A/N: I'm back! And with new ideas! I don't wanna spoil anything, but I shall talk more about them in the review responses below!
Chapter 11: When It Rains (It Pours)
The darkness was all around him, clinging to his form. It felt restrictive. It was like the darkness was not only obscuring his sight, but it was even chaining him to the ground. Was there even any ground? On second thought, Gohan certainly couldn't feel any beneath his feet. You'd think after being in enough visions that he'd get used to the oddities by now.
Unfortunately, it seemed that was not to be.
To be fair, it didn't even feel like a vision either. Unless he was up in the cosmos, maybe, it didn't make any sense. When he was in a vision, he would see things, people, places, and the like. He would at least be able to see the ground if he wasn't standing on it. 'Could this be a side effect of the visions? Like sudden blindness?!'
He quickly ushered that thought away. It wouldn't make much sense for it to happen now of all times. Not when he'd already been using this power for years and years. Plus, he'd heard from other people about dreams similar to how he was feeling. There was nothing to see, nothing to feel. You merely existed. He hated the feeling; the feeling of powerlessness.
Something began to light up. Nothing like a torch or the sun, but even still it began to flicker. The light was bright even if it was a small point off in the distance, not much bigger than a peanut. The light only grew larger and brighter as time went on. He still couldn't move, even to shut his eyes, but he found that the light didn't hurt. It was bright, one of the brightest things that he'd ever seen, but it didn't hurt like looking into the Sun or any other intense light would. He couldn't quite wrap his mind around it, but it was a dream so it would probably be a fruitless effort anyways.
The light seemed like it was getting closer, slowly but surely. It had stopped growing, at least, stopping at the size of an amorphous blob about the same height as an average sized man. Gohan tried to draw himself back, yet his limbs wouldn't respond. He had no choice but to watch as the blob came closer. He could feel goosebumps starting to prickle at his skin. It was only a stone's throw away when he heard an echoed shout.
Gohan felt his arms break out in chills. It was like the sound had gone through his very being, waking him up. "Who's there?"
Gohan took a step back. If he wasn't so alarmed, he would have questioned how he could even take any steps when the ground was nonexistent. Instead, he found himself in morbid awe of the energy he was sensing. It was huge. There was nothing he could compare it to. He was like an ant compared to the goliath before him, but even that wasn't entirely fitting. "Wh-Who are you?"
He didn't receive an answer. The light began to recede even more quickly than it had come as the light began to dim and become smaller once again. Despite his absolute bewilderment, Gohan couldn't help but find something odd in the disembodied voice.
Something that sounded almost familiar.
"EW! Stop fucking drooling on me!"
Gohan was up like a bullet. He would've knocked right into the side of Shen's head if she didn't dodge out of the way. He, of course, only barely realized this because he was still trying to get his bearings.
"Hey, watch it, kid!" Shen grumbled.
"Sorry," Gohan mumbled, rubbing at his eyes.
"You were saying stuff in your sleep," Toph interrupted. "What's up with that?"
Shen's eyes widened. "Did ya have another vision?"
Gohan's ears burned. Hopefully they weren't as red as they felt. What should he say? It wasn't like he could really describe what he saw. Or dreamt? It didn't really look like a vision.
"I'm not sure," he said, carefully. Well at least that was the truth. "What did I say?"
Shen looked at Toph expectantly. She didn't disappoint. "Something, something, Vegeta. Something, something, no don't. Something, something, look out. And something about a radish? Whatever that is."
Gohan froze. He didn't even remember dreaming anything about them. He hadn't dreamed about Raditz since he'd left the orphanage. How could it have been possible that they were still that present in his mind, in his sleep, even when he wasn't aware of it?
"Damn, must've been a nightmare," Shen said, breaking Gohan's spell. Her face was scrunched into a grimace.
Gohan nervously chuckled. "Yeah, I don't remember anything like that."
"Hn," Toph grunted. "It barely made any sense anyways." Gohan breathed an inward sigh of relief. "How much longer till we make it to a town? I wanna see if they've got any competitions!"
Gohan glanced out of the wagon. Jing had been moving already (for how long, he couldn't tell), so they were probably closer rather than farther from their destination. Observing the shortening number of trees, Gohan was fairly certain that they were close. The next village was likely only an hour away. "We'll probably be there soon."
Toph gave a fist pump, which made him smile a little bit. It wasn't nearly enough to break his funk though. He hadn't thought about Raditz in a while. Yet, apparently he was still on his mind. It felt like all the things that he'd been through since he'd embarked on the journey to Ba Sing Se had been insignificant. Just a boy playing at being a hero. All that combined with his most recent vision, dream, whatever it was, he was starting to see the truth.
He wasn't getting strong enough.
The time that they spent in the village was rather short, much to Toph and Shen's chagrin. There wasn't much that could be done about it though. There weren't many places that they could go with a Shirshu, especially in the Earth Kingdom where Toph's parents were sure to be looking for her. Not to mention, if some of the odd looks that they were receiving were any indication, their reputation was definitely beginning to proceed them.
True or not.
For the moment, they were coming up to a river. The river was amazingly clear. Quite clearer than the water he and Shen were used to seeing. The current wasn't particularly strong either, so it was quite easy to see the fish swimming along. The river was serenity itself, it seemed, an omen for good and peace. After all, how could anything bad happen in an environment as pure as what stood before him? It took every bit of his restraint to not jump in that water and join the fish in their delight.
A memory flashed across his mind, a memory of a palm haired man. His father. He loved to fish and cook his catches, even though his wife's cooking was top notch. He still loved it. There were a few times that Gohan was allowed to tag along in between studying. On one particular morning, his dad caught a Giant Fish: the largest species of fish on his planet. It was one of the most beautiful things that he'd ever seen. He was also mind numbingly terrified. He'd never felt such a mix of awe and terror and gaiety before or since as he watched that creature.
But his father was there, so he knew that everything would be alright no matter how he felt.
Gohan blinked away some tears that were beginning to prickle at his eyes. He didn't know why that memory came to him. He didn't even know he had that memory.
"Huh?! What's happening?!"
Shen rolled her eyes. "Lost in your head again, huh, kid?" He could see a shade of sympathy in her gaze a moment later. He looked away instead of meeting her gaze. "Are you crying?"
Gohan flushed. "Uh, no, I'm just, uh, tired."
As if on cue, a yawn tore its way out of his throat. Shen looked fairly unconvinced, but she did turn away. "You oughta get more sleep."
Gohan barely held back a snort. 'I feel like sleep is the problem.'
"So, who do you think would last the longest on a deserted island?"
Gohan blinked before turning back to Shen, who was watching him with insistent eyes. "This is what you wanted my attention for?"
"Yeah. Toph thought that she would survive the longest and I thought that I would."
Ignoring the fact that he hadn't even been considered, Gohan put a hand under his chin. "Where's the deserted island? Is it tropical or more similar to a desert terrain?"
"Uh, tropical, I guess?"
"Any big predators?"
"Uh. . . ooh! Yeah! A-A serpent in the waters and a bunch of catgators and bears!"
Gohan hummed as he rubbed his chin. "Well, I'd have to give raw power to Toph. It would certainly make hunting easier and deter the larger animals. However, I'd have to give know-how to Shen. In the end though, I'd have to give it to Toph."
Shen threw up her hands as Toph stuck her tongue out. "Huh, why?!"
"You'd probably do something stupid like try to take on the serpent and get yourself killed," Gohan replied dryly.
The girl just crossed her arms with a little huff and the most adorable pouty expression he'd ever seen. "Jerk. . ."
"Wow," Toph smirked. "I didn't think you had a snarky remark in you, Rice Ball."
Gohan reddened as he waved his hands. "No, no, it wasn't- I didn't- ah. . . I was just messing with her, that's all."
Toph snorted, clasping her hands together behind her head as she leaned further into their stock bag. "Yeah, I know. I think I like you better like this."
Gohan reddened even further. Shen didn't let the opportunity go to waste as she quickly teased him. She and Toph laughed, but Gohan didn't mind it too much. He was just glad to have his mind off of the torture that he'd been enduring.
"Say," Shen asked, after the ribbing had ceased. "Did you get any gear?"
"Yeah, the weighted training gear that you talked about before. I don't think I saw you get any in the village."
Gohan sighed, rubbing at his eyes with the heel of his palm. "Yeah, I couldn't find any. I'm just hoping that we'll be able to find some in Ba Sing Se."
"We should find some there. If not, there's always that guru, right?"
He was confused for a moment before he nodded with a smile. The guru from his vision was someone that he'd talked to Toph and Shen about briefly after he'd had a vision of him in Foggy Swamp. He wasn't sure how he'd come to meet him, but he was hoping to do it soon. For now, though, they were going to keep on the path set before them. Hopefully the Earth King would find it fit to give them a lift to the guru.
"Yeah and then we'll find the Avatar!" Shen cheered with a fist pump. Only for her joyous expression to wilt a second later. "Or should we do that first?"
"We can figure that out later," Toph said, waving her hand. "I just wanna get to Ba Sing Se."
"What? Ya already gettin' tired of the rough life, Princess?"
Toph scoffed. "Nah, I just wanna get out of the Earth Kingdom as soon as possible. Less distractions from training you that way."
Gohan tuned out the conversation and let his mind wander again. The guru could be the key to unlocking everything. Or if not everything, he could be a huge step forward in his efforts to defeat Vegeta. But he was still certain that they needed to find the Earth King first. 'Still. . could it be easier to unite the Nations with the Avatar? The Avatar is an esteemed figure on this earth, after all. If we had their help, uniting the Nations would be a lot easier, wouldn't it? Even before that, convincing the Earth King would be way easier. . .'
Gohan shook his head. That would seem to be the case, but he still would have to contend with the fact that he didn't have the foggiest idea where to find them. That wasn't even adding onto the fact that they could very well have died one hundred years ago in the Fire Nation attack. It would certainly explain why they hadn't come back.
Heroes always came back, unless they died.
Still, I wonder. . .
Gohan nearly jumped ten feet in the air before he calmed down. He blinked at the expectant gaze of Shen before rubbing the back of his neck, sheepishly. "I said that out loud, didn't I?"
"Yeah, so ya might as well spit it out. What's up?"
"You remember that spirit? Raava?"
"Yeah, the one we spent all day in that stuffy library tryin' to find. I'm gettin' bored just thinking about it."
"I'm getting bored just hearing about it," Toph drawled.
"Yeah, that one. I was wondering if maybe Raava had something to do with the Avatar."
"I'm sorry, what the heck are you guys talking about?"
Gohan chuckled, sheepishly. "Sorry about that Toph. Uh, Raava is a spirit-"
"We think she's a spirit."
"-who is trapped in the Southern Water Tribe lakes. We learned about them from one of my visions from this dark spirit."
"Ah, more cosmic mumbo jumbo."
"Hey!" Shen scowled. "It's not mumbo jumbo! It's realll."
"Yeah, I believe you," Toph said, waving a flippant hand. "It just sounds like mumbo jumbo to me. Probably like what seeing with my feet is to you guys or Gohan feeling people's energies sounds to you and me."
Shen crossed her arms. "I guess."
"Anyways," Gohan interrupted, "I think that the Avatar and Raava could be connected. I got a real bad vibe from whatever was in that tree. It felt evil and wrong. Not to mention, Vaatu called her his rival. Anything that's the rival of that spirit has to be good right?"
"That isn't much to go off of," Shen pointed out.
Gohan shook his head. "I thought so too, but I remember just feeling the power rolling off of that spirit and it was from a vision during a time when I couldn't sense energy like I can now. If there really was a spirit in the bottom of a lake that could rival it, I feel like someone would have come across it by now. Especially with how old that spirit probably is."
"Old? How do you know they're old?"
"That spirit, Vaatu, said that his power went further than this planet. I think he's some type of cosmic force, maybe as old as time. If that old tree he was in is any indication, he must've been around for a while."
"It would explain why we couldn't find anything on Vaatu or Raava. They might just be so old that any record of them got lost." She gave a huff, blowing her bangs out of her eyes. "Man, this is annoying."
Gohan just nodded as he tilted his head back onto his side of the wagon. He couldn't help but wonder how that strange being fit into the puzzle before them. It could've been very well unrelated, but if it was indeed a vision, the chances were that it was important. If there was one thing that he'd learned, it was that visions were always important.
Unless they were about thieving panda-geese. That was still one of the strangest who-done-its that he'd ever been a part of. . . and the only who-done-it he'd ever been a part of.
'Anyways. . .'
The spirit felt familiar, even if his energy did feel strange. He sure sounded familiar too, which wouldn't be too surprising since that being knew him. He felt a pit in his stomach at the thought of some all-powerful being that knew of his existence.
Still, he had never seen a blob before. A being that was without features or form outside of a vaguely round shape. There were a few spirits that fit that type of qualification, but they were weak and not even important enough to have documented names. The "spirit" that he'd encountered had been powerful. Extremely powerful.
Above all of that though, the being's energy-like form reminded him of some things he'd seen from his father's friends and some of the alien warriors from his visions. They'd have some kind of. . . battle aura around them at certain points in their fights. Those auras were made from the same energy that allowed him to fly, the same energy he sensed all around him.
And the same energy that allowed them to fire blasts.
Gohan gingerly raised an open palm, facing the heavens. He thought of a ball. Just an orb of some of his energy. Just a little bit of that so that he didn't-
"EH?!" Shen exclaimed, squinting at Gohan's hand. "The hell was that?!"
Gohan blinked down at his smoking hand. It didn't hurt and he hadn't seen more than a little light before the smoke had come out. "Uh. . . a blast?"
Shen simply snorted.
Gohan was finding himself missing his orphanage more and more, which was saying a lot because it had been a miserable, spirit-forsaken place. No matter where he'd choose to lay, the uneven wooden boards of the wagon would be sure to dig into his body and the cold draft during the winters would find him under his thin covers. He didn't know if he could entirely call it a curse though. It kept him from falling asleep. It kept him from facing the blob.
It was a cowardly, childish fear to be afraid of something that might not have even been real, but he just couldn't bring himself to imagine ever being in that thing's presence again. It reminded him too much of how he'd felt against Raditz.
Gohan grunted as he rolled over onto his other side, giving his aching right side some reprieve. Not for the first time, he felt like they were moving too slow. Not for the first time, he missed his home planet's increased technology. The detour with the Swamp, the detour with King Bumi, the run-in with the bandits: it all felt like it was slowing them down. He didn't even have training equipment yet!
All he had was some spotty flying, the barest whiff of an energy blast, and some sensing abilities. How was he supposed to fight Vegeta when he could barely even scratch Xin Fu?
His blood went cold just from the thought of how close he could've been to dying that day. He turned onto his back looking up at the night sky. Not even the beauty of the stars could give him solace. Their beauty was a lie. Beyond those stars, there were monsters; monsters that were coming for them all.
It was at times like these, under the heated sun of the dusty villages that he'd come across, that Zuko found himself missing his home.
The Fire Nation was a magnificent kingdom like no other. The advancements were beyond any other "empire" in the world, the education was superior, and the, well, everything. It was home. This quaint, smelly little town couldn't hope to compare. Between the constant Fire Nation disdain, the uncivilized brutes, and his dishonored pride, there wasn't much that he wouldn't give to be back home.
But since hopes and wants were fleeting, he instead found himself sitting in a dingy, Earth Kingdom bar for the third day in a row.
"Working here would be awful. . ."
Zuko raised a brow and turned to face his uncle. "Huh?"
"Working here would be awful," his uncle repeated. "They don't even have good tea."
"Forget about the tea, uncle! I need you to keep an eye out for-"
"-signs of our mysterious friend," his uncle interrupted, scrunching his face at the subpar taste of the tea. "I know."
"You say that but it sure doesn't seem like it!"
"There aren't very many reliable sources around, nephew."
That much was true. It was a much quieter hour inside the bar. There were only two other people in the building with them, not counting the bar staff. Even when people came and went, there hadn't been more than five people in at a time, excluding himself and his uncle.
"Still, keep your eyes peeled. Word says that our target came through here."
His uncle simply sipped at his tea before making another face. Zuko just rolled his eyes. Suggesting that his uncle could just throw the tea away would be a wasted effort.
"Have you considered getting a job here?"
Zuko turned to stare at his uncle again. "What?"
"It may help for a while. We might not find any good leads on our mystery friend for a while. We've been at this for three days already. Our crew hasn't found much either."
Zuko scowled. That wasn't something that he'd wanted to be reminded of. It was bad enough that he had to hide in some Earth Kingdom disguise, but it was made all the harder knowing that they were only staying for a possible fairy tale.
"I'm sorry to intrude, but is anyone sitting here?"
Zuko looked up to find a tall man in a straw-hat head covering. A quick glance showed him the satchel that the man was shouldering. His scowl deepened; the idiot was probably some traveler coming for relaxation or vacation. With his luck, he'd be the chatty type.
So, as he saw fit, he got ready to shut it down fast. "Ye-"
"No, you can sit."
Zuko slowly dragged his gaze to his uncle, who's cheeky expression was hidden away from the traveler who took his place next to the old man.
The man looked at Zuko and flinched. Zuko's brows furrowed with slight alarm. 'Does he recognize me?! There's no way, is there?'
"Say," started the traveler. "Are you sure that it's alright if I sit here? I wouldn't want to make anything awkward."
"It's fine," Uncle said, waving a hand. "Don't mind my nephew, he's feeling a little cranky this morning."
Zuko felt his ire rise, but before he could make it known, the traveler just chuckled. His unease seemed to dissipate within seconds. 'Ah well, at least this means he didn't think we were Fire Nation.'
"So, what brings you here?" Uncle asked the man.
The traveler looked at Uncle for a moment before staring back down to the table. "I've been here for a few years now, searching for Wan Shi Tong's library."
Uncle's eyebrows shot up. "Ah, you thirst for knowledge. Not for nefarious reasons, I hope?"
"No, no! Nothing like that. I just want to learn. It has been a dream of mine to find that library ever since I've learned of its existence. The amount of untold knowledge hiding in there would be unfathomable. If I could spend my days in no other place but that library, I'd die a happy man!"
"An admirable goal, no doubt."
"What of you two? Are you here for similar reasons?"
The man's face was lit up like a torch light after all of that talk. Zuko found himself inwardly cursing his uncle's sociable nature with each passing second. As such, he left the answering to him. Adults never really looked to kids for answers anyway. "No, my nephew and I are here for, ah, thrill seeking."
"Yes, we've heard that there was an impressive force that has passed through this area. Some say that it was the Avatar, others say that it was a man possessed. I've even heard some claim that it was a vengeful spirit and its acolytes who ravaged the sandbenders just a few short days ago."
The traveler paled. Zuko noticed immediately. "You're looking for him?"
Zuko turned to fully face the traveler, just barely avoiding knocking his knee into the bar table before him. "You know him?!"
The traveler didn't flinch this time. He just carried a faraway look. "I can't say that I know him, but I met him. Talked to him in this very bar. He was nice, polite. But then, the sandbenders took his Shirshu and he. . . he had this aura. It was like he was possessed and he-"
"Aura?" Zuko interrupted. "What do you mean?!"
The traveler glanced at him briefly before returning his gaze to the table. "It was bright. It enshrouded his entire form. It-It moved like fire although the air was displaced around him like a hurricane!"
"Do you know where he might have gone?" Uncle asked.
The traveler gulped. "Are you sure that you gentlemen want to-?"
"He asked you a question!" Zuko growled. "Of course we want to know!"
"At ease, nephew," Uncle chided. "We appreciate your concern, mister. . ."
"Zei. Professor Zei."
Uncle gave him a smile and a nod. "Professor, we appreciate your concern, but we are quite capable of handling this life that we've chosen."
The professor regarded him carefully before looking at Zuko briefly and then turning back to uncle. It looked as if he was weighing his options. Just when Zuko's patience was about to snap, Zei spoke. "I'm not sure where they went exactly-"
"Oh come on!" Zuko growled.
"-B-But I know that they were planning on leaving the desert."
"That isn't much to go off of. Most sane people would want to leave this wasteland."
Zei chuckled nervously. "That is true. . . wait! I remember one of the sandbenders recognized one of the people with the. . . boy."
"There were people with him?" Zuko asked. "How many?"
"Just two others. Both young girls. They couldn't have been older than thirteen."
"Which one did they recognize?"
"It was the blind girl, I believe."
"Thank you, Professor," Uncle said with a smile. "You've been a great help."
"Uncle we should get going," Zuko said as he stood up.
"Already? I haven't even finished my tea yet."
"We need to get moving now. I'm not sure where they've gone, but I think I know where they're headed."
Uncle sighed as he pushed in his stool. "Sorry to leave on such short notice, Professor. I wish you luck on your search."
The professor smiled but it didn't quite reach his eyes. "I'd wish you the same, but for your sakes, I couldn't do so in good conscience."
Zuko scowled. He didn't need to hear any more out of the wuss. He stormed out as he made his way to his crew's rendezvous point. Despite his rotund form, his uncle managed to catch up with him remarkably quickly and easily fell into pace beside him.
"What was this about you knowing where they're going?" his uncle asked.
Zuko smirked. "If that is the Avatar, it sounds like he has airbending and firebending mastered. The transformation that the boy took might have been the Avatar State. And if those things are true, then there's a great chance that they're headed to Ba Sing Se."
"And if it isn't the Avatar?"
"It doesn't matter. This is the best lead that we've had in two years. I'll be damned if I squandered it."
Gohan woke up awkwardly pressed against the side of the wagon and their sack. Groaning as he pried himself out of the uncomfortable entrapment, he looked around with bleary eyes. They were still stopped where they had been last night, which wasn't a surprise as Gohan had been sure to make Jing get her rest. What really caught his attention was the lack of his two companions. Bewildered, he stood up to get a better look. His concern was temporarily sated as he caught eyes with Shen a few feet away, sitting in the grass.
Gohan climbed down from the wagon as he made his way over to her, stumbling slightly as the blood began to circulate to his legs. "Hey, where's Toph?"
"She said she wanted to go find some cool animals," Shen answered, not bothering to wipe off the dirt from her clothes. He inwardly cringed. He was gonna have to trick her into taking a bath soon. "She said she'll be back in a few."
"How long ago was that?"
"Uh, I dunno. Maybe five minutes ago?"
Gohan sighed in relief. "Good, so she'll be back soon."
"Uh huh. So what's up?"
Shen slowly and deliberately rolled her eyes. "I'm not stupid. Something's been bugging ya for a while now. You suck at hiding things."
"I, uh, don't know what you're talking abo. . ."
". . . ."
Gohan groaned as he glared away. "Fine. . . I've been having some visions lately."
"Yeah, no shit."
"I've seen myself fighting Vegeta, and I looked like I was. . . losing. Then, I had this dream, vision thing. There was this person who was more powerful than anyone I've ever seen."
"I thought that you couldn't sense things in visions?"
He chewed at the inside of his cheek, still not meeting her gaze. "Usually, I can't, but there were times that I could feel malice."
"Yeah, except I don't know if I actually felt his presence back then or if looking at him just gave me the creeps."
"Vaatu said that he had a lot of power, right? Who's to say that tall, dark, and nasty can mess with you through visions?"
Gohan frowned. He definitely didn't like the sound of that. "Maybe. . . it would certainly help support the theory that Vaatu and Raava were linked to the Avatar somehow if he was capable of something that powerful."
"So, you think that your powerful friend is something like Raava or Vaatu? Some ancient, dusty, old spirit?"
"No. At least, I don't think so. That. . . spirit. . person felt different."
"Well, all we can do is keep our eyes open."
"No, it isn't."
Gohan sighed as he forced himself to look Shen in the eyes. Her confused stare was completely focused on him, uncharacteristically serious, for once. "I think we should split up. We haven't been covering enough ground, and I haven't gotten any training gear yet. I have no idea how much time we have until Vegeta's arrival, but it can't be much. So-"
"Yeah, yeah," Shen grumbled. "I get it. Am I gonna tell Toph or are you?"
Gohan's mouth opened to respond, but then-
". . . Yeah, you can tell her yourself. C'mon, let's get ya some food, kid."
Toph found them as Gohan was finishing his third helping, consisting of a few frog-squirrels, nuts, berries, and other assortments of food (which was impressive considering he was holding himself back). Gohan explained the details to Toph after scarfing down the last bits of his food. Surprisingly, Toph seemed to take it well. "Alright, get going. We'll meet you there, Riceball."
Gohan nodded before hurrying over to the wagon and rummaging through the bag. He smiled as he fished out a map and brought it over to Shen and Toph. "Here, take this. It'll help you guys stay on track."
Shen raised an eyebrow at him but grabbed the parchment anyway. "Where'd ya get a map?"
He stuck his tongue out at her. "From the last town we stopped in because we should all know where we're going. Not just me."
Shen rolled her eyes. "Yeah, whatever. Where are we?"
Gohan shifted over to her side and pointed at a wooded area. "Here, see this?
Gohan groaned. "I wasn't talking about you, Toph." Turning back to Shen, he pointed again at the map. "You guys just need to keep going northeast and cross the river. You can restock again at Gaipan. Hopefully I can get back before you guys reach the Pass."
"The Pass?" Shen asked.
"It's. . . It's not fun." He knew better than to mention the giant serpent that inhabited the Pass to Shen, of all people. "Anyways, I'll see you guys later! Be safe!"
"Alright, Dad," Toph snorted.
Gohan rolled his eyes before he began his walk. All the while, he began to search within himself. "OK, so I just need to reach inside and center my breathing and I should- WOAH! Woah! OK!"
He could feel himself begin to rise and fall, sporadically, until he finally started to level out and simply hover. He scarcely allowed himself a brief grin as he tried to hold on to his current feeling. He didn't think he'd ever get used to the thrill of flight. After waiting for a few moments, he nodded to himself. "OK, off to the Earth Kingdom!"
With a few quick thoughts, he was soaring off.
A/N: Man, this took so freaking long. But here are the review responses as promised.
Elchico 64: Thanks man, I appreciate that. Well, I didn't have a plan for Gohan to have a master at first, but then I had an idea. I don't want to give away too much, but yeah, he's gonna have a master quite similar to Jeong Jeong.
Hopefully the next update comes sooner than this one did XD
Hitsugana: Dope username man! And thank you! Hopefully what I have in store for Gohan's training will be satisfactory.
Matt Tannenbaum: Yeah, she can be a piece of work lmao. Thankfully, Shen does start to get character development rather early, even as early as the end of the first chapter. Plus, I've got a lot of things planned for her character a handful of chapters down the line!
A big thank you to everyone who took the time to read, favorite, review, and/or follow this story. It truly means so much to me. So, again, thanks!
Have a great day, afternoon, twilight, and/or night and belated Happy New Years!
Uploaded: January 12th, 2023