The Light to my Darkness

BY : SaiyanPrince541
Category: Dragon Ball Z > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 5324
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 42: The ones we love

A few more days passed by. The crescent moon cast it's heavenly radiance on Capsule Corporation, as a certain dynamic duo lay fast asleep, in the early hours of midnight.

"I do not wish to serve that disgusting, lizard freak!" The young Prince objected. "I am the crown Prince! My place is here with my people!"

"I know that." The King knelt down and placed a hand on his son's shoulder. "But for now, we must obey Frieza or all will be lost to us, forever."

"That's ridiculous!" The irate child snapped. "We are the most powerful race of warriors in the entire Universe! Together, we can obliterate him!"

"No we can't!" The elder exclaimed vociferously. "We are not strong enough yet! You don't know how powerful Frieza really is! We must bide our time and strike when the moment is right!"

"You always say that father, but those are just empty words, nothing more!" The boy spat. "The right moment is now! You just don't have the backbone for-"

WHACK!

The sovereign backhanded his son across the face before he could finish, sending him skidding across the glimmering lapis, marble floor of the royal palace. Not two seconds later, the boy slowly began getting to his feet, all the while staring icily at his father, little obsidian irises flooding with spine-chilling betrayal and venom.

The King let out a frustrated huff, before sauntering towards him. The Prince averted his gaze.

"Look at me." He said, tone even-tempered, but the child didn't pay heed. He grit his teeth and lividly growled. "I said look at me boy!" The younger Vegeta jumped and instantly set eyes upon his father. The man knelt down once again and placed both hands on the little one's shoulders, looking at him fixedly, as he continued in a solemn voice."In over a thousand years, not a single Saiyan has been endowed with the natural abilities that you possess and it is only a matter of time before these abilities transcend those of every living Saiyan, including myself." He tightened his hold on the boy's shoulders. "No matter what Frieza puts you through, always remember what you are destined to be: the Super Saiyan of legend! But most of all, know that I will not abandon you! I would rather die than hand you over!"

"Then why don't you?!" The child shot back.

"Because he'll take you anyway!" The King replied vexedly, before sighing. "Listen carefully, my son. Strength is the only thing that matters, nothing else! Let go of any and all attachments you hold, even towards myself, for they will make you weak! Focus solely on increasing your power! It may take years, perhaps even decades, but one day you will destroy Frieza!"

Nearly a minute's pause followed, before the Prince nodded gravely.

"Yes father."


Vegeta woke up with a deep gasp, eyes snapping wide open and breath quickening. Slowly, he closed his eyelids and let out an exhale, before taking in his surroundings. Bulma's slender arm was draped across his muscled chest and his ears picked up the soft, soothing sounds of her gentle snores. Yet, another flashback from the past.

'What am I doing?' He thought to himself, a feeling of inner conflict stewing within. Ever since landing on Namek, he'd repeatedly cast aside everything his father had imparted to him. How could he call himself the Prince of all Saiyans, when he'd developed such a deep and profound sense of affinity, towards this fragile, inferior little human?! Just imagine if the King, Nappa or Raditz could see him now! Pathetic, truly pathetic! Life had always been so clear and transparent, like pure, untainted water, till she came along and muddled his brains from the inside out. As the days proceeded, everything became more and more translucent, till it was damn near opaque. He quietly moved off and sat on the edge of the bed, pondering deeply.

That old fool had some nerve preaching what he couldn't practice himself! Was it not attachment that got him killed, as he foolhardily challenged the overwhelming might of Frieza, with absolutely no hope of survival?! Not that it really mattered! The Lizard would've destroyed him either way, yet that single question remained unanswered! Damn him! Damn them all, to hell!

"Mmmm, Vegeta." Bulma murmured, suddenly awake, eyes half lidded and brows creased in umbrage, as she saw his bare, olive back to her. "What're you doing? Get back here." She patted the spot next to her.

"I need some air." He responded nonchalantly, removing those infernal Ki restraints and proceeding to take off, paying no heed to her objections.

XXXX

Piccolo sat in deep meditation, when he sensed the steady trajectory of a certain Saiyan, as he flew about here and there, the wild fluctuations of his Ki, distinctively conveying his deep frustrations. 'What could've caused that?' He wondered. Most curious. Normally, the Namekian wouldn't pay it any mind, but a little entertainment did appear welcoming, at the moment. Though loath to admit it, the fact was that he sort of missed little Gohan, but unfortunately his shrew of a mother had confined the miserable child to his quarters, until he was up to date with all his studies.

XXXX

Vegeta flew around in no particular direction, garbing just his navy, cotton pajama pants and a black pair of velcro sneakers, mind completely disarrayed. Just what was that impetuous female to him?! A sex-partner, a lover, a companion?! Each and every moment that passed, he drew closer and closer to her, like a dog to a bone! He felt imprisoned! A great evil was still embedded within him, as it had always been; a vile, malicious force that could only be placated with the blood of other beings! Yet whenever he was in her presence and felt her soft touch, a divine light radiated within him, placating every bit of darkness and evil that had ever consumed him. Her benevolent smile was wrought with unparalleled warmth and adoration, acceptance and kindness. At times, he barely knew who he was, around her! It made no sense! Aside from the minutiae, she knew precisely who he was and what he'd been doing his entire life, so how could she possibly believe that one such as himself was entitled to her unreserved, unconditional affections?!

The Prince finally decided to touch down on an elevated, grassy hill that stood on the outskirts of a small island, giving him an expansive bird's-eye view of the sparkling, oceanic horizon and the gleaming stars that giddily shone above. Had he so wished, it could all be his. Just months ago, dominion over the heavens was his sole objective, the only thing that drove him. Now, all he had left was surpassing Kakarot, but what then? In truth, ruling over an Empire sounded more like a headache than a dream. With Frieza dead, surely the colonies he left behind were in shambles, plagued with instability and mass rebellion. He huffed and shook his head. That was no concern of his. Who knows? Maybe someone else would come along and clear that whole mess, perhaps Kakarot, since that empty-headed, soft-hearted sap was somewhere out there doing god-knows-what.

"Girl trouble?" A deep, recognizable voice from behind, hacked right through his thoughts. Vegeta grunted and scornfully gandered at the intruder for just a moment.

"What the hell are you doing here, Namek?" He snorted derisively.

"I can ask you the same question, Saiyan." Piccolo replied indifferently. "It's a little past your bedtime, don't you think?"

"If you want to die, then you've come to the right place!" The Prince growled.

"Have I?" Piccolo smirked. "And here I thought you'd gotten all soft and mushy, ever since you left Namek."

"I'm warning you!" Vegeta whirled around, glowering fiercely at the imposing alien. "Leave now!"

"No." The Namekian rejoined, to the royal Saiyan's disgruntlement. A tense pause followed.

"Fine, let's do this." The Prince deadpanned, taking up his stance and immediately flaring his aura to it's highest, sighing as he felt the colossal waves of Ki pulsate through his sturdy frame.

"Impressive." Piccolo cracked his neck side to side, grinning as he assumed his own demon-style posture and charged his power to a level that was slightly higher than his adversary's, whilst taking into account the added effects of his weighted clothing.

XXXX

Krillin, Yamcha and Master Roshi were instantly jolted awake back at Kame House, eyes widening at the humongous powers they felt. The bald man, of course, wasn't nearly as surprised, since he'd witnessed such enormous Ki firsthand, back on Namek.

"Is- is that-"

"It's Vegeta and Piccolo!" Krillin interrupted his scar-faced colleague. "What the hell are they doing?!"

"Is it really them?!" Master Roshi asked, overcome with awe. "How can they be so powerful?! It's mind boggling!"

"What do we do guys?!" The ex-bandit asked.

"I don't know about you two, but I'm gonna try and put a stop to this, before they kill each other!" Without question, the short warrior took off.

"Krillin wait!" The old master's protests were dismissed. Yamcha dithered a few moments, before gathering up his courage and following after his friend.

"I hope I don't regret this!"

XXXX

'Tch, fuck!' The Prince cursed inwardly. 'I'd forgotten how strong this fool was! This could get ugly!'

"Go ahead, attack." The Namekian challenged, his smug look irritating the Saiyan, to no avail. "I'm feeling a little generous right about now, so how about I give you one free shot?"

"FUCKING BASTARD!" A livid Vegeta yelled, outraged by the impudence of this green freak. He lunged at his foe and pounded his fist square into his face, sending him flying straight into a hard, rocky outcropping.

'Ow, that actually hurt.' The giant thought to himself, rubbing his bloodied nose. Steadily, he got up and took a breather, before dashing right back in. "Not bad. But you'll have to do a lot better than that." He taunted.

"HAAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHH!" Vegeta roared, rushing in and attacking with unbridled fury. Blows and blasts were exchanged for a good fifteen minutes or so, until an unwanted guest made his way into the scene, tailed closely by another.

"Vegeta, Piccolo! Stop!" Krillin yelled, but was either unheard or ignored altogether.

"You do know that so far I've just been toying with you?" The Namek gloated, before taking it up a notch and ramming his fist into the Saiyan's gut, as the two warriors were airborne. Vegeta's eyes widened and a bloody cough preceded an elbow atop the head, which sent him plunging right into the thick Earth, below him. "That all you've got?!" Piccolo echoed, in his rough voice. "You're weak, useless! You're nothing compared to me! Or Goku!"

Eyes a vengeful crimson, the Prince suddenly found himself beset with murderous resolve and stood to his feet, glaring at his foe, in a malicious manner that screamed death.

Krillin wisely chose to remain a safe distance away from all the action, but fervently voiced his protests, nonetheless. What the hell had rattled their nerves so much so that they were literally willing to kill one-another?! Yamcha, nearby, watched with anticipation, inwardly praying that Piccolo would finish off this Saiyan fiend! It astounded him that his ex-colleague had acquired such gargantuan strength, but he was thankful, nonetheless! The Earth would be a much better and safer place, without Vegeta in it!

The Saiyan continued his assault, mustering up every bit of strength he could, but still finding himself shorthanded against the other alien. It was infuriating to no end! Had he not lost all his strength on that accursed ice-ball, he could've finished off this overgrown slug, with nothing more than a thought!

Once again, he was sent plummeting, this time with a knee to the mid-section, followed up by a knife-hand to the nape that damn near knocked his lights out. Vegeta lay on his stomach, the few morsels of energy he had remaining just enough to scowl malevolently at the Namekian complacently looming over him, with crossed arms.

"Tch, pathetic." He looked down condescendingly. "If you're this weak, how can you ever hope to protect that precious girl of yours?" The Prince instantly froze, his heart skipping a beat. "There's a good chance that Frieza wasn't the only evil force out there. Others may come to finish what he started and when they do, well-" He paused ominously for a few seconds. "You know best."

The Saiyan clenched his teeth together, as a new rush of power budded within him. Yamcha frowned. He didn't like where Piccolo was going with this. The scarred man was perfectly content with Vegeta enduring the thrashing he deserved, but bringing Bulma into this was way out of line!

"Why don't I just save you the trouble and give her a quick, painless death?" The green alien grinned, cruelly flashing his sharp fangs. "It's certainly a lot better than whatever your once-comrades have in store for-"

CRUNCH!

A savage low punch suddenly connected with his solar plexus, at speeds he could scarcely follow.

"You will not lay a finger on her." The Prince proclaimed, tone eerily calm and Ki surging, far beyond his current limitations. The Namek's eyes bulged, as the breath was purged right out of him.

"Wh-What the?" Yamcha stammered, upon witnessing the Saiyan's renewed power, stronger than ever. "How did he- it's- it's not possible." Then it hit him! Bulma! It was all about her! He recalled the first time he himself had confronted Vegeta in person and was on the road to a decisive victory, till he'd unwittingly hurt Bulma! At that very moment, their positions were reversed and the Saiyan was mere seconds away from crushing his windpipe (A/N: Refer to Chapter 39)! "He- he really does care." All along, he'd been sorely mistaken.

"Of course he does." Krillin stated emphatically. "I've told you that so many times." He turned back to the battle at hand. "But why the hell would Piccolo threaten Bulma?! He ought to know better, after what happened!"

"What do you mean?" Yamcha asked, still clueless about the horrendous tale behind Vegeta's Super Saiyan transformation.

"I'll tell you some other time." The bald man shook his head.

This time Vegeta had his opponent on the back-foot, as he battered him with an apoplectic onslaught of brutal punches, kicks, elbows and knees. A ferocious left hook forced the Namekian to the ground and the Prince aimed a palm towards him, ready to finish him off for good. Piccolo closed his eyes and snickered a little.

"Laugh while you still can, fool." The Saiyan jeered, flaring a sphere of glistening blue Ki.

"You don't get it, do you?" The Namek chuckled.

"Get what?!" Vegeta demanded.

"I'm still far stronger than you are." He announced, immediately drudging up a lot more power, getting to his feet and taking hold of the Saiyan's wrist, whereby his Ki dissipated.

"Wh-What?" The dumbfounded Prince gasped. He'd hardly seen him move. "H-How?"

"You're not the only one who's been training himself, near death." He stated, before letting go. Vegeta narrowed his eyes, teeth grit in frustration. "But that was hardly the point of this little exercise."

"Exercise?!" The Prince asked, thoroughly taken aback.

"Oh, now I get it." Krillin breathed a sigh of relief, wiping the sweat off his forehead. "Piccolo must've been testing him."

"But why would he do that?" Yamcha inquired.

"Beats me." The little human shrugged.

The Namekian nodded in assent, his expression solemn.

"You and I aren't very different." He asserted.

"You know nothing about me!" Vegeta snarled back.

"Is that right?" Piccolo asked. "I know this much: just like you, I was born to end lives and conquer." The Prince narrowed his eyes, peeved, but somewhat curious. "That is, until I met Gohan." He paused a moment. "At first, I hated it to the core of my being, this bizarre feeling I had, every time we trained together and every time I watched over him, while he ate or slept. I buried it deep inside, over and over again, but eventually I could no longer deny it." He reminisced, as Vegeta listened on, with feigned indifference. "I died to protect him and I'd do it again, in a heartbeat. Hmph, I still find it hard to believe that someone as evil as myself changed so much, all because of the snivelling, half-Saiyan spawn of my greatest enemy." He chuckled wryly, then went on with a grave expression. "But I accepted it, nonetheless. It's the one thing that drives me to become stronger, a lot more so than greed, revenge or hatred ever did." The Namekian took on a more solemn visage. "Sound familiar?"

"Tch, we're nothing alike, you fool!" The Saiyan fired back, after a brief interlude. "I train only for myself and no one else!"

"And that's what makes you weak." Piccolo responded nonchalantly. Vegeta shot an incensed fist his way, but Piccolo grabbed it within his large palm, before it could make contact. "Tell me something." He goaded. "Will you let her be killed again, before you finally come to accept the true source of your power?"

The Prince bellowed in a fit of re-invigorated fury, launching a series of wild attacks at his foe, only to have them warded off with relative ease. The Namek backhanded him to the ground.

"Remember this." He continued. "Goku's out in space right now and I'm nowhere near strong enough to face an enemy that's as powerful or worse, even more powerful than Frieza. It makes my stomach churn to even admit it, but fact is that you're the only one on this planet who has the potential to wield that kind of power."

Vegeta scrunched his brows, starting up heatedly at the Namekian for a few seconds.

"And what exactly is your point?!" He spat. "What makes you think that I won't kill you, once I'm strong enough?!"

"I don't fear death!" Piccolo boldly retorted. "This isn't about me, it's about Gohan!" He professed, before continuing in a calmer voice. "You accepted the truth once and that was the key to unlocking your dormant power. Unless you do it again, I can almost guarantee that you'll never be a Super Saiyan, no matter what you try."

"And what 'truth' do you think you're referring to?!"

"That nothing matters more than the ones we care about." He sagely answered, whirling around and mentally adding. 'The ones we love.' The big Namekian was just about to take off, before he sensed Gohan zooming in his direction, having felt the vicious struggle all the way from his humble abode in Mount Paozu.

The boy didn't take long to reach.

"Hey Piccolo, are you okay?!" He asked frantically. "I sensed you and Vegeta fighting! What's going on?!"

"Nothing you should concern yourself with." Piccolo replied dismissively, before taking off, opting to continue his mind training. Indeed, this protective instinct he had, with regards to his foster son, had virtually allowed him to triple his strength, ever since he'd returned from Namek.

"Tch, idiot." Vegeta stood up and dusted himself off, cracking his neck and shoulder joints a few times. That pretentious imbecile was right about one thing. He needed to get stronger. The Prince glared in Gohan's direction, then at Krillin and Yamcha, both of whom backed up in fear. Deciding he'd had just about enough for one night, he flew off, back to Capsule Corporation.

"What was that all about, you guys?" The oblivious demi-Saiyan asked the two humans.

"Can't really say Gohan." Krillin scratched his head, in bewilderment. "Let's just hope it was for the greater good."

"Oh, o-kay." The boy blankly remarked.

Yamcha's shoulders drooped. So this was it, what he'd been foolishly overlooking all along. While that dastardly Saiyan may have not have been the most ideal fellow, his concern for Bulma was profound and unquestionable. He would always hate the man, no matter what, but the truth could no longer be ignored. It was a bitter pill to swallow, yet it had to be done. He had to let go. He and Bulma were over for good. He didn't like it, but he had to accept it.

XXXX

The Prince immediately sensed Bulma's Ki, wide awake. Damn female! Couldn't even so much as sleep on her own! How utterly irksome! He went inside their room and she instantly turned in his direction, the lamp light giving her a thorough view of all the nasty bruises, burns and cuts, he'd suffered. The heiress gasped and rushed over to his side.

"Are you okay?!" She anxiously cried, wrapping her arms around him. "What happened to you?! What did you do to yourself?!"

"I'm fine!" He gruffly replied, pulling her back. Darn her, always doting on him, as if he were some helpless child!

"You're not!" She protested. "Dammit, if you're not gonna say anything, at least let me get a first-aid kit, so I can fix you up!"

The Saiyan huffed and rubbed his forehead with the base of his palm. 'Guess it can't be helped.'

"Fine." He acceded, shoulders slumping.

"Fine?" Bulma asked incredulously. She was almost certain that he'd put up more of a struggle, the way he usually did.

"Yes, fine!" He growled. "Now hurry up, before I change my mind."

"Right, right!" She bolted away.

Not long after, the Prince lay in bed, nicely bandaged up. The burn gel, salve and antiseptic cream beneath the dressings, would mend him up good, in no time at all, stronger than before thanks to his superior, Saiyan DNA.

Vegeta's face was pressed against Bulma's bosom, as she firmly held him within her adoring arms. Her regard for his well-being ran deep, deeper than he could possibly fathom. He still couldn't understand why or grasp this sappy idea of love, but perhaps there was an avenue towards greater strength, an avenue that centred a little more around her, as opposed to his own selfish ego, just as that impudent Namekian had claimed. His father may not approve of such a method, but the man was clearly two-faced, not to mention, dead. He was the heir to the throne now and while the Saiyan race may have been extinct, he embodied everything that they were, not Kakarot and certainly not his brat! Things were in his hands and his alone! He would do as he damn well pleased! Fuck everyone else!

XXXX

The days flew by, pretty fast. A wish was made to the Namekian dragon to wipe out the memories of Vegeta and Piccolo, from the minds of all living Earthlings, except those in Korin Tower, Kami's lookout, Kame House, Mount Paozu and Capsule Corporation. Yamcha made amends with Bulma, fervently stating that he respected her decision to be with Vegeta. Despite his disapproval, he vowed not to get in their way any longer and the two remained close friends.

The ex-bandit eventually crossed paths with a young widow named Mirai. Her beautiful, flowing emerald hair were matched only by her sparkling green eyes. Her radiant alabaster skin and trim figure likened her to a goddess, among women.

Mirai was tragically orphaned at the tender age of four, following a merciless raid on her village by an armed, marauding band of thugs that would later help establish the sinister Red Ribbon Army. Ever since then, she'd struggled through life, until she met her high-school sweetheart, whom she ended up marrying. Just over a year ago, however, Mirai had lost him and their five-year old boy to a plane crash and was on the verge of suicide, till Yamcha came to the rescue. Together, the forlorn pair comforted one-another, finding true solace and overcoming the pains and losses they'd suffered. With her, Yamcha no longer felt weak, useless, unworthy or inferior. His perpetual state of sombre had steadily dissipated and things finally began working out for the scar-faced fighter. For the first time in a very long time, he felt like a man, a real man and it was a good feeling.

Later on, Tien and Chiaotzu were at last, revived. And then came the hardest part of all: saying goodbye.

"I-I'll never forget you Dende." Gohan held the Namekian child's tiny hands in his, black irises brimming with hefty tears. "You'll always be a great friend."

"You too Gohan." Dende replied, fine rivulets streaming down his eyes. "I hope we meet again someday."

"We will guys." Krillin patted them both on the back, heart heavy. "I know it, so don't feel bad. Everything's gonna work out."

Bulma came forward and went on her knees, pulling both the little ones flush against her, in a heartfelt embrace.

"Goodbye Dende." She smiled sadly, stroking the back of his head. "I built you a spaceship, so can come visit us whenever you feel like it, okay?" The heiress withdrew and handed the capsule over to the child.

"I will." He nodded promisingly, forcing himself to smile. "Thank you for everything."

"You and your friends will always be welcome here." The heiress vowed, eyes watering up. "Always." She repeated in a soft, yet sincere voice.

Almost a year had passed since. The world thrived. Happiness, joy and contentment soared amongst the defenders of Earth, however, the most unexpected visitors would soon enter the scene and alter the course of their lives.

Power levels at the beginning of the chapter (descending order):

Goku: ?

Piccolo: 3 million (with weights)
3.5 million (without weights)

Vegeta: 350 000
2 million (rage boost)

For the most part, Piccolo kept his power slightly above Vegeta's, as they battled.

Gohan: 150 000

He was stronger on Namek, but since then, the boy's been studying his days away. Let's hope that changes soon!

Tien: ?

Krillin: 35 000
70 000 (Kaio-Ken x2)

Krillin learned the Kaio-Ken technique from Yamcha, but isn't quite as adept with it.

Yamcha: 20 000
60 000 (Kaio-Ken x3)

Chiaotzu: ?


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