Title– Ties That Bind
Disclaimer– I do not own Dragon Ball Z, nor will I ever.
Summary– It was supposed to be a simple mission. Instead, it was the beginning of discoveries that, perhaps, should have never been made. Especially when it could alter Piccolo's life in a very unwanted way.
Dull, yellow lines extended in vertical and horizontal lines, creating a chart on the black screen. A brighter dot blinked annoyingly, the name underneath it labeling it Earth. A pale finger pointed to the blip.
"We have traced the stone to here: Earth. The inhabitants of Earth are called humans. They have poor power levels and should pose no problem."
"Boring! I don't care about the inhabitants, all I want is the stone. Egeg and yourself will take a small craft to the planet, find it, and bring it back to me. Kill anyone who gets in your way. Understood, Kuujo?" the one in charge said, seated in a remarkable throne, sounding cultured, throaty and rapacious.
"My lord, if you don't mind my asking, shouldn't we be taking a recon group along?" Kuujo inquired politely.
"Unobtrusiveness is the key!" he shouted, infuriated.
"Of course, forgive me, my lord."
Kuujo fisted a hand over his heart, bowed quickly and retreated from his lord's uncontrollable temper. His white tail, split in a way that suggested two, jerked about in agitation. White hair kept slipping out of its wrap, covering his eyes, and, irritated, he pushed it back.
Egeg soon followed him out of the room into the bland, poorly lit, metal corridor and Kuujo gave him with a cocky smile. In return, the purple, unfriendly, behemoth snarled. Completely used to this, he was unhindered.
"Prepare a mini-craft for the two of us. We will be leaving for Earth shortly," he clapped his hands enthusiastically.
An unhappy Egeg growled again as he trudged by, heading toward the ship hangar. Immediately Kuujo stopped smiling and turned the other way. He had a few items to get before they could leave.
Ugly timeworn and tea-stained texts were cluttered onto an often-neglected wooden desk. They looked as if they had been rolled up for many years and tied together, the heavy paper torn around the edges. Satsu bent her snout closer, squinting her eyes to decipher a symbol that had been smudged and crinkled. She lifted her cherry bangs with an orange, furry hand to see more clearly and flicked her shaggy tail in annoyance.
"Ask them for a little information and they give me two hundred year old pieces of paper. This really is not what I asked for!"
Fife, who had been one of the many sandwiches stacked onto his plate, looked up, startled but not ignorant to Satsu's outbursts. His large, pointed ears throbbed with the loud noise, but he was used to it and said nothing of it.
"What's wrong?" he asked, honestly concerned, with a mouthful of bread.
"Don't talk with your mouth full!" Satsu commanded sharply.
"Look at this, Fife. I should probably be using this crud as toilet paper!" she ripped the papers from the desk, holding them up and shaking them angrily. "It's all written in Indian! Indian!"
Curious, Fife got up, grabbing another sandwich, and looked quizzically at the texts. He raised his green brown ridges in confusion, seeing only lines that made unidentifiable pictures.
"You can read that?"
"No, but my decoder has been translating it."
She held up a black, rectangular box. The machine had two screens, one for putting in the symbols and the other for English translations, and an inkless pen in between them.
His brown tail, which he liked to think of as somehow relating him to cats since he was so fond of them, wagged anxiously. He took a bite of his sandwich.
"It's a blue diamond, Fife! Imagine how much that could be worth. One million zeni. Or more! My father would finally be able to retire and get away from that little bug Garlic."
Satsu gritted her pointed teeth and her nails dug into the texts, threatening to rip the very delicate and antique papers.
"What?" she snapped.
"The papers," he pointed tentatively.
Calmly, she set them back down on the desk. Fife was hesitant to ask her anything in her current mood, so he took another bite of his food to let her cool off a bit. The atmosphere was odd now, but he was used to that too. He carefully swallowed his morsel before speaking.
"So where is the diamond? Does it say?"
Fife glanced at the papers as if the answer would pop out from the unreadable symbols. He gobbled down the rest of his sandwich and wanted to go get another, but since that would have been rude he stayed put.
"I'm thinking there's a cave in that mountain that you could always see from your cat friends tower. There used to be a tribe there that eventually migrated closer to your friends tower, which is mentioned in the papers. If we go now we can find it before supper."
Satsu grabbed the sleeve of his ninja outfit, which was a match of her own and rapidly being outgrown. He refused to wear the head covering and the boots that went with it, saying that they were uncomfortable, so he went barefoot.
"Can we visit Master Korin?"
"After we get the diamond," she said hotly and, seeing him go to the table for the rest of his lunch, added: "and only if we leave now!"
Innocently cradling three sandwiches in one arm, already eating one in his other hand, he followed her to the door. They leapt into the air and off; Satsu flying her fastest, eager and set on finding that stone that very day, and Fife making himself go slow, not wanting to lead.
Two hours later they spotted the cave and landed, both sweating and tired. It should have taken only one hour, but Satsu had gotten her directions mixed up on multiple occasions. She entered the cave without any problem or time to rest. Fife went in reluctantly.
"I can't see anything, Satsu."
In response, a small flame ignited in her palm, illuminating the cave. He offered his thanks, to which she snorted at. A few minutes into the tunnel, it branched out into three separate paths. Satsu grumbled and chose the one on the far left: the smallest tunnel. It forced her to stoop so that she could fit; Fife had to crawl.
They went on like that for some time, the roof getting closer to the floor as they went. Eventually she was crawling as well, slow and complicated because she had to keep one hand up for light.
"Diamonds shouldn't have meant that much to the Indians, you know that? A piece of raw meat was worth more to them," Satsu began, bored of the silence.
"So it's weird. They called it a gift from their Gods. Tell me what's wrong with that picture."
Fife concentrated on the ground before him, avoiding any pointed rocks in the ground that would hurt if he crawled on them, trying to figure out what she was talking about. Completely ignorant of Indian culture and very aware that diamonds were held in high prestige, he found nothing odd about it.
Ahead, there was a hole that looked big enough for them to get through. Satsu poked her head through fearlessly, scanning the other side carefully. It looked spacious, large enough for them to stack themselves atop each other and still have enough room to fit. Since the light touched no wall, she assumed that it continued on.
With the greatest of ease, she crawled through the hole. Fife was right behind her, squeezing his wide shoulders through. He braced his hands on the floor, trying to pull himself out, but his hips were too big to get through.
"Satsu! I'm stuck."
"Help me, please," he pleaded.
Despite her mumbling and complaining, she went over and hooked her arms around his upper body and tugged. When that failed to work, she planted one of her heavy boots on the wall, pulling with all of her strength and weight. He finally slid through and Satsu fell back, Fife landing on top of her.
"Get off me!" she hollered, unsuccessfully trying to push nearly two hundred pounds off of her.
"Sorry," he said and stood up.
Satsu got up as well, brushing off her outfit briskly and rekindling the fire in her hand. He smiled meekly at her, to which she turned her snout up at him and quickened her pace.
The chamber was circular for the most part and moisture covered the rocky yet smooth walls. Fife's oversized ears picked up on the sound of trickling water. He tripped over a rock that jutted out of the ground, stumbling forward into Satsu and hastily apologizing.
"I think this is it."
He stared at the mound of squared stone that sat on a tiny island of rock, surrounded by an even thinner stream of water that tinkled from a small opening in the rock. The stand looked to be painstakingly carved with elaborate designs that strongly resembled the Indian symbols on the old texts. One the stand, in a brass platter that had dulled and tarnished with age, was a diamond tinged with the slightest hint of blue.
"I love when they mark the merchandise for me," she grinned.
By simply reaching over, Satsu grabbed the precious gem, which just fit into her hand. She made a face of repulsion at it, holding it closer to the flame for examination. It looked as ordinary as anything that had been chiseled off of a mining wall, not even unusually heavy.
"It's not even shiny enough for me to see my reflection in."
"Aw, Satsu, I think it looks kind of pretty," Fife said.
"You would," she snorted.
Fife put his face close to the stone, squinting against the heat of the flame. He touched it curiously, finding it cold and damp. Something moved inside the stone, like a flow of melted metal.
"Woah!" Satsu exclaimed, dropping the diamond in her surprise.
With a huff, she snatched it up and shoved it into the pouch she had brought along then retied it onto the sash around her waist.
"Is there any way out other then the way we came?"
"How would I know?" she said snidely.
They both looked about the room for another exit, Fife sticking close to Satsu. There was a large opening, placed so carefully that it could have very well been a continuation of the previous tunnel. Both welcomed the easy trek, which actually become difficult some distance in. The ceiling declined at a steep angled and the ground inclined upward slightly into a wide opening. Satsu fit in crawling on knees and elbows, while Fife was so big that he had to belly down and drag himself.
By the time they made it out, the sun had just begun to set. They were thirsty, Fife's stomach rumbled noticeably, and they were sore and fatigued. They sprawled out on the barren, hard ground outside to finally rest. Their eyes were open, staring up into a cloudless, darkening sky.
"What the fuck is that?" Satsu wondered aloud.
They both sat up, their necks craned back to watch. The glow that had surrounded the objects died and they only grew larger as the got closer. Satsu's eyes suddenly grew wide.
She scrambled to her feet, grabbing Fife, who had also begun to panic and get to his feet, by the elbow and pushed him behind a large boulder that was near their cave exit. She pushed him down and tried to cover his body with her own, smaller one. Several tense, terrifying moments passed. There were two painfully loud impacts that shook the ground, even from a couple miles away, and sent sand drizzling onto their backs. Then it stopped and everything went silent.
Author's Note– I would like to thank WingedSiamese, and also give her credit, for allowing me the use of Fife and Satsu. They are her characters and not mine. This story idea was also originally hers as well, but it was discontinued, so she kindly gave me permission to use the concept. WingedSiamese is an incredibly talented artist and I will be putting up a link to her site later for those who want to see what these characters actually look like. If I put it up now, then a few things will be spoiled in this story. And that's just no fun. Also, be warned that her Fife and my version look very different, as I have changed some key aspects to make things a tad more realistic.
Planned Update– Unknown. I am working on this story as something to just kind of play and have fun with, something that's supposed to finish the story W.S. started and isn't ever going to finish. ;) I am juggling Determination, Another Life and Rebellion (and school) so who knows.