The Peaceful Earth Saga covers the first five chapters of Pan's Ascent in their entirety.
A Day in the Life! Z-Fighter Reunion!
Sweat dripped from her forehead down her face. A few drops from her shoulder landed on her sweatpants. She wiped her face with her wrist to keep the sweat from her eyes. This sparring session was going as planned so far.
"Keep your guard up, Pan!"
After hearing these words, Pan saw her grandmother's knee approaching her fast. She blocked it with her wrists, then ducked quickly to avoid a downward chop from Chi-Chi's hand. She had to move her wrists quickly from there to stop the ensuing onslaught of pointed jabs.
Even at 60, her grandmother fought with the same ferocity as she had in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament in her younger days. Pan flipped backward out of her range, then leapt high into the air. Chi-Chi was quick to catch up and the two traded kicks in midair, the two almost seeming to stand in place while doing so.
"You've got to get back on the offensive!"
In mid-sentence, a powerful kick struck Pan's guarding arms, the sheer force knocking her back down to the ground on her feet. Her shoes dragged across the grass, causing clumps of it to tear from the ground into the air around her. Pan almost began to wonder why her grandmother wasn't entering tomorrow's tournament herself with the strength she was packing.
She then barely jumped out of the way of Chi-Chi's downward kick, which sent soil flying and left an indent in the ground.
"You can't just hope to tire out your opponent. You need to defend yourself."
Pan threw a punch only to see Chi-Chi catch it and throw her behind her.
"But you need to strike smart."
Upon landing on her feet, Pan was met by a barrage of kicks, each vying to slip past her guard. Her grandmother's kicks were swift and struck hard, just as she knew they would. Chi-Chi began to wonder why her granddaughter wasn't making any efforts to move away from or counter her current combo.
"That does it!"
She stopped the attack and jumped backward, awaiting Pan's next move.
"Either hit me or I'll ring you out!"
Pan noted the painted white square around the grass that was meant to mimic the size of the World Martial Art Tournament's ring. She could tell from her grandmother's tone that she would carry out that promise if need be.
She flew in at Chi-Chi, her punch knocking the guarding Chi-Chi back several feet. She then landed and intercepted her grandmother's fists, which were inches from striking her face and chest. Pan went for a sweep, but Chi-Chi leapt off the ground, then span in midair, loosening herself from Pan's grip. She landed a kick to Pan's cheek, then a jab to her stomach that forced her backward towards the painted line.
Pan could barely stand as she saw Chi-Chi charging with all haste towards her: her grandmother was ready to end it then and there. She alternated between punches and kicks with the intent of forcing Pan to slip up and end up struck out of bounds. Pan knew the spot she was in and didn't want that happening. She moved her wrists as quickly as she could, catching or redirecting the punches and kicks, as well as lifting her legs to avoid being swept.
After blocking her grandmother's knee with her own, she then ducked to avoid a swinging chop, then realized Chi-Chi was going for a two-handed palm strike. With her anticipation serving her well, Pan caught Chi-Chi's wrists, then kneed her before she could jump out of the way. She then turned her in the other direction and with a single palm knocked Chi-Chi past the line on her back.
With the spar concluded, she rushed over to help Chi-Chi.
"Are you okay?" She offered a hand to help her up, but saw that her grandmother had already started to get back onto her feet.
"Why were you holding back, Pan?"
"I didn't want to hurt you..."
"That's not the only reason why," Chi-Chi said sternly, her posture clearly indicating her intent. "You deliberately let me attack you when you could have very well stopped or avoided it. Why is that?"
"I... I have to test my limits. Deal with pressure..."
"Please don't tell me you're trying to become a Super Saiyan again."
Pan was silent for the longest time: she couldn't half-truth her way out of this one.
"I'm sorry, Grandma. I've trained so hard for so long to reach it. Even now at 18, I can't do it."
"And you think all your training and skill is all for naught without it, is that it?"
Her expression and body language slowly began to morph from strict to nurturing as she placed her hand on her granddaughter's shoulder.
"You've worked so hard becoming the fighter you are. You should be proud of how far you've come as a child. You don't need it to be a great martial artist."
"But I could be so much better with it. Why can't I do it? Why could Grandpa Goku do it and not me too?"
She then realized she had brought up a touchy subject: her grandfather Son Goku, who was no longer with them. She was expecting her grandmother to either lose her temper or tear up from the mention of his name, but instead Chi-Chi kept the same temperament.
"Your grandfather Goku... he was one-of-a-kind in so many ways... but it wasn't just because of going Super Saiyan. He had it all long before he ever used it. But that wasn't what made him great: it was his character."
Chi-Chi looked over at her granddaughter, a smile on her face.
"And I know that somewhere, he's out there watching over you, so very proud of the young woman you've become. No matter what happens tomorrow, he'll always be proud of what you are."
She used her other hand to nudge Pan's chin upward so they could look each other in the eye.
"Do you understand, Pan?"
"Yeah... I do. Thanks for everything, Grandma."
Chi-Chi was about to repay the thanks, but before a word could leave her mouth, she noticed a small cut on Pan's right cheek, no doubt from earlier. Pan placed her fingers over it, then saw a tiny smear of blood on her fingertips.
"Now come on. Let's get that cleaned up."
After Chi-Chi had applied the proper ointments to the cut, Pan placed a band-aid over her cheek.
"That takes care of that. Now you'd better get changed before..."
They could hear a knock from across the hall: company had arrived. Pan could only grin and raise both her hands to her sides.
"Well, guess it's a little late for that."
"Your mother's not going to be thrilled, but just put on your jacket and dry off that hair."
Chi-Chi headed for the front door as Pan zipped up her fitness jacket to cover her sweated shirt, then proceeded to dry off her hair quickly with a towel. Even then, her hair had looked better, so she decided to put on her orange bandanna.
By the time she had entered the living room, the gang was all there, chatting about the days of old, as well as their latest misadventures.
"I've just been asked to become the new chief of police..."
Krillin's grey mustache partially hid his grin. Despite having hair for most of Pan's life, it had begun to bald once again. His wife Lazuli was next to him along with their 26 year old daughter Marron.
"That's great, Krillin. Me? Just been helping Tien with his classes."
Yamcha was even older than Chi-Chi, his long hair having gone a grey hue. He hadn't been shaving as much, smirking with a five-o-clock shadow. He had the look of a man who hadn't accomplished much in life, but being around old friends again was more than worth it.
"Ah, seems like yesterday I was babysitting Kani for him and Launch."
In the kitchen, Launch, whose blue hair had streaks of white, as well as her daughter Kani, who had the blonde hair of her other personality, were helping Gohan, Videl, and Chi-Chi prepare the upcoming meal. Tien walked over to Yamcha and lightly smacked him on the shoulder.
"She definitely picked up a few habits from you, that's for sure."
Tien had grown a grey goatee, as well as a small head of hair for the first time in years.
"It's too bad Chiaotzu couldn't make it today," Krillin said upon realizing Chaiotzu wasn't with Tien.
"He offered to take over my classes for the day while I'm here. The dojo can't pay for itself, you know."
Krillin then couldn't help but notice Tien wasn't balding nearly as much as he was. Pan finally approached the group, who turned and greeted her.
"Pan, long time no see. How's my old pupil doing?" Yamcha inquired.
"Doing alright. Almost done with school and... well..."
"Training for the World Martial Arts Tournament, right?" Krillin asked.
"Yeah, what gave it away?"
The group chuckled as Pan felt a cane tap her on her shoulder. She turned and saw...
His face and beard looked about the same as it always had, though he was dressed in a beige suit and had swapped out his sunglasses for reading glasses.
"Great to see four of my pupils again."
From the earliest days of her youth, Pan had been told the sprawling tales of her grandfather Goku, whom always served as an idol for her. From the moment she began to practice martial arts, she not only trained with her parents, but also everyone who had known Goku, including Roshi.
"That's right. You did train with Master Roshi as well. So Pan, you didn't have to swim from sharks, did you?"
"Oh heavens no. I couldn't do that to the Champ's granddaughter."
"Speaking of the Champ..."
Pan suddenly felt herself being lifted off the ground with a hug.
"How's my little champion doing?"
"Little? But I'm not that little..."
"Whoops. Don't wanna crush ya before the big tournament."
He finally let Pan go, who then turned around and hugged him back.
"I've just gotta say that I'll be rooting for you all the way."
Just then, another knock on the door.
"Uh, don't you all worry. I'll get it."
He lightly broke off his hug with Pan, then went over to the door, where his eyes shot up at who he saw.
"Hey, there, uh... how goes... um, please, please come on in, Vegeta."
The room almost went silent as Vegeta walked into the room, donned in a white buttoned shirt and jeans, his hair partially slicked back, and with a mustache to everyone's surprise.
"Hey Vegeta. It's been a while. Uh... nice mustache," Krillin stated, attempting to strike up a conversation with him.
Vegeta let off a small grin at the remark, then continued on until he sat on a couch. Everyone looked over at him, watching to see what he'd do next when more footsteps walked through the doorway.
"Long time no see, everyone," Bulma shouted with glee, waving her hand at all her old friends. As she stepped forward, her son Trunks was right behind her, wearing a dark blue business suit and with a light purple stubble on his face.
"Hey everyone. Finally got to take a sick day so I could see you all."
Trunks had been the president of Capsule Corp since around the time Pan was just becoming a teenager. As a result of his work, Pan often didn't see him for long stretches of time, sometimes even years. But Pan's eyes lit up at the sound of a familiar set of heels.
"Hello," waved Bulla, who donned a semi-formal red dress for the occasion.
Pan ran up to Bulla, who was also excited to see her.
The two best friends hugged, then stood in place hopping for joy.
"Do you know what tomorrow is?"
"The tournament! Oh, I can't wait to see you in action!"
"Got you a front row seat."
"To Beatdown City... for everyone else!"
The two laughed at Bulla's remark when a green arm tried squeezing past them. The two then realized they were blocking the doorway and moved to the side.
"Thank you," stated Piccolo, who donned a purple long sleeve shirt and blue slacks instead of his usual gi.
Gohan knew his voice from anywhere. The two walked over to each other as Piccolo put a hand over Gohan's shoulder.
"It's good to see you, Gohan."
"You as well, Mr. Piccolo."
Piccolo looked over at Gohan's mother and wife in the kitchen, as well as over at his daughter Pan, whom Piccolo had fond memories of babysitting. He then felt something massive behind him.
He turned around and everyone looked and saw a shadow silhouetted against the wall: it was in the shape of Goku.
When the man finally entered, they saw that he was wearing a tan suit, though the tie wasn't on perfectly. He had almost the exact same hairstyle as Goku. Chi-Chi left the kitchen to see who it was.
Chi-Chi went to hug Goten and lift him off the ground, but Goten's feet were still firmly on the ground. He smiled at his mother and hugged her back with his left while waving to everyone with his right.
He turned to Gohan.
He then turned to Pan, who briefly turned her attention away from Bulla to greet him.
"Hi, Uncle Goten."
With everyone finally there, Piccolo stretched his arm to close the front door.
"Now that everyone's here..."
Everyone looked over at Videl, who was pointing at the dining room table.
"Let's all get ready to eat."
Slowly, but surely, the 19 of them picked their spots around the table, with Pan between Bulla and Kani, and her parents on the other side of the table. All of the seats were filled... except one.
"If you don't mind me starting off," Krillin began, "Today's the 23rd anniversary of, well..."
"It was the last time we ever saw Kakarot", Vegeta bluntly stated. His expression changed from nearly emotionless to somewhat saddened after he had stated it.
"Oh, and it's also the 30th of another historic occasion," Yamcha replied, trying to bring up the mood.
"You mean when Hercule saved mankind from Cell, right?" Bulla blurted out.
She then looked over at Gohan and Chi-Chi and realized then that it was the same day Goku had died. She also saw her father trying to hide his facial expressions even more so. Bulla was almost tempted to tear up.
"I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to..."
"It's alright, Bulla," Gohan said comfortingly to her. "We all miss my father. But we will always have the memories we had with him to cherish. And I know for sure that he'll always be there with us in spirit."
"And we all know that if he were here," Chi-Chi began with a smile, "That he would have eaten half the food on the table by now."
This warranted several chuckles from Goku's oldest friends, who remembered the copious amounts of food he could down in a single sitting.
"Let's have a toast to my dad," Goten stated as he raised a glass.
Everyone raised a glass, one of wine for the grown-ups and one of water for those under 21, as they prepared.
Everyone clanged their glass with the person next to them, then finally began eating. Yamcha couldn't help but notice Piccolo wasn't eating anything in front of him.
"You not gonna eat? Stomach problems?"
"No thanks. I'm fine."
He simply drank a glass of water, then filled it up with a pitcher before drinking it once again.
With dinner concluded, some had to take off right away while others stuck around to socialize further. Pan stood looking out at the moonlight on a balcony as she felt a tap on her shoulder.
"Oh, not much, Bulla."
The two stood looking over at the moon, which was partially covered by four small clouds in almost perfect rows of two.
"Have you been training much, Bulla?"
"Not as much. My dad hasn't really been making me. Plus, there's no tournaments near my school."
"Speaking of your dad..."
Pan pointed out that Vegeta was standing in the yard by himself, a glass of wine in hand. They couldn't hear him, but it looked like he was talking to the memorial of Goku. Finished with whatever conversation he had with it, he poured the wine onto the ground nearby it before turning away.
"Is he okay?"
"He always gets torn up around this time of year. My mom, too."
"Well don't you remember? My dad and Goku were the biggest rivals. I think he still misses him even after all this time."
"Makes you wonder all the stuff they did before we were born, huh?"
"Yeah, Trunks was just a baby during the Cell games. Though weird thing, I found a picture my mom kept in her desk."
"Oh, of what?"
Bulla took out a photograph and showed it to Pan, who looked over it carefully.
"It's of Trunks as a teenager... but my mom looks about the same age as when she had Trunks."
"Yeah, that is weird."
The two stopped for just a moment, taking in the calm night breeze, when Bulla noticed Pan looking somewhat down.
"What's the matter, Pan?"
"Come on, you can tell me anything. Promise I won't make fun of you."
Pan gave off a sigh, then looked over at Bulla.
"I keep training and training, working my butt off and everything, but even now..."
"You can't go Super Saiyan?"
Pan turned away.
"Yeah. I guess I'm just not good enough to pull it off."
Bulla could tell Pan wasn't in the best state of mind, so she leaned over towards her direction.
"Pan, you're my best friend and you're the most awesome person I know. You will go Super Saiyan someday."
"You really think so?"
"Think so? Why I know it."
"Bulla..." Vegeta called from across the room.
"Oh shoot, it's late. We've gotta get back home."
Bulla gave Pan a hug from behind.
"I'll see you at the tournament, Pan."
She walked past Vegeta to head downstairs as Pan continued looking forward, her mind swimming in thought.
She turned and saw that Vegeta was still standing there looking over at her.
"Good luck tomorrow."
"Thanks, uh, Mr. Vegeta."
She watched him head out, then watched Vegeta, Bulma, Trunks, and Bulla heading back home in a Capsule Corp car. Not wanting to stay up and risk sleep deprivation the next day, Pan got into her pajamas and got under the covers."I really hope you're right, Bulla," Pan mused to herself as she closed her eyes.
32nd Tournament! Unexpected Opponents!
Pan stood waiting, donned in a dark blue gi with an orange undershirt and wristbands, as well as her bandanna. The dark blue and orange color scheme was meant to differentiate from her masters, as well as to stand out. She also donned boots based on the pair her grandfather Hercule wore out of respect for his legacy.
For years, she had watched the World Martial Arts Tournament take place, but finally, she would be able to fight among the best. She could hardly contain her excitement: Pan had dreamed of this moment since she first trained in martial arts and now she was finally living her dream.
"I'm not dreaming it: I'm really here."
She stood in a large waiting room alongside the massive number of fighters until it was their turn to be tested. She heard that in the past, there were preliminaries where the fighters would be broken up into groups and the finalist would face each other in the tournament. But now to save time, they relied on the punching machine. While earlier models were susceptible to being destroyed, these models built by Capsule Corp were designed to survive much more punishment, allowing for even higher numbers from fighters capable of them.
"Miss Pan, you're up."
She stepped into the next room towards the machine, swinging her arm to ready it. She then stood before the machine, trying to channel as much power as she could. With a mighty shout, she struck it dead-on, the force nearly causing it to shake. She caught a glimpse of the number being calculated: it rocketed past the first four hundreds.
"Five hundred and two! That's the second-highest score we've had here today. Proceed. Next!"
The easy part was over: now it was time to prepare for the actual fighting. She knew someone there had a higher score on the machine, but she didn't worry about it.
The final sixteen for the tournament had been decided and the last one standing would face off against the champion from last year. As Hercule had retired from fighting some time ago, there was a much greater variety of victors over the years. She peered across at the various characters before her: ranging from short and small, tall and bulky, and everything in between. One caught her attention:
"I can't see his face," she thought as she saw a man in an orange gi with his head covered in bandages and wearing sunglasses over his eyes.
He sat on a bench, keeping to himself, his arms covered by a white cape of sorts wrapped around them. Maybe he was covering something on his arms, but Pan couldn't tell from that distance.
Just then, another face... a familiar one.
Pan approached Tien and Launch's daughter, who donned a green fitness jacket, not unlike the one Pan had worn the day before, as well as green pants similar to the type her father wore. On her hands were orange fingerless gloves and on her feet were red shoes, both similar to what her mother wore.
"I didn't expect to see you here."
Kani turned, her expression seeming out of place in a room with serious martial artists.
"Oh, well I just wanted to see how the results of my training would fare here."
"All the years I've known you, I never knew you trained."
"Well most of the time you were visiting, I was helping my mom. But I do train with my dad."
Pan was still trying to work the concept of Kani training in martial arts. As far as she knew, Kani was much like Krillin's daughter Marron, with both knowing enough for self-defense, but not really going out of their way to follow in their parent's footsteps. As far as she knew, Bulla had trained the most out of the three, and Bulla mainly stopped as a result of her father not forcing it on her like he had with Trunks.
"Kani and Nam, please report to the arena."
The two looked over at her opponent: a man in an orange and maroon robe with a white turban on his head and a dark grey beard.
"Good luck, Kani."
"Thank you, Pan."
"Welcome one and all to the 32nd World Martial Arts Tournament! We have a very special treat for you all today. Joining me today is our special guest commentator, a man who needs no introduction... our beloved hero... Hercule Satan!"
The crowd cheered in thunderous applause as Hercule approached the balding announcer, whom handed him a microphone of his own.
"Happy to be here. Can't wait to see what everyone's bringing... though if I had to predict today's winner, I'd put my money on my granddaughter Pan. You'd all better get ready out there because she's gonna take this thing by storm!"
"A bold prediction out of the gate, Mr. Satan. And now let us begin with our first match-up: between Kani and Nam."
Both entered the ring, one after the other.
"For our oldest members of the audience, Nam was last seen in this ring 47 years ago, where he fought against Son Goku in the 21st tournament. And now he's here with the child of Tien Shinhan, Kani."
Nam remembered Tien Shinhan and the brutality with which Tien defeated him in the preliminaries of the 22nd tournament long ago. Even then, Nam and Tien had reconciled over that event and part of him anticipated what the new generation of fighters would bring. Kani looked over at the crowd for her parents. Sure enough, she saw them, and neither Tien nor Launch showed any signs of worrying about her. She then kept her eye on Nam, who took on a fighting stance.
The match commenced and Nam charged right for Kani, who hardly moved an inch as he got closer to her.
Pan sat down on a bench, looking over at the names of the contestants on the board. She scrolled through for names of importance, starting with Kani and Nam, whose match had just begun, then peered across. As she looked over at her name and was about to read her opponent's name...
"The winner by ring out... Kani!"
She stood at her feet as Kani came back into the room, looking as unblemished as before.
"You won that match in no time at all. What did you do?"
"I got in a good hit."
Pan mused over the various ways a battle could be won in one hit as Kani then walked behind her to where she was before. After her thought concluded, Pan finally read the name of her opponent:
She looked across as the remaining twelve people. Wild Tiger didn't seem like the kind of name for the bandaged man and none of the smaller fighters looked or screamed "wild tiger" to her.
"Well Pan, if you win your next match, we'll be up against each other," informed Kani.
Pan looked over at the board to confirm this and sure enough, Kani was correct.
"Right. Well, don't wanna jinx it."
"Looks like you're up next. Good luck."
Pan looked over and saw Nam approaching her.
"Are you the granddaughter of Goku?"
Pan was surprised: aside from her family, most associated her more with being the granddaughter of Hercule.
"Yes. The name's Pan."
The man placed his hand out to shake.
"I am Nam. I fought your grandfather long ago. It is an honor to meet you."
Just as she shook his hand...
"Pan and Wild Tiger, please report to the arena."
"Looks like I'm up. Can't keep 'em waiting, y'know?" Pan winked.
"Good luck to you, Pan. May your future be bright," nodded Nam, who exited the room.
After Nam left, Pan watched all of the competitors to see who was leaving with her: one stood up.
"You're Hercule's grandkid?"
She looked over at a massive man, one who was nearly two feet taller than her with a dark grey braided ponytail and mustache.
"Well don't expect any special treatment from me."
He stepped forward, his mere footsteps sounding like the stomps of a giant. Pan didn't let it intimidate her, but also didn't want to underestimate him either: someone of that size had to pack some serious power at the minimum. She slowly made her way out of the room, the sunlight getting in her eyes.
"...and his opponent, the granddaughter of Mr. Satan... Pan!"
She could finally make out the arena and crowd in front of her and saw Hercule waving right at her.
"There she is! My granddaughter!"
Pan knew her grandpa Hercule couldn't help it, but blushed as she put her hand behind her head.
"Aww, Grandpa Hercule."
Wild Tiger was getting irritated waiting for her to enter the ring, as well as from all the appraisals she had already gotten from both the crowd and Hercule.
"So what if she's his granddaughter...", he thought to himself with a look of anger on his face. "She's just a competitor to me. I'm gonna knock that smirk off her face and Mr. Satan's."
Pan could see the large crowd sitting in attendance. Among them were plenty of familiar faces: her parents, Chi-Chi, and just about everyone from the party yesterday, save for the Briefs family. The four empty seats towards the entrance, which her parents had saved for them, hadn't been filled just yet.
She knew she had to focus and looked back over at her opponent, who finally began composing himself just enough to get into a fighting stance.
"I hope yer ready because I'm not holdin' back on ya!"
She took on her own and kept a close eye on him as the gong was about to be struck. From the corner of her eye...
Pan noticed Vegeta and Bulla walking towards their seats with Bulma right behind them. Just then, Bulla stopped in her tracks, catching Vegeta's attention, and looked back at her.
Just then, Pan realized the match had started and saw Wild Tiger's fist heading right for her. She barely blocked it in time, but was still sent back across the ground as a result of the force of the punch. She finally came to a stop, then crouched over, frustrated that she distracted herself.
"What am I doing?" she thought to herself. "He could've knocked me out of the ring! Is that how I want to go out: letting my mind wander? Pay attention, stupid!"
"Wild Tiger threw the first punch and while blocked, Pan was sent back several feet," said the Announcer.
As Pan tried to recompose herself, Wild Tiger's expression has begun to shift.
"Heh, that'll teach her to think she's better than me," Wild Tiger thought to himself.
"Well, it seems to me that Pan gave him a free shot. To, uh, gauge his strength," explained Hercule.
Just then, that remark removed any semblance of achievement from his strike, as it seemed the audience bought what Hercule was saying.
"Undermine me, will you?" snarled Wild Tiger, who ran towards Pan with all haste.
"Okay, calm down," Pan thought to herself. "Just get back in the match."
She finally got back into her stance as she saw Wild Tiger lunging towards her.
He struck only air, seeing no trace of Pan, who had stepped to the side of him.
"And a swift dodge by Pan."
Just as Wild Tiger swung his arm at her, it was like it phased right through her. By the time he looked down below him and saw the real Pan ducking, she had already hopped upward with a flying knee to his face.
He stepped backward, his feet nearing the arena's edge, then as he began to regain his balance, he saw Pan running right for him. Realizing his nose was bleeding from the hit prior, he readied both his hands for a swing.
"Don't underestimate me, brat!"
Pan saw the move being choreographed a mile away as she hopped upwards towards the two-handed swing.
"I don't underestimate anyone..."
In mid-jump, she grabbed onto both of his hands, moving with them before continuing to move with their momentum along with her own. Suddenly, Wild Tiger realized he was being turned around by his opponent and despite trying to stop it, he was already spinning in place.
"Look at them go, spinning like cyclones!"
Finally, Pan stepped onto the ground as Wild Tiger was being lifted off his feet.
"I just fight them!"
Pan tossed Wild Tiger and he went hurdling out of the ring, trying to land on his feet. Instead, he saw them and his legs being embedded into the grass by the sheer force of the throw. Before his upper body could be driven underground as well, his back struck the wall, leaving an indent.
"What a throw! The winner by ring out... Pan!"
With the match concluded, Pan looked over at the crowd and saw Bulla cheering for her.
"You're the best, Pan!"
Pan waved back to her, then over at her parents and grandmother. She finally took her leave back to the room from before.
"Good job, but that's just one match so far," Pan thought to herself. "Can't get cocky."
Several matches flew by as Pan waited for her next battle. Kani was right nearby, the two knowing that they would be against each other in the ring soon.
"She didn't take that long to beat Nam, a veteran contender," Pan pondered to herself. "Just what is her secret?"
"Kani and Pan, please report to the arena."
Kani placed her hand over Pan's shoulder.
Pan nodded back to her and the two made their way outside to the cheers of the crowd and their families.
"Two years in a row, Tien and Goku fought on another and each of them went on to be champion. Now we have Tien's daughter Kani against Goku's granddaughter Pan."
Pan watched Kani carefully, waiting to see her get into a fighting stance of some kind. Instead, Kani just stood regularly, as if she wasn't even in a fighting tournament.
Pan continued waiting, eyeing her idle stature for any movements whatsoever. She caught a grin forming over Kani's face.
"Okay, Pan, you got me."
Kani closed her eyes and inhaled, then as she exhaled...
Pan couldn't believe her eyes: Kani's hair had turned blue and her eyes green. From there, Kani took on a stance similar to Tien's with her own twist.
"Pretty smart waiting on me. But now you'd best get ready."
Her voice was still hers, but changed, as if more gruff and a little cocky.
Pan didn't think on this for long as she saw Kani having covered the distance quickly and unleashing a barrage of jabs. Pan recognized this technique from her time training with Tien: the Machine Gun Fist.
With that knowledge, Pan began guarding against it despite Kani's impressive speed. Neither could completely overtake the other, with Kani unable to get around Pan's defense and Pan unable to slip past Kani's offensive to counter-attack.
That was until Kani stopped her attack, which Pan took advantage of with a swinging kick. But as she threw it, she saw Kani sliding on the ground beneath it with her fist poised, though it looked less like an offensive attack and more like she was about to hit...
Pan felt herself knocked upward off her feet.
Then Pan was struck higher into the air with a two-handed shove.
Just as Kani leaped above her with the finish, Pan had intercepted her slamming fist with a palm strike.
"Would you look at that, folks! After Kani used her father's Volleyball Fist technique, her and Pan are now trading blows in midair!"
Tien watched his daughter trading punches and kicks with Pan high above the arena, hearkening back to his battle with Goku in the 23rd tournament.
Kani broke off the clash and fired off a one-handed beam, which Pan swerved in midair to avoid. Pan then flew in with two kicks, each sending Kani upward before Pan rose above her with both fists. As she went to deliver a double axe handle down onto Kani, she saw her blow blocked by one hand and didn't see the other hand until it was too late.
A chop struck the back of Pan's neck, sending her flying downward toward the ground rapidly.
"A thunderous blow by Kani and Pan is coming down fast!"
Hercule ducked behind the podium, barely able to watch Pan's descent. Just then, Pan flipped like a top on its side and landed on her feet, leaving only a few cracks on the tile floor.
"What a recovery!"
Hercule changed his demeanor the second right after Pan landed safely.
"Uh, yeah! I knew she would do that! Why, landing from that high up is like second nature to my Pan!"
Pan heard the comment, but put her mind off it and instead watched as Kani flew downwards towards her, her arms crossed and her head in front. First Pan stepped to the side, but as Kani flew back around for her, she ducked underneath it. Kani turned once more for a third pass, but this time, Pan timed it up until the final moment to avoid it.
"Look out!," shouted Hercule in worry.
Pan hopped over, placing her hand on Kani's head to help propel her further upward, as she then unleashed a two-handed palm strike to Kani's back. Pan landed to the ground as she saw Kani rolling across the ground.
"Wait, were you warning Pan to avoid Kani's attack?" inquired the announcer.
"What? No, no, no. I, uh, warned her opponent to get ready for a big hit... because Pan's got a ton of power, you see..."
With Kani taking her time getting back up, Pan was starting to find Hercule's comments a bit embarrassing.
"Oh... grandpa Hercule..."
She then drew her attention back to Kani, who got back onto her feet, then began unzipping her jacket.
"My dad told me all about how your grandfather caught him off-guard..."
Beneath her jacket was a short light green top, not unlike what Launch wore in her younger days.
"...to make sure history didn't repeat itself."
She threw her jacket to the ground, which made a loud thunk upon touching the tile ground.
"It seems Kani had been wearing a weighted jacket the entire time. Now she's bound to be even faster than before."
"Uh, sure... we'll have to see about that."
Pan wasn't expecting this: an opponent who wore weighted clothing. As far as she knew, it was a dying breed that was rarely used anymore. Even then, she didn't let Kani see any signs of panic.
"You're not the only one here with weighted clothes."
She took off her wristbands and undid her boots, all of which struck the ground hard.
Pan reached downward, ready to pull up her undershirt, then realized what she was doing.
"Crap!" Pan said in her head. "There's no way I can take off my weighted shirt out here!"
She let go and simply tried to wipe off her shock and get back into her stance.
"Still have something weighing you down, I see..." said Kani, who took on an even cockier grin as her stance seemed to change slightly.
"Not a problem," Pan replied back, a grin on her face as well.
"Both contestants have taken off weights, but neither's made a move just yet."
"Ah, well it's the ones that don't move that you gotta worry about," Hercule stated. "Take it from me: if they aren't moving, they're anticipating your every move."
Both suddenly broke off the standoff and charged into each other. Before either could collide, they were stopped by each other's hands, which gripped each other tight to keep their opponent from moving forward or backward.
"Now it looks like we're in the middle of a power struggle with neither able to overtake the other."
Hercule might've made another comment explaining how Pan was actually just making it seem to be the case to catch Kani off-guard, but Pan had filtered out all the noise around her, only focusing on her opponent in front of her. The two gritted their teeth at each other, each vying to break it off, but also not wanting to expose themselves to a strike.
"Too bad you're not wearing your boots..."
Pan just realized her bare feet could be vulnerable to a stomp from Kani's shoes and saw her raising a foot. Pan moved her feet backward, then saw Kani's foot stamping nowhere near her: Kani had duped her. Just then, Kani fell downward, lifting Pan off her feet, as she booted Pan in the stomach upward.
As Kani saw Pan descending towards her, she placed her hands towards her face, her fingers spread towards her eyes. Just as Kani did this, Pan had performed the same gesture.
"SOLAR FLARE!", shouted both of them.
The crowd around them were blinded by a flash of light. The Z-Fighters, who recognized the technique immediately, had already shielded their eyes and were the only ones that could see what was going on besides the sunglasses-wearing announcer.
"I knew we should've gotten a sun shade for the arena," shouted Hercule. "I can't see nothin'! What's happening?!"
"It would seem that both Pan and Kani unleashed the blinding Solar Flare technique."
"Agh, are you sure it's not just the sun getting in our eyes?!"
Pan landed and blocked a strike from Kani with her wrist and her knee.
"You had the same idea as me," Kani grinned to Pan. "Clever, I'll give you that. But let's see you do this..."
Kani pushed Pan back with a burst of air, then began channeling ki for a technique her father recognized at first glance.
"Wait a minute, folks. Kani has..."
Pan went to strike, but saw her hands caught by Kani's, then saw two more hands right behind her shoulders, which then punched her in the face.
"Uh, no, that's just a trick of the eye," explained Hercule. "Pan's opponent is just moving her arms so fast it looks like there's two more of 'em."
But Pan knew otherwise: Kani had used her father's Four Witches technique to grow another pair of arms. She found herself backing up as she swerved side-to-side to avoid Kani's four-armed onslaught.
"All you've shown me so far are your dad's techniques..." exclaimed Pan. "What else do you have?"
She realized her back was at the very edge of the arena as she stopped a blow from Kani's hand that almost felt claw-like.
Pan knew the technique all too well, catching the next claw strike.
But then Pan saw two more palms coming right at her: she'd never faced the technique with four hands before.
Kani's extra arms forced Pan to cover her face, which left her upper body exposed. A flurry struck Pan's chest and stomach as she struggled to keep her guarding arms up. Finally, she gave out as a final four-armed palm strike sent her flying backward.
"The four-armed Wolf Fang Fist has Pan on the ropes and now she's flying out of the ring HEADING STRAIGHT FOR US!"
Hercule and the announcer saw Pan flying right at them as they ducked for cover. Pan saw she was heading right for the crowd, just one impact away from being rung out. She tried to stop herself...
And with her ki, managed to float entirely still in place, her feet inches from touching her grandfather's balding head. If he still had his full afro like in his younger days, Pan likely would've been out right then and there.
"From behind our podiums, it looks like Pan is floating in midair, just in time to avoid a ring out."
"Yeah, that's my grand..."
Pan flew forward before Hercule could finish his sentence, blowing his hair back with the gust of air. Kani saw Pan flying overhead and was ready to knock her to the ground. Instead, Kani heard a familiar technique from Pan as she came closer.
Pan and Kani had both been told by their families before the match to watch it with the beam attacks: only use them when no one in the crowd was in their path. As it was, Pan's kamehameha would definitely hit the spectators behind her. Was Pan really about to risk it just to win?
"You're not fooling me..."
Kani simply side-stepped and went for a four-armed slam, only to see Pan fly underneath between her legs, then right above her.
Kani couldn't avoid it in time and swiftly covered herself with all four arms, managing to shield herself against it. It pushed back hard, threatening to make Kani lose her footing and fall out of the arena. Sure enough, the attack dissipated.
"Kani has successfully blocked the Kamehameha, but it certainly looks like it took a lot out of her."
Pan flew right in for a kick to Kani's head, but saw all four limbs caught by Kani's hands. She turned the two around and was raising Pan upward, a prelude to throwing her out of the ring. Before Kani could toss her downward with all her might, Pan aimed one of her hands and fired off a ki blast at Kani's face, forcing her to let go.
"Pan has eluded Kani's grip, but can she get back into the ring?"
She saw the ground coming for her and as her hands were about to touch the ground first, a kamehameha fired, stopping her from touching it, then propelling her backward towards Kani. With an opening, Pan slammed into her head-first, causing Kani to flip before landing on her four arms, then running over to Pan, who was still lying on her back after the hit.
"Get up, Pan!" cried Bulla.
Kani stood above her and began throwing punches at a rapid pace, then saw Pan was either guarding them or moving her head to avoid them, with her only striking the tile below. Pan then blasted the ground beneath her, pushing her backward, then swept at Kani's legs. Even as Kani was sent off her feet, she still managed to catch Pan's oncoming assault, guarding against her punches and kicks with all four arms.
"Getting tired yet, Pan?"
"How about you?"
In mid-sentence, Pan redirected two of Kani's arms, allowing her an opening to land a crucial punch. This sent Kani toppling across the ground, then slowly getting back to her feet. But even then, Pan was panting heavily.
"The match is still going and both Pan and Kani seem to be reaching their limits."
Kani gave off one more grin before starting to channel her ki once more.
"What's it gonna be this time? Eight arms?"
"Just you wait and see..." said Kani, whose tone was still as confident as before.
Pan watched as it seemed like Kani was... splitting apart... no, multiplying...
"Folks, it looks like Kani has mastered her father's multi-form technique and each one of her has four arms: sixteen in total!"
Pan knew about the multi-form technique, but never combined with the Four Witches. Each Kani almost seemed to take on a slightly different stance than the one next to her.
"Sixteen arms are better than two," stated Kani before gesturing the arms of one of her clones in a "come on" fashion.
Pan charged at one of them, finding that this clone's defenses weren't as strong as her standard self: of course, the multi-form splits power between the four of them. After getting through that clone's guard and kicking it away, she saw herself grabbed by another from behind with another closing in to attack. She quickly elbowed the clone holding her thrice to break free, then grabbed hold of the attacking clone before swinging it into the one behind her.
The fourth clone unleashed the four-armed Wolf Fang Fist on her, which this time, she was prepared for. However, she then saw the other three circling her in, also intending to unleash the same technique.
"The four Kani's are boxing Pan in and each are unleashing dual Wolf Fang Fists. It looks like Pan has nowhere to go."
Like four wolves ready to strike, the four Kani's were set to strike at once. Pan could only try covering herself up as the strikes came in.
The eight Wolf Fang Fist's struck as planned, as the crowd couldn't see Pan through the surrounding Kani's. After the final blow, the four Kani's stepped back to see their downed opponent...
"Wait... that glow..."
They saw that Pan's entire body was covered in ki and she seemed unharmed from their attack.
"Little technique of my own. Now try this..."
The ki around her glowed even brighter before an explosive burst went off, knocking the four Kani's backward.
"Pan was entirely untouched by that devastating attack and Kani's multi-form technique appears to be tiring her out."
Not bothering to take the announcer's comment to heart, the four Kani's made their way to the four corners of the ring, where they began grasping their right arm with their left as they charged ki in their palms. One of them formed a ball of ki.
"The Spirit Ball?" exclaimed Pan.
But that was just one of the clones. The other three followed suit, creating Spirit Balls of their own. Yamcha was quite surprised.
"I can hardly believe it, Tien. She not only figured out my Spirit Ball, but she combined it with your multi-form technique."
"Yes, it is impressive..." Tien stated, but paused with a tone of concern. "...but Kani's using up a large amount of ki doing all of that along with the Four Witches technique. If she's not careful, she'll be too drained to fight."
The four Kani's finally began tossing their Spirit Balls one by one as Pan swerved to avoid them. Just then, the four Kani's redirected them, forcing them back towards Pan's position. She began hopping across the ground, having to keep up with their changing movements. Each time Pan tried to approach one of the Kani's, a Spirit Ball would intervene, forcing her back once again.
"When this fight started, I did not have dodging four Spirit Ball's in mind," Pan thought to herself.
The Kani's then directed the Spirit Balls underground, giving Pan a window of opportunity. She fired off a ki blast towards one of them, but then saw it caught by a Spirit Ball firing up from below. After that, she realized the other three weren't far behind and rolled out of the way as each pierced through the tile floor. As she made it to her knees, she realized the Kani's other two arms began forming Spirit Balls of their own.
"Oh that's just great... eight Spirit Balls?!"
They were completed and all eight were aimed right for her. Pan simply jumped high up into the air, the eight balls in pursuit. The crowd watched as Pan and the Spirit Balls flew high above them, then disappeared into the clouds above.
"Don't think you're safe up there..." said Kani, who then had the sixteen arms working in unison to direct the Spirit Balls to their intended target.
As Pan floated high above the arena, she had to swerve side-to-side avoiding the Spirit Ball barrage. At points, she had to kick them back or even strike them away with her palms, but she also found herself being knocked back and forth by them before being knocked further into the air.
"We've got her!"
She saw all eight Spirit Balls spinning around her, each in circles of two spinning rapidly. She could tell Kani didn't want her slipping past.
The Spirit Ball's stopped spinning for a split-second, then flew right at each other with all fury.
"A massive explosion just went off in the air above us! And is that...?"
The crowd could see Pan falling towards the ground, her eyes closed and not even moving.
"Pan is falling down rapidly and isn't showing any signs of slowing down! Could she be down for the count?"
The Kani's could barely stand, one falling onto her knees, the other holding herself up with her front arms.
"At least... I pulled it off", Kani thought to herself, brushing off sweat from her forehead.
Just then, Kani's eyes shot up: Pan opened her eyes and winked at her.
"A trick! She's still in it! Now we've got to...!"
The four Kani's tried mustering the strength to fire off a ki attack, but saw that they were simply too drained to do so. From there, she saw the Four Witches technique dissipating, with the four only having two arms each now.
"Down to eight arms now, huh?"
Pan charged her hands with ki and fired off two projectiles. Two of the Kani's ducked to avoid them, but seemed slow to get right back up as Pan came right for them. The other two Kani's tried getting in a punch, but Pan caught both their fists, then swung them into each other, where they fell onto the floor. Another Kani went for a kick, then saw herself being grabbed, punched, and slammed into the two from before. The last Kani stood her ground, forming a diamond shape with her hands.
"Oh no..." said Tien.
Pan was charging for her, then stopped once she noticed the move she was about to pull: the Tri-Beam.
"Shoot..." went Pan.
As she said this, she saw the other three Kani's she had floored earlier also taking aim with the same intended technique.
"This... could be really bad..."
The crowd watched in shock as the four Kani's readied the devastating Tri-Beam technique, each charging with ki.
"No, Kani!" Yamcha cried out. "You'll use up your life energy! It's not worth it!"
"Kani, listen to me..." shouted Tien. "You'll kill someone and yourself in the process!"
"Please, Kani..." cried Launch. "Don't do this!"
Kani heard the pleas from her family and realized that as much as she wanted to win, she didn't want to mortally wound or kill Pan.
Pan, who didn't want to get a free shot during Kani's crisis, watched as Kani lowered her arms and the three clones of her dissipated, their echoes flying back to her. Kani inhaled, then exhaled...
Her hair turning blonde and her eyes blue again.
"I can no longer continue the match. I give up."
"The winner by forfeit... is Pan!"
The crowd cheered once more as Kani tried stepping forward, only to slip. Before she could fall forward, Pan ran up to her, helping her up as the two walked out of the arena together.
"You definitely gave me a run there, Kani. You combining all those techniques... you've gotta teach me some time."
"Sure thing... if you tell me how you got past the Spirit Balls earlier."
Pan managed to place Kani onto a bench as Tien and Launch entered.
"Just me thinking fast and using my ki shield again."
"A ki shield? You have to show me how you do that."
"Next time we meet, we'll do that."
Tien placed his hands over both of them.
"Kani... Pan... you both fought well."
"I'm sorry about earlier, Dad."
"I know, Kani. That other personality of yours really wanted to win. But you got it under control before it could cause any real harm."
Launch walked over to her daughter and hugged her.
"You did so well, Kani. You may not have won, but we're both so proud of you."
"Need a hand up, Kani?" offered Pan.
"Thanks for offering, but I'll be alright."
Kani found that she was able to get up on her own, though Tien and Launch took her hands just in case she needed support.
"Good luck with the rest of the tournament, Pan. We'll be rooting for you."
Pan nodded back to her as she watched Kani and her parents leaving. With two matches completed, Pan just had to wait for her third.
"Pan and Noget, please report to the arena."
It seemed to go so fast for Pan as she waited to see who would be fighting her...
The caped fighter with the bandages and sunglasses to cover his face.
"So the mystery man's name is Noget, huh?" she pondered.
After the last match, Pan made sure to remove her weighted undershirt in the changing room: she now had maximum mobility. But of course as the last match taught her especially, she had to remain ready for anything.
"And now we begin the quarter-finals, starting with Pan against Noget!"
"My Pan's already got two in the bag, so I don't think we're in for much of a surprise with this one."
"Well now, we'll have to see once the match starts, Mr. Satan."
As Pan made her way out of the arena, she couldn't help but notice something peculiar: her father wasn't in the crowd. As far as she knew, her dad had no intention of entering the tournament.
"It wouldn't really be like him to do that... then again..."
She knew that her father was particularly focused on his scholarly work, but he still took the time to train most days. Plus, there was that one time she found a caped costume in his closet, as well as a pair of sunglasses quite similar...
No, it had the exact inscription on the side as the ones her father had.
"I'd know those sunglasses from anywhere!"
She pointed over at Noget, who hardly nudged as she questioned him.
"Is that you, Dad?"
Just as she shouted this, she saw her father back in the crowd: he couldn't be in two places at once. Just realizing it couldn't be her father, she was still curious about why he had his father's sunglasses.
"Okay, just who are you and what are you doing with my dad's sunglasses?"
The man took them off, though it was still hard to tell who he was. He then began undoing the bandages, starting from below with his mouth.
"I must say, Pan..."
"I'm really impressed that you made it this far."
Gohan and Chi-Chi were shocked at the face underneath.
The man then took off the cape which had covered his arms, which revealed his blue long-sleeved undershirt."Uncle Goten..."
Uncle Goten's Power! Pan Struggles!
The crowd watched as Goten, whose hair was nearly identical to Goku's, placed his cape onto the ground outside the arena, then tossed the sunglasses over to Gohan.
"Wait a minute, folks... it appears an error was made with the writing down of Noget's name. Not Nos Noget... Son Goten... Son Goten! The son of Goku!"
"Piccolo... did you know it was Goten this whole time?" inquired Gohan.
Piccolo nodded, then looked back at the ring, where Pan was shaken by the realization of her opponent.
Goten, however, was entirely relaxed. For him, the ring brought him a sense of clarity, almost like it was a home away from home. It brought back memories of 23 years ago...
When he was seven years old, getting to meet his father for the first time.
"Hey Chi-Chi, I think that's a little me behind your leg."
Ever since Goten was young, he had heard tales about his dad, but knew that he wasn't there. But even then, the two were ecstatic to see each other. Goku taking him up into his arms and playing airplane were among Goten's most cherished moments in his life.
"Listen well, Goku. Remember, I can only give you 24 hours. No more, no less."
He recalled those words from Fortuneteller Baba now as an adult, though at 7, he thought nothing of them. By the time he was fighting his best friend Trunks in the Junior League final, he had probably forgotten all about it.
Then he recalled participating in the tournament with Trunks, using the guise of Mighty Mask. It was working well until they went up against Videl, who got in a kick that went through their disguise, exposing the two.
"Gohan's brother, and...?"
After being disqualified, he watched the rest of the tournament with his mother in the crowd. He remembered the highlights: "Great Saiyaman" fighting Videl and the two leaving the ring happy for each other, his father fighting Vegeta in the ring, and then the final match between Goku and Hercule.
He had seen his dad get this far and was certain he'd become the new world champion. Instead...
"Can you believe it, folks? Hercule managed to ring out Son Goku with just a single punch!"
Goten couldn't believe it: he had seen his father go the distance against Vegeta, so to see him lose against Hercule like that. At first, he was about to get upset...
Then he saw Goku shaking hands with Hercule, chuckling happily despite his loss. By the time Goku was in the stands hugging him, Gohan, and Chi-Chi, Goten had moved on from it.
"So, guys... now that the tournament's over, what do you wanna do now?"
Goten's day was even better after that. They went to an amusement park, where they traveled hand-in-hand like a family. Though Goten was too small for most rides, Goku still tagged along with him on the smaller kiddie coasters.
They were eating frozen treats soon afterward when he saw Gohan sitting next to Videl, ice cream cones in hand. He couldn't hear what they were talking about, but he could see them laughing with each other. Just then, Gohan stomped the ground so hard he accidentally caused a small shake in the ground.
"Uh, is it an earthquake?"
Videl, panicked from the shake, lost control of her hand, which sent her ice cream cone into Gohan's face.
Videl saw the ice cream still stuck on his nose, almost like a clown nose. The entire table laughed in joy, Gohan and Videl especially, who couldn't hide their blushes. Goten could barely sit in his seat, pointing at Gohan.
"Gohan looks like a clown!"
Their laughter was interrupted when Goku felt a hand striking his shoulder. Everyone turned to see who it was. Goten saw Vegeta standing before Goku with Bulma and Trunks between them.
"Hey, Vegeta! Bulma! Wanna join us?"
Goten jumped onto the ground to see Trunks as the two families ended up coming together.
A favorite moment of his and Trunks was talking Goku and Vegeta into going on a roller coaster. The two of them watched their dads going up the ramp, Goku noticing Vegeta's arms crossed. They couldn't hear what they said, but they figured Goku was telling Vegeta to put up his hands on the way down.
Sure enough, the two went down and Goku had his hands in the air and chuckling away. Vegeta saw this and decided to follow suit. After they had gone through a loop-de-loop, the two could see Vegeta with the smallest grin, trying in vain to hide it.
"I thought you said your dad didn't like roller coasters."
Once Goku and Vegeta got off the coaster, Goten saw Trunks run over to his dad.
"Was that ride fun, Dad?"
Everyone was surprised to see Vegeta in rare form: he patted Trunks on the head and smiled at him.
"Are you having fun, Trunks?"
Of course Vegeta wasn't the type to admit he was having fun, but even he wasn't immune to the infectious cheer of that day.
They had a big dinner that night, where the Saiyans especially ate copious amounts of food to Videl and Hercule's surprise, who thankfully had the money with which to pay for all of it.
At the end of the day, they all got ready to go their separate ways. Goten and Trunks traded prizes from games between them as Goku and Vegeta shook hands, wishing each other well. Afterward, Trunks saw Goku crouching down in front of him.
"Hey, Trunks. It was nice seeing you again. Keep an eye on Vegeta for me."
Before, Trunks didn't think much of Goku from what he had heard, but his view of him had changed. He shook Goku's hand like his father had before.
"You got it."
Goku then went over to Videl, who was getting ready to leave.
"It was really nice meeting you, Videl. I hope you and Gohan continue to be good friends."
He was still utterly clueless in regards to romantic relationships, but Videl shook his hand happily all the same.
That night, Goten recalled falling asleep on his parent's bed, between Chi-Chi and Goku. It was the best day of Goten's life.
Then, the next day came.
"Why are we back at the tournament, Dad?"
Goten had enjoyed one day with his father and soon saw Fortuneteller Baba appearing before them.
"Goku, it is time."
Goten could see his mother and Gohan tearing up a little.
"What does she mean 'it's time'?"
Chi-Chi hugged Goku tightly as Goku pat her back reassuringly.
"It's okay, Chi-Chi."
He then looked over at his eldest son.
"I'm proud of you, Gohan."
"Goku, we mustn't keep them waiting."
Goten was finally starting to piece together everything: his father had to leave for good. The realization hit him so hard he couldn't control himself.
He ran over, grabbing onto Goku's leg as tightly as he could, not wanting to let go.
"You can't go, Dad! You can't!"
Goku looked over at Goten, whose tears were running down his gi.
"You're going to be alright, Goten."
"No! Not if you go!"
Goku gently grabbed hold of Goten and lifted him up, allowing his youngest son to hug him.
"I love you, Dad."
His father hugged him back.
"Take care of Chi-Chi for me."
Goten, tears running down his cheeks, looked his father in the eyes and nodded. And as Goku placed Goten back onto the ground, he saw Goten's sadness had left his face.
"I'll grow up to be as strong as you, Dad. I promise."
Goku nodded, then joined Fortuneteller Baba as Goten watched his father leave his sight, never to be seen again.
Since that day, Goten had trained hard to become the man he had met. To become Goku. And now that he was at this tournament, he would see that come to pass. But now there he was against his niece Pan, who he could tell was panicked.
"Uncle Goten has trained with everyone I have... longer than I have. Even if I'm younger, he knows everything I do."
But even then, Pan had fought hard to get to where she was now. She couldn't back out now. The shock was out of her system, replaced with determination.
"Alright, Uncle Goten. I'm ready."
"Let's both give it our very best, Pan."
Both finally took on their stances.
"With that error corrected, let the quarter finals begin!"
Goten saw Pan rushing at him, swerving to avoid her strike. Before he could attack back, she threw a swerving kick, forcing him backward. He found himself standing in place, moving his upper body side-to-side to avoid Pan's punches towards his head.
After Goten grabbed hold of Pan's left wrist with his right hand, Goten threw his own left-handed strikes, each of which Pan redirected with her right arm.
He went for a sweep to Pan's legs, only for her to hop over it, then fire off a ki blast. Goten moved his arm to block it, then saw Pan squeezing her wrist out of his grasp.
In both their heads, it seemed like eternity had passed with the two simply avoiding or blocking each other's blows without either getting in any successful hits.
"It has been a full minute into the match so far and both remain at a standstill."
Pan and Goten paused for a moment, eyeing each other's subtle movements.
"I've stopped Goten from getting me so far, but I can't land anything on him either."
"Pan can't hit me, but she's quick enough that I can't hit her."
Goten could see Pan slowly moving her feet: she was about to charge at him. He saw her flying forward and readying her fist, as he began taking on a defensive stance. As her feet touched the ground before the impending strike, Goten went for a block with his right and a counter with his left.
"This is too predictable for Pan."
Just then, Goten looked and saw Pan wasn't there. The ground she was standing on just now had a few cracks: she had jumped upward. He heard something firing above him and moved to the side, avoiding a ki projectile. From there, he saw her flying above him, raining down several in his direction.
He jumped up after her, moving to avoid some ki blasts while firing some of his own to counter them. Finally catching up to her, Goten charged up ki in one hand before unleashing it in a burst. Pan guarded in time, but this powerful explosion of ki sent her far upward: it was nothing like the ones she dealt with in training.
"Okay, there went that plan. Let's see..."
Pan began cupping her hands for a trademark technique Goten knew just as well as her. He proceeded to do the same as the two began the familiar chant.
Their cupped hands were flowing with ki.
Pan paused for a moment upon catching her uncle's mispronunciation.
"Wait a second... Kamekame? Uncle Goten should know better."
But she realized Goten was counting on her catching that.
She wasn't in a position to fire back her Kamehameha in time as Goten's left his hands rapidly towards her.
"I should've stayed focused! Rookie mistake, Pan!"
Even in her frustration, she still managed to move out of the way of it, the Kamehameha firing farther into the sky. Pan saw Goten flying right at her afterward as the two clashed in midair.
"Pan and Goten are so high up I can barely describe what they're doing!"
"Yeah, they look like little ants up there!"
With a bubble of ki bursting around Pan, Goten was pushed downward as he then defended against her own onslaught. The crowd watched as Pan and Goten switched places between the attacker and defender constantly while slowly hovering lower back towards the arena.
Finally, they were on the ground once again as Pan saw Goten clearly choreographing a left punch and stopped it with a right of her own.
Pan was puzzled by this.
"Rock? As in rock, paper, scissors?"
She had never recalled learning any such technique, nor hearing of her grandfather using it. This was one move of Goten's she didn't know.
Pan tried to anticipate the next move: if rock was a punch, a fist, then paper would have to be a chop, or maybe a flat strike with the palm.
Yamcha could barely watch. Bulma turned to him for a moment.
"What's wrong, Yamcha?"
"A memory... just a memory is all."
Just as Pan moved her left hand to try to counter whatever paper was, she instead saw that Goten's right had snuck past her, the index and middle finger coming right for her eyes.
Pan cried out, her eyes poked, covering them with her hands. Obviously Goten wasn't trying to hurt her severely with the move, but it definitely didn't tickle. By the time she realized she was vulnerable, she felt a palm strike to her nose.
She could barely tell where she was as she was sent backward.
"Pan!" Hercule cried out.
Even now, she had to try landing or else it would all be over for her. She tried touching the tile ground with her feet...
And she did. She began to slow down, but she had the feeling she was inches from leaving the square. Sure enough, her heels left and she was hanging on with her toes, struggling to keep her balance.
"Now wait a minute..." Hercules asked while turning to the announcer. "That couldn't have been a legal move..."
The announcer looked over at a paper with the rules to see if that was the case.
"Currently, poking the eyes is not an illegal move... but we'd recommend that it isn't done again."
Goten looked over at Pan, who was standing upward, but her eyes still closed and her hands over her nose.
"He really got me there. Uncle Goten's probably ready to ring me out right this minute."
Finally, Goten floated upward, then flew at Pan for a two-legged kick.
"I can hear him. He's coming. I don't know if this'll work, but it's all I have right now."
Just as Goten closed in, he saw Pan creating two spheres of energy in her hands. He tried to hurry, but before his feet could hit their mark...
He felt something keeping him in place, almost like he was being pulled into a vacuum.
"What? How is she...?"
He could barely move as more and more ki generated in Pan's arms.
"What's this? Pan has stopped Goten in his tracks with a fantastic new technique!"
Goten suddenly felt himself being pushed backward as he then saw Pan combining the two spheres together. Even as he tried to shield himself with his wrists, a large pink sphere of energy emerged in front of him, threatening to break through his guard.
Just then, the sphere burst, causing Goten to grind across the tile floor back-first before coming to a stop by putting his hand into the floor, pinning him in place before he could fly back further.
"Yeah, that's the way, Pan!" shouted Hercule, his arm up in joy for her.
Pan could still barely see, but she knew an opportunity was in front of her and came right at Goten.
Goten was slow to get up, his long sleeves torn, practically made short-sleeved at this point, and his orange gi was partially singed.
"That power... I could've been sent out of the arena."
As he mused over this, he saw Pan about to attack. She still had her eyes closed, but Goten saw her duck under her swing and punch him in the stomach.
"Shoot... I'm still sluggish from that move."
This time, Pan was finally starting to land blows on Goten. He couldn't cover himself fast enough in the state he was in, and even the strikes he could land barely glanced her enough to throw her off.
"You can do it, Pan!" shouted Bulla from the crowd.
With the exceptions of her, Hercule, and Pan's parents, the rest of the Z-Fighters were torn on who to root for. Chi-Chi especially couldn't pick between her youngest son and her granddaughter.
As Goten was being forced further back, Pan's eye sight began to clear up, giving her an even better advantage.
"Pan has completely turned the tables on Goten. This match may just be over."
Pan saw Goten crossing his arms and aimed for the head to get around them. But then she heard Goten shouting...
A flash of golden light got into her eyes as she felt herself being pushed back by a surge of ki. As she began to get up, her vision was now clear of blurs.
"What was that?"
She didn't even have to look at Goten to realize he had powered up: ki was surging from his body.
Her eyes shot up: Goten's hair was...
"Uncle Goten's gone... Super Saiyan."
The crowd was stunned, almost speechless.
"I think Goten must be wearing a special kind of hairspray. One that, uh, changes your hair color in direct sunlight."
"But wait, Mr. Satan. We've been in direct sunlight this entire time."
"Well, it needs a lot of sunlight. Plus, it takes time, y'know?"
Hercule's excuse for Goten's change in appearance weren't helping Pan's nerves. She knew how powerful a Super Saiyan sounded in the tales of her grandfather using the form. And here she was, faced against the first Super Saiyan she had ever seen in her life.
"What am I supposed to do now? Do I even have a chance?"
She looked down to her fists, whose fingernails dug into her palms.
"I don't have a choice. I have to try."
Goten watched as Pan tried taking on a similar stance he had before, charging with ki, shouting throughout.
Chi-Chi knew what Pan was trying to do in desperation.
Videl and Gohan watched as their daughter tried attaining the form in mid-battle.
He couldn't even speak: he didn't know what was going to happen.
Bulla turned to her father in concern.
"Can she do it? Can Pan go Super Saiyan, Dad?"
Vegeta looked back to his daughter, but didn't have an answer for her.
Hercule didn't know what to think.
"Please be okay, Pan."
Goten continued watching as Pan attempted a transformation, but saw no signs of any gold in her hair or her eyes turning green: all she was doing was burning through her own ki. With that in mind, he finally looked ready for combat.
Pan saw Goten getting ready to make a move and prepared for this while still trying to attain Super Saiyan as quickly as she could. She took a step forward, expecting him to fly straight for her...
Instead seeing only a streak of gold zooming past her. She turned around as quickly as she could, ready to block, but even then, Goten's punch slammed her into the tile floor, causing her to bounce up into the air.
"I could barely keep up with his movement! I couldn't even block that!"
She flipped multiple times in midair, both to regain control and to get some distance, but Goten didn't even have to get near her: he thrusted his fist forward, pushing Pan back with a powerful gust of air.
"Oh, I can't look!" said Hercule, covering his eyes.
Pan's feet were about to hit the wall over the crowd, but she stopped herself in midair just before and flew right to her uncle, fists raised. She went on a barrage, trying as hard as she could to land just one hit on Goten, but seeing him continually disappearing and reappearing left to right to avoid everything she threw at him.
Realizing this wasn't working, Pan finally fired off two ki blasts, which Goten didn't try to avoid, then jumped backward, panting heavily and her expression of frustration and confusion plainly visible on her face.
"It seems that Goten has Pan on the ropes!"
"Oh, that? Uh, that's a classic technique of mine. You make your opponent think you're giving up and not fighting for real, then when they take the bait, it's all over. It's a highly advanced technique, mind you. Not one just anyone can pull off."
"You're not helping, Grandpa Hercule!" Pan practically shouted in her head.
She went for the first thing she could think of: she ran around Goten, various afterimages of her following suit. Would it work? She had no guarantee, but she didn't have time to think it through.
"It now looks like Pan is using the Afterimage Technique."
"See, look at that! Pan's moving around so fast he couldn't possibly keep up with her."
Goten closed his eyes, then threw a punch from his side. Pan managed to duck just in time, but the sheer force blew her back towards the edge of the ring, her ear ringing. She fell onto her knees for just a moment, slow to lift herself back up.
"I can still stand. I can still fight. I'm not giving up."
She finally got back onto her feet, her fists raised as Goten floated towards her. She then quickly shifted her hands to the sides of her face by her eyes.
A flash flew towards the crowd, blinding most of the spectators. The announcer once more was unaffected thanks to his sunglasses while Hercule was not as fortunate.
"The sun's getting in my eyes again!"
Pan looked over to see if Goten was even affected, but she saw Goten nowhere in sight. She could hear him charging ki to her left and turned to strike him, only to see no sign of him once more.
"Can't give up. Can't stop now."
She then heard Goten to her right. Once more, nothing. She then saw Goten standing right before her, his back facing the edge of the arena. As much as Pan was tempted to jump backward or even stumble in terror, she grinded her teeth and punched him in the face.
Her fist had gone right through his head. Then afterward, his image disappeared entirely. She heard a flash behind her and even as she tried to turn around, she felt something strike the back of her neck.
After Goten's chop, Pan lost her footing, watching in slow motion as she fell towards the grassy ground outside the square.
"Is it... all over?"
Pan could see her hand twitching: she wasn't paralyzed. She could still move.
"No, it's not over..."
She span horizontally, reaching for the tile floor, but seeing only the side. But she had to try to stay in the fight.
She struck the side with her hand, embedding into it with her fingers and stopping her fall.
"I've done it! I'm still in it! I can still..."
"We have ourselves a ring out!"
She looked down at her feet and saw one of her legs clearly raised off the ground, and the other...
Her toes touched the grass. She didn't even notice it because she was so caught up in the moment of trying to stop herself.
"Goten wins the match by ring out!"
Hercule was stunned.
"Are you sure? I couldn't see because of the sun."
The announcer pointed at his sunglasses, meaning he could see even when everyone else was blinded by the Solar Flare from earlier.
"Oh." Hercule sighed, finally accepting that Pan had lost. "Pan fought well up to the very end."
The match finally over, Goten's hair reverted back to normal and to the shape of Goku's as he walked over to Pan, who was still hanging onto the edge of the arena. He crouched over to look her in the eyes.
"You did well, Pan."
Goten put out his right hand to help her up. Time seemed to pause as Pan vented in her head.
"I couldn't do it. Nothing I did worked. I needed Super Saiyan to stand a chance... and I just can't."
Even then, she put a smile on her face and grabbed onto Goten's hand with hers.
"No, you did well, Uncle Goten."
As the two stood before each other post-match, she put her hands together and bowed her head to him as Goten did the same back to her. The crowd cheered at the respect the two paid to each other as the two finally left the arena.
Upon being eliminated, Pan sat in the crowd next to Bulla and in front of her parents as they watched the rest of the tournament to see how far Goten could go. Sure enough, they were at the final match.
"Here we are, at the grand finale! Goten, the son of Goku, against last year's champion, Nareg!"
They saw a blonde-haired man in a light purple and white martial arts top with a collar. He wasn't quite the pretty boy of his younger days, but his slicked hair and two bangs in the front still made him irresistible even now.
"That Nareg guy's pretty cute, huh Pan?"
Pan didn't answer, instead watching the match about to commence.
It didn't take long before Goten knocked Nareg out of the ring.
"It's all over, folks! Goten wins by ring out!"
She watched with her family and friends as Goten took his place before the announcer, whom raised Goten's fist into the air.
"Goten is the new martial arts champion of the world!"
Thunderous applause roared across the crowd as Pan applauded her uncle as well.
Soon after, the family was eating together, a massive table covered with food between them. Goten was eating up a storm, not unlike his father, to the chuckle of Goku's old friends.
Gohan and Videl noticed Pan, whose appetite sometimes neared that of her grandfather, was hardly eating.
"You okay, Pan?" inquired Videl.
"Yeah..." answered Pan. "Just don't want to get a stomach ache."
"Just let us know if there's anything you need," replied Gohan.
It was getting late and everyone was getting ready to go their separate ways. Pan sat by a bench by herself as she saw everyone else around Goten. She was approached by Yamcha, who sat next to her.
"It's a rough break, I know."
Pan hadn't looked over at him yet, still looking down at her feet.
"I made it to the quarter-finals three times... and each time, someone stopped me."
He wrapped his arm around her back to tap her on the shoulder.
"Always keep trying. I'll be rooting for you at the next tournament."
Pan smiled at Yamcha as he began to get back up.
"Be seeing you, Pan."
From what she could hear, it sounded like Goten was about ready to leave. She got up from the bench and walked over to her uncle, her hand out to shake.
"Congratulations, Uncle Goten."
He took her hand and shook back with a genuine smile of appreciation.
"Thank you, Pan. Keep up your training and we're bound to face each other again."
He waved his hand to her and everyone around him as he flew off into the night sky.
Bulla approached Pan, Bulma and Vegeta alongside her.
"We're turning in for the night. Call me up tomorrow, okay?"
"You got it."
Pan lied in her bed, trying as hard as she could to get to sleep. She obviously did a lot for one day and it was clearly the time for her to rest. She folded her pillow and turned her body.
She was still awake another hour later. A warm shower later, she tried to cool off in her bed to try again.
Even with her eyes shut as much as she could shut them, no dreams came to her: just the blackness of closed eyes.
"Maybe I should get in some exercise. Tire myself out."
Donning fitness attire, Pan tried various workout machines throughout the house. Weights. Pushing. Pulling. Her arms. Her legs.
"I can do everything at the max weight. I can go past it, but I'll break the machines. All of this is just a warm-up."
She mused over what to do next.
"There's nothing else I can do... here."
She looked out a window, knowing that Bulla's house was just a flight away. Her family still had the gravity machine outside their place. Maybe if she trained with that...
"It'll just take a few minutes to fly there. I can use that for a while, then I'll be back and able to sleep."
Pan opened it, but then...
"What are you doing up at this hour?"
Her father walked over to her, dressed in striped sleepwear and rubbing his glasses with a cloth.
"I'm having trouble sleeping, so I'm going to go work out outside for a bit and..."
"You're going to Bulla's to use the gravity machine."
Pan couldn't talk her way out of this one: her dad practically read her mind.
"Look, Pan, I understand you're frustrated about the tournament because you lost to your uncle..."
She pointed right at her father, nearly poking him in the chest.
"You think that's what this is about?! Me losing to my uncle?!"
Gohan stepped back to give her space while trying to raise his hands in a "calm down" fashion.
"You told me grandpa was the only one who ever went Super Saiyan... and now so can Goten!"
"I didn't want you to think that..."
"That what?! That I can't do it?! That no matter how hard I work, no matter how much I sweat and bleed, that I can never go Super Saiyan?!"
"Pan, please listen..."
"All my training all of my life was for nothing because I couldn't even do it! Not even if my life depended on it!"
"But your life didn't depend on it. It was a fighting tournament. Nothing was at stake."
He took off his glasses, then put a hand on Pan's shoulder.
"I think it's time I showed you..."
With a burst of ki, Gohan's hair turned a golden hue.
"Your grandfather taught me..."
"You kept this from me?! All of this time?!"
Seeing her father go Super Saiyan had set off Pan even more.
"You knew I had tried for so many years, yet you didn't help me?! You kept it to yourself!"
"I'm sorry, Pan. I..."
She brushed his hand off her shoulder, then turned toward the open window.
"Don't want to share it with me? Fine! Then I'll just find my own way!"
Despite Gohan putting out his hand telling her to stop, Pan flew into the night sky.
"Gohan, what happened?!"
Videl had just woken up, seeing Gohan with golden hair.
"And where is Pan?!"
He deactivated his Super Saiyan form, picked up a phone, and began dialing.
As she flew miles a minute, Pan was already regretting how she acted.
"Damn it... I was acting like a kid! I shouldn't have bolted like that!"
But even then, she saw Bulla's house just eyesight away, and with it, the gravity machine outside of it. The chance to train at her hardest was right in front of her.
"But if I use it..."
She remembered Bulla giving her the password for entering, which she recalled seeing her father use. A few taps and the stairway lowered. Pan checked to make sure no one else was around her and closed it shut.
Her parents didn't have a gravity machine like this at home and while Bulla trained from time to time, she had rarely used it due to her father not pushing it onto her. Even when Pan had asked to use it in the past, her parents made sure Vegeta and Bulma had it off-limits.
"With this, I can finally push myself far enough to go Super Saiyan."
She had never used it before, but she found it was simple enough to navigate: the default gravity setting was 300 times Earth's gravity.
"Okay, here goes..."
Pan had her hand over the large on switch.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you..."
Vegeta was behind her, walking towards her.
"Called, yes, but I heard you flying in before that."
She could tell from Vegeta's facial expression that he wasn't in a gaming mood.
"You want to become the strongest in the universe, is that it?!"
"I just...I just want to be able to go Super Saiyan."
"And you won't rest until you do. You're willing to go to any length, is that right?!"
Pan couldn't answer.
"That's the Saiyan pride in you. A thirst for power. The desire to be superior to everyone around you."
"It's not... it's..."
She stumbled on her own tongue: Pan didn't know what to say.
"Call it what you will, Pan, listen well: obsessing over it to no end will only ruin yourself and cost you everyone you care about."
"What do you mean?"
Vegeta sighed, then turned his back to Pan.
"It was my pride that nearly destroyed this world. I was responsible for the Cell Games... and your grandfather's death."
Pan couldn't believe it: as far as she knew, Vegeta was one of the heroes who helped stop Cell.
"I could've stopped it from happening... stopped Cell when I had the chance... if I had just swallowed my Saiyan pride. But instead, I let it all happen. All because I wanted to prove how great I was. How much better I was than everyone else."
She could tell Vegeta was trying to hide his emotions from her.
"Cell killed my grandpa, not you."
Despite her words, Vegeta turned to her, a lone tear going down his face toward his mustache.
"If I had just stopped obsessing, stopped trying to best Kakarot at everything, he would still be with us. It's my fault... and mine alone. No one else's."
She knew that her grandfather and Vegeta had a rivalry in the past, but never did she think it was that fierce. And now she truly understood why this time of year, around the time Goku was seen for the last time, always got to Vegeta.
"23 years ago, we fought one last time before he left for good. Fought with everything we had. He won. Even in the afterlife, he's perhaps the most powerful warrior in all existence. But it was then that I finally accepted what I was: one of the strongest warriors besides him. I could stop obsessing. Live content with what I am. Be free of my pride."
He turned back to her, wiping the tear off his face with his hand.
"I only wish I had learned that while your grandfather was alive."
Pan saw what Vegeta was trying to tell her: that his pride, his quest to become the best, was destructive, and if she wasn't careful, she could go down the same path.
"Now go on home to your parents."
As Pan walked out of the gravity machine, she paused for a moment, trying to come up with a way of thanking him, or even reassuring him that he was still a good person. But at that moment, Pan couldn't convey it in words. So she left, Vegeta still standing in the gravity machine as the door closed and the room darkened to pitch-black.
Finally arriving home, morning fast approaching, Pan unlocked the front door, seeing her parents waiting for her.
"Mom, Dad... I'm sorry. I'm just so frustrated with myself. With what I can't do right now. I shouldn't have run off like that."
Her parents' eyes steered away from her.
"I guess what I'm trying to say is..."
Pan began to notice they were looking behind her, their expressions showing a sense of dread.
"What is it?"
She turned around, not seeing anything out of the ordinary...
Except for a massive round spaceship hovering over the city nearby. Pan grabbed onto her dad.
"What is that, Dad?!""...Frieza's men."
Frieza Force Invasion! Against an Army!
At the main Capsule Corp building, Trunks sat at his desk, filling out various forms in front of him, a stack of them on his right and a small television on his left. He was quite busy as the CC president, so the television was more-so for background noise than to actually watch. Rarely did he ever turn his gaze away from his work...
"Breaking news: a large spaceship can be seen floating over Satan City."
Trunks may not have seen the spaceship before in his life, but it definitely struck him as something that could spell trouble. He stopped what he was doing, took off his coat, and opened a window. Just as he did this, his assistant Otokosuki, donning a light blue suit and with short black hair and a mustache, stepped into the room.
"Wait, sir, what are you doing?!"
"Cancel all my appointments. I'm taking a sick day."
"But sir, who will run the building while you're gone?"
"Uh, tell you what: you're in charge while I'm gone."
He flew out the window with haste towards Satan City as Otokosuki watched in utter confusion.
"But the question still remains: if these visitors are hostile, where is Mr. Satan?"
Hercule was sitting on a chair, his eyes wide open.
"Oh man... please be peaceful visitors."
The door to his room slammed open.
"Dad, we've got a serious situation!"
He turned to see Videl, Gohan, and Pan, all three of whom looked just as shaken up as he did.
"I've seen that kind of ship before," said Gohan. "It belongs to Frieza's forces."
"So you're saying that they're..."
"They are not peaceful visitors!"
"Agh, just my luck...!"
And they're bound to attack at any moment!"
"Come on, Dad! We've got to help get everyone in this city to safety!"
Hercule got up out of his seat.
"You've got it."
The four of them moved from house-to-house as quickly as they could, knocking on doors and shouting into yards and open windows. Hercule had a large megaphone and a truck driving him across town.
"Attention citizens of Satan City: I, Hercule, ask that you leave your homes and get to the nearest shelter outside of town immediately! Double time, now! You can have all your stuff back when the situation's all over!"
Crowds of panicked people ran out of their homes and across the street, then struggled to get their vehicles through without hitting anyone. Pan moved as quickly as she could to warn everyone, but even she was getting some fatigue.
"We're a bit underhanded here. I don't know if even we can get everyone out in time."
Just then, she saw a speeding capsule car driving through an alley, smashing trash cans and fences, and fast approaching a young boy who didn't even see it coming.
Pan tried flying towards it, but saw that she was too late to stop it.
She saw that Yamcha in his orange gi stood in front of the car, stopping it with both hands.
"Watch where you're going, buddy! I know you're scared, but you could've hurt someone!"
Pan rushed over to the young boy, who was just as stunned as she was.
"It's okay. Come along."
She grabbed him by the hand and the two moved out of the way of the vehicle's path. Afterward, Yamcha flew to the side of the vehicle and tapped it on the hood.
"Drive carefully, okay?"
After the vehicle began to move again, this time at a more controlled pace and minding the people around the driver, Yamcha approached Pan and the boy.
"Anyone else with you, Yamcha?"
"Yeah. I flew here with Tien and Chiaotzu."
He then turned to the boy and crouched to his eye level.
"You okay, kid? Can't find your parents?"
The kid didn't speak, but nodded back to him.
"Tell you what: I'll help you find your parents. Just try to point me in the right direction, okay kid?"
He gently lifted the boy onto his shoulders and slowly began to float off the ground.
"Keep getting people to safety, Pan. I'll be back as soon as I can."
Pan nodded then the two flew off in opposite directions.
"Now where could my parents be?"
"Come along now, citizens!"
She heard what clearly had to be her dad's voice, but as if he were doing an impression of some kind.
"Why does he sound like a superhero?"
She flew downward towards where she heard it and sure enough, she saw two helmeted individuals with bright tunics and capes helping a family evacuate.
"Take only necessary belongings and please leave in a calm and orderly fashion."
"If we all do our part, we reduce the risk of panicked accidents."
Pan stood, stunned to see her parents dressed like that. As soon as their capsule vehicle began to leave...
The two turned towards Pan, Gohan trying to continue disguising who they were.
"Uh, no, young lady. We are not your mother and father. We are..."
"Honey, she's 18."
He sighed, then cleared his throat.
"Pan, we don't have much time. That ship's bound to drop soldiers at any moment."
"I know, Dad, but we don't have enough people to get the whole city to safety. Yamcha, Tien, and Chiaotzu are here, but still."
"Not for long, I wager!"
Gohan briefly took on his Great Saiyaman voice again, then put his hand behind his head.
"Uh, sorry. But with this..."
He clicked on his helmet.
"Bulma? If you're there, Satan City needs your help."
"Already ahead of you, Gohan..."
The three turned to see flying Capsule Corp vehicles arriving on the scene a few streets ahead of them.
"Trunks and I arranged for Capsule Corp to bring them to our building. Just far enough away from the city to keep them out of harm's way."
"Good. Very good. And is Vegeta...?"
"He should be arriving..."
The three heard a hard landing behind them...
Vegeta stood in a blue and white battle suit. Pan had never seen him dressed like that before. He turned to Gohan, already seeing through his costume.
"Gohan, for your sake, I hope you've kept up your training."
Another stomp from next to Vegeta: Trunks wearing a similar battle suit to his father's. The five of them turned to see Tien and Chiaotzu descending onto the area alongside Yamcha. Tien had a dark blue gi and white undershirt with a weighted cape.
The eight saw Piccolo back in his traditional purple gi.
Krillin flew in afterward with Lazuli beside him. As they landed, Pan was surprised to see Lapis landing soon afterward, someone she rarely saw.
"It's been a while, huh?"
Just then, Gohan saw a massive Capsule Corp plane-like vehicle landing in front of them. The pilot: Bulma.
The back opened and aside from various Capsule Corp staff emerging to gather any remaining civilians in the area, Master Roshi stepped out in a black and white martial arts uniform. Yajirobe came out of the transport as well, sporting a mustache. He turned to Vegeta...
"Well this is unexpected... seeing you on our side, Vegeta."
"It's been 35 years..." replied Vegeta.
"Fine. Just don't punch me."
Pan didn't understand the context between the two as Vegeta grumbled to himself.
"Nice mustache, by the way."
Vegeta said nothing back, perhaps taking the compliment. Immediately after this, Pan turned to see Goten, wearing the same orange gi and blue undershirt from the tournament yesterday.
Then Pan saw her grandmother, sporting her blue and red uniform.
"I can't stand on the sidelines this time. Bulma, how many are there on that ship?"
Bulma had placed a green scouter over her eye, one which Pan had only ever seen in a display case at Bulla's.
"A thousand bodies at least... and someone with such a high power level this thing can't register it."
Yamcha was looking over at all the Z-Fighters around him and counting with his fingers.
"Let's see... with me, that makes 16."
Gohan and Videl counted as well, then turned over to him afterward.
"16?" inquired Videl. "Don't tell me you're thinking of having our daughter in the fight."
Pan turned, seeing a confrontation between Yamcha and her parents.
"Look, we're underhanded as is. We're going to need all the help we can get. And you saw her at the tournament yesterday."
"That doesn't mean she's ready for life-or-death!"
On the Capsule Corp plane, Kani, Bulla, and Launch were helping people get onboard in an orderly fashion. The three of them could overhear the argument.
"Gohan, you were ready for it when you were half her age."
"That's not the same and you know it!" shouted Gohan as he pointed at Yamcha, nearly poking him in the process.
"Dad! We don't have time for this!"
Pan tried getting between her father and Yamcha.
"There's too much at risk for me to just stand idly by!"
"Pan, we can't..." said Gohan. "We can't ask you to put your life on the line."
"If those stories you told me about these guys are true... then our whole planet is at stake."
With everyone on board the plane, Bulla stepped toward the group. Bulma grabbed hold of her daughter's arm.
"Where are you going?! I can't just leave you here!"
"Pan's right: this is our home. I have to help."
"But you already have: you've helped these people get to safety."
"The people HERE. What happens if Frieza's men win? Then it'll have been for nothing."
Tien then saw Kani walking towards the group as well.
"Kani! Your mother and I...!"
He then saw Launch behind her.
"Launch... I can't let you two do this."
But Tien could tell by Kani and Launch's expressions of determination to help that he couldn't talk them out of it.
"It's our home, Tien. All of our homes."
Vegeta gently pushed Bulma's hand off of their daughter.
"As long as I draw breath, I won't let them hurt Bulla. I promise you that."
Initially shocked at Vegeta, Bulma realized she shouldn't have been surprised at his decision. Soon after, Tien sighed, then placed his hands over both his wife and daughter.
"You both need to be on your guard at all times. Get distracted for even a second..."
"...and you'll be dead," Vegeta said bluntly.
Finally, Gohan and Videl begrudgingly turned to their daughter.
"Alright, Pan... but this is the real deal. As soon as the fighting starts, you may find yourself on your own."
Bulla tapped Pan on the shoulder.
"I'll watch over Pan."
Vegeta turned, surprised at the idea of Bulla acting as a bodyguard to someone.
"And I'll watch over you, Bulla," replied Pan.
Gohan reached for something behind his back.
"Just keep this on your person at all times..."
He took out a red case, which held a red staff inside of it.
"Grandpa's Power Pole?"
Gohan placed it in her hands.
"Yes. Now remember, if you need it to get something from far away, just shout 'Power Pole Extend' and it'll do the rest."
Pan nodded as Bulma did the head count herself.
"Well even with all of you as is, that just makes... 19."
"Well I count 20."
They saw Hercule, having exited his truck. While Pan was concerned for her grandfather's safety, as far as she knew, Hercule was the former world champion who had actually managed to best Goku in the ring.
"Dad, you can't be..."
"Earth's our home, remember? Besides, I may be able to get their attention. Draw them out for you."
Goten looked at the group, then back at Frieza's ship, trying to calculate something.
"If we're looking at a thousand of Frieza's men and 20 of us... that would mean we each need to defeat... umm... let's see..."
"About 50 per person," answered Gohan.
"Fifty?" asked Hercule. "Ha! Leave a hundred of them to me."
Vegeta chuckled to himself.
"I was going to say the same thing."
Soon after this exchange, a loud noise came from the ship: two large doors at the bottom began to slowly open.
"Get these people out of here, Bulma," ordered Gohan. "We'll take it from here."
Bulma nodded and ran back to the plane's cockpit. Meanwhile, the 20 began to split into their groups:
Chi-Chi, Launch, Yajirobe, and Hercule gathered in one quadrant to stop any Frieza Forces that could successfully touch down near them. Hercule showed Launch to his truck, which had plenty of capsules filled with weaponry.
"The truck and all these capsules are all yours. Are you ready for this?"
Launch took out a packet of pepper from her pocket and ripped it open in front of her nose, causing her to sneeze.
Her hair had turned yellow with streaks of silver as she took out a machine gun and armed it.
"You bet... Mark."
Hercule had never heard anyone bluntly refer to him by his first name... except for Launch's other personality.
Pan, Bulla, and Kani had formed a group of three in another quadrant, but were then approached by Videl.
"Gohan, you go on ahead. I'll stay with them."
Her husband nodded, then flew upward as she remained on the ground with Pan and the rest.
"Alright Mom, what do you want us to do?"
"I'll be out in front. You three will attack from the side."
Master Roshi, Tien, Chiaotzu, and Yamcha would cover one of the lower quadrants.
"The Turle School's back in action. You ready for this, Master Roshi?"
"Are you, Yamcha?"
Tien turned to Master Roshi.
"Yamcha and I have been keeping up our training since Kani was born. Chiaotzu has as well."
Chiaotzu nodded to Tien.
"Don't worry. I've got my eye on you, Tien."
Gohan, Trunks, Krillin, and Piccolo were near.
"I have to admit..." began Trunks. "I've been a little rusty. Just tell me what to do and I'll do it."
The other three turned to him.
"It's been peace time since the Cell Games..." started Krillin. "I can't blame you."
"Still..." Piccolo stated. "You need to keep up your guard. Don't focus on just one enemy. And watch out for each other."
"Will do, Mr. Piccolo."
Vegeta, Lapis, Lazuli, and Goten would be the highest up, just over the top of the rooftops to pick off as many from landing as they could.
"So..." began Lapis. "Gohan..."
"Goten. Right, right. I hardly hear from you these days. What's new on your...?"
"We can play catch-up later," interrupted Lazuli. "Right now, we need to focus."
"You heard the lady..." replied Vegeta, looking up at the ship. "But then again, you do have the strongest warrior on the planet on your side."
"This again, Vegeta?" asked Lapis.
"You know, Vegeta, I've always wanted to see how I'd fare against you," Goten replied to Vegeta. "Maybe once this is all finished, we could have ourselves a spar."
"You're on..." answered Vegeta. "But first, I have a hundred of these fools to take care of."
From within the ship, Frieza's hordes watched with anticipation as the door finally opened enough that they could begin to exit towards the city below. They looked down as their scouters began scanning for bodies below them. Sure enough, with several humans, a Namekian, two androids, and several Saiyans, they knew what they were in for.
"They may have power levels on their side... but we have the greater numbers. Move out, men! CHARGE!"
The first batch finally began their descent, roaring in unison...
...as they found themselves swarmed by ki projectiles from the four closest to them.
Those who were struck head-on fell towards the city streets below as the rest tried spreading out to avoid the barrage. Just then, Vegeta heard Gohan flying in from behind him.
"You four! Aim for the doors! Try to jam them!"
Just then, Vegeta grinned, understanding precisely why Gohan had asked this.
He turned back to Lapis, Lazuli, and Goten.
"You three! The doors! Keep them from opening all the way!"
With that, they redirected their fire at the massive doors still in the process of opening. This allowed the Frieza Forces to begin flying unperturbed.
"What fools! Trying to bring down the whole ship with their measly attacks!"
What they did not realize was that with enough impact between the doors and their openings, the doors bent to such a degree that the doors couldn't open any further. By the time they had realized this, they were met by a man in curious garb.
"You're finished, evil-doers!"
Gohan struck one hard enough to break his helmet as Krillin emerged on his side to kick another. Trunks punched one in the chest, then booted him away as he saw Piccolo's arm stretching behind him: he was grabbing the arm of a soldier aiming at him, which then fired, missing his mark.
Piccolo then pulled the soldier towards him, where he fired off an energy wave with the other arm to take him out.
Meanwhile, a large line of soldiers was flying towards Yamcha, who charged right at them without fear.
As the soldier closest to him began to see what he was doing, his face had already been struck by two palms.
From there, he continued forward, plowing through the rest in front of him before his last blow tore through the armor of a larger soldier as he howled.
Roshi had thrown his cane at one soldier to throw off his aim, then punched him back down to the ground. He then caught the cane, used it to trip one of his foes in midair, then swung it to knock him into a group of soldiers. He then put his hands together, bulking up in size.
He fired off a Kamehameha at the wave in front of him.
As for Tien, he found himself surrounded and put his fingers near his three eyes.
The soldiers around him were blinded, allowing him to rapidly strike them out of his direction. He turned to see a vast squadron of soldiers already firing their ki blasts at him. Before he could act, he saw Chiaotzu in front of him, his hands raised outward.
But Tien then saw that all of the projectiles had been stopped inches from Chiaotzu: his proficiency with telekinesis had more than increased over the years. He then fired the ki projectiles back at the Frieza soldiers, who were too baffled to get out of the way of their own attacks from seconds before.
Videl kicked a Frieza soldier's helmet off his head, then back-handed the helmet into another as Pan and Bulla fought surrounding soldiers back-to-back. Pan kept them at bay with swings from the Power Pole while Bulla mostly stuck to ki blasts. Kani charged ki in one of her fists, then flew forward, nearly piercing through a soldier. When three soldiers tried to take aim at her, she used the defeated one as a shield, then fired three dodon rays right through him, each hitting their mark.
"Whoa..." went Pan.
She and Bulla looked in awe at how she had taken them down.
"That was hardcore, Kani" Bulla complimented.
As Kani grinned at them, a soldier snuck past to aim at Bulla. Before he could fire off, a larger beam sent him into the ground. The three looked upward to see Vegeta.
"Complement each other when the battle's over. And you..."
Pan saw him pointing right at her, a very stern look in his eyes.
"Don't slack off again. Guard Bulla with your life."
He then flew back upward towards the most intense area of the battle as Pan and Bulla took his advice to heart.
"Yeah... we'd better focus, Bulla."
Videl, meanwhile, had already downed multiple soldiers on her own.
"You three gonna help me or what?"
"Sorry, Mom! Coming!"
Launch fired her machine gun at the Frieza soldiers heading towards her. The weakest among them fell while others only saw damage done to their armor. As they began to come closer to her, Yajirobe tossed pebbles at them from the other direction, causing them to turn towards him instead. As he drew his blade, ready to strike...
One of them was kicked away by Chi-Chi, who then hopped from soldier to soldier, chopping or kicking them away. During this, Yajirobe hopped upward as well, either slashing with his sword or kicking them with his sandaled feet. Those that managed to land saw Hercule standing in their way in a cocky hero pose.
"Come get a piece of the champ!"
As they prepared to fire on him, they were struck by a combination of Chi-Chi's kicks, Yajirobe's sword swings, and Launch's rapid fire.
"This is Nick Hornby from Channel 10 reporting on this massive-scale battle going on over our very own Satan City."
Hercule was baffled at the voice nearby and turned to see a reporter and a cameraman.
"You've gotta be kiddin' me..."
"From behind me, we can see former contestants of the World Martial Arts Tournament, as well as Saiyaman and Saiyawoman, who haven't been seen for years."
Nick's arm was suddenly grabbed by Hercule.
"What are you doing here?!"
Just then, the cameraman began to panic.
"Uh, Nick... Mr. Satan..."
The two turned and saw five Frieza soldiers walking towards them.
"You can take them, right Hercule?" asked Nick.
"Excuse me for a second, Nick" answered Hercule, who proceeded to run right towards the soldiers.
The soldiers, looking at him through their scouters, thought nothing of it.
"Is that Earthling so eager to throw his life away? Just look at his power level... a measly..."
His thought was immediately interrupted by Hercule tackling him to the ground, then punching him repeatedly in the head, one of them breaking his scouter.
"What's your space monocle say about me now, huh?!" shouted Hercule.
The four remaining soldiers moved in to attack him. Before they could, they were baffled to see Hercule kneeling on the ground, grasping his stomach.
"Give me a minute... I've got a... stomach ache."
Baffled at his mannerisms like before, the four just looked over at him.
"According to my scouter, he's..."
Hercule rose to his feet, uppercutting that Frieza soldier.
From a distance, Nick stood reporting while the cameraman caught all of Hercule's antics while facing the other three soldiers still on their feet.
"And here right behind me, you can see our savior, Hercule Satan, battling the invaders with such ease they can barely comprehend his level of skill."
After knocking the last down with a two-handed slam, the five all unconscious on the ground, Hercule was crouched over for a moment, seemingly short of breath.
"Mr. Satan. You're not tired, are you?"
With the camera rolling, Hercule immediately stood to his feet, his arms to his side.
"Ha, ha! Of course not!"
Goten was blasting away at more oncoming Frieza soldiers alongside 17 and 18 when he could overhear commotion below him.
"No, Gohan! You'll be exposed!"
He could tell one of the groups was in trouble and flew down to assist them.
Piccolo had thrown a barrage of spheres towards a massive number of Frieza soldiers, whom watched in confusion as his aim appeared to be off. Finally, the technique revealed itself to be the Hellzone Grenade, detonating all the spheres in an explosion. As the dust and fallen soldiers settled, he still saw a massive number approaching him.
"They're still coming!"
Krillin pushed him out of the way of oncoming blasts while firing a one-handed beam to strike multiples in a row. Gohan had taken out several soldiers around Trunks, then turned back to Piccolo and Krillin.
"Cover me, Trunks!"
Trunks watched as Gohan flew towards them, then saw Goten flying in fast, sending Frieza soldiers scattering around him and drawing their attention. He didn't want his old friend to fight them alone and flew in towards Goten's side to help fight them off.
"I've got your back, Goten!"
Both were batting soldiers away from them, rotating around each other to cover all fronts at once.
"Just like old times, huh?"
But Trunks caught too late that a ki blast was heading for him. Goten pushed him away, then fired off a powerful one-handed Kamehameha, rocketing the soldiers far away from him.
"Thanks, Goten. Say... when this is all over, how'd you like to work at Capsule Corp? I mean you still don't have a job, right?"
The two could see Lapis and Lazuli were signaling for Goten to help them.
"I'll be back, Trunks."
Goten flew back with all haste as Trunks regrouped with Piccolo, Gohan, and Krillin.
Tien and Chiaotzu were firing off dodon rays back-to-back as Yamcha was directing the Spirit Ball into several soldiers.
On the ground, Roshi saw several soldiers surrounding him and took on a peculiar combat stance.
"What is he doing?"
Roshi stepped backward while swerving his head backward.
"Is he... drunk?"
But from that confusion, Roshi began unleashing drunken-style kung fu on the hapless soldiers.
Yamcha saw this and, seeing how Tien and Chiaotzu were taking care of themselves, decided to fly down and help his old master. The two fought in nearly perfect unison, chopping and kicking away their opposition.
Just then, Roshi was struck on the side by a ki blast, falling onto his hands and stomach, as Yamcha quickly formed another spirit ball, knocking away any additional blasts, before tossing it right at them, pinning them to a large truck before detonating it.
He then offered Roshi a helping hand and pulled him up.
"Yamcha... even if they've slowed down their descent, the numbers of Frieza's forces are still taking a toll on us."
Yamcha began looking up at the ship itself.
"I think I've got an idea..."
Pan, Bulla, and Kani were firing off rapid ki blasts, both to take out whoever they could and to keep their attention away from Videl, who took maximum advantage of it. She turned to them for a moment.
"Keep it up, girls!"
She suddenly saw herself being lifted into the air by three Frieza soldiers.
But as Pan and Bulla tried running in, they saw more soldiers descending down on them.
"There's too many of them!"
They began to fire.
"Get behind me, Bulla!"
Bulla did as Pan asked as she covered herself in a shield of ki, protecting herself and Bulla as well.
Videl, meanwhile, tried wrestling her way out as two had her by the arms and one behind her wrapped his arm around her throat. She managed to fire off ki from her palms, striking the two in the stomach, then elbowed the one behind her as hard as she could. He tried to keep his hold on her, but instead, grabbed hold of her helmet, tearing it off of her.
She thought nothing of it, elbowing him once more, and then floating above them before going for several stomp-like kicks to send them downward.
"This just in: Saiyawoman has been unmasked! She appears to be... YOUR DAUGHTER, Mr. Satan?!"
Hercule panicked for a split-second, but then calmly turned to Nick.
"Now you see, earlier today, Videl and I met with Saiyaman, who told me Saiyawoman was out sick. So Videl offered to take her place and wear her costume to protect the real Saiyawoman's secret identity."
As per usual, Hercule's skills of persuasion had swayed the human populace.
"Of course. I never would have guessed that was the plan all along. False alarm, folks! It seems Saiyawoman's identity remains a mystery thanks to a clever ploy by Mr. Satan and Videl."
"Phew," went Hercule in his head.
During this, the swarm of soldiers saw four Kani's, each sporting four arms, rushing them.
"Quick, we've gotta get up there and give her cover!"
Pan and Bulla immediately flew upward and fired on the soldiers, then, as they got closer, began knocking them away. Videl finally joined as well, but they found a line of soldiers in front of them.
Pan pointed the Power Pole directly at them.
"Power Pole Extend!"
It grew in length, striking the soldiers directly in front of her. But even then, several were still to the side of her. Pan readied a swing, but Bulla and Videl both grabbed hold of the Power Pole as well to help her.
With the might of all three, the Power Pole swung into the remaining soldiers. Shortly after this, Kani's clones faded back into one as she saw four more soldiers left. As they went in for punches, Kani grabbed them by their heads, one arm each, then slammed them into each other face-first.
As they left her hands back to the ground, Kani's four arms faded as she began descending.
Bulla and Videl caught hold of her as Pan looked over her.
"Kani, you used too much ki."
"I know... but I couldn't just leave you two on your own."
Even the other three had to admit they were certainly getting a hint of fatigue.
Chi-Chi and Yajirobe were finally beginning to tire, each still downing whoever crossed them, but showing exhaustion all the same. Launch, meanwhile, kept firing, even as she had nearly emptied all of the capsules in Hercule's truck. She saw another horde incoming and readied her aim with her machine gun...
"No offense..." started Yajirobe... "But you're going to need something with a lot more punch."
Launch scoffed, dropping it, then retrieving a capsule hidden under the driver seat. She clicked it, then tossed it into the air...
It revealed a rocket launcher, whose rocket had a massive explosive attachment on its front. Launch caught it with ease, then took aim.
She finally fired, the rocket flying at a high speed towards the soldiers heading towards them. While they tried getting out of the way, it seemed to be heat-seeking.
"I'd recommend you find cover."
Yajirobe and Chi-Chi watched as the rocket finally hit its mark, causing a massive explosion. The sheer shockwave caused winds to blow past Chi-Chi and Yajirobe, who felt the full force of it brushing against them. Launch, however, was just sitting completely nonchalant on the ground, the rocket launcher resting in her arms.
"So... that enough punch for you?"
The two were speechless at Launch's demeanor. Just then, a thought occurred to Chi-Chi.
"Wait, have any of you seen where Hercule went off to lately?"
Hercule was so caught up with talking to the camera that he had nearly forgotten all of the fighting around him.
"Anyway, Nick, I think the Earth's definitely in good hands, guaranteed."
Just then, he saw more Frieza soldiers flying in and remembered what was at stake.
"Listen, there's trouble approaching! You need to get outside the city right this instant!"
"But Mr. Satan, we can't possibly miss..."
"Now that does it!"
He grabbed hold of the camera and Nick's microphone, then tossed them behind him.
"Get out of here now! And I mean NOW!"
Finally taking his warning seriously, Nick and his cameraman ran to their news van, which sped away.
"Wanna go after those Earthlings heading that way?"
"Not unless you want that weakling over there."
The soldier was kicked in the face, slamming into a wall. However, the kick wasn't an instant knockout as he grasped his face.
"Agh, my nose. I think he broke my nose!"
"What is going on over there?!" shouted a Frieza Force commander.
"Commander, that Earthling... he's..."
The commander scanned the Earthling with his scouter, finding his power level tiny.
"With that power level? He's making a mockery of the Frieza Force! That does it, men! Swarm him on the double!"
Hercule hopped high in the air over one before flip-kicking him away, then threw a punch that another soldier, whom successfully blocked it. He then pointed behind him in a "Look, over there" fashion, distracting the soldier just long enough for Hercule to knee him in the groin, then in the face.
"Are you not entertained?! Ha, ha, ha!"
Just then, he saw a massive number of Frieza forces converging all around him, each of them pointing their hands at him, each charging with ki.
He began to kneel on the ground, his hands over the back of his head.
"Oh man..." Hercule mused in his head. "Thank goodness there's no cameras here to see this."
The commander finally landed in front of him, aiming downward directly at him.
"We'll blast you to pieces... in the name of Lord Frieza."
Hercule's eyes shot up.
"L... Lord Frieza?!"
Suddenly, he stood up off the ground, brushing himself off.
"Well why didn't you just say so? I'm a huge fan of his! I've wanted to work for Lord Frieza ever since I was a kid."
The commander was stunned.
"So you mean... you'd willingly join our forces and help in conquering Earth... your home planet?"
"Why of course! Who needs Earth anyways? Tell you what: see those punks over there? I have their trust. I'll go over there and take them out for you."
Despite the decent number of unconscious soldiers lying near Hercule, this commander was still somewhat skeptical.
"Hey, less work for you guys, am I right? Well... time for me to spring into action for Lord Frieza!"
He took a step forward, then paused for a moment.
"Oh, almost forgot..."
He turned backward and took something out of his robe.
"I want you to have this."
The commander took it from his hands and looked over this curious item with Game Poy written on it.
"What is this?"
Some of the soldiers got closer to it.
"I think it's one of those data games!"
"You mean those games you play on those small screens?"
"Yeah, I think so."
As the group of Frieza soldiers clamored around the commander in awe of the "Game Poy", Hercule was already ducking behind a nearby building, a remote in hand. But during this commotion, the commander tried pushing his troops back.
"Get off of me... hey, wait! The scouter says it's a..."
But before he could warn them of its true intentions, Hercule pushed the button.
A sizable explosion that could be heard by the other Z-Fighters went off, taking out all the Frieza soldiers around the Game Poy.
"Heh, heh... I always wanted to use this one."
"Tien! Chiaotzu! Over here!"
Yamcha was floating high off the air and had called out for them as he was creating a Spirit Ball in his hand, which began to slowly increase in size.
"Listen up. I'm gonna throw this thing as hard as I can, but it's not going to be enough. I need you two to hit it as hard as you can the exact moment I throw it."
Chiaotzu knew his telekinesis would prove beneficial here and Tien knew which attack he was talking about as he formed his hands into a diamond shape. From the ground up, Kani could see what Yamcha, Chiaotzu, and her father were doing.
"Kani?" asked Pan, noting she was looking in the distance.
She flew off towards them, leaving Pan and Bulla behind.
"Alright, almost ready..."
The Spirit Ball was becoming more and more massive, almost looking like a Spirit Bomb from the distance.
"Yamcha, that's enough."
But even then, Yamcha continued floating in place, gritting his teeth as he kept holding and growing the Spirit Ball.
"If I underdo it, I'll barely dent it. I'm giving it everything!"
Tien was interrupted when he saw Kani next to her, her hands in the same pose as his.
"It's a few years of my life or the whole planet!"
The two turned towards Yamcha and saw him reaching his limits. He could barely float at this point and the Spirit Ball was as large as it was going to get. But even then, he finally began to lift his hand for the throw.
Just as the Spirit Ball began to leave his hand, Tien and Kani's hands charged with ki.
The two tri-beams struck the Spirit Ball as Chiaotzu pushed it as hard as he could, so hard he practically threw himself backwards doing so. The combination of Yamcha's throw, Chiaotzu's telekinesis, and the two Tri-Beams striking sent it rocketing towards the ship.
"What is...? GET BACK!"
The remainder of Frieza's men on board watched in terror as the massive Spirit Ball flew right at the bottom of the ship.
From outside, the Spirit Ball had managed to pierce through the bottom and the ensuing explosion took place from within it. Within seconds, the ship began falling and crashing into the ground below, crushing a few buildings which, thanks to their efforts before the fight, were empty.
Tien watched as Yamcha began falling down towards the city below and flew after him as quickly as he could. But before he could catch him...
He saw Vegeta catching him, then gently lowering the two towards the ground. Upon landing, Vegeta could see Yamcha was in bad shape: he definitely put his everything into that Spirit Ball, and then some.
"Yajirobe! He needs a senzu bean... now!"
Yajirobe obliged, tossing one to Vegeta, who then fed it to Yamcha.
"Is he going to be okay?" asked Kani.
After hearing a clear gulp from Yamcha, they saw him rolling over, coughing.
"So..." said Yamcha, looking up at them with a grin on his face. "How did we do?"
Tien helped him upward, but could tell that despite the senzu bean, Yamcha was going to need a minute.
"Hey, kid..." Yamcha said, looking over at Kani, who could barely stand. "You don't look so good. Hey, can we get another senzu bean over here?"
As Yajirobe obliged once again, Pan and Bulla were sitting on the ground, short of breath.
"You know, Bulla... even though you don't fight much these days, you've still got it."
"Maybe I should start training again. Then maybe I could even face you in the next tournament."
"Now that will be a match for the ages."
Vegeta knelt in front of Bulla, his hands feeling her face to make sure he didn't suffer any bruises or cuts.
"Are you hurt? Did any of them hit you?"
"I'm okay, Dad... thanks to Pan."
He then turned his gaze to Pan, who struggled to make words.
"Well, I mean... it was a team effort after all. Plus, Bulla held her own for sure."
He pat her on the shoulder.
"Thank you, Pan, for protecting my Bulla."
"Dad... you're embarrassing me."
Pan saw Bulla blushing, trying to cover her face, then saw Goten and Gohan in the distance, the former helping her father along.
"Bulla, I'll be just a minute."
"I'll be here, Pan."
Pan walked over to her father and Goten, whose uniforms clearly showed some wear and tear from the battle. Even Gohan's Saiyaman helmet looked beaten up with cracks in the visor and the antennae bent. She saw Goten was trying to gently lower Gohan onto the ground, which Pan assisted with.
"Uncle Goten... Dad... you okay?"
Gohan took off his helmet, revealing only a light bruise on his cheek.
"What's important is that you're okay, Pan."
Videl and Hercule approached right after as the former ran into Gohan's arms, nearly tackling him in the process, while the latter lifted up Pan.
"Gohan! You're okay! We're all okay!"
"We've done it, Pan! We've saved the world! Everyone did their part! Even yours truly!"
The four of them chuckled, though as much as this seemed like cause for celebration, Goten was sensing the ki of everything inside the ship's remains.
"We've stopped most of their forces and a good chunk inside were taken out with that Spirit Ball... but that high power level's still there."
Pan felt herself being lowered to the ground.
"You mean..." stuttered Hercule.
Just as he had said this, the top of the ship was knocked right off from inside. They saw the remains of Frieza's Force floating out from the opening and immediately got ready to take action.
"I must admit, for such a weak and pathetic race, I expected this invasion to be a cakewalk for my forces..."
Gohan's eyes went wide.
"And yet here we are with you ruining my ship and reducing their numbers by three-fourths."
Krillin could barely compose himself, even in front of his wife.
"I trained 18 years for this day and I've waited long enough. It's time for me to take my revenge with my own two hands."
Piccolo knew that voice all too well.
"...Frieza."The galactic tyrant was alive and well before his very eyes, standing among his soldiers and already in his final form.
Frieza Has Returned! Fate of the Earth!
The Z-Fighters, both those who had seen Frieza and those who grew up hearing about him, stood in complete awe at him standing atop the remains of his ship, the remaining Frieza Forces floating right behind him. All except one, who fell onto his knees.
"I put everything I had into that..." muttered Yamcha. "And it didn't even phase him."
Chi-Chi pulled him back up.
"It's not over yet. We have to be ready."
With her words, Yamcha began to change his attitude.
Pan, Bulla, and Kani had only heard about Frieza in stories, primarily how Goku had gone Super Saiyan for the first time while facing him. How he was thought to be dead after Goku left him to his own devices, only for the tyrant to try blasting him from behind, forcing Goku to fire back on him. And yet here he was, brought to life before them.
None of the three could hide the fear on their faces, especially since none of the grown-ups around them could either. If even Vegeta and Piccolo, both of whom they considered to be absolutely fearless, were struggling not to cower in front of them, then they knew the worst was yet to come.
But even then, Goten approached Vegeta and, while not immune to the shock of seeing one of his father's worst enemies alive and well before them, composed himself just enough to calmly place both hands over Vegeta's shoulders.
"Vegeta... we still have the strongest warrior on the planet, right?"
The former Saiyan prince knew that Goten wasn't trying to appeal to his pride, but rather acknowledging that Vegeta had become far stronger than he was in the past. He turned to Trunks and Gohan.
"You two! On me!"
The four Saiyans met in the middle as Vegeta began laying out a plan.
"Frieza's faced a Super Saiyan before... but he has never faced four at once."
"FOUR Super Saiyans? Not just Uncle Goten and my dad?"
Pan kept it to herself, but she knew her parents would have a lot of explaining to do when this was all over.
The Frieza Forces were growing impatient as they watched the Z-Fighters huddled together.
"Lord Frieza, shouldn't we strike while they're talking among themselves?"
The tyrant simply watched the humans, Saiyans, and the rest without any care or concern on his face.
"Oh, let them talk. Nothing they could plan can stop me now."
From what Pan could see, Vegeta was looking like a leader with his posture and tone.
"Listen well: we need to go all out from the very start. Don't hold back anything and go for the kill! We can't afford to let him power up!"
She could tell from Vegeta's choice of words that he had internalized lessons learned from what had happened in the past: his own advice was a rebuke of his own actions against Cell.
"As for the rest of you..."
He turned to everyone else.
"It will be up to you to stop the remainder of his forces. You can't count on us to help you this time: Frieza will need our full attention. So fight like your lives depend on it."
Pan and Bulla nodded back to him as the other Z-Fighters simply readied themselves.
"Gohan, come up with a plan of attack."
He then turned to Trunks.
"Trunks, you've never faced someone like Frieza before, so pay attention."
His son took in every word his father had said thus far.
"You must not refrain. You cannot underestimate him. And you need to protect yourself at all times. We're counting on you, son."
He nodded back, then got himself ready. Vegeta finally turned his attention to Bulla, walking over to her.
He hugged her.
"You already know the risks. Should anything happen to me..."
Even then, Bulla didn't care for that last choice of words.
"Don't talk like that, Dad."
Vegeta paused for just a moment afterward, realizing he was giving his daughter his last will.
"Just promise me you'll take care of your mother."
Finally, she took in what he had said.
"I will, Dad. I promise."
Pan was silent throughout the whole thing, not wanting to butt in, but then decided to intrude after his last words.
He turned to Pan, who once again struggled to find the right words to say to him.
"I... I just wanted to say..."
Not wanting to keep him from what he had to do, she blurted out the first thing she could think of.
He smirked, then turned in the direction of Frieza's ship. Finally, Gohan approached Vegeta with Goten and Trunks behind him.
"It's time, Vegeta."
"Have you said your good-byes, Gohan?"
He looked over at Pan, who couldn't help but shake the feeling that Bulla's father and her own were acting like this was going to be their last battle.
"It's alright, Pan. Look after your mother and grandmother while we're up there."
She could only nod back to him, still unable to find what to say at this moment. Vegeta, Gohan, Trunks, and Goten all turned to the remaining Z-Fighters.
"All of you... fight for our homes so we can go back to them when this is all over."
The four then charged with ki and shouted as golden auras overtook all of them. Goten went Super Saiyan first, followed by her father. Vegeta transformed third, his mustache also taking on a golden hue, and Trunks shortly afterward, a partial glow across his stubble as well. Pan was in awe.
"All four of them... at once..."
Bulla pat Pan on the back.
"You see, Pan? If all of them can do it... so can you."
Pan was starting to feel some of her Super Saiyan anxiety drop. She then pat Bulla on the back as well.
"You too, you know."
The two looked over at a puddle below them, seeing their reflections, as well as part of the four Super Saiyans' glow.
"I always have wondered how I'd look with blonde hair..."
This comment by Bulla brought out a chuckle by Pan.
Finally, Frieza saw the four Super Saiyans flying in his direction.
"What are our orders, Lord Frieza?"
"Leave those golden-haired monkeys to me."
He then pointed to the rest of the Z-Fighters.
"But do take care of the rest."
"Yes, Lord Frieza!"
The soldiers flew off around the Super Saiyans' direction, whom simply continued their course to the tyrant. He looked closely at all of them as they made their way to him, starting with a familiar face.
"Prince Vegeta is a Super Saiyan? Now that is a surprise."
He looked to the one next to him.
"The brat on Namek. Goku's son, wasn't it?"
Next to Gohan was another familiar face... one that enraged him to no end.
"I know that one. I've memorized that face since my death."
Lastly was a new one... though his hair and face were very reminiscent of someone.
"That one... trying to look like Goku..."
But even then, he took in the calm before the storm even as Goten threw the first punch. He caught it with one hand, then one by Trunks with his other hand.
"Alright, we're running low on senzu beans, so we'd better watch ourselves out there," stated Yajirobe, who placed his sash back over onto his belt.
The Z-Fighters, whom were reaching their limits earlier, were rejuvenated and ready even as the remains of Frieza's soldiers approached them.
Chi-Chi, Videl, Pan, and Bulla all ran into one batch, feet swinging as pieces of helmets, scouters, and armor were sent flying around them.
Tien, Chiaotzu, Kani, and Launch all blasted at their opposition with dodon rays, or a barrage of bullets in Launch's case.
Lapis and Lazuli, Piccolo, and Yajirobe decimated anyone that crossed them, whether with ki, fists, feet, or Yajirobe's blade.
"So your whole deal is beans and a sword?" inquired Lapis as he blasted away one goon.
"Oh I'm sorry," replied Yajirobe, stabbing his sword through another, then pushing forward to also pin another soldier behind that one. "And what exactly have you done since the Cell Games?"
"Focus on the fight, you two!" shouted Piccolo, firing a burst from his hands right into the face of a soldier.
"Thank you," said Lazulu, casually punching a soldier with her back turned.
Master Roshi, Yamcha, Krillin, and Hercule punched their way through the waves before them.
"You know..." Hercule began, putting a Frieza soldier in a choke hold. "I always wondered whatever happened to that Jackie Chun guy."
"Actually, now that I think about it..." Yamcha added, chopping a soldier so hard his helmet and armor were split in two. "Roshi, you almost have the same beard as him."
"I mean, kind of..." went Krillin after kicking one into a group, knocking them away like bowling pins. "But Roshi doesn't have his head of hair."
"The truth is..." started Roshi, throwing his cane in a circle around him, knocking down all the soldiers surrounding him before catching it without looking. "I was Jackie Chun."
Both of Roshi's students' jaws dropped.
"Wait... you mean that... I was right all this time?!"
"You beat me and Yamcha in the 21st tournament... and we didn't even have a clue."
Hercule, however, was satisfied with having his inquiry answered, as well as the fact that he had choked the Frieza soldier in his arms unconscious.
"Huh. Well how about that..."
Meanwhile, all four Super Saiyans were attacking Frieza with their full power, making sure not to allow the tyrant any room to slip through. Sure enough, the tyrant realized he could overpower them individually, but as a unit, they were closely matched.
"Don't think just because you've survived this long that this makes you four equal to me."
Frieza went for a death beam aimed at Gohan, one which Vegeta knocked away with his hand.
"Now, Gohan! Do it!"
With a thunderous shout, an even greater golden aura shined across Gohan's body.
Frieza's shock at another level of Super Saiyan was interrupted by a punch from Gohan, followed by a barrage of strikes.
Pan and everyone else around her looked out for just a moment, seeing her dad glowing with an even more golden hue as he and the others began landing blows on the alien tyrant.
With a colossal two-handed swing, Frieza was knocked down onto the top of his ship, bleeding from his lip as he saw the four Super Saiyans floating at his level, readying their trademark beams.
"Ka...me...ha... me..." went Gohan and Goten.
"Galick Gun..." followed Vegeta and Trunks.
Frieza didn't even look over at the impending attacks and closed his eyes.
The four beams moved rapidly towards Frieza, then collided with each other. Soon afterward, a massive explosion of ki was unleashed, pushing back the four Super Saiyans.
The Frieza Force stopped for just a moment as they heard this behind them, then saw their ship practically scrap metal at this point... and no sign of...
"Lord Frieza!" cried out one of the soldiers.
Just then, Hercule kicked him in the shin, causing that soldier to fall onto the ground, grabbing onto it while writhing in pain.
"Ha, ha! Don't mess with Earth!"
The Four Super Saiyans looked over at the wreckage from their combination attack. The ship was completely destroyed... but did it really vaporize Frieza?
"We did it, Dad! We've...!"
"This isn't over, Trunks." started Vegeta. "Not by a long shot! Don't you dare lower your guard now!"
After Vegeta's warning, they turned their heads quickly, trying to find out where Frieza had gone.
"I can't read him," started Goten. "Is he on top of us or below us?"
"Alright, let's split up and find him. Goten, you and I will..."
But just as Gohan was starting to formulate a plan, he saw something golden floating right behind his younger brother. Before he could even form words of any kind, Goten felt two hands grabbing onto the top of his head and his chin.
Even in his Super Saiyan form, the grip couldn't be broken: like the hands were glued to him... no, piercing into his very skull.
Goten's neck was broken. The life left his eyes and his hair reverted back to its original form. Frieza, his entire body in a golden hue, grinned at the other three Super Saiyans as he held this fallen Saiyan.
Frieza noted that Goten's hairstyle looked like that of Goku's.
"So... he had another son, did he?"
Gohan charged with ki, his teeth grinding.
"You... you killed my brother!"
Trunks too was infuriated.
"He was my best friend... you monster!"
Frieza then looked over at Vegeta.
"Nothing to say, Prince Vegeta?"
Vegeta could see that Gohan and Trunks were losing it and as infuriated as Vegeta was, he knew they had to control their emotions.
"Control yourselves! Now!"
He then fired a barrage of ki blasts at Frieza, whom didn't even move. Instead, Frieza used Goten's body as a shield.
"He's already dead, Trunks! Whatever it takes to stop him!"
Frieza finally threw Goten's body toward Trunks, who couldn't help but try to catch him.
But even as Vegeta cried out for his son not to try it, Trunks felt a massive hole in his chest: Frieza had pierced through him and Gohan's body with a much larger beam.
From below, the Z-Fighters watched as Goten and Trunks fell to the ground below with their hair reverted back to normal. Chi-Chi, Pan, and Bulla ran over to them immediately. When they finally reached them, Chi-Chi shook Goten's body for any signs of life.
"My boy... my baby boy...no..."
Her youngest son was dead in her arms. The boy who lived his life trying to become like his father... like Goku.
Pan was trying to keep it together in the face of everything around her, though tears were still slipping past her face. But then she saw her best friend kneeling over Trunks' body, seeing the gaping hole in him firsthand, yet still trying to bring him back.
"Trunks! No! You can't be gone! Come on! Stay with us, Trunks!"
Pan put her hand over Bulla's shoulder and shook her head, telling Bulla that there was nothing more they could do.
"Vegeta..." Gohan started, seeing Vegeta starting to charge violently with ki. "We have to focus! We'll work together and we'll..."
He couldn't listen to Gohan even if he tried: he had to suffer the fate of watching his son die twice in the same way, and both with him being helpless to do anything to stop it. He screamed in a blind rage, flying right at Frieza, who didn't look the least bit concerned.
"Oh ho... you had a child?"
He effortlessly dodged Vegeta's onslaught while further taunting him.
"And with an Earthling no less?"
Pan and Bulla could hear Frieza's voice even from down there.
"And to think had your succeeded in killing Goku, you would have conquered the Earthlings, if not destroyed the planet."
Pan and Bulla were stunned at the accusations Frieza was making. Kani heard it as well and turned to her father.
"Dad, what is he talking about?"
"Tell me, Prince Vegeta: after all the people you've killed, all the innocents you slaughtered... do you really think starting a family resolves you of your past?"
Bulla was shaken by Frieza's words about her father. While part of her figured Frieza was lying and trying to get to everyone, she also couldn't shake the feeling that she really didn't hear much about her father's past aside from his rivalry with Goku.
Pan as well. All her life, Vegeta was reserved and kept to himself. He had told her that his pride had led him down a destructive path and now Pan had to wonder if that path really led him to do what Frieza was stating he had done.
"Shut up! SHUT UP! SHUT UUUUP!"
Vegeta kept trying to move faster or hit harder to get Frieza, yet nothing had worked.
Gohan flew in from the other side to strike Frieza from behind.
"Oh, one moment..."
Gohan saw his two-handed strike stopped by only Frieza's hand, a finger of which then pointed right at him. Another death beam fired, one Gohan desperately tried to fly over, but which still struck him in the stomach.
With a swing of his tail, Gohan's stomach was struck, sending him rocketing to the ground below and leaving a crater.
"Where were we?"
Pan saw her father crashing to the ground.
"Bulla! Get back to the group! Now!"
She ran to Gohan, then signaled her grandmother to come to her.
He coughed up some blood and a tear in his top revealed that the swing from Frieza left him with severe bruising.
"Can't feel... legs."
Pan turned back to the group from afar, seeing Yajirobe kneeling with his sword flat on the ground from all the fighting.
"Senzu bean, quick!"
He reached into his bag and threw it as hard as he could even as he saw another Frieza soldier coming near him. Chi-Chi caught it, then handed it to Pan, who fed it to Gohan.
After eating it, Gohan got back onto his feet.
"Dad, what do we do now?"
Gohan looked over at Frieza, then at the fighting going on from the ground.
"We have to survive, Pan. That's all we can do right now."
"Maybe it's my golden form and not you, but I am disappointed, Vegeta. You've gotten soft."
Even with his rage, Vegeta was starting to tire.
"You were better off as you were: prideful, merciless, and cruel. What are you now?"
Vegeta got his hands together to fire off something, but Frieza grabbed them and pulled them to the side, dissipating the attack. The Saiyan prince felt helpless in his grip, like he was being held by a god.
"Now then... where is Goku?"
"Kakarot's dead, Frieza."
At first, Frieza looked disappointed.
"I came all this way just so he could see his home and people suffer with his very eyes... and now..."
But then he grinned.
"Oh, of course. He can still see it all in the afterlife, completely powerless to do anything about it."
He released Vegeta's arms, then placed his hand over his chest.
"And you can experience it first-hand."
A purple explosion of ki went off as Vegeta hit the ground, most of his armor destroyed and his chest almost completely bare with bruising.
Bulla ran over to her father.
"Dad... everything he said... is it...?"
He slowly got off his back.
"Everything he said... is true."
Bulla didn't know what to think: she loved her father, but it was still so much to take in.
"But you can be a better person than I was."
Yajirobe walked over to Vegeta, offering him a sensu bean.
"No... save it for someone who desperately needs it."
"But you survived a hit from him."
"Because he WANTED me to! He's toying with me! With us! Which is why I suspect he hasn't attacked you all yet."
Frieza floated off the ground, watching the remaining Earthlings, Saiyans and the rest trying to recuperate from their two losses and from Gohan and Vegeta's injuries.
"It's all so easy... I really overtrained for this."
Just then, he saw someone running on the ground in his direction.
Tien turned and saw Launch running towards Frieza with a rocket launcher in hand, one with a massive payload on the tip of it. She ran so frantically that she tripped on a large piece of debris and fell.
Kani saw this as well.
Launch began getting back to her feet, but she also took in some dust from the nearby debris. She tried to hold it in, but sneezed.
Her hair had turned blue and hey eyes green again as her husband and daughter came to her aid.
"What are you doing? We're outmatched here! We have to come up with a plan!"
Launch lifted the rocket launcher back into her arms.
"This is the only plan we have."
She saw Tien and Kani trying to hold her back, to pull her back to safety.
"Mom, you can't..."
"They need your help. Now go... please."
They loosened their grip just enough that Launch could continue where she left off. The two turned around and saw that, sure enough as Launch had said, the group needed their help.
"If it isn't Prince Vegeta?"
A group of Frieza soldiers pointed their hands at him, as he was still no position to fight right this moment.
"We'll send you to..."
This soldier was struck by Bulla, several of his teeth flying.
"Get away from my father!"
The others aimed at her.
"Power Pole Extend!"
Bulla ducked as a swing from the Power Pole knocked the others onto the ground, where Videl and Chi-Chi could get hits in on them. Pan realized there were more approaching her from behind.
"Pan, look ou...!"
As she saw the men about to fire, Tien and Kani flew into them, knocking them away from her.
Launch was in her more kind-hearted personality and she couldn't count on finding anything she could use to get her to sneeze again. Even then, she didn't want to waste time as Frieza remained still in midair.
"Only have one shot at this..."
In the past, she had been clumsy with a rocket launcher when up against Demon King Piccolo. But now, she had a family at stake. She looked through the scope, ensuring the aim was true: this rocket wasn't heat-seeking like the other.
As she pulled the trigger, the sheer force of it pushed her back, but the rocket headed right for Frieza as she had hoped.
Frieza turned his attention away from the Z-Fighters and saw the rocket heading right for him. It was going at a very high speed...
...for a human. For Frieza, he could gracefully move to the side of it, then grab hold of it in his hands. He held the rocket in his hands, looking over it while it still launched fire from behind it. He chuckled, seeing it as nothing to him.
He looked down at the woman who had fired it at her, who was in shock that he was holding it like a toy.
The other Z-Fighters saw this as well. Tien and Kani both looked over at Launch in utter terror. Frieza had just turned the rocket in the other direction towards her. By the time he'd let it go, they didn't know if they could reach Launch in time at that distance.
Frieza released the rocket, which zoomed towards Launch, who didn't even look at it. Instead, she turned towards her husband and daughter, her hand signaling them not to come closer to her. She said something, but neither could hear it in the moment.
"I love you both."
The blast was huge. Even larger than the one from before. Tien and Kani were both pushed off their feet and even some of the Z-Fighters could feel a harsh wind pushing them back.
When the dust settled... there was nothing left of Launch. Not even anything to bury.
Kani fell to her knees, sobbing at what became of her mother. Tien, however, squeezed his fingers in a fist so tight they were cutting into his palms, which bled.
He zoomed out into the sky on his own over Frieza.
"You killed her!"
Frieza scoffed at this.
"Oh please. She killed herself."
Grinding his teeth, nearly to the point of cracking, he put his hands in a diamond shape.
"Oh, and what is that supposed to be?"
A yellow beam fired from his palms, knocking Frieza downward. Tien flew after him unrelentingly, firing it once more.
This sent Frieza to the ground, where he stood on his feet as Tien flew in for the next one.
Now Frieza had been pushed underground, unable to be seen by the others as Tien's skin showed his veins pulsing.
Kani could see all this happening and tried flying over to her father.
She saw her path blocked by Frieza soldiers.
"KI...KO...HO! KI...KO...HO! KI...KO...HO!"
Countless more times, Tien fired the Tri-Beam, not even caring about his own life energy at this point. He was truly in a rage that could nearly challenge that of a Super Saiyan's.
But his arms finally fell to his sides and he couldn't bring himself to float any further. He fell towards the massive hole he had left in the ground. As his vision began to blur, all he could see was the darkness of that hole... and a golden flash heading right for him.
Kani and the other Z-Fighters could hear a scream of pain coming from Tien, then saw Frieza holding him by the head... with his pinky and thumb. They couldn't even see Frieza's other three fingers, but they could guess what Frieza had plunged them into.
"Well, at least he dug up his own grave first."
He tossed Tien down, his three fingers slick with his blood, as Kani could only see her father's pierced eyes and lifeless face.
Yamcha grabbed onto her, trying to keep her in place.
"Kani, listen, please! We have to regroup! We can't...!"
During this, Kani had created another clone of herself, one of which punched Yamcha in the gut, forcing him to let her go. She then flew after Frieza.
Frieza could see this woman, having split herself into four and each sporting four arms with her lefts and rights preparing the same technique her father had used.
He was definitely pushed forward and backward by this close-range quadruple Tri-Beam, but it still wasn't appearing to damage him.
"Please... try again."
Kani had already transitioned to a sixteen-armed assault, all of the strikes which Frieza blocked with ease. As she continued on, something painful struck her: Frieza had broken one of her clone's arms with a casual chop.
With that clone preoccupied with its injury, he immediately struck the other three to his sides and behind him with his hands and tail. All three were pierced in the chest, left to fall to the ground until they reemerged back into Kani.
Kani still floated, but felt an immense pain in her chest: she wasn't cut like her clones had been, but the pain was still there. In that moment of taking in her injury, Frieza pointed a finger right at her forehead.
Yamcha watched in horror and agony as Kani, the daughter of one of his best friends, who was the closest thing he had to a child of his own, fell lifelessly into the same hole as Tien.
"That is it! I'm...!"
Gohan grabbed him by the hand, his grip clearly stronger than anything Yamcha could muster in his anger.
"No! We're not fighting him one-on-one anymore!"
The other Z-Fighters stood behind them, each terrified at what they had seen and the loss they had experienced thus far, but also hardened from the ongoing battle.
"We fight together! As one!"
Even with five of them having fallen and even with Frieza's new unimaginable power, they wouldn't stop fighting.
"This is our home," said Vegeta.
Yamcha finally gained control over himself, to which Gohan let him go. From there, they flew upward, with Yajirobe hitching a ride with Gohan and Chi-Chi with Videl.
"All you've done is accelerate the inevitable."
Yajirobe lunged at Frieza, his sword drawn, when he saw it clang against Frieza's head, almost like he was made of metal. As his sword left his hands, Frieza grabbed onto him, caught his sword, and then threw him high into the air with the sword in pursuit.
As Yajirobe fell, his sword's handle piercing through his chest, Krillin threw a destructo-disk, which Frieza practically caught in his hand. He tossed it downward at a far higher speed, tearing through Piccolo before he could react.
Krillin could barely move after seeing one of his allies cut in half by his own move.
He did as Lapis and Lazuli flew right at Frieza for a combination attack. As the two went for their blow, Frieza simply pierced through both with his hands, then both could only see a faint glow of ki within their bodies.
Krillin saw both his wife and her twin brother explode before him, then saw himself being lifted up further into the air against his will.
"I don't think I've ever killed someone twice."
Krillin didn't even have to guess what his fate would be, closing his eyes before he was detonated.
Chiaotzu grabbed onto Frieza, charging with a white aura.
"This is for you, Tien..."
Yamcha threw a massive Spirit Ball at Frieza to get his attention, but it was knocked away with one hand as Frieza then stabbed through Chiaotzu with his tail.
Frieza turned his head towards Chiaotzu, who was still intend on self-destructing to bring him down.
"You really shouldn't throw your life away without a friend."
He looked downward at the assembling warriors and saw Pan and Bulla flying in close proximity of each other.
"Or why not two?!"
Chiaotzu was launched at the two, unable to control his self-destruct at this point: he had become a time bomb.
Pan and Bulla were shaken by everything they had seen thus far, and now the deaths were rapidly increasing.
Yamcha saw Chiaotzu flying in their direction and, knowing the risk, flew into them.
He shoved Pan and Bulla far to the side, then was struck by the flying Chiaotzu, the impact of which left a large explosion.
Master Roshi fired off beams of lightning from his hands at Frieza, creating an electrical field. Frieza appeared panicked, as if unable to move.
"Gohan! Vegeta! NOW!"
Both Super Saiyans began charging their trademark beams. Even still, Frieza couldn't do anything about it.
Roshi saw Frieza break through the field with ease and just as a quick Kamehameha left Roshi's hands towards him, Frieza flew through it, then stabbed through his neck.
He tossed the body at Vegeta, whose Galick Gun was interrupted, as Gohan's Kamehameha fired all the same. Frieza only pointed a single hand at him.
A massive purple beam fired from his hands, easily enveloping the Kamehameha as Gohan saw that he was too late to escape. The beam had trapped him as he saw the fabric of his outfit tearing away before his eyes. He then flew backward helplessly, feeling himself being torn apart by the beam.
"Before I kill you, Vegeta, which one down there is your child?"
He pointed at Pan from below.
He then turned to Bulla.
"Or this one?"
Frieza could tell by Vegeta's expression that he had found her.
"Don't you dare... YOU WON'T HURT MY BULLA!"
Frieza saw Vegeta charging with even more ki, something going on behind him.
"Now what could this be?"
He watched in intrigue as Vegeta's hair grew massive, flowing behind his back.
"Ah, another Super Saiyan form, is it?"
Vegeta punched Frieza in the face, which, this time, actually caused him to flinch with some discomfort. By the time Vegeta threw another punch, Frieza caught it while his other hand wiped a drop of blood from his lip.
As he tried to free himself of Frieza's grip, he soon realized Frieza had wrapped his tail around his neck, choking him. He turned Vegeta around, then punched him in the back.
"Don't worry: your Bulla will join you soon."
Just then, Vegeta felt Frieza's fist piercing through his back and into his chest, as if Frieza had his hand on Vegeta's heart.
Then a squeeze.
In the span of just a few moments, Pan and Bulla saw ten of their loved ones, including their own fathers, slain.
Chi-Chi, Videl, and Hercule all ran to the two of them, elated that Pan and Bulla were still with them, but still processing the grief of losing the others. Pan and Bulla couldn't even look at them.
"What can we even do now?"
The three adults didn't know how to answer. They all knew that if the four Super Saiyans, the strongest warriors on the planet, couldn't defeat Frieza, that they didn't have a chance either.
Just then, they heard something.
"Is anyone there?"
Much more coughing now.
The five of them approached a crumbling building, then saw a body sitting up with his back against it in an orange turtle gi.
But as much as they were relieved he was still alive, it was broken by the fact that his orange gi was stained with his blood and drips of blood fell from his mouth.
"You're all... still here. I'm... glad."
From nearby, they saw Yajirobe's body, still impaled by his own sword... and with the bag of sensu beans still attached to it.
"Yamcha, you're going to be okay!"
Pan rushed over and grabbed the bag, then hurried to open it as Yamcha coughed up more blood.
"Just hold on a little longer..."
As Pan finally opened it, about to reach her hand into the bag.
The bag erupted into flames before her very eyes: a blast had struck it. The sensu beans were reduced to little more than ashes, even as Pan desperately tried to pull one out.
She felt herself being lifted off the ground by Frieza's tail.
"PAN!" screamed Bulla.
"Your champions have fallen. This planet belongs to me and your race will serve me now."
He could see Videl and Chi-Chi poised to strike, so he pointed one finger at Pan's head.
"Ah, ah, ah. Try anything and I'll kill this brat. Now get on your knees. All of you."
The four of them did as Frieza asked.
They couldn't believe their eyes: dozens, maybe fifty soldiers remained.
"Round up these humans. Walk them over there and wait for my next set of instructions."
Frieza threw Pan to the ground, gasping for air, as the four tried helping her up.
"What about this one, sir?"
One of the soldiers pointed to Yamcha, who could barely lift up his right arm with his left.
"He's done for. Leave him."
Pan and the other four got onto their feet and walked forward, a row of Frieza soldiers aiming their hands at them the entire time. During this, Frieza walked over to Yamcha.
"I'm rather surprised you are still breathing... but how does it feel to be the last of your friends?"
Yamcha was looking away from him.
"Look at me!"
He then realized Yamcha was looking at the five being escorted by Frieza's men.
Pan fell onto her stomach.
"You! Runt! Get back up!"
Bulla stood in front of Pan.
"Have a heart! She's in bad shape!"
The goons pushed her to the side, then lifted Pan upward.
"I mean just look at her!"
They did, seeing her with her eyes closed. But then she placed her hands to her face and opened her eyes wide open.
The soldiers around them were blinded, allowing Pan to break free from the one holding her.
The five of them ran, even as the soldiers unaffected fired at them.
Frieza then looked back at Yamcha's arms: he grasped his right with his left while pointing his two fingers downward. Frieza realized what technique he was using.
"Y'know... I forgot all about that Spirit Ball."
The Frieza soldiers saw a massive shadow coming their way, then saw the massive Spirit Ball from before rocketing towards them and exploding.
Before Frieza could kill this insufferable human, he saw Yamcha drawing his last breath, his head lying against the crumbling building. He then zoomed past the few of his men that survived.
The five of them hurried on foot, panting heavily and trying to come up with a plan.
"Yamcha... he gave his life for us..." Pan mused.
"There's time to mourn later, young lady", said Chi-Chi. "We have to find Fortuneteller Baba."
Both Pan and Bulla have never heard of this person before.
"Who is Fortuneteller Baba?" asked Bulla.
"She's Roshi's older sister. And she's the only hope we have now."
"What can she do?"
"She can summon someone who can help us..."
Frieza stood in front of them, catching Chi-Chi with his hand, which stabbed into her stomach.
"You Earthlings do know how to toy with my men... but my patience with you has run dry."
Chi-Chi punched at Frieza's face as Hercule grabbed onto Frieza's tail. Videl ran to sweep at his leg.
"Both of you..." shouted Chi-Chi to Pan and Bulla, who were frozen in place. "Get out of here!"
Could Pan do it? Could Pan really abandon the rest of her family here and now?
Frieza swung his tail, throwing Hercule a far distance, then grabbed hold of Videl by her hair. He slammed her and Chi-Chi into each other head-to-head. The two lied on the ground, trails of blood running from their foreheads while barely able to breath.
"Oh please, do run along. I won't even take a minute to catch up with you two."
Pan and Bulla's fists dug into their palms as the two flew at him.
He swerved in midair, slamming both of them into the ground with just his tail.
"You've saved us all time."
As Frieza approached the two, who were slow to get up, he felt something pulling on his leg: Chi-Chi.
"Leave them alone, you... you..."
He looked Chi-Chi in the eyes, then realized something.
"Your eyes... like Goku's child..."
He then turned back to Pan.
"And hers... oh, ho, ho. Goku has a granddaughter."
He then turned his attention to both of them.
"And here I am with both Goku and Vegeta's offspring."
Videl kicked Frieza from behind, then ran in to punch him in the jaw.
He booted Chi-Chi back, then lifted Videl into the air with both arms.
He slammed Videl onto his knee.
Pan couldn't even tell if her mother was barely alive or lifelessly dead.
"I'm sorry... was that your mommy?"
He let her roll onto the ground, then continued walking towards them.
"Oh come now. Don't cry..."
A ki blast struck Bulla's side, then, as Pan turned around, struck her chest. The two lied on the ground, seeing ten Frieza soldiers behind them.
"Made it as soon as we could, Lord Frieza."
"Well done, but lose sight of them again and I'll kill you all myself."
Both Pan and Bulla were lifted up by two soldiers, struggling to escape.
This soldier punched Pan in the stomach, followed by Bulla.
"Any more trouble out of you two and..."
A bullet shot right through the soldier's head. Frieza turned around to see who it was, then felt someone wrapping one wrist around his neck, hanging off of him. Hercule then pointed a handgun right at Frieza's head.
"You killed my friends...!"
He fired a point-blank shot at Frieza.
"And my daughter...!"
"But I won't... let you... hurt my granddaughter!"
He fired it as rapidly as he could
During this confusion, Bulla was summoning all her ki.
"Pan, brace yourself!"
With an explosion of white ki, the Frieza soldiers holding her and Pan were knocked back, though Pan herself was as well.
"Just hold on!"
Bulla then saw two others already aiming their hands at her. At this point, she didn't have much ki left.
Pan tried getting back up, but then three soldiers jumped onto her, pinning her to the ground.
"We've got her!"
Bulla turned for a moment to see, then was blasted several times in the back.
Bulla fell onto the ground, still alive, but severely wounded.
- CLICK, CLICK, CLICK
Hercule's handgun was out of ammo.
"I've humored you long enough..."
He grabbed Hercule by the throat with one hand, then walked over towards Bulla.
"We got them, Lord Frieza! They tried getting away, but we got them!"
"Hmm, and it only cut your forces in half. No matter."
He pointed at Pan.
"Keep that one pinned down."
Hercule was struggling to grasp for air, his hands unable to break Frieza's grip on him.
"As for you, Bulla, daughter of the Saiyan Prince..."
He tipped her onto her back with his foot, looking her in the eyes. Bulla had various spots of blood on her chest as a result of the blasts.
"What say you to joining me?"
More angry than terrified, Bulla spat blood at Frieza's face. He simply wiped it off of him.
"As I expected."
He pointed his finger at Bulla, then fired a death beam right at her heart.
She fell down to the ground flat.
"All you had to do was not resist me. The blood is on your hands as well as mine."
Pan then looked over at Hercule, his face turning a pale pinkish hue.
His arms finally fell to his side, his eyes lifeless and his mouth open from what he was trying to say last. Frieza let Hercule's body fall in front of her, his eyes almost still looking at hers.
"And now there's only you... the granddaughter of Goku."
Pan looked over at Hercule's face, then at Bulla's.
"Serve me now and I shall let you live. As you've seen already, resisting me will gain you nothing."
She kept alternating between the two faces, seeing flashes of their deaths as tears ran down her face.
"Don't weep for them. They're in a better place now. Except for Vegeta, of course. He's in Hell."
Her teeth gritted. Her fists dug into the ground. Small pieces of debris floated above her.
"Uh... Lord Frieza..."
"And now I... what is it?"
From a far distance, a giant golden glow flew across the remains of Satan City followed by a deafening scream of rage.
Pan floated off the ground, knocking the three soldiers holding her down backward.
"Quick, stop her!"
The other two fired blasts at her, only to see her ki was stopping them from even touching her.
"Do something, Lord Frieza!"
"No... I want to see this."
Debris rained down as Pan finally landed to the ground on her feet, her hair now a golden hue and her eyes pure white. She looked over at the soldiers standing before her.
"Okay, fine. You may attack."
The five aimed their hands at her, but as soon as they fired, Pan was out of their sight.
"Where did she...?!"
One soldier saw Pan punching right through his torso.
"No, no, no...!"
Another tried to fire, but his arm was struck by Pan's, tearing it off.
"There's strength in numb...!"
This soldier was struck by a swinging kick of such force that the soldier's upper body was torn from his lower.
"Lord Frieza, help us! Please!"
The tyrant instead chuckled, loving the rampage he was seeing before him.
"Fire, fire, fire!"
Two stood close by firing blasts at Pan, who moved side-by-side to avoid them with little effort until she grabbed both by their armor. She then flew up into the air, then back to the ground, crashing both into it head-first. As one managed to try crawling away, she punched it in the back of the head repeatedly, her hand slick with that alien's blood.
After seeing their battered remains, she saw one Frieza soldier, who was missing an arm, trying to back away from her.
"No... no, no, please... have mercy... I was only following..."
She grabbed him by the throat, then squeezed so hard his neck was practically jelly.
She then turned to Frieza, who gave off a single clap for her. Pan, however, was too enraged to even speak.
"As a reward..."
He put both his hands behind his back.
"I'll let you attempt to have your revenge. Go on. Give it a try."
She flew right at him for a punch, but he side-stepped it.
She turned around with a flurry of punches. When that failed, a ki projectile launched at Frieza, who hopped over it as it went on to hit and collapse a building. Afterward, he floated in midair, waiting for her.
"Oh, don't give up now."
She zoomed to him, but her punch missed once more. He kept moving and Pan always punched where Frieza had been.
"All you have to do is hit me."
A rapid flurry of ki projectiles, all of which Frieza weaved through.
"Are you even trying?"
Finally, he stopped moving.
"How about this: I won't even move from this spot or try to avoid you."
He pointed his finger to her, then toward himself.
Pan struck him in the face head-on, but to no effect on him.
"Oh no, please. Keep going."
She struck his face again, then his chest, his stomach.
"I almost felt it."
She struck at the three spots rapidly and in spite of all the power she had unleashed on the soldiers earlier, they could hardly even affect Frieza at all. He knew at this point that a Super Saiyan wasn't a match for him anymore.
"Alright, I've had my fun."
He fired a death beam at her elbows, then her shoulders, then her knees, then her stomach. Pan could only cry out as she crashed to the ground. By that point, she was just an immobile Super Saiyan.
"After all this time... I don't think I want this planet anymore. If it was this easy for me to take, then there'd frankly be no value to selling it."
He walked over to Pan, who lied on her side.
"Oh, but don't worry."
He began forming a ball with his finger.
"I'll let you see the fireworks."
He floated upward into the air, the ball growing more massive in size in little time.
Even in her rage, Pan knew she was in grave danger and that the death ball could only mean her demise. She couldn't move...
...but she could still use her ki. She formed a field of ki around her body, almost like a second skin covering her. But as a Super Saiyan, the field was larger and with far more ki around her.
"I hope you're watching this, Goku. You've just lost your entire family... and your planet."
He tossed the death ball towards the ground, tearing through like a hot orb through butter.
Bulma could see the Capsule Corp headquarters coming up right in front of them.
"Don't worry, everyone. We're almost there."
Just then, she saw massive cracks in the ground... and fire. They began to spread and grow larger. So large a hole swallowed up the whole building.
Puar and Oolong were at the Kame House, watching television for the latest on the battle in Satan City.
"I hope Yamcha's okay."
"This just in: forming right as well speak, rivers of lava are spreading all across the globe."
Oolong looked out the window, seeing the ocean overcome by it.
"Hold your families close, everyone! Mr. Satan, WHERE ARE YOU?!"
Pan's ki was working. Nothing was getting through. She saw Satan City, where she had grown up, tearing itself apart and melting away.
Chi-Chi, high enough that the lava couldn't reach her, was still conscious, seeing everything around her. She had no idea if Pan was even alive. But she knew that her time was short.
"Goku... I'm sorry..."
As she closed her eyes...
Earth was being consumed by orange, as well as cracking at the seems. And finally...
It was no more. All that remained were small specks. Frieza reveled in his victory, laughing maniacally as he flew through the cosmos. His revenge was complete.
Pan opened her eyes after the large flash and saw... space.
She realized she wasn't a Super Saiyan anymore, and that her ki was completely drained. She had no means with which to defend herself from the coldness and vacuum of space.
She would've tried to warm herself with her arms, but she still couldn't move.
"Can't... move... cold... so cold..."
Pan wasn't long for this world now: be it from suffocation or freezing to death, she knew she'd be with her loved ones soon. She couldn't bring herself to close her eyes and instead watched as her vision became more and more blurry.
"I'll... see you... everyone..."
Her vision became pure white. What she saw was indescribable. Like she was traveling to another dimension. And a voice...
"Someone... from... far away... Warrior! Now...!"
Was this what happens when one dies?
But as she kept watching, her vision began to return to her. She could see that she was floating downward, but the area around her was pitch-black... all except for walls and grass. Was this... Otherworld?
"You're surprised, I'm..."
Pan felt the ground beneath her and fell to her knees and nearly on her stomach. But something caught her.
"Quick, someone get help! Now!"
She saw someone looking right at her.
"Just hang in there, okay?"
Pan could finally make out his face: a familiar face with purple hair.
After this, she lost consciousness. Trunks kept holding onto her, knowing she was freezing.
"Trunks, what is going on?!"
"Supreme Kai of Time, I... I..."
He couldn't shake something about her.
"What is it? Why are you looking at her like that?""She knew... she knew my name."