-Earthlings are a bunch of weaklings- snarled Tark, kicking the ash into the ground.
-I wonder why anyone would be interested in this place- snorted Bakka with his full mouth -The food isn't that refined-
-Nothing is refined if you gorge yourself like that, ztrus- the first sayan replied.
-Bah- replied the other, grunting -The food is 'ood 'huen is 'hood!
Yamoshi gazed silently at the ruins of the city of Earth. Some of the residents had tried to stop them with spears and swords, and other primitive weapons incapable of hurting them, but most had simply knelt in front of a statue of a woman in armor, calling for her aid. The Sayan narrowed his eyes in disgust, turning towards his two companions: they were bickering over the ashes of the dead without any respect.
Tark was old, he had passed the fifties by a long time and his wrinkled face proved above all the hardness of the life he had lived. He turned into an arrogant and self-centered monster; he had much of his hair whitened, and the same was true of the hairs on his tail.
On the other hand Bakka was very young and short, and by the standards of the Sayans also very handsome, with his brown eyes and smiling face. Especially when he allowed himself to slaughter the innocents; although with his appetite he was capable of starving an entire planet, he was barely over a meter tall and really slim.
-Stop- ordered Yamoshi, irritated and offended by the disrespectful behavior of his companions -This is just a city: there are hundreds more to be destroyed according to our information, and even bigger ones.
- It is a waste to use our strenght on these weaklings. Let us leave and screw the contract- insisted Tark, shooting a sphere of energy at a random point, causing a small explosion.
-The food is bad, and the women are fragile. There are no war spoils to wear in triumph- added Bakka.
-We're not here to Plunder, we are here to do a job- replied Yamoshi, angered -Don't test my patience: after that mess you did on Namek I won't give you a second chance.
-They didn't told us that those snails were also warriors! - replied the others in tandem, but the leader grabbed them by the neck, one hand for each, and raised them in the air.
-This is the last warning: don't ruin this contract or I'll make sure to end you myself.
The other two nodded, wriggling, and Yamoshi threw them away, making his point clear. Then his detector trilled, tracing two approaching energy trails.
"Right on time" he thought, recognizing the unmistakable aura of the two young Sayans who were gliding towards them. They were called Yarik and Ophi. They were just teenagers, and they were both mute. Nobody knew why. They were almost shaved, and they both wore a mark on their left wrist, another mysterious bond between them of which nobody knew the meaning.
-What have they brought us? - asked Tark.
-It looks like a native- said Yamoshi, considering the fragile form covered by rags carried, by the two sayans women. The couple stopped short in front of him and let go of the earthling just before landing.
-And who is this?- grumbled Bakka.
-Why did you bring her here?- asked Yamoshi, shooting a warning glare at his companion. In response Yarik kicked the terrestrial female, but the blow was repulsed by a shield of light which materialized for a brief moment all around her.
-Interesting- said the sayan warrior -Then there is power on this planet.
-Exploited by weak creatures who are not able to fight!- exclaimed Tark, spitting towards the female. Yamoshi gave him a threatening snarl. The earthling said nothing but uncovered her head, revealing a very young face, covered with dust but without a trace of fear or terror in her eyes.
"She resembles the woman depicted by the statue".
-Tell me your name- said Yamoshi, trying to be as less urgent as possible : he didn't want to sound threatening until he figured out her strenght.
-Athena- she replied, and for a moment the warrior he heard great strengths in her words.
-How did you get this power?- asked the sayan, kneeling in front of her to stare straight into her eyes.
-It is my Cosmo- she explained -The Cosmo that protects and guides all the beings of the universe.
-It's called "Aura"- grumbled Bakku.
-We call it Aura, but it is not said that everyone uses the same word to define it- said the leader, before going back to her -Cosmo you sey. Does that mean there are other humans who can use it to defend themselves?
-Only those who matter- said a female voice, echoing all around them. Yamoshi jumped to his feet, using his visor to locate the source of power; he was the first to identify the shining golden figure that stood among the ruins.
-Finally!- exclaimed Tark. Both he and Bakka aimed for the earthling, ready to fight.
-Stop idiots!- shouted Yamoshi, hurling after them -Don't underestimate her!
-This time I won't be taken by surprise- replied Tark, stubbornly. In a flash the two sayans were thrown aside, so fast that Yamoshi couldn't even see what hit them. He stopped in dismay at the sight of the two on the ground: they barely seemed to breathe. The leader turned his attention back to the opponent, frightened in the face of such power.
-Don't challenge me monster- she said -Only a god can defeat a Golden Saint.
Yarik and Ophi landed at Yamoshi's sides, awaiting the order of attack; but Yamoshi hesitated, not entirely sure of the course of action to follow. He was able to defeat both Tark and Bakka together on his own, but that earthling crushed them in less than a breath.
-You made a big mistake facing us on your own, earthling- he snorted in the end, starting to target the "Saint" with his spheres of energy, soon imitated by the twins. If the melee didn't work, maybe they could weaken the enemy by using energy attacks enough to overcome it with numerical superiority.
After several seconds of unchallenged assault, Yamoshi stopped the offense and signaled to his companions to do the same. When the smoke had cleared, there was nothing left but a crater, and the golden earthling was no longer in sight.
-Whew, that was close- sighed the Sayan, wiping the sweat from his forehead.
-Are you hurt, my Athena?
Yamoshi turned immediately where the girl was, seeing another golden figure that rested gently a white mantle on the shoulders of the young . But this new earthling was a male, not a female, and his built was different, with two golden wings sprouting from his back. Only then did Yamoshi realize that he wore armor. Similar to the ones they had but still completely different, more rudimentary and solid gold. But above all he saw it shone with energy like a star.
-Who the hell are you ?- he asked aloud, preparing to hit the newcomer, when Tark recovered. He screamed, telling him to turn around. The sayan had just enough time to do that before realizing that the earthling he thought he had destroyed was standing behind him, unharmed except for the shredded cloak. Her face was covered with a mask, which made it impossible to distinguish her features, and gave a grim and disquieting air to her presence.
-How the hell did you…? - he started to say, but Yarik immediately jumped ahead to protect him; she tried to hit the warrior with a kick, but the earthling raised her right hand and with a clean blow severed the leg from the young, and then pushed her back with a blow to the chest. Yarik fell, rolling several feet away, spewing blood and leaving Yamoshi even more shocked.
-We are the defenders of the Earth and of all the mortals who inhabit it, for the goodness of the goddess Athena- the male explained, walking behind the sayan. Ophi tried to intervene but the man promptly dodged her attack and then dismissed her with a movement of his hand. He moved so wast she was knocked back by the shock-wave.
Yamoshi stood still, suppressing his instinct to react aggressively because he knew it would cost him his life. His only chance to get out alive was diplomacy. The other sayans despised it, but he nevertheless had perfected in those years of conquest.
-And as such you cannot allow the Earth to be destroyed- he finished, breathing deeply to calm himself. On Namek his companions had attacked without restraint and had been beaten to the point of escaping without looking back, but at least they managed to escape. Here instead they seriously were putting their lives on the line, and if he wanted to get everyone away from there without having to give up the honor of still being proud sayan's fighters, he had to be extremely cautious.
-We are not only the guardians, we are also the executioners- said the female, raising her right hand in the air -It means that we punish in the name of Athena those who bring destruction and death.
-I understand the nature of your code, but I beg you to spare us this time- the sayan said, straining all his self-control and discipline to keep from showing fear.
-Why?- asked he woman -You have slain an entire city, more than a thousand souls without remorse. Pity is wasted on you.
-We did not come to Earth to destroy it for fun: we were hired to clean it from its inhabitants by an official of the galactic empire- explained Yamoshi, fearing that the deadly arm would fall on his head any time.
-What are you talking about?- the female snapped, obviously irritated, but the male was quick to put a hand on her shoulder.
-We are not the only inhabitants in the universe- intervened the little girl called Athena, suddenly brimming with energy. Yamoshi's detector went mad and crumbled into small pieces: he could not determine the level of such a being, but the eyes of the saiyan were completely captivated by the sight of her. Athena suddenly seemed more adult, and emanated a charisma completely different from that of other inhabitants of the universe. Not even the king of all Saiyans was able to inspire such a reverence, because he was a tyrant, and not... Whatever Athena was, she was not merely mortal: she was something beyond his comprehension.
-Are there others like you who destroy planets and sell them to future owners?- asked Athena.
-Many- he replied -Tens of thousands, and few can resist them as you do.
-So many more reasons to kill as much as possible when we have the chance- insisted the warrior woman.
-Would you like to sacrifice yourself for the sake of the universe and exterminate all the warriors who will come here to conquer you?- was the quick response from the sayan.
-For every dead Saint another will raise and take his place. It has always been like this and always will be- said the man in gold
-Tell me your name, stranger- said Athena, freeing herself from the rags and revealing a candid, shining dress: her figure was embed in a terrifying and yet compassionate energy. Yamoshi fell to his knees.
-Yamoshi is my name- he said.
-Now tell me why you're here.
-Because I am a proud sayan, and we all follow the path of warriors by working as mercenary to those who request us.
-And where is the honor of the warrior in all this?- asked the female earthling.
-I accept any judgment you want to fell upon me, but only if you promise to spare the lives of our companions...
-Don't make fun of us, boy- said Tark, interrupting him. Yamoshi did not need to turn around to imagine him trying to keep his foot before starting a sermon about how a sayan surrendered only after death, and other old foolish things. But the leader had very different idea about what a sayan should be, so he felt no remorse when he stood up and responded harshly to his companion.
-You will do exactly as I order! Take the shuttles and go to the nearest planet before I kill you with my own hands!- he said - Our battle here is over. The contract cannot be fulfilled. Return to the client and give them my greetings.
Most sayans would have spit at him willingly, more out of personal pride than selflessness: there was no camaraderie in their species, only strict discipline and determination to become stronger. And being saved by another was a sign of weakness. Yamoshi didn't expect gratitude. He kept his gaze fixed on his comrades with all the authority he was capable of, crushing their will to oppose him, and finally the discipline got the better of the furious hearts of the defeated saiyans.
-Wait- intervened Athena, sitting down beside Yarik. Ophai hobbled along beside her, ready to defend her sister, but the male sayan raised a hand and she retreated in fear. Athena remained silent for a few moments, inspecting the body of the mutilated sayan , but before Yamoshi could ask her what she was doing a warm restorative light stretched from her hands. The light wrapped itself around the leg of the sayan. After a little more than a minute the blood had stopped flowing.
-Unbelievable- said Yamoshi, in awe, before recovering his stern attitude.
-Do not waste your energy: a sayan becomes twice as strong if he survives an otherwise deadly wound. If he is unable to survive this, he might as well die- he explained harshly to Athena.
-Barbarian– hissed the female golden warrior, and the male gave her a strange look, as if she had nothing to boast about. Tark, though weakened, found the strength to stand up on his own and walked unsteadily to Yarik, taking the twin in his arms while Ophi helped Bakka.
-You disappoint me boy- he growled at Yamoshi, before spitting again -You are a disgrace for our whole race: you are without a backbone and without honor. I will damn your name for centuries.
Once, Yamoshi would have torn him to pieces for that insult, but since he was about to die making he didn't care: whether he was forgotten or not it didn't matter, nobody on Vegeta would have never appreciated him for its true qualities.
-Get out of my sight. You are weak, you are unworthy, and you will live in shame for having failed your task- he retorted, turning his back on them. Athena and her Knights stared at the scene still and silent. When the four capsules finally left the planet, tracing their luminous trails in the night's sky, Yamoshi sighed with relief, letting go of all his cold security and falling to the ground.
-In the name of justice and of the goddess Athena ... - the female golden warrior began to say, moving in front of him and raising her right arm high above her head.
-I haven't expressed my judjment yet- Athena interrupted her, putting her hand protectively on the sayan's head A silence fell over the group for several seconds, but finally the warrior lowered her limb and stepped back, making room for the girl. Suddenly a scepter appeared in her hands, and she patted the ground once: in a few moments her figure became that of a mature woman in her prime, solemn and with inhuman beauty, although solid and imposing despite being little more taller than him.
-Do you offer your heart and your life to my judgment?- she said, in a loud voice, raising his chin with the scepter to make him look in her eyes as he responded.
-I also offer my soul to you, my lady- he replied, without blinking even in front of that incredible image.
-And then Yamoshi, "Who came from the Stars", I declare you my prisoner. You will be allowed to move around Sanctuary with an escort but you will not be able to go outside its borders unless I give you permission.
Silence fell. The divine form of Athena disappeared, and only the young woman remained.
-Prisoner!?- exclaimed the female warrior, and this time Yamoshi returned her gaze directly.
-The goddess Athena expressed her judgment. Yamoshi has submitted to her, we are not the ones who can decide of his fate now- the man intervened, and the sayan stepped back to leave the two to confront each other without risking being on the firing line. After all, now that he had time to think about it, he too found the judgment unexpected: he hadn't really thought about what would have happened to him once he let go of his companions. He had just felt it was the right choice to make. Perhaps it was Athena's vision that inspired him, to stun him with her divine power and to guide him in his choices, but he never expected compassion for himself. Assuming that was the case.
-But-but the goddess can't risk so much for a monster!- insisted the female warrior.
-Her wisdom is superior to that of any mortal, she knew why she took the decision. Laws…
-Oh enough with your laws, Marius! Your laws are tattered paper and oppression masqueraded as justice!
-Don't you dare offend my laws when you barbarians know only how to plunder defenseless cities, Crimilde!
-Mum, Dad, don't fight- interjected Athena, in an apparently condescending tone.
-Don't call us that!- the two warriors replied in chorus, leaving Yamoshi stunned in front of the scene. A few moments later, however, the sayan clearly felt the change of atmosphere that followed when Athena struck the scepter on the ground. The two warriors immediately took a step back.
-Come Yamoshi- said Athena, inviting him along holding out her hand -We have a lot to talk about. You can consider yourself a guest of mine rather than a prisoner, at least when you're with me.
The sayan hesitated a moment longer before joining the goddess, letting himself be guided wherever Sanctyary was. He couldn't help but wonder what was happening around him, or why in all those years no one in the empire had ever heard of a goddess like Athena. Certainly, there were various rumors about the existence of severals gods throughout the galaxy, starting with the feared Lord Beerus, the god of Destruction in person. But no one even mentioned the Earth goddess.
-I know what you're thinking- she said at one point.
-Really?- replied the sayan.
-Marius and Crimilde are not my birth parents, they are just two of the many who take care of my mortal body while it grows. But, given their mutual attachment to my being, it is fun to tease them on the subject ì- she explained. In response, Yamoshi raised his eyebrow even more.
-Do you think they understood?- asked Athena -Your friends I mean. What you did for them.
-A sayan does not understand friendship or compassion. If I had been compassionate with them they wouldn't have left, so I used the only emotion that was clear to them. I will never see them again, so to hell with their threats-Yamoshi replied, betraying a slight sense of abandon. To think that he felt abandoned by his companions... how strange he was.
-Killing you would have been a waste, Yamoshi. I can't read people's soul but I know you have something unique in your heart. And you have so much to teach to others, much more than you know. That's why I want you by my side, at least for now. You are the first extra-terrestrial to visit our world, and I find it incredible how lucky I am to meet you- said Atena, shaking his hand reassuringly. Yamoshi blushed in face of her affectionate touch.
-You praise me, Athena. I am not worthy of such treatment.
-Only time will tell if you are worthy of redemption, Yamoshi- she replied, smiling, while the sun of the Earth was beginning to peek out on the horizon.
-Until then, know that you are the first extra-terrestrial to be the welcome to the Sanctuary- she said, showing him the small city that would become his new home.
A\N: If you enjoyed the one-shot and you're interested in knowing the rest of the story, let me know in the usual ways. Alla prossima. Ciao.