Disclaimer: Dragon Ball is the property of Akira Toriyama, TOEI ANIMATION, and various other companies, as well as all characters within. I am using them without permission, and I am making no money off of them.

Legend:

( ) Denotes thoughts.

{ } Denotes sound effects.


Far off the mainland in the western sea, the tiny island home of Kame-Sen'nin appeared as a single speck in the deep blue yonder. The Turtle Hermit's modest Kame House spoke of a soul that needed little and wanted naught, content with a few palm trees to liven up the scenery, and maybe the odd dirty magazine or two. Conversely, the man of the house was not currently enjoying a Playboy, but instead busied himself with the training of his second most prosperous student. It was light play for the two of them, but at the speed at which these two moved, it would be nothing less than life-or-death combat for anyone else.

"Hyaaah!" Kuririn cried, rushing forward with a fierce claw fist. {VVVSH!} His attack rent the air as the old master slid deftly to the side, keeping his stance tight and free of any openings. The young Orin monk pressed his attack further, transforming his momentum into a spinning double kick aimed for Kame-Sen'nin's head. {SHI-SWHAA!} This too, was avoided; a few simple jerks of the head kept him clear of Kuririn's heels.

{SHOKA SHOKA SHOKA!} Kame-Sen'nin bat away Kuririn's fists and feet effortlessly, controlling the flow of battle and preventing the boy from gaining the upper hand. And yet he was impressed; his young pupil's attacks were focused on only his opponent, without inflicting any unnecessary collateral damage on the premises. Still, he took the pleasure of taunting his pupil. "Not up to snuff today, Kuririn?" he crowed, his eyes glinting humorously behind his ever present sunglasses.

"Oh yeah?" The boy's narrow eyes sparkled with a similar mischief. "Watch this, master!" Avoiding a small jab from the codger's crooked hand, Kuririn shifted just outside of his reach, taking up a squat stance. {ZNNNN!} With a slight displacement of air, his body became intangible, non-corporal, a specter of the past.

Kame-Sen'nin mouth broke into a snaggle-toothed smile, though he could easily see the trickery Kuririn had employed. "Ah, you're using the Double Shadow Technique now," he commented, his eyes glancing between the ghost and a second ghost Kuririn had produced with his martial skill. "However..."

As if on instinct, he thrust his crooked staff in a seeming random direction, which just so happened to be where the real Kuririn was creeping up from. {THUD!} the staff made contact with the boy's chin, snapping his head back almost forty-five degrees. {PMMF!} Kame-Sen'nin continued with a quick jab to the boy's solar plexus, and Kuririn folded into himself like a broken accordion. At that point, the old master simply backed off, waiting for the boy to catch his breath.

"A word to the wise, Kuririn," Kame-Sen'nin quipped, folding his arms behind his back. "Don't announce your secret moves before you use them."

"...I'll try," he choked out, clutching his chest.

The old man let his aging muscles relax from the brief workout, getting out a few kinks that definitely weren't there fifty years ago. "That was a good match, but your abilities won't grow further until you learn to spread your wings," he instructed tartly, making for a good facsimile of a strict headmaster. "You don't have much else to learn from me, so why don't you get out in the world and stop adding to my grocery tab?"

"I've got nowhere else to go." Kuririn looked a bit embarrassed here, and averted his gaze. "...and I guess I'm kinda waiting for Goku to return from his three year training trip."

"Ho ho, it's only been a year so far." The old man laughed. "That monkey boy does everything full out, especially training. No, Kuririn, he won't return until his time is up."

Kuririn lowered his head and muttered a reluctant agreement. Then, a ghost of realization crossed his face, his eyes tracking a distant blip on the horizon. To Kame-Sen'nin's curiosity, he walked over to the shoreline, the foamy waves licking at his shoes. The monk's eyes widened, his jaw loosening a bit.

"If Goku's not coming, what's that?" he demanded of the old man, pointing off into the distance. Kame-Sen'nin approached the shore, his eyebrows curling suspiciously. The doubt in his face soon turned to astonishment, as he spied a saffron streak cutting the clouds like a knife. {HYUUUNNN...!}

Swirling downward at an alarming rate, the buttery blur quickly morphed into a young boy riding atop a small cloud. He guided his unorthodox steed towards the small island, maneuvering in a looping pattern of aerial excellence. Swooped past Kame-Sen'nin and Kurirun and making their clothes rustle, he turned a 180 around them, and surrounded them with a ring of yellow ozone. He hopped off the zooming cloud with practiced ease and turned to them with a wave, his shock of black hair and open smile unmistakable as Son Goku trademarks. "Hiya!"

"Yo, Goku!" With a huge grin pasted on his face, Kurirun scampered over to his best friend, peppering him with light punches to the shoulders and ribs. "You're back already!"

"Heh heh!" Goku laughed, warding off the blows half-heartedly. "What's up?"

"So, the prodigal son returns." Kame-Sen'nin greeted him with a smile, walking over to Goku. Then, he swiftly gonked the boy over the head with his staff. "What are you doing back here?" the man hissed, teeth gnashed in a horrible grimace. "I told you to keep traveling for three years!"

"Ow...!" Goku rubbed his head, lofting his spiky bangs about.

"And riding Kinto'un to boot." The old master shook his head in shame. "Hmph! That's a direct violation of the conditions we agreed upon. You fail, Son Goku! You fail!" He posted a piece of paper to Goku's forehead, bearing the letter "F" along with a date for a parent-teacher conference.

"Yeah, that's what I wanted to talk to ya about." Goku peeled the paper off his skin and tossed it to the side. "A lotta stuff happened, and I found one of those things you and Kuririn are always talkin' about. You know, with the long hair, and the kissing, and the dead flowers and boxes of sweet stuff."

"...Girlfriend?" Kuririn supplied hesitantly.

"Yeah, that's it!" Goku smiled, putting his fists on his hips. "One of those!"

Upon absorbing this information. Kuririn's eyes goggled out of his head. "Whoa, Goku!" he exclaimed, looking at the boy as if he had just grown a tail...well, a second tail. "You got a girlfriend? Since when did you start playing the field?"

"Well done, my boy!" Kame-Sen'nin cheered, clapping Goku on the back. "That is a excellent reason to shirk off training! So tell me, what's she like? Big bazooms, like Miss 34-C?"

"Bazooms?" Goku stumbled on the colloquialism. "Well, she can hit really hard, and shoot a big beam out of her mouth, so I guess those are bazooms."

"Heh, whatever makes you happy." Kuririn shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly.

"Flat, huh?" Kame Sennin's face fell. "Already I'm skeptical."

"But she's really nice, and a lot of fun," Goku continued on, unperturbed. "Kinda weird, though."

As Kame-Sen'nin and Kuririn tried to cobble up a mental image of the mystery girl, Goku wandered away from them, distracted by a distant glimmer on the sea. "Hey, there she is now!" He smiled, and shielded his eyes from the sun.

Kame-Sen'nin and Kuririn looked to the sea, not finding anything but the churning of the ocean. Then their eyes widened, as they observed the sea churning a little bit too much for a calm day such as this, like buttermilk instead of water. A distant froth was forming from the south, spreading horizontally like a closed curtain. It slowly began to dawn on the two of them that there was a tidal wave the height of a small office building approaching the island, and fast.

The master and student were united in stark horror, cringing away from the oncoming calamity. Clinically, they observed how the wave formed around a single human figure, who was running on the skin of the water and kicking it behind like a speedboat on speed. "Wait, wait, wait!" it squealed in a ear-splitting voice, audible even from this distance. "I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming!"

Kame-Sen'nin and Kuririn had no time to run or even turn around before the tidal wave overtook the beach. As they cried their protests, they were swept up to the top of Kame House like refuge, along with a mound of sand and a few coconuts. The wave folded over them and exploded onto everything, drenching the palm trees and leaving the house looking like it had been through a car wash. When it was over, the island looked more like a water park than a hermit's home.

Water pouring from every orifice, Kame-Sen'nin and Kuririn observed a wet, smiling Goku on the island, who had somehow managed to keep his footing even with an Olympic sized pool's worth of water crashing down on him. He was grinning excitedly at the new arrival: a small girl about Goku's height with long, violet hair that curled at the tips. She was wearing a pair of blue/grey dungarees, and a baseball cap adorned with two angel wings on the sides. Her eyes were encased by thick, round glasses, magnifying a pudgy face that bore a remarkable similarity to Goku's, both in shape and expression.

The girl peered curiously at the waterlogged pair on the roof, as if trying to figure out what they were doing there. Then she smiled, greeting them with a wave. "N'cha!" she called up to them. "I'm here!"


Special Education

By Reid M. Haynes

Tale 1: Goku's Angel


"I guess the old shell needed a rinse anyway." Kame-Sen'nin took off the tortoise shell strapped to his back and poured out the water inside, which rolled off the roof shingles and down the drainage pipe.

"Yeesh, Goku," Kuririn grumbled, making his way from the side of the house to the ground. "You sure know how to pick 'em. Who is she, anyway?"

Goku smiled, walking over to the young girl that had split the sea with her sprint. "Guys, this is Arale," he told them, putting his arm around her shoulders. "I met her in this place called Penguin Village."

"Yeah!" The girl beamed a spotlight smile, scooting closer to Goku. "Me and Go-kun beat up a big bad guy, so now we're traveling together to beat up some more bad guys. That's really fun!" Arale giggled, a sound that was less schoolgirl and more Saturday morning sugar craze.

(He'd moved up to cutesy honorifics.) Kurinn goggled at the two, his upper lip twitching reflexively. He observed the monkey boy's closeness to the girl, his hand stationed on her shoulder like it was the most natural thing in the world. (This girlfriend thing's for real!)

Arale pulled away from Goku and brought out the overnight bag slung to her back. "I brought everything I need," she explained, emptying the contents onto the beach. Among various odds and ends, there was a few baby bottles filled with some sort of liquid, some Godzilla and Mothra action figures, and a couple coiled piles of what appeared to be...well, it was dog poo. "All the essentials!" Arale sang, thrusting up Godzilla and Mothra like prized artifacts.

"There's even a martial art gi in there!" Goku added, motioning to the folded clothes that had also tumbled out of the bag.

"And a toothbrush!" She pulled up a well-worn brush.

As the two tykes continued through Arale's belongings, Kame-Sen'nin gave the girl a quick once-over. "Hmm, I always thought he'd end up with that Chi-Chi girl," he mused, toying with his long beard.

Kuririn, for his part, observed the girl as she made gargling noises for Godzilla's fire breath, and slammed Mothra straight into the poo piles with a sloppy splat. "No master, this is pretty much exactly what I expected Goku's girlfriend to be like," he drolled, his eyes dull with disinterest.

"Well now, let's take a look here, shall we?" The old master meandered over to Arale, sizing her up with an expert eye. He tilted her chin with the tip of his staff to inspect her every feature. "Good dimples, and the hat's a nice touch. Hair's a little messy, but the color brings out the eyes. You still look like a kewpie doll, though." The old man turned to Goku with a disapproving glare. "Goku, what I did I tell you about girls?" he scolded the boy. "Busty is always best!"

"Hakase said he'd give me breasts in two years!" Arale bubbled, making circular motions around her chest as if she were spinning clay pots. "Boom boom, bazoom!"

"You know a plastic surgeon?" he asked, interest creeping up in his voice. "One of the most affluent people of our modern society?"

"Hoyo?" Arale blinked twice. "He's a scientist."

It was now Kame-Sen'nin's turn to be confused. He stepped back from the girl and scratched his head, trying to figure out how everything added up.

"You know, she's still pretty cute though," Kuririn broke in, sauntering up to the two with his hands behind his head. "Got that whole Cameron Diaz thing going on."

"So she does, so she does." The old man nodded sagely. "Not bad at all for Goku's first try."

"Arale-chan says she wants special training, 'kay?" Goku had no trace on trepidation on his face. "I took her here so you could show her some moves."

"I want wham bam punching skills so I can break faces!" Arale agreed, nodding vigorously.

"What?" Here, Kame-Sen'nin whirled to Goku, refusal written all over his face. "You want me to take on another boarder? I was just getting used to having some food around with you gone, and now I'm supposed to feed all four of you, including Lunch?"

"Cameron Diaz..." Kuririn reminded him, hissing insistently.

"But she doesn't eat!" Goku protested, picking up one of the baby bottles and shaking it in front of the old master's face. "She just drinks this stuff!"

Kame-Sen'nin turned cross-eyed at the mystery beverage under his nose. "Some sort of health food nut?" he ventured, frowning in confusion.

"And she's really strong too!" he continued, obviously missing the question. He turned to Arale. "Hey Arale-chan, show 'em what you showed me!" he called out to her.

"Okay!" she squealed, raising her hand. Moving past Kuririn, she stopped in front of a palm tree, its leaves still drooping from the previous water works. She tightened up and prepared a fist for this obvious target. "Wham..." she growled under her breath, and Kame-Sen'nin and Kuririn instinctively cringed, fearing they had another pint sized titan on their hands.

"...BAM!" and with one punch, she splintered the tree into tiny fragments. Shards of wood spiraled out like a scattergun blast, a tornado of destruction flying towards the sea.

"I'm gonna bring in my things!" Arale smiled with satisfaction at her wanton devastation. Walking back over to the group, she gathered her possessions into her overnight bag, taking extra care with the poo piles. The girl strode over to Kame House like she had lived there for months, with Goku following in step beside her. Goku turned his head briefly back at Kame-Sen'nin and Kuririn, flashing a bright smile for the both of them.

"Isn't she great?" he said, a cheery laugh bouncing from his tongue. Together, he and Arale disappeared behind the door, leaving it swinging loosely behind them.

Kame-Sen'nin's jaw hung slack, and a blob of drool oozed down into his beard. "Yes," he spoke in a tiny voice. "I think she fits the bill."


"It's lunch time!" Lunch announced as she carried a tray of sandwiches to the kitchen table. As soon as she set it down, the number of sandwiches reduced rapidly as Goku swept them up into his mouth one after another. Kame-Sen'nin and Kuririn sighed helplessly as they watched every last slice of luncheon meat, every pickle, disappear down his gullet before they could even lay a hand on them. Arale, for her part, simply sucked away at her bottle, her socks resting on the shell of Sea Turtle, who had joined them inside to discuss Arale's future.

"It's been quite a while since Master Goku has joined us for a meal," Sea Turtle remarked, lifting his head out from its slump to study the small group. "I dare say we should stock up on glazed ham next time. The honey-baked variety is exquisite."

"The days we could afford glazed ham are over, pal," Kuririn grumbled along with his stomach. "Goku's back, so shopping's gonna be quantity over quality now."

"So you say you're from a island without Capsule technology!" Lunch said to Arale, picking up a small jar of pepper. "I've always loved small, out-of the-way places! That's why I'm staying here."

"Yeah, but I hadda go with Goku," the girl responded, lowering the bottle to her lap. "I left Ga-chans 1 and 2 back home. They're probably bored by now, and eating the house."

"Your pets?" Kame-Sen'nin's hand crept up on a small sandwich that had escaped Goku's grubby hands. "Don't you mean 'eating you out of house and home?'"

"No, eating the house," she corrected, her eyes shifting over to the sandwich the old man was fingering. To Kame-Sen'nin's frustration, she plucked up the sandwich and presented it to Goku, who opened his big maw in preparation. She then stuffed the morsel into the boy's mouth, who engulfed it within his teeth. "Yum yum!" Arale chimed cheerfully, as Goku smiled his appreciation through a mouthful of bread and baloney.

"I wish I had a girlfriend that would feed me by hand," Kuririn muttered, slumping his cheek on his fist. "I can't believe Goku's further along in the dating game than the master and I."

The same thought had occurred to Kame-Sen'nin, his face shriveling up with wounded masculine pride. "W-well, I'm sure you understand that the outside world is likely a lot more dangerous than the nice island town you hail from." He coughed into his fist, bringing his attention back to Arale. "You'll need a strict martial arts regimen to prepare for your upcoming trials."

"That's right!" Lunch agreed, shaking the pepper over the last remaining BLT. "There's a lot of bad people out there! Thieves, and gangsters, and ah, ah, ahhhh...!" Her hand rose to her mouth, her nose wrinkling as the pepper agitated her sinuses. Kame-Sen'nin and Kuririn cringed.

"Yes, a lot of unsavory riff-raff out there!" the old man laughed nervously, covering Lunch's mouth to stifle her sneeze. Lunch stiffened for a moment, then relaxed with a hum. The tension fell from the air as Kame-Sen'nin and Kuririn sighed with relief.

Arale stared at them with a blank expression. "Hoyo-yo..." Goku, meanwhile, snatched the BLT off the table and slurped it up with a sloppy smack of his lips.

"Anyway, we'll have to move to a larger island for your training," the old master continued, keeping one eye on Lunch and making a mental note to explain to Arale the young woman's special condition, as well as her own brushes with the law. "Are you sure you're ready to commit, Arale? My program is not for the faint of heart."

"Yup!" She nodded. "I'm top of the class in P.E. at school!"

"Then I accept you as my student on special recommendation from Goku." Kame-Sen'nin smiled, offering a hand to her. "For now, you may stay in the guest room."

"Yayyy!" Arale cheered in victory, rising from her chair and shaking his hand with a steely grip.

"Speakin' of training, where's Yamcha?" Goku asked. "Isn't he supposed to be here getting stronger?"

"Ah, Yamcha, he's gone." The old man shook his head with disappointment. "He and Bulma broke up again for one reason or another. Afterwards, he was too distracted to commit to any serious training, and so he up and left one day."

"I'll tell ya, it wasn't two days before they were going at it," Kuririn added, leaning forward to stare Goku straight in the eye. "If you're going to have a girlfriend, you gotta learn a few things about women."

"Huh?" The monkey boy's tail twitched in response to this. "Aren't you just supposed to be nice to them and stuff?"

"Yeah." Arale draped her arms over Goku like a warm scarf, peering over his head at Kuririn. "We don't fight or anything, unless we're beating each other up."

"She's really fun to spar with," Goku added as an aside, a smile once again on his face. "It takes two days for me to heal from her punches!"

"Like it's that simple!" The monk huffed, veins pulsating on his temples. "You need counselors and self-helps books and advice columns if you want to stand a chance in this dog-eat-dog world of dating!" He moaned exaggeratedly, slapping a hand to his forehead. "Don't you know anything?"

Arale paid Kuririn's exasperation no mind, and was soon back to perusing the tray, finding it barren of any more food to feed Goku. Her gaze then lowered to Sea Turtle, still situated below the table. She placed both hands on his shell and hoisted him up. "Do you eat turtle?" she asked Goku, holding the tortoise aloft.

"Lady Arale, please abstain!" Sea Turtle wailed, his pudgy legs kicking futilely.

"Nah." Goku waved her off, seemingly oblivious to the tortoise's plight. "Sea Turtle said he didn't taste very good, anyway."

"My word!" Sea Turtle was rife with indignation as Arale placed him back on the floor like a piece of furniture.

"I see we're going to have to lay down some ground rules," Kame-Sen'nin groused. "Number one: don't feed Goku animals that talk."


MEANWHILE

The heat wave seared across the Diablo Desert like hot sauce across the tongue, torching the arid landscape into a dry husk. Only a few crooked trees made their way out from under the sands, clawing desperately at the rather thin clouds in the heavens. The cavernous rock formations caught the light and shone brilliantly, giving some glamor to an otherwise lifeless stage. Otherwise, it was a scene out of the Book of Death.

Strafing the rock formations, a minivan tore through the desert as if pursued by a pack of wolves. The middle-aged couple inside were stricken with wild-eyed terror; the man's hands glued to the wheel, and his wife desperately shuffling through the maps. The man took corners like vacation packages, moving fast to get out of the desert and into a hotel as soon as possible. His weaving pattern suggested a getaway route; a series of quick turns designed to shake whomever or whatever was following him...and the whos and whats were in equal force that afternoon.

{SHEEEEE...!} a rocket cut out from behind some underbrush, shooting towards the minivan's back tires. {BA-BOMB!} its roaring inferno blasted apart the entire back of the van, sending the vehicle toppling forward like a Olympic gymnast gone wrong. With scorched tires and shredded metal tearing off the minivan, it slid along the dunes, leaving a train of wreckage behind it. Even before the van had completely skidded to a stop, the man and woman had pushed out onto the sands, desperate to make one last break for it.

The couple had only just began to run when they found their assailant bearing down on them, freezing them in their tracks. The RPG had been loaded with another rocket, and its wielder had drawn a bead on their position. The young desert bandit hadn't shown himself in these parts for quite a while, and it was believed he had moved on to greener pastures. But the bandit himself knew differently; this was his home, after all, and the prime location to get reacquainted with his old ways.

"Surrender your capsules and valuables!" Yamcha barked out to the couple from his sand skiff, his short ponytail lapping at his nape. "And you might get out of here alive!"

"You better do what Lord Yamcha says," his cat companion chimed from his shoulder, ears flipping back and forth. "He's been really mad ever since Bulma dumped him."

"Pu'ar, shut up!" Yamcha hissed through the corner of his mouth. "They don't need to know about that!"

It was all true, though. Yamcha crawled through his memories as if they were wrapping in barbed wire, gritting his teeth as the painful truth sank in. He tried to comfort himself with the notion that this particular breakup had been entirely Bulma's fault. After all, she was the one that constantly combed the beach for rough 'n' tough brawlers that looked like they had been trapped for a year in a vault with nothing but barbells and weight gain formula. He didn't have nearly as much of a wandering eye as Bulma claimed he did; his encounters with the fairer sex had been at arms length the whole time.

But in the end, there was one thing Yamcha knew about Bulma after dating her for over a year, and that was that she preferred nothing less than the shoujo manga ideal; the bad boy. Ninety-eight percent of the young men she sought after were stony-faced, conceited snobs fond of posturing and monologues. Actually, Yamcha had been like that once, back when Pu'ur and himself roamed the dunes as desert bandits for fortune and glory. Ironically, a few months with Bulma had beaten this out of him, and now the young inventor seemed ready to move on to the next bad boy and repeat the process.

(Well, if Bulma wants a bad boy, than that's what she'll get!) Yamcha smiled crookedly as he adjusted the weapon on his shoulder, settling into his anti-hero role with much aplomb. (They'll have to put my face next to the definition of "Byronic Hero!")

"Drop any and all byronics...I mean, electronics on the ground!" Yamcha continued, coughing self-consciously. "Or you'll taste another sample of my Pauzer Faust!"

"You've spent too much time reading chick lit, sir," Pu'ar sighed, as he floated towards the hapless couple to collect the booty.

"Stop!" a sharp voice panged from above, as Pu'ar was honing in on the valuables the couple had dispensed for them. Yamcha's eyes stole towards the clouds, spying a shadowy figure perched along high one of the rock formations. The figure vaulted in a low arc towards the couple, followed soon after by a second figure. Both shadows were small and lithe, their bodies rolling through the air like baseballs slung by a master pitcher.

In no time, they had landed on the desert sands, creating a divide between the two bandits and their victims. The one in front, a very familiar looking girl with long dark hair, shifted into a balanced position based on the regional martial arts traditions of the outlying areas. Her friend, a rather-proper looking young lad with twin cowlicks, glasses, and suspenders, followed suit with a different stance, one closer to boxing than kung fu. Both of them looked quite fierce.

"Stealin' is bad!" the girl declared, shaking her fist. "Ya'll let that booty go, hoodlums!"

"Desist in your reckless behavior!" The boy thrust a righteous digit at Yamcha. "We do not wish to harm you!"

(That's Ox Princess Chi-Chi!) Yamcha's eye twitched at the sight of Gyu-Mao's daughter and her unknown ally. (But who's the other kid?)

He shook off his questions momentarily, a sneer reappearing on his face. "Funny, I've been saying the same thing to these guys," Yamcha growled in response to the warnings. He whirled quickly to his partner in crime. "Pu'ar, let's go!" he commanded.

"Yes, sir!" the cat shouted back, darting over to the side behind an outcropping of rocks.

Yamcha quickly brought his Pauzer Faust up to bear, and let loose a soaring rocket straight for Chi-Chi. {FWOOM!} As if perfectly trained for such an occasion, the mystery boy darted in front of the princess and booted the rocket on its exhaust pipe, sending it skywards to detonate harmlessly above their heads. {KA-BOOM!} Chi-Chi was already rushing Yamcha, her arms pumping like pistons as she bore down on him at breakneck speed. The boy meanwhile, attended to the needs of the couple, clearing them out of the way of the upcoming melee.

"Wanna challenge me, kid!" Yamcha growled, letting the Pauzer Faust fall to his side. He reached behind for his sword, drawing its curved blade from the sheath just in time to meet the girl's attack head on.

{VREEEN!} Yamcha's blade carved through the air in a half-moon slice at Chi-Chi's neck, who span away mere centimeters from the sharpened edge. She sprung back with a flying knee-blow aimed at Yamcha's midsection, forcing him to block the close-ranged attack. The desert bandit quickly darted backwards to recover the distance, opting next for a series of shivering swings akin to a baton twirler's routine. {SHEEV! SHEEV!} Chi-Chi swayed with the motions easily, then jumped in with a flurry of punches as soon as an opening emerged.

{BWOK! BWOK! BWOK!} The young fighter reeled back from the ferocity of Chi-Chi's attack, performing a series of frantic blocking maneuvers in a desperate attempt to regain ground. "You big, shaggy meanie!" she wailed at him, her eyes squinting with anger. "I bet you don't wash under yer armpits!" The young princess was fighting a lot better than their last encounter, Yamcha realized, especially considering she had foregone her boomerang-bladed, laser-shooting helmet in favor of straight-up martial arts. Worse still, he was fundamentally weak on defense, and Chi-Chi was definitely the dominant force in this battle. (Maybe I should've stayed on with the old man...)

Several meters outside of Yamcha and Chi-Chi's bout, the proper young lad was approaching fast, fresh from escort duty for the middle-aged couple. "Obotchaman, hurry up!" Chi-Chi called out behind her, as she performed a spinning kick towards Yamcha's skull.

(Obotchaman.) Yamcha mentally logged this information as he evaded Chi-Chi's attack. He pulled out a small handgun from his side, forcing Chi-Chi to break off her attack and avoid the impending rounds. {PAM!}{PAM!}

Obotchaman had almost reached Yamcha and Chichi when a dark, whirling sphere cut off his destination route. {BA-BOOM!} the object detonated, pushing the boy back with the subsequent shock wave. Struggling to get to his feet, Obotchaman craned his neck to find Pu'ar hovering above him, who had retrieved a bag of cannonball bombs from a hidden stockpile. "For the honor of Lord Yamcha!" the cat roared in triumph, holding another sparking explosive.

"Where does a cat get such artillery?" Obotchaman wondered out loud, his disbelief shining through his glasses. "Have you visited the Penguin Village police armory?"

"I love using these, especially when I'm in videogames," Pu'ar explained, holding the bomb up high. "Haven't you ever played Dragon Power or Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure?"

"The latter was quite sufficient, but the former left something to be desired," the boy answered, averting his gaze for the moment.

"Quiet!" Without further ado, Pu'ar hurled the explosive at Obotchaman's feet, who tumbled into a roll to avoid the impending blast. {BA-BOOM!} Pu'ar lit two more bombs and tossed those as well, forcing the boy back even further. {KOOM!}{KOOM!} Soon, Obotchaman was scurrying all over the place, struggling to stay one step ahead of the bombastic barrage. The flying cat kept up a steady rhythm, dropping bombs as if they were on some sort of assembly line.

Obotchaman grit his teeth, letting one of the bombs whiz past him without dodging. "No more of this!" Squinting his eyes under the blazing sun, he snatched the next bomb out of the air and flung it straight back at Pu'ar. The cat freaked for a moment as his own projectile whirled towards him, detonating mere inches from his aerial position. {BOMB!} "Ah!" he squeaked, dropping the bag of bombs to shield his face from the rushing heat.

The lull in Pu'ar's attack was all he needed, and Obotchaman was on him in an instant. He took to the air with a flying punch that the cat had only seconds to dodge. {SHOOOK!} Pu'ar snapped into action, and used his inherent shapeshifting skills to transform into a hammer like those used at carnival games. {PON!} Pu'ar twirled through the air and made a grand swing at Obotchaman's head. {SHWOOP!}

The boy was momentarily surprised at his opponent's tanooki prowess, but reacted quickly enough to get out of the way of the hammer's war path. He traded blows with Pu'ar as the cat continued to change his shape; a hornet, a spiked club, a pair of pruning sheers. But though he was an expert shapeshifter, he could only keep up intense close-combat for a few moments, and was tiring fast.

{WHOOOF!} Obotchman's fist sank into Pu'ar's stomach, knocking the wind out of him. {BAM!} he followed up with a punt that sent the cat into one of the rock formations, his small body embedding itself within the stone. "It's all up to you, Lord Yamcha..." Pu'ar groaned, as the rock cracked around him. Then, he fell back to the sand with a {POMPH!}, out like a light.

Obotchaman regarded his fallen foe with a twinge of regret, then hurried back towards Chi-Chi to aid his ally. Yamcha was so busy with the persnickety princess that he had no time to attend to this new threat, and Obotchaman took the opportunity to knock the sword right out of his hand. Yamcha now found himself dealing with both Chi-Chi and Obotchaman's double team assault: a simultaneous flurry of fists that he had to divide equal attention between. They worked well as a pair, forcing the bandit to perform twice as hard to evade their blows.

He knew he was losing. Pu'ar was down for the count, and he couldn't keep going at full strength much longer. Finally fed up, Yamcha fell back into a reverse somersault that carried him outside of Chi-Chi and Obotchaman's immediate sphere. "Alright, just wait a sec!" he protested, pressing his palms out in a pretension of peace.

Chi-Chi and Obotchaman halted their attack at once, stepping back and shifting into upright positions. They waited in front of him as if waiting for the school bus, brushing excess filth from their clothes. "What, you're going to back off just like that?" Yamcha gaped, slumping a bit in the shoulders.

"Yes, we're very good children," Obotchaman answered, placing his hands in his pockets.

"You could've jes' asked us t' stop, ya know." Chi-Chi wrinkled her nose at Yamcha.

"It's important to have good manners at all times," the boy agreed.

Yamcha stared down at the two pint-sized fighters. Then, he raked his hand through his coal-black locks, feeling thoroughly self-conscious about the whole thing.


The hallway was a bullet chamber, and Kuririn was streaking through the pipe. The young monk eased his way down the narrow expanse to the guestroom Arale was currently occupying, his stride light and confident. He had rubbed his chrome dome to a glistening sheen, and had even washed his clothes with a special detergent. His breath was minty fresh; he had gone through three strips of chewing gum in preparation for his upcoming encounter.

(Arale's too fast for a country bumpkin like Goku.) Kuririn snickered to himself, rounding the corner to the girl's room. (She needs someone more experienced in the ways of amour...like me!) He gave the dating magazine in his hands one more squeeze for luck, then walked through the door of destiny.

Inside, Arale was fitting her possessions into the cramped shelves around the room. There wasn't any particular rhyme or reason to her sorting scheme; everything was just placed next to each other in a random order. Kuririn paid it little mind; this was no time to get technical. Not when you were about to score a date with Cameron Diaz.

"What's a cute girl like you doing all alone in a place like this?" Kuririn crooned, being sure to stay close to the outline depicted in his dating magazine.

"N'cha!" Arale gave him a friendly wave.

Kuririn played it aloof, coasting around the perimeter of the room for inspiration. "So, Godzilla and Mothra huh?" he began, fixing his gaze on the action figures that took up a large amount of space on the shelves. "You know, that show's on just before the Dating Game." He was lying, of course; what kind of network airs a dating show on the same block as a Japanese monster show?

"What's the Dating Game?" she asked, the smile vanishing for the moment.

"Three bachelors, one girl, with the smoothest swinger taking the prize," he explained with a smile, taking the opportunity to sidle up to Arale. "Get the picture?"

"Hey, I know a game we can play!" Arale brightened, as if struck by sudden inspiration.

"Do you now?" Kuririn snaked an arm around her shoulder like a rock star. Inside, he was struggling to hold in his excitement. (Who knows what a wild girl like her has in mind for me?)

"Uh huh!" The girl reached over to the shelves for an object. Kuririn's grin widened, ready for whatever surprise she had in store.

Then, the monk suddenly found his mouth full of a strange, amorphous substance, similar in texture to soft-serve ice cream. Kuririn soon realized that Arale had put one of the poo piles from her collection right on his tongue. She smiled with self satisfaction. "Isn't this fun?" she inquired, clearly expecting an affirmative.

{BRRRING!} the phone rattled from down the hall. "Ooh, phone phone!" Arale cried, leaving Kuririn flash-frozen in the room.

In the living room, Goku was holding the receiver for Arale. "Hey Arale-chan, this thing started making noises, so I picked it up," he babbled, waving the aforementioned object. "Now there's this weird guy talkin' inside of it. I think he's talking about you!"

Arale listened to the insistent barking from the phone for a moment, and soon her face lit up in recognition. "Oh, that's Hakase!" she said, taking the receiver from Goku and putting it to her ear. "N'cha, Hakase!"

"Arale, you suck!" the ornery squawk of Norimaki Senbei emanated from the speaker. "I thought I told you to call as soon as you got in! I've been worried sick since you since you decided to go off with that Goku kid! Where the heck were you today?"

"I've been having lots of fun with Go-kun and his friends!" Arale made a motion with her free hand, as if the inventor could see her through the speaker. "We all ate sandwiches for lunch, except that I fed Go-kun sandwiches, and nobody else had any!"

"Having a good day, huh?" The incredulous laugh from the other end was viscous with sarcasm. "Well, why don't hear how MY day's been! The Ga-chans' chewed up half the kitchen, the teachers keep bugging me on when you're coming back to school, and now that I'm not doing maintenance on your parts any more, I can't write off my electronics purchases as a tax deduction!"

A few pixie peeps could be heard underneath the man's whining, along with a distinct chewing sound. "No, not the new sofa!" Senbei's voice came out distant, as he was speaking away from the receiver. "We're still making payments on that!"

As the girl continued to listen to her benefactor's list of complaints, Kuririn meandered in, gargling with some mouthwash from a half-empty bottle. "Hey Kuririn, where've you been?" Goku asked, as Kuririn fiddled absently with the mouthwash cap. "I thought you said you wanted to talk to Arale about somethin'."

"Forget it man, she's all yours." Kuririn poured the mouthwash into the cap to serve as a makeshift cup. "Bros before hoes, and all that stuff." He chucked the contents of the cap into his mouth, and wandered off to throw his dating mags in the garbage.

"You better get back here right away, or I'm not gonna give you that boob job I promised!" Senbei continued to holler at Arale, who just smiled her pleasure as random thoughts danced before her eyes. "You'll just have to go through all your high school years being the flattest girl in your grade!"

"Hey Hakase, I gotta go," Arale responded as if she hadn't heard him. "I just remembered that Godzilla vs. Gamera is coming on."

"Arale, don't hang up!" The voice became muffled as she pulled the receiver away and lowered it back onto the hook. Arale then turned to Goku with a bright smile. "He really misses me!" she told him.

Goku grinned in response. "A lot of my friends are loud like that," he agreed.

"Wanna watch Godzilla vs. Gamera?" she asked, appealing to him with shining irises. "It's the super cool crossover millennium fight!"

"That's one of those 'kaiju' things, isn't it?" Goku said, as the girl nodded. "Sure, I'll watch it." The two clasped hands and walked over to the living area, where the small archaic television was blaring with static. Arale quickly turned the knob to the appropriate channel, then settled down with her boyfriend, making herself comfortable by his side.

"Is there lots of fighting?" Goku asked her as the program began.

"Yup!" Arale nodded her head as she leaned her head on his shoulder.


The sun was fading behind the pock-marked landscape, filtering the sands before them in a ruby red hue. Yamcha, Pu'ar, Chi-Chi, and Obotchaman were huddled up outside Yamcha's cave, watching the sunset as they recovered from their battle. The high vantage point of the hideout gave them a great view of their surroundings, allowing them to see all the way to the main road that cut through the desert. Fry-Pan Mountain was still a ways off, though, leaving Yamcha to wonder why the princess has strayed so far from home.

"So you're saying you're sorry and that you won't be a bad man anymore," Obotchaman summarized, pushing the bridge of his glasses up his nose. "Since no permanent harm was done to the family, we are very pleased to accept your apology."

"Well you know what they say!" Yamcha laughed like an idiot, putting his hand to the back of his head. "All's well that ends well!"

"Right," Pu'ar croaked as he wrapped layer after layer of bandages around his body, making him look like a nursing-themed stuffed toy for young girls. He let out a weak groan, then patted the ground beside him for the salve jar.

"But why d'ya keep actin' like you know me?" Chi-Chi looked at Yamcha with mistrustful eyes. "Have I seen you before?"

The bandit turned to her, and opened his mouth to reveal a missing front tooth. Chi-Chi gasped in shock. "Ah, it's the weird lookin' guy!" she squeaked, putting her hands to her mouth. The bandit could've rolled his eyes at how he had been filed inside the girl's head.

"I remember what you said last time we met," she blurted out, thrusting her face into his. "You said you were in love with me!"

"Er, yeah..." Yamcha sweated at her close proximity, putting a finger to the corner of his lips. Truthfully, he was surprised the girl remembered this, and was at a loss on how to play it. (Not this again!) He seethed inwardly, trying to swallow the nausea he had. (What do I need with this child?)

"You were the only boy to say he loved me," she sighed, her lips pouting. "I sure neva' heard that from my otha' boy."

"Miss Chi-Chi and I have had a hard time of it recently," Obotchaman told him, putting a comforting hand on Chi-Chi's shoulder. "Our true loves had left us in favor of each other, and we are now on an exodus to soothe our souls."

Yamcha nodded, drifting in and out of the diatribe.

Then, an idea sparked in the front of his brain. Suddenly, the bandit took on the slippery persona of a lounge singer, leaning closer. "How could a beautiful lady like you have possibly lost the game of love?" he breathed, putting on a gravely accent and hoping Chi-Chi would buy it. "With raven locks like yours, you'd bring any male to their knees."

"Oh my, you're such a gentleman!" Chi-Chi blushed, putting her hands to her cheeks. "Your ugly missing tooth seems less ugly now!"

"But sir, I thought you said you didn't like younger girls," Pu'ar mentioned to him, looking confused by this turn of events.

"Cool it," Yamcha hissed between his teeth.

"Cooling." Puar obeyed, shutting up right quick.

"I've never forgotten our fateful meeting by Fry-Pan Mountain," Yamcha went on, his eyes adopting the lustre of black pearls. "It was like the stars had aligned just for the two of us."

"Hee hee hee!" Chi-Chi smacked him upside the head, giddy with girlishness. "Oh, you!"

Yamcha was chuckling too, hiding the mercenary gleam under his bangs. Chi-Chi was the sole heir of Gyu-Mao and his vast fortune procured from various conquests. Now that the fire engulfing Fry-Pan Mountain was extinguished, she could lead him straight to the legendary treasure underneath the ruined castle.

Manipulating young lasses; always the first choice in any Byronic Hero's repertoire. Bulma would be salivating at his bad boy cred right about now.


"Brush-a brush-a brush-a! Here's the new Ipana!" Arale warbled as she vigorously massaged her gums with her toothbrush. "With the brand new flavor! It's dandy for your teeeeeeth!"

Goku poured a beam of toothpaste onto his own brush. "You said that's a 'commercial jingle?'" he inquired, peering over at her. "What's a commercial?"

"It's when they tell you to buy stuff with money," she answered, spitting a mouthful of toothpaste slop into the sink. "I buy everything they show on the Saturday Morning cartoon block."

"Oh, okay." He nodded. Somehow, Arale had the astounding ability to explain things to where Goku could actually understand them. It was really nice to have someone tell him stuff without yelling at him.

The two continued to brush their teeth, smiling into the mirror of the small washroom. They were dressed in their pajamas; Goku's streaked with a simple stripe pattern, and Arale's festooned with Japanese monsters. The boy thought he could recognize some of the creatures from the shows they had watched earlier that evening. Half of them looked like something he had actually fought at one time or another.

"I can't wait to get started training!" Arale squealed, pumping her fists and flicking toothbrush spittle everywhere. "Then we can have even better fights than before!"

"You'll do fine," he encouraged, placing a hand on her shoulder. "I know I did pretty good when I first started trainin' with Grandpa. And you're neat, Arale-chan, so I'll bet you'll catch up to me real quick!"

Arale giggled, sliding her hand over Goku's fingers. "If you're there, then I know I'll have fun!"


Kame-Sen'nin lie awake in his futon, his sunglasses resting on his bedside to give his eyes a clear view of the ceiling. His sleeping position was stiff; his body sank like a leaden weight into the soft material of the futon, making an indentation as jagged as his bony body. His expression was miserable, his beard ragged, and his underpants ratty. All he wanted was a good night's sleep, but insomnia flowed through his veins, and he remained awake even at 11:00 PM.

"Brush-a brush-a brush-a! Here's the new Ipana!" The obnoxious, sing-song voice bullied its way into the bedroom through layers of drywall. Kame-Sen'nin pulled his pillow out from under his head and covered his ears with it, as if trying to avoid the report of machine gun fire.

It was slowly dawning on the old man that instructing his new student in the ways of the Kame school was going to be a long ordeal. Norimaki Arale was twice as exhausting as Goku ever was; quite a feat in of itself, concerning the boundless energy of the monkey-tailed boy. How the heck was he going to mold this television-raised munchkin into a serious fighter? Turn his training program into a two hour infomercial on Spike TV?

"Brush-a brush-a brush-a...!" Kame-Sen'nin's teeth ground together at the horrific rendition of an old 1950s corporate slogan, and he finally lurched out of bed. "Will you two go to sleep already!" he shouted out at the walls. "We're getting up at 6:00 tomorrow!"

He twisted back into the futon, trying to turn his thoughts to other matters. Such as the sudden impulse to order a few dozen cases of Ipana brand toothpaste before the week was out.


Author's Notes: Not too much going on right now, but the stage is set for another Dragon Ball/Dr. Slump affair. Although this is a sequel to From Penguin Village with Love, this particular story will be more focused on the Dragon Ball side of things, allowing Arale to screw around with prominent Dragon Ball characters from before the 22nd Tenka'ichi Budokai. Stay tuned: Bulma will be showing up next.

Until next time, Ja ne! ^_^