6/23/14 EDIT: Hey, everyone! Chapter 8 is FINISHED, as promised and said on my profile. Unfortunately, there seems to be some sort of glitch with uploading chapters, but I will post it as soon as it's resolved.
Hey guys, I'm back with a new chapter of Turbulence! Sorry for the long wait, but I felt that this chapter needed to be as perfect as I could've made it due to it being directly after a timeskip and thus having to deal with so many concepts and whatnot. While I'm not so happy with the finished product as a whole and believe it could be better, the tale must continue! I can't thank my inspiration alone this time for completing this chapter; some of the credit deserves to go to character themes, and I'm happy to share the ones I've got down for now with you all so that you may enjoy reading chapter 7 as much as I did writing it.
Kakarot's theme: Dark Half(Budokai Tenkaichi 2 soundtrack)
Nail's theme: Vast Ice Mountain Peak(Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky soundtrack)
Krillin's theme: Icy Sanctum - Arrangement 1(Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity soundtrack)
Yamcha's theme: At the End of the Road(Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity soundtrack)
Bulma's theme: Celestial/Dragonspiral Tower(Pokemon Black and White soundtrack)
Piccolo's theme: The Darkness(Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky)
Admittedly the majority of these themes are pretty short, but if you want to have them play on a continuous loop, take out the 'youtube' portion on the link and type in 'listenonrepeat.' It'll constantly play the track over and over to your heart's content!
With all that said and done, please enjoy the first-ever DBZ era chapter!
Demon Saga - Part 4: Color Palette
It was truly astounding to think that despite the anarchy that Piccolo had rained down on them eight years ago, the parts of the world he hadn't touched were muddled and desecrated by humanity's own hand. It was almost as if he treated his reign as a manipulative game, a roulette that would eventually consume all the involuntary players partaking in it.
But there was still hope in the form of those residing at Kame Island, home to the resistance of Piccolo's horrors. Though their skirmishes with him over the years had never gone in their favor, the Z-Fighters were fortunate enough to escape those clashes to survive another day.
There was perhaps none more motivated than the former desert bandit known as Yamcha, the unofficial leader of the gang. His persistence in regards bringing the demon king down was truly interminable, each and every action he made with purpose. Each of the Z-Fighters had their own strengths and weaknesses, but perhaps none had the resolve he did. Such a resolve had prompted him to awaken rather early this morning to get in a modicum of extra training, hoping that it would perhaps be enough to play a crucial battle in the next duel with Piccolo.
Garbed in his traditional orange gi with the turtle crest located on his left breast and his back, Yamcha took a step outdoors and took in the beautiful sight of Kame Island and all its glory, closing his eyes as he felt the gentle sea breeze whip against his long, jet-black hair.
'To think that this is where it all began...' the former bandit recalled, strolling forward and looking out into the horizon. '...Where I met Krillin and Master Roshi for the very first time. Master Gohan introduced me, and before we knew it, a friendly rivalry had broken out between us… then came the sparring sessions… the tournaments… and then him.'
Subconsciously, a blue orb of energy began to coalesce in his palm as he thought about the monster that had turned their life upside down. 'Had it not been for Piccolo… he'd be here today, damn it… everyone would still be here. If it weren't for that demon's godly strength, we would've been able to bring him down before he had the chance to rule over the world and bring it to its knees.'
But of course, it wasn't just Piccolo's reign that had brought humanity on a downward spiral… no, in his heart, he knew the problem lay much deeper than the demon's might. In addition to the monster's new regime, he knew that the Earth's populace itself had just as big a hand in the destruction of the planet today.
'There's looters running rampant everywhere… thugs, just like I used to be. They're thieving, killing, destroying… and all just to survive in this barren world. Piccolo orchestrated everything from the shadows, bringing down humanity without even lifting a single damn finger. While in his first reign he was destroying everything in sight, this time around he's just content to let the humans do it all for him.'
Allowing the energy in his palm to dissipate, Yamcha walked forward and inhaled the fresh sea air, savoring the scent and trying to contain it within his nostrils for as long as he could manage. Kame Island was, quite truthfully, the only place he could experience the sensation of fresh, untainted air any longer—during their excursions to other cities in order to stock up on supplies and food, the burning fragrance of death was all they could smell for miles and miles around them. It sickened him that Piccolo had been able to twist and manipulate humans into their own demons, pillaging and decimating all that stood between them and survival.
'But that's just how life is now,' Yamcha thought to himself, cracking his knuckles in anticipation for his daily training. 'And it's got to change as soon as possible. The world can't live like this any longer without there being no hope at all… if there even is any...'
Yamcha stepped fully outdoors, feeling the heat of the warm sun radiate down on his skin as he drew into a fighting stance. 'Master Gohan and Master Roshi wouldn't be quitting on themselves anytime soon, so neither can I. With or without any energy-concealing devices, they'd still be slugging it out the best they could to make sure that just one extra life was spared from death. Master Roshi gave his life for the purpose of saving all of us; I'll be damned if I can't at least try and do the same!'
With that, he lunged forward, striking his imaginary opponent with a flurry of blows before capping it all off with a fully extended kick to the heavens. While shadow-boxing in such a manner was ineffective for his training, it was far too early for Bulma or the others to be up and about—as such, he wouldn't be able to properly configure his energy suppressing armband. It was a simple design at best, a mere obsidian chip that could be attached to any garment, yet the technology's performance itself was entirely sporadic. Due to her lack of studies in the previous years, combined with the inability to work with anything better than only the scarcest materials she was able to come across, Bulma and Pilaf's recent invention had a tendency to glitch more often than not after a few days of use. A quick tune-up by the heiress or the small blue imp would surely get the system working, but the small emperor had always been a pain in his side due to their previous scuffles. As for the other option, and Yamcha wasn't exactly feeling comfortable with the notion of actually rousing his ex-girlfriend this early, much less talking privately with her.
After all that had happened between the bluenette and himself, Yamcha wouldn't have been surprised at all if she'd attempted to simply pack up and abandon him to face the storm alone. He'd said some rather harsh words toward her that day, and what perturbed him even more so was that he'd meant every single syllable he'd uttered all those years ago.
But he'd underestimated the scientist's loyalty and affection for him. Bulma hadn't just faded away into the shadows and spent her time moping about the apparent loss of her friends; if anything, she'd become even more resolved to stay with them and help them end Piccolo's reign of terror over Earth. Hell, it hadn't even taken them long to rekindle their bond with each other, patching things up and just deciding to be friends from that point onward.. but the tension was still there, its shadow looming over their zeniths and reminding them of the past.
At first, the idea of trying to finally bury the taut atmosphere sounded quite appealing, but it was all changed with one brief look at her expression. He could still see the pain in those beautiful azure eyes of hers, silently communicating to him that all she wanted from him was to hold her and comfort her during the restless, exhausting, and grueling nights. She wanted him to kiss her forehead like he'd used to do and tell her, just as he did now, that things would work out for the best eventually. Every time he looked at her, the dormant pain of losing him as a trusted lover was all too apparent in her expression. Her tone was thick with sadness and despair with each word that escaped her lips, the same he'd kissed what seemed to be ages ago now...
...But he knew that those days were long over… at least for the time being. With the demon king able to make his move at any time to track them down, the scar-faced warrior just couldn't run the risk of breaking Bulma's heart even more than it needed to be. He knew that his possible death would drive a knife straight through her own heart, but had he stuck it through with her – perhaps even had a kid together – he would simply be twisting the blade even further until the girl was nothing more than a shell of her former self.
'Someday, we can give it another chance,' he thought as he swung his arm in a wild arc, working on enhancing his battle technique—if he couldn't work on building up his combat strength, the least he could do was refine his skills. 'After Piccolo's slain and the world's reverted back to normal… then maybe we can get back together. I loved her, but in the face of a threat like Piccolo… I can't bear to think of a world where we'd have lost yet another loved one in each other.'
The long-haired Turtle student then spun around and went for a low sweep to his intangible opponent before rolling upwards and kicking off his foot to deliver a sky uppercut. Just a few feet above the sandy shores of Kame Island, the former bandit laced his fingers together before swinging them down in an axe-handle.
'But have I already done the damage?' thought Yamcha as he threw a palm strike out toward the ocean before spinning around and performing a spiral kick that whipped the air backward. 'It's been eight years since she gave her full devotion to the Earth and pledged her love for me...'
Nearly two hours had passed since Master Roshi and the Crane-Turtle duo of Tien and Krillin had set out on their quest to quell King Piccolo's abhorrently large power, each minute passing by painfully slowly as Yamcha eagerly waited for any sign of his comrades' return. Though he had faith in each of their abilities as fighters, he was unable to dispute all the rumors and lore about Piccolo's otherworldly power. He was well aware that his friends were fighting quite possibly the strongest being to have ever walked the Earth, his might unstoppable. He knew that, more likely than not, his seeing them off for combat at the tournament grounds would be the last he'd ever hear from them…
...but, as always, he would hold out hope for his allies. Yamcha knew that if there was one thing Master Roshi wouldn't do, it'd be submitting to a greater evil that had the power to destroy the world. Flanked by the formidable team of Krillin and Tien, the Turtle Hermit had the strongest allies that he could possibly round up; however, the demon king's unrivaled power was already enough reason for worry. If only he'd been blessed with the ability of sensing energy, he could've potentially been able to hone in on their energy signals and feel how the battle was unfolding. Alas, the technique eluded him, leaving him just as blind as anyone and everyone else in the world.
Currently, the scar-faced bandit was fully reclined across Master Roshi's couch, absentmindedly staring up at the ceiling as he tried to imagine his fellow fighters' current predicament. 'About right now, they've probably finished gathering the Dragon Balls and are planning on how to get the jump on Piccolo… surely they aren't expecting to fight fairly against someone like him, right? Messing with a power like what Master Roshi claimed would just be suicide, I guess…'
Suddenly, light footsteps broke him out of his bemused state, his eyes locking onto the sight of his girlfriend as she leaned down and pecked his brow, brushing the hair out of his eyes. "I know things aren't exactly safe right now, but we're going to be fine, all right? We just have to put our trust in Krillin, Master Roshi, and the Crane fighter; all three of them are extremely powerful. If they can't win with strength alone, they'll figure something out."
"Y-Yeah, but…" Yamcha hesitantly started, bowing his head down ever so slightly in shame. "...I should be out there. If only I was stronger than this, Tien wouldn't have been able to break my leg and then I'd be able to—"
"—Don't say that!" Bulma nearly hissed, placing an index finger underneath her boyfriend's chin and tilting it upward to look into her eyes. "I know you'd rather be out there, fighting alongside everyone else to save the world and all… but honestly, I'm just glad you're here with me right now. I-If I lost you…" She couldn't bear to finish her thought, simply choosing to give him another kiss and hug him as closely as their positioning would allow.
Yamcha, unable to do much else, wrapped his left arm around her waist and stroked her soft blue hair with his right. "Bulma… you have to just have faith in 'em, like I do. Though Master Gohan didn't get a chance to fight, I know in my heart he could've taken that demon down all on his own." The mere mention of his master nearly had him in tears again, but he furiously blinked them away—with only his power to guard them from any sort of threat, the former bandit knew he had to remain strong in the face of fear.
"But what if they die, Yamcha?!" Bulma whispered, her emotions running a mile a minute. Though the threats that she and Gohan had faced together during their first Dragon Ball expedition were indeed potent, somehow, she had always known that the elderly man would be able to bail her out of a bind. Now, she no longer had his wisdom to fall back on, and if the minion's power was any indication of how much more powerful its master was… she didn't even want to think about the horrors he was capable of invoking upon the Earth. "What're we supposed to do then? Just wait until he comes after us too and kills us all?!"
Yamcha paused for a beat, his tone unsteady as he tried to calm the exasperated woman's fears. "To be quite honest with you, Bulma, I don't know how I can answer that. I guess there's really nothing else to do except train my body to the limit, see if I can't ever surpass him with pure training. If Piccolo is able to kill them all, I don't imagine I'll have much freedom to do anything else."
"Ah, that's a load of bull!" came the ever-vibrant tone of Launch from the kitchen. Sure enough, she stepped into the couple's line of sight not even a moment later, adorned in completely differently garments than what she'd worn before. As opposed to her casual clothing, the blonde was now sporting a black leather vest, a navy blue tank top, and a pair of biker pants as well. The outfit was bedecked with gloves of the same color and material; even her bow had changed color as well to match her new appearance. Aside from the ever-recognizable voice and facial features, it was almost as if the woman in front of her was an entirely new person altogether.
"L-Launch?" asked Bulma as she looked up at the bipolar girl, stunned with her sudden garment changes. "W-Why did you just—"
"Ah, I always liked the idea of this look, y'know. It's easy to move around in, which is gonna be important for when we start fightin' an' stuff," replied Launch as she rolled her neck with a grin.
"W-WHAT?!" exclaimed Yamcha and Bulma in unison, the two simultaneously glancing at one another for fear that the loony girl had finally gone past the point of no return.
"Yeah! C'mon, what were you expectin'? Yamcha and Chiaotzu may be powerful an' all, but hell if they'd ever be able to fight all these bad guys on their own! Can't expect Yamcha to do all the work for us in case the others lose, can we?" Her eyes glimmered with anticipation, almost as if she'd been anxious to learn true combat. "We've gotta get into trainin' soon, right?"
Yamcha, still in a slight state of disbelief, shook his head ever so slightly to see if he was dreaming. However, the sight of Launch dressed in black and blue wouldn't be escaping him any time soon, forcing him to believe he was indeed experiencing reality. 'T-Training Bulma and Launch to become fighters? Would they even be able to learn actual skill from someone like me? I may be strong, but I'm not Master Gohan...'
"C'mon, whaddya say?" pressed Launch further, seemingly unwilling on letting this matter linger for a moment longer. "Even if they win, we'll need to learn how to fight at some point, right? May as well be now; right, Bulma?"
"If they really do lose, then only Yamcha and Chiaotzu will be left against Piccolo and his demons, right?" Suddenly, her eyes steeled with determination as she stood up fully, giving a nod to her fellow female. "Then we have to fight too. I love you, Yamcha, and I'm not about to let you get hurt any more than you have to."
Yamcha immediately felt his heartbeat quicken, amazed that the girl was willing to throw herself into battle just to spare him even the slightest injury. If she was truly sincere with her words, perhaps she did truly love him... "...I guess if they do lose, I'll need a few people to be able to back me up…" mulled Yamcha aloud, much to the excitement of the blonde woman before him. "...Okay. You win, Launch. When the sun comes up tomorrow morning, I'll teach you some knowledge about martial arts. While Chiaotzu's resting right now, I'm sure he wouldn't mind teaching you anything he might know either."
"All right!" eagerly cried Launch, pumping a fist into the air with sheer excitement. Then, just as quickly, her gaze went to the bluenette and grinned eagerly. "C'mon, girl, what're ya waitin' for? We gotta get you into some training outfits too!"
"Launch, wai—aaaaaaaah!" Launch quickly grasped the heiress by her hand and practically flew toward her room with her in tow, preparing for what would surely be a life-changing experience...
It wasn't every day that the Earth was plagued with demonic warriors quite capable of overtaking the world and plunging it into pure anarchy. As such, there needed to be an adaptation in the gang to be able to stand up to Piccolo's might, and said planet indeed would require the assistance of the two unlikely fighters. Gone were the two girls of the close-knit group; they'd been replaced with female warriors that would fight alongside their new leader if need be. Though their enthusiasm toward the subject varied quite a bit, both women knew this was something they had to do… not just for themselves, but potentially for the entire Earth itself.
Yamcha grimaced upon the memory, recognizing just how much faith his former girlfriend had truly put into him. She'd banked everything on him, and all he'd done was raze any hopes of their relationship progressing further into the ground. '...It wasn't long after that when we broke up, was it? She never cried, not once—didn't even tear up at all in my presence. She tried to hide it all for me, and all I did was grind her heart into pieces.'
Swiftly, he threw another barrage of left-handed strikes out toward the ocean before he sent a small kiai into the sea-blue water, small ripples beginning to stir within them. While he could've surely produced more of an attack with relative ease, he would be detected by Piccolo and his minions if he wasn't wearing his spirit suppressor. The mere fact that it would require facing Bulma in order to obtain it was enough to dissuade him from partaking in such heavy training for the moment.
'...But there's still time. If we can defeat Piccolo before the ninth of May next year, he won't be able to destroy another sector of Earth. And if we can finally rid the planet of Piccolo for good… then maybe there's a chance that we can start all over again with our relationship. She hasn't moved on, and... maybe I haven't either.
'But not until he pays for everyone and everything he's destroyed.'
Several hours later...
Though he'd seen the figure before his eyes shovel down food in this same rapid and feral manner, Elder Moori couldn't help but slightly recoil at the sheer speed with which his adoptive son ate. The wish they'd made on Porunga would indeed allow them to produce as much food as Kakarot could consume until his dying day, yet the Saiyan just seemed to run on an infinite stomach. "Kakarot… you should really slow down every now and then, you know. We wouldn't want you to keel over as a result of eating too much…"
Hearing his name, the now adolescent Kakarot lifted his head innocently from his alabaster-colored bowl, setting it down on the carefully crafted table below. "I apologize, Elder Moori, but I'm expected for a spar soon. I can't just go out and fight on an empty stomach, can I?"
Amusedly, the elder shook his head and gave a small tut to himself as he saw the bowl picked clean, not a single speck of food left on it. "You Saiyans… I'll never understand how you can consume so much food and function normally. However, I suppose I'm not one to talk—us Namekians only require water to survive, as you're no doubt well aware."
"I must admit that I envy those things about everyone, to be honest… but I suppose my Saiyan biology grants me advantages as well. For example, I can keep toe-to-toe with Nail now, and it's only when we both use maximum power do I actually feel a remote sense of strain." There was still the haunting thought that the Arcosian tyrant had power that far surpassed his, but he suppressed them for now—getting to spend precious time with the man who'd fought for his life on Namek was something he wouldn't trade for the world; there was no need to ruin it with such petty thoughts.
"Yes, I'd have to agree," chuckled Moori as he sipped from a glass of water. "Quite honestly, as soon as you started training with those friends of yours, you'd outfoxed each of them in every single aspect of battle. By the time your third or fourth training session rolled around, not even their combined might could subdue you. While I know you don't exactly like the idea of being alien, the powers your Saiyan genetics grant you is going to be put to excellent use one day."
Kakarot bowed his head at the sheer praise he was being showered in, unsure of how to respond. "...Um… Well, I'm touched, Elder. It doesn't bother me all that much—if anything, it makes me feel more fortunate. I couldn't have been the only Saiyan to have escaped from Planet Vegeta, you know… so I wonder… why was it me who had the chance to repent? Surely there was another one of them, perhaps even more powerful than myself, that could've been raised here."
"If there's anything I've learned in my life, it's that we're simply blessed with the opportunities we receive and that we shouldn't question them." Moori set the glass down as he turned to face the spiky-haired warrior, a faint smile touching his lips. "All you're required to do is make the best of what you've been fortunate enough to receive, Kakarot. Don't question destiny's choices."
"I suppose…" Kakarot murmured to himself as he stood from the table and tightened his bright red sash, looking over his new garments once more. As a reward for his dedication and prowess as a fighter, he'd been granted the opportunity to craft his own fighting garments, which consisted of a bright teal gi with a red undershirt and sash, topped off with a combination of obsidian-colored boots. It had taken time and dedication, but the Namek-raised Saiyan had been determined to create a durable gi that would last him quite a while and had applied all his energy into doing so—as such, it was only a matter of time before he'd achieved his goal, much like his eagerness to train and keep on par with his master.
With that thought in mind, Kakarot's eyes widened as he remembered where he was supposed to be. Immediately, his heart's pace quickened and the hairs on his arms bristled as his anticipation built up, a small smile touching his features. "Anyway, Elder, thank you for the meal—I'm off to go spar with Nail."
"Oh, that's right… he'd mentioned training with you was one of his priorities for the day." Moori knew that while his adoptive son had surpassed his Namekian mentor, Nail had become ever-insistent that they spar even more frequently. Perhaps it was due to the fact that Frieza hadn't taken notice of their planet yet, but the elder knew that Nail was treating each and every day like it was their last to prepare for the mighty tyrant. As such, in addition to Kakarot's exponential rise in strength, Nail had made vast improvements in his own right. "Take care, my child… but do be careful not to overwhelm yourself, do you understand? As much as we do appreciate your training as frequently as you do, there are still multiple other fighters to back you up in this battle—there's no need to push yourselves to the limits each and every day just to increase your battle strength that much more."
Kakarot gave a small chuckle and shook his head in response, giving his adoptive father a thumbs-up. "I appreciate your concern, Elder Moori. It's heartwarming, but ultimately not needed. I'm not like everyone else… though I may not like my origins, I'm a Saiyan; the more battle I partake in and the greater intensity we fight at will only benefit me in the long run."
"It's that attitude that led to their eventual downfall against Frieza, Kakarot," Moori noted with a frown playing across his face as he looked up at the warrior. "The Saiyans are exceptionally talented at combat – and you are indeed no different in that regard – but their overconfidence likely played a hand in their defeat. I fear that if you adopt this attitude and abandon the ways of pragmatism as we've taught you, you yourself may fare no different against Frieza's power."
Sensing Moori's discomfort, Kakarot awkwardly shifted in place as he realized his father was accurate in his claims. "...I suppose so. But I will attest to the fact that we've grown incredibly powerful in our endeavor to slay Frieza—our entire race has improved drastically as well. Without all this training, can we truly fool ourselves into thinking that we've done our best to prepare for that monster?" He paused for a beat to let his comment sink in, bowing his head. "...Believe me, I don't care for all this training. I view sparring as something enjoyable and a way to connect further with those I care about… not just to gain destructive power. But if it means that another parent can live with their child in harmony, if it means that friendships don't have to be broken apart any longer due to meaningless war and slaughter, then I'm willing to put my own body on the line to ensure it!"
"Well spoken, Kakarot," responded Moori as he himself stood. Looking upwards toward Kakarot's determined expression, he could see with his own eyes that the boy had truly grown to become the hero that Namek needed and a true, benevolent warrior. Though his recklessness was still ever-present to a degree, Moori knew that the Namekians could safely say that they'd ridden the universe of a mindless brute that would've likely gone on to be another soldier in Frieza's ranks. "With such willpower, I suppose I have nothing to fear about your well-being… but please, do be careful, all right? I would hate to see either you or Nail suffer through unnecessary injuries solely based on the fact that you were too reckless in your training."
Before Kakarot could even open his mouth to respond, he suddenly felt a jolt within the back of his mind, his energy sensing abilities involuntarily noting him of a power level plummeting like a stone and another one– far too malicious and sinister to be classified as Namekian – appearing out of absolutely nowhere.
'T-That feels like… Master Nail…' the Namek-raised Saiyan thought to himself, a sense of terror and dread washing over him as he tried to ponder just how this new fighter could've sprung up on their planet without any sort of detection. "Elder Moori! I hate to cut this short, but I've just sensed Nail's power drop exponentially! I've got to go and check on him right now!"
Immediately sensing the urgency and distress within the spiky-haired warrior's mind, Moori could tell his son was speaking nothing less than the truth. "Go, Kakarot, don't worry about me—I'll notify the others and send some of our fighters in to assist you in the upcoming battle."
Giving him the quickest nod he could muster, Kakarot quickly broke into a full dash as he flung open the door to his alabaster-covered home and kicked off the ground with his full force, ascending into the air as fast as his body would allow him. He took a deep breath to calm himself before he ignited his pale-blue aura and raced off to the battlefield.
'Today marks the first time Namek's been invaded since my arrival on this planet… could this be Frieza's doing? Could he finally be here to attempt to rob us of the Dragon Balls? If so, I'm not going down without a fight!' He kicked up his speed, the winds blowing against his teal-colored gi and his spiky-styled hair as he approached the battlefield, hopeful he'd make it in time to save his master from whatever monster had plagued their home planet.
Kame House, before Piccolo's reign, was a rather tranquil and serene place for the humans and their deceased unofficial leader in Master Roshi. It had been where the Z-Fighters had united for the first time before they went off to fight in the twenty-first World Martial Arts Tournament, a celebration of talent and skill where the world's most capable fighters did battle against one another to see who was truly the strongest under the heavens, and where many bonds and relationships had been cultivated.
Now, however, life had changed quite drastically for the gang. Kame House was now bustling with many of the Earth's last capable fighters, its relatively small size being forced to contain the last resistance to Piccolo's reign. Though the living space everyone had worked out was miniscule, everyone had at least enough of their own personal space to stash any remaining belongings and personal items they still had in their possession. Their living space was rarely used for much more than sleep, however; the majority of the Z-Fighters' average day was spent outside, either training on one of the remote islands or out in front on the sandy terrain of Kame Island itself.
But though there was indeed an advantage of having so many capable fighters, there was always the problem of their rationing. Each of the heroes merely ate enough to keep them in full health and pristine fighting condition, yet with so many mouths to feed, it usually took them no longer than two weeks' time before they needed to refill their stocks of food. In these times, one fighter would be sent out under the radar to procure more of these substances…
...and today marked Chi-Chi's turn to do so.
Bedecked in a dark vest with a white undershirt along with a pair of blue jeans and black flats, Chi-Chi touched down in North City as quickly as possible before rolling into the shadows and pressing her back against the wall of an aged building. Not knowing what to expect, the Ox-Princess planned to survey the streets from cover before wildly charging in. It was rare that a city was almost perfectly intact, meaning that something was different - she'd need to scout her surroundings before she could take any sort of action.
'It seems like the fighting's calmed down for now, but I can't directly cause any sort of commotion,' thought the woman to herself as she tightened her armbands hastily. 'Even though I've got an energy cloaker on, one of Piccolo's demons could be flying around in attempts to draw us out—if any of them sense a massive outbreak of death in one city, they'll grow suspicious. Even in a time like this, aside from gunmen, there's no possible way for a city's population to drop so quickly.'
She kept her guard and held her breath for what appeared to be minutes on end, seeing nothing out of the ordinary besides for an average family dashing across the desolate streets as quickly as they could. The apartments and houses seemed fully bolted shut, locking themselves away from the rest of the world in a futile attempt to preserve their lives. As such, there was seemingly no way to infiltrate their homes without having to confront anyone and incapacitate them.
'The markets and stores are obviously all pillaged,' Chi-Chi internally noted as she scanned her perimeter, her eyes eventually locking onto a nearby abandoned warehouse. Immediately, she had an idea. 'I don't exactly like having to cause destruction like this… but there's only one surefire way to get into a house without any violence and without my being noticed. Had I stayed in that kimono, I'd have stood out like a sore thumb… but in casual clothing like this, nobody should notice me. Now… I just hope this works...'
Summoning up a faint-yellow sphere of energy, Chi-Chi whirled around the corner of the building and fired the blast directly at the warehouse with enough potency to bomb the doors and the front of the store, a massive cloud of smoke and dust beginning to amass within it. Not long after, a spark began to run ablaze, crackling embers and flames beginning to devour the abandoned building.
Seconds passed. The only sound that could be heard was the faint noise of Chi-Chi racing back to her cover.
And then, no more than an additional five seconds had passed before Chi-Chi's opportunity had arisen.
The smoke alarms to the abandoned storehouse went off wildly, their high-pitched whines immediately reverberating around the store before their frequencies grew loud enough for the city streets to pick up. It soon caught the attention of the nearby population, prompting them to peek through their windows and see the carnage that had unfolded.
It took no longer than another ten seconds for it to be noticed by the city's populace.
The residents of North City immediately flung open their doors and began to raise sheer pandemonium, shrieks of terror and cries of fear filling the once-deathly reticent atmosphere as everyone tried to figure out just what was going on.
"D-Daddy, is he back already?!"
"What the hell's going on here, Jim?!"
"Sasha, don't let go of me, got it? We may have to run at any given moment!"
The instigator had done their work at such high speeds that no one could possibly detect them, their eyesight being far from advanced enough to locate, much less track, their actions. None of the humans had the slightest clue what had happened; surely it couldn't have been the work of Piccolo's demons, as the ninth of May was still several months away. Had a new threat to humanity arisen, or had their king finally grown bored with his game of cat and mouse?
Chi-Chi, taking full advantage of the uproar she'd orchestrated, zipped across the streets and into a rather wealthy-looking household, ripping the bolts and chains on the door and hurling them across the street with her superhuman strengtht—luckily, due to her previous distraction, no one had been the wiser to what she'd just done. She took a minute to scope out the house's layout before leaping over their leather couch and diving through the passthrough that allowed her to sneak into the kitchen, rolling to her feet as she stopped an inch away from the fridge.
'Judging from the nice furniture and expensive accessories, whoever lives here should have enough to spare,' she deduced quickly, reaching down into her jean pocket and pulling out a capsule; wasting no time, the Ox-Princess clicked it and let it fall to the ground.
BOM! The capsule immediately morphed into what appeared to be a large basket, ideal for packing copious amounts of food. Her work all but done, Chi-Chi immediately began to unload the various fruits and vegetables from within the fridge into the container, making sure to leave out the unnecessary rations such as cookies or desserts—she wasn't content with stealing all their rations, and so made sure to place back enough to sustain a family of three for a month's time.
Suddenly, she felt a small ki lurking behind her and whirled around to see a rather bulked up man cracking his knuckles and grinning as he broke eye contact with the girl in favor of looking downward at her clothing. "Looks like someone's trying to save her own tail, eh? You're cute, y'know…" he chuckled maliciously as he licked his lips. "I wouldn't mind letting you stay here for a night or two."
She mustered up a scowl at the rugged man as he gave her a once-over, easily able to decipher that he was staring at her womanly features. "Sorry, I'm not exactly interested in guys like you. I have people that are counting on me to feed them, and you clearly have more than enough food to spare. Why don't you share with the rest of the townspeople that aren't as fortunate as you?"
"Heh!" chuckled the man in response, amused with the girl's claim. "Surely you're not stupid, are ya? I didn't earn half this crap; I took it all for myself. The family that lived here must've really had a nice living up until I came over and… ended their misery. I actually haven't explored the whole house yet, but I wouldn't mind you helping me explore the bedroom." He winked suggestively and jerked his head in the direction of the stairs.
Chi-Chi brushed her shoulder-length hair back over her shoulder in disgust as she looked at the man's sadistic grin. Sleazy, physically powerful… it didn't take long to connect the dots and realize that he was nothing short of a robber himself. "It all makes sense now. The people around here aren't at each others' throats, trying to get ahead… the family that lived here must've been giving everyone rations themselves, weren't they? You just got greedy and took it all for yourself…" A fire was lit in her eyes as she took a battle stance, daring the male to strike. "...Well, no more. I don't feel bad about robbing this place now, not when everyone's got their own rations for the time being and you're hogging the rest of them."
"You don't have to rob my home, sweetie," the man continued in a low tone of voice as he began to draw closer and closer to the girl with a sinister smile. "I can give you everything you want right here…"
Immediately, he went for a direct punch to the ribcage, but the experienced fighter merely raised her palm and caught it with ease. His next strike was just as clumsily performed, but in one fluid motion she gracefully spun out of the way of his attack, bending his arm at an unnatural angle that immediately got him to cry out in white-hot pain as he pitched forward groggily.
Content with seeing this man finally get his comeuppance, Chi-Chi smirked and bent over ever so slightly, her lips just barely grazing against his ear. Then, as softly as she could, she whispered into his ear "My turn."
Quickly, she pulled away from him and slipped her arm underneath his, grasping it in a firm underhook. Then she quickly threw her leg over said arm, fluidly taking him down in a swift rotation before wrenching on the arm now between her legs with a slight modicum of force. Needless to say, her superhuman strength allowed her to snap the man's arm within the span of just two seconds flat, the brute screaming and writhing in nothing short of absolute agony as he felt the burning sensation of his bone breaking.
Kicking off his side with her feet, Chi-Chi rolled backward and into a standing position neatly, dusting off her vest and shirt with a quick swipe of her hand. "Serves you right. People like you disgust me… there's just no hope for you whatsoever. I get fighting for those you love, but taking for yourself is just as terrible as what Piccolo's doing."
"S-Shut up, y-you damn bitch…" wheezed the man as he twitched violently on the ground, trying to dull the pain by drowning it out. "Y-You're doing just the same, aren't you? E-End it, damn you…"
The command brought a smug smile to Chi-Chi's face as she crossed her arms at the fallen brute. "Yeah, sure… that's what you want me to do, don't you? As much as people like you repulse me, I'm not going to kill you. I'll leave that decision up to everyone else in this city, but I've got to say your chances of living are pretty slim. They won't be happy to know that the one family that had extended their food to them so kindly was killed by some sick bastard who wanted to live a life full of riches."
With that, she bent down and compressed the container back into its original capsule form, storing it neatly into her pocket before beginning to walk out of the house without so much as even a backward glance. 'There's still hope for this world...' she thought to herself as she approached the front door of the household. '...This city proved that. But Piccolo's molding and twisting of everyone else has truly gotten to them; they're just as power-hungry as he was before. Maybe there can be change again, someday...'
She stopped in her tracks as she was about to turn the doorknob, a steeled gaze in her eyes. '...But only if we can take down Piccolo.'
Nail's battered and wounded body, fresh with ivory welts and bruises, slammed harshly into the islands of Namek, tearing up the freshly-cut azure blades of grass as his body skidded across the ground. He'd fought with everything he had to protect Namek from this invader, but his efforts had been all for naught—though his tactical awareness had allowed him to hold his own for the time being, his foe's raw power had been enough to prevail.
Through his blurred and blood-tainted vision, he could see the form of his lizard-resembling opponent land neatly across from him, the figure's arms crossed arrogantly as he sneered at the sight of his fallen foe. His blue-colored skin was cut ever slightly, his silver and red armor's breastplate had been dented, but still the figure stood tall over his opponent. "Is that really all you can manage? I'd have expected more from someone of your ability…"
Tightening his fists, focusing his inner power, Nail tried to sit himself upward, feeling as if the weight of a thousand worlds were on his back as he did so. Just merely moving was a daunting task after the damage he'd been inflicted, but he wasn't about to give in—he had a world to protect, a race to shield from harm. To just submit and allow death to overtake him would be the ultimate insult to those who were counting on him.
Seeing the Namekian's sheer resolve caused his opponent to laugh in amusement, extending his hand and spreading his fingers out as he prepared energy in each one of them. "I do commend your courage, but I'm afraid that the game stops here. Though your power is admirable for a race of such painfully weak insects, I know that you cannot be Namek's sole champion. There's another, much more powerful… isn't there?"
"R-Rgh…" snarled Nail as he watched ice-blue energy being formed within the intruder's fingertips, violent rays of light pulsing from each and every one of them. "...There is. He may not be of our race, but his spirit and strength easily transcends any of ours..." He suddenly felt another jolt of pain pervade through his body, its crushing force shoving him right back down to the ground once more.
A smirk lit up the trespasser's visage as he heard the news, his plans coming closer and closer to fruition. "Excellent… most excellent, indeed. While you would've made a fair accomplice in your own right, this warrior will apparently be that much greater."
"Y-You won't get away with it… if I don't do it myself… he'll make you pay for trespassing upon our planet…" Nail choked out as he tried to suppress bile in his throat, finding it more difficult to speak with each and every word he uttered. "I sw-swear it…"
"Again, you've somehow jumped to the conclusion that I've invaded your world with aspirations to destroy it," mocked the armored figure as the vast rays of light within his fingertips began to coalesce into one large sphere of a white-blue coloration. "But now that you are no longer associated with my goal, I'm afraid you're just as disposable as any other of your weakling race."
CRACCK! An obsidian-colored heel smashed against the blue-colored alien's jaw, the sheer force of the attack combined with the attacker's element of surprise forcing him to slam into the ground roughly.
Clutching his jaw, the trespasser stood tall once more as he tried to null the lingering pain of the sneak attack. Much to his surprise, the warrior before his eyes held not even the slightest resemblance to the Namekian he'd just defeated. With a pale skin tone and a bright teal and red gi, an outcrop of wild spiky hair, and a rather humanoid appearance when compared to his previous foe, it was apparent that this new arrival was not of the Namekian race.
"Oh? And might I ask what you're doing here? I've got unfinished business with this Namekian over here that I'd like to attend to." Bringing his arm down from his jaw, he clenched it firmly in an attempt to intimidate the man before him.
"Any business with my master becomes mine by extension, invader," came the reply of the new arrival, his eyes blazing with righteous fury. "We Namekians are a unified people; fighting one of us means you're fighting all of us."
"Ah... hang on for just a moment. Determined, powerful… not of the typical Namekian build… indeed. It appears you're the one who possesses that other abnormally high power level my ship's scanners picked up." The trespasser glanced at Nail and chuckled ever slightly, his sinister tone echoing around the battlefield. "Your description checks out, it seems. He is the one I'm searching for."
"S-Searching for?" Kakarot immediately looked over to his fallen master, hoping to pry out as much knowledge about the alien as he could before they did battle. "Master Nail, just what's going on here?"
"Allow me to explain—after all, I'm sure that 'master' of yours could really use all the oxygen he can fill his lungs with," he began, pausing ever so slightly. "You see, my name is Articuno, one of the mightiest Arcosians to have ever lived—"
"A-Arcosian…?" Kakarot yelled out, his eyes widening in pure terror as he raised a fist toward the pale-blue trespasser. "Did Frieza send you here?!"
"Tch!" scoffed the Arcosian as he spat on Namek's soil, seemingly disgusted with being associated with Frieza. "He and I have no correlation whatsoever. Though it is true that the Cold family has a reign over our people and the majority of the galaxy, I shall never obey such a sickly tyrant's orders."
"Y-You're saying that… you're not working with him?" Kakarot's eyes narrowed in suspicion—surely an Arcosian like him would be sent as a potential scout to gather knowledge on his people. "I don't exactly believe you. After all, you yourself just admitted that your race is in the palm of his hand; how am I to believe you somehow went off the radar and were able to miraculously survive?"
"Well, it's no easy feat to manage, I'll give you that," Articuno noted, crossing his arms. "But perhaps you'll be more inclined to believe me after I show you my unsealed form's true might…"
Blitzing forth at rapid speeds, Articuno brought his leg forward and struck swiftly with a hard kick to the cheek, its impact driving Kakarot backward until he corrected himself by planting his hand into the Namekian soil and forcing his momentum to a complete halt. Then, just as quickly, he appeared above him and brought his bare-knuckled blue fist down upon the Saiyan's skull, smashing him to the ground before he could even blink.
Kakarot quickly tried to force himself upward, but the Arcosian simply smashed his three-pronged foot down onto his spine, sending his face to have a reunion with the cold, hard ground of Namek. "Now, as I was saying… I would never work for that man after what he's done to countless other races. I've had to watch as he constantly enslaved each race he conquered, grinding them down slowly with all the strenuous work he forced upon them… it's disgusting. The Planet Trade Organization shouldn't have become the malicious empire it's devolved into, nor did it deserve to give our people the bad name it did… he has forever tarnished the name of the Arcosian people, and that's something I simply cannot stand for in the slightest."
"Y-You… you're all the same…" Kakarot croaked out as the Arcosian's foot dug deeper into his back, beginning to sink into his bones and bend them ever so slightly. "How can you possibly look me in the eye and tell me that you're someone who deserves true sympathy?!"
The anger he felt was enough to fuel him to fight; his aura shined brightly as he yelled to the heavens and then used his tail to ensnare his foe's leg, tugging on it to pull his foe down and alleviate the pressure he felt coursing through his back. As he leapt to his feet, Kakarot wasted no time in grabbing the Arcosian and throwing him upward before he threw a mighty hook at his opponent and sent him sailing backwards.
Kakarot kicked off the ground and immediately broke through the warrior's defenses with an elbow right to the jaw before firing off a barrage of punches and kicks; however, the Arcosian had had enough time to recover and return his strikes just as equally. The two battled and brawled on the islands of Namek, pale pink and ice blue fists and feet colliding with brutal intensity and sheer might as each sought to prove their power to one another.
"You think I'm about to believe your lies?!" the Saiyan snarled as he swerved to the right to avoid an uppercut, lunging forward with a fist of his own aimed at his foe's exposed ribcage. "You had a hand in those races' destruction yourself; don't you dare try and write that off!"
"Do you really believe that there's a choice in the matter?!" Articuno hissed as he threw his knee upward to block the spiky-haired hero's strike, retaliating with a tail swipe that forced Kakarot to quickly leap backward. He himself paused to catch his breath as well, his eyes narrowing at the Saiyan warrior. "I had no means of escape whatsoever; the only reason I had managed to succeed at escaping to begin with was solely due to my partner's failure! Never did I expect Frieza to send one of his elite warriors to deal with us after our inability to conquer Planet Frut, but sure enough, that's exactly what he did… I faked my death after that one and then hijacked one of the Shinigamians' ships to use as my own in search of new powerful allies, such as yourself."
"How could you possibly remain under the radar after that?" Kakarot slid back into his battle stance as he caught his breath, his eyes staying firmly glued to his opponent. "If Frieza had truly conquered Planet Frut, he would monitor it relentlessly, would he not? Your story's invalid, Arcosian; just confess your affiliation with Frieza and prepare to pay for your sins!"
"Believe what you will," scowled the Arcosian, his eyes narrowing at the Saiyan, "but my story is entirely authentic. I suppose I'll just have to demonstrate why you'll have no choice but to believe me once more!"
"Like hell you will!" Kakarot shouted as he extended his arms hastily, a green-blue cacophony of energy beginning to coalesce between them as he shouted to the heavens. "I won't let you harm anyone ever again! Shining Aurora!"
BZZT! The shimmering wave of light rocketed forth at an incredible speed, leaving Articuno with absolutely no time to guard against it. Crossing his arms and concentrating his energy, the Arcosian could only hope he'd have enough raw power within him to block it. Amplifying his ki through his veins, the slim Arcosian suddenly bulked up ever so slightly, his shoulders beginning to grow larger in size and his alabaster bio-gems adjusting to accommodate said growth. A faint layer of sea blue energy began to outline his form, slowly expanding and expanding until it encompassed the warrior whole.
"You won't be able to finish me off like that!" Articuno yelled raucously at his foe as the beam began to push against his frame; however, he didn't budge in the slightest. Conversely, he himself began to move, taking two steps forward and smirking at his foe as he continued to pour more energy into his Shining Aurora, but to no avail. "How do you like this one, warrior? I call this one…" He reared back ever slightly, building momentum for his charge. "...my Vacuum Lunge!"
Dashing forth, Articuno soared through the blast at lightning speeds before he reappeared right before the Saiyan's outstretched hands, smirking at Kakarot's horrified expression as he himself reared his fist backward. "I won't allow you to harm anyone anymore!" Kakarot barely had a split-second to react before Articuno crashed his fist against his chest, sending him flying backwards as his energy dissipated into the atmosphere.
"Now it begins!" the rebel cried as he sped off in hot pursuit of his Saiyan adversary.
Krillin quickly leapt backward to avoid another one of Launch's gloved fists, being forced onto the defensive as the blonde leapt toward him and unleashed a volley of rapid blows that he was only narrowly able to defend against. Each one of her blows were backed by intense accuracy, not a single one had failed to reach her target; however, the ex-monk's incredible speed had allowed him to parry and dodge them all before he quickly went low and swept her legs out from underneath her, cutting her down to the ground.
The ex-monk used his momentum to roll back onto his feet before he jumped into the air to avoid a sweep of Launch's own, diving down and bending his knees to bury them in her abdomen…
...but Launch would quickly push off the ground and force herself to her feet a few meters away, forcing Krillin to crash into the ground on his wounded knees and nearly fall prey to a roundhouse kick; he was narrowly able to raise his forearm to block it before he raised his other arm and fired off a small kiai that caught her straight in the stomach, causing her to flinch and be hurled by her outstretched leg into the ground.
"Hey, that was a nice one!" Krillin laughed as he wiped some of the excess sweat off his brow before extending an arm out to the blonde-haired woman in an attempt to help her up. "You could've had me there if you'd tried to connect with your other leg, you know?"
"Hmmph…" Launch grunted as she sat up, though she smiled upon seeing the Turtle student's cheery expression. "Fightin' is just somethin' you're used to more than me, I guess—only natural you'd see an openin' better than me, right?"
"Yeah, Master taught me well…" Krillin smiled, looking up at the sky for the quickest of moments before returning his gaze to his friend. "...I really miss him, you know. It's hard to think that it's been so long since his death and Piccolo's reign over Earth began… but at the same time, it's just so hard to believe that it could happen at all. I mean… Master always said that with enough heart and soul, anyone could win any battle… so why didn't we win eight years ago?"
"Look, kid…" Launch stopped, pausing for a beat. "Well… I can't call ya a kid anymore, huh? Anyway, Roshi was a bright guy, and he knew anyone better than they knew themselves, m'kay? Especially you, Krillin, since you were the one he always trained from the day you guys met up."
"Y-Yeah… I guess that's true…" Krillin mumbled to himself. 'But just why did he have to be so noble and put his life on the line for us all? Had he told us about the Evil Containment Wave… maybe I could've done it. Even if Master failed, he didn't have to be our one shot at sealing Piccolo away. I would've given everything to stop that monster, but for whatever reason he just didn't tell me...'
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the now-crouching Launch giving him a firm clasp on the shoulder, looking straight into his eyes as if she could see straight into his very soul.
"I got a feelin' that ol'-timer knew what he was sayin', an' if you can go fight Piccolo with that kind of attitude alongside me and everyone else, then we'll kick his ass for good and make the Earth into what it once was. That bastard doesn't deserve to have control over everyone and play with 'em like they're his puppets; everyone's got a right to think for themselves. That's what that ol'-timer did, and it's what all of us are doin' right now when we've been trainin' our asses off to pound his face in."
"Y-Yeah… you're right, Launch." The ex-monk immediately felt a cheeky smile spread his features at the blonde's encouragement, wrapping his arms around her neck and hugging her tightly to show how thankful he was for her words.
However, the movement the ex-monk had made had created a small gust of air, which just slightly brushed against the bipolar girl's nostrils…
"AH-CHOO!" Launch spluttered, her hair color 'snapping' back into its blue coloration and her fierce green eyes reverting into big blue orbs of tenderness. Immediately, she noticed Krillin hugging her and thanking her for some odd reason, causing her to raise an eyebrow. "Umm… I'm sorry, did I say anything rude?"
As he pulled away from her and shook his head, Krillin couldn't help but laugh at the bluenette. 'She may be fierce and violent sometimes, and at others she may be gentle and sweet… but both of them are Launch, and I'm so glad to know that she's one of the few people who haven't been affected by this dark age in Earth's history.'
Back inside Kame House, a particular samurai was beginning to grow antsy in regards to waiting for a particular someone to return back to their base of operations. "Damn it, when the hell's Chi-Chi gonna get back here? Some of us are hungry and can't fight all that well on an empty stomach!"
"Though you've lost a considerable amount of weight since we all banded together, I'd say you could stand to lose just a bit more, Yajirobe," taunted Mai with a snicker. Sure enough, the ronin had indeed lost some of his excess weight—he now possessed more of a bulkier frame rather than simply an obese figure, and his speed and agility had increased drastically from such a drop in weight.
"Yeah, even I complain for food far less than you do!" added Shu mockingly.
"What have you guys done to earn that privilege, huh?" fired back Yajirobe as he crossed his arms and scoffed. "At least I've been training my butt off with everyone else; you guys just laze around all day and do jack when compared to even the average human."
Pilaf frowned, ticked with the samurai's verbal attack, and chimed right in from his spot on the couch. "Don't forget, without my brilliance and scientifical prowess, Bulma would've never been able to get that energy cloak fully developed in the first place! She may be bright in regards to science, but no one of this group can surpass my intellect!"
"Yeah, hence why it malfunctions every few days… I guess we can blame that one on you too, right, 'Mr. Scientifical Prowess'?" Yajirobe snorted in disgust. "Please, don't make me laugh! I never liked you guys anyway; all you did was manipulate and trick a little girl into helping you to save your own skin!"
Everyone turned their attention to the sound of the triclops' voice, who, sure enough, emerged from the staircase a moment later with his pale-faced companion in tow. Donning a white undershirt and a pair of green trousers, Tien shook his head at his quarreling allies. "I get that there's a bit of bad blood here, and I won't lie and say that I haven't heard some of the things your gang has pulled, Pilaf. But I will say for certain that right now we need to remain nothing short of unified, do you understand?"
"Tien's right!" echoed Chiaotzu as he nodded to the group. "Fighting amongst ourselves isn't going to help us; it just hurts the trust between us all in the end, right? After all Piccolo's done, surely all of us want him gone… so can't we just band together and work as one whole?"
"While I can't speak for being a fighter, I can sure say that you should definitely stay on the same page," came the baritone voice of Turtle, smiling encouragingly at the group. "After all, I'm sure Master Roshi and Gohan wouldn't want you all fighting like this when there's a greater threat to dispatch of."
"That's right, Turtle," Tien said as he looked toward the group. "Whether or not we like each other, each and every one of us has our own reasoning for wanting to take down Piccolo—for me it's fulfilling a promise I made to someone a long time ago, but for you all it may be different. What I do know is this… we need to be working together toward our goal incessantly until we pull it off. We've only made narrow escapes whenever we've run into Piccolo's minions, and if it weren't for our unity as a group and quick thinking, we'd all be done for.
"Whether it's helping out on the sidelines like the Pilaf gang is doing or Yajirobe's contributions on the battlefield, each one of us has our own part to play in this. If one of us falls, we all fall, and I'm not about to fail any of you.
"Now… who's with me?"
Perched on his throne in the luxurious Chow Castle, his subordinates below him in a bowing position, King Piccolo truly had it all. Ranging from his conquest of Earth to his dismantling of the human race's psyche as a whole, the demon king had truly inflicted the hell he'd promised to spread all those years ago. It had been many years in the making – centuries, even – but the Earthlings had finally fallen prey to his unmatchable might with that meddlesome Evil Containment Wave out of the picture for all of eternity.
'Speaking of… those warriors… they're still out and about, aren't they?' the youth thought to himself as he rolled his fingers into a fist. 'They're incessant flies; they just don't know when to quit meddling in my plans. However, they can't evade me forever… no, the scar-faced one is too obsessed with his master's death to simply live out the remainder of his life in my world. Even then, the fools should know that the lottery can seal their fates at any time. They're running on a limited schedule; the clock's ticking against them. Once they realize they have nowhere to run, their empty and hollow souls will be easy pickings to finally decimate for all of eternity!'
He gazed down at his followers, a cocky smile adorning his features as he saw their undying loyalty to him. Each of them had proved their worth to him in the past—Tambourine and Piano had been partly responsible in helping to secure the Dragon Balls while helping to spread anarchy over the world, while Drum, Oboe, and Accordion had assisted taken a large role in tidying up Chow Castle and ensuring the humans were following the laws… or lack thereof.
"Oboe," came the baritone command of the demon king. Sure enough, the fox-resembling demon, garbed in demonic black trousers and a sash of the same color, stepped forward and bowed. "I want you, Drum, and Accordion…" He motioned to the rotund demon and the beastial lion whose mane was a blood-red coloration, "...to go prepare the news stations. I have a broadcast I'd like to make regarding the whereabouts of your favorite prey."
As he watched his minions give him a firm nod and walk off to fulfill his demand, Piccolo smirked maliciously as he truly remembered the power he wielded over each and every living thing on this planet. It was safe to say that King Piccolo, ruler of all on Mother Earth, was indeed content with his new world… a world in which he was their destruction, a world in which the words 'hope' and 'justice' had ceased to exist. He had become their ruler over a world that was slowly turning itself inside out, twisting and molding the human race until it had become a mockery of what it had once been, a race full of compassion and trust for one another. Now, though, those days were long gone in the face of this demonic era…
..and subsequently, the next chapter in Piccolo's reign was about to begin.
The television screens flickered for a moment as a rerun of an anime played, an anime where a seemingly young teenage girl and a gargantuanly-built male were battling some sort of mythical creature with an alabaster mask and a beastial roar. The female was perched on the male's shoulders, about to be slingshotted into the skies to challenge the demonic creature, when—
Suddenly, the Demon King Piccolo's full frame and his throne was all that could be seen on the television screens of Earth, the broadcast interrupting each and every station on the air to deliver a message from their king. Below Piccolo's figure flashed up a yellow indicator that read 'A King Piccolo Broadcast,' a sure indicator that he had something vital to announce.
"Citizens of Earth, this is your king speaking," began Piccolo as he reclined back in his throne with a smirk. "I must say that I have been rather pleased with your carnage and destruction in recent times, and so I would like to see if you can carry out an even greater order. After all, you've all come so far under my reign that it would be a shame to see if we cannot advance further…" An evil cackle forced its way out of the demon's throat, and he made no attempt to prevent it from spilling out—after all, this was his world now; he could do whatever he pleased. "Do not fear; I have no plans to revoke the lottery quite yet. The next attack will indeed be as scheduled, the anniversary of my coronation… which, for all you children that have failed to learn this date from your mal-educated parents, is the ninth of May.
"However, as I have noted, this is not the news I plan to pass onto you humans today. You see, I happen to know a group of martial artists who have not exactly conformed to our lifestyle—you may know some of their names as Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, and Krillin. There are various others that make up this alliance; however, I have no records of these warriors' names. Somehow, they have eluded my grasp for my entire reign and have refused to acknowledge me as the King of Earth. As such, if any of you have any leads, clues, or are somehow able to locate them altogether, I will personally grant you a life as one of my servants, free from the ever-looming presence of murder and death.
"The time is now to purge the world of these rebels, humans! The time is now to transition into a pure world where everyone believes in Piccolo's unrivaled might and power! The time is now… to liberate ourselves of the gray morality of this planet and return to the days of old, black and white, and to either swear fealty to me or perish among the rest of your sinful kind!"
And with that… the transmission ceased.
Damn, does it feel good to get this chapter done, and it seems as if these long chapters are finally here to stay(which has been something I've been aiming for two years now, so this feels like a true accomplishment! Thanks for reading, everybody, and I hope that the long wait was worth it!
This chapter was easily the hardest of any story I've ever attempted to write in my fanfiction career due to everything I've had to work with this chapter. It was a hell of a lot of information to take in, what with seeing Yamcha's obsession with bringing down Piccolo, Chi-Chi's perspective on the entire situation, the invention of the spirit cloaking devices, etc. We're moving further and further into the real meat of this story, and I hope I don't disappoint!
To clear things up, the sole reason why Piccolo has the names of these fighters but not their address is because Roshi never gave their address(he even states this in the canonical series, thus why they eluded detection both here and in canon). Sorry to have to say it here, but addressing it in the story itself felt too awkward.
As for why I named this chapter Color Palette, I did so because I felt that it did this chapter justice in nearly every single way. Ranging from Yamcha's darker morality to Chi-Chi's grayer perspective, not to mention the inclusion of what seems to be a not-so-evil Arcosian in the form of Articuno(thanks to my friend SpiderLedgic for pointing out the similarities between the Pokemon Articuno and the cold-based puns of the Arcosians; otherwise, he would've had a different name such as Blyzard or Icycle or something!). All these characters have vastly different interpretations of what they believe is right and fair in the world, and for some, their judgement is clouded due to various events or beliefs they've been brought up with. Choosing this title just seemed appropriate, really.
To my surprise, a lot of you were actually pretty all right with seeing Bulma, Launch, and Chi-Chi become fighters; that's awesome to hear! I was really worried the idea wouldn't be accepted by many of you, but the majority of your reviews either really expressed excitement regarding the idea or are stunned beyond belief but want to see how I'll make it work. To both of those generalized opinions, I say let's experience the story together and see what happens!
I feel compelled to mention that I probably would've finished this chapter a few days ago, but there was something that had drawn my attention… and that is none other than the anime known as Bleach! It has been my first taste of anime outside of the DBZverse, but I can say that I really like it so far and that I'd recommend it to you guys as well. While I won't be writing any Bleach fanfiction for the foreseeable future(this fic will always be top priority above all else), I would expect to see subtle references inserted here and there when I can—if you look hard enough, I guarantee you'll find at least 2 in this chapter alone.
Now, you may have noticed a subtle shift in my style here, and so I plan to pretty much describe the method to my madness here.. All of you know that I used a timeskip to pretty much blitz through the gap between the humans' defeat and everyone's reunion on Kame Island, and I've gotten my fair share of flak for that(and for perfectly good reason, too - isn't it a bad thing that I skipped over what would've been some interesting content?). I know that I always apologize to you guys for not really showing as much of DB as I feel I should've; however, I'm actually going to pull a complete 180 here and applaud my decision for doing so.
Why? Well, many of your favorite TV shows and animes(including DBZ itself) have gotten their popularity because they rolled with incessant momentum that would always keep the momentum rolling so as to keep the excitement and interest at its maximum(I most recently noted this with Bleach, as while it heavily does focus on characterization and not just random punches and kicks, it does pretty much always seem to be building up to something bigger and grander). While I'm not exactly about to gloss over characterization in peacetime(there will be many of those chapters in addition to training chapters, believe me) or, say, the trip to Namek or something else that required a bit of time in DBZ, I will say that expanding on that two month gap would've been counterproductive to my goals with this story. Primarily, Piccolo is honestly here as a villain to strengthen the bonds between the Z-Fighters and affect Earth drastically, and we can't really see just that if we're focusing on Krillin, Tien, and Yajirobe's trek back to Kame Island. As such, showing Bulma and Yamcha's breakup in real time would've been an unnecessary move on my part as well; wouldn't it be best to see the situation from her perspective in a flashback? If I showed these aspects of the story that really don't contribute to the long-term goal of what I want to accomplish with this fic, then it would just feel forced and artificial. That's something I want to avoid with Turbulence; I want this story to always have something to look forward to, something you can find to ponder about for the future. As such, I've modified my writing style to work this type of storytelling into the story—now, as opposed to seeing the plot unravel in a linear fashion, we'll be able to see this story work from multiple different perspectives and see various plot points and concepts be introduced all over the place.
In the end, this won't affect the 'canonical' Sagas such as the Saiyan or Frieza Sagas all too much, but for something like the Demon Saga or another non-canonical Saga you can expect this method of writing to be introduced. If this explanation confused you, don't worry, as I believe I can show better than I tell.
As for when to expect the next chapter of Turbulence, I'm going to be brutally honest and say that I don't know how long this one will take me. Presumably it should be easier than this chapter was(I'll be honest, I had this thing done since the 16th but didn't post due to fear this chapter wasn't ready), but due to it really delving into more of the Earth's situation and whatnot… I'm not really sure of how long it'll take me to write. However, this next chapter will be the last of the difficult set of chapters to write, so there's always that to look forward to! Rest assured I will tell this story if it's the only thing I ever do on FFN until I retire.
As I mentioned before, this chapter was a pain and a half to write. I don't usually ask this, but if you read this chapter in its entirety… please, please do leave a review. I held this chapter back for a few days due to my fear that it wasn't ready, and to be quite honest I would really appreciate ANY thoughts on this thing at all. I'm still not 100% on it, but it had to be written for plot advancement; as such, any and all perspectives are welcomed.
Now onto the Q&A,. As always, I only ever work on author notes and content like this when the main chapter is at a satisfactory length, but I do apologize if such large commentaries like these are painfully large; I love to connect with my readers this way and I want to make the Turbulence story as awesome as possible! Again, thank you for the success of this story and for voicing your opinions; please do keep it up!
-Tellemicus Sundance: You're right, I'm not entirely liking how you turned Bulma into a fighter. But considering the new 'era' the Earth has entered, it's practically unavoidable unless she's truly content to be weak and helpless for the rest of her life. Although I'm a bit surprised that she apparently hasn't tried to get her parents (father) involved in training them more efficiently.
And one final thing, what's going on with Korin and Kami? Wouldn't at least one of them have noticed Piccolo's return as it happened (or shortly afterwards) and gone to collect at least some of the Z-gang for advanced training? While I admit that I haven't read/watched DB-canon through, isn't that more or less how Goku ends up preparing for his fight against Piccolo Jr.?
Bulma as a fighter was something I've been hesitant on since I got the idea for it going back as far as the premiere of Chapter 3, but now that I've seen a positive reception to it and I've had a lot of time to ponder how I would characterize her, things have changed quite dramatically with how I view her in this story. While this chapter really only featured her in a flashback, expect our primary female protagonist to make her 'current' appearance next chapter.
As for Kami… I'll be quite honest with you; I just don't really understand how that guy thinks. He saw it as urgent to prepare for the threat of Piccolo Junior, but in all actuality Goku goes to Korin voluntarily before he recommends going to see Kami regarding the destroyed Dragon Balls, and it's THEN that Kami tells him that he will train him for the upcoming threat. In DBZ, Korin has Yajirobe round up all the humans for training on Kami's Lookout with Kami himself, but there's also the fact that Kami possesses a human in order to fight Piccolo… to be frank, there's a lot of contrivances here in why Kami didn't just possess some random human to take down King Piccolo in the first place, so I'm just going to say that due to there not being any sort of connection between Korin/Kami and the Z-Fighters at this point, the latter really COULDN'T be trained and instead are left to fend for themselves. It's a pretty flimsy explanation, but DB didn't try to make sense of it, and so I'm not going to pay it all that much thought other than the few minutes I spent typing that all out. I'm sorry for not being able to provide you with a definitive answer, but the slip-ups that Toriyama made sometimes are too large to patch up.
-Nickolaidas: Frankly, I'm REALLY interested to see how Raditz will fit in Turbulence. He comes to Earth to recover Kakarot and doesn't find him - ergo he has zero reason to stay on Earth - there's no Gohan to kidnap, no Saiyan to retrieve ... he simply has no ties with Earth at all. This is a really weird place you're getting the Saiyan arc into, and I'm cautious to see how you'll make it work. Raditz's intention was never about destroying the Earth in Kakarot's stead, so I'm ... cautious. Still, I have great faith in your writing and I'm sure you can make it work.
2) Bulma as a fighter. Can't see it working, not in a million years. She's a science whiz, a tech-support character, making her a fighter is like making Goku a sage - it doesn't work, at least in my eyes.
3) You also fell into what I call, the Launch-Trap. Don't know why, but every author considers Launch to be a stable character and always picture her in her blond-mode being permanently 'on'. Launch was a comic relief character which is why AT put her on a bus in the beginning of Z - she was flat-out useless, she's not a real character, makes little sense in the story and served only as a few early gags in Goku/Krillin's training.
Now, my PERSONAL guess in making Bulma, Launch and ChiChi into hardcore fighters is the fact you don't want your character roster to be a sausage fest, but you're sacrificing main-character traits in order to do so. ChiChi I can understand, it actually makes tons of sense, without a Goku to drool over, the girl can become the fighter she could always be, but Bulma and Launch ... *shakes head*
1. Something I've always found irritating is that people always find an interest in Raditz because he's "Goku's brother" and therefore should've had a greater role in the series. While I do like Raditz as a character, I will say that the best portrayals of Raditz are those that barely rely on his blood ties with Goku and instead focus on creating a character that goes through his own trials and development. While I may not be working as closely with Raditz as some of the other authors on this site, I will say that so long as this story features him, I will do my best to follow my interpretation of an 'ideal' Raditz character as stated above.
2. I find this one terribly amusing, because for all intents and purposes… hell, couldn't you consider Kakarot somewhat of a sage right now? I mean, he is fairly wise right now and is around various intelligent Namekians… anyway, to your point, I will agree that making Bulma into a fighter does not do the canonical character that much justice and will indeed alter her drastically...
...But what if that's my intention to begin with? You yourself write The River of Fate, a story that alters the canonical characters until they're far from recognizable when compared to the source material. Perhaps Bulma won't be the groundbreaking scientist she was in canon, but doesn't that open up the door for so many new possibilities regarding the Earth and for her character as well? Quite frankly, I feel that having Bulma in this role is going to be tricky to pull off, but satisfying in the end. It can lead to increased relevance for other characters, give her a unique character instead of the superficial, typical 'anime chick...' man, I'm excited just describing it!
3. Well, I did reference the fact that Launch changed form in this chapter by sneezing, and let me tell you that both her personae will show up and play equal roles in the story. I love Launch's character and what it potentially could've been, but I do not aim for her to be this badass chick who's just in the fic because I wanted her to be. No, I have plans for her that will make her just as complete a character as any other.
It's not so much that I want a diversified roster as much as the fact that I want a wide array of character personae that the DBZ girls can fill better than anyone else. I know it doesn't seem like it now, but the three women(Bulma in particular, I feel) will have EXTREMELY different characterization than the men. Believe me, they're not there to be thrown in for no reason; they've got roles to play that will be revealed in due time(and no, they're not just to create stronger offspring or to be randomly thrown into relationships).
And that's a wrap for this chapter! I hope you enjoyed the look into our heroes'(and antagonists') perspectives and will be tuning in to see how the plot continues with the next chapter! Though it may take a bit to fully write up, I can promise that the next installment will be one you won't want to miss!