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Price of the Priceless

Chapter 1: In and Out of this World

By: Hatashi Kitty

“I’m winning, Goten.”
“No fair, Gohan. You’re cheating.”
“How am I cheating?”
“Because your mouth is bigger.”
“All right you two. No more eating contests.”
The two young half-Saiyins were interrupted by a light scolding from their mother. Chichi looked at them sternly waiting for an answer.
“Okay,” they both said in unison.
“Hey, Goten. I’m winning,” Gohan whispered over the table when Chichi was out of sight.
“No fair!” Goten quickly downed the rest of his breakfast, and jumped energetically out of his chair. “I’m done! I’ll race you outside, Gohan.”
“Hey!” Gohan exclaimed surprised at how quickly Goten ate. With renewed fervor, he shoved the remainder of his food into his mouth, and raced after the younger child. Both of them were too preoccupied about reaching the door first, that they didn’t notice Chichi standing in between their destination. Almost too late, they stopped on their toes before bowling into her.
“And where do you two think you’re going?” she asked in a stern voice.
“Outside,” Gohan replied as if it were obvious.
“But it’s raining.”
The two brothers looked out the window. Sure enough, the pouring rain was coming down in sheets and soaking everything. Huge puddles had all ready formed on the roads of the uneven earth.
“So,” Goten argued. He didn’t think it was such a big deal.
“So, you could catch a cold being out in this weather,” Chichi said glaring at her youngest.
“Then what are we suppose to do? We can’t train inside the house,” Gohan reasoned.
Chichi smiled. “Then this is an excellent time for you to catch up on your homework.” Her pleasing countenance only stayed a short while changing back into her rigid version. “Or maybe you’d like to help me with the dishes?”
“Yeah! Homework! My favorite!” Gohan cheered happily, and skipped up the stairs to his bed room to retrieve his books before his mother insisted on the alternative.
Goten also turned tail and ran up the stairs mumbling something about helping his older brother.

********

Far away from the storm that infested the mountain areas, it was a perfect day in Orange Star City. However, Yamcha did not want to take advantage of being outside.
“Puar! I’m hungry!” he whined pitifully as he slumped down into his chair.
“I know,” his faithful companion sympathized from the kitchen. “Just be patient. Breakfast is almost ready.” Since the small blue cat was cooking at the stove and had her back toward the living room area, Puar did not see the malicious grin that crossed the warrior’s face as he oozed out of his chair.
“Maybe checking the mail will get your mind off your stomach, Yamcha. Yamcha?” Puar started drifting to the door way to see why her friend did not reply. “Yamcha?” To her surprise, he wasn’t there. Just in time, Puar spotted the warrior leaning over the stove, fork in hand, ready to spear his sizzling prey.
“Ow! Why did you do that?”
Puar hit him again with her metal spatula. “Get out!”
“Come on, Puar. It was just - OW!”
“GET OUT!” Puar continued her bombardment of punishments until she chased Yamcha clear out of the apartment.
Yamcha leaned against the door with his ear pressed to it trying to decide when it would be safe to return. After a minute had passed, he still wasn’t sure if Puar was anticipating his return or not. Instead of risking it, he decided to go get the mail as was suggested. Soon he was waiting for the elevator to arrive at his floor which seemed to take forever. The ride down to the ground floor was even more prolonging. He felt edgy until the elevator doors opened. Yamcha dashed out and to his mail slot. After opening it, he pulled out a handful of envelopes.
“Let’s see here,” he said to himself as he thumbed through each one. “Bill. Bill. Junk. Bill. Hello, what’s this?” He came across a small envelope whose return address he didn’t know. And what was even stranger, it was addressed to Puar.
Any thoughts on the mysterious envelope came to a halt when his stomach reminded him of his “Life-or-death” situation. Not wanting to take the slow elevator again, Yamcha ran enthusiastically up the emergency stairs, to his apartment, where a long awaited meal was there to greet him.
“Just in time, Yamcha,” Puar complimented with a smile as he walked through the door.
As he watched Puar place the last dish on their small table, his mouth watered from the tantalizing aroma that floated in the air. He felt as happy as a school girl as he sat at the table, and started shoveling huge servings onto his plate. As he gobbled down the meal, Puar’s eyes drifted to the discarded pile of mail on the table.
“Was there anything in the mail today?”
After swallowing, Yamcha replied, “No, mostly bills. . . Except, there was a letter for you.”
“For me?” She was completely surprised as the letter was handed to her. She read the return address that was on the front. Hatashi Sukiyaki. Do I know her? Puzzled, she carefully opened the envelope and read the small note inside. Suddenly, her expression changed from mild surprise to shear terror. “Oh no.”
“What does it say, Puar?” Yamcha asked worriedly.
“M-My younger b-brother. H-He’s coming to v-visit,” she stuttered.
“I didn’t know you had a brother,” Yamcha told her. “Don’t you want him to come?”
“NO! I hate him! He’s mean! When we were little, he would always do terrible things. He would make messes and break stuff. And when I tried to tell my parents, they scolded me. They said that I should take responsibility for my action, and not blame others.” After she related her story, the blue cat burst into tears.
“That’s awful,” Yamcha sympathized with her. “Why didn’t your parent believe you?”
“B-Because he. . . he. . . he was cuter than me,” she sobbed and threw herself into Yamcha’s arms to finish crying.

********

Is Kinshasa the capital of Zambia? Or is it Zaire? Gohan had been studying for about an hour now memorizing for his geography test. He decided he needed a little distraction. “Hey Goten,” he uttered to his younger brother. “What are you drawing?”
Goten beamed with pride. Finally someone noticed his latest masterpiece. One by one, he pointed to each multicolor stick figure and named them. “That’s me and that one’s mom. This is you. The green one is Mr. Picolo. And now I’m going to draw Trunks.” He reached for the spot where his purple crayon once was. When his fingers connected to nothing, he gasped. “Gohan, did you take my purple crayon?” Goten accused.
“Who me?” Gohan asked as innocently as possible. Just as he said it, a purple crayon rolled out of his textbook. “Gee, how did that get there?” he asked none too convincingly.
Enraged, Goten sprang onto his older brother. The two of them wrestled and rolled all over the living room floor. They bumped into the furniture and walls, not concerned of the noises they made. Chichi heard their scuffle and went to investigate. When she saw that her living room was being decimated, she gasped in horror. The two half-Saiyins froze when they saw their mother.
“Look at this mess. Can’t I leave you two alone for one minute?” Chichi severely rebuked.
“It’s not my fault,” Gohan explained.
“Liar. You started it,” Goten began defended.
“I had enough of you two. Go to your room!”
They wasted no time to make a hasty exit least they make her even more cross.

*******

Now the whole point of sending naughty children to their room is to make them think about how sorry they should be. It doesn’t work that way when the two children share the same room.
“Hey, Goten,” Gohan whispered as he kicked to top bunk.
Goten refused to speak.
“Why aren’t you talking to me?”
“Because you got me in trouble.”
“Hey, I’m sorry,” Gohan apologized. He stood up from his bed and put his arms and head on Goten’s bunk. He gave his brother a silly grin. “You wanna play a game?”
“Okay,” Goten said enthusiastically, forgiving all of Gohan’s trespasses. He jumped down from his bunk to the floor. “What game?”
“It’s a game where you try to stay on your head the longest.”
“Yeah! That sounds fun,” Goten cheered.
The first time they played, Goten fell immediately. Gohan had to show Goten how to balance on his head before they could begin again.
“All right. This is the big one. Whoever wins this one is the champion,” Gohan announced. “He’ll be the Grand Pu-ba of standing-on-the-head. You wanna bet who wins?”
“I bet I’ll win,” Goten challenged.
“I bet not. What do you wanna bet on?”
“Um . . . how about tonight’s dessert.”
“You’re on!”
The two of them shook on it, sealing the deal.
Five minutes later, Goten’s face was turning red and he was feeling light-headed. Gohan, on the other hand, was experiencing none of these symptoms.
“No fair, Gohan. You’re cheating.”
“You always say I’m cheating,” Gohan answered crossly.
“But this time you are.”
“How?”
“You’re flying.”
This was true. The older half-Saiyin was secretly using his energy to keep himself afloat. He had hoped that Goten wouldn’t notice, but there was no chance of fooling the ever observant Goten.
At this time, Chichi noticed that her boys had been exceptionally quiet, and hoped that they had been thinking about their mistakes. She decided it was time to let them out. She went up the stairs, and opened their bedroom door. “Are you guys ready . . . What are you doing?!”
Chichi’s sudden entrance startled Gohan enough to let go of his lift and fall over. Goten quickly scrambled to his feet, and pointed at the fallen Gohan. “Ha ha. I beat you. I get your dessert,” he teased in a sing song voice.
“That’s enough. I had enough out of both of you! Outside!”
“Huh?” the two said in surprise.
“You hear me! Out!”
“But the rain . . . ” Gohan started.
“OUT!”
The two shrugged at each other and quickly went outside before Chichi changed her mind. They both had a delightful day full of splashing in puddles, and frolicking in the rain.

*******

Far away from the troubles of the Earth, the spirit realm was having problems of their own.
“He’s gone! He’s gone!” screamed East Kai as she raced toward her other counterparts. “Thieves! Bandits! Robbers! Help! He’s gone!”
“What’s she yakking about now?” West Kai asked uninterestedly.
“Who know?” South Kai replied drowsily. “Who knows what goes through her head?”
The female Kai grew enraged at the attention she wasn’t getting. She yelled louder, flailed her arms around more, and ran faster.
North Kai, who finally became annoyed because of the racket she was making, stopped her. “Okay, tell us. Who’s gone?”
East Kai allowed her eyes, behind her sunglasses, to get misty as she explained her situation dramatically. “I was horrible. I was going to have my fighters run a few laps around the planet when HE disappeared.” She paused for dramatic effect.
The other Kais were so caught up in the drama, they couldn’t handle the suspense. “Who?” they asked in unison.
“My greatest and bravest warrior, Arqua.”
“If he’s your best, then big deal,” West Kai sneered.
“And that’s not all,” East Kai voiced out, ready for the finale. “After him, one by one, the rest of my fighters disappeared. It’s like they vanished into thin air.”
“Please!” West Kai snorted. “Who would take your fighters?”
“Well, lots of people,” She answered lamely.
The three Kais snickered behind their backs.
East Kai misinterpreted their teasing and narrowed her eyes at them. “Maybe it was you who took them.”
At first, the three of them were shocked at being accused of such a lowly act. Then they felt insulted.
“Oh yeah. Like we would take them.” North Kai answered her insolently.
“My dear Kai,” West Kai said soothingly, putting an arm around East Kai’s plump shoulders. “We would never take your fighters because we all know it would weaken our own teams.”
East Kai boiled under her collar. “Fine, maybe you didn’t.” Then she made an evil face. “But if my fighters are susceptible to being taken, so are yours.”
At first, the three Kais were cocky, thinking it couldn’t happen to their fighters. They’re too strong. But paranoia quickly pierced their hearts. Without further hesitation, they scrambled off to cheek their warriors.
North Kai left to the palace where his warriors trained. The palace was empty. Panic filled his entire body. Goku. That’s right. Goku trains alone far from here. Maybe they didn’t get him yet.
“Goku! Goku!” North Kai yelled as he approached the Saiyin.
“Hey King Kai. What’s up?”
“Whew, your safe,” North Kai puffed with relief. “Goku, listen to me. All the warriors on the Grand Kai’s planet are disappearing. Stay very close to me.”
Goku had never seen King Kai so uptight and worried. And no wonder. All the warriors on the planet were disappearing. Where are they now? Who was doing this? Could he be the only one left? Will he be next? Goku felt jumpy. Every little noise and movement, he expected an ambush.
It was only a moment afterward that South, East, and West Kai ran up to them.
“They all are gone. Not a single one left,” South Kai sobbed pathetically.
“Same at my place. Even Pikkon is gone,” West Kai reported.
“Pikkon’s gone?” Goku shouted. “Am I the only one left?”
“I’m afraid so, Goku,” North Kai lamented.
“It must be North Kai who’s doing this,” East Kai accused shrilly. “Look. His warrior hasn’t vanished.”
“Wait! Goku is the only one I have left. The others are all gone,” North Kai defended.
The three Kais stared at Goku accusingly.
“How come he hasn’t disappeared? Maybe he’s the one behind all this,” West Kai shouted.
North Kai jumped in to defend the warrior. “How dare you accuse a warrior from my quadrant. Goku has saved our side of the universe more times than you have brain cells.”
With that, all four Kais argued with each other viciously. Perhaps if they all weren’t occupied, they would see the large green bush creeping upon Goku.
Goku, watching the Kais curiously, didn’t realize what was happening until he was grabbed from behind by numerous pairs of arms. He fought desperately against them. He tried to yell to the Kais, but on hand suppressed his mouth. The Saiyin was about to upgrade to super Saiyin, when a familiar voice shushed him.
“Be still, or they will hear.” It was Pikkon.
Goku stopped struggling, and the hands let him go. He turned around, and saw that his captors were many of the missing fighters. “What are you guys doing here?” he asked.
Arqua, the East Quadrant warrior, smiled a big fishy smile. “We all tired of doing work. We going to have fun,” he explained in his disconnected fishy voice.
“And it’s also kind of a party for you, Goku,” Pikkon added. “You know, for good luck when you go back.”
Goku smiled broadly. “All right! Let’s go.”
Sneakily, the big bush crawled away leaving the four quarreling Kais.

**********

The Kais searched every inch of the Grand Kai’s planet until they were exhausted. That was that, they decided to go to the Grand Kai for help. As soon as they went into his palace, a blast of music and cheering stunned them. In the palace, they found their missing warriors, lounging around, eating and drinking jovially.
“Wh-wh-wh-wh-“ was all that could come out of West Kai’s mouth.
South and North Kai couldn’t even utter that much. East Kai, on the other hand, was ready to speak her mind. “Why you ungrateful bunch of ninnies!” she screeched at the top of her lungs.
Everyone stopped in mid act, especially those from the East Quadrant. They froze in horror at the sound of HER voice.
“I’m going to make you run until your ankles fall off! Now get out of here and start!”
All of them quivered in their seats, but none of them moved.
East Kai fixed her eyes on her main fighter, Arqua.
“If you don’t get outside now, I’m going to turn your eyes inside out,” she screamed.
Arqua stood up and started dragging his feet toward the door. Everyone grew quiet as the henpecked Arqua suddenly stopped in determination. “No,” he decided weakly.
“What?!” East Kai gasped at Arqua’s daringness. “Why you impertinent. . .”
“Chill out, East Kai,” Grand Kai said as he stepped out of the middle of the party. “They all are just partying for a while. It’s cool. You could use with some relaxin’ too, by the way you look.”
East Kai turned red with rage and embarrassment. She turned on her heels huffily and stomped out of the door.
The three remaining Kais shook themselves out of the surprise of the situation by East Kai hasty exit. Not wanting the repeat East Kai’s embarrassing scene, they took the Grand Kai’s advice and “chilled out.”

(Author’s note: I know this chapter looks like it’s going nowhere but I want to convey to everyone where it happens in the DragonBall Z universe. The only indication that this chapter isn’t alone is the scene with Puar and Yamcha. I promise the next chapter will have more.)