Disclaimer: Own nothing, as always


It was dawn when Piccolo finally made it back to the village. He'd spent all night trying to track down the shinobi who'd shown more brains than his companions and chosen to exercise the 'flight' part of flight or fight. The real question was what would happen now? Piccolo's instincts told him that Orochimaru would be coming. Something like this couldn't be ignored. Defiance in the face of his authority? It could never stand! Orochimaru couldn't care less what happened to his enforcers and various sundry minions. It was the principle of the thing that mattered. Someone hadn't bowed down. Someone had stood up. Someone had fought. That had to be addressed and the best way to do it would be to visit that offenders personally and crush them to dust as a message.

The whole village, almost a hundred men, women, children, and elders, were gathered at the borders of their squalid dwellings, waiting for the news. They reminded Piccolo of a family of rabbits who knew that the wolves and hawks were about. When his cape had rustled over some brush and made a slithering noise, the entire village looked ready to scamper. One or two at the very back did scamper.

When Piccolo emerged, they didn't look any less tense. Shuunsui and Shuu were right at the front of the crowd, the boy huddled against his wizened grandfather.

"Well?" The old man asked, for once not hostile. He looked serious and alert. Piccolo felt his interest stir. Had the old man been a ninja himself in his youth? Or another kind of warrior? He shook it off. It didn't matter now.

"Lost him," Piccolo grunted. Despaired cries broke out all around him. They knew the consequences of rebellion and what was coming better than Piccolo did and, as the Namekian's eyes fell on Shuu, who was crying silent tears, something awoke within him. Piccolo didn't know why he wanted to protect this kid so badly. He chalked it up to nostalgia. The kid had the same innocence and vitality that Gohan had had when he was that age. Maybe Piccolo just wanted to fight. Maybe he just wanted to test himself against what this new world had to offer.

"We're dead!" Someone it the crowd shouted.

"No." Piccolo said. He didn't raise his voice, but the firmness and sheer steel in his voice made all the dissenters fall silent. "No one is dying here. When Orochimaru gets here, I'll take him on."

"You sure, demon man?" Shuunsui asked, looking up at Piccolo with appraisal.

"Orochimaru's a step above those punks you dealt with."

"Positive," Piccolo replied, though he was far from it. He knew what shinobi were capable of from listening to Gohan tell stories, but hearing about it and seeing and living it were something entirely different. "Do you have somewhere safe to go?"

"Safest place would be the mine," the old man replied. He was a completely different man from before. Gone was the cantankerous griping. Instead, Shuunsui was doing nothing but cooperating and his dark eyes glinted with a keen intelligence.

"What if he brings the mountain down on us?" Shuu asked.

"Kid's got a point," Piccolo agreed.

Shuunsui shrugged. "We don't have anything else. They'd butcher us in the woods. At least in the mine we can make a fight of it. Barricade the entrance." He turned to the assembled villagers. "Get started everyone." He left no room for argument and put action to words by jerking a pickax out of a miner's hand and stumping off towards the mine.

"What will you do, Mr. Piccolo?" Shuu asked, staring up at him.

"Fight," Piccolo answered simply.

"Will you win?"

Piccolo ruffled the kid's hair without looking at him. "If I don't," he said, "I'm going to make sure Orochimaru is never the same again." Piccolo spun on his heel and strode briskly to the center of the village, where he sat down, folded his arms, and began meditating. He let go of the world around him and vanished into his own head as he steadied his breathing and slipped into a lucid frame of mind where he was only slightly aware of the passage of time.


It was over almost as soon as it began, or at least it seemed to Piccolo. He snapped out of his trance as a sinister sensation slithered over his sixth sense. It was as if someone had tickled the back of his neck with a live electric wire. His eyes snapped open as four figures advanced up the lane to the village square. Piccolo sized them up as they approached. One man was tall and dressed in all black, completely at odds with the corpse-like paleness of his skin. The man's hair was as black as his outfit and when he caught sight of Piccolo sitting behind the smoldering remains of the campfire in the community fire pit, his mouth split wide, revealing teeth that were more like a shark's than a human's. The others were both young men, one dressed in ratty gray rags that might have been white at one point and looked distinctly malnourished. The second had black hair and eyes that matched. His mouth twisted into a wondering frown when he saw Piccolo. The final man was the ninja who had escaped.

Piccolo glanced around. The village was deserted and the campfire had burned to cinders. He seemed to remember it roaring at one point. He must have been meditating for the better part of a day, maybe even two, for the fire to get to that point.

"So this is the demon who gave you so much trouble," the tall man in black said. He had to be Orochimaru, Piccolo noted. He matched the descriptions that Gohan had given and the way the shinobi cowered when his master addressed him only cemented that fact for Piccolo. Orochimaru chuckled. "Kukuku. How amusing."

Piccolo didn't reply. Instead he unfolded from his seat in the dirt and stood to his full towering height, glaring at the shinobi. "Leave." Piccolo commanded, putting iron into his tone.

"How rude!" Orochimaru replied, putting a hand over his heart, as if wounded. "And here I came such a long way to visit you! And this is how you welcome me?" He shook a finger at Piccolo. "I must say, I find your manners lacking."

Piccolo scowled, annoyed by the sarcasm, and slid into his stance. A stiff wind picked up and swept through the village, pulling at his heavy cape. It flapped and fluttered with gratifying weight. "Let's skip the rest of the pleasantries and just start trying to kill each other," he said.

"Direct and to the point," Orochimaru chuckled. "I think I like you already. Very well. Let's play a little." He motioned to Kabuto and Sasuke, who took a few steps away in order to give their master a little room to work.

Silence fell.

Piccolo didn't take his attention off Orochimaru for a moment. He knew that this man was nothing to sneeze at. From Gohan's accounts, this snake man was as strong as an Ascended Saiyan. It was going to be an interesting match, that was for certain.

Maybe once upon a time I wouldn't have stood a chance, Piccolo thought, but that was two years ago. A lot has changed since then.

Orochimaru flickered forward. Piccolo threw himself backwards, pushing off hard enough to shatter stone. The world stretched, movement slowed, the hard lines of everything that wasn't Orochimaru or Piccolo softening in moments. Orochimaru's fist shot in, filling Piccolo's vision. The Namek almost choked in surprise. The bastard was fast! Piccolo barely managed to get his arm up in time to stop the blow. The force of it rattled him to his bones and pain erupted all up and down his arm and into his shoulder.

But it wasn't worse than anything else he'd felt in his life.

Piccolo turned the attack aside and retaliated with one of his own, slamming his knuckles into Orochimaru's stomach. It connected solidly and Piccolo's mouth stretched into a fierce grin as he felt the force rip into his opponent's body. Orochimaru's face showed an instant of supreme shock. He'd thought that Piccolo was a backwater rube who'd gotten lucky against the minions. He hadn't expected this, Piccolo knew. He reversed direction, throwing himself forward.

The blows came hard and fast, as fast as Piccolo could hurl them. Each one found a target and there was nothing the snake man could do to stop it. He finished the blitz with a second hard blow to the stomach. Orochimaru doubled over in time to catch Piccolo's toe to the face, snapping him back upright. Piccolo spun to build momentum and planted the same foot right where his fist had gone an instant before.

Orochimaru shot backwards as if from a cannon. The air whistled shrilly with the force of his passage. Piccolo lost sight of his enemy when he vanished into the trees, but Piccolo's sensitive ears could hear the ninja bouncing off trees and boulders, each one producing noises that sounded less like a body hitting something hard and more like artillery shells landing on a battlefield.

Piccolo's follow-up was a blast of ki, released with a yell.

It streaked off after Orochimaru.

There was a moment's delay before it exploded. The shockwave felt like a tremendous feather pillow swung by someone as tall as some of the trees that made up the forest near the village. A cloud of dirt and pelting debris followed heartbeats later.

The entire exchange had taken seconds.

Any normal human would have been killed by any one of Piccolo's blows, but the warrior wasn't fooled. A second eerie calm descended on the village-turned-battlefield as Piccolo waited for his opponent to reappear. Dark eyes kept moving the entire time, scanning up, down, and all around.

"Where'd you go," Piccolo murmured after another moment. His adrenalin was flooding his system, making all the colors stand out in shades ten times more vibrant than normal, the borders of the world as sharp as knives. Instinct screamed at him and he flung himself into the sky, the tops of the trees passing well beneath him in one long bound.

Ki swirled to life in his palms as he clasped them in front of his forehead.

"MASENKO!"

The pillar of gold light hammered down into the spot where Piccolo had been standing a moment before.

KABOOM!

The ki detonated with enough force to make the air against Piccolo's skin shiver with vibrations, like standing next to the bass drummer in a high school band, the light from the explosion blinding the green alien for a moment. Something erupted from within the smoke and hurtled up to his level in a blast of blue-white light.

It was Orochimaru, who looked a little mussed. Small burns and scratches covered his body and the black flack vest he wore had one shoulder burned away completely. Only shreds and scorched fabric were left. Piccolo felt a sense of smug satisfaction when he saw the Sannin's face, which didn't look anywhere near as amused as before.

They stared at each other across the intervening distance for a moment before they collided with a thunderous roar. Piccolo threw every technique he knew and a few new ones besides, his fists moving so fast that they were blurs to even him. Orochimaru's were similarly quick and Piccolo felt more than a few as he took hits on his arms and thighs from the blocks that he threw into the mix after each attack. It went on for seconds but each second seemed an eternity and before long, Piccolo's muscles were burning with the exertion, but to the Namekian it was a warm-up before the real work could begin.

They sprang apart, each one holding a glowing ball of energy. They released at the same time and the ki blasts merged, mixed, and went off with the force of a good-sized bomb. Closer to the impact this time, Piccolo was blown off his feet and sent tumbling. The world turned to a crazy blur as he bounced and rolled in the dirt, white cape flying. He slammed a palm down hard enough to feel it bruise and splinter the ground, flinging himself back to his feet and ended up skidding another few feet.

Ahead of him rose a thick brown smoke plume, which he viewed from the shattered remains of one of the hovels that served as a house in the village. Piccolo blinked when he saw that. He hadn't even felt the impact, hadn't even noticed his surroundings in the wild ride. His cape had gotten wrapped around his neck during the tumble and he took a moment to straighten it.

Orochimaru lanced from the smoke plume, a snarl bubbling from his throat. Piccolo answered and their punches hammered together at the same time. A sharp pain shot up into Piccolo's shoulder and he felt warm blood well up between their knuckles and begin to run down in between their fingers.

The thunderclap from the hit echoed in his ears as they sprang apart again. Instead of diving headlong into the fray again, Orochimaru's fingers flashed through a fast seal sequence before Piccolo could do anything to stop him.

Here it comes! Piccolo thought as he dug in and set his feet for whatever was coming.

"Katon! Endan!"

Orochimaru spewed a giant raging ball of fire straight at Piccolo, who recoiled as it raced for him. The heat was intense, the roar of the flames like sitting next to a jet as it revved up for takeoff. It set the dry grasses alight, made the wooden huts smolder, and made the dirt boil and run into glass.

The world turned a negative image of itself, all the colors inverting, as Piccolo choked down the thrill of adrenalin that hammered through his system like lightning, then threw himself into the evasion, flinging his body to the right, hoping to clear the fireball before it reached him. "Come on," Piccolo snarled as the ball crawled towards him at a pace that looked deceptively slow but closed the distance at a rate left little time for any other action. The heat grew to unbearable levels and Piccolo could feel his skin baking under the intensity, but he cleared it, triumph making his heart pound with the thrill of the near miss. He flung a ki blast at Orochimaru, who was standing stock still, or so it seemed to Piccolo in the weird negative world that came from moving at super fast speeds.

The world snapped back to normal. Orochimaru caught a head-on blast of yellow light before he could do anything to react to it. He screamed in pain, music to Piccolo's pointed ears, and was blasted right off his feet.

Piccolo shot forward in a blur, mouth twisting into a grimace, showing off his pointed fangs. He had to hit Orochimaru while he was down. Couldn't give the bastard a moment to rest. The longer the battle went on, the more risk there was to Shuu and the rest of the villagers, sheltering in the mine. Hell, Piccolo knew that Orochimaru would bring down the whole mountain on them just to rattle the green warrior.

Orochimaru was quick on the recovery, shooting back to his feet in time to catch the thunderous blow that Piccolo unleashed. The Sannin weathered the blow and the ground around them shattered with a tortured scream of breaking rock, the very earth itself unable to withstand the power the two warriors were flinging around.

"You're good," Orochimaru remarked from behind his crossed arms.

Piccolo's reply was sharp and curt, going with bedrock determination that was sitting in his gut. "Shut up and fight," he replied, snapping the top of his foot into Orochimaru's ribs. Something gave with a crack and drew a howl of pain from the ninja before he slammed through two huts, turning them into kindling, and began bouncing along head over heels. He took one final big bounce and slammed hard into a tree, shaking leaves from its boughs. Blood flew from Orochimaru's mouth when he hit and coated the Sannin's chin in a film of scarlet.

The shinobi slumped into the dirt, stunned. Piccolo took the opportunity to try and finish the fight. He brought two fingertips to his forehead and began to pull in his ki. It was like someone had dipped him in a warm bath as he felt his ki begin to move and his fingertips erupted into pins and needles as the electric-like ki began to gather, chittering and chattering with rapid pops.

"Makankosappo!"

Power thundered out from Piccolo's fingers as he leveled them at Orochimaru. The spiral-bound ki blast shot slammed into Orochimaru and drew another sharp cry of pain from him until he gagged and coughed up blood. The beam finished boring though Orochimaru and the tree he was propped up against and shot off into the forest, lighting the undergrowth with yellow light before dimming. The silence that was left behind the shrill scream of the piercing light was almost deafening.

Piccolo turned and faced the three who were left. The ninja who'd started this whole mess quailed when he fell under Piccolo's steely-eyed gaze, much to the Namekian's satisfaction.

"You," Piccolo growled at him. The man yelped and took a few shuddering steps back, quivering. The green alien turned his attention to the other two ninja, who had remained motionless through the whole fight, even at its end. They didn't move, to retreat or otherwise, but Piccolo kept his attention on them as he continued talking to the first man. "When I'm done with these two, I'm going to make you suffer for what you've brought down on these people. Make your peace with whatever god you pray to. You'll be meeting it soon."

"Hmm," the emaciated man said thoughtfully, pushing up scratched and grimy glasses, "I wonder if it will be as easy as you think?"

Piccolo jerked his chin at Orochimaru's corpse. "If you're not as strong as he is, this will be easy," he shot back. "I don't know why Gohan kept saying this guy was stronger than him back then." He flicked his eyes at the body again, and then back to the remaining three shinobi.

"You know Son Gohan?" The younger, dark-haired man said suddenly. He'd been regarding Piccolo with a sort of haughty disdain that had, to Piccolo at least, been somewhat childish looking, much like Vegeta way back when he and Nappa had first come to Earth looking for the Dragonballs. The youth took a step forward, one hand falling to the hilt of the sword that was at his back, tucked into the purple rope belt he wore around his waist.

"Yeah, I know Gohan," Piccolo replied. A sudden flaring of power, like an oily cloth, hit Piccolo's sixth sense and the warrior flung himself forward into a graceful somersault. He kicked his hips around at the top of the tumble and came to his feet face the opposite way just in time to see a silvery streak fall from the sky above him. Piccolo blocked on reflex and pain seared through him like a brand had been pressed to his skin.

He howled with pain and dropped to his knees as his severed right arm, slashed from just below the elbow, thumped to the ground beside him, the limb quickly turning an ugly greenish white, like a seasick man, instead of the healthy, chlorophyll color of Piccolo's skin. He clamped his left hand over the stump, warm purple blood pulsing from between his fingers with each pulse of Piccolo's suddenly pounding heart.

"It all makes sense now," Orochimaru said with a smile as he flicked the blade of Kusanagi, splattering the ground with flecks of blood. "Gohan-kun had mentioned that he'd been trained by a brutal sensei." The Sannin fixed Piccolo with a leer. "You are that sensei?"

Piccolo pushed down the pain, trying to ignore the searing in his arm, the lightning bolts of pain that kept shooting into his skull from the wound, trying to ignore the warm blood seeping through his fingers and the cold sweat suddenly on his skin.

"B-bastard," he ground out through gritted teeth. "H-how?"

Orochimaru shrugged. "Simple Kawarimi," the ninja replied, gesturing with his sword. Piccolo glanced at the body at the tree and did a double take when he realized that there wasn't a body there. There never had been. Instead, what the Makankosappo had hit was a log, which had a hole gaping in its middle, the wood black from where it had been burned by the ki rushing through it. "I never would have thought that a warrior like yourself would have fallen for such a simple trick, but I guess we all have our failings, yes?" He let out a mocking little chuckle that went 'kukukuku'.

"I suppose this battle is over," Orochimaru sneered. "It was fun while it lasted, but I'm afraid I really must hurry this along. I have a village to butcher you see and I have other, more pressing matters to attend to, so if you would just die, that would be a big help."

Orochimaru came forward until he stood over Piccolo.

That's it you cocky bastard, Piccolo thought smugly, working hard to keep the smirk off his face. Thankfully he'd always had a good poker face, unlike Goku and the others. Get in close!

Orochimaru gripped the hilt of Kusanagi in both hands and brought all the way up behind his head, clearly intending to split Piccolo right down the middle in one single, ground shaking slash.

Piccolo shot to his feet and slammed Orochimaru right in the chin with his fist, his right fist no less, taking the Sannin by complete surprise. Piccolo landed two more thunderous blows, the last one strong enough to take Orochimaru right off his feet. The Sannin rolled with the blows, turning the last into a flip that kept him upright.

Kusanagi stuck, quivering, at Piccolo's feet.

The green warrior savored the stunned look on his opponent's face as he flicked the slime and fluids from his regenerated arm. He wasn't able to keep a straight face anymore and he felt his mouth curl into a mocking grin. "This battle isn't over yet," Piccolo said, curling a finger at Orochimaru, whose face twisted in anger at the gesture. "Come on, let's start Round 2."

Orochimaru charged forward with a scream of anger and unleashed hell on Piccolo. The Namekian hadn't expected the attack to be quite that fierce and he was hit multiple times before he managed to slip a blow of his own into Orochimaru's gut and force the ninja back a few steps. The Sannin proved to be just as fast on the recovery and set his fingers to sealing even before Piccolo had set his feet for the counterattack.

"Fuuton! Shinkuuha!"

Orochimaru spun around and exhaled something. Piccolo couldn't see the attack, but he could hear the air whistling as something cut through it at extremely high speeds. The only hint he had to the incoming strike was from the ripples in the air. The barest hint of a flicker would occur whenever the technique passed over something.

Piccolo decided the best option would be to get out of the way. He couldn't dodge what he couldn't see. Blue light burst up around his body, the aura a warm summer breeze against his skin, and he shot into the sky, getting clear moments before the jutsu slammed into where he had been standing. Piccolo's eyes narrowed as he noticed that trees and stones were being gouged as if by an invisible blade. He was able to do something similar with the overpressure from a really strong punch. Vegito had used it to inflict a minor injury on Majin Buu only recently.

A shiver crawled up Piccolo's spine as he watched the three shinobi below scatter in the face of their master's attack, which had been fired without regard for their safety. The warrior snapped his gaze skyward and found Orochimaru hovering above him, hands clenched at his side in a familiar stance, one that Piccolo had been on both sides of at one point or other in his life.

"Dammit!" He snarled as he realized that Orochimaru was already ready to release it. He gathered ki into his hand, the yellow light bright and obnoxious in the corner of his eye, but welcome all the same.

Orochimaru drifted in front of the sun and Piccolo had to squint before the light blinded him. He threw up his left arm in a vain effort to gain a bit more clarity, but by then it was too late.

"KamehameHAAAAAA!" Orochimaru screamed.

A second sun flashed, blue-white this time, and Piccolo found himself staring an energy ball in the face as the attack flashed across the intervening distance between them before he could do much more than realize it was coming.

"HAAAA!" Piccolo bellowed, partly in anger, partly in startled, lizard-brained fear. His own attack met the Kamehameha head on only feet from his body and Piccolo, prepared for a deadlock struggle, found himself pushing Orochimaru back without too much effort. The Sannin, it seemed, still had a lot to learn when it came to a battle with ki.

The warring ki blasts slammed into where Orochimaru was floating and exploded into a huge dome of roaring and buzzing green light, tinted so by the colors merging with each other.

Something hard slammed into Piccolo's gut and he doubled over in shock, choking down the bile that was trying to rise in his throat. All of his muscles seemed to rebel against him and his legs felt rubbery. It was all he could do to keep himself aloft just in time to see a pale white fist fill his vision. Stars flashed before Piccolo's eyes and his head exploded with molten white pain as his head snapped back. His neck seared as some muscle pulled at itself.

Something hard, a foot maybe, hammered into Piccolo's jaw. The next thing he knew he was flying at the ground, the unforgiving earth rushing up at him fast.

This is going to hurt, Piccolo thought, dazed, right before he hit. The ground shattered under the force of his impact, the world turned brown from the dirt and rocks hurled into the air. For a moment, the green alien was content to lie there in the dirt while the sky spun above him, dotted with fluffy white clouds and ringed by barely visible treetops and the shattered and broken ring of a crater's rim.

A figure appeared at the rim, fingers flying through a seal sequence. "Katon! Endan!" Orochimaru howled and unleashed another ball of fire at him, this one twice the size of the last by an easy margin. The heat slammed Piccolo in the face and dragged his woozy brain into coherent thought again.

There wasn't time for anything fancy. Piccolo's only hope of escape from a dry roasting was the slim crescent of sky he could see between the fireball and the crater rim, a sliver of blue and white that was rapidly being replaced by angry red and orange flames.

"I can't believe I have to do this," he fumed to himself as he reached up and pulled his turban off his head.

The world flickered between negative color and reality for the briefest of blinks. Piccolo found himself staring at Orochimaru's back through a curtain of red energy right as a column of fire roared into the sky as the fireball slammed into the dirt Piccolo had been lying in and the expanding flames had nowhere to go but up.

Orochimaru's laughter was barely visible over the freight train of sound coming from the fire. "KukukukukahahaAHAHAHAHA!" The ninja crowed gleefully. "I love a good campfire!"

He was so caught up in his celebrations that he hadn't noticed that Piccolo had gotten away yet. Piccolo's lips peeled back and bared his teeth in an expression that could loosely be described as a smile. This chance was just too good to pass up.

So Piccolo shot Orochimaru in the back.

The shinobi was flung hard into the dirt as the explosion of ki echoed off the trees. The curtain of red faded and Piccolo lanced forward, faster than he had been before with his weighted clothes on. His fist slammed into Orochimaru's back and the Namekian was rewarded with the crunch of bone and the satisfying thud of impact that reverberated through Piccolo's body.

Orochimaru's cheeks bulged as something inside him tried to force its way out. A blur shot out of the Sannin, his body deflating like a balloon with all the air let out. Piccolo was left with his fist pushed against a pale squishy sack of empty flesh. His dark eyes tracked up from where his fist was to the opposite side of the crater.

There, through the waves of the heat shimmer left by the flames, stood Orochimaru. The Sannin looked none too thrilled to see Piccolo alive and well and apparently unscathed. "How did you escape?" He demanded. "How?" Yellow eyes slithered over Piccolo's bald head, the antennae that stuck out from his forehead, and the Namek's bare shoulders, which looked deceptively slight without the huge broad cape sitting on them. The surprised anger on Orochimaru's face faded away and was replaced by cool analysis. "I get it," he said after a moment. "That cape. I thought it looked familiar. Son Gohan was wearing one just like it at the Chuunin Exams two years ago. I can see where he picked up his love of weighted training clothes."

"Gets the job done," Piccolo agreed.

"And now we start it all over again," Orochimaru mused as he clenched his hands at his sides and flexed all the muscles in his body, as if he were moving a great weight. As he did that, Piccolo felt Orochimaru's ki shoot up and the loose pebbles that were strewn around them began to shiver and rise. "I guess it's time to show the fruits of the training I've been doing since that day at the Valley of the End."

He let out a yell.

A bright burst of light forced Piccolo to shield his eyes as grit and dust were flung everywhere. Small rocks pelted him in a prickly hail, breaking apart on the Namek's tough green hide. The light lasted for a minute or two then faded away. When Piccolo could see again, he beheld Orochimaru haloed in an aura of blue-white energy akin to a Super Saiyan's.

Orochimaru flexed on hand, eying it speculatively. "I must say," he remarked, "ki may not be as flexible as chakra, but it has rush like nothing I've ever felt before." His body flickered and vanished.

A fist crashed into Piccolo's face. He went flying through air, through a hut, and caromed off a rock, making his other shoulder, the one he hadn't landed on, erupt with undiluted agony. He forced the pain down, forced down the uncertainty fluttering in his stomach, and slammed his heels into the dirt, dragging himself to a stop.

He's coming!

Piccolo spun around when he sensed Orochimaru appear behind him and managed to catch the Sannin's leg between an arm and his ribs. The force shattered the ground to Piccolo's left, the tortured earth screaming in protest. Piccolo, however, only let out a stoic grunt and wrenched Orochimaru off his feet and flung him headfirst into a tree. The trunk shattered and the great plant, one that had stood for hundreds of years, toppled, wood creaking and groaning. Piccolo felt the earth tremble beneath his feet when the behemoth hit the ground.

"Nice reflexes," Orochimaru said as he stood up. He wiped blood away. The hit with the tree had left him with a wound at his hairline and it was bleeding profusely. "Any final techniques you wish to use before I kill you?"

"Well you've been kind enough to show me the results of your training," Piccolo answered sarcastically. "I guess I should show you the results of mine." He grabbed his ki, pulled it in and focused it into his body. His muscles swelled and his heart pounded with the sudden influx of energy. His skin grew warm as the ground beneath his feet buckled and pulled itself up. Piccolo grunted as he forced more ki into his body as his sight and hearing sharpened. Finally he let out a yell of his own as an aura of red energy flared up around him, similar to Orochimaru's blue one but wilder and more uncontrolled.

"Kaio-ken!"


I'm alive! Man, it's been...what, three, four months since my last update. Well, this is another instance of that liquid water schedule I've mentioned rearing it's ugly head. I've spent all of July, August, and a decent portion of September working in Oklahoma and Louisiana for my job. Then when I got back, I read the newest Naruto manga chapters and Kishimoto pissed me off by making Tobi's identity be the WORST MOST UNORIGINAL IDENTITY IT COULD POSSIBLY BE! *deep breath* It kind of killed my enthusiasm for writing, but I'm back now and I thought I would return by giving you guys an all action chapter.

See you all next time!

~WingedFreedom622

Glossary

Katon: Endan (Fire Style: Flame Bullet): A big fireball.

Fuuton: Shinkuuha (Wind Style: Vacuum Wave): A wind attack that fires of blades of vacuum which cut into the enemy. Affects a pretty big area. The wounds might be pretty nasty too. Remember what Raijuta did to Yutaro in Rurouni Kenshin? Same thing here.

Makankosappo (Special Beam Cannon): The attack that Piccolo used to kill Raditz way back in the day. Used in Gohan's Dilemma by Gohan to break through Gaara's sand defenses.

Kaio-ken (King Kai Fist): King Kai's enhancement technique, taught to Goku when Goku came to train with him. And no, before you ask, Goku did NOT teach it to Piccolo. More on that in chapters to come. It hasn't been used since Goku and Co. found the Super Saiyan transformations, but since Piccolo isn't a Saiyan, I thought it would be a good thing for him to have.