This story has been inspired by LessWrong's "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality". There's quite a bit of 'rational' fics that follow a similar principle to that one, but I couldn't find any on Dragon Ball, so here I am.

The main premise is: what if Goku hitting his head when he was a child, instead of simply giving him amnesia, had made him way smarter than he was? However, just like LessWrong in HPMOR, that is not the only change I've made to the setting - some characters are a bit different, I've added backstories or motivations to some others, and so on. Expect the story to diverge pretty wildly as we go on and these changes influence the setting more and more. In general however I still wanted to keep the feel of Dragon Ball, so don't expect any hard scientific rigour or anything like that - the Dragon World is pretty crazy and it can't really be contained easily in a set of rules! But there's going to be some science-y talk here and there because I'm a nerd and Bulma is too.

I don't have a regular schedule for updating in mind but hopefully I can keep it to one chapter more or less every week. I'll try to keep a bit ahead with the writing in any event. I hope the story is fun to read as much as it is for me to write!

Disclaimer: the idea and characters of Dragon Ball are owned by Akira Toriyama. This is a simple non-profit fan parody.

The child was lying in bed, on sheets wet with his sweat; his scruffy hair stuck to his forehead, encrusted with dry blood. His breath was irregular, and his skin flushed by a fever. He kept his eyes closed, and barely moved, except for the rapid up-and-down movement of his chest, and the occasional twitching of his monkey tail.

The old man, sitting beside him, had little to do except drenching a towel in cold water, wringing it, using it to cool down the child's temperature, and damning his own stupidity and carelessness.

He could have prayed, but was not sure that would help. They say you have only six degrees of separation, at most, from any person on the planet. He knew for sure he had three from God, and that removed a bit of the mystique from the whole affair.

So he drenched the towel.

Wrung it.

Put it on the child's forehead.

And damned his stupidity.

So passed the night.

At morning, the child looked like he was improving - which really, should not have been possible at all. For all the man had ever known of human physiology, by all means, that child should have been dead by now. But then again, the prehensile tail that occasionally instinctively wrapped around his wrist, as if seeking a comforting touch, remembered him that the child was not human.

The head wound caused by that fatal fall off a cliff was frighteningly deep. He had to coat his own hands in a thin layer of ki to sterilise them and remove with his own fingers - as delicately as possible - shards of skull bone from the child's soft and exposed brain. And yet he was recovering. He had always possessed this incredible vitality - each wound healing at breakneck speed, skin and bones and muscle growing fast to mend the damage, without scar, heck, even better than they were before he would have sworn, harder, stronger. One day he would break his arm in training, and one week later he would be back in action, his punches more powerful than ever. The old man had been wondering what the limit of that ability could possibly be, and now he was discovering it, and wished he didn't have to. But at least, the child was recovering. It had taken almost one month, but the bone was slowly sealing closed again. The fever was still high but not as crazy as the first days. He was resting more or less serene, rather than being horribly stiff, and then suddenly jerking like in a seizure, as it had happened for the first days.

For the first time in one whole month, the old man allowed himself to relax a bit. Immediately, he nodded off, and fell asleep.


He startled back up, thinking he must have only dreamt the voice.

The child was sitting up in the bed, his eyes open and lively, if a bit confused. He looked fine.

"Goku!" cried the old man, in joy "You're awake!"

"Of course I am," replied the child, a bit perplexed "if I were not, how could I be talking to you?"

The Optimised Wish Project

A Dragon Ball fanfiction by Gan_HOPE326

Chapter 1 - Pride, prejudice, and Dragon Balls

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a boyfriend. Usually, finding one would not be a matter of great concern, more so if the girl herself has been well endowed by Nature with gifts of beauty and grace. For some, it may be a question of having meetings organised by their families with scions of equally worthy descent until they finally meet their perfect match. For others, the matter may be settled less formally, by mingling with people the same age, at parties or other such social gatherings.

Bulma Briefs being the eccentric, headstrong, stupendously clever, and exceptionally hard to please heiress she was, elected to grab a capsule case, a few supplies, and go on a road trip around the world, chasing after seven magical items with a radar of her own making.

Now, it might be a legitimate question to ask why would such a smart and ambitious girl, given the chance to have one wish miraculously granted, opt for something as seemingly bland as asking for a boyfriend. Part of it might have been that she wasn't still really sure that any of this was real at all - shining glass balls that emitted a weak electromagnetic signal and ancient stories read in dusty books were hardly proof of supernatural portents - so she didn't really confront the question with as much seriousness as it may deserve. But it wasn't just that. In her mind, growing up in a house with a vapid mother she couldn't really spend much time with without ending up bored to death and a father that, while able to provide more stimulating company, would also mostly pass his life immersed in whatever projects he busied himself with at the moment, she had built up the ideal of a boyfriend as a life companion, someone she could finally relate to as an equal, both able to pay attention to her and to keep her interest.

And then she had grown up, and she had started meeting boys, and they were all dumb as fuck.

Well, she was probably the most brilliant mind in her age group, so that was all very relative, but still. The kind of rich boys she would usually meet were useless spoiled brats; whatever brains they had were dulled out by the comforts of an easy, unchallenging life. And so she had started to despair. She was already 16, so she was absolutely, positively sure that if she couldn't find a decent boyfriend right now she would end up alone or together with someone with half her brain like her father had and then still basically be alone and it's not like this was about parental abandonment issues or a desperate plea for attention or anything.

Some would have wished for wealth, or power, or immortality. But she already had the first, did not care for the second, and the third, well, she wouldn't feel too good about cheating her scientific genius out of such a worthy challenge.

But a decent boyfriend? Now that would really take a miracle.

The small car was having a bit of a hard time climbing the twisty, steep roads of Mount Paozu. Still, slowly but surely, with a low gear ingrained, it was making progress. Using a flying vehicle would have been perhaps far more convenient, but with the dense foliage and uneven terrain all around it would have been much more difficult to find a convenient landing spot.

I wish for a boyfriend; said boyfriend must be a male human in an age range between 16 and 20 who satisfies all my internal criteria for physical attractiveness and personal compatibility up to as high a degree as reasonable; he has to not be coerced into becoming such, but take the choice of his own free will upon meeting me; our meeting can come to fruition through any circumstances that make it the most natural, but not later than six months from now.

During her trip, thinking about the exact form of her wish had become one of Bulma's best ways to kill time as she drove or piloted lazily across largely barren landscapes. She had read her share of stories about malevolent genies and monkey's paws; and while the legends about the Dragon Balls did not suggest that Shenron, the wish-granting dragon, was malicious, you never knew. And it was a nice exercise to look for all the logical loopholes. Bulma could not stop herself from imagining with a tinge of pride that she may be acknowledged as the one who laid down the best phrased wish in history by an eternal divine being.

Speaking of divine, if Shenron could really do anything, did that not mean that he could also probably create human life?

I wish for a boyfriend; said boyfriend must be a male human in an age range between 16 and 20 who satisfies all my internal criteria for physical attractiveness and personal compatibility up to as high a degree as reasonable; he has to exist and have lived and grown up naturally as a human being at the time of this wish, and he has to not be coerced into becoming such, but take the choice of his own free will upon meeting me; our meeting can come to fruition through any circumstances that make it the most natural, but not later than six months from now.

There, that was better. The thought of having a sentient being materialised at your beck and call for such purposes felt decidedly creepy.

The summit was close now. The radar kept blipping, marking a spot somewhere ahead of her; the third dimension indicator suggested she was almost level now. The signal was very clear and strong, which suggested the Dragon Ball must lay somewhere out in the open, or at most inside a building with thin walls. No caves or deep fissures, luckily. That would have made the recovery much trickier.

Wait a second, what if the dragon didn't listen to all of her wish but just started granting it as soon as she expressed the key request?

Dragon, I will now lay down my wish; it is not to be granted until you hear again the words 'please grant my wish'. I wish for a boyfriend; said boyfriend must be a male human in an age range between 16 and 20 who satisfies all my internal criteria for physical attractiveness and personal compatibility up to as high a degree as reasonable; he has to exist and having lived and grown up naturally as a human being at the time of this wish, and he has to not be coerced into becoming such, but take the choice of his own free will upon meeting me; our meeting can come to fruition through any circumstances that make it the most natural, but not later than six months from now. Please grant my wish!


The car entered a large clearing. There was a hut in the middle, some chopped wood left out in front of it, and no one in sight. The Dragon Ball was closer than ten meters now, and the accuracy of the radar started getting a bit wonky at this range. Bulma would need to follow the signal carefully and keep an eye on the blip's fluctuations on the screen. She stopped the car, carefully opened the door, and started stepping out. The silence would have felt almost scary to her just a few weeks ago, when she had never left the city, but now she was getting used to it. She quietly put a hand on the holster on her belt and drew the gun, with a slightly shaking hand.

The rock, almost two meters in diameter, flew high in the air, darkening the sun for a moment. Then, as it was falling down, Goku's fist rose to meet it in the perfect spot where every stress would be amplified through its shape and cracks; and Goku jumped through it, while the stone broke into pieces before him and ended up shattered on the ground.

He landed safely on a single foot, balancing himself with his tail, so he did not step on any shards with sharp edges.

The rock was now many rocks. Did it even make sense to think of it any more as 'the rock', Goku thought in slight amusement? None of the resulting fragments had any less the properties of rock-ness than the original did; nor did their shape feel especially more incongruous, though the fresh edges were still to be weathered and smoothed by time and wear.

It was time to end the morning training for today and go have lunch, so he went back to where he had left his day's catch. The deer had been cleaved sharply in two by a hit of his pole. Still, there was no mistaking it, those were merely two halves of one, single, deer. His identity had not been lost, even when broken. Was it because the deer had such a much more well defined shape than a rock? Was it because it was alive, because somewhere in his animal mind he still used to have a simple, blurry notion of myself that a rock never would? Was it then right to cleave it in two, to divide what wanted to stay one?

Goku sighed, as he slapped the animal's remains on his shoulders. Not the first time his musings led him to consider vegetarianism, nor the last, most likely. But grandpa had always told him that a healthy martial artist, strong in body and mind, also needed meat to build his own muscle. And it was not like the forest was not full of predators who would kill prey without a second thought just the same. So he would cook the deer, and eat it, and its flesh would become his flesh. What would that mean; where would the deer end, and Goku begin?

Then he saw the infernal creature standing in the middle of the clearing in front of the house; and next to it, what looked to all effects like another human. He let all thoughts instantly slide away and reverted back to his purely instinctual self. Like one of those predators he was thinking about a moment early - he dropped his catch, in silence, then slid the pole he kept tied to his back out of its scabbard, and carefully walked around until the sun was behind him, and the wind came from the front. The infernal creature was now between him and the human, which placed him in the human's blind spot, and that was just fine. He could take one out before the other even had time to realise what was happening. And he did not fear the human, but whatever was unknown was a potential danger. In times like these, he would stop questioning, and just act.

Swiftly and surely, he emerged from the bushes, and with a scream, he commanded his pole to extend, right as it smashed into that portentous monster.

Of all the noises Bulma was trying to keep an ear out for in the middle of this gods-forgotten mountainous wilderness, "scrapyard car compactor" was not one she expected. Her heart jumped in her throat, and she quickly turned around to see a wild kid with scruffy hair and a monkey's tail systematically turning her car into an equivalent amount of bent metal and shattered glass with a pole that was apparently made of wood and at least three times his body length.

She blinked.

Yep, still the same scene.

She rose her gun to the level.

"Stop doing that!" she screamed.

The kid stopped and raised his eyes to meet her. He did not look feral as before, but he didn't seem scared either, though his body language made him look somewhat wary. Rather, his eyes betrayed only a glimpse of genuine curiosity.

"You can lower your weapon." he said "Or at least, that is what I imagine that is."

"It is." answered Bulma, uncertainly relaxing her grip. She didn't really feel like shooting a young kid, anyway. "Why did you smash my car, but are okay with me?"

"You, I know I can beat." he stated, matter-of-factly. That felt unnerving, coming from the boy who had just wrecked a car with a wooden staff.

"Well, here's to hoping you won't need to." said the girl, putting the gun back in the holster. "Who are you?"

"An interesting question. What would you expect to be a satisfactory answer? I could give you my name, of course, but that would not convey anything of my true essence - it is, after all, but a conventional moniker used to refer to the person that is myself. In fact, it could be said to be even more devoid of meaning as right now no one alive knows my name except me, so I could tell you anything else, and it would be equally valid. Or I could tell you about my life - which would probably not be the intended answer, and would still not tell you much about who I am, as a simple series of events does not inform you of how those events shaped me, specifically. Nor would the me who lived those events be the same that faces you right now - as this is the me that has gone through them, and has been changed by them."

He paused a bit, lost in thought.

"Your name will do fine." uttered Bulma, a bit stunned.

Of all things she could possibly expect from a wild kid with a monkey's tail who grew up in the mountains, philosophising was not one of them.

"Very well, we shall settle for that for now." answered the kid, shrugging "My name is Son Goku."

"Nice to meet you, Goku. And I'm... I mean, my name is Bulma Briefs."

She stood still, her hands raised, while Goku slowly walked closer and inspected her. He went around, and even prodded at her with his pole. Bulma noticed the pole looked shorter than before, but thought better than inquiring about that at this moment. She needed to get out of this pinch first and earn his trust. Still, she was awfully curious about that.

"You seem alright." concluded Goku "I don't think you're dangerous. Still, your body is unusual. I assume you're a female? Those look like mammaries."

"How tactful." wryly commented Bulma "Why, yes, I am a girl. Never seen one before, have you?"

"Read mentions about them in books." commented Goku absent-mindedly "And I see that animals have males and females, so it just seemed natural to me."

"Books? You have books here?"

"My grandpa used to bring me lots when I asked. After he died, I haven't gotten any new ones though."

Bulma registered this as potentially useful information. She wasn't sure she had any books beyond science texts and instruction manuals with her to trade with, but it should not have been too hard to get more.

"Very well. You don't seem like you pose a danger." concluded Goku "Can you tell me what was that thing?"

"That thing that you smashed to tiny pieces was my car." answered Bulma, not without a tinge of irritation "You really don't know about them? How sheltered are you? I imagine books would mention them."

"Mine don't. What was it for?"

"It was a piece of machinery. Like a carriage that moves on its own."

"Oh, transportation. I see." Goku almost seemed disappointed "I guess I got alarmed for nothing. I apologise for destroying your property." he finally concluded, bowing slightly.

Seeing his politeness, Bulma finally relaxed and smiled.

"What's done is done. Don't worry - I have plenty of replacements for it." she laughed. "But still, I would say you owe me one, Son Goku."

"I suppose that's fair."

Goku had said he considered her safe, but still, he seemed perpetually on his guard; and he did not stop for one moment looking inquisitive about her, her clothing, and general appearance. Well, not too strange given this was his first time seeing a girl (and apparently any human at all in quite some time). He sat down on a rock at a couple of meters of distance, and nonchalantly kept his staff out of its scabbard, leaning on his shoulder.

"You are very strong." commented Bulma.

"I learned the martial arts from my grandpa. Now I train by myself every day."

"Well, yes, but... you seem stronger than I would have expected, still. Human muscles should not be able to do something like that", and she waved in the direction of the smashed car "no matter how strong they get."

"Well, obviously your knowledge is wrong." calmly replied Goku "Because I just did that, in front of your eyes. And I will tell you, my grandpa was stronger than me. And he said his master was stronger still."

"Mmmm." Bulma got thoughtful "I wonder. I would like it if some day you allowed me to test your strength."

"In combat? You would not stand a chance."

"My, no!" she laughed "I have machines. Well, not here. Forget it for now."

"I see. So, have you come this far just looking for me?" Goku's eyes got a hint more suspicious "To... test my strength?"

"Not at all! I did not know you were even here. Wait a moment."

Bulma turned around, grabbed a sack and started rummaging into it. She pulled out two glassy orange globes, roughly the size of a grapefruit. They had small red stars shining inside.

"I am looking for these."

Goku extended a hand; Bulma had a moment of hesitation but then let him take one of the balls, touch it and weigh it.

"They're called Dragon Balls. They are ancient artefacts, and I know that one of them should be around here."

"I know." said Goku "It's in my hut. Mine has four stars inside. From this one, that has five, I imagine there are at least two more out there?"

Bulma blinked. This boy, she was realising, was pretty smart. He lacked experience and knowledge of the world, what with having grown up alone in a hut on the mountains and all, but still, his logic was quick and ready. More so, he was incredibly strong. He looked peaceful, now, but he still was the one who had wrecked her car only minutes ago without a moment's hesitation - nor knowing what it was in the first place. She started seeing potential danger in telling all of the truth. She would have to tread carefully.

"Four, in fact. They are seven in total. And I'm looking for them thanks to an invention of mine - a radar."


"A machine that tells me where something is."

She kept it in her bag, though. The kid would not have been able to tell which was it if she didn't show him.

"So, why are you looking for these balls?"

"Well, they're rare, and unusual, and rather pretty. And there's a legend that says when all seven are gathered a dragon appears and grants a wish of your choosing, imagine that!" she added as an afterthought and with a chuckle.

"So you are curious about this legend, and find out if it is true?"

"I am sceptical. But I've seen weird things - you are one of them now - and I'm a woman of science, and so I am willing to do the experiment, so to say."

And hope that the results are likeable, romantic, and with sculpted abs.

"So you want me to part with my Dragon Ball?"

"Not for free, of course. I can pay you, or buy you anything that can be bought. I am very rich!"

"I do not care much for possessions." said Goku, with a pensive look "You are supposed to own much more than I do, yet you are the one risking your life, traveling the world to get something that you ardently wish. Wouldn't you say, perhaps, that I am the rich one?"

"Until you can afford to erase the entirety of East City's public debt with pocket money, I wouldn't." replied Bulma, piqued "Not all things can be bought with money. And all that I have does not mean I can not wish for more. The way I see it, living in the mountains, alone, you don't even know what you could wish for. It's not that you don't have any wishes; rather, you do not even know your own wishes."

"That is an interesting thought. Still, I do not want to part from my Dragon Ball, for any price."

"Why is it? It has no value, alone."

Goku, sitting cross legged, gazed off in the sky.

"It used to belong to my grandfather. When I examine my own feelings about it, they are complex. My rational mind knows that it is just an inanimate object, and yet it is like a link to him for me, as if his own soul still resided in my house. I apologise for not making any sense."

Bulma smiled. She didn't know if she would have really gotten along with this old man, but the way the kid was talking about him made her sort of wish she'd met him.

"You are making a lot more sense than you think. I understand what you mean. But!" and she got suddenly up, clapping her hands, as if to shake that melancholic mood she wasn't too fond of - "We are at a bit of an impasse here. What do you say about this - you come with me, and bring your Dragon Ball with you. When we all seven are gathered, we try to summon the dragon - and if, as it's most likely, nothing happens, then you get to bring it back here, having had a nice fun trip on the side."

"What if they do work? What happens to them?"

"Oh, well, in that case - wait, why do you think something happens at all?"

"I'm not sure." said the kid, thoughtful "I was just thinking, if they really granted a wish, and could be used repeatedly and kept gathered in the same place, the first one who gathered them would still have them, and rule the world as an immortal God-king by now. So I imagine something happens to them."

Well, the cat was out of the bag on this one too. After all, it would have been pretty cynical not to tell him anyway.

"Yes, you're right. Once they're used, supposedly, the Balls scatter across the world again. And then they are inactive for a certain amount of time."

"I see. How much is that? One century?"

"Actually, that's where you're wrong." said Bulma with a grin "According to the stories, it's only one year. I guess the ancient ones didn't count on me and modern science to break the game so utterly. It might have been a daunting challenge in times past, but now? I can fly around the world in the space of a few days, and track the balls wherever they are. So basically, if they do work, I can guarantee a yield of one wish per year."

"That is a lot." said Goku, impressed.

"It really is. And if I don't do it, someone else will, so it might just be time for that immortal God-king thing to happen anyway."

The kid was somewhat less impressed at this.

"Come on, I was joking. I would not go for something that boring. Which actually makes it a fair deal better for the world that it is me to have control over this technology. And means I can offer you something else."

"What would that be?"

Bulma stretched her hand with one finger out, right in front of Goku's face.

"One wish. If it works, one year from now, you get to be the one who gathers the Dragon Balls again - with my help - and has his wish granted."

"What about my Dragon Ball? I would need to wait two years to have it back then."

"I'm offering you nigh omnipotence, Goku. I thought you were smarter. Forget any dusty old memories of your grandpa. With one wish, you can have him back."

Bulma felt slightly bad about this - like she was manipulating him, and to an extent, she was, but it's not like she was lying. She would really offer him that. Heck, if the Dragon Balls worked, she would damn sure find a way to make the best out of them. One wish for the person who helped her make that come true was the least she could offer.

"Thanks, but no." slowly replied Goku, after a long pause "Grandpa always said that people who die go in heaven and are happy forever. I do not know that to be true - nor see how anyone could be sure - but the idea appears a lot in the books I read, and I can not know enough to discard it. If he really was in such a place, bringing him back here for my own enjoyment would be an act of selfishness."

"Oh, come on, you don't really believe..." Bulma started saying, but then she stopped herself. Of course he believed - he needed to. And well, they were talking resurrecting people with a magical wish granting dragon anyway. If that was really possible, an afterlife wasn't such a big deal either.

"Well, what about this." she suggested then "You come with me. We find the other Dragon Balls, and travel together. You get to know more of the world, and understand more of what you could have outside of here. Broaden your knowledge. Maybe you'll get some ideas about this, or you will understand better what you want. At the end, if the Balls don't work, you get your own back, and all goes back to normal. If they do work, I will give you hospitality in the city for one year, and will teach you about the world, and science, and anything you'd like to know - you can read any of my books too. Then we'll go, and find your Dragon Ball. And you get to decide if we stop when we find it, and then you get custody of it, or if with your new knowledge you will have found a way to use it."

Of course, there was a danger to this path - that he might really want to hold onto the Ball. That would have meant that using them again would have been extraordinarily hard. But Bulma was confident that one year was enough to corrupt this small ascetic philosopher into a healthy desire for some kind of supernatural boon, and then again, she was not taking all of this really seriously at some level. Because, wish granting dragons? Come on.

Goku thought about this proposal, and finally:

"I accept." he said "This sounds like an experience I might have to gain from. Just looking at you and the things you own tells me there's a lot that my books left out about the world. Come into my hut, I will pick up the Dragon Ball and a few things for the trip."

And having just managed to successfully haggle with an orphan over a precious memento of his only father figure, Bulma kept her celebratory fist-pump mostly internal, for the sake of decency.

The hut was tiny and cramped, but mostly clean - all it smelled of was dust and old paper. Bulma finally got to lay her eyes on the books that the kid's fabled grandpa had hoarded for him over years, and it was indeed a weird selection, a hodgepodge of random texts that were probably as much the product of chance as they were of choice. A lot of them looked really old, and Bulma wondered whether there must be some monastery close where the old man went to occasionally barter for a copy of a manuscript, because they seemed mostly religious and philosophical texts belonging to various famous masters' schools of thought. She thought she had heard of some of them. Others were probably simply the result of a purchase from a travelling merchant, or perhaps just found after they were lost by some tourist hiking across the mountains. Still, none of them seemed to go enough in depth, or be new enough, to teach Goku something as basic as what a car was.

In the only clean corner of the entire room, free from all encumbrance, lie a small altar, and on top of it, sitting on a red cushion with gold trimmings, was the four-star Dragon Ball. It was positioned so that just at this time of day, a ray of light would fall on it from the hut's door, and it was shining like an orange sun in the dim light of the room. Looking at it like this, it did have something holy about itself, and Bulma felt a bit unreasonably guilty at the thought of removing it from there, likely to never put it back again.

"This, and this." said Goku, finishing his rummaging of the huge pile of texts all around. "I have all I need to bring. We can go."

Next to him was a meter-tall pile of badly bound yellow old paper.

"Well, you certainly won't have to worry about running out of stuff to read, huh?"

"Don't worry, I'll carry them. It's good training." replied Goku.

"Oh no you're not! We're not walking. I said I had replacements for the car."

Goku looked around, puzzled: "But surely we must get down from the mountain, first. I don't see anything here. Where would those be?"

Bulma chuckled and patted her bag: "Right here, country boy. Right here."

"Material objects have properties like extension and mass that don't naturally change." protested Goku, calmly "Nothing that fits inside that tiny bag could carry us."

"You would believe so, of course..." Bulma was in full-on boasting mode and just generally having a blast "Let me introduce you to the wonders of science, country boy! For I am the daughter of the Briefs family, the heiress to the fortune of Capsule Corp., and it's all thanks to us if the world has stopped worrying about such meaningless stuff long ago now!"

She extracted a small box from her bag, opened it, and revealed a number of elongated capsules carefully numbered and slotted inside. She then grabbed one after a bit of consideration and walked outside. Trying to make her gesture as theatrical as possible, she clicked the button on the capsule, pulled back her arm and tossed it to the ground. As soon as it hit the soil, the capsule exploded in a puff of smoke, and as it dissipated, a huge, powerful motorbike with a big tail pack for luggage appeared.

"Ta-da!" exclaimed Bulma triumphantly.

"Oh, so it was a magic item!" said Goku, with a laugh "I did not think that you would have one too."

"This is not magic. This is just science. A careful and creative enough application of quantum field theory, tweaking around with interaction paths that allow non-equivalent conversion of mass and energy. Awfully convenient. Boy, I remember reading once a paper about how an hypothetical universe whose laws strictly enforced mass-energy conservation would look like, and damn, that would suck so hard."

"I did not understand a single word of that. Are you sure that is not actually magic?"

"It's completely different! Science makes sense, while magic, well, doesn't. Or wouldn't, if it did exist."

"That seems contradictory. You are going on this whole trip to find seven magical items, and you don't think magic is real?"

"I've never seen it." shrugged Bulma "If I have to find out it does exist, searching for magical items seems a fun way to do it. And I get a wish granted thrown in."

"You don't need the Dragon Balls for that. I have a magical item right here. My fighting pole, the Nyoibo."

Goku grabbed the extremity of his pole and extracted it from its scabbard.

"Oh, right!" exclaimed the girl "I have been wanting to ask you about that. It seemed to me that it was sort of longer, earlier. But it's obviously made of simple wood, so it's not like there's any way it could possibly..."

"Stick, get longer!" yelled Goku.

And the pole magically extended to thrice its initial length, conking Bulma right in her forehead.