My Past Precedes Me
Turles narrowed his eyes - not because of the excessive clarity of the day, but because he was annoyed. Even from that distance he could see that Nappa couldn't fight anymore; Goku's last blow probably had some . In a common being, it would have broken its spinal in two.
"What an idiot" he mumbled "His hurt pride kept him from letting me fight in his place because he didn't want to take the risk that a third-class soldier would suceed where Nappa, the so-called elite warrior, has failed."
He spoke only to himself. No no one would pay him any attention now,for all the eyes were on the tall Saiyan in orange clothes that held Nappa's body in one hand.
Nappa and Goku's fight had been a complete fiasco. Even Nappa's best blows had been easily barred by the younger, less experienced and, worse, lower classed fighter. Humiliated and beyond fury, Nappa decided that if he couldn't win, he could at least make Goku suffer. Unexpectedly, he charged towards Krillian and Gohan, his big mouth opened wide to turn them into ashes. He didn`t get to hear Goku's despaired hail behind or see the red flames exploding around his foe; he just felt the excruciating pain on his back - too late.
Moving so fast that even Turles barely could follow him, Goku flied under Nappa and caught him with one hand, before the gigantic Saiyan hit the ground. Landing in front of Krillin and Gohan, who embraced each other still not believing they had escaped from death, Goku tossed Nappa's broken body at Turles feet with move ostentsively disdainful.
"He won't be fighting anymore. I suggest you take him back to wherever you came from and get him some help." he told to his sosia.
Turles didn`t make any move. He didn't take his eyes from his sosia, who was now chattering with the two shorties about his techniques. Ha, Turles could tell him to not waste time on that!
"Turles... aren`t you listening? I told you to give me your hand." Nappa's insistent moans finally reached him.
Grudgingly, Turles looked down at the fallen Sayan and the begging hand strechted out at his direction. Something in his eyes must have alerted Nappa, because the giant quickly changed his tone.
"Please... I... I can`t move." he pleaded.
Nappa`s change of attitude seemed to amuse the Sayan in blue armor.
"But, Nappa... do your really want that I dirty your hand? I don`t want to contaminate you with my third-classed germs." he joked.
Nappa gulped at this.
"All those things... that I said... I never meant them." he lied "Really... I was just teasing you. Please, forgive me..."
At this point, the last three protectors of Earth stopped talking to watch what Turles would do. To see if he would accepted Nappa's aphologies, as insincere as they were. Goku was especially anxious."Please... show me that there's more of me in you... that you're much more than a pale reflex of myself" he thought.
Turles still hesitated, but after some seconds he caught Nappa's hand.
"Thanks..." the giant whispered with a weak smile.
Goku relaxed his shoulders subtly.
Just for a few seconds.
Before the bones of Nappa's hand were crushed into Turles' hateful grip. The pained scream of the huge Saiyan echoed throughout the valley as Gohan gripped at his fathers' legs in terror. Nappa struggled to free his hand, but Turles put a foot on his chest, crushing his ribs.
"Since Radditz introduced us, I never liked you." he hissed "You both needed my help because you were by yourselves after your treasured prince was gone. Oh,Prince Vegeta, so incredible that was named after our planet... a big idiot, that's what he was!" Nappa opened his mouth to protest against the insults at his prince, but Turles muffled him with his boot "Yes, he was an idiot. Someone so stupid at point of not hiding his dirty plans from Freeza deserves to be dead. And you and Radditz were worse. You took five years to follow Vegeta's plan and come after my man. What would you have done if there wasn't a Saiyan comanding the pirates, uh? Let me guess: you two would spent the rest of your lives licking Freeza's toes, until he discarded you both, too! And still, you never lost a chance of throwing in my face that I was a third-classed soldier as you were an elite warrior just because you weren't sent away as a baby!"
Goku couldn't stand that any more.
"That's enough, Turles! I understand your anger because Nappa humiliated you so much, but he got what he deserved! You don't have to torture him!"
Turles lifted his head to glare at the benevolent version of himself. He hesitated for a moment, before releasing Nappa's hand and backing away.
"You're right. It's time to finish this." he agreed. Raising the palms of his hands vertically, he concentrated until a ring of yellow energy appeared between them.
"Please take this humble gift from a third-class soldier." he tossed the ring at Nappa.
"NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" Goku screamed, realizing too late what was going to happen. He raised his hand, in a gesture that was as instintive as useless, seconds before grabbing Krillin and Gohan and taking off as the light of Turles` blast reached them. From the sky, the trio watched in horror as the clouds ofsmoke and dust vanished away, revealing a huge crater where Nappa`s body once had lied. A few steps away, Turles stood completely unscathed.
"T-That guy... he is a monster!" Krillin stammered "He just killed his own friend!"
"Nappa never was his friend" Goku replied coldly "Krillin, take Gohan to Kame's house..."
It wasn`t easy convincing Gohan to leave his father alone with his evil counterpart; but, after some arguing, Krillin finally took him away and Goku went down to face his new opponent.
The two men stared at each other, separated by a few meters of distance, their legs separated in almost identical poses. They were two opposite poles: one, in hot colors, dressed in orange, his skin rosy and tanned; the other in cold colors, dressed all in blue, his skin grayish. They really had nothing in common besides their looks, Goku concluded. Strangely,however, that brought him relief instead of disappointment. He wouldn`t have any scruples of attacking that monster with his whole strenght.
"Finally we`re free from those two brats."Turles sneered" I thought you'd be stuck with them forever."
"Let's fight on somewhere else."Goku cut him off "Adesert place, where nobody will be hurt by us."
"We don't have to fight, Kakkarot. I never meant that."
"What?!" Goku stared at him jaw-opened, not believing what he had heard.
The man standing at the other side of the living room was completely different from the images that Bulma, Krillin and Gohan had figured out. Both the boys had figured him out as a sort of huge, ugly, hairy monster like the oger Oolong had transformed himself in order to scare them away. Bulma had idealized a charming, brawny and tall Tarzan-like guy with long, curly hair like Yamcha's. However, the "savage man" the pirates talked so much about was as tall as her. Maybe a little smaller. It was hard to tell due that big pile of opaque, matted hair covering his head. "At least I was right about his muscles" she thought disappointed.
The stranger glared at them and they stared back. Nobody knew what to say or what to do. Despite his arrogant words, Vegeta felt completely lost, and he didn`t like that. He was practical, cold, objective and destituted of imagination. During his years of exile, he hoped that someday a ship would land on that forsaken planet ouf of repairs or to get supplies. When that happened, Vegeta would then either go aboard as a clandestine or negotiate a lift with the crew by offering his services as a mercenary. Better still, if the crew was weak enough, he would kill them all to steal the ship. That was the farthest he could go in his very rare daydreams. And even if he was the dreamest person in the universe, he`d never would have been able to preview that his salvation would depend on such a bizarre group of people. A blue-haired woman, a child and a bald dwarf! Not mentioning the talking animal, whom probably was hidden somewhere in the house. To disguise his disconfort, Vegeta took a bite of the fish he had stolen from the kitchen and munched it, as he awaited until one of the strangers made the next move.
Which didn't take long.
"You are a Saiyan!" the boy exclaimed accusingly.
At the word "Saiyan", the woman paled and shrunk behind the two short boys. The baldie bulged his eyes, before narrowing them and clenching his fists hatefully. Vegeta raised one eyebrow. Obviously, the Saiyans were still famous in the universe, but the reaction of those three was caused by much more than bad fame. Would they be survivors of planets attacked by Nappa, Radditz or Turles? And how did the boy know who he was? There were many humanoid races in the universe. He felt his tail rubbing that hairy, soft thing that covered the floor and looked down. Of course, his tail. "Shit. I forgot wrapping my tail around my waist because of this fucked belt. Now I can't use these fool's pity in my favor, like I used Garana's."
Pretending indifference to their reaction, he finished eating the fish and tossed its remains over his shoulder.
"If you already know that, you've spared my time." he started " My name is Vegeta..."
The reaction at his name was more hysterical than at his race.
"The... the Prince of the Saiyans!" the boy stammered.
"THAT Prince of the Saiyans?" the baldy echoed in disbelief"No way! Radditz said that you were good and dead!"
'These people are really full of surprises!'
"You know.. how do you know Radditz?" Vegeta quickly fixed the question he was doing, since it was obvious that they knew Radditz.
"He invaded our planet." the baldy explained with hostility " We are from Earth."
Vegeta silenced. Earth... that name was familiar. It took him a few seconds searching through his memories until he could put the finger on it. His former days were so distant now that seemed to belong to another person.
"Now I remember. Earth was the insignificant planet where Radditz' little brother was sent to. So Radditz has finally remembered he had a brother" he scoffed"And you are looking for another planet to live because he and Kakkarot destroyed your Earth?"
"Absolutely not!" the kid protested "My Dad didn't want anything to do from that hairy bully and told him to go away. Radditz kidnapped me, but Dad and... one of our friends killed him to save my life."
Gohan`s voice was slightly rough as he finished his report. It was still painful for him to remember that horrible moment when he woke up to hear Piccolo say that his father was dead, even though Dad was alive now. Memories of Radditz, Nappa, Turles and the ominous battle they had on Earth ran through Gohan's mind in seconds, increasing his hatred and distrust towards the stranger. Differently from the other Sayians Gohan knew, that Vegeta guy was short; still, he had the same evil glare and arrogant manners. To know that it had been him who revealed the healing sap for Gohan and Krillin just made the boy angrier. He had been so sure that a god soul was helping them and in the end it was just another bandit.
Vegeta's reaction, however, wasn't as cold as his initial attitude. His V-shaped eyebrows curved, taking the exact form of a bird flying.
"Your... you dad? So you are Kakkarot's son?" he said disbelievingly as he made a beeline towards Gohan "You are lying! You can't be his son!"
"Of course I am my father's son!" the child protested, both confused and angry at that accusation of lying. How did that stranger dared to say such thing? "And his name is not Kakkarot, it's Son Goku!"
Vegeta grabbed Gohan by the kid's borrowed T-shirt.
"I don't care about the name Kakkarot has adopted on Earth!"he interjected " I should have known that you were a Saiyan... it's the only explanation for so much power in a brat like you. But don't offend my intelligence by trying to convince me that you are Kakkarot's son! A piece of garbage like him never would be able of spawning such a strong child!"
"MY FATHER IS MUCH STRONGER THAN ME!!!!"
Vegeta's eyes widened up at this. They glared at each other for some seconds, the air between them so tense that it was almost possible to see sparks. Suddenly, Krillin stepped between them and pushed Vegeta away. The Saiyan lost his balance, not falling on his backside just because his tail supported him in time. However, the fall humiliated him visibly, because he glared at Krillin with pure hate.
"Enough. Now it's our turn to make questions" the monk demanded, not noticing Vegeta's look "What are you doing in this planet? Why did your friends think that you were dead? And how have you learned to supress your ki like that?"
"'Supress my ki?" Vegeta echoed, arching one eyebrow "Is that the name you give to this trick to hide your fighting power?"
"I don't think that he is pretending, Mr. Krillin", Gohan ventured Seeing the older Saiyan humiliated lessened his anger and he felt he should be fair to him"There is something w..."
Before he finished the phrase, Vegeta looked back, as if he heard something. At the next second, he jumped to the left, dodging by close from a laser shot. From the corridor next to the living room came a second shot that would have hit Bulma if Gohan hadn't pushed her in time. Vegeta had already jumped to the corridor, with an agility that would put a panther to shame and a nothing subtle noise of ripping cloth. Another shot was heard, followed by the sounds of a blow and a scream of pain.
Recovering the use of their legs, Krillin and Gohan rocketed at the direction Vegeta had taken. He stood in the bottom of the corridor, holding a fainted Oolong by his t-shirt. The pig had a huge bump on his forehead. In a corner, they saw the crushed remains of the laser gun that had almost caused a tragedy. The pants Vegeta had stolen had a hole in one of its legs, exposing a few centimeters of the inner part of his thigh. A cut was bleeding at the left side of his torso, but he didn't seem to feel any pain.
"You litte scum... I should kill you" Vegeta muttered for the unconscious pig when something grabbed his tail. Undisturbed, he slowly looked back and upon his shoulder.
Krillin was holding Vegeta's tail with both hands.
"Let him go. And give me your gun, or I'll crush your tail in small pieces." he demanded.
"Idiot" Vegeta said as he disdainfully dropped Oolong, as if the pig was a laundry bag"You know that I am the prince of the Saiyans, and thus an elite warrior. Do you really think that if I had my full force I would be defeated by this childlish trick? We, the high-classed Sayian warriors, train our tails to become unsensitive."
Krillin hesitated, remembering what happened when he grabbed Nappa's tail. But he didn't release his prey.
"I don't buy it. You must be pretending!" he insisted.
While they argued, Gohan made his best to avoid Vegeta and approached Oolong, bending over him.
"He's fine" he reported "Must have fainted out of fear"
"Must be pretending he's fainted, more probably" Vegeta scoffed, a smirk raising the corner of his mouth "If I really wanted to hurt this creature, I would have done a lot worse. Must have been hard for him to decide if he wanted to hit me or the loud-mouth woman..."
"Shut up!Let's see if your tail is as insensitive as you say!" Krillin interrupted him as he started to twist the furred appendage in his hands.
This time Vegeta started to feel pain. He struggled and pulled his tail to get free, but in vain. Krillin smirked as he started to twist Vegeta's tail tighter. Vegeta took a deep breath, fighting against the sudden weakness in hs legs. He took the laser pistol of his belt. The baldy's smirk widened, since laser shoots couldn't hurt him.
Unexpectedly, Vegeta tossed the gun at Krillin's head.
Krillin promptly jumped aside; his grip lessened a bit, but he didn't get to release Vegeta's tail. The prince tried to take the advantage and pull his tailback, but Krillin grabbed it firmly as he kicked the gun out of Vegeta's reach.I'm impressed. If I hadn't good reflexes, I could have let you go" he admitted "But what now? You have lost your last defense."
Vegeta considered the possibility of getting free with a kick on the baldy, but gave up. He was exhausted and his energy was low after the long trip at the top of the trees, barely eating and sleeping less. 'I should have stolen more food than that fish, but Ididn't want to call their attention back then. And even if I had eaten more, that wouldn't help now." he thought depressedly.
"Krillin, stop!" Bulma yelled at his back "You might break his tail!"
The monk didn't answer. He looked like mesmerized.
"What else do you need to be sure that this guy is not going to harm us?" she insisted "He could have killed Oolong, but he didn't! And that pig really deserved it, after he almost killed ME!" Bulma pointed a still smoking hole on the couch, marking the spot were her head had been seconds before Gohan pushed her "I don't understand this ki thing much well, but even I can see that this guy can't fight against you or Gohan. Do you really believe that a laser shot would hurt a Saiyan?"
"I don't think that he's pretending, either" Gohan added in "Saiyans are too conceited to pretend weakness. I can't figure out Nappa falling back with your pushing, like Vegeta did. Besides... you told me that only Mr. Piccolo and Kamisama know our technique of supressing ki."
Krillin's hands shivered in relutance, but he released the tail, along with the air that he unconsciously held in his lungs. As soon as he did that, the tail wiped him violently on his right hand.
"Never touch my tail again, or I'll find a way to kill you!" Vegeta threatened, his eyes glowing like a beast's as his tail wrapped itself around his waist like a weird, furred snake.
Krillin backed off in shock as he held his numb hand. Calmly, Vegeta picked up his laser gun and strutted his way to the exit, leaving a trail of bloody dots.
"Hey, hey, where are you going?" Bulma called.
"I'd rather facing Turles by myself than staying here to be humiliated "Vegeta replied, his eyes staring forward. He stopped suddenly and tensed his shoulders, before turning back to glare at her "And I don't need your blasted pitty!" he outburst.
"Typical of Saiyans,"Krillin sneered disdainfully " making a pose even when you are n..."
"SHUT UP! You have goofed enough!" Bulma shouted at him so loud that instantaneously froze all the present males on their spots, including Vegeta. Even Oolong forgot pretending he was still out and sat up with wide eyes.
Pleased with that, Bulma walked towards Vegeta.
"Don't be so hasty." she said amiably as she stopped in front of him "It's obvious that you need our help. You have no clothes, save these pants you've stolen from Krillin..."
"He can have them. I'd never want that back, after he wore them without undies" Krillin mumbled with disgust.
"... you are hiding yourself from Turles like us and there's something keeping your ki low. And you know that we need help, too. We can make a deal."
Vegeta stared at her with a raised eyebrow before crossing his arms and looking aside. That had been his plan when he followed Krillin and Gohan: to offer them an alliance against Turles. But now that the moment had came, he didn't know how to do it without humiliating himself again. Bulma stared back in frustration, trying to figure out what she could use to keep Vegeta on their side. It was clear that she couldn't count on her thickheaded friends. Casually, her eyes spotted the abandoned plates spreaded on the couches.
"Wait a minute! Don't move!" she told Vegeta as she ran to the circle of seats. Picking up her own plate (luckily, she hadn't eaten much, since her head was too full of problems to feel hungry) and also the small package of leaves Gohan had made for her, she quickly returned to where the Saiyan was.
"Look at this! Feel this smell! I bet that you never ate lamen in your life!"Bulma entused as she practically pushed the plate on Vegeta's face. Her smile softened when she saw his nose twitch at the pleasant smell "It is cold now, but it is not raw and tastes much better than the fish you were eating " she added.
Vegeta hesitated before grabbing some portion of lamen and fetching it in his mouth. Bulma had to make a big effort to keep smiling and not look away. At least he munched with his mouth closed, unlike Goku.
"Bulma, what are you doing?" Krilling asked, completely ignored.
"You eat this hot?" Vegeta asked, as soon as he gulped the portion. He grabbed the rest of the lamen with his hand.
"Yes! And we have many different flavors! My favorite is shrimp, too bad that we're out of it. Ah, and I almost forgot" she opened the leaves package and offered him "If you really want to go, take this. At least you can't say that we've left your blood to death."
Vegeta hesitated for a very short moment before taking the gift grudgingly. The wound caused by Oolong's shot was really hurting.
"You know well the properties of that sap ,don't you?" she asked, to keep the conversation running.
Vegeta gulped the rest of the lamen before answering.
"I know well the tree that produces it, and so other ones in this planet " he admitted, as he cleaned his sticky hand on Krillin's pants. He rubbed the sap on his wound, his face stoic "Not many. But do you think that you can buy me with some portions of sticky food and a medicine that I can find anywhere in the woods?" he made a ball with the withered leaves and tossed it away, before crossing again his arms and wait for Bulma's answer. As despaired as he was, he wouldn't be talked into a deal without knowing more about what he would get with it.
Bulma felt a wave of heat raising from her neck to her face. That man was as irritating as her fathers' chauvinistic shareholders - the only people to whom she was that patient, usually.
"Of couse not, silly!" the blue-eyed inventor exploded, waving the plate in her hands as if she planned to toss it like an olympic athlet "I'm offering you a place among us, with all the commodities that we have: clothes, hot food, a confortable, clean bed! And the most important: a lift out of this planet! According to Radditz, you've been missing for four... five years, right? "she looked at her friends for confirmation.
"Five" Gohan confirmed "I remember that well. I was frightened, but I thought it was funny that had happened just one year before I was born. Since one year has passed after Radditz, now it's six..." he trailled off when he noticed the shock in Vegeta's eyes.
He was pale, his lips moving like the ones of a fish out of the water, all his arrogant stance melted away with two single words.
"He's getting white..." Oolong commented with apparent concern" Looks like he's going to faint."
"Vegeta?" Bulma called him softly.
"Five... six years?" he babbled "I had no idea. Sure, I knew that some years had past, but it is difficult to have any notion of time in this place, because there are no moons or seasons. All days are just the same, and abominably hot... when my clothes wore off, I couldn't even replace them by leather..."
"You could have tried a grass skirt" Oolong joked, but Gohan nudged his arm to be quiet.
Fortunately, Vegeta didn't hear the remark. He barely noticed the environment around him, let along the annoying people in it. He was back to the small cabin of the ship that had brought him to his prison, and listening again to Freeza's voice taunting him in the video. Back to the moment when the ship exploded as soon as he put a foot out of it, tossing him against the trees. To his despair when he woke up to realize he no longer could raise his ki nor fly... to the days he had spent screaming and trying to fight against the whatever had taken the only thing important to him, until exhaustion, hunger and the pain in his head made him faint, just to wake up hours later and try again, and again...
"CURSE YOU!!!" he exploded suddenly, his fists clenched "Six years in this hellhole?! Six years... being powerless? FREEZA, YOU SON OF A BIIIIITCH!!!!"
"Gohan, are you feeling this?" Krillin asked.
"Yes" the kid nodded, his eyes never leaving the tormented man standing in the middle of the room.
"Feeling what?" Bulma asked (prudently, she had backed off to the protection of her warrior friends when Vegeta started looking weird).
"Vegeta's ki started raising before he screamed, but just a little" Gohan explained "Then it powered down again. Now it's coming up... and down, up and down. Something is keeping him from increasing his fighting power!"
Veins swelled on Vegeta's forehead as he fought, trying once again to power up. For anyone there is was clear that Vegeta would have destroyed the house and everyone in it if he was able to. Nothing happened, however, and all he could do was screaming in frustration. The pounding in his head became stronger and stronger, until he also started screaming in pain. Clutching his hands on his hair, Vegeta fell on his knees, his tail opening furrows on the carpet.
"Vegeta!!" Bulma ran to him. Withouth noticing, her hands dropped the plate, which crushed into pieces at her retreat. Gohan joined her into helping the tormented Saiyan, but he pushed both away.
"Back off... leave me al... aaahh... aahh..." that was all he could moan, before his face contorted and he pressed one hand againt his mouth.
"Don't dare vomiting on my carpet!"Bulma protested horrified "Oolong! Bring us some water!"
The frightened pork didn't dare to leave his place. Luckily, the disgusting threat didn't became true. Vegeta was now heaving, drops of sweat coming from every exposed skin of his body to the carpet. Bulma and Gohan crouched around, not touching him but ready to help if he needed.
Krillin slowly made his way towards the group.
"That happens whenever you try to raise your ki?" he asked as he bent over the crouched Saiyan, not touching him.
Vegeta looked up and shot him a disdaining glare, before staring the carpet again. Avoiding the charitable hands offered in support, he sat up, his legs laying loosely on the carpet his hands resting on his things and his shoulders slumped. He was the perfect portrait of despair.
"This is horrible" Gohan muttered pityfully "That 'Freesio' guy did this to you?"
"Freeza" Vegeta corrected him, his voice rough "You think that Turles is a monster because you never had to face the true evil. We, the Saiyans, were Freeza's most faithful servants, and he treated us like trash."
"Now I remember this name" Krillin interrupted him "Back on Earth, Turles said that Nappa and Radditz looked for him because you told them to. Looks like those two were pretty lost after you disappeared, because only last year they took courage and contacted Turles' pirates. He said that if Radditz and Nappa hadn't found him, they'd probably be licking Freeza's feet for the rest of their lives."
"Very probably" Vegeta didn't shrug at the information because he never did that, but his disdain for the fate of his former partners was obvious "Those two deadlasts never were able to think by themselves. I'm not surprised that Radditz is dead. And Nappa, is he dead, too? He's a moron, but must have given Kakarott the Hell."
"Not at all", Gohan said with pleasure. His pity for Vegeta vanished a bit in face of the Saiyan's cold-hearted behaviour. 'He's just like the other bad guys'' he thought, as he added "Dad would have defeated that big bully with a hand attached on his back. But it was Turles who killed Nappa, because of the horrible things Nappa said to him, just because Turles was a third-classed soldier."
Vegeta's shocked face was really comic.The two small warriors didn't get to laugh, but they smiled. It was a small but sweet revenge, after all the things the evil Saiyans had made them go through.
"And now he wants to catch you" Krillin added "That's what I call tasting your own medicine."
"Serves you right, you big jerk!" Oolong exclaimed from his corner "We should toss him out of the house to be caught!"
Bulma didn't like the way things were going.
"That's enough! You three are looking like bullies tormenting a kid in the school yard!" she admonished the trio"If Vegeta still had his powers, would you treat him like that?"
Both Gohan and Oolong shut their mouths - the first out of shame and the second to not be conked on his head. But Krillin
"Bulma, it's Vegeta's fault that we are in trouble. Because of him, the other Saiyans got together to kill our friends and hurt Yamcha, and poison Ear..."
"SHUT THE FUCK UP, ALL OF YOU!!!!"
Vegeta's shout not only made everyone quiet but also caused them to back away, opening a large space around him. He took the chance to get up as quick as he could; he still felt a little dizzy, but his tail kept him from losing his balance.
"You are a bunch of brainless morons!"he exclaimed, turning to face the annoying group of Earthlings"No wonder that you are in trouble, since you are not able to use properly what is in your hands - and your minds! First, you could have avoided your problems if you had hidden your oh-so-precious spheres on ANOTHER PLANET before you landed here. Are you going to tell me that, when you detected a group of spheres alltogether in this place, you haven't suspected that someone else wasn't gathering them, too?"
An awkward, ashamed silence answered him.
"It's easy to judge me, but what would you have done if you were enslaved by someone like Freeza? You just saw what he did to me... he did much worse to other people who deceived him!" he lectured, causing both the woman and the animal gasping in fear "I used to spent every waking moment thinking of a way to get rid of him for good... when these pirates started to ruin the Icejin's - Freeza's race- the Icejin's business. The pirates cleansed the planets to sell them, just we did. They also dressed and acted the same way, and constantly moved from a hiding place to another, so it was really difficult to find them. Freeza made the point of offering rewards for any clue about them."
"But it didn't work" Krillin concluded "It's comprehensible when you know that Turles is their leader."
"Obivously, I found they could be useful, even though I had no idea that there was a Saiyan among them" Vegeta went on "I took ages investigating secretly, until I found a clue" a bit calmer, he walked towards the circle of couches as he talked. Picking up one of the abandoned plates, he savoured a small portion of cold lamen before continuing "I warned Radditz and Nappa to keep secret, of cours. However, our plan must have leaked somehow. One day, I was assigned for a planet that was already taken over. I found weird, but those were orders, so I took the ship that was signed for me. They had messed the blasted computer, so I couldn't alter my route... All I could do was jumping off the ship when I landed, before it exploded." the plate broke under his fingers. Pieces of china fell on his bare feet without hurting him.
"But you didn't leave any orders for your... allies to attack Earth, did you?" Bulma insisted.
That again? Her question should have annoyed Vegeta, but this time he felt grateful to the woman for the distraction.
"The last instructions I left were for Nappa and Radditz contact the... person I believed that was in cahoots with the pirates. Whatever else they did was their own decision." he stated, before finishing the subject for good "Enough discussing my past! Just put the woman, or someone else among you, to decyfer the scouter messages. While you're wasting time judging my life, we are losing important informations."
With that, he grabbed another plate and started cleaning it, letting crystal clear that he'd no longer answer any questions.
"I've never seen nobody enjoying Bulma's food that much" Oolong commented aloud.
"We?" Krillin repeated Vegeta's word, his eyebrow narrowed "Well, he's got a point in this. Better you going back to the des-cri-whatever, Bulma."
"Can I go, too?" Gohan asked eagerly"I'd like to see how you translate the messages."
Bulma accepted his offer with enthusiasm. The last thing she wanted now was to go back to the computer.
"It is very simple. You can do it by yourself. First, turn on the computer. As soon as it is initiated, push the bottom..." she gave Gohan some hurried instructions before sending him to the terminal "Just go there and start for me. I'm coming soon after you, okay? Just have to solve a few things, first."
Having dispatched Gohan, she turned to Oolong, that just stood at her side staring at the Sayan.
"You're not doing anything, so just go to the kitchen and boil more ramen. Cut some sashimi, too."
"Why me?" the pig protested.
"Since you find my food so terrible, let's see how you do it. But first, clean all the blood Vegeta dropped because of you!" she finished, pointed at the bloody track on the corridor.
Krillin took a few seconds to understand all that.
"All that food is.. for Vegeta? You can't be serious, Bulma! This guy is not a stray dog like those your father gets in the street... he is a mentally disturbed Saiyan - one who eats like a pig!"
"Have you seen yourself eating?" Oolong asked very offended, as he grudgingly retreated to get a cloth.
"And what do you prefer to do, to expell Vegeta out, like Oolong suggested?" Bulma retorted to Krillin "If Turles' men capture him, they'll probably torture him and he might tell them that we are intercepting their messages.
Krillin didn't know what to say.
"Besides," Bulma carried on "Vegeta is smart. He knows how to survive in the jungle. What would have happened to Gohan if he hadn't shown the sap for you?"
Solved the issue, she marched towards Vegeta, who was currently passing his finger on the last dirty plate to lick the last remains of gravy.
"If you really want to stay with us, you'll have to follow a few rules. First, we don't eat the rests of food someone left in its plate. You'll have your own plate full of hot lamen - but first, you have to take a bath!"
Vegeta stopped licking his finger to stare at her in shock.
"What?!! I washed myself in the waterfall before entering!" he blurted before realizing it. Why was he accounting for his state of cleaning - and to that ridiculous woman, from all people?
"You haven't done a good job."Bulma stated, her tone firm and disapproving "Your hair looks like a pterodactyl nest, I bet it never met a shampoo! And what's wrong about taking a second bath? Are Saiyans are made of sugar?"
To increase Vegeta's shock and puzzlement, Krillin started to laugh. He turned to glare at her blue-eyed tormentor.
"You..." he hissed through clenched teeth.
"Oh, stop sulking," Bulma sighed and shooked her head "You'll have clean, good clothes, which are not full of holes like those pants you're wearing. Its bottom ripped open when you jumped to catch Oolong . And it's getting larger whenever you bent to pick those plates. At this rhytm you'll soon be walking around bare-assed!"
Vegeta covered his butt with the plate.
Bulma and Krillin's laughing increased so loud that Gohan and Oolong abandoned their duties to come back running. Krillin explained the best he could, since he couldn't stop cracking up, so the kid and the pig started laughing too. And Vegeta's face did nothing to stop them; actually, it just caused Krillin to fall backwards, clutching his aching belly.
The mortified Saiyan had no way but following Bulma to the bathroom, his hands firmly holding the plate on his butt which had been exposed for almost six years before that. Gohan, Krillin and Oolong's laughings followed them like an opera chorus celebrating Vegeta's return to civilization.