Demon Hunt: Chapter 1 – Waves, Rocks, and Money
Disclaimer: Dragon Ball Z and its stories, characters, and settings all belong to the respective holders of the rights. This is just a fan-production with a simple goal – fun.
Hook: In the years since Son Goku's death at the hands of Cell, the Son Family feels their lives hit the bottom harder than ever. Chi-Chi struggles to provide for her ever studious Gohan and the newborn Goten, but finds it harder every day to keep their heads above water. Unable to sit idly by while his mother faces their monetary issues alone, Gohan takes up the mantle "Demon Jr." and begins competing in martial arts tournaments all across the world in order to earn the money so that the Son Family can make ends meet. But when he is forced to enter a large scale competition to pay for his school tuition, Demon Jr. becomes a world-wide sensation. Many martial artists across the Earth demand Demon Jr. enter the World Martial Arts Tournament. Even more of them demand the warrior remove his mask. One such person is none other than the World Champion's daughter herself – Videl Satan.
A Brief History of the Modern Age of Martial Arts…
After the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament in Earth Age 756, it was doubtful there would ever be another. Son Goku and the fighter known as "Demon" practically destroyed the tournament grounds and left nothing behind. These doubts were proven true when, three years after the 23rd WMAT, the World Martial Arts Association cancelled the grand event indefinitely rather than hold the 24th competition. It had seemed that "the Golden Age of Martial Arts" had finally ended.
Three years after that, in the Earth Age 762, the Waves and Rocks Multimedia Corporation decided to revive the world's interest in martial arts. Taking the basic idea of the WMAT, the group began the Grand Martial Arts Tournament to determine the most powerful fighter on the planet. This competition was to be held every three years, just like the WMAT but in Orange Star City. Unlike the WMAT, the GMAT introduced a "power-tester" as the preliminary qualifier, where participants would test their strength against the machine with a single punch. This allowed the competition to go underway without much delay to speak of and gave the fans watching at home or in the arena something to talk about (as it was a well-known complaint at the WMAT that the audience could not watch the preliminary matches). Another difference between the WMAT and the GMAT was that the GMAT awarded the victor with a championship belt and one million Zeni – twice as much as the WMAT. Finally, the GMAT allowed television broadcasts and video records of the entire event – something the officials of the WMAT never tolerated. Of course, some martial arts purists believed this reduced the beauty and skill of true martial arts to barbaric displays of brute strength and pop-sensationalism. Nevertheless, the GMAT proved very profitable. The very first winner of the competition and the newly crowned Grand Champion of Martial Arts was none other than Orange Star local Mark "Hercule" Satan, otherwise known as "Hercule," or "Mr. Satan." Mr. Satan won once again in 765, and Waves and Rocks could not be more proud of their star fighter. Waves and Rocks brought to the world what they called, "the Silver Age of Martial Arts."
In 767, Waves and Rocks took it upon themselves to brave the Cell Games alongside their champion Hercule. Their "ZTV" report was watched all across the globe as Hercule Satan claimed victory over the menace Cell and became champion of the Cell Games and savior of the world. In the following year, the 3rd GMAT was held in the newly renamed "Satan City," where Waves and Rocks observed their most successful year ever. Mr. Satan's popularity was so great that people were begging for the return of the WMAT. And, with their great financial success from the GMATs, Hercule's endorsements, and the sales of the "Cell Games Reenactment" digital videos, Waves and Rocks took it upon themselves to bring the fans exactly that.
In 770, the world cheered as Waves and Rocks announced the merge of the GMAT and the WMAT after they purchased the WMAT's original tournament grounds and the name of the competition. After just one year, construction and renovation on the brand new WMAT grounds was complete. The arena was now twice as large as it once was and was surrounded with grand stadium seating, a grand prize of a championship belt and ten million Zeni, and the very first competition was to be held in just one more year. The new WMAT now made use of the "power-tester" preliminary qualifier and allowed use of recording devices and televised broadcasts. In addition to the main tournament, Waves and Rocks announced the beginning of the Junior Division Tournament for the best fighters under 15, where the winner earned a match with the champion and a monetary prize of ten thousand Zeni.
In 771, Hercule Satan won the 24th WMAT as expected, fulfilling his dream to become the true and undisputed world champion of martial arts. It was an event that he had completely dominated and made Waves and Rocks hundreds of millions of Zeni in a single day. An added bonus was that Mr. Satan's very own daughter Videl won the Junior Championship, giving the entertainment conglomerate a new "father-daughter" business angle to tackle. All in all, the new WMAT proved to be more successful than the GMAT ever did. As a result, the GMAT was dissolved later that year.
In 773, Hercule Satan was given his own branch of Waves and Rocks that focused solely on martial arts competitions. Satan Entertainment began a chain of city-wide martial arts competitions in every major city on the planet, an act that essentially absorbed the local small scale tournaments into the Waves and Rocks group. Hercule Satan was making martial arts more popular than ever before, bringing about what enthusiasts were calling "the Modern Age of Martial Arts." Almost every other month there was some competition going on in some city somewhere, and men and women alike were fighting to become more like their hero Mr. Satan. And it is before one such competition when our story begins.
July 15th, Age 773. Satan City. Orange Star District Building.
The office of the Orange Star Board of Alumni was daunting, to say the least. It was here that Son Gohan was facing his greatest challenge – an interview for a full scholarship to the highest level secondary school in the world. Orange Star High School was his mother's dream for him, but the sad truth is that the Son Family just couldn't afford the tuition. This scholarship was Gohan's only chance to get into the school of his (mother's) dreams.
In truth, the teen half-Saiyan simply wanted to attend high school. He was 16 and had almost no friends his own age, having been homeschooled his entire life. As he saw it, this was his chance to get away from home and explore the world without his mother constantly doting on his every move. He would get to meet new and interesting people, spend weekends in Satan City with his friends, and maybe have a girlfriend somewhere down the line. Maybe.
"Well, Mr. Son…"
This was it – the moment of truth. Will he be facing the next two years back home in his room, or will he facing them in Orange Star High School? Gohan leaned forward slightly, but not too much. Seeming presumptuous or over-anxious was the last thing these esteemed men and women would want to see. And all he could do was hold his breath.
"You have very impressive test scores," the chairman stated simply. Gohan exhaled, slightly relieved with the response. In truth, he knew his test scores were excellent. Really, they were perfect – every single one. But the last thing Gohan wanted to seem was proud. If his mother taught him anything about manners (and she taught him a whole damn lot), he must be modest. Not that such a thing ever came with difficulty to Gohan. He was always the most modest young man. He grinned sheepishly and scratched the back of his head in the traditional Son manner.
"But…" Gohan's grin fell. As did his arm. "We'd like to gain an understanding of your family history."
A few beads of sweat formed upon Gohan's now slightly furrowed brow. This was not a question for which he had been ready. Sure, he figured it would come up. But he was never ready to answer it. After a moment of silence, the chairman spoke up once more, "Mr. Son? Would you mind telling us about your family?"
Gohan nodded with a weak smile. "Yes, of course."
"Tell us about your father. From what I understand of your personal essay, it seems that he had a great deal of influence in your life."
"My father…" Gohan began, closing his eyes and picturing the smile and confident stance of the late Son Goku, "…was a simple man. He believed in hard work, doing your personal best and aiming to surpass it every time, and, most of all, he believed in helping others. My father would have given his life for the world. In fact, he did."
"And…um, what exactly did your father do?"
"He was a martial artist."
This simple response seemed to stir both some interest and skepticism in the Board of Alumni. "I'm sorry, but I fail to see how a…err…prize fighter can contribute much to the world."
"Did a martial artist not save us all from the menace known as Cell six years ago?" asked Gohan. There was not a hint of bitterness or sarcasm in his voice. He was simply asking a question. A martial artist did defeat Cell and save the world. He did. Of course, this fact will forever remain buried. The boy's response, however, garnered some positive reaction from a few of the alumni. The chairman opened his mouth to speak again.
"Ah, yes…I apologize. Would your father happen to be a fighter of whom we may have heard?"
The board fell silent for a moment. Gohan eyed them carefully for their reaction. It was well-known that Son Goku was the winner of the WMAT before Waves and Rocks turned it into what it is today. It was also well-known that Son Goku and Demon (better known by Gohan and the gang as Piccolo) were responsible for ending the WMAT due to their battle destroying…everything. And it was most well-known that Son Goku was badmouthed by Hercule Satan every time the name was brought up during an interview. Martial arts purists believed Son Goku was the greatest fighter to ever walk the planet, but Hercule Satan had convinced the masses that Gohan's father was nothing more than a cheating trickster. If there were any reason to bear any ill-will towards Hercule, that reason would be the only one. Gohan never cared that Hercule took credit for killing Cell. The man did an excellent job playing the hero and bringing the world back to normalcy, and Gohan had no desire to live in the spotlight. But Hercule was consistently destroying his father's reputation, tarnishing his memory. That was unforgivable.
The chairman couldn't help but smirk. "Oh…" he said. "I thought you said your father was a martial artist." And the rest of the board fell into a fit of laughter. It took all of Gohan's willpower not to just stand up and walk away because the fact remains that he needed this opportunity. He needed this scholarship.
"I…don't believe this is professional conduct…sir."
"I...I'm sorry…!" the chairman gasped between roaring laughter. After composing himself, he continued. "But Son Goku is no martial artist. Mr. Satan says so himself."
Gohan's fists tightened. They were clenched so strongly that it was a wonder he was not breaking the skin of his palms or tearing his own knuckles. The Son boy took a deep breath to calm his anger and frustration. "What Mr. Satan says about my father," Gohan almost hissed behind the grinding of his teeth, "…makes no difference to me." Gohan took another deep breath. "My father was a good man. He died protecting me from Cell. And just because Mr. Satan refuses to believe in what he can't understand, doesn't mean my father was any less of a fighter."
"Are you suggesting the World Champion of Martial Arts doesn't understand the very thing for which he is known, Mr. Son? That he doesn't understand fighting? I find your lack of respect for the man who saved the world highly discouraging."
They were too focused on Mr. Satan that they completely missed that Gohan twice told them his father had died. But it was fine – Gohan didn't need their condolences. And he certainly didn't need to hear them insult his father any longer. And with that, Gohan stood up. The sudden force of his powerful half-Saiyan legs knocked over the chair below him. This interview was over.
"Thank you, for your time," the boy said. And he walked out, leaving each of the alumni dumbstruck at how a potential student with perfect entrance exams would abandon an opportunity such as this. Gohan would have thought of something particularly bitter to say as he left, such as, "Why don't you just give Hercule the scholarship if he's so damn great?" but ultimately decided against it. His mother did not teach him to be so rude, even when others were clearly conducting themselves in such a manner to him. Besides, whatever they said about his father, he knew they were wrong. Son Goku was a great man – an irreplaceable man. His main concern right now was how Chi-Chi would react to all of this.
"Geez…Should I just be honest?" he asked no one in particular, staring up at the clear blue skies of Satan City with his arms folded behind his head. Surely his mother would understand how he could not stand being in the room with those…people after what they were saying about his father. 'If I'm lucky…maybe I'll only get a few hits to the head with the frying pan.'
The dark-haired youth let out an exasperated sigh. He wouldn't be able to go to high school like this. His mother wouldn't accept anything less than Orange Star. And he couldn't rely on Bulma to pay for tuition…it wouldn't be right to put such a burden on her even if they were old family friends. He was going to have to figure this one out on his own. In the meantime, his mother wasn't expecting him to be home for another hour or so. With nothing better to do, the teen half-Saiyan decided it would be best to wander the city.
Gohan watched the busy streets of Satan City in all its glorious hustle and bustle. People were screaming at each other from the traffic-filled streets, horns honking loudly and tempers rising quickly. The sidewalks were littered with men and women heading someplace somewhere, checking their phones for that special email or text message, calling their loved ones to wish them a good day wherever they are. It was teeming with life. Perhaps it was not the kind of life he was used to seeing in the lush green forests of Mt. Paozu, but there was a life here regardless. It was new, exciting, and…and it was terrible knowing he will probably never get to explore this kind of busy lifestyle. He didn't mind living in the mountains. He loved the peace, the quiet, the open world beyond his doorstep. But he yearned to explore the new. And this was new. This needed to be explored.
As Gohan made his way down the steps of the Orange Star District Building, he checked his reflection in the nearby window. He was a fairly tall boy – 5'9" and still very slowly growing. Gohan remembered his mother telling him how he looked so handsome in his clean shirt and tie, serious slacks, and business shoes. He had dressed up for this interview so nicely; it was a shame what had happened in there. He entertained the idea of apologizing for a second, but shook his head immediately. There was no way he was going to apologize for what they said about his father. And he was sure it wouldn't have made a difference to the Board of Alumni anyhow. The teen patted his neatly combed hair for a quick second. His mother even tamed his wild hair for this occasion. He did his best to ruffle it up until it became the unique mess of surprisingly soft spikes it usually is. Satisfied, the young man continued toward the busy city streets.
The boy soon found himself drawn to one of the larger dome buildings of the area – the Satan City Fighter Hall. It was where the city's local fighting competitions and events often took place. 'Now, there's an idea…' Gohan thought. 'I could fight for the money…'
Gohan hoped not to turn to such an act, but he felt he had no choice. Before Waves and Rocks was buying up every martial arts competition it could find and hand over to Hercule, the half-Saiyan competed in small-scale tournaments under the guise of "Demon Jr." in order to get the money to feed his family for the month. After all, Goku's money from the 23rd WMAT could only last the Son Family so long after Goku died. Pretty soon Gohan had saved enough money so that Chi-Chi was not worrying about making ends meet so much anymore. She disapproved of Gohan leaving behind his studies to fight, but quietly understood that he was doing what he can to take care of both her and the baby Goten. But with Waves and Rocks buying out any and every martial arts competition and turning each one into highly publicized events on their own, Gohan was eventually forced to give up the mantle of Demon Jr. for good, or so he thought. These new circumstances left him thinking otherwise. It was no secret that he could easily win whatever tournaments were being held on the planet, but he wondered if he should risk being unmasked and discovered by fighting in such a relatively large-scale tournament. Gohan turned to a man taking a picture of the dome with his family.
"Excuse me, sir, but would you happen to know when the next big tournament is coming up?" he asked politely.
Smiling kindly, the man pointed up at the large sign announcing the anticipated Satan City Championship Tournament. "The Satan City Tournament is coming up next weekend! I can't wait!" he exclaimed with a bit of a hearty laugh.
Gohan smiled and nodded. "Thank you." He turned back to the doors of the fighting hall. 'A little more high-profile than I was hoping, but that just means it'll be better money…And besides…' He turned back to the city, balled hands on his hips, and took a deep breath. "Ah…" he exhaled, taking in the sights. A grin tugged the sides of his lips, giving him an air of what one may even dare to say could be cheekiness.
'I think this is definitely worth the risk.'
The Writer's Block:
Hello! Unlike my other projects, this project will not be following a regular update schedule. You see, this one has no projected ending – rather I wanted to come up with an idea and roll with it instead of plan the whole thing out from beginning to end. It started with a simple question; how did the Son Family live the seven years after the Cell Games without any obvious source of income? Chi-Chi had to take care of Gohan and Goten and clearly didn't have a job, Gohan was a kid, and Goten was a baby. Goku's 500,000 Zeni prize from the WMAT would only last them for so long, and, while they are perfectly capable of living off the land, the Son Family undeniably enjoys at least some modern comforts within their home. So, in this story, Gohan secretly competes in small martial arts tournaments across the world under the name "Demon Jr." in honor of Piccolo (and because he's hiding his identity the best way he knows how) and slowly earns the money to keep his family above water. Now, Gohan is forced to take up the "Demon Jr." name once more in order to earn the money to cover his tuition and attend Orange Star High School.
Also, why did I introduce the Waves and Rocks Multimedia Corporation? It's because the commercialization of martial arts changed the world a lot in Dragon Ball Z thanks to Hercule becoming so popular. I had to wonder both why the WMAT had stopped for a while after Goku and Piccolo blew up the ring, and why it changed so much at the 25th WMAT just before the Buu Saga. So I went with mass commercialization. A big powerful group sets up a popular fighting competition, and then has the money to buy the name and tournament grounds of the prestigious WMAT. Deals like that make somebody somewhere the beaucoup bucks.
Anyway, thanks for reading this first chapter! I hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to write me a review!