Honor, Pride, and Duty

Disclaimer: Don't own... *sigh* Yet again... and I hate these things!

By: Selenity Jade (Jadesama@aol.com)

Prologue

Rating: PG13

Buruma gazed longingly out of the window, fiddling with the end of her long, blue ponytail. "What's wrong, Buruma?" a soft voice asked from the open door.

Buruma turned to look at the gentle blonde who stood in her doorway, dressed in a pink nightgown that didn't quite reach the woman's knees. The woman had a worried frown on her usually happy face.

"I'm fine, Mom," the blue-haired one answered just as quietly and smiled to prove it.

"You're sure, honey? You've been restless lately. Or that's what your father tells me."

Buruma smiled again and wrapped her arms around her legs, resting her cheek against her knee. "Just thinking, Mom."

The blonde's frown deepened. "Buruma, you know you can always talk to me or your father. Just because we don't give you all that many rules doesn't mean we don't love you or care about you."

"I know. I never doubted it."

"Then what's wrong, dear?" she asked, padding softly towards her daughter.

"I don't really know. Lots of things, I guess."

The older woman sat on Buruma's large bed. "Like what?"

"I guess I'm just a little depressed, Mom. Ever since Dad's accident six years ago, I've taken over the running of Capsule Corporation. I love inventing and fixing things, don't get me wrong. I love working with the technology. I just don't like running the whole business yet. I'm only 21 and I've been running the whole company since I was seventeen. Hell, I took up most of Dad's duties when I was fifteen. I don't really mind, I'm just feeling sorry for myself, I guess."

Buruma's mother sighed sadly. "I told your father you were working too hard. When he first told me he was going to hand over the duties to you, after he realized he wouldn't be able to run it himself any longer, I tried to sway him." The older woman looked down at her clasped hands. "I told him to have Rumi run the business until you were older. He would have none of it. He trusts Rumi to handle it and did while he was training you, but your father insists that the running of CC must be kept within the family. Rumi is wonderful as a Vice President, he says, but will never be president. I told your father you were far too young, that you needed time to be a teenager, have fun, but he asked you and you jumped at the chance."

Buruma grimaced. "I know. I had already been working with Father for a few years and I loved it. I just never thought about how different being President would be than simply being the Head Technician."

Her mother laughed. "I think he forgets how young you really are. You graduated from the University when you were only fourteen, dear. You've worked in the lab since you were nine. You've never acted your age. Do you remember when you were planning that search for those legendary balls when he was injured?"

Buruma smiled fondly. "Well, I felt that wishing for a boyfriend or strawberries while Father might be dying was just wrong. Besides, I didn't know if they truly exist or not. You and Dad needed me here. Adventures could wait, I decided."

The blonde shook her head. "Maybe you should go on that hunt now. You haven't taken a day off since the accident. Not one day in six years, Buruma. Go on a vacation, dear, and hunt those balls. Whether or not they exist doesn't matter. What matters is that you need to take some time off and relax. Maybe make a few friends along the way. Or meet a handsome man," she added with a wink.

Buruma rolled her eyes. "Between you and Dad, I may just go insane. He has been pushing Rumi on me and he's a nice guy and all, but not my type. To make matters worse, Rumi is all for Dad's matchmaking!"

"Your father is only interested in your happiness, dear, and Rumi is a very nice young man."

Buruma groaned. "Mama, he's 35."

The older woman smiled companionably at her daughter. "I know, dear. He's nice, but I agree with you that he might not be the man for you. You need someone who's more... sure of himself. More forward. Rumi is... too old and set in his ways to handle you, dear."

Buruma laughed. "Yeah, I'm a little too fiery and stubborn. My beauty attracts many men, but there are reasons I don't have a boyfriend," she agreed.

Her mother frowned. "Now, Buruma, there isn't anything wrong with your personality," she scolded.

Sighing, Buruma turned and gazed out the large window. The pale light of the full moon reflected in her blue eyes. "Maybe not, but it sure feels like it."

"Buruma," the blonde sighed, "you are a wonderful woman. Intelligent, beautiful, responsible, self-confident, kindhearted, the President of the biggest company in the world, just to name a few."

The blue-haired woman closed her eyes. "Yeah, but you forgot stubborn, moody, loud, selfish, and spoiled," she pointed out bitterly.

The other woman shook her head. "When you were younger, you may have been, but not anymore. You've changed a lot after your father got hurt, dear. You've grown into a beautiful person, inside and out. Spoiled and selfish aren't apart of who you are anymore. You've sacrificed much for your father and the company. You are stubborn, but that isn't always a flaw."

Buruma sighed again. "Men seem to think so. Once they get to know me, they run away. I scare them, Mom. I'm too overbearing and opinionated. Bossy, too." She shrugged. "I'm not quiet, I don't listen to whatever they want me to do, I don't spend hours fixing myself up, I hate shopping. I'm not a usual girl. I'd rather throw on a pair of jeans, pull my hair into a ponytail, and tinker around in the lab. I'd rather go motorcycling rather than dancing. They don't like it, I guess."

Her mother smiled. "Then they don't deserve you. Any man would be lucky to have your affections. Those men are fools. Why don't you go on that adventure?"

Buruma shook her head. "I can't, Mom. I have the Amudeku merger meeting tomorrow and all this week. Next week, I have inspections and price negotiations. Not to mention the meeting with our lawyers about that stupid lawsuit."

"Let Rumi handle it, dear. He's more than capable and you know it."

"But-"

"No. You need time off. You've always wanted to go adventuring and you're still young enough to do so."

"What about Dad? Or you? Besides, what fun is it to go adventuring when I'm widely known over most the world?"

"They know your name, dear, not your face. Besides, you might get to meet your future husband."

Her daughter rolled her eyes again. "Mom, how would I know they want me and not what I am? Co-owner and President of Capsule Corporation. I introduce myself and that'll be that."

"I can't help you there, dear. You could make up a name, but then if the man really did like you, he might be angry about the deception."

"See? It's too much trouble. I'm needed here. I can't go chasing mythological balls."

"Yes, you can. And you will. You'll make yourself sick if you don't rest. You're already looking pale."

"But what if there is an emergency?"

"Bring your cell, Buruma. For emergencies only."

Sighing, Buruma hung her head. "Okay, Mom, I'll go." She then looked at her mother, a smile on her face. "I'll leave tomorrow evening. And now that I think about it, I'm beginning to get excited."

"Good, dear. I only want you to be happy. Sleep now," the soft-spoken woman ordered with a smile before she silently left the room.

~~~

"Buruma, are you sure you have everything?"

"Yes, Dad," she sighed and sat on the bed beside her father. She put on her best reassuring smile. "I have the cell, my capsule house, my clothing capsules, the food capsules, three air cars, two land cars, a motor bike, my credit cards, my lap top, and a few inventions."

The old man nodded weakly and clasped his daughter's hand in his cold one. "What about the company? There are things that you need to be here for."

Buruma stifled the urge to cave in and stay. Her mother was right, she did need to go. She needed time away from the company. She felt guilty that she was leaving her father, yet she felt angry with him, too. He was trying to make her feel bad for leaving.

She didn't really blame him, though. After the accident six years ago, it left her father paralyzed and bed-ridden. He had been messing with a powerful explosive that went off, causing most the lab to be destroyed. He was knocked back so violently it snapped his back, paralyzing him. He had third degree burns all over his body, shrapnel had imbedded in his flesh, fortunately nowhere vital. Even now, he showed severe scarring on his face and hands. But that wasn't the worst. If that had been all, he could have used a wheel chair and resumed his life. But fate wasn't kind. Her father suffered a stroke immediately after the accident. He had knocked over some chemicals that had broken on the hard floor, mixing to form a deadly gas.

He might have been better off dying. Miraculously, he survived it all. Only to be scarred, paralyzed from the waist down, and on the left side of his body. His muscles were like Jell-O now, a lasting effect of the gas, and any amount of exertion would leave him gasping for breath or cause heart palpitations.

He had been devastated and he now lives on through his daughter. He runs the company through her. As much of it as he can. Buruma was honestly surprised he had lived as long as he had. He was getting worse as the years dragged on and she didn't know how much longer she'd have her father.

"Dad, that's why I am bringing my laptop and cell. In case I'm needed that badly. I talked to Rumi and he's confident he can handle it."

The old man sighed unhappily. "How long will you be gone?"

Buruma shrugged. "I don't know. However long it takes."

"What are you doing again?"

She sighed. "I'm searching for the legendary dragonballs."

"Do you know where to begin?"

"Not really. I've looked up all I could on them, which isn't much. But I did find out they were supposedly created by the Guardian of the Earth. If I could find him, maybe he'd tell me what type of energy the balls give off and I could make a locator for them."

Her father smiled. "That's my daughter. Always using her head."

She nodded. "Of course."

"How will you find the Guardian?"

"He supposedly lives above Korin's Tower. So, I'll go visit the legendary Korin and I'll go from there."

He nodded. "Be careful, Buruma. Don't go towards the Southern Continent and don't trust anyone. I wish you'd take a bodyguard."

Her brow furrowed. "Why the Southern Continent?"

"There are reports of a giant monster that comes out at night, destroying towns and cities."

"Huh? Why haven't I heard anything about that?"

"The authorities are trying to keep it secret, to keep people from panicking."

"I see."

"Buruma, you'll come back soon?" he asked, his voice soft.

She nodded. "As soon as possible."

~~~

AN: Another reposting...

Lovies!!