A Son Chi-chi, Arcadia Silver Production.
Chapter five: The Path to the Commonwealth

Dawn rose bright and early the next day, painting the eastern horizon pink, gold, and red. The pre-dawn sky lightened as the sun drew nearer to its rising, from black to navy blue to gray to finally sun rise. The instant the sun peaked over the eastern hills, everything in sight became stained gold.

But the sun rose on an interesting scene that day. In front of the Son house, a large, roomy Capsule Corp. van (though it was more like a bus) stood parked, back open and ready to receive passengers. All around it, various members of the Z-senshi were making them selves of use. Yamcha and Krillin had been handed the job of loading the luggage by Bulma, who had taken the responsiblity of making sure everything was done right.

But the two men had little to do. Most of everything, clothes, food, ect. had been capsuled the night before. The biggest problem was deciding who was to sit where. Kalin and Aerin had called the front seats because they were to be the navigators. Now the rest of the group had to decide seating arrangements on their own. Yamcha or 18 didn't want to be next to Vegeta or Piccolo. Bulma was NOT going to caught near her ex-boyfriend. And Piccolo was determined to be as far away from Vegeta, Bulma, or their brats as Namekianly possible.

Soon everyone reached an arrangement that everyone could tolerate, so all that was left to do was get up and go. All that were to go had taken their seats and were waiting for pilot and co-pilot to finish locking up the Son house.

Trunks yawned in his seat. In his opinion, 4:30 had come far too early that morning, the very time that Bulma had thrown his curtains open and chased him out of his nice, warm bed. He streched his arms up to the roof of the car, almost touching it. Beside him, Goten more or less, copied him. He had been woken up just as early, if not more so than his friend, but thankfully, the both of them had downed several bowls of intensely sweet cereal, and were just waiting for the sugar rush to kick in.

As Goten let his muscles relax, his mother and Kalin stepped into their seats and buckled up. Kalin hit the accelerator, the van lurched as it levitated over the ground, and then, they were off. A few moments passed as the driver did a sharp right turn to head them in the right direction. When the plane/van settled into steady flight, the cabin burst into murmurs of various conversations.

Trunks shuffled under his seat for his Playstation, games, and powerpack he had smuggled on-board. Goten watched with interest as he set up the system to the pack and expandable vidscreen. Looking over at him, Trunks opened up his bag that stored a cashe of his best video games and held them out, "You wanna pick the first game?"

Goten nodded and looked through his inventory, whistling at the selection. Some of these games were hard to come by. He finally picked up a jewel case that contain three CD's. "This one." he said.

Trunks's eyes bulged out, "Final Fantasy VII ?? That lame old thing? I'm playing number eight."

Goten hugged the game to his chest. "Number eight?? How can you **stand** that thing?? It's nothing more than a sappy lovestory, and that stupid juntioning system.... Besides, I'm gonna beat Emerald WEAPON if it's the last thing I do."

Trunks snorted, "Sappy lovestory?? At least it's gotta story. The best thing in seven is when you kill off that girl.. **yawn** Besides, the graphics are outdated."

Goten leered at his best friend, who had no taste. "Her name is Aerith dipstick, besides, **Yawn**Riona is only a copy of Tifa Lockheart, I mean they look alike, **Yawn** act alike, and doesn't "My Final Heaven" sound like Tifa's **Yawn** ultimate limit break "Final Heaven?" Goten was starting to slump against his seatbelt, by this time he should have been bouncing off the walls with Trunks in wake of the twelve bowls of cereal.

"Trunks, why am I so **yawn** sleepy?.....Trunks?" he looked over at his friend and saw the reason he didn't get an answer, Trunks was bent over his belt, fast asleep. Goten smiled, "Wow, I guess that your sleppy too huh?" he nodded once, twice, three times.

And was out like a light.

Aerin propped her elbow on the door beside her, gazing out listlessly at the passing scenery. Even if she looked like she was watching the horizon pass by, she had her mind elsewhere, more importantly, the conversation last night with her granddaughter.

(AN: I changed Pan's last line from chapter four. That line was a typo, sorry to everyone who pointed it out.)

"I changed my mind, I don't want to be a Super Saiyan, I wanna practice magick."

A thud sounded though the forest as Gohan oh-so graciously fell on his butt. Goten gave a shocked gasp, followed by a few sputtering coughs, and if Aerin's jaw hadn't been latched to her skull, it probably would have been on the forest floor.

"Pan, are you sure? I mean you always wanted to be a Super Saiyan....." Gohan said from his place on the pine-strewn ground.

His daughter nodded in agreement. "I know, but I don't think I ever will be one. I just don't think I have enough saiyan blood. I mean, I'm just as powerful as grandpa was when he went Super Saiyan on Namek, but I'm still not there." she shifted her gaze to her grandmother. "This morning I watched you while you practiced, and I liked what I saw, I want to learn."

Aerin looked helplessly at her granddaughter, then her oldest son. "It's up to you, and your father. _If_ I decide to teach you, it will only be with your father's and mother's permission."

Gohan shot his mother a unpleasant look that said, you-would-put-the-pressure-on-me. But he was use to stress, he was married to Videl after all. Sighing, he looked at his little girl. "I have no problem with you learning magick. But you need to ask your mom."

Pan gave a squeal of delight, and jumped on her father, hugging him tightly. "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Daddy!! Thank you so much!!!"

Aerin smiled at the look on Gohan's face, like the look of a man about to throw dice with the devil. Little did he know what he was getting into. Of course Videl blew her top, but when she had a nice talk with Kalin and Aerin, she finally agreed. She trusted, admired, and respected Aerin very much, and so relented, but somehow, Aerin sucpected that Kalin had helped a little with that.

Kalin was steering the van/plane over the begining of a mountain range. She let her eyes shift to her young charge, who was using the reflection of her window to gaze at Pan. "Your worried about her, aren't you Little Moon?"

Aerin blinked and turned to her, "Yeah, I don't think she fully understands what she's getting herself into. It's not an easy burden to bare being a witch, especially nowadays."

Kalin frowned, "Yeah, even with all the technology, and medical advances, humans have yet to outgrow their ignorance and foolishness."

"There are still people who would still gladly burn us at the stake. Or condem us to death because of our lineage and gifts. That's why the Commonwealth is so important, we need a safe haven."

"Which is why you put everyone on the van to sleep?" Kalin grinned sheepishly. "Ahh, ya caught me.."

"No joke, Goten had twelve bowls of Coco-Puffs, normally he should be bouncing off the walls. Vegeta and Bulma should be argueing, Piccolo and Gohan discussing fighting, and Yamcha trying to flirt with 18. But there's total silence."

"I believe it's for the best dear. A security measure of sorts."

Aerin shifted in her seat, "I guess your right."

"Gohan......wake up......rise and shine sweetheart." Gohan's steady rumbling snore broke as someone shook his shoulders.

snore..snork..snork "Huh? Where's Cell, I'll get him.........Oh hi Mom." Gohan greeted as his vision swung into focus. His mom was leaning over him smiling. Aerin straightened up, and went to arouse Videl from her magick-indueced slumber. Gohan unbuckled his seatbelt and exited the van. He had no idea what to expect when he got out, maybe a tribe of wildly painted natives would be there to greet him, or perhapse a fleet of fire-spewing dragons. Stepping out, he saw nothing but a few scragly bushes and a lot of rock.

"Hey bro, some anti-climax huh?" Krillin greeted. Gohan looked down on his long-time friend and sparring partner.

"Yeah, I was expecting something more........abnormal than this." he replied. He motioned Krillin to follow him over to the back to pick up his stuff. Walking around to the back, he saw most of the Z-sentai (*1*) milling around the immeadiate area, some talking, some streaching, others organizing their supplies. Gohan walked up the back and picked up Videl's, Pan's, and his parcels, and handing out others.

Everything was unloaded and sorted when Bulma capsuled the van and pocketed it. Kalin called everyone together and explained the next move.

"Okay folks, from here we will be hiking through this range of mountains. All and all, it should take four days, tops. We will hike til sunset and set up camp. We will eat supper and go sleep, we will start at dawn tomorrow."

A collective sigh of disapointment rose up from the rear, mostly from Trunks and Goten. An even bigger noise came from the 'disbelievers', namely Vegeta. Piccolo just grunted, Gohan had talked to him earlier and requested he 'back off his mom' a little. Vegeta shoved his way up front, "Why can't we fly there bakka onna?" (*2*)

Kalin gave the man a sour expression. "Well, if you MUST know. 1) The closest 3entrance is in the heart of these mountains, and can only be reached by foot. 2) Even if we could get there by air, we would never find it because it's to well hidden to be seen in the air. 3) We can't fly. 4) Only me and Aerin can open the gate. Is that good enough?"

Vegeta just returned the look. "Fine. But try anything weird...." he let the unspoken threat end there, and turned and walked to Bulma. Kalin placed her hands on her hips, and muttered something about a certain Saiyan prince watching on whose toes he stepped on. Shrugging it off, she picked up her bundles and motioned for everyone to follow.

Two Days Later:

It had been a long hike, the going was slow, tempers were high, and morale even lower. Vegeta had resigned himself to sulking and snapping at anyone that came into range, even Bra. Kalin and Aerin seemed to keep to themselves. The rest seemed to hang in the middle, confused and a little scared.

At the current moment, they were working their way along a perticularly narrow streach of path. Rocks shifted and gave way whenever you touched them. The walls didn't even have enough purchase for a bird's claws. So everyone was not in a pleasant situation. The only way to get across was to cling to the edge of the cliff face and shuffle along the slim width of the path.

When they finally came to the point where the path turned away from the edge and back to a forest they got a big surprize, for standing at the border of the woods was a girl. Not very old, she was about Bra's age, tall, slender with dark brown skin. She was obviously of Hindu lineage, with a traditional bindi mark sitting perfectly between her brows. She carried a rather small backpack on one shoulder, and a falcon pearched on the other. The girl turned her eyes on the front-running Aerin and Kalin, and gave a knowing nod. After the rest of the group had passed, she took up a place behind the pack, not speaking a word.

The sudden arrival of the girl had been startiling, but not unexpected. Kalin had told Aerin to expect to pick up a few travelers along the way. The entrance they were using was the only one within a very large area, so it was normal to find a few fellow witches while they traveled. But if anyone though that this girl would be the only one, they were sadly mistaken. About two hours later, at another bend in the path, they came across a small family of four patiently waiting, the pet wolf licking his face clean of dirt. And the process continued, more and more people appearing at each turn or curve on the way. Each giving Aerin and Kalin a strange smile, and none without an animal companion.

Every night when the tents were pitched, their traveling companions would simply vanish into the woods, only to reappear later with some offering of food. And every night they slept in a circle around the witches' tent, sending their wild pets to patrol the area for indruders or fellow friends.

Two Days Later:

Aerin rolled over to her side as the first golden rays of sunlight seeped in through the tent flaps. Sheilding her eyes, she sat up and atempted to straighten herself out. As she was rolling her sleeping bag into it's roll, Kalin stepped in with a wooden bowl of vinison stew. "Morning Little Moon!!" she greeted cheerfully.

She took the bowl without a word, delicately picking the hunks of meat from the broth. Of all the things we forgot to bring, we forgot silverware. she thought with dismay. "This is the last day, right?"

"Yeah, finally. I don't know about you, but I was getting tired of all this walking, day in, day out."

"Yeah, me too. So when should we arrive?"

Kalin flipped her wrist to glance at her watch. "Well.....if we start in an hour, and don't slack off too hard, we should arrive at, noon."

Aerin grinned, "So the sooner we leave, the sooner we get there?"

"Basically, yes."

"I'll wake the others."

Krillin crawled his way out of the pup tent he and 18 shared. Five minuets ago, Aerin had literally turned the thing upside-down, causing 18 to evacuate their mutual sleeping bag. Leaving the poor guy to wake up and dress by himself. Silently cursing his best friend's wife, he made his way over to the small stream they camped by that night and washed his face in the cold mountain water.

Once fully awake, he found his wife and daughter un-capsuling their food. He frowned in disgust at the over-dried food. The one backfire of putting food in a capsule was that it dried out quickly. Krillin sent an envious glare over at the group of new traveling buddies who were chowing down on deer-meat stew, he then sent a vicious look over at Vegeta, who was (as usual) leaning against a tree, scowling.

"I can't beleive Vegeta!!! Because of his big mouth we're having to choke down down this dehydrated crap. He just HAD to open his mouth to Kalin!!!!!" he shouted while he looked down on his crumbling bacon and rubbery eggs.

` 18 looked up him, although she didn't need to eat, she felt sorry for her husband and daughter. "Well, look at it this way, no matter how much your hungry, Vegeta is probably suffering ten times as worse."

Krillin smiled a little at this, "Yeah, your probably right, sometimes I can hear his stomach from way over here. But," he continued after forcing another egg-yolk down his throat, "it still doesn't make this any better." 18 just shrugged and Marron bravely ate her meal, trying her best to ignore the tantilizing smells wafting from the pot hanging over the morning fire on the witches' side of camp.

It was about eleven that morning when they first saw it. Clinging to the ground, the trees, the sky, and even themselves was the mist. Of course there is nothing really special about mists in the high mountains, but this mist was different. Every time you spoke, the words rang flat and dead in the air, the shifting vapor seeped past your clothes and skin, swirling it's way through your body. Even in the windless heights, the clouds billowed and moved, like it wasn't just thick clouds of water vapor, but as if living creatures were walking in it's depths.

Or as if _it_ were alive.

Gohan tightened the heavy jacket around him tighter, trying to defend against the mists. He felt goosebumps rise up on his arms, from the cold or fear, he wasn't sure. Beside him, his wife too pulled her arms around herself, warding off the cold, and the unsettling feel of goosebumps. All around, the rest of the Z-senshi were zipping up jackets and and rubbing arms as for the higher they went, the colder, and denser the mist became.

The only few not affected by this change of enviroment were Kalin, Aerin, Pan, and the other magick users. In fact, the deeper they went, the more excited and hotter they grew. Instead of chills and goosebumps borne from fear, their's were from sweet anticipation and expectation. When it finally came to the point that you couldn't see your nose from your face, Kalin ordered a halt.

Everything around them fell into a deafining silence. Even the ever-moving vapor around them stilled. From her vantage point, Pan see perfectly as Kalin stepped foreward to what seemed like a stone wall at the end of the path. She slowly rasied her arms, holding them over her head, palms turned up. She held them up for a few passing moments, then dropped them. But that is how the Z-senshi saw it.

Now here is another thing that seperates the magick users from the ki-users, and yet what makes them alike too. Just like how the Z-sentai can sense their's and others ki, magick users can also sense when magickal energy is being drawn and focused. Now Pan didn't know what she was feeling was Kalin drawing magick, she just thought that she was using ki, and that her father and the others could sense it too. She wasn't to learn til later that this was one of the first signs of just how powerful her magick gift truely was.

When Kalin dropped her hands, something amazing happened. The mist swiftly drew away, revealing to the naked eye ehat had been a stone face of a mountain, was really a high valted archway. Through the opening eveybody could see the green rolling hills, the tall trees and the blue sky of what lay beyond. Without word or motion, Kalin proceded through the opening, the rest of the party following in like suit.

Once everyone passed through the door, they were hit by a sudden warm breeze. So different was it from the mist, that Gohan's glasses fogged up. Yamcha was the last to pass the gate. Once in, he turned just in time to see the mist, the mountains, and all the hardship of the last four days fade to nothing.

Tada!!! That's Chapter five!! Yeah, I so proud. ^_^ but anyway, can anyone guess what movie I got the idea for the last few scenes from? Guess right and I'll.............I'll be happy, and congradulate you personally on the next chapter....yeah, that sounds good, right?

Yata!! I'm almost to the 30 reveiw milestone. Whoopee!! thanks to all the lovely people who reveiwed, your the best!!! And speaking of, Chibi Tenchi Senshi, where is Chapter three of Star Lit Gem???? Lady Xnightshade what happened to "When Love Gets in the Way of Duty" and Dragonchange Z? Daughter of Ashes, where in the un-holy hell is chapter nine of In This? Come on Saiyan Princess Chichi, chapter 13 of Ultimate Power!!! NOW!!! GET YA BUTTS MOVING!!!........(pant....wheeze....huff)
Oh man, remind me to stay away from the Oreo's when writting........ o_O

"When a perfect stranger takes some of his/her own personal time, to reveiw a story written by another perfect stranger, and leaves words that inspire hope and creativity, it is in a way, the greatest inspiration of all."

~~~~~~~Arcadia Silver.