There could be absolutely no disputing that time was relative. For no matter how long, or hard he worked, or how often he told himself not to look into the sky, the sun would never move. Granted, that was no way to measure time, seeing as the passing of a day was a slow process to begin with, and staring at the sun had the same effect as staring at a clock, only with more harmful side effects to your eyes.
Still, he thought he had a system down. He would stare at the red dusty ground, and focus only on his work, humming to himself, doing whatever it took to lose himself in his thoughts. Rhythmic patterns, telling himself that despite how much he hated striking the rock hard ground in front of him with an elongated metal tipped plow, it was at least making him stronger, and he could at least use his muscles for this work. And still, no matter how long he stared at the earth, no matter how far he progressed, the day neither got brighter, or darker. Every day was the damn same too. At some point he thought that perhaps the planet he stood on had fifteen suns, and they would take shifts hovering in the exact same position in the sky and replace each other when no one was paying attention.
But no, there was only one, and it felt like it was hovering two feet above his head. Trunks sighed and stood up, leaning against his tool of trade and wiped the sweat from his lavender hair. He turned to look back at the red and barren field he had been hacking away at and smirked a bit, at the extent of his progress. Not that he was proud to be doing work like this, but it was the human in him that made him feel a tad bit superior to see how much easier this work was for him. And in return, that made it easier on his fellow workers, if he was able to pick up their slack.
Trunks looped a finger under the metal collar over his neck and ran against the under side, to let the skin breathe a bit. He bent over and did the same with the shackles tightened around his ankles that were chained together. He sighed and stood back up, before readjusting his grip and raising his plow and striking the red earth with his inhuman strength.
It had been roughly two years since he had been brought here. He had been taken from his home on Earth, had this collar slapped on his neck and been sold as a slave. He could still picture the whole scene in his head, though he often chose not to. He grit his teeth and struck the ground beneath him particularly hard, causing it to split a bit in several directions before he raked it backwards.
As much as he loathed every inch of this life he was living, he did not regret his decision. If doing this would protect his family, then he would do it for the rest of his life if he had to. Still he missed that little blue planet he called home. His thoughts drifted again and he methodically hacked away at the ground beneath him. He swallowed heavily, trying to wet the back of his throat, but to no avail.
He continued his work, until he felt a small tingle down his spine. A large Ki was approaching, of course, on this planet, large was relative to him. He was far stronger than any being he could locate on this planet, save one. That was his life long best friend Goten, who had been brought here with him. They had been separated and sold to different masters, but they both made sure to keep tabs on each other. The collars around their necks prevented them from using their Ki, but they could not limit the huge amounts stored inside them. Still, as far as they knew, they were the only ones on this planet that could read and sense Ki, so it didn't really matter how much they had if they were incapable of using it.
Still this Ki moving towards him was powerful, and unlimited. Trunks wiped his brow and looked around, trying to pinpoint where it was coming from. His gaze landed on the farmhouse a few miles away, and he frowned narrowing his eyes. There was a large golden coach followed by several smaller black ones off in the distance. He turned to one of his fellow slaves, more than a couple yards away from him and walked back to him, keeping his eyes open to see if anyone was watching him. The other slave boy was around his age, had purple scaly skin and an elongated skull.
"Hey," Trunks leaned up against his plow. The boy looked up at him and Trunks gave a nod towards the farmhouse. "Was something supposed to happen today?"
The boy stood up and looked backwards, following Trunks' gaze. "I didn't think so. Sure looks fancy though."
Then a whistle sounded and they both turned to look back. "Apparently something is happening," he sighed hauling his plow up onto his shoulder. "Let's go," the two began to walk back along their trail of broken ground.
"Maybe he's selling some of us off," the alien boy said, looking over.
"Well let's hope a few of us get better off then."
"Or us. That would be nice."
"Please," Trunks said, snorting. "He's not selling me."
"Oh right, Mr. Machine," the alien smiled. "He'd have a break down if he gave you up. How the hell do you even get that far in so little time?"
"Don't tell any one," Trunks said, causing the boy to lean in a bit. "But I'm the son of the devil."
This earned him a smack with the wooden end of the plow and a laugh. It had been a joke, but little did Trunks know, it wasn't that far from the truth. His mother, Bulma Briefs, had never talked about his father. He knew he was half Saiyan, like Goten, but Goten knew his father. Goku had been sent to earth as a child, by the Saiyans and had made it his home. Trunks' father was also a Saiyan, but unlike Goku he had left before he had even known of his child's existence. Trunks' brow creased at the thought, and he sighed. The two of them made it back to the farmhouse, but not very quickly. The chains around their ankles made it so they could walk and work, but not run. Every slave stood next to their respective line in the dirt, and leaned on or held their plow at their side.
Their master was a short chubby Saiyan with greasy hair and a slimy disposition. He wore fine clothing and held a cane in one hand and a cigar in the other. All in all a loathsome creature. Trunks turned his attention to the large golden carriage. It was the largest, fanciest damn thing he'd ever seen in his life.
The door opened and outstepped a short statured and yet most commanding man Trunks had ever been in the presence of. He recognized him instantly as the owner of the large and powerful Ki he had felt earlier, and his breath caught in his throat. One of the guards that accompanied him in one of the black carriages stepped forward.
"All hail to the Prince!"
Trunks blinked in surprise as the alien boy leaned over discretely. "Hey, look. It's your father. The Devil."
Prince Vegeta sat in the back of his coach with his arms folded. Of course, there were a million and a half places he'd rather be at the moment, but the last eight slaves his men had picked out from him, hadn't lasted a few days. And so this time, he was going to do it himself. Recommendations be damned. He sighed and looked out the window with the red countryside rolling past him. He shook his head and closed his eyes. This was a sad state, but he had little choice at the point. If he wanted someone hardy, and someone who would last more than a week, he would have to go out to the fields and pick one himself. The coach ground to a halt and he pushed the door open with his foot. A guard hopped out of the black coach, and so did a familiar bald face.
"Nappa?" He said turning to his personal guard. The first guard turned to the group of people standing in front of a field of half plowed dirt. "Is this the place?"
"It is, Prince Vegeta."
"All hail to the Prince!" Shouted the guard nearest him and Vegeta waved his hand to shut him up. He looked over at the fat Saiyan dabbing his face with a handkerchief.
"Prince Vegeta," he stammered in a high-pitched whining voice. "What an honor to have you here!"
"Yes, yes, whatever," Vegeta scowled. "Let's get this over with."
"Of course!" The man said, puffing on his cigar a few times. "You're here for a slave, aren't you? Well please, look through them," he motioned to the many boys lined up by their cracked lines of dirt.
Vegeta frowned and began to walk down the line of boys. He looked them all up and down and his frown turned into a scowl. "Is this all you have?" He wrinkled his nose distastefully. "They're scrawny," he grabbed the chin of a blue skinned boy with antenna on his head.
"They may not look like much, but they work hard, and they're strong."
Nappa walked up behind Vegeta. "We can go to another farmhouse, Prince Vegeta," he said kicking up some dirt. "Or to a proper auction house."
Vegeta shook his head and continued down the line. He stopped and suddenly frowned; looking at the lavender haired boy he had come to be in front of. He looked him up and down and his gaze landed on the boy's eyes. His breath caught in his throat, as a hint of recognition washed over him. Those eyes! The resemblence was striking, and it was enough to catch him off guard. The boy had an Earthling classification on his collar, and he was staring Vegeta in the eye without a hint of fear. His red scouter ran a few seconds before registering the ki and a number popped up. He looked at it and his eyes widened; an earthling with this sort of power level? He narrowed his eyes and snapped his fingers to summon the man next to him. "This one, how much?"
"That one, your highness?" The man tried and failed to keep the shock from his voice. "That one is a human," he said, fervently. "They're weak and stubborn, their people were rebellious and wouldn't know the proper respect for their betters! This one won't last you three days!"
Vegeta peered around him, and looked at the line of work. "He seems to have made quite a bit of progress," he said. "How long did it take you to do this, boy?"
The boy wrinkled his brow in confusion. "I started this morning, sir."
"It would be difficult for someone weak to make it that far, don't you think?" Vegeta turned back to the man. "He'll do. How much?"
"Your highness, I couldn't sell him to you, he's—"
"Are you refusing me?" The prince's voice suddenly took on a more amused tone. "How rude, here I am trying to be accomodating and compensate you for your property, and you tell me no?" Vegeta took a step forwards, looking down idly at his fingers. "Let me tell you how this is going to work; either you take my very generous offer of zeni in exchange for this boy, or I take him for free, kill you, and see to it that this farm passes to your next of kin."
All the color had drained from the farm owner's face, and his hands hung limply at his sides. "Of... of course, my prince. I forgot my place, I should not have attempted to counsel you on matters beyond my ken," he swallowed visibly. "I will accept whatever you offer, your highness."
Vegeta smiled, and it was almost amicable. "See now, that's better," he said placing a hand to his chest. "I'm not an unfair man," he turned his eyes back to the boy, a cold glint replacing the good natured look he'd held a moment ago. "I'll give you nine million."
The fat farm owner's heart almost stopped. He stumbled holding onto the handle of his cane. "Nine… Nine-!"
"I think that's more than fair. Do we have a deal or not?"
"Yes! Yes your majesty of course!" The man turned to a few of his paid workers, and snapped his fingers. "You there! Clean this boy up, and prepare him for his highness, Prince Vegeta," the workers moved forwards, but before they did Vegeta turned to the boy and narrowed his eyes again.
"What's your name, boy?"
"Trunks," he said, evenly.
"Well, Trunks," Vegeta grinned an evil looking and sly grin. "I hope you last me longer than the others."
Trunks gasped as another bucket of ice cold water was dumped over his head. He was going to get hypothermia before he was cleaned off. One of the paid workers grabbed his bare arm, and ran a rough sponge over it while another gave his back and leg the same treatment. One more was snipping away at his hair, shearing it down nearly to his scalp, leaving only a fine layer of his hair visible. Trunks didn't exactly mind, he had always kept it short with whatever tools were available, but something about having it taken down so far left him feeling vulnerable. Then again, between that and them trying to scrub his skin clear from his bones, maybe that was the idea. Suddenly the bald man from earlier stepped through the curtain. Trunks turned his head to look at him, and his face flushed with indignity. Although it was not the first time an owner, or an owner's coworker had come in and seen him without clothes, but it still managed to piss him off.
"Prince Vegeta won't wait all day, is he done yet?" He asked, scowling.
"Yes, sir," one of the workers said, releasing Trunks' arm and bowing out of the room. The rest did the same, leaving Trunks alone, very nude, and very cold and very alone with the tall bald man. The man in question sneered.
"A human," he said, beginning to circle. "Why Vegeta would pick you, when he's complained about going through slaves like no one's business, is beyond me,"he spoke with a condescending sneer. "He even refused to go to an auction house, said he'd have better lucking finding one that's already broken in," he stopped, to face Trunks. "I give you three hours."
Trunks stayed quiet, and glowered. The man tossed a bundle at him, and Trunks caught it, before it hit his face. He looked at it, and noticed it was a pair of pants, and a shirt, along with two white boots. "Come on, put those on, we haven't got all day."
Trunks fumbled with the garments sliding them on and pulling the boots on as quickly as he possibly could. He tugged on the collar of the shirt and pulled it down around his metal one. He looked down at his new appearance and despite himself almost smiled. It had been a while since he had worn clothing that actually fit him, and the change was nice.
"Nappa!" The commanding voice of the prince rang through the room, and Trunks looked over to the door, where the voice was coming from. "Let's go, already!"
The bald man, or Nappa, grumbled something and reached over and grabbed Trunks by the back of his collar and pulled him through the curtain and shoved him before the Prince. He grabbed the back of Trunks' head and pushed his face down curving his spine, forcing him into a bow. When he was released, Trunks hovered in the position for a moment, before he heard Vegeta snap his fingers. He raised his head first and then taking it as a sign to rise, stood up. There was something oddly familiar about the man standing in front of him, but Trunks couldn't quite place what it was. Vegeta stared at him for a few moments, and little did Trunks know, a similar thought process was going though his mind. Vegeta turned and walked away. "He'll ride with you."
Nappa grabbed the back of his collar again and Trunks choked a bit as he was dragged back towards the black carriage. He looked back at his fellow slaves and noticed the alien boy from earlier. The boy gave him a sympathetic look and little salute to wish him well, and Trunks could not appreciate the gesture more.
Another boy waved. "Bye, nine million."
Trunks gave them all a smile before he was shoved into the black carriage and Nappa climbed in after him. He sighed and looked at the group of guards that occupied the seats and saw Nappa take the only remaining one. He turned about before receiving a swift blow to the shins from Nappa's foot. "Sit on the floor, earthling. You'll smash your head in if you stand like that."
Trunks reluctantly sat down on the floor under the window opposite the door. He tucked his hands over his knees and tried to make himself as small as possible. He laid his head on his knees and grimaced. The prince. He had just been sold to the prince of the race who had invaded his planet and took him from his home. He bit his lip angrily and tried to compose himself. He couldn't lose his cool now, even if he was trapped in this position. He had a feeling he knew what they were all talking about when they said that Vegeta went through slaves like no one's business. He wouldn't be the first to die in his service, so he would have to tread carefully. Trunks sighed and buried his face in his hand.
"So, earthling. When did you get here?" Nappa sneered, a smirk spreading over his face. "Before or after that puny planet was subjugated?"
"… During." Trunks spoke up, softly.
"Your race didn't put up much of a fight."
Trunks' face twisted into a scowl. Not that the humans had stood much of a chance, not being a warrior race at all.
"What about you?" The smirk in Nappa's voice was evident. "Did you?"
"Did I what?"
"Put up a fight?"
"At first," Trunks gripped at the fabric of his pants, and remembered the day. As long as he remained in slavery, as long as he remained loyal to the Saiyans, his mother, his family, would be left alone. It was the one thing the Saiyans were actually decent and trustworthy about, although it was still a low life thing to do. Sell a family member into slavery, and the rest of the family was left under protection. Goten and Trunks had readily volunteered. Gohan had been training in the heavenly realms, and Goku had been too sick to have such a thing demanded of him.
"Well, you humans were never too bright, or strong," Nappa laughed. "I guess resistance was short lived," he leaned back and wrapped an arm around the back of the seat. "You know, Vegeta was on that planet a few years back."
Trunks looked up. He raised an eyebrow. "He was?"
"Yeah. After a debacle with Freeza he crash-landed there. Apparently he was stranded there a few months. I'm surprised it took him so long to order the invasion. Not that he did."
"Why? Planning revenge?"
"No," Trunks said, lowering his eyes. "I'm loyal, as long as the Saiyans hold up their end of our bargain."
"Ah, sold yourself out to keep your family safe, huh?"
"Most slaves do," Trunks looked up. He saw Nappa shrug, and lean back.
"Well whatever encourages cooperation," he smirked down at Trunks, and leaned forward. "So, why do you think Prince Vegeta picked you?"
"I don't know," Trunks whispered, though truth be told, he had some idea. His genetics and training probably did make him the strongest on that farm, and Saiyans always valued strength.
"Neither do I," Nappa reached down grabbed a handful of little of his hair remained, pulling him up a few inches off the floor. "So I've got to wonder, if he's just trying to mess with us here. He complained about his slaves not being strong enough, and now he picked a human."
"Strong enough?" He said, swallowing trying to avoid wincing.
"You'll find out," Nappa released the grip on his hair and leaned back into his hand. "I can't wait to watch you break."
Trunks relaxed onto the floor again as the coach fell into an eerie silence. He was alright with silence. The ride took a while, and no more words passed between him and Nappa, or anyone else in the coach for that matter. Trunks looped his finger under his metal collar, and ran it along the inside in a nervous habit. He sighed and rested his forehead on his knees. After a few moments of ugly silence, the coach came to a stop, jostling the people inside. Trunks lifted his head as the door opened and Nappa slipped out first, the rest of the guards quickly and quietly following suit. Trunks pulled himself up into a standing position finding himself alone in the coach. Nappa stood by the door and gave him an expectant look.
"Well? Get out here, kid." He snarled.
Trunks didn't need to be told twice, he took a step forward, ducked through the door and jumped down onto the ground. The sight before him was awe-inspiring, he could hardly believe it. The castle was huge, and the most ornate piece of art work on the entirety of the planet. It wasn't rounded and white like the farm houses and other buildings Trunks had been living in previously, but was composed of tall spires, towering above everything else, as if to prove only the best of the best for the best of the best. The breath was caught in his throat as he looked up to the very top. He nearly choked when Nappa clapped him on the back, smirking.