"Unexpected Romance: Changes"
Chapter 10- "Invasion: Part 2"
Piccolo hadn't moved since he felt the fighting begin to erupt all around him, with the three children fighting on the Lookout and the humans fighting someone who felt like Frieza some distance from where he was. He could also feel a more powerful entity heading for the rapidly moving Saiya-jin prince, but his mind was mostly focused on the being that was approaching his own location. The being was powerful, almost as much as the one heading for Vegeta, but not nearly on Piccolo's level as the Nameksei-jin finally rose to his feet and removed his weights.
The fighter approaching was the dark-skinned swordsman that he had sensed on Slug's ship, the third most powerful of the traveling Nameksei-jin's crew, though Piccolo was not worried. He had yet to reveal the full power that he had gained from not only fusing with Kami but also from the intense physical and mental training that he had undergone over the last few months. Still, no need to let this behemoth know that as the dark-skinned warrior hovered just in front of his adversary, his eyes looking Piccolo over in appraisal.
"Your shorter than I expected," Goliath scoffed, cocking his head, "Lord Slug told me Zildar was a giant amongst Nameksei-jin, one of their great leaders before his exile into space. I was expecting something...more."
"You're too caught up in the appearance of strength to see it when it's right in front of you," Piccolo chuckled, falling into a fighting stance, "Let's just see what you can do, fool."
Goliath wasted no more words as he unsheathed his sword, swinging it down towards on of Piccolo's arms and slicing through the green flesh, severing the limb from it's master. Piccolo didn't seem to take notice of this, however, as his other arm shot up and wrapped around the larger fighter's throat, squeezing the air out of his lungs as Piccolo's energy concentrated in his other shoulder. Goliath didn't have time to react as a brand new limb sprouted from the stump that was Piccolo's arm, smashing with bone-shattering force into the behemoth's face.
Piccolo smirked at the small triumph, but kept his guard up nonetheless as Goliath returned for another strike with his sword, missing Piccolo by bare inches as the Nameksei-jin ducked under the blow. Swinging around for another strike, the large man was stopped as Piccolo grabbed the sword and threw it to the ground, driving his knee into Goliath's gut in the process. A small spray of spittle flew from the larger fighter's lips due to the force of the blow, but didn't seem to phase him that much as he brought his fist into Piccolo's face, sending the Nameksei-jin reeling.
"You pack quite a punch," Piccolo chuckled, rubbing his jaw, "Why did you waste time swinging that toy?"
"My people try to finish things quickly and painlessly, as a show of respect to our enemies, hence we use 'those toys'," Goliath explained, reclaiming his blade, "It is considered dishonorable to fight without it."
"Maybe they should have made you fight Vegeta, but no matter," Piccolo muttered, falling back into stance, "If your race values honor so highly, then I'll give you a warrior's death."
"No honor would be greater, but it will be you who falls here, not me," Goliath chuckled, pointing the tip of his blade at Piccolo's throat, "Nobody who opposes my lord will live!"
"We'll see about that," Piccolo smirked, "I'm ready, let's do this!"
Vegeta was speeding across the planet towards where he felt the strongest power level, his black hair waving in the wind as he flew towards the place that he recognized from his first visit to this planet: West City. The invader's had apparently chosen that place for their base, and the Saiya-jin prince could feel thousands of smaller energy signatures spreading out from there. He had no idea what they were searching for on this planet, certainly not powerful warriors or anything of the sort, so he could only assume they were here to take slaves.
The thought sent Vegeta back to his own childhood, back to when he was given over to Frieza as a small boy, back to those days of torture and agony at the lizard freak's twisted hands. His only companions and comrades had been Nappa and Raditz, the only other Saiya-jin in Frieza's fleet to have survived, and both of whom he had ultimately destroyed through his own actions. The life of a slave and his own lust for vengeance had driven Vegeta to the brink of oblivion, causing him to destroy everything and everyone that was important in his life.
The Saiya-jin was so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he didn't even notice as a strong, silent signature invaded his territory, stepping into the warrior prince's path as he forged ahead. The figure was that of the blind woman that was Slug's second-in-command, her blonde hair waving in the wind as she 'watched' Vegeta approach, an amused smile on her pale face. The prince scowled deeply when he finally did take note of her presence, not wishing to be delayed by anyone weaker than the master himself, but still knowing that he would have to beat her first.
"It is said that only a fool may rush where angels fear to tread, Vegeta-san," the blind woman smiled, her body unguarded, "Why do you rush so foolishly towards your death at the hands of my master?"
"Why I chose to fight is none of your concern, wench, now stand aside!" Vegeta snapped, "I do not wish to fight with this Slug character's pitiful underlings, only Slug himself."
"Your voice...it is filled with anger, at the warlord Frieza and his family, and the one known as 'Goku' or 'Kakarot', and at your own weakness," she continued, paying no head to Vegeta's rise in energy, "You were beaten by Frieza and by this Kakarot that you so despise, and thus continue to rush to your death merely to prove that it is you who controls your destiny, not them."
"You know nothing about me, now move!" Vegeta practically roared, his ki shooting to it's maximum, "I don't have time for chit-chat!"
"Oh, I know a great deal about you Prince Vegeta, and about the battles you have fought...and those that lie ahead," the blind woman giggled, disappearing and reappearing behind Vegeta, "But in order to face them, you must first face yourself!"
Vegeta didn't have time to react as the blind woman grabbed him by the head and entered his very mind, pouring through the archive of memories that lay buried in there where nobody but he could go. Memories of the past aboard Frieza's ship, his first training session that had ended in humiliation at the lizard man's hand and brutal torture by the second-in-command, Zarbon. Memories of the times when Vegeta would be punished for insubordination, in whatever way Frieza's sick mind deemed most appropriate, including physical and mental violation.
Memories skipped ahead then to the cold shell of his former self Vegeta had become, using his own hand to kill the man that he had called friend and who had raised him as one would their own flesh and blood. The battle with Goku out in the barren wastes of this planet, his superior power failing to crush the ferocious and unyielding spirit his rival possessed. Memories again of Frieza, of his humiliating defeat at the hands of the same creature that had caused him so much pain over the years, his show of weakness just before dying from the lizard's attack.
And even before that, before his being practically sold into slavery or the bitter rivalry that would form between himself and Goku, and even before he could clearly remember on his own, there was Vegeta's father. He saw himself crying as he was given the news of his mother's death from wound sustained in battle, then the beating that his father had given him for such weakness. Vegeta wanted it to stop, wanted the images...the memories to disappear as though they never were, but he remained caught up in them as Minerva appeared in his head.
"So much pain, so much hardship in one so young," she sighed, moving a strand of her hair from her face, "A lesser man would have cracked long ago, given up and thrown in the towel, as these humans say. What is it that has kept you going on for so long?"
"My...self," Vegeta answered through ragged breaths, his body slick with sweat in the real world, "No matter how hard the challenge, no matter how horrible the pain, a Saiya-jin must live on for his race, his pride, and himself."
"A foolish notion from a weak man," Minerva scoffed, releasing him from that mental hell, "What makes you think you have what it takes to defeat my master when you cannot even defeat your own demons?"
"I am not afraid to face my own past, woman; we Saiya-jin share one ideal with these humans," Vegeta heaved, rising to his feet as his energy began to spike, "That which doesn't kill you...ONLY MAKES YOU STRONGER!"
Minerva would have shielded her eyes were it necessary as Vegeta's energy began to rise to new heights, his body swirling with energy as his hair began to flicker between it's normal black and a much lighter color. The sky was growing darker overhead, a distinct chill in the air everywhere else but around the prince was blazing hot, his body beginning to emit a faint glow. His muscles bulged tremendously as his screams echoed across the plains, causing the earth to give way beneath him as Minerva fought to hold her footing before the prince.
A bright surge of golden light suddenly filled the area, sending a massive burst of pure energy through the air and knocking Minerva skyward, stopping herself just in time to have a fist drive into her gut. She lurched forward from the force of the blow only to have another crash into her skull, sending her hurtling towards the ground at speeds that would normally kill most people. She, however, wasn't most people and landed with effortless ease as her opponent landed on the opposite side of the plain, his now bright, golden-blonde hair waving in the breeze.
"It would seem that I was right to chose you, Prince Vegeta of the Saiya-jin, as the one who would free me," Minerva smiled, bowing to the prince, "Long have I awaited this day."
"What are you babbling about woman?" Vegeta scoffed, folding his arms over his chest, "Giving up so soon?"
"I too am a slave Vegeta, to the master who awaits you in that city, I do not serve him out of my own free will as the others do," Minerva almost cried, "My people...we were once worshipped as gods on this very planet, as our lifespan is much greater than that of most other mortals. Slug promised that if I served him that Earth would be spared his wrath...but he lied, and now he must pay."
"And what makes you think I'm going to help you?"
"Because, you know what it's like to be a slave and you have those precious to you that you wish to protect here as well," Minerva answered, staring up into the sky with longing, "The rest of my people are gone, this planet holds the last group of people that mean anything to me in the universe. I implore you, Vegeta, kill Slug...don't let the same fate that we suffered befall these people."
Vegeta looked off towards the city, feeling it as many lives suddenly vanished into thin air, their screams going unheard as others ran in fear, Slug's subordinate hunting down anyone unwilling to cooperate. The prince was vaguely reminded of the way it had been when he was working under Frieza, going to planets to purge them of life so that they could be sold to the highest bidder. He remembered their faces, frozen with fear as the prince and his partner's took their lives and reveled in the destruction, the memory forcing him to shut his eyes as his golden aura expanded further.
"And so it comes full circle," Vegeta mused, opening his eyes, "I won't woman, I won't..."
Power Level Update
SSJ Vegeta: 18,000,000
Author's Notes: Well, another chapter down, but this one was a lot harder than the others because I intended to make this one more psychological with Vegeta and Minerva, as you can see. Still, I hope you liked it and to address a concern presented by one of my readers, no this fic is not going to make Gohan alienate his father, but there will be some bad blood between them that needs resolving. After all, most people wouldn't be too pleased that their father just up and left for a little over a year of their lives just so they could learn more ways to fight.
The next chapter will move ahead with the fights as Gohan and the others face opponents of not only superior skill but strength, forcing them to pull out all the stops in order to topple their foes. Meanwhile, Slug's true purpose is revealed...to restore his youth through use of the Dragonballs, while Vegeta rushes towards him to destroy the merciless warlord. All this and more awaits in the coming chapters, so stay tuned!!!