Clemartis smiled as the inside of the house greeted her with array of warm colors and a pleasant smell of a dried flower bowl. The main living area contained several cushy looking chairs lined up in a half circle facing a moniter box of some kind. Other conveniences like book shelves, small tables and even a rug gave the room a rustic but cozy look. At the side of the room, there was a stair case leading to an upper level, were the families sleeping quarters were probably located. The next room, was lined with strange appliances with a large table in the center. The smell of strange spices wafting through the air hinted that it was a room to prepare and eat meals.
"Don't be shy, go ahead and take a load off." Chichi insisted as she placed Sorrel length wise on one side of the long chair., she beckoned for Gohan to place Ophrys on the opposite end. "You must be exhausted."
"That is very kind of you ma'am, but we are alright. It is our Queen who is in need of rest at the moment." Azera said.
"I am perfectly alright," Clem lied. Her ki was still low but the sun's rays had replenished more than she expected.
"Queen huh? If I had known my family was taking care of royalty I would have freshened up. I'm sorry you had to witness our little family discussion outside. Here, you can sit in Goku's chair for now." Chichi smiled and pointed at the reclining chair next to the large one. Clem was about to politely refuse but Calla took her arm and dragged her to the chair.
"There, there young lady and do what the nice human says. We wouldn't want to insult her by refusing and make her mad, right?" Calla hinted. Clem understood immediately. A bead of sweat rolling down her cheek.
"Yes. Thank you very much Mrs. Chichi." Clem said bowing her head.
"Your very welcome, and its alright to just call me Chichi." the earth woman smiled as she turned her attention to the boys. Krillin took a seat by the small window while Forcytha leaned against the wall closest to the door. Azera moved over to the large chair ready to help with whatever she needed. "Well, you two don't seem too worse for wear, thank goodness. Are you still in pain?" Sorrel huffed as he began to sit up.
"I am perfectly fine." he groaned in annoyance. "The strange food on your planet simply gave me indigestion." Clemartis was able to relax now that he was going along with the ruse. Oprhys on the other hand was moaning a little more than he should.
"What do you need dear?" Chichi said, looking over at the older twin with worry.
"I...I need a glass of H2O." he mumbled.
"Poor thing you must be dehydrated. Would you like ice in it?" she asked as she went toward the kitchen.
"Yes, please." Ophrys said weakly. As soon as Chichi left the room, Ophrys gave his brother a large smile and put his hands behind his head. "What I tell ya? Works every time."
"Only until you grow up kid." Forcytha said with a smirk. "Once you hit 200, women will be chasing you with daggers and spears before they'd fall for that."
"I better make the next 160 count then." Ophrys said adjusting to lay on his side. "The more practice I get the better my chances of finding a mate."
"Haha! Still a kid and already thinking about that huh?" Krillin laughed before abruptly stopping. "Wait a sec, 200?! You don't grow up until your 200 years old?"
"Yeah, our species has a long life span thanks to our extra supply of ki. All thanks tho these little beauties." Forcytha bragged pointing to the red gem on his chest. "I'm a swinging 252 and enjoying the prime of my life." Krillin gawked for a minute before shaking off the shock.
"That's amazing, I wish I would look that good at your age. If I even live that long."
"Don't sweat it. Living for such a long time can be just as much a bore as it can be exciting. Every couple of years you get to do something fun, like visit an alien world like this one or fighting a war that could decide the fate of the galaxy, but most of the time you have to spend doing boring paper work and making appearances at formal affairs and greet dignitaries who you could care less about." Forcytha ranted.
"Gee, tell us how you really feel." Calla teased.
"It's a shame. After we returned home, I was planning on having a large celebration for all the heroes of the war. If you find them so boring Forcytha that I may as well call the Crocus Performing Troupe and cancel." Clem said with a sly smile. Forcytha's eyes shot open.
"No wait, your majesty I didn't mean it like that! I meant to say that some formal affairs are boring, but not yours."
Oprhys laughed until Chichi came back carrying a tall glass of ice water. Oprhys laughter instantly turned to more moaning.
"Here you go. Let me know if you need anything else alright?" She said placing the water on the small table. Oprhys waved his arms blindly for the water and took it in his hands.
"Thank you kind lady." he whimpered as he took a large gulp.
"Do you need anything your majesty?" Chichi asked.
"Oh, this is more than enough for now. We will get out of your hair as soon as we can."
"As long as no one breaks anything, blows up the house, or eats me out of house and home, you can stay here as long as you like." Chichi taking a seat in her own chair. Goten, who had tried to stay out of the way, was slowly inching toward the kitchen.
"Goten!" Chichi scolded, stopping the boy in his tracks. "You turn around and march right up those stairs and get to work."
"But why mom?" Goten whined.
"Because I said so, that's why. Guests or no guests, you are going to pick out three private schools that you want to go to and that's final. We'll discuss them once your done."
Goten let out a disappointed sigh and waved to Ophrys and Sorrel before slowly going upstairs to his sleeping quarters.
"So, how long do you all plan on staying on Earth?" Chichi asked, changing gears on a dime.
"No more than a few days." Clem said. "We will need to find a safe place to build a base camp once we've gathered what we can from our ship. Are there any uninhabited areas that you would recommend?" Chichi crossed her legs and took a few minutes to think.
"Well, it will be hard to find a place that is completely uninhabited, but if you want to go somewhere people won't snoop around, the Diablo Desert is a place to start." she said, "It's a bit uncomfortable due to the heat but there are plenty of shady spots and an oasis or two."
"Great, another desert." Forcytha moaned.
"I could also take you guys to the Break Wasteland if you like." Gohan said sitting on the arm of his mother's chair. "People don't travel through there thanks to all the wildlife, but I think it has enough food and water to live on and I can show where its safe to camp." Oprhys sat up like a shot at the mention of wildlife, his eye glowing with energy.
"I'm sold!" he shouted.
"Shut it moron, your opinion doesn't matter!" Sorrel shouted back. "Besides what happened to being too injured to move?" Ophrys fell back on the chair, moaning out loud once again.
"Nice try kid, but the jig is up." Chichi smirked. Ophrys winced and began to sweat.
"Heh, how long have you known?" he smiled to hide his fear.
"Right about, 'works every time.' That IS what you said right? I may be getting older but my hearing is just as sharp as it's always been." Ophrys cringed waiting for the screaming to begin but to his surprise it never came. "Don't worry, I won't kick you out for trying to trick me. But I will make you earn your keep thanks to that little comment. If that's alright with your guardian?" She said looking over to Calla.
"Sure, that boy needs all the discipline he can get." Calla smiled.
"Traitor!" Ophrys cried out only to get pushed over by his brother.
"Getting back on track, I suggest seeing both areas before deciding on where we will set up." Azera said. "Having wild beasts nearby during construction of a comm device might be a bit problematic."
"So would the desert heat," Forcytha retorted, "I can get perimeter defenses set up in no time at all, so I say bring on the beasts."
"It's always 'bring on' everything with you." Sorrel said. "Can you at least try to go a few days without blowing something up? Stars forbid your toys wipe out an endangered species. Besides, if this wasteland is so uninhabited how does he know so much about it?" The younger twin eyed Gohan, giving him and unconvinced glare.
"Its kind of a long story, but I spent a lot of time there as a kid." Gohan said.
"Don't remind me." Chichi said crossing her arms. "My son, kidnapped at four years old, FOUR, by that green monster and left alone to get eaten by dinosaurs. I'll never understand why you still travel out there Gohan."
"Green monster?" Calla asked before looking out the window, and looking at Piccolo who hadn't moved an inch. "You mean Piccolo?"
"The same!" Chichi said angrily, "Its thanks to that delinquent that my baby boy got wrapped up in business that should have never involved a child. He would have fallen behind on his education if I hadn't been there to get him back on track. His father was no help either, he even encouraged it! Always gotta defend the earth from androids or alien invaders. No offense."
"None taken." Clem replied. She eyed Gohan who was blushing from embarrassment. He was the same as her. Forced into an adult world while still a child. Given his immense power, whatever training Piccolo had given him had been worth it. More than that, he was happy with a job normal to his people and even had a family. Clemartis could feel her own wish for that life turn into envy as she watched the Earthlings. While it didn't seem to be perfect, it was similar to how Clemartis had always imagined what life on the restored surface would be for her people. Though it made her curious how living on this particular planet increased a person's power level to such a degree. Clemartis leaned forward in her chair, resting her head on her hands.
"Despite it all, he still managed to get into college and is one of the university's finest scholars. Top of his class you know!" Chichi said with pride. "Not to mention he's one of the strongest men on the planet and married to a fine girl. A mother couldn't be happier."
"Alright Mom, you can stop now." Gohan mumbled.
"You have every reason to be proud. That is a lot to go through for someone so young." Clem said, giving Gohan a knowing smile. "Yet you don't seem any worse for it."
"It really wasn't as bad as she makes it out to be." Gohan insisted.
"Perhaps not, but it doesn't make it any less impressive." Clem let out a small sigh before straightening up in her chair. Gohan smile disappeared as he tried to read into Clemartis' expression. "You and your husband have raised a fine lad Lady Chichi."
"Thank you," Chichi blushed, "I like to think even with all the bumps in the road, we did alright." her eyes widened suddenly and she turned to Gohan. "Speaking of your father, where in the world is he?" Krillin shot up in his chair and laughed nervously to himself.
"Well, uh, Chichi. Goku told me to tell you that he...well." he stumbled over his words. He looked desperately at Gohan or Calla for help.
"You see, Goku was kind enough to go and look around where the second ship crashed and look for survivors for us." Calla jumped in. Clemartis hoped she knew what she was doing. "Your so lucky to have such a kind husband."
"Yeah well, I've found that kindness can be both a good and a bad thing." Chichi sighed, "Let me guess Krillin, he didn't tell you when he would be back. Is that about right?" Krillin said nothing but slowly nodded his head, preparing himself for another yelling fit. But Chichi just looked sadly out the window. "I swear what am I going to do with that man? Try to get him to settle down and he just goes on another adventure. Guess I'll have to harvest the vegetables in the field on my own."
"Allow me ma'am" Azera said stepping forward. "I am no stranger to hard labor. In return for offering my queen sanctuary, I am more than glad to offer my services if you need them." Chichi put her hand on her chest looking a little taken aback.
"Oh, my. Are you sure? You've all been so polite and I would hate to make guests work." Chichi stammered.
"It is only fair." Clemartis said standing up from her chair. "Consider each member of my team at your disposal for the night. They are trained soldiers so they will do whatever you need without question." She looked to each member of the squad and they all stood at attention. "Listen up! For tonight you'll follow Lady Chichi's orders as if they were my own. Understood?"
"Yes, your majesty!" They all said at once. Krillin smirked at the affair while Gohan had to support Chichi who looked like she was about to faint.
"My goodness. Where were you guys 11 years ago." Chichi said almost in a daze. "If only all of Goku's friends were so reliable."
"I'm right here Chichi." Krillin mumbled. The group shared a laugh.
Just then, Clemartis' chest tightened. Her body shook as she felt a familiar burning sensation coming from the gem on her chest and moved through her body. A white-hot pain shot through every vein, causing her to cry out and fall to the ground shaking.
"Your highness!" Calla cried as she knelt over her. The Iris twins and Chichi rushed to her side.
"What's happening to her?" Chichi asked in a panic.
"Is she sick?" Krillin asked
"No. It is simply a foolish mistake." Sorrel said looking over to his brother. Ophrys glared at Sorrel before kneeling down on Clemartis' opposite side and placing a hand on her gem.
"Whats going on?" Goten cried, looking down from the second floor.
"Stay upstairs Goten!" Chichi ordered.
"Hold still your highness." Ophrys said sternly. A glow came from his had as the pain in her chest began to pull away from her and into him. Clemartis' body continued to shake violently halting the process. "I need someone to support her head!"
"I got it." Krillin rushed into position.
"I'll hold down her legs." Gohan said, going around the group.
"Thank you. I'm sorry but she needs to be still if this is going to work right." Ophrys nodded placing his hand back on Clemartis' gem. The ki began to flow into him again, and the pain slowly began to ebb away. Clemartis stopped screaming and slowly opened her eyes. Her body still felt sore but the worse of the attack had passed. Ophrys sighed as he sat back. "Thank goodness I got it in time."
"Uh, mind explaining what the heck just happened?" Krillin asked, moving away to give Clemartis some air.
"Yeah, it felt like her power level just spiked all of a sudden." Gohan said with a concerned frown. Ophrys crossed his arms, thinking to himself.
"Well, its kinda hard to explain to a mammal but, you know how ki comes from a person's life force, made into physical matter after enough training and focus?" Ophrys asked.
"That's what I was taught, though I've researched its various types and uses." Gohan nodded.
"There should be even for your species though I would need to know more of your internal makeup to know for sure. As for us, we can generate our life force into ki as well. But as a plant species we can get it in different ways, absorbing nutrients, sleeping, converting sunlight, or taking it from another life form. Ophrys tapped on the blue gemstone on his chest.
"All the ki we don't immediately need is stored in these gems that we receive at birth. Kinda like a dam. We can get ki from so many different sources we have to internally lock it away to keep it from harming out bodies."
"I guess that makes sense. Its kinda like the Kaio-ken form that Goku uses." Krillin remarked.
"All life forms have a limit of how much ki they can use at one time depending on how strong they are. Certain aliens like Freiza's species found a way to use a ton at once but even he had physical limitations. We store as much as we can to extend our life span or use in emergencies. But breaking open a large amount of that stored ki at once is enough to kill us, or at the vary least shorten our life. The best I can do is absorb the excess to try and ease the pain when it slips through the cracks."
"Your own ki is what's hurting you?" Gohan asked.
"Yes." Clemartis said as Calla grabbed by the arm and hoisted her up. "Its just an old battle scar that acts up every now and then. The price I have to pay for trying to access power I wasn't ready to wield." Clemartis smirked. "Still, it was worth it."
"Your majesty, with all due respect, how can you say that when your getting closer to death with each day?" Calla narrowed her eyes. "You would be no older than Ophrys and Sorrel are right now if you hadn't been so reckless. You'll die before any of us, and you say it was worth it?"
"Death comes to everyone Calla, not just me." Clemartis stared Calla down. Her childhood friend at a loss of what to say. "Even if it wasn't the best choice, that doesn't change the fact that what happened can't be reversed. And I am willing to live with the consequences." Clemartis shook away from Calla's grip and did her best to stand on her own. Calla looked a bit taken aback and Clemartis wondered if she had been too harsh.
"Are you sure your alright?" Chichi asked.
"Just a little sore, that's all. Thank you for your concern."
"That armor can't be very comfortable after an episode like that. Let me get you a change of clothes. You look around my size, so I should have something that fits you."
"Oh no thats-"
"No arguments. You'll feel a lot better afterward trust me." Chichi grabbed Clemartis by the hand and began to lead her upstairs. "How about you miss Calla? You can help me pick out something for everyone . Can't have you sitting down to lunch wearing such bulky looking clothes."
"Oh, uh sure." Following the two up the stairs.
"Alright. Gohan, why don't you show Mr. Azera out to the field and help him with the harvest. I need those vegetables picked and washed before you put them in the kitchen."
"Okay mom." Gohan nodded while Azera did a mini salute. The two walked out the door with Gohan leading the way and Azera barely fitting through the small door.
"As for the rest of you..."Chichi thought aloud. Her eyes landing on Forcytha. "You young man, you know how to chop wood?" Forcytha raised an eyebrow.
"Uh you mean cutting up wood? For what?" he asked.
"To burn in a fire of course. I was hoping have a fire in the fireplace tonight. You look strong enough." Chichi pointed out the window at the pile of giant logs lying by the fields. "Think you can chop all that up?"
"Oh I see." Forcytha smirked and smoothed his hair back. "Primitive but potentially invigorating. Not to worry ma'am, you've hired the best." He began to strut out the door and made his way to the pile. Clem watched him from the window as he stared at the wood for a few minutes before picking one out. Picking up the ax on the stump, he lifted it up too fast making the blunt instrument fly into the air. It fell to the ground with an earthshaking thud a few feet from the house. Chichi moaned and looked down at Krillin.
"Go and make sure he doesn't hurt himself."
"Uh, okay." Krillin said, before heading for the door.
"And let me know the minute Goku gets back!" Chichi called after him. She then turned her attention to the twins. "You two stay put for now. I'll get you some of Goten's old clothes. Just don't break anything."
"Wouldn't dream of it ma'am" Ophrys saluted. While Sorrel gave an indifferent nod. At the top of the stairs, Chichi glared at Goten who was still keeping on eye on the twins.
"Everything's alright now Goten, get back to your room."
"But mom." Goten whined.
"You'll have time to play later. Just keep working till I come to get you."
"Fine." he said dragging his feet back to his room on the far end of the hall and closed the door.
"Right this way ladies." Chichi said bowing politely.
She led Clem and Calla to what looked like her sleeping quarters. She opened a pair of doors revealing a very large closet full of various clothes made for earthling women. Clemartis' jaw fell to the floor while Calla oohed at the spectacle. Back home, most materials needed to make clothing had to be traded from alien worlds, so common citizen and noble alike were designated to have only a few articles of clothing for designated occasions, formal, casual, and work clothes. Members of the guard and military of course had their armor as well. To see a single closet contain more than 13 different outfits all for one person was just unheard of, even for royalty.
Chichi eyed the two aliens and smiled at their reactions before zipping about to find clothes that would fit. Digging deep into the back of the closet she pulled out a pile of old clothes that looked like they hadn't been touched in a long while. After laying the outfits on the bed, the Yousari girls were invited to try them all on to see what fit. Taking off their armor and laying them in the corner of the room, they tried slipped into several of the outfits and looked at themselves in the mirror. Poor Calla, who was the tallest, had the hardest time fitting into most of the clothes but settled on a yellow long sleeve shirt, Chichi called it a sweat shirt, and a pair of light blue pants that only when down to her knees.
Most of the clothes fit Clemartis just fine but she couldn't help by try on each and every one. The design of the clothes were very different than she was used to but they felt very soft to the touch and looked even better. Clemartis could have spent hours trying on more, but the bored expression on Calla's face as she waited made her settle on a blue and red martial arts outfit. Chichi's face lit up when she recognized the outfit as the same one she had worn when Goku had officially proposed to her. Calla listened eagerly as Chichi regaled the entire story, giggling like a little girl at the romantic parts. Clemartis breathed a sigh of relief that her friend was still in good spirits. Calla was never depressed for long.
Opening up the adjacent closet, hung the male styled clothes belonging to Goku. Despite Clemartis' worry, Chichi explained that Goku wouldn't mind sharing. She took down a few clothes and asked the girls which ones would fit Azera and Forcytha best. Azera was the largest so only the largest outfit had a chance of fitting him. The girls giggled at the blinding array of yellow and blue in the long sleeve shirt and long blue pants.
Azera was a easygoing guy and would care more about the act of being given clothes than what they looked like. Forcytha on the other hand was much more picky when it came to what he wore. Calla knew him best so it was only logical that she'd point out what outfits would fit him. Clemartis could see a glint in Calla's eye as she chose a bright orange short sleeve shirt, called a t-shirt, and a pair of grey sweat pants. From there Chichi went retrieved even more clothes from the attic, small enough to fit Ophrys and Sorrel. The three women settled on two sets of Goten's old clothes for the twins. A red T-shirt with a dinosaur on the front along with a pair of old orange training pants for Ophrys and blue and purple oriental outfit for Sorrel.
Reactions to the outfit choices were mixed. Azera, as expected, graciously thanked Chichi for the clothes and paid no attention to the appearance. Forcytha gaped in horror at his and refused to wear it, only giving in when Calla lied and said it was the only thing that would fit him. Ophrys loved his new clothes strutting around in the mirror making growling noises as he played with the dinosaur picture. Sorrel gave the outfit a through examination before announcing to everyone that it was satisfactory.
With group settling in, Chichi assigned the squad members their chores. Azera washed the harvested vegetables, while Krillin was asked to keep a close eye on Forcytha as he got a fire going in the fire-place. Clemartis could hear the two argue on method when Forcytha had insisted on using one of his ki explosives.
Calla had been given the task of dusting the living room, however she would continuously get distracted by all the different gadgets, like the video monitor and Calla's personal favorite, the audio device. Earth's idea of music was loud and strangely fast paced forcing Clemartis to cover her ears. However Calla slowly began to get into the music, dancing around as she continued her work. Clemartis was given a easy job, advising Chichi on food preparation in the kitchen while the twins acted as the her assistants. Gohan checked his wrist clock and notified the group he would be back after picking up his wife before running out the door.
"That boy better be on time if he doesn't want to get another earful." Chichi mused after she had finished setting the large kitchen table. "So, what would you all want for a late-lunch?"
"Um, mixed fruits and greens would be plenty, thank you." Clemartis said taking a seat in one of the open chairs. "Is there enough to feed everyone?"
"Honey, I have to make enough food for a feast at least three times a day. I have more than enough to make a salad for six people."
"What's a salad?" Ophrys asked as he opened up the cold storage box and looked around.
"Isn't that what you guys eat? Mixed vegetables and fruit in a bowl?" she questioned, reaching around him to grab what she needed.
"That is too wasteful" Sorrel replied. "It needs to be blended together and liquified if it is to be a proper meal." Chichi face dropped as her expectations were dashed.
"Oh, well I guess that makes my job a bit easier then." she said reaching in a lower cabinet and pulling out a tall blending machine. "You don't eat solid food?" She asked raising her eyebrow.
"We can, its just that we haven't been able to in order to save resources. Even deep underground the soil isn't fertile enough to grow enough crops to feed a the entire population. Mixing and watering it down makes it easier to distribute." Clemartis explained. Chichi nodded as she began piling different items into the blender.
"Sounds rough. I can't imagine that tastes very good either."
"Of course it doesn't, food isn't supposed to taste good." Ophrys said, as a matter of fact. Chichi stared at the boy with abject horror.
"You...you've never had good food before?" she stammered.
"Taste isn't important." Sorrel objected. "It all digests the same anyway. What is important is getting enough nutrients to survive. Which is why you need to stop chatting and continue-" he stopped when he noticed Chichi's tearful expression.
"Oh you poor things!" she cried wrapping her arms around the twins who looked at each other in dismay. "You've had to live such hard lives. But don't worry. I'm going to give you a meal your never going to forget!"
"Damn it human, are you listening to me?" Sorrel yelled, but Ophrys put his hand out.
"Shh, I want to see what she does next." he said watching with fascination. Sorrel just looked irritated as he pushed his brother's hand away.
"Not to toot my own horn, but all those years cooking for Goku have made me quite the chef." Chichi said happily as she turned on the blender. A combinations of sliced apples, celery, bananas, lettuce, and a splash of orange juice whirred around mixing into a green mush.
"The first batch is ready if you need it but I'm going cook you some of my best vegetarian dishes for you to try." Chichi said with a smile.
"Vegetarian?" the twins asked in sync.
"Sure, come over here and I'll show you." Chichi said happily beckoning the boys over. Ophrys bounded over dragging his brother behind him and peered over the counter. He watch Chichi with wide excited eyes as she chopped up vegetable after vegetable and put in a very large, flat, metal dish. Reaching over the heated device, she added a few unknown spices and strange sweet smelling liquid into the mixture.
Clemartis could hear the dish's contents sizzle and smiled as Ophrys jumped up and down at the chemical reaction. Sorrel, while trying to look uninterested even downright disgusted, could not help but watch Chichi's concoction. When it was finished she removed the dish from the heating appliance and slid her earthling food on a plate. A strangely sweet aroma was wafting in the air and it was unlike anything Clemartis had smelled before. The smell went into the living room drawing the other members of the squad to the kitchen.
"Help yourselves guys. I've got your...smoothie here if you want it but your welcome to try some of my vegetable teryiaki."
Clemartis and her team stared at the odd dish. The vegetables alone were strange looking but the sweet smelling liquid seemed to have saturated the food making them look a bit soggy. Forcytha did his best to stifle a gag, though Calla took an long wiff of the nice smell wafting off the food. Always the trend setter, Calla helped herself first, spooning a plate full. Ophrys was next but took a smaller amount. Azera while visibly nervous, took an even smaller portion saying that it was only polite to try. Forcytha and Sorrel, of course, passed on the teriyaki vegetables and went for the blended food. Clemartis, though tempted to try the teriyaki chose against it and settled for the usual. Best not push herself.
"I'm going to make some Sukiyaki for the rest of us. Would you like some Krillin?" Chichi asked as she kept moving from the cold storage to the cooking appliances.
"Why not. It's been awhile since I've visited. Is it all right if I use the phone and give the missus a call?"
"Sure, tell her she's welcome to come over to if she's not to busy. It feels like forever since I've seen her and Marron."
"Will do." Krillin said walking around to the living room. All eyes were on Calla as she took the first bite of the teriyaki food. The instant she closed her mouth, Calla's eyes went wide and she went straight as a board. Everyone looked at her with anticipation as Calla processed the food. Her eyes closed shut as she squirmed in her chair with a look of absolute bliss. She swallowed hard and proceeded to shovel the rest into her mouth.
"You guys," she said muffled with a mouthful of food. "Need. To. Try. This." Azera gave the food a puzzled look as he took his utensil and took a bit. After a few seconds, he and Calla were on their way up for second helpings. Forcytha and Sorrel looked terrified as they quietly slurped their 'smoothies' ,as Chichi called them. Ophrys took a nervous gulp before taking a bite. He slumped in his chair and sighed with sheer ecstasy.
"To think such a taste could be possible." he breathed, his glasses sliding down his nose. "I'll never complain about coming to eat ever again." Clemartis chuckled at the boy's reaction. Normally during their downtime if Ophrys was preoccupied examining a specimen or compiling important data, he would pass on invitations to eat.
It was comforting to know that she would never have to worry about getting him to eat, as long as earth style food was available. Sorrel had barely sipped his smoothie and was visibly upset as he watched his brother squirm with happiness. Forcytha moved his chair away from the younger twin inch by inch as he noticed Sorrel's subtle irritation turning into anger. It didn't take long for Sorrel's temper to boil over.
"All right we get it! What the hell is so special about this brown mush that you find so magical?" Sorrel screamed. Clemartis blood drained out of her face when she saw Chichi with her head turned toward them, glaring at Sorrel. With an ever so gentle nudge she alerted the boy to his mistake and he quickly bowed an apology before getting out of his chair and walking over to his brothers side.
"Give me that!" Sorrel demanded reaching out for his brother's utensil.
"No way! Get your own." Ophrys took the plate and held it up.
"I said, give it to me you four eyed goon!" The two struggled for a bit almost knocking the plate out of Ophrys' hands. It wasn't until Sorrel relied on his ability that he was able to trick Ophrys into thinking he still had it.
"Hey! Powers are cheating!" Ophrys yelled.
"You say that like I honestly care." Sorrel laughed as he took the plate back to his side of the table.
"Boys, that's enough shenanigans for one day." Clem scolded.
"They certainly are lively." Chichi commented. "Even more than my boys." Ophrys crossed his arms and pouted at his brother while the latter smiled at his victory. Sorrel eyed the teriyaki vegetables and examined them from all angles. He opened his mouth and closed it around the morsel, barely chewing it when he suddenly looked like he had achieved enlightenment. Even going to far as to temporarily drop the utensil. He swallowed, staring into the distance as he tried to comprehend what he had just experienced. He looked at the food again, then to Chichi, back to the food.
"Weeeeeeeeell?" Ophrys said leaning over the table. "What do you think?"
"I'm...still trying to figure that out." Sorrel said remembering himself and continued to eat. Testing each bite to see if all tasted the same.
"Pretty stellar right?" Ophrys said flexing his eyebrows. Sorrel looked up, his cheeks puffed from eating too much at once. Ophrys laughed out loud at his brother's almost guilty expression and soon the rest of the group followed suit. Sorrel swallowed hard and looked at Chichi who was still keeping an eye on her next dish. Sorrel looked down at his hand while his face turned a shade of green.
"This is...extraordinary." he said in almost a mumble. "You have, my gratitude lady Chichi."
"Your very welcome. I'm happy you like it." Chichi smiled, "Cooking is always more satisfying when people enjoy your food."
"If I may ask, how did you do it?" Sorrel asked, looking scared that he was asking something he shouldn't.
"Do what dear?" she raised her voice as the sizzling in the hot plate got louder.
"Make something like this? Such a combination of tastes shouldn't be possible."
"Oh! Of course it's possible silly." Chichi laughed as she tested the meat at the bottom of the sukiyaki. "You just have to know what to use."
"Show me." Sorrel demanded, but one look from Clemartis made him stand up and bow. "Please show me more of your ancient technique." Chichi couldn't help but laugh at the strange request.
"It'd be my pleasure. Come over here I'll show you how to finish this recipe." She beckoned him over, and he went to her side without delay. She began to discuss cooking temperature, ingredients that were vital in Sukiyaki such as cooking sake and judging when something was cooked through or not.
Sorrel was wide-eyed with genuine enthusiasm that Clemartis had never seen before. He made no effort to hide his happiness either when she saw him smile as he watched the food and took a long sniff of the scent coming off it. Much like her, the other members of the team sat in shock at Sorrel's new-found passion, though Ophrys was first to break the silence with a hushed laugh. There was no way he was ever going to let Sorrel forget about this. They still enjoying the spectacle when Krillin came back to the kitchen and took a seat.
"Eighteen said she'll stop by later this evening." he said leaning back in his chair.
"Alright, I'll make sure to save some food for her?" Chichi said looking back. "Is she bringing Marron? She must have gotten so big since I saw her last."
"No, Marron's going to stay at home with Master Roshi." Krillin said nervously scratching his head. "She's a bit nervous about bringing our only daughter to a house full of strange aliens. No offense." he said getting the apology out as fast as he could.
"That's perfectly alright." Azera said sitting back in his chair, "Your wife sounds like a responsible woman."
"Bit of a strange name though," Forcytha said, leaning his chair back to touch the wall.
"Yeah I guess," Krillin laughed, his face a bit red. "How's that Sukiyaki coming Chichi?"
"Going a lot faster with an assistant." Chichi replied smiling at Sorrel as he took a turn moving the plate's contents with a flat ended implement. "It should be ready in a few more minutes."
Just then the sound of the front door opening made everyone turn around to look at the living room.
"That can't be Gohan," Chichi thought aloud. "He's fast, but he'd have to slow down if he was coming back with Videl. Especially in her condition."
Chichi's surprise changed to annoyance when she saw the visitor.
"Ahhhh, something smells awesome Chichi!" Goku said coming into the kitchen. "Oh hey, guys! Having a good time?"
"Yes, thank you." Clemartis said, though she had more pressing questions on her mind. "Where is your friend? And Trunks? Were there any problems?"
"No, we searched the entire area but we couldn't find him anywhere. The wreck was completely deserted. Either they managed to slip away or...their all dead." Goku said solemnly. Clemartis brow furrowed. Given the earthling's strength it was possible that nothing was left of the enemy. But she got a bad feeling in her gut that they were just lying low for the time being. "I took Trunks home to his mom, who is probably still scolding him right about now, but he said he'll try to stop by tomorrow. Hopefully by then he'll turn up."
"I don't like to be the pessimist when it comes to situations like this, but your positive your friend couldn't have been..."
"Not a chance. He's too strong and too stubborn. He's fine and he'll be here when we need him." Goku smiled as he took a spare seat at the table. Clemartis smirked at Goku's happy attitude. How nice it must be able to live so carefree. "So, whats for dinner you guys?"
"Suki-yaki" Sorrel stammered trying to make sure he was pronouncing the dish right.
"Great, I'm starving!" Goku exclaimed. "Hey Chichi, how much longer till its ready?" he turned to his wife but winced when he saw her shaking with anger. Clemartis, not wanting to get between the couple, scooted her chair a few inches away.
"You've got a lot of nerve mister, for just taking off before dawn, not even bothering to tell me where your going and just expecting me to have food on the table for you!" Chichi yelled. Goku laughed nervously as he tried to think of a response. However it seemed the chances of that were slim at best.
"How many times have I told you Goku? If your going off on another one of your 'trips' tell me were your going and when you'll be back. And don't you even get me started on the fact that you took Goten with you without even asking me if it was okay!"
"I'm sorry Chichi, but Goten wanted to come and I didn't see the harm in letting him see a spaceship for the first time."
"NO HARM IN IT HE SAYS! Goku, is it some physical need for you to undermine my hopes and dreams for our children? Can't you just accept that they are the strongest people on the planet and leave it at that? They need more than fighting skills if they are going to have normal lives and you can't have a normal life if you're jumping out of bed at 2:30 in the morning cause aliens are landing!"
"But they needed our help. Sure, not all off them were nice but these guys are. Isn't that enough?" Goku said, trying to look as innocent as possible.
"Lucky for you they actually have manners." Chichi huffed walking over to the heating appliance and checking Sorrel's progress with the Sukiyaki.
"Add this much of this sauce dear, and spread it evenly. Don't stir it up too much." she directed before turning back to Goku.
"I told them they can stay as long as they want, but only if they help out around here. And that goes double for you Goku. If you think I'm going to do you a big favor like this for nothing than you can forget it! Your gonna have to think of a way to make it up to me."
"Uh, sure Chichi. Whatever you need." Goku said looking slightly confused on how such a thing was a punishment.
"Good, you've got till tomorrow to think of something. And it has to be something I like. That means no sparring, training or fishing trips, got it?"
"Yes dear." Goku said sadly, sounding like most of his potential ideas were just squashed.
"That's what I like to hear." Chichi said with a victorious smile. "And to answer your question, it should be ready in a few minutes. Sorrel here has been the perfect little gentlemen helping me keep an eye on it."
"Is it possible to substitute the meat with another food item?" Sorrel asked poking at the food like it was alive.
"Well, I could try making it with tofu next time." Chichi mused.
"What is...tofu?" Sorrel asked cocking his head. Chichi happily explained as the Sukiyaki finished cooking and was served up.
Krillin and Chichi took what they wanted before Goku and Goten stepped up and piled huge mounds of the stuff on their plates. Clemartis watched in horror as both Goku and Goten woofed down their meals. Even when their plates were clean they were still hungry enough to raid the cold storage for even more food. Barely half a plate of the teriyaki vegetables had been enough to fill the bellies of her teammates brave enough to try it, while the earthlings were stuffing food in their faces as if their stomachs were bottomless pits.
Once everyone was finished, Oprhys and Azera were drafted to assist Chichi with cleaning up. Ophrys grumbled that Sorrel had gotten off the hook but it only took a nudge from Azera for him to get back to work. Everyone else moved back into the large living room, sharing stories from past trips or missions. By the time Gohan returned with his wife, Videl, the sun had already begun to set. Given the strange circumstances, Videl was very polite to them and even offered some of the group to sleep in her home.
"After all that I've seen after becoming a part of this family, nothing surprises me anymore." the young woman said with a smile. Sorrel had to keep a tight rein on Ophrys when he started asking question after question on earthling reproduction, some questions making the human women go absolutely pale.
Needing some time to herself to think, Clemartis found herself continuously staring out the window at the beautiful red and orange colors reflecting off the clouds. It would have been nice to think that their enemy was no more and all they would have to do would be to contact the fleet and go home. Clemartis knew better. The resistance was far too tenacious to have been subdued that easily. The sooner her team set up a base camp to begin searching for the survivors and call for back up, the better chances were of Earth coming out of the conflict in one piece.
"I can feel it!" Calla exclaimed her hand on Videl's large belly. "Aww, I can't wait to meet you too little one. How much longer until the big day?"
"Shouldn't be too long now, actually. The doctor said sometime within the next three weeks." Videl said as Gohan guided her to one of the large chairs. "My dad can hardly contain himself, which can be hard to deal with sometimes. But I'm happy I got the chance for one last visit before I won't have any time to myself."
"Ohhh, I hope I can be there when it happens. Its always amazing to see new life brought into the universe, no matter the species." Calla said, positively giddy.
"I'd like to see it to, maybe even take a picture if that's alright." Ophrys said, taking out a small rectangular device from his belt. "It would be a great addition to the scientific community to see another sapient species that can breed without governmental restrictions."
"Governmental restrictions...to having kids?" Goten asked.
"Well yeah, like they do back home. Can't have the population get too big too fast right? You'd run out of resources too quickly. Lucky for your planet it seems to have more than enough to take care of a lot of people. There are only 100 out of 1000 inhabited planets that we know of that are free of that restriction. Thanks to this brilliant discovery by yours truly, we'll be able to make that 101."
"Stop the presses." Sorrel said with his usual amount of enthusiasm.
"The more I hear about your planet, the less I want to go there." Krillin commented. "Its like you'd get arrested if you so much as sneezed."
"Only if you did it in a medical facility without sterilization wipes." Calla said without missing a beat.
"I rest my case." Krillin sighed.
"It's not that bad really," Calla said with a grin. "The city market places are the best places to go if you want a good time. There's games, a whole bunch of off world goods for sale, and on festival days music and dance troupes come out to perform for the whole city. That and the trees I've seen here are only a quarter the size of the ones on are planet. They're big enough to live in."
"Wow, I've never knew tree's could get that big." Goten said with awe.
"If you ever get a chance to come visit, I could get you a room inside one." Ophrys said sitting down next to Goten on the rug.
"That sounds great!" the two smiled at each other and Goten raised his hand in some sort of affirmation gesture, but ended up having to explain how to do it properly to Ophrys.
"It may be far from perfect, but it is home." Clemartis added. "And someday we'll have enough energy to restore its surface and live freely like this."
"Can I ask you something your majesty?" Gohan asked.
"Go right ahead."
"If your planet is so uninhabitable, then why are you still living there. I can understand wanting to revive it but why don't you find another planet to live on until your ready?" Clem closed her eyes as she contemplated her answer.
"Stubbornness mostly. There are a great number of planets under our protection which have offered us refuge, but more than half of the population has opted to stay despite having to sacrifice conveniences and even a few freedoms. More now since we went to war."
"Why?" Goku inquired, trying to understand.
"Because we all share the same dream. To be able to walk upon the surface of the world that bore us. But unlike the Cold Empire, I won't sacrifice the happiness of others in order to achieve that goal. A good majority of my own people hate me for this decision but I don't intend on changing it. It was a philosophy my mother lived by."
"What happened to your mother?" Goku asked. Clemartis clenched her fists tight as the mere thought of that night that tore her apart.
"Dead. Assassinated on Frieza's orders." Clem replied. "She was killed right in front of me in order to break my spirit."
"Oh, how horrible." Chichi gasped.
"I'm sorry, we didn't mean to-" Gohan began.
"No need. I've had all the sympathy I can stand for one life time. What matters most to me now is carrying out her wish. To restore our home to its original glory and making our empire a guiding hand for other civilizations in this vast universe." Clemartis smiled. "But I can't quite do that when there is a war to be had. So it would be best to finish this old conflict once and for all. Gohan, if you would do us the honor of leading us to the place you grew up, I would be most grateful. Then we can finally begin to build a proper peace."
"Sure. I can take you guys first thing in the morning." Gohan nodded.
"Your majesty," Forcytha approached Clemartis. "Since we are loosing daylight, I think some of us should go back to the ship and salvage the wreck before we relocate tomorrow. Wouldn't want our enemy to get the get their grubby little hands on it in the cover of night."
"Very well. You and Azera will go and bring back as much as you can carry. The rest of us will remain here just in case the enemy tracked us here. Keep your wits about you and don't do anything reckless."
"And what if we encounter the enemy your highness?" Azera asked.
"Capture one and pump them for information. We need all the advantages we can get right now."
"As you wish your majesty," Azera and Forcytha bowed, and were about to leave when a knocking sound came from the front door.
"Heh, I was wondering when she'd get here." Krillin smiled walking over and opening the door. "Hey honey, come on in." A tall, blonde haired human female walked inside. Her hands were on her hips and her cold looking blue eyes looked around the room, narrowing a bit when she saw the team.
From her body language, Clem could tell the woman was a tough customer. She was physically fit and carried herself like someone who had seen battle many times before. Clemartis was a tad disturbed at the fact that Krillin's wife was not emitting any energy. Like she was drawing on her life force from something else, something inorganic. Normally Clemartis would have preferred finding the cause of such an anomaly, she decided to let the matter slide. Krillin was a kind man, and trusted this woman enough to marry and bear his child. It was worth giving her the benefit of the doubt if it meant she would become another ally.
"Hi Eighteen!" Goten said waving from the floor.
"Yeah, its great to see you again." Gohan added.
"So, these are the aliens you went chasing after this morning?" Eighteen asked, cutting right to the chase.
"Kinda. Turns out they're here to stop some of our old enemies. They didn't have anywhere else to go so, their staying here until they can call for backup." Krillin said, happy to explain. Even so, the distrust never seemed to leave Eighteen's eyes. Much like Piccolo, it was going to take a lot more than just words in order to win her trust. As long as the group watched their step around her, they wouldn't have to worry about getting on her bad side.
"It is a pleasure to finally meet you." Clemartis started off. "Krillin has told us a lot about you."
"Oh really?" Eighteen asked raising an eyebrow. "And what kind of things has he been telling you?"
"Just that you are a woman who is strong enough to defend your family but kind to your allies. Nothing you need to be embarrassed about."
"Is that all?" Eighteen asked Krillin. He blushed a bit.
"Well, I didn't want to say too much, not when you were coming over anyway." Krillin laughed nervously. It seems he had caught on to his wife's initial hostility as well. It got even worse when Ophrys flew right up to Eighteen's face looking straight into her eyes.
"Wow!" he exclaimed. "I've never seen eyes that color of blue before. Where you born like this? Does it run in the family?"
"Excuse me?" Eighteen's body tensed, leaning back a bit to try and reclaim her personal space. Calla stepped forward and took Ophrys by the collar of his shirt and pulled him away.
"So sorry about that. This child has no manners to speak of. But I have to say, I wouldn't have pegged you for the mother type. You look like one of those, super models that Chichi was telling me about." Calla grinned.
"Hm, I wouldn't be caught dead with a job like that. Far too boring. And those outfits they consider high fashion are just disgusting."
Clemartis let out a sigh, as the tension started to fade. That was until she turned around to see that Azera and Focytha hadn't left yet. One look at Forcytha's dumbstruck face made Clemartis break out in a nervous sweat. Azera was doing what he could to get his attention but to no avail. Forcytha's eyes stayed focused on Eighteen as she and Calla continued their conversation.
He wouldn't...he couldn't...
"Hot damn!" he exclaimed finally, dashing over to Krillin and mussing his hair. "Krillin you lucky bastard, I underestimated you. I never would have guessed you were such a lady killer." Once he was done with Krillin, he pushed him out of the way, made a bee line for Eighteen and began to circle her. Looking up and down her entire body.
"Who'd a though a creature such as you even existed. I've done my fair share of traveling the galaxy and have seen beautiful women of all shapes and sizes. Though after seeing you, I can't think of any that could come close to your beauty. And such a unique name, Eighteen. Did you know that was my favorite number?" Eighteen just stared at him with irritated indifference while Krillin on the other hand looked plain horrified at the whole spectacle.
Just as Clemartis was about to reprimand him, she glanced at Calla who was shaking with rising rage. She sat back in her chair, knowing she would not have to say anything.
"Forcytha..." Calla warned, but he continued to ignore the fact he was in grave peril.
"I must say, it is going to be a pleasure getting to know you personally during our stay. Alas, it is only for a short time, but let us make the most of it and have as much 'fun' as we can." He took Eighteen's hand and kissed it. Eighteen's expression never changed but everyone else in the room watched on, terrified by what would happen next. It was a matter of seconds before Calla reached out and grabbed Forcytha's ear and pulled it back hard.
"I've got a number for your right here you disgusting bottom feeder!" Calla yelled as she pulled him in close. She yanked him over to the back door where Azera was waiting. "You've got till I count to ten to get your ass out the door and do your job before I shove the number five down your throat!" With a hard shove, Forcytha flew out the door and skidded on the ground. Taking the hint, he made a break for the sky with Azera rushing to follow him. Calla was wiping her hands in satisfaction until she heard a loud cry from where the boys had left.
"I LOVE THIS PLANET!" Forcytha cried to the universe. Calla growled before slamming the door shut.
"Nicely handled." Eighteen said giving Calla a smile. Calla returned it with a nervous laugh.
"He's just jerk. If he ever does that again, feel free to knock him out."
"I'll keep that in mind." Eighteen said giving Krillin a hand up.
"Is he...always like that?" Krillin asked nervously.
"Every single day." The team said in unison.