-The Mind of a Prince-

It had never occurred to anyone to wonder how it was that Dende didn't know about love. Well, that should be clarified - how it was that Dende did not know about romantic love. After all, there was a pretty big difference.

Regular love could be shared by anybody; strangers brought together on the battlefield, fellow artists supporting a little-known cause, children working together to build a truly fantastic sand castle and who, to that end, are willing to share their toys. Love happened all over the place and for the silliest reasons, and Dende certainly had a good handle on most of it.

Nameks, however, did not share romantic love, and for that reason, it puzzled him. It made him wonder why people like Android 18 stayed with and gave children to Kuririn, why folks like Chi Chi put up with Gokuu's aggravating habit of running off and forgetting he was a husband, or why Vejiita and Bulma remained together at all. Unfortunately, Dende's normal sources were of no help; Piccolo knew no more about this "love" thing than he did.

"I don't get it," Piccolo said plainly to him one day, watching Gohan and Videl do what they thought was a little out-of-the-way kissing as they let Pan run around kami's tower. "Neither did the old Kami. When we fused, it was one of the things on which our knowledge and experience coincided; humans have something they classify as 'romantic love,' and it apparently makes them mindless." Then Piccolo abruptly broke off the conversation because he thought Pan had gotten too close to the edge, and he had to go fetch her. She hadn't, of course; but he wasn't taking any chances.

Dende had sighed and resigned himself to further study. If the Kami of the previous generation had failed to understand this "love," then what hope did he have? Well; perhaps there were other ways to find out.

Three hours later, he was in the process of stumbling dazedly out of the Pendulum room when Mr. Popo found him.

Dende's experiment had certainly been a dangerous one, but that was due more to his choice of subjects than actual problems in the Room itself. Dende, in his unassuming search for the meaning of love and romance, had simply picked what seemed to him to be the most extreme example of "love" available, never thinking that the people he had chosen might prove to be more dangerous than the events which led them together.

The result had been overwhelming.

"But what HAPPENED, sir?" Mr. Popo asked again, breathless with concern as he propped Dende up and pressed a glass of water to his lips.

"I..." Dende shook his head. That was about all he'd been able to say up for the last few moments, his system obviously in shock. Now, however, he finally found he could say something else. "It's the most AMAZING story!" he abruptly shouted, turning to Popo with eyes huge from excitement and antennae stiff as fishing poles. "I think I get it now! I DO! Love has to do with... with... WOW!"

Mr. Popo stared blankly. "...sir?"

"I mean..." Dende shook his head. "Okay. I don't know if I can explain the whole thing to you - you really had to be there, I think - but... but I'm going to TRY. Assuming you don't mind, of course," he added quickly, finally vaguely aware that his behavior was somewhat incoherent and worried, as always, that he would look silly after the previous Kamis Popo had served.

"That will be fine, Mr. Dende, sir," Popo said, helping the young kami to stand up. "But let's do it someplace else, all right? I want you to at least be sitting down."

"All right," said Dende, unable to contain his excitement as they walked. And as they did, before they even reached the sitting room Popo had in mind, Dende began to talk, explaining the progress of a most bizarre and poweful love story.

That of Bulma Briefs and Vejiita ouji, prince of the Saiya-jin.