The Light to my Darkness

BY : SaiyanPrince541
Category: Dragon Ball Z > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 5326
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 8: Planet Namek

“Hey, what’s the deal?!” Yelled Bulma as the pod launched off. Vegeta had his arms draped around her waist, as she sat on his lap. She detested being in such close proximity to the man behind the deaths of her closest friends and ex.

“Shut up woman!!!” Vegeta yelled back and was about to press the button for the stasis gas release, but Bulma grabbed his wrist.

“Uh uh mister!” She said in an assertive tone, a mulish expression engrained on her face. “Explain yourself!”

“I have to get the dragon balls before Frieza does!!” Vegeta elucidated harshly. “Now shut-up!!”

He wrenched his hand free, before pressing the button and winding his arm back around her waist. Before Bulma had a chance to protest, they were both completely engulfed in the stasis gas, inducing them into a comatose state.

XXXX

Meanwhile, Gohan and Krillin were nearing planet Namek. Dr. Brief had kept a hand-held communication device in his pocket every second of every day, in case the two warriors ever ran into any trouble out in space. The ship was set on autopilot, so there was little need to navigate it; on the rare occasions when there was a need, Dr. Brief did guide Krillin step-by-step, ensuring that he followed each command assiduously. The cutting-edge technology allowed for safe and simple travel and the demi Saiyan and his bald friend/companion had spent most of their day engaging in intense mind-training regimens.

XXXX

On Earth, Goku was caught escaping the hospital grounds to go and train, but ended up hurting himself badly and was returned to the premises by an enraged Chi-Chi and Master Roshi. Very frequently, the doctors caught him performing a set of intense physical exercises, much to their displeasure. After threatening to give him a shot the next time he disobeyed, however, he immediately ceased any attempt at insubordination, at least as far as they new; the tenacious Saiyan would still devote exhaustive amounts of time to his extracurricular activities, but was more discreet about it, so as to avoid rousing any suspicion. Unfortunately for Goku, it didn’t take long for Chi-Chi to find out about his off-the-grid training. She had strongly reprimanded him and told him that if she ever caught him redhanded again, the doctors would immediately be notified and she would personally see to it that he was injected. That little threat completely put an end to all his schemes.

Luckily for the Earth-raised Saiyan, Yajirobe had come bearing gifts the very next day: a sack of seven senzu beans. One was all it took and Earth’s hero was back in the game, reinvigorated and stronger than before, though it was still not enough, not if he wanted to surpass Vegeta’s strength. The doctors were absolutely flabbergasted when they saw their patient flip out of the hospital bed, land gracefully on his feet and shatter his casts just by flexing his muscles. It was the moment of truth. He would leave Earth for Namek. Dr. Brief had informed him that the journey would take a mere six days. That was all the time he had to boost his power to whole new levels. His resolve was greater than ever before.

When he made it to Capsule Corporation, Mrs. Brief tugged his arm as she led the way to Dr. Brief’s recreated version of his original space pod. She continued prattling on about how handsome and dashing he was and that he should visit more often, which only added to his discomfort and embarrassment.

Goku was not pleased in the least when Dr. Brief told him that the ship still required work, but when learning that all that was left to install was a cappuccino machine, he fell on his back, anime-style. He didn’t care about coffee!!! Despite the good doctor’s insistence that he would regret his decision when he woke up in the morning, all dazed and stupefied, Goku was unwavering; he needed to train, get to Namek and complete his mission. He had no time to waste with any superfluous add-ons.

Dr. Brief soon caved in and explained to Goku, the inner workings of the ship, the gravity console and the zone best suited for training. After giving him a guided tour of the ship and explaining how to set up communication with himself as well as Krillin and Gohan, both of whom were nearing Namek, he was good to go. He'd already informed the two other traveller’s of this newest update, much to their delight.

After launching off, Goku began exercising under 20x gravity, building his way higher and higher as time passed on. Not long after, he’d nearly caught up to Vegeta’s power and was determined to surpass it, no matter what!! Though heavily taxing, his training was turning out to be a lot more fruitful than even he’d anticipated! Perfect!! Everything was going as planned!!

XXXX

A few days had passed and Gohan and Krillin had finally arrived on Namek, after a month-long trip. Upon checking the dragon radar, they observed that four dragon balls were gathered together. Dammit!! Was Vegeta here already?!! No, they didn’t sense him. What they did sense, however, was a lot worse. There were several evil forces out there and they were strong. But what had really alarmed them were two evil beings with powers similar to Vegeta’s and one with a signal far higher than even his. How could a force with such astronomical power even exist and why were they here on Namek?! Why now?! This had completely subverted any plans they’d had!! If they couldn’t take on Vegeta then how in the world could they even consider facing this new adversary?!!

They went back inside their ship to inform Goku of what they’d learned. Surely he’d know what to do!! Goku, too, was astounded at the revelation that there was an entity whose power trumped Vegeta’s. He knew one thing though: he had to train harder than ever before!! By now he’d nearly mastered 100 times Earth’s gravity and had come to learn that every time he healed from critical injury, his power level underwent a massive upsurge. He already ate two senzu beans since his departure from Earth and that, coupled with his arduous training regimens, had heightened his strength to whole new levels. He didn’t hold back at all during his training and even ended up breaking his bones and joints on one occasion, albeit unintentionally. Nonetheless, it all worked in his favor when he healed and his Ki took a huge spike!! Images of Vegeta punching the tar out of him, pummelling his son and best friend and most of all, taking away his dear Bulma, had flickered through his mind and constantly given him the resolve he needed to completely shatter his previous limitations!! He knew, however, that if he were to stand a chance against this new adversary, he would have to push himself harder than ever before!! And he was more than ready to do it!!

A short while passed. Gohan and Krillin ended up confronting two aliens with uniform and armor similar to Vegeta’s, though strength-wise they didn’t even compare. One was purple-skinned and excessively grotesque, with what appeared to be boils all over his skin and a fin-like mohawk. The other was blue-skinned with yellow-orange muttonchops, who looked more like a councillor or statesman than a warrior. Though dispatching those two goons was easy enough, their ship had regrettably ended up being demolished. It didn’t matter though!! Goku would be coming sometime within the next day or two and they could finally put this whole mess behind them!! If only it were that easy though!! No matter how hard their hero trained or how much his strength rose, it would take more than a miracle to face the monstrous power they’d felt earlier on!! They really needed to strategize! Jumping right into the lion’s jaws wouldn’t get them anywhere!!

XXXX

The computerized voice in Vegeta’s space pod, woke he and Bulma to a start, five minutes before they were due to land on Namek.

“Almost there.” Vegeta said apprehensively.

“Mmmm.” Bulma mouthed groggily, still not accustomed to space travel.

“Frieza, that bastard.” Vegeta grated. “He must have somehow gotten the message from our scouters!!”

Bulma immediately gathered her wits. Vegeta’s hands were still draped around her waistline and only now did she realize that her hands were clasping his forearms. Just when did that happen? Her cheeks tinted red and she moved her arms on her lap, tapping her thighs awkwardly with her fingers. She wasn’t at all comfortable being in this particular position. Bulma quickly began to feel the tension resonating from Vegeta in palpable waves. She couldn’t even see him and yet she felt it, through every taut muscle of his. Then she remembered something her captor had said.

“Vegeta?”

“What?!” He asked, clearly not in the mood for any inane chatter.

Bulma bit her bottom lip, before asking.

“Umm, before we left you were saying that this was your one chance to be free of him, of Frieza.” She responded. “I don’t get it. What did you mean by-”

“That is none of your damn business!!!” Vegeta exclaimed, taking insult to the invasion of his personal space. Who did this audacious woman think she was?!! She was just a stupid captive, a means to an end, who was beneath him in every way!!! She had no right to ask anything!!

“Look, I’m not trying to overstep my bounds or anything, it’s just that I don’t understand.” 

“Mind your place, female!!” He seethed. “Your job is to find me the dragon balls, nothing else! Got it?! Frieza’s my business!! The moment I get my chance, I’m going to decapitate that ugly, horn-headed fucker!!”

“How come? I don’t get it.”

“What the fuck do you mean, how come?!” Vegeta snarled. “That bastard turned my life into a living hell and now he wants to take away the once chance-“

Vegeta suddenly stopped. His mind was beset with such fury, that he didn’t even realize the information he began unwittingly spilling out! Dammit!!

Bulma’s eyes widened as she heard the words slipping out of her captor’s tongue. If she were eager before, her curiosity had now increased exponentially. Who could ever do such a thing to someone like Vegeta? Was that why he was always so aloof? As the ‘almighty overlord of the Universe’, in Vegeta’s own words, Frieza must have been behind everything the Saiyans did. And Vegeta clearly did not like it. That made sense, given his immense pride. What she didn’t understand was what he meant by his life being turned into a “living hell”.

Her eyes widened and her jaw went slightly ajar the moment it hit her. Hell! It was the same word he used to describe the scars on his arms and torso (A/N: Refer to Chapter 3). Did Frieza do that to him?! Was that what Malaka was concealing from her?! Was that why he was so secluded and reserved?! No matter who Vegeta was and what he did, how could anyone deserve that?! No one deserved that! Each scar looked as though it were carved out of a white-hot iron dagger and one that had caught her attention more than any was the deep, slanted scar, on his left pectoral. She needed to know the truth. 

“Vegeta. What did he do to you?” She asked gently, her voice embedded with concern.

“Shut-up!!! I don’t want your stupid compassion, got it??!!!” Vegeta hissed, disgusted by that soft, solicitous tone of hers. “We land soon! You will say nothing more!!!”

Bulma sighed dejectedly. She felt horrible. He may have been her enemy and she still hated him for what he’d done, but as she considered the gruesome abuse that Vegeta was likely subjected to, her heart wrenched for the Saiyan! What could he possibly have done that would warrant such callous cruelty?!

After a few short moments of silence, Bulma tentatively placed her right hand on his forearm, squeezing it lightly.

“What’re you doing?!” He scowled.

“Sorry.” Bulma quickly moved her hand back to her lap.

“Don’t ever touch me, understand?!” He demanded in a rough tone.

“Hmmm.” Bulma softly replied, though it sounded more like a whimper.

He had just completely shut himself off when it came to his past. It was just as Malaka had said. He was extremely reticent and reserved, but Bulma was determined more than ever to break through that outer wall of his, not only for curiosity’s sake, but a bonafide feeling of solicitude.

‘Why should I care about him?’ She thought to herself. ‘I know he’s probably been through some bad stuff, but I can’t help him in any way, can I? He just sees it as a weakness. Besides, he doesn’t deserve my help!’

Vegeta was her bitterest enemy, after all. But she just couldn’t bring herself to hate him, not the way she hated him back on Earth. He’d had enough hatred in his life. But then what? He obviously loathed things like pity, kindness and benevolence. She was really giving herself a migraine just thinking about it. Perhaps it was best to figure it out later.

After two silent minutes, the duo finally landed on Namek.

XXXX


Gohan and Krillin had sensed it, as they headed in search of a habitable location, where they could set up a capsule house. Vegeta was nearby on a space pod and there was a faint Ki in there with him.

“Bulma’s in the same pod as Vegeta.” Krillin noted.

“Yeah, weird.” Gohan commented. “And his power level seems so low. What’s going on?”

“I’m not sure. Maybe he’s still wounded from his battle on Earth.” He surmised. “Gohan, remember, keep your power level suppressed. We can’t attract his attention right now. He’s still too strong for us.”

Gohan grit his teeth and began growling.

“Gohan!” Krillin chided.

The boy forced himself to calm down a little.

“Remember what your dad told you!” He reminded. “Letting your emotions cloud your judgment will only get you killed! When you get angry like that, you’re attracting unwanted attention! Do not do that again!”

“Sorry Krillin.” The boy relented.

“Don’t be.” He replied, placing a hand on his shoulder and sighing. “Look, I understand that you’re angry. I am too. We lost our best friends because of him, but this is our only chance revive them. We’re already slim on hope, but if we act rashly, we’ll have none to speak of. You don’t want that, do you?”

“No Krillin.” Gohan shook his head.

“Good.” The bald warrior smiled, as he took his hand off the demi-Saiyan’s shoulder. “Now, we have to take this one step at a time. For now, we need to locate a place to set up camp. It has to be completely hidden and if the need arises, we have to be prepared to disperse at any moment. You with me, Gohan?”

“Of course.” The half-Saiyan responded solemnly.

“Wait, Gohan!” Krillin suddenly felt alarmed. “Can you sense it?”

Gohan’s instincts were immediately on alert.

“Yeah.” He affirmed. “Another high power level is following Vegeta.”

“Bulma, please be safe.” Krillin prayed, looking up in the direction where he could sense her and Vegeta, before turning back in the direction of his young companion. “Gohan, we have to go now.”

“Shouldn’t we help Bulma?”

“No.” He responded. “As much as it puts a pit in my stomach to say it, Vegeta wouldn’t let her get hurt. She’s too valuable to him. We should get as close as possible though, just in case. But we have to keep our energy suppressed.”

“Right, let’s do it!”

With that, the two of them headed off.

XXXX

Frieza and his crew had four dragon balls within their grasp and were in a Namekian village, surrounded by several dead natives.

“Lord Frieza, Cui has just arrived.” Zarbon informed, “He’s been tracking Vegeta, so we should know his exact whereabouts soon enough.”

“Good.” Frieza responded in that syrupy, mechanical voice of his, “Anything else?”

“The two scouts I sent out earlier to search for those mysterious power levels stopped transmitting at the same time.” Briefed Zarbon. “I realize those scouts weren’t the best that we had, but it still worries me that they were defeated so quickly. Whoever’s responsible for this attack knows what they’re doing and they seem to have the ability to suppress their power.”

“Well, that’s very interesting.” Frieza responded lackadaisically, “But why are you wasting my time with these things?”

“The two unknown power levels came in at 1500.” Zarbon responded. “Its possible Vegeta has brought with him some extra help.”

“Only 1500?” Frieza scoffed. “That means nothing to me, nor should it to you. Just concentrate on retrieving the dragon balls and we’ll be on our way. They’ll be dealt with when I destroy this puny planet.”

XXXX

Vegeta had finally landed on Namek, along with Bulma. He opened the hatch and the two of them made their way out.

“So what now?” She asked.

“Well.” Vegeta said, facing Cui’s direction, “For starters, we’re about to have company soon enough.”

“Huh?” Asked a flummoxed Bulma.

“Cui’s been following us.” He explained. “No surprise there. I’ll take care of that idiot first, but I need to make sure the pods aren’t damaged in the crossfire. Come on.”

He grabbed Bulma and flew off, despite her screams of protest and landed in the middle of a field of grass, not far away.

“Find a place to hide now.” He ordered.

“What? Why?”

“Just do it!” He reiterated more forcefully.

“Right, right.” Bulma relented. She found a narrow gorge nearby and immediately made a beeline for it.

That was Vegeta’s cue to move elsewhere. He zoomed over to a small grassy cliff nearby, awaiting his adversary's arrival.

Alas, the purple-skinned alien turned up about a minute later, not too far away from where Vegeta had landed. He exited his pod and pressed the button on his scouter.

“Ah, there you are.” Cui looked over in Vegeta’s direction, disappointed by the low power level of the Prince.

“Hello Vegeta.” He greeted sardonically. “Do you read me? Fair warning, I’m coming for you and I’m bringing a little message from Lord Frieza!!!”

Cui bolted off in Vegeta’s direction.

“So you’ve been following me, have you Cui?!” Vegeta asked smugly. “Well I have a message you can take to Frieza: His days are numbered, as are yours!!!”

Bulma could barely see Vegeta’s figure from afar, but his baritone echoed through the wind. The way he said those words in that gruff, masculine voice of his, just made him sound so damn sexy!! Bulma cheeks tinted red.

‘Dammit, what is wrong with me?!!!’ She self-castigated. ‘Why do I always have to act like such an idiot? I can’t get over that voice though, and that body.’ Bulma slapped herself mentally a good couple times. ‘Dammit, can you just shut up already Bulma?!! You do not have a crush on Vegeta!! You have a mission, so focus on that!!’

“HAHAHAHAHA Take a good like at your scouter.” Cui laughed. “My power level is way higher than yours, you arrogant Saiyan. It’s about time someone put you in your place.”

Vegeta snickered softly. It was time.

XXXX

“That other guy’s stronger than Vegeta!” Krillin observed as they neared. “If he’s part of that group we sensed earlier, then no matter what happens, we can’t let Bulma fall into his hands! As much as I hate to say it, I think she’s most likely much better off with Vegeta!”

“So, what do we do then?” Gohan asked.

“We have to get her out of there!” He answered. “Hopefully we’ll have enough time, while the two of them are fighting amongst themselves. With any luck, they’ll finish each other off!”

“That would be the ideal solution.” Gohan concurred, furrowing his brows.

“I doubt it though.” Krillin stated. “I still find it strange that Vegeta’s power level’s so incredibly low.”

XXXX

“Hah, it’s about time.” Vegeta said to himself. “Took him long enough.”

Vegeta quickly shot up, evading an aerial blow from his adversary. He snickered as he saw his former colleague on the ground, with his fist extended forward.

The purple-skinned alien tilted his head sideways, facing the Saiyan.

“So nice to see you Vegeta.” He said smugly. “You have no idea how much I’ve looked forward to this: the day when I would get to wipe that smug little smirk off your face forever. By the way, where’s that blue-haired girl you brought with you?”

Cui turned around fully, facing Vegeta.

“Oh her?” Vegeta responded impassively. “She was no longer of any use to me, so I killed her.”

“Good! Saves me the trouble.”

That false information on Vegeta’s part, truly confused Bulma. Why would he say that? Well, whatever the reason, she was glad he did, because that other fighter clearly sounded like some sort of crazed bloodthirsty maniac, not that Vegeta was much different, but he was still the only thing keeping her alive, at this moment.

Cui looked at Vegeta assertively.

“You should have never defied Lord Frieza!”

“Oh we’ll see about that.” Vegeta chuckled evilly. “Cui, you just don’t get it, do you? I’m through taking orders! It’s time Lord Frieza started bowing to me!”

God! Why did he have be so daring, intrepid, stouthearted and have that incredibly handsome face, godlike figure and sexy, virile voice?!! Goddammit!! The whole reason she’d fallen for Yamcha in the first place was his bad-boy attitude, but he’d lost that and become a domesticated goofball over the years. And even before that, she oft had him wrapped around her little finger. But Vegeta was something different entirely! His very demeanor screamed ‘hardcore’ and made even the ‘desert-bandit’ version of Yamcha seem mediocre at best! His robust voice alone, made her go all tingly!

‘No, no, no!’ Bulma chastised herself, ‘I’m a grown woman! I’m not a little girl anymore!! Vegeta’s my enemy and once I wish Yamcha back, it’ll just be the two of us, like always.’

“You’re old news Vegeta.” Cui remarked. “You turned on Frieza and you’ll pay for it with your life.”

“Maybe, yes. But not today!” Vegeta proclaimed, as he spread his legs out, fists placed by his sides. The Saiyan Prince gnashed his teeth and began powering up slowly.

Bulma clasped her ears as the ground began quaking. After a while, Cui’s smirk was wiped right off his face.

“What?! My scouter’s going haywire!!” Fear began creeping in as he observed the numbers rise dramatically.

Vegeta growled slightly louder.

“That’s right! I’ve been suppressing my power!” He explained. “It’s a little trick I learned from Earth!”

“Impossible! Your power level was never even anywhere near mine!”

“Idiot!” Vegeta stated vehemently, “Do you really think that you can keep up with my experience in battle?! I’m constantly fighting on the front lines!! I’ve been to the brink of death and back again!!! Meanwhile, you’ve been hiding behind the shield of Frieza, growing soft!!!”

‘God, he’s such a badass and he’s so hot!!’ Bulma thought dreamily, before mentally cursing herself. ‘Dammit!! No more, alright?!! No more!! Why can’t I just swoon over Yamcha or even Goku?!! Anyone but Vegeta!!’

This whole inner-conflict within the chasms of her mind was frustrating her to no end!!

“22 000, I’ve never seen a reading that high!!!” Cui exclaimed, gaping at the Prince.

“HAAARRRGGGHHH!!!” Vegeta roared, as his power continued rising steadily.

POOF!!!

Cui’s scouter suddenly exploded right in his face.

XXXX

POOF!!!

“Zarbon what happened?” Asked the spike-headed, pink tub of lard, Dodoria, as his companion’s scouter abruptly exploded.

“I don’t know.” Zarbon replied. “It must be some sort of malfunction. For a second there it registered Vegeta’s power at 22 000 and then it shorted out.”

“22 000?” Dodoria asked incredulously. “You’ve got to kidding me. It must be that older scouter model you’re using. Let me check it on mine.”

Zarbon peered at his companion, and the pink blob quickly had a horrified expression engrained on his face.

“The number?” Asked Zarbon.

“It doesn’t make any sense.” Dodoria was visibly shaking, “Stupid thing can’t be right. Now it’s reading 24 000!”

“Twenty four?” Zarbon frowned. “Are you sure you’re reading that thing right? It would mean Vegeta’s power level is even higher than ours.”

“I’m sure.” He affirmed. “It must be some kind of a trick. He’s never been above 18 000.”

“Is it really so surprising?” Frieza asked in his raspy feminine voice. “Don’t forget that Vegeta has been in heavy combat for a while now. With all the fighting he’s done, especially on Earth, he must have picked up some new techniques.”

“Yes, but-” Zarbon began.

“But nothing.” Frieza responded. “There’s no need for concern. It’s only 24 000 and while that may seem impressive to some, compared to me it’s still insignificant.”

Frieza laughed evilly.

XXXX

“Whoa!!!” Krillin exclaimed.

“Vegeta’s power level is spiraling like crazy!!!” Gohan said, wide-eyed.

“He’s even stronger than he was on Earth.” The bald man observed. “And here I was thinking he’d gotten weaker. Somehow he’s learned how to keep his power level repressed!! Just our luck!! How the hell can we face something like that and come out alive?!!”

“Now’s not the time Krillin!” Gohan said hastily. “Let’s just hurry and get Bulma out soon! There’s no way that other guy can hold off Vegeta for long! Once he finishes him off, we’ll lose our chance to save her!”

“Right!”

The two of them rushed forward, keeping their power levels near 0, all the while.

XXXX

Cui put his hands up in surrender, trembling, as he desperately tried to snake his way out of his current predicament.

“Hold on Vegeta.” He pleaded. “I thought of a great idea. I could join forces with you. I never liked Frieza, anyway. And with both of us working together, we can take Zarbon and Dodoria, no problem. Think about it Vegeta, we fought so much. We’d make a fantastic team.”

“Stop blabbering like a pathetic fool Cui!” Exclaimed Vegeta as he slowly made his way toward his opponent, smirking. “You’re cowardice makes me sick!!!”

“Please! You’ve got to believe me Vegeta!”

The harder Cui tried, the less convincing he sounded. The purple-skinned warrior attempted to pull a fast one on Vegeta by looking over the latter’s shoulder and yelling ‘Hey look it’s Frieza’ and simultaneously attacking the Saiyan with everything he had, as he rose into the air. After the smoke cleared, nothing was left and Cui began guffawing, believing he’d finally gotten rid of Vegeta. He landed back on the ground, saying that Vegeta should’ve listened to his advice back on Planet Frieza No. 79.

“Is that so?” Vegeta asked, suddenly appearing on Cui’s right, with his arms folded arrogantly. “Apparently your idea of advice is to submit to my adversary and you know I won’t do that.”

“How’d you escape that?” Cui asked, stunned to death.

“Once again you’ve underestimated your enemy Cui and you won’t be walking away from this mistake!” Vegeta stated with firm resolve. Cui then tried flying away as fast as he could, in a frantic attempt to save himself.

Vegeta flared his own Ki and shot up, appearing directly in front of him, before landing a hard blow on his midsection, piercing through his armor and a good portion of his flesh. Bulma gasped as she witnessed the ghastly display.

“Goodbye!” Vegeta grinned and immediately used his Ki to obliterate Cui, with only two fingers. “See you in hell, Cui!”

XXXX

Dodoria gasped as his scouter detected Cui’s power level disappearing. Frieza ordered him to drop the matter and continue the search for the dragon balls.

XXXX

By now, Gohan and Krillin had sensed that Vegeta had easily mopped the floor with his adversary. They continued heading towards Bulma, but stopped when they realized they were too late. Vegeta was already with her. They hid behind a cliff not far, as they looked on.

“We have to leave now.” Vegeta told a panicked Bulma.

Bulma was completely frozen stiff and cowering, after having witnessed that callous display of murder. He’d totally annihilated the other fighter, without a hint of regret or second thought, malignantly reveling in his demise. 

Vegeta grit his teeth as he neared her.

“Listen woman!” He exclaimed. “Quit sniveling and get yourself together!!! We have to leave now!!!”

Bulma nodded weakly.

XXXX

Gohan grit his teeth and his Ki uncontrollably flared a little, after seeing Vegeta crudely yell at Bulma.

“Gohan stop!!!” Krillin hissed.

Gohan instantly eased up, realizing his error too late.

XXXX

Bulma walked hesitantly over towards Vegeta, but he held his hand up.

“Wait, stop!!” He exclaimed and then began looking sideways, trying to locate the Ki signal he had sensed come and go.

“What is it?” Bulma asked, apprehensively.

“I sensed a minor power level nearby.” He answered. “It showed up on the scouter as well.”

“There’s someone else here?!” Bulma asked, worriedly. “Where are they?!”

“I can’t sense it any longer and the scouter’s showing nothing.” He replied. “It appeared out of the blue and vanished, just like that. It can’t be Frieza’s men. None of them know how to suppress their energy. Has someone been following us?”

XXXX

Krillin and Gohan immediately dipped their heads below, so they were out of sight. Dammit!!! As if knowing how to suppress his power wasn’t bad enough, now Vegeta could sense Ki as well?!! This was terrible!!

“Now what?” Gohan asked in a low perturbed voice.

“Shhh.” Krillin responded in a hushed voice, holding his index finger to his puckered lips. “Gohan, get out of here. I’ll keep Vegeta distracted.”

“No way, Krillin!” The half-Saiyan frowned.

“I promised your mother I’d keep you safe and I will, no matter what!”

“He won’t find us.” Gohan argued. “You don’t have to worry.”

XXXX

At that moment a giant rodent-like creature leapt out of nowhere.

“Oh, it’s just a damn rat.” Vegeta sighed in relief. “I got alarmed over nothing.”

“Phew.” Bulma wiped a bead of sweat off her forehead.

“You can’t relax just yet.” Vegeta informed. “The little stunt I just pulled sent an energy beacon throughout the planet. Frieza and his men are bound to know where I am. That much is certain. I’m pretty sure I can handle the others, even his Generals, Zarbon and Dodoria, if I fight them one-on-one. But Frieza’s power still far exceeds mine.”

Bulma gulped after hearing that. She knew Frieza was stronger, but not that much.

“W-What’ll h-he do if h-he f-f-finds u-us?” She asked in dismay.

“Well he’s never taken kindly to treason.” He responded, smirking. “Which means I’d probably end up being tortured to death, nice and slow. As for you, given your scientific capabilities, he’ll make you part of his crew and may even hand you over to his most favored soldiers from time-to-time, just to appease them.”

XXXX

Gohan and Krillin released a deep breath, after that enigmatically large rodent had just saved their lives. It was a lucky break for the duo. So that gargantuan power level they sensed had belonged to a guy named Frieza, who from the looks of it, sounded far more evil than Vegeta. Perhaps they and Vegeta had a common enemy. Could they join forces? No. It just wouldn’t work. Vegeta wanted his own wish, plus he was their enemy! He’d kidnapped Bulma and was behind the deaths of their friends on Earth. But then, fighting this ‘Frieza’ would be no picnic. Even with Goku in the picture, they’d need all the help they could get.

XXXX

Bulma went limp, as Vegeta’s words sunk in. She’d much rather be his captive than someone like Frieza's. She quickly ran up and grabbed his shoulders.

“THEN WE’VE GOT TO ESCAPE, NOW!!!” She shrieked.

Vegeta jumped at her abrupt high-pitched screech.

“Do not shout in my damn face, demon woman!!!” He snarled. Bulma shrank back a little and removed her hands from his shoulders.

“Can we just leave?” She pled, ignoring his little insult. “I don’t want to end up being in that dirtbag’s hands.”

“I can sense his energy signal.” Vegeta stated. “He’s still far from here and so are all his lackeys. That fool probably doesn’t see me as a threat, despite knowing how powerful I’ve gotten. But it takes more than just muscle to win a game like this. By the way, check that radar of yours.”

Bulma pulled out the dragon radar from her pocket and switched it on.

“Hmmm, there’s four dragon balls gathered in one place.”

“Let me see that.” Vegeta quickly swiped it away from her.

“Hey!” She groused.

“They’re in that direction.” Vegeta said, pointing slightly to the left. “That’s where I sense Frieza’s Ki signal. If I can keep just one dragon ball hidden from him, the other six are useless, am I right?”

“Well, yeah, of course.” Bulma affirmed.

‘Frieza’s no fool though.’ He mulled. ‘He’ll try to protect the balls he’s collected as best he can. Hopefully, I can swipe them out from under him when he least expects it. Won’t be easy though.’

“All right, so what now?” Bulma asked, interrupting his thoughts.

“First of all, we need to set up a base somewhere.” Vegeta answered. “I can move fast enough if I keep my power level low, but not if I have to carry you at the same time.”

“What?!” She groused, folding her forearms, clearly taking insult. “Am I just baggage?! Is that what you’re saying?!”

“Shut up.” Vegeta responded uncaringly. “Surely you have some sort of vehicle in those capsules, right?”

“Oh yeah!” Bulma beamed. “That’s a great idea! I’m surprised a self-obsessed egomaniac like you came up with it.”

“Do not push your luck woman.” Vegeta threatened, in a deathly low tone.

“Right, right.” Bulma pulled out a capsule, pressed the plunger, threw it and out popped a pink hover bike. Bulma sat on it and looked at Vegeta expectantly. “Well come on then.”

“I am not getting on that thing!” Vegeta griped, folding his arms.

“And why not?” She asked, frowning.

“It’s pink!” He replied, as though the answer were obvious.

Bulma looked at him confusedly for a second, before burying her face in cupped hands and laughing boisterously. God, for a guy that purged planets for a living, he sure was picky!!

“Shut up!!!” Vegeta exclaimed, holding a fist up threateningly.

Bulma whipped her head around, looking at him, as she sniggered under her breath.

“Your scouter’s pink too for God’s sake.” She said laughingly. “I don’t see why you’re complaining.”

“That’s-” Vegeta paused for a second before coming up with a reason. “That’s a different shade. Yours is too feminine.”

“Come on, quit acting like a child and get on.” She said, a small smile of amusement playing on her face, as she patted the seat behind her.

Vegeta grumbled curses under his breath. He had to oblige her though. This was his only means of transportation.

“Gah, fine!” He relented, before muttering something under his breath about stupid Earthling females.

Vegeta went and sat behind her and she immediately sped off. The moment she did that, he snaked his arms around her waist, holding on for dear life. He never expected this silly contraption of hers to be quiet so fast.

“Yeah, now that’s what I’m talking about!!” Bulma cheered. “Woohoooo!!!”

“What on Namek, are you doing??!!!” Vegeta objected. This woman was completely off her rocker!!

“It’s been ages since I’ve had a chance to ride like this!!” Bulma felt her tension and distress wash away, as the wind swept past her face. “Isn’t this fun??!!!”

“Fun??!!!” Vegeta had consternation writ all over his face. “You must be nuts!!”

“Come on, show a little excitement!!” With that Bulma pushed the engines at full throttle, finally able to get a true gauge on the maximum speed of Capsule Corporation’s newest hover bike, while Vegeta’s streak of yells and curses could practically be heard universally.

“Stop goddammit!! I command you to stop!!”

Bulma abruptly ceased in her tracks, causing Vegeta to crash against her from behind.

“What is it?” She asked.

“Are you out of your mind??!!!” He yelled. “If you’re in such a rush to get yourself killed, then let me save you the trouble!!”

“Oh, come on!!” Bulma chuckled slightly. ”You probably fly a hundred times faster than this, so what’re you so afraid of?!”

“How dare you??!!!” Vegeta exclaimed. “I fear nothing!!”

“Oh yeah, then why do I feel your whole body shaking?” She whipped her head around slightly, smirking at him.

“I- I-” The Prince sputtered incoherently, before averting his gaze to the side and louring. “I’m not afraid of anything you foolish woman! It’s just that I’ve never done something like this before! When I fly, I’m surrounded by a wall of Ki and have perfect control! Right now, however, my Ki is suppressed and you’re driving like a lunatic!”

“Hahaha You fighters!!” Bulma chortled. “You have the power to destroy planets, but can’t even handle a ride with little old me. Guess I’m too awesome for you!“

“You will learn your place, female!!” He growled.

“Oh, I know my place and it’s obviously a league above yours.” Bulma crowed, flicking back her hair arrogantly, as if to demonstrate her point. Vegeta bared his teeth at her. How dare she speak to him this way??!!! This little minx was overstepping her bounds!!

“If you’re so great then why were you trembling like a little girl, when Cui threatened you back on Planet Frieza?” Vegeta smirked, as he reminded her.

Bulma’s cheeks flushed, embarrassedly.

“I- well-”

“You weren’t scared, were you?” He taunted.

“No!” Bulma objected, unconvincingly.

“Really? So you’re okay if I abandon you here, take your radar and search for the dragon balls all by myself?”

“No, please don’t do that!!” Bulma protested, in alarm. “I’m not that great, really!! I’ll shut up!! I swear I will!!”

“That’s what I thought.” The Prince chuckled. The heiress sighed in relief. This was so unfair!! She wanted to gloat and stick her superiority right in Vegeta’s smug little face, but the latter had too much leverage and she wasn’t at all happy about it!!

XXXX

Gohan and Krillin were eavesdropping, right before Vegeta and Bulma took off. They had heard the Prince’s plan and it seemed obvious that despite his mountainous strength, he wasn’t the real threat. Frieza was. As they continued listening, they were completely shocked at how deftly Bulma had handled the situation. Man, was she a feisty one! To their relief, she didn’t seem to be hurt or traumatized in the least. If anything, she was just as lively and animated as ever.

“How strange.” Krillin said in awe, before smirking. “Well that’s Bulma for you! You gotta love her!”

“Do we follow them or what?” Gohan asked.

“Not yet, Gohan.” Krillin responded. “I hate to admit it, but I think Bulma’s safe with Vegeta, at least for now. What we should do is find the closest dragon ball and hide it. After that we can figure out a way to rescue Bulma. Vegeta doesn’t know we’re here, so at least that gives us an advantage.”

“Right!” Gohan responded, nodding his head affirmatively.

And so the pair took off.


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