Everything was fine. No, it was glorious. I was with my parents. We were returning home from an overseas trip to the tropics. I wore my favorite sunglasses. My white shirt was long enough to cover most of my denim shorts. My blue hair was pulled back in a ponytail. A relaxed style that suited me well.
I remember that I had been going to the deck after lunch to lay down by the pool and read. How trivial that would seem later.
There was the sound of guns being clicked, swords being drawn. Everyone was confused. The crew members started moving about, very calmly. They wore vicious smiles.
The captain made an appearance after everyone was gathered on the deck. He was not the same man that had welcomed us aboard at the shore of West Country. No, this was a very different man. He introduced himself as Bojack, and panic instantaneously set in. We were trapped with modern day's most vicious pirate. Any day's, actually. Everyone knew the stories. He killed without mercy – even glee. He took what he wanted, from riches to women to children. He took it all.
He staged the entire thing. No wonder this was so expensive. He'd purposely lured the wealthiest in the world, and as the future president of Capsule Corp., I more than qualified. We would be held for ransom. We would be tortured. We would be raped. We would be killed.
My breathing got heavier. My pulse raced. For the first time in my entire life of twenty years, I experienced fear. Quickly though, I gathered my wits. Now was not the time for despair. I was behind everything. If I was quiet, I could get below deck to the boiler room. I could detonate an explosion, sink the ship. The passengers would over power the pirates and make it to the lifeboats. They would die. Everyone else would live. I'd save everybody.
It played out so well in my head.
I was a fool.
I set fire to the engine and boiler, dashing back up the steps before I was caught in the explosion. I had heard gunshots while I was down there, but refused to let them deter me. When I got back up though, I realized who had been hit by those bullets. They weren't some random people I didn't know.
A bloody mess of my parents lay unmoving on the deck. I felt numb.
Another explosion rocked the vessel, throwing me hard against the railing. There was a fuzzy stinging sensation in my abdomen. I felt it, and when my hand came back up, it was wet with red. With my blood. A piece of shrapnel had imbedded itself in my skin.
There was shouting, cursing, screaming, crying. I looked up in a daze. People kept falling dead. People kept jumping over the side. Children were cut down for others to make it to lifeboats. This wasn't supposed to be happening. This wasn't what I had envisioned at all.
This was hell. And I was responsible.
Survival instincts kicked in, I guess. I was crawling, practically dragging myself along the smooth wood. Occasionally, my hand would slip, and I would crash into someone's blood. There were more explosions. The ship was turning onto one side. I was absolutely terrified.
Somehow, I managed to climb into a lifeboat and deploy it. The ship was halfway submerged. There was a screaming to my left. There was a little girl, flailing in the water. I called out to her, and tried to paddle the boat to her, but it would not move over the force of the currents. Another detonation and heavy debris went flying. Part of one of the smoke stacks hit the girl straight in the head, snapping her neck to the side.
She was dead.
I knew I was crying by then. There was nothing but chaos around me. It would have been better to just let Bojack have his way. Maybe then a few of us could have lived. It's what I got for trying to play hero.
As I looked around, I saw only one other bright yellow emergency raft, and it was fast sinking. It struck me then. I would be the only survivor. I would live on as a killer despite my intentions.
I could only laugh. Laugh I did as my cheeks were stained with salty water not of the sea.
I stopped when agony tore through my head and torso. I felt my temple, and sure enough, there was blood running freely. I hit the railing harder than I thought. The shrapnel was still in my gut. I went to pull it out, but the second my fingers brushed it, a terrible throbbing wracked me.
I simply lay back, carried who knows where by the ocean. There were no clouds. Nothing to distract me from my misery. I thought of nothing. I just stared out, barely noticing when the sky darkened. I was numb, and I was certain I would waste away.
He found me.
My skin was slightly burnt from the sun's rays, and my stomach clenched painfully with hunger, yet the thought of eating made me sick. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, dry. I lay still in the lifeboat that rested on the sand.
He was the first thing I saw when I seemed to awaken from my trance. I was unaware I had actually passed out. He peered down at me with curiosity and slight concern. My Kami he was beautiful. His flame of jet black hair looked soft as silk. His perfect bronzed skin was layered with muscle the gods would envy. But his eyes…His deep obsidian eyes were addicting to gaze at.
He reached down for me, his calloused hands lifting me from my small vessel and cradling my limp body. The sun was just beginning to set. He carried me across the beach towards the thicket of jungle, stopping to grab his spear from behind a tree. I didn't know where he was taking me. I didn't know if he wasn't some kind of cannibal, but I was unafraid. Anything was better than drifting at sea.
It was still in my stomach, though this did not go unnoticed by him.
"Uket nowasted bolu yani?" He asked. I couldn't understand a word he said. He must have figured so from my puzzled expression. My father said he always knew when I was going to ask something because my blue eyes begged the question before my voice did.
He seemed mildly frustrated as he walked, trying to communicate. Birds of exotic colors chatted away and insects I'd never seen chirped their mating calls.
He opened his mouth to speak then closed it again, struggling with what to say. I would help him, but I was honestly too exhausted, and I don't think my heavy tongue would have cooperated with me.
"Shet niku Vegeta Ouji," he said firmly, pointing to himself. It was a wonderful name I decided. It screamed majestic power and potential, just like him. I must have been really out of it, having gone without water for at least two days in the sweltering heat the sun directed at the ocean, for I never thought of anyone I first met like that. I never saw what I thought they were like until I actually got to know them, and there I was, mentally yammering on about power and majestic stuff.
I nodded to show I understood. Somehow, I managed to croak my own name out, hardly a whisper. It was so soft I wasn't sure that he heard. "Bulma."
But he did. He nodded. As time droned on, and the sky fell to black, a feeling of total peace washed over me as I clung to this handsome stranger's back. The nocturnal creatures awoke, the moon hung high and bright over the island, illuminating everything perfectly, and fire flies began to dance.
I didn't think this man would eat me.
He stopped by a small stream and pulled a flask from his belt after setting me on a smooth rock. He knelt and filled it with the crystalline water and handed it to me. I wanted to gulp greedily, but restrained myself to long sips. My throat felt better. I ended up downing three flasks full of the pure liquid.
I panicked slightly when he stood and wandered off into the jungle again, but my nerves calmed when he returned with several leaves and flowers. He dipped each in the fresh water before laying them on a boulder. He took a rock roughly the size of his strong hand and began grinding them together until they were a balm like substance. He motioned for me to lie down. Dizzy, I complied.
I blushed when he peeled my shirt off, but he proved a gentleman when he focused only on my wound. There were also several bruises. He frowned. I decided that I didn't like it when he frowned.
Vegeta tore my once white top gone blood red into long strips. He balled one up and mimicked biting onto it, then held it out for me to take. I did as he said and bit down on it. It would take all of ten seconds for me to figure out why.
He splayed his rough fingers over my stomach, the sensation soothing. He dipped a strip of my shirt in the stream…
And suddenly ripped the metal from my skin.
I bit down on the cloth as hard as I could and screamed with pain. He frowned again when I did so and quickly began administering the balm, smearing his hand with my blood and wrapping the damp make-shift bandage around me. He tied some dry ones too, just to keep me comfortable.
Tears pricked at my eyes but I refused to let them fall. I had no right to cry after what happened. He pulled the rag from my mouth and I released a shaky breath. He leaned over me, brushing my hair from my face to inspect the wound to my temple. Hr pressed another damp cloth to it, and wiped the dried blood clean exposing a nasty gash. He rubbed some of the balm over it and wrapped the bandage around my forehead.
He picked me up again, piggy-back style this time, and jumped effortlessly over the at least three yard wide stream. I was too tired to really ponder the phenomenon.
At some point, I must have fallen prey to sleep, for Vegeta jostled me awake. We were in front of large wooden gates, open to let us in. When we entered, I gasped. There was a huge bon fire, surrounded by rough looking people. All of them, like Vegeta wore animal skins of some kind. They all looked and saw me, murmuring with slight apprehension. One man stood up and stretched lazily before approaching.
His hair was like a bird's nest, with spikes pointing every which way. He had kind eyes, and a friendly smile. "Dotshi, Vegeta Ouji," he said excitedly. As if they were long-time friends. He glanced at me. "Kajen tut egeto hungwe?"
"Kakarot," Vegeta greeted. "Elly timo "Bulma" shret naji. Yon comet grelin freya lin vensopila." The other man nodded. "Justuno deke," he concluded.
Kakarot, as I figured his name was, waved a woman with dark hair over. Her skin was paler than the rest of the people there. She came up to him then looked to Vegeta. She placed a hand over her heart and nodded slightly. "Dotshi, Vegeta Ouji." I deduced that he must be important for her to treat him with such respect.
My rescuer gestured towards me, setting me on the ground, but still supporting most of my weight as my feet gingerly touched the cool grass. My legs were shaky, but I stood with his help. "Elly kan te Bulma. Justuno deke."
The woman's mouth formed a delicate 'O' of comprehension. She addressed me. "Hello, my name's Chichi. You are Bulma, right?" She tested, as though unsure I would understand.
I nodded vigorously; glad that there was someone I could talk to. "Yes." My voice was hoarse.
"Where are you from?"
"The West Country."
"Okay, do you know how you got here?" I bit my lip and suddenly found my toes very fascinating. Chichi seemed to get the hint and saved that conversation for later. She turned to the men and relayed my origins in their language, and I swear I heard her say 'English' but I couldn't be sure with the speed that she talked. Vegeta grunted.
"So that was the language," he said, as if it should have been obvious to him. I was stunned. He did know English. I had forgotten all about the others of what I assumed was their tribe gathered by the fire. He gently took my arm by the crook of my elbow. "Come with me."
As he dragged me off, Chichi smiled apologetically and waved. She tugged Kakarot and he followed her back to the fire where a little boy jumped up and ran to them.
He led me to a hut – larger than the rest in the village. Inside, it was lit with candles and there was a boy, maybe three years my junior, who leapt to his feet the second Vegeta walked in.
"Vegeta!" The boy said with excitement.
Vegeta smirked (a devilishly handsome expression on him by the way) and ruffled his hair. "Tarble." He spoke some words in their language. I was clueless. After about two minutes, Tarble made the same salute that Chichi had at me, and extended his hand. "I am Tarble, Second Son."
I took his hand. "Bulma Briefs." I was ashamed my voice was still nearly silent. My head was pounding and throbbing. Vegeta laid me on a cot while Tarble looked me over. He ran to grab some jars and real bandages, talking swiftly to Vegeta as he worked on me. He rubbed some sweet smelling slave on my chest (not cleavage) and my vision went blurry.
I had been hunting when I saw it, a yellow boat. I was puzzled for I saw no one in it. I left my spear and dragged it ashore to investigate. There was a woman inside. Her clothes and skin were caked with blood. Her hair, same color as the sea, was sprawled under her head. Her eyes opened and I was momentarily struck dumb. It seemed impossible that anyone's irises should be such a vibrant shade of blue. She seemed hazy, like everything was moving in slow motion for her. She went through some ordeal, I could guess that much.
There was something jutting from under her shirt and I theorized it to be the source of her blood loss. I'd seen much blood in my life, but never before had I felt so uncomfortable staring at the substance. It didn't belong on her like that. She looked too pure.
She looked haunted.
With much care, I lifted her, my arms supporting her neck and knees. I knew a small creek none too far from the beach. Normally, it would have taken me a matter of maybe ten minutes to reach, but I held a fragile creature.
It took much longer. Almost an hour.
I asked where she came from and who she was, doubting she would respond. More than anything, she seemed confused. Then I remembered that the tongue of which my people spoke was known only to us. Trying to make things simpler, I made it clear that my name was Vegeta. She seemed to comprehend, though only half-awake.
"Bulma," she murmured. I liked her name.
When we reached the stream I tended to her wounds and thirst. My eyes never strayed from her injuries, though I was sorely tempted to do otherwise after removing her shirt (I did not wear one myself, to make bandages, and I needed to inspect it). I admit to being slightly impressed that she shed no tears, though her pained scream brought a tightening to my chest. The metal was long and jagged, almost impaling her. She was soft and delicate, no doubt unused to wounds.
She fell asleep on the way to the village. Such a weak creature. My people wound have brushed such a superficial injury off like nothing. But she was not of my people. I shook her awake and that fool Kakarot came trotting over to see what the excitement was about.
He greeted me informally – something I didn't completely mind. Formalities just seem so sickening sometimes. So I explained, knowing he would only pester me further if I left him in the dark about the issue. I told him that she "does not speak."
The moron waved his screeching harpy of a mate over and soon she had the woman talking, though in soft whispers. Her voice was like flowing silk.
Chichi was the only outsider that ever lived with us. Adopted our ways. She spoke the language of those off our island where they made common use of loud machines and such annoyances. She'd apparently been testing for her 'pilot's license' when the engine of her aircraft blew out and she crashed here. Kakarot had taken an immediate liking to her and vice versa. She taught us the language, English, of the Away People.
We call them such because they are disconnected with everything – including themselves. For one to know the emotions of another, verbal communication is required. They delude themselves with false attributes they would find admirable. They kill one another for something worthless such as wealth. They put their big companies on pedestals and grind the poor into the mud. They betray their mates and packs. I hate them.
So why did I save this Away woman? I could say that I believe in the individual, but that would be a lie. I didn't know why I helped her. She was alluring I suppose.
When I realized what she spoke I was able to communicate. I took her to the healing lodge where my brother was.
Tarble may be the closest thing I will ever find to a kindred spirit in this world. Of course he's not perfect. Immature, naïve, clingy and demanding on occasion… But he is observant. He knows and sees things most would overlook. He treats people as they need to be treated – not how they want to. He listens. He reminds me very much of my mother. Wise. Compassionate. Gentle. But firm in beliefs and opinions.
I'm not sure I'll ever come to accept her death.
Father will be displeased with me when I see him. Not only had I run off earlier without telling him or anyone else, I'd been gone for hours, and from what he knew, alone. That's a dangerous thing…with the chances of remaining Ice Folk and all. I'd also brought one of the Away People to our village. The harpy was lucky he hadn't thrown her to the ocean when she arrived.
I introduce Bulma to my sibling and explain that she does not know our tongue. Tarble had been eager to learn English, but my father was a stubborn and close-minded man. He spat on change. He was one of the few of our tribe left that had not learned.
I guided the woman to one of the cots and let my brother go to work. He rubbed the sleeping salve on her and she drifted off. I decided that I would take responsibility for her – no matter what my father protested.
Something told me she loved to learn. And teach her I would.
A/N: So, for those reading Rise and Fall, um, yeah. Somehow, I convinced myself that I already put the last chapter up, but when I checked, I hadn't…so, I'm looking for it in my billions of files and will put it up the second it is located. Sorry for the wait.
This one came to me last night at like, 2 A.M. I've just been getting too many ideas. Well, If I start them all at once, I should have a pretty decent flow of updates since I won't be stuck on one thing.