Rini sighed heavily. Hotaru answered the princess's sigh with one of her own. The entire group was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next opponent. It had been well over thirty minutes of them sitting around or pacing circles. Gohan looked at Rini when he heard her sigh.
"Getting tired of waiting too?" Gohan's voice hadn't been loud, but it broke the silence in the room.
Rini looked up at him and then nodded as she stood up. She straightened up her skirt before replying. "It feels like it's been so long. Does saving the world always take this long?" She said this with more humor in her tone than seriousness.
"Sometimes longer." Gohan chuckled.
"Children…" Vegeta muttered in an irritated tone as he stood to Goku side, Shin at the other.
"Oh, let them have fun chatting, Vegeta. I think he really likes her." Goku trailed off before continuing in a whisper. "I feel like they just might be falling for each other." The excited grin of Earth-raised Saiyan was as wide and toothy as ever.
"Oh please, it's apparent that they're already wrapped up in teenaged infatuation. Just look at them." Vegeta rolled his eyes in what appeared to be disgust.
"You think so?" Goku looked toward his son again.
"I'm with Vegeta; it's pretty obvious…" Hotaru had snuck behind the two warriors to eavesdrop. She nodded. "Definitely some mutual feelings of attraction."
A low humming noise began to resonate in the room. The door was finally opening. The mechanisms in the door whirled and twirled for long seconds before it slowly opened, revealing that Dabura was behind door number three!
"Dabura?!" Shin seemed shocked that Dabura was already making an appearance.
Dabura's dark, raspy voice sounded, "I must say, I'm impressed, beating Yakon and advancing to stage three is far beyond what any other mortal has managed to do. It was quite unexpected. But now you must face me, which means you will progress no further."
The group of warriors looked at Dabura, new fire in their eyes, excitement for the new challenge. Shin saw this in the others and was feeling a plethora of emotions. First, he was scared for the safety of the universe. Second, he was still in shock from the earlier victories. And third, he felt like maybe there was hope that this threat would be defeated before it even began because of how shockingly powerful this groups of warriors are!
"Babidi must be nervous if he sent out his number one guy. Why doesn't he face us himself? He too scared?" Vegeta smirked as he mocked to wizard responsible for this whole event.
"Let's dispose of idle chat; I'd prefer if you attack. All of you, together." Dabura ignored Vegeta's taunt.
"Hey, hold on! We already arranged this!" Rini objected to the demon's suggestion.
"Yeah! It's our turn to fight and we plan to do just that!" Gohan gestured to himself and then Rini.
"Fools, so impudent."
"This place is way too small for a fight though. Maybe a secluded place in the mountains… or a nice spot on the beach… No, then there's the chance of sand in uncomfortable places." Hotaru had started off strong with her words but then trailed off into thought. "Oh! Maybe a glacier somewhere? Those are definitely open and unpopulated."
Most of the others in the room ignored Hotaru's words after the first bit about mountains. Dabura became notably more irritated by her ramblings. "You will fight me here and now!" The demon took a stance, preparing for an attack. Before leaping into action, however, Babidi's voice rang in the ears of his minion.
"Actually, it's not a bad idea to have the fight somewhere else. To revive Majin Buu, we'll need the ship to be intact. Any preferences on location?"
"A planet similar to this one is fine. I don't want any unfair advantage." Dabura's pointed teeth showed in his smirk as he replied to Babidi's voice.
Suddenly, a whirlwind of stars and the void of space spun around the room, disorienting the warriors momentarily as they tried to figure out where they were going. The whirling stopped soon and the group saw that they were now on a planet covered in rocky canyons and mountains; there was also a river not too far off.
"Let us begin then." Dabura invited the onslaught that followed his words. Rini and Gohan exchanged a glance and then they both rushed in for an attack. Gohan was much faster than Rini, but she came in for a flying kick as Dabura dodged Gohan's attacks. Dabura sidestepped Rini's offensive and grabbed her right leg as she flew by so that he could throw her off to the side of the fight. Gohan used his speed to get behind her and twisted with the momentum of her flying as he caught her.
"Ready?" Gohan asked Rini.
"Yes!" Rini replied, already knowing what Gohan meant. The hero used the momentum before it died to launch Rini back at Dabura at super speed! She brought energy to her fists and connected one punch to the demon's stomach. Though he only recoiled slightly and blocked her follow up move before he kicked her up into the sky. By the time Rini was sent into the air, Gohan was behind Dabura and the demon barely managed to avoid the Saiyan's energy blast. Gohan checked on Rini in his peripheral vision, worried she may have been hit too hard. But she was already coming back for more, granted she wasn't nearly as fast as either of them yet. Rini growled and materialized her Moon scepter.
"Moon Heart Attack!" She released the attacked before she got into Dabura's melee range. A bright light shot at the demon and Gohan, both dodging, but Gohan taking this moment as a chance to attack Dabura again.
The demon realized what the teens were up to. One was using the weakness of the other as an advantage. That way, the boy could use his impressive speed at the exact point in time when the demon was dodging or blocking to get more hits in and try to weaken their opponent. A decent strategy, but not enough to make up for what she lacks. Dabura's lips turned into a most sadistic smile as he glanced to where Rini was.
Gohan just sent a blast at Dabura and the demon was knocked back into a rocky mountain side that crumbled from the impact. The Saiyan took this moment to breathe and watched the pile of rubble for signs of movement. Rini flew to his side to look on at the rubble as well. Her breathing was already pretty haggard from the battle and it had only been a few minutes. Gohan knew she wasn't used to the high intensity of this kind of fight, so he worried. He looked over at her, noticing that she was already looking at him.
"There's no way he's down for the count…" Rini regulated her breathing again.
"Definitely not down… but I think he's starting to catch on to our plans." Gohan replied. Almost instantly, a yellow energy beam shot toward Rini. Gohan reacted immediately and tried to deflect the blast. He managed to knock most of it away, but his left arm was now lightly bloodied and his sleeve and glove were tattered.
Rini was bewildered. She knew she was outclassed. And while she didn't want to back down, she really didn't want to get in Gohan's way and cause him to get injured badly. She bit her bottom lip to fight back the frown brought on by a decision she felt she had to make. "Gohan… I think I'm going to back down and let you have this fight to yourself if you don't mind."
"Rini? Are you sure?" The young Saiyan was surprised by her sudden willingness to step down.
"Yes," she nodded, "I know that I'm not a match for him and I'm only serving as an extra body to worry about. I refuse to be the reason you can't fight at your full potential." Her pink hair was carried by a breeze passing through the alien canyon. She smiled and took Gohan's hand for a moment. "Do your best; I'll be standing with your dad and the others."
"I'll do my best. Oh… and thanks for the fun tag team. We should do that again sometime." Gohan smiled at her. He then looked down at their hands for a moment before she released his. "Thank you." While he hadn't specified what he was thanking her for, Rini knew. He was relieved she was backing down because he didn't want to risk her getting hurt. He worried and she was lifting the worry off of his shoulders. She descended to the ground and made it safely to where the others watched.
Hotaru greeted her friend's return with a hand on her shoulder and a smile. "You did well, Princess. I know you'll be much stronger after this."
"Yeah…" The scout's mind was distracted by the question of Gohan's safety now.
"I think you did a good job, too. Gohan's plenty strong to take on this guy. So don't stress it, 'kay?" Goku winked at the girl. Rini nodded, appreciating Goku's kind words.
On a distant planet, a young man looked up to the blue sky. He had felt a strange force spiking recently from the direction of the Milky Way galaxy. His long red ponytail rested on his back as he looked upward. His blue eyes narrowed as he focused. That's got to be from Earth, right? The thought had just crossed his mind as playground ball flew at his face. The young man had been so unprepared for the impact on his face that he reeled back, almost falling, but caught himself.
"What the hell, Yaten!?" He'd shouted this angrily. A man with long silvery white hair, also in a ponytail, grinned at him and then laughed.
"Stop dazing, Prince Hikin. You and the rest of the lights have been summoned by your mom. Seems there's a situation." Yaten, also known as Sailor Star Healer, rushed the young royal from the palace gardens and to the inner corridors of the castle, winding through the halls until coming to a large, ornate door. After a rhythmic knock from Yaten, the door was opened by the well-dressed Taiki, otherwise known as Sailor Star Maker.
"There you are." Taiki said to them as he answered. He adjusted his glasses before saying more, "The Queen and King have something very urgent to discuss with us."
"I think I know what this is in regards to…" Hikin's eyes stared into Taiki's eyes and they exchanged silent words before Taiki nodded.
"Dear Hikin, we were awaiting your entrance. Come closer, we need to explain the situation to you and your uncles." An enchanting voice belonging to the Queen of Kinmoku rang through the room. The prince looked over and saw his mother and father sitting on their respective thrones.
Yaten, Taiki and Hikin approached the seated Kakyu and Seiya. The seated couple stood up and Kakyu drew in a deep breath. She exhaled and then began to speak once more. "It seems like Earth is under threat of destruction once more. The first time in years. However, this time, the scouts won't be enough to stop it. Our seer has been feeling strange powers all focused in a certain location on the planet. The believed situation is that this is just the start of something much worse that could potentially reach us in this galaxy. And not just Kinmoku, not just the Milky Way galaxy, but the entire existence of life in the universe could be next." Her tone remained even but her concern was apparent. She cared very much for those on Earth in particular, the prince knew. His mother had fought alongside the scouts living there many years ago, and she often talked of how she missed them.
"Earth can't just stay safe for a decade, can it?" Yaten grumbled. "Seven years ago, it was close to being destroyed but thank the gods that someone managed to handle that issue!"
"The theory is that someone on Earth possesses such a great power that others are drawn to it in search of their own power. However, the seer doesn't believe it feels like a scout's powers." Taiki noted aloud for the others. "And if it isn't a scout, then what is it that has such great strength?"
"The great question remains," Seiya finally spoke, "how did something this powerful manage to sneak into the galaxy it now threatens? Those outer solar system scouts must be getting rusty at their guard duty." He folded his arms with gruff expression.
"Now, now, Seiya, be nice. I know you didn't get along with those three while you were there but you already know that the seer said the threat's power was not so great upon entry to the Milky Way." Kakyu waved a finger at her king.
As Yaten chuckled at Seiya's lecturing, Taiki turned his attention to Hikin. "To sum up what has been decided by the King and Queen, they feel you should go to Earth to check on things and offer assistance to our allies of the Milky Way. We can give you the teleport power and will await your word on what is going on. Should the situation become hopeless, you are to return here and help our galaxy to defend against the threat. Understood?"
Hikin looked at his uncle Taiki and nodded. "I understand. And I assume I am to be sent alone so that Kinmoku is not without protection from its greatest warriors?"
"That's right." Kakyu answered, stealing her son's gaze back. "I wish that more could be done to repay Queen Serenity for her courage many years ago, but I cannot afford to lose Kinmoku again after having it restored by the Cauldron. We will offer what we can while keeping our own home safe." She cast her eyes downward as if she felt bad for not being able to do more.
"Don't worry, mother, I'll do what I can to help." Hikin saluted his parents as they stood in front of him. Seiya looked at the young man; he stood proudly in his royal garments, armor, cape and all. Kakyu suddenly burst forward and hugged her son tightly, Seiya joining them and wrapping his arms around both of them. Yaten and Taiki stood a few feet away, allowing their brother to have a loving family moment.
"Give our regards to the Milky Way scouts. Especially to their queen. For she is still the brightest star and greatest hope we've ever known in this universe." Seiya told his son.
Hikin nodded toward his father as his parents released him. Then his uncles stepped up to form a circle around Hikin, completed by Kakyu and Seiya. Each focused their powers and then on the Earth. Before he knew it, the Prince of Kinmoku was standing in some sort of large structure, an arena of some sort. He heard loud cheers and a man's voice over a speaker congratulating a man named Hercule for holding on to his title for the World Martial Arts Champion. Hikin looked around, a bit dazed for a moment by the bright colors everywhere.
Wow, this planet is much more beautiful than I was told. He began to walk in the direction he felt scout energies. As he walked up a number of stairs and through a few hallways, he was in awe as he entered a huge stadium of humans. His eyes scanned the audience of humans until he pinpointed the signals of the scouts' crystals. His eyes focused now on the beautiful Queen of the Moon from about one hundred feet away.
Another thirty minutes had passed since Gohan had started his fight against Dabura and Vegeta had begun to get impatient, completely under the impression that Dabura was just playing and not actually fighting.
"I've had enough of this! Dabura just playing with him!" The Saiyan prince growled.
Rini didn't want to agree with that, but neither of the combatants had really broken a sweat yet. And they had to hurry to Majin Buu so that he couldn't be reawakened. The longer the two fought, the more energy would go to the monster.
"Vegeta, just calm down and let Gohan handle this." Goku assured his friend.
"I'm done waiting Kakarot! This is delaying our fight, in case you forgot, you only have one day back in the world of the living!"
"But…" Goku didn't know what to say.
Rini and Hotaru looked at one another and then at the two Saiyans. Shin spoke up. "Vegeta! While I understand the need to hurry, Gohan's doing what he can right now! If it takes too long, we can try to find a way into the deeper levels of Babidi's ship but until then we need to have faith in Gohan!" The Kai was determined to get to Majin Buu.
Vegeta crossed his arms as if to say that he didn't care. And everyone around him read just that from his body language. Dabura looked at the Saiyan prince.
The tension in the air was high and Rini didn't like it. She looked into the air at Gohan and hoped he would be okay. Dabura was clearly not fighting his hardest, but Gohan had gone to super Saiyan level, though she wasn't sure if it was level 1 or 2 right now. You can do it, Gohan.
"Master Babidi, one of their numbers seems to be in a foul mindset." Babidi heard Dabura's voice in his head.
Babidi watched the group of fighters from his crystal ball. Dabura was doing fine, but he needed more energy to awaken Buu at full power. The outburst from one of the fighters had been interesting to Babidi. He seems to have darkness in his heart. Babidi thought for a moment. If he could use his magic on this fighter, maybe it would help accelerate the Buu-awakening process.
"Dabura! You devilish genious! Oh, this could get us the energy we need for Buu." Babidi sent a telepathic message to Dabura.
"It could be just what we need. I'll return to the lower level, Master Babidi." Dabura's gravelly voice spoke in Babidi's mind. The wizard then waved his hands around the crystal ball and said his magic words, "Pararapapa!"
Suddenly Dabura landed on the ground and the environment became the inside of the ship again.
"What? Why's everything going back to normal?" Gohan landed as well. Rini welcomed him to the floor and checked to make sure he was relatively unhurt.
"I don't know… but are you alright?" Rini answered Gohan as she put a hand on his shoulder. Looking up in his eyes, she waited a few moments for him to mentally exit battle mode. Gohan reverted to normal from super Saiyan form and looked back into Rini's eyes silently before he realized what was happening.
"Oh! Uh, yeah, I'm fine!" He shyly scratched the back of his neck. His bashfulness was coming back to him as some pink crept into his cheeks.
"Hey, what's the deal with this, Dabura? Giving up?" Goku asked the demon king.
"Not at all. It would seem Master Babidi has found us a new recruit. We need a little time to get him up to speed." And with that, the demon exited the door he had entered through earlier.
"What does he mean 'new recruit'?" Hotaru asked Shin. She looked toward the Kai with a bit more concern than she had held previously.
"I'm not sure. But I can't imagine who it might be if Dabura was called off to welcome them…" Shin was also very concerned. Goku had taken to loudly knocking at the door while Vegeta stood off the side of the room, away from everyone. The frown that the Saiyan prince wore was less than amused. He was still very annoyed.
Gohan and Rini joined Hotaru and Shin as Goku stood next to them as well. The group sighed together. Rini spoke up, "So… we have to wait again?"
A/N: As always… sorry for the long delay between chapter releases. But here's chapter 19, all finished. Next one should be the start of Goku vs. Vegeta, the meeting of Prince Hikin and the scouts. And possibly ending with the awakening of Buu.