Chapter 88

Q: Is Grandpa Gohan still alive?

A: That's a negative.

I do not own DBZ

When the sun fell, Bardock and Colleen put all their students to sleep. They were camping under the stars, and most of them found it to be a great adventure with their master, but many of them were upset their mothers were gone. Most of them cried themselves to sleep. Cora was lucky enough to have her brother come and find her, but he didn't take her away. He figured she needed her friends, and he wanted an excuse to be by Fasha. When he saw her come out of her house, he nearly ran to her. "Hey, Fasha!"

She considered running away. She had sensed his energy when he arrived some time ago. She didn't know how to break it to him that she wasn't interested in him anymore. "Hey, Kohl. Thanks for coming by and being with Cora."

"Of course. She's my responsibility now." He could sense that she was uncomfortable around him, and it made him feel awful. All he wanted to do was make it right between them. "Hey, about us—"

"I actually have a family meeting to go to." She looked up and saw Soko motioning her to follow her. "Do you mind keeping an eye on the kids? We can talk when I get back. I promise." It was wrong of her, but she gave him incentive by kissing his cheek.

"Okay…" Kohl was grateful for her touch, but it felt odd and cold, unlike their hot and steamy encounter. 'I'm curious what's so important, but I won't spy. I don't want to get on her bad side…or Soko's.'

Fasha caught up with Soko and joined the rest of her family in the forest, away from the ears of Kohl and the rest of the children. Soko joined Kakarot and Cerina in the middle of a circle they had set up. Surrounding them was Bardock, Colleen, Kara, Raditz (who was holding Tarro), and Fasha. Tora still hadn't woken up yet.

"What's all this about?" Bardock asked with irritation. He was mostly annoyed that he didn't already know. He missed being a mind reader.

"Oh, this is interesting," Kara said with a grin. "This is interesting indeed."

"I'm sorry for doing this," Cerina started off. "The only reason why we're involving you is because everyone would suspect you were aligned with us anyhow. We would prefer if you all had deniable plausibility, but it won't happen. There's no way around it."

"No way around what?" Raditz asked with a cocked brow.

Cerina looked to her mate for him to speak, just to reaffirm they were aligned in their wishes. "Look, King Vegeta is a dick and he deserves to die. We're going to lead a rebellion and take over the planet, and it may take a civil war."

Everyone looked surprised for a few seconds, but there was no reason to be. They all clearly knew what was coming.

"Why not do the obvious?" Colleen asked. "Kakarot, you're stronger than Vegeta. Just challenge him and let that be the end of it. He wouldn't dare refuse the challenge, especially if it were public."

"I'm sure you all sensed my power earlier," Cerina said. "I attacked Bulma, and it resulted in a standoff with all of us. My brother made it very clear that he would rather destroy the entire planet than lose to Kakarot."

"He threatened to blow up the planet?" Bardock asked appalled.

"It was no threat," Kakarot corrected.

"No one will support him if they find out," Raditz said angrily.

"It's his word against ours," Cerina explained with a heavy sigh. "Vegeta has loyalists, especially older Saiyans that served with my father."

"Well, he can't blow up the planet in front of his army, hence, challenge him in public."

"I don't think it would go over well," Soko said. "Let's say Kakarot kills Vegeta and installs himself as king. There are elite loyalists scattered across the universe that will go about their own way. We'd have to search them out before they start their own rebellions, and there's no guarantee that won't happen here on earth. When Cerina's father became king, it was after they defeated a non-Saiyan enemy. He was the strongest, but he also led his people into battle, and he was the main reason they prevailed over the Tuffles."

Fasha curiously looked to Bardock and folded her arms. "Grandpa, why didn't you ever fight King Vegeta for the throne?"

"Because nobody liked us," Colleen said with a sigh. "We talked about it. Thought about it. Well, we more than thought about it. Bardock nearly killed King Vegeta a few times, but he never crossed the line because we knew he would never have the proper support to be king, and he didn't have what it takes anyway."

"Gee, thanks." Bardock narrowed his eyes at his woman.

"You know you were never meant to be king, and you never wanted to be either. We wanted Cellena to rule, but we had to wait until she had enough support to lead on her own. By the time that came around, we worked up an agreement with King Vegeta. After that, we had Prince Vegeta inheriting the throne to contend with."

"Kakarot isn't Bardock," Soko firmly said. "Look, his intelligence is through the roof. He's worked on multiple successful projects, cured the Baga Virus, won Cerina's tournament against the prodigy Fenn, and he's saved the world on multiple occasions. He can be a good king, especially next to Cerina, who has royal blood."

"What's blood even matter anyway?" Fasha asked. "It's not like we have a long royal line."

"King Vegeta's blood matters," Soko strongly asserted. "He was a beloved king that his men respected. In the end, even with all of Queen Cellena's issues with her son, she still decided to elevate him to king, and it was all to honor her mate. No one has forgotten him, and honoring his children honors him."

"I have lost to my brother in battle, but Kakarot hasn't," Cerina said. "Saiyans are too powerful and rebellious to just risk they'll all accept an execution. We need to make sure we have support for new leadership, and then, we'll strike. Now is a good time to act, with so many of my brother's loyal supporters being off world."

"Speaking of honoring King Vegeta…" Bardock folded his arms and grunted. "It never sat right with me."

"What do you mean?" Cerina asked. "I know my father was imperfect, but my mother adored him."

"Yeah, but she was positive her son killed Fenn. She didn't just get over that. She was furious, and she wanted revenge, but she loved him too much for me to kill him. Instead, she told me that she would remain queen until death and then name her son, Fenn, as the king."

"Those were her true wishes?" Cerina was a little stunned. After all, her brother was an infant.

"That's what she told me right after Fenn died, and then I told Basila to have her make a will. Cellena thought it would be best to name someone outside of the bitter rivalry, but his guardians—you and Kakarot—would lead in the meantime. By this time, I had a vision that suggested she was going to die. I wanted to make sure she didn't have a change of heart concerning her son."

"Well, we were all surprised when we watched her will," Kakarot said, "especially Vegeta. He thought, for sure, he wasn't going to be named as the king."

"Maybe you should look at the tape again," Kara said. "Queen Cellena truly loved Fenn. She wasn't playing any games with him. Maybe there's more to the story or a clue or something."

Cerina recalled being devastated and also anxious. She never expected her mother to utter what was on that video. 'She also talked about setting up a council as well. She obviously didn't have enough time to come to a full decision, but Vegeta being king was always odd.' "I doubt we can pull a copy from the palace, but it's possible Basila can give us access…if it survived the purge."

"We'll need to talk to her anyway," Soko said. "She'll know who we can trust. I'll start with parents of half-breeds and work my way up. Cellena used to keep a list, and I'm sure Summer had one."

Raditz solemnly nodded. "I can look through her things."

"Good." She offered her husband an awkward grin. She didn't speak about Summer with him too much, but she knew he missed her. "I will put myself out there, but you all had better pretend that life is going on normally. Help Bulma and Vegeta repair the world. There's only one strategic move I need Kakarot and Cerina to make."

"Oh?" Kakarot cocked his brow. "And what's that?"

"I need you to show off."

"Well," Kakarot began to smirk, "that I can do."

The family did as Soko requested and went on normally. Fasha avoided Kohl by rushing to her brother's side. Colleen and Bardock went back to attending the children, Soko and Raditz went to dig through Summer's files, and Kakarot and Cerina went home to be with their children.

As soon as Kakarot came through the door, Ninjin practically knocked him over. "I wanna see your new level, Dad! Show me!"

Cerina slightly grinned and looked to her mate. "Tomorrow?"

"Sure," Kakarot told his son. "I'll show you and the rest of the Saiyans."

"Tomorrow?" He whined, and his shoulders slumped. "I've been waiting all day."

"I know," Cerina said. "We didn't mean to be gone for so long, but we had important business to attend to. Tomorrow, you can shadow your father. You won't have to watch your sisters at all. I promise."

Ninjin was wildly impatient, but he was also grateful that he didn't have to be a babysitter anymore. Plus, he could spend time with his dad. "Okay. Sounds great."

Cerina bent down and smiled lovingly in her son's face. "How about we find you kids some snacks before going off to bed?"

His eyes widened, and he turned his head. "Well…there probably aren't any snacks left…"

Cerina chuckled. "I'm sure I have a stash."

Ninjin gasped and jumped around. "You been holding out on us?"

"Parents always are." She kissed her son and escorted her to her temporary bedroom. Yes, Cerina did have a little bit of junk food hiding in a chest. She gave it to Ninjin and Colleena, and the two gleefully devoured them. Kakarot spent some time roughhousing with them, throwing the kids up into the air and wrestling a little bit. He wanted to hold Celicia, but he was hesitant and waited until Cerina had put Ninjin and Colleena down for bed. She played with Fenn while Kakarot held his baby girl, but she seemed irritated and continuously kept trying to get to her mother. She was a little jealous and would attack Fenn if she thought he was getting too much attention from her mother. Kakarot found that bit a little amusing, but he was also upset.

"I've been gone too long…" he said to himself with a sigh. "She doesn't even recognize me."

"She does…" Cerina was sitting right next to Kakarot on their bed. She could see that Celicia clearly favored her mother and didn't care who the strange man holding her was, but that was almost the same for any other person. "She is a little clingy to me. It's not unusual. But you have been gone a long time, Kakarot."

"Too long…" Kakarot looked to his beautiful mate, the future queen. He wanted to play with the children, but he also wanted to fulfill his primal desires. "Have you forgiven me enough to welcome me in bed?"

"You are in my bed."

"You know what I mean!" he slightly raised his voice in frustration. "Come on, Cerina. I know you've missed my touch."

"I have, but I'm contemplating. When I saw you earlier this morning, I still had blutz waves making me a little nuts. Truthfully? Even though I was angry with you, I was willing to rip off your clothes and be with you like an animal outside. If not for being summoned by the king, I would have rushed to intimacy with you."

"Man, I hate your brother," Kakarot said under his breath. "I guess almost killing Bulma probably got you rebalanced."

"It did. All my anger was directed at her, and now I want to focus on what matters." Cerina had a reasonable amount of hatred for Bulma, and of course she had a right to revenge for her parents. She never quite gathered up enough anger to hate her brother, but she was beginning to become numb to whatever affection they used to possess for each other. "Vegeta has betrayed our family, killed my friend, and destroyed the world. I don't want harm to come to his child, but he and his queen are a threat to my children. I won't allow them to ruin what we have."

Fenn was a quiet boy and he was kind. Celicia was in most cases, but when she escaped from Kakarot's arms and crawled into her mother's lap, she pulled on her uncle's hair and the two began to scream. "Okay, I've had enough of this."

Kakarot chuckled and waited for his mate to return with the kids. Their temporary house only had three bedrooms, so she made room in Colleena's bed for Celicia, and put Fenn with Ninjin. When Cerina came back to the room, she was taken aback by Kakarot's lack of clothing and stepped backward in shock. But knowing full well how he was, she erupted in laughter.

"It's like that?"

"I know you want me, and you know I want you. Let's just make up."

Cerina threw her head back and moaned as she walked over to her bed. "Well, I suppose we have to certify our alliance with one another, if we plan on overthrowing Bulma and my brother."

"Exactly," he said. As soon as her arm was within reach, he grabbed a hold of her and pulled her body into his. He was definitely a lot more aggressive than she was, but she allowed him to kiss on her neck while she thought.

"About being king…"

Once Kakarot realized her mind was on other things, he loosened his grip. "I know it's not what you want—"

"I want to get stronger, and I want to take care of my family. I should be able to do both at the same time." Kakarot cursed himself under his breath. He hated to apologize, but what else could he do? He was in the absolute wrong. "I got distracted and I screwed up. It's not just about Celicia and the rest of the kids. Gohan lost his dad, and I wasn't there for him. I wasn't there for Krillin and everyone else. I know I'm no Goku—and I don't want to be—but I don't want to ever leave you in such a position again."

Cerina began to blush from happiness, after hearing the things she so desperately wanted. "So, you want to be my king?"

"I want to be your partner, and if that makes me king, then I'm gonna be the best one this empire has ever seen."

Cerina beamed with pride before crashing into Kakarot's lips. They had longed for each other's touch, and though there had been betrayals and hurts between them, they were renewed by their new sense of optimism. It was a start of a new day, and they had no doubt they would be able to overcome their enemies and salvage what was left of the world for their children.

Vegeta had been angrily pacing and plotting around his base as he waited for Bulma to return. He didn't sense she was in danger—so he didn't bother to look for her—but he expected for her to have returned hours ago. He was extremely annoyed, but he had time to plot.

When she came through the door, he thought he would ravage her with insults, but he was instead hit with a pang of concern. "How is the child?"

Bulma was still rattled. She couldn't face Vegeta without putting up a decent front, but she knew she couldn't all the way hide her feelings, even if she had to hide the truth. 'I can't tell him about Trunks now. He'll flip, and I don't even know where he is. I have to focus on the task at hand.' "I believe the baby is physically fine, but Kakarot and Cerina are no longer a tolerable problem."

"I agree." He wasn't exactly thrilled about killing his sister, but it was a clear necessity. "Kakarot may challenge me for the throne, but he doesn't have support. Even if he wins, he'll never hold the empire together. No one respects him."

Bulma nodded and braced herself for what she had to say and Vegeta's potential reaction. "We need to control when Kakarot challenges you. You should make the first move. Put a date to it, so we have a schedule and time to prepare."

"Kakarot and Cerina aren't the only problem. Their family needs to be dealt with. Kara and Bardock are our most notable concerns."

"You can fight Bardock," Bulma said semi-confidently, "and his psychic abilities have been muted. Kara's body jumping is actually the most troublesome."

"Oh?" Vegeta asked with a smirk on his lips. "Ever since becoming the victim of that witch and her hex, I've been looking for a way to neutralize her."

Bulma folded her arms, proud of her beloved for scheming, but also annoyed that he kept such an important detail from her. "And did you find such a thing?"

"I did. I haven't spoken or thought much about it. I want to catch the little brat off guard. Just know that if she tries to take my body again, it'll be the last thing she ever does."

"I assume you found some sort of magic, just as Kakarot must have gotten when he was in space. This attack was premeditated. They were plotting to kill me, and you wanted to make peace with them."

"Well, I can't blame them for having a contingency plan. It may have never been acted upon, but you had to push Cerina beyond the breaking point."

"Oh, please. She's always beyond the breaking point. You can hardly blame me."

Vegeta rolled his eyes. "Woman, what are your plans. I know you have one."


"Bulma, don't!"

Bulma tried not to see her adopted mother's pleading eyes, but she appeared right behind Vegeta.

"Bulma, you don't have to do this. I'm not responsible for Trunks's death. Stop your war with me. Leave my children be!"

But Bulma knew she couldn't do that. She had to. The lives and the inheritance of her own children were at stake. "First things first. We need to get our comms back up, and then we can go from there."

In the morning, the quest to rebuild the Saiyan Empire continued. Kakarot allowed Ninjin to shadow him, and he didn't distract or annoy his father. He patiently waited while internally bursting with excitement, because he expected to see him transform into a Super Saiyan 3. Kakarot and Bulma surprisingly met with one another and worked totally cordially. He supplied her with a list of Saiyans that could help restore some of their technology, and they were summoned. Bulma claimed restoring communication was their top priority. Most of their towers were trashed, but there were a few out in the middle of nowhere that were salvageable. A couple were untouched. Once Bulma found a few stations that weren't completely thrashed, she went into beast mode. At the rate they were going, they would be able to restore communication with their ships within a few days.

Ninjin was polite and helped his father. He helped him lift heavy objects and handed him different tools. Kakarot tried to teach him a little bit and explained what he was doing while they worked. Kakarot was surprised at how good his son was and how patient he was being, but he knew that Ninjin was slowly dying inside from anticipation.

After a long day of fixing machines, Kakarot and Ninjin got something to eat in Vegeta City. Ninjin watched his father be uncharacteristically friendly with the other Saiyans over a campfire. Usually, he liked to stick with his friends and family or be by himself, but he seemed to get along with them all. Ninjin wasn't paying attention to the conversation—it seemed boring to him—but the adults would laugh every so often.

Kakarot eventually looked down at his son and realized that he was frowning. "What is it, Ninjin?"

"Well…" Ninjin honestly didn't want to be a bother, especially since his father was gone for so long. He didn't think too much about it consciously, but subconsciously, he was concerned whether he had something to do with it. After all, when Kakarot came back, he showed Gohan his form, and not Ninjin. But if he didn't speak up, he would never see it. "You said you would show me your new form."

The other adults began to quiet down and eavesdrop. Kakarot allowed a small smirk to escape his lips. "I did promise you that, didn't I?"

"Please, Father. I would really like to see it."

Kakarot looked to the other gentleman, and they seemed intrigued as well. "You fellahs don't mind, do you?"

"No," one of them said. "I think we'd all like to see what's next for us."

'Yeah, act cool for now, but we both know you'll dying to get what I have.' "If you all insist." Kakarot wanted to minimize the damage to the rebuilding city, but he wanted everyone in the vicinity to see, so he rose to the sky, and the surrounding Saiyans followed, along with his son. "Get back a bit. I don't want to hurt you, and it's still kind of hard to control all the power that comes out."

Ninjin did as his father instructed, but the other Saiyans folded their arms insulted. "We're fine," one of them insisted. "You don't intimidate us, Kakarot."

"Suit yourself." Just as Kakarot had done with Gohan, he quickly transformed to Super Saiyan. "Step one: you have to transform into a Super Saiyan."

Ninjin clenched his fists and nodded. "Right. I can do that."

"Next…" Kakarot's power radically increased as the spikes in his hair increased and circuits of electricity surged around his body. "You have to ascend to the next level, Super Saiyan 2."

Ninjin wasn't quite there yet, but he nodded his head.

The rest of the Saiyans rolled their eyes. Some of them could ascend. "Come on, Kakarot. Stop playing games and get to the point."

Kakarot smirked. "It takes a while sometimes. The next part, you have to reach from deep inside of you. Push hard to find it!" A gust of wind emerged from Kakarot's body and pushed them all back, but one of the stubborn Saiyans was hit with a bolt of lightning from Kakarot's body. Kakarot would have laughed at the man's hollers if he weren't too focused on pulling his energy forward.

Ninjin was so amazed while watching his father power up to levels beyond what he thought was possible. As he was encompassed by the radical glowing light, he felt like the luckiest son in the universe. He was truly proud to know that his father had achieved something that hadn't been done.

Bulma and Vegeta were alone together, overlooking a map of the usable communication towers when they sensed Kakarot's overpowering and close energy. They were both worried, but then they were pissed. They rushed outside on the shaking ground and joined the forming crowd of Saiyans that were witnessing the impossible. "What is he doing?" Bulma asked.

"Staking out his territory," Vegeta said with a snarl.

Bulma was worried. There were hundreds of Saiyans looking up in awe at Kakarot, and she had never seen them so full of wonder before. 'This is a problem…' She looked on at Kakarot carefully. To her, it didn't make sense how he could generate so much power. Even Saiyan bodies had limits, and despite having three children, he was still a young man. He had transformed to his new form only two days ago, and he only achieved it sometime out in space. 'There has got to be a price to this.'

As Kakarot hunched over and screamed as his hair radically grew out, Bulma noticed him wincing. It wasn't unusual for a Saiyan to be in pain while transforming, but just for a second, she noticed him clutching onto his chest, before pushing through the pain. "That's interesting."

"What?" Vegeta asked. "Kakarot trying to steal the support of my people?"

"No, I think Kakarot is physically hurting himself by taking on this form. Maybe he thinks it's normal body stress. I'm sure Super Saiyan was difficult when you first achieved it."

"Of course."

"But he grabbed onto his chest, as if his heart hurt. It was brief; I'm not even sure it registered, but this new level of power may be his undoing."

'His heart, huh…?' A slow and devious smirk began to curve across his lips. "Bulma, I need you to get Via here immediately. I need to speak with her."

"The ex-babysitter that I defeated in your tournament?"

"She was fired for being my spy, and there was a tidbit of information that's suddenly a great deal more interesting."

Bulma did want to see how Kakarot's transformation would play out, but she trusted that her king could handle Kakarot. 'I hope you know what you're doing.'

She flew off, and Vegeta continued to was the spectacle that Kakarot was performing. After screaming like he had been kicked in the nuts, and after another blinding light and rush of massive energy, their eyesight returned to behold Kakarot's radically long hair.

"And that's how you reach Super Saiyan 3."

Kakarot only expected Ninjin to lose his mind with excitement, but other Saiyans were also thrilled with the transformation. He even received applause and cheers. When he landed on the ground, he received pats on the back and words of admiration and praise. Some where stunned and speechless. Some were jealous and grumbling. But for the most part, he received respect from his peers. 'I guess Soko was right.'

Kakarot was most surprised when Vegeta's applause cut through the crowd and parted the mob of Saiyans into an aisle for the king. "Most impressive, Prince Kakarot. Keep it up, and you may even defeat your king one day."

He cocked his brow. "I've been there, done that."

There were gasps in the crowd. Many could not believe Kakarot would speak that way to the king, and though it was believed that Kakarot was probably stronger than him, some didn't know about then Prince Vegeta's failures. Queen Cellena liked to keep those sort of stories under wraps. But even if Kakarot were stronger, this was a blatant sign of disrespect.

"We could always put the rumors to rest, Kakarot."

He raised his brow surprised. "You're challenging me to a match, King Vegeta?" 'There's no way he would win. He knows that.'

"A match?" Vegeta chuckled. "Oh, no. I was thinking something a little bit more interesting than that." He looked around at his people that were breathlessly waiting for the next words of their king. They were his father's people, and he should have been king when his father passed. He was right to seek strength, but waiting did create more problems than he anticipated. Now, he was ready to put it all on the line again. "We need to rebuild. Earth was devastated by Ascension, and we require a strong leader to restore balance. Otherwise, our enemies will believe we are weak and will strike us."

"…I agree…" Kakarot said apprehensively. 'Where is he going with this?'

"But when we have regained ourselves and our status, I think it's time we put to rest our rivalry. I gave my sister—the one with royal blood flowing through her veins—the opportunity to challenge me for the throne. She lost."

"I recall."

"But I never afforded you the opportunity."

Ninjin's mouth dropped. "You're gonna give my dad the chance to be king?!"

He was just as amazed as everyone else.

'What is he up to? Is he trying to squash our rebellion plans? No point in finding Saiyans willing to be traitors if I can avoid war by defeating him. He couldn't possibly catch up to me. This is a massive mistake on his part, but if I can keep my family out of danger…' "I could fight you today."

"As I said, we require consistent leadership through this time. Bulma and I are best suited to this task. Besides," he smirked, "you need the time to train."

Saiyans "ooed" at their king's sly remark, and even if Kakarot knew that to be untrue, he was still offended. "I think I'd be more than enough right here and now." 'But he's obviously not going to budge, and he doesn't have to.' "When were you thinking?"

"Eight months. It'll give us time to set the earth back in order and for my heir to be born. After that, I'll secure their future."

'That's a lot of time to scheme and for Bulma to come up with some kind of plot. I know he has something planned, but his request doesn't seem unreasonable. No one would disagree that Bulma would be vital to restoring or tech. Besides, I don't quite have the pull that I should with his generals.' "Only if you agree to call your lead generals home to witness the rise of their new king."

"Oh, I wouldn't dream of having them miss such an event." Despite the fact that Vegeta was staring into the face of a Super Saiyan 3, he was radically optimistic. "Good luck, Kakarot."

"I don't need luck." Kakarot powered down. He was still getting used to his form, and it was tiring. He didn't want to push himself too far and appear fatigued in front of his future subjects. "Come on, Ninjin. Let's head home."

Ninjin smiled. "Bye, Uncle King Vegeta!" He waved and followed after his father. He had never really thought much about being king, but if his father took the crown, that would make him their heir. 'Wow, this is a really big deal.'

If the humans were still alive, a mob of press would have surrounded him and shouted questions in a disrespectful manner because of the impatience and greed. Now, he was surrounded by his brethren who were mostly interested in seeing the future fight. They wanted to be challenged and inspired, and that was soon to happen. This would be a fight that would redefine the entire universe, and it wouldn't be long before it arrived.

Hours later, after Ninjin and the rest of his children were put to bed, Kakarot and Cerina welcomed Soko and Basila into their home. Basila looked well, considering, but there was a present sadness that draped over her ever since her daughter was killed by the current queen.

The planet had been abuzz with King Vegeta's proclamation, but news didn't quite travel as well as it used to without social media. Basila had to hear the news directly from Kakarot's lips, and she was still amazed. "He did what?"

"He offered to fight me for the crown in eight months," Kakarot repeated.

He had told Cerina earlier, but she didn't say much about it. She had to stew in her thoughts, and she only felt worse and worse about it. "He's going to think of a way for Bulma to rig it. You should have challenged him right on the spot."

"No," Soko said sternly. "Vegeta made a valid point. Besides, he's the king. He gets to make the rules."

"I could have just killed him," Kakarot mumbled.

"And then you certainly wouldn't have been able to lead," Basila scolded, "unless you planned to do it with an iron fist."

Kakarot shrugged it off, like it wasn't the worst idea in the world. "At least the challengers would offer some entertainment," he teased.

"We're not going to defeat my brother only to become the next Frieza," Cerina said. "Defeating him in a proper battle is the best way to ascend to the throne. Waiting makes me nervous, but he wouldn't reschedule."

"I still say we need to draw supporters," Soko insisted. "Perhaps some won't want to bother taking a side, but some won't see a major risk in supporting Kakarot if they believe he'll win."

"I agree," Basila said. "Queen Cellena gained respect all on her own, and some who Vegeta believes were loyal were incredibly fond of her. General Rapini and some others may support you, if they believe the Queen's desires were somehow not met, or if someone defiled her legacy." She removed a flash drive from her pocket and placed it in Kakarot's hands. "I've probably watched it a hundred times. Something about her will always made me uncertain, but I could never put my finger on it. Perhaps you'll have better luck."

Cerina had seen the same video. On the surface, there was nothing to be excited about. They knew it would help strengthen Vegeta's leadership. However, she was optimistic about there being a clue to help them, so she chose to have hope and smiled. When she looked to her mate though, it fell along with her confidence. "What's the matter, Kakarot?"

"I just wonder…" When he thought back to the moment when Vegeta challenged him, there was absolutely no fear in his eyes. "…why does Vegeta think he's going to win?"

Via was practically shaking as she was escorted into the base of her leaders in Vegeta City. After suffering humiliation by being defeated by Bulma, she mostly stayed in isolation. It was difficult living with the shame of being defeated by a human, and she was also terrified that Bulma's wrath or even Cerina's would circle back to destroy her. When a solider summoned her, she almost ran, but that would have been an even greater mistake. It was best to face her nightmares head-on.

"King Vegeta and Queen Bulma." She bowed before them after the guards left the living room, acting as a temporary throne room. The royal couple had found two high back leather chairs with gold trimming to make themselves comfortable. "It's an honor to be before you."

"I'm sure it is." Bulma smirked viciously and satisfying, remembering how she humiliated the girl.

Vegeta slightly shook his head at his spiteful woman. "Via, I need you to expand upon a conversation we had not too long ago."

She was flooded with mild flirtations that she invested entirely too much time in. She was a fool to think she ever had a chance of being his queen, even if she were an incredibly strong girl. "Which conversation, my king?"

"While you were employed by my sister, you overheard some interesting fears. One of them was about Kakarot's eldest brat, Gohan."

She slowly nodded. "Yes. They talked about some kind of vision. They thought he might lead to a death of one of their other children."

"Interesting, indeed." Bulma clutched onto the arms of her chair and nearly jumped out of them. She certainly despised Kakarot and Gohan enough to scheme a wedge between the two of them.

"Down, woman," he said with chuckle. That's not the most interesting part." Vegeta had no doubt that Bulma already had a plan to force that vision to come to true, but he cared very little about Kakarot's brats. They would soon be irrelevant. "Go on, Via."

Via struggled to think deeper. There were many conversations she overheard. Most of them were about nothing. Cerina and Kakarot never said anything treasonous in her presence, even accidentally, but there were other useful and interesting conversations that she overheard and long dismissed. She reported everything to Vegeta before, but there had to be a reason to bring her stories up again. "They mentioned a virus. They knew someone Cerina loved was going to die of a virus, but Kakarot thought it was going to be him."

"But it was the queen," Bulma corrected.

"Yes, but at the time, Kakarot was very certain." She remembered the sadness in the house. Cerina was extra affectionate and even desperate at times. She had also never seen Kakarot so frightened. "He spent extra time in his lab. I think he was examining himself."

Vegeta remembered some of Via's information, but some of the details were new information. "Do you possess any other relevant information?"

She thought carefully and tried to remember any other detail. "Kakarot saw the visions while he was fused with his father. For some reason, his physic abilities were boosted, and they sort of surged in. Princess Cerina told me that herself, but she didn't explain any other visions. I overheard the rest."

Vegeta leaned forward with a smile on his face. "You're dismissed."

Via bowed her head in respect once more, and left their presence thankful to be alive.

Bulma was certainly puzzled, but intrigued. "Why would Kakarot be so certain that he would have a virus? Do you think it was from the series of visions or—"

"Perhaps Bardock has seen it before." That was the only thing that made sense to Vegeta. Why else would a young and healthy Saiyan assume the worst and test himself? "Perhaps it's some sort of strain of the Baga Virus, something he contracted in space, or something we're not yet aware of."

Bulma wasn't to smile and be sure, but Vegeta put his throne on the line. It was bound to happen one way or another, and she was happy for eight months to plan and make Vegeta stronger, but this was such a reach. "Do we honestly believe Kakarot may be sick? This could be the biggest break of our lives."

Vegeta leaned back in his seat and knitted his fingers together as he nodded. "And you had nothing to do with it?"

"No, I swear." 'Besides, I would have killed Cerina this time, not Kakarot.

"Perhaps Fate is smiling down upon us, Bulma." He imagined his opponent at home with his mate, training himself until he was too tired to go on. "I know Kakarot very well. He loves fighting more than he loves his own life. He'll train constantly, pushing his body to its limits. He'll tire himself, but he'll convince himself it's because he hasn't yet mastered his form, and he'll try harder. Even if he suspects his illness, he'll never back out."

"He wouldn't tell Cerina unless he was certain. He's too tough to seek out sympathy and put the responsibly of the empire on someone else's shoulders."

"He may very well kill himself before he even faces me in battle, and if he doesn't—"

"You'll give him the hardest fight of his life and push him beyond his breaking point." Bulma could hardly contain her excitement. She took the hand of her love and squealed after gently kissing it. "Did Kakarot honestly believe he could generate so much power without significant consequences?"

"I'm certain that arrogant fool thought he could. There's a reason why you don't fly too close to the sun."

"I'll have to find a way to test him without his knowledge. We need to know for sure."

Vegeta threw his hands up. "Go ahead, but it barely matters. We will fight in eight months time regardless. I need to fight Kakaort and prove that this kingdom is mine. No one will dare challenge me after he is defeated. And once he is disgraced, I will strip him and my sister of their royal claim."

Perhaps Kakarot was fine. Perhaps Vegeta was in for the fight of his life and would lose. He wasn't certain. All he knew was that he needed to try. And if Fate had made Kakarot defective, he would accept his shameful end with open arms.

But one thing was for certain. Very soon, everything was going to change.

"Now, enact you plan, Bulma, so we can properly begin the end of those traitors."

To Be Continued…

A/N: Okay, guys. The next one is gonna be a big one. Big battle coming up. Until next time. And as always, review!