"So what are you going to do now?" the blue-haired beauty named Bulma asked the spiky-haired child.
"I'm going to look for my grandpa's ball," Goku responded. "And I think I might bring Chi-Chi with me…" he said whispering. Bulma heard him, however, and took the opportunity to tease him.
"Oh?" she said, nudging Goku's shoulder, "You mean your little girlfriend?" she taunted.
"G-girlfriend? Wh-what's that?" Goku exclaimed, waving his arms around, flustered. He'd heard Bulma continuously draw on about the perfect boyfriend but he would have never thought there would be girlfriends as well.
"Yeah, kid," came a deep voice. This came from Yamcha, a long, dark-haired boy that had recently proclaimed he and Bulma had been dating. "She totally has a thing for you, and whether or not you know it, you like her back," he explained, eliciting nods from Bulma, as well as Oolong, Puar, and Krillin. Master Roshi was off somewhere harassing Launch, most likely.
"Of course I like her," Goku said, "she's my friend!" he exclaimed obliviously.
The group sweatdropped. "I think you like her more than a friend, little fella," Yamcha said, scruffing the kid's hair. "While you're with her you should take her on a few dates or something, just show her you care about her," he coaxed.
Bulma raised an eyebrow. "You were scared of me for a week straight and all of a sudden you're a relationship coach?" she inquired with her arms crossed. Yamcha chuckled nervously at the personal jab. "But Yamcha's right you know; you could take her on a few dates in between your journey's pit stops," she said. "Speaking of," she began, before digging in her pants pockets, "Here's the Dragon Radar." she handed the compass-like device to the boy who eagerly accepted it, thanking her. "Wait," she stopped herself, "you do know what a date is, right?"
"Uhh…" Goku said, resting his finger on his chin pensively. Upon seeing the bewildered look on the child's face, the couple took it upon themselves to give Goku a brief 5-minute explanation on dates and how to keep a woman content.
"Above all, Goku, be yourself," Bulma said knowingly. "She's already fallen for you... somehow… now all you have to do is keep her reeled in!" she stated with an honest smile.
Goku was red in the face from the detailed explanation but nevertheless now well-informed on what he had to do. He slapped himself in the face to regain focus.
"All right then, guys. I appreciate the advice," he thanked them. "Kinto-Un!" he called out, cupping his hands over his mouth. "Take me to Fire Mountain!" he ordered before yelling his final goodbyes to his friends, as well as his master. The said master called out to him before he was able to take off, however.
"Goku!" Roshi exclaimed, rubbing a bruise he got from getting a little too close to Launch's blonde side, "I'd suggest you refrain from using Kinto-Un to get places! It'll help with your training!" he shouted.
Goku sweated a little. 'But I can't fly! How else am I supposed to get places?' Goku thought. He jumped off the cloud, landing softly on the ground and in front of the group.
"You don't have to fly necessarily-" Master Roshi said before being cut off by the heat radiating off of Goku, as a white aura around him began flaring about. The aura around him began to expand and flare about, encircling him as started to levitate above the ground. The group looked on with shocked expressions as the boy was now easily 30 feet in the air and didn't look to be straining himself in the least.
"B-but how?!" Goku's bald-headed monk rival Krillin pondered aloud.
"I'm just as surprised as you, Krillin," said Roshi, 'But not that much,' he thought sweat dropping with a small grin. "Well, Goku you've already taught yourself a new skill to make up for your lack of utilities. It's quite astonishing to me how much you've grown."
"Thanks, Master! Well, I'm off to Fire Mountain!" he said retracing his steps to the familiar edifice and taking off, causing the trees in the surrounding area to sway about with great force.
'So fast!' the group thought collectively.
They then said their last goodbyes before going their separate ways.
Krillin stated he would resume training with Master Roshi, and Bulma would continue to reside in West City with Yamcha, Puar and Oolong.
And so the story truly begins…
Goku had stopped flying quite some time ago, as the amount of energy he let off during his departure the tournament grounds had slightly drained his stamina. Panting slightly while running, he thought, 'I'll have to train to store and control that energy better!' Slowing down, he came to a halt in the dead of night. Hearing the loud growl from his stomach, he decided to settle down and go for a hunt.
Conveniently, a Pterodactyl had roosted in a nest not far from where he had been, serving as a good, roasted meal. Sitting by the fire and fighting off drowsiness, Goku began speaking out loud to himself.
"So a girlfriend is someone I care for and I need to protect those I care about…" Goku said, thinking back to how he was helpless and nowhere to be found when his grandfather was trampled to death by a monster. Gritting his teeth at the thought while sitting in a meditative pose, he thought 'I've got to get stronger! I can't let Chi-Chi or the others get hurt because I'm too weak!' he thought. His face heating up at how he had thought of Chi-Chi first he exclaimed, "Gah!" he yelled, ruffling his hair wildly, "This love shit is confusing! Well, whatever. The main thing I need to set my sights on is becoming better at being myself, and if I am strong, then that's what I need to become more of." Thinking back to his loss against Jackie Chan, he grinned. 'There are so many strong opponents for me to face in this world; it's only a matter of time before I meet another challenge.' He thought, clenching his fists.
Falling back on the soft grass, he laid his hands behind his head like a pillow and gazed up at the moon. It wasn't full tonight but still looked enthralling nonetheless. The rays shone right onto his face, providing an indirect touch-like sensation. It kept him at ease and soothed his plethora of emotions, allowing his mind some clarity. With his current aspirations in mind of trumping another hurdle, Goku allowed his fatigue to overtake him and sleep to consume him entirely.
Having awoken the next morning and doing his daily hunting and his pre-workout of 500 pull-ups, press-ups, sit-ups, Goku set out to cook the eggs that the Pterodactyl he had eaten yesterday had been protecting. As they were rather large, they served to be a good meal boiled, as well as providing him with a good deal of protein.
After breakfast, he set his hands at his sides and replicated his actions of the previous day, attempting to fly again. Finding it much easier to control his ki today than the day prior, he continued his journey to Fire Mountain, feeling much faster and stronger than usual.
It had been nearly an hour and Goku was showing no signs of fatigue. Even better news came in the form of the now extinguished castle that had been nicely refurbished to its former glory.
"That's what this place looks like now?! It's like the castles in the fairytales grandpa used to tell!" Goku exclaimed, touching down on the cobblestone pavement that leads to the front of the massive doors that looked built specifically for the Ox King's gargantuan stature.
Slamming his fist on the gigantic door in an attempt to knock, Goku waited patiently until he heard the door slowly "creak" open. Looking through the slight crack that had been made, he saw an eye peek through and heard a familiarly soft call of "Goku?"
"Chi-Chi?" he responded.
Upon hearing his voice, the door swung upon and the Ox princess who was garbed in her traditional skimpy blue war outfit greeted the boy with a big hug that was eagerly returned with a blush. 'Why does my face keep heating up?!' Goku thought.
"My prince! You've come to whisk me away on your glorious cloud to an unknown land where we shall-" Chi-Chi was cut off by the call of her name.
"Y-your… choking… m-me," Goku squeezed out between breaths. Chi-Chi giggled, loosening her grip on the boy and giving him a kiss on the cheek, causing the boy to turn as red as a tomato.
"You'll be fine," she said giggling even harder at his reaction. Shaking his head, to regain focus, he cleared his throat.
"Actually, I kinda am here to take you away," upon seeing her about to exclaim, he quelled her excitement so he could continue talking. Upon seeing her pout, he chuckled, continuing. "I actually wanted to ask if you would like to go with me on a journey with me to find my grandpa's Dragon Ball." Chi-Chi's face lit up but before she could answer...
"Grandpa, you say?" came the gruff, booming voice of the Ox-King, who stomped his way to the door. "Goku! What a pleasant surprise to see you here!" he took a good look at the boy, "and much stronger after Master Roshi's training, I can tell!" Goku smiled at the sight of the strong man who towered over him. He wiped his nose modestly.
"Hi, Ox-King! It's great to see you too! And I've been training super hard since we last met!" he said, flexing his muscles for show. At this action, Chi-Chi began to poke at Goku's biceps, causing the boy to get flustered, switching to conversate to prevent embarrassment. "I was just wondering if-" he began before being cut off by Chi-Chi.
"Daddy, he's come to take me away from here to profess our love!" Ox-King and Goku simultaneously garnered the same expressions of confusion, in Ox King's case, and slight irritation in Goku's.
"Um, Goku, can you explain?" Ox-King asked, confused.
Sighing, Goku explained his hopes to locate Gohan's Dragon Ball and bring Chi-Chi on the journey with him for reasons he wouldn't explain, other than that he thought she would make a good companion. Ox-King smirked, easily understanding the crush that the spiky-haired child had on his daughter.
"Oh, I understand completely, now!" he said, laughing haughtily. If there was anyone he could rely on to take good care of his daughter and in a noble way, it was Son Goku. "Well, Goku, you have my blessing," he said with a wink. "It's about time Chi-Chi got to experience what the real world is like, and I'm leaving it upon you to make sure her life remains out of danger." Goku took on a serious expression and put his fist up to his chest.
"You can count on me; I'll make sure she comes back without a scratch," Goku said with the utmost seriousness. Ox-King looked into the boy's eyes to check for even a waiver of emotion. Seeing none, he laughed heartily and slapped a hand on the boy's shoulder.
"I'm sure I can! Well, Chi-Chi, make sure you pack your things, and Goku, why don't you come in and eat with us before heading out? Can't go on a journey on an empty stomach." At the mention of food, Goku's stomach growled loudly. Giggling, Chi-Chi grabbed Goku by the hand and guided him into the dining hall where a 20-foot table full of food had been waiting for him.
After getting his fill, Goku patted his stomach and ushered for Chi-Chi to meet him outside when she was ready. She nodded, smiling at him before heading upstairs.
Goku waited outside the palace doing one-handed push-ups while waiting for Chi-Chi to finish readying up.
"995...996...997...998...999...1-" Goku nearly fell over at the sight of Chi-Chi.
She was now in a completely different outfit than her regular one, her hair styled in a neat bun, her bangs falling at the front and sides of her face and a gold and white ax slung over her shoulder. She now wore a blue, gold-rimmed cheongsam dress with loose, red pants and white boots.
Upon seeing Goku's lost gaze, Chi-Chi blushed heavily, shifting her feet and covering her face with the bit. "Like what you see?" she asked shyly.
Goku began stuttering heavily. "I-I mean, y-you look nice, I mean-, great! I m-mean," he said trying to gain his composure. Clearing his throat with a blush on his cheeks he said "You're beautiful," with a hand in front of his mouth, muffling his words.
"What was that?" Chi-Chi said, eliciting an annoyed look from the boy.
"I said you look beautiful!" he exclaimed, blushing heavily and looking down to hide his face from hers. Hearing her giggled, he looked back up to see she was right in front of him.
"Thanks, Goku. You're very flattering," she said, kissing him on the cheek and giving him a wink.
Growling softly, Goku asked, while fiddling with the controls of the Dragon Radar, "Uhh, can we leave now?"
Chuckling lightly, Chi-Chi gave the okay and took the Dragon Radar out of Goku's hands, jumping into his open arms. "Well, take me away my prince!" she commanded. Goku pouted but nonetheless took off, Chi-Chi guiding him where the closest ball was.
Ox-King stood in the doorway watching as the pair flew off. Taking a smoke from the pipe in his hand he blew out a puff saying, "In a few years, that'll be my son-in-law." He chuckled at the notion. It wasn't impossible, as long as the boy wasn't too dense.
The cool wind was blowing in the two teens' faces, nothing but silence enveloping the two of them as they took in the beauty of nature. As Goku continued to fly, he heard the beeping of the radar and Chi-Chi guided him to head towards the base of a large white pillar.
Nodding, Goku began his descent to the ground below. Touching down, he gently placed Chi-Chi on the grass and the two of them began to look in the surrounding area for the Dragon Ball. What caught their attention, however, was a horrifying sight.
A man in a pink gi with his hair in a braided ponytail had his hand stretched in the form of a blade at a large, tanned man's neck, his fingernails digging deep into the man's skin, drawing blood. A demolished hunting spear with a crushed metal blade and smashed wooden hilt lied next to him.
"Get off my Papa!" exclaimed a young boy that looked like a chibi, spitting image of the larger man.
"Surrender the Dragon Ball," he said menacingly, "and nothing happens to your father," he said, not taking an eye off of his prey.
"Upa, just run! Get away from here, I'll be fine!"
Before Upa could respond, Goku was already on the move, flying at the man in the pink gi, with a ki-enhanced fist soaring quickly towards his head.
The man saw Goku at the last moment, but as he made an attempt to dodge, it was far too late. As Goku's punch made contact, the man was flung hundreds of feet forward, into a tree headfirst, crushing his skull, instantly killing him.
The man's body was sprawled out on the ground, his head split open and bleeding profusely. Goku ignored the gory sight and checked to see if the now saved victim was okay, as his son ran towards his father. Chi-Chi looked at the scene that had just played out with her eyes wide, a shocked expression on her face. She had to put her hand over her mouth to prevent herself from gagging. Had the adorable, naïve boy that she fell in love with turned a cold-blooded killer?
"Papa!" the boy exclaimed happily, hugging the man, "Thank you for saving my papa!" he said, gratefully bowing towards Goku, who was now helping the man stand up.
"It's no problem. I saw someone in danger and did what I thought was right," he simply said.
Chi-Chi ran towards Goku, asking if he was alright to which he responded he was. He flashed her a wide grin to reassure her that held so much innocence and the very essence of the boy she loved. He was not lost after all. 'I'm glad…' she thought with a hand over her heart.
"That was quite the brutal strike you dealt to that man," the tan figure said standing at full height, which was about double Goku's size. "You have immense strength, young man. You are forever in my debt," he said, bowing his head. Goku returned the gesture and repeated his humble words.
Smiling, the man introduced himself. "My name is Bora, and this is my son Upa," he said pointing to the little boy. "These are the sacred grounds of the Land of Korin," he said, gesturing to the surrounding area which was littered by three man huts nearing the dozens. "Who are you?"
Goku smiled, "My name is Son Goku, and this is my friend, Chi-Chi," he said, pointing to the girl next to him who waved in turn, "we're on a quest looking for something called a Dragon Ball. Have you seen it?"
Raising an eyebrow, Bora looked questioningly at the boy. "That's actually exactly what that man was terrorizing us about. I would assume it holds some sort of power which is why he sought after it so heavily. What do you hope to accomplish by acquiring it?"
"Well," Goku began to explain, "initially, we'd have to collect 7 of them and gather them together to grant any one wish, but I'm only looking for the four-star one since it's like a memento of my late grandfather," Goku finished with a somber tone. Chi-Chi rubbed Goku's back comfortingly. Noting the earnesty in Goku's explanation, Bora asked for his son to allow Goku to have the ball. Smiling, Upa happily obliged and handed the ball to Goku whose expression immediately changed to that of a child on Christmas.
"Really? We can have it?" he asked, not believing it to be this easy.
"Indeed, you may," Bora said, nodding. "Think of it as a debt repaid,''.he said, smiling.
"Wow, well, thanks, Bora and Upa!" Goku said, bowing respectfully. The gestured was returned in kind by the two.
"Um, can I ask something?" Chi-Chi said, speaking up. Bora nodded for her to continue. "If I may know, what is this large pillar? We saw it on our way here and it looks like it goes into the heavens," she said, looking upwards to the clouds in which the top of the pillar vanished.
Smirking, Bora responded, "You're quite perceptive, missy, because that's exactly what this pillar supposedly leads to. Legend has it that if you climb to the top, it is said that you can get a drink of Sacred Water that increases your strength by many times." Goku's ear twitched at the mention of a power-up. "Go even higher and you shall meet the god of this Earth himself," he said sagely.
'Wonder if it's just a myth,' Chi-Chi thought.
"What if I were to test that theory?" Goku said suddenly, breaking everyone from their thoughts. Raising an eyebrow at their expressions, Goku asked, "What, you don't think it's possible? I think I can do it if I really try!" he exclaimed, punching his palm. Chi-Chi smiled at her crush's enthusiasm.
"If you believe you can do it, I do too!" she said proudly. "Even if it takes you forever, I'll follow you to the very end, just to make sure you succeed!" Goku beamed at the enthusiasm, giving Chi-Chi a cheeky grin as thanks.
Bora was stunned. 'A mere boy thinking he could reach the peak of divinity? Was it truly possible? It is true that he has displayed quite a great deal of talent in the few minutes I've known him… It just may be what the prophecy proclaimed...' Stepping forward, the tall man placed a hand on Goku's shoulder. "I believe so as well. Reach the top and surpass your limits, Son-Kun. You have my faith as well as the whole village whom you have just saved." Goku smiled, nodding. "Right!" he said.
"Well, I'm off!" Goku said, hopping onto the pillar beginning his climb, running up the side of the tower. "Next time you see me, I'll be leaps and bounds stronger!" he exclaimed, already becoming hard to see by now. Chi-Chi pondered for a moment if she should really follow after him. "I'll be down here training until you get back! I'll be stronger too!" she shouted until he couldn't hear her.
"Train, you say?" Bora said, "I can surely help you with that, young lady." He outstretched a hand for her to shake which she gladly took. "Starting today, you'll be going through the most hellish experience until your future lover returns," he said with a wink. Chi-Chi smiled, blushing at the comment. She looked up to where Goku had just disappeared off to. Hopefully, he gave her some time.
Goku: 74, 155 (Post Zenkai)
Roshi: 139 (Suppressed)
Launch: 3, 7 (Bad)
Ox King: 95
Mercenary Tao: 51