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Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 3

"What the--Rings and Moon!" The Saiyan woman stared at Raditz, astonishment changing rapidly to consternation. "Who are--?"

"BIG BAANGGG ATTACK!" Vegeta's battle-cry rang out as he flung a huge ball of energy at the swarming robots.

The woman jerked her head abruptly to one side as her scouter exploded and the world disappeared in white fury again.

"Crud!" Raditz raised his ki-shield and twisted around, putting his body and energy between Vegeta's blast and the much weaker woman. "I wish he'd--" Raditz's words were lost in the colossal blast that tossed him like a leaf. He tumbled out of control through the air, batted around by the blast wave until it was spent, and the big Saiyan and his charge could finally flutter to the ground like the same leaf coming to rest.

"--give me a millisecond's warning for once," Raditz concluded as he gently released the shocked woman.

She sprang back, pushing herself away from Raditz as if he were something unclean, and looked him up and down. "Who are you??" she asked accusingly, with a tantalizingly familiar accent.

She was at least as old as Raditz, suspended in that indeterminate age when a a Saiyan shows neither obvious youth nor encroaching age--an age that Vegeta had only entered in the last few years, and that Raditz had been for over twenty years. Her hair was slightly longer than the usual extra-short cut once favored by female soldiers and it stuck out in typically Saiyan spikes. Her face was strong and boldly cut; not beautiful or pretty according to the standards of feminine beauty last prevalent on Vegetasei, but not unpleasing to the eye. It was marred only by the sour twist of her lips as she regarded Raditz.

Raditz knew that her real question was "Who are you to dare to touch me?" He could not miss the marks of authority and nobility on her brown and dark blue armor. With that, Raditz placed her accent, the accent of an Eastern noble, an accent heard many times during his nearly-forgotten youth, when he was a cadet guard in the Royal Palace.

He smirked ever so slightly. "I am Raditz, formerly of the Royal Guard--"

"Raditsu!" she hissed, using the archaic Eastern form of his name. Sudden hatred flashed across her face as she snarled, "Kinoko's get, are you not? Do not deny it, you have her hair!"

Raditz blinked, surprised at the bitter anger in her voice. "I am the son of Bardock and Kinoko, yes--" Again Raditz was surprised as the woman flinched at Bardock's name.

"You should be dead," she snapped, that strange resentment still shading her voice. "I heard your dying breath..." She turned her head to look at the figure flying leisurely toward them. Her eyes widened; the crested hair was unmistakble, yet still she asked. "Who--?"

Raditz smirked again. "His Royal Highness, Prince Vegeta of Vegetasei and the Saiyanjin, Lady...?"

The Saiyan noblewoman ignored him; she had eyes only for Vegeta. Raditz heard her say, "But he's supposed to be dead as well; he was on Namek when Frieza destroyed it!"

Vegeta settled in front of the woman and regarded her silently for a moment, lifted eyebrows his only sign of curiousity as she slowly dropped to one knee and brought one hand up to her chest in the traditional salute.

"Well, what have we here?" the Saiyan prince finally drawled, his arms folded across his chest.

"I am Lady Naranja of the Tsufurujiti," the woman answered, "formerly of Chaeerou Neewha, last assigned to command the Jinkousei purge."

Jinkousei! The name hit Raditz like a blow; he struggled to keep his face impassive. Fortunately, Lady Naranja's eyes were turned respectfully to the ground, and her sidelong glances were only towards Vegeta.

Jinkousei, the machine world: though he'd never seen it, never met a single inhabitant, no world besides Vegetasei itself had affected Raditz's earlier life more. It was a world of ill-omen; his mother Kinoko had died on Jinkousei.

Prince Vegeta's eyes narrowed. "And those?" With a precise gesture of his white-gloved hand, Vegeta indicated the huge crater where the vaporized robots and their ship had been. The tiny Saiyan pod had also vanished; the rim of the great crater filled in the small crater where it had been.

"My ship!" Naranja exclaimed in momentary dismay, then recovered her composure. "Those were warbots from Jinkousei, my prince. I finally rebuilt my pod and damaged enough of their cursed space defense network to escape the world, but they managed to track and pursue me."

Vegeta's eyes narrowed again. "You survived nearly thirty years, but did not purge the world you were on?"

Raditz thought that the cutting scorn he heard in Vegeta's voice was a bit hypocritical, given that Vegeta had lived comfortably for several years on a world he hadn't purged, either, but Raditz wisely kept the thought to himself.

Lady Naranja bowed her head in submission; sweat beaded on her forehead. "No, my prince, and yes. There were no living intelligences on Jinkousei, my prince--only their mindless war machines. For thirty years my squad was stranded on Jinkousei, fighting the machines. At first we hoped to win, and had no thought of escape, but over the years my squad was killed, one by one, until only I, the most powerful, remained. During that time I monitored the standard frequencies, and I heard enough to know that a few Saiyans still survived; I set my pod's coordinates for the one world that might have surviving Saiyans." She looked up suddenly at Vegeta. "From what I intercepted, my prince, I believed that Raditsu was dead, and you also slain on Namek; only Marshal Nappa and the third-class Kakarott might have survived here."

"Nappa... is dead," Vegeta said softly. He indicated with a gesture that she might rise. "As you can see, I live, as does my loyal guardsman Raditz. As for Kakarott..." Vegeta smirked. "Whether he is alive or dead matters little as far as he is concerned."

Lady Naranja rose to her feet and looked down at the prince, a cold, arrogant smile born of complete misunderstanding on her face. "Of course," she said. "He was only a low-born third-class, and if I heard the reports I intercepted correctly," here she glanced at Raditz, "a tailless one who consorted with vermin."

Vegeta frowned and stared hard at the woman, a cold, hard stare that would have terrified Raditz if he were the target of it--he knew Vegeta all too well.

"Not all who lack tails are weakling vermin, woman," the short, powerful Saiyan prince said, deliberately omitting her name and title. "Only power matters; you would do well to remember that."

Lady Naranja flushed at the insult; her hands clenched half-involutarily. She bowed her head. "Yes, my prince. What is your command, now that I am here?"

Vegeta regarded her speculatively, the ghost of a cruel smile playing around his lips. After long moments, he appeared to dismiss whatever speculations he had pursued and gave her a hard stare. "This is my world, Naranja, and it lives at my pleasure," Vegeta stated with cold arrogance.

Lady Naranja saluted. "Yes, Prince Vegeta. I understand." Killing any being without orders or permission from Vegeta would infringe on the prince's perogatives, an insult that would surely bring immediate punishment.

"You will accompany Raditz back to my... dwelling place, and quarters will be given to you. Beyond that, you will wait and learn while I decide how best to make use of you."

She saluted again. "Yes, Prince Vegeta. It shall be as you have commanded."

* * *

"Dad!" Gohan yelled as he dropped into the front yard holding Goten under one arm and a sack of groceries under the other. Trunks dropped down beside him, smirking triumphantly. He could fly under his own power! "Oh mom, here's your groceries."

Chi-chi took the bag from Gohan and frowned slightly. "Is Trunks staying for dinner?"

"Yes, Raditz and Vegeta are both checking out this spaceship and Bulma asked me to take Trunks home with Goten--where's dad? I need to tell him..." Gohan stopped and smiled nervously; Chi-chi was scowling fiercely. "It's probably nothing, mom, really--"

"Put Goten down and tell your father whatever you need to tell him, but you come right back!" Chi-chi folded her arms. "I can't stop your father from doing whatever he thinks he has to do, but you will not be running off and missing your lessons for months on end again! Is that understood?"

Gohan looked even more nervous. "Yes, ma'am! I'm don't want to get behind again, not after all that extra tutoring you had to do to get me caught up."

"Gohan! Chi-Chi! Goten!" Goku's cheery voice rang out as he trotted down the path from the mountains, a huge fish slung over his shoulder. He smiled as he noticed Trunks. "Guess it's a good thing I caught an extra big fish, eh, Chi-chi? Hey, Trunks! Vegeta teaching you any new moves?"

"Yes," Trunks said proudly. "He's teaching me to fight like a Saiyan!"

"Hey, that's great! You an' Goten could spar, I bet! I know a couple good places, and so does Gohan."

"Yep!" Trunks smirked and he nudged his younger friend. "Your dad is cool," he whispered.

"Dad, I came back early because there might be trouble," Gohan said, suddenly serious. "Another spaceship has come, and Raditz and Vegeta went to check it out. Raditz wanted you to be there, too."

"Ah, yep. I saw it," Goku said, also serious. "Felt it. There's another Saiyan, a bad one."

"Another Saiyan??" Gohan asked, astonished. "I couldn't feel it!"

"Not strong, like Vegeta. Feel for someone weaker, like Nappa or Raditz used to be."

Gohan calmed himself and listened, felt. "I sense Vegeta--he's all powered up... maybe Raditz... " Gohan shook his head. "I can't really pick out anyone else. Even Raditz is hard to sense; he's hiding most of his power."

"I can; it's not strong, but it's evil..." Goku furrowed his brow, anger lurked there. "...as evil as Vegeta was. Just as much blood and death..." He put two fingers to his brow. "Tell Chi-chi not to wait for me to feed you two; I might be late." Goku vanished in a flicker of light.

"But dad..." Gohan looked at the spot where his father had vanished. I wanted to go, too! Gohan thought. Well, I guess I'm needed here, to protect Mom and the kids.

* * *

Lady Naranja watched Vegeta hurtle toward the horizon in a blaze of power, then glared contemptuously at Raditz. "Is your power so weak that you must spend the next hour resting before you can fly, or is there some other reason for delaying me?" she sneered.

Raditz could hear the threat in her voice, read it in her posture and face: I am an elite of the nobility, and you are a mere low-born weakling; displease me, and your death will be immediate and painful. The habit of long years pushed at him to stay impassive, to defer to the noblewoman, to humble himself as he had been trained to, so many years ago, to serve her as he had served Vegeta and Nappa for so many years.

Raditz smirked back at her with all his Saiyan arrogance. He remembered Deputy; what was this haughty elite next to the Chaos demon he'd killed in single combat? Nothing; a cipher, a worm in the dust. Lady Naranja had a lot to learn about the last of the Saiyans.

"I'm waiting for--"

A flicker-flash, and Goku appeared ten feet away, two fingers still pressed to his forehead.

"--my brother Kakarott," finished Raditz, but his words went unheard.

Naranja's eyes bulged as she stared at Goku. "Bardock! How??"

Goku frowned slightly at Naranja, and Raditz realized that the unusual seriousness on his face made him look almost exactly like his long-dead father. Only the characteristic scar was missing.

"My name is Son Goku," he said. "Why have you come here?"

Naranja stared at him, studying every detail of his powerfully muscled form. "Sohngokuu? What kind of name is--ah. You've taken a local name." Momentary disgust flashed across her face, to be replaced with a curious intensity as she stared at Goku. "I came looking for you, of course. What better place to look than the world where both your sons had gone? If you had survived--but you did, and you are here. It has been long--and there are so few of us left. Surely the prince will grant--" Lady Naranja abruptly turned her head to glare at Raditz. "These matters are not for the whelp's ears, and he is under the prince's orders; I will speak to you later, my Bardock."

She vaulted into the air, turning slowly to fly after Vegeta. Raditz darted after her; below him, he could hear Goku saying plaintively, "But I'm not Bardock...."

* * *


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Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic