Chapter VIII - An Actual Conversation
The time to stop talking is when the other person nods his head affirmatively but says nothing.
"M-m-mother?" Bulma stammered, still in shock over Len'ah's revelation.
Though she hadn't known Vegeta that long, she'd never pictured him having a mother. Logically, she knew that he had to have had one at some point, but he treated women so dispassionately, she couldn't fathom any female having been present in his childhood. Looks like I pegged that one wrong...It also made her begin to question the other negative assumptions she'd made about the Prince.
"Yes, my dear," Len'ah answered, her silver eyes burning will barely-contained mirth. "I know it must come as a sort of surprise. After all, what with the Saiya-jin law and not knowing him very long."
"Oh, dear," the woman murmured. "Vegeta has explained nothing to you, has he? And here I am rambling on like a loon! Well, I guess it's up to me to fill in all the holes. Please, why don't you follow me to my private chambers? They're much more comfortable. Radditz, you won't mind waiting out here, will you?"
Her glowing eyes lighted on him in such a sweet, docile way that the seasoned warrior was hesitant for a moment. Though he'd seen Len'ah many times, he still could never seem to adjust to her beauty. He didn't know how the King did it. It was then he noticed that she was looking at him quite expectantly, and he realized he hadn't comprehended a thing she'd said. "I beg you pardon, Lady?"
"I was just about to ask if you'd be comfortable waiting out here while I have a little chat with...?"
"Bulma," the girl responded.
"With Bulma? We shouldn't take too long."
"Actually, Lady Len'ah," Radditz said quietly. "Prince Vegeta ordered me to remain with Lady Bulma."
"Oh, well then, by all means, join us," she replied warmly. "We wouldn't want you to disobey orders. Please, follow me."
Bulma wasn't quite sure what to make of the woman who called herself Vegeta's mother. Radditz had told her that Len'ah had been the King's concubine for almost thirty years, making it possible that the woman had indeed given birth to the Prince, but she didn't look much older than Bulma herself. Len'ah also seemed almost too open and friendly, but perhaps Bulma had spent too much time in the presence of grouchy Saiya-jins. One in particular, she thought ruefully.
Maybe that was also why she was having a difficult wrapping her mind around the idea that Vegeta could even have a mother. Their personalities totally clashed. Bulma didn't need convincing that the King was Vegeta's father. Not only did the Saiya-jin no Ouji resemble the Saiya-jin no Ou physically, but their mentalities were also very much the same. Cold, harsh, unforgiving, self-righteous, stubborn, inconsiderate, selfish...Whoa, slow down, girl. No use working yourself into a state...Though she did end her mental litany of Vegeta's flaws, she also recognized that while Len'ah's kindness was a bit overwhelming, it was also genuine.
The ruby-haired woman led them down the same hall she'd entered from, and
Bulma was surprised that there seemed to be only one room at the end of the corridor. She could only assume it was the concubine's private quarters.
Stepping into the spacious room, she was once again struck by the beauty of Saiya-jin architecture. Much like the antechamber of the Hall, this new room was circular, complete with a skylight, only it was made of black marble veined with streaks of gold. The first room appeared to be a general living area, with several chairs and lounges scattered about the room as well as pieces of artwork. A curtained archway lead into another room, which Bulma supposed was the bedroom.
However, her speculation ended when Len'ah gestured towards a group of chairs to the left. She glanced back at Radditz, who simply grinned encouragement with a half-smile, but remained by the door on guard. His duties did not include sitting and chatting with royal concubines.
Bulma made her way over to a fur-covered love seat while Len'ah perched on a nearby matching chair. "Don't be so overwhelmed, my dear," she said. "There's nothing to be nervous about."
"I guess I'm still in a semi-state of shock...what with meeting those weird aliens and the King...and now you..." Bulma's voice trailed off.
"Oh no! You had to meet Zarbon and Frieza," Len'ah said with sympathy. "Those two do not exactly provide a good first impression of Vegetasei, I'm afraid to say, and I know they put the King in a foul mood. It could not have be reassuring at all."
Bulma flushed a bit, fearing that nothing would able to ever reassure her again. She felt like she wanted to burst into tears, especially when confronted by the warmth and welcome offered by Len'ah. However, she had cried enough tears, at least for now.
"No, Lady, it was not," she finally replied. "However, you're kindness does do me some comfort."
"Well, my dear, though it was many years ago, I still remember my first days here. They were much like your own, I'm sure. Despair and uncertainly were my constant companions. I'm also sure my son hasn't done much by way of explaining anything to you, which only adds to your frustration."
"It certainly does," Bulma agreed. "He doesn't say much except to order me around or insult me. The only thing I know is that I'm his concubine, and I have to wear this...uniform."
It was then that Len'ah noticed the girl's state of dress. By the horrified look on her delicate features, Bulma could only assume something was wrong.
"Oh, Vegeta," Len'ah muttered to herself, as if forgetting momentarily that others were in the room with her. "You never stop to think..."
Then she stood and stalked across the room to a black lacquer wardrobe. Reaching into it, she pulled out a gauzy white garment and a brown pair of sandals. She inspected both articles of clothing and finding them satisfactory, brought them to Bulma.
"These are the actual everyday clothing of a concubine," she explained. "The gown you're wearing is usually reserved only for special occasions. It may have been the only thing Vegeta had that was appropriate, but I also know my son. He probably just wanted to see you in it, though I'm sure he regretted his decision once he saw how Zarbon reacted to you."
Her eyes seemed to dance merrily at the thought of her son's jealous temper, especially in regards to the blue-skinned alien. Bulma, however, wasn't too sure he'd made her wear the skimpy outfit for his pleasure. She'd bet her life that it was done to make her feel insecure and exposed. He was determined to, as he put it, 'put her in her place.' Of course, just thinking about the Prince made Bulma's blood boil, and she was once again in a fuming mood. However, she was determined not to let Len'ah see her anger.
Bulma clutched the new clothes to her, especially the shoes. The halls of the palace were quite cold, and her bare feet hitting the stone floors certainly didn't take away the chill. "Thank you, Lady," she said. "Your kindness is very much appreciated."
She smiled shyly at Vegeta's mother. Len'ah wasn't quite sure what to make of the girl. Bulma seemed almost too docile to have caught her son's attention. She was quiet and demure, probably not at all well-equipped to deal with Vegeta's moodiness. He would see her hesitation and gratitude as weaknesses and abuse her for them. Len'ah was determined to give Bulma the upper hand in something. If she knew the truth about Vegeta's parentage, she was sure he would have to be kind to her, if only to keep her from talking.
Len'ah return the smile with one of her own. "It's my pleasure, dear. Unfortunately, you probably won't get much consideration from my son. I know that might sound harsh coming from me, his mother, but I'm not blind in my devotion to my offspring. I know his faults, and I know he is often incapable of showing any emotion besides anger or hatred, though I do believe he must harbor a great affection for you to have made you his concubine at first sight."
It was the second time that someone close to the Prince had remarked about the likelihood of him caring about her, and this sentiment disturbed Bulma to no end. How can Vegeta care for me when he treats me so coldly, as if I am indeed a toy to be played with only at his convenience? She also didn't like the little burst of excitement that sang through her veins at the thought of capturing part of Vegeta's heart. Don't fool yourself, Bulma. He doesn't have one. She struggled to remind herself that she had yet to see proof that he wasn't a cold, selfish bastard. It was much more comforting to view him that way.
To Len'ah, she simply said, "I don't know. Most of the time, he acts like I'm a burden."
"Oh, that's just the Saiya-jin male's way of letting his female know he cares," she assured Bulma. "I know it sounds backwards, but they figure by reminding us of the lengths they go to protect and provide for us, that we're important. They think it's a show of weakness to come out and actually say it. Vegeta's father is the same way."
"Lady, if you don't mind my asking," Bulma said tentatively, "I'm most curious as to how you're Vegeta's mother."
"Well, my dear, I feel that that is probably a story best reserved for Vegeta's telling," Len'ah replied. "After all, the truth has the most impact upon his life. That is why I've told you that I am his mother. You too are now a part of his life, one I don't think he'll ever give up, so therefore you must be prepared."
"I'm afraid I don't follow you, Lady," Bulma said, her brow wrinkled in confusion.
"Well, first of all, I guess I should apologize to you..."
"For putting your life in danger."
Bulma's eyes widened at the Lady's proclamation. "How am I endangered by you?"
"Not by me, dear," Len'ah replied softly. "But by the knowledge you know hold. You see, no one except for myself, the King, Vegeta, Nappa, and Radditz know the truth of Vegeta's parentage. It is imperative that this information not fall into the wrong hands, but I trust you. My intuition is never wrong. You may use Vegeta's status as a half-breed to wound his pride in an argument, but you would never blackmail him with it."
"I still don't understand..."
"Alright, my dear, I'll be perfectly blunt. If it were discovered that I was Vegeta's mother, he would lose everything. His rank, his position, the empire, the respect of his entire race. All of it. The Saiya-jins wouldn't countenance a half-breed on the throne. He could hold off a rebellion for awhile; after all, he is the most powerful warrior born in a thousand years. However, it would only be a matter of time. Even if he could hold the empire together by sheer force, his people would not respect him. Everything would still fall apart."
Bulma blinked, letting the heaviness of Len'ah's words fall upon her. "Wow."
"I tell you the truth about my son so you can better understand him. Also, it might be nice to have some cannon fodder to throw back into his face whenever he becomes too big of a pain in the ass," she finished with a merrily-wicked glint in her eye.
"He's already there," Bulma muttered. She immediately clamped her hand over her mouth, ashamed at having insulted the man in front of his mother. "I'm sorry, Lady Len'ah. I had no right to say that..."
"No, you didn't, woman," a new voice ground out. "You should learn your place!"
Bulma jumped at the harsh grating of Vegeta's voice, but he continued his tirade. "You also need to learn respect! It is respect for one's superiors that marks a good slave."
"Well, then I guess I just won't make a good slave, monkey boy!" Bulma retorted, angry with him for interrupting what had been a pleasant conversation with his mother. "And how many times do I have to tell you! My name is Bulma!"
"I refuse to validate your existence with a name until you can address me properly as the Prince! You don't deserve the dignity!"
Both parties at this point were flushed and breathing heavy. Len'ah could immediately see that her first impression of Bulma as a wallflower was inaccurate. The blue-haired beauty could hold her own against Vegeta in a verbal spar. And I'm sure there will plenty of them, she thought. Finally he has met his match. She could only hope he wouldn't ride roughshod over the girl's feelings. Passion burned in her son's coal eyes as he raked a furious gaze down the length of Bulma's figure. Len'ah fervently hoped the girl had the strength to help her son make the transition from obsession to actual love. Just please, dear gods, don't let him be like his father...
Bulma was infuriated, both at Vegeta and at herself. How dare he yell at me! she fumed. And how dare I find myself loving his attention...Confusion waged war with her logic, producing only anger and frustration. It was her only defense mechanism at this point besides a complete mental breakdown, and she'd be damned if she'd let him that. "I don't need you to validate my existence, you full-of-shit, chauvinistic baka!"
Vegeta growled. "Dammit, woman! Don't make me force you to learn your place!"
"I know my place very well, thank you very much! It's as far away as possible from you!"
"So long as you learn respect, I don't care where you go!" he lied through gritted teeth. He did care. The Prince wasn't about to let her out of his sight, but he was too far gone in the throes of the argument to care about logic and reason. All that mattered was winning.
"Well, then, I'll just go home now!" Bulma roared as she rose from her seat, approaching the door. As she crossed his path, she dipped a mocking bow. "Your majesty," she hissed.
Before she could rise again on her own, Vegeta had her shoulders in his iron grasp, clutching her tightly. Rage burned in his eyes, but it was a quality about him Bulma was becoming accustomed to. Only this time, however, he looked like he wanted to kill...
"You're not going anywhere," he whispered menacingly.
She threw back her head, tossing her glorious hair in the process and distracting the Prince. His grip on her loosened, and he unconsciously began to rub her shoulders. Bulma longed to give into the delicious feelings his light ministrations produced, but she had her pride, too, and it was a powerful force. "I thought you didn't care," she challenged.
"I don't!" he shot back coldly, only betrayed by the emotion in his harsh voice and his continued massage. "You're only another slave to be bent to my will!"
She broke from his grasp, afraid she'd loose her nerve if he kept touching her. "Oh really?" she sneered. "Kinda like the way Frieza 'bended' you? Tell me, was it over his knee or over a chair?"
As soon as the words flew out of her mouth, she knew she'd gone too far. She didn't truly know what he'd suffered under Frieza's tutoring, but by the look on the Prince's face, she herself might find out the answer to her question personally. Bulma had only wanted to best him verbally and had been desperately fishing for a way to bring him down when the thought had occurred to her. However, from the ferocity of his glare, she knew her plan had backfired. For a moment, she thought he was about to blast her into oblivion.
However, Len'ah broke the tension before it came to that. "Enough, both of you!" she scolded. "You're not children! Vegeta, I raised you better than this!"
The chastisement from his mother completely stunned him, deflating his anger. "But-but..." he sputtered.
"No buts," she said fiercely. "You know very well this poor girl has been through hell recently, and yet you goad her! Remember, to gain respect..."
"You must give respect," he mumbled.
Bulma couldn't resist the sudden rush of giggles that escaped her lips at the sight of resentful contrition contorting the Prince's handsome face. Her outburst of laughter, however, only earned her the irritated attention of Len'ah.
"And you, young lady, should know better than to let him push your buttons. If you don't respond to his baiting, he'll stop!"
The blue-eyed woman gazed shamefacedly at the floor. She knew she should not have risen to Vegeta's mockery. But dammit, he makes me so mad! However, she accepted the fact that arguing with him in front of his mother was completely inappropriate.
"I apologize, Lady Len'ah," she murmured.
"Humph. It's me you should apologize to, woman," the Prince said.
"Stop it, Vegeta!" his mother snapped. "Be quiet! No! Not another word. Bulma, thank you. It's good to know at least one of you is mature."
She wrapped an encouraging arm around the girl and gently guided her back to her seat. "Now, let's pick up where we left off, before we were so rudely interrupted," she said, sending a pointed glare at her wayward son.
"Just wait a fucking minute!" Vegeta protested.
"Watch your language!" Len'ah admonished. "You are in the presence of Ladies. Go! Stand with Radditz until you can act your age! Maybe his explempary behavior will rub off on you!
Vegeta grumbled under his breath, but obeyed his mother. He growled at Radditz, not liking the twinkle in the man's eyes or the knowing smile on his lips. The Prince pierced him with a black glare before leaning reluctantly against the wall, wondering how he had lost control of not one, but two women. His mother always doted on him; in her eyes, he could do no wrong. Yet, within the space of a few minutes, he had become the villain, and Bulma the helpless victim. Helpless, my ass. There wasn't anything helpless about the woman, especially her mouth. She had given him more lip than anyone ever before, with the exception of his father. He wanted to stay angry with Bulma for turning his life upside-down and tried glaring at her beautiful form across the room.
Beautiful...Shit! Why do I let her distract me so? The object of his cursed distraction was at the moment absorbed in gossip with his mother. Her eyes shone with warmth and delight; she looked almost happy. And gods, she smiled! She actually flashed a grin that wasn't tainted by lies or sarcasm. The change that such a simple muscular reaction produced in the woman was amazing. So far, the Saiya-jin no Ouji had only seen her angry or sad, and while she was beautiful when expressing either emotion, she even more radiant when smiling. For a moment, Vegeta forgot his irritation and just enjoyed the sight of her.
Completely unaware of her silent admirer, Bulma excitedly listened to Len'ah as she described the new wardrobe she'd promised to help Bulma create. The Chikyuu-jin native loved clothes. Any chance she had to discuss them she jumped upon.
"So, I think the basics you'll need include several daytime sheathes, similar to the one I gave you, but we'll actually get you fitted for these new ones, in several colors, of course. You've already got a banquet gown, but we'll make one more, maybe in gold or silver," Len'ah gushed.
She looked closely at the younger concubine, causing Bulma to blush. "Thanks for your help, Lady, but I don't want to be too much trouble..."
A loud snort of disbelief came from across the room, but a fierce glare from Len'ah silenced any further rude noises he might have made. Regaining Bulma's attention, she replied, "Nonsense, my dear. That's what I'm here for!"
"Alright," Bulma agreed. "Thank you."
Her initial excitement had died down when Vegeta had rudely reminded her of his presence. Now she couldn't think of anything else except his obsidian eyes, glittering in the darkening light and boring into her with animalistic hunger. She hesitantly glanced his way.
Len'ah followed Bulma's gaze to her son and knew it was time for them to leave. Rising to her feet, she said, "Well, I hate to break this up for now, but I must prepare for dinner. Vegeta, will you and Bulma be joining your father and me?"
Vegeta simply shook his head, not elaborating further. Len'ah, however, didn't need an explanation. She knew very well her son and his father did not get along. They were too much alike. And yet, they are complete strangers...
She snapped herself back to reality and grasped Bulma's hands in her own, squeezing them in a familiar gesture of comfort. "Now, remember, my dear. Tomorrow you must come, and we'll start on your new wardrobe. If Vegeta can't bring you, I'll send one of the guards to fetch you---"
"I'll bring her, Mother. I don't want anyone touching her," her son barked.
Len'ah and Bulma both rolled their eyes at his possessiveness, but otherwise ignored him. "Well, then that's settled. It was a pleasure meeting you, my dear. I do hope we get to be good friends."
Bulma beamed at the woman, truly touched by her concern. Her earlier doubts about Len'ah's sincerity had vanished, leaving in their wake only feelings of friendship and acceptance. "I'm sure we will, Lady. Good-bye!"
She turned to approach Vegeta, her new outfit still in her arms when Len'ah stopped them.
"Wait! Vegeta, you should let her change!" Len'ah demanded. "That dress is much too revealing!"
The Prince's eyes flicked down the figure of his concubine, still marveling at her exquisiteness. He saw the shiver of excitement rush through Bulma, and he smirked arrogantly. However, it was cold outside, and he didn't exactly like the idea of so much of her exposed to prying eyes. "Very well," he snapped agreement. "Woman, change. Radditz, leave."
The other warrior left the room without question, but Bulma was not as docile. "I'm not changing in front of you. And my name is Bulma."
"Dammit, woman, change!"
"Not until you call me Bulma."
"Don't make me force you to change, woman!"
"Apologize and address her correctly."
"Fine. Sorry. Change. Bulma."
It wasn't exactly what she'd been hoping for, but this was the Prince. It was the best he could do. The recently-named woman merely smirked triumphantly at the Prince before turning to Len'ah. "Thank you, Lady," she said. "May I use the other room to change?"
"Yes, of course," she replied, raising her arm towards the other archway.
Bulma disappeared into the next room before Len'ah addressed her son. "How have you been?"
"Nice of you to ask," Vegeta remarked sullenly.
"Don't use that tone of voice with me, young man!" Len'ah warned.
"Sorry," mumbled her son, realizing he'd been saying that far too often this night. "I'm fine, Mother. Hands are full, but..."
"That's the nature of the beast," she finished. "Had did your mission go other than finding Bulma? Did you bring back the stray Saiya-jin?"
"No," Vegeta replied. "He fell and hit his head as a child. Couldn't remember a damned thing about being a Saiya-jin. I was going to destroy him and the planet, but then I saw her. She agreed to come willingly if I promised not to harm her people, so I gave in."
Len'ah lifted her eyebrows in surprise. "Well, she certainly must have made an impression."
"Yes," Vegeta glowered. "But I'm not entirely convinced it's a good one..."
His response trailed off as Bulma walked back into the main room. In place of the black dress, she wore a white, linen-type sheath. It still hugged her body and had high slits up both legs, but didn't reveal nearly as much cleavage or skin. She could freely move her arms without worrying about exposing her breasts. Brown, leather sandals graced her feet, the straps winding all the way up her calves, emphasizing their muscular gracefulness. Even in the relatively simple attire, she still took his breath away.
Bulma saw the look of appreciation in Vegeta's eyes, but this time their intensity didn't seem quite as overwhelming. Probably because more of me is covered, and he has less access to flesh, she thought ironically. However, a part of her told her that her lessened unease also had to do with the fact that she'd seen a different side to Vegeta tonight. Oh, he was still definitely arrogant, inconsiderate, and selfish, but he also obviously loved his mother. Any guy who did that couldn't be all that bad.
Len'ah watched the two watch each other for a few moments before she discreetly cleared her throat. "Well, you two, you should get home. I assume, Vegeta, you'll be heading to your mountain estate."
"Well, be careful and goodnight."
Vegeta nodded his farewell to Len'ah before unexpectedly scooping up Bulma. He startled her enough that she instinctively wrapped her arms around his neck. A warm feeling spread through the Prince as he levitated and began flying slowly through the hallway.
Radditz waited for them in the antechamber. "Where to, my lord?"
"You stay here. Keep an eye on the lizard freaks," he ordered. "I'm taking the woman to my mountain keep. We'll be back in the morning, but only for a short while. Be prepared to leave then."
His Royal Guard nodded and flew off in another direction down the hall. Vegeta continued to pick up speed and height, heading for an open window set high up in the wall of the corridor.
He exited the palace without incident, and Bulma was shocked by the sudden coldness of the weather and the wind. She began trembling violently in Vegeta's arms. "Woman, what's wrong?" he asked.
"Are you cold?"
She could only nod as Vegeta grunted understanding. Suddenly she felt a warm force pass over her body, sending away the chill, leaving her warm and comfortable. "What did you do?"
"Expanded my ki shield around you," he replied.
They flew on in silence for a few more moments before Bulma began desperately wanting to ask him more questions. She began squirming and fidgeting in his embrace, driving the Prince to distraction. "Woman, what's the matter now?"
"I just wanted to ask..."
"How can she be your mother?" Bulma finally questioned quietly.
Vegeta sighed, knowing this conversation was coming. He decided to keep it short and simple, but decided that toying with the woman a little bit before answering completely was alright. "What do you mean? Surely you know how brats are created!"
"Of course I do, idiot! I just meant that you look nothing like her...and she's not Saiya-jin...you're only half."
"It's a long story, and I don't feel like going into all the details tonight. Suffice it to say, that when my mother discovered she was pregnant with me, my father freaked. Giving birth to offspring is difficult enough for our females, let alone alien ones. He wanted to destroy me, but my mother begged him not to, and he could deny her nothing. So, I was removed from her womb and remained the rest of my unborn development in an incutube. Then I was born. End of story."
Bulma lightly punched him in the arm, startling Vegeta with the almost affectionate gesture. "What happened next?" she asked.
Normally he would have been irritated by a conversation this long, but with Bulma, he found it oddly comforting. Suddenly, he didn't mind telling her the rest of the abbreviated version.
"Well, with pressure from my mother, he decided to try to pass me off as his heir. I was young enough that they could splice his genes with mine, and they weeded out most of hers. I was able to be passed off as my father's clone."
"Why would you want to do that?"
"That's how most royalty is conceived. They simply clone the King, and it is raised as his heir and son. Obviously, with me that's not the truth, but so far, we've managed to keep it a secret."
"But you don't look completely like your father. Surely someone has said something."
"When I was about one year old, my hair and eyes turned from brown to black, and that did draw comment. However, the myth of the Key and the Legendary saved me. It is said that the Legendary will be of his father, not like him. The physical change in me started to spread rumors and speculation like wildfire. I am thought to be the reincarnation of the Legendary."
"That's a mighty big role to fill," Bulma observed.
Vegeta shrugged, upsetting the woman in his arms. She had to once again wrap her arms tightly around his neck to regain her balance. Suddenly, a huge yawn came over her. "Excuse me," she said sleepily. "I guess today was more strenuous than I thought."
Overcome by fatigue, she rested her head against Vegeta's shoulder. He couldn't say he wasn't entirely against the idea of being her body pillow. "Rest, then, little one," he whispered into her ear. It would take them at least another hour to reach his mountain estate. "You've a long day tomorrow."
"You know what?" she murmured. "I think we just had our first real conversation."
"Yeah, well, I'm ending it," snorted Vegeta. "Shut up!"
"Way to go, dumbass! You just ruined it!"
"Momma's boy!" she said before shutting her eyes.
A low growl reverberated deep in his throat. She didn't reply, however, for the moment she shut her eyes, unconsciousness claimed her. Her body relaxed as it prepared for rest, and she snuggled closer to him. Vegeta's arms reflexively wrapped around her tighter. The Prince couldn't stop the sudden grin that claimed his lips. He pressed a gentle kiss to her brow and gazed down at the woman, for once in a very long while at peace. They'd probably be at each other's throats tomorrow, but that didn't matter right now. All he knew was now he understood his father's obsession with his mother and how it had lasted for thirty years. It just felt good.
He didn't know why the feeling was there, but he was damn glad sure it was.
Back at the palace, Zarbon snuck his way through the halls of the palace, late for his meeting with Lord Frieza's insider, the Saiya-jin traitor. He looked behind furtively, making sure he wasn't being followed. Satisfied that he was alone in the corridor, he approached a hidden door that few knew existed and punched the code to unlock it. Stepping inside quickly as it slid open, Zarbon dragged his cape about him so it wouldn't get caught.
Only a thin shaft of light penetrated the darkness of the room, and he had to squint to make out the figure in front of him. The only way he could tell anyone else was in the room was from the sharp glint of reflection in their menacing gaze.
"You're late," the traitor hissed.
"My apologies. Lord Frieza---"
"Fuck him! Your tardiness might make me late as well, and if I am discovered, it is all finished. All these years of hard work will have been wasted. Make sure your lord understands that in the future."
Zarbon clenched his jaw in anger. It was degrading and humiliating to have to bow and scrape to this creature, but they were needed for the plan to work. "Again, my apologies. I will inform his lordship of your concern."
"You do that," the figure sneered. "And remind him that he wouldn't anywhere near where he is today without MY help."
"Of course, of course," he hastily agreed. "But we've other business to discuss. I assume you've heard about Vegeta's new little toy."
"Yes? What of her?" the figure inquired. They could see the lust burning in Zarbon's eyes at the thought of the blue-haired woman. It was disgusting. He was actually getting hard just thinking about her, if the bulge in his pants was any indication.
"Frieza would like you to get to know her, form a bond with her. Pump her for as much information about the Prince as possible."
"You honestly think she would know more about Vegeta than me?"
"No, no," Zarbon tried to backpedal. "She just might be privy to information about his power capabilities and such. We need to know how strong he is before we move ahead."
"Fine," the figure replied sullenly. "Is that all you summoned me for?"
"Basically, yes," the green-haired alien nodded. "We want to monitor the Prince as closely as possible. Do you have anything to report?"
The figure seemed to hesitate for a moment, but then shook their, as if dismissing any doubts. "Yes, I do," they replied. "Chikyuu wasn't destroyed."
"Vegeta didn't decimate it."
"But why lie about it?"
"I don't know. That's what I'm trying to find out. Bulma may know, however. I'll see what I can do."
"You do that, but the primary goal is to encourage a relationship between Vegeta and his new toy."
"Why?" the voice asked indignantly.
Zarbon quickly filled the figure in on Frieza's idea about the Prince mating and bonding with the slave girl in order to get rid of him as a potential threat. "He won't have anything to defend once his lost his right to be King. He'll probably even go off planet. Maybe even to Chikyuu. Who knows?" he lied. There wasn't any point in telling the figure complete plan.
"I don't like it, Zarbon. Vegeta was not to be harmed. If he bonds with the girl, harming her will harm him, too. I only got involved in this to bring down the King and his race of bastard monkeys!"
"Yeah, well, I don't think you have much of a choice in this one," he smirked. "You try and betray us, the results won't be pretty, for you or Vegeta. Besides, he's not gonna be harmed, and once everything falls into place, he won't have an empire to rule. What's wrong with taking him out of the picture a bit early?"
"I still don't like it," the figure snarled. "The two of you are making decisions without me!"
Zarbon laughed a bit maniacally. "We've been making the decisions without you from the start. No, don't argue. Just remember what I said. Frieza doesn't issue warnings twice."
With that, he bowed formally to the traitor and left, cautiously peering into the hall before hurrying down it. After a few moments, the other figure exited the room as well, slinking into the shadows in the opposite direction of Zarbon.
No one saw either of them.
* * * * *