Chapter 21

At this point, Shin had given up hope on stopping the two Saiyans. As Gohan was asking his father not to fight Vegeta, because they all knew the energy lost from both of them would be sent to Majin Buu's resurrection chamber, Shin stepped forward.

"It's alright, Gohan, we will just have to go forward with a new strategy." The Kai turned his attention back to Goku, "While you two fight up here, Gohan, Rini, Hotaru and I will go stop Buu from awakening. I believe we still have a chance. If tampering with the ship's entrance sets off a reaction that awakens Buu, it's still better than him reaching full power."

"I don't understand why this is suddenly okay… But we will gladly help save the world." Hotaru muttered.

In the depths of the ship, Babidi watched through his crystal ball. He made a small motion with his hands around the ball, the image focused on Vegeta.

"No you won't… Vegeta kill the Supreme Kai! Kill him!"

Vegeta stumbled forward, his head aching greatly. He let out a roar of pain. "I refuse! Your business with the Kai means nothing to me. My business is with Kakarot!"

It appeared to the others as if Babidi didn't approve of the Prince's response, he was sent into another wave of intense pain, this one sending him to the ground. Vegeta gritted his teeth and said, "No, I've told you already. I will not be distracted from this anymore. I won't! You may have invaded my mind and my body, but the one thing a Saiyan always keeps—is his PRIDE!" He powered up once more to prove his point. And then it appeared that Babidi had given up. Regardless, all knew that this was going to benefit Buu.

Suddenly, the doors to the ship opened. The group took notice, and Shin began heading toward it.

"Huh, they opened it for us…" Rini said as she and Hotaru began heading toward the door. Rini turned back to see Gohan speaking with his father. He had a bittersweet sadness on his face. She had a feeling they were wishing one another good luck before they parted ways again. That's right; Gohan's dad is only back for today. The first time he's seen him in seven years and all this has to happen. As Gohan approached the girls and Shin, he put on a confident face.

"Let's go!" the young Saiyan spoke with determination. Hotaru and Shin went ahead into the door to the next level.

"Gohan… are you sure this is alright with you? Your dad…" Rini started to object. Gohan hushed her by placing a hand on her shoulder. He looked into her eyes and his expression softened for a moment before his hand returned to his side.

"He'll be fine. He knows what he's doing. We have to do something more important right now."

They paused a moment longer, and then followed the others, down the shaft to the next level of the ship. They could hear the full-blooded Saiyans beginning their battle as they descended.

As the group landed below, Shin having lowered Hotaru this time, they found themselves being greeted by a group of soldiers. These were all fairly small-sized aliens of some kind, green in skin, and light in armor. The teens wasted no time, Rini materialized her wand, Hotaru readied her glaive, and Gohan took a stance.

"Pink Moon Heart Attack!"

"Saturn Glaive Surprise!"

"I don't really have a name for mine…" Gohan just powered up and used his aura to push a handful of the enemies away. After a single attack from each of them, the new enemies were all on the ground, either knocked out or otherwise. Shin applauded the teens and then turned to see the door to the next level open as well.

"It's like Babidi is inviting us to stop him." Shin commented.

"It kind of is…" Hotaru agreed. She offered her arms for the Kai to grab, so that he could be the one to lower her once more. He did just that and they went down first. Rini paused for a moment.

The next level should be where Babidi and Dabura are and likely Buu as well. Even if we do wake him up early, he will probably still be quite a challenge… what if we don't make it out alive? What if somebody dies? Her face went from being collected to worried. Gohan noticed and looked at her, his expression serious. He didn't know for sure why she had stopped, but her face showed that she was feeling nervous, fearful even, of what was waiting for them. He didn't blame her either; he was cautious of this new enemy too.

"Hey, Gohan, when this is all over, can we grab dinner or a coffee together sometime?" Rini asked this quite abruptly.

"What?" Gohan was caught off guard. He'd been so focused; he couldn't even muster blushing because of how surprised he was.

"It's just, I have a bad feeling about what's coming up… I thought maybe promising a meal afterwards could help pull me through." She tried to brush off her embarrassment for bringing that up now of all times. This is a terrible time! Why would I say that NOW?! Oh gosh, maybe I am just some weak little schoolgirl with a crush...! Rini made a bitter face as if she could taste her words mixed with a dash of her terrible timing to spice them up.

Gohan smiled at her and chuckled a little. "Leave it you to be the one to make me smile when the world is short on time… I'd be happy to go out for food sometime, especially to celebrate finishing all this!" His smile gradually became serious again. "But before we celebrate, we can't forget what we're here for, and we can't become distracted. We have to focus on keeping this world safe for our loved ones."

"Yeah." Rini nodded, her cheeks delightfully pink as she smiled. She then hopped down into the shaft to the final level of the ship, followed closely by Gohan. That went… better than I thought it would. She felt a new confidence in her posture as she landed behind Hotaru and Shin.

Upon arrival on the final level of the ship, the group caught a glimpse of a large, fleshy ball that was covered in veins and palpitating to a rhythm that could only be a heartbeat. It sat on a machine-like pedestal in the center of the large room. There were no more soldiers or monsters coming forth to attack them, and no ambush seemed to have been planned. The room was quiet, except for the constant beating rhythm from the Buu's cocoon.

"This is it." Shin said softly. "This is what we came to find."

"Ew… Majin Buu is in there? It's a cocoon, then?" Hotaru cringed at the fleshy ball, a little grossed out.

"That's right, Hotaru."

"So all we have to do now is destroy it before he wakes up." Gohan added. Rini nodded quietly.

"Yes, and we'd better do it quickly; I doubt Babidi and Dabura will leave it unguarded for long."

As if on cue, Babidi spoke up from behind the cocoon. "Well, well, friends…" He stepped into view as the others readied themselves. "I'm glad that you could join us, especially you, Supreme Kai."

"We're here to stop you, Babidi!" Shin declared.

"Liked you stopped my father?" Babidi asked this in pure resentment of the Kai's actions.

"I won't allow you to wake Majin Buu."

"That's too bad. I'm sure Dabura won't like that one bit." Again, on cue, Dabura was out from behind the cocoon as well, and at Babidi's side. "He was so looking forward to meeting Buu today. I really hate to see him upset." Dabura smirked as Babidi spoke.

Gohan watched Dabura closely, waiting for him to make a move. Hotaru stepped forward, toward Babidi.

"We don't have much time, right? Supreme Kai, I want to call dibs on the short one." The Saturn guardian's violet eyes narrowed and her expression hardened. She was ready to end this for the preservation of her world. "He's ruined such a lovely day for us. He must pay for that… However, he was your enemy first, so you may have your shot first."

"Er, thank you, Hotaru." Shin shifted his glance from the guardian to the wizard. My goodness, she is quite a dark-minded individual when she wants to be.

"Then I'll take Dabura." Gohan called dibs on the one he'd fought earlier. He wasn't about to let Dabura play like last time; Gohan was ready to end this. His gaze became a glare.

"Then we can destroy the cocoon." Rini looked to Hotaru and received a nod.

"Not so fast, how about we take this outside? It's a bit cramped in here." Babidi laughed mockingly at the group. With that, the crafty little wizard teleported them all to the surface level where they had first encountered one another. The sky was clouded over, the air felt ominous, and the frozen statue forms of Krillin and Piccolo could be seen on the cliffs above.

"Now then, Dabura, I hope you're up to this. I'd hate for you to wear yourself out and quit in the middle of a fight." Babidi was clearly referring to the earlier battle between Gohan and Dabura.

"Rest assured that these people will be easily removed from your sight. They are rubbish; I will clean them up easily."

"Oh, well dispose of them any way that you would like to… perhaps turn them to stone! We would have more for our collection!" Babidi's voice continued to permeate the ears of the group.

"I have something much more painful in mind for them, Lord Babidi." Dabura smirked menacingly.

To that, Gohan powered up. However, as he reached his full power and poised himself to begin his fight with the demon, the meter on Majin Buu's cocoon began to vibrate and make a strange noise. All looked at the meter—it was on full power!

"Oh no! It's full!" Rini exclaimed.

"No…" Shin looked in disbelief.

Hotaru's eyes widened, shocked that the energy had built up so fast after Goku and Vegeta had begun fighting. They both must be using a lot of power for it to have reached this point so quickly. She shook all thought from her mind and focused on one thing. She had to protect her best friend. Hotaru stepped defensively in front of Rini as they all looked on.

Babidi began to laugh maniacally as Dabura quietly observed, for he had never seen the monster about to awaken. All were quiet, all were anxious for varying reasons.

A_A_A_A_A

At the stadium, the tournament committee had decided to postpone to award ceremony for the winners in lieu of what just happened, as Hercule was completely fine with taking some time to recover from the shock and the stress of all the people that had just been killed minutes ago. The remainder of the audience had mostly evacuated. And when the mysterious fighters had vanished, many people began to return to the stadium. Some of them seemed to feel safer around Hercule and, as much as the scouts and the Z-fighters knew the truth about his heroism, it was much better for the populace to keep their cool.

Videl had excused herself from her father's side to check on the combined group that was made up of her friends' guests. She saw them standing around the top level of the stadium seating and approached them.

"Hey everyone, are you all doing well?" Videl asked once they acknowledged her approach.

Chi Chi nodded at the young lady, "Yes, Videl, we are doing fine. It was just a bit of a scare for us."

"Yeah, this kind of thing is, unfortunately, normal for us. Granted, Vegeta hasn't been on the bad guy side for quite a while." Yamcha sighed deeply. He seemed to be having unpleasant flashbacks. That is, before Michiru flicked the back of his head.

"Now, Yamcha, you must be more sensitive to your current company before saying certain things." Michiru lectured him. Yamcha pouted a moment before realizing that she was referring to him identifying Vegeta as a bad guy in front of the still-shocked Bulma.

"Right, sorry, Bulma."

"Vegeta…" Bulma managed to utter weakly.

Hikin decided now was a good time to change the subject and turned toward Setsuna. "Pluto, you are normally well-informed. What exactly is going on?"

"The Supreme Kai of our universe tracked a monster into our galaxy that could very well threaten the Earth. Some lackeys of a powerful wizard were here gathering energy for this monster to be reawakened. Those who could give chase have done so. We stayed behind, underestimating the power it would take to eliminate the threat. It would seem that our assistance may be needed." Pluto reported all this to the Kinmoku Prince.

"I see… so some warriors from this planet have already left to try and stop this threat with the Supreme Kai, correct?" Hikin turned to the Z-fighters, "How strong are your warriors?"

"Well, they are incredibly powerful. Normally I'd say that they can handle this… but it looks like something happened to one of our strongest players." Master Roshi stepped in from the side of the group.

"Hm, my recommendation for now would be to join them against this enemy." Hikin thought over his training in traditional strategy. "Our numbers are few compared to the gravity of this threat, but I'm sure any help we can give will go a long way."

"Actually," Bulma spoke up loudly over those planning, "I would like a group to help me gather the Dragon Balls as quickly as possible. I need to make this alright again. I know Vegeta wasn't himself and I will take responsibility to fix it while he and the others are out there trying to stop whatever this enemy is." She stood tall and asserted her idea with her confidence as she spoke.

"Dragon Balls?" Hikin seemed utterly confused. As did the scouts, and Videl.

"There are seven of them. Little orbs scattered around the world and when they are gathered together, you can make a wish that is granted by a dragon." Yamcha explained briefly.

"How do we find something scattered all over the world?" Mina wondered aloud with disbelief.

"I have a special radar device that is calibrated to pick up on the unique energy signal they give off. I just need to pick it up at home." Bulma told the group.

A collective number of 'oh's and 'ah's sounded from the group. Then the scouts all exchanged glances.

"Alright, we can help you find those for now. Do you have multiple radars?" Vesu Vesu felt it would be more efficient to split the party.

"I have two in total. So unfortunately, we still can't have too many groups…" Bulma looked at the number of people waiting to help and felt that that many in a group may in fact slow them down.

"If these orbs give off a special energy reading, I can copy the information from your radar and input it into my computer." Amy pulled out her Mercury handheld computer. "I am quite good at programming my computer for situations such as these."

The entire group smiled at Amy as she brandished her computer.

"Alright! This will go smoothly then! Let's split up and get the Dragon Balls!" Yamcha cheered.

Once the entire group had agreed on this course of action, Hikin approached Videl and observed her carefully. She has a surprising amount of power for a human girl her age. The young prince smiled at her and bowed ever so slightly. "I suppose I didn't introduce myself to you earlier. Forgive me; I am Hikin, Prince of planet Kinmoku, son to the Queen Kakyu, and heir to the throne. I am honored to officially make your acquaintance, Miss Satan." He then gracefully took her hand in his own and lightly planted a kiss there.

"Oh, you know who I am?" Videl seemed flustered more than anything else. She was not used to this level of formality, especially not from an extraterrestrial prince.

"I heard some audience members mention it as you were helping to evacuate the stadium. It sounded like the population adores you." Hikin released her hand as gently as he had taken it. He smiled at her with such a bright expression that she was finding herself very embarrassed.

"Prince Hikin, so, uh… all that's going on here… is that normal for you like it is for them?" Videl wondered as she gestured to the rest of the group.

"Not really. My home world is usually quite peaceful and has very minimal crime. My mother is a fair and generous queen, so most of our populace is pleased. I take it the situation is uncommon for you as well?" the redhead prince smiled with a good amount of humor.

"Uncommon is a good word... I mean, I catch criminals every day, but it's usually related to violent crimes or robberies. Nothing quite on this scale." She frowned a bit as she moved a strand of hair behind her ear.

"Then I suppose this will be a first for both us… let's do our best." Hikin smiled charmingly at Videl. He really had no clue how this would all end. The urgency of the entire situation seemed out of their grasp and he didn't like that. But he put on a smile, as any leader should, to give a feeling of hope.

Videl smiled back, still red in the face. Wow… he is quite charming for an alien prince… What? Videl, now is not the time. The Earth is in trouble and you need to focus on your part! The young woman brought her hands to her cheeks and tried to rub the warmth away from them. "Yeah, we'll do our best." She finally spoke her agreement. Her blue eyes shined with determination.

As the two teens spoke, the teams had been decided upon:

Team One: Amy, Serena, Darien, Ox King, Chi Chi, Haruka, Michiru, Eighteen, Marron

Team Two: Cere Cere, Palla Palla, Jun Jun, Vesu Vesu, Videl, Hikin, Setsuna

Team Three: Bulma, Roshi, Oolong, Rei, Mina, Yamcha, Lita, Puar

A_A_A_A_A

"Dad and Vegeta must both be fighting at maximum power for the energy to have built up this quickly!" Gohan observed aloud.

"No kidding! They are very strong individuals! And I'd love nothing more than to hit them both right about now!" Hotaru shouted back as a wind stirred. The sky over them began to darken and lightning crackled at the intense and sudden shift in pressure around the cocoon.

Gohan knew Hotaru said what she did out of frustration, and elected to ignore it for now. He a-honestly wouldn't mind smacking them both as well. He saw how Hotaru had leapt in front of Rini instinctively as her first action. She really is a guardian.

The noise on the meter chirped louder and louder until multiple streams of steam began to release from the base of the pedestal that the cocoon was resting on. Babidi was shouting with glee across from them, as Dabura smirked and laughed triumphantly.

Gohan, Shin, Rini and Hotaru all winced at the immense pressure they felt from Majin Buu's power. Nearby animals fled.

"We should retreat… and quickly!" Shin told the others. The others looked at Shin questioningly.

"What? No way! We came all this way to stop him and that's what we'll do—whether it's easy or the hardest thing we've done to date!" Hotaru objected, holding her protective stance in front of her princess.

"I agree; we have to stop it, especially before it starts hurting people! There must be a way!" Gohan nodded while looking between Shin and the steaming cocoon.

"The goal was to take out Buu before he reached full power because our present strength can't handle him if he's at his maximum. We have failed at that goal. I've seen the terror this creature is; this is a time to regroup and come up with a strategy, not a time for blind heroics!"

"You underestimate us, Supreme Kai." Hotaru said in her monotone. "I will kill any threats to this planet with my dying breath if I have to. But whatever it is, as the Soldier of Silence, I swear it will go down with me before this planet is harmed." Her dark eyes were focused. It almost felt as if she were channeling another, different energy into herself. "You'll have to forgive our young determination."

"I'm of similar opinion to Hotaru. We will try to stop him here and now. If we wait, more innocent people could be killed today." Rini nodded after her long silence. "That's what it is to be a warrior, right?" She smiled at her own words, proud of her realizations in heroism. Gohan nodded at her as well and readied himself. He summoned as much power as he could with a shout. His golden hair shone bright and his aura turned gold around him.

"I'm not going to stand by again while people I care about get hurt!"

Gohan's energy swirled and erupted around him at the same moment. He took a stance that was all too familiar for him. His knees bent slightly, and his tensed hands met at the left side of his body. He pulled them back in anticipation as a ball of energy crackled in the center of his hands.

"Kaa...me…haaa…mee…haaaaaaaa!" He aimed the large blast toward the cocoon, in front of which Babidi and Dabura had been standing. Dabura acted quickly, grabbing his master and dodging out of the blast radius, leaving the cocoon to fate. The blast hit the cocoon full on and light devoured the area for a few moments.

"Did he… did he do it?" Rini asked hopefully.

"Wait until the light fades…" Hotaru told her.

As the light faded, the cocoon appeared, undamaged, and it began to shake violently, as if it were an egg about to hatch. Gohan, without skipping a beat, followed his first attack with a second attack.

"Kamehameha!"

Amazing! Shin appreciated the young man's determination and was very impressed with his power. Gohan pushed more energy into this blast and that sent the cocoon shooting upward. Again, without missing a beat, Gohan launched another attack as the cocoon fell. Finally, the cocoon landed with a thud on the ground. All was quiet.

"Alright… well, maybe that was enough…?" Hotaru mumbled as all who watched were silent in wonder. Would it really be enough to keep Majin Buu from hatching? The cocoon split perfectly in half—revealing all that was left inside was another puff of strange steam. It floated out of the empty shell as Babidi cried out in frustration.

"No! I did everything right! Every word!"

Shin began to laugh; his laugh rang with what sounded like relief. "You've made a fatal mistake, the same as your father! You were overconfident! After years of hibernation, Buu must've been left defenseless, so now this Earthling has destroyed your monster!"

That isn't it. Gohan was still alert as he felt a presence looming over them.

"No! It can't be!" Babidi was close to tears at this point. His wrinkled green brow wrinkled even more as he became more devastated at the thought that the last few centuries of his life had been wasted for this. He had planned on revenge for his father, destruction of the Supreme Kai, and galactic conquering. Now all this, and the years spent on his endeavors, were wasted.

"Master Babidi, we can still carry out our plans without Majin Buu." Dabura, though controlled by Babidi, offered with little solace he could to his master. But Babidi wouldn't hear of it.

"No, there is no plan without Buu!"

"Well, I can still take care of the Supreme Kai and this planet." While Babidi approved of the suggestion, his tears still welled in his bulging eyes. Tears of anger, tears of sorrow, he wanted to at least defeat his ultimate nemesis.

At that suggestion, the Sailor Scouts and Shin tensed once more. Still a challenge, but less so. At least, they hoped. Gohan still stood without any movement. Rini stole a glance at him, noticing his eyes were still focused and his mind was on something else entirely. She tried to focus for a moment and then felt a spark of something.

"Gohan… it's… still alive?" Rini asked in his direction.

"That last attack wasn't strong enough. I can still feel it." He trembled. Before he could say anything else, he looked up and gasped.

Babidi and Dabura looked up as well, followed by everyone else's gaze.

"Clouds… no, smoke…?" Hotaru tensed once more as she felt a strange pressure from the questionable puffs above them. Whatever they looked at was very similar in appearance to clouds, but pink. "Supreme Kai… don't tell us that Buu is entirely made up of clouds or something like that." She stared at the sky in disbelief and did not remove her gaze.

Something began to take form suddenly. The clouds shaped and condensed themselves. And then faded to reveal a large, pink-colored, bipedal creature. He was built like a blob with limbs and a head. On top of his head, an antenna grew and fell to the back of his head, which was lined with two rows of holes. His gelatinous body was clothed with white puffy pants that looked like they were covering some black tights, as the tights covered his legs from the end of his pants to the start of his bright yellow boots. The vest he wore was black, lined with gold edges that matched the gold belt buckle on his black belt. For some reason, the creature also had a long purple cape draping from around his neck, where it sat knotted over the opening of his vest.

"This is Majin Buu?" Rini asked Shin in particular. A quick glance at Babidi and Dabura said that they didn't know for sure either.

"Yes, without a doubt! I will never forget that disgusting creature's face!" Shin gritted his teeth. A mixture of emotions was battling in him right now. Fear, anger, regret, they were all there, and he contained them well unless one was to look in his eyes.

Babidi summoned the beast to him as Gohan question the Supreme Kai as well. "I thought he would be much larger from the way you spoke about him.

"It's him; we should retreat." Shin was convinced once more that they had been too late.

"Whoa, I don't think that's necessary. He is tough, but I don't think he's unbeatable. You may have been right about his years in captivity weakening him." Gohan was still tensed and ready for the monster to strike at any moment.

Rini and Hotaru both watched this scene unfold. So this large blob of a monster was Majin Buu. He was certainly a strange one as far as alien monsters were concerned. Not that they'd seen many in their lives, but most monsters they'd been told of were more humanoid in form.

"Are you sure you want to fight him here, Gohan? You can feel that pressure, can't you?" Rini spoke up, as if she'd read Shin's mind.

"I can feel it, but I'm also well aware of what I can do… especially to protect others." His tone only softened at the end of his sentence.

Majin Buu, upon hearing his new master call him, did what any curious monster would do and walked the opposite direction. His weight caused the ground to vibrate with each step and his walk looked like he was a child trying to balance on a beam or the edge of a sidewalk. The creature walked like this until he got close enough to really look at Gohan and the others, saying "Buu…" all the while. As he looked them over, his expression changed to a smirk, and then he puffed up his chest and said, more powerfully this time, "Buu!" The declaration was followed by a bend in his knees and a back flip, one which ended many yards the other direction on his vast rump. Majin Buu caused the ground to quake greatly as he landed. After a few seconds, he hopped back up and then went toward Babidi and Dabura.

As Buu neared Babidi, the dumbfounded wizard encouraged the monster. "That's right, Buu, come to your master." No sooner had Babidi said that, than Buu turned around and did his balancing toddle in a completely different direction. He continued to do off-balance back flips, much to his master's dismay, cheering, "Buuu!" the whole time.

"I am saying this for the records; I think he is quite possibly the strangest monster I have ever seen." Hotaru muttered to Rini, her mind still sharp, but her serious tone was starting to wane at the childish displays.

End Chapter

A/N: I LIIIIIIIIVE! I know it's been a while, I hope you all still have linger hope in the back of your minds for this. . I think I am averaging around a chapter a year… ugh. So sorry. No excuse, just haven't had it in the forefront of my mind lately. Hope y'all liked it and look forward to the next chapter… whenever that will be. I will start writing it tonight, I think. But I tend to take long pauses about midway through in my writing process because I know I am going to have to reference the DBZ episodes while writing this up to a certain point. In my plans, it does split off at some point. Anyway, I am keeping the chapters a better pace by cutting out all the scenes from Goku/Vegeta fight… btw, the entire last scene was about 5 episodes, just without the cut-away to other characters. Hehehe… ;_;