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Chapter 1

ljv


In this world, where the game is played with loaded dice, a man must have the temper of iron, with armor proof to the blows of fate, and weapons to make his way against men. Life is one long battle; we have to fight at every step; and Voltaire very rightly says that if we succeed, it is at the point of the sword, and that we die with the weapon in our hand.

-Arthur Schopenhauer, 1851

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This desert stretched before him in unbearable silence. He could not think why he came here. Or at the very least, he did not allow himself to consider of his reasons. Whatever they were, he always came.

The horizon was beginning to lighten. The line that separated earth from sky was beginning to turn into a blazing red. As if a cut was widening at the end of the world, like blood gushing through a broken artery. The bleeding seemed uncontrollable. The shining heat touched his face and stung at his eyes. He turned his head away willing himself to forget.

The color of the sky felt too much like home. That alone was one torture too many, but the memories came rushing back anyway. He gazed at the bleeding red of distant and unreachable horizon through the corner of his eye; the only time when the blue skies of earth ever came to close to resembling the pulsing skies of his Vegetasi.

Vegeta studied the endless sands stretched, as it seemed, for an eternity before him, which ran into the blazing fire of the sun and to an eternity behind him, which faded away into the darkness of the disappearing night. His body alone seemed stuck in time; trapped in a limbo that offered no boundaries or no direction. The light of the rising sun was turning the appearance of the yellow grains of sand into matter that resembled gleaming rubies. He reached down to let the fine grains of sand slip through his fingers. He closed his eyes, remembering pleasure that would only give him pain.

He was born to rule the most powerful species in the universe. By right of birth he should have ruled galaxies; so much power never to be his. He was nothing more than a remnant of a dying race; nothing more that a speck of sand surrounded by infinity.

Vegeta opened his eyes only to have to immediately close them again. The sun has emerged from the horizon. It was an orange disk floating upon the bleeding artery like a scalpel, either waiting to damage the artery further or to heal it. Vegeta clenched his fist feeling an overwhelming, irrational desire to destroy it.

He breathed in deeply through his nostrils, breathing the fire into his chest. Taking one more disgusted look at the horizon, he shot off into the sky.

The gravity machine was broken again. The blue-haired harpy was fixing it. He would have stayed and watched her, waited, and demanded her promptness, but as of late something about her was beginning to disturb him. Something about the blue haired onna attracted him in such a way he felt that he must stay away. Vegeta did not understand it nor did he wish to. Some emotions were foolish, while others simply bothersome. It was useless to dwell on such things and dangerous to be caught up within them.

His own actions and emotions confused him, bothered him in such a way he did not know how to confront them. He made to distract himself instead. As of late, when the gravity machine was broken, he had taken up exploring the planet. Really, it was more or less his last resort. Inactivity was maddening and more than enough incentive to tear the planet and its people to shreds.

He had tried training with Kakarott's brat. While the boy was his enemy's son, Vegeta could not deny the brat's strength. He was astounded by the hybrid brat's power. In truth, his curiosity was the only reason he bothered. Never had he heard of a child being so powerful as such a young age. Vegeta wondered briefly if it was anything to do with the human blood that ran through his veins combined with the Saiyan blood that made him so powerful. The thought was disgraceful, but Vegeta could not understand it – could think of no other explanation. Humans were weak; pathetically so. Saiyans were strong, but not that strong. The brat was something else entirely and Vegeta was not sure if he liked it.

Before he could test the brat's power, the loud-mouthed harpy drove him away. The child was being held back. If it were not for the fact that the child was a disgraceful half-breed, he would have taken the child from his mother to train him properly, make him worthy of a Saiyan title. Half-breeds were killed upon discovery on Vegetasi. But this was Earth. And Saiyans were dying out. Even Vegeta realized that. So he moved on, not challenging Kakarrot's woman's verdict.

Vegeta tried training with the Namakian next. The experience was disturbing and he vowed never to do it again. He did not even allow himself to consider training the other fools that considered themselves protectors of the mud-ball, Earth.

Even though Vegeta was not entirely sure of the planet's geography, he knew well enough that he was nearly on the other side of the world now. He had been flying for less than thirty minutes and the change was very apparent. It was dark here and strangely more alive than the light of desert. Silver streaks of water upon the earth's surface shined like platinum in the half-mooned sky's light. They cut across the face of the earth like veins liquid silver.

He flew closer to the ground, slowing his speed down, enjoying the dark, breathing in the cool sweetness of the air.

He saw the halo of it first, a city humming in the distance. Normally he avoided cities. He was about to keep flying but something stopped him. Something called him. A knot in his back, a tightening of his stomach, a pull upon his chest. He could not describe it. He would have ignored this, but his entire life he had lived on his instinct. He had learned to trust it. He glanced upon the city light with distaste. Despite the darkness that surrounded it, it pulsed and hummed like a melody that was looking for a beat.

He continued to fly until he was floating above the city, well out of range of the air traffic. He watched it move, feeling its pulse affect his own. He wanted to fly away, but it seemed as if an anchor of energy was pulling him in. So strong was this pull he floated closer to the city until his feet touched upon the concrete of its streets.

He stood still, not entirely sure what to do next, unfamiliar with his own actions. He took a step, and then another, until he was walking at smooth pace, blending into the millions of steps and heartbeats of the city.

His entire body felt strangely tense as if preparing for some kind of battle. Every nerve in his body was on end. It felt as if he was on the edge of panic, but he could think of no reason why. He walked and walked, finding the nervous energy within him eased by the movement.

Everything around him pulsed. He was assaulted by the stench of rotted foods, sweat, and of excess smog in the air. He was surrounded by noise and movement. He could see things that disgusted him; he could see things that fascinated him.

He kept walking.

He walked. He searched even though he did not know what he was looking for. He could hardly call this searching, but he could think of no other word for it. All he would admit to himself was simply that he was walking. Being drawn in, by something, or nothing – it did not really matter.

For miles it was like this. He looked through the part of the city that was nothing but lights and followed his feet. He walked and walked. He walked from the light to only follow his feet into the darkness. The noise died here, but that beat still hummed in the background like a steady heart. Tall buildings rose up awkwardly around him. A silence held the air as if it were screaming. As his feet padded silently upon the cracked asphalt, Vegeta could not help but be reminded of space and the silence that went on forever.

Then came a rip to the artery of heartbeats. The sound was slight, but sudden and obnoxious enough for Vegeta to turn his head. He stopped walking and listened. He was met with silence.

Disappointed, and not really sure completely why, the strange pull on his chest becoming more apparent, he kept walking. Then he heard it again. Vegeta smirked.

Footfalls.

Vegeta moved swiftly, silently toward the sound, first running and then flying.

He could hear it clearly now. Footfalls. There were at least five different sets of feet. He listened closer; several humans running.

He was getting closer. The footfalls were becoming louder. He felt his heart beat along with it, and his nervous energy gave way into a kind of excitement the filled every part of his body. Then suddenly, the sound just stopped. He paused, his stomach clenching with the return of dread. He floated silently sniffing the air only to be bombarded with an overwhelming smell of rot.

He tensed his shoulders, feeling frustrated and foolish. The silence wrapped around him, pushing against him, weighing down upon his shoulders.

A low note stung the air, breaking the silence and its hold on him. A mumble of voices began to vibrate through the crumbling walls. Vegeta quickly, silently followed the sound.

As, he rounded the corner of a long and narrow alleyway, he found the sounds he had been following. It took him all but a moment to identify the seen he was witnessing. Several boys surrounded a much smaller boy. The smaller boy held in his hands a shiny object that looked too expensive for the grimy hands that held it. The four boys surrounding the smaller one were leering.

"Give it to us, runt. We don't want to hurt you… much."

Vegeta moved closer to get a better view, moving silently to the top of a building that stood silently by the alleyway. He was fascinated and perhaps even a little astonished, almost pleased. He did not know that humans had it in them.

The boy's small hands tightened upon the object he was holding as he took another step back cornering himself against a wall. The other boys laughed, stepping closer to the smaller child.

Vegeta stood silently. He watched the small boy's face carefully, preparing himself to feel disgust, expecting fear from the child's face. He waited to see the weakness, absolute cowardice - he waited to see a human just as he knew them to be - pitiful.

What he saw inspired no disgust.

There was no fear but only rueful distain on the child's face, like a slave defying his master. The boy's head was bent slightly forward as if in mock prayer. The dark mess of hair upon his head was caked with mud. His small face was covered with dirt and his clothes were tattered and worn. Yet, the beggar child held his body stiffly as if he would not bend. Then he tilted his chin upwards arrogantly. As the boy did this, the full effect of his eyes was unleashed. Bright clear blue eyes that did not seem to belong on such a dirty face.

The other boys chuckled at this show of pride. "Stubborn little runt, aren't you? Just give it here." The leader held out his hand, indicating to the object being held by the small boy. "We promise not to hurt you too much."

The small boy grimaced. It took Vegeta a moment to realize that the grimace on the child's face was his smile. The group surrounding him failed to see it as that and moved in closer misinterpreting the smaller boy's expression as fear.

The one that seemed to be the leader chuckled. "Where are your manners, boy?" The leader tilted his head back to speak to the others. His voice was dark and leering. "Stubborn and rude too. We are going to have to teach it some manners."

The other boys chuckled as they moved in closer. The small boy did not move, did not give to the advancement of the bigger boys around him.

Vegeta knew looking at the small boy that he did not stand a chance at defeating the four larger older boys. The child's ki was far lower than even the weakest boy that surrounded him. Vegeta was confident in his assumption that the group of boys would kill the smaller one with minimal effort. However, that strange grimace remained on the boy's face. The prince watched the child closely, unsure what to think about the boy who could have extended his pathetic life a little more by simply running away. A glint sparked in the boy's bright blue eyes. The ice blue that looked like fire.

They attacked at once, each boy going for a separate limb. Each boy missed their target. The small child was quicker than Vegeta imagined, though, still pathetically slow. He watched as the small boy took on and defeated each opponent, taking hits that should have leveled him, giving hits that he should not have been capable of delivering. He watched the poor technique and the boy's struggle. Vegeta stood still watching one body after another fall until all that was left was the small boy with the bright blue eyes.

Vegeta sensed out the child's power level. He frowned. It was unimpressive; weak. Yet, the boy stood triumphant over the unconscious bodies around him. Blood was running freely through his nose and from a newly acquired gash upon his forehead, his chest heaving from exertion against a thin t-shirt. His knuckles were raw and even through the dirt that covered his skin, the pink was becoming evident. Despite the darkness, bruises were already forming on the boy's body. Vegeta could not help but appreciate the sight.

Vegeta stepped forward, preparing to fly off into the skies once more. However, the boy, his senses buzzing from the fight, tensed as a predator would before attacking its prey. His bright blue eyes shooting upwards to where Vegeta observed the fight. The prince froze, meeting the gaze calmly despite his shock. He was not expecting the boy to see him. Yet as he held the child's unyielding gaze, he was glad that boy had looked.

The defiance in the boy's bright blue eyes was enjoyable. He enjoyed seeing the cool confidence and the stubborn line of the child's lip. He even appreciated the boy's indifference to the blood running from his nose and staining further the front of his already dirty shirt.

The child watched the prince unblinkingly. Vegeta watched the child with the same calm intensity. Finally, he growled. He was tired of this silly staring contest.

"Brat!" He barked.

The boy's expression did not change. He tilted his chin higher at Vegeta's voice.

Vegeta smirked, familiar with this kind of arrogance for it was very much like his own.

He floated down from the roof he had stood upon. He felt a streak of satisfaction as the boy's blue eyes widened in surprise only to narrow in suspicion. His body however, though still tensed as if to fight, remained open and unafraid.

As Vegeta landed less than four feet from the boy, he was overcome at just how small the child was. The boy did not seem to mind the obvious size difference between them. He stood just as stiffly as before, just as angrily.

"Boy, how old are you?"

The child's forehead furrowed. He did not answer.

Vegeta growled in annoyance.

"Do you speak, boy?"

The child furrowed his forehead further and then gave a reluctant stiff nod of his head.

"Then you can answer my question." He paused letting the words sink in. "How old are you, brat?"

The boy shook his head. His small hands tightened on what appeared to be a very expensive bracelet. The blue of his eyes hardened so they almost looked purple.

He took a step closer to the boy making the proximity more uncomfortable. The child shifted but did not yield to Vegeta's steps. The prince was just as pleased as he was angry at the boy's defiance.

Vegeta spoke once more. "Do you have a family?"

The boy gave Vegeta an angry guarded look before shaking his head once.

Vegeta considered this carefully, his cold gaze never leaving the intense blue one.

"Have you been trained?"

The boy's anger hardened the lines of his face as he shook his head once more declaring that he had not.

Faster than the boy could comprehend, Vegeta grabbed the back of the boy's neck and took off into the sky.

The child squirmed in surprise and in pain from the grip Vegeta had on the back of his neck, but did not comment and did not fight. The boy did not make a sound and other than his initial squirming did not move. The prince could feel the quick pulses of the boy's young heart beating rapidly against his fingertips.

He kept flying until he came to the desert he had abandoned just hours before. He landed, immediately releasing the boy roughly. The child stumbled and fell onto the scorching heat of the sand. The boy was disorientated and pale. The prince wrinkled his nose as he smelt the beginnings of nausea take hold of the boy's body.

The boy puked upon the yellow sand. Vegeta waited with silent disgust. As soon as the boy was done his eyes flew up to the Sayian's angrily.

The spite in the boy's eyes was satisfying. "Boy, if you can survive here by yourself for one month, you will be my student. I will train you into what you should be."

The child stood up on shaky legs. Vegeta noted the pale skin and thought of the child's impending burns from the sun and the sand with a small amount of amusement.

The boy spit blood upon the sand. His body, caked with mud and blood, blended easily into the sand surrounding his small form. The blues eyes glinted like sapphires.

The child tilted his head mockingly so that he could look into Vegeta's eyes. A high raspy voice that sounded very out of practiced came from his mouth, his words an angry refusal. "And what should I be?"

Vegeta smirked into the child's angry eyes, pleased to have defeated him into talking. The prince let out a low curt laugh before shooting off into the skies in a cloud of sand and rock, covering the boy with debris.


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A/N: So this is more or less my first DBZ fic. So you know, tell me what you think?