they had shot at.
"Alright, bring it on." Juuhachi crossed her arms, watching as the pink creature flew towards her, fists raised. To her immense surprise, he connected, clocking her in the jaw and sending her reeling back into the trees."
"Who are you?" The creature growled, pressing his advantage.
He was fast, far faster than she had anticipated. With a curse, Juuhachigou threw her arm up to block. What was this thing? "Who are you?" She growled in reply, blue eyes flashing.
"I am Dabura…" He paused, staring at her proudly. "Lord of the Demon World." When it was apparent that she wasn’t impressed, he launched himself at her, engaging her in a flurry of punishing punches and kicks. She was strong for this planet, but still in comparison to his great power, a mere weakling. She was a complete waste of his time.
"King Of The Demons? That’s an original title you’ve given yourself." Giving a snide laugh, Juuhachi swung her leg out, catching him across the neck with a brutal kick.
"Is that the best you can do?" Laughing hoarsely, Dabura stretched his neck. "You are a weakling compared to my power. I spit on you."
Juuhachigou watched as he launched something from his mouth in her direction. The bastard had really spat at her. Sneering in disgust, and reacting quickly, she managed to barely dodge the projectile, watching as it struck a branch on the tree. To her immense horror, the thing began to spread, and change colors, shifting to a stony grey before it finally broke off from the tree, and fell to the ground shattering upon impact. Shocked, Juuhachi whipped her blonde head back towards Dabura. "What did you do?"
"You’re fast, woman. I’ll give you that." Dabura chuckled. "Not many people can evade my attacks."
"Did that just turn to stone?" Juuhachi barely had time to consider the idea of it before he was on her again, punching and kicking. Retreating a fair distance away, she fired a blast, and watched as he deflected it effortlessly. "Dammit." She cursed. What in the hell was this guy?
"I think now, " Dabura said in amusement. "That it is my turn to have some fun."
Oblivious to his sister’s plight, Juunanagou landed on the ground, not far from the small creature that had struck his interest. He had never seen anything like it. It was so hideously ugly with it’s wrinkled, brown countenance, and buggy yellow eyes. It would be fun to toy with the little thing before he killed it.
Walking slowly towards it, demonic grin plastered across his face, Juunanagou watched the buggy eyes as they seemingly widened more. "Why hello there, friend." He said coolly.
"Get away from me you useless Chikyuu-jin creature," Babidi spat. "I haven’t the time to deal with your trouble." Nervously, he glanced up at the sky. He might need Dabura for this. "Dabura will you hurry up?" He bellowed.
"Well, that wasn’t very polite." Juunanagou’s vapid voice lent him a menacing air, and he watched as the small creature backed away from him. "I was hardly rude to you."
"Who cares…" Babidi spat. "Now get away form me, before I have to finish you." He ought to anyway. It would be two less Chikyuu-jin that he had to deal with.
Juunanagou chuckled wryly. "You, beat me?" He asked incredulously. "That is funny." Narrowing his eyes, he walked closer. "You have confidence for something so small and ugly."
"Ugly?" Babidi sputtered in outrage. "I’m not the ugly one. Why just look at you with that hideous black hair, and that white skin. And who taught you how to dress?" He sneered, taking in the red bandanna. "You are positively revolting."
. "Oh that is rich," Juunanagou laughed. "Perhaps we should buy you a mirror." Cutting his laughter off, Juunanagou scowled cruelly. "You will pay for insulting me." Raising a hand, Juunanagou readied a blast, wanting to toy with the miserable little creature. The problem was, something that small would likely be blown away by even the most minuscule blast.
"Dabura!" Babidi shrieked in horror, backing slowly away. "Dabura, help me."
"That’s right, call for help." Juunanagou smiled widely. "It doesn’t matter, he’s going to die too."
Babidi shrunk away, pretending to be helpless. What an arrogant fool the boy was, and he was about to pay the ultimate price for his stupidity. Most humans…at least the ones prone to evil should be quite susceptible to his mind control. By swelling the evil that existed within their hearts, he could cause them to overflow with it, and literally explode. It was quite ironic that one’s own evil tendencies could be used against them so successfully, and by something as equally evil as himself.
Juunanagou frowned. Why was the stupid little creature smirking at him, and what was that touching his mind? It was cold and harsh, and it was growing. It was filling his mind like a weed, and it was choking him—painfully. He could feel it traveling through his body, touching his heart…
"What is that?" He gasped, clawing at his chest. "What are you doing to me?" Above him he heard the suddenly muted sounds of battle, and he panicked. He had to get away from this thing. He had never felt anything like it before. He had never experienced anything so horribly cold in his mind before. How was this happening to him? He was the perfect creation…Doctor Gero had made him to be superior to all living creatures. His humanity, the very thing that had made him weak had been stripped from him in order to perfect him. So why was this happening? Whatever it was, he had to escape it.
Staggering back, first one step, then another…he began his retreat. He had never had to retreat from a battle before in his life, and it angered him, but he had no choice. These things were superior—somehow, someway. They had found a weakness inside of him, and they had exploited it. Continuing his flight back, he lifted himself into the sky, rocketing towards his sister, and her valiant, if not useless battle. The pink creature had her on the defensive, and nothing she did seemed to be making any difference. How could they have been defeated? They were the strongest beings on this planet; Gero had created them to be the perfect killing machines.
Juunanagou felt the hold on his mind tighten, and he grimaced, feeling as if he were going to explode. He could feel his heart thudding painfully in his chest, as if it wanted to rip its way out of his body, and it surprised him. He had thought Gero had replaced his human heart…but obviously, he had been wrong. " Doctor Gero…" He rasped out, blue eyes narrowing painfully. God, his whole body was afire.
Ahead of him, his sister wavered, trapped by Dabura. He had to save her, and they had to get away. They had to get back to Doctor Gero so he could fix them. "Juuhachi…" He grated out, grabbing her arm, and yanking her away from the bruising hits, and burning blasts of the pink creature. Her clothes were torn and scorched, her hair in disarray, and the huge creature she had been fighting looked no worse the wear.
Fighting the increasing tightening on his mind, and swelling within his chest, he rocketed along, making his escape as fast as he could. He had to make it back to Gero. He had to make it back…
"Juunana," Juuhachi screamed. "What’s wrong?" He had a hold of her in a near death-grip, and his face was blanched and pale, eyes wide and frightened.
"Doctor Gero…" Juunanagou wheezed, feeling the cold, black void slipping up to claim him. "I have to get back to Doctor…" Spots clouded his vision, and he faltered. Juunana could feel himself falling, could feel himself choking, and could see the impending blackness as it rushed to claim him. He gave in, welcoming the beckoning blackness as he fell from the sky.
Kakkarot was chopping wood in the cool morning air when he saw Vegeta flying a solitary path in the sky. He must be looking for a training partner, if he was way out here. Kakkarot grimaced. He had not seen or heard from Vegeta since the debacle of the night before, and he had little desire to go back and confront any of the newly arrived Saiya-jin this early in the morning. Something was terribly off there, He could feel it straight through to his bones. Vegeta had to feel the strangeness as well; it was so palpable in the air. And the reaction to Bulma had not been good, not that it particularly mattered. But still, he wondered how far the council leader would go to maintain his control. He seemed a very real threat to Bulma, and that had to be eating at Vegeta as well.
Speaking of Bulma…Kakkarot grimaced again. He had thought long and hard over Vegeta’s admission to him. He had agonized over it for days, arguing with Chi-Chi over the need to let Bulma know what was happening to her body. It had been in their last heated argument that Chi-Chi had made her point.
"Does Vegeta know what this is doing to her body?" Her black eyes had flashed angrily at him, and he had suppressed the desire to either run and hide, or bed her then and there. She was a fiery-tempered woman, willing to go toe to toe with him over everything, and Kakkarot found that it both frightened and excited him all at the same time.
"I don’t know…" He had said unconvincingly. "He seems to think he is doing her a favor. He feels that another Saiya-jin birth would be too difficult for her."
"Is that how he really feels, Kakkarot? Or is he just determined that he wants no more brats…as he so wonderfully puts it? And who in the hell is he to make that decision for her, huh? Does he have any idea what this stuff could be doing to her body? It could kill her for all that bastard knows!" Her ebony eyes had sparked as she yelled at him, and Kakkarot had been able to concede that point. "This is wrong, Kakkarot. Us keeping it from her is wrong. That is her body, and it is her health. She deserves to know what is happening to it. What in the hell kind of man is he, that he would take her decisions away from her that way? If you ever did something like this to me, I would find a way to kill you." Chi-Chi had been burning with riotous fury, and she had looked away at his statement of shock. But when she had turned back to him, Kakkarot had seen the steely look of determination shining in her eyes. "I’m telling her. I can’t keep this from her any longer. Vegeta will have to live with the consequences of his actions. A woman’s body is hers…and he has no right. "
"What if I could convince him to stop?" He had asked desperately. "What if I could convince him that he was harming her, and he needed to stop? That way, things could stay all right between them. I don’t want to destroy their relationship, Chi-Chi." He had gripped her arms, staring into her eyes imploringly.
"Does Bulma really need to be with a man that would do something so vile to her?" Chi-Chi had asked. "I—"
"He loves her, Chi-Chi. He doesn’t always do the right thing, but he loves Bulma. Give me a chance to talk to him." Kakkarot had stared pleadingly into her glimmering eyes for what had seemed hours, until finally she had acquiesced.
"Fine…" she’d said firmly. "But if he chooses not to, we tell Bulma. This isn’t right. She deserves better."
He had nodded at her somberly, and now…a week later, he found himself with an open opportunity to speak to his Prince alone and unencumbered. Still, it wasn’t going to be easy, and God knew that Vegeta was going to be furious. Hell, he would probably even try to kill him. Still he had a few aces in the hole. He would be needed in any future battles against Koola, and he knew he had gotten stronger. Perhaps he could hold his own against Vegeta. He had no desire to fight him, but Chi-Chi was right. What was happening to Bulma without her knowledge was wrong, and it could very well be dangerous to her health. He could not, in good conscience, pretend that he knew nothing about it.
Shutting his eyes, Kakkarot inhaled the crisp, morning air before searching his Prince out telepathically.
Vegeta? He questioned softly in his mind, finding the other man’s mind. It was a Saiya-jin talent to be able to communicate this way, and it had been one that Vegeta had insisted they master.
It took a moment, but then he heard the answer. Vegeta sounded harsh, and irritated, but what was knew?
What do you want, Kakkarot? Came the snarled reply.
I need to talk to you for a minute. Can you come back here and see me. It will only take a minute. It’s important. It’s about Bulma. He heard no answer, but within a matter of minutes, Vegeta was there before him, looking like an ominous thundercloud, arms crossed tightly across his chest.
He wore a heavier scowl than normal, and his eyes were mere slits in his face. Kakkarot felt his eyes widen. He had apparently picked a good day to confront him.
"What about Bulma?" He growled menacingly. It had been a long night, and he was in no mood to fool around. "Is something wrong?" He had been foolish to leave her alone all night. What if someone had hurt her?
"Vegeta," Kakkarot began, searching for the right words. Giving up, he decided to just blurt out the words. "I’m going to tell Bulma about the contraceptive you’re giving to her." That had been easier than he had thought. He watched the small muscle twitch in Vegeta’s cheek, and he prepared himself for battle.
"What?" Vegeta asked quietly, uncrossing his arms, and letting them dangle by his side. "What did you say?" Staring intently at the third-class, he took a step forward. Surely he had heard the bastard wrong.
"I’ve known Bulma for too long Vegeta…she is my friend, and what you are doing is wrong. I can’t keep this up." Kakkarot glanced away from the blazing black eyes that were burning into his, before returning the glare. "Do you even know if this stuff could hurt her? I know that you will never trust me again, and I’m sorry for that, Vegeta, more than you will ever know, but I cannot do this to my friend." His spoke passionately, knowing that he had only one chance to be successful.
"You bastard…" Vegeta growled furiously. "I should kill you for audacity."
"Can you?" Kakkarot shrugged, inhaling deeply. "I’m pretty strong, Vegeta. I’m not sure you could. You are welcome to try, however." Lowering the axe, he stretched his arms. Training with Master Roshi, he had learned to use everyday chores as a method of training. Coupled with the weighted clothes, sparring with the human Krillin, and the Namek, Piccolo, his strength had increased tenfold. He was more than ready to take on Vegeta.
Vegeta hissed sharply in rage. The third-class was actually challenging him. And the worst fucking part was that he knew what the bastard said was true. For days now, it had grown increasingly harder and harder to defeat Kakkarot, and the knowledge of that was eating him up inside. The last time they had ended in a draw, and it had been painfully clear that Kakkarot had pulled even with him. Still, he couldn’t allow the bastard to do this. He would lose Bulma…and after last night, he had realized that was something he could never allow to happen.
"I won’t tell her if you stop. If you just stop drugging her behind her back, Vegeta, I will walk away from this, and she will never know a thing." Kakkarot searched the heated black eyes. "You don’t even know if this stuff is good for her. Vegeta, it could be killing her, and you would never know until it was too late. There could be serious health repercussions for her." Kakkarot implored, meeting the other man’s scorching black gaze with an unwavering glare of his own.
"I am your Prince, you fool. King if you want to be technical. How dare you hand me an ultimatum?" Vegeta felt his hand quiver. He had never even thought of any possible side effects. That she might come to harm and his hand left him ill. Still, he would not be railroaded by Kakkarot. And he couldn’t kill him either. Not only did he think that it would be impossible for him to do right now, but he needed the fool to help him defeat Koola, and the bastard knew it. Fuck!
"I’m sorry, Vegeta. But I can’t ignore this. This was a bad decision, one based on fear, not logic…and someone needs to look out for Bulma here, since you aren’t." Kakkarot bowed his head, knowing that he had just delivered the final blow at Vegeta’s honor. As Bulma’s mate, it was his duty to protect her, and see to her well-being. What he had just implied was an insult of the highest level.
"Fine, you bastard." Vegeta spat in fury and disgust. "You seem to leave me with little choice—for now. Apparently, you aren’t as stupid as I thought. I can’t lose your strength right now, and I will stop giving her the drug, but rest assured Kakkarot, I will see you dead for this."
"Vegeta…" Kakkarot began, but Vegeta’s sharp glance silenced him. He watched as the man rocketed into the sky, surprised that he had not even attempted to battle him. Still, something had been wrong when he had landed. It had been obvious, and easily sensed. "I’m sorry, Vegeta." He said quietly, staring into the blue sky. "I’m sorry that it had to be this way."
"Doctor Gero?" Juuhachi’s cool voice drew the Doctor’s attention away from the microscope he was looking through. Turning his head, he was shocked to see her standing in the corner, tattered and torn, supporting her brother with a shoulder.
"Juuhachi?" He questioned, walking towards her. "What happened?" They both looked like hell, and the boy, Juunana, was barely able to stand. How could they have been brought to this? What Chikyuu-jin creature could have been responsible for this? Granted he had not perfected them as completely as he would have liked, but already they were more powerful than anything else that populated Chikyuu, including the Saiya-jin brutes that had settled on the planet. He had made sure of that.
"I’m not sure." She said, carrying her brother to the table that the Doctor motioned her too. We were out doing what you had told us to, and we came across these…" She paused. "Things. They were strong, Doctor…far stronger than us, and I have never seen anything like it on this world."
"What happened to your brother?" Gero looked the boy over, unable to find anything wrong with him. He had not been beaten. There wasn’t one bruise on his body. He was abnormally pale, even for him, but otherwise not a scratch lay on him.
"He passed out for awhile, and when he came to, he mentioned that something had gripped his mind, and choked it. He said it felt as if something were squeezing it, and then it felt as if it, and his body were going to explode. That was all he would say, and then he lost consciousness again." Juuhachi pushed her blonde hair behind her ears. "Doctor, how could this have happened? We are perfect, aren’t we? Did you lie to us?" Her sharp blue eyes seared into him, reminding him how unpredictable these two could be.
"I didn’t lie. How dare you accuse me of such a thing? I am your creator Juuhachi. Don’t ever forget that. You owe me loyalty and respect for what I have done for you. You are as close to perfect as you can get, but I’m not finished with you yet. I haven’t finished all of the modifications. You are still quite human in some areas, and definitely a work in progress." The doctor chortled, smoothing his hands over the striped vest he wore. "But rest assured, that on this planet there is nothing that could challenge you. What did these things look like?"
Juuhachi stifled her anger at his words, before giving him a brief description. Deserved her respect? That was a laughable statement. If Juunana didn’t need him, she’d kill him right now.
Gero watched the beautiful cyborg stifle her anger. It blazed out at him from those clear blue eyes. She despised him, he could see that, and it made his control over her all the more sweet. Shrugging off the thoughts, he turned his attention back to her description. What she had described sounded familiar. "Interesting…" he murmured.
"Will he be alright?" Juuhachi stared down at her brother with concern. She wasn’t sure why she should care one way or the other why she gave a damn, but she did. He was all she had, and if she lost him, it would be devastating.
Yes, we will ensure that he is just fine. Go and clean yourself up in the next room, Juuhachi, and then return to me. We will fix you, and your brother once and for all so that something like this never happens again." Gero stroked his chin thoughtfully, watching as she cast a lingering glance at her brother. Nodding finally, she turned to go.
What she had described… He had heard of such creatures before…in an old book of myths that he had been forced to study in college. What she described fit exactly what he had read. What was it the creatures had been called? Maoshin? There had been something about a great war lost in the annals of time, but he could hardly recall. It had been years since he had last looked at it. He could recall one detail with startling clarity, however. The Maoshin were reputed to be sorcerers of some kind, and proficient at mind control. He had always been fascinated by issues of mind control, and brainwashing, going so far as to break and mold several minds, including the twins. But his skills were rudimentary at best, and he could see that in the willfulness that the twins showed.
Had this been a Maoshin come to Chikyuu? Had he been able to tap into what was left of Juunana’s human brain and use it against him? The idea of it was fascinating, and he wanted to know more about these creatures that his artificial humans had encountered. If it was what he believed than there was much to be learned from him—much indeed.
He would make a few modifications to the twins this afternoon, and then he would send them back to confront this creature. He would issue an invitation and lure him to this place. Perhaps then, he would be able to learn something of value…something he could use that would make his conquest of the planet, and the universe far simpler than he had originally thought.
Bulma hammered angrily at the silver piece of metal that lay on her workbench. Damn him! She thought angrily. He had stayed away from her all last night. She should be used to it considering how much time he had dedicated to training, but knowing that it was because of their fight had driven her insane. What if he ran away for her? What if he decided to leave her? He had said ugly things before when mad, but this time it had been different, and it had hurt. It had been as if she disgusted him.
And on top of all of that, she had been left to digest everything Bardock and Toma had told her about Saiya-jin law and culture, alone. Granted they were right, she felt a bit better knowing what she faced, but it didn’t really lighten the burden any. She had an uphill battle if Vegeta wanted to reunite the surviving Saiya-jin, and rule as the King he had been born and bred to be.
They were a culture born from the foundation of war and brutality. Living in caves, and forests, the first Saiya-jin, led by the great, unifying King—or at least so Toma had thought—Vegeta the first, had left behind their primitive lives, and defeated the people that populated their planet.
Long rumored to have been the first, and only Super Saiya-jin since Vegeta and Kakkarot had achieved the capability of changing, Vegeta the first, according to Bardock, he unified and led his brutish people to conquer the planet for themselves. She couldn’t recall the name it had originally been. Hadn’t it started with a P? She wasn’t certain. All she knew was that they had conquered and killed the advanced race living on the planet, renamed it after Vegeta the first himself, and had settled it with their own culture.
Mixing the new technology available to the varied clans and tribes that he now ruled, Vegeta the first had founded the new civilization on ironclad traditions, and religious beliefs. And the culture had flourished, conquering and destroying until it the Saiya-jin name was known and feared throughout the universe.
Vegeta the first had been the King that had founded the first tribal council. He was a fair-minded, and strong ruler, and the whims and wills of his people were important to him. The council consisted of elected officials within the separate classes and communities…rudimentary politicians so to speak. Their only job was to represent the interests of the people, and report them to the King. They had started off as warriors, trained in both the art of political wrangling, and brutal warfare. Their duties were to represent the various tribes and clans of Saiya-jin that inhabited Vegitasei. Their power had been minimal at first—mere advisors to the King, allowed to have a say in only matters of treaties and war.
But like all things, with skillful maneuvering and careful manipulation of the downtrodden, it had grown, until the council had risen to a new, higher level of power. While the King still ruled, there were matters of state and war that he was no longer able to decide fully for himself. Important treaties, and decisions were now argued with the representatives of the people before a decision was made. They had a say in all laws. It sounded to her something like a crooked parliament…or something like the advisors that aided her father. The only exception was that the Saiya-jin council had long since taken to merely aiding its own causes, as opposed to the true needs and desires of the people it served.
Bardock had stressed that the politicians had also ceased to be warriors, preferring to spend all of their time pursuing their agendas. And if the King, or the heir—the crown Prince were called away to do battle, the council would act as his intermediary. Which in her eyes left them in the perfect position to wreak havoc, and cause chaos, perhaps even attempt a coup for power.
And while the ancient religious beliefs of the first Saiya-jin had been swept away, the traditions had remained, hammered into people over the ages. The traditions had been twisted and used by unscrupulous members of council in an effort to maintain their tight control over all the people did. And while the Saiya-jin might be very mighty in war…they were subservient and loyal to their rulers, and looked to them to be great. The King was the ultimate example-setter, and the strongest of all Saiya-jin. In order to protect such refined warrior blood, the King was not allowed to marry outside the Saiya-jin race. The King might have several concubines from different planets, and children could be sired from these unions, but…the heir, and the Queen had to be Saiya-jin.
The Saiya-jin were a proud culture, and an arrogant one. They looked down at the half-breeds and aliens that lived among them, either as slaves or the scum of the society. The half-breeds that were born to them were of tainted blood, and were good for nothing but servant hood, and had little hope of ever rising through the ranks to achieve greatness. It was, as Bardock had put it, just the way it had always been. Throughout the ages, those of high power married only the elite women of the society, and she had learned that as the crown Prince…no matter what his father might have thought or said, Vegeta would have been obligated to wed a Saiya-jin woman.
So why in the hell had his father thought to marry him off to Parisia? She was not Saiya-jin. He would have had to know that his people and council would not accept it. She had wondered over it for the better part of the night as she lay alone in her bed, staring at her ceiling, until it had finally hit her.
The King had planned to kill Parisia. If Vegeta had wed the woman, he would have been the King of her planet…and as such, should she have died, it would have been ripe for the taking. His resources had been spread thin thanks to Frieza…his warriors scattered through out the universe doing the tyrant lizard’s bidding. This was an easy and effective way to get what he wanted. He might have even thought the Sorentian people beneath him in battle. Her own mate would not fight those he deemed unworthy, unless pressed to. It was the only explanation, and thinking back to all she knew about Vegeta’s father, it made perfect sense.
So, why had Bardock, and Toma so readily accepted her? She had asked them that, and they had both stared cluelessly at her.. They had been unable to give her an answer. Toma had merely said that among certain groups, sentiments were changing. Life under Frieza’s thumb had begun to wear thin on several factions within the culture. The time for change was upon them…yet only a certain, select few were ready to embrace that full out.
Vegeta would have to force the hard-core survivors to deal with his choices, and quite possibly the time for the council had since come and gone. The biggest problem facing Vegeta was that the survivors would be pro-council, and unwilling to trust him. They would be against adopting new traditions, preferring to stay with what was tried and trued. All of the council that would have survived were old, and from a different time. They were hardliners. And that would endanger her life, as well as the life of her son. That, Toma had so kindly pointed out, was why Vegeta was on edge. Not to mention that he had to face scorn for turning his back on age-old laws and traditions to keep her as wife. It was a tremendous blow to his pride, no matter his feelings for her.
And so she had chased him away, and called him a coward. Toma had not come out and blamed her for being too harsh on Vegeta, but he might as well have. What in the hell did they expect her to do? She was only human, and perhaps that was the problem. She had this riot of emotions tangling up within her, and she felt as if she were beating her head up against a brick wall trying to figure out what she should do, and how she should act. Vegeta was as much help as a stick, yelling at her to toughen up, and trust him, but never sharing his feelings with her. She did trust him, explicitly, but she knew royal protocol as well as the next person, and she knew that he would face tough choices.
Vegeta craved his throne. She had sensed that desire from time to time, but had never actually seen it until the previous night. At dinner, she had sensed an exhilaration emanating from him that she had never quite felt before. Watching him deal with Vergerom head on, it had become patently clear to her that he was born to this life, and that everything he had done and gone through in his life had led him directly to this path. He was a youthful Prince from a hard-edged culture that was steeped heavily in tradition. He couldn’t really believe that he was going to be able to have his way completely.
Could she live as his concubine? Could she accept that he might have a wife, and that he would be forced to have a child with that wife? The thought brought a hard lump to her throat, and left her nauseous. How could she possibly do that? The whole idea that he would touch someone the way he touched her was impossible to fathom. With a small cry, she turned, tossing her hammer away.
Why do you keep doing this to yourself? The question flitted through her mind, and she was loath to find an answer to it. When had she become so insecure? She knew he loved her, knew he would never lay hands on another woman. How many times had he told her that, how many different ways? He had forsaken his beloved pride on more than one occasion to let her know his feelings. And even when he tried to withhold himself from her, he was always unable to. She must seem like a terrible bitch to him in her inability to understand that. "God, I am being a fool. I have to believe in him, and I have to believe that this is going to work out." Bulma spoke to the empty room. She needed to see if she could track him down. He had to be around somewhere. He wouldn’t just leave the Saiya-jin here unattended.
Turning towards the door, she hurried through her lab, and out into the blazing sun. There was no point in waiting for him to find her. It was long past time to remember who she was, and what they were together.
Vegeta touched down beside the house, in desperate need of a shower. He had been gone all night, it was hot, and his little confrontation with Kakkarot had only stoked the fires of his blazing fury. Damn that idiotic fool! He wasn’t sure what pissed him off more: that the third class had sought to force his hand, or that deep down, he knew the bastard was right. He had thoughtlessly given that drug to Bulma, and not once thought that it might have done more harm than good. He had taken her will from her, and done her a huge disservice in thinking that she was too weak to handle another birth. Perhaps he needed to rethink what his true motivations had been. He wasn’t sure he could honestly say.
Still, to have that idiot chastise him was more than he could take. Perhaps it was his conscious screaming at him that he had betrayed the one person whom he trusted, the one person who had ever gave a damn about him, and his life. The thought did little to ease his ire, and he cursed Kakkarot again for forcing him to consider all of the things he had been hiding from for so long.
If only he could kill the bastard and be done with it. Any other man would have been dead for daring to speak to him in that manner, and God knew he wanted to blast Kakkarot straight to hell for questioning his honor, and taking it upon himself to look after his mate’s well-being, but he couldn’t. That the man might actually be stronger than he was something that he was not ready to consider. He simply needed the man. Koola had an army, and would be hard to dispatch alone. He needed all the warriors he could get.
"But soon, Kakkarot." He sneered, climbing the stairs. "Your time will be up."
Reaching their room, he entered, half-expecting his woman to be there, waiting to scald him with her vicious tongue again. The room was empty, but her scent lingered everywhere, most heavily in their bed. He found himself comforted by it. It had been a long, empty night without her presence next to him. His meditations had been pointless. Nothing he did could give him any perspective on her, and the all-encompassing thing that existed between them. That it was growing stronger by the day frightened him, though he could hardly admit that.
With a sigh, he sank down on the bed, searching her out. What in the hell was he supposed to do with the woman? How many times had he told her that she would not be replaced? How many times had he told her he wanted only her? He had even marked her last night. That spoke volumes to anyone who questioned their relationship. She was so much more to him than a possession. How she could even doubt it was beyond him. And now, she had him sitting here agonizing over her when he should be out training, and preparing for Koola. The woman was a liability in every way. He had always known that…but for a while, it had not mattered. For a while, things had been simple, and quiet.
Peace never lasted, though. It never had, and it never would. They were facing hard times again. He needed the feisty woman that he had met so long ago on Nafet. She had to be strong…she had to be.
So how did he tell her that? How did he tell her that, and how did he make her understand that she was all there would ever be for him? He was not a man given to deep emotions where women were concerned, and yet for her, he was filled with an all-consuming passion. He loved her, or so he believed. Last night he had realized that he would never be able to rid himself of her. She was too far into his soul. To lose her would kill him.
Dammit, she was out there, wandering around by herself. Trunks he could feel clearly. He was with Bardock, and Toma. Bulma’s parents were in their bedroom. He shuddered at the images that knowledge gave him. Still, he could smirk at the thoughts that arose, unbidden to his mind. Would his own son be disgusted with the thought that his parents were locked away in their bedroom? He couldn’t imagine not sleeping with his woman. She was gorgeous, desirable, and passionate. He would want her until the day he died.
Frowning, he stood, walking to the mirror that hung on the wall above her vanity. He would die long after she did. Her human lifespan was far shorter than his. What in the hell would he do then? At best she might live to be a hundred…and she would be ancient for her race. He had at least another hundred years to go beyond that before he would begin to show his age. The thought of watching her grow old and die left him feeling desolate. What happened after that? Did he take himself out to go and be with her? He didn’t want to contemplate a life without her. He had made the mistake of telling her that this fate awaited them, too. It had been hard for her to accept, and he had understood why. There had to be a way to rectify it, and he was certain that it could be done with the Dragonballs, but he had yet to go and locate them. Perhaps the time had come to go and find them, and make the wish that these Dragonballs were reputed to grant.
He couldn’t consider it now. If there was a way, he would find it, but now…now he had to worry about the Saiya-jin, and Koola. There were immediate threats to her well-being, and she was outside the house now, searching for him. He could read that fact in her thoughts. If she wasn’t careful, the Saiya-jin would end her life now, and she wouldn’t have made it to thirty years, let alone one hundred. The woman could be damn careless when she chose to be.
Woman, he snapped, cutting into her mind and thoughts. I’m in our room.
You don’t have to be so churlish. The reply was snapped back at him, and he grinned. She was feeling fiery today. Obviously a night away from him had done wonders for her spirit.
Then quit giving me reasons to be irritated with you. He smirked at the audible growl of frustration.
I’ll be there in five minutes, Vegeta. Just you wait! Her voice had risen in octave, and he winced as it lanced through his brain. God, the woman was loud even in her thoughts. Perhaps teaching her this method of communication had been a mistake.
I heard that, bastard.
Whatever, he smirked, egging her on. Quit your shrieking and get up here.
With another wicked smirk, he stripped himself of his clothes, and strode to the bathroom. The afternoon was getting better by the minute.
"Master, we have searched over half the globe and we have yet to find Buu."
"I never said it would be easy, Dabura." Babidi let out a loud sigh. Neither had he thought it would be so hard. "It has been over a millennia since Buu was hidden away. His power level must be extremely low."
"Then I suppose we will have to keep searching. He is bound to be here somewhere." Dabura ground his teeth together. He could have conquered the universe in the time that it was taking them to locate this magical creature, Buu. It was in disarray since the former ruler had been killed. Rumors abounded that there was another coup ongoing by the former ruler’s tyrannical brother, and Dabura had been able to sense a certain frenzied feeling among all the peoples they had come across. Now was the time for them to move.
"Yes, yes…" Babidi began, halting his words as he saw one of the two Chikyuu-jin that had bothered them the night before. "You…" He squealed. "How can you still be alive? I thought Dabura had finished you off."
"She ran off before I could finish her. Apparently she’s come back for more, Master," Dabura smiled maliciously. "I’ll be happy to oblige."
"Be quiet for a minute," Juuhachi said sharply. "I haven’t come to fight you, though a rematch would be welcome." She sneered at him, before continuing on. "My maker wishes to meet with you. He seems to think that you might be in need of his assistance." Crossing her arms, she waited placidly for their reply. She almost hoped that
he would start something with her, but she pushed the desire away. First, Gero had to make his modifications. Once she was stronger, though, she would make them pay for the humiliation they had dealt her and Juunana.
"Your maker?" Babidi said incredulously. "What do you mean by maker?"
"Exactly what it sounds like" She snapped impatiently. "Doctor Gero has a secret lab built into a mountain, not too far from here. He’s most anxious to talk to you, though why I don’t know."
"Well, this is an interesting turn of events, Dabura. What do you think? Should we take him up on his offer of assistance?"
"We can always use help, Master. "And we already know that I can easily defeat his defenses." Dabura smirked at look of rage that settled in the blonde bitch’s eyes. Yes, she was definitely a hand-full, but like all women he had encountered, easily contained.
"All right, young woman," Babidi said, letting Dabura pick him up. "I’ll admit you have sparked my curiosity, and that is a hard thing to do. Lead on."
"Fine, follow closely, or you’ll get lost." With another sneer, Juuhachi rocketed into the air, not looking back.
"This planet is getting more interesting by the minute, Dabura," Babidi screeched against the rush of air that pelted him as Dabura flew. "I wonder what she meant by maker?"
Bulma entered the room in a fury, searching for her mate. The sound of running water reached her ears, and she walked into the bathroom. He was shielded from her view by the steamy glass of the shower door, and she found herself relieved. Seeing his powerful body would distract her from what needed to be said between them.
Vegeta watched her through the hazy glass, smirking at the look of determination that she wore on her face. The desire to grab her and pull her into the shower was strong, but he fought it. When he took her, it would be in a bed, and they would not be leaving it. Shutting off the water, he stepped wet, and dripping, out of the shower to face her. He could almost admire the way she attempted to not peruse his body, except that she failed miserably. To his chagrin, he felt every inch those blue eyes traveled, and to his even greater shame, he felt himself responding to the slow slide of her gaze. "See something you want?" He asked seductively, before flaring his ki.
"Not really," She quipped, knowing that he would recognize her lie for what it was. The trouble was she saw too much she liked, and it was always her downfall.
"Hmmph…" Vegeta grunted, walking out of the bathroom. "Then I guess I’ll just go and train." Jerking on his training shorts, he felt her hand on his shoulder and he turned his head to stare at her. "Was there something you needed?" He asked coolly.
"Vegeta," Bulma began…"I am done being nice about this council. Dammit, I am just as good as any Saiya-jin woman they want to throw in my direction. Sure I might not be able to destroy a building with my ki, but if given a minute, I can design and make a weapon that would do the same thing." Jabbing her finger into his chest, she pushed forward, not bothering to breath. "You are damn lucky you have me, Vegeta."
"You’re weak," He said simply, gauging her reaction. ‘Your emotions leave you, and me open to attack, and manipulations. You whine and carry on as if you were a helpless brat, when you are anything but. You act as if I cannot be forceful, and put my people in their place. I am not bound by the old traditions, Bulma. They are pointless to me."
"How can you stand there and say that I, or my emotions are a weakness, Vegeta? Emotions make you strong, and give you a reason to fight. You are Super Saiya-jin, that doesn’t strike me as weak. You all but defeated Frieza—"
"But I didn’t defeat Frieza, did I?" He roared, running a hand through his hair. "You killed Frieza, not I."
Bulma stared into the sparkling black eyes for what seemed an eternity, locked into his gaze, which was a myriad of emotions—shame, regret, loss, anger. Was that how he felt? Did he resent her for killing Frieza, for saving his life?
"Then be done with me, Vegeta." She whispered intensely. "I killed Frieza because of my weak emotions. I killed him to have an eternity with you—that was called love, I killed him for my—no, our dead child—that was my pain, for my mother and father, for a life that had been stolen from me—that was rage. You were not his only victim, dammit. You didn’t have the exclusive rights to killing him." Whirling, she clenched the edge of her bed. "I love you, Vegeta, but I will not be blamed or resented for doing what I would do all over again. And it was my weak emotions that led me down that path I traveled. So leave me if you have to, but don’t you ever look at me that way again."
"Bulma," Vegeta grabbed her shoulders, turning her to face him. "We can’t be weak, we aren’t allowed that option. For what is going to happen, we both have to be strong, and you have to fight." Shaking his head, he stared helplessly at her. "I tried to be done with you last night." He stopped, voice deep, and smooth. "I tried to end this madness that flows through my blood. There has never been anyone that I gave a damn about, no one I wanted to. But you…I have given everything, and no matter what I do…I can’t stop." He broke off, glancing away. "I am a Saiya-jin, and it was beat into me that love was for fools, that emotions made you weak, and helpless, first by my father, and then by Frieza. He exploited my weaknesses." Vegeta choked on a sudden surge of bile as he remembered too vividly the things that Frieza had done to him, and to his pride. After a moment, he continued on, searing her with the glaring intensity of his ebony gaze. "While the race was dead, this life was fine…but now there are others, and I—"
Bulma stared at his clenched jaw, before slowly reaching out to caress the side of his face. "You have to lead them, I know." She groaned as she felt his arms encircle her, drawing her against the hard steel of his broad chest. "Is it so bad to share yourself with someone else?" She whispered gently against his cheek. "Am I so bad? I thought you had long ago accepted me, and this life."
"I have…" He whispered back huskily. "But I can’t show you that. I can’t let them know what I feel for you. You have to believe in me, and know that what I feel for you is there, even if I don’t show it." Turning to stare into her crystalline eyes, he waited silently, watching the play of emotions that flitted over her face.
"I love you, Vegeta. I know this is hard for you." Gently, she slid her hands up his chest, scraping her nails lightly over his tanned flesh. "I’ll be your Queen if you want me." She said huskily, watching the blazing black eyes grow heavy with desire. Was it the mediocrity of his life that had been troubling him, and the suddenness with which it had changed? Why hadn’t she seen this before? He had fallen into an acceptance of his life. He had accepted the knowledge that his race was gone, and he merely another man living in the universe. And now, suddenly, there were dangers to face, and a people he had thought dead looking to him for leadership. His destiny had shifted more times than she could count, and now it had changed yet again, returning him full circle to what he had originally been born to. This had nothing to do with her…and everything to do with him, and how he perceived himself. "Do you want me to be your Queen?" She asked again, searching his eyes deeply. God, there was such emotion lurking in those inky depths. On the surface he seemed so hard, and cold…but here, when it was just the two of them, things were so very different. "Or are you shamed that you have a human for mate, and a half-breed as son?" She pressed, waiting for his answer.
"God no," He shuddered against her, slipping a heated hand under her shirt. "You are everything, you always have been, woman. Whatever genetic fluke is in my blood, I can’t fight it. Last night showed me that. They will have to accept you, or suffer my wrath."
"Then I’ll stand beside you, Vegeta. You won’t fight this alone." She heard the soft groan of acceptance as she slid a hand lower to caress him through the thin material of his spandex shorts. God, his chest was magnificent, hell his whole body was glorious. He might be short, but she had never seen a more evenly proportioned or more powerfully built man.
She trembled as he pushed her down onto the bed. Her shirt and bra were gone from her in mere seconds, and she couldn’t stifle the husky groan of desire as his mouth latched onto her breast. "You’re mine, woman." He murmured against her skin, and then he was silent, letting his mouth travel over her body, tasting and teasing until she screamed his name in pleasure.
"I’ll always be yours…"she groaned when he finally joined them. "I’ll always be yours."
Babidi stared in amazement as he watched the huge metal door, tucked safely way in a hollowed out nook of a large mountain, slide open. He had never seen a hiding place more brilliantly designed.
Stepping into the room, the first thing he saw was a strange-looking white haired man. Though balding, his hair hung straight and long down his back, and he wore odd clothes. This had to be the Doctor Gero the girl had mentioned.
"Welcome," The Doctor smiled widely, the action drawing up the corners of his bushy white moustache. "I can’t tell you how glad I am that you accepted my invitation."
"I will admit you piqued our curiosity." Babidi replied. "I am Babidi, and this is Dabura."
"You are Maoshin, aren’t you?" Gero smiled benignly. He had been right. Juuhachi had described a Maoshin to him. So the myth was true, and they did exist.
"You are familiar with my race?" Babidi blinked rapidly. "There is only one surviving Maoshin, and I am it."
"What happened to the rest of you race?" Gero was genuinely curious. He had never seen anything so odd looking,
"They were all wiped out nearly a millennia ago in a battle. My father, the great sorcerer Bibidi, managed to hide me away on an isolated planet for safekeeping."
"So the stories are true. The great battle did take place?" Gero rubbed his hands together gleefully. If that was true, then the rest must surely be true as well.
"Yes," Babidi spat, irritated anew at the thought of Shin.
"Excuse me, Master," Dabura began. "We are wasting our time here. We need to find Buu."
"Patience, Dabura. All in good time." With a chuckle, he turned back to Gero. "I apologize for Dabura. He’s overly anxious to take over the universe."
"I have read about Buu in the mythology books. It’s true that he existed?" Gero wasn’t sure what to think. This was deepening into a far more interesting meeting than he had originally thought. Buu could be the ultimate being to study and control, if what he had read were true.
"Yes, yes…" Babidi waved a hand. "And that is why we are on this miserable planet. You haven’t happened to hear of any recent discoveries have you? He’s encased in a large brown ball. It resembles a rock. They buried it here on this planet, somewhere." The cackling voice grew more hopeful as he spoke.
"No, but…" Gero began, watching the two closely. "I have equipment. If he is buried here on this planet, I might be able to help you locate him."
"Why would you do that?" Dabura asked distrustfully.
"I am highly interested in the Maoshin capabilities of mind control. I’d like the chance to see for myself what you are capable of. I saw on my artificial human, but I need to see more."
"Artificial human?" Babidi asked incredulously. "You mean the two that we fought weren’t true humans?"
"Oh, they were at one time, but several operations later, they are nearly perfect killing machines, unencumbered by human emotions. They are my greatest creation." For now, he amended to himself, glancing over at the bubbling tank in the corner.
"How fascinating. Do you have anymore?"
"Certainly…" Gero smiled widely, keeping his voice even and smooth. "Would you like to see the rest? We could continue our conversation as we look. I think we could come up with an excellent arrangement, if you would be interested. "
Babidi shrugged. "Why not."
"Please, follow me."
Vegeta had drug himself reluctantly away from his bed to go and find Vergerom. After several hours of torrid lovemaking, he had come to the conclusion that it was time to meet the other Saiya-jin. He had discussed it with Bulma, and she had agreed. They would go back with Vergerom, and see what it was they had in store for him.
Stepping out into the waning evening light, he was dismayed to see Kakkarot standing before him, apparently awaiting him. Suppressing his fury at the sight of the man, he continued his path to the Saiya-jin ship, not bothering to stop for the third class.
"Vegeta," Kakkarot said evenly. "We need to talk."
"There is nothing to talk about, now move out of my way." Vegeta spoke through clenched teeth. Damn the bastard.
"Where are you going?" Kakkarot asked in frustration. "Surely you can spare a minute."
"I’m going to arrange a departure to meet with the rest of the Saiya-jin."
"You aren’t going alone." Kakkarot said with resolve. "If you go, I’m going with you."
Vegeta stopped, staring up at the third class with mounting anger. "What about your precious mate, Kakkarot? And your son?"
"What about yours?" Kakkarot shot back.
"She’s going with me, as is the brat." Vegeta said coolly.
"Then I can take Chi-Chi and Gohan with me." Kakkarot replied haughtily. "Either way, you are not leaving without me, and I bet, you aren’t going to be leaving without several other Saiya-jin. This is our race to, Vegeta. We have just as much at stake. You are going to need all the help you can get, putting this together."
"Fine, idiot…but stay out of my way. " Vegeta said angrily. "I am sick and tired of you, and your idiocy."
"If that’s the way you want it."
"If you and your miserable clan are going, you’d better go and tell them. I’m leaving in the morning. I am tired of wasting time. We will take one of Bulma’s ships, along with a small, encapsulated fleet. If Koola is getting ready to make his move, I want to be ready." Vegeta’s deep voice was low, and icy.
"Fine, fine…I’ll go now. We will be back here shortly. Don’t leave without us."
"Don’t tempt me." Vegeta said condescendingly.
"I mean it, Vegeta." Kakkarot warned. "I will be able to find you. I have had years of practice."
"Just go, Kakkarot, now. I want to speak to Vergerom alone. We re not leaving until the morning." Vegeta was positive he would need to encourage the pompous politician. He wouldn’t be happy that Vegeta was bringing his human mate with him, but he wouldn’t stop him, not if he wanted to live. The sooner the people got used to the idea that changes were going to occur, the better. He wanted to see the rest of the council, and see the people that had survived Frieza’s devastation and cruelty.
"Alright, Vegeta." Kakkarot said in exasperation, backing away. "Alright."
"So let me understand this." Dabura said thoughtfully. "This Koola is planning on taking over the universe."
"And you say he is very strong?" Babidi said with interest. "That is exciting. When we find Buu, we’ll need large amounts of life energy. Perhaps this Koola could be turned to our side. There was nothing like enslaving the people that surrounded you.
Gero smiled. The little foolish Maoshin had been far easier to manipulate than he had thought. His greed, and desire for universal domination overshadowed his base instinct. It had been to his great irritation that the little bastard had denounced his hopes of learning the Maoshin art for mind control.
"It is not an art, it is something we are born with. There is nothing you can learn."
Those words had sealed the little Maoshin’s fate. He would pretend to aid him, and then, once he had caught the creature alone, and vulnerable, he would kill him, and take apart his brain. With careful study, he was certain that he could learn something. "Koola will be difficult to beat, unless we trick him." He smiled cunningly.
"And how will we do that?" Babidi asked.
"I have an idea, "Dabura said contemplatively. "We still need an army, Master. If we were to pursue this within the universe…if we were to start spreading our words of impending doom across the universe, and suggesting that the planets need a unifying leader to lead them against Koola…they would come to us. We could build up our names, and then arrange for a great interplanetary meeting. We would attract the best warriors of the lot, and I’m sure that you would find some that had some evil in their hearts. Perhaps we you could even manipulate the majority of them to join our cause."
"I like it. We could use you, Dabura as the figurehead of sorts, playing both sides. To Koola we pretend we will aid him in his quest, let him wipe out what he can, for us, Meanwhile, we lure them all in, and find ourselves an army, and in the process, wipe away any resistance that we might meet with once we make our final move." Babidi giggled gleefully. "It’s brilliant, and once we have awakened Buu, we can lure that miserable little Shin out of hiding, and crush him, and his divine race, once and for all."
"And while you are doing that, I will work on locating Buu. I have the proper technology to locate large objects wherever they are buried. It shouldn’t be too difficult. It will be far easier, anyway, than trying to locate him on foot." Gero refrained from smiling. This had been too easy. It was the perfect way to rid himself of Koola. His own artificial humans could take on anything that Babidi threw at him, once he had made his modifications, and built up his new army. With some luck, Koola and Babidi would take each other out. If he could get his hands on Babidi, he would take the little Maoshin’s brain and learn the secrets behind his powers. And he would have the Dragonballs.
"Yes, yes…" Babidi cackled. "It’s brilliant. We had better decide, Dabura where you will be making your first speech against the horror that is Koola. Once we do that, we can begin to accumulate a Majin army, and gather power to awaken Buu. Plus we’ll have one foot in the door of universal domination. Let Shin chew on that."
Yes, Gero laughed to himself, as he listened to them plan. It had been far too easy.
Vegeta stood next to Bulma, watching her face as she looked down at their sleeping son. "Are you ready?" He asked quietly. "The others are all aboard, and ready to go. Your parents are on their way back to Correnia."
."I suppose. A little nervous maybe, but ready." Studying his face closely, she spoke tentatively again. "Did Vergerom give you a hard time about me?"
"To the contrary, he offered no fight. Which makes me suspicious. The bastard is up to no good."
"Probably planning to kill me, right?" She gave a nervous laugh, and was heartened when she felt his arm slip around her.
"I won’t allow any harm to come to you, woman. I swear it."
Looking up at him, she smiled. It had been a long time since they had traveled in space together. She found she was actually looking forward to it. "Shall we go then?"
Nodding, he drew her to him. "Let’s go."
Walking towards the ship, and facing the brilliant sunrise, Bulma felt herself relax. The dream had come again, last night…along with the ominous feeling that had been looming over her. But this time, Vegeta had been there to soothe away the worst of it. Now, as she walked towards the brilliance of the rising sun, she felt its warmth as its first rays caressed her face, washing away the worst of the lingering shadows, and replacing them with a hope that things would once again work out for them. They were destined to be together, she and Vegeta. And she knew it would happen. There was nothing that could come between them. "You know," She said positively, ready to face this new future that had suddenly appeared before her. "I think that things will be alright, Vegeta."
And as she cradled her perfect, sleeping son in her arms, she believed those words.
Coming soon:Chapter Three of Conquest—Mirai Trunks and Gohan make it to Kannassa to rescue their mothers…and a ferocious showdown on the planet of the sorceresses; Bulma confronts some hard truths on Kannassa; Babidi makes his move
Also coming soon: Mirai Bulma’s Journal…Part One…With no Trunks or Gohan to save them, Chi-Chi, Bulma, and Bardock must survive the hell on planet Kannassa…and that is only the beginning.