Thank you, Box Turtle, for beta reading this! Box Turtle wrote a touching DBZ story called 'The Real Price of Saving the World'. ^_^ I also recommend Tachi's 'Future, Imperfect'.
Chapter Eight: Bojack versus Vegeta! Bra meets Sorcerer Gero!
The air was thick with tension as Vegeta entered the ring. The Saiyan walked in slowly, knowing that they expected him to be badly injured.
Bojack walked into the ring. The tall Island King wore a bandana over his hair, but he'd removed his customary coat and apparently intended to fight bare-chested.
'He's confident,' Vegeta noted to himself.
"Welcome everyone to the Sixth and Final round of the Island Tournament!" The announcer broke through the murmurs with his usual cheerful screaming. "This morning our King, Bojack, will face the final competitor, Prince Vegeta of the Saiyajin Empire!"
The crowd began cheering, eager for the match to begin. Eager to see their King win.
Kakarott watched as Vegeta and Bojack squared off, each eyeing the other up, trying to decide what maneuver to attempt when the match began.
"Fighters!" The announcer leaned precariously out of his tower as he screamed above the noise of the crowd. "Ready! Begin!"
The crowed roared again, momentarily deafening even themselves. Neither fighter moved immediately, Bojack smirking slightly as he let the spectators work themselves into a frenzy. Vegeta ignored them, concentrating on Bojack.
Both fighters leapt into the air at the same moment, meeting in the centre of the ring a few feet above the ground and exchanging a flurry of punches, half-kicks, blocks and dodges, neither landing any blows. Vegeta dodged under a high kick and went on the offensive, sending a flurry of punches at Bojack's chest. The Saiyan swung another punch at him again, but this time when Bojack brought up a hand to block, Vegeta moved his fist to the side, then grabbed the Islander's wrist and flung Bojack over his shoulder.
Vegeta spun around as Bojack righted himself in the air.
Bojack raised his hands and fired off a stream of small, green Ki balls. Vegeta dodged them, flying sideways faster then Bojack could turn and maintain the attack. As the taller man halted, Vegeta spun and released his own version, golden yellow Ki balls swarmed towards his adversary.
Bojack deflected the first few before flipping up in a controlled spin and descending like a rocket at the shorter Saiyajin. Vegeta dodged as Bojack landed in the ring, his fist smashing into the ground and obscuring him in the dust. Vegeta lowered himself as he waited for the dirty air to calm.
Within moments he could make out Bojack's silhouette. Extending his leg, Vegeta shot forward, almost horizontal, and smashed his heel into Bojack's shin. The other man winced and the two began once again exchanging a quick series of blows.
This time Bojack ended it, sneaking an uppercut through Vegeta's defences and slamming his fist into the base of the boy's ribcage. Before Vegeta could recover, a hammerpunch sent him slamming into the ground. Bojack hovered with his arms crossed, waiting for the dust to settle as the crowed roared it's approval.
Radditz scowled from where he stood, tail lashing as he glared at the spectators.
The smoke cleared to reveal Vegeta standing and glaring up at Bojack. The Island King lowered himself in the air and landed a few meters from the Saiyajin Prince.
"You're quite good," Bojack said, in an almost friendly tone. "Especially for someone who has several broken bones."
"You're strong," Vegeta replied haughtily, ignoring the taste of his own blood in his mouth. "I prefer strong opponents."
"I prefer ones that are both strong and clever, they're much more challenging," Bojack said, a faint smirk on his face.
Vegeta narrowed his eyes, feeling the sting and ache of minor injuries.
"When I don't get a challenge I don't like wasting my time," Bojack continued, a cold gleam in his eyes.
Vegeta ignored the comment and charged up, launching a Ki blast at his opponent. Bojack deflected it. Vegeta frowned and threw another, darting forward in an attack as soon as it left his hand. Bojack deflected it as well, and still managed to bring up his defences in time to lock into another flurry of attacks with Vegeta.
Bojack moved his head left, dodging another of Vegeta's punches, and this time instead of moving back into place the orange-haired man continued turning left, bringing his leg up to smash into Vegeta, knocking the short Saiyajin backwards and leaving him gasping for breath. In an instant Bojack was behind him, and with a solid punch to the stomach sent Vegeta spinning through the air back the way he came.
Bojack rematerialised behind him again and battered him off in another direction. Vegeta felt his anger surge. He was being mocked, being tossed back and forward like this. A tiny spring of fear welled up before he could stop it, pointing out quietly that he wasn't able to follow all of Bojack's movements. Could Bojack be that much more powerful then himself? Vegeta pushed the idea aside, deciding that when one was being occupied with being smashed around in the air, monitoring your enemy was difficult.
Kakarott watched as Bojack hit Vegeta a fourth time. He frowned. If Vegeta didn't break out of that pattern soon he could get seriously injured.
Growling Vegeta concentrated, powering up and stopping himself in mid-air. Immediately he let himself fall as he righted, ducking a blow from his opponent simply because he didn't pause.
As Bojack hurried to right himself from the over-extended punch, Vegeta spun and pulled his hands around, screaming as he summoned energy between them then sent it at Bojack in a huge beam.
Bojack brought his arms up in a block as the beam smashed into him. The light and energy obscured him, but Vegeta held the beam, refusing to cease fire. Welcoming whatever anger he could summon, the Saiyan screamed again, pumping more energy into the blast and watching in satisfaction as something gave and the beam surged forward past the place where Bojack had been. The Saiyajin Prince held the beam for a few more seconds, all senses alert in case Bojack had managed to get out of the way, and then he let the energy dissipate.
Suddenly Vegeta's senses found Bojack - unmistakably. A huge Ki was heading back towards the ring at incredible speeds, and Vegeta felt his mouth go dry as he felt it's strength. Stronger then any Saiyajin alive, or any other warrior the Prince had met.
On the ground the other warriors felt it too.
"Is that Bojack?!" Kuririn gasped.
"Yep, he's finally taking this seriously," Kamesennin sighed.
"Seriously?!" Radditz exclaimed.
"I hope for your sake that Prince Vegeta has enough sense to touch down outside the ring," Kamesennin said crossly.
"That's surrender," Radditz mumbled as Bojack arrived back at the ring.
Up in the air Bojack charged at Vegeta, no signs of slowing. Vegeta stood his ground. The Island King pulled his arm back and swung forward in a massive punch...
...that went right through the image of the Prince. Bojack had no time to react as a huge beam of Ki energy slammed into his back, forcing him down into the ground with frightening speed. Bojack hit the ground, obscured by the light and dust. The spectators lapsed into silence.
Vegeta didn't let up, continuing to feed energy into the beam.
"Oh, the fake image technique!" Kakarott cried, recognizing the trick Vegeta had pulled.
"It's called 'Zanzoken'," Kamesennin muttered.
"Why is he still firing?" Kuririn asked, watching Vegeta.
"Bojack isn't dead yet," Kamesennin scolded him. "Can't you sense his Ki?"
"...not really," Kuririn said, abashed. "There's too much energy out there."
"Wha?!" Kakarott gasped, his senses suddenly screaming as Bojack's Ki suddenly increased in size. Over in the ring a beam of green energy was slowly emerging from the ground, gradually pushing back Vegeta's yellow beam. The crowd began to cheer again, shouting encouragement to Bojack.
"Kami!" Kuririn breathed.
"How can he be that powerful?!" Radditz stared in disbelief. "This is a backwater island!"
Vegeta strained against the opposite beam, refusing to dwell on how Bojack possibly managed to start returning his attack. Concentrating fiercely, he halted Bojack's beam, which had only risen about a fourth of the way between them. The energy seemed to shudder, protesting the confrontation, and the crowd started yelling again. Vegeta felt a wave of fury rise at the noise, and let it feed his energy.
The yellow beam started pushing down the green one again. Slowly. Very slowly. Until it stopped, and both seemed static.
Vegeta was panting, straining, trying to push Bojack's energy just a little further down.
A green light filled his vision. His Ki sense went wild as seering heat permeated his skin, completely enveloping him. A streak of resentment flared... this wasn't fair. Vegeta couldn't remember a time when he'd thrown so much of his own Ki energy at an opponent. How could he have been so out-matched? Pain overwhelmed his thoughts, as he struggled to think clearly, to survive. Then blackness replaced the green.
Kuririn watched the beams straining against each other, scarcely breathing, his mind running through a zillion scenarios of what he might do if he was in Vegeta's place. He was so busy thinking, he almost missed it.
With an incredible burst of light, the green energy smashed through the yellow beam, shooting skywards and flaring out into an enormous cone of pale, unhealthy light, somehow cloaking Prince Vegeta from view as it expanded.
"V.. Vegeta-sama?!" Radditz choked.
The energy flickered, vanishing, and the sky returned to normal accompanied by utter silence.
Kuririn sensed around, somewhat frantically.
"Vegeta-ouji?" Kakarott whispered, his eyes going wide.
Kuririn felt his heart sink as he continued stretching out, trying to sense for Vegeta's Ki. He couldn't sense the Prince anywhere!
Bojack levitated himself up out of the crater, his clothing tattered, his skin covered with scratches, all smoking slightly from the aftermath of being energized for so long. The crowd began cheering, but Bojack cut them short with a abrupt gesture. Facing towards the four Mainlanders, he landed on the ground, his face a barely restrained sneer.
"Your Prince," He said, his tone formal, "was a good fighter."
Radditz snarled, his face twisting in hatred as his Ki shooting up to it's fullest potential. He darted forward, faster then Kuririn had seen him move before - only to fall to the ground in an ungraceful heap as Kamesennin's staff caught him behind the ear. The tall Saiyan didn't stir.
Bojack smirked, and Kuririn glanced at Kakarott as his friend's Ki also began to rise.
"Kakarott," Kamesennin whispered furiously, "if you attack him now, you'll lose and he'll kill you! He might be a bit tired, but he's not done for, and all of his soldiers will join in!"
"Please convey my apologies to his country," Bojack said. The tall Islander turned, and strode off the field as the crowd began to murmur.
"The Winner of the Island Tournament is King Bojack!" The announcer cried, the gong drowned out as the crowd roared.
Kuririn placed a hand on Kakarott's shoulder, seeing the clenched fists and bristling tail.
"Let's go," Kamesennin said abruptly. "Kuririn, Kakarott, bring Radditz."
Obediently Kuririn walked over, hoisting up Radditz by one shoulder as Kakarott slowly took the other. Kuririn watched as Kakarott shot one final, angry glare in the direction Bojack had disappeared, and then the two boys followed after their sensei, dragging Radditz between them.
At the edges of the crowd a pale man smirked. "King Cold should find this interesting," Kiwi said as he turned to return to his homeland.
Kuririn panted as he dodged another blow. He'd offered to spar with Kakarott, seeing that the Saiyan needed something to take out his anger on, but he was beginning to wonder how much energy his friend had left.
Kakarott screamed as he let fly a series of kicks. Kuririn blocked and dodged, before returning his own attacking low kick. Kakarott jumped it, spinning to whip Kuririn in the face with his tail. Kuririn went flying into a tree.
"Okay," Kuririn said, climbing to his feet, one hand over the red welt on his cheek, "are you calmer yet?"
"I didn't get to spar with Prince Vegeta and show him all my new techniques," Kakarott scowled.
Kuririn rubbed his cheek. "I thought your tails were sensitive."
"Only when you pull them."
A low groan grabbed their attention and the two boys scampered back to the campsite.
Radditz opened his eyes and sat up, rubbing the back of his neck. "Vegeta-sama?"
Kuririn watched as Kakarott fought to keep his face straight. The boy couldn't tell what emotion his Saiyan friend was fighting since he personally hadn't found Vegeta to be much of a friendly person to anyone. Eventually Kuririn decided it was probably just shock at seeing someone stronger then you die, the shock of knowing that you too are mortal. Kami knew, that was how he felt.
Radditz had apparently remembered now. He drew back his lips in a rather feral snarl, jumping to his feet and raising his Ki without making any noise. His fists were clenched tightly, and his tail unwrapped itself from his waist and began to lash.
Then the tension left the tall Saiyan. With a defeated sigh he turned to face Kuririn and Kakarott, pain in his face.
Kakarott turned around, scowling. "What?"
"Are you going back to the Empire soon?" Radditz began clenching his fists again.
Kuririn watched Kakarott, curious as his normally happy-go-lucky friend searched for words. "I guess so."
"What happened to Vegeta-sama's body?"
Suddenly a thought hit Kuririn. Radditz was scared. Confused the boy began pondering this, only half listening to the conversation.
"It was disintegrated in the blast," Kakarott scowled, his own tail lashing.
Surely not scared of Bojack. Even though Radditz didn't know of the apology yet, he must know Bojack hadn't shown any interest in killing anyone else. After all, they were all still alive.
"They might not believe me," Kakarott said softly.
They. 'Of course!' Kuririn felt like smacking himself upside the head. 'The Saiyans! Radditz was accompanying Vegeta - if something happened to the Prince, he'll be the one answering for it!'
Radditz looked away.
'He doesn't want to go back,' Kuririn felt a pang of sympathy. He wouldn't want to go back in a situation like this either.
"Wait!" Kakarott yelled suddenly. "Bra's dragonballs! She said they could grant any wish! Radditz! If we gathered the dragonballs, maybe we could wish him back to life!"
Radditz glared at his brother. "I have no idea what you are talking about," He snapped bluntly.
"The dragonballs can grant more wishes then immortality," Kamesennin finally spoke up. "I don't know if they have to power to bring someone back to life though."
"Would it hurt to try?" Kuririn piped up, not wanting Kakarott's idea discounted so soon.
"No," Kamesennin said, sitting down.
"We'd have to find Bra," Kakarott frowned thoughtfully.
"And we'd have to find her before she makes a wish on them," Kuririn reminded him.
"Well, that solves that, then," Radditz snarled. "You can't possibly expect to find one Human girl so quickly."
"We can if we could find a dragonball," Kakarott argued. "Then she'd find us."
"And how the hell would we find one of them?" Radditz demanded, almost yelling.
"Don't you have a dragonball amulet?" Kuririn asked.
"A broken one," Radditz glared at him.
"Couldn't we get someone to fix it?" Kuririn suggested.
"Yeah!" Kakarott said, sounding excited. "Kamesennin, isn't your sister a sorcerer?"
"No, she's a witch," Kamesennin corrected him.
"Hey, if she's a witch she knows all kind of magic, right?" Kuririn asked.
"Do you think she could find a dragonball for us? Using her magic?" Kuririn pressed him.
Kamesennin sighed, glancing towards the beach. "Probably. I don't know, I'm not my sister's keeper."
"Where is she?" Kakarott demanded.
"She lives on a small island south of the Red Alliance," Kamesennin told them.
"You don't like this idea, do you?" Radditz asked Kamesennin bluntly.
"I used to be quite active in politics, Radditz. You must remember - Vegeta is the Saiyan crown prince. There are many people who would rather he was dead."
"He has a brother. Jada would just assume his name and title."
"But Jada isn't as well known or as strong," Kamesennin said gently. "There are less people that dislike him."
"You knew he wouldn't win that match," Radditz stated, a note of accusation in his tone.
Kamesennin nodded. "I realized he probably wouldn't be talked out of it. He didn't realize he was out-matched quick enough, or if he did, he ignored his own common sense and kept fighting instead of forfeiting. Bojack doesn't like competition. Island fighters reaching a certain level either become intensely loyal to him or leave. Or have fatal accidents."
"It doesn't matter," Kakarott said. "Vegeta-sama is dead, so lets go find Kamesennin's sister!"
"I didn't know you liked Vegeta so much," Kuririn mused.
"It's not that," Radditz said softly. "Our father, Bardock, was... promoted to a position of King's advisor, although I don't know why. Nobody seems to. Some of the older members of the court grumble about it to this day. Our family line is considered a third-class line, and it's an incredible honour to be in such close service to the royal family. If... when they find out Prince Vegeta is dead I'll be disgraced, and so will my family, most likely."
"Saiyans will do amazing things to keep their pride," Kamesennin murmured.
"Oh," Kuririn said.
"We'd better get going, we have a long flight," Kakarott said, levitating slightly.
"Oh? The island isn't too far," Kamesennin said.
"But we have to fly over most of the world," Kakarott pointed out.
"Try flying east," Kamesennin chuckled.
Kamesennin nodded. "The world is round. If you go east or west, eventually you'll end up where you started. Uranai's island is closer to us if you fly east. I suggest you head east until you hit the Red Alliance lands, then go south till you reach the bottom of them. The island is a day's flight, and you should be able to see it from up high. It's just a very large mountain."
"All right," Radditz nodded.
"Here," Kamesennin fished into a pocket in his clothes and pulled out a small pouch. He emptied it onto his hand, revealing three beans.
"Senzu?" Kuririn asked.
"Yep," Kamesennin said. "You can each take one. Use it carefully. Remember it completely heals all your wounds, even if you're dying. Just as long as you're not all ready dead."
"Thanks!" Kuririn grinned as he took his. The others followed suit.
"You're coming?" Radditz asked Kuririn.
"...Yeah," Kuririn nodded.
"Um... why not?" Kuririn gave him a weak grin. "Finding the dragonballs sounds like an adventure. It beats going back to training so soon."
"I heard that, Kuririn," Kamesennin glared at him, then winked.
"Let's go!" Kakarott said, clearly eager to get moving.
"Shouldn't you start tomorrow, with provisions and a good night's rest under your belt?" Kamesennin asked.
"Nope," Kakarott shook his head. "We have to catch up to Bra as quickly as possible."
"Well, good luck then, I suppose," Kamesennin said.
Radditz and Kuririn joined Kakarott in the air, and the three flew off, speeding up and disappearing rapidly from sight.
Kamesennin shook his head. "Kami, it's in your hands now. I'm too old to get back into politics, but whatever the outcome, this should make for interesting watching."
The old man turned and strolled towards the beach, ready to resume his favourite pasttime.
Bra discreetly checked her amulet. No doubt about it - the next dragonball was in the tower in front of her. It had to be a sorcerer's tower, which made sense since Red City was second only to Capsule City in terms of sorcery. This particular tower was on the outskirts of the city - a wise position.
Dismissing her thoughts, the black-haired girl tuned to the task at hand. She had located the dragonball here earlier, but now it was dark and no one was around. Pulling a small silvery box out of her pouch she placed it or the door and concentrated, muttering under her breath. A few seconds later she pushed the door open, and carefully closed it behind her as she slipped inside.
"That zoom function was such a brilliant idea," She smirked as she used the amulet to pinpoint the dragonball's position. The amulet said down, so she found some stairs and down she went, a wary eye out for other people.
Two floors down she pushed open another door. The room had sorcerer's equipment everywhere. Bra took it all in, a few interesting things catching her eye. She saw it then, half hidden behind some other bits and pieces. Sneaking a couple objects into her pouch as she went, Bra made her way to the precious orange sphere. She had just picked it up when the door opened. Quicker then thought, Bra shoved it behind her back.
"Well, well, who do we have here?" A middle-aged man walked into the room.
"Hi! My name is Perdy, and I'm the new maid," Bra smiled in greeting.
"Maid? I clean my own lab," The man said, narrowing his eyes.
"Oh! Well, I wasn't told! I'm so sorry for invading your private room," Bra said quickly, giving a slight bow as she began edging her way closer to the door.
"What are you holding, girl?"
"Huh? I'm holding something?" Bra bought her hands up. "Oh, I picked this up to dust! You gave me such a start I forgot to put it back down!" She laughed nervously and scampered over to the bench, replacing the dragonball.
The man watched her, still looking hostile. He pulled a black object from his coat and fiddled with it. "There's quite a bit of magic around you. Have you been stealing my possessions?"
"Of course not!" Bra said hotly. "My parents raised me much better then that!"
"Then will you please step over beside the mirror?" He pointed to a full length sheet of glass placed against a wall.
"Um, sure," Bra said, reluctantly. Once she was beside the mirror the man started to mutter under his breath. Bra listened, not familiar with his chanting.
He finished and stared at her. "Princess Bulma of Capsule Kingdom?" He said, shocked.
Bra looked in the mirror, staring at herself in surprise. She touched her hair... blue, not black. 'Oh damn! His spell must have cancelled my disguise illusion! This is not good,' She thought.
"Yes," Bra/Bulma said, turning back to face him haughtily. "I am Princess Bulma, and you are?"
"My name is Gero," The elderly sorcerer stated, "and I must say, I could pull strings and have war declared on your kingdom for this intrusion."
Bulma winced. 'Mum and Dad would not be pleased... They're all ready going to scold me for sneaky off again this year.'
"Now, now," Bulma said hastily, "There's not need to over-react!"
Gero peered at her, frowning. "Is this a case of sabotage, or spying?"
"What?! How could you accuse me of such things?!" Bulma demanded indignantly.
"Your title only protects you so far," Gero warned her. "Do tell me, who else knows you're here?"
Bulma felt her heart jump. That was not a good question. If other people knew she was here, there could be all sorts of nasty political repercussions. If no one knew she was here... no one could connect Gero to her disappearance.
Gero straightened. "I'll tell you what. I'll overlook this since I can't see that any harm has been done. I'll even avoid mentioning anything to your parents or my own Overlord, but I never want to find you anywhere near my labs without my express permission! Do you understand?!" He glared at her.
Bulma nodded mutely.
"Ichigou! Escort the Princess out of the building," Gero called over his shoulder. Bulma watched in interest as a golem appeared in the doorway. There were many golem in Capsule City, but she hadn't ever seen one this humanoid. Gero waved her off, and she obediently followed the creation out of the building. It walked very fluidly, she thought, with excellent motor control for an artificial creature.
"Don't come back," Ichigou spoke.
Bulma frowned. 'What a rude thing to enspell a golem to say when seeing people out the door!'
"Hmph," The blue-haired princess scowled at it, then ran off in the direction of her camp. First up, she had to check all her spells, get her disguise illusion back up, and then it was time to plan. This was going to make the getting that dragonball a lot more difficult!
- Finis Chapter 8 -
Chapter Nine: Come on our search for Bra! What? Gero still has the dragonball! Coming soon!
Please review this if you actually got this far through. I need to know there's someone out there waiting for the next part! :)