[ Contents | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 ]

Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 18

At Muten-Roshi's house, Chi-chi was unhappy, and when Chi-chi was unhappy, everyone else was, too--including Trunks and Goten. Not only was his mother angry, but Goten's house was gone--his bed, his toys, everything he'd thought of as 'his' during his short life. Only his family and friend remained. Perhaps he should have been glad of that, but Goten was not used to loss, and did not yet know to count the blessings that remained.

"Daddy! Why did they blow up our house?!?" Goten wailed in shock and dismay. "I don' wanna stay here! I want my house back! And you forgot Perejil! The bad robots will get him!"

Chi-chi, who had been saying much the same thing in her own way, turned abruptly at that. "And just who is Perejil?" she asked, forgetting that Goten was still deaf from the blast.

Goten looked at her, puzzled, and rubbed his ears. "What did you say, Momma?"

"Never mind," Chi-chi said, exasperated. "Muten-Roshi, you useless old pervert! Do you have any senzu beans around?"

Muten-Roshi shook his head. "Afraid not. He's only a little bit deaf; he'll get over it in a few hours."

A few hours later, Goten was towing a disconsolate Trunks by one hand and showing him the wonders of the beach--water, waves, sand, seashells, crabs, seagulls, the big turtle--when his hearing returned. "I can hear the gulls, I can hear the gulls!" Goten said, dancing from one foot to the other.

"Big deal, I've heard them for an hour now," Trunks grumped.

Goten stopped dancing and looked serious. "Do you think the robots blew up your house, too?"

Trunks sat down on the big turtle. "I don't know. I don't know what happened to Momma, and Father is gone, that mean Saiyan lady is saying nasty things about Momma and acting all scary, and your house got blown up, and it's all just a big mess." His shoulders slumped.

Goten sat down beside Trunks and looked thoughtful. "Do you think the robots that blowed up my house are the killer robots that your dad blew up, only some of them got away? And maybe they're mad and trying to get revenge?" The little boy's eyes were wide.

"Dad wouldn't have let any get away," Trunks said confidently. "There must be more of the alien robots since then--maybe it's an invasion!" Trunks started, as if alarmed by the sound of his own voice.

"But if it's an invasion, who's in charge?" Goten asked.

Trunks pondered. Everyone knew that to have an invasion, you had to have a bad guy in charge ordering the invasion. "Probably that alien commander--you know, the one whose cabin we found."

"I thought you said your dad wouldn't have let any get away." Goten pointed out.

"He wouldn't have let any robots get away--but the commander is probably smarter than the robots, and maybe has special powers. Maybe he can change his shape and appear to be anything--like grass, or a burnt-up robot or this turtle here..." Trunks smirked as Goten jumped up and backed away, looking at the old turtle suspiciously. The turtle looked back at Goten quizzically.

"Or, maybe he can just turn himself invisible," Trunks concluded, stretching out over the spot Goten had vacated.

Goten looked thoughtful. "I bet Perejil knows where the commander is! He came from the wreck," Goten said incorrectly, "and he's scared of the robots, and he's been trying to tell me something really important! I bet that's it!"

"So what? You still can't understand him; you said so yourself," Trunks said, frowning.

Goten furrowed his brow, thinking furiously. "Uncle Raditz might know what he's saying; he's been a ghost and he's a Saiyan, too!"

"Well, so would my dad, then!" Trunks lifted his chin, a spark of familial pride flashing in his eyes.

"Your dad isn't here," Goten pointed out.

"And neither is Raditz," Trunks answered.

Goten jumped up and down, excited. "But I know where Uncle Raditz is! I can find him!"

"Yeah, well I can..." Trunks' voice trailed off as he realized that he did not know where his father was, and had no way to find him. "I don't believe you! You're just making that up!"

"Am not! He's over that way, a long, long ways away. An' he's really tired." Goten pointed northwest, back toward home.

Trunks shrugged. "It's not like we can do anything about it, anyway," he said disconsolately. "He's hiding from my dad, and won't come here."

Goten crossed his arms and looked stubborn. "Then we have to go to Uncle Raditz, and take him a message or something."

Trunks frowned. "Um, Goten, how far away is Raditz?"

It was Goten's turn to frown. "A long way away."

"Further than my house to your house?"

Goten nodded.

"Further than the wrecked spaceship was?"

"Way further than that," Goten said, looking worried now.

Trunks slumped. "How are we supposed to go that far? I don't think your mom will take us, and I can't fly that far!"

Goten shook his head. "We can't tell her; she thinks Uncle Raditz is bad and won't let me see him!" His eyes were big and filling with tears of frustration.

Trunks chewed on his upper lip, thinking. "How 'bout Gohan? I bet he can fly anywhere!"

Goten thought a moment and shook his head. "He won't do anything mom says not to, and he'll stop us, too." His face brightened. "I know who might help us!"

Trunks looked skeptical. "Who? Your Grandpa? He can't even fly!"

Goten shook his head. "Not Grandpa--Dad! Daddy can see Perejil, too. I know he's tried to talk to him, but Perejil is too scared of grownups. An' he doesn't always do what Mom says."

Trunks still looked skeptical. "Do you think he'll believe us?"

Goten nodded vigorously. "Yep. Daddy always listens to me, and sometimes he tells me about his adventures when he was a little kid!" Goten sounded slightly awed. "He did some really neat things!"

* * *

Alas, Goku was not so easily moved as Goten had hoped. He listened solemnly and thought about it for a bit, then shook his head.

"No, I can't take you back to the house, or to Uncle Raditz," he said. "I promised Chi-chi I'd protect us all, and I can't do that if I take you back where the robots are." Goku looked slightly unhappy. "I wish Perejil could come here, and that I could understand what he was saying. I think you are right, Goten, it probably is important, and if I could get Perejil to follow me... but I can't go to Raditz, either." Goku sighed. "Maybe I can talk some sense into Vegeta..." With that, he put two fingers to his forehead and vanished in a flicker-flash of light.

Now it was Goten's turn to be disconsolate. "I was sure Daddy would help!"

"Told ya," Trunks retorted gloomily. He stared at his shoes. "What do we do now?"

"Don't give up so easily," cut in an oddly cheerful Muten-roshi. The old man tugged a bit at his beard as the kids jumped and turned to face him. "I heard what you told Goku, and I just might be able to help you out."

"Really?" Goten said.

"Really," Muten-roshi answered. "Goku thinks what you've said is important, but he's real worried about protecting you two and your mother. I think you two are young, and maybe kind of impetuous, but with the kind of power you've got, you've got to learn early to understand what's right and wrong, and when you should act or not. Now, I'm not going to tell you what you should do here-- that's your responsibility-- but I will show you something. Follow me."

They all tiptoed behind the house; Muten-roshi whistled strangely, and called out, "KIN-TOU'EN!" And lo! A small, shining golden cloud appeared and hovered about waist-high before him.

"This is Kin-tou'en, Goten. He's a magic cloud, and anyone who is pure of heart can ride on him and Kin-tou'en will take you wherever you ask it to go. Your daddy, and your big brother Gohan have both ridden Kin-tou'en, and I expect the both of you can, too. All you have to do is call him by name, once he knows you, and he'll come."

Goten's eyes were wide. "Wow!"

"Cool!" said Trunks.

Goten looked up at Muten-roshi. "Can you ride him?"

"Ah, er, I'm a bit old, and dampness bothers my rheumatism," Muten-roshi hemmed and hawed. "Kin-tou'en is more for younger folks than me." He retreated hurriedly, leaving the two boys looking at each other.

"You think we should?" Goten asked.

"You first," Trunks said.

"But you're bigger. You always go first," Goten answered.

"It's your turn. I shouldn't be first all the time. Besides, it's been in your family, you should ride it," Trunks answered.

Goten nodded, and hopped up onto the cloud. It swayed, but he stood on it, wobbling slightly, then clambered to the 'front' and sat down. "It's like walking on a big air bag," Goten said happily. "Try it!"

Trunks grinned and made a running jump square on top of the cloud. Kin-tou'en swayed, and seemed to squeak in protest, but Trunks kept his feet on top of the tiny cloud. "Hehehe," he laughed, "this is fun!"

"Sit down so we can go somewhere," Goten said.

"Oh, all right." Trunks sat down behind Goten. "Let's go!"

With that, the golden cloud bearing the two boys darted off across the ocean, heading northwest.

* * *

You're the only one I trust...

The words echoed in Nezumi's head as she stared up at Raditz. Her fists were clenched, and she swallowed hard before saying, in barely more than a whisper, "Y-you can't stay here--"

BING-BONG! The doorbell rang loudly, drowning out Nezumi's soft voice.

Nezumi jumped; Raditz's head snapped around and he glared at the closed door. He slipped into a crouch, ready to fight.

Nezumi darted to the door and peered through the peephole.

"Oh my God, it's my mother! What is she doing here??" Nezumi said, her voice high with panic.

The big Saiyan frowned; a memory tickled at his mind, nibbled, got firm hold. "I think... Lina called her when you got hurt."

"Well, I can't just leave her standing out there, and she can't see you! I'd never be able to explain it to her. Hide, quick!"

"Where?" Raditz looked around the tiny, two-bedroom apartment.

"In my room! It's already a mess, just close the door and duck in the closet if she looks in. Hurry!" Nezumi waved her hand around frantically.

Raditz nodded and slipped into the tiny bedroom, closing the door softly behind him. A sea of fluffy pastel greeted him: bed, comforter, and piles of stuffed animals and small pillows. He quickly opened the closet door and looked in--a stack of boxes and an overfull rack of clothes completely filled the tiny closet. There was definitely no room to hide in there. Where to hide?

Out in the small living room/dining room, Nezumi opened the door. "Hi, Mom! This is quite a surprise!"

"Maureen!" Mrs. O'Neill, a slightly overweight woman in her late fifties, holding a small suitcase, stared at her daughter in shock. "But I thought--They told me you were in the hospital and might die! I flew half way around the world to get here--what is going on?"

"Um. Oh. Ah, I did have a bad accident, and I was in the hospital, but I, um, got better. It was an amazing recovery, the doctors said," Nezumi said brightly.

Mrs. O'Neill clomped into the tiny parlor and dropped her suitcase beside the sofa. "I don't understand--the lady from your work, Miss Lina, said you were very badly hurt and might not survive. People don't go from near death to back to work in just a few days, Maureen! I can't believe someone would lie to me about something like that, but you certainly aren't nearly dead. Do you know how hard it was to get airline tickets at the last minute like that? As it was, I couldn't get a connecting flight for two days, and I was frantic--just frantic--thinking that you might have died in some foreign hospital! I spent all my vacation money because I thought my little girl was dying, and here you are just fine, carrying on like nothing is wrong!"

"Um, well, um, now that you're here, why don't you stay and visit?" Nezumi found herself saying. "Our apartment is really small, just enough room for Lina and me, but there's a nice hotel just down the street..." she babbled.

"Your sofa is good enough for me," Mrs. O'Neill said, patting the named article of furniture as she sat down on it. She pulled a bobby pin loose from her faded brown hair and fussed with the loose strand. "I'm so tired from the trip, I could just drop off right now sitting here. I'll just borrow one of those pillows of yours, and if you have a spare blanket?"

"Of course! I'll get one right away!" Nezumi said, pressing herself up against her bedroom door. "The bathroom is that door there, and that's Lina's room, and please don't look in my room--it is such a MESS!"

Mrs. O'Neill gave her daughter a slightly reproving look. "I would have thought that you'd have grown out of messy rooms by now." She sighed. "Very well, I promise I won't peek--it always did embarass you so. But when you get it cleaned up, I'd like to see it--you and Lina have a nice cozy little place here." She looked at the tiny kitchen. "I see you keep the kitchen cleaned up."

"Yes, Momma. Let me get your pillow and blanket now," Nezumi said, slipping into her bedroom and pulling the door shut after her. Now, where was Raditz? She glanced around the small bedroom at the disorder. Hmmm... she didn't remember her bed being quite that lumpy!

Nezumi lifted the blanket and peered under it; Raditz had burrowed under all the stuffed animals and pillows and fallen quite soundly asleep, using Mr. Muggins for a pillow. Nezumi sighed; there was no way she could retrieve her favorite bear without waking Raditz. At least he wasn't snoring. She shrugged and picked out one pillow, then piled the pillows and stuffed bears, unicorns, whales, lambs, kittens and puppies back over the sleeping Saiyan and threw a bedspread over the whole mess. A spare comforter came out of the back of her closet, and Nezumi slipped out as carefully as she'd entered.

"Here you are, Momma," she said as she handed Mrs. O'Neill the comforter and pillow. "You just take a nap and rest from the trip, and I'll fix something for dinner later on."

"That would be nice, dear. I'm so tired--" Mrs. O'Neill yawned as she stretched out on the sofa, "I don't think I would enjoy dinner out very much... although I'm sure you have some nice restaurants around here."

As Mrs. O'Neill pulled the comforter over her, Nezumi started to panic. What had possessed her to say that? If she cooked dinner, the smell of it would certainly wake Raditz up, and if he came out looking for food while Momma was there--

But she couldn't just throw her mother out and tell her to fend for herself. Nezumi got up and paced. And where was she to sleep? Lina would be home in a few hours when her shift ended, and ready to fall into her own bed. Momma had the couch, and-- Worse yet, what if Momma talked to Lina and mentioned Nezumi's messy room? Nezumi really had outgrown messy rooms--Lina would know something was wrong if Nezumi didn't want to show her room to her mother.

Just in time Nezumi caught herself starting to chew on her nails. This is driving me crazy! To divert her attention, she walked over to the small kitchen and flung open the refrigerator door. Her heart sank. There was nothing but a few leftovers, and it was Nezumi's turn to buy the groceries... but she didn't dare leave the house. Not with both Raditz and her mother asleep.

What should she do?

* * *

Hours later, Bulma finished sorting through the piles of robot scraps that Piccolo had brought in. She wiped the perspiration from her face and tugged on the ends of her tied-back hair in exasperation, then turned to look up at the tall, green, demonic alien.

"Piccolo, I need to go home. I can't properly analyze these things with no more tools than a thousand-year-old hairpin! I need my toolset and hand comp at the very least, and I'd rather have my lab."

"No." Piccolo folded his arms and looked sternly down at Bulma. "Raditz's reasoning was sound; it is not safe for you to go home yet."

"Hmmph! He's wrong about Vegeta--Vegeta would believe me!" Bulma folded her arms and glared back at Piccolo. "And," Bulma pointed at Piccolo, "you don't owe any obedience to Vegeta--if that Naranja woman gets in our way, just kill her!"

"And if you are wrong?"

"I'll take that risk!" Bulma snapped.

"Will you risk Trunks?"

Bulma gritted her teeth to keep herself from screaming at the green alien. "If he's in any danger from Vegeta--which I don't believe for a minute!--he's in even bigger danger from Naranja! That's another reason for us to go back--to rescue Trunks!"

Piccolo shrugged slightly. "Trunks is safe enough; your mother sent him to stay with Chi-chi and Goku. Neither Goku nor Gohan will let that Saiyan hurt Trunks!"

Bulma's eyes widened; she folded her arms and looked up at Piccolo triumphantly. "They won't let Vegeta hurt Trunks, either! I'm the only one taking any risks in going back home, and I tell you, Raditz is wrong about Vegeta! He'll believe me!"

Piccolo grimaced, baring ivory fangs. "No. I promised Raditz I'd keep you safe."

* * *

Countless light-years away, Zana crouched on a broad branch. Above her the rainforest giant soared for hundreds of feet. Below her a well-trodden game trail wound between the trees; if she was lucky, a young spike-buffalo or even a burhaut might come along.

Hunting instilled patience in the young Saiyan girl; if she did not hold absolutely still, if she did not wait for prey to come along, she did not eat. Zana knew what happened when she didn't eat; she grew weak, and her belly hurt. And she was a Saiyan--she must not let herself be weak!

She'd gotten weak, waiting for Perejil to come back. Zana had hunted too hard and too often around the dead colony, until all the large animals were gone, and she'd spent all the rest of her strength fleeing the robots. She'd lost the deadly machines deep in the jungle and slept in a cluster of caakey trees for days, regaining her strength slowly by eating the ripe, red fruit. Now she hunted far away from the ruined colony, though sometimes--like now--she looked out over the trees toward the gap in the jungle where it was. Not very often; Zana didn't like the queer ache in her chest when she looked that way and thought of Perejil.

He wasn't coming back. He couldn't come back. The robots had built and built there, until it looked like a robot town, all clanking and hissing. If Peree came back... Zana hugged herself, shivering. Her mind shied away from the possibility, just as she shied away from the Bad Place, the place where her house had been, where her mother and father...

Zana watched the trail, intently, focusing on every whisper of sound and breath of air.

* * *


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Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic