Smack. Goku felt the impact of Piccolo's fist to his cheekbone. It was one of a growing list of injuries he had acquired that day.
"This is pointless. Satisfying for me, but pointless." Piccolo spoke.
"Huh?" Goku looked at him questioningly.
"As much fun as it is to beat on you Goku we aren't accomplishing anything." Piccolo said crossing his arms. "Even if you were sitting on your hands the whole time on Yardrat it should not be this easy to land a hit on the guy who defeated Freeza."
Goku looked away. He had a point. For the first time since he was a kid his head wasn't completely focused while training. Goku looked down to ground below. Gohan was there supposedly practicing his form. But every shadow hit he performed similarly lacked focus. Neither of the Son men had been able to concentrate since coming home four days ago.
"Still no word from the old man huh?" Piccolo's voice snapped Goku back to reality.
"No. Nothing." Goku responded despondently. After doing his best to scan the whole planet for his wife's ki Goku had transmitted to Kami's lookout. Once Kami and Mr. Popo had recovered from the initial shock of Goku's materialization he had explained the situation to them.
"I'm sorry Goku but I haven't seen anything out of the ordinary on earth today." Kami had seemed truly sorry as he said this. "And you say you cannot sense her ki anywhere on earth?"
"No. No where!" Goku replied.
Kami and Mr. Popo exchanged a look then and shifted uncomfortably.
"Goku, how long were you away from earth after leaving for Namek?" Mr. Popo asked.
"About a year. Why?" Goku had responded.
"And before that, you were here on earth for just a few weeks after being dead for a year correct?" Kami asked.
"Well yes. But what does that have to do with anything?" Goku had replied impatiently.
"It's just that, well is it possible, given the limited time you have been around Chi Chi's ki in the past two years that it may not be as familiar as you remember it?" Mr. Popo looked like he was trying to put that as delicately as possible. Refusing to fully meet Goku's eyes the whole time.
"I, well, I suppose…" Goku had been at a loss there. He supposed it was possible. But then he shook himself. "No! I recognized Bulma's ki even after all this time! And she's not even a fighter. Besides. Chi Chi is my, is my wife! We lived together in that house for over four years. Before that we fought in the tournament. I know her ki. If Chi Chi was on earth then I would know!" Goku had exclaimed.
"Ok. Ok. Goku I trust you. If you say Chi Chi is not on earth then she is not on earth." Kami had said in a placating voice. Though he still seemed slightly unconvinced. "All the same I shall do a 'scan' of my own." Then the old namekian had closed his eyes and searched the planet himself.
"That IS odd." Kami mumbled. "I cannot sense her anywhere. There is not even a trace." He said with a puzzled look.
"Then, is she…" Goku had felt a tightening in his chest. His eyes had stung and his breath was getting harder to come by.
"No, no, when a person dies on earth some of their ki is left. Traces of where they had been. Who they had been are left. Chi Chi is just gone. It's as if all that she was, sorry is, has left this plane." Kami explained. "All the same, I think it best I check in with King Yemma on this matter." At that Kami had disappeared leaving a less than comforted Goku alone with Mr. Popo.
After an agonizing wait on the look out Kami had returned with the news that Chi Chi had not passed through earth's check in station and that he would be looking into this matter quite thoroughly.
Goku had returned home to the unpleasant task of informing his son that, while she was not dead, he had no idea where the boy's mother was. Four days had gone by thus far waiting for any word from Kami. They had decided the best course of action was to begin training for the androids. There was nothing they could do until they knew where Chi Chi was, or at least how she had disappeared.
"Go talk to him." Once again Piccolo pulled Goku out of his thoughts jerking his chin down to Gohan. "If you're unfocused then that kid down there is drifting in the clouds." He said with a grunt.
"You sure?" Goku said.
"Go. Like I said earlier. As much fun as it is pounding on you, training is pointless if your heart isn't in it." With that Piccolo started to turn away. "I'll come back in a day. We can get back to this when you two are ready." And with that he took off.
Goku looked down to see Gohan staring up at him questioningly. Goku flew down and joined his son on the grassy hill bellow.
"Where's Mr. Piccolo going?" Gohan asked.
"We're taking a day. You and I seem to need it." Goku said with a halfhearted chuckle. At that Gohan looked to the side and tilted his face down.
"Yeah, take a day." Gohan mumbled.
"Hey there Gohan, you ok?" Goku said. It sounded stupid as he heard himself speak. What six year old would be ok right now?
"Yeah dad. I'm ok. Don't worry." Gohan kept his head tilted down and away. Goku saw his fists clenching tightly at his sides.
"Hey, Kami will figure this out buddy. We'll get your mom back in no time ok?" Goku bent down and put his hand on his son's shoulder and did his best to smile. Faking had never been Goku's strong point. Even as a kid he was bad at deception outside of fight tactics. Right now all he wanted was to scream, and panic and search until he had some answers. But he had Gohan to think about. Slowly Gohan looked up and met his gaze. The kid smiled the kind of smile that stops at the mouth. His eyes were empty. Blank and staring.
"Yeah dad you're right. I'm just being a silly kid ha ha ha ha." As Gohan laughed tears started leaking from his eyes and his laughter turned to sobs. Goku knelt on the grass and pulled his son towards him. They stayed like that for a while, Gohan hands clenched at his sides sobbing into his father's shoulder with Goku on his knees arms wrapped around his son.