I ached all over, but somehow, it was a good type of ache. I guess it was because it came from labor and hard work. I earned that pain starting at the crack of dawn every day, and I knew it would become strength later.
It amazes me how easily I came to accept the more saiyan outlook on life. Sure, I held onto some of the things I'd always believed, but a lot of what Vegeta, Chichi, and everyone else taught me made so much more sense. It kind of felt like I was being remade into something better. Something with more purpose than running a huge corporation when my dad retired.
I felt good.
There were a few things, however, that I did not adapt well to.
Like the fact that the saiyan people have no such thing as indoor plumbing.
Know what that means? A city girl like me can't shower, use a toilet, wash hands in warm tap water, listen to headphones, drive, use air conditioning, etc.
As you can imagine, I felt rather ripe. The fact that I was working muscles I didn't even know existed every day wasn't helping my situation much. And so, that was what led me to jump into a freezing cold river stark naked to bathe.
It did not go too well.
I can still hear that arrogant jackass laughing in my head. Yeah, I mean the "Oh Mighty Prince Vegeta." And the sad part is that it makes me want to laugh too.
I also don't know what was going on in the rest of the world. You know the one where that mass murdering spree I decided to go on was still probably hitting the major headlines? Yeah. That one. People on all sides were probably talking about the set up, my parents' deaths, and me being a missing person and all. I wonder if they knew what happened with the boiler room.
I feel compelled to go back. I didn't exactly trust all of my board members to act responsibly with the company if myself or dad left. I'm worried about our charities and moral standards, the pay we give those on the assembly lines, and the overall threat of corruption.
Then, there was the confliction of saiyan morals over the rest of the world's. It was hard. When I started listening to them, and I looked back, everything about my previous way of life seemed corrupt somehow. The poor. The scandals. The theft. The fear.
The fear was what probably came as the biggest shock to me. I'd realized that saiyans did absolutely nothing to lock up their valuables from thieves. They weren't afraid of being killed by the wild animals, disease, each other. They weren't afraid of getting hurt. They weren't afraid of being stolen from. It was bizarre.
I'd always looked at the news to find some story about taking extra precautions for this, the murder that happened over there, the big political scandal, the raping that occurred at that place, the abused child that grew up into a serial killer, the danger all of our rights were in, the big companies taking over, the crazy activists, the threats. Always the threats.
It seemed so odd to me now. Why did we always terrify ourselves for no reason? It seemed so ridiculous.
I tried to push it to the back of my mind. It's not exactly like I could do much to help it.
And I didn't want to leave.
I came to understand what Chichi meant when she was explaining the Beckonings. About Vegeta, I mean. As I spent more time with him, I started to see that he carried his own burdens. He did seem closed off and dark. It was almost like he was this pure energy that was shrouded in a cloak of his past and the taints of reality.
Weird how I can get so poetic.
That ass knows exactly what to do to piss me the hell off.
We argue almost constantly, but it's sort of become a game of ours. We enjoy it. He's so proud and arrogant, sometimes I just want to snap his neck, but then a few minutes later I'll know I love the way we bicker.
His father still hates me. I was talking to Chichi and she said she had similar problems, especially since she introduced English. She didn't go into detail, but apparently it had gotten pretty ugly, and the only reason she was still standing was because she and Goku had fallen in love and he'd defended her. It was such a sweet story. It reminded me of my romantic fantasies as a little girl and how I wished my soul mate would come and sweep me off my feet. I laugh at it now, of course, but I was fond of those memories. They're kind of like old toys you haven't seen in a long time that you dig out of some box in the attic and play with for a few weeks before shoving them back to take out other ones.
Something like that.
I absolutely adore Tarble. That kid has to be purest thing I've ever seen. He's not pure in the same way Goku is. That guy has to be everybody's hero, and he's the nicest person I've ever met. He's friendly pure. Tarble is serene. If there was anything I could come up with to compare him to (and I know it's corny) it would be an angel. Not a guardian angel, he seems too delicate for that. There's just something quiet and wise about him that makes me just want to hug him to death. But not really. It would be a tragedy if he died in a freak hugging accident.
Besides, I've killed enough people.
Of course, I know that boy has a backbone. I've seen it firsthand when he and Vegeta were arguing one time. It had to be a saiyan trait or something.
I was feeling really nervous. Today was the day Vegeta was going to take me hunting. He gave me a bow and a quiver of arrows. He told me, "If you don't kill something edible, you don't eat." So, my dinner stakes on my performance in the jungle with nothing but the company of the almighty Prince Obnoxious himself.
I'd forgone my old clothes and now dressed like everyone else in the village. Sort of a cotton like material that sticks to your skin like spandex, but without all of the scrunching up in awkward places part. I like it. It compliments my figure well.
I waved at Chichi as she wished me luck and I began to follow the surly man. He'd gone over the basics with me yesterday, and took me out to see what certain tracks looked like. I was worried I would forget something, but everything seemed in place in my head. He didn't wear anything over his feet and carried his handmade spear. Shirtless, to my liking.
For once we were totally silent. We worked our way through the jungle, parting leaves and branches. This was the one time he would be of any kind of assistance to me, and even that meant he didn't talk to me at all. I would take what I could get though.
I find myself liking him more and more every day. He's done so much for me, and yet he manages to not make me feel awkward and indebted. He does it by being a total bastard about everything until I was to strangle him. It's almost like therapy.
Weird, I know, but true.
I don't think I would be doing so well if it weren't for him. He's kind of like my silent support. Not the loudest or most polite, but definitely the strongest.
I swallowed as if to wash down my trepidation. I was worried my hands would start shaking.
After a few hours, the sun had risen higher and the jungle was starting to heat up though it was hardly 10 AM.
My eyes roamed across my surroundings until I spotted the tracks of some boar like creature Vegeta had told me of earlier. I nearly jumped with delight, but opted instead to look at him for approval. I didn't know if he thought I could handle such a beast. I'd seen some of the men hauling a fresh kill on a spit and let me tell you, those things were huge.
I began to follow the smudged trail downhill towards the river bank, Vegeta having taken to the trees. I swear it's like he's part monkey sometimes with the way he swings from branches. He's a regular Tarzan.
Except way hotter in my humble opinion.
The woman's practically shaking in her boots. To me, it's absurd. She knows I'll protect her if she comes to any life-threatening danger. After all, why would I go through all the trouble I have if I was just going to watch some animal kill her when her arrow missed it by miles?
I would be very stupid if that were the case. But it's not, and I am one of the most intelligent people on the planet for certain.
So take that, Kakarot.
She finally noticed the boar trail I've been keeping a steady eye on for twenty minutes now. I nodded with my approval and she began following it. Eventually, we came to a small clearing where the animal was grazing. It wasn't very large but I supposed she would be glad for that. After all, she was the one that has to drag it back to the village.
Her sharp intake of breath and excitement was somewhat contagious. I found myself anticipating her first kill. I wanted to see my efforts to teach her come into fruition.
She glanced around for a decent vantage point. She crept behind a bush and pulled an arrow from her quiver. Slowly and quietly, she stood, not making a sound. I crouched in the tree above her, watching everything unfold.
Hunting is a very important part of saiyan culture. One must prove that they can provide for themselves, as well as others. My father always said to know how to rely on yourself before others, so that should they fail, you'll have something to fall back on. My mother just said to trust those closest to me.
The bow tightened as she pulled back to her cheek. She released a long breath as she let go, and let the arrow fly…
Right into the boar's neck. It made a noise of distress and jumped in sudden pain. Most prey would have scurried away, but not this one. Instead, it turned to Bulma, the source of his hurting, and charged. In a panic, she grabbed another arrow and fired it. It soared well over the thing's head and it kept running.
I wasn't really thinking then, but there was a shift of air and suddenly she was in my arms again. She took the bow and arrow again with shaky hands, and killed the beast without hesitation. It collapsed, but we hesitated in moving for it. She was trying to calm herself, and I just didn't want to put her down yet. I don't know why.
I pushed those thoughts aside and dropped down from my perch and set the insufferable woman down. I said nothing as she tentatively grabbed the corpse and slung it over her shoulders. We trekked on in silence back to the village.
I must admit, I am impressed with her. Her muscles had toned, her work ethic improved, and from what I can tell, her mind had settled somewhat from its earlier turmoil. I did not expect her to adapt and change so readily, but it seemed I had underestimated the wench.
We crossed the threshold into our territory, and soon the women were roasting her kill on a spit. She looked at me again and smiled lightly. I grunted indifferently, and left to go find Tarble.
"You like her, don't you?" I accused. Vegeta had just finished recounting his hunting trip with Miss Bulma and it took every ounce of willpower I had not to laugh at him. He was being rather silly after all.
"What! That bitchy woman? She's the bane of my existence, you idiot!"
Brother has never been good at expressing himself. I want to laugh not because he has these feelings, but because he doesn't know what to do with them. He'll get mad, seethe, yell, fight, but never has he really been able to open up that much. He's only ever done so to Mother and me, and she's gone now. That means I have to be there now more than ever.
Of course, no one else has really noticed. I'm just observant that way. But I can see it. The way they banter, blush, storm off, and start it all over again. She likes him, and he likes her. Neither of them seem to know it yet though.
"Oh, forget it, 'Geta."
"Don't call me that," he growled, though it lacked maliciousness.
I really worry about him sometimes. The Seer said he would go through a great struggle, and that's all he seems to be doing lately. It's kind of weird being younger than him, but being considered an adult while he's still a kid. I know he'll find his Beckoning, but I wish he would do it soon.
It'll make him more appealing to Bulma. Ha.
The next day things return to normal. Vegeta no longer has to get up early to make sure his tasks are done so that he may help the city girl. She's been getting up and working on her own now. After the midday meal, I spotted them in the practice area for archery, and later in her hut, teaching her Saiya-go.
It was when I was working on a new medicine that I had a brilliant idea.
We hadn't gone just for fun in a long time. Why not? So, at dinner, while I sat beside him as he gorged himself, I asked. "Vegeta, can we take Bulma to the lagoon? I think it'd be really fun."
He gave a one-shouldered shrug that thanks to my many years in the practice of Vegeta-ese I was able to decipher as a "yes."
"When should we go?" I whispered.
He swallowed a large bite of meat and looked thoughtful for a moment before answering. "After everyone else is asleep. The thrill of breaking rules makes it all the more entertaining," he reasoned. I couldn't very well argue with him. He was right after all.
About an hour later, we both snuck into Bulma's quarters and snatched her out of bed. Brother had her slung over his shoulder and she was about to start screaming. I quickly shushed her and she calmed down when she saw it was me.
As we reached the border of the village, Vegeta set her down and motioned for her to follow. Father would be furious of he found out that we were sneaking out at that hour, but even I had my limit when it came to his restrictions.
My brother had been taking me to that spot since as long as I could remember. Mother had shown it to him. We came up with all sorts of games there as children. I could never pick a favorite, but I was fond of anything we did together. We hadn't been in ages.
I was excited to share this lagoon with Bulma. I knew she'd been getting better, but I could see she was still incredibly stressed about what happened with that Bojack freak. Out adventure would hopefully relive some of that tension.
I could see the half-moon's reflection in the crystal clear water. It was always best at night. We were far enough from the village that no one would hear us. So, I was surprised when a shriek resounded right before there was a heavy splash.
My older brother loves mischief.
I joined in, and soon we were all laughing as we swam, splashed, tackled, and everything else that was for our enjoyment. I pulled myself out of the water and climbed a nearby tree that stretched over the water. Like the wild men in the movies Bulma had told me about, I swung from a vine and let go at the highest point before diving in. I emerged grinning as a piece of stray seaweed was stuck in my hair.
We laughed some more. Bulma's laughter is light, like bells almost. Vegeta's is as deep and rugged as his voice, but highly contagious, just because it's him and the most he usually does is chuckle at the expense of someone else's misery. I was having so much fun.
Eventually, when we were out of breath and held that glossy look of contentment in our eyes, we sat on the shore, still partially submerged in the water as we just admired the view in one another's company.
As I looked to my side at my brother and new friend, I noticed that their gazes were slightly unfocused. Bulma stared out at the waves while Vegeta just watched the bright moon hover in the sky.
Because of our father's strict behavior ever since our war against the Ice Folk, Vegeta had almost been brooding. But that stopped when she got here. There's been a noticeable uplifting in his attitude. He's even been more willing to speak with Father about certain matters. Whatever she's doing to him, it's working wonders, that's for certain.
I've never been very strong physically, as a saiyan, and strength is something our people treasure. Much of our philosophies come from our thinking on strength. The strength to survive. The strength to take care of others. The strength to trust. The strength to face reality. The strength to change. The strength to stand firm in beliefs. The strength to fear. The strength to be accepting. The strength to love. It's all a part of it.
Ever since I can remember, I've always been looking for cracks in those teachings. Oh, I've found quite a few in the years, but none significant enough to make me question my heritage and culture. Having been exposed to our ways, I have little doubt that is what she has been doing. Analyzing the way things were run, picking at them like scabs, tearing apart everything she once knew about her old life.
I can't wait to see what she'll do with what she's learned. To be more accurate, what she'll do to our culture with it. It will certainly be interesting, that's for sure.
A/N: That wasn't too hard. Thirty points to whoever can guess what Bulma and Vegeta's respective Beckonings are.
Do you guys want to hear some from Chichi or Goku? Let me know.I've been thinking about it.