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Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 7

If Raditz had not been preoccupied with worry for Nezumi, he might have noticed the streak of white fire plunging down on him. It wouldn't have done him any good if he had.

As it was, the first warning he had was the wild beeping of his scouter's proxmity alarm as it registered an incoming power too high for it to report; "MAX OVERRUN" blinked in red letters in front of Raditz's eye along with an arrow pointing above him.

Then Vegeta hit him.

When Raditz's head stopped spinning, he found himself lying at the bottom of a crater with Vegeta's booted foot crushing his ribs. Raditz had never quite lost consciousness, but the last second or so had been a blur of pain and motion; all he knew was that in four or five precise, economical blows, Vegeta had knocked the wind out of him, sent Raditz hurtling miles outside the city, and slammed him into the ground not quite hard enough to break his neck.

Vegeta scowled down at Raditz. "Idiot!" he hissed. "What possessed you to think you could defy me? You're a fool as well as a weakling, Raditz!"

"I am a Saiyan," Raditz said, panting for breath; the pressure on his ribs allowed him barely enough air to stay conscious. "What did you expect? Even under Frieza--"

"You could barely control your temper!" Vegeta snapped. "You were almost as bad as Nappa!" The crushing pressure on Raditz's chest let up slightly. "Enough of this nonsense! You will take the woman Naranja as your mate." Vegeta's eyes narrowed, and he continued with a snarl, "...since you are so obviously in need of one!"

Raditz's eyes widened. He knows! And... I'm not dead?

Vegeta smirked. "I lost my tail--temporarily--to Kakarott's brat, not my nose!" His white-furred tail uncoiled and lashed from side to side in punctuation.

"Why--" Raditz's eyes were still wide with puzzlement.

"--are you still alive?" Vegeta finished the question for the prostrate warrior. He smirked again. "My consort is the most beautiful woman on the planet--only a dead man or a lover of boys would not desire Bulma!" His smirk turned vicious, the battle grin of a Saiyan ready to kill. "If you had ever acted on your desire..."

Raditz jerked his head to one side, in brief negation. "I'm not that much of a fool! But this Naranja--she nearly killed one of my people!" Raditz growled. "I cannot do what you want."

Vegeta's eyes narrowed again. "The human survived, didn't she? Get over it! You've gotten soft, Raditz--how many times did Nappa beat you for insolence or foolishness? You've forgotten what it is to be Saiyan; you're thinking like a human! A beating is nothing." Vegeta's voice was a soft, contemptuous snarl. "Even Gohan, soft as he is, makes nothing of it, and Kakarott enjoys a good, hard fight that leaves him bloody and bruised, like a true Saiyan."

"Nezumi isn't Saiyan," Raditz said, "and Naranja crippled her!"

Vegeta's boot moved from Raditz's chest to the ground beside him. "You have become as disgustingly sentimental as Kakarott--and as foolish as ever! If you're so worried about this fragile human, get some senzu from that soft-headed brother of yours and give one to her," Vegeta spat contemptuously.

"Senzu?" Raditz groaned. "I can't believe I forgot about that!" He staggered to his feet--only to be slammed to the ground once again.

"I'm not done," Vegeta snarled. "Get the human you are so worried about healed, then take Naranja as your mate."


Vegeta frowned. "I do not understand you, Raditz. She is not ugly, nor is she too young or too old. She is a noble, and you are powerful enough. You already punished her for hurting your human, so once the human is healed, the matter is settled."

"I don't like her, Vegeta, and she obviously despises me!" Raditz snarled as he rose to one knee.

Vegeta glared at Raditz. "I don't care about your childish likes and dislikes, or hers; I care about the survival of the Saiyan race! The hybrids are strong, but who knows if their children will be? I will not have the Saiyan race diluted out of existance in a sea of weak humans!" Vegeta turned his head and spat. "Better if Frieza had succeeded in wiping us all out in battle, than to slowly fade away!"

Raditz bowed his head; he'd learned long ago not to look at Vegeta's face when the bitterness filled his voice. The long-haired warrior could never hide his emotions very well, and Prince Vegeta had no tolerance for any sign of sympathy. Raditz's throat was tight; he could not answer for he knew Vegeta would not listen or understand.

How could he? Could Vegeta ever understand what Raditz had come to believe, that the Saiyan race was better off dead, the souls of its people released from the trap of eternal re-birth as proud, murderous, damned Saiyans? If they could become like Kakarott or Gohan, even if they were as weak as the human warriors, that would be a far better fate.

Naranja had been born into that same trap, Raditz realized. He hated her for being what he had been--a Saiyan warrior. It was not Naranja's fault that she was what she was born and raised to be. She'd had no chance to learn otherwise, stranded as she was on a planet of inimical machines. Perhaps she would never see things otherwise, but at least Raditz could keep her from doing harm.

"As you command, my prince," Raditz heard himself answering. What else could he do?

* * *

Countless light-years away, a small, thin figure moved silently through a bilious green jungle. Dark eyes peered out from under the tangled trees, carefully studying the open field and empty buildings before it. The hot sun of Jinkousei glinted off metallic spider-shapes here and there; every so often, one of them moved or turned.

Nostrils flared as a breeze blew across the fields, taking in what scents the wind brought with it. The dark eyes narrowed, and a small face scowled at the faint stench of decay and the still-lingering scent of wood ash and burnt plastic. There was no sign of the smells hoped for, those of fresh blood and scorched meat.

Zana sighed quietly and shook back her shoulder-length, mud-matted spiky black hair and curled her short tail tightly around her bare waist. The last rags of Zana's clothing had been discarded weeks ago for the comfort of mud-covered nudity in the hot, humid, bug-infested jungle. She padded silently across the jungle floor on bare feet as she circled the perimeter of what had once been the Saiyan stronghold on Jinkousei.

It looked like she would have another hard day's hunting--the robots hadn't killed any large animals during the night. Sometimes a burhaut or a spike buffalo crossed the perimeter after the fresh grass, and the robots would burn it down. It took extreme care in crawling beneath the sensors and sheltering behind the dead carcass, but one half-burnt carcass pulled out from beneath the robots' guns was more food than the young girl could catch all day.

It was hard to hide from the robots and hunt enough to keep herself fed. She didn't know how to fly, and big animals were getting wary and scarce; Zana had to go too far away to find them now. She could catch the little stuff, of course, and eat the fruits she knew were safe to eat because they were what they had always eaten at home--

--Zana squeezed her eyes shut hard. Mustn't think of home, there is no home now, mustn't think of it! Only Perejil, and he'd gone far away to get help. That was why she went hungry so many nights; it was hard to hunt all day to get enough little things to eat and hide from the robots at the same time, and stay near the launch pad, waiting for her brother to come back with help.

Peree told you to hide! Hunting around the town isn't hiding! she scolded herself. What if the witch caught Peree? What if he never comes back?

Zana shivered and held herself. No! He'll come back! Peree has to come back!

Peree told you that the witch would catch either him or you! Zana's pessimistic side told her. The witch hasn't come back, and Peree hasn't come back, so she must have caught him!

No! No! I won't listen! The robots are here, so the witch must be near, too. They are hers. Peree will come back with help; he has to!

What if he doesn't? What if the witch got him like she got momma and papa?

Zana choked back a sob. No sounds, not so close to the robots! She shook her head in mute denial of her fears. Mustn't think that! Mustn't, mustn't, mustn't!


...I don't know. I don't know what to do without Peree.

* * *

Trunks very carefully slid the window open and slipped over the broad sill. He was only a little bit late for lunch; with luck, Mom was busy with Grandpa's project and wouldn't notice. As for Papa...

Trunks darted into the bathroom and stripped his clothes off for a quick shower. He'd tell Papa he'd been practicing his flying--which was mostly true--and lost track of time--which was also true.

After the shower, he tossed on a clean pair of shorts and a tank top--Mom always insisted that he be clean at meals. Trunks didn't see the point, as he would just get all sweaty and dirty again after lunch, but that was Mom. Goten said his mom did the same thing, so maybe it was a mom thing. Papa certainly didn't care whether he smelled like a pair of old socks, and he had a much better sense of smell than Mom. Why, mom couldn't even smell when he'd cut himself bad enough to bleed--but Papa knew every time!

Trunks ran into the kitchen toward the refrigerator--and stopped. Luck was not with him.

"TRUNKS! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?" shrieked Bulma. She stood in the middle of the kitchen, hands on her hips, looking very, very angry. If Trunks had been a bit older, he might have recognized the overtones of fear and worry in her voice, but he was still young.

Trunks pasted the semblance of a hearty smile on his face. "Out practicing my flying. It's so cool, I can fly for miles and even carry someone--"


Trunks winced as his mother's shout rang in his sensitive ears. He looked at his mother with wide-eyed innocence. "Was I supposed to?"

"Don't give me that innocent routine, young man!" Bulma's voice dropped back to its normal range, which worried Trunks; he knew from experience that he was in real trouble now. "There's a berserk Saiyan running about, and people are getting hurt, maybe killed, and you disappeared without a word! What was I to think? That you'd been killed? And all this time you've been off practicing flying, without bothering to let me know--"

Bulma stopped abruptly; her eyes narrowed with suspicion. "You can carry 'someone'? Just who were you carrying?"

"Um, Goten?"

"Goten?" Her voice rose to a shriek again. "YOU WENT ALL THE WAY TO THE SON HOUSE WITHOUT TELLING ANYONE??"

Trunks smile was rather sickly now. "Mrs. Son knew--"

"--that you had come over to play with Goten--I bet you didn't tell her that I had no idea where you were, did you, young man?"

"Well, um, she didn't ask..."

Bulma rolled her eyes and appealed to the heavens, "Now I know what Chi-chi has been going through for all these years with Gohan! And he's such a nice, quiet boy!" Bulma braced her hands on her hips and glared sternly at Trunks. "Did you get in a fight with anyone or anything? Was Goku involved?"

The smile disappeared from Trunks' face and he shook his head hurriedly. "No, Mom! It wasn't anything like that! Goten 'n' I just went and explored the wrecked spaceship, that was all--" Trunks clapped a hand over his mouth; he'd said too much.

Bulma blinked. "Let me get this straight: you went over to the Son house without letting anyone know where you were going, and then you took Goten--without telling Chi-chi where you were going, I bet--and explored an alien spaceship full of killer robots for fun?"

"But Mom, there weren't any robots left!"

"I DON'T BELIEVE THIS! ARE YOU TRYING TO GIVE ME A HEART ATTACK??" Bulma's voice dropped back down to normal range. "Young man, you are grounded until you learn some responsibility! You can go to your room and stay there until dinner time, and you can plan on spending the rest of your weekend there! Come Monday, you don't leave the grounds except to go to school unless your father or I are with you, period!"

"But Mom--"

"I don't want to hear it, Trunks! You knew better than this, didn't you?"

Trunk stared at his toes and nodded slowly, cheeks flaming. "Yes, momma."

Bulma looked at her erring child; he only called her 'momma' when he was miserable. "Well, you can have lunch, first. It'd be cruelty to make you miss a meal--but then you go straight to your room, understand?"

"Yes, Mom!"

* * *

Goten yawned and sat up; his afternoon nap was over. A movement at the corner of his eye caught his attention; Goten turned and looked out the window. His smile turned to a puzzled frown.

The ghost boy was still there, dark eyes imploring Goten for help. Goten glanced up at the paper charm hanging in the window that kept out spirits. No, he wouldn't touch that--Momma said not to, and Goten knew that he could go outside and talk to the boy--

--Except that he couldn't. Inside or outside, he couldn't understand what the boy wanted so badly. This bothered Goten; he wanted to help, but he didn't even know what was wrong.

As he pulled on his pants and shirt, Goten thought about the problem. Normally, if he didn't know what to do, he asked Momma or Gohan. This time, he didn't think big brother would help much; Gohan never really listened when Goten told him about the local spirits and sometimes acted like he thought Goten was making it all up! Goten pulled his slippers on and wandered out to the kitchen. Maybe Momma could help...


Chi-chi put down the bunch of bok choy she was cleaning and looked down at her youngest child. The expression on Goten's face was unusually serious. "What is it, honey?"

"There's a little boy who needs help, but I don't know what to do," Goten told her.

Chi-chi put down the vegetable cleaver and pulled off her apron. "What?? Where? What's wrong? Who is it?"

Goten said, trotting toward the door, "I don't know his name, 'cause I can't understand what he's saying, an' I don't know what's wrong, 'cause I can't understand him, but he keeps coming and looking at me so sad and he talks to me, an' I can tell he's asking me to help, an' I think he's about to cry he's so sad, BUT I CAN'T UNDERSTAND HIM!" Goten wailed as he caught sight of the ghost boy waiting outside the kitchen door.

Chi-chi stopped abruptly. "Goten," she said in a very serious tone that stopped Goten in his tracks, "where is this boy?"

Goten pointed at the kitchen door. "He's right outside, but I don't think you can see him."

Chi-chi looked, and saw nothing. "Is he 'not-fun'?"

Goten nodded.

"I see," was all Chi-chi said, but there was a tone of cold anger that scared Goten. What had he done wrong?

"Go to room, Goten, and stay there. Whatever the ghost boy does, don't go outside!" Chi-chi said sternly.

"But Momma! Why? What did I do--"

"Hush, Goten, and do what I said. It's not your fault, I just don't want you to be tricked again."

"Yes, Momma." Goten scampered back to his room.

* * *

Chi-chi could not see Goten's ghost boy, or she would have been considerably more worried than she was--half-starved, dead twelve-year-old Saiyan boys were, to say the least, uncommon on Earth. All she knew was that a ghost was harassing her baby; it was not to be tolerated!

Not for an instant did Chi-chi think that Goten was making it up; though she had neither Goten's supernatural sight, nor a foot in both worlds the way her father did, she still had enough of her father's blood to be vaguely aware of the spirit world. There was something around, something lost and upset--something that might be dangerous to her youngest child.

"Father! Stop watching TV and come out here! I need your help!"

Ox-King's amiable rumble came from the living room, "Coming Chi-chi!" A few seconds later the enormous figure of the Ox-King squeezed through the small (to him) door to the kitchen. "What's wrong?"

Chi-chi sighed. "There's a ghost harassing Goten, father. Could you look around outside and take care of it?"

"A ghost? Hmmm, that's interesting. We haven't had one around here since Raditz--"

"Daddy! I don't care about that, just make it stop bothering my baby!"

"Okay, Chi-chi." Ox-King strolled out the door and looked around. Nothing in either direction. On a hunch, he padded quietly around to Goten's window--and caught sight of a small spectral figure darting into the woods. Ox-King blinked and took off his thick glasses, cleaned them, and peered at the area of woods the ghost had vanished into.

"Hmmm, I think I scared him. He's very shy," Ox-King muttered, then turned to glance at Goten's window. Goten looked back out the window, looking sad.

"I think big people scare him," Goten said. "He ran when you came out." A single tear spilled down his cheek. "He's scared and all alone and doesn't know what to do, Grandpa."

* * *


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Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic