[ Contents | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 ]

Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 19

Bulma paced. And paced some more, her footsteps naturally falling into the hollowed patterns worn in the ancient stone floor of the ruined temple. Raditz and Piccolo had contrived to strand her hundreds of miles from anywhere, with no phone, no capsules, no nothing but a set of borrowed clothes. Damn it! If she knew where she was, where civilization was, she'd just walk out of here and to hell with Piccolo and Raditz both!

Stupid, over-protective men! Thinking they knew her husband, her lover, better than she herself did--especially in something like this! Vegeta had plumbed the depths of Hell to return to her, trusting in Bulma's faith completely--and she knew it. If she had not turned to Raditz in the depths of her grief and loneliness, when she desperately wanted and needed comfort--and he'd been all too ready to give it--why in the HELL would she have done so once Vegeta had returned?

But the longer they kept her from Vegeta, the longer doubt would have to start gnawing at Vegeta's heart. With that thought, Bulma began to climb up the cracked and rubble-strewn black stone stairs leading to the temple spires.

* * *

Seething with rage at her humiliation by Vegeta, Naranja hurtled back to her temporary refuge at Capsule Corporation--and stopped short, stunned. The damaged manor house was completely repaired! It gleamed like new, without a single crack or soot-mark. Naranja glared at it suspiciously, then pounced on the nearest of the human vermin she could find.

"You, there!" the perpetually angry Saiyan snapped at the dark-haired woman walking across the tarmac, making notes on her handcomp. "What happened to my house?"

Lina smiled and blinked at Naranja. "We replaced it with a brand-new one, ma'am, compliments of Capsule Corporation. It wouldn't do for an honored guest of Prince Vegeta's to be housed in a ruin, now." Only someone who knew Lina well could have guessed how false the smile on Lina's face was, or caught the very slight hesitation as she called Naranja an 'honored guest'.

The dark-haired Saiyan glared suspiciously at Lina; her hands twitched as if contemplating violence. Finally she spoke. "Hmmmph! At least some of you have decent manners!" Naranja snarled, and walked off, into her 'new' house.

Lina forced her breathing to steady, and continued on her patrol, checking the readings on her handcomp. Unobtrusively, she tapped on a single button, activating a series of remote commands in Capsule Corporation's main security monitor. The security systems in this new manor house were turned on, in passive mode, with full monitoring from Main Security.

* * *

"DAMN YOU, VEGETA!" Naranja raged in the privacy of her own house. "DAMN YOU TO THE FARTHEST ICE HELLS OF THE FORGOTTEN RINGS!"

"I want him dead," Naranja snarled through gritted teeth, "I want him dead now! Is that weapon ready yet?"

Still analyzing engagement data to establish parameters.

"Bah! The weaponry I provided should have been more than sufficient, even for the Super-Saiyan! Why didn't he die!"

Unit weaponry was insufficient. Super-Saiyan energy output exceeds all estimates. Re-calibration required.

"What of Raditz? I was on my way to the site when Vegeta interfered!"

Target deactivated units and evaded further detection. Target still active.

"WHAT?!?" screamed Naranja. "Raditz is still alive? That weaponry should have broken him! He should have been helpless after the first shot! How could you fail me?"

Units insufficiently maneuvable. Target maneuver parameters exceeds unit performance parameters.

"He dodged you! Useless stinking machines! If you cannot even hit Raditz, how are you going to kill Vegeta?!?" Naranja screamed.

Limpet has sufficient maneuverability at short range.

Limpet? Naranja thought. Yes... that would do the job--if they were powerful enough.

Modifications required include increased energy output using supplied technology.

And, Naranja mused, one hand tugging at her chin, Vegeta must be prevented from fleeing before it is too late.

* * *

Lina sat back in her chair, shaking. Her hands trembled as she quickly keyed in the commands to copy the video records from Naranja's manor. Whether or not Nezumi was right that Bulma's disappearance was Naranja's fault rather than Raditz's, Naranja was guilty of something.

Who was she talking to? Lina frowned; at first, she'd thought that Naranja was raving to herself, but then came her questions... apparently answered.

He dodged you! Useless stinking machines! If you cannot even hit Raditz, how are you going to kill Vegeta?!?"

So, Naranja wanted both Raditz and Vegeta dead. Nezumi might have something, at that. If Naranja had somehow framed Raditz, it would have provoked an attack by Vegeta... an attack that could well have left both men dead and half the city in ruins. Not that innocent lives lost would have bothered Naranja, Lina judged. Or had she played some variant of the badger game, trying to blackmail Raditz into doing something he balked at, causing the scheme to backfire disasterously?

Lina shook her head distractedly. Too many possibilities, not enough evidence. Her computer beeped; the copy was done. Lina grabbed the disk out of the writer and tucked it in her purse, next to the single-capsule carrying case labeled 'Manor House, Model 370'. Nezumi might have some ideas after taking a look...

* * *

Vegeta stood on a mountain top, scowling at the world below him. Fury tore through him, begging for an outlet in pure, hellish violence--but he had no target. Raditz, the traitor, had eluded him, thanks to Kakarott's interference; more of Naranja's mysterious robot enemies had appeared and dared to attack him, but Vegeta could find no trace of them-- A flicker-flash of light and Kakarott stood in front of him, black-haired and serious. "Vegeta, we need to talk--"


The sudden blow sent Goku hurtling through the air until he flipped and landed lightly on his toes. "Vegeta! I didn't come here to fight!"

Kakarott had not kidnapped Bulma, nor had the fool sent robots to attack him--but he would do for now. The rage and fury roiling in Vegeta boiled to the surface as he screamed, his hair blazing golden.

"THEN DIE ON YOUR KNEES, KAKAROTT!" Vegeta howled, and struck savagely at the black-haired warrior.

Goku dodged, his hair flaming golden in that instant. "What do I have to do, beat some sense into you?" Goku shouted as he fell into fighting pose.

Vegeta did not answer, but dove savagely on Goku, hurling bolts of ki with both hands. Goku dodged, and dodged again, and the fight was on.

* * *

Nezumi nearly jumped out of her chair at the long-ancipated sound of Lina's key turning in the lock. She bit back a yelp of surprise--Geez, she'd gotten tense!--and hurried to open the door for Lina.

Lina looked surprised to find Nezumi opening the door for her, and started to say something. Nezumi shushed her.

"Shhh! My mom is here, and she's asleep on the couch! Don't wake her up!" Nezumi whispered.

"Your mom?" Lina whispered back, and smacked her forehead lightly. "Oh, that's right, I did call her when Naranja put you in the hospital! I clean forgot to tell you--"

"That's right, and she's been worried sick this whole time thinking I was dying!" The smaller, brown-haired girl put her hands on her hips and glared at her roommate. "I couldn't even go out to get groceries, 'cause she'd probably panic if she woke up to find herself alone with a complete stranger."

"You didn't get groceries?" Lina whispered a bit more loudly. "I suppose I have to go out and get them? Why don't we just get take-out tonight?"

"Umm, I guess that would work. Can you go pick it up? Hamburgers or fried chicken maybe? Mom's not big on Chinese food." Nezumi found herself rambling again. "Yeah, that'll do it--get a couple of big buckets of fried chicken, some cokes, and we can just pig out here."

"A couple of buckets??" Lina whispered incredulously. "You not eat this week? Or does your mother have that big an appetite?"

"Well, I am hungry, and I'd rather we have some leftovers than run short," Nezumi said, crossing her fingers behind her back.

"Oh, all right," Lina said, turning to go out the door again. "Wait-- I almost forgot," she said as she fumbled in her purse. "I replaced the manor house that Naranja was in with a new one and hooked up the security monitors--take a look at this disk when you get a chance. She is seriously guilty of something, that's for sure! And," Lina dug in her purse some more and came up with the capsule carrying case, "here's the original manor house. I figure we can take it some place out of the way and go over it with a forensics kit. There just might be some evidence of what really happened--if Vegeta didn't accidently destroy it all."

"Wow! Lina, you're a wonder! I'm sorry I got mad at you--now, go get that fried chicken! Mom will be really hungry when she wakes up!" Nezumi held the door for her roommate.

"Uh-huh." Lina turned to leave, and glanced back over her shoulder at Nezumi. Nezumi was acting a bit odd, Lina thought, but unexpected parental visits can do that.

* * *

"Okay," Trunks said, "we stopped at your house. I can't see Perejil; maybe he isn't here," Trunks said hopefully to Goten.

The two boys stood on the edge of the blackened crater that marked the former site of the Son house. Kin-Tou'en hovered nearby, murmuring like the wind.

"He's here," Goten said happily, waving his arms around and pointing at nothing obvious and then the golden cloud. "We can go find Uncle Rad'tz now!"

"Uh, okay." Trunks responded, sounding less enthusiastic every minute. He decided not to ask if the ghost boy was riding on the cloud with them, because Goten might say 'yes'.

* * *

Buried under Nezumi's amazing pile of plush animals, Raditz slept the sleep of the exhausted... until the scent of hot, fried chicken tickled his nose. His eyes snapped open and he listened carefully. Three people out there, Lina, Nezumi, and someone he didn't know. Smelled and sounded female, though. And the smell of food! The big Saiyan trembled with eagerness, fighting the urge to rush out and pounce on the source of the delicious smell!

Raditz froze at the sound of the doorknob turning. Would he be discovered? Had Nezumi decided to order him out? What if she did? He didn't want that, for some reason.

It was Nezumi; Raditz knew the sound of her heartbeat, the smell of her breath. She slipped in quietly, and closed the door behind her.

"Raditz, you awake?" she whispered loudly.

"Very much so," the long-haired Saiyan growled softly as he sat up, sending plush animals tumbling every which way.

Nezumi blinked at the avalanche of stuffed toys and pillows, and held out a bulging, grease-stained bag. "Here. I managed to sneak a bunch of chicken out of the bucket." She giggled. "I couldn't take the whole bucket, they would have noticed."

Raditz blinked in his turn, and slowly smirked. "Heh. I supposed they would have." He took the bag from Nezumi's hand and tore it open, ravenous at the delicious scent oozing from the shabby container. Nezumi's eyes widened as he devoured the pieces of chicken, bones and all.

As Raditz was licking the last of the grease off of his fingers, Nezumi hissed, "You still can't stay here! Not only is my mom here, so is Lina! This apartment isn't exactly big enough to hide you--"

"Your bed seems to have done a good job of it," Raditz observed with a slightly amused smirk. The long nap and the snack had refreshed him, banishing the despair from his mind and the weariness from his body.

"Yes, well, until we figure some way to get my mother out of the way, we can't even check out the manor for evidence--"

"The what??" Raditz whispered back.

"The manor house that Naranja was in!" Nezumi hissed back. "Lina gave Naranja a new, intact manor--really sucked up to the bi--er, woman, and smuggled out the old one so we could go over it for evidence! She caught some stuff on the monitors--Raditz, Naranja is out to kill you and Vegeta both!"

Raditz's eyes narrowed. "I know she hates me, but--Vegeta? She would not dare! He is the prince!"

Nezumi shook her head. "I haven't had a chance to look at it with mom here, but Lina's got it all on disk. She says Naranja is in it with someone else, and was communicating with them, demanding some weapon to kill Vegeta and other crazy stuff!"

Raditz's eyes widened again. "What?!? That's-- I have to see this! Damn it, I need a place to work on this! That's what I needed you for in the first place--I can't figure it out while hiding out!"

Nezumi tapped her finger against her lips. "Tomorrow..." she mused. "It's got to be tomorrow. Lina works her usual shift, and I have to get Mom out of the house somehow. I can take her out to see the local sights, and you can use my videoplayer to look at the disk then. As for the manor house, that's more difficult...." Nezumi pondered.

"Hours could make a difference. Can't you get your mother out of here now?" Raditz growled softly.

Nezumi looked indignant. "Certainly not! She's exhausted after her long trip--it's bad enough she has to sleep on the couch. I'd give her my bed, but she won't take it--she never wants to impose. I'll offer it to her anyway, just like I always do--oh!" She looked at the big Saiyan sitting on her bed. "You're here--and Lina or Mom will see you if you leave! Ack!" She looked at him sharply. "How'd you get in my house without me noticing, anyway?"

Raditz smirked. "Your living room window is big enough for me to climb in."

"It was locked! And it wasn't broken--I'd have noticed!"

Raditz gazed at her sidelong, out of half-closed eyes. "Those simple latches were locks? I thought they were hold-downs to keep the wind from blowing your windows open. They certainly aren't a barrer to any ki-user. Heh. No more than the latches on your closet door." Raditz glanced over at the small closet; Nezumi's eyes widened as the closet door handle rotated by itself and the closet door sprang open.

Nezumi gulped. "Can you--can all of you do that with any locks?" She whispered.

Raditz shook his head. "Only latches simple enough that we could operate them with our bare hands. An electronic lock, or one with complex, hidden tumblers I'd have to use brute force to open. But your windows... that's just simple telekinesis."

The big, muscular Saiyan glanced at the bedroom window. "You're right that Lina would notice me if I left--that window is just too narrow for me to sneak out of, and I doubt you want me to widen it." He smirked.

Nezumi glared at him, her hands on her hips. "You'd better not!"

Raditz yawned. "And I'm still tired. Need more sleep before I can do anything." Two lies so far, but if she doesn't figure it out...

"Oh right, I'm supposed to just let you stay in my bed!" Nezumi hissed. "Where am I supposed to sleep, the floor?"

Raditz smirked and rolled over to one side. "There's room enough if I'm careful."

Nezumi's jaw dropped. "You've got chutzpah, mister! You've really got nerve to even suggest that! You've--"

"Well, you could just throw your mother out and tell her to get a hotel room instead, and then explain to Lina why you're sleeping on the couch," Raditz said, still smirking. Nezumi wanted to slap him.

"You bastard!" Nezumi snarled under her breath.

Raditz stopped smirking and scowled instead. "Look," he growled softly, "I'm not asking you to climb naked into bed with me, I'm just hiding out here, and you still need your own sleep and to buy time for Lina and your mother to sleep, go back to work or whatever. Don't you need to go back out there before they wonder what's happened to you?"

Nezumi looked indignant. "So you wouldn't want me naked in bed with you? But Bulma or Naranja is just fine?" Her scornful whisper hissed in Raditz's ears. "Not that I would, but it's nice to know what you think of me!" Nezumi stalked out, pulling the door vigorously shut behind her.

"That's not what I meant!" Raditz said under his breath to the closed door. "What is it with her? I swear I don't understand women at all!"

He snuggled under the pillows again, hiding under the bedspread and tried to sleep. Instead, Raditz brooded. What possessed him to bait her like that? Why did he go out of his way to provoke her, when he should have been doing his best to mollify her--especially after the unplanned revelations about his past?

Not only do I not understand Nezumi, Raditz thought as he dropped off to sleep, I don't understand myself.

* * *

"Are you all right?" Mrs. O'Neill asked Nezumi when she returned to the living room.

"I'm fine... now," Nezumi smiled weakly. "I think I ate a little too much, is all."

"I'll say!" Lina exclaimed after peering into the near-empty bucket of chicken. "They not feed you in the hospital, or what?"

"Well, you know what hospital food is like," Nezumi shrugged. "What can I say? I was really hungry for some good fried chicken." She turned to her mother. "Mom, since you're here, how about tomorrow I--"


"Now what?" Nezumi asked plaintively.

Lina shook her head, marched over to the door and jerked it open. The dark-haired girl blinked in surprise.

"Hi! I'm Goten. This is my friend Trunks. Is Uncle Raditz here?" asked the shorter of the two young boys standing there.


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Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic