You sigh and look at each route, examining the situation. "Fine, I've come to a decision. We'll travel through the forest. I doubt this Piccolo will be any problem should he arise so don't worry about anything."
Beads of sweat drip down Goku's forward and he carefully nods, "Alright, lets do it. We should move quick though!"
"Heh. Is there any other way to move?" You retort and blitz off away from Goku, darting towards the lush green forest. In a few seconds, you hear the Saiyan's footsteps behind you until he reaches your side. Looking at his movements, he appears to be holding back some speed to stay with you. The bastard.
A few hundred meters away, the two of you see the gateway to the forest. Suddenly, your entire surroundings vanish from the hot terrain and bits of rain drip down into your hair. You stop briefly and look around. "That was weird..." You quietly say, scouting the area. "I swear we still had ways to go before getting into this place and yet..." You turn around and to your surprise, the desert you were once upon has completely vanished.
You walk up to a tall tree and brush your hand on the moss that is scattered on one side, feeling its soft touch. "No, something is wrong." You anxiously think. "It's like we vanished from where we were before and reappeared in the middle of this jungle. It all went down so naturally, but yet I feel as if this place is so... unnatural."
Words echo from the side which breaks your train of thought. Goku appears to be looking at you with his mouth spaced open, almost as if he is awaiting an answer. Before you can ask him to repeat, he shrugs off his worried expression and speaks up.
"Kiryu, we should go. Best not to um, waste any time here. After all, Gohan could be in danger!"
Your ring finger anxiously taps on the covered moss uncontrollably but you manage to make out a small nod. For some reason it feels lifeless. "Yeah, you're right." You whisper, Goku dashing off the second the words leave your mouth.
Without your full consent, both of your legs stumble forward and start running after Goku. This doesn't make any sense. Despite trying to leave the thoughts behind, this lack of knowledge continues to burn in the back of your throat. How did you appear in the middle of this forest? Why was Goku sweating before even coming here? The man clearly loves a good battle, yet appeared to be petrified of this place. Was it really because of the green man that lives here or is it something else?
"Come on!" Goku shouts from ahead, slightly turning his head back to you. "Just follow me and don't get lost!" You can't help but gaze down at his irregular movements. One second he's running straight and the next he makes an abrupt turn and goes the opposite way.
"You slime." You think to yourself. "Speed Blitz Times 2!" You vanish for an instant and reappear in front of Goku, which causes him to shake in fear.
"Urgh, Kiryu, what'cha doing? We oughtta' keep moving in case uh, Piccolo comes!"
"There is no Piccolo." You solemnly declare, examining every slight detail he makes. Both consciously and unconsciously. It all serves a purpose.
"W-w-what!? Yeah, there is! And I don't want to mess with him, so lets g-go." Goku stutters and walks right past you, but before he can make it far you grab onto his shoulder and squeeze a pressure point tightly. He winces in pain and knocks your hand off of him, looking truly offended.
"You know something, don't you, Saiyan?"
"Really Kiryu? We're gonna' do this NOW!? Before real trouble comes, lets just go get my son back. I don't know anything about this jungle."
"Then what's with the movements and specific direction orders? I have come to two conclusions. One, you know exactly where we are and are currently leading me into a trap. Or two, you know exactly where we are and are frightened of this place rather than the alleged being that resides within. So Goku, which one of these men do you want to be?"
"None!" Goku offendedly yells. "I'm using my advanced ability to sense Ki to guide us a way out. This place is strange, ain't it? That's why I'm not using my eyes to get us out of here. If I can sense what's on the other side, I'll know the route that will take us there..." Goku breathes heavily and puts his palm on your shoulder, staring you in the eye intently. "Kiryu, please, lets go."
You glare at the Saiyan for a second before smiling brightly and nodding your head in agreement. "Alright Goku, I believe you." You state with a friendly grin. Goku lets out a breath of fresh air and smiles enthusiastically. He takes his palm off of your shoulder and the moment he does, you jab your right fist deep into his gut. You push forward with all of your power and the Saiyan winces down in pain. He lands on his knees and glares at you in confusion. "Sorry, but no. You're good, don't get me wrong, but you're far from a pro."
"W-what...are y-you TALKING about?" He yells, still grappling his stomach.
You grab his throat and bend his face upward so the two of you are staring at each other intently. "Tell me exactly what you know of this place." You hear him whisper something in what appears to be agreement but it isn't even close to good enough for you. Especially when it's coming from such a foreign source. "TELL ME!"
"ALRIGHT!" He screams and brushes your hand away from him. "I withheld some truth from you earlier. I've been here before, personally. With King Vegeta, his son, and a Saiyan that goes by the name of Bardock. Piccolo IS real and he knows we're here."
"Fair enough." You say, backing away from Goku and harnessing your aura. "Continue."
"Former King Vegeta brought us here to expand on Saiyan territory, but once he met up with Piccolo, well, he changed his mind. Apparently, in exchange for a way out, Vegeta was willing to let Piccolo live here in peace. I don't know if Piccolo is any threat at all because he was concealing his Ki, but I do know that the King never wanted to return here. No way that he's the type to honor an agreement like that, but he did..."
"Hmm...'a way out', you said?" Goku nods. "So we're in a maze that the previous King Vegeta was afraid of so much that he was willing to keep his word for once. Shocking."
"I remember how to get out of this place, which is why I wanted you to follow me before anything happens. This isn't a maze we can just fly into the sky and be free. I think...we're in another realm."
Your eyes widen in shock and you flare your aura into the air, suddenly feeling watched. "So you're saying we were teleported from Earth into another realm that only one person lives. And to top it off, if we walk on the right path, everything will be all fine and dandy?" Goku chuckles a bit and nods cheerfully. "The truly strange part about all of this is that I believe you. I must be losing it..." You mutter.
"Heh heh," Goku laughs for a brief second before tightening up and surveying his surroundings. "He's here!" An incredible force pulls itself from the jungle and a long toed shoe slams itself into Goku's chin. The Saiyan is sent flying into a nearby tree and smashes into it with a bang. Shortly afterwards, the tree comes tumbling down from the shock wave. "Owwy..."
"This is MY land!" The voice screams and you gaze your head over to him. He's wearing a white turban and long cape of the same colour. His shoes are brown and pointy, appearing to be made of wicker. The green man is also wearing a dark blue gi that covers the majority of his body, and a sky blue sash that holds it together. He puts his palm up to face you and a gigantic ball of Ki forms in it. "Meteor Burst!"
"Shi-!" The beam explodes on you and launches you back dozens of meters, eventually being stopped by an overgrown tree. Smoke covers the entire area and you lay down still, keeping quiet. "That was certainly fast but he doesn't appear to be much of a heavy hitter..." You think.
"Hey, hey! Piccolo, take it easy!" You hear Goku pleading, but can't see anything from your current position.
"King Vegeta promised me this land and yet you Saiyans have finally decided to come back and take my land. Now that your partner is dead, how do you hope to defeat me?"
"Kiryu? Nah, heh heh, he isn't dead." Upon hearing this, you decide to poke your head up from the ground and gaze at Piccolo from afar. He looks directly at you now that the smoke has subsided so you give a sarcastic wave to annoy him. He grunts and turns back to Goku. "Listen Piccolo, i'm not with the Saiyan Empire anymore. And King Vegeta is dead so if another Saiyan does come here...Saying he let you live here isn't exactly a good bargaining chip anymore."
"I see." Piccolo grabs his chin and squeezes it hard enough that bits of zit blood squirt out of it. "Why are you here if you haven't come to take my land then?"
Goku points his finger at you in response, so you decide to get up and walk towards Piccolo yourself. He eyes you cautiously, clearly untrustworthy of this entire scenario. "Yeah, my bad. It was my idea to come this way. But i'm wondering Greeny, what exactly is with this place you live in?"
"Peh." Piccolo turns back to Goku, completely ignoring you. "Goku...If King Vegeta is dead, nothing is stopping his son from coming back to kill me. Neither of us even hold a candle to him!"
"Whaaat?" You taunt. "You can't hide in your maze forever? If they can't find you, there shouldn't be anything to worry about."
"I used my magic to create this place. I just wanted to get away from everything else. When somebody gets within a certain range of the forest, they'll automatically transfer to this realm. Of course, there is an exit point amidst this so I myself can be free, but not one that a foreigner could find. So if Prince Vegeta DOES come in here he'll never be able to touch me. That's one of the main reasons I created this place!"
"Buuuut..." You inquire.
"He knows what happens when he gets close enough to here. So if he's any smarter than his father, he'll just blow the entire forest up before entering the portal! I'll be trapped in this realm for eternity."
"If you made this place to get away from people, I still don't see the problem. It'll just make you safer, if anything."
"One cannot live in an artificial world for a lengthy period of time. As real as this place looks, there are no animals. No plants. No life. I'll die not before long if Prince Vegeta makes a smart move."
You walk up to Goku and nudge his upper arm, signalling him that it's time to go. "King Vegeta died a year ago so if you're still breathing, I don't think there is much of a problem. We'll be leaving now. Some things are more important than your artificial hideout. But hey," You dig into your pocket and pull out a card. "If you decide that you want to leave this place and end the corruption we live upon, that's the address to my organization. Lets go Goku."
"Later, Piccolo." Goku says with his teeth pressed up against each other. Both you and Goku walk on the path you were once on, running soon after, and eventually leave Piccolo behind.
Piccolo stands alone by the broken tree that Goku crashed into. He looks toward it and suddenly the entire structure vanishes into thin air. He stares at the card and throws it on the ground, crushing it into the soil. The man stares into the distance and sees the two of you shrinking in size as every second goes by. "Maybe it is time for me to leave this place..."
Goku stops at a split between pathways, breathing heavily. "Damn it, i'm sorta' lost. Left or right Kiryu?"
"Eh, right is right." You reply and Goku nods.
Just before the two of you walk down the path, a voice speaks up. "It's left, actually." Both you and Goku turn around to see Piccolo standing right behind you. "Your name is Cure You, right?"
"What is it that Goku and you are doing on the other side of this forest that's so important?"
"Saving his kid from the wolves. Or something." You clear your throat and gaze at the forest dweller. "You're free to come. We can use an extra hand in this mission."
"And what's in it for me?" Piccolo greedily asks.
"That depends. What is it that you want?" Piccolo remains silent. "I can give you a moderately safe place to live in exchange for your occasional services. I can give you money. I can give you respect...dignity. But something tells me that you're interested in something more than all of this."
"You have a lot of power? Authority?" You smirk, and give a faint nod. "Then I want an 'I Owe You' in exchange for my temporary services. Is it a deal?"
You look over to Goku and the second you do that, he turns his head away from you and tilts it to the sky. After rolling your eyes, you turn back to Piccolo with your answer.
1) Accept Piccolo's offer. He'll help you in exchange for a future favor.
2) Me? Give some random a favor? You must be joking.
In an instant, you vanish from Piccolo's Realm and are now surrounded by life of all kinds. A deer runs just past you in fright from your sudden arrival, but you pay little attention to it. After a short and aimless walk, a foul smell begins to grow and grow. In hope that it's what you think it is, you lead your small pack out of this forest.
You walk turns into a quick jog, until finally transforming into a full on sprint. The scent grows and grows until you pop out of the forest and stare into the distance. "Just as I suspected."
"Huh?" Goku questions, standing a few meters behind you.
"That scent which killed almost every animal in that forest was from the mill. There is a large city just ahead. And if I did the geography correctly, which I of course did, it would be West City. We can rest, stock up supplies, and more if we make a brief stop here before continuing on."
Goku walks up beside you and covers his nose from the smell. "Rest at a hotel? Did you even bring any money with you?"
"Haha, good one." You say with a chuckle before realizing Goku wasn't joking. "Oh, you're serious. Well fortunately, cash is completely obsolete in my position." You dig into your pants pocket and pull out what looks like a credit card from the back. "This right here is proof of my status as a Commander of the FBM. Most store clerks won't even allow me to pay in fear that I'll kill them if they charge me anything, but this card sends all transactions to Headquarters. We're a multi-billion dollar corporation. I don't think one night stocking up will be much of an issue for Rem."
"I don't know. We probably shouldn't waste any more time. If you're right about this being West City, we should be able to make it to the Saiyans' hideout in just a few more nights of travel."
"Right, and we'll get there exhausted and hungry. That's a brilliant idea."
"Hey, we don't know what kind of problems await us in the city! West City is pretty close to a Red Ribbon Army Base and there is tons of crime here."
"What? Are you saying you're afraid of getting mugged by a backstreet thug or something? Stop talking to me." You walk forward towards the city slowly and the smell of pollution continues to grow. "Hmm...He's right. The Red Ribbon Army might be crawling in this city, and the quicker we get his son back the better. But still...At what sacrifice?" You contemplate your next move alone, weighing all of the options carefully.
A) Go to West City. Rest for the night and head out in the morning.
B) Go to West City and stay for a few days. Explore the area and see what is happening.
- Bonus: Particular things to look for? Do? Buy? Etc?
C) Skip West City altogether and keep heading towards your destination.
Author's Chapter Notes: