The Light to my Darkness

BY : SaiyanPrince541
Category: Dragon Ball Z > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 5250
Disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN DRAGON BALL Z, OR ANY OF THE PRIMARY CHARACTERS IN THIS STORY!! THOSE ARE ALL TORIYAMA'S!! THIS IS A NON-PROFIT, FAN-MADE STORY!!!

Chapter 17: A new ally

"Is Vegeta coming this way?!" Bulma asked.

"Yeah he is." Gohan nodded. "Now we have all the dragon balls! This is so great!"

"I don't see why you're so happy, Gohan." Krillin frowned. "I still haven't gotten over the fact that he's responsible for the deaths of our friends."

"Yeah, but we're about to wish them all back."

"That's assuming Vegeta doesn't cut our throats." Krillin flinched as Bulma smacked him across the head. "Hey, what gives?!"

"How dare you talk like that to Gohan?!" She shrieked. "He's just a kid! With your rotten company, I'm surprised he's still as well-mannered as he is!"

"You didn't have to hit me." The bald warrior pouted, rubbing his bruised head.

"It's okay Bulma." The demi-Saiyan smiled. "Krillin's been great! If it wasn't for him, I'd end up getting myself killed, for sure."

"See." Krillin taunted jeeringly. "It it were you, all you'd do is complain, gloat about your looks and smack him around every chance you got."

"WHAT WAS THAT?!" Bulma shrilled, as she raised her hand to deliver another vicious blow.

'Oh no, why did I have to say that?!' Krillin thought regretfully, cringing and shutting his eyes as he prepared himself for the brutally painful strike to come.

XXXX

A good half an hour later, Vegeta arrived at the Capsule House, having traveled at full speed. He dashed his way through the door and walked to the lounge, only for his suspicions to be confirmed. Therein stood the bald Earthling, louring at him as well as Kakarot's spawn, looking at him dubiously. Bulma was nearby, her gaze averted. By now, she'd already changed into the outfit she donned on her journey to Namek. He ignored her as he walked up to her two compatriots.

"So it is you." Vegeta narrowed his eyes and ceased his trek, a good seven feet separating them. "What are you doing here?! And how did you get here?!" He demanded in an offhanded tone.

"W-We- uh- we though we c-could- you know, j-j-join forces- w-with you." Gohan stuttered.

Vegeta eyed him curiously for a moment before turning in Krillin's direction.

"If you two are here, then where's Kakarot?" He asked, smirking. "Is he still recovering from the beating I gave him or was he just too much a coward to come face me a second time?"

"Hey you jerk, my dad's not a coward!" Gohan snarled, whatever tact he had vanishing as he heard the Prince deride his father. "He'll be here soon! Just you watch!"

"I'd mind my tone, if I were you, little punk." Vegeta responded in a dangerously low tone. "I can tell you've gotten a lot stronger somehow, but you know, as well as I, that I can still wipe the floor with you, without even trying."

"Look, we're not here to fight you, okay?!" Krillin grit his teeth.

"Good, because even together, the two of you wouldn't last thirty seconds."

"Enough!" Bulma finally made her way over, glaring heatedly at Vegeta. "Here's the deal! After we take care of Frieza, I'm done with you and all this bullshit! I'm returning home and so are the rest of us, got it?! We're free and you're never to come near Earth ever again, are we clear?!"

Vegeta gnashed his teeth at her. What nerve she had, speaking to him so presumptuously!

"What gives any right to barter with me, woman?!" The Prince growled, before grimacing at the three of them. "I should just kill all three of you, right now!"

Gohan pulled Bulma back and stood in front of her defensively, scowling at the Saiyan. Something about the sight before him made Vegeta's gut tighten. For some reason, he felt aversive at the idea of him being regarded as a force threatening the blue-haired female, especially after he'd been doing the exact opposite since his departure from Earth. Goddammit! She'd totally befuddled him!

"Gohan, relax." Krillin censured, placing his hand on the boy's shoulder, before glowering at Vegeta. "Look, Bulma's helped you come this far and we're willing to let you have a wish with the dragon balls, but only if you let us go, after all this is over."

"Excellent." Vegeta replied, his venomous visage easing up, as he smirked at the bald fighter. "That's all I wanted to hear."

"But you're only getting one wish and we're getting the other two, are we clear?!"

"There're- three wishes?" He asked, gaping at the bald warrior, before furrowing his brows heatedly at his captive from Earth. "Why didn't you tell me?!"

"I didn't know!" Bulma shot back, forcing her way through Gohan. "This is what's gonna happen. We're using the first wish to bring back all our friends whom you killed on Earth." She glowered at him accusingly as she said that, whereby he just grunted indifferently. "With the second wish, we're bringing back all the Namekians that Frieza killed and with the third, we're gonna ask the dragon to make you, Goku and Gohan into Super Saiyans, so you can destroy that bastard."

"Don't be ridiculous!" The Prince snarled back. "It is said that every thousand years, only one Saiyan can achieve such legendary power! I have royal blood flowing through my veins! Only I have the potential to be a Super Saiyan and no other!"

"Maybe that's true!" Bulma replied. "And if the dragon only gives you that power, then so be it, but we're including Goku and Gohan in the wish either way, just in case!" She then went on in a softer and more cogent tone. "Besides, three Super Saiyans are better than just one and you've got nothing to lose."

"Tch, fine." Vegeta nodded in agreement. "It won't work on a pair of low class scum anyway."

Gohan growled and was about to fire back verbally, but Krillin held him back and shook his head, knowing it was best not to play with fire, now that they'd finally managed to strike a deal with the barbarous Saiyan.

"I suppose I'll let you weaklings live, in that case, but try anything funny and the deal's off, understood?!" He warned in a brusque voice.

"We won't!" Bulma knit her brows. "Unlike you, we never exploit others." She cast aside her gaze as she uttered that last sentence in a low tone, a gleam of hate and pain in her eyes.

Vegeta felt his heart lurch as those words escaped her mouth. He grit his teeth, shaking his head, as he let out a frustrated exhale, feeling peeved at her overt impudence and yet unable to do a single thing about it.

"I was able to secure Frieza's five dragon balls, which means six of them are gathered." He informed Krillin, an unmistakable edge to his voice that he tried covering. "Only more more is needed."

"Actually, we have two with us." Krillin corrected. "I got the last one just a little while ago."

Vegeta gaped at him, before smirking.

"Really?!" The bald warrior nodded his head weakly. "Perfect!" This was great! Soon the power would all be within his grasp!

Gohan glared at Vegeta, still infuriated at his disdain towards himself and his father. Piccolo used to do the same thing, but not like Vegeta did. The Namekian still respected his father's strength, but Vegeta completely dismissed him, as though he were trash!

'He'll find out just how strong dad is, soon enough!'

"After we thought that Zarbon guy killed you, I went to collect the last dragon ball." Krillin recounted. "A long while after I returned, I sensed your Ki revive again and you just annihilated him, somehow. Now that's the part I really don't get." He said intriguingly, scratching his bald head.

"It's quite simple, really." Vegeta elucidated, a wicked grin on his face. "The strongest warriors among our race get major power surges, each time they recover from near death experiences. The worse the injury, the greater our strength upon recovery. That's why I deliberately provoked Zarbon into intensifying the damage he inflicted upon my person."

"I see." Krillin nodded in understanding. So that's why Goku always ended up so much stronger than all his comrades, that and his astounding natural abilities, of course. It all made sense! He just wished he could get here soon. Hopefully his training had paid off.

"So an actual dragon grants your wish, right?" Vegeta asked, raising an eyebrow at the bald man, after recalling what Bulma had said, before he left to hunt the second dragon ball.

"Yeah." He affirmed. "Once we gather the seven balls together and call upon the eternal dragon, the sky goes dark and he awakens and tells us to make a wish- only in this case he grants three wishes."

"Is that right?" Vegeta's deep black eyes showed a hint of curiosity, before he looked authoritatively at the weaker warriors. "You two runts get the two dragon balls and we'll leave immediately!"

Gohan and Krillin begrudgingly complied, leaving Bulma and Vegeta alone in the living room for a moment. The Prince surveyed for a few seconds, but she refused to give him an eye. This was it. One way or another, he'd most likely never see her again once this was all over and for some reason that thought made him feel so- empty. He kicked himself mentally for entertaining such foolish thoughts. He was never empty! He always had his drive to kill, until she took it away from him! That was all he needed and nothing else!

'Why does he keep looking at me?!' Bulma thought lividly.

"What?!" She growled, finally turning his way. Vegeta averted his gaze and just then Krillin and Gohan made their way back. The Prince walked towards the door and made his way out, the trio from Earth hot on his heels.

"I'm coming with you guys." Bulma declared.

"No, you're not!" Vegeta scowled. "You'll just slow us down!"

"Yes she is!" Krillin replied adamantly, frowning at the Saiyan as he daringly tossed the four-star dragon ball his way, barely giving him time to catch it. "She has a right to be there!" He then smiled at his friend. "Come on Bulma, it's okay."

She smiled back and walked up behind Krillin, wrapping her arms around his neck and legs around his waist, as he held her from behind in a piggy back, girding his arms under her hamstrings for support. Vegeta turned away from the scene in revulsion and sped off immediately, Gohan and Krillin in tow.

The Prince felt disgusted beyond words, a bitter feeling of jealousy oozing within. He wanted nothing more than to blast that little cueball milksop. His tail tightened around his waist, as he continued flying.

Almost an hour passed and they were nearing their destination. Gohan and Krillin were having difficulty keeping pace with the Prince, though the latter was only flying at less than half his full speed.

XXXX

Unbeknownst to the new group, the five elite members of Frieza's most powerful squadron had now arrived on Namek, ready to exact revenge upon the little monkey Prince. Vegeta had not only had the nerve to defy and openly rebel against his master, but to steal the dragon balls that he'd worked so hard to collect.

After their bizarre introduction, the Ginyu Force awkwardly stood fixed in their strange poses, before Frieza gave them 'leave' to ease up, assigning them their new mission to recover the dragon balls and the treacherous Vegeta.

"Stupid Saiyan." Commented Recoome, the orange-haired humanoid, smirking at another crew member to his left.

"I always thought he was too cocky for his own good." Remarked the red-eyed, blue-skinned Burter, in his fizzled voice.

"You can expect resistance." Warned Frieza. "Vegeta's strength has grown considerably, since last you saw him."

The five crew members pressed their scouters and were slightly surprised by the power readings that appeared.

"Now, get those dragon balls and bring me the Saiyan." Frieza ordered. "Oh and before you get carried away, I want him alive."

"Consider it done Lord Frieza." Ginyu replied as he analyzed his scouter. "Vegeta doesn't appear to be making any efforts to conceal himself. He should be an easy catch. You'll have him kneeling at your feet within the hour!"

The Captain frowned in intrigue after a moment or so.

"What is it Ginyu?" The lizard asked.

"There are three other power levels with Vegeta." He observed. "Two of them are fairly significant, but the other is essentially nonexistent."

Frieza's eyes widened, soon followed by a sinister grin plastering his visage.

"That fool!" The tyrant cackled in delight. "If my guess is right, it's probably those two meddlesome pests we encountered earlier. Vegeta must have formed a little gang. As for the other 'power level', I'll bet anything that it belongs to the blue-haired woman Vegeta's been fucking."

"A blue haired woman?" Recoome asked, taken aback.

"Vegeta's girlfriend." Frieza explained. "He led us to believe that he'd killed her, after we learned he'd brought her here to Namek. What's more, Zarbon had sworn that he was quite possessive of her."

Ginyu grinned evilly, flashing his perfect, pearly teeth, and the others smirked at one-another, as a rush of thrill-filled anticipation swamped over them. Boy, this really sounded like fun!

"What of her and the others, my Lord?" The Captain asked.

"Keep them alive." Frieza responded. "I wish to find out what is going on."

The warriors appeared none too pleased at their liege's reply. They were looking forward to spilling some blood, after having spent a week cramped up in their tiny space pods.

"Do not despair." The despot reassured. "If all goes well and they have served their purpose, I will allow you to kill the two pests, as a reward. I may even allow you take turns torturing his woman. However, you are not to harm her unless I get acquainted with her first and give you my blessing thereafter. Disobey and the penalty will be severe. I trust I have made myself clear."

"Crystal- clear." The Captain responded, a slight degree of unease in his voice.

"At ease Captain." Frieza smiled malevolently. "You and your men have my word that should you succeed in this mission, the rewards will be beyond counting. I understand your desire for blood and you will have it, but for now, restraint is of the utmost importance. I want the woman to be in perfect condition, so that my audacious little monkey Prince can see her ravaged and ruined bit by bit, until she is nothing but an empty shell. I will make it all worth your while, I assure you."

"It will be our pleasure, Lord Frieza." Ginyu stated solemnly, placing a hand on his chest. This was an easy mission and once complete, they would be sure to reap every bit of reward they could.

Guldo, the stout, dwarfish four-eyed creature, began cursing under his breath, as he reminisced the debasing incident where Vegeta derogated him in front of Lord Frieza and when he was getting ready to make him pay, his master defended the Saiyan. He was still bitter about it and would make that piece of simian trash pay dearly for his insolence.

Jeice picked up a small briefcase and walked over to his master.

"Here you go Lord Frieza." The red-skinned Trigocian handed the briefcase to him, "The scouters you asked for. There're five of them in there, the newest models too."

"Ahhh, good work." Commended Frieza, before opening it up, donning a scouter and facing the Captain. "Note that Vegeta has somehow acquired the ability to suppress his power and those two runts may well be able to do likewise."

"No worries, Lord Frieza." Ginyu reassured. "The settings on these newest model scouters allow us to specifically keep track of any selected Ki signal. We can set them to stay tuned to Vegeta and each member of his little posse. Even if they suppress their power, the moment they flare it even in the slightest, the scouter will alert us immediately."

"Perfect." Frieza grinned before frowning in concentration. "My scouter detects a cluster of power levels gathered in one place. It's most likely a group of Nameks that have been fortunate enough to survive so far. There must be a dragon ball there, since Vegeta hasn't yet destroyed it." He then narrowed his eyes further. "There appears to be a red dot appearing on the scouter, somewhere amidst the heart of that village."

Ginyu checked his own scouter.

"Hmmm, you're right Lord Frieza." He nodded affirmatively. "That signal belongs to one of your men."

"What do you mean? How do you know this?" Asked the Lizard Lord, knitting his eyes.

"Well, each and every being in the Universe has a distinct Ki signal as you well know." The Captain elucidated, "And before joining the PTO, soldiers have their powers recorded and uploaded onto our central database on Planet Cold. Each and every power level from our database has been encrypted into these new scouters. Any signals belonging to the PTO are specifically identified in red. That, of course, includes Vegeta."

"Hmmm." Frieza smiled. "Interesting. Seems I've been so busy lately, I've been neglecting my duties." He let out a dull sigh. "I suppose I will have to await your return before I deal with those Namekians and that foolish soldier of mine, since I cannot leave my ship unguarded. As for the rest of you, take off now and retrieve Vegeta and the dragon balls."

"But Lord Frieza." Jeice argued. "Surely one of us can take care of that village, while the rest handle Vegeta. Wouldn't that be faster?"

"Perhaps." Frieza replied. "But I underestimated him once and it cost me five dragon balls. That will not happen again. Before anything else, I want that crafty little monkey in custody along with those other two peons and his little whore. Bring the balls he stole and any others he may have collected, back to the ship."

"Yes sir!" All five men said in unison and gathered together, leaving an ebbing trail of fiery purple behind them as they flew off.

XXXX

The motley crew of four was distracted the entire time, not paying heed as Frieza's elite arrived on the planet. Vegeta's mind was completely disoriented. He grit his teeth in smoldering frustration, wanting nothing more than to rip Krillin's balls off and shove them down his throat. He tried brushing such thoughts aside, but it just wouldn't work. If this went on any longer, he'd have to bite his tongue to curb the fury boiling within. He just wanted to be there and make his wish already!

Krillin felt Bulma's tears moisten his shoulders.

"Hey, you okay?" He asked.

"I hate him."

"Who?"

"I hate him!" She repeated, not answering the question, as she tightened her hold on her friend.

"Uh- you mean Frieza- or Vege-"

"I HATE HIM!" She shrieked, squeezing Krillin's neck so hard, he practically choked and was forced to cut off his flight, midair. Vegeta and Gohan's acute auditory senses caught wind of Bulma's loud shrill. The demi-Saiyan headed over to them. Vegeta stopped midair, bristling in fury as he began making his way over, ready to blast each and every one of them, once and for all.

It was then that the Prince sensed a group of enormous power levels headed straight towards them and his jaw fell, eyes widening in horror. He began visibly quivering, unable to mouth a word, as he recognized the oncoming foes.

"Krillin, do you feel that?!" Gohan asked, his stomach twisting as he too felt the imminent threat.

Bulma suddenly stopped choking the life out of the bald warrior and he coughed a few times, before a look of pure horror embedded his face.

"W-W-What the h-h-hell is that?" He asked in, a deep feeling of consternation beginning to seep within.

"It's- it's the Ginyu Force!" Vegeta exclaimed in perturbation, before snarling. "Dammit it all! Frieza's called in the Ginyu Force!"

"The- the w-what?" Bulma asked apprehensively.

The Prince looked at her and every trace of color left his face, as he immediately recalled what Zarbon had told him! Shit!

"You!" He pointed at Krillin, gnashing his teeth. "Take the woman, get to my space pod and leave this planet, right now!"

"W-What?" Krillin asked, completely at a loss. "W-What do you-"

"Listen to me, Frieza knows about her!" He explained, unable to keep the frantic edge from his voice. "He's after her and if he finds her, you don't know what he'll-"

The trio from Earth looked at Vegeta incredulously, their alarm at the quandary they currently found themselves in, replaced with feelings of utter shock as they observed the unmistakable dismay, etched in the Prince's tone and visage. It didn't make any sense. Did he actually care about the woman he'd stolen from Earth? Why would he?

Bulma was at a complete loss for words, as she saw the panic beset Vegeta's ebony eyes. Was there perhaps some truth to Gohan's intuition? Was her Saiyan captor's callous dismissal from before possibly just a cold front as the boy may have suggested?

"Take her and leave, now!" Vegeta commanded, pointing his palm towards Krillin and flaring a tiny sphere of Ki, whereby the bald warrior clenched his teeth, before exhaling reluctantly and looking to his young companion.

"Gohan, I'm leaving it up to you to wish the others back, got it?!" He ordered in the spur of the moment, not taking the time to consider that Bulma was the only one among them who'd actually witnessed the dragon being summoned.

The boy weakly nodded his assent.

"Let's go." The demi-Saiyan gestured for Vegeta to lead the way and the Prince instantly sped off towards the other dragon balls, Gohan close behind.

"WAIT VEGETA, COME BACK!" Bulma shouted in a desperate tone, holding her arm out and hoping he could hear her. He did, of course, but he brushed her plea aside, growling, as he zoomed his way towards the rest of the dragon balls. He needed to make his wish, so he could wipe away the Ginyu Force as soon as possible, before dealing with that bastard Frieza! Surely, as a Super Saiyan, he could rip them all to shreds and rid himself of any attachment he held towards that accursed female! Hopefully she could leave Namek and head back to Earth, so he'd never have to look at her ever again! He'd shed this weakness away around two decades ago, a short while after his planet's untimely destruction, only for it to return at the worst possible occasion! Dammit, he had to overcome this, no matter what it took!

Krillin winced as he heard Bulma shriek right next to his poor ear. After a moment he sighed in surrender, as he landed on a nearby island and repressed his Ki to a bare minimum.

"Bulma, we have to go!" He said frantically. "Each of these new guys seem to be about as powerful as Vegeta, maybe more and one of them is much stronger than even he is! It pains me to say it, but he's right! We can't let them take you!"

"We can't leave them Krillin!" The heiress argued in a rushed and pleading voice. "Please, we have to help him!"

"There's no way, Bulma!" Krillin growled, trying pry her off him. "You can't defend yourself and they'll use you against us, just like he said! We have to go! I can sense one of those goon's heading our way as we speak!"

"Please, I-I can't leave him." Bulma pled in a soft voice laden with desperation. "What if they-"

"That's enough!" Krillin snarled uncharacteristically, forcing her off of him, as he was overcome with sheer lividity. It was only right that she was concerned for Gohan's safety, but why Vegeta's, after all he'd done?! He swivelled around to face her and grit his teeth. "Look, by my estimate the two of them can just make it in time, summon the dragon and make the wish, so quit worrying!" He demanded. As Krillin saw his friend's eyes water, he was overcome with regret for being so crude with her. His expression softened as he continued in a much calmer tone. "Hey I'm sorry, Bulma." He grabbed her hand. "But really, you don't have to worry. Goku will be here anytime now. They won't be alone. Just let me get you to a safe place first and then I'll go join them." He smiled promisingly at her. "Everything will be fine, you have my word."

"But-"

"It's alright Bulma, we'll all go home soon enough, I promise."

Bulma sighed and nodded weakly, somewhat assured but still unable to quell the feeling of trepidation knotting in her stomach. What if something happened to Vegeta? Or to little Gohan? She couldn't bear the thought.

"Listen, I've suppressed my power level down to zero, meaning I can't fly or they'll detect my Ki signal." Krillin explained. "If you have some other means of transportation with you, now's the time."

"I do." Bulma exhaled, getting ahold of herself as she pulled out her capsule case and readied her hover bike.

"Perfect!" Krillin beamed, relief flooding through him as he immediately took the driver's seat and gestured for Bulma to come sit behind him. She complied, holding onto his waist as he took off at super speed.

XXXX

Elsewhere, a short while after Vegeta and Gohan headed off alone, towards the dragon balls.

"Hmmm, one of those high power levels just dropped down to nothing." Captain Ginyu observed. "But that puny one's still there, most likely, the girl Frieza mentioned. Burter, you go after her. The rest of us will follow Vegeta and his other feeble associate."

"Good devils, why me?!" Groused the blue-skinned alien.

"Well, are you or are you not the fastest in the Universe?" Ginyu smirked tauntingly, knowing exactly how to push his buttons.

"Ugh fine, I'll go." Burter relented, instantly taking off towards Krillin and Bulma's location.

"Haha, his loss." Recoome laughed. "I can't wait to go and stick it to Vegeta."

"Hey, who says you'll be the one?!" Jeice protested. "Gimme a crack at the little monkey. I'd like to wear his tail around me neck."

"No, he's mine!" Guldo loured, raising a fist. "I owe him one!"

"Oh, would you guys shut up?!" Ginyu berated. "You're acting like a bunch of children! You're elites belonging to the most esteemed fighting force in the Universe, for Frieza's sake. Keep behaving like this and I'll take them all on myself and make sure you idiots get nothing!"

The captain's threat did the trick and they all closed their mouths immediately.

"Now, that's much better!" Ginyu smirked.

XXXX

A couple minutes later, Gohan and Vegeta arrived at the spot where the Prince had gathered Frieza's stolen dragon balls and hurriedly placed the other two with them.

"Quickly, let's make the wish!" He demanded, whereby the demi-Saiyan looked at him blankly. "Go on, call the dragon and make the wish!" Vegeta repeated more adamantly. "Ginyu and his men will be here soon! We don't have time!"

"I- I've never done it before." Gohan finally realized the error they'd made. "I- uh- I don't know how."

"WHAT?!" Vegeta yelled, whereby the boy flinched. "YOU IDIOT, WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO?!"

"I- I'm s-s-sorry, I w-wasn't thinking." Gohan stammered apologetically. "It- it all happened s-so f-f-fast."

"Stupid boy!" Vegeta scowled, but an idea suddenly struck him. He quickly picked up a dragon ball and tossed it as far away as possible, knowing that he had no other option now but to stand and fight! And fight he would, no matter the odds!

"W-W-What did you do that for?" Gohan asked, in confusion.

"This way, Frieza cannot have them all." Vegeta replied in a hushed tone. "Now be quite. They're closeby. We can't let them know we had all seven."

The child nodded.

"Hey, maybe, we should get out of here while we still can." Gohan argued. "We can't take them head on."

Just then, Ginyu and the rest of the crew, minus Burter, had arrived and were standing behind their Captain, in regal poise.

"You're not going anywhere." Captain Ginyu said, having heard the boy. "The gig's up Vegeta. You're coming with us, whether you like it or not."

Vegeta grated his teeth and placed his fists by his side, ready for action.

The Ginyu Force members all smirked at him, while Guldo took on a grimacing countenance.

XXXX

"Dammit, that guy's still following us!" Krillin grit his teeth, in frustration. "I've suppressed my power, how the hell does he know where I am?!"

"What are we gonna do, Krillin?!" Bulma asked in alarm, her heart racing.

It was then that Krillin realized what the problem was. He stopped the bike and looked at Bulma.

"What?" She asked, in puzzlement.

"Sorry about this Bulma, but there's no other way." He said and before she could utter another word, he struck her forehead with his right index finger, hard enough to knock her lights out, without causing any significant damage, whereby she slumped against him. As fast as he could, he positioned himself behind her, so he could drive off speedily, without losing hold of her unconscious body.

XXXX

The minute power level Burter was just following vanished into thin air and so, he quickly zoomed towards the location where he last detected the female. He saw nothing and grit his teeth as he began scouring the area, only to eventually find some sort of vehicle speeding away to God knows where. He frowned and instantly headed over to it.

Krillin was riding as quick as possible, but a little while later, a gigantic alien with creepy red-eyes, navy blue skin and a striated orange patch on his head, suddenly appeared several yards in front of him at supersonic speed, causing him to come to a sudden halt. Luckily he held onto Bulma firmly enough to prevent her from being propelled forward, a result of the abrupt pull-up.

"Ahhh, so Lord Frieza was right, it's Vegeta's woman." Burter observed, with an evil smirk on his face.

Krillin let out an exasperated huff. This fiend had somehow tracked them down. Just great! It didn't make sense! How did these jerks know about Bulma and why in God's name did he call her Vegeta's woman?! He shook his head, deciding that now wasn't the time to ponder such nonsense. He could not let Bulma fall into this monster's hands under any circumstances, even if it meant giving up his own life.

"Unfortunately, we've been ordered not to kill you." Stated Burter, in disgruntlement. "So I suggest you surrender peacefully." The venom in the alien's frizzled voice was evident, as he uttered that last word. He just wanted to kill them both and be done with it, but orders were orders.

'Dammit, what do I do?!' Krillin thought, frantically, 'There's no way I'm gonna let this guy take Bulma! But he's so damn powerful! I wouldn't last ten seconds against him!'

"How do you know about us?!" Krillin demanded. "How did you know about her?!"

"I am not here to answer your questions, little punk!" Burter snarled impatiently. "Let's get this over with now! I'm missing out on the action, so either you give up or I grind you to a pulp and take the two of you to Lord Frieza, by force! The choice is yours! You have ten seconds to make up your mind!"

'I've gotta think of something fast!' Krillin panicked. He began weighing his options. He couldn't run and he couldn't hide, especially with Bulma here, so what could he do?! Ahhh yes, that's it! Tien's technique came in handy when they'd escaped Dodoria, so there's absolutely no reason it wouldn't work now. He just needed to make a few adjustments. It was risky, but it was the best recourse he could think of!

"How about this?!" Challenged Krillin, getting off the bike, before gently placing Bulma on the ground. He closed in on his adversary till he was a few yards away from him. "We fight!"

Burter cackled.

"You wish to fight me?!" He asked incredulously. "Do you have one clue as to who I am? I am Burter, a member of the elite Ginyu Force and the fastest being in the Universe!"

The giant Ginyu fighter struck a silly pose as he introduced himself, whereby Krillin raised an eyebrow, perplexedly.

"E-Err, o-kay."

"Now, prepare to be defeated!" Burter pointed to the bald warrior.

"Oh yeah?! We'll see who has the last laugh!"

"This is going to be fun." The giant smirked. "What do you prefer, ground or air?"

"Air." Krillin was so glad he asked.

Ginyu's crew member went airborne and Krillin followed suite, looking at him apprehensively.

"Are we going to fight or stare at each other all day?!" Asked an impatient Burter, scowling at his motionless opponent.

Krillin looked over Burter's shoulder and feigned shock.

"What?! Vegeta?!" He exclaimed.

"What?!" Burter impulsively swivelled his head around and not a second later, his scouter was destroyed by a Ki blast from Krillin, who'd taken advantage of his momentary lapse of concentration. He whirled back around and grimaced at his bald foe. "How dare you-"

"SOLAR FLARE!" Shouted Krillin, bringing his fingers in front of his eyes.

"AHHH MY EYES! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!"

As quickly as he could, Krillin zoomed down, grabbed Bulma and took off at full speed. He had a good ten seconds to get away and with his newfound speed, even whilst carrying an unconscious Bulma, he knew he'd be able to cover a lot of ground. Without his scouter, this warrior was blind, regardless of the whopping power he obviously possessed. Krillin needed to locate a hiding place posthaste! After zooming past a good few islands, he stopped and found a cave in one of them, instantly dashing inside and gritting his teeth, as he waited for his enemy to depart. That goon had made it clear that he was ordered to keep them alive, so he most likely didn't have to worry about him blowing up the surrounding area the way Dodoria had.

After regaining his sight, Burter roared in fury, hurling curses and demanding that his cowardly opponent show himself. He searched around the area, but was unable to find them! Dammit, if only he had his scouter with him, but that little bastard had the nerve to blow it up! Curse that gutless weakling! No one conned a member of the Ginyu Force! He would pay dearly for this!

After thoroughly exploring the surrounding archipelago for a good ten minutes or so, he sighed vexedly, deciding to give up, as he returned to Lord Frieza's flagship to get hold of a new scouter, so he could regroup with the others.

'Curses!' He chastised himself. 'How could I to fall for something so stupid?! I've been trained better than that! I really underestimated that runt, but I will be on guard next time!' He vowed, as he upped his speed.

XXXX

"Now, we can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way." Ginyu told Vegeta, forebodingly. "The choice is yours. Personally, I would like to dish out some pain and pounding you has always been fun."

"Don't get too cocky Ginyu!" Vegeta exclaimed. "You haven't beaten me yet!"

Just then Guldo made his move, grimacing at his most hated enemy as he made his threats, challenging Vegeta to a one-on-one battle so the two of them could at last, settle the score.

Gohan looked at the little rotund alien in confusion. He didn't seem very powerful, at all. Even he could take him out, so what on Earth was he doing with those other fighters?

"Guldo, you're still a snivelling four-eyed freak." Vegeta taunted.

The pint-sized alien snarled viciously and was about to attack, only for Recoome to pull him back.

"Now hold up there Guldo." He reminded him. "Frieza wants him back alive, remember?"

Ginyu continued demanding that Vegeta give himself up, but the Saiyan refused and pointed his palm towards the dragon balls, threatening to destroy them if any of his enemies made one wrong move.

At that moment the six dragon balls vanished and suddenly materialized right in front of the Captain. Guldo had used his time-stopping technique and rolled the balls over to their side. It only took him three rounds to bring them all over. The little alien released a huge breath and collapsed on his knees, after he was done.

Gohan and Vegeta's eyes widened, as they noticed the dragon balls instantaneously shift from one location to another. At that moment, something instantly clicked in Vegeta's mind.

"So then it's true what they say!"

"W-W-What do you m-m-mean?" Asked Gohan, completely aghast.

"I never believed it, but it's been said that Guldo has the ability to freeze an instant in time." Vegeta answered, glaring angrily at the small green alien, who stood up and began chuckling between breaths. That little stunt of his took a lot out of him, but it was worth it, just seeing that look on Vegeta's face.

Goddammit! This was not good! Doubtless, the six dragon balls with them would now fall in Frieza's lap. Then again, the lizard had no clue how to find the last one, so that gave them a little time. Still, even if they managed to survive this whole mess, it was unlikely they'd able to retrieve the balls Frieza would soon acquire. After that last stunt he'd pulled, his former master would definitely keep his guard up! However, now wasn't the time for prudence, since they had a much bigger problem on their hands.

He noticed that Burter wasn't with them and concentrated on his Ki signal, suddenly feeling alarmed as he sensed the alien close to where he'd left Bulma, with that bald midget. He couldn't sense either of them! Did something happen, or did they manage to get the slip on Burter? Fucking hell, he needed to focus, but he couldn't get his mind off her! He sighed in exasperation, as he shut his eyes and focused more closely on Burter's signal. After observing his disorderly flight pattern and volatile Ki fluctuations, he surmised that the two of them had somehow outmaneuvered the speedy giant and had found a safe hiding spot. Yes, that could be the only explanation, otherwise Burter would be heading towards Frieza's ship with their dead/unconscious bodies. With that, he let out a sigh of relief and smirked.

"What's so funny, monkey?!" Guldo demanded.

"Oh, nothing." Replied a smug Vegeta. "Other than that disgusting pudgy little pile of glob you call a face, nothing at all."

The four-eyed alien looked like he was about to burst open from the inside-out, only for Recoome to once again remind him of their mission, whereby he begrudgingly kept himself in check.

"I'll handle Vegeta." Ginyu decided. "The rest of you can do that whole rock-paper-scissors drill, to decide who gets the kid."

His men protested.

"Come on Captain, let me have Vegeta." Guldo pleaded. "I owe him one!"

"Alright fine, you win." The Captain relented. "Have Vegeta, but you'd better make sure he's still breathing when you bring him back to Frieza. We clear?"

The men cheered wildly.

"And who are we?!" Ginyu asked, looking towards them.

"We are the Ginyu Force!" The three fighters said in unison, throwing their fists up in the air, like they just didn't care.

"And don't forget it or you'll regret it." Guldo added as an addendum.

The three of them continued playing rock-paper-scissors, until after a minute or so, Recoome finally won.

"Yeah, I get Vegeta, haha!" Recoome exclaimed, throwing up his hands up in victory.

"You always win." Guldo griped, folding his arms petulantly.

"Now if you excuse me, I have to take these dragon balls to Lord Frieza." Ginyu used his Ki to levitate the six balls in the air, before heading towards Frieza's ship, laughing victoriously, all the while.

"It looks like you'll be fighting Guldo." Vegeta informed Gohan, "You'll have to use your head. A direct assault won't work. Do you understand?"

The boy nodded.

"Kakarot is supposed to be coming here soon, right?" Vegeta asked.

"He is." Gohan replied, knitting his eyebrows.

"Good, we could certainly use that idiot's help right now."

"My dad's not an idiot!" The demi-Saiyan growled.

"Shut up and focus on Guldo, you brat!"

Recoome and Guldo began stretching in preparation for their fights.


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