Chapter 6: Hollow Ground
Flying straight east out of the desert Goku continued his exploration of the Earth Kingdom, wondering if there were any other spirits that he could fight. Below him several villages went by, but Goku sensed nothing interesting in them. Beyond them was the Earth Kingdom's southeastern border, where territory once claimed by the Air Nomads began. Though Goku didn't know it, the mountains surrounding the Eastern Air Temple went unclaimed by the Earth Kingdom out of respect for the fallen nation.
Spanning three low mountain peaks, the Eastern Air Temple caught Goku's eye. He could sense that the temple was empty of life, except for one person on the central mountain. Wondering why someone would live all alone in an abandoned temple, Goku flew down to meet the sole inhabitant. Goku descended towards a balcony where an old man with a beard was meditating.
"Hello?" Goku said, setting foot behind the old man.
Startled out of his meditation the old man stood up and turned around, shocked that someone had snuck up on him. He straightened his orange clothes and bowed to Goku. "Hello. I am Guru Pathik."
"I'm Goku," he introduced himself, returning the bow. "Shouldn't there be more people in a place like this?"
"Yes," Pathik answered. "But they were wiped out a hundred years ago."
"Oh…" Goku muttered, not expecting that answer. "So you live here all by yourself?"
Pathik nodded. "Many years ago I had a vision of meeting the Avatar here and helping him on his journey."
"Well, good luck with that," Goku said. He looked at Pathik's orange clothing and wondered if he had more. "Hey Pathik, do you have any spare orange clothes in my size?"
Surprised by the odd question, Pathik blinked twice and then stared at Goku. "Orange is the color of the Air Nomads and their spiritual kin," Pathik explained. "Unless you can command the wind, I cannot give you that color."
Goku clenched his fists and widened his stance, then started powering up. The energy generated a white aura, and created wind that blew from Goku in every direction. The wind hit Pathik and blew him away, his back slamming into a raised ledge around the balcony. Goku relaxed and returned to his base level of power, letting go of the white aura and stopping the wind.
"Making wind isn't hard to do," Goku said, taking a few steps towards Pathik.
Pathik needed a moment to process what he witnessed, believing that only the Avatar State could produce such a wind without a natural storm. But Goku lacked the glowing eyes of the Avatar State, which told Pathik that Goku was something else entirely. "That's not airbending," he said, while getting back on his feet. "Tell me, why do you want orange clothing?"
"It's my favorite color," Goku answered. He gestured to the red shirt he wore over the blue undershirt. "Red's okay, but it's not really for me."
"Huh…" Pathik muttered, scratching his head. Fashion sense was something he hadn't expected. "Well I might be able to find something that fits you, if you don't mind doing a small favor for me."
"Sure, I needed something to do anyway," Goku said. "What do you need?"
"I need someone to help the Avatar, in case I am unable to do it myself," Pathik explained. "He needs to learn how to unlock his chakras, in order to master the Avatar State."
"Sounds easy enough," Goku said. "What are chakras?"
"They are pools of energy that go up the body," Pathik described. "There are seven of them in total, and all must be opened to control the Avatar State."
"Oh… So it's just like the seven dragonballs and having them all summons Shenron," Goku commented.
"What?" Pathik blurted out. Then he shook his head and ignored Goku's comparison. "Never mind, let's focus on the chakras."
"Okay," Goku said.
"The seven chakras are Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Sound, Light, and Thought," Pathik described. He sat down in a meditation pose, and gestured for Goku to do the same. "Each is related to a specific emotion, and is blocked by another. The best way to understand each chakra is to open it yourself."
"And how does that work?" Goku asked, taking the same meditation pose as Pathik.
"Let's start with the Earth chakra, located at the base of the spine," Pathik said. "It deals with survival, and is blocked by fear. Picture what you are most afraid of."
Immediately thoughts of losing his family and friends came to Goku's mind, seeing their faces when he closed his eyes. Visions of those terrible memories appeared to Goku, starting with the memory of Raditz kidnapping Gohan. Next was the memory of finding Yamcha, Chiaotzu, Tien, and Piccolo dead at the hands of Nappa. Following that was the memory of losing his body to Captain Ginyu, and almost losing it for good when Ginyu attempted to take Vegeta's body. Then Frieza killing Vegeta in cold blood appeared, right when Goku had thought Vegeta might be turning away from the side of evil. Finally was the memory of Frieza killing Krillin, the act that had pushed Goku over the edge on Namek.
Pathik saw rage building up in Goku, greater than the fear he had expected. "You're visions are not real," Pathik said. "You must surrender your fears. Let them go."
The advice went unheeded, pure rage continuing to grow in Goku. His body trembled in the rage, and the entire temple started to shake with him. Goku's energy grew with the rage and spread into the environment around him, causing lightning to strike all around the temple. Loose gravel scattered on the balcony started to rise up, and cracks spread across the floor.
A bright flash erupted from Goku's body, sounding like thunder and echoing through the mountains. A golden aura surrounded Goku, and his black hair turned yellow while rising upward. Slowly Goku opened his eyes, which had turned green in the transformation. Staring at one open hand coursing with power, Goku recognized it from his final battle on Namek.
"This is new," Pathik commented, feeling the sheer power Goku was generating. "This is definitely new."
"Not to me," Goku corrected, standing up in front of Pathik. He clenched his fists and widened his stance, while his aura grew brighter. "You might want to hold onto something."
Goku started powering up again, yelling as his aura grew and generated wind in every direction. The wind nearly blew Pathik off the balcony, needing to hold onto the ledge for dear life. The temple shook to its foundations as Goku summoned the full power of the Super Saiyan, as Goku wanted to see what his peak was without the injuries he had on Namek. Cracks spread from Goku's feet across the balcony, his power threatening to tear it apart.
"Stop!" Pathik screamed, barely holding onto the ledge by his fingers.
Once Goku had an idea of what his full power was while transformed he let go of it, reverting to his normal appearance and the golden aura vanished. Then Goku hurried to the ledge and grabbed Pathik's arm, lifting him up and placing him back on the balcony. Pathik patted his chest in an attempt to slow his racing heartbeat, hoping to stop a heart attack before it could start.
"Sorry," Goku apologized. "I got caught up in the moment there."
Pathik stared at Goku, starting to think that having him open his chakras was a big mistake. They hadn't even reached the second chakra and already Goku had more power than the combined might of every other person Pathik had ever met. Opening all seven chakras and accessing the cosmic energy of the universe had the possibility of infinite power for someone already so strong, something that no one man should ever possess.
"You know what, forget that favor I asked," Pathik said. He stretched his limbs and then turned to enter the temple. "I'll see if I have anything orange in your size."
"Thanks," Goku said.
Pathik only needed a few minutes to gather the clothing he possessed, bringing them to the balcony for Goku to examine. He didn't have any pants that fit Goku, but there was one shirt that was an almost perfect match for Goku's old uniform. It lacked the insignias of Master Roshi or King Kai, but that didn't matter to Goku. He threw away the red shirt he was wearing and put on the orange one over the blue undershirt, tucking it into the Earth Rumble belt holding his red pants.
"Intriguing…" Pathik muttered, realizing that Goku was now wearing a piece of clothing from each of the four nations. If he fought on the side of peace and harmony, he would make a fine substitute Avatar. "Have you met the Avatar?"
"Who?" Goku asked.
"Never mind," Pathik said. "Where do you plan on going next?"
"I dunno," Goku answered, shrugging at the same time. "I guess I'll go north, haven't gone that way yet."
"Towards Ba Sing Se," Pathik said.
Meanwhile thousands of light-years away…
At the helm of a disc shaped spaceship, a blue skinned humanoid with yellow hair was at the helm. "My Lord, sensors have just detected a massive burst of power. Its energy signature matches the last one detected on planet Namek before it exploded."
"So the elusive Super Saiyan had reappeared?"
"Yes sir, we have a lead on the monkey that defeated Frieza."
"Triangulate his position and set a course."
"Already working on it, Lord Cooler."