[ Contents | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 ]

Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 16

Bulma regarded the ancient inscriptions carved into the chamber walls uncertainly. If she'd had her handcomp and her usual supply of capsules, it would have been simple enough to throw together a grammatical analysis program to make some sense out of the cryptic glyphs. Unfortunately, Piccolo didn't keep such things around; the best she could manage at the moment was pen and paper.

At least she had clothes, though Bulma still wasn't sure that the archaic gown and jewelry was really an improvement over Seventeen's hand-me-down flannel and jeans. Piccolo had some odd tastes in clothes and architecture.

"What is this place??" Bulma had asked when Piccolo brought her to the ancient, vine-covered temple buried deep in the southern jungles. Built of cyclopean blocks of black basalt, its spires reached out of the sea of green like some half-hidden reef; underneath the trees, it sprawled for acres, courtyards and subsidiary buildings surrounding the central temple.

He'd smirked, baring one white fang. "This is the temple of Piccolo Dai-Mao, where for years I plotted my conquest of the world. There was once an entire monastic order devoted to worshipping and serving Me, and I raised my servant demons here as well."

As Bulma looked nervously about, Piccolo smirked again. "They're long gone; that was a thousand years ago or more--I forget how long I was imprisoned. It's safe enough, if you avoid the mundane dangers--and one more thing."

"What's that?" Bulma asked, distractedly wondering what the 'mundane dangers' were.

"Don't open any sealed doors leading below ground level. Not all of my demon servants were killed by Goku."

With that parting admonishment, he'd left her in the main hall with several crates of supplies--food, mostly, and bedding--and withdrawn to one of the high spires to watch and mediate, Bulma assumed. She'd been left to her own devices.

The 'mundane dangers' turned out to be the usual suspects for jungle ruins: poisonous snakes, scorpions, overly friendly, grapefruit-sized spiders, biting insects, bad footing, and the patch of man-eating plants guarding the front gates. Nothing she hadn't faced in her youthful quests for the dragonballs, but they kept her from being bored during the first day of exploration.

The next day, she'd started taking note of the inscriptions and reliefs carved all over the main temple--and on the three sealed doors leading into the depths below. Though the carven script used some form of ancient Sanskrit letters, Bulma suspected that what they recorded here was not in the Sanskrit language. And then there were the curiously familiar, yet alien glyphs graven on the altar-throne...


The wave of aerial explosions high above caught Bulma off balance, leaning over the throne to sketch some of the more alien glyphs. The great temple trembled; slabs of stone the size of a car came tumbling down all around.

"AHHHHHHH!" Bulma screamed and dove for cover behind the demon throne as a great basalt block crashed down less than twenty feet away, followed by another even closer. "PICCOLO, WHAT'S GOING ON?"

The distant rippling howl of Piccolo's spiral energy beam attack gave Bulma the only answer aside from silence; the Namekian warrior was fighting something. Another explosion brought more of the ceiling down, and Bulma yelped and scrambled down the hidden stairs she'd discovered behind the throne.

The only problem, she thought as she flicked on her flashlight to reveal the sealed, glyph-covered door at the bottom of the stairs, is if I have to go deeper to get away from this battle.

* * *

Kulilin's choices were much simpler: blow up the black darts at a distance, or use ki-enzan to slice up the clanking machines trying to shoot him down from nearby. They were all trying to kill him, Eighteen, Seventeen, and Marron; the only decision was which ones to destroy at any given instant.

"It figures," Kulilin muttered as he sliced another crab-like robot apart. "Things were getting just too comfortable in the last few years, something just had to come along and try to kill us all again!"

"I don't care about that," snarled Eighteen as she blasted five more of the darting bombs out of mid-air. "These damn things almost killed my baby girl! Someone's going to pay for that!"

Kulilin nodded gravely as another crab-bot fell apart into scrap metal. If Seventeen hadn't been his usual paranoid self, and hadn't blown up the first buzzing black dart to come flying over the trees toward the cabin, without waiting to see if it was friend or foe... Kulilin didn't want to think about what could have happened. As it was, he'd shooed Marron into the cabin to hide just before it collapsed from the nearby explosions. If she was hurt...


"Whoa!" Kulilin twisted and dodged the fearsome barrage from the remaining three robots; any one beam could have killed him instantly. "Watch out, honey! These things are dangerous!"

"I know! Fortunately, they can't hit!" Eighteen shouted. She lashed out with both hands, pulsing energy beams that skewered two of the remaining robots. "I don't know how, but they are using Sixteen's hellgun--only they don't have his speed or aim."

"We'll see about that!" Kulilin formed another disk of ravening energy above his head, and flung it. "KI-ENZAN!"

A wave of explosions passed above as Seventeen destroyed the last of the bomb-droids--and Kulilin's ki-enzan sliced the last of the warbots in two.

"What do you mean," he asked his beautiful blonde wife Eighteen as he settled to the ground, "they're using Sixteen's gun? Are these more of Dr. Gero's robots?"

Eighteen said nothing as she frantically tossed aside the wreckage of Seventeen's cabin. Marron, little Marron was only human--neither android nor trained super-martial artist; all too easily hurt or killed by the forces unleashed by their battle. Kulilin and Seventeen looked at each other, then quickly joined Eighteen in her work. With the three of them at it, the task was quickly done.

"Momma!" Marron squealed as she crawled out from under the remnants of Seventeen's heavy bunk bed and ran into her mother's arms. She was remarkably unharmed.

"Baby!" Eighteen hugged her daughter close. "I told you I'd keep you safe," she murmured to the little girl, tears leaking from her eyes.

"Sixteen was equipped with a six-barreled fusion cannon of exactly the same power output and appearance," Eighteen finally turned to her husband and answered. "But those robots didn't look like anything Dr. Gero had around. He always built more or less humanoid machines."

Kulilin frowned. "Then they must be more of those alien robots Raditz rescued that Saiyan woman from. But I thought he said Vegeta destroyed them!"

Seventeen stood amid the wreckage of his cabin, scowling. "All we know is what Raditz and Bulma told us. Bulma wasn't there, and Raditz may have missed some of them." He scowled some more. "Someone owes me a new cabin, not to mention a cooler full of beer."

"For this, someone," snarled Eighteen, "owes me several of his vital organs. In pieces."

Kulilin didn't try to calm his wife down; Eighteen could have the vital organs of whoever had tried to kill his wife and his little girl after Kulilin had served him up on a double ki-enzan platter.

Nothing, not even a Saiyan warrior, is as ruthless as a loving father and husband whose wife and daughter are endangered. Nothing--except the mother of that daughter.

* * *

The explosions died down after a few moments, and Bulma wondered if it was safe to venture upstairs. A bit of dust sifted down, and Bulma crawled up to look.


A silvery ovoid supported by six crab-like legs clambered over the fallen blocks. A short, thick tube was hoisted aloft on a jointed, metallic arm; it twisted and turned, pointing this way and that.

Bulma gasped involuntarily and covered her mouth quickly; had it heard? Surely this was one of the killer robots that Raditz and Vegeta had fought! It answered the question of what Piccolo was fighting--or did it? Where was Piccolo? And what was this alien machine doing in here, in the demon-temple of Piccolo Dai-Mao?


The distant thunder of energy weapons startled Bulma. There were more of them, and Piccolo was still fighting them--she hoped.


The robot twisted, pointing toward the altar-throne, behind which Bulma was hiding. Slowly, as if uncertain, it advanced toward her hiding place, one carefully placed leg at a time.

"Oh, crap!" she breathed, feeling her way back down the stairs. It suspected something...


It had found the stairs. Bulma backed up until her back was pressed against the sealed door with its mysterious glyphs, a strange rounded script out of the distant past, doubtless holding some binding incantation... Ancient sorcery and alien robots, as different as could be--

--Hold it. Alien robots. Spacecraft. An ancient spacecraft whose controls were inscribed with those same rounded glyphs--

"Of course! Demon-King Piccolo was still a Namekian. His own writings are in Namekian! And I'll bet those other inscriptions are Namekian sayings written with Sanskrit letters!"


The robot was coming down the stairs--

"Piccolo, ovrakah!" Bulma said to the sealed door, hoping she remembered the Namekian word for "open" correctly. Mr. Popo had been able to teach her quite a few words, enough to operate the old Namekian ship that took her and Gohan and Kulilin to Namek, but it had been years...

The glyphs on the door glowed with a blue light.

"Damn it, open now! Ovrakah! Ovrakah!" The glyphs glowed blindingly bright, and a glowing blue seam appeared in the door; it parted, and the two halves of the door withdrew noiselessly into the walls, revealing darkness beyond.

Something stirred in the darkness, something large. A horrible stench flooded out of the darkness, nauseating Bulma.


One leg of the crab-robot came into view, sliding down and find the next lower step.

Bulma gulped. What was the word used to activate the fire control station on the old ship? Oh yes... "For Piccolo! Harakah!" she shouted, then threw herself flat against the wall.

A mass of tentacles burst out of the darkness and whipped up the stairs to envelop the silvery robot. Behind them, a massive, soft, slimy body crushed Bulma against the wall as it slithered by. She fought a losing battle to retain her lunch at the awful stink of the thing.

Bulma staggered into the chamber that had contained the demon. Now to hope that the demon was tougher than the robot, and that her few words of Namekian and Piccolo's name would be enough to command the monster--


Heat and light filled the small chamber, followed by the stench of burnt stinking demon slime. Bulma would not have believed that anything could have smelled worse than the demon, but burnt demon was much, much worse.


"Oh, crap." The robot was not even scratched, though shreds of burnt demon tentacles still clung to its leg joints. It raised the stubby-barreled weapon towards Bulma--


The spiralling beam of energy impaled the robot from above, smashing through its armor and gutting the machine's brain and powerplant. It collapsed with a metallic crash.

"Eeeeeeee!" Bulma expressed her shock and relief in one long hysterical scream. Piccolo strode gracefully down the stairs.

"That was the last one," he noted. "I lost track of it until you freed my demon." The Demon-King frowned at her. "I told you not do that. It should have killed you..."

"It probably would have," Bulma answered, then pointed at the door with a jerk of her thumb. "If you hadn't bound your demons to obey Namekian commands."

* * *

Raditz wasted no time in wondering what was hurtling out of the sky; he'd seen the black bomb-droids too recently for that. Saiyan reflexes took over; Raditz leaped straight up, crossing his arms across his face to protect it as the bombs struck where he'd been standing an instant before--


The tremendous explosion slammed into him like a runaway freight train, sending him tumbling through the air. Barely, he regained control in time to land on crouched on one knee. Raditz looked around quickly, swearing fervently in every language he knew.

The nine crab-legged warbots had just unfolded their legs and righted themselves. They hummed and clanked as they oriented themselves, raising stubby multi-barreled weapons to point at the long-haired Saiyan.

So. There were more of the killer machines, after all. Perhaps Bulma had been right to worry...


Not nine, but fifty-four gouts of seething energy lashed out at Raditz, and only the habit of long years saved his life. He'd spiralled at high speed, confusing the machines' aim with his speed and twisted path even as Raditz cupped energy in his hands to launch his own attack--

"Rings and Moon!" Raditz jinked as two hunks of singed hair fell earthward. "Where did they get that power? If even one of them hits, I'm dead!"

The power of the robot's weapons rivalled even that of a Super-Saiyan--but their speed did not. Nor did their defenses, Raditz realized as his beam slammed into and through one of the warbots, blowing it into twisted slag.

This, he realized as he dodged the eight clusters of six beams that sought his life, is going to take some skill. I can't afford to get sloppy, not even for an instant. With that thought, he dove straight down, plunging into the earth at full speed--

The eight remaining warbots stopped as one, then started swinging their weapons from side to side, seeking a target--

The earth exploded beneath one of them; there was a screech of rending metal as it was yanked out of sight. The remaining seven danced about agitation, but there was no target to be detected.

One by one, six of the remaining seven disappeared, dragged underground in the twinkling of an eye. The last robot spun in place, searching desperately for a target--

CLANNGGGG! Raditz burst from the ground below the robot and slammed into it, flying up into the air with it, hands glowing. As the warbot unlimbered its weapon arm, swinging it down and around to reach Raditz, he unleashed the energy seething at his fingertips.

"MAN-KI-BATSU!" A wave of purple-white energy exploded into the warbots armored shell, burning it away like so much cobweb. The warbot exploded in a shower of melted metal and twisted black fragments.

Raditz hung in mid-air, panting heavily. "There!" He wiped the sweat off of his face and spat onto the crumpled, cratered earth. "Weakest of the Saiyans I may be, but not that weak!"

The long-haired Saiyan looked off into the distance. "But where did they come from? Vegeta destroyed all of the ones at the wreck..." Raditz frowned. It was a mystery, and there was a way to solve mysteries--but not by running blindly hither and yon. No.

He clenched his fists angrily. Damn. I should leave them out of this. It's too dangerous; they're too weak... but I can't solve this alone. If it were just me.... but it's Bulma and Trunks, too. Damn.

The big Saiyan shook himself angrily and began to run. He had no choice, no choice at all--and every death would be more blood on his deeply stained soul.

* * *


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Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic