Vegeta's temper flared to a state that it hadn't been at for many years. This Saiyan—this subject of his— had gone and no one knew where to. Well then, he decided, they were just going to have to do something about that.
"Bardock, we're going."
Final Act Acknowledged
They'd trekked for two years before finally navigating themselves successfully through to King Emna's palace. And those two years had been preceded by what could only be described as five years of mindless wandering. At first, it had seemed to them that it would be simple to find the lone Saiyan. Afterall, the two of them kinda stood out. Saiyans were anomalies in heaven.
But so are needles in haystacks.
And eventually the brilliant idea occurred to both of them (or one of them, but neither was willing to admit it was the other to develop this time-saving scheme), that King Emna would have records of all the souls currently residing in heaven and could easily look up the name, date of death and possibly residence of said individual. And perhaps, the Lord could even summon the vagabond should they ask politely (or threaten fiercely?) enough. Twas brilliant.
And now that they could see King Emna's palace growing in the distance, they finally found that they could stop their bickering (temporarily) and forget their hunger (also temporarily) in the eager pursuit for that simple green roof and those yellow walls.
"Kami! If I have to climb one more step,"
"Yes, remind me again why we're not flying," King Vegeta replied dully.
"Something about respect for royalty. I dunno, ask the guard down there. He's the prick making us do this, anyway!" Bardock complained as he heaved a heavilty weighted foot up another incline. Just below him, his companion cast a suspicious gaze around in all directions before letting loose a small ki ball, just next to the old guard's foot. He gave a restrained and slightly crazed chuckle as the elderly demon jumped to life and began waving the flames out.
"Are you quite done?" The king looked up what was now almost an entire flight of stairs where his subject was waiting for him at the top.
"Just thought I'd have a little fun," he quipped, and, with great dignity, strutted up the rest of the steps.
At the top of their climb they were greeted by a not-so grandiose entrance as the one they had entered so many years ago, but that made perfect sense as they were using the back door. One look at the line swirling around the base at the front of the Check-In Center was enough to convince King Vegeta that the back-door approach was more reasonable. After all, if you'd been hiking around the Other World for seven years you'd be impatient too. So, keeping in mind that they really oughtn't be seen, the two Saiyans crept stealthily into the building and tip-toed through the hallways, following the noise to the busiest room.
When they first walked in, a wave of déjà-vu washed over them. The place was exactly as they remembered it. Blood-red walls with gleaming gold trim. A handsome desk loomed over each bubbly newcomer, presided over by a not-nearly-so-handsome red demon. Tiny blue men scampered about frantically, waving papers this way and that, running into each other and occasionally walls as well, shouting names, dates and profanities every which way. It was into this madness that Bardock and his King stepped, and placed themselves squarely in front of the Enma's desk, much as they had all those years ago.
King Enma glanced curiously over his spectacles at them, "yes?" he querried.
"We were, erm, just wondering, uh, lessee, how do you say--?"
"Where in the hell is my subject?" the kind growled.
"My subject! A Saiyan has been living in Other World and competed in a tournament. Who and where is he?"
Enma stared blankly at the king for a few moments before laughing aloud. His deep chuckles nearly shook the tile off the roof and a few of his assistants held on tightly to the furniture to keep from falling down. In front of the house-sized desk King Vegeta clinched his fists. He did not like being laughed at.
"What is the meaning of this? You laugh at me?"
"No, no no, dear king," Enma reassured him, waving his hand idly. "You must excuse me, you see, I'd forgotten all about you and um---" he examined Bardock.
"Bardock," he supplied.
"Yes, yes, Bardock."
"What do you mean, 'you'd forgotten'?" he was very cross now.
"Well, if I'd remembered you, I would have already told Goku that you were here."
"Go-ku?" the king repeated tentatively. That didn't sound like a Saiyan name.
"Yes, Goku, he has a Saiyan name, but, oh, I forget it. And it's a pity. He always seems to be dying and yet, at this very moment he's back in the land of the living now. So sorry," there were several things about that sentence that bothered the Saiyan king, the least of which was the fact that this Saiyan seemed to have died multiple times—was there something wrong with his hearing? He stuck a finger in his ear and tried to clean it out, but it all seemed normal.
Enma chuckled again, "you'll just have to wait, King Vegeta, if you wish to see him. I'm afraid there are no other Saiyans residing on this side of the afterlife, for now."
"But… how did he get back?" Bardock piped up, managing to voice the very question plaguing his sovereign.
"Well, let's just say, he knows the right people," behind him, someone snorted, "and ah," Enma blushed, "there's a bit of an emergency right now."
"Emergency?" Bardock sounded like he was losing his voice.
"Yes, emergency. Ah! Kakarot! That was it! So there you go, now, go along! shoo! Shoo!"
That was it. The straw that broke the camel's back. The last time he had met the Lord of the Afterlife, King Enma had been less than helpful, and now to be so disrespected… King Vegeta's temper skyrocketed.
"Now listen up you great-horned-bufoon--!" Vegeta shouted.
"I SAID—OUT!" Enma roared, and the two Saiyans struggled to look like they hadn't jumped out of their skins. Immediately, they were shoved to the side as a new wave of bobbing blue souls was escorted in and the chatter and chaos of the Check-In room resumed.
Bardock examined the room in disbelief. His son. His son was alive. It was almost too much. No doubt the king didn't realize it yet, but—
"Psst… Bardock!" the king hissed conspiratorially.
"Huh?" said Saiyan looked around frantically, but had trouble locating his hidden king in the corner behind the drapery.
"Are you… playing hide-and-seek?" he took a stab in the dark as he approached the dignitary with the caution one would grant a mentally unstable grandfather.
"Yes, Bardock, I thought it'd be great fun to have a little game of tag while we waited,"
"Oh good, 'cause I thought you'd gone crazy or something," Bardock replied sarcastically as King Vegeta swung his arm out and grabbed his subject, dragging him behind the red velvet curtain with him.
"What exactly are we doing?" Bardock asked.
"Watching. If there's a way out of here, we're going to figure it out,"
That seemed like a very dramatic statement, and Bardock paused to the appropriate effect, but after watching fifty-two souls pass through uneventfully, he was beginning to wonder how long they'd have to wait. The only exciting bit of the whole day occurred when an errand-demon and his team ran in frantically waving about thousands of papers and whining about booze. A lot of booze. Too many booze, or something like that.
"Does that planet have a drinking problem, or what?" he asked, but his companion didn't seem to be in the mood for comraderie, so he shut it up and stared dully at the wall, trying to think of a way out of heaven.
All day long all anyone ever worried about in that silly room was booze. Booze cropping up here and there, changing and transforming booze, booze that consumed other booze and other such nonsense when an elderly woman with bubble-gum hair floated in on a crystal ball.
"Emna, there's no more waiting! You need to send someone to help Goku and Gohan against Buu,"
"But who? There's no one in other world strong enough—"
"There is one person," the old lady cackled. King Enma looked puzzled and slightly afraid, "I believe you remember the prince."
Behind the curtain, Bardock and King Vegeta's heads shot up as a man with a very familiar hairstyle came smirking into the room.
A/n: Here's the short end of my explanation: time passes differently in Other World, which is why all of this is going by so fast. Suck it up and deal with it, I'm tired of going slowly, and I want to get to the meat of this story. I figured everyone could appreciate that.
I am extremely sorry about the long wait. I hope you'll forgive me. As other reader's of mine often discover, I am much more considerate about how often and how long updates should be when I get warm-fuzzies: so please review!
Afrodite- You are amazing! Thank you for your wonderful reviews. You can take all the credit for this update.