Chapter 9 – An Unlikely Savior
I must scold myself before writing. It has been a week since my last entry. Though I had intended to write, so much has been going on that I have been denied the time to. So, where to begin? I suppose my leg would be a good start. I am walking once again, though I do occasionally limp, or steal a shoulder for balance from time to time. Other than that I am independent. I have even returned to riding. Hikari missed me terribly, I could tell by how excited she was when I took her out for a ride yesterday… Yes, it was a most enjoyable ride indeed.
Vegeta had requested to join me. He said Akuma needed some exercise, however I am quiet certain of his more protective intentions. But ulterior motives aside, I very much enjoyed our outing. Vegeta was, as he has been this past week, wonderful company. In all honesty, after that night, when I promised Vegeta that I would welcomingly accept his ‘protection,’ I had not thought of all the time we would have to share together. I mean after all, in the presence of Vegeta, I barely think of Juunanagou…
Juunanagou, now there is a difficult subject to breech. I am not certain why it was so painful for me to tell him I wished not to see him again. I had barely known the man for two days, but… But in that time he had been so good to me, and when I saw him a day later, my mind flooded with feelings. The way it felt when he touched me, held me, and kissed me. I think I may have fallen back on my promise had Vegeta not been there with me. I was very passive in speaking. My arm was locked with Vegeta’s when he told Juunanagou that I would not be associating with him again. I had thought my troubles were over, until I became trapped in the gaze of the Adajinzoun king.
"Is this what you want princess?" I will never forget the hurt in his voice as he directed his question towards me. I stopped to take a breath as I looked into his disappointed eyes. I was so tempted to say no, that I was interested in pursuing something more, but as I felt Vegeta’s arm tighten around mine, I knew my only answer. "Yes." I tightened my voice to sound assured of myself. I informed him that my loyalties lie only with my warden, and that even though he preformed a service to me, I must refuse his further attentions.
He looked so hurt as I told him. Now I’m sure the look of triumph upon Vegeta’s face did not help much, but my guilt was evident. I think Juunanagou knew that, but he accepted the terms and promised me what he had before. He would not come near me if those were my wishes, and he has followed his vow for this last week. The only time I have seen him was at the senate gatherings, where all members were present. He was careful to avoid direct contact with me even then. Aside from stealing a few glances, which I must admit I stole a few of my own, he made no further attempt to acknowledge me after that day.
But I suppose it is for the best. Vegeta and I are on good terms once more, so life is once again back to normal… Or as normal as I suppose life can be for me right now.
I suppose I shall have to ponder this all more later. I am already late for dinner. Kakarrot and Chi-Chi are going to join Vegeta and I. To be honest I would rather eat without them. Since they were mated they have been disgustingly affectionate, perhaps it wouldn’t bother me as much if I had a mate of my own to shower with adoration. But, since that is not the case, I must bite my tongue. They are two of my closest friends and it would have been wrong of me to refuse their attendance.
Until my next free moment...
End of entry
Dinner had been quiet for the most part. Mild banter was exchanged while each course was brought. Bulma had finished after the first, but Kakarrot and Vegeta were well into the fourth and still going strong. ‘Saiya-jin appetites, I doubt I will ever get used to them.’ Bulma thought as her eyes wandered over to her governess, who seemed to be eating quite a bit more than usual. Bulma was about to comment on her friend’s gluttony, but was beaten to the strike.
"We have a confession to make." Chi-Chi suddenly stopped her eating as though she was no longer able to control herself. With her hand tightly clenching her mate’s she continued. "Kakarrot and I have some wonderful news we wish to share with you two."
Bulma immediately turned her attention to the excited pair. She had suspected they were hiding something, but now it seemed the mystery would be solved. "Well, share." Bulma demanded anticipatorily.
Kakarrot and Chi-Chi shared an excited glance before speaking. "I’m with child! Kakarrot and I are going to be parents!"
A brief pause enclosed the room before Bulma released an excited scream. "YOU ARE!" She cheered, quickly rising from her seat and moving over to her governess. "I am so happy for you!" Bulma first hugged Chi-Chi before repeating the gesture with Kakarrot. "Isn’t this wonderful, Vegeta?" Bulma asked carelessly as she looked over to see the bored expression on the king’s face.
"Yes… Wonderful." The lack of enthusiasm was quite evident in the man’s demeanor, but Bulma opted to disregard his sour disposition as she turned back to her oldest friends.
"Do you have a gender preference?" Bulma asked excitedly.
"Well, we would, of course, equally love a boy or a girl." Chi-Chi’s voice continued cheerfully. "Though Kakarrot may be inclined to hope for a boy, warrior to train and all, but I definitely wouldn’t mind a little girl!"
"Hmph." The deep voice, of a thunderous storm that has been gathering momentum as each cheerful word was said, interrupted. "The child will be hideous either way. You should hope for a miscarriage."
Bulma’s eyes widened as she, along with her equally astounded friends, turned to gawk at her unbelievably uncouth warden. "VEGETA! How the hell could you say something so malicious! Just because you can’t find an onna to mate with you, let alone bear your child doesn’t mean you have to insult those who are fortunate enough to have that privilege."
"You know nothing, onna!" He hissed while abruptly jumping out of his seat, his bitter mood suddenly turning dangerous. "The fact that I choose not to take a mate is none of your damn business! No onna is worthy of my person, let alone bearing my heir! I am not jealous of these two fools! I pity their pathetic offspring!"
"Vegeta!" Bulma screamed, both hurt by his tone and his further insult of her friends. She was more than ready to retaliate with another set of insults, but failed to have the chance as Vegeta treaded heavily out of the room before the subject could be developed any further.
"What was that all about?" Chi-Chi asked completely offended and befuddled by the king’s cruel attitude.
"Bulma." Kakarrot frowned, though offended by a man he considers his friend suggesting such a wicked possibility, he could very easily understand where the pent up rage had come from. Between hearing the ‘joyous’ news and then Bulma’s ruthless words, his temper was bound to escalate. "You know you should never bring up the subject of mating with Vegeta, especially with everything that’s been going on."
"What do you mean ‘with everything that’s been going on’? I know he is on edge because of Juunanagou’s presence, but that gives him no right to wish such a horrid fate upon your unborn child!"
"Trust me, I agree." Kakarrot spoke definitely. "But you know finding a mate is a rough subject for Vegeta. It was a low blow, Bulma."
"Maybe you should go make sure he is alright." Chi-Chi suggested, she wasn’t about to forgive the man as easily as Kakarrot, but she did know that an angry king walking the castle grounds could be quite detrimental to its residents.
"Fine." Bulma nodded reluctantly before leaving the dining room to try and catch up with her warden, if for no other reason that to finish the argument they had begun.
The moment the princess was out of earshot, Chi-Chi turned to her mate with a bothered look upon her face. "I don’t like this Kakarrot. I mean we’re all accustomed to Vegeta’s typical coarseness, but he has been even more quick to temper and brutal in insult since Juunanagou appeared. I would have thought the distance between Bulma and the king would have calmed him some, but this… Kakarrot, I know Vegeta isn’t particularly fond of us, but damn it, this was frigid even for him. I don’t understand this anger inside him. It’s more than his fear of what sick scheme Juunanagou is concocting, it’s something deeper."
"Chi-Chi." Kakarrot frowned. "I can only imagine what has been fueling the fire inside of him. But if I had to guess, I would say the past is what’s plaguing his thoughts. You have to admit it’s eerie Chi, how easy it must be for Vegeta to place Bulma in the position of— I can only imagine what he’s going through, I just wish he wouldn’t try to do it all alone."
"Damn it, he should have just told Bulma the night Juunanagou arrived." Chi-Chi spoke regretfully. "If she had just known… Gods Kakarrot, do you know how I hate pretending as if I know nothing, and even more so, I hate you having to lie for him."
"I know, Chi, but it’s Vegeta’s choice, and to be honest I am beginning to think it is a wise one. I mean, consider how you reacted to the truth. Can you imagine Bulma’s reaction?" Kakarrot sighed, slowly sitting back in his chair.
"Bulma is not I, Kakarrot. I thought, and still think, what Vegeta did was appalling, but… But as wrong as it was, I can at least understand why he did it. Not that it excuses his actions, but… Kakarrot, Bulma is a very forgiving person; she would forgive Vegeta for his past sins. I know she would."
"It’s not simply about forgiveness. It’s trust. Vegeta destroyed an onna he vowed to care for, do you have any idea how easily Bulma would be able to imagine herself in that role. She could lose all of her faith in Vegeta. She could end up fearing that one mistake will destroy all they have built together. It is that paranoia that Vegeta fears will be created in her." Kakarrot explained softly, having great sympathy for the situation his king was in.
"Lying about the past is not a solution." Chi-Chi warned evenly. "Lies destroy everything. The longer he waits to tell her, the worse things will be. Mark my words Kakarrot," Chi-Chi augured the future, "this will end up worse than even Vegeta can imagine if he waits much longer."
"I pray you are wrong." Kakarrot whispered, though not terribly optimistic at this point. "Let us just finish dinner. You’re eating for two now, remember?"
Chi-Chi smiled and nodded before the pair continued to eat. Both however, worried about what was to come.
"Vegeta?" Bulma called into the stables as she entered the last place she had to search for the king. She had been down every corridor and searched through every room. None of which hid her warden. Her final hope was to find him with Akuma, but to her dismay, not only did she fail to find Vegeta, but Akuma was gone as well. ‘I guess he took a ride to clear his thoughts,’ Bulma thought sadly, as she considered whether or not she should ready Hikari. ‘No, I suppose I should wait until he returns. Hopefully he will have regained his sanity by then.’
Having decided her course of action, Bulma turned to go back inside when the lantern illuminating the stable suddenly blew out. Bulma sighed, thinking a gust of wind had been the culprit, and began fumbling around to find another candle to light. She was only but a few seconds into her search when she heard the sound of her mount letting out a torturous cry.
"Hikari!" Bulma screamed as her head snapped around to try and see what had spooked her horse. "Hikari!" She continued to move closer to the boisterous beast. Bulma groped for the wood of the gate closing her in. Once she found it, she immediately moved to open the gate, but was briskly stopped as she felt a hand snake over her mouth, silencing her screams.
Before Bulma had a chance to realize what was going on, she felt her back come crashing against the ground, and an impossibly heavy weight pile on top of her body. The hand that covered her mouth had disappeared; instead moving to cover parts of her body she begged not to be touched. Blinded by the poor illumination of the room, Bulma found herself unable to see her assailant, or what he was doing. All she knew was her body suddenly felt as though it was being exposed, and the fear of what that feeling meant caused Bulma to begin screaming at the top of her lungs.
"No, stop this!" She demanded, her arms flailing and her body attempting to buck off her attacker. Bulma quickly realized however, that her attempts were fruitless as her assailant’s strength was exponential to her own. "No!!" She screamed, her body tossing back and forth. She would rather die than live through such tortures once more. "Please, don’t do this!"
As though he had suddenly heeded her reply the heavy weight atop of Bulma’s body was suddenly ripped off. Quickly gathering what was left of her clothing to cover what she could, she forced her tears away to try and figure out what had happened. Still in her blindness, Bulma relied on her sense of sound to gather what was going on.
"You animal!" A male voice roared, quickly followed by the sounds of punches and groans. Bulma tried to focus on what illumination the light of the moon granted as she looked towards what she assumed was her attacker and her savior. With what little she could make out, two men, one enormous in stature, and the other much more moderately sized went after one another like two wild animals, but what was so surprising about the fight was that the smaller man seemed to be doing much more damage than the larger one.
With a finally yelp of pain, the larger man tumbled to the ground. His arms clenching his stomach in agony, "Please, don’t kill me." The giant whispered only loud enough so that Bulma could just make out the words.
"You attack a vulnerable onna, and you wish mercy!?!" The voice sounded so familiar to Bulma, but the addition of rage seemed to throw her off. "You deserve to die!"
Suddenly the sounds of swords clashed, and before Bulma knew what had happened the giant managed to escape the stables before the smaller man delivered his final blow. A growl escaped the remaining man’s lips before Bulma heard him shift his attention to her, taking steps towards her.
Instinctively the princess moved away from him, but stopped suddenly as she heard a softened voice whisper to her. "Bulma, I will not hurt you." His words were followed by two hands carefully being presented to her, along with a clear picture of who had helped her.
The princess blinked as a long teary eyed sigh of relief escaped her lips. "Juunanagou," she cried in utter relief before collapsing forward into his arms. "I wasn’t sure if you were him." She whimpered as her tears flooded his shoulder.
"Are you alright?" He asked worriedly. "I was on my way to take Heijin for a ride when I heard you scream. I am so sorry I couldn’t have been here sooner… He didn’t--"
Bulma shook her head quickly; certainly not ready to talk about what had happened. "I’m fine… M-My cloths are ripped…" Her voice was weak and unsteady. "I—I just want to get out of them."
"Alright," Juunanagou nodded. An unusual pang struck his typically unmoved heart as he observed her anxious state. "Let me take you to your room. We can go through the side entrance; no one has to see you."
Bulma shakily nodded as she pulled what was left of her clothing tightly over her body. With one arm wrapped around her waist, Juunanagou guided Bulma into the castle. They successfully managed to avoid all contact as they took back halls to Bulma’s chambers. After they quietly entered, Juunanagou brought Bulma to sit upon her bed.
"You should let me inspect you to make certain you suffered no serious injuries." Juunanagou suggested, slowly reaching towards her, but only to have his hands pushed away.
"No, please, I am alright. Just leave me to attend to myself." She spoke nervously, her hands covering herself at all times as her body slowly inched away from him. "You have already done more than enough." The entire time she spoke, her eyes refused to meet his. Whether the shock or shame of what had happened was getting to her, Juunanagou was not about to leave.
"You shouldn’t be alone," he whispered, hesitantly circling her face with his hands. "Let me help you," he begged sympathetically, as he lifted her fallen face to lock with his own. Another unfamiliar stab of pain blasted through his chest as he saw her tear soaked orbs, something in her devastated gaze made him want to pull her frail little body into his protective arms, but the moment quickly passed, as his purpose came flooding back to his mind. "I will not hurt you," he whispered, his fingers drifting down to her shoulders. "Let me help you remove these torn rags."
"No!" She jerked away from him once again. She paused for a long breath as she calmed her voice. She hadn’t meant to snap at him so coldly, but this wasn’t what she needed right now. He wasn’t whom she wanted right now. "Please, if you truly desire to help me, you will go find my warden. I do not wish to sound ungrateful, but Vegeta is more skilled in healing my pains and fears than any other."
Juunanagou suppressed a jealous growl; her suggestion strangely did not invoke any anger towards her, only more hatred towards her warden. "My lady," he maintained his calm voice, "I can understand your desire for the comforting shoulder of a close companion, but I can not in good conscience leave you alone in the state you are in. Please, let me, help you," he whispered, before slowly bringing his hands to capture her once again.
Bulma watched carefully, as his hands clasped the cloth of her dress, and slowly pulled it down her shoulders. She tried to control her shaking as she watched the king slowly aid her in removing her damaged garments. He was very gentle and innocent in his movements, assuring Bulma that he would stop upon her demand. This gave her some form of comfort in the abyss of fear that was consuming her.
Juunanagou used all of his will power to prevent his body from reacting, as her form was being exposed. Though her undergarments still covered her more private elements, he was still in awe of her beauty. Her completely flat stomach, her lightly toned muscles, and her creamy white skin were a sight that took his breath away.
With the help of Bulma briefly lifting her body slightly off the bed, Juunanagou managed to rid her of all her tattered attire. And then placing his naked hands upon her waist, he preformed the same act he had right after the riding accident. He chastely ran his fingers over her body to inspect her injuries, noting dejectedly as she flinched under his touch. "I don’t think anything is broken." He concluded, finally removing his hands from her frozen flesh. "Just some bumps and bruises, you should be alright," he whispered before pulling back the covers and nodding for her to crawl under. Bulma quickly did as he instructed, pulling the blanket over her, tightly covering her trembling body.
Sleep wasn’t going to be an option however, after the trauma of what almost had happened to her, her shaking body and numb facial expression only further proved that to Juunanagou. "Do you wish me to stay with you tonight?" Juunanagou asked suddenly. As the words left his mouth he startlingly realized he truly wanted to stay, to heal this frail creature from the torment he suddenly regretted forcing upon her.
Bulma blinked, her mind racing back to just a week ago when she had heard those exact words uttered to her by Vegeta. She wanted to hear such a request again, only her warden speaking them, and her accepting them. "No," she barely whispered, as she slowly closed and opened her eyes, taking a shaky breath as if trying to hold back more tears.
Juunanagou quickly clenched and relaxed his fists; her answer directed him towards a most infuriating conclusion. "You still wish me to locate your warden." He barely completed his thought, as his mind could not quite settle upon why the truth irritated him so.
Bulma made no move to answer for a few moments before her hand slipped out from under the covers and clenched Juunanagou’s softly. Turning her tear stained eyes to meet his, she gave her answer, "I know you dislike him. You do not admit it as openly as Vegeta does, but the hate in your eyes is clear." She paused briefly to calm the trembling of her lips. "But, I beg you to save your hate for another time, prove to me that you are not as my warden believes. I need Vegeta right now. Please, find him for me."
Juunanagou slowly looked down at the gentle palm in his hand, and slowly closed his eyes. Feeling the unsteadiness of her hand’s embrace, and replaying her plea, he realized what the feeling welling inside him was… regret. After raising her hand to his lips and placing a gentle kiss upon it, he rose from the bed and walked over to the princess’s bedroom door, pausing only briefly to offer his reply. "My intentions were to take a ride this evening. I suppose if I happen to cross paths with your warden, it wouldn’t be too much of a detriment to my health to suggest that he hasten his return."
"Thank you," Bulma released a long sigh as she watched the door close behind the king. As soon she was alone she wrapped her arms around her body, tightly snuggling into the warmth of her covers. ‘Please, find him.’
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