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Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 21

"You heard me," Raditz said. "But first, there's something else I have to do, and I need Lina's help to do it." Decisions made, he was all action. Manners, feelings, none of that mattered now. Life and death emergencies--or alien invasions--clarified things.

"Lina??" Nezumi all but squeaked, completely bewildered. "But she doesn't even know you're here--"

Raditz yanked the bedroom door open, confronting an open-mouthed Lina and Nezumi's thoroughly confused mother.

"Lina, Naranja has gotten out of control," Raditz said, his face hard and determined. "I hid Bulma for her own safety, but now we've got to get the rest of our people away from Capsule Corp--especially Dr. and Mrs. Briefs. I want you to handle that." His voice softened slightly. "With Vegeta absent, they're in danger."

The big Saiyan looked at Nezumi's mother. "I'm sorry to barge in on you and your daughter like this, but it's an emergency. I need Nezumi on the job now!"

Mrs. O'Neill backed up a step at the tone of implacable authority in Raditz's voice and nodded quickly.

"And just what are you going to do?" Lina asked, hands on her hips.

Raditz regarded her. "As soon as you get the Briefs and as many innocent bystanders out of there as you can, I'm going to take out Naranja. But first, I have to take Trunks to a safe place--he's Naranja's next target, after me, Bulma and Vegeta." He looked at Nezumi.

"While I'm doing that, Nezumi, I need you to go out to the crashed spaceship--I'll give you the location and other particulars--and find a subordinate pod that came down near by, and retrieve its computer. The technical details of how to do that are in a file on my office computer--that's the other particulars I mentioned. I'll try to meet you there after I've dropped Trunks off, but don't wait for me if I run late--just get it as quickly as you can and hide it on the new spaceship Dr. Briefs has been working on." Raditz frowned momentarily and glanced at the mix of undersized clothing he wore. "And if you happen to find my armor and a scouter, I'd really like them. Or even clothes that fit."

Mrs. O'Neill looked more and more worried as she followed the conversation. "Maureen, who is this 'Naranja' you are talking about? She sounds awful!"


Raditz interrupted. "She's the real reason your daughter got hurt. Naranja was an unexpected guest of Vegeta's from... back home, from an old, aristocratic family. What we didn't know until she attacked Nezumi was that Naranja is completely insane--a vicious killer with... strange obsessions." Raditz sighed and rubbed his forehead with a thumb and two fingers, an gesture that reminded Nezumi of her mother when suffered from migraines. "Now we have to, ah, stop her and put right the mess she's made. Before more people get hurt."

Nezumi looked oddly at Raditz--what the hell?-- and then nodded. Lina blinked, pursed her lips thoughtfully, then nodded in agreement.

"I'll get on over to headquarters, then," Lina said, heading for the apartment door.

"Looks like I've got a lot of work to do," Nezumi said, picking up her purse and stowing various things in it, including the disc and encapsulated house that Lina had given her. She looked at her worried mother. "Mom, you'll be safe enough here. I think." Nezumi glanced at Raditz for reassurance.

Raditz frowned slightly. "Might be better to take the bus tour up to Mount Akisei. I hear it's beautiful this time of year."

Nezumi gulped. "Um, yes. Mom, you don't want to miss it anyway--the view is world-famous!"

"I.. see," said Mrs. O'Neill, looking more worried than ever. She nodded; she was wiser than her daughter gave her credit for, and recognized the voice of stern authority in Raditz. "I'll take your advice. But, Maureen, honey--"

Maureen looked at her mother. "Yes?"

"Be careful! I worry about you so. I worried about you every day when you were on the police force here, and I was so relieved when you got a nice, safe job in corporate security. But now..."

"Mom!" Nezumi impulsively hugged her mother. "I'll be all right! I promise you I'll be careful, I won't do anything stupid!"

"That's good to hear," Raditz said. He looked skeptical.

Mrs. O'Neill hugged her daughter back. "I know, but sometimes you're so impulsive, and I can't help but worry!"

Trunks and Goten peered around Raditz's legs, watching. Goten looked at Trunks.

"Wow! She's a grown-up, and her mom talks to her just like my mom does to me!"

* * *

Events didn't move nearly as fast as Raditz might have wanted. After Lina and Mrs. O'Neill left, two hungry boys had to be fed. While Trunks and Goten devoured every scrap of dinner that remained, Raditz summoned up maps from Nezumi's home computer and showed her the location of the spaceship and Perejil's pod, and then gave her instructions on how to retrieve the Spacepod technical manuals from his computer.

"Since when did you learn to lie like that?" Nezumi hissed at Raditz while he was saving files.

"Lie like what?" Raditz looked faintly annoyed.

"That song-and-dance about Naranja being Vegeta's guest and insane," Nezumi snapped. "What happened to 'I don't tell comforting lies'? I felt like an idiot trying to keep things from Lina and Mom, and you just all of a sudden pull the perfect B-S out of your butt and snow them like that!"

"I've learned something about diplomacy--and, it is more or less the truth. I've talked to Perejil; Naranja isn't just the usual mercenary killer of a Saiyan, she's completely mad. I should have guessed..." Raditz trailed off.

"What do you mean, 'you should have guessed'?" Nezumi asked suspiciously.

"When she insisted that my brother was really our father. They look alike, but after all these years... and after Goku told her who he was..." Raditz shook his head. "This isn't the time to go into all that."

"Maybe not, but there's an awful lot you're still not telling me. For instance, who's this Perejil? You said Naranja murdered him--when was this?" Nezumi folded her arms.

"Right after he arrived on Earth. It's his pod I'm sending you to--it has the coordinates for Jinkousei, and it's a standard Saiyan spacepod. He tells me it wasn't destroyed, but was buried under the dirt thrown up by Vegeta's blasting the robot--er, Naranja's ship." Raditz answered somewhat absently as he typed up the procedure for accessing his work computer.

"Doesn't 'murdered' usually mean dead where you come from?" Nezumi asked. "As in, 'tells no tales'? I don't have a lot of conversations with ghosts myself."

"No, you don't," Raditz said, smirking slightly. "But Goten does... and it turns out that I can, if I try, because I was a ghost not too long ago."

Nezumi gulped. "Ah, okay." She looked thoughtful. "You'd have been awfully handy to have around in some of the murder cases I was on."

Raditz raised one eyebrow. "Only if the victims cared to talk to me. I scare them, you know. Perejil only talked to me because Goten trusts me, and he trusts Goten."

"You.. scare ghosts?" Nezumi said, the hairs on the back of her neck crawling.


* * *

On the move at last...

Raditz's head ached, throbbing in tune with the vast energies being hurled back and forth by Goku and Vegeta. For once, he almost wished he had never learned to sense ki. At least, he thought, with that much going on, Vegeta wouldn't sense me if I turned Super-Saiyan and blew up the moon. I can move freely for the moment. He glanced back at the two boys.

"Goten, yell if I go too fast for that cloud! We need to move fast, but I don't want to risk leaving you unguarded until I have to."

"Yes, Uncle Raditz!" Goten yelled back from his perch atop Kin-tou'en as Raditz suddenly surged forward. The golden cloud gave a little grumpy mutter and sped up to match. Goten's stiff, spiky hair blew straight back from the wind of their passage, and he grinned from ear to ear.

* * *

Bulma's face was red with the heat and her temple robes were torn and wringing wet with her own sweat by the time she pushed her way through the jungle underbrush around Piccolo's temple. Once past the underbrush into the rainforest proper, the going was much easier--though it still felt like she was hiking through a sauna.

"Yuck! Enough of this!" Bulma snapped to no one in particular. She tore off her sodden, torn robes and tossed them under a bush, then quickly dressed in the pants and shirt she'd gotten from Seventeen. She kept the golden pin that had fastened her robes together, pinning it to her shirt; it was a rather nice-looking bit of ancient goldwork, engraved with the kanji of Piccolo Demon-King. "That's much better. Now which way was that fire?"

* * *

The dusty, white pick-up truck with the Capsule Corp logo on each door bounced over the rutted, half-washed-out dirt road.

"Ouch! Damn it!" Nezumi cursed as the truck bottomed out in one particularly bad, teeth-rattling pothole. "What idiot drew up this map? This isn't a road, it's a cowpath! Now why did I take a truck instead of a flying car--oh yes, I had the bright idea I didn't want to be as obvious leaving and returning to headquarters. Bleh. Won't help a bit if I never get there because I get stranded in the middle of nowhere with a broken axle!"

Half an hour later, the truck rolled to a stop as she came to a crossroad and picked up the map from the seat beside her.

"Hmm... according to Raditz's coordinates and the aerial map, the crater should be somewhere west of here, so turn left and look for fallen trees. Gah. Hope the local farmers don't object to me poking around in their fields," Nezumi muttered to herself.

* * *

A few hours later, Raditz swooped low over the dense green jungle; ahead, the black stone towers of Piccolo's ancient temple rose out of the trees like islands in a green sea. Beside him, the two boys slept, cradled in the fluffy softness of Kin-tou'en as it hurtled along.

As the long-maned Saiyan settled on the topmost spire, Piccolo rose alongside, levitating, his arms folded and his face stern. Kin-tou'en hovered near by; Trunks sat up and groggily rubbed his eyes.

"You have returned early," Piccolo said, his eyes flashing toward the distant north, where the battle still throbbed in Raditz's head.

"I need to send the boys and Bulma to Gohan," Raditz said, each word cold and precise. "Naranja controls the robots--has controlled them for decades, her target is Vegeta and his entire family, and Goku needs to know." He glanced northward. "I can't get to Goku, so make sure Gohan knows--and see them all safely there. Where is Bulma? I need to give her the details. There's an entire spacefleet of the machines, and more being built on their home planet."

Piccolo frowned. "Where did you learn this?"

Raditz's eyes narrowed. "Look around. I've heard you have the eyes of a god, to see what happens everywhere."

Piccolo scowled. "That was Kami. As for Bulma, she is here somewhere."

Raditz nodded stiffly, and levitated down into one of the myriad courtyards. "BULMA! IT'S ME, RADITZ!"

Raditz's shout echoed off the myriad of stone walls and towers. No answer echoed back.

Raditz sped through the many stone temples and halls of the ancient ruined complex. Though he could smell the lingering scent of Bulma in the central temple, Raditz did not find her in all the unhallowed ruin. He flew back up to where Piccolo hovered.

"Where is she? What have you done with her?" Raditz snarled harshly.

The impassive mask slipped; Piccolo looked surprised. "What?? She's not here?" The green, demonic alien dropped down to the main temple and closed his eyes, listening.

"Foolish woman! She demanded to return home, and I would not let her go. It would seem she left without my help or permission. Unfortunately," Piccolo added, "her ki is too weak for me to sense."

Raditz's brows lowered with anger. "What? You LOST her? Damn you, Namek! See if you can at least babysit children while I go find her!"

The big Saiyan dropped back to the ground, where he'd scented Bulma. He inhaled deeply, sniffing the wind. Yes, she'd been here only a few hours back, and in this heat, her scent hung heavy in the air. Raditz grinned as he loped along; she couldn't escape a Saiyan!

* * *

WHOOOM! A tremendous concussion shook the primitive village; a hurricane-like wind blew through, ripping grass thatch from roofs and sending the villagers sprawling.

Bulma found herself soaring through the air, still tied up. What the--? Had a bomb hit the village? Just a few seconds ago, the angry, frightened villagers had tried to burn her at the stake...

Her bonds parted, her gag fell away, and a powerful arm gripped her around the waist. Bulma knew that arm--she looked up. Raditz grinned fiercely at her.

"How do you get in these situations, woman? I left you safely with Piccolo, only to find you miles away, trying to be the main course at a feast. I thought you humans didn't eat each other." The big Saiyan scowled, then his face turned grim, as he aimed one outstretched palm at the village.

"Raditz! What do you think you are doing?" she yelled. "Those are PEOPLE down there!"

The long-haired Saiyan looked at her, face cold and hard. "They meant to kill you; they're enemies."

"Don't you dare! They weren't trying to eat me, they thought I was a witch or demon of Piccolo the Demon-King!" Bulma glared at him fiercely. "I'm safe now-- they're no threat and can't fight you! If you kill them now, it would be just plain murder!"

Raditz put his hand to his side and flew, staring at the blue-haired woman in silence for long minutes. They were back to the black basalt spires of the Demon-King's temple by the time he answered. "Yeah."

* * *

Nezumi carefully packed the computer core into a padded crate, then encapsulated it in a special shipping capsule that had been brought along for the purpose. Carefully tucking the capsule case into her pants pocket, Nezumi let out a long sigh. It was done. She had the pod's computer--now all she had to do was get back to Capsule Corp headquarters with it, smuggle it onto the experimental spaceship, and wait for Raditz to come back, defeat Naranja, and meet her at the spaceship. Hopefully before Vegeta noticed.

"Okay, so I've got the easy part," Nezumi told herself. "Time to get moving." The truck roared to life at her touch on the ignition.


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Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic