A.N./ Good evening once again my faithful readers. Have you all missed me while I was away? Though unfortunate events caused this story to be stalled several times in the past year and a half, I am happy to say that I am back on track to continue my story. So to whoever is left, and any newcomers that may come by, welcome to my little corner of the site. I know that many of you have been waiting patiently, so I decided to upload this chapter, with the immense help and talent of it's co-author Tellemicus Sundance. It may be a bit short for how long it took to come out, but I've decided to shorten the chapters, so that the wait time between updates would be shortened as well. Each chapter will be between 5 and 7 thousand words from now on. Now that that is out of the way let's get down to business shall we. This chapter is Pan's flashback. Don't worry, Naruto's reunion with his parents is coming up very soon, but I had to get this bit of exposition out of the way first. I'm currently working on the next chapter and it will be out soon don't fret. So until then please whet your appetites with this little morsel, because the main course is coming very soon! Please enjoy the next enthralling installment of The Strongest Ninja in the Universe! Ja!
Strongest Ninja in the Universe
By: Engineered-Chaos & Tellemicus Sundance
Chapter 13: The Journey Begins
Pan's eyes closed as the memories of that day washed over her, filling her mind with vivid clarity. The Sandaime and Gohan listened silently, as she began to speak of what transpired after she regained consciousness.
Pan moaned softly as she cracked open her eyes, her entire body beginning to throb with pain as she regained consciousness. There was something heavy on her chest, and she was grasping something small in her hand. These were the first things her clouded mind could comprehend as she grasped for something tangible in the sea of pain. She tried to lift herself up, but gasped and fell back as she realized about every bone in her body must have been broken. It was late afternoon and the city was eerily quiet, not a sound reaching her sensitive ears.
Calming down, she reached out with her senses, but could feel nothing around her; no life whatsoever. Had everyone already been killed? She thought desperately as she tried to move the large slab of concrete pinning her to the ground. Tears of frustration brimmed her eyes, and she clenched her fists in futile anger.
Something small dug into her right palm, surprising her, and with effort Pan managed to turn her head. She nearly cried in relief as she gazed upon the little green bean lying in the palm of her hand. Her dad must have given it to her while she was knocked out. Concern flashed through her at the thought of her father, and with renewed energy she forced her limp right arm to move, gritting her teeth from the pain as the broken limb resisted her will.
With a cry of anger, she flopped the arm over and dropped the bean on the ground next to her head. Slowly she inched her face forward, and managed to get it in her mouth. Chewing quickly she swallowed the senzu bean, and her eyes immediately widened as she felt her entire body knit itself back together in an instant. Power surged through her body, and with a roar she blasted away the heavy concrete slab pinning her to the ground, freeing herself again. Rubbing her sore joints, she sat up, looking around.
Her eyes widened and she gasped at the sight before her. Satan City...was gone. Every skyscraper, business, suburb, and even the park had been razed into nothing more than smoking rubble. Standing on slightly wobbly legs, she extended her senses once more, searching desperately for any signs of life.
'Please let them be alive!' She begged silently. With her newly healed body and increased power, her senses probed further than ever before, and she sighed in relief as she felt the life energy of her friends and family off towards Capsule Corps, along with millions of pulses beneath the destroyed metropolis. The tunnels had held, and she was relieved to know that the citizens had survived. The city might be gone, but they would rebuild it, greater and stronger than before. They could live without the Dragon Balls. But as she rose into the air and blasted off towards Capsule Corps., one thought dominated her mind: why couldn't she feel the presence of her father...or Naruto?
It seemed that the Briefs' compound had been the only surviving structure in Broly's assault. Everything looked exactly the same, except of course for the enormous hole blasted through the side of one of the hangars. She flew through the opening, an enormous smile splitting her cheeks as she saw everybody alive and well, but her smile slipped a bit as she still noticed no sign of her father.
Krillen and his wife looked up at her arrival, along with Goten and Trunks, having felt her arrival.
"Pan! You're alive!" The short warrior cried in relief and gave a laugh. Goten and Trunks joined them, and Pan smiled and laughed at the joy of just being alive. They had done it somehow, and they had all managed to miraculously survive once again.
"P-Pan?" Her good mood instantly vanished when she heard her mother's broken voice call softly to her.
"Mom? What's wrong?" She immediately rushed to her mother's bedside, gasping as she took in Videl's frail appearance. She knelt beside her, and took her hand delicately in her own, worried at the lack of strength in her mother's grip. "Mom, what's wrong? Where's dad, and where's the baby?"
Videl closed her eyes, tears trickling down her cheeks as she grasped her hand tightly now. Her knuckles quickly turned white from the pressure.
"Mom?" she cried in alarm. Her voice was desperate, and a terrible fear gripped her heart. "Where are dad and the baby?"
"Gone." Videl whispered softly, her hand going limp as she lost consciousness. Pan shook her gently, trying to wake her up again.
"Gone? What do you mean 'gone'?" Pan cried frantically, shaking Videl harder. "Mom?" But still her mother did not respond. A hand gently laid on her shoulder, and she looked up into Krillen's sorrowful eyes. "Krillen, what happened?"
The shorter man sighed, and lowered his head. "There was an accident."
"NO!" Pan yelled as she backed away from Krillen and the others, gripping her head as the words began to sink in. It wasn't possible! Naruto was dead, and her father had left? How had everything gone so horribly wrong? The young woman sank to her knees, the tears now falling freely down her cheeks as she sobbed in grief.
"I'm so sorry, Pan." Krillen said gently as he laid a hand on her trembling shoulder.
She made no response to his touch, and wrapped her arms around herself. She felt numb. Her whole being was shocked by the revelation that her new brother was dead. Her tiny, fragile, and innocent baby brother who had never even been given a chance to live. She would never be able to teach him the Kamehameha or how to fly or hold a pair of chopsticks. It was all gone now, destroyed by Broly and his hatred.
"Broly," she whispered suddenly as her fists clenched so tightly that her nails drew blood from her palms. Everything was gone because of Broly. All because she had been too weak, too unprepared to help and save the world and the life of little Naruto. Damn him!
She slammed her fists into the concrete floor of the hangar, shattering a few chips. It was all his doing! Her anger and grief grew as she remembered his taunting smirk and jeering insults. He had mocked her, and brushed her aside like trash unworthy of his time. If only she was stronger, she would make him pay! Pay for destroying her happiness. Pay for taking away the life of an innocent child.
A child who had seemed so small and delicate. His hand barely larger than one of her fingers. She remembered his face, his bright blue eyes. She burned his image into her memory. Her rage for the Legendary Super Saiyan continued to grow and fester within her heart. She would become stronger! And then she would find him and crush him! This, she vowed as her tears continued to stream down her cheeks. She needed strength! And above all she needed power!
Time slowed to a crawl for Pan as she felt something within her suddenly gave way. At first she tried to subconsciously suppress it, out of an instinctual fear. But as what gave way inside began to pick up momentum, a rush of raging power and adrenaline flooded her with all the strength of a runaway freight train. Within a split second, the rush of power became as powerful and unstoppable as a tsunami. The pressure of so much energy began building in her, it was looking for a way to escape. She was scared of this power. She gripped her head in pain as the sensation of power threatened to consume her, to destroy her. But she also wanted this power. She couldn't die! Not until she had had her vengeance, not until the corpse of Broly lay at her feet! She needed this power!
With an agonizing cry and a pulse of power that shattered the windows of the hangar, the power finally found the vent it was looking for. A pulse of golden energy erupted from within her and exploded outwards in a halo around her.
And just like that, it was over. The rage and the pain hadn't disappeared, for they were still there yet somewhat muted now. She felt different now though; so much stronger, it was unbelievable. She stood up from the ground, her legs no longer shaky or weak. Despite the experience she'd just endured, she was staring in awe at her own hands, opening and closing her fists, unable to believe the sensation that she was feeling. She looked up at her family and saw looks of awe and pride on their faces as well.
"Super Saiyan." Krillen said in a breathless whisper, and she knew it to be true.
The legendary power that had eluded her for so long was finally in her grasp. She was finally a true Saiyan warrior. She finally had the means to enact her vengeance on the demonic monster that had shattered her entire world and ripped her family apart. She knew she had a lot of training to do if she ever wanted to stand a chance against a beast like Broly. This power had to be harnessed, focused, and refined until it was her weapon.
Then she realized something felt different as she stood in that hangar surrounded by her loved ones. It was as if a choice was being placed before her, a divergence from the path that she had followed her entire life. She hated Broly, hated him with an unforgiving passion that could make the brightest sun feel like the heart of winter. She wanted to kill him, to utterly remove his existence from the universe. She knew such feelings were wrong. But at that moment, with that much strength at her fingertips, she no longer cared. A piece of her heart had been ripped out by that monster, and she would be sure to repay the favor. She felt cold inside, as if she were nothing more than a deep chasm beneath her skin.
Even though she was seeing the world with a clarity that she would have believed impossible before, everything seemed duller, less vibrant than before. Maybe it was the death of her innocence or the dark purpose in her mind. Whatever the reason, the young Saiyan warrior knew that things would never be the same. She stared down at her fist and clenched it as hard as she could and felt the muscles and tendons tightening as she held the power to shatter worlds, to shatter Broly.
She could never be the same again, not if she wanted to stand a chance against the Legendary Super Saiyan. She had a lot of work to do. Turning from her bewildered family and friends, she began walking towards the exit of the hangar.
"Pan, where are you going?" Krillen called out as he began to follow after her. But she just ignored his voice as she took another step towards the decision she had made. There was no turning back now.
"Please be sure to take care of my mother while I'm gone. I'll be sure to visit her; I won't abandon her like he did. But I need some time to myself now. I don't know when I'll be back." And just like that she blasted off and disappeared into the afternoon sun.
Two months later...
"Well, that didn't work either." Pan groaned as she slumped at the base of a smashed tree. Wearily she looked out before her and surveyed the destruction she had caused to the land. Trees lay on the ground everywhere, and huge craters littered the area, some still smoking from the attack she had just used. One month of solid training and it still wasn't enough. She had grown stronger, she could feel it inside and in the strength of her attacks, but it wasn't nearly enough to put even a dent in Broly's massive bulk, much less be able to take his life. One of her fundamental problems she had discovered early into her training was that she simply didn't know how to kill a person.
Her grandfather had been a peaceful man, and had tried to avoid killing his opponents no matter the cost. And those teachings and beliefs filtered into his training as well. Her father had been the same way. Every punch, kick, strike, and blast she had learned were always meant to incapacitate her enemies, but never kill them. It was frustrating, to say the least.
"I'll never get anywhere at this rate," she sighed and stood up dusting herself off.
"You've got that right, brat."
Spinning on her heels, Pan looked behind her, her eyes squinting from the afternoon sun high in the sky. And silhouetted by that sun was a figure floating in air, muscled arms folded arrogantly over a powerful chest. She didn't have to see his face to know that he was smirking at her. The 'all-powerful' Prince of All Saiyans always had some sort of condescending look for everyone to enjoy; except for Bulma, of course, unless he wanted to start cooking his own meals.
Pan rolled her eyes and slumped her head again. "What are you doing here, Vegeta?" She asked wearily, preparing to resume her training. She stopped dead however when Vegeta landed directly in front of her, but he was not smirking after all. His stony face looked very serious. "Can I help you?" She growled irritably, but the Saiyan prince merely stood there, staring at her intensely.
"Let me see it," he finally said gruffly, taking her back a bit.
"See what?" She replied hesitantly, having no clue what he was talking about.
Vegeta glared at her, gnashing his teeth together irritably. "Don't be a fool girl. The others told me about your transformation into a Super Saiyan and as the Prince of All Saiyans I have come to see it for myself. Now quit wasting my time and show me!"
"Alright, alright already. Jeez, you could have just asked me directly from the start, Vegeta. Instead of glaring at me and growling 'show me' as if everyone is supposed to be able to read your mind or something."
"Brat..." Vegeta growled, his patience obviously beginning to wear thin.
"Fine, fine." (Muscle-headed jerk.) She growled under her breath. Taking a deep breath she held her fists at her sides, and felt the surge of power within her. Grasping that energy, she drew upon it and her whole body infused with the power until she thought she would burst. Giving a mighty scream that shook the very earth, her power finally erupted and she stood transformed before the Saiyan prince, emerald eyes glaring challengingly into his own onyx orbs.
"Hmph," he merely snorted and turned away. "Pathetic. Trunks and Goten had more power when they were transformed as children. And you expect to challenge the Legendary Super Saiyan with such feeble strength? Don't make me laugh, girl."
Pan clenched her teeth in anger, before stepping forward and gripping Vegeta's shoulder, spinning the arrogant prince around like a top. Caught off guard, the mighty Saiyan nearly lost his balance and found himself eye to eye with the enraged Super Saiyan.
"I don't care what you think, oh mighty Vegeta! I didn't ask for your approval, nor do I even care about it!" She glared into his stony gaze, before turning around and punching a nearby boulder, shattering it into a million shards of rubble. "I know that I don't have the power to take on Broly right now. But I don't care!" She cried hoarsely, her emotions running as wild as her untamed power. "I will kill Broly. I will make him pay for what he has done, even if it takes me a hundred lifetimes!"
"At least you've got the spine for the job," she heard him grunt behind her. "But without proper training you will never know the true limits of your power."
Pan let out a derisive snort, and turned around. "And what are you saying? That you'll provide me with this 'proper training'?" She expected him to brush off the suggestion right away, but he merely continued to stare at her with a level gaze.
"You can't be serious," she mumbled and shook her head at the very idea. "Why would the all-mighty Prince of All Saiyans want to teach anything to the kid of a 'lowly half-breed' as you're so fond of calling him?"
"I am as you said: the Prince of All Saiyans. Every being with Saiyan blood is therefore my responsibility. Whether you are the offspring of a third-rate clown doesn't change the fact that Saiyan blood courses through your every vein. As a warrior, you represent our proud and legendary race. And as your sovereign, I cannot idly sit by and watch your potential waste away. You carry the Saiyan spirit, girl. I can sense it within you, and see it burning in your eyes. I knew from the very moment I saw you that you could become a great warrior with the proper training. Unfortunately for you, your sire had no idea of your potential. And I've sat back and watched as the fool neglected your training, watched as you squandered your ability."
"And now you've all of a sudden decided to try and help me? That's not like you at all. "
"My reasons are my own, girl!" he ground out angrily, a vein beginning to bulge on his forehead. "I'm offering you the opportunity to gain the power you desire, and the means to enact your vengeance. Take it or leave it, it matters not to me."
A long silence stretched out as Pan considered his words. Vegeta was the most powerful being on the planet, and she would definitely become much stronger under his tutelage. Plus she knew that he had a history of being extremely ruthless and merciless with his foes, a trait that she would need herself if she was ever going to gain the courage to take Broly's life with her own hands. Her mind made up, she took a deep breath and turned to him once more. "I accept your offer...sensei."
The Saiyan prince nodded and began to walk away. "Meet me at the Gravity Chamber at dawn then," he looked over his shoulder at her, a slight smirk to his lips. "Oh, and girl. You had better be prepared for Hell, because I won't be going easy on you."
Pan returned his smirk with a challenging grin of her own. Her green eyes were ablaze with determination. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
Twelve years later…
"Hah! You'll have to do better than that!" Pan cried as she dodged the blue energy beam fired by her Uncle Goten.
"How about this then?" she heard from below just as Goten released another blast. Trunks soared straight at her, foot at the ready to deliver a crushing kick as he attacked from beneath. If she dodged the energy blast she would get a face full of a boot. Trunks and Goten both grinned, knowing that they had her.
But then their grins turned upside-down as Pan swatted the energy blast away from herself and into Trunks' direction. The older Saiyan had more than enough time to readjust to the surprise and dodge Goten's redirected blast. However, in the split seconds that he let his attention shift from his opponent, Pan appeared behind him in a burst of speed and landed a powerful double hammer blow on him, sending him plummeting to the ground below. Goten moved quickly and was able to catch his falling friend, sending another energy blast up at where his niece was hovering as a warding motion to keep her away. Pan just wore a smirk on her face as she idly dodged aside, watching Trunks recover and regain his footing.
"Enough!" Vegeta barked from the corner he was floating in, surveying the spar with critical eyes. With just a nod of approval in Pan's direction, he focused his attention onto the older Saiyans, his dissatisfaction at their abysmal performances was nearly palpable in the air. "You have been slipping in your training again, Trunks. And surely Kakarot had taught you to not rely on energy attacks, Goten!"
"What's it matter if I do or not?" Goten demanded hotly, feeling more than a little humiliated.
"Fool!" Vegeta growled. "Once an energy blast leaves your hand, it can be manipulated by anyone, especially your enemy! If you'd kept up on your training, instead of chasing after every pretty skirt that comes your way, you'd know this!"
"The world doesn't need saving anymore, so why should I?" Goten asked, his annoyance thick in his voice. "I mean, with you and Pan always training, why should I need to?"
Rather than answer, Vegeta turned and gave a pointed look at Pan. The youngest Saiyan's smirk deepened considerably upon seeing that look. As she returned her attention back to her Uncle and old friend, Goten suddenly realized something important. He and Trunks were about to receive another merciless beating disguised as a training session.
And the only person they could blame for this was him. It was not going to be a good day.
Suddenly a familiar voice came across the intercom. "Vegeta! Pan! Come to my lab right now! I think I just picked up the signal to Naruto's ship!"
A nanosecond later, the door to the Gravity Room had been literally blasted off its hinges as the four Saiyans vacated the chamber in a mad rush to reach the Earth's most brilliant scientist.
"Now you're absolutely certain you've packed everything that you'll need for the trip dear?" Videl asked again as she looked over all of the provisions that Pan and Vegeta had gathered for their journey. Pan just rolled her eyes and gave Vegeta a pleading look, but the Saiyan Prince merely smirked in response.
'Damn him!' She thought irritably, trying to keep her calm with her fussy mother. He was probably enjoying this, watching her squirm, fetching whatever useless item Videl suggested next before she believed they were ready to go. But the demi-saiyan held a special place in her stony heart for her mother. If packing a few extra capsules would help her sleep at night, she'd suffer through the ordeal gladly.
"Mom, we have prepared for this trip the best that we can. Don't worry so much. Vegeta's the strongest fighter we have, and I've been training for this day for the past twelve years. Trust me, we're ready for whatever this alternate universe can throw at us."
Videl looked between her and the stony man that had become her mentor and teacher over the years and gave a deep sigh. "Alright, I guess you're right honey. I just want you to be safe. I don't know what I would ever do if anything happened to you."
Pan hugged her mother close, trying to reassure the distraught woman, when a fierce wind suddenly kicked up in the Briefs' lawn, causing the grass to flatten against the ground. Everyone assembled glanced up including Pan, and her eyes narrowed as she saw a large vessel descending towards the ground. Her power flared as her battle instincts kicked in and she glanced to Vegeta, but the Saiyan Prince merely stood with his arms folded, a slight grin on his face.
'What's he smiling about?' She mused mentally, before a familiar energy signal made itself known, causing her eyes to narrow even further, and her fists to clench in rage. A hatch opened in the side of the ship and a figure leaped out of the hull, descending slowly before landing softly on the grass.
Gohan smiled nervously as he took in the group gathered together on Bulma's lawn. With a slight chuckle he scratched the back of his head with one hand. "Hey guys. I'm back."
Planet of the Supreme Kai
One Week Later…
"You have got to be kidding!" Pan yelled in disbelief, confusion, and anger. Her energy was rising fast in conjunction with her boiling emotions. "You want us to seal up that much of our power just to search your dimension so we canfind my little brother?"
Kabitoshin gulped from his place nearby. Maybe it hadn't been such a good idea to call these two here to speak to Gohan and his daughter after all. The last thing he needed was to have to put his planet back together again. Flashbacks of the nightmare with Majin Buu crossed his mind, causing the Supreme Kai to shiver slightly. Old Kai merely chuckled, enjoying the change of pace the new visitors brought to the planet.
"If you don't like it, then leave here, mortal," the old Kai named Mijikai snapped.
Mijikai was quite short and plump, dressed in a red kimono, and had a very burly expression on his ancient, wrinkled face as he glared up at the extremely agitated and powerful Saiyan. He was many, many millennia old and he'd seen his fair share of beings who were far more powerful than himself, but even he had never come across a creature as terrifying as an agitated Saiyan. Saiyans had been known for countless millennia as being among the utmost pinnacle of fighting potential, ruthless cunning, and the greatest of ultimate warriors. Mijikai may have been an ancient Kai who had long since passed his prime and no longer tried to maintain his once considerable strength, but he knew that letting such a creature as a Saiyan into his universe unmonitored was paramount to destroying a hundred million planets without remorse. And he would not stand for it.
Behind Mijikai stood a tall, powerfully-muscled, and far younger Kai who was named Takai. Takai was aspiring to become the next Supreme Kai. He focused a vast majority of his attention on his physical training, trying to reach the coveted position of Strongest in the Universe (at least their universe), which would allow him to finally take up the mantle of Supreme Guardian of the Universe. He was already three times stronger than his mentor, but that was still not quite enough for he knew there were still beings out there that were far stronger. And a perfect example of that was the two Saiyans who stood in front of him, especially the smaller and younger female. If he had to guess, that girl would be nearly eight times stronger than he currently was. And that was only in her current form!
"That's the condition, Saiyan," Mijikai repeated sternly.
Takai merely glanced down at his elder without a word before returning his gaze to the pair. In his personal opinion, he wouldn't have minded allowing the two of them free access into their universe. He could feel that they were good people; maybe a little rough around the edges, but good people nonetheless. He didn't truly understand just why Mijikai, who was still very much the Supreme Kai, was so opposed to allowing them into the universe. And the level of power which he'd declared that they would be allowed access to while in their universe was extremely low, even by Mijikai's standards!
It seemed to Takai that Mijikai was almost trying to find a reason to keep them out.
"I'll do it," the elder Saiyan said easily, not seeming the least bit disturbed or agitated. He smiled kindly at the pair, and Takai was again reminded of the enormous black and blue bruise surrounding his right eye. Whatever being that was capable of doing that he didn't even want to think about. He moved forward and calmly took the set of earrings that Takai held forward to him. The elder Saiyan stared at the small earrings with a pensive expression as he spoke again, more to himself than anyone else. "If it means I get the chance to find my son."
"WHAT?" Pan shouted in disbelief. "I can't believe you, Gohan! Do you even realize just how low this shriveled, old lump is trying to take us! We couldn't even beat Satan-ojisan at that level!"
"Don't exaggerate, Pan," Gohan said, completely unmoved by his daughter's argument or murderous gaze as he snapped the earrings on. He powered up slightly to test the level of power he could reach before they activated, and nodded to himself as the studs began to grow warm. He could probably attain the first level of Super Saiyan, but not much more.
Looking over at her, Gohan said, "Would you rather just go home and let me find Naruto by myself?"
For one eternal moment, Pan's furious gaze wavered between her father and ancient Kai. It was clear to Takai that this young woman was only a sliver away from losing her self-control and blasting the pair of them into oblivion.
Feeling sympathy for the young Saiyan, Takai stepped forward past Mijikai and knelt down until he was level with Pan. Because Takai had remained silent up to this point in the conversation and brewing storm, his sudden movement had captured their attention as he calmly held out the earrings to the girl.
"There is no price too great to find and protect those you love," his voice was deep and calming. Looking Pan in the eyes, he continued, "If you run into trouble for which your life or your brother's life is in genuine danger of ending, you have my personal permission of removing these earrings and defending yourself. All other times, you must wear them."
"Wha—Takai!" Mijikai shrieked in disbelief at what his protégé had just allowed. But he was ignored by the pair.
Pan's eyes had widened considerably at the permission that Takai had given her. But then they narrowed slightly in suspicion before she slowly reached up and took the earrings from his outstretched hand. However, Pan quickly realized that Takai was putting his trust in her to keep her word. It was a show of faith and caring that the elder Mijikai had yet to demonstrate towards them in their plight.
"Fine, you've got a deal, Takai-sama," Pan finally relented as she snapped the earrings into place. Takai nodded in acknowledgment before returning to his earlier position behind his elder and mentor.
Clearly seething at Takai's bargain but unable to forfeit it, Mijikai just ground his remaining teeth together and turned away. Raising his hands before him as he focused and summoned his powers, he began chanting in an ancient language, gently tearing a portal open in front of himself for which to transport the Saiyans to where they wished to go.
Kabitoshin gave a small sigh of relief. It seemed his planet was to be spared Pan's wrath after all. Smiling he approached Gohan and clasped hands with the saiyan. "Good luck on your journey Gohan. May you and your daughter be successful in your search."
"Thanks a lot Supreme Kai." Gohan replied with a nod. He glanced at his daughter, who merely huffed and stomped through the gash in reality.
~END OF FLASHBACK~