[ Contents | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 ]

Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 12

For Vegeta, there was only rage. After losing everything--people, father, world, honor, pride, even life itself--the Saiyan prince had come to rest on this soft blue planet, and found the impossible: a home. A wife, a son... home. He'd permitted himself to dream that he'd found a new world to call his own, and soon, pride and honor restored.

Fool! Foolish dreams, illusions all! Shattered by Raditz's betrayal, shattered by the loss of the one he'd dared to... care about. Vegeta raged against himself--hadn't he learned, all those years under Frieza? Never trust, never care, never accept it--it makes you weak, Saiyan! They can hurt you if you care.

"RADITZ!" Vegeta screamed, golden hair streaming back as he plunged through the sky--towards Kakarott's house. Where else would the traitor go, but to his simple-minded brother? Kakarott was ever innocent and trusting and would believe--as Vegeta had been fool enough to believe--that Raditz was loyal and innocent! And Kakarott would protect his treacherous brother....

* * *

"No, Vegeta, I don't know where Raditz is."' Goku stood his ground beside the small mountain stream and shook his black-haired head slowly. He frowned at the short, angry Saiyan whose hair burned golden with rage. "What's wrong?"

Vegeta hovered in the air above the bigger Saiyan. "Kakarott!" he snarled, clenching his fists. "If I didn't know you were too simple-minded to lie--!"

"Why would I lie to you?" Goku looked at Vegeta, puzzled.

"To protect that worthless, traitorous brother of yours!" Vegeta snarled, touching down at the very edge of the stream. Water swirled about his heels.

Goku's eyes widened. "Raditz?? What are you so mad at him for? Did he do something to Naranja?"

Vegeta glared at Goku; a vein at his temple stood out, pulsing with anger. "Oh, no, Kakarott," the Saiyan prince snarled softly, "he didn't to anything--to Naranja!" Vegeta rose into the air again, turning slowly away from Kakarott. "If you see him, ask him what he did with Bulma!" A multi-colored blur of light, and Vegeta was gone, hurtling faster than any eye save Goku's could see toward the horizon.

"What happened to Bulma??" Goku yelled, but Vegeta was already gone.

* * *

"Grandma, what's going on? Where's mom? What was father so angry about?" Trunks asked his maternal grandmother for about the hundredth time.

"I don't know, dear," Mrs. Briefs told her anxious grandson. "We'll just have to wait until he gets back," she answered patiently for about the hundredth time. "Would you like something to eat?"

"No, I'm... not hungry," Trunks said, as he flopped down at the kitchen table. He rested his chin on his hands and looked thoroughly disconsolate.

"Oh!" Mrs. Briefs blinked. "That's unusual. Are you feeling well, Trunks?" The blonde beauty felt her grandson's forehead.

"Doubtless the whelp worries about his fate," growled the cold voice of Lady Naranja as she stalked in the kitchen door. "His half-breed blood is tainted enough, but should his mother prove as faithless as Raditsu..." The Saiyan woman smirked unpleasantly.

Mrs. Briefs blinked. "Oh, dear. Would you like something to drink?"

"And to eat. Quickly," the imperious Saiyan said, still smiling unpleasantly at Trunks.

"I'm just in the way," Trunks muttered, "and since I'm not hungry, I'll go back to my room," he said, slipping away from the table.

"I think not, young prince," Naranja said mockingly. "Prince Vegeta would hold me responsible if none protected the youngling from the traitor Raditsu. You stay here!"

"Raditz is not a traitor!" Trunks yelled, his small fists clenched.

"Ah, the young prince has some spirit! I'd begun to think you as feeble-hearted as the vermin you resemble," Naranja said, waving one hand casually in the direction of Mrs. Briefs. "Nevertheless," her eyes narrowed, "Raditsu has fled with the speed of guilt, and taken your mother with him. At the very least he has kidnapped and defiled her; at the worst she betrayed the prince willingly!"

Mrs. Briefs eyes opened wide and she straightened abruptly. "My daughter has always been a good girl; she would not do any such thing! If you wish to eat here, mind your manners," she finished indignantly.

Naranja scowled; her hand twitched several times, as if she longed to raise it but stopped herself before acting. "I will remember your insolence," the Saiyan promised.

"Trunks," Mrs. Briefs turned to her grandson, "go to your room and work on your lessons with Goten. You have a lot of homework to finish for school," she said.

Trunks' eyes narrowed slightly, and he nodded. "Yes, grandma, I do! I'll get right to work now," he said, darting down the hall toward the stairs.

* * *

While Naranja ate as a hungry Saiyan eats, Trunks went to his room and quickly threw his clothes and pajamas into a backpack. When he was packed, he quietly opened the window and slipped out.

He didn't fly; he remembered hearing that the power used for flying made it easier for ki sense and scouters to find him--and the last thing Trunks wanted was to be found alone by Naranja. Instead he ran, zig-zagging across the grounds, avoiding people and trying to stay out of sight.

On his way across the compound, Trunks couldn't help noticing that Grandpa had opened up the spaceship hangar. The lavender-haired boy stood still for a moment, his intense curiousity warring with the urge to run, to get away before something bad happened.

Curiousity won. It would be rude to leave without saying goodbye to Grandpa anyway, he told himself. He slipped into the hangar and ran up the open ramp of the space sphere.

"What are you doing now, Grandpa?" Trunks asked, looking over Dr. Briefs' shoulder at the pile of equipment taking up part of the main hold. (In Goku's original ship, it had been the exercise chamber).

"Ah, hello there. Well, I finally got the old ship fixed up from the last time Vegeta landed it," Dr. Briefs answered as he probed a circuit.

"Cool! Can I fly on it when you test it?"

Dr. Briefs started to say "Sure", but thought better of it. "You'd have to ask your mother first."

Trunks started as mention of his mother brought this morning's events back to mind--Mom missing, his father's fear and then wild rage, and terrible curses--blaming Raditz for it all, somehow. Trunks wasn't sure what Raditz was supposed to have done, exactly. It was clear that everyone thought the big Saiyan had kidnapped Mom, but no one would tell him what else was going on. Something bad; Lady Naranja had been at his father's side until he flew away to look for Raditz, and then she'd walked around with such a pleased, cold smile ever since; Trunks shivered. She gave him the creeps!

"Grandpa, Grandma is letting me stay at Goten's house for a while, so I'll see you later!" Trunks gave his grandfather a quick hug and waved at him as he ran out the small back door to the hangar.

* * *

Naranja waved away Mrs. Briefs as she brought yet another bowl of rice. "Enough," she growled, and rose shakily to her feet. "I will be back later. Tell the Prince that when he returns."

The Saiyan woman strolled slowly back to the remnants of her mansion, rubbing her eyes as she fought off sleep long enough to find an unruined room with a bed. A small grey kitten blinked its eyes open and looked at her from the bed it had claimed. It stretched and yawned, tiny pink tongue curling back.

"More useless vermin." Naranja grabbed up the kitten and broke it with a twist of her hands. She tossed the limp, warm body into the corner; then, curling up with her tail tucked under her chin, she slept.

It was a long, deep sleep, as her body replenished itself with the immense meal, restoring the devastation wrought by the recent metabolic changes. She slept for more than a day, so deeply that not even thunder of battle could have disturbed her.

* * *

"Where are you going now?" Bulma asked Raditz as he flew along. "Aren't you afraid that Vegeta will sense you?"

"Yes, I am," Raditz said as he dropped down behind the mountain, landing lightly on his feet. "But, I wanted him to sense me leaving this area. If he realizes Kulilin saw us, and thinks we might be with him... It might be very bad for the short guy and his family. That, and I want him to think me gone from here, and not looking for me on foot."

"So where are we going now?" Bulma pressed.

"I'm... still thinking about it," Raditz answered shortly.

"You mean you don't know."

The big Saiyan set Bulma down again and paced back and forth under the pine trees. "How did she do it? I've got to know that before I can prove to Vegeta that you are innocent!"

"Well, how would I know? Why don't you ask her?" Bulma retorted; the entire day's events had made her rather cross.

Raditz eyed her speculatively. "That might work--but I doubt it. She's a noble, and she survived on an enemy world for thirty years. I don't know enough about torture to keep her in enough pain long enough to break her without killing her accidently."

Bulma turned pale. "That's not what I meant, Raditz!"

"Trick her into boasting of it?" Raditz frowned and looked thoughtful. "If I could figure out what's driving her, it might work. She has some kind of obsession with my father Bardock, and hates me. Something to do with mother, if the ghosts of my dreams are to be believed..." He frowned more deeply.

"Oh-ho! That sounds pretty obvious to me," Bulma said, hands braced on her hips.

Raditz lowered his eyebrows. "What do you mean?" he asked suspiciously. "Mother was nothing to her--lower power and lower ranked; they would have had no close contact."

Bulma rested a finger against her chin. "And your father? He did?"

Raditz frowned again; something tickled the back of his memory. "I think... father may have been in a squad that worked the same planet a few times--or maybe reported to her. He never talked much about what he did before married Kinoko. So?"

Bulma rolled her eyes. "Men! You are so blind. Let's try it in small steps: one," she ticked off on her fingers, "this Lady Naranja knew your father. Two, your father looks like Goku, a lot like Goku--remember, I met him when we went on that little excursion into Hell--and he's a damn handsome man. Three, I heard enough down there to learn that he was a very powerful Saiyan for his rank--like Goku. Four, Lady Naranja still has some 'obsession', as you put it, with your father. Five, I've heard that you look very much like your mother--is that true?" Bulma interrupted herself to ask.

Raditz nodded. "Very much so, especially our hair."

"So is it maybe possible that Lady Naranja was, ah, attracted to your father, and was just a bit jealous of your mother, and hates you because you're not only her rival's son, but you look like her?"

Something in Bulma's question hit him like a freight train, unearthing the long-buried memory of a forgotten argument between his parents. He'd been young enough that the words meant little to him, only distress that they were quarreling...

"I put in the transfer request. Captain Nabo said I should have no problem getting it approved." Bardock said, eyes averted. He would not look Kinoko in the face. "You'll need to transfer, too."

Kinoko stared at her powerfully-built husband, utterly appalled. Her tail uncoiled and lashed, bristling. "What kind of half-witted, brainless idiot are you?? You walk out on an elite commander like Lady Naranja--what kind of post do you think you'll get in the future?" Kinoko braced her hands on her hips and glared down at the shorter, golden-skinned man. "Worse, you want me to walk out on my commander! Bardock, she needs our skills! And you know Lady Naranja is not the forgiving type! You'll be lucky if you can get a post butchering livestock for the barracks messhall!"

Bardock half-smirked and continued packing his kit. "Heh. If I did, at least you and the brat wouldn't go hungry." He ruffled young Raditz's shoulder-length hair. "I swear, he's going to have hair as long as yours if it doesn't stop growing soon!" He looked up at his wife. "It won't come to that; they're too short-handed. Warriors with our experience are too valuable to waste because of a petty noble's spite; at worst, we'll get re-assigned to some no-rep squad that needs our skills even more than Naranja does." He grinned, "Then we'll pull their asses out of the fire and they'll get a new rep--as our squad."

Kinoko's eyes narrowed. "You don't get it, do you, third-class? Without Naranja's patronage, you'll never go anywhere beyond squad leader of a bunch of low-class grunts--I don't care how experienced you are, or how many planetary bounties you claim. Nobody promotes an unconnected third-class peasant, and they don't get the juicy bounty planets, you know that. And trust me, after Naranja takes it on the chin without you there to keep her from doing something stupid, she'll blame you and make sure you never get connected again. She remembers every slight, and never forgives."

Bardock frowned at Kinoko. "I know. Why do you think I'm getting out of her company?"

Kinoko looked at him quizzically. "She doesn't like me much. So? I can live without the promotions as long as you are in favor. I still get a squad member's share of the bounties--but if we transfer, we don't have even that! Not once you're blacklisted!" Naranja shook her head, shifting her elegant long hair from side to side. "Even if we manage, what kind of future will your son have? A peasant boy with an elite noble for an enemy..."

Bardock was determined. "Thanks to my reckless brother getting killed 'in defense of the king', my equally wild nephew Turles got an appointment to the Royal Guard, and he's done pretty well with it. I've already spoken to Turles; he's promised to be Raditz's patron and speak for him when the brat applies for the Guard," Bardock smirked. "Naranja has no pull with Turles, I can tell you that. Not when he's Captain Zorn's fair-haired boy."

Kinoko growled and planted both her hands on the sturdy slab table. "None of this would be necessary if you didn't transfer away from Naranja's squad! You're leaving her in the lurch and begging for a blacklisting, and--"

"None of this would be necessary if we were all dead, either!" Bardock said, so sharply that Kinoko stopped in mid-sentence to stare at him, open-mouthed.

"What kind of foolishness is that? Naranja may not be the cleverest officer I've ever seen in action, but she's got you to handle tactics, and we've never been assigned a planet that tough--"

"It's not the enemy I'm worried about," Bardock interrupted. "As you said, she's petty and vindictive... and jealous." He glanced significantly at Raditz, and back at his wife.

"You're not seri-- you are," Kinoko said, eyes narrowing as she looked at her husband. She folded her arms and said nothing, her lips pursed, her face thoughtful. Kinoko's tail switched idly back and forth.

Bardock nodded. "Ever since Raditz was born, you've gotten the most dangerous tasks on every new planet." He continued packing; now it was his spare armor and clothes going into another duffle bag. "I don't think she quite grasped your true power level until that fight on Tanosit; remember how surprised she was when you blew that Tanosian mech off her?"

Kinoko nodded grimly. "So, she thought I was, what--half? a quarter? of that power when she gave me all those point leader and scouting tasks?" Her lips drew back in a snarl. "I see," she growled. "Do you think Captain Nabo can expedite my transfer, as well?"

Bardock smirked. "Yes. He said there'd be no problem finding a squad that needed a good command team." He scratched behind one ear with an overly innocent look on his face. "Sometimes I get the idea he doesn't like Lady Naranja, either."

"Does anyone like her?"

Raditz paled. "Rings... and Moon!" He swore softly and fervently. "But after all these years??"

Bulma sniffed. "Hmmph! You have no idea how a woman's mind works, do you? She didn't get Bardock, did she? She got marooned on some god-forsaken planet--with no man to distract her--and had nothing to think about for thirty years but the guy that got away from her! Now most normal women would have gotten over the guy after a while, and counted themselves lucky to have escaped being stuck with him, but sometimes we don't--sometimes a woman can't think of anything else. From what you've said, Naranja certainly hasn't forgotten your father. I'd say she's probably crazy as a bedbug about losing him!"

Raditz's fists clenched and unclenched. "You... may be right," he growled. "She calls my brother 'Bardock'. I thought she was fooled by Goku's resemblance to our father, but she ignored us both when we told her the truth." His frown deepened. "She wasn't alone, though. By her own account, she had a full squad, but they got killed by the robots of Jinkousei."

Bulma looked skeptical. "Robots strong enough to kill a squad of guys like you and Nappa? I have a hard time believing that!"

Raditz looked up, something dark and angry in his eyes. "Oh yes. Not all Saiyans were so powerful as Nappa, and the war machines of Jinkousei killed two Saiyan squads before my mother's team was sent in." His eyebrows lowered in anger, and he growled, "Lady Naranja was the one who reported her death, along with the death of Naranja's own commander, Lord Col. He was Nappa's own son..."

Bulma looked worried. "Those robots--the ones you and Vegeta rescued Naranja from--those were Jinkousei war machines?"

"That's what Naranja said. They were powerful, immensely powerful. They would have easily killed me, had I fought them back when I first came to Earth. I think Vegeta would have beaten them, but not so easily as now. But not," Raditz tilted his head, "nearly as powerful as those android friends of yours, from all I've heard."

Bulma sat down abruptly, white as a sheet. "Trunks and Goten went out there!"

"What??" Raditz's eyebrows twitched upward, nearly to his hair. "When?"

"Yesterday. They came back okay--but what if the robots had still been around?" Bulma hugged herself. "A planet full of killer machines like Dr. Gero's androids... How many came here? How many??" She jumped up. "Raditz, take me home, now! This is too important to leave to... whoever. I'll straighten things out with Vegeta myself!"

Raditz hissed in exasperation. "You know why I can't do that!"

"I DON'T CARE! Vegeta will believe me!" Bulma stomped her feet. "I'll go myself if you're too big of a coward!" With that, Bulma started marching downhill.

"That does it--there's only one place safe for you," Raditz snarled, scooping Bulma up under one arm again. He ran and ran, always listening, feeling for Vegeta's ki in his mind. "He's got to sleep sometime," Raditz growled under his breath. He needed to fly to get to the one place Bulma would be safe--the one place where Vegeta would never look for her, because Raditz would never, ever go there.

Or rather, the one person Raditz would never go to.

* * *

"Hello, Piccolo."

It was late, late at night before Vegeta's ki had finally subsided and Raditz had dared to fly to that other ki he knew all too well. High above the bamboo forests of a remote equatorial mountain, the powerful Namek meditated. Spray from a nearby waterfall fell over him in a fine mist.

Piccolo had already risen from his meditations and stared back at the tall Saiyan--Raditz was the only one of Goku's friends and relatives who matched the Namek's height. The green warrior stood impassively, his arms folded across his chest.

"Raditz." Piccolo said, in the same tone he might have noted a nearby landmark. His gaze flicked over to Bulma, whom Raditz had just set down. "Bulma."

"Hi, Piccolo! Boy, you wouldn't believe what's been going on!" Bulma brushed herself off. "I don't suppose you have anything to eat, do you? I'm starving!"

"I do not eat but--"

"Well, never mind that! Raditz here has some notion you can keep me safe--this crazy Saiyan bi--er, woman has been trying to get me and Raditz killed since yesterday, and she made Vegeta think Raditz kidnapped me and did unspeakable things with me, but that's totally a lie--well, Raditz did kidnap me, but it was to protect me, and we've got to do something about her before she kills Trunks, or makes Vegeta do it, and--"

"Enough!" Piccolo held up one hand. "Raditz, translate that into something coherent!"

Raditz explained the situation in a few terse sentences, arms folded and hair bristling.

Piccolo smirked, his lip curling up to show one sharp fang. "You are correct--no one will look for Bulma with me. Even I would not have expected it." His eyes narrowed. "I've felt the woman's ki--I've only known three others as vile."

"Who?" Bulma and Raditz asked simultaneously.


Raditz snorted, as if to say "how obvious!"

"Cell, and Doctor Gero," Piccolo concluded.

"Doctor Gero??" Bulma said, incredulous. "I thought the androids had no ki!"

"They were alive; they had ki--no more ki than a weak human; nothing we could detect. But at close range, when he was draining me, I could feel the blackness of Gero's hatred. Cell was given Gero's hatred and evil--all the evil of Cell came from Doctor Gero, in full measure." Piccolo's gaze flicked toward Raditz. "Compared to him, you and Nappa were nothing. Kulilin was wrong."

"About what?" Bulma asked, confused.

Piccolo smirked again. "About Raditz being worse than the Great Demon King."

"Cut the crap!" Raditz growled, "If I translate your egotistical boasts correctly, you're telling us Naranja is not just another Saiyan like Nappa... or me. She's something worse."

"I see even you can grasp the obvious," Piccolo said.

Raditz clenched his fists and half-crouched. "I don't much like you, Piccolo; I'd like nothing better than to blow a fist-size hole through the middle of your chest and laugh, but we don't have time for my likes and dislikes," the long-haired Saiyan snarled. "For Bulma and Trunks' sake, I have to trust you with her--"

"An odd trust," Piccolo noted.

Raditz's tail lashed from side to side. "I wouldn't trust anyone or anything that was mine to you--but Bulma trusts you. Goku trusts you. Gohan trusts you--so I think a friend of theirs is safe with you."

Piccolo slowly nodded. "Duty before even Saiyan honor? You have changed, Raditz."

Raditz turned his back and started away, then looked back over his shoulder. "I care nothing for your opinions, Piccolo! Keep them to yourself!"

Piccolo waited until Raditz had gone a few more steps. "Raditz!"

Raditz turned to face him. "What?"

"I know what you will not admit--you have not the power to challenge me! In time, you will be free of this duty--and if you have inherited the same power that Goku has, you will become a Super-Saiyan. Will you challenge me then?" Piccolo asked, his cold eyes thoughtful.

Raditz smirked. "No."

"Why not?"

"I don't give a damn about your respect, but Gohan would never forgive me if I killed you." With that, Raditz turned and ran back down the mountain.

He didn't see Piccolo's satisfied smile behind him.

* * *


[ Contents | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 ]

Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic