[ Contents | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 ]

Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 13

"Goku, what is going on?" Chichi said as she spooned rice out of the cooker into the rice bowls at everyone's place. "I don't mind having Trunks over, but shouldn't he be in school? I called Mrs. Briefs, and she did say she sent him over, but didn't make much sense. Where is Bulma? Her mother wouldn't tell me, but I should think Trunks' mother would want to know where her own son was!"

Trunks stared at his rice bowl and didn't say anything. Goten looked up at his father, curious; Gohan scratched behind his ear and stared nonchalantly at the ceiling. Ox-King, like Goten, seemed bemused and curious. Goku put his hand behind his head and looked slightly sheepish.

"I don't know, Chi-chi. Whatever is going on, Vegeta is really mad at Raditz about it!" Goku frowned. "He thinks Raditz did something with Bulma, but didn't say what."

"Well, that's just great!" Chi-chi slammed a tray of sliced fish down onto the table hard enough to send waves sloshing back and forth in everyone's soup. "I always knew that brother of yours was a rude, no-good--"

"Momma!" Goten said indignantly, biting his lip. "Uncle Raditz isn't bad! I don't care what anyone else says, he's good!"

Chi-chi's eyes widened, and she threw up her hands. "You see! He's even turned my baby into a rebellious delinquent!"

Trunks continued to stare at the rice bowl as if his life depended on not one single grain escaping his notice. Finally, he spoke in a small, troubled voice. "Father thinks Raditz kidnapped Bulma, but I don't know why." He looked up into the shocked and silent faces of the Son family. "No one knows where Mom is, and Raditz is gone, too. My dad went looking for them, but I think he wants to hurt Raditz. I don't think Grandma wanted me alone with that mean Saiyan lady there, so she sent me here."

"So Raditz is a kidnapper?? Goku, you tell him to just stay away from here, and he isn't training Goten any more! You can just forget about that!" Chi-chi snapped.

"Mom!" Goten wailed, tears starting from the corners of his eyes. "Why are you saying all these bad things about Nunk Rats?"

"And that's another thing, young man--I don't want to hear that ridiculous term again! I don't want to even hear that worthless creep's name mentioned, but if I have to, he is Raditz, just Raditz! Do you understand?" Chi-chi yelled. "He's no family of mine!"

"Um, Chi-chi," Goku said, slightly upset. "Maybe you're being too hasty--"

"Too hasty?" Chi-chi turned on Goku next, while Gohan sat quietly, looking out the nearest window. "Goku, he killed you all those years ago, and nearly let Goten get eaten by demons, and now he's kidnapped Bulma! Who knows what he'll do next?" Chi-chi recited, selectively ignoring the facts.

Gohan looked troubled. "Mom, he did rescue Goten and Trunks both, that time, and--"

"Gohan, Goten, I don't want to hear it from either of you! Goten, go to your room, and Gohan, you can finish chopping that wood you never finished the other day!" Chi-chi pointed down the hall.

"Okay, as soon as I finish eating," Gohan said, quickly filling his plate from the trays of food in the center of the table.

Goten's face fell. "Don't I get to eat?" He asked in a woe-begone voice.

Chi-chi frowned. "Oh, very well." She turned to Goku, who was also shoveling food onto his plate. "And--"

"Mm, Chi-chi, why don't you sit down and have some dinner?" Goku interrupted, smiling at her. "You worked so hard making it and all.."

Chi-chi put her hands on her hips and glared at Goku, then smiled ever so slightly. "Well, I guess anything else can wait until after dinner. Besides, none of this is Trunks' or Daddy's fault, so I shouldn't spoil their dinners."

* * *

After shoveling down his lunch, Trunks eagerly followed Goten to the room they would once again share. "Hey, Goten! You won't believe--"

Goten turned his back on Trunks. "I don't care!"

"Huh?" Trunks stopped short, confused and a little hurt.

"Go away. I don't want to talk to you!" Goten stared at the wall, refusing to face Trunks.

"But... why?" Trunks looked hurt.

Goten turned around and glared at Trunks, fists clenched. "Why did you have to say all those bad things about Uncle Raditz?? Now Mom won't ever let me see him again, and it's all your fault!" he shouted.

"B-but I only said--"

"I DON'T CARE! GO AWAY!" Goten yelled, suspicious moisture glistening in the corners of his eyes.

Trunks gulped and backed away. "I'm sorry, Goten, I really am. I didn't know..." he trailed off, realizing that Goten was not listening. He stuck his hands in his pockets and left the room to sit on the back porch... alone.

Later, Gohan finished up his wood-chopping chores. Though his hands were busy with the wood, his mind was far away.

I didn't tell them, Piccolo, but it was hard. Mom took even the little bit that Trunks knew all wrong, and Goten is mad at Trunks for telling us, and poor Trunks is one lonely little guy right now.

You did well, kid. I knew I could trust you, even in the worst circumstances. You know the truth, even if you can't tell them now.

Yes, but like I said, it was hard. If it was that hard with Dad and Mom, what makes you think I can be trusted 'in the worst circumstances'?

Piccolo laughed. You already have been. It's easy to keep secrets from your enemies; keeping secrets from those you love is hardest of all.

* * *

The sun rose over the ocean, staining sky and sea pink with the early morning light. Vegeta stretched and yawned, his muscles cracking and stiff from his unaccustomed bed in the sandy sea cave overlooking the rocky beach.

The night before, he'd flown until he was trembling with exhaustion, before finally giving in to the need for sleep and curling up in the nearest shelter. Vegeta looked out at the sunrise, frowning thoughtfully. His maddened rage of yesterday had faded; the anger was still there, but now it was cold and focussed, a sharpening of his senses and will. As it should be; as it had been, all those years under Frieza. Anger and rage were tools, used to strengthen himself or to intimidate his enemies and vassals.

Damn Raditz! Damn Kakarott! Damn them both for making him lose control, for turning his controlled rage into a mindless storm of violence! Only Frieza had ever--

Enough! The tyrant was dead, less than dust. Let him be forgotten. Now, it was Raditz he must find, and Bulma. If Bulma was alive and unharmed, Vegeta would kill Raditz quickly. If she was not.... The Saiyan prince closed one hand into a tight fist.

Now... where were they? Vegeta had flown in a great spiral the day before, senses and powers strained to the utmost, and had found nothing. Part way through the afternoon he almost thought he'd felt Raditz's weak power, but in the western mountains--a short flight away from the city, in the direction he'd fled so early in the morning. Ridiculous! Even Raditz was not so foolish as to stay that close to Vegeta's wrath...

Ridiculous! Still, Raditz was a fool--he'd attacked Bulma. The fool had to have known he couldn't get away with it--what had come over him?

Vegeta scowled. Of course; the order to marry Naranja. Vegeta remembered his interview with Raditz several days before in the gravity chamber. The short, powerfully-built Saiyan's eyes narrowed in anger as he took new note of Raditz's odd behavior....

"Damn him!" Vegeta hissed aloud to himself and clenched both fists in front of him. So he was hoping I would marry Naranja and leave Bulma to him? Stupid fool! Raditz's strange behavior yesterday--how could he, the Prince of the Saiyans, have been so blind to Raditz's desperation? He'd seen enough desperate fools finally resolve to defy him or Nappa or Frieza, even though they knew they couldn't win. Why hadn't he recognized that uncaring, half-mad mood of Raditz's, why hadn't he known that Raditz would do something desperate??

Blood trickled between Vegeta's clenched fingers as his fists tightened and he snarled with rage. He'd smelled the lust in Raditz's blood, how could he have been stupid enough to think Raditz had any desire for Naranja?

"Prince of the Saiyans? Bah! You are a fool," Vegeta snarled at himself. "You don't even know your own subjects." He paced back and forth on the rocky beach, brooding and trying to think.

Vegeta couldn't stop himself from brooding on that room, as he'd seen it, as he'd smelled it, thick with the scent of Raditz's and Bulma's lust. He'd gone just a little bit mad then, raging and murderous without restraint, without control--and without a target.

The coward had panicked and fled, instead of facing his fate like a true Saiyan. Vegeta spat in the sand. Raditz had to know that Vegeta would find him sooner or later; he was only putting off the inevitable. Worse, he'd taken Bulma with him; either in hopes of trading her life for his, or to hide the evidence of his crimes. The fool! After all these years, he had to know his prince better than that.

Where would Raditz go? The obvious move was to hide out with Kakarott, as Kakarott was the only person who had a prayer of protecting him from Vegeta's wrath. But if he had, Kakarott wouldn't have been so innocently fishing far from home, and the idiot had no concept of guile. Hmmmph! The very idea of Kakarott keeping secrets was ridiculous--all those years ago, he'd nearly blurted out the truth of Mirai Trunks parentage right then and there!

But he did keep it a secret long enough to matter, didn't he? a part of Vegeta's mind reminded him.

Vegeta scowled again. Perhaps he should check on Kakarott again. Even if Raditz wasn't hiding out with Kakarott, Kakarott might be useful in finding him. Vegeta couldn't keep from remembering Kakarott appearing out of thin air right next to his target, two fingers still raised to his forehead.

Vegeta might not be able to find Raditz's weak ki, but he could find Kakarott. And Kakarott could find anyone he knew....

* * *

Even in her sleep, ancient bitterness filled Naranja's soul.....

Lady Naranja had been spared complete humiliation; she had not been reduced to a mere soldier in another's squad. Lord Col commanded a company of three squads; one he lead personally and the other two were led by sub-commanders under his command--and one of those two sub-commanders had recently had the misfortune (or stupidity) to get himself killed. Enter Naranja, Lord Col's newest sub-commander. In spite of the partial honor of serving under so illustrious a commander, the humiliation of being reduced to sub-commander and fill-in replacement for a dead incompetent was more than enough to gall her already bitter soul.

If that had not been sufficient cause for bitterness in Naranja's mind, there was Lord Commander Col himself.

He was tall, and powerfully muscled, yet not so heavily built as his father or his more powerful brother Apio. By Saiyan standards, his proportions were perfect and elegant; broad shoulders, narrower waist, strong but not blunt jaw, and an bold, yet unscarred face. A crest of black, upswept hair adorned his head--not so pronounced as the King's, but similar enough to be considered fashionably elegant. Some commented that Col looked more like the king in build and hair than the young prince himself. Col was the handsomest of Nappa's living sons, and well aware of it. That he was, save for the color of his hair, all but the mirror image of his dead brother Diive, no one commented on.

"I don't care what your record was," he'd told Lady Naranja at their first meeting. "I care what it is under my command. Please me, and you'll go far."

"Please me."

There were many dimensions to that simple two-word command; Lord Col had the connections--he was the connection!--to get good bounty worlds--and he expected his company to deliver. He also expected cooperation on personal matters from his two female sub-commanders.

Kyaradamit had scarred Naranja mentally as well as physically. She recognized that Turni, her squad sergeant on Kyaradamit, had been too cooperative, too ready to accede to his commander's wishes. She'd been too bold--she'd always been too bold to the point of recklessness, but Bardock, her old squad sergeant, would argue with her to the point of insubordination to hold her back when she was too reckless. Turni hadn't done that, and it had led to disaster.

Garba, the sergeant of her new squad, was not as nervy as Bardock, but neither was he as sycophantic as Turni had been. After Kyaradamit, Naranja grew cautious, too apt to overrule Garba's recommendations as too reckless--and too apt heed any reservations he might express.

Timidity did not conquer planets with the speed needed to get the best bounties. Lord Col was not pleased.

"I said I did not care what your past record was," Lord Col snarled at her as Naranja half-knelt before him in his quarters, "but if you weren't a noble of the Tsufurujiti, I would say your disaster on Kyaradamit turned you into a coward!"

Naranja wiped a trickle of blood from the corner of her mouth; Lord Col had expressed his displeasure at her latest report in true Saiyan fashion. Rage boiled at the edges of control, but she dared not turn her anger on Lord Col. She swallowed hard; there were no excuses she could give, but she had to give one anyway.

"I delivered the moon base as quickly as reasonably possible, my lord," she answered reluctantly. "Circumstances--"

"Circumstances always seem to intervene when you are commanding," growled Lord Col. "Why does Espinica never have the same... 'circumstances'?"

Because she spends her time in your bed while her sergeant, Lechuge, wins the battles for her! Lady Naranja thought, but did not answer. If I had Lechuge--or Bardock--you'd soon see the difference between an noble bedwarmer and an elite commander!

"The fortunes of battle, my lord," Lady Naranja offered. She gritted her teeth; no doubt if she'd been willing to humor Lord Col and squeal appreciatively at his bedroom prowess the way she'd heard Espinica doing often enough, Col would have overlooked the delayed conquests and diminished bounties.

Or perhaps not. Lord Col took as much pride in his reputation for swift, thorough conquests of worlds as in his reputation for swift, thorough conquests of the other type--and Lady Naranja was dragging down his reputation in both departments.

Damn it! If she only had a decent sergeant! Losing Bardock to that wench had cost Naranja more than she'd ever dreamed possible. Damn her and all her brats to Hell!

Lord Col glared at her. "I have a new job. There's something tough on Jinkousei, and the bounty has gone up, so I'm taking it. The world has eaten two low-class squads already, so I'll have to hit it hard with the full company." He grabbed the front of Naranja's armor and lifted her to her feet, and growled, his face inches from hers, "See that your fortunes change for the better, or I promise you--I will change them for the worse!"

Naranja sat up, groggy from her long sleep, shaking with old rage at remembered humiliation. She growled wordlessly, and stretched. As Naranja woke up more fully in the here and now, she smiled cruelly, with a certain satisfaction; in the end, all humiliation was and would be repaid. With interest.

The Saiyan woman carefully re-fitted the scouter to her ear and clicked it on. Tap, tap, tap; Naranja cycled through the sensitivity settings, turning her head from side to side. She frowned, not liking what she found.

Prince Vegeta is still searching! Raditz is not dead yet. Naranja's fingers flexed, and her tail curled tightly around her waist. Damn! How hard is it to kill one low-class fool?

The target must be located before engaging.

I know that! But if Vegeta has not found and slain Raditz yet.... Naranja growled and began to pace down the halls of her half-ruined mansion. Every moment that fool remains alive increases our danger! If Vegeta should find Bulma alive, and she tells him--No! Raditz and the wench must be found and slain. Now!

What resources do you wish to commit?

Naranja paused in her directionless pacing. How many of the new units are ready?

One assault group of twenty-seven units.

So few?? There should be a hundred times that by now!

Doctrine mandates the co-production of transport for each assault group.

My new soldiers are being delayed for the production of transports?? Bah! Let them take the places of the existing ones; those useless pieces of crap can wait for new transports instead!

Acknowledged. Any additional orders?

I want three transports in orbit, searching for anomalous power signals at all times. Sooner or later, Raditz will have to move and use power, and I will find him!

Acknowleged. Any additional orders?

Naranja's eyes glinted. Yes. Design the weapons to kill Vegeta.

* * *


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Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic