Chapter 1: Return of the ZFighters
A few miles from the dissipating cloud of smoke that had been the result of the deadly explosion between Belia and Hemofear, the Z fighters marveled at the sight. The tower was done for. Nothing was left of it except for the end of the pole which was now leaning to the west side. In their minds they knew the worse had come to pass. Trunks, Korin, Mr. Popo, and possibly Yajirobe, were now extinguished. They did not want to dwell on the thought, but as the event had happened, it was impossible not to.
"Should we go check the area to see if anyone made it at all?" Goten looked towards Vegeta. He had his brows drawn together. Bulma had her head against his chest, deep in thought.
"You can, but it would be a waste of time. No one could've survived that." His gruff voice vibrated against Bulma's right ear.
Her head shot up and she suddenly looked up at him with fury in her voice as her fire-lit eyes danced. "How dare you say that! He's our son!" She wanted to smack him across the face, but she quickly watered down. Perhaps Vegeta was right? She shook her head, tossing her green hair air back and forth. "Please Goten, check and see if anyone is still clinging to life…"
Gohan glanced at Piccolo. "Give us some sensu beans in case we find anyone." Piccolo complied with his wishes and threw the whole bag in his direction. "Goten and I will go search the area. The rest of you should go check and see if Goku, Oolong, Roshi, and Krillin are cured."
Bulma, despite her emotional instability, stated her knowledge on the matter. "I know they are back. I can feel it. It's the others I'm worried about now…"
"Regardless," Piccolo crossed his green arms across his chest. "We need to fill them in on what happened. I'm sure Videl will want to know about this too." Readying himself to blast off towards the Kame House, Bulma stopped him.
"Piccolo… Before you leave, could you give me some clothes? It's freezing up here!" She shivered. She knew about his magic materialization technique.
Piccolo's cheeks turned red, along with his ears. "Sure…" He brought two of his fingers in front of Bulma, zapping a wardrobe to cover her shivering body.
"What is this?" She frowned as she looked down at herself through Vegeta's arms.
"You should be thankful for what I gave you! Now I'm going to Kame House with no stopping!" Abruptly turning around, he angrily blasted off, leaving bits of rising dust to come up.
"I'm coming too!" Eighteen shot off right behind him. She wanted to see Krillin and did not want to stay with the others on their "search party".
Bulma didn't care for the Piccolo-like costume, but it was better than nothing. She had the orange sock-like shoes, a regular indigo gi with the red cloth material around her waist; at least they protected her from the cold. With Piccolo and Eighteen headed to Kame house, Gohan and Goten to check the remains of the tower, and Trunks possibly dead, only one other person stood before Bulma and Vegeta.
"Yamcha," Vegeta cocked his head to the side and threw Bulma into the air. Vegeta knew he wouldn't dare drop her or let her fall. With haste Yamcha scrambled to catch her.
"You didn't have to throw me like that!" Bulma snapped.
"Listen up!" Vegeta drew his fist to his chest. "Return to Capsule Corp."
"Where are you going?" Yamcha asked.
"I don't answer to people like you." Vegeta flew past them with breakneck speed. Bulma and Yamcha had felt the air he had displaced.
Over the shifting surface of the ocean water, Piccolo and Eighteen flew. She was hopeful, so hopeful for things to get back to normal. She was exhausted, anxious, and ready for things to wind down. On the other hand, Piccolo was enjoying the disturbances. They were keeping him in shape, testing his abilities, and sharpening his mental capacities on and off the battle field. A smile began to creep across his face. Although his desire to defeat Goku had disappeared long ago when the evil in his heart was permanently erased by Gohan's compassion, it was an awakening thought to think of facing off against Goku for old time sake. Perhaps he would get the chance someday? For now, he enjoyed fighting alongside Goku as an ally instead. His small grin widened even more.
"I feel their energy! They're coming this way!"
Two tiny black dots were taking form far in the distance. Goku's bright orange gi could be seen easily against the deep blue sky. Krillin's yellow shirt and blue jeans set him diversely apart from the Saiyan. His black hair waved with the wind rushing over his face.
"Eighteen!" He shouted with excitement. After being away for so long, he was relieved that she was the first thing he saw. Both eager and gentle, he was as he met with her in mid air. He twirled her around in his arms.
"That was some crazy stuff." Goku laughed, huffing as he caught up. "It looks like everything turned out alright though."
Piccolo was confused. "You saw all of it?"
"You bet." Goku put his index finger to the sky. "We were in a different dimension watching the whole thing."
Krillin released Eighteen from his grasp, but kept his hand on her arm. It then slid down to her hand. "What do you mean by 'turned out alright'?" Eighteen tilted her head. Her blond hair shifted to one side. "You realize Trunks is dead don't you?"
Krillin looked up at her with one of his eye brows raised. "That's not what we saw…"
Gohan flew about a foot above the floor of the forest. Goten wasn't too far away. They were searching the rubble and remains that had fallen to the Earth. "Trunks!" They were shouting.
"Anyone?" Cried out Goten. Suddenly, the sound of a hovercraft filled their ears. They looked above the tree tops to see Yajirobe driving a craft. Korin was in the passenger seat next to him. Disturbed birds cawed and flew away in irritation as the hover car roared in their ears. Together the two men flew up to meet them.
"Hey, how did you guys make it out of there alive?" Goten laughed awkwardly, scratching the back of his head in the Goku-like fashion.
"What did you do to my beautiful tower? I leave for one hour and this is what happens!" Korin screamed, waving his arms in front of them.
"You mean to tell me you guys weren't here when it happened?" Gohan said incredulously. It was luck that they were out. Now all they had to worry about was Mr. Popo and Trunks, who were still possibly dead.
Yajirobe and Korin looked at one another. They weren't about to fess up to having gone and seen the other blue-haired beauty known as Marron.
"Look, you must help us find Mr. Popo and Trunks." Gohan told the two lazy bodies. They hardly ever did anything and it was about time they contributed.
"Isn't that them behind you?" Yajirobe pointed over Gohan and Goten's shoulders.
The two brothers looked at each other before they turned around. "Don't joke about something this serious. If they were behind us, Trunks especially, we would feel his energy." Goten argued.
"No… seriously… Look behind you." Korin rubbed his whiskers and pointed with his brown cane.
Vegeta flew as fast as he could towards the faint energy signal that Dende was giving off. As he landed with a thud, the little green man fell to the ground having been quite startled. They were among yet another forest miles away from West city. Beside Dende stood Tien, Chiaotsu, and Puar. Normally Puar would've been with Yamcha, but Chiaotsu had talked her into going on a Dragonball excursion with him and Tien. "Vegeta!" Dende stood up and brushed himself off. The little green bean was noticeably getting taller by the day. The Dragon radar was in his grasp. Since it was summer and the Dragonballs had last been used to undo what damage Vegeta caused at the Martial Arts tournament with Majin Buu, this small gang had been set out to find the balls.
"Have you found them all yet?" Vegeta asked impatiently.
"No…" Tien frowned. "Why has something else gone wrong?" His third eye closed with the other two. Problems were starting to pile up so much now days that they couldn't find the Dragonballs soon enough anymore, let alone, let them recharge.
"Damn!" Vegeta cursed and clinched his fists at his sides. "I need them to bring Trunks back."
"What! Trunks is dead?" Tien's mouth dropped open and all three of his eyes grew wide. Dende frowned.
"Look, it's a long story. I'll explain later. For now, we need to focus on finding the Dragonballs." Vegeta persisted.
Eighteen and Piccolo looked at Krillin in complete suspense. "Well, aren't you going to explain what you saw?" Eighteen snapped at her husband.
"Well…" he began, "After that blinding flash of light that the explosion caused, we saw what looked like Trunks fall from the tower. Mr. Popo caught him on his magic carpet before he hit the ground. He didn't appear to be damaged. So we are pretty sure Trunks is still alive." Krillin smiled. There wasn't a trace of worry on Goku's face either.
Piccolo placed his hand on his chin. He was still skeptical about the matter. How could he have fallen completely unscathed? "No one could've survived that blast. Something just isn't adding up. If Trunks was alive, we would be able to feel it."
Goku's smile began to fade. While looking at Krillin, doubts began to arise.
"Piccolo has a point…"
"Look, instead of arguing about this all day, why don't we go find out for ourselves if this is true or not?" Eighteen swiped her hand away from Krillin's and blasted off to head back to the area where the lookout tower had once stood. The rest followed.
Gohan and Goten finally turned their heads. Upon the flying carpet stood the red lipped, black skinned, white turban wearing, Mr. Popo himself, and Trunks. He slowly neared the hovercraft and the two boys.
"I think he's unconscious." Mr. Popo simply said.
Gohan glided over to the carpet and pulled a sensu bean out of the bag in his hand. He opened Trunks's mouth and slipped the bean in and made sure his friend swallowed it. "That ought to do the trick." Gohan watched Trunks's face intently. His lips twitched and his nose wrinkled. His shoulder length hair was plastered to his face with sweat and dirt from the explosion. His clothes were tattered and clung to his body. Wearing a black sweater was almost suffocating.
When his bright blue eyes finally opened, relief swept over the anxious onlookers. Goten sighed. His best friend was going to be alright. "You really scared us for a minute Trunks." Goten laughed.
Trunks sat up and smiled, but he didn't say anything. He was breathing rather deeply.
"Let's take the boy home, he must be exhausted." Korin said.
"What happened up there?" Gohan asked Trunks. They all began to fly away from the tower.
"Don't ask him questions now." Korin snapped at Gohan. "He just woke up. Give his mind a rest."
Trunks settled back down on the carpet and looked up at the sky as they flew back towards the Capsule Corporation. Beads of sweat dotted his forehead.
Eighteen, Piccolo, Krillin, and Goku passed over the ocean and were finally headed over the forest of Korin Tower.
"Goku, can you hear me?" King Kai was speaking to the individual he had trained so many years ago.
"Hey guys its King Kai!" Goku exclaimed. "What's up?" Goku laughed. He was always in a chipper mood, even when danger might have been present.
"Trunks is alright. The others have taken him back to Capsule Corporation. I'm going to let Vegeta know too. You should've seen the way he took off! I bet he's worried sick."
"Vegeta?" Goku placed a hand on the back of his head. "No. Not Vegeta. Anyway, thanks for letting us know King Kai." Goku smiled and informed the others of their short little conversation.
Now everyone was headed to Capsule Corporation to celebrate the safe return of all the z-fighters.
It was warm. Very warm. The heat was almost unbearable. Over the dark dank floors, white boots clapped against the surface. "Back home, weather like this was something you got used to." Her familiar voice stated the relevance of her past.
Trunks squirmed in the strange confinement he had been placed. He was sweating profusely, panting, and quickly losing energy. The thick fleshy wall of material held him in place. "Why are you doing this?" He asked. "It won't be long before the others find me…"
"But they've already found you Trunks!" Belia's bright red lips drew into a smile. Her curly tail swung behind her as she continued to near him.
"What?" Trunks didn't understand what was going on. He couldn't think with all the heat. How was she able to withstand it? His deep breaths continued on and on. "Please… Let me out." He started to panic. "I feel like I can't breathe." Sweat dripped from his nose and landed against the odd flooring beneath him that was covered with dark blue designs. "It's too hot… Please. I feel like my skin is burning and my lungs are collapsing…"
"Shut up!" Belia shouted at him. She was tired of hearing his complaining. "This is nothing compared to the heat in Hell!"