Dragon Ball/Z/GT Fan Fiction ❯ Tempt of Fate ❯ Missing You ( Chapter 9 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Tsuyoku: I'm hoping everyone enjoys what I have to offer in this chapter, we'll see the reaction. I really want some feedback, for I feel that everything will be wrapped up in the next chapter or two. So, we're leading up the the exciting finale of Tempt of Fate – the home stretch! Read my AN at the end and I will be back soon with chapter ten.

Tempt of Fate: Chapter Nine

Trunks hadn't realized what had happened in the last few moments, but with his mother being badly hurt, possibly killed, his patience had worn thin with Launch's smooth words. His rage had taken him over he remembered, and now Trunks could feel waves of pure energy rolling over his skin. It was wonderful to be this strong... He looked at Launch once more.

“Fine, I'll show you what to do. But what do I get out of helping you to do this?” Launch stuttered a bit as the words left her mouth, almost shaking that he was gripping the bars of the cell so strongly that they weakened and bent under his pressure. He lent into her face, poking his nose through the steel bars and giving her a look with his colorful eyes.

“What do you get?” Trunks almost scoffed. “Lady, you get to keep living.”

Launch pulled back quickly from his statement. Of all the things that she'd expected him to say that had not been one of them. “Fine... whatever you want. Just let me out of here and we'll go.” Trunks looked at the two of them for a moment, not caring whether he could trust them, just gaging how useful to him they would prove to be. He quickly disintegrated the doors with ease before Launch and Eighteen exited the dungeons ahead of Trunks, but neither dared to run. Launch had heard of the Legendary Super Saiyan and the damage that his power could do.

But she hadn't expected anyone but Vegeta to reach it first. However, was it so surprising that his spawn could? She looked over at Eighteen, the android was calm and collected even under this boy's hostile glare into their backs...

“We should go to the main hall; it has a large space, and that's what we'll need if we are going to accommodate the Eternal Dragon.” Trunks said nothing to Launch’s words, just allowed them to continue their path to the great hall. He had since dimmed his power back to it's normal level, but the foreboding of his potential was enough to thicken the air around the three.


Vegeta had been sitting along the wall in the infirmary, which looked thrashed and torn from the King's earlier rage.

He had torn a recovery chamber off the wall and stuck it against the doors: no one could come in until he was ready to face them all. But when would that be?

He finally looked again at the table where Bulma lay, her creamy hand still hanging off the edge from underneath the white sheet seeming as if it glowed from the overhead lights. The doctor had insisted that she be covered up right before Vegeta had thrown him from the room. The King drew his knees up towards his chest and rested his face in the hands that still bore Bulma's dried blood. He couldn't look at her. Not right now. Her body laying there lifeless was enough to tear him apart inside, sending chilling shivers of grief down his spine.

Bulma, what the hell are you doing? You could have been killed if I hadn't save you. Are you trying to get yourself killed?!

She just stared at his eyes, liquid pooling at the base of her own. Vegeta had seen the reflection of appreciation in her eyes: appreciation of his love for her, that he was willing to admit that he loved her, now and forever.

'My name, you said it... Vegeta. You said it...' She thought to herself, closing her eyes with a smile gracing her rosy lips.

Vegeta looked at her face, his brow furrowed. He somehow knew why she was smiling: her name. He would say it over and over if she would look at him like that every time. The King lent down to her face, her hands flying up to grasp his cheeks before she embraced him with her whole body. Vegeta had returned it wholeheartedly, not knowing that it would be the last time he hugged her like that.

He had promised himself he'd never let her fall... but he hadn't protected her like he should have. Now she was lying there, her warm skin getting colder by the minute. He picked up a small table next to him and threw it against the door, which finally gave way and crumbled into a heap blocking the room from the outside hallway. He walked over to the table, uncovering her head and looking at her face once more. The doctor had closed her eyes; it looked as if she was just sleeping. Her lips still has red as ever, he caressed one with his thumb, placing a chaste kiss on her forehead with his trembling lips.

He couldn't go on without her... there had to be a way to bring her back. He just couldn't--

Vegeta dropped to his knees, gasping out for breath as he grasped her lifeless hand and sank farther into realization. His breath was heavy, unsteady, his eyes wide and brows furrowed in an attempt to understand what was going on. He felt as if he was going to cry for the first time in years.

He was starting to let a tear slip down his cheek, when suddenly a colossal power level registered in his senses. Vegeta's head shot up and he stood, not letting go of Bulma's hand. Who was this coming from? He had to find out! He gave her hand one more kiss before throwing off the scrap metal blocking the door and rushing out. The doctor had been sitting in the hallway, having bandaged his wounds from earlier, and looked up as Vegeta exited the infirmary.

“Take care of her,” Vegeta said, and rushed off towards the origin of such magnitude.

The doctor only stood and walked in, looking at the dead queen in sadness. He could only imagine what the King had to be going through. As he'd looked back, the Doctor had seen remnants of a tear on his face; it just wasn't fair.


On the way towards the dungeons, the King was stopped by the dungeon master, grabbing at his broken arm. “There was a blast in the dungeons; the only ones missing are Launch and Eighteen.” Vegeta nodded and started off again before he was once again stopped by the Saiyan. “One more thing, there was a boy that entered right before the power levels spiked, I think he might be who did it.” Before the man could finish the thought, Vegeta was bounding off towards the power level at a more furious speed.

'Trunks or Kakkarot's brat?' He kept thinking to himself. It had to be one of them, there were no other boys in the castle that he knew of that could make such a commotion – either one had the potential to exhibit that kind of power level. Selfishly, Vegeta hoped that it was his son, Trunks, that had reached it first. He would be the only person that Vegeta would ever allow overcome him.


Once they were in the hall, Trunks maximized the capsule again and threw the box at Launch. She looked at it, at the glory of the seven Dragonballs together, and raised her head. “I must know, what are you going to ask of the Eternal Dragon?”

Trunks frowned, “My mother... is dead.” The boy looked down as he replied. “I can tell. Her ki no longer flares on my senses like it used to, and I can’t tell its location. Something has happened to her.” Launch couldn’t help but gasp a little; what the hell had happened since she and Eighteen were locked in that cell? But at risk of making Trunks angry again, Launch decided to forgo asking too many questions about the Queen's fate.

“Fine, let's do this.” Launch dumped the box of Dragonballs out of the box. As soon as they touched the floor together, the seven balls began to radiate with power, calling the dragon by themselves. 'So that's why we couldn't find the balls; Bulma had been masking their power until now – and now that they're out, they can call the dragon...' Launch was both confused and intrigued by the technology that Bulma had managed to create, and such a brilliant mind did not deserve to be cut so short. Launch decided that it was in her best interests to summon Shenlong, for her life and for Bulma’s.

Where this new found empathy for the recently passed woman had come from, Launch couldn’t recognize. But in her quest for the Dragonballs, Launch had always told herself that her Lord, Vegeta, would use their powers for a noble cause. What was more noble than saving the life of someone, enemy or no?

The balls continued to flash and flare out while the air inside the main hall darkened and became thick with electricity. Flashes of lightning struck around them as the wind picked up. The balls summoned all the power they could to blast a beam of pure yellow energy into the sky until they were blinded by it. And when they opened their eyes, miles and miles of green scales appeared to reveal a twisted dragon above them.

Red eyes bore into each and every one of them, even the hidden spectators.


Vegeta had showed up just as Shenlong was being summoned, revealing a different but no less powerful ki that again flooded his senses. In the main hall, he saw the Eternal Dragon hovering in the air above his son, the two female captives, and another female in the background.

“How did you get these Dragonballs?” Vegeta asked to no one in particular; he just wanted answers.

“I found them in a capsule in mother's blood.” Trunks spoke up. Vegeta walked farther into the room to look at Trunks and then move his gaze to Launch. For a moment, his heart stopped beating before returning to a wild pace.

“You were telling the truth?” Launch nodded. “So she had them, was she really just using me for--”

“No!” Lynna hollered from the back of the room. “If I may, sire, you have it all wrong. My Lord, Bulma was not here to find the Dragonballs, she seriously did just fall in love with you... But when she saw that Launch had the Dragonballs, Bulma had already collected three of them. And when she realized that you had the others, we came here to get them.”

“So she did come back just for the Dragonballs.”

“Yes... and no, King Vegeta.” Lynna approached the Saiyan, getting as close as she was comfortably able. “She wanted to see you, to tell you after all these years about Trunks and how she would rather be with you than anywhere else. And so she recovered the Dragonballs so that she could find a way to stay here with you.” The entire listening crowd was confused, surprised, or just shocked; Vegeta was all of the above.

“She knew that Atrono would come for her eventually, and Trunks was in danger if he did. But Bulma didn't want that to happen. So she was going to ask Shenlong to find a way that she could stay with you, Vegeta.” She looked at the floor and slowly moved her gaze to the glowing spheres on the floor, which became blurred with tears that clouded her eyes. “But I see that Atrono got to her first.”

Vegeta nodded, he had smelled the weakling back where he found her. There was no question who had shot his mate, but that wasn't the end. Atrono was not going to get away so lucky. He was going to pay for this; Atrono had been a thorn in Vegeta’s side ever since he’d fallen in love with Bulma. By Vegeta's hand, and only his, that weakling was going to die.

“Your wish please.”

A deep voice reverberated throughout the room, and Launch could have sworn the building shook. Trunks turned to the Eternal Dragon, approaching him, “Shenlong, I wish for you to bring my mother back to life.” The God floated for a moment, not saying anything, until the dragon's red eyes began to glow an ethereal hue and a beam shot out towards the insides of the castle. The dragon growled out his words, “You wish has been granted. Now I must go.” And his body was once more engulfed in the pure yellow energy of the Dragonballs until he was no longer there.

In a flash, the air above them was clear and the space became as it was before. The area where the Dragonballs rested was clear, having been shot across the universe for years before they could be used again.

For a moment, the room was filled with complete silence until the entire group dashed off to see if Shenlong had gone through with it. With Vegeta in the lead, they all rushed towards the infirmary, Launch bringing up the rear.

Lynna walked another direction, knowing in her heart that Bulma was alive. She didn’t have to see it to believe. But Atrono was in the castle somewhere, and she was bound determined to find him, to give the man to Vegeta and bring him to justice once and for all.

'Two Saiyans and an android... easy for them to run,' Launch huffed in her mind. Only the shred of Saiyan in her blood allowed her to keep up with their speed, and in less than a minute Vegeta entered the doctor's office; if he hadn't ruined the door earlier, he would have done it this time.

“Where is she.” Vegeta demanded, noticing the empty examination table.

“I-I,” the doctor stuttered for a moment before he gained his wits. Four people had just busted into his office... what was with business today? “I sent her body to the sanctuary. You told me to take care of her, Sir...” Vegeta just nodded and continued his quest for Bulma, trailing the other three.

“Where did they send her?” Trunks asked Eighteen as they followed the King; the woman just looked at him, stoic face, and continued on. She didn't know why she cared to follow these people, but the thought of the Dragonballs actually working was too much of a mystery for her not to investigate. Her hand touched the Dragonball radar stowed in her arm; this thing could pose useful in the years to come...

The doors of the sanctuary opened as they reached them, revealing Goku and Gohan trailing a hovering gurney behind them. “Where is my mother?” Trunks was tired of running around the castle on this seemingly wild goose chase; the palace was too large for such time wasting behavior. His ki began to rise in anger.

Goku stepped up, “We just left her on the alter of the sanctuary a few minutes ago.” He waved his thumb behind him to the doors. Trunks rushed into the sanctuary, not caring that the Dragonballs worked, just (in moments of weakness) wanting to see his mother alive again. He did not yet know his father, but he was beginning to. However, being without his mother on this planet was not the transition he was looking for. “My Lord,” Goku began. “What's all this?” He half motioned to the gang of people with Vegeta, who normally avoided being around more than one person at a time when he could.


Trunks raced down the isle towards the front of the church. He was quite annoyed with the size of the sanctuary, though he might have (under normal circumstances) been impressed with the attention to detail in its elegant design.

“Mom?” Trunks asked, the voice echoed off empty walls.

Now where was she?


Bulma had ultimately woken up in a shocking setting; her mind was fuzzy and the soreness in her head and torso was puzzling.

When she’d opened her eyes, Bulma’s visage was of a dim ‘chapel-like’ area, but after blinking and rubbing her eyes, all began to clear. As she tried to rise from her horizontal position, Bulma barely managed to catch her balance as all she could do was double over in a painful coughing fit. It was as if air was just now filling her lungs after years of not breathing. She huffed, panted, and finally managed to get her breathing in order, but not the pain in her side.

It was a throbbing pain, not severe but more a displeasing pinch. As she sat on edge of the alter, grabbing her side and wondering where exactly she was, Bulma looked down her dress. Now she knew that this had to be a hallucination; the gore that coated her dress was something she'd remember getting on her, especially when she wasn't even wounded... was she? Her hands fingered the small holes in the fabric, admiring the shape of the punctures: perfect circles… 'What kind of tool made these?' She rubbed over her smooth, unbroken skin underneath. It couldn't be her blood, could it?

Bulma cupped her head, not forgetting about the resonating malady which ruled in her cerebrum. She must have bumped it or something. The queen tried to slip lightly off the table, touching her feet to the ground, but the appendages were unable to hold her weight and she swooped to the floor. “Ugh…” She groaned, in a state of pure restlessness as she tried her best to get on two feet.

Once the feeling had come back in her legs, she grounded her hands on the marble flooring and steadied herself upright. “What a sight I must look like,” Bulma mumbled to herself. As she walked to the right, she evaluated that this had to be some kind of sanctuary, the bold surroundings all but exclaiming its function.

“ What the hell is going on with me?” Bulma crossed to the first door she saw: a dark, small, side door to the right of the alter. When she timidly turned the handle, Bulma noticed that it led to an even darker place; she had a few reservations about going in, but when various voices flooded in through what she assumed was the front door a few minutes later, she bolted in fear. Fear of what? She didn't know, but while her brain was rebooting, she suddenly had an image of a man with a voice as deep as her hatred and fear for him. It was an image of a man with a gun; someone she'd been running from.

Bulma followed the wall to an exit that opened to a corridor off of a bright hallway. The overhead lights that flooded into the dim area she occupied brought something back to her... “Atrono, he--” She grabbed her both sides of her head once more – the pain was slowly subsiding now that she was up and about, but there was something on the tip of her tongue, something important.

A flash before her eyes: blood... not just blood, a smeared pool of it.

“That bastard!” Bulma yelled almost at the top of her lungs. 'He... he tried to kill me!' Bulma paced along the corridor, eyes widening by the second. 'Wait, he – Atrono did kill me!' Bulma shook her head in disgust; she wasn't able to totally recall everything that happened whenever it did. But if her memory served her, if she remembered dying, then why was she alive now?

By the time Bulma headed towards the docks, she had gotten a good chunk of her memory back; they say when you have a traumatic experience you block it out and there's a small chance you'll never regain your memory. This was not one of those times. And even if she couldn't remember anything up to this point, the sight of her own blood on the hall floor would have been enough to bring things into perspective again. Yep, there was no way she could have survived losing the amount of blood that coated the floor.

'Why haven't they cleaned this up yet?!' The queen couldn't help but feel a little offended at the thought.


“I need a weapon; I need a weapon,” Bulma mumbled as she headed towards her destination. Anything would do, so long as it was effective. Something sharp, pointy at one end – heck even something blunt would do the trick if she was given the chance to drive it into Atrono's chest. And she knew just where she could easily get her hands on something lethal.

The entrance to the docking area had doors that were large, heavy, and thick enough to knock out the modulation that never seemed to cease in the open encasement. The newly risen Queen headed towards the docks knowing that there multiple people in that room that were usually heavily armed.

As she entered, Yamcha had to double take at her appearance. “What's happened to you, Bulma?” he motioned towards the bloodstains and holes in her dress – not to mention the less than flattering sanguine in her hair.

“It's really a long story; right now, I just need a weapon.” Yamcha's eyebrows shot up behind his bangs.

“Um, I'll go see what I can find.” He walked off mumbling something along the lines of, 'I don't think I want to know, but I'm sure I'll find out sooner or later anyway.'

Bulma crossed her fingers that he would make haste in the matter; Trunks was with his father, so Bulma knew that he would be fine, but she wanted to be able to protect him, and keep herself from getting killed this time. And if that meant killing him first, she was all up for it. It was just a matter of time before he did something incredibly stupid. She suddenly spied a space craft that she recognized as Atrono's. It was quite fast, no wonder they managed to get to Vegeta-sei in just a few hours. Bulma noticed some movement within it out of the corner of her eye.

Someone was in the ship; Bulma just hoped it was her husband.

When Yamcha returned with some very unfamiliar weapon, she grabbed it and bolted towards the ship. Marco, who had seen her coming from the distance, tried to climb out of the ship and escape her wrath before she could reach it, but alas, it was futile. The Queen grabbed onto the collar of his uniform and jerked him back.

“Hi, Marco. It's so lovely to see you again,” Bulma smiled in an unsavoredly (yet almost sweet) way. She tugged him back to her again almost choking him in the process. “Now, where is my husband?”

Marco shook his head, “I don't know, My Lady. He just told me to wait with the ship and that he would be back with Trunks.” She placed the weapon against his side, hoping that she was using it the correct way. By the way Yamcha was looking at her, probably not. But she'd figure it out eventually.

“Did he say anything about killing me?” Bulma asked fervently in his ear. He whimpered and shook his head, drawing even more attention to the two of them from workers in the area. Yamcha just turned another cheek and went back to work. He would almost feel sorry for what Bulma was probably going to do to the young boy, but knowing that woman... the boy probably deserved it in some way or another. He just pulled his mask down and begin welding again.

“Well, we're going to find him then, aren't we?” And slowly she navigated him to the doors, weapon still pressed to him. She didn't want to kill Marco; he was about Lynna's age and had no business doing any of Atrono's bidding, but if he resisted too much, Bulma wouldn't put it past herself to use force.

If she could just casually figure out how this stupid gun worked.


Atrono skulked along the edged of the walls, poised for an attack around every corner. He had no idea how he was going to find the brat, but taking the boy back with him was going to be his final act of vengeance against Bulma and this wretched planet.

As a King, Atrono was used to being obeyed in every sense of the word – but with Bulma's betrayal, he was forced to set an example with her death.

And he was right to be on his guard for he was currently the most wanted man in this building. He made his way slowly through the palace, winding and weaving through it's maze-like twist and turns. He had his gun reloaded and pointed out in front of him, looking every which way around him. It wasn't that he was too careful, but more weary than anything, weary of what King Vegeta was capable.

He'd heard of how brutal the Saiyan race could be.


“She's not here,” Trunks moaned. His father had entered with Goku and the others shortly after he'd discovered an empty sanctuary.

'Bulma, where the hell are you?' Vegeta growled to himself. She had to know that he was worried about her; why wasn't she staying in once place waiting for him to come find her? He couldn't even feel her ki yet, but he was certain it would appear soon enough. Was she looking for him as well or --

“Everyone, split up and search the entire castle! I want her found!” Goku sensed the alarm in his voice and threw a worried glance towards his friend. “Ugh, do I have to spell it out for you? That woman is so stubborn that she would just have to go out after that idiot Atrono by herself! If she gets herself killed this time, it's going to be years before the Dragonballs regenerate and we might never get to see her alive again.” Launch wondered how Vegeta knew so much about the Dragonballs but instead paused to think about Bulma's actions. It made perfect sense to the entire congregation, for it was in Bulma's nature to take matters into her own hands.

Launch stood in the back of the church away from the others; she'd helped Bulma enough already, and even then it hurt to see Vegeta so concerned about someone else. Why her? Why Bulma, Launch had been on Vegeta-sei the entire time, and that woman just comes waltzing in on a visit and suddenly he's in love with her?

The blue-haired girl sulked out the front doors unnoticed by the others. Forget Vegeta, forget Bulma, even forget Eighteen; they weren't looking out for her. She was leaving, destined somewhere far away from all these people. Launch had no home, save Vegeta-sei, but if she was always going to be second best to Bulma, then it seemed there wasn't much of a choice in her case.

The maiden walked down the hall, hoping secretly that they did eventually find Bulma before Atrono did, but she vowed not to have a hand in it if she could so choose. Unfortunately, Launch was in the wrong place at the wrong time for such a vow to be made. A rustle of colliding voices threw Launch back behind the corner she was about to turn and suddenly peeked out to see the very object of her chagrin. In her reverie, Launch had seemingly stumbled upon Bulma holding a blaster the wrong way against a poor teenage boy's side as they walked away from the shipping area. Most of the things Bulma asked the boy were about her soon-to-be ex-husband; at least, Launch assumed they wouldn't be able to patch things up after this...

It seemed Vegeta had been correct; Bulma's first waking thought had been to go after the man that took her life.

Launch scoffed; the woman was either really smart or really stupid. She might have normally ducked behind the corner wall to avoid being spotted by the queen; instead she walked out into full view.

For a moment, Bulma didn't seem to notice Launch standing there, for Marco's head was in the way. But Launch was finally greeted with the Queen’s scowl. “Now, who let you out of your cage, Launch?”

“Your son, as a matter of fact.” That was obviously not what Bulma was expecting to hear. All she could do was frown deeper and attempt to walk past. “Is that any way to treat someone who helped bring you back to life?”

Bulma instantly got the reference to the Dragonballs and her hand flew from her grip on Marco’s arm to the pocket on the inside of her dress – at least there used to be a pocket there… now it was just hanging open, ripped from the seams by the bullets that tore her dress. “You stole—“

“Oh relax; I stole nothing from you. It’s that boy of yours; he’s brilliant just like his mother I suppose. He busted me out of jail because he knew that I had information about the Dragonballs and then we both used them to bring you back to life.”

Launch, finally tiring of watching Bulma hold the gun wrong, approached the girl and motioned towards it. The girl’s grip on the weapon tightened – not taking any chances as her once rival reached for it.

“Don’t flatter yourself; if I wanted you dead, I would never have helped summon the Dragon in the first place. And I can’t think of any reason why I would possibly want you as a hostage.” Launch grabbed the blaster and faced it the correct way in Bulma’s hand. Marco sweatdropped; it figured, the perfect time to get away had passed – and it was all his fault for assuming Queen Bulma know how to wield the damn thing…

Bulma shot Launch a look, which the other girl gladly returned. Although Bulma was glad she could now use the weapon in her possession, she was equally angered that Launch was the one who had corrected to mistake.


Atrono would gladly admit to anyone that he was completely lost if they might just show him the way back to the docking area. But the King didn’t see that kind of courtesy being bestowed around here on someone like him. Unfortunately, he had realized much too late that with his killing Bulma, the famed King Vegeta would eventually show himself and that Atrono probably could have waited at the ship. It was too much trouble to have to search out the boy himself when the only person standing in his way would come straight to him.

He cocked his gun once more, checking to charge to make sure it was ready to fire at a moment’s notice. The King of Vegeta-sei, it was rumored, had some kind of crazy, magic powers, “but he’s no match for a speeding bullet through his heart, I’d wager.”

All in all, Atrono couldn’t much figure out where this seed of malice planted in his veins had come from. He was normally a very passive man, but that was probably the reason that Bulma sought out Vegeta in the first place… that is if she was the one who originally did the seeking. Of that fact, he could not be sure. The shock of her estrangement had been enough to tear him apart inside, let alone the anger that had fueled his willpower from finding out that Trunks was not his own flesh and blood. He had loved Bulma, and she had hurt him. So the only way that he could seek retribution for his own heart was to hurt her as well. Emotionally, he had meant from the beginning, but the coldness of her eyes over the tele-com as well as their defiance when held at gunpoint had driven him to just pull the trigger.

He had become something that he was not, something he didn’t recognize. And now it was kill or be killed; he wasn’t going to be safe until Trunks and he were back home.

He turned around and retraced his steps back towards his ship hoping that Marco hadn’t been stupid enough to get caught.


“My Queen, you have a weapon and my word – I will not try to escape. You’re starting to cut off circulation!” Bulma finally let him go, tired of his badgering. But she was careful enough to keep the gun on him should he try to run in the few seconds after she let him go. Launch looked at the dark-haired wide eyed boy standing between them so perfectly tall and awkwardly lanky for such a teenager. How had someone like him become Atrono's right hand person? Launch would only assume that it was due to the King's lack of common sense in picking a useful economics advisor.

“Just where exactly were you headed, Bulma? Even you should know that Vegeta has been scouring the entire castle for you.” The matriarch looked puzzled; could he not just track her by her ki? Bulma didn't exactly know how that worked, but he'd always done it in the past. Launch expected her companion's expression, “Even standing that close to you, my Saiyan senses can usually pick up anyone's signal; but I can barely register you. It must have something to do with Shenlong and the mystery of the Dragonballs. You were regenerated instantly, but it seems that details like that are coming back more slowly.”

While Launch pondered her enigma, Bulma wondered for the first time what exactly she was going to do when she found Atrono. Could she kill her husband? Was it in her blood to kill anyone, especially someone she'd shared how many years of her life with? Vegeta would-- that circumstance was indisputable. As much as she now had a deep loathing for him, Bulma couldn't see herself actually taking Atrono's life like he had stolen hers.

However, could Bulma, in all good conscience, let Vegeta kill him?

Would she even have a choice in the matter?

She didn't really know. It all depended on the time and place that they had their inevitable encounter. He husband-- Hey, she was dead as far as he knew, and if he died... either way she was technically no longer married to him. Launch just stared at the Queen's grinning face for a minute, slight abhorrence on her own, 'Humans.'

“Let's go, your highness. If we're going to find Atrono then we'd better start searching, for it'll take forever to scour even just the public parts of this fortress.” Marco began to follow Launch, careful to not make any sudden movements as to not get shot.

“And why do you suddenly feel the need to help me out?” Bulma strode alongside her would-be friend who just shrugged at the question.

“I really don't know. I should hate you, but I just don't think I have it in my anymore. I'm a bitch, and I think I will always be one to everyone who gets in my way. I'd like to think that was one of my better qualities, guess I can't be the judge. But I can no longer fight with you over someone when he just doesn't care for me.” The long-haired nomad stared ahead during her confession until she slightly turned her head to see Bulma smiling with some kind of look on her face. She kept walking, “This doesn't mean we're friends, you know!” And she sped ahead of the other two, a blush on her face.

'Whatever you say...' Bulma kept smirking. If everything worked out in her favor, she had an idea for Launch.


Bulma kept walking, her mind turning to Vegeta; was he looking for her, as Launch said? It didn't seem like it would be that hard to find her, but she was always on the move and Bulma never realized just how big the mansion was. 'Vegeta...Even you should be able to find me without feeling my ki. We're mates, remember?'

“There!” Vegeta pointed to another part of the palace. “I felt her ki flare up for a second.”

Trunks and Goku both turned to Vegeta. “You mean it's gone now?” the dark-haired man asked. Goku couldn't imagine a ki signal that was there one moment and vanished another. How the Dragon had risen Bulma, he would always wonder. What eternal power must have been required: one so large that Goku could barely fathom.

“ Yes, it's gone, yet it wa s there long enough for me to notice it. It's slightly changed, different than it used to be, but I know it's her. Vegeta sniffed the air again, closed his eyes, and thought that if he concentrated on it enough it might appear again. Alas, it was no use.

“Let's head towards it. Mom's likely to be on the move, and she can usually get herself into trouble easily. You said it was towards North Wing, right?”Trunks ran down the corridor ahead of the other two, almost bounding off the walls from his speed.

'He's quite head strong, like his dad, and he's completely brilliant like his mother. Trunks is going to make an excellent King someday.'

Bulma just kept thinking about her love, her King, 'Where the hell are you?' Forget tender thoughts for your man, she was a little ticked that he hadn't tracked her down by then. Her eyebrow twitched a little.

“It's back, quite stronger this time. Her ki's almost burning my senses.” Vegeta felt confused for a moment.

“Bulma! I felt your ki! But it's not so powerful now, and I'm standing close to you.” Launch stopped walking altogether. “What were you just thinking about?”

“Um,” Bulma blushed. Launch wasn't sure she wanted to know. “Well, I was just thinking about Vegeta – I was a little mad for a second that he hasn't found me by now.”

“There it was again.” Launch had felt it, that was for sure. And her Saiyan blood was so diluted that she wasn't able to track ki very easily and over large distances, so for Bulma to be able to project so loudly was new progress. “Talk about Vegeta.”

“O-kay... Well, he's kinda short, has weird hair, and is King--”

“No, it's not doing the same thing. What else?”

“He's sweet, but temperamental at times. He treats me like I'm a piece of glass, and I think he resents me a little for not telling him about Trunks sooner. He's a hardhead--”

“There it is!” Launch all but yelled. Was her ki getting stronger as she let out steam? No, it was only talking about Vegeta. The mating bond between them was something Launch could comprehend, but there were obviously some other perks as well. “Keep going!”

Vegeta suddenly bolted in front of Goku and Trunks, who looked at each other before running after him. He could feel it now, powerful as it was. She was there, not far in front of him, only a few more hallways to go and she would be once again in his sight: living, breathing, as beautiful as smart.

But he skidded to a stop. There were two hallways front of him. Bulma was down one.... but the other held a scent that he recognized all too well.


“Keep heading down there, you'll see Bulma soon enough. I smell a rat down this one.”

“Atrono's down there?” Goku asked. Vegeta nodded.

“But if he's down there, I want to go with you.”

“No, son. Go take care of your mother. Find me later.” At Trunks' face he said, “That's an order.”


Tsuyoku: I'm going to end it here, but chapter ten's going to be up in no time. I know what's going to happen, and I believe that ten is going to be the last actual chapter, but I'm going to make an epilogue. Hope to get some reviews on this one, let me know what you think. It's a long chapter, and a bunch of little things happen, which is why I'm happy to go ahead and post it. As the story is coming along (and approaching an end) I'd like to go ahead and 'pre-thank' all my readers and reviewers for all their encouragement and support. R&R, and I'll be glad to update! ^.^