Disclaimer: Team Dragon Star does not own Dragon Ball.
Videl attempted to bury her head further into the sleeping bag as the first rays of sunlight hit her face, however it was to no avail. The sounds of various birds chirping at irritatingly high-pitched levels soon had her standing up. As she groggily rubbed her eyes, she noted that several others were already awake.
Looking around the room, she saw the familiar faces of Freed, Kaitie, and a few others who she hadn't gotten around to meet quite yet. Videl looked around for a few more seconds searching for her brother before she realised that it was likely he and Sharpener were still asleep. Sliding out of her sleeping bag, she quickly ran her hands across her body in order to try and compensate for the loss of warmth that came with it before she leaned down the floor. Almost fighting with herself on the inside, Videl managed to convince herself to zip up her sleeping bag in order prevent the temptation of quietly sneaking back into her warm, comfy haven from arising.
Stifling a yawn as she stood up, she slipped on the fleece jumper which Chichi had lent her on the hike. It was a little big on her if she were to be honest with herself, but thankfully that meant that it also stretched down a little further; allowing her thighs to be slightly shielded from the cold, her thin shorts not helping all that much on the front. As she weaved around the few people who sat around the hall they had been sleeping in, acutely aware of the fact that all these people who still hadn't learned how to use Ki would be in for a hell of a ride, she made her way towards the door. It was astounding really, that there was such an amazing thing which she had never known about… the ability to wield her own energy, her own life force… who'd have thought it possible? With a grin that hadn't been visible in weeks, she stepped outside.
The raven-haired girl quickly rubbed her hands against their opposing arms in an attempt to shield them from the chilling cold that immediately made its presence known - it was far colder than the moderately cool air of the hall. Though she was still far from an expert on mountains, she had learned in the last few days that the weather would not warm up for a few hours despite how bright the sky would become in that time. The only thing she could do to keep herself warm, short of starting a fire, was to warm her body up with a little bit of exercise. Perhaps that wouldn't be a bad idea anyway, it had been quite a while since she'd been able to set her own training routine. As marvelous as Ki and the like sounded, going back to basics always held a certain alluring air of enjoyability to it.
Trembling slightly, she dropped into a crouched position, and almost winced when her bare knee came in contact with the damp, lush grass. Shaking off the tiny shivers that it sent up through her spine, inch by inch, she raised her body slightly and pushed off into an all-out sprint with her right foot. Almost laughing to herself as her hair brushed against the wind, Videl pushed harder and picked up the pace, realising that she was able to do so with unnatural ease. It felt great to finally let go of all the controversy and trouble that had encircled her for the last week or so.
As she was running, her eyes caught on to the icy tips of the several blades of grass below her and while she was tempted to pause and admire them - in Satan City, if the grass was any colour but green, it was covered in a thick blanket of snow - she continued after pushing the thought away. Suddenly coming to a halt before a tree, she turned around, and blue eyes scoured along the open, grassy field while attempting to calculate how far she had travelled. Six hundred - no, seven hundred metres? Realising that she was absolutely hopeless at measuring distances, Videl chuckled a little. What did it matter? Attempting to catch her breath, she raised her arms over her head and stretched them gently to the tune of singing birds in the treetops above her. Without a second thought, she launched off into another sprint in the direction she had come from.
Repeating the process for a while, her mind drifted towards the strange turn of events that had occurred. Without a doubt, the strangest thing was her father appearing at the training grounds of one of his biggest rivals and demanding that his children swap instructors... not too long after she had acted like a brat and walked away from home with Gohan.
Then there was Mark, she couldn't quite put her finger on it but her brother had been acting differently. She wasn't sure what it was but things had been quite weird where her elder twin was concerned; she'd seen something of a glimpse into it by the campfire the other night. However the off-putting thing was that he'd been almost fine with challenging her to a fight the previous evening, just like when they were little. Well, if she was going to be honest, even into their late-teens they had been guilty of arranging some kind of physical contest every few months.
With a sigh, she allowed herself to slow down a little before stopping completely. Extending her arms in another stretch, she panted heavily as she thought of her new instructor; he was something else. In many ways, everything Gohan was not... Gohan was nice and kind, Seventeen was arrogant and didn't mind getting in her face. Yet at the same time they were both so similar; it didn't take a genius to tell that neither would harm a soul. Well, Gohan at least. She had no doubt that if an injured chipmunk was sprawled across the floor in some random forest the boy would nurse it back to health. Seventeen on the other hand… he was more likely to quietly watch over the chipmunk and blast everything that came near it until it could move again.
The last few days had certainly been odd, but Videl was excited. Not to see what Seventeen was like as a teacher, or to see how Mark and Gohan would react to each other. She wasn't excited to fight Mark either, she was merely looking forward to the future. It had been a while since things were looking as up as they had been lately, and while she was sure that she would miss having Gohan as her sensei, the rational part of herself told her that she'd be seeing him often enough around the campsite anyway. Besides, for some reason, Seventeen had her interested.
Videl took a deep, steady breath and rubbed the last bits of bleariness out of her eyes, smiling in satisfaction when she noticed her frosty breath pour over the air in front of her.
The last few steps to the campfire were the worst, by far. Sharpener's muscles protested heavily as he dragged his body the final two feet before half-collapsing to the soil below. A few weeks ago the blonde would've been certain that Yamcha's training regimen was the harshest thing he'd ever have to endure, but now he felt like he jinxed himself by thinking that way.
When Hercule had suddenly stepped onto their new training grounds, bellowing loudly about swapping teachers, Krillin had been appointed as his new sensei. The bald monk had struck him as slightly more gentle than the ex-baseball player, so he had been happy to be under the man's wing. Unfortunately for him, now that he had a teacher to himself, the difficulty of his training had all but tripled, and at the end of each day he would wince at every simple movement. Krillin's lessons about ki-control were centred around quickly increasing the amount of energy in his body, as well as keeping it under control. It tired him out in every way.
Sharpener was able to stretch his arms above his head and yawn loudly. The teenager barely paid attention to what was happening around him; he simply stared at the roaring campfire. The flames, dancing in their beautiful dresses of blue and orange and yellow, soothed him, and the warm glow hugged his tender muscles. With a deep sigh, he managed to find some relaxation.
And relax he did... for two minutes at best. A loud groan of annoyance snapped him back to reality, just in time to see a very pissed-off Videl heading in his direction. When the small fighter girl stopped by the campfire, Sharpener sent her an amused glance.
"What?" Videl snapped when she saw the jock smirking. She sounded agitated, and Sharpener could only imagine that it had something to do with her new sensei. When he had seen the blue-eyed young man, he had shivered for a bit. Seventeen - if that was his actual name - was a force to be reckoned with, and he didn't strike the blonde like that much of a nice person either.
"Nothing," Sharpener replied. "I just figured you had a rough day."
Videl rolled her eyes. "You don't even know the half of it," she said, her voice still laced with irritation. "A year ago I would've said that my brother is the most annoying person in the world, but he's nowhere near as awful as that vain little prick."
"That bad, huh?" Sharpener concluded as he patted on the open spot beside him. "Come sit with me, and you can tell me all about how bad that douchebag is."
The raven-haired girl arched a brow at that. "Are you sure you want me, sitting next to you?"
"Why wouldn't I?"
"Well because," Videl said, twiddling her thumbs in sudden unease. "I've done pretty much nothing more than beat you around ever since we've known each other."
"Eh, sticks and stones," the blonde replied. "Plus, it seems like you could use a friend right now."
The Satan girl sighed and took him up on his offer. "Well, where to start?" she began to contemplate. "Seventeen wouldn't exactly classify as my favorite person in the world. He's a downright jerk. It seems like he can't let a sentence go over those lips of his without making it sound either arrogant or demeaning."
Sharpener listened to the girl complain about her hellish day, and noticed from the corner of his eye how Katie and Freed sat next to each other on the other end of the burning pit. Mark was slowly trotting his way over as well, holding a big black case, which the blonde believed (it) contained a guitar.
"... sometimes I feel like all he cares about it whether or not his hair looks perfect," Videl rambled on. "When he does find the time to stop insulting me, he'll take shots at my dad, or at Gohan." The jock noted how she clenched her fists in a flash of fury. "It makes me want to bash his little pretty-boy face in more than anything, but I can never seem to hit him. He just dodges and kicks me in the ribs whenever I try."
"Ouch..." Sharpener commented, not knowing anything better to say.
"Yeah, for real," the crimefighter agreed. "A day will come where I'll get back at him, I'm sure, but until then I guess I just have to keep on trying."
Her friend snickered in amusement. "Ah, Videl, will there ever come a time where you won't be threatening to punch someone's face in?" He yelped slightly as the blue-eyed girl bopped him on the arm and glared at him weakly, without the normal death stare.
Mark inhaled sharply as he boredly kicked the rock in front of him along the brown, dirt path. Gohan's training had been surprisingly… disappointing? The less experienced martial artist was unsure of how exactly to describe it but he knew that for all the hoorah his dad had been throwing about the legendary son of Son Goku, Mark had come to realise all too quickly that Gohan was just another one of them, another kid facing the trials of adulthood... At first anyone would mistake the Son for a young, kind man but Mark had had the pleasure of seeing through the mask that the boy wore.
He was kinder than any other strong person Mark knew - there was no doubt about that - and the boy's bulkiness made him appear to be a few years older than he actually was. He apparently lived in the mountains too, making it rather clear to the Satan boy that Gohan hadn't had much experience with those his own age. There was no mistaking that the boy was confident but before long, after the first lesson or two, he'd seemed a little nervous in Mark's company. Not the scared kind or the anxious kind, rather the unsure kind; if they were talking, Gohan simply wouldn't know what to say next unless it related to martial arts. He didn't crack many jokes the way Yamcha did and he was a little too cautious for Mark's tastes.
At least whenever the bandit had Mark sparring against himself, he would never hesitate to strike the Satan or knock the wind out of him. Rather than pointing out a small flaw in his defence that could be exploited with a certain type of feint, diversion and light strike, the scarred man would have shown him and taught him a lesson laced with pain so that Mark would make sure to fix it next time. Gohan? He was like a textbook, he'd stop the spar in its tracks - if it could even be called that - and then launch into a theoretical explanation in regards to how keeping both fists by his waist was a bad idea unless Mark was flexible and versatile enough to block an attack. He'd come to associate Gohan's very voice with something that almost put him to sleep as though he were a boring history teacher.
With a sigh, Mark kicked the rock harder, brown eyes watching unamused as it went a few metres to the right of the trail. Too lazy to fetch it, he continued along dragging his feet through the dusty path before he heard a familiar voice call out from behind him.
"Hey, Mark!" Videl called, looking surprisingly bright and cheerful. In fact, if he didn't know better he would've said that she was glowing with excitement. "Wait up."
Exhaling a little, Mark stood still as he allowed his younger sister to catch up. What on Earth did she look so happy for, was she glad that she'd finally gotten rid of Gohan and his boring teaching methods? "What's up?" he asked a little un-enthusiastically.
"Nothing, I just saw you walking and figured I'd say 'hello'," she said as though she were making an excuse. Since when exactly had his little sister needed to make up an excuse to just say "hi" to him?
"Oh," Mark said, although they could both tell that he wasn't nearly as excited as the illusion his voice had created. "That's cool, I take it you just finished a lesson with Seventeen or something?"
"I wouldn't call it a lesson," she scowled adorably in the exact same manner that she did ten years ago. "All he did was badmouth me every chance he got."
Oh… perhaps Gohan wasn't all that horrible after all. "Heh, it'd be hard for someone not to do that," Mark took a quick little jab but he knew his heart wasn't in it. After all the decisions he'd been faced with, it was hard to do something so petty with enthusiasm.
"Watch it or you'll be the second arrogant bastard I clobber today."
"You do know that if I'm a 'bastard', you're technically one too right?" Mark teased, not even needing to spare a look at his sister to know that a red blush was creeping across her face.
"... Shut up."
"Heh, so how have you been fairing with this whole Ki thing?" He crossed his arms across his chest, interested to get another novice's point of view on the whole situation. He hadn't brought himself to ask Sharpner about it after that moron had bested him in literally every other activity the instructors had set out for them on their little camping trip not too long ago. "A bit surreal isn't it, to have something like that inside you?"
"It's pretty amazing," Videl admitted, "It's funny how I used to think that the most you could ever get out of martial arts was self-defence."
"What's changed? We can only maybe throw a super charged fist or two now," Mark said as the two began to head back towards the hall.
"Well for starters, one day we'll be able to fly!" Videl threw her arms up in the air in a manner that was very unlike her. She really was in a good mood. "That and I can't wait to shoot energy balls like Gohan could."
Mark snickered slightly and upon receiving a questioning look from her, he explained with a smug smile, "I've known how to do that for ages."
She merely stuck out her tongue, "Whatever… so how are you liking Gohan?"
"He's like a boring book-worm," Mark said with no holds barred.
"Don't say that about him," Videl attempted to defend her former sensei. "He really knows what he's talking about unlike dad and the senseis we had back at his dojo."
Mark smirked, having gotten a reaction from Videl that told him much of what he wanted to know before answering, "I guess, but if I wanted to hear about all this theoretical stuff I would've dug up a box of ancient scrolls."
"He's pretty strong though, right?" Videl was clearly trying to size up who exactly was the strongest between the two senseis she'd had.
"They all are," said Mark before he nodded, a dazzled look in his eye. "No doubt that he's the strongest of the lot though..."
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