Dragon Ball/Z/GT Fan Fiction ❯ Touketsu ❯ Two-Headed Monsters ( Chapter 22 )
The four traveled through the night. Even when not in the throes of the berserker rage that gave a Super Saiyan Goku a run for his money, Touketsu proved to be preternaturally fast. Jogging and sliding downhill while preferring to go uphill on all fours, he moved through the deep snow with ease as he kept up with the others' flight. He briefly considered attempting another portal to the last Dragon Ball. He had success creating one back on the jet after all, though he wasn't sure how he had accomplished it. He quickly dismissed the notion. The others would likely come to check on his progress as soon as he fell behind. He pressed on. If he closed the distance to where the orb was it may in fact be easier to create a conduit to it.
As he traveled on foot he came across more and more pieces of the destroyed hover jet. Eventually, off to his left, one of the wings came into view. As he approached it, he very quickly slowed down until coming to a stop completely. He stood tall, his eyes never leaving the destroyed turbine engine attached to the wing. Cautiously, he approached.
Bulma had been frequently looking over her shoulder, checking in on Touketsu's progress. He was suddenly quickly being left behind. She knit her brow in confusion. Why is he just standing there? "Hey - Yamcha, stop a minute."
Bulma pointed over his shoulder. "Vegeta's not moving. He's looking at something - I want to check in with him."
Yamcha hesitated for only a moment before calling over to Goku, signaling him to go back and descend to where Touketsu was now standing.
Touketsu's red eyes flashed in the darkness, reflecting the meager light to make his surroundings appear clear as day to him. The turbine blades were all but shattered. He reached out, gingerly running his fingers over the surface of their remains.
Shit. His brow knitted in consternation. And here he thought they were exterminated. Goku, Yamcha, and Bulma touched down behind him while he continued to stare at his discovery. Bulma jogged up to him.
"Vegeta? What is it?" She asked.
Touketsu straightened and pointed at what remained of the ice-coated turbine blades. "It was the Kagemazoku. They brought the aircraft down."
"Damnit," Goku cursed softly as he strode up. "We hadn't seen any sign of them for so long. I thought we got rid of them all.
"Why didn't we see them?" Bulma questioned.
"Yeah," Yamcha agreed as he came to stand next to Bulma. "And from what I've seen, they can quickly cover whole objects with this stuff. Why didn't that happen with the jet?"
"Hm. I didn't think they were capable of flight," Goku muttered, scratching the back of his head. "They could crawl up the tallest buildings but I haven't seen anything like this from them yet. They can affect the weather a bit. I've seen how they can make storm clouds appear and drop the temperature. Maybe that's what they did? Or do you think they were hiding on the jet the whole time?" Goku asked, turning to Touketsu.
Touketsu's eyes appeared distant as he tried to come up with an explanation himself. Finally, he gave a short shake of his head. "I'm not sure. They've always attacked head on, but they are without Zhernobog. Without him they're weakened." He looked back to Goku. "According to you and your people they were eliminated."
"Well we thought that, but we knew it was possible that some had escaped."
Touketsu mused. "Perhaps there was a handful that was regrouping…strategizing. It would explain why we haven't seen any sign of them until now."
"You think they've been stalking us?" Bulma asked. "But…why wait to attack now?
No one had an answer.
Touketsu finally broke the silence. "Bah, to hell with them," he growled with an impatient wave of his hand. "Let's get on with it already. I'd rather we find that last Dragon Ball before we have to deal with them again."
The four resumed their travel. Down below, Touketsu was preoccupied with his thoughts as he bounded through the snow. He refused to reveal his concern to the others, but truth be told, his anxiety over another possible confrontation with the Kagemazoku was mounting. What if he couldn't summon the power that had ended Zhernobog? His overconfidence following the discovery of his abilities nearly led to his downfall, as Frieza painfully reminded him. Ever since then, his ability to summon his power on command had been unpredictable at best.
Before long the destroyed fuselage came into view. Goku and Yamcha, with Bulma in his arms, touched down by the wreckage, Touketsu following up moments later. The clouds had since rolled in, obscuring the light of the nearly full moon and making it difficult to see. Bulma pulled her flashlight out, its beam of light reflecting off the falling snow. Goku and Yamcha flared their ki, both to stay warm and to create more light.
"All right, I'll see if I can put something together. Let's check out the GPS first and confirm whether or not it's working," Bulma announced. Goku and Yamcha filed in after her as she made her way to the console in front of the pilot seat. Touketsu however remained rooted where he was, his eyes fixed to a spot on the floor near the co-pilot seat. Slowly he walked towards it before kneeling to the floor. His features tensed.
That black ice again. Dread settled into the pit of his stomach. He looked up, following the ice as it appeared to have spidered out from its source on the floor. One of the trails of ice lead like a path to under the control console and in between the narrowest fissures where the metal was welded together. Touketsu narrowed his eyes. It looked as though it had creeped through to the exterior of the hoverjet. It would explain why the turbines were in the state they were in.
All right then. The Kagemazoku still existed but they must have been profoundly weakened; they kept to formless shadows typically when weakened or injured. With Zhernobog gone it made perfect sense. Still, they must have had SOME strength left to have done this.
Touketsu mused to himself. There had still been many Kagemazoku out there when he had dispatched Zhernobog. Doubtless they had continued their attacks on the cities, feeding upon their victims and recovering some of their energy to a degree. But then, the Super Saiyans had been steadily taking them down. Whatever energy the Kagemazoku had replenished could not have been significant. Touketsu's eyes lingered on the black ice. They may have been conserving their strength before enacting this strike. He was getting the unsettling feeling that they were being stalked like prey….
His head snapped up when he heard the sound of squealing metal to his left. He released his breath; it was just the two buffoons tearing apart the jet's dashboard.
"Thanks guys, I'm sure I can work with what I find here," Bulma said as she pulled off her gloves and set to dismantling the dashboard's inner workings. Let me see if I can do anything with this GPS. Hmmm."
Touketsu stood up, crossing his arms and watching the trio. Goku extinguished his ki and held the flashlight for her, opting to conserve his energy. Yamcha was crouched down next to her, ready to assist. "What do you think?" he asked. "Can you work with this?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I think so." Bulma took her toolkit out and set to work. Her hands moved deftly, rewiring and soldering the pieces as she created her makeshift radar. Touketu watched from behind, marveling at her skill. She began to slow and finally set down her work, clenching and unclenching her hands."Ugh, my hands are getting so cold," she hissed, wincing in pain. "It's getting hard to move my fingers anymore."
Touketsu uncrossed his arms and took a step forward, suddenly feeling a pull to assist her. Yamcha quickly took her hands in his and gently flared his ki around them. Bulma sighed in relief and smiled up at her ex. "Thanks Yamcha. That helps a lot."
Yamcha smiled back as he rubbed her hands. "Anytime, babe. Take as long as you need to warm up, I'm here for you."
"Maybe just a little longer?" she chuckled.
He smiled warmly. "Sure."
Behind them, Touketsu stood rigid. His hands curled into fists. He couldn't channel this life force, this ki energy that the others did so effortlessly. His icy hands could never give her what she needed. He watched the two for a few moments, a mixture of jealousy and rejection lancing through his heart. Finally, he stiffly turned and stalked out of the fuselage.
Yamcha noticed him leaving out of the corner of his eye. He looked up a little, his eyes following the demon as he strode out and around the corner out of sight. His eyes narrowed suspiciously. What was that creature up to?
Bulma's voice cut through his train of thought. "Ok, Yamcha, I'd better get back to it. The sooner I get this thing put together the sooner we can get the last Dragon Ball. Then we can get out of this cold," she chuckled. "Thank you."
"Sure thing, Bulma," he smiled, patting her hand. He stood up. "I'm uh, going to poke around and see if I can find anything else we can use," he said, motioning outside. "There's a lot of debris out there. Maybe there's a few capsules out there too."
Outside, the snow continued to fall. Touketsu stood with his arms crossed, his back leaning up against the destroyed hover jet as he glared out at the snow capped mountain range spreading out before him. He swallowed, perplexed why he was getting that strange, tight feeling in his throat again. Fuck all of them, he snarled inwardly. He rubbed his face before crossing his arms again, shifting his focus on the Dragon Ball.
He had no doubt that the skilled female could put together this tracking device she spoke of. They were very close to obtaining the last of the magical orbs. Nodding to himself, he straightened and held his right hand out before him. There won't be a better time. If I can create a portal again and get this last orb before they do, I could gain some leverage. Touketsu suddenly stiffened, his nose wrinkling in disgust. He scowled and dropped his arm. "Human," he ground out derisively.
"Touketsu," Yamcha replied evenly. He had rounded the corner while looking for the demon and was now standing adjacent to him 6 feet away.
"Hn. At least one of you fools has the sense to remember my name," he sneered, crossing his arms and dropping back against the fuselage.
"Well you seem to prefer it, and I'm not looking to pick a fight," Yamcha responded carefully. He tried to act casual. "So uh, watcha' doin' out here?"
"I WAS enjoying the fresh air…then you showed up."
"Yeah? And practicing that technique of yours?" Touketsu's tapered tail coiled and lashed in agitation. "Pretty cool ability. Until now Goku was the only one that could use teleportation." Touketsu remained rigid, his teeth grinding together as he glared out at the mountains. After several moments Yamcha turned, following Touketsu's gaze out at the view ahead. He shoved his hands in his pockets and changed the subject. "So why is it you wanted to join Bulma on this Dragon Ball hunt?"
"Is your memory that poor?" Touketsu sneered, flicking his gaze to Yamcha for a moment. I came to ensure her safety in the event that we run into the Kagemazoku. Obviously they are still out there, and Goku and I have been the only ones with the power to bring them down.
"There's nothing at all you want to wish from the Dragon Balls?"
"No," Touketsu lied. "The woman thinks she can wish me back into my previous incarnation. She may be right. The better question is why are YOU here?" Touketsu queried, turning his head a little in Yamcha's direction. He looked back out to the mountains ahead. "Your power is useless against the Kagemazoku."
Yamcha looked over to him. "I can use my power on command, and it's enough to get Bulma out of harm's way. That's why I'm here," he replied bluntly. Touketsu's eyes flared as he again dug his nails into his biceps. Otherwise, he didn't move.
Yamcha studied Touketsu's profile shrewdly for a moment. "Didn't think you were interested in becoming Vegeta again, seeing as how you get so pissed off when anyone calls you by your old name." Touketsu remained silent, and Yamcha followed his line of sight back out to the Imoy Mountain Range. He pulled his hands out of his pockets and likewise crossed his arms, casually leaning up against the fuselage. "You know, this is where we last knew of your whereabouts."
"Yes, the female told me all about the riveting tale," Touketsu drawled. He snorted bitterly. "You "were there for her", as she put it."
Yamcha scowled and looked back to Touketsu. "Well someone had to be," he said coldly, "You walked out on her. You walked out on your son."
Touketsu's eyes narrowed. "You're certain that's what Vegeta did?"
Yamcha felt his anger rising. He uncrossed his arms and turned to face Touketsu."Yeah. Yeah I am," he answered, his tone challenging. Touketsu picked up on it and finally turned to face Yamcha, mirroring his posture. "You took off all the time. I don't think you ever really accepted having a family. You didn't know how good you had it," Yamcha growled, shaking his head. He couldn't help himself when he bitterly added, "Bulma deserved better than what she got."
Touketsu cocked an eyebrow. "Someone like you, perhaps?"
"There are other guys than just me, Touketsu. I just want her to be happy."
Touketsu scoffed in disbelief. "How altruistic. So that's why you're still trailing after her. You want her to be safe, you want her to be happy." His eyes narrowed. "It isn't at all because you want to fuck her."
Yamcha's eyes flared and he took a step forward. "I'm not some animal," he said pointedly, looking Touketsu up and down. Touketsu growled low in his throat. "Not everyone thinks like you-"
"Yes they do. They just won't admit it to themselves."
Yamcha seethed, on the brink of punching this demon in the face. "You don't know how the world works, and you don't know me. You don't even know yourself." He took another step forward. "But I do."
Touketsu continued to stare him down, also taking a step towards the other. They were now two feet apart.
Yamcha's old resentments began to stir from their long slumber. "You were always an untrustworthy, power-hungry, murderous son of a bitch," he hissed, venom lacing his words. "You came to Earth intent on killing us all, and somehow, Bulma looked past all that. You didn't deserve her love but she still gave it to you. I respected her decision and stepped back because I actually wanted her to be happy, just like I do now. I didn't trust you then, before you settled down with Bulma. And I'm going to be straight with you when I say that I don't trust you now. I don't believe that you're not still in league with those things." He took another step. One foot apart now. "So if you try anything, I'm going to stop you. You were once one of the most powerful beings on this planet…but that was then, and this is now."
With a snarl Touketsu grabbed Yamcha and slammed his back up against the exterior of the hover jet before burying his forearm against his throat. Touketsu sneered hatefully into the other's face, his skin darkening for a split second when his expression suddenly faltered. He glanced down to see Yamcha's palm outstretched over his stomach, a ball of deadly ki hovering a centimeter over it.
His head shot back up to Yamcha's. They stared each other down for several moments before Touketsu reluctantly withdrew. Yamcha straightened and kept the glowing ball of ki trained exactly where it was. Touketsu stiffened when the searing heat of the energy hovering just over his abdomen increased. He angrily stared straight ahead, shoulders squared, as Yamcha leaned in close to glare at his profile.
"I don't know what happened to you, but you made your choice," Yamcha spoke, his voice low. "You made your choice when you walked out of their lives. Now you drift back a year later, haunting them like some ghost and bringing this darkness with you? Keep practicing that technique of yours. Wherever it is you and those things came from, you should go back. Step back like I did years ago, and let Bulma and Trunks get on with their lives. If you care about them at all, you'll do that."
Touketsu hesitated, his brows drawing together. "…I don't care," he whispered hoarsely. He winced noticeably when the ball of ki grew brighter still as the gathering energy burned him to the point of being painful.
"All right. You don't care. I believe you," Yamcha told him calmly as he watched Touketsu's stoic facade begin to crack. "Now believe me when I tell you this: if you hurt her again…If you attack her, or her son, or any of our friends again…I'll kill you. Understand?"
Shaking now in both rage and trepidation, Touketsu barely managed a stiff nod as he continued to stare at the hoverjet exterior. Yamcha at last extinguished the ball of ki. He roughly bumped Touketsu in the shoulder and stalked away back to the others.
Touketsu stood unmoving, trembled in fury. His fists were clenched so tightly that his claws had punctured the skin, the blood dripping between his tightly curled fingers to fall into the snow. Without being aware of it, his skin began to darken, and a pulse of dark energy laced through his arms and into the center of his chest. It pulsed again, and its tempo began to increase.
"Do not underestimate your enemies. If you find yourself locked in battle with one stronger than you - for example, Goku - then you'll have to use your wits, not your strength in order to defeat him. For if you're killed in battle, then you will fail in the assignment I've given you. Your soul will be sent straight here - where I'll be waiting for you."
Frieza's warning tempered his murderous thoughts, and the energy waned before disappearing altogether, his skin again becoming as white as the snow he stood in. He was outclassed by that scar-faced bastard, and the thought was absolutely maddening. By the gods he wanted to kill him, but he couldn't give in to that emotional animal inside that had nearly brought him to ruin time and again. Goku may have been far stronger than that Yamcha guy, but it was Yamcha that wouldn't hesitate to kill him. He would die for sure if he faced the other head-on.
If he was going to successfully steal these Dragon Balls he would have to come up with a strategy, and soon. He glared off in the direction that the scar faced fighter had left as he struggled to get his breathing back under control, the blood practically streaming now from his tightly clenched fists. There were two things he knew for certain: One, power was everything. And two, the scar-faced fighter would be the first to die, and he was going to enjoy it.
Yamcha trudged briskly through the snow, extremely nervous about turning his back on the demonic Vegeta. He finally rounded the corner and entered the fuselage, letting out a shaky breath. He raked a gloved hand through his hair. The confrontation had left him on edge, but he couldn't deny how empowering it felt to finally intimidate that son of a bitch.
"Yamcha, everything ok?" Bulma asked, capturing Yamcha's attention. Both she and Goku had been startled by the sound of something being slammed up against the fuselage outside, and Goku was well aware of the slight energy increases that had followed.
Yamcha sighed, and walked over to them. "Look, Bulma, Goku, we've got to keep an eye on him." He saw the exasperation on Bulma's face even as the words left his mouth. Goku scratched the back of his head, feeling awkward. "He's acting suspicious. We can only go by his word that he's not working with these things anymore, and I don't believe he's not. Bulma, I know you don't want to hear this, but…LOOK at him for God's sake. I mean, really look at him. He's changed."
"I know that, Yamcha. What is it do you think I'm trying to do right now? I'm trying to get my husband back. If Shenron has enough power left to reverse whatever's happened to him, then I'm going to make that wish."
"You sure you'll get that chance? What would the old Vegeta have done, knowing we're only one Dragon Ball away from summoning Shenron? You don't think he'd want those wishes for himself?"
"…He's not the old Vegeta-"
"He may as well be! He doesn't remember you, or Trunks, or any of his time on Earth."
"I get why you're concerned, Yamcha," Goku said good-naturedly, "But I've been monitoring him, and he hasn't done anything wrong-"
"Nothing wrong?!" Yamcha exclaimed. He hurt Bulma back at the Lookout, he attacked our friends - hell, he attacked ME just a minute ago! He slammed me up against-"
"Were you antagonizing him, Yamcha?" Bulma cut in.
Yamcha faltered. "I…Bulma, he just up and left! I didn't know what he was up to!" he sputtered defensively. "I just went out and gave him a warning-"
"Geez, Yamcha!" Bulma exlaimed. "Vegeta on his best day doesn't take well to threats, you know that!"
"I didn't do a thing to him! HE attacked ME!"
Bulma planted on a hand on her hip, looking him up and down. "You look ok to me. If you had walked up to him and threatened him a year ago he would have sent you to the hospital, and you know it."
Yamcha cringed. If he had ever strolled onto Capsule Corp and called Vegeta weak to his face then he would have suffered a broken nose at the absolute best, a full body cast at worst. Vegeta wouldn't have killed him though - and his family would have been the only reason. He still believed with every fiber of his being that this beast-like version of the Saiyan prince had no attachments to them whatsoever, and he had no doubt that Touketsu would kill him if he could.
Goku interjected. "Yamcha…we have to give him a chance. We have to give his family a chance. Bulma and Trunks - they want their husband and dad back, can't you see that?" he implored. "We HAVE to try!"
Yamcha looked to Bulma and his expression softened. He backed down and sighed. "All right. Just…just be on alert, ok?"
We will, Yamcha," Goku nodded.
Bulma changed the subject, and held up the radar she had put together. "This thing seems to be working. Let's step outside and run it." It was clunky and wires were hanging off of it, but it was on and appeared to be working. They stepped outside, and Bulma looked around for Touketsu. She noted the footprints leading over to the side. "Hang on, I'll go get him." Yamcha had to restrain himself from going after her.
Bulma rounded the side to find Touketsu standing with his back to her. Her shoulders sagged as she took in that familiar, defensive, rigid posture. Damn it, Yamcha. "Hey you. I got this thing put together and it looks like it's working. The signal is spotty but I can tell the general direction of where we need to go. It's somewhere on Mount Eroso, right behind us," she gestured to the mountain peak behind, though Touketsu wasn't looking. "The closer we get to it the better the reading will be."
He didn't answer her. His fists were clenched and the muscles of his back were bunched up with tension.
"Vegeta?" She slowly stepped up to him and gently put a hand on his upper back. When he didn't react she let her hand trail down his arm to take his hand. She glanced down, noticing the dark blood between his fingers. She chose not to prod him about it, instead taking his hand in hers as he exhaled through his nose. She gave him a gentle tug. "Come on, let's get going," she said softly.
He roughly jerked his hand out of her grasp, and without so much as a glance her way he turned and trudged back around the corner. Bulma sighed and followed after him.
Touketsu seethed to himself. He couldn't afford to be distracted anymore: not by the woman, not the boy, not his emotions, nothing. He had to obtain his objective, no matter the cost. They rounded the corner and Touketsu stopped dead in his tracks, his eyes flashing when he saw Yamcha and Goku there.
Not taking his eyes off Yamcha, Touketsu turned his head slightly in Bulma's direction when she stopped just behind him. "Woman. You said the Dragon Ball is somewhere on that mountain ahead of us, correct?"
"Yeah, That's right. We'll have to fly - oh. Uh…"
He snapped his head in her direction, the fury on his face barely contained. "Let's just get a move on already, shall we?" he snapped. He looked back to Goku and Yamcha. He tipped his head and swept an arm outward in sarcastic invitation. "Lead the way," he sneered.
Bulma didn't miss the subtle change that had come over him. Right now, he reminded her quite a bit of the unhinged alien she had first come face to face with on Namek. It wasn't an observation that gave her any comfort. Bulma was so absorbed in her thoughts she didn't even notice when Yamcha walked over and scooped her up, his eyes on Touketsu.
Yamcha looked to Goku. "Let's go."
Goku, Yamcha, and Bulma made their ascent up Mt. Eroso. Touketsu bounded up after them on all fours, leaping up and across mountain ledges and at one point startling a small herd of mountain goats. As they approached the summit they broke through the cloud cover, the sky above clear once more. Before long Goku and Yamcha touched down on a broad ledge, Touketsu leaping up onto it behind them moments later.
The icy winds were much colder at this altitude as it whipped their hair about. The nearly full moon hovered high in the sky just in front of them, casting short blue shadows across the scintillating, opalescent snow. Bulma hopped down out of Yamcha's arms as she glanced back down at the radar.
"According to this it's straight ahead," Bulma announced looking up and towards the short cliff face ahead of them. The ledge spread out before them, leading to the side of the mountain which was pockmarked with narrow caverns. She strode purposefully towards the mountainside, stopping before one of the caverns.
Goku took a step towards Bulma while Touketsu remained where he was. "You know Bulma, a small ki blast and I could probably knock it right outta there," he offered.
"I'm sure you could, Goku, but I really don't want to cause an avalanche right now," Bulma muttered as she removed the knapsack containing the Dragon Balls. She pulled a flashlight out before extending the bag towards Yamcha. It was going to be a tight squeeze. "Here, Yamcha, can you take these please?" Yamcha strode up and took the knapsack while Bulma turned and began squeezing her way through. He remained where he was, anxiously watching her progress.
"Can you see well enough in there? You never know, there could be a drop."
"Yep, I'm good."
Touketsu's mind raced. He would stick to his plan and take the scar-faced one out first; Goku, while stronger, was soft-hearted and more likely to hesitate attacking. Yamcha's back was to him; if he moved fast and struck a vital area while his guard was down, he could take him out, grab the bag, and corner the woman. He'd use her as leverage against the Saiyan then force them to summon the dragon and make his wishes. With Frieza revived they could probably finish off Goku together. Probably. But, he had to wait for her to retrieve the thing first; The space where it resided was far too small for him to fit through and get it himself. He had the smallest window in which to act…
Bulma pushed her way through the narrow crevice. Even her diminutive body had some trouble getting through.
"Careful, Babe." Yamcha cautioned.
Touketsu's lip turned up into a snarl. Gods, how he hated that male, hovering over her like she belonged to him. He was itching to spill that bastard's blood right this very minute. His skin began to grey with the onset of the murderous thoughts. The dark light pulsed once through his body.
"It's ok, I've got this," Bulma replied. "Ah-ha! I found it!"
Touketsu's eyes widened in anticipation. He set his sights on Yamcha, his muscles tensing.
Bulma emerged, triumphantly holding the magical 2 star orb in front of her. Her smile abruptly dropped, horrified alarm now on her face. "BEHIND YOU! VEGETA, LOOK OUT!" Bulma shouted.
Touketsu's eyes popped wide in surprise, his skin instantly turning ghost white again. All three men whirled around at the same time.
A nearly 10 foot tall, shadowy figure loomed over them, and it was connected directly to Touketsu's own shadow. It was cleaved almost in half, starting from the center of its chest up to where its head would have been. It had a slight lean, its right arm nothing more than a stump that hung uselessly at its side. Its shadowy robes mixed with smokey black blood, dripping down over its icy armor to pool around it in the snow.
Dumbfounded, Touketsu took a step back. "Zhernobog," he breathed.