A/N: No, it ain't an illusion. I finally updated. And I'll discontinue this if I don't get more reviews!!!
Disclaimer: Kitara, Rei and the Ionia-jin are all mine. You take 'em, you die. The rest is the brainchild (Brainchildren? Eeeep.) of Akira Toriyama and Toei Animation. One brief warning in this part for colourful language. You don't like, then don't read.
Sins of the Fathers: Part 9
Confusion and wariness battled for control over Reizoku's face as he stared at Vegeta. The Saiya-jin prince had never laughed like this in the time they had been acquainted. Judging from Kitara's face, it was obvious she was just as stumped as he was.
'And the reason behind the psycho laugh is?' Trunks raised an eyebrow at his father's sudden display of humour.
'Ya got me.' Goten shrugged. Vegeta acted weird most of the time anyway. But this…this was new.
'You. Changeling.' Even while laughing, the prince of all Saiya-jin could still command utmost authority. 'You were…were scared of this…baka yoro!?'
Rei wisely chose not to comment. Vegeta might be completely overconfident about his abilities, but against this…thing…he wouldn't stand a hope in hell if he underestimated the Ionia-jin.
'You would be wise to be silent, O Saiya-jin prince.' The Ionia-jin warrior hovered a few feet from the rocky surface of the Earth. 'After all…I am the one who nearly killed your dear daughter.'
Now that got a reaction. Vegeta's expression went southwards almost immediately. The Saiya-jin princess recognised the look on her father's face. The expression which went something along the lines of 'Thank-you-so-much-for-not-telling-me-this-earlier-you-idiot-onna.'
She just matched her father's glare with one of her own. 'You never asked.'
Much as I hate to interrupt this little bonding session…' The flame-covered warrior raised a hand. '…I believe it's time to die!'
With the training she had been undergoing, Kitara simply leant to one side, the blast passing harmlessly over her head. 'Don't think so…Ninjen-Kai.'
Goku's eyes narrowed instinctively. Kitara had mentioned that name before… 'This is…?'
'The one who nearly killed Rei and me? Got it in one.'
'My reputation has spread this far? I'm flattered, really.' Ninjen-Kai dropped his arm back against his side. 'But don't think for a minute that you or any of your weak Saiya-jin friends can help you now, Kitara Vegeta. You and the brat of Frieza couldn't even provide us with a decent fight. The rest of you wouldn't last two minutes against us.'
'Rei…' Goten poked the changeling in his side. 'How does he know how we are? And how come he knows you and Kitara's family so well?'
'Simple.' Reizoku fought to keep his face expressionless. 'He's the leader of the Ionia-jin. The one who nearly killed us when we landed on Ionia-sei six months ago. Just don't be fooled by the appearance. He's powerful. Like my race, he can transform into a more powerful body at will. Even a Super Saiya-jin would have problems against him.'
The Ionia-jin fighter smirked. 'You and the Saiya-jin whelp are still babbling about that ridiculous legend? As I told you before…there's no such thing as a Super Saiya-jin.'
'You don't believe us? Fight us and find out.'
'Specks like you aren't worth wasting my time over. But I suppose since all of you have a death wish, I'll oblige just this once.'
The blast the flame-covered warrior unleashed would have obliterated a normal man. Being stronger than the average man, the Z Seishi all escaped the blast area before the enemy ki could touch them.
Vegeta stared down at the Ionia-jin commander. Nearly twenty years had passed, but Ninjen-Kai hadn't changed much. Easily as tall as Kakarott, his skin glowed a deep, almost blood red while his eyes shone with white-hot light. Clothed in the armour of the Planet Trade, his hair and back were covered with red and orange flames, and his ki level…
It had skyrocketed. And if what Kitara told him had been true, then when he transformed…
The rest of the troops had gathered around the Seishi in an arc formation, balls of ki-powered flames aimed and ready. The Son males had dropped into fighting stances, while Trunks and Piccolo had removed their heavier outer clothing. Kitara curled into an attack position, while Rei slowly began to increase his power.
Reason (and Vegeta) dictated that none of the Saiya-jin should reveal their hidden talents unless absolutely necessary.
Which, on reflection, turned out to be one very big mistake.
Trying desperately to force air into his lungs, Trunks spat out a mouthful of blood and directed his blurring gaze at his older sister. 'You…even lasted two…minutes…against…these guys?'
'We…didn't want…to…fight them…' Goku, Gohan, Goten, his father and he had all transformed a while back. As such, they were relatively unscathed bar a few cuts and bruises. Out of all the Z Seishi, Kitara and Rei were easily the most beaten and bloodied.
The Saiya-jin female had managed both to dislocate her shoulder and pop it back into place after Ninjen-Kai had directed a roundhouse kick at her torso. Gashes from various ki blasts covered her legs and lower arms while a rather unfetching bruise was forming over her left eye. Rei hadn't fared any better. His armour-clad body was mottled with purple, black and blue patches, while the shape of his tail indicated that at least five bones were broken.
Pressing two fingers to his forehead, Piccolo managed to concentrate long enough to form the Makkankosappo. The resulting blast managed to kill two Ionia-jin and earned the third a permanent desk-job before another five appeared to take the place of the slain. 'They just…keep…coming…'
The Son males had created a rough triangular formation, fists cupped by their sides. No prizes for guessing the attack they were planning.
The Ionia-jin closest to the Super Saiya-jin watched in vague apprehension. The Gyrikku Ho attack favoured by Vegeta was the closest thing to this attack that they had heard of.
The remaining Seishi elected to get airborne. Once the kamehameha was unleashed, it wasn't wise to be anywhere near the receiving end of the attack. Between them, Kitara, Trunks and Rei managed to help each other into the air.
Even Ninjen-Kai stopped his attack on Vegeta long enough to watch. The ki these Saiya-jin were producing…no pathetic monkey should have that kind of power, even if they were Super Saiya-jin.
Goku briefly studied the surrounding battlefield. Three blasts against a 500-strong army of walking flames. Should be enough.
Three points of blue-white light exploded into three lethal waves of ki. The remains of the Ionia-jin attack force didn't even have time to scream.
Dropping from his vantage point in the sky, Vegeta glanced over the terrain. This place was no longer a battlefield. It was a massacre.
The few body parts that hadn't been completely vaporised lay in bloody, flame-covered chunks, brownish-yellow fluid staining the rocks and sand. Here and there, a few dying flames were scattered between the blood and debris.
None of the Ionia-jin had survived.
Bar one. And to say he was a little pissed off was like saying Cell had been a little bit malicious.
Vegeta wiped the sweat and blood from his face and scowled. It was too much to hope Ninjen-Kai had been killed. While he wasn't exactly staggering in death throes, he would be healing himself any time soon.
'There's more where those pathetic blasts came from.'
On the ground, Goku sighed. Only Vegeta could be that dismissive of a kamehameha. And something didn't feel right about this situation. If Kitara and Rei had nearly been killed when they had faced the Ionia-jin…
'Don't get too sure of yourself, Saiya-jin.' Ninjen-Kai nodded towards the Ionia-jin ship and smirked. The little monkeys would regret their self-confidence once they saw this…
Bracing his body, he screamed and powered up once again. Cuts and bruises healed themselves instantly. The slash on his neck and his fractured leg disappeared as his muscles began to bulge.
The ground began to tremble with the sudden surge of raw ki. Trunks and Goten were hauled away bodily by Kitara and Rei while Gohan, Vegeta, Goku and Piccolo launched themselves into the air.
'He's…transforming…' Kitara's eyes narrowed at the yellow aura of the Ionia-jin warrior.
Trunks tilted his head sideways at the glowing figure and calmly turned to face Rei. 'Ok, on a scale of one to ten…how fucked are we?'
Opting to indulge the demi-Saiya-jin, the changeling glanced at him, then down at the flaming figure. 'To be honest? About eleven.'
Goten's gaze was suddenly drawn to the Ionia-jin ship. Concentrating, he lowered his ki until he could sense what lay inside the deformed metal hulk. 'Ummm, guys? There's something in there…'
Kitara gave the ship a glance and rolled her eyes. 'Great. Just wonderful.'
'What now?' Gohan tried to shield his eyes from the aura.
'He's brought the rest of the Tri with him. Like we're not in enough shit already.'
Goku looked at the slowly mutating figure. Kitara had mentioned that name before. 'The…Tri?'
'The Ionia-jin Tri. Ninjen-Kai and his brothers, Mai-Kai and Jujen-Kai. They're just as strong as Ninjen-Kai, and twice as ruthless.'
'Ruthless against you and the changeling perhaps. But against the Super Saiya-jin, they're less than weak.' Vegeta cracked his knuckles and began to power up, never taking his stare off the Ionia-jin. As one, the rest of the Z Seishi rolled their eyes and looked over at the ship. More specifically, at the beings which had just emerged from the hull.
Reizoku sighed. 'Did I say eleven? Sorry, I meant eleven thousand.'
Jujen-Kai and Mai-Kai, as befitting the evil element, were not what anyone would call good looking. Especially when they had transformed. Next to Ninjen-Kai, their ki levels and looks alone would have sent anyone screaming. Gohan was almost immediately reminded of Frieza's henchman Zarbon after he had transformed. The three brothers however, were ten times more powerful and at least a few dozen times uglier, even without the flames covering their bodies.
'These the ones, 'Jen?' Mai-Kai possessed a disturbingly guttural voice, one that even Goten couldn't ignore.
'And more besides, dear brother. Recognise the shrimp with the flame-shaped hair?'
Jujen-Kai smirked. 'Vegeta, Prince of the Saiya-jin, sire of Kitara. Thought he was dead.'
Vegeta narrowed his eyes in an unpleasant sneer. 'True. I'm dead. I just haven't stopped breathing yet.'
'Smart mouth. It won't save you.'
The battle commenced.
Piccolo let out an ear-splitting howl as he regenerated his left arm for the second time that day. 'And this is 'relatively weak'?'
Vegeta flung a few sacrificial ki blasts in Jujen-Kai's direction, trying to ignore the burning feeling through his hand that indicated that at least three fingers were broken. 'They…they never had this kind of power when I first encountered them…'
'Eighteen years of mind-numbing hatred and the need for revenge can do that to some people.' Kitara ducked another attack and tried to keep the bile from crawling up her throat as she looked at her midsection. If she had any skin left, she'd have to personally thank Dende.
Trunks delivered a full roundhouse kick, kicking back a fireball. 'You don't say.'
'Both of you shut up or I'll shut them for you!'
'Daaaaaaaaaaad!!!' Apparently whining and truculence were inherited traits of the Saiya-jin royal family.
'The Namek's with me. You two and the changeling take the left and attack full power.' Ignoring the inability of his offspring to obey any of his commands, Vegeta soared into the sky, Piccolo charging a Masenko blast as he flew. Trunks, Rei and Kitara split into a three-pronged attack, the demi-Saiya-jin launching a Burning Attack while the changeling tried to hit the back of Jujen-Kai's neck with a well placed Eye Laser. Kitara had formed a shield around her brother and friend while they tried not to get hit with the recoil.
The distraction worked. The Ionia-jin male span round to find the cause of his temporary pain and found himself on the receiving end of a full-power Masenko and Final Flash Attack.
Now that had to sting.
The Son males looked up at the sound of the explosion. Mai-Kai was barely conscious after the beating he had received. Ninjen-Kai was watching the battle from an aerial position, teeth clenched in rage.
'Clever little Saiya-jin. I applaud you all for making it this far. But it won't help you now. Not after I destroy the root of this battle.' One hand was raised at the assorted group below.
'You certainly fought bravely, and I am truly impressed. But now I think it's time.
'Time to say goodnight…Prince Vegeta!!!!!!!'
The crusher ball was an attack not even Vegeta could ignore.
Or properly defend himself against.
/It…can't…end like this…/
The light slowly faded as the Z Seishi pulled the arms away from their faces. That attack…not even Vegeta could have avoided that at close range.
But…that would have to mean…
'What…what the hell just happened Kakarott?'
Goku let his hands fall from his face as he scanned the ground for his temperamental sparring partner. 'Vegeta…you ok? How'd you survive that? What happened?'
Goten's eyes widened. 'He didn't. But maybe we should ask Rei.'
The Super Saiya-jin of Earth frowned as he looked around for any sign of the changeling. Rei? But…
'Now…that…hurt.' The changeling prince swallowed a mouthful of blood and bile as he took in the site of his mangled right leg and tail. If they still moved it would be a miracle. But then again…once he'd recovered from this, Vegeta would kill him.
The Saiya-jin prince wasn't one to appreciate help.
Especially from a changeling who had just conveniently saved his life.
'What in the name of Dende did you just do!?' Kitara swooped down and helped the battered fighter to land.
'Just…saved your dad's life. You…think I…get a merit badge for this?'
'Even under Ionia-jin style torture, that legendary wit never fails.'
Rei smirked and winced in agony. 'Time for you…to go be the heroine of the hour…'
'Rei!!' She instinctively panicked as his legs collapsed under him. The only bonus was, at least he'd earned a respite.
'Kitara…' Gohan helped her drag the changeling's comatose body to safety and straightened up. During the last battle, a thought had occurred to him. After seeing the Tri in action, it had formed into a possible plan. 'The Umiyo-Ken.'
'Forget it, Gohan. It won't have any effect against these guys.'
'Just listen. The Ionia-jin are humanoid, right?'
'They're susceptible to ki attacks, like all creatures.'
'Ki can be manipulated as a kind of electrical power…'
The Saiya-jin princess's confused look slowly grew into a fairly Vegeta-like smirk of understanding. 'And electricity is conducted by water. Beautiful. Tell the others.'
'Don't need to. That's the gift of telepathy. They're ready when you are.'
'My advice now? Stand back.'
Sparks of ki shot through the air as Kitara began to condense the remains of her power into summoning her ultimate attack. The Z Seishi rocketed into the air as the first tremors began to tear at the Earth. Geysers of water shot through the various trenches created through the last battles as the sky darkened. The Saiya-jin's eyes began to whiten out in the biological equivalent of the sonic boom.
The shudders of the ground shifted the battered changeling to consciousness. Knowing what was about to come, he used the laughable remains of his ki to propel himself into the air. This was Kitara's battle now. If she didn't finish this…
She had missed seeing the Dragon of water, even if it was only called on as a tool of mass slaughter. But now, it would get the battle of its existence to enjoy.
The punch cracked down hard on Jujen-Kai's neck, immobilising him instantly. Mai-Kai, in all his vanity, ignored the oncoming assault as he made to help his fallen brother. Ninjen-Kai was the only one to notice the dragon, but paid it no mind. Just a pathetic water trick was all it was.
The dragon swirled around them, forming an impenetrable barrier of water and psychic power.
The last one was a bit of a surprise. Goten and Trunks shared a grin. Rei really was something else if he still wanted to fight.
Kitara held the three slightly apprehensive warriors inside the watery sphere and nodded.
'…FINAL FLASH ATTACK!!'
Seven of the universe's most deadly warriors.
Five deadly attacks.
Three battle-weary Ionia-jin warriors.
They didn't stand a chance as the beams hit the water.
Goku pressed a weary hand to the giant's neck. 'Dead.'
Again, the search for life. 'Dead.'
The Saiya-jin's fingers felt a slight warmth. No. There was no way…
It wasn't a threat. The bleeding, mutilated, warrior let his head roll to the side to look at Kitara, trying to hold Rei up with Trunks and Goten's help.
'I…should…be. Beat you…didn't I?'
'Heh…you…killed me…but…' The Ionia-jin leader forced his last words out with a disgusting finality before his spirit transcended to hell.
'You're too…late…She…is coming. And you…will…perish.'
TBC in next saga.