It was to the warm touch of sunlight that Gohan woke. He fought it at first, but eventually his slumbering mind refused to rest any longer. With great reluctance, he opened his eyes.
The window was the source of the offending light that had awaken him. For some reason the curtains were thrown open, allowing the light to pour in. Groaning, the young man rolled away from it. If only he could get a couple more minutes, that was all he asked.
Unfortunately, Gohan had the unfortunate luck that when he woke up, he was awake and there was no use fighting it. Laying on the bed mattress, the dark-haired youth was painfully aware of the seconds that slowly crept by.
Today was the day.
Unable to resist any longer, Gohan sighed and tossed the comforter off of him and sat up, swinging his legs off of the bed to hang over the mattress' edge. For a moment he sat there looking at the carpet on the floor, hardly budging as his mind slowly became more and more alert. With a turn of his head, he saw a nearby chair that had today's wardrobe draped over it.
It had been six months since the Tribunal. The three Kais had taken their time as they deliberated the testimonies and arguments they had heard; that part had been nerve-wrecking for the young man. There had been more dispositions in which Paragus and his Ribbon House counterpart had demanded, calling upon witness after witness after witness. Even Lord Goku had been called for his role in the capture of Tao Pai Pai, though Paragus had damn near killed someone from the Ribbon House to keep Gohan off the stand. Apparently, his lawyer felt that the youth would've made things worse if he was to testify.
After everything that had happened, he didn't really blame the man.
When the Kais returned after their final deliberation, they had walked into the court room at a measured pace, their faces solemn. There was no indication what any of them would have ruled.
"After much deliberation," Lord Kai spoke, the center of attention for the entire room, "we find the accused, Prince Gohan of the Monkey House, not guilty for the assassination of the late-Demon Head Hercule."
Those words had meant the world to him. In fact, the entire Monkey House had erupted in cheers, causing Lord Kai to call for their silence.
"Don't make me use one of the scary genie's wishes on you," he threatened, which caused Popo to snapped his head towards him. Eyeing him, Lord Kai said, "Calm down, Bailiff, I'm not making a wish."
Regardless of that short episode, Gohan had felt relief. The feeling of the weight of the world had lifted off his shoulders. Yet, that was not all Lord Kai had said.
"Until a formal investigation has been conducted, the Ribbon Head Gero and Lord Blue will be taken into custody. They are to be charged with the assassination and conspiracy to cover up said assassination of the late-Demon Head Hercule."
As of right now, Gero and Blue were locked up at the Head House, undoubtedly receiving glares and promises of bodily harm from Piccolo. If it weren't for the counterspells decorating his cell, the former Demon Lord would not have bothered wasting his breath on them.
However, after the verdict had been read, Gohan had been whisked away by his mother, who had promptly—and literally—placed a leash around his neck.
"I am not letting my boy run off on me again!"
Those had been her words at the time and they had been echoed these last few months. The meaning behind those words had changed though.
Because it had been revealed the full extent of the relationship between Gohan and Videl, there had been many uncomfortable interrogations concerning it. To say both of their Houses were less than thrilled was an understatement. While Gohan had to contend with a couple of parents that wanted him to "pick a respectable Monkey girl," Videl had to fend off the outrage of her own court. Well, now that he thought about this, there were people in the Monkey House that were giving him stink eye too.
And that was only the first month. By the time the second had arrived, delegations of Monkey and Demon agents had come together for the first time in what must have been decades to hammer out a marriage agreement between the Monkey Prince and…well, Demon Head. The Monkey House had been doing its best to limit whatever bounty the Demon House would have received in their now-pending union while the Demon House was doing everything to squeeze out any and every concession it could get.
The sad part was that the two people most affected hadn't even been asked whether they wanted to be married or not. It was as if someone had realized the implications of the situation and had told anyone and everyone they could find about it. Seemingly overnight everyone had assumed it was a done deal.
It was towards the end of the second month, nearly the third month when Gohan had finally seen Videl. She had appeared on the verge of exasperation with everything that had been going on. That meeting between them lacked any words as the two had simply sat next to each other, leaning into and holding the other as they enjoyed a quiet moment.
At the very least, neither of them had been opposed to the idea of marriage. Again, this was used against them as assurance that the holy union would occur.
As if to make matters worse, the Lady Chichi had swooped in and assumed total command of the wedding plans.
The clothes lying on the chair were just one part of those preparations. Sighing, Gohan stood up and walked around his bed, coming to stand in front of the window. The shining sun bathed the country side surrounding the Head House in a gentle caress.
Of course, the wedding was being held at the Head House. Much like his return to the Monkey House, this was considered a big event and it was going to be taken advantage of. Heck, there was even a reception planned for after the ceremony. There was an itinerary somewhere that listed everything that was going to happen step-by-step. Undoubtedly, it had been written by his mother.
The sound of the door knob turning caught his ear then. Considering how soft it was, it was most likely a servant trying to carefully enter so they wouldn't disturb his sleep, not until they actually reached the bed. The door open and was closed just as softly, further proof that—"
"Oh, you're up."
Gohan snapped his head to a side. Standing in front of the door was Videl. The dark-haired woman looked much like she had the first time they had met after the Tribunal, though the young man had a pretty good idea why.
Slowly, Videl crossed the room until she came to stand next to him in front of the window. "Today's only just starting," she groaned as she squinted her eyes in the sunlight.
"Yeah," Gohan agreed.
"You know, I knew your mother was a little off her hinges, but I hadn't realized just how much until now."
Lady Chichi had been at Videl's side for weeks. From what Gohan had heard of, there had been a bunch of fuss of what the Demon Head would wear—from the color of the dress to the ribbons and fills to the cut. Then came what the bridesmaids would wear, which had launched an even bigger battle.
Lady Chichi had wanted something of ten people standing for the couple—ten people each that is. Videl had fought that tooth and nail until that number was down to one each. Standing for Videl would be her lady-in-waiting, whom was undoubtedly Erasa. For Gohan, he needed a…what was the word again? Best Man? Something like that. Unfortunately, the closest friend he could think of was Dende; yet, it was no secret that if he went with a Demon, there would be hell to pay. So he went with a safe choice from the Monkey House.
At least, that was the one choice that Gohan knew he could make that wouldn't have his mother completely change it behind his back. Poor Goten had no idea what was going on around him with all of the attention to make him presentable for the ceremony.
However, something was nagging at the dark-haired youth. If he recalled right, there had been a huge fuss made about him and Videl seeing each other prior to the ceremony. Something about bad luck, or so he was told. It was the first he was hearing about it and it didn't make much sense to him; apparently, Videl didn't seem to care about it either.
"She wants me to wear white," Videl complained, drawing the youth out of his musings. "White. I'm pretty sure there are people snickering about how dishonest that is."
"You know, if you're not found in your room, she's going to skin you alive," Gohan spoke.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. But I don't want to do this. I only agreed to this matrimony stuff because it was pretty much decided for me. Don't get me wrong, I kinda like the idea of you being mine for the rest of our lives, but all of this formality crap is just…"
Well, that was nice to hear. "Too bad we can't just elope," he joked. "The guards would find us real quick."
"I wonder why," Videl said as she gave him a sideways look.
"If it makes you feel any better, this isn't my thing either. I'd be fine with some priest wishing us a long marriage than all of this."
"If only we weren't important people."
Gohan snorted. "You're the important one, Miss Demon Head."
Videl returned the snort. "Look who's talking, Mr. Future Demon Head."
And suddenly it struck Gohan why the resistance from the Monkey House had practically vanished. By marrying Videl, he was right up to the top of the Demon House's hierarchy. The politics of it all was huge. No wonder Gero had wanted his own person to wed Videl.
"Today's gonna suck."
"Yeah, yeah, it is."
The servants were hustling around, creating a chaotic mess. The final touches on the décor had been placed the day previous, but that was only one part of the master plan.
Lady Chichi watched as tables were placed, the staff looking to her for approval. A blank stare meant it was right where she wanted it, but a glare meant they better make adjustments. The moment a table was placed to her liking, chairs were placed next to it, followed by a table cloth, china, flowers, the works.
Seeing as the ball room was slowly forming to her satisfaction, the Lady left the room. A short walk down a corridor led her to another room, this one holding the marriage ceremony. This one was already complete, only requiring some finishing touches. A white rug was being rolled down an aisle towards the other side of the room. A dais had been set up so that all on-lookers would see the moment her son was bound to his…his…her impending daughter-in-law.
The dark-haired woman wasn't all that happy with her son's choice. Deep down, she still thought a girl from the Monkey House would've made the best bride for her wayward child. Someone that could settle down the wanderlust that permeated from him. He had spent enough time traveling; it was time to settle down at home.
Unfortunately, a certain someone had realized how valuable having not one, but two of the Higher Houses under Monkey control. Lady Chichi gritted her teeth. Vegeta had nearly laughed himself silly when he had heard of the unexpected relationship, and then promptly halted any interference. Though his position of Head Stewart excluded him from the activities of the Monkey House, he still had influence, and it was that influence that forced Lady Chichi to stop her persuasion on her son.
At least, her husband felt the same as her. There was friction growing between Goku and Vegeta as of late. As of yet, it hadn't boiled over into something rash, but Lady Chichi knew something would come of it.
That would wait though. There were more important matters at hand.
Approaching one of the pews, the Lady ran her fingers over a thin, white ribbon, rubbing her fingertips back and forth on the cloth. A pink flower was attached to the bow, giving it some color.
If only she could believe its symbolism.
That was another reason not to like the bride. The hussy had been giving it and giving it up often. No amount of white would wash that away. Looking at all of the white décor, perhaps she had gone overboard with it.
At least, the Demon Head had allowed her full control of the wedding. The girl had that much sense at least. Sure, there had been a few confrontations, but Lady Chichi had won all but a few. One of those could be chalked up as a win for her though, considering her son's choice in best man. A smile that was close to being a smirk appeared on her lips at the thought of that.
"You seem pleased with yourself."
Lady Chichi looked over her shoulder, seeing her husband approaching her. "Everything seems to be in order," Lord Goku observed.
"They will be," she replied as she looked once more to the dais. Two servants were placing a pedestal on it with a large bouquet of flowers. From either side, large veils were lowered from the ceiling, drifting downward and to the side until both met at the center, hiding the dais from sight—the finishing touch to the room. Once the audience had been gathered and the wedding parties arrived at their places, the curtains would pull apart to reveal all her hard work. "Why have you not prepared yourself yet?"
"Because I wanted to make sure that you have plenty of time to prepare yourself as well."
"Is it that time already?"
Lady Chichi sighed. It seemed in her pursuit of perfection this day, she had nearly forgotten about herself. "The rest of the preparations will be carried out as planned," Lord Goku reassured her.
"Very well. I will see myself off." Leaving the room, Lady Chichi couldn't help but feel she was forgetting something.
It wasn't right; it wasn't fair! How could this have happened?
Evil was prevailing right before his eyes—and people were letting it! It defied all comprehension.
He was the hero of this story!
If anyone was supposed to be married this day, it was Sharpner. Yet, he was still trapped in this small, furry body. That evil witch had seen to that. But, if she thought that would stop him, then she was dead wrong.
After all, he had learned to talk! None of her other animal victims had figured that out! Sharpner couldn't remember how he had either, but it was of little consequence. Only a hero could have done it and he was just such a hero.
Even though it seemed like his Arch Enemy was winning this day, that was not going to be the case. You see, there was this old story in his village of a girl kissing…something, he couldn't remember that part of the story. The important part though, was that whatever it was became a prince and they lived happily ever after together.
Also, there was a lot of sex, though Sharpner wasn't sure why that wasn't considered the happily ever after part.
Anyways, this wedding thing was bringing all sorts of people to it. There would be princesses out the wazoo, so he had his pick of which babe he wanted to make him a prince. She was of course going to be hot—even hotter than the Princess, though that might take a little work. That bodacious babe was supposed to be at the alter and it would be tricky to get her to make him Prince Sharpner. If the opportunity came up, he would definitely try his luck and then get lucky with her.
He could purify the impurity Arch Enemy had done to her.
"Just you wait, Arch Enemy," he squeaked. "You haven't seen the last of me, you hear me? You haven't seen the last of the Great Sharpner!"
And then he laughed, his laughter filling the room he was held in. The candle that lit the room waved and flickered, creating an ominous feel.
"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!"
Music began to play from the orchestra in two of the corners of the room. The guests walked on the white rug, careful not to step of the flower petals that had been scattered on it at the last minute.
Lady Chichi couldn't help but look over her shoulder from her seat at the front, watching the procession of guests finding their seats. The reactions she saw on their faces pleased her greatly, leaving her wanting to watch more. However, she was a proper lady and she did not stare.
But she would make many glances.
"Everyone is appreciating your work," Lord Goku reassured her, calmly looking ahead at the veil. It was more like a curtain, but the material was thinner, thus not making it an actual curtain. It was only a matter of time before all the guests had been seated, the veil would be drawn apart, and the ceremony would start.
"You really outdid yourself," another voice complimented her from the opposite side. Seated next to the Lady Chichi was Queen Bulma of the Monkey House. Looking splendid in her red dress, the queen was marveling at the décor while simultaneously keeping a firm hand on the little princeling of hers.
"I do pride myself on making special occasions special," the dark-haired woman preened.
"And we are the richer for it."
"Mom, do I really have to wear this thing?" Prince Trunks complained, shifting about in his doublet.
In an instant, gone was the pleasant Monkey Queen and in her place was the domineering mother. "You will behave yourself, do you understand me?" she snapped, her blue eyes blazing.
Immediately, Prince Trunks shrank underneath her gaze. "Yes, mother."
And then the serene queen was back, if only for a moment. It seemed her child was not quite done. "Why do I have to sit her while Goten gets to be up there?"
"Because he has a place in the ceremony," the blue-haired woman replied. "If you had a place in it, you would be there too."
"Why didn't I get a place?"
At Queen Bulma's sharp glare, the boy immediately repeated, "I mean, why did I not get a place?"
"Lady Chichi, would you care to answer this one?" the queen asked sweetly.
"It is a rather simple answer," Lady Chichi replied just as sweet before her voice dropped an octave. "I did not want you in the ceremony. Now, do as you are told, or your mother will be the least of your worries."
Prince Trunks stared at her with wide eyes. "M-mom? She threatened me."
"I know, dear," Queen Bulma said complacently, "and just remember that I can always leave her in charge of your punishment."
There was silence in answer.
Ah, now that was better. Again, Lady Chichi looked over her shoulder, satisfied that most of seating was occupied. It would only be a matter of time before they started.
That moment was upon them when the door was quietly shut and the orchestra changed songs. Gone was the soft, gentle music as it was replaced with a louder, bombastic proclamation. Trumpets announced the beginning of the ceremony, the cue to begin removing the veil.
Slowly, the veil was pulled back, returning to its place at the ceiling. On the dais was the Lady-in-waiting, Princess Erasa and across from her was little Prince Goten. Between them was a minister that was ready to start the ceremony. There was only one problem.
There was no sign of Prince Gohan, or Demon Head Videl.
Instead, right at the center of the dais was a chair, a sign sitting on top of it. Bold letters stated WENT ON HONEYMOON. BE BACK SOON.
A sinking feeling filled Lady Chichi's gut. This wasn't happening; it couldn't be happening, not again! All of that time and effort and money spent just to have a sign?!
It started faintly, but it grew. The sinking feeling was being burned as the flames of rage began to roar within the Monkey Lady.
A loud, enraged shriek rang out with no sign of every stopping.
The crisp air was a welcomed feel on Gohan's skin. The warmth from the sun caressed him as he walked side-by-side with his not-so blushing bride.
Well, to be fair, she was smiling; Videl was just being reserved was all.
It had been surprisingly easy to leave the castle. After much thought and consideration, there was no way their guards would let them simply walk out of the castle. So, they had taken the sheets from Gohan's bed and made a rope out of them, climbing down it from the window. With freedom before them, the couple had eloped.
"There is just something about the open road that speaks to me," Gohan said after awhile.
"Is it telling you anything?" Videl replied, looking at him amused.
"Not right now, but I think once we get far enough from Head House, it'll tell us where to go."
"You know, this is the second party of your mother's you've skipped out on."
"You don't feel bad about that? Even just a little?"
Gohan shrugged. "That scene just isn't for me. If it were left up to me, we would've gone into a little chapel, made some vows, and be over with it."
"Funny, I was thinking the same thing."
That caused the young man to raise an eyebrow. "Oh? I thought you were into these sorts of things, what with you being a princess and all."
"Like you, Gohan, I was removed from all that at an early age. In case you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly the most girly of princesses."
"Or Queen for that matter."
"Watch it, buster, that's Demon Head. You're the one that's going to be the king."
Gohan raised an arm up to scratch the back of his head. "Is that what I'll be? Weird. I only found out last year that I was a prince, but now I'll be a king."
"You've certainly climbed up the social ladder." Videl was playfully smirking at him before she let out a sigh. "Unfortunately for us, I don't think we're going to be let off the hook for this wedding."
That put a damper on the dark-haired youth's mood. "How come?"
"Like I said, we're special people, which means we're gonna have to do this stupid wedding ceremony eventually."
Well, that was a bummer. Still, they had time. They were on this honeymoon thing royal couples were supposed to take, just without an army of guards following them around. Sooner or later, they would be tracked down and forced to be guarded, or worse, returned to one of the Houses. Still, they hadn't been vagabonds for nothing. There were plenty of places in the country for them to hide and laugh at their persuers.
Unfortunately, Videl was thinking further than that. "Ugh, just think of the party waiting for us when we get back," she grumbled.
"Party?" Gohan repeated before shaking his head. "If I know my mother, it'll be an execution…"
To Zerolink100: Don't forget, Videl's a princess. In this sort of time period, she wouldn't have a choice in the matter. If her father arranged a marriage for her, she would have had to gone through with it. Since Gohan was in the picture and offered a much better deal, that's the reason the first arrangement was cancelled. It seems crazy, but women were basically bargaining chips at one point, used for politically-convenient unions, or to enrich the father.
Well, folks, this is the end for Dragon Quest Z: Rebirth. It took awhile to finish, but it was fun writing. I wouldn't mind revisiting this little universe in the future at some point. In the meantime, I'd like to thank everyone that read, reviewed, and favorited this story. Ms Videl Son and I really appreciate it.
As for my next story, I'll be returning to my Batman/Justice League series. I'm in the midst of writing up that story, though it won't be posted until the completion of the current story, Three Sides of Fate. For anyone interested, it is currently being posted on AnonymousVoid's account. I do hope to write another DBZ story at some point, but I'm not sure when they may be at this point.
Again, thank you everyone for reading and reviewing!
RyRy tested; MaMa approved