CHAPTER 1: Broken peace
-Part 1. "Recap."-
The years of peace had weighed heavily on Vegeta's mind, and the Prince of Saiyans found himself craving his past, lusting for his ruthless days. In an attempt to break the cycle of normality and repetition, Vegeta set himself on the path of Exile, vanishing into the stars. A year passed on Earth, and the Prince returned, reborn. His lust for battle was fresh and keen, and Vegeta turned his renewed combat drive on the first person he met; Gohan.
Things however, didn't quite go according to plan. The Prince allowed Gohan to get under his skin, and was badly beaten in a short but rather intense battle. Full of rage and humiliation, Vegeta returned to his old lonely haunt, brooding for days on end, wondering why Kakarot's miserable son had bested him so easily. After a moment of self-realisation, Vegeta made the transformation to the next level, breaking the barrier and reaching the pinnacle of Super Saiyan 3. The Exiled Prince was back on his game.
After splitting with his wife Chi-Chi around five or six years earlier, Goku found love with childhood friend (and former wife of the narcissistic Prince) Bulma; Something Vegeta was quick to find out. For the first time in nearly 2 years, Vegeta found Goku at his home on Mt. Pao, and the pair found themselves in a highly heated battle. Hiding his jealousy behind a scornful mask, Vegeta (oddly enough) kept his cool while Goku was filled with wrath over the Prince's desertion of Bulma and his constant snide comments about her. This rivalry met it's peak when the two warriors clashed in the heart of East City, the ruthless Saiyan Prince decimating the residence of the bustling hive. Feeling as though he'd failed the people of the city, Goku set out to restore the lives lost, accompanied by Tien Shinhan. After Shenron had granted the wish, Vegeta had arrived on the scene, and a short scuffle between Tien and the Prince had followed.
It was around this time that the inhabitants of the Home for Infinite Losers went to war with one another. On one side were Cell and Frieza, on the other were the Saiyans. For a time, the Saiyans were gaining no ground in the war, until Broly stepped in, destroying all who dared to go near him. It was then that the Saiyans realized that the power of a Super Saiyan would win the battle, and the three impromptu leaders (Raditz, Nappa and King Vegeta himself) all ascended to the next level.
Before long, something needed to be done. The influx of mighty warriors, coupled with the constant fighting, meant that the Afterlife's darkest realm was breaking apart. After a summons from King Yemma, Kibitoshin led a band of fighters from the Grand Kai's planet down through the check-in station, ending the war entirely. However, the damage dealt to the realm created a rip in the fabric of time, and a handful of escapees were recorded. Among them, most worryingly, were the diabolical super villains, Cell and Frieza.
Cell had made his way to Earth, intent upon collecting the Dragonballs and making a wish which would, in short, cause him to be indestructible. Coupled with the years of fighting in Hell, Cell was now strong enough to go toe-to-toe with Majin Buu, and Frieza too had increased his power dramatically. Even reaching the 5th Form.
While Cell scoured the planet for the Dragonballs, another new face landed on Earth; A young Saiyan by the name of Cale. After growing up on Yardrat, the Saiyan had come to Earth looking for Goku, seeking the answer to the Super Saiyan puzzle (which his older brother, Rek, had solved a few years previously), and trying to find a way to unite the Saiyan race.
Again, not all went to plan. Cale first ran into the Prince, who quickly gave him somewhat less than warm welcome, Saiyan style. The young warrior disappeared for the next few weeks, and the Prince returned to his thoughtful brooding.
To try and force himself out of his rut, Vegeta voyaged off into the stars once more. He eventually found himself on a far distant planet, orbited by 3 colossal moons. The sheer amount of Blutz Ways ripping through his form caused Vegeta to regrow his tail, and immediately transformed into the giant ape, Oozaru. But instead of the usual mat of brown fur, the Prince was coated in a coat the color of Super Saiyan Gold. The Prince rampaged, driven mad with power, until a moment of self-realisation caused yet another change.
His form shrunk, enveloped in a cylinder of bright white light, and the figure that stepped out was a Super Saiyan 4.
Vegeta quickly returned to Earth, and 'let slip' the secret to reaching the form. Goku, with the help of Bulma and Trunks (who developed a Blutz Wave generator), progressed to the 4th level to combat Vegeta if need be. Little did they know, the two mighty saiyans wouldn't be fighting each other any time soon.
Over the years, the Dragonballs had been damn near overloaded with negative energy from excessive use, and when Cell summoned the Dragon, a dark, evil Shenron appeared. This new apparition, dubbing himself Blacksmoke Shenron, then proceeded to enlist Cell's services for an upcoming war with the Z Fighters. Blacksmoke would create 7 offspring, the aptly named Shadow Dragons, who would assault the Earth until Blacksmoke decided to carry out his plans of bathing the world in Darkness. The already overpowered Cell, meanwhile, gained another boost when his dark potential was unleashed by the evil Blacksmoke.
The first to encounter the new and improved Cell was Goku's youngest child and only daughter, Chasity. She engaged the twisted Android in combat before the Icejin Frieza made his presence known by taking out the youthful Super Saiyan with a well timed sneak attack.
Vegeta encountered the pair next, and in the early stages of the fight, it seemed that even Cell and Frieza couldn't match the might of the powerful Prince. But, Vegeta's mind was unfocussed, dwelling on a never ending battle in the back of his mind. Part of him wanted his family and old life back; Part of him didn't, would fight tooth and nail to stop it from happening. And so, Cell and Frieza had capitalized, bringing the mighty Saiyan to his knees.
The Z Fighters (with the exception of Vegeta, and the new addition of Cale) gathered together on Kami's lookout. The former guardian Piccolo told them about a darkness growing in the back of his mind, as though something even more powerful than Cell and Frieza would appear before long. The grim prophecies turned out to be true when the Shadow Dragons arrived.
7 powerful creatures, each with their own unique powers. Haze Shenron with his powerful pollution, Rage Shenron and the Dragon Thunderclap, Oceanus Shenron, also known as Princess Ohto and her control over the sea, the blundering Naturon Shenron, Eis and Nuova Shenron, representing Ice and Fire, and finally, Syn Shenron.
While the Z Fighters took down the first 6 Dragons one-by-one, Vegeta continued his vendetta against the duo of Cell and Frieza. After weeks of training, he sought the villains out, separated them, and defeated Frieza in a short but grueling battle. However, right as Vegeta was about to deal the killing blow, Cell stepped in, blinding the Prince with Tien Shinhan's Taioken attack, and the pair fled once more.
After the 6th Dragon, Nuova, was taken down by Goku, Cell and Frieza decided their loyalty to Blacksmoke Shenron was over. Hatching a devious plan, Cell powered himself up to the max and wiped the Dragon from this dimension. His victory however, was short lived. An enraged Syn Shenron arrived at the scene, displaying his own tremendous strength by squashing Cell like a bug. Frieza meanwhile (following the plan he and Cell had come up with) had escaped through the stars.
Then, the battle of the ages had taken place. Goku versus Syn Shenron, high above the world on the Guardian's Lookout. In the early stages, it seemed as though Goku's Super Saiyan 4 strength would be enough to take down the powerful brute. But Syn quickly showed his superior strength, bringing Goku to his knees (along with Kami's lookout to boot).
Right as he was about to deal the finishing blow, an unlikely savior appeared in the shape of Vegeta, the Exiled Prince himself. The two warriors engaged Syn, using hit and run style tactics to wear down the Dragon. The tide of battle shifted, and the two Saiyans were on the verge of victory.
Syn, however, had other plans. Absorbing the other 6 Dragonballs, the Dragon exploded with power, transforming into the mighty Omega Shenron.
Even the strength of two Super Saiyan 4s wasn't enough to combat the might of Omega, and before long, Vegeta realized the only way to overcome this monster was through fusion. Loth as he was to fuse with his most hated rival, Vegeta was willing to cast his pride aside to defeat this foe.
To buy them time to fuse, Gohan, Piccolo, Goten, Trunks, Tien, Cale, Krillin and Yamcha all bravely attacked Omega, drawing his attention away. The two Saiyans fused, forming the ultimate fighter, Gogeta, whose power dwarfed that of Omega, and the mighty dragon was brought down, once and for all…
-Part 2. "The Prince Returns".-
Six months passed in the blinking of an eye for the Z Fighters and their friends, the time of relaxed peace a welcome break from the trials of the last year. With the Shadow Dragons destroyed, there seemed to be nothing left to fight, so the saviors of Earth relaxed their training regimes. Well, all except for Piccolo, and of course Vegeta.
The Prince had largely spent his time cooped up in his ship, brooding as always, and punishing himself with near unbearable training programs, pushing himself further and further beyond his limits. But his mind was unfocussed, his concentration wavering, and he felt himself slipping back into a rut. No one had seen nor heard from him since the day Omega was destroyed. Not that most really cared, though.
Around 2 months after that fateful day, Tien and Cale had just completed a light sparring session out in the frosty mountains where the Triclops usually resided. The pair landed, their breaths coming out in misty fugs. "So, ready to tell me what's putting you off your technique?" Tien asked, a little out of breath.
Cale wiped a trickle of blood from his lip, then shrugged. "I don't really know. I guess it's the whole Super Saiyan thing…" he exhaled a low sigh, dropping down onto a nearby log and stretching out his long gangly legs. "Try as I might, I just can't manage to transform. I mean… It happened so fast the first time, and the second time, I didn't really have time to think about it. I just… had to do it, you know?"
"I guess so." Tien gave a shrug of unsure assent. Not being a Saiyan, he wasn't exactly aware of what it was like to ascend. "Maybe you're just thinking about it too much. Trying to achieve too much, expecting too much of yourself." Tien knew that feeling, alright. "You've done it twice before, so it's not that you're incapable."
Cale slipped into thoughtful silence, lightly gripping his chin. "Hmm… Maybe I should go talk to Goku, or Gohan. Maybe they can tell me how they do it so effortlessly."
"I could save you some trouble and tell you that both Goku and Vegeta spent weeks, months in Space, training to perfect their Super Saiyan abilities. Gohan trained for a year in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber to attain his form. And Trunks, Goten and Chasity reached it as kids, out of pure childish enthusiasm." Tien interjected. "Perhaps if you got off-world for a while, did some solo training… It might just put you right."
Cale glanced up sharply, his brow furrowing in though. "You know, I think you might be right." He sighed and rose, cracking his back. "I think I might just need to get away, train on my own, work out what's not working and fix it."
"I'm sure that's all you need. Besides, the training won't kill you. You're getting a little sloppy, if you don't mind me saying." Tien shot Cale a wry smirk.
"That must be why you're struggling to keep up with me, huh?" Cale returned the grin, chuckling under his breath.
Cale stepped over to Tien, extending his hand. "Thanks, Tien. For being a good friend."
"Ah come on, don't go getting all soft on me." Tien said jokingly , grasping hands with the lanky teen. "Train hard. I'm looking forward to putting my abilities to the test against a fully-fledged Super Saiyan when you get back."
"Yes sir." Cale gave Tien a short smile and a nod, then turned, jetting off into the skies. The youth was determined to do what Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, and his brother Rek had all done, and master the Super Saiyan transformation. He made himself a silent vow that he wouldn't return until he'd done it. Cale had departed almost at once, his ship zooming off into the unknown.
Another 3 months later, much was the same on Planet Earth. The Z Fighters were slowly but surely returning to their training regimes, preparing for the upcoming World Tournament. For weeks now, they couldn't go anywhere without seeing the World Champion's face or hearing his booming, ear-splitting laughter. Billboards, advertisements, commercials, even public parades. This was supposedly going to be Mr. Satan's final tournament, after holding the title for close to 25 years.
Vegeta woke from an uneasy sleep, rising at sitting on the edge of his bed, running his fingers distractedly through his hair. The dark circles under his eyes and generally unkempt air were enough indication as to Vegeta's life over the last 9 months. The old battle in the back of his mind had picked up with incredible intensity, so that even when nearly killing himself in the course of his training, the voices in his head nearly screamed at him on a constant basis.
The Prince had been losing sleep, neglecting to eat, and had been unable to focus on anything but his self-estranged family. When he left the confines of his trashed ship, he often spotted his old "friends" and family going happily about their lives. It took all of his self control not to blast them into hell itself. Instead, he'd clench his fists, narrow his eyes and storm off in the other direction.
Tired of living like he was, Vegeta rose from his bed, stumbling on the litter of cans, bottles and broken furniture in his darkened room and ambled distractedly towards the shower. He had to something, aside from wallowing in self pity and living like a tramp. He was a proud Saiyan warrior, and proud warriors didn't allow foolish humans to get under his skin like this.
The steaming hot water seemed to revitalize the brooding Prince, standing underneath the flow, eyes closed, head turned upwards. Time to get out of the rut, he decided. But how would he do it?
Soon after, Vegeta tore through the skies, eyes narrowed in determination, leaving a violet aura trail in the sky as he made a b-line for West City. The Prince was dressed for the occasion, wearing (for the first time since the Cell Games) a set of Saiyan armor, the almost metallic suit glinting in the mid-morning light.
His plan was to arrive on Bulma's doorstep, give her a solid piece of his mind, then drag Kakarot out into the wastes for a fight. Sure, after weeks of lazily training and not being able to focus his mind, Goku would probably pound him into the dust. But hell, he'd except a beating even from his goody two-shoes rival if it meant he'd be clawing out of the hole he'd dug himself into.
As he passed over the limits of the sprawling metropolis, a faint power-level tweaked his senses. Slowing down slightly, the Prince blinked, glancing over his shoulder. That energy was familiar, although if his senses were right, Cale had increased his power-level exponentially since the day Omega Shenron was taken down. And, oddly enough, he seemed to be heading Vegeta's way.
Vegeta, however, had bigger fish to fry. Once he reached Capsule Corp, he dropped down from the skies, suppressing his power-level as he stood in front of the gates. Now, how best to go about it? Kick down the door? Knock politely? Blast a hole in her office window? Blast the whole damn building? As he stood there debating his next course of action, another approaching energy zapped his senses. Hot on Cale's heels. Unless he was mistaken, it belonged to Yamcha. "Curious…" muttered the Prince, leaning casually against the gates and tapping his chin, staring off into the skies. "Very curious…"
Before long, his predictions rang true, as a rather distressed looking Cale zoomed low, damn near blowing the fence down with the force of his landing, and sprinted into the building. Yamcha followed soon after, glaring angrily as he too touched down on the other side of the fence. "Get back here, you murderer!" he shouted, bursting through the doors.
"Murderer…" the Prince echoed, narrowing his eyes. His curiosity had been piqued. All thoughts of fighting Goku (who, according to his senses, was nowhere nearby) and confronting Bulma had been washed away. Vegeta wanted to find out what the hell was going on here.
He skulked around for the next 30 minutes, waiting for the unlikely travelling companions to emerge. Yamcha had made it no secret that he didn't like Cale, nor really trust him. And Cale had been quite open about his dislike of Yamcha's lax attitude towards training and his constant jokes. When they appeared, Cale seemed more relaxed and solemn, Yamcha still livid. From his vantage point, Vegeta watched Bulma step out with them, handing a small, round object to Cale. "Sure you don't need a ship, Cale?"
"No, no…" the young Saiyan replied quietly. "My ship will be fine. It'll get us there in 5 days max. I just hope that I can fix this." He tucked the Dragon Radar into his pocket.
"Hey, relax." She said encouragingly. "We all make mistakes."
"It wasn't a mistake, Bulma!" Yamcha growled, clenching his fists. "This bastard killed him, I saw it with my own eyes. He's no better than Vegeta." Cale, who had brightened a little at Bulma's words, dropped his head.
A loud booming noise, however, ripped through the street a moment later. A heavily decorated van, adorned with streamers and speakers, trundled past, Mr Satan's voice crashing all around them. The van blared one of the Champ's speeches, the crowd that followed like a pack of lemmings chanted and cheered. The procession was enough to make Vegeta grind his teeth in annoyance, doing his best not to unleash oblivion on them.
The distraction had been more than just a mild nuisance. When the stampeding crowds had dwindled, Vegeta caught the end of Yamcha's words. "All right. Let's get this show on the road. Follow. Me." The bandit shot Cale one last venomous stare, before the two of them blasted off into the skies.
Vegeta stood by the gates for a moment longer, a thoughtful frown creasing his high forehead. He wasn't exactly sure what had happened, or where Cale and Yamcha were off to with the Dragon Radar, but the Saiyan Prince had a hunch. Shenron had been summoned less than a year ago, to restore order to the world which had been plagued by the Shadow Dragons. And there was only one other place to go in order to make a wish.
Going with his hunch, Vegeta lifted off into the air, slowly following along in Cale and Yamcha's trail. He held back, not wanting them to know he was coming, keeping his power level suppressed as much as possible.
The human and the Saiyan weren't dawdling. The two were flying at breakneck speed, making Vegeta all the more curious. Why were they in such a rush? Who had Cale 'murdered'? Why had Bulma seemed so accepting, yet Yamcha had been livid? The Prince halted in mid-air, that thoughtful frown returning. If those two were off to Namek (or, New Namek), therein lied a golden opportunity for Vegeta to go back to his ruthless ways. He could either con or threaten Cale and Yamcha to take him with them, and once they gathered the Dragonballs and summoned Porunga, Vegeta could step in and make the wish he first went to Namek to achieve; Immortality.
"And then, nothing would ever stand in my way." He said quietly in determination, clenching a fist. "Not even death itself." Filled with renewed vigor, Vegeta changed course, heading off to where Cale's ship had landed a few days before.
In a clearing around 20 miles out of West City, Vegeta touched down beside Cale's Yardratian ship, glancing around him. The clearing had been made when Cale's ship had landed, it seemed, and the oddly shaped vessel sat in a small impact crater amidst the trees. According to his senses, there was no one on board, or in the immediate vicinity. Vegeta closed his eyes, reaching out with his combat senses, picking up 3 power-levels not too far away. "Hmm… Cale, Yamcha, and Krillin…" he said quietly, opening his eyes. "Better get out of sight. I don't want to ruin the surprise." With his usual smirk, he slinked off into the trees, waiting for the trio to arrive.
They touched down together simultaneously, Yamcha and Krillin both carrying back packs, clearly prepared for a trip away. "So 5 days to New Namek?" Krillin asked, dropping his pack and tightening his belt.
Cale nodded grimly. "Yeah, give or take. I've got more than enough food to last the trip, and there'll be plenty of room for all 3 of us on my ship. It's even equipped with a training room…" Cale's words were cut off when Yamcha seized him roughly by the collar.
"This isn't a damn holiday, Cale!" Yamcha snapped. "We're not coming with you to relax and hang out and be pals. You murdered Tien, you bastard."
Cale wrenched himself from Yamcha's grip, clenching his fists. "It was an accident, Yamcha." He said in a low, quiet voice. "I never meant for any of this to happen. And I'm doing all I can to fix it. So please, get the hell off my back."
Yamcha was on the verge of an angry retort when a cold, snide voice drifted over to them. "Murdered Tien? Did I hear you right?" Vegeta, swaggering arrogantly towards them, cocky smirk etched into his features. "So, turns out Cale does have the blood of a Saiyan in him after all. You've taken me by surprise, whelp."
"This doesn't concern you, Vegeta." Cale said, whilst Yamcha and Krillin hastily turned towards the Prince. "If you'll excuse us, we're about to leave."
"Off to Namek, eh?" he asked, coming to a halt around 3 feet away from the trio. "And just the three of you are going?"
"Yeah, what's it to you?" Yamcha asked, trying to sound braver than he felt.
"Awfully foolhardy of you, considering Frieza's still out there."
Cale's defiant stare broke, unfolding his arms, his mouth falling slightly open. The youth had completely forgotten about Frieza. Krillin and Yamcha exchanged horrified glances. "Hey guys… Maybe we should bring Goku along with us. Just in case." Krillin said with a quick glance at Cale. Now, it seemed, it would be only Goku and Vegeta who had the strength to defeat Frieza in his fifth form.
"Don't be ridiculous." Vegeta spoke up, shaking his head. "Kakarot isn't even here. If you waited around for him to return from Other World, it could be days, weeks even, until you could set off."
Cale narrowed his eyes. "If you've got a point, make it."
"Very well. I propose that I go with you."
The younger Saiyan lifted an eyebrow suspiciously. "Oh? And why would you propose that? Looking out for our safety and well-being?"
"Ha. Like I care if any of you three clowns die. This is personal. I have a score to settle with Frieza, and if he's out there, I plan on hunting him down." This wasn't entirely untrue. The Prince did indeed have score to settle with the Icejin. Although he felt it was highly unlikely that Frieza would be on Namek at all.
Cale seemed to ponder the Prince's words. He could feel a grain of truth hidden there, but he could also tell that Vegeta wasn't being completely honest. Despite this, with the risk of running into Frieza (or Gods knew whatever else was lurking out there), they needed a heavy hitter. And Vegeta was about as heavy as any hitter got. Yamcha and Krillin simply looked from Cale to Vegeta, waiting for one of them to talk.
"… Alright, Vegeta." Cale said with a sharp nod. "You can join us. Just don't try anything funny. You got that?"
Vegeta raised an eyebrow, his grin widening. "Oh don't you worry, I'll be on my very best behavior."
((Note: This chapter will be reposted in a new story.))