Chapter 120

He stands in the same training room that he was in within Capsule Corporation HQ at the fateful moment his son found his wife's body. It almost feels archaic without Washu's modifications and strengthening, but for the other occupants its limits are not an issue. There is little other way to keep the peace and have Saiyans spend any time in close proximity without resorting to these methods. Gravity is simulated at a weak enough level so that his mother is unimpeded. Queen Vegeta spars against her grandson. She challenges the youth with all her might to see where her Earth based training has raised her limits to. For now Prince Vegeta stands at the side and supervises and mentors them on their mistakes. His ki has not fully recovered and so against his son he does not favour his odds and he has no need to waste his time against his weak Saiyan mother. The very room he is in distracts his mind from being able to fight properly.

Gathering his warrior family here he informs both generations of his bloodline about the events on Jurai and the emergence of the Counteractor. Queen Vegeta hears this in a positive light. Her rocky alliance with Jurai came at the cost of them offering the Saiyans more in the terms of challenge and combat alive than through defeating them in warfare and some supposed power to threaten the Gods sounds just that. She eagerly expresses her want to challenge this power herself to see what violence can emerge from the maternal Misaki. Her son reminds her that the first showcasing of the Counteractor's power of a simple shove was enough to remove her from a fight and since then her power has grown. The estimates Piccolo has given without any scouters for a concrete number are that the Counteractor would be able to destroy all of the Ginyu Force save its Captain in terms of raw strength. Since Queen Vegeta died by Zarbon's hand she has several rungs of Frieza's elite to surpass before she can think of fighting that.

Silently he plans how training Misaki could work and how long the process could take until the Kais no longer seek her death. It is a long investment for whoever has to take the time to teach her mental discipline and emotional control – dauntingly long if all he has to estimate off is several hundred years of life and she can barely construct weak ki barriers. Misaki will have to stay on Earth no two ways about it. What this means for interactions with the rest of the Juraian Royal Family he cannot guess, nor for how this will effect Ayeka. He does not need this right now. This is not why he is in this building.

Queen Vegeta giddily disengages from Trunks and kicks Vegeta squarely in his solar plexus. She wants to go against an adult now. Vegeta looks to his son. He nods at Trunks and smiles. Together he is attacked as his family gang up on him. He watches him, not just for combat, but as a father he keeps an eye on Trunks to see how being here effects him.

Downstairs in a suave and spacious lounge area Ryoko sits with the elder Briefs and has a serious discussion with them. Overviews of happenings with Jurai are given though not detailed much since their knowledge on galactic politics and heavenly beings is limited. In more depth though she does something daunting for herself and informs them fully of Vegeta's behaviour and her personal desire for Vegeta to face his demons and to move back in with his parents-in-law. They earnestly listen to her perception of Vegeta and his attempts to handle his grief, the progress he has made with time and ultimately his constant retreat into repression to hide from the pain. She asks them if they would be OK with either more constant visiting or Vegeta and his son moving back in with them and possibly herself tagging along.

No argument comes her way. She expects qualms over this trespass into the land of Bulma and none come. The elderly couple are more than pleased to host Vegeta again and have no issue with her staying too. Besides Master Roshi's island this building has served as a hotspot for gatherings of the Earth's Strongest and also as a headquarters for a company has rooms a plenty for accommodating guests. Trunks already has a room, Vegeta slept somewhere in this house before he was with Bulma and so to avoid his marital bed can go there and Ryoko is an independent adult to choose for herself from all remaining rooms. Disturbances and arguments and fights are what they are used to with Bulma and Vegeta, noise and company around the large building is more than welcome for them so long as they keep things within reason. Having family around will be a huge boon for Trunks and Vegeta might not say it but they are family too for him to lean on during hardship and know him like few others could claim to.

Disgust curls her lips. The repulsive task is her duty and so Kiyone thoroughly reads through the pathology report on the cloned Sasami body. That the real princess she is friends with is still alive and well eases this yet the cause of death is the true wave of relief she needs. The body was never alive. It was a stillborn clone like the many cloned organs and parts used for medical purposes, there was never a life to take and so there was no cruel torture or death struck upon this unknowing lookalike. Not one scratch or injury upon its body, no illness or poison and after a thorough investigation no hidden secrets stowed away within the corpse. Even decomposition had not begun to start its gruesome process upon her. She was delivered fresh from the vat she was created within and delivered within a hermetically sealed and sterile ship. This could have been far worse. It had a job to provoke and did so with no wasted efforts.

Many people are wanting orders and requiring management from her now placed at a high position she is inexperienced in. She has worked many cases and so knows what is required of the people under her and sets their tasks accordingly. This pressure she can handle and thrive in. New workstations and comm links have been prepared for all from Lady Funaho herself to ensure security in their investigation and that they utilise the latest technology available to them. To do this Kiyone also sends inquiries and messages across the depths of space to her distant partner working within Washu's laboratory and making use of those exclusive resources. Diagnostics are being run inside Washu's realm on the ship for whatever trace evidence can be uncovered of its past and point of origin.

The cost of this comes at shaking Mihoshi at news of this. A dead Sasami is a horrific thought for her that has rattled her and worst of all for Mihoshi is how intimately tied her family and best friend are getting to this dangerous case of Kagato – due to them having near guaranteed loyalty since they are upon the list of potential victims. Heavy radiation emissions from the ship indicate to its travel through several dimensional tears and so its path most likely started after Kagato dropped it off when popping through dimensions. The ship and its parts are easy enough to trace to the scrapyard it was bought from, and so all proxies, middlemen, engineers and agents used along this chain to dead drop the ship in space awaiting Kagato are likewise tracked down. All these associates will be brought in for questioning though what information they can give is suspected to be of little use. Washu's computers detect genetic similarities in the biological construction of the fake Sasami's cells to that of Grah which all but definitively show Kagato's direct hand in this. This is not the issue with the investigation. They know who has done it. They just cannot work out where the criminal at large is or how to pursue his spaceship.

Since pathology reports are complete and all data from the clone body obtained and saved there is now an unsavoury question waiting in Kiyone's lap: what to do with the body. There is no next of kin to release it to and though there are procedures for the disposal of bodies like this going strictly by the book in this case to her feels wrong. She does not want to make this call by herself. Detective Makibi stands from her desk and travels across into the heart of the Juraian palace to go in person to meet with Emperor Azusa. Knocking on the door to his office as she straightens her uniform she politely requests an audience with him and after a strict bow she informs him of the progress on the investigation she is heading and then pauses before delicately posing the question to him. Azusa strokes his thick purple beard with a look of pain on his face. Even if the body looks like his daughter he cannot honour it. Risks exist now. Even if a secluded spot is found for a grave and a proper burial he cannot allow any chance for Misaki to visit that grave. With the Counteractor being a presence he has to watch out for this body is a direct threat to aggravating his wife. Though it goes counter to Juraian customs which he is the figure head to uphold, he gives her the order that there is to be no grave nor last rites. It is to be disintegrated in a cremation and not discussed before Misaki again unless given permission to. She understands and leaves and behind her the emperor speaks a silent prayer for the doppelgänger of his daughter.

Construction of the training room for Misaki will take several hours to a day to complete due to its increased security and randomised time dilation aspect. The tall Namekian explains the current plan to Misaki in how training her to master the Counteractor's power is the safest bet they have in her and her family's safety and pacifying the Kais. With no hesitation she earnestly and desperately promises to devote herself fully over to whatever will stop her losing herself to the darkness that now embodies itself as her arm. From what he knows of her and her self discipline he feels this will be a great uphill battle, that and to test its results shall hold peril.

By her mother's side sits Ayeka. Privy to all these goings on she injects herself into these plans by announcing her wish to participate within this training alongside her mother. She will help her mother through this dark time and also her express want at the moment for herself is gaining better self control herself which aligns with the objectives of this training. Her mother is a gentle soul who will require support and does not cope well when cut off from others and she believes her presence shall aid to motivate Misaki into doing her utmost. As a final reason she states that if the Counteractor's goal remains the same as last to reach her children then by having one within the training room will severely decrease the chance of her escape onto Jurai if the worst comes to pass.

Misaki will not have it. Her daughter risking herself on her behalf is unthinkable. She argues against it. She shall not gamble with the life of her child. Piccolo assures her that that will not be the case. There are many magnitudes of power and skill she shall have to overcome before the Counteractor could get past him before he could evacuate Ayeka and within the next few days before they return to Earth that statistically is not happening. The mental well being of Misaki is paramount to the results and thus in her current state he does not see isolation from her family serving her well, expecting many breaks to be necessary in her gathering herself and having Ayeka there shall expedite this along with motivating her to never fall to the Counteractor's darkness for the imminent danger she shall pose.

Ayeka holds her mother and promises her that they can get through this together. Piccolo states that this is to be done under a trial basis. Any mishap or evidence that this is hindering Misaki's progress then Ayeka shall be removed. This is an agreeable term for the princess, sure she can manage this after surviving under Vegeta's hellish training.

There are no injuries keeping Misaki bed-bound and rest is all that can be achieved by her being still in this hospital. No other wards are occupied or anywhere near the royal suite and so since privacy is guaranteed Piccolo sees no reason to waste time. One ki technique is known to Misaki and he has her repeatedly summon her barrier in a specific area and control its destruction with a short gap between each barrier. Since Ayeka is present and knowledgable in this too she is to do the same and act as a point of comparison in the proper construction of the barrier and control of it. Two blue barriers form before the Juraian women as Piccolo keeps his focus on their internal ki signatures and for any disturbance from Misaki's arm he punched into existence

Misaki's shields are predictably smaller, flimsier and flake into nothingness before she can make a conscious effort to dissolve them. She cannot just simply emulate her daughter's mastery over summoning these barriers. The Namek watches for a few minutes and frowns in dissatisfaction. There is little too this technique and so with minimal effort he can replicate it himself and feel how its ki should flow for himself. Looking to the queen under heavyset and bare brows he reprimands her in not putting enough will or concentration into this activity and that she is purposefully holding herself back out of fear. He cannot teach her to control power if she is too afraid to use any.

"Is a hospital the right place for me to be letting loose with my power before you've even begun to teach me control?" Misaki might have agreed to his training however fear is making her extremely hesitant. She manages a marginally larger shield as a sign of compliance as worries and doubts manifest themselves on her face.

"Even Gohan needed a push to realise himself and his true potential. Don't complain just do it. These barriers are yours so use all you can in performing them. Focus on them alone." He is stern in keeping her disciplined though is mindful of his expectations given her phenomenally low aptitude for ki.

As the minutes while away it only becomes more apparent to the others that this is too soon for Misaki. Dread at what she is or might be is eating her up from the inside and staying her hand out of fear of maybe letting loose her arm. People are out there wanting her dead, wanting her family dead, delivering false corpses of her children to her, the gods themselves are angered at her presence and want it gone, the very trees of Tsunami protest against her and the threat she bears towards her beloved children is monstrous. Misaki is not in the mindset for training. Under this duress she has not recovered enough to not buckle underneath it again. She falls into a welcome embrace from her daughter. Piccolo accepts this. There is a limit he can push her with emotional stress being the instigating factor for her becoming the Counteractor. For now she has to focus on mental recovery instead.

"Are you quite done yet coming here to mope like an untrained babe and relish in your place of lowly Earth indoctrination? That face you make here almost makes me think you're worse than the pathetic King who knelt to Frieza. What Super Saiyan shows such weakness?" The sad and lonesome expressions she catches her son making as thought steals him from training make her want to vomit. As a mother she strikes at him viciously to remind him of the cost of such ill suited displays.

Queen Vegeta's face is grabbed by the prince. He lifts her from the ground as her meaningless struggles for freedom are ignored. With his tail he turns up the dial to increase the gravity. His arm holding her increasing weight does not falter as cold eyes stare her down. Fingers squeeze on her skull to keep her aloft as the artificial gravity goes beyond what she can bear and her entire weight is supported by her neck. She latches her legs around his chest and her tail about his gripping wrist to hoist herself up and support herself.

"I am plenty Saiyan enough. Do not forget your position as a lowly Pranis whilst you are in the presence of legend itself." Vegeta threatens her as he controls his rage at her insult towards Bulma and the grief he despises yet has to face.

"Come on then. What happens with these threats? Hurt me if you enjoy it but we both know you no longer have the guts to back up these actions. I still do, I have not forsaken our diminished creed over a want to rut. I know my position, I am the Queen, and I remember your own as the Saiyan bettered by the low class Kakarot." Black eyes lock as she meets his stare with her own.

He carelessly tosses her aside against the wall. Beating her into a near broken state is the harsh limit he has for death shall not be granted to her whilst diplomacy with Jurai is within her hands and rescinded from his own. Vegeta states there is no point him being in a training room she is also in for this pathetic level grants him no benefit. He looks to Trunks and loudly warns his son to go easy on the old woman when sparring with her for she damages easily and ignores the ki blast from her that strikes him in the side of the head.

The reason he left the training room waits resting against the side of the corridor. He walks towards Ryoko for he has sensed her presence out here for a few minutes now. She looks to him and lightly grabs at the front of his shirt so he cannot escape and teleport away anywhere. Carefully watching his face for all flickers of emotion she says that he never gave her a proper answer on what he is going to do, and that she has spoken on his behalf to his in-laws about him staying here again which they kindly agree to.

"Of course they agree, they are not fool enough to decline the grace of Vegeta Prince of all Saiyans again." He half mutters to himself, not liking her doing things on his behalf that he is perfectly capable of.

"You do know that this big puffing up of ya chest ego nonsense is a real easy tell of how you're hurting."

Vegeta looks off to the side with a quiet grumble in his throat. Out the window and at the spacious garden he points at a distant patch of lawn and says he can set up his current training room over there to keep himself a safe distance from the house and not being too close to his late wife's grave. He pauses and goes on that even then he will struggle training at his full potential with that site so close. Ryoko tells him that that is the entire point of this, to not run and hide but to have those feelings there for him to work through and experience till he moves on past them.

"I can tell it irks you my lack of easy yes or no answers. So yes, I shall stay here and follow your advice. I need to be in this place. What of you? Tag-alongs always stay here like Yamcha, or if you would rather not you can go do as you will for this duration. I won't force your hand."

"But I ain't no tag along, am I Vegey? Got this gold on my ear, so I'm not going to up and leave you now like prissy princess did. Whatever hugs and kisses you need to make the pain go away I'm here to give."

" … Within these walls I will not- I won't be comfortable with our current sleeping arrangements. Not under this roof. The amount of sleep I already lose as the moonlight in your night I cannot add on what more the burden of my emotions at sleeping with you will take." Vegeta explains to her. His mood will be foul enough here without that sense of betrayal weighing down on him and eating away the few hours of sleep he has.

Ryoko nods at him in understanding and releases his shirt. She guessed as much would happen and it is nice that he is forewarning her of this. His emotional welfare here takes a higher priority than her nyctophobia, she cannot ask him to stay here for his wife and then insist on this. So long as she has a working lightbulb, his ki to sense somewhere close by or even Trunks' Super Saiyan form then substitutes exist for her and she can make do without sharing a room with him. He offers that depending on times and when his training ends for the day he can always pop in and shine for her in whatever room she is in and then go off to his own bed. This thoughtfulness she smiles at and thanks him for. He glances back at the training room and says he will need time to process all this and keep an eye over his child during all of this. To ease the burden on him Ryoko offers to help him move whilst he can focus on being a father to Trunks and train.

The cabbit Ryo-Ohki tags along with her mistress to the lakeside house and promptly begins scampering around the empty property. Ryoko whistles and the long ears of her ship stand up and she hops over and sits down again. The pirate looks about and since Vegeta wants his training room and as it can be minimised into a capsule that looks like the suitcase she requires for this move. She finds a parsnip in the kitchen and feeds it to Ryo-Ohki, confused at this carrot imposter, and tells her partner in crime what to do. Together the two begin ferrying belongings into the training room. Ryoko flies and teleports making the job easy and quick whilst her pet does her best given her limited size and only being able to hold things in her mouth. An issue arises as the poor cabbit begins meowing as she finds boots she cannot pick up and then Ryoko has to take over the task as Vegeta's weighted clothing is problematic and her pet cannot tell the difference. Then a larger issue occurs as Ryoko finds objects she herself cannot move. Picking up Ayeka and Bulma's rings is a bit much for her so the cabbit gets to carry them oblivious to what they are. As it is only fitting she puts the trunk of Bulma's clothing and the box with her bunny girl outfit in the training room since they are going back to Bulma's house.

There is a melancholic and lonesome air to the house as she looks around at the messily filled training room and the now near empty house. She takes her time to look around and be nosy and check and peruse. Realising that she is looking about with the eyes of a thief the pirate wonders what she should do with the house. She closes the door and windows and after several minutes of a fruitless search finds no key corresponding to any of the locks. Vegeta never thought he had a need for any means of security beyond his self residing there. It does not feel smart to leave an unlocked and empty house by itself. So she guesses she will have to capsule the house too and take it to Vegeta for safe keeping. With her job mostly done she presses the button to put the training room in its capsule, pockets it and lounges down on the sofa.

Petting Ryo-Ohki she gets her communicator out and sends a long and exhaustive message to Kaia about today and her feelings and that she misses her and wants to hug her. Idling around with this device her elfin ears go erect and she is surprised as a call comes through to her from Ayeka. Misaki is currently having a meeting with a therapist of the Juraian Royal Family and so she now has free time to catch up with Ryoko and continue their conversation that she had to cut short for her mother's sake. Ryoko puts on the video feed and presses for Ayeka to do the same which after a while she does. The princess looks tired and not in the best of places given what her family is going through. Ryo-Ohki meows and rubs against the screen at the familiar face as Ryoko greets her rival and explains to her where she is, what she is doing and how Vegeta has definitely agreed to taking proactive measures in dealing with his grief by moving back in to Capsule Corporation HQ.

There is a measure of relief and gratitude from the princess at this however thoughts of the Counteractor still tug at Ayeka's attention. Ryoko tells Ayeka the good news that she has her wish and when in the Briefs' household Vegeta will distance himself from her at night and their time together during sleep is over. Ayeka does not gloat over this for all it tells her is how severe that location's impact on Vegeta is that the man who pushes himself to try all impossible tasks will quickly concede that act over and leave Ryoko to her nightmares alone. The pirate sighs and fluffs at her hair and says that both of them will not be getting effort directed towards them now, she will not be asking for any dates or much time alone with him out of respect for his grief and likewise she does not see Vegeta putting that much time or effort into thoughts towards actively gaining Ayeka's forgiveness and getting her back to staying with him. At this Ayeka keeps her lips sealed about how little Vegeta will probably have to do to have her stay on Earth with the state of her mother and the plans for training her and nor will she complain or argue at the positive steps Vegeta is taking for his own self at the expense of her own.

"It is far more important for Lord Vegeta, and for his son, that he spends this time both on self betterment, reflection and of embracing those emotions he views as his own personal demons. Where this puts his concern towards either you or myself is not something we should be petty over. His healing will be a far greater boon than whatever half-brain-dead scheme he comes up with in how he views courtship and fair relationships. Mayhaps you could join us Ryoko in focusing on improving one's self?"

" I am a lovely lady helping out a widower by volunteering to move his house and provide the love and affection he needs, and I got to like talk to his kid and help Trunks how Saiyans can't, in the house of the richest people on the planet and I ain't stolen nowt."

"Gloating only serves to demean your supposed position of 'the better person'. Your actions have consequences, so as long as you do not start leaping before you look and causing harm-"

"I am looking and I am not liking what I've been seeing. I got to go in his and Bulma's room and I saw. 'Course I already seen in his head, but that- that was so damn tough to witness. You've seen it too though, last time there you were the one in that house who he collapsed into the arms of. What looking were you doing to not do what I've just done and get him to get help, to do what he really really needs and you ignored." Ryoko turns on Ayeka for the sake of Vegeta. In hindsight she cannot let this slide how he was not administered the aid he needed earlier whilst this princess errs far too close to deriding her for pains she has already suffered through. Her anger lights abruptly thinking on the hurting of Vegeta.

"And why am I the sole focus of this question when last I recall you were present during that visit too?" A purple eyebrow is raised at this left-field accusation at her.

"You were there during his breakdown. Those tears and that godawful sound of his sadness, why didn't you help him?" Her voice crescendos as she asks why she had to bear witness to such a terrible scene today and no action was taken to help the man she loves. Ryo-Ohki gets scared off by the shout and leaps from Ryoko's chest. Golden eyes glare at the bemused princess as she spies hints of guilt creep into Ayeka's demeanour. "You cared for your own tears and I am the one who keeps pushing and pushing and pushing for him to get better and move on. Princess is the one who cries for help from a broken prince she doesn't want to understand and gets him running for her when he shouldn't be caring for you!"

" … My timing for messaging Lord Vegeta concerning my mother was poor and I do apologise for that action I took in panic. Maybe I should have offered the suggestion you just have to him, that was a fortnight ago … much has elapsed since that time. In my heart I hoped that what went on that day was the push he needed after his year with his son. That his experience I was not privy to gave him some semblance of closure or a push for him to make his own choice. Do not make it sound like your incessant bothering of Vegeta is always helpful or without cost. You may be proactive in having him face the unfortunate passing of his wife, however you know what unbearable pain your antics cause that he does not need to put up with."

"I won't just sit around like you and wait for it all to fall into my lap. He cannot do this by himself. He won't chose the right things to do 'cos he's a fool who don't know what to do."

"Tsunami knows his decision making is questionable. He slept by her interred body and I saw the cost it ravages upon him to open up to the emotions he bottles up. I am equally a fool, I am not wise enough to offer him the advice I wish I could, my age betrays me in this. Little by little I hope he can expunge himself of the pain. Gradual, slow change is what I believe to be for the best. As you said, you are the one who can read his mind and make the most informed decision on what his spirit needs." It would be so easy for Ayeka to turn back this anger and cast blame upon Ryoko's ruinous efforts – the hypocrisy of asking why she herself has not helped when Ryoko almost broke the man by her sacrilegious effort of wearing Bulma's bunny costume. Maybe she has failed Vegeta in some way though providing him critical aid that he willingly accepts is not the easiest of tasks. Thankfully Vegeta shall never point the finger at her in terms of not helping him. " I really did not want to think that this extreme step was necessary any-more."

There is much bemoaning Ryoko could do but she does not want to exhaust herself with anger at hindsight. She has a herculean task ahead of her. Vegeta is staying with his in-laws to face his grief and she has the job to be there for him. Her anger in part towards Ayeka is for leaving her to do this alone. The pirate throws a few slurs at Ayeka to simmer down, and asks if there is anything specific she could try to help Vegeta. There is little Ayeka can offer here that she either has not tried herself or believes would work concerning Vegeta. What she tells Ryoko is to focus on providing for Trunks when his grandparents are otherwise occupied to take the worry from Vegeta, and for Ryoko to try and leave room for Vegeta to seek support from her from himself and not to pester and force her help on him as that will only end bad for both of them.

Small talk and conversation between the rivals does not last. Both have too much on their plates to want to waste time conversing with the other and so Ryoko makes the excuse of having a house to move to end the call. She strolls outside, finds her pet and minimises the house into its capsule and looks about at the now empty lakeside. Craters, destroyed trees and a crashed Juraian ship remain. Ryoko teleports back to the ki signature of Vegeta and hands over the capsule for his house and throws the training room to expand out in the garden where he pointed previously. A quiet thanks comes from the Saiyan as he takes his house and looks to his training room with the itch within his blood to gain power lighting at its sight. He walks into the training room and fishes out his wallet from the mess of items. Surprisingly it is not missing anything and he hands a fair amount of notes over to Ryoko and explains that if she gets bored then this should tide her over for a while in exploring the city. She does not leave to visit the city. Ryoko helps Vegeta unpack.

Shortly after this Vegeta teleports his mother back to Goku's house to be done with her and Trunks tags along to go visit Goten. The trunk of Bulma's belongings is handed over to her mother and when Vegeta is not actively training in the room Dr. Briefs takes a gander at the alien improvements and alterations to his initial design. Time passes and the Sun sets but the noise and lights of the city continue on.

Earlier than usual Vegeta ends his daily slog of training from a weariness that is not physical and after showering he walks to find where Ryoko has settled herself. He knocks and opens her door to find her lounging on a bed with her cabbit and a few drinks whilst browsing T.V. Vegeta makes the offer to her of going Super Saiyan before she sleeps and she waves him off saying she is staying up for a bit. As he turns to leave she tells him she loves him in a subdued voice. He nods hearing this, and closes the door. She drains the rest of the bottle of sake she was nursing and flicks channels to try and distract herself.

The walls are constrictive, hemming her in is this very building now she has to stay here. For all the times she has broken into homes only now does she have a true sense of trespassing somewhere she should not be. Mere metres from where she rests is the room where Vegeta lived with his wife, and where he found her still body, and just outside is where her body lies now. An hour of trying and sleep eludes her and Ryo-Ohki becomes agitated at the restless one in the bed waking her up.

Her elfin ears hear noise from outside in the corridor and for any excuse to help pass the night she slips out of her room. Slippers scuff along the floor as an equally slow set of paws follow along. An old cat called Scratch follows its owner back from its litter-box and his late night bathroom visit. As its eyes dulled with age gleam in the gloom so too do another pair as Ryoko steps out into the corridor giving Dr. Briefs a small fright at the surprising sight. He puts a hand over his fast beating heart and Ryoko is quick to flick a light switch on and the predatory glint in her eyes goes. She hesitantly walks towards him to see if he is OK and offers him some of her alcohol to calm him down.

"Thanks but no, any drinks now and I'll be up all night back and forth. Gonna have to get used to aliens popping out of the woodwork again scaring me half to death. Any other weird quirks I should know other than cat eyes?" His ageing body will not allow him to so freely consume liquids late at night. The elderly doctor calms himself and opens up a window as he fishes for a cigarette in a pocket of a heavy woollen dressing gown.

"Sorry, couldn't sleep, kinda used to Vegey's house where don't matter what I do he won't get scared. Heads up though I do like flying through walls." She takes a step back as he lights up his cigarette.

Dr. Briefs jokes that she will have to race against Vegeta to fly through walls before he knocks them down, and then asks if she does not like cigarette smoke. The rogue answers that she learnt from Trunks about how Bulma used smoking in their relationship and has even tried to do the same on occasion so does not want Vegeta now thinking she still is. He scoffs and chuckles that the smell of smoke lingers all about this house now due to him and his daughter so he will not be caring too deeply for second hand smoke. Looking across at her he can see that something is bothering her.

"So what's up then? I take it it's not something as simple as the bed being uncomfortable, or the sirens of the city putting the pirate on edge? You can tell this old man." He leans on the open window sill and exhales.

"Unless you're over a 100 then I'm the old one here. … It's your daughter. Like this is a Vegey and Bulma place and it's so special to them and I really don't feel like I 'fit' or should be here. That and god it's been lonely when everyone left and now even Vegey isn't near 'cos he's busy doing what he needs to and I have to care for him."

"Well other places would be 'special' to their marriage if Vegeta ever left this place and his training room, he's only got himself to blame for centralising everything here. You aren't doing anything wrong here, no need to feel unwelcome, in fact you're the one doing right and trying to get that Saiyan on track. Our grandson's back so he might stop turning so much into a miniature version of his father now. All you're doing is helping him, so you love him too, that ain't nothing wrong. Bulma wouldn't want him to be some sad sack moping about alone, much as Vegeta might disagree."

"You would be mad at me if you knew all the shit I have done though."

"Maybe. Not many of my proudest moments come from talking to Vegeta too. I'd rather not worry about it. He wants you here so that's that. … Was Bulma that stuck by his side and helped him through his darkest days when fighting tooth and nail to become a Super Saiyan and trying to regain his stolen meaning to what he thought his life was. It meant the world to him to finally have someone truly by his side and her sticking with him through everything even as they razed the house with their shouting matches. He isn't one to forget things like that, things like you're doing." He reassures her with his sage advice puffing on his cigarette. There is no umbrage between him and her over her pursuit of Vegeta, so long as she does nothing wrong to cause him to want to protect his family. Dr. Briefs nods to himself thinking on his daughter and her early interactions with Vegeta when she decided he would live here.

A woman's attempts at sneaking are readily foiled. Trying to steal herself away to a different wing of the palace she finds Funaho always a step behind her. Following a few fruitless attempts to lose the tail on her the second Empress of Jurai waits as the first catches up to her.

"I am not going near the children so do not fret for me. I would just prefer to be apart tonight." Misaki's flee is scuppered and she makes her reason to her 'sister'.

Her polyamorous marriage leads to a double threat she does not want to hold in the night. This is a new power she has nothing she can do about and equally there will be no safeguards when she sleeps. She will not put her husband and Funaho in grave danger by sharing their bed. That among other less honourable reasons.

"Your well-being is now one of the top priorities within our Empire. Don't hide and be alone Missy. We have Piccolo standing guard should anything happen, which it should not. Come." Funaho rests a hand on Misaki's shoulder. "It is far safer for all of us not by you worrying yourself by your lonesome, but by us standing strong together where you feel safe and loved. Nothing will harm you. And nothing will harm us."

Misaki sees little escape having already been caught and so long as the protection of Piccolo exists to intervene with his speed and power she reluctantly acquiesces and follows the lead of her 'sister'. Out of her several hundred years not one prior night has had an outbreak of her Counteractor powers and so she hopes that statistically this night should follow suit. As the elder in the relationship, Funaho soothes Misaki's fears for she is the same rough age as her own child. Misaki has always been one to get worked up by emotions easily, and always one to never want to be alone though it is not unheard of for one of the married rulers to sleep somewhere else than the marital bed whether apart on business, illness or wanting to give privacy to the other wife.

In their marital room Azusa waits sat on the side of the bed. Outside on the balcony to their room sits Piccolo, a thin curtain veiling the room yet still allowing him to see motion and shapes inside since he cannot sense the emergence of the Counteractor from ki alone. Misaki looks to the silhouette of the Namekian and hopes it provides enough support for her to find sleep. Her husband detaches his wooden leg and silently looks across to his wife.

"I guess I know where Little Ayeka gets her tendency from." Misaki awkwardly tries to break the tension by a deprecating joke regarding her failed attempt to run away.

In the dim light of the royal bedchamber a faint dark glow emanates from the cast on her oddly proportioned arm. Funaho starts to get ready for bed herself. It has been a busy and trying day for them and so setting it behind them for a fresh start tomorrow is welcome. For now Misaki sits down beside Azusa and rests against him. She can see he is trying to ease her by drawing similarities to his own missing limb yet his wooden leg is not bringing down the literal wrath of the gods. Unless Washu comes up with some alternative or a wish is made to the dragonballs then this is her arm for the rest of her long days. She will have an early start tomorrow hopefully as her training begins. Eventually a tired Misaki finds sleep cuddled up between Azusa and Funaho with Piccolo beginning his night long vigil as a curious bird perches upon his antenna mistaking it for a branch.