Chapter 29 – Pushed to the Brink
All hell has officially broken loose, and since I am forbidden to tell a soul, I can only seek comfort in writing the truth. I have led Radditz and Vegeta to believe I am carrying Juunanagou’s child. A meticulously plotted absurdity considering I have never lain with the man, or any other for that matter, but I suppose I am the only one who now believes that.
Vegeta surely hates me for ‘bearing’ the spawn of his enemy, and even worse for ‘lying’ to him about not having been with Juunanagou. The entire set of circumstances is utterly dismal. I now only have minimal time to write because soon I must go to my future husband. He wants to make the current lie of my being with child a reality. The thought of being with him disgusts me after all he has put Vegeta and I through, but I know I must do as he asks. I would suffer an eternity with him if it ensures Vegeta’s safety.
My love’s death is what he has promised should I not do as he asks. Gods, how I wish I could simply tell Vegeta of the blackmail and have the son of a bitch tried for entrapment and the plotted assassination of a fellow king, but that too has been forbidden of me. Any attempt at alerting him of the truth could result in the death of the man I owe my life to; I would never risk it.
I wish I could write more, but I suddenly have no more energy to. My fate seems certain, but I cannot be too pained in knowing the truth. Vegeta will be safe, which is all that matters; all that ever mattered to me.
End of entry.
Closing the journal, Bulma slid it to the corner of her desk before rising to her feet. Aimlessly she walked towards her bed and then silently crawled atop of it, resting her body on the side that her warden had slept upon the night before. Burying her face in the sheets, she inhaled his still lingering scent several times before she felt her muscles begin to relax. Even his scent brought her comfort.
Tracing the contour of the pillow where his wild mane of hair had flared up from, she felt a smile grace her lips. At least she had a memory to cling to for the wretched days ahead. Closing her eyes she could almost still feel Vegeta’s powerful arms encircling her body as she awoke from a night of the most blissful sleep she had ever experienced. She now regretted not having insisted that they physically solidify their relationship, knowing that the time she had believed they would have together was all but gone. It killed her to realize she now assuredly had lost any chance of being with him. "Gods, how could everything have gone so wrong?" though the question was rhetorically asked of the cruel gods who manipulated her life, she received a mortal response.
"I wish I knew, but it is not too late to mend things," the deep voice pushed Bulma off of the bed as she rolled to her feet to stare bewilderedly at her warden.
"Vegeta, what are you doing here?" she asked in a near panic, for all she knew the assassin was still tracking him at this very moment. "You have to leave; please, you will only make things worse." Walking up to him, she attempted to guide him out of the room, but failed miserably.
"I am not going anywhere, onna," he grasped her wrists and forced her to look into his eyes. "We still have options; you must hear me out if you wish to right this mess that has been made." He refrained from blaming her specifically, though a large part of him was highly embittered by her actions, he could not let his feelings cloud his rational judgment. After all, that was what had brought them into this chaos in the first place. Not giving her a chance to object once again, he boldly explained, "I can claim the child as my own."
"Gods, you just do not understand, Vegeta, if you—what?" Bulma widened her eyes as his words finally registered with her. Blinking in a similarly shocked fashion as Vegeta had when he first heard the plot, Bulma gaped at the elder man, "What are you talking about?" How could he possibly claim a fictitious child was his own? Squinting her eyes as if pained by the confusion, she shook her head, "Vegeta, you can not claim a child by an onna you never slept with!"
"But Juunanagou does not know such to be true," the king explained calmly, trying not to be phased by her pessimistic attitude. "He seemed to believe this morning that we had coupled, under such an assumption it would only make logical sense that I contest the paternity."
Silence filled the room for several minutes as Bulma contemplated the suggestion she had just been given. But once she realized a single question was stopping her from drawing a more serious consideration, she asked, "Why would you do this for me?"
With a heavy sigh, Vegeta lowered his grip on her hands and brought his fingers to encase her cheeks as he enlightened, "you know why, onna." He whispered softly as he rested his forehead against hers. "This entire mess has been my doing. From Juuhachigou’s believed death, to Juunanagou’s plots for revenge, everything that has happened to you has been either to hurt me or the aftereffects of my poorly chosen actions. I will not see you sacrificed on the altar of my war with Juunanagou. He does not deserve you, and the gods know he would be an unfit mate and father. I cannot allow you to be subjected to his inadequacies; especially when I know I can do both better."
Tears began to fall from Bulma’s eyes, though not for the reason Vegeta would have expected. It broke her soul to hear him willing to not only forgive her for sins she would never have believed atonable, but also to take on the role of father for the child of his enemy, it was simply too much for the already emotional female to handle. Dropping her head against his shoulder, the consequences were long forgotten as she basked in his warmth for a few mere seconds before forcing herself to pull away after seeing the time on her wall clock. A somewhat more jovial mood encompassed her as clarity suddenly engulfed her. As if Vegeta’s strength permeated into her frightened soul, she knew exactly what she would do. "I have to go," she explained before wiping her eyes and briefly walking towards her vanity to pull something hidden out; while her back was to Vegeta, she slipped it into the contours of her dress.
"Go? What about all that I just said?!" Vegeta demanded; he was being too damn reasonable for her to walk away from him.
Not bothering to turn around, Bulma swallowed slowly before responding minimally, "Juunanagou is expecting me, I must go."
And before Vegeta could stop her, his ward had disappeared from the room, leaving him to punch his hand into her slammed door as he cursed her incompliance. "Damn it!" Vegeta shrieked after he finished venting his rage upon the exit and walked over to Bulma’s desk to collapse on the complimenting chair. It took all of his strength to stop himself from chasing after her and demanding she use some rational in her decision-making, but he knew he could not. She was too strong willed, which meant the harder he pushed the further she would drift from him. And horrifyingly, that was exactly what was happening.
‘You promised I would never lose you, onna,’ Vegeta thought silently as he leaned back in the chair, wondering himself how everything had gone so wrong so quickly. Was it not just last night he had slept with her wrapped up in his arms? "I should have never refused her!" Vegeta’s temper took the better of him once more as he pushed the desk away from him, crashing it against the floor. Scolding himself as he realized the vandalizing he was wreaking throughout her room, he knelt down to pull the desk up to resume its place. Then gradually returning each fallen item to its rightful position, Vegeta froze as his hand snaked around an item he would not have expected to cross his line of vision.
After he finished realigning the chaos he had created, Vegeta returned to his seat, Bulma’s journal in hand. Skimming his fingers over the leather lining of the book, he slowly shifted his digits to rest over the edge of the cover of the diary. A silent debate raged in his mind as he contemplated whether or not he should follow the temptation he felt to read the private thoughts of his precious onna. The last time he had dared skim through the pages he had learned a truth that had brought him some enlightenment regarding the princess’s state of mind. He hoped perhaps he could once again experience some similar luck.
Throwing caution to the wind, he opened to the very first page, not in the least prepared for what he was about to find.
"No wonder you did not want to give me your name," Radditz whispered somewhat numbly after his onetime mate concluded both her reasoning for her silence and the recent information she had acquired from overhearing Juunanagou’s and Bulma’s conversation. "But you still have yet to tell me why you wish to help now?" he asked the question which plagued him most, "for all I know you are feeding me this information as a part of some sort of setup your brother is running."
Stunned by the accusation, Juuhachigou glowered icily at the man, "I have just betrayed my brother, and you wish to add salt to my open wound by accusing me of being capable of ensuring the misery of a female of similar circumstance to myself? Honestly, do you think so little of all the onna’s you sleep with, or only me?"
With a sarcastic chuckle, the elite quickly recoiled, "I suppose it would be an illogical risk for you to come forth with the truth, knowing that I could use our liaison as grounds to help Vegeta receive his annulment from you. So I suppose for now I will simply have to assume you intentions are pure. However, if what you say is true, Bulma could be in serious trouble as we speak. I need to find her." Turning to leave, Radditz was stopped abruptly by the gentle hand of the female beside him.
"Radditz, wait," she felt mildly awkward using his name for the first time, but continued nonetheless. "Let me find her. Though I do not agree with my brother blackmailing Bulma into a union she does not desire, nor do I condone these extensive lies he has weaved to make that happen, he is still my brother, and I do not wish to see him hurt. So let me handle this."
"You wish to protect him after all he has done to you?!" Radditz shouted in a near shock. "He took your life! He set you up just to inherit your crown! How can you feel no spite for what he has done?"
Lowering her head slightly, she softly admitted, "I can not be certain my brother has done all Vegeta accuses. Yes, these lies I have caught him in shock me greatly and I now do question his motives in the events that have surrounded my past, but I cannot simply assume the worst without any proof. At least, not until I speak with him."
Nodding reluctantly, Radditz concurred, "all right, you speak with your brother and Bulma. I will track down Vegeta and inform him of Juunanagou’s latest ruse. Perhaps this catastrophe can still be salvaged yet."
"Thank you," Juuhachigou forced a smile as she and Radditz silently locked eyes in a gentle moment of combined appreciation. However, the awkwardness soon broke the moment as they somewhat uncomfortably departed together from the dining hall. Each headed in opposite directions; with only one fated to complete their purpose as Radditz was quickly sidetracked.
"Brother!" Kakarrot called from behind the warrior as he quickly began rambling. "You must help me find Nappa! He is the key to Chi-Chi’s recovery! I am certain!"
"Hold on, little brother," Radditz lifted his hands to silently quiet the man. "Now slow down and start from the beginning. What does Nappa have to do with Chi-Chi?"
"She said his name! I think he may have been the last person to see her before the accident, but he has not checked in since the end of his shift last night, and since his mount is gone, he must have taken a ride as well, which means he may know what has happened to her, so we have to find him!" the younger Saiya-jin rushed out, all too excited to offer any further details. This was his chance to help his mate; he had to take it.
"Ok, ok," Radditz tried to remain calm as he nodded in agreement. "I will come with you. It is probably best regardless; you should be alerted as to what has been happening while you have been at your mate’s side."
"Is it anything bad?" the shorter man asked absently as he, followed by his brother, headed towards the stables to search for their fellow warrior. It seemed they would have much conversation to fill up the investigation.
"You are early," Juunanagou smirked as he watched his future mate storm into his chambers without the courtesy of knocking. "I knew you would not be able to control your lust for me," he taunted while sauntering towards her.
Lifting her hands to halt his further advance, Bulma disgustedly explained, "We have a problem."
Crossing his arms over his chest, the disappointed king groaned, "and just what might that be?" He had no time for her ploys to try to prevent him from mating with her. He had waited too long.
Taking a deep breath, Bulma began her dangerous web of lies. "Vegeta is going to contest the paternity of the child you insisted that he believe I am carrying."
Blinking several times, Juunanagou dangerously questioned, "What?"
After taking an awkward moment to clear her throat, Bulma continued, "Vegeta believes I am with child, and if that were true, he would have some stake in claiming the child because, well…" she forced a blushful sigh as she pulled her eyes away from his. The reaction seemed to bring her fiancé to the conclusion she desired.
"Because what!?" Juunanagou demanded, a burning rage suddenly building within him, "Because he has seduced you into his bed a few times? So deny the fucking charge!"
"I tried," Bulma insisted with genuine desperation sounding in her voice, "but he refused to listen. He can do math, Juunanagou! He knows I would not be certain of such a matter within any reasonable doubt! And to make matters worse," she paused, taking several long breaths as she began pacing back and forth aimlessly. Her nervous demeanor was enough to irritate her fiancé gravely.
Grabbing her arm, he forcefully shook her towards him as he insisted, "and what the hell is making matters worse!?"
Running her fingertips through her hair, she shyly added, remembering a separately incriminating encounter with her ‘husband to be’ not much before the one with Vegeta, "Radditz believes the child could be his as well. I mean we also slept together in the past few days, the child could be his." She tried to emulate the appearance of shame in her demeanor; it did wonders to help her case.
"Whore," Juunanagou growled under his breath as he began pacing back and forth with clenched fists. If only he had thought of this sooner! It would be horrid enough if one of them contested the paternity, but if both did, he would be shamed along with her! No self-respecting king would take a wife whom was known to be loose with men. One could never know if their offspring was of pure blood!
Seeing the displeasure in his eyes, Bulma decided it was an ideal time to remind, "Do not take grievance with me for these blunders in your scheme. I never asked to perpetuate this ridiculous lie!"
"Well, all would be going fine if you could have just kept your legs shut!" he nearly bellowed as he stopped his pacing to walk over and begin shaking his fiancé rather violently. "Tell me, do you want your warden dead!?"
"Of course not," Bulma quieted immediately, she had never seen the anger in the king’s eyes as she had at that minute. "But you must understand that your plan can no longer work. So please, Juunanagou, this is our chance to set everything right. You and I can part ways now; no one ever has to know that you plotted to kill Vegeta or blackmailed m—"
"You do not get it," Juunanagou closed his eyes as he shook his head regretfully. Still holding onto his prize, he elucidated, "I do not care who you fucked in the past; I have worked to damn hard to lose you now!"
"Lose me!?" Bulma shirked as she shook out of his grasp. "You do not have me, Juunanagou! I am in love with another man, and by taking advantage of those feelings to force me to be with you, all you are developing between us is my escalating hatred for you!"
"You do not hate me!" the king resounded assuredly as he grabbed his soon to be mate aggressively once again. "You are just a stupid little girl who does not know what the hell she wants!" he retracted his angered grip as he pushed her to the ground, knocking her against the foot of his bed in the process. "You know, I thought you had spunk when I first met you! The beautiful, noble, honorable, tender princess Bulma; I thought you were less pretentious then countless number of caddy bitches I have rejected for wedlock. I actually thought you were worthy of me, but clearly I was gravely mistaken in my judgment. You are just like my sister. You cannot see the strategic advantages in a marital union; you only want ‘love,’ and fluffy affections that fade as soon as your beauty does. Well, if that is how you wish to waste your life, princess, then so be it. Your promiscuous practices may save you from our union, but they will not save you from your warden’s downfall!" the king foreboded as he spun around to leave the shaken princess.
He did not make it more than a few steps before the ice-cold tip of a blade was wedged against his throat. "Not so fast," the clenched voice of an enraged princess was followed by a tightened grip upon the king’s throat. A befuddled expression was all Juunanagou could offer as his assailant maintained her secure grip from behind as she began to explicate, "I am so sick of being bullied, ordered, and blackmailed into situations by pompous men who think they should own the world! You think I am some silly girl whom doesn’t recognize her own feelings? Well, maybe I am, but right now my feelings of disgust towards you are making my need to eliminate you very transparent!"
A resounding chuckle emerged from the restrained man as he countered, "eliminate me?! Foolish onna, you do not have the courage to end a life! But even if you did, you would be executed for my murder. So go ahead, I dare you."
Smirking in a fashion similar to the devious man, the intrepid princess simply responded, "As far as my ‘ending’ a life is concerned, you would not be the first bastard of a king I slit the throat of for trying to take advantage of me. And in regards to my ‘execution’ for your murder, well, I can simply plead that your death was an accident of self-defense after I so humbly informed you that the precious child I am ‘carrying’ is in fact another man’s. The congress knows your temper, no one will be shocked by such a tale, nor will they care you are dead since your sister is now alive and fully capable to take control of her people. In fact, now that I think of it, this will be doing all a favor. Yes, the more the think about it, the wiser killing you sounds," she forced the blade closer to his throat, drawing a few tears of blood to run down his neck.
"Stupid bitch," Juunanagou growled as he lifted his hands to try and pry the weapon away, he froze his assault as the blade move slightly deeper into his throat. Taking labored breaths, he tried a different approach. "All right, you have made your point! Now let me go before this gets ugly."
"Ugly?!" Bulma laughed coldly, "You are the one who made this ugly! You are the one obsessed with seeking revenge against Vegeta. You are the one trying to force me to marry and sleep with you! You have brought us to this point, Juunanagou, but now I am going to end it!"
What followed next could only be described as a sequence of slow motion events as Juunanagou daringly grasped his bare hand onto the blade of the knife to pull it away from his throat, forcing the pair into a rough skirmish over the weapon that would ultimately push one of them to the brink of death.
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