Author's Note: Hello all. It's been a while since I last did a DBZ fic, so I figured I'd throw myself back into the game and give it a shot.
This is a story that I've wanted to write for a while now, which is a complete retelling of the Dragonball Z story following the Cell Games. In my honest opinion, the entire world of DBZ started going downhill after the Cell Games, which served as one of the biggest turning points in the series and gave the author the perfect opportunity to make something even more awesome afterwards.
Unfortunately, he cocked it up by not only making Gohan, the supposed cover character after the seven year gap, a complete shadow of his former self, but he also introduced one of the most unsatisfying villains with the most rinse-and-repeat story arcs I've ever seen. Though the author did get some things right in introducing Videl, Super Saiyan 3 and re-introducing the tournament and all that, there were so many other things that he did wrong.
To me, the entire Saga after the seven year gap sends a really mixed message to me. Instead of making Gohan the hero, he brings Goku back from the dead to once again save the day. Now I'm not saying loving your hero and main character of so many years is a bad thing, but using him in excess over all of the generations and having him win all of the fights is just bad storytelling.
Basically by bringing Goku back as the hero to save the day for the hundredth time gives the message that we (as people) have to rely on our parents and our fathers to fight and win all of our battles for us, instead of growing up and taking on the mantel of responsibility ourselves. It's probably why I took a shine to the Naruto series afterwards, since it talks about the next generation taking over and taking on the responsibilities of the world (kind of).
Well, I personally don't agree with that message and came up with this idea against it. I was also disappointed at the lack of female Saiyans and strong female characters in the original DBZ universe, as it's practically a sausage fest in the gang. I'd like to make some changes to that too.
This story I hope makes amendments to the mistakes of the Buu Saga by introducing different villains (both original and from the movies) and new allies, while at the same time running parallel to the original story, and making Gohan the hero instead. I also don't want to overpower characters either and make this a fun story to read. I think you can call this story an AU.
So let's see how it goes.
To all those wondering, we start this story off in the movie Bojack Unbound.
(P.S If I happen to use the name Naruto somewhere in this and the following chapters, please ignore it. I've been writing Naruto stories for a while now, so some of that stuff might end up unconsciously bleeding into this fic. Hopefully not)
(Over a month after the Cell Games)
Deep inside the pristine wilderness also known as the region making up Mount Paozu, far out of the way of any known civilization, there sat the familiar dome shaped hut and cottage buildings belonging to the Son family. Quiet, peaceful, surrounded by valleys, forests, and a river flowing directly alongside the property, the small home rose up in the center of this tranquil splendor like a beacon on a map, untouched and undisturbed by the intrigues of human expansion.
To some; it was an ideal place for a farmland. To others, it was a superb location for a family retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. But to the few who actually lived in the small, country building sitting in the middle of the field; it was home.
Here, under the orange light of the rising sun, one of the residents of the house could be seen outside, on the grass and hard at work.
Leaping across the rolling hillsides and valleys, adorned in a familiar orange and blue gi with his black, spiky hair sticking out in a peculiar yet ordered fashion, a young boy could be seen going through the motions. Fists and feet cutting through the air at terrific speeds, the eleven-year-old, teen form of Son Gohan blurred across the fields surrounding his home, fighting against an enemy nobody could see. Since he was on his own and there was nobody else in sight or reach, it was safe to say that the young man was in fact shadow sparring.
Just like how his father and Piccolo had taught him, the boy subjected himself to his most familiar of training routines. Dust kicking up as he zipped across the landscape at a ridiculous rate, Gohan pushed himself hard to get his blood pumping and muscles working. Having already been at this for a couple of hours now, the boy had had plenty of time to wake up after a good night of sleep, as well as to mentally and physically prepare himself for the day that lay ahead.
Back flipping across the hills in the form of an orange flash, Gohan eventually skidded to a stop near his home and unleashed a flurry of punches before ending the combination with a swift yet powerful kick. The blow caused a gust of wind to ripple across the grassy hills for several miles, before the gale settled moments later and allowed the half-Saiyan to lower his leg to the ground.
Breathing in and out, Gohan allowed a grin to appear on his face and clenched his fists at his sides triumphantly. "Alright. I think I'm ready now." The look in his eyes showed the world that he was ready to rock.
"Gohan! It's time to go!" the familiar call of a woman suddenly echoed from across the flats, drawing the boy's gaze towards his home. "Come on now! We don't want to be late!"
Seeing his mother adorned in her familiar purple and orange dress, carrying her purse with her hair all done up, was all the sign the young hybrid warrior needed to tell him that she was all set to head out.
An excited smile graced his lips, "Coming." Dashing across the clearing, he skidded to a stop in front of the woman, whom he noted had been waiting patiently for him.
"So… are you all warmed up?" Chi-Chi asked, gazing proudly down at her son.
"Yep," Gohan replied, his visage bright and full of energy. "I've been out here all morning working on my stuff. My senses are razor sharp and my fighting techniques are spot on." With this, he knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was going to make a killing at the big event they were about to attend.
Hell, the entire world was going to be watching him. He needed to be in the best shape possible if he was going to make any sort of an impact on the stage that was waiting for them. Considering what he was capable of though, he knew that it wasn't going to be that much of a problem.
"Well, that's good to hear," the Son mother nodded, turning to look down at her purse and checking to make sure she had everything. "Knowing that Trunks and the others are going to be there today, it would be really bad for you if you went into the ring all tired and spent. I sure hope you didn't warm yourself up too much."
Chi-Chi; concerned as always.
At this, Gohan grinned, "Don't worry about me, mum. I'm feeling great today… better than great. My head is clear and I feel a lot stronger than I was four weeks ago. As long as I keep my eyes open and watch my punches, I know I'll be able to make it to the finals, no problem." When he looked up and saw her eyes fix upon him again, the boy's eyes shimmered brightly. "By the way… thanks for letting me train in my free time, mum. It really means a lot to me."
Her expression reflecting a momentary sense of surprise, the raven haired mother then broke out a loving smile, which she directed towards the youngster in front of her. "That's alright, honey. As long as it makes you happy, then I don't mind letting you out in the mornings and afternoons to work on your fighting skills. You are your father's son after all… and I'd really hate to deprive you of the one part of him that the two of you love so much."
In the days following the Cell Games, which had seen the death of his father and the greatest man he'd ever known, Gohan had come to the realization that in order to defend the earth from any new threats that happened to be lurking around the corner, he needed to keep on training and keep on getting stronger. Even though he and his friends had just pulled through one of the toughest trials they'd ever faced in the history of their group, the boy knew that even though the world was now at peace, the days of fighting weren't over.
After all, it was big, wide universe out there. Although Cell had been defeated, there was a very real possibility that a being even more powerful and malicious than him might show up someday to throw the world into chaos.
With his father gone and the fate of humankind left in his hands, Gohan knew that he needed to take up the mantel that his dad had left behind, and fill in the enormous void that once belonged to Goku. So, with his father's sacrifice still lingering in his mind, he'd approached his mother and asked her if he could continue training. Though she initially objected and put up one hell of a fight about it, Gohan eventually talked her down to letting him train in the mornings and afternoons, while leaving the bulk of his day to do his studies and help her out around the house.
Since he, his mother and grandfather were now the only ones living in the house, there were many gaps in their lives that needed to be occupied. It was for the best, not just for him and for them, but for everyone.
Despite the fact that Chi-Chi had agreed to Gohan's terms, she still made it a point to remind him that he needed to focus on his studies as much as possible. Even though she seemed disappointed at the idea of her son training and fighting, the half-Saiyan still reckoned he saw a small glimmer of happiness reflected in her eyes when she finally conceded. It was a feeling that Chi-Chi only ever shown to her husband on the most uncommon of occasions, where his skills, strength and guiding hand had been needed most.
With her expression showcasing her own degree of excitement, the Son woman raised a hand and formed a tight fist, "Now remember son; pace yourself, don't let your guard down, and don't mess up. Because if you lose in the first round after all that training I let you do in the last several weeks, then I'm going to be very disappointed in you."
A smile came to the youngster's face, "I'll win. I know I will."
"Good." Smiling, Chi-Chi gave a firm nod and puffed her chest out. "Now get out there and show the world what Son Gohan can do!"
The half-Saiyan grinned, "Yes, ma'am!"
The moment that declaration had been made, the pair then picked up the sound of an approaching engine and looked up to see a familiar yellow ship appear out of the clouds. Gazes locking onto it, the mother and son watched the craft descend to the grass in front of them, its engines blazing away and ruffling the clothes hanging on the nearby line, nearly blowing the towels away.
When the square-shaped vehicle eventually touched down and the jets reduced their thrust to a bearable level, both Gohan and Chi-Chi then saw the side door open up and the familiar face of Bulma Briefs pop into view.
"Hey there, you two. Ready to head off?" the boss of the universally renowned Capsule Corporation asked with a gleeful look on her face. Over the last few months the woman had grown her hair out and, today, was wearing a headband to push it all back, a pair of jean shorts, pearls, and a green fitting top that showed off her curves. Needless to say, she too was ready for the big day out.
"You bet," Gohan exclaimed, greeting the woman with a gung-ho smile and a raised fist.
Bulma giggled at the youngster's familiar grin and expression, "Glad to see you're all pumped up. I can expect nothing less from the son of Goku. Hop aboard everyone." With a quick wave the woman ducked back in, allowing the two Sons to approach the deck.
Stepping in through the hatch, the young half-Saiyan quickly spotted his lavender haired, time traveling Saiyan counterpart sitting in the passenger seat up front and waved, "Hey Trunks. What's up?"
The older half-Saiyan, adorned in his familiar uniform consisting of black pants, yellow Capsule Corp. boots, blue vest, black singlet, and carrying his younger, baby-self securely in his arms, smiled back at his fellow hybrid and nodded, "Not much. Hey. Nice outfit."
"Thanks. I thought I'd take a page out of my father's book and decided to try out his colors for a change," Gohan responded, tugging on the collar of his gi before helping his mother up the stairs. "I gotta say it's been a while since I last wore this stuff." The last time he remembered wearing this gear was back when he was four and training with Piccolo.
"Well, it looks very good on you, Gohan," Bulma remarked from her place in the pilot's seat, glancing back at the young warrior and strapping herself in. "I'm sure Goku would be very proud to see how far you've come."
Beaming, the raven haired Saiyan hoped into a seat and buckled up as well, with Chi-Chi mimicking her son's actions.
As soon as everyone was safely inside the transport and secured, Bulma shut the door, put her foot down and took off. The entire plane jerked to life as it lifted off the ground, climbed to a comfortable altitude and turned towards the horizon. Once the woman was certain they were pointed in the right direction, she fired the engines and gunned it, the plane blasting off into the distance.
As it turns out, everyone was excited today, and with good reason.
Because today, for one time only, all the fighters in the world would be partaking in the very first Intergalactic Martial Arts Tournament.
(Meanwhile - Many miles elsewhere)
For the raven haired, eleven-year-old girl sitting in the helicopter on route for Battle Island, the location of the largest martial arts tournament to be held in years, it was the most uncomfortable flight she'd ever been on. While the seat she was planted in was indeed very cushiony and the soda she'd gotten for the flight across the channel was delicious, the fact that she had to share the same space as Hercule Satan, the self-proclaimed strongest man in the world and the biggest oaf she'd ever seen in history, completely tarnished the experience for her.
While everybody else around the world worshipped this man as its savior for the deeds he supposedly accomplished during the Cell Games, this girl did not. Reason being, not only was he flirting incessantly with the waitress serving them beverages on the luxury chopper, which was taking them and the Cash family to their final destination, but because the man with the afro style cut was her father.
Seriously. What daughter in the world didn't think that their father's antics in public were embarrassing?
Videl certainly thought so.
Sitting there by the window with a sublime view of the landscape passing by underneath them, the tomboyish girl wearing yellow boots, blue jeans, long green top, red over-shirt, and her raven black hair wrapped into two high pigtails, tried her best to ignore her father's loud, booming voice and focused on the world outside. However, try as she might, she just could not block out the irritating noises he and the giggling waitress were making, which had the girl snarl inwardly and glare across at her lump of an old-man.
"Honestly… does he ever stop?" Videl thought with a detestable frown. When she saw her father pull the woman into his lap and give another one of his signature laughs, the young girl emitted a groan of disgust and looked away. "If mum could see him right now, she would knock his perfectly white teeth right out of his mouth."
It was a given truth. Ever since the end of the Cell Games, her father had done nothing but boast to every Tom, Dick and Harry that they ran into on the streets about his achievement, and pranced about like he was lord of heaven and earth. He sung tales of his heroic bravery to the news reporters that came to get tabs on him and to document his life, which not only bloated the man's already massive ego, but embarrassed the raven haired girl to no end.
Knowing exactly who her father was and what he could do, Videl could say with a hundred percent certainty that the man was full of it.
"All of his fame and glory has gotten to his head," the child thought, at the same time noticing the land disappear and be replaced by ocean. Knowing that they were coming upon their final marker, Videl began relishing the moment she would finally be able to get off this circus ride. "I hope somebody out there will come around and put my dad in his place."
"Don't you worry nothin', doll! I'll win this intergalactic competition with both hands tied behind my back!" Hercule bellowed out, making kissy faces with the bashful flight attendant in his lap and at the same time throwing Cash's son across the way a victory sign. "After all, there's nothing that the Champ can't do! Am I right, little man?!"
"Yeah!" Cash's son, a dorky looking kid with glasses and wearing a sailor's uniform chirped while imitating the man's gesture. "Hercule Satan's the best!"
The show only seemed to annoy Videl even further.
"And soon," the girl concluded. Moments later, the chopper began its final leg.
(Some time later)
To those who were just touching down on the island serving as the main location for the Intergalactic Martial Arts Tournament being sponsored by the richest man in the world, X.S Cash, it was almost like they were stepping into the wildest theme park ever. Seriously. It was crazy.
Jets were flying overhead, spewing colored smoke that formed into the head and face of Hercule Satan himself, before the formation of fast-moving craft came back around and cut the cloud to ribbons with their wings in an impressive display of supersonic speed and grace. On top of that, the entire sky was filled with the cloud bursts of fireworks being sent up one after the other, the sounds of their explosions drowned out by the cheers and clamor of the crowds of thousands of people far below.
The sound of festival music blaring away over the speaker phones rounded out the rest of the atmosphere of what could be considered the greatest party the world had ever seen.
On the mainland, people gathered together by the hundreds around countless festival stands and rides, all of which had been set up to accommodate for the large number of visitors arriving by the boatload from all four corners of the globe. Flowing between tents, buildings and carnival rides that were already teeming with excited customers, the ocean of fiesta goers inevitably spilled over to a large pontoon bridge crossing over a wide channel onto a large segment of earth that was, for all intents and purposes, the main stage for this fun gala.
The surface of Battle Island looked like a series of rocks that had been scrambled together and splattered atop a series of towers, pillars and platforms, the edifices of which seemed to blend seamlessly together into something akin to an M.C Escher masterpiece. Aesthetically, it was an impressive art piece. But as sound and flawless as the construct's design appeared on the surface, the mass of land was in fact an artificial island that'd been built by X.S Cash as a theme park-slash-adventure park for the masses. Due to its specially built interior and elaborate outer shell, it'd recently been retrofitted to host a far more prestigious event the likes of which the world has never seen before.
The world's largest martial arts competition in history, the once in a lifetime event featuring Mr. Satan himself, drew a ridiculously large crowd. Its many seats and balconies were already jam-packed with thousands of spectators, eagerly counting down the minutes left to the event's first round of the proceedings.
If it weren't for the island's solid foundations, the entire thing would have caved in on itself. But thanks to its frame and attention to detail, the island held firm, and the atmosphere leading up to the main affair was getting hotter and hotter with every second that ticked by.
"Welcome one and all to Battle Island; home of the very first Intergalactic Martial Arts Tournament!" was the announcement that greeted all newcomers to the shores of the hunk of rock and metal. "Today, we will pit the strongest warriors this planet has to offer against the mettle of the most powerful warriors from all four corners of the galaxy, by putting them and the contestants through a series of grueling challenges!"
These were the words that blasted from every speaker in the area as Gohan, Mirai Trunks, Bulma and Chi-Chi made their way through the thick of the crowd to their desired spots. Having arrived at the island only minutes ago, the four of them stepped off of their mode of transport, capsulated it and, after showing their tickets to the staff, made their way over to the registration desk. With the males leading the march, cutting a swath through the hundreds of patiently waiting attendees, the group eventually stopped at an intersection and took note of the sign that would send them down completely different pathways.
Moving left, the pair of mothers faced the two young men beside them who, in turn, also focused their attention on the women.
"Alright boys, good luck out there," Bulma exclaimed, shouldering baby Trunks up her arms as the child cooed away, "And don't forget to have fun." If there was anything she knew about Saiyans, it was that these boys loved to fight.
Seeing the pair beam back in response, Chi-Chi nodded to them proudly, "But more importantly, don't you dare let yourselves get beat. That goes double for you, young man." She added to this by pointing down at her son.
Gohan grinned in response, "I promise I won't let you down, mum."
"We'll be sure to put on a good show for you guys," Trunks replied, giving the women a thumbs-up and watching them accept their words gladly.
"That's the spirit," Bulma giggled before turning to the raven haired woman beside her. "Come on, Chi-Chi. Let's go grab ourselves something to eat and drink. I'm famished."
With one last wave, the two non-combatants turned heel and left, disappearing into the crowd seconds later. Upon seeing the two off, Gohan and Trunks then turned their attention to their path on the right and the ascending staircase that awaited them.
Even though it didn't look it from a distance, this island was simply enormous. The place was just a maze of hallways, levels, balconies, and clogged with the distinct sensation of testosterone hanging in the air. That last bit of information was relevant to the two of them because the Saiyans could literally smell the competition surrounding them on all sides.
"Let's go find the sign-up desk," Gohan chirped, earning a nod of agreement from his time traveling friend. "We've got some time to kill until the tournament starts, but it would be best if we checked in before the station closes. They usually do that an hour or so before the start of the event."
"It shouldn't be too hard to find. Just follow the crowd," Trunks replied.
"And look for a bunch of guys that are dressed like martial artists," the other half-Saiyan added, coaxing a grin from the lavender haired man next to him.
Directions set, the pair were just about to get into traction until the sound of loud cheering drew their attention across the way. Following the sound of screams and the sight of dozens of people flocking towards the side of the main highway, they saw a helicopter land on one of the many platforms in the area. As soon as it touched down and the people had been ushered back by the security teams, they saw the door open and a very familiar face step into view.
Adorned in a flamboyant costume completely typical of a comic book superhero, with his gold lined belt flashing under the sun and cape bellowing on the wind, Hercule Satan made his grand appearance on the island. His manly roar drowned out the cries from his fans and drew the expected lightshow from the cameramen and news reporters circling around his transport.
With Gohan and Trunks' gazes set on the gorilla of a martial artist, they completely missed the sight of the little girl that came to stand alongside him.
"Heh. Look who it is," the Saiyan from the future chuckled, "The big man himself."
"Gee," the youngster next to him chimed in, "He really knows how to draw a crowd, doesn't he?"
Seeing the people continue to flock to the champ now striking poses for the cameras, Mirai shrugged, "Well, as long as he clears the road for us, then I have absolutely no problems with this." He then started forward, glancing back at the boy gazing curiously in the direction of the helicopter platform. "Come on. We'd better get a move on. Otherwise we'll miss the registration."
"Yeah." Acknowledging his friend's statement, Gohan quickly fell in step with him and the two hybrids headed up to the office.
Hopefully, somewhere along this road, they would bump into their other friends. Given the circumstances, they wouldn't be surprised if they happened to run into them somewhere down this footpath or in the ring when the fighting started.
While the two half-Saiyans headed on their way, commotion over by the Hercule Express had reached its highest point yet. Marching down to the base of the helicopter, the world champion and self-proclaimed most powerful man in the world was almost instantaneously swamped by reporters.
"Champ! Champ! Over here!"
"Mister Satan! Can you tell us how you feel about the tournament today?!"
"Will you be participating in any of the preliminary rounds, Champ?"
"Champ! Diana from Channel 10: West City!" a woman with brown hair and wearing a pink suit spoke up as she jabbed her microphone towards the imposing 'warrior'.' "How do you feel about your chances in the ring with so many fighters flying in from all over the world to compete for the one-hundred million prize money?"
Smiling smugly at the questions bombarding him from all sides, the towering martial artist with the afro cut and muttonchops stuck his nose in the air and answered the crowds with a booming voice. "Well, Diana. All I can really say is that it's been a while since I've actually had to break a sweat during a fight. What I'm really hoping for today is to challenge the best that our planet has to offer and to test their mettle! The sucker would need the Gaul of a warrior of my stature to actually compete on equal terms with me; the undefeated and undisputed champion of the world!"
"So you're saying your chances are pretty high then?" the woman asked again, at the same time catching sight of the billionaire X.S Cash and his family stepping out to join the world's 'strongest' martial artist in the spotlight.
"That's for my audience to decide," Hercule exclaimed, pulling a tough-guy pose and giving a thumbs-down towards the commoners that lay before him. "What do you say, people? Do you think there is a person alive on this island who can trade blows with your savior?!"
"NO!" was the immediate, collective response from every single fan in sight.
"That's what I thought! YEAAAAHHH!" Hercule bellowed, throwing his fists into the air and drawing another chorus of cheers from the people.
Eyebrow twitching at the sheer volume of her father, which completely dwarfed the outcry of the audience, the cool-looking Videl exhaled in annoyance before deciding to head off. Her sudden vacating of Hercule's right flank drew the big man's immediate gaze after her.
"Uhh… Videl… w-where are you going, sweet pea?" the man whispered after her.
Eyes shut in an effort to ignore the reporters and camera flashes, the eleven-year-old stopped in her tracks, "I'm going to check out the island… and maybe find a seat up in one of the bleachers."
"But uhh… we both got front row seats up in Mr. Cash's personal skybox," Hercule replied, completely confounded by why his daughter was leaving so hastily, "What better spot on the island is there than on a roving, five-star lookout with lobsters and caviar?" By this point in time, the reporters had also noticed the raven haired girl standing ahead of their beloved hero and, within seconds, began snapping pictures of her from all sides.
"Anywhere, as long as it's away from you," the clearly embarrassed girl replied, mumbling the last part under her breath.
"Huh? Did you say something, sugar bee?"
"Whatever dad," Videl waved back, restarting her trek into the crowd and out the other side. "Have fun up in the penthouse."
Hercule watched his daughter make her way through his army of followers, passing by a few of the reporters and a photographer who thought it would be a good idea to try and get a shot of the Champ's daughter up close. His camera flash resulted in his hundred-zeni equipment being snatched out of his grip and dropped to the floor by the child, an action which effectively cracked the lens.
"I wonder what's gotten into her," X.S Cash's representative for the event, a man in a dark, striped suit and slicked back hair thought out loud.
"She seems to be a little bit upset," Mrs. Cash, a fair woman in a white sundress and wide hat remarked while bringing her hand up to her lips troublingly. "Don't you think so, dear? Maybe the flight over the ocean made her ill."
"Or perhaps she was simply overcome by the excitement of this tournament," the billionaire himself, a portly man with dark hair, mustache, square glasses and purple suit spoke up, at the same time adjusting one of the many diamond rings on his hand. "Her father is the savior of the world after all. I'm not surprised that someone as young as her would feel a little bit intimidated in the presence of the most powerful man in existence… even if she is Mr. Satan's daughter."
"Heh. Ain't that the truth?" his attendant chuckled.
At first scratching his head over his daughter's rather disgruntled mood, Hercule then shrugged it off and returned to bolstering his ego in front of the crowd. "Oh well… CHECK OUT THIS POSE, LADIES! HA-HA! WATCH ME FLEX THE BIG GUNS!" And that's exactly what he did. "BOOM! BANG! FIRE POWER, YEAH!"
With the crowd's clamor starting up again and all attention fixing upon the earth's hero, everyone completely missed the sight of Videl stopping to glare back at her father on the platform. Taking in his usual antics for several seconds more, the girl groaned under her breath and continued on walking, deciding to lose herself in the madness of her surroundings.
She sighed, "He's such an idiot."
Whatever happened to the humble young man that her mother fell in love with all those years ago? Taking into account all of the things that'd happened recently, Videl had no doubt in her mind that the man she could hear standing out in the crowd of vultures was nothing more than a shadow of his former self. After watching the events of the Cell Games on television, all the way up to the point the reception cut out, even the daughter of the world's supposed hero found it hard to believe she was even related to the guy.
Seeing him flaunt about his home on a daily basis with a new woman every day and witnessing what he was like off camera made Videl believe that there was no way her dad could be the savior of anything.
She was perhaps one of the only people in the world who believed this.
Having grown tired of the man's antics on their flight over, Videl decided to dismiss any and all other thoughts of her father and focused on something else. She wanted to go find a seat in the commoner's stands to watch the battles in peace, and that was exactly what she intended to do.
(Half an hour later)
After successfully locating the registration desk, Gohan and Trunks lined up with the rest of the competitors and spent the next several minutes chatting away and waiting patiently for the counter to free up. Once both of them had their names written down and had received the numbers of the platforms they'd been assigned to, with about an hour or so left to kill on their watches, the two young males then decided to go try and find the others and maybe grab something to eat before the fights started.
While Mirai headed in his own direction to locate the familiar ki he could sense scattered around the place, the younger Saiyan marched straight for the food court. There, he quickly found himself in the center of a buffet paradise, with fast food stalls and cafes dominating his line of sight on all sides.
Taking note of the center space, which was filled with dozens of outdoor tables and seats, all of which were occupied by hundreds of visitors, Gohan took a moment to scan the area for ki signatures.
His senses homing in on a group of familiar presences, the spiky haired youngster brightened up when his eyes landed on the little mime, anthropomorphic pig, and elderly man seated around one of the outdoor tables. Without a moment's hesitation, the half-Saiyan quickly jogged on over to them.
"Oolong. Master Roshi. Chiaotzu. Hey!" the young warrior exclaimed, skidding to a stop at their table.
The moment their names were called, the original members of Goku's crew turned to greet the beaming young man.
"Why, if it isn't young Gohan," the old turtle hermit spoke, his red sunglasses flashing at the sight of the familiar male in orange.
"I knew I'd find you guys somewhere around here! What's up?"
"Not much kid. Just shooting the breeze and checking out the competition," Oolong responded, at the same time sparing a glance towards a cute young blonde in a halter top and figure hugging jean shorts walk by their table. The giggle he and Master Roshi gave when they saw her amble away had Gohan glance after her as well, but then shrug it off moments later. "We've got a lot of potential customers popping up here and there, so you know we've got a lot of information to sift through. Other than that, things have been going great."
Ignoring the pig's off-beat comments, Chiaotzu, sitting quietly with a can of ice tea in his hands, smiled up at the much taller half-Saiyan. "What about you, Gohan? Have you already signed up for the competition?"
"Yeah. Trunks and I put our names down just a few minutes ago, so we're both good," the young man responded immediately, thumbing over his shoulder. "We were both assigned to different blocks, so we'll be splitting up before the starting bell."
"Oh. So Trunks is here as well, is he?" Master Roshi chuckled with a smile breaking through his beard. "This competition sure has gotten interesting."
"Yeah, and with Krillin, Yamcha, Tien and Piccolo in it, you know things are going to get rough," Oolong chimed in, bringing up his soda and taking a swig of it. Exhaling afterwards, he then swirled his drink sagely. "Let's face it; this tournament isn't big enough for the six of them. At least a couple of our boys are going to get knocked off the charts in the first round."
"Meh, probably," Master Roshi murmured.
Positively beaming with delight, Gohan then felt something fluffy brush past his ear and looked over his shoulder to see the familiar blue form of Puar hover into view.
"Gohan!" the floating cat squeaked, at the same time throwing himself at the boy in a hug.
Giggling at his other friend's greeting, the youthful half-Saiyan gently pushed the shapeshifter away, "Hey, Puar. Good to see yah. How're you doing?"
"Great! Yamcha's been doing great as well."
The floating shape shifter nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah. He's been really excited about this tournament and has been talking about it for days."
"Heh. Of course he was… until he heard that Piccolo had entered the competition to fight against you and the others. After that, his mood just did a complete nosedive," Oolong remarked, shaking his head at the man who was once considered a strong member of their group many, many years ago. "How the mighty have fallen."
"Ah, don't say that Oolong. I think Yamcha's got a really good chance in this tournament," Gohan chirped, beaming down at the pig thinking so poorly of their comrade. "He may not exactly be on Piccolo's level, but he's definitely in the same league as Tien and Krillin. If he's willing to give it a shot, I think he could give either of them a run for their money."
"Whatever you say kid," the pig shot back with a smile. "It is a hundred million big ones after all. Anyone's bound to put up a good fight for that. But as long as you, Trunks and Piccolo are in this tournament, I just don't see him or anybody else making it past the preliminaries."
Gleeful at the banter he was able to share with his companions, Gohan spent a few minutes chatting with them before deciding to duck out and grab a snack. Trotting over to one of the stalls with the shortest lines, the young half-Saiyan found himself rocking back and forth on his heels and checking out the items on the menu. Licking his lips at the sight of some yakisoba being made at the stove, the boy moved a few steps closer and had his gaze drawn to the young man working at the counter.
It was then he noticed the raven haired girl with the pigtails standing directly in front of him.
"I would like some ice tea and dango please," the girl in the red shirt and long green sleeves spoke.
The worker in the café style uniform smiled and jabbed the order into his till, "That'll be ten zeni, thanks."
Reaching into her pocket, the eleven-year-old spent a couple of seconds patting around her jeans before a murmur escaped her lips. "Hey. W-What the?" Moments later, Videl threw her head up and groaned, "Ah, damn it. I left my wallet back at home." Why the hell did she do that?
Every time she went out she never forgot to bring her wallet with her. But on the very day that she and her father were flying out to one of the biggest events in the history of the world, she'd gone on and left it on her desk by her laptop. She figured since they would be dining with X.S Cash the entire day she wouldn't need it for anything and had forgone standard morning preparations.
She had nobody to blame for this one but herself.
Cursing while the man behind the serving desk waited patiently for the girl to make a decision, Gohan, who'd been observing the commotion from behind, heard the girl's plight loud and clear and looked between her and the cashier troublingly. Recognizing that the girl had no money with her and was now looking forlornly towards the register, Gohan made the quick and easy decision to help her out.
Being the kindhearted soul that he was, there was no way he could leave someone hanging like this, even if they were a complete stranger.
Fishing into his pocket for some bills, the boy stepped forward and held the money out to the man. "I'll pay for it." His words surprising Videl and the worker, Gohan smiled towards the teen and stood up to full height. "That was ten zeni for an ice tea and dango, right? That's cool. Could I also get some yakisoba chicken noodles and a bottle of water with that please?"
Quickly shaking out of his daze, the service man smiled, "No problem, sir." Taking the money, the young worker processed it through the machine and handed Gohan his change. "Please wait off to the right for your orders. They should be ready shortly." Once the coins were dropped into his palm, the half-Saiyan and the raven haired girl stepped aside, allowing the next couple of people to make their picks.
Sensing a set of eyes on him, Gohan looked across to see the girl standing alongside him still staring up at his face with a bewildered gaze in play. Balking slightly at the sight of her striking blue eyes, the young hybrid smiled, "Hey."
"You didn't have to do that for me, you know," Videl spoke, still reeling a bit from the boy's gesture of kindness.
While she wouldn't have minded if she didn't get anything, since she could probably make her way back over the X.S Cash's luxury skybox if she wanted something to eat or drink, it'd still come as a bit of a shock to her that somebody, a person she'd never even met before, had come out of nowhere and used his own money to purchase food for her. In her many years of going out into the big city and shopping for the very few things that she needed, Videl had never seen or had someone do that for a complete stranger, let alone her.
The fact that it was a boy around her age, someone who probably wouldn't have had Good Samaritan approach as the first thing on their mind, that'd done it for her, came as an even bigger surprise to her.
"I could have paid for the stuff myself."
Gohan gave her a look, "Huh? B-But I thought you said you'd forgotten your wallet and that you didn't have any money with you. You also looked pretty upset about it, so I decided to help you out."
"Yeah, well…" Hesitating at first, the girl then threw the boy a momentary glare, "I would have found a way to pay for the food and drink myself. Alright? You didn't have to step in and use your money to buy the stuff that I wanted to get. Normal people don't do that for others." Not unless they were some kind of alien from outer space that lacked the concept of social interaction. Videl folded her arms and looked away, "I would have been just fine on my own."
"A-Alright," Gohan replied, deflating slightly as his gaze fixed onto the ground at his feet.
Noticing the boy's sudden shift in mood, Videl saw the young man's face turn from a once cheerful, farm-boyish vision of brightness to one of hurt and discomfort. It was almost as if his act of helping her had ended up hurting the person he was aiding, which in turn reflected on his actions.
Quickly realizing she may have been a bit too harsh on him in her remarks, Videl took a moment to reconsider her words and looked away shamefacedly, "I'm… really sorry. I shouldn't have responded like that. You did just pay for my food and drink after all." She then glanced across at the young man to see him look up at her in surprise. "Th-Thank you."
His brain processing her words of gratitude, Gohan then broke out his widest grin and nodded back to her happily. "You're welcome."
Beaming at seeing the cheerfulness return to his expression, which in turn brightened up her own mood as if she were standing by the sun itself, the raven haired girl turned to face him fully. "My name's Videl. What's your name?"
"Gohan," the boy chirped in response, at the same time staring gladly towards the teen. "It's… very nice to meet you."
"It's nice to meet you too."
The pair shared a smile with one another, an exchange that had them caught up for the longest of pauses.
They were so engrossed with staring at the person in front of them that they almost completely missed the sound of their orders being called out from the stand.
(TO BE CONTINUED)