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  1. #4486
    Lin Kuei Grandmaster Sub-Zero MKA's Avatar
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    Default Those Trampled Underfoot III, Part 1

    Sellerie and her brother, Okcho, were taking part in an archaeological dig on an unnamed planet, where Jagam allegedly slaughtered an entire Saiyan colony five years ago. Thus far, they had found the wreckage of dozens upon dozens of individual pods, each with decomposed remains inside. There were also remains scattered across the ground. It seemed that they were headed toward the evacuation pods, certainly to escape Jagam. "Once we get back home, we can start DNA analysis to put names and faces to these remains," Okcho said.

    It wasn't just about giving closure to families, but finding out just how notorious this Jagam was. According to Queen Sarada, he was vastly overrated and went down without any effort whatsoever. The young queen was prone to exaggerating, so surely there wasn't much truth to that. If they could determine the battle powers of his victims, that would confirm that they had every right to be fearful of space travel in those days.

    Sellerie was floating above the evacuation center, carefully taking pictures of what was left of the smoldered pods when her communicator started ringing. "This is Sellerie speaking."

    "Sellerie, this is Pois. I need you to meet Her Highness on Earth ASAP. Tundra's made his move. He's attacked Ruco, destroyed Vocado, and is heading to the homeworld as I speak." Pois spoke quickly, barely giving Sellerie any time to even comprehend what she was saying, much less respond.

    It was too much to comprehend all at once. The spectre of the Arcosian despot had been hanging over their entire race ever since Queen Sarada was attacked and nearly killed by the robotic assassin three years ago. Ever since then, Sellerie had been silently terrified that he would launch his offensive. It had been a little poke here, a little prod there. He had been taunting them from a distance while make small moves that evolved on a grand scale. The Tuffles, the assassin that nearly killed Her Highness, the two Frost Demons that brought any army to Vocado's doorstep - all of it was leading up to this. That day had finally come.

    "I...I see," she said in response after several seconds of empty silence. "I will rendezvous with her as soon as I can." She hung up and let out a shuddering sigh. Her knees felt like they had been replaced with globs of jelly. Had she been standing, she surely would have collapsed. "This can't be happening."

    "What's wrong?" her brother inquired as he floated up to her.

    "They...it's that Tundra. He attacked Ruco and destroyed Vocado."

    His eyes widened. "What?!"

    "And now he's on his way to the homeworld to I guess kill them off, too." She sighed again and roughly raked her fingers through her hair. "Why is this happening now?"

    "Did," Okcho started before stopping short. The other ten researchers with them stopped what they were doing. They were talking loudly enough for everyone in the area to hear them. "How did the Queen make it away from Vocado in time? How many were still there?"

    "I didn't think to ask." She had been looking at him, but had to avert her gaze to the ground. "I don't want to know."

    He sighed and started to descend. "You should go. We can finish up here."

    "Okay." She slowly descended until her feet touched the ground. As she suspected, her knees were too weak and wobbly to support her weight right away. Fortunately, an arm wrapped around hers before she suffered an embarrassing face-plant. "Oh, Corra," she said when she glanced over to see who her dignity's savior was. "Thanks."

    "You're welcome." Her usually playful smile was much more subdued than normal. "We're two days away from home. I'll have to give you a ride."

    "Wait, how?"

    She tapped her wrist. A yellow circle appeared under them as a low hum emanated around the air. "Good luck, guys. We'll see you soon." No sooner than the words came out, they were gone, vanished in a bright flash of yellow light.

    An instant later, they were standing in the middle of a street on Langal, right next to where the Grand Townhall used to be. The two Saiyanesses gasped and gawped silently as they took in the unmitigated destruction. They were facing the Townhall; when they turned around to take in more, the realized just how much damage had been done, and understood a little better how dire the situation was.

    "What happened?" Corra whispered. Her arm was still wrapped around Sellerie's, so she could feel the tremble shaking through the woman's body.

    "Tundra's men," came Pinach's voice from a short distance away. "One of them fired a blast through my portal just as I got the last person through. I think they all made it, but the people already in the building weren't so lucky." He frowned and took a step toward them. "Are you guys here to help my sister?"

    His yellow hair and, more poignantly, his power impressed upon them exactly what Pois realized some time earlier. He's a Super Saiyan, Sellerie realized a moment later. A moment filled with awkward silence and even more awkward staring. Oh, I'm staring. "Okay. We, um, we...yes. We're here to pick up our stuff...and then head to this planet Earth we've heard so much about."

    He nodded. "Okay. I'll be staying here just in case. Good luck."

    He headed off, prompting them both to release a hefty sigh. "That's the closest I've ever been to a Super Saiyan," Sellerie said, her calm voice belying her frazzled mental state at that moment.

    "Yeah. It's pretty hot."

    "...what?"

    "Hm?"

    They lifted off and headed to their respective occupations to gather their equipment. Corra, being a doctor, stopped by the hospital to gather three first aid kits and a batch of experimental healing tablets. They recently discovered - completely by accident - that the gel inside their patented healing tanks could be ingested. After some testing, they learned that ingestion didn't degrade the gel's healing capabilities and opted to create the pills for use on the battle field. The pills hadn't been tested in a combat sense, but she didn't see that they had much of a choice.

    Sellerie stopped by her research lab and gathered the same things she had the last time she was there, as well as a new drone equipped with a program she and Corra developed that could translate the native Saiyans' ancient language into their modern language. I might as well get a head start on the translations. I might not get another chance. It was a sad, utterly depressing thought for so many reasons.

    As exciting as it was to return to that mystery world and begin her work on unlocking the history of the Saiyan race, she was nervous and anxious. Her stomach was churning and fluttering. She groaned and leaned her head against a wall. She remembered the mockery those native Saiyans laid on her, Corra, and Okcho. Avoca was at least respected because she carried herself like a warrior. Sellerie, she detested combat.

    Why fight when talking was good enough? Conflict was a integral part of life, but seeking it out was what tyrants did. Those that trampled the weak under their boot heels and took what they wanted without fear of reprisal or consequence. She thought the Saiyan race had started to move past that and would evolve to be more intellectual. They had, for the most part, on Langal, and had completely on Turrip. Still, the vast majority of the race lived for violence and fighting and looked down on intelligence and the finer arts of life.

    On the other hand, focusing on her intellect as much as she had eroded her natural Saiyan tendencies. Those primitives didn't think I was even a Saiyan... Even if she had rejected the most famous traits of her race, to be rejected as a Saiyan stung far more than she thought it would. There was an urge to prove herself to them, to show them that even though she didn't fight and didn't have an insatiable love for it, she was still just as much as a Saiyan as Queen Sarada or Avoca.

    "Hey, what are you waiting on?"

    Corra's voice pulled Sellerie's thoughts from her own insecurities. "Sorry. I'm just...I'm coming."

    Corra raised an eyebrow. "Is everything okay?"

    She wanted to say that everything was. She wanted to forget about her insecurity and put on a strong face. She didn't want to admit she was afraid of a people who were only a step or two above animals. She wanted to do a lot of things, but what she did was say, "No. I'm the only person in the Empire who can understand what those people can say, yet they look at me like I'm a disgrace."

    Corra frowned and walked toward her. She placed her hands firmly on her shoulders. "You're not a disgrace. You're literally one of the smartest people I know."

    "I know that! They don't care about brains, only strength. Just like every other Saiyan."

  2. #4487
    Lin Kuei Grandmaster Sub-Zero MKA's Avatar
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    Default Those Trampled Underfoot III, Part 2

    "Who cares what they think?" she said bluntly. "All that matters is what you think of yourself. You know what you can do and what you've done for the Empire. You have nothing to prove to anyone else."

    It was a sentiment that a lot of Saiyans shared, regardless of their ideals. Not being concerned with the opinions of others was a philosophy that had been in existence for hundreds of years, but wasn't formally enunciated until Mato was quoted as saying, "Why should a lion be concerned with what a sheep thinks?" It was more derogatory than she thought the more open-minded monarch was capable of, but his intent was something she agreed with.

    "You're right," she said, releasing a heavy sigh. She gave a lopsided smile and picked up her bags. "Forget what I said. Let's get going."

    Corra smiled and patted her on the shoulder. "We'll be fine. Let's stick together and let the Queen do her thing."

    Staying out of the way was understood, even if it wasn't said. They stood no chance against Tundra, and probably against his goons. Playing a support role was going to not only keep them out of danger, but also make sure Queen Sarada survived. If they could manage the latter, then Sellerie would be satisfied with her role in things.

    She wasn't a fighter, but she didn't need to be. Support and medics were just as important in a battle as the warriors, if not more so.

  3. #4488
    Astonishing Member KingofPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleric of Hell’s Brigade View Post
    Balon smiles and bows back. He tells you it’s only been a few days since the main group departed for Reshlan. As to you and Ochazuke, about a year since you left with Held.

    “As to the temple, we’ll....it was to be a surprise to you all. Maron and I have been working with Capsule Corp to secure this land to rebuild the Dragon Temple.”
    "Oh hey, that's cool," Sasheem chimed in, throwing out a rare compliment with no insult in sight. "Sasheem's been rebuilding the Snake School, so he'll be sure to come back here one day and show you up, old man." Ah, there it was.

    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    "...a...an entire year..." He'd known it in his gut, but just saying it out loud hit him differently and carried with it a reminder what had happened on Reshlan.

    And on Darkle. Everything that dwarf fellow threw at him.

    "...wait, Capsule Corp? So does that mean Jinzi Pantaloon's back in town?!"

    Panic began to fill in Zaofan's mind. The reason why he'd stayed away for so long was because the President of the World had him tied down. But if they'd managed to pull this move after all this time, something must have gone down. Even if they were some distance from Capital City, there's no way they could have pulled a move like this before.

    Ochazuke, sitting quietly in seiza nearby, observed the grounds. In the distant ancestral lands of the dragons where the deserts met the sheer peaks, their treasures had been despoiled by Simon Batterea. He'd seen a vision, guided by the beacons the Old Turtle Hermit had left him, marking the hallowed grounds of the Great Ancestral Masters of the Five Schools. Their path had interesected in the path that formed the fingers of Zxu'ro's Hidden Hand.

    Leylines, the lingering memories contained in the spiritual essence of a world. He knew it when he'd gathered the genki across the world to open the Yin and Yang gates the Master had left behind. Upon his return now, he felt it more pronounced than ever.

    Slowly he stood to his feet, the Forger's hammer at his side. These training grounds are unused. Perhaps it's finally time...

    But though its foundations were strong, and their master more than capable, there was much that remained to be done, and far more he'd left untended.

    With Auroc gone, and the Dragon departed...perhaps now I can finally return home to settle things.



    "...baby!" Zaofan said, suddenly snapping from his conversation with Balon, "I mean...mistress, a-heh..."

    The smile swiftly drained rom his face as another sombre reminder of the day's events hit him. "I'm with Ochazuke...and Sasheem. Whatever happened brought us back home, for better or for worse. Just, hang on a bit, we'll be there soon and-"

    "We'll make for the Lookout, then," Ochazuke said. "We'll see to those who we lost...find what we can salvage. And then..."

    And then what? All he knew was that something was coming. How much time would they have to prepare?
    "So you're heading back to that shithole?" the Majin asked. "Didn't those stuck up Poo-thans reduce it to rubble or somethin'?" the Majin sneered. "If anything important's goin' down, come back and crawl to Sasheem for help like usual. If not, he's got better shit to do than hang around with you jabronis!" the Majin declared, before preparing to take off.

  4. #4489

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sub-Zero MKA View Post
    Avoca wasn't one to ever turn down free food. "Hell yeah, I'm in!"

    "Excellent! I'll have what chefs that are still here get started right away. It won't be a five star buffet like you lot deserve, but it's still something." She gestured for everyone to follow her further in town, where she led them to one of the many dining halls on Ruco.

    A slight, calming breeze rolled through. Avoca let out a content sigh and clasped her hands behind her head as she walked. So, this is what it feels like to be a savior. Good shit. She understood right then why Sarada and Parsley went out of their way to help people. It felt good. The soldiers stuck on Ruco were helpless against Letchee and Daroga; they would have been killed, no doubt. Avoca and Tasure saved them, and Ruco as a whole.

    It was the right thing to do, but that wasn't going to stop her from basking in this one for a good long while. If it was the last thing she ever did, it was a good way to go out.

    "Tch. Comms are still down," she barely heard Senerg say as she and a government official conversed quietly. "I don't indulge in rumors. Keep that to yourself until it gets verified, got it?"

    "...yes ma'am."

    Whatever that was, it wasn't important. Probably. She hoped not. Training with urgency then jumping right into a fight for the ages on such short notice took a lot out of her mentally. The last thing she wanted to do was fight.

    The dining hall they arrived at was a sprawling outdoor patio with hundreds of chairs situated around dozens of tables. A team of ten chefs immediately got to work in the kitchen gathering what rations remained and turning it all into something worth eating. Luckily, Saiyans would eat mostly anything, as long as it was edible and they were hungry enough. Tray after tray of piping hot food was rolled out of the kitchen. Tasure and Avoca, the heroes of the day, were served the choice cuts first, with everyone else taking what was left. Along with ice cold alcohol and joyous laughter, the celebration lasted well into the night, as was often the case every time a feast of any kind was underway.

    Avoca didn't know about Tasure, but she was enjoying being the center of attention. She had fallen to the wayside ever since Sarada and Parsley jumped out so far ahead of literally everyone else. She was stronger than them at the moment, and she was going to enjoy that fact for however long it was going to last. Which probably was going to be until the next day when they emerged from that realm they were in. Ah well; as long as she was still comparable, she was glad. If she kept pushing herself to get stronger, then she could keep up with them more easily. She would probably never surpass them, but who gave a shit? There was something special about those two.

    "Hey, are you headed back home?" she asked Tasure when the feast was finally winding down. It was getting dark. The sun was only just barely peeking over the horizon by that point. "I was hoping to bum a ride to Langal. I think my kids are there."

    ------------------------

    Harambe awoke several hours later in a daze. He rose to his feet and dusted himelf off. What happened? Oh, right, those Saiyans! Hm, I can't sense Letchee or Daroga anywhere... And the Saiyans are still here! That only meant one thing... they had lost.

    "I see. I now know what I must do." His face set into a resolute grimace. "I must reject modernity... and return to Monke." With that, he faded from existence.
    Nothing like a good feast after a hard-fought victory. Yeah, it wasn't anything compared to what Bekon or that Zaofan could whip up, but saiyan cooks weren't bad, usually. Saiyans weren't picky eaters, by any means, but even before they'd started on the path to reform, every single saiyan she knew of could appreciate a well-prepared meal.

    She and Avoca, of course, got first pick of all the choice meats and drinks... and fruits & vegetables, for those so inclined. Long into the night they feasted, occasionally showing off their power or techniques when asked and more-than-occasionally exchanging stories with the gathered soldiers.

    ...it evoked a sense of camaraderie in her that she'd never really felt with other Saiyans, besides Maiz and Mato. Things really were changing for the better, weren't they?

    At the end of the feast, Avoca asked whether she was going home. She could, since Tundra's lieutenants had been taken care of, but Avoca wanted to see her kids, and as a mother twice-over, herself, she couldn't damn well say 'no', now could she? Of course, she'd never admit such a thing...

    Beyond that, it was unlikely that the Tundra Force would just ignore the other planets, at least for long, so... it was best to stay within the Empire until the Queen completed her training and put this matter to rest once and for all. Plus, more chances for feasting.

    Always a plus.

    "Not yet," she answered. "I figure the other planets will be attacked soon, and I've never been one to sit back and relax when I know there's a battle going on. Unfortunately, Instant Transmission requires that I lock onto a ki signature--the stronger and more familiar the better--and there might not be anyone I can get a bead on on Langal."

    She paused for a beat.

    "Doesn't mean I won't try, though." She placed one hand on Avoca's shoulder, and the other on her forehead, then closed her eyes. She had crossed distances greater than the distance between Ruco and Langal before, but that had generally been because she could sense her family from pretty much anywhere, thanks to Kizuna.

    ...however, as her ki senses reached Langal, she encountered something quite surprising--a ki that was easily on the level of a Super Saiyan. In fact, judging from how it felt, it was a Super Saiyan... and it felt vaguely familiar? She couldn't quite place it, but she'd encountered it before...

    "Huh, there... appears to be a Super Saiyan there, as far as I can tell. Seems we lucked out," she said. Focusing, her form and Avoca's blurred, both reappearing on Langal... right next to Pinach. It took her a moment to realize who she was looking at... but it soon clicked that was this her son's, well... fanboy, for lack of a better term.

    Seems he'd taken a turn in the time chamber and made excellent progress. Not bad, not bad at all.
    The poster formerly known as Daiyoukai Ramza.

  5. #4490
    Lin Kuei Grandmaster Sub-Zero MKA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monstrous Bird of Qin, Ou Ki View Post
    "Not yet," she answered. "I figure the other planets will be attacked soon, and I've never been one to sit back and relax when I know there's a battle going on. Unfortunately, Instant Transmission requires that I lock onto a ki signature--the stronger and more familiar the better--and there might not be anyone I can get a bead on on Langal."

    She paused for a beat.

    "Doesn't mean I won't try, though." She placed one hand on Avoca's shoulder, and the other on her forehead, then closed her eyes. She had crossed distances greater than the distance between Ruco and Langal before, but that had generally been because she could sense her family from pretty much anywhere, thanks to Kizuna.

    ...however, as her ki senses reached Langal, she encountered something quite surprising--a ki that was easily on the level of a Super Saiyan. In fact, judging from how it felt, it was a Super Saiyan... and it felt vaguely familiar? She couldn't quite place it, but she'd encountered it before...

    "Huh, there... appears to be a Super Saiyan there, as far as I can tell. Seems we lucked out," she said. Focusing, her form and Avoca's blurred, both reappearing on Langal... right next to Pinach. It took her a moment to realize who she was looking at... but it soon clicked that was this her son's, well... fanboy, for lack of a better term.

    Seems he'd taken a turn in the time chamber and made excellent progress. Not bad, not bad at all.
    Avoca just caught Senerg's gracious nod and returned it before Tasure whisked them both away. Millions of miles were crossed in the blink of an eye. She was in no way used to that sensation, and probably never would be. One instant, they were on Ruco; the next, they were on Langal, standing right next to her brother in law. He was on the ground being dogpiled by Garnish and Mais.

    He noticed the two Saiyannesses standing there suddenly and looked up. "Oh, hey! You guys won?"

    Before Avoca could answer, she was dogpiled herself.

    "Mama!"

    "You came back!"

    She couldn't help herself. Even if it had technically only been a few days since she last saw them, it was actually six months and some days thanks to her training in that spirit room. Even though she would never admit it out loud, she missed them. And was worried sick. Even though she didn't carry them, she still had something resembling maternal instincts that were telling her some shit was happening in their general vicinity. She would have to have a look around later, but they were okay.

    She kneeled down and hugged them both tightly. "Yeah, I came back." She glanced up at Pinach and smirked. "Lookin' good, kid."

    "Thanks! Great job clearing out Ruco. The mess was still pretty bad when I left. Did you have any trouble?"

    "Nah. Nothing we couldn't handle." That freaky energy that one guy was emitting still gave her some confused chills. She supposed she'd have to talk to Parsley or Inanna about it. They would probably know about it once she described it. "So, everything kosher over here?" Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a baby laying in a crib. She raised an eyebrow and walked over to see what that was all about.

    "No, things are really hectic." He frowned and sat down across the room. "Pois has been all over the place since I got here. We're afraid the other colonies are going to be attacked, which is why I'm still here."

    "Looks like we showed up just in time, then." This must be Sarada's baby, she realized. If that elf realm she and Parsley were in had the same time shit deal that the spirit room did, she would had to have the baby there. She was sleeping, so she didn't try to bother her. She even looks like that wife of hers. Two women have a baby... how fucking bizarre.

    "Yep. It's only a matter of time, so I'm preparing myself."

    She nodded. "I'm guessing Sarada and Parsley are done training?"

    "Yeah. Parsley left with her friends to find Maiz. Sarada's waiting on Earth for a ride to the homeworld with, erm, Just Saiyan." He subtly glanced at Tasure, then remembered that she was there when E Bekon was revealed. "Ah, I mean Emperor Bekon. Just Saiyan's still resting on Earth last I checked, Mrs. Tasure."

  6. #4491
    Lin Kuei Grandmaster Sub-Zero MKA's Avatar
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    Default Those Trampled Underfoot IV

    Sellerie and Corra arrived on Earth about an hour or so after gathering their things on Langal and squaring a few other odds and ends away. Pois had sent Sellerie the coordinates Queen Sarada wanted her to meet her at after speaking with her, so they expected to find her waiting for them. What they instead found was a floating platform; or rather, half of one. The remaining half was badly damaged in its own right.

    “My word,” Sellerie gasped quietly. “What happened here?”

    “No idea,” Corra responded. “Maybe it was attacked? ...I don’t sense Her Highness anywhere.”

    It was a harrowing thought, but maybe Tundra sent a small battalion to finish what he started. It was unlikely, since he was apparently heading to the homeworld, but... She couldn’t think of what else it could have been. Earth was such an out of the way world, so it couldn’t have had any enemies. She doubted Her Highness would want to stay on a world with any kind of internal strife, especially of that was the result.

    “Look!” Corra, who had wondered off to explore the rubble, stood and held up what was very obviously a broken piece of Queen Sarada’s pauldron. “She was caught up in whatever wrecked this place.”

    “No... This isn’t good. What if she...?” She didn’t dare finish that thought. The very idea that Queen Sarada had been killed in a completely unrelated incident on a world that had nothing to do with their Empire outside of a contractual alliance was devastating enough. The reality would have been too much for her to bear.

    “No,” she replied firmly. “She’s... she’s probably somewhere else. We should just wait for her.” She let the broken piece of armor slip from her grip and fall to the floor. “We should call Pois and let her know.”

    “Let’s search around here first,” she responded. “Maybe she’s still here.” That wouldn’t preclude them from being able to sense her energy, even if she was unconscious or in a coma or something. Still, it was good to confirm that she was missing before reporting her as such. That would only lead to panic from at least Pois and mass panic from everyone else who may have overheard.

    The two Saiyanesses carefully stepped around the broken tiles and piles of rubble left on the platform and headed inside. It wasn’t as damaged, but it was still in bad shape. It was eerily quiet, outside of their footsteps echoing off the walls. They huddled close together, just in case there was something lurking in the shadows. They had never been to Earth, so they had no idea what kind of creatures inhabited that world. Queen Sarada claimed the natives were friendly, but that didn’t mean all of them were.

    Sellerie’s nose picked up the scent of decay first. “Do you smell that?” she whispered.

    “Yeah,” Corra confirmed. “There’s someone dead here.”

    A tense silence washed over them. If it was Sarada, they were done for. She, outside of Princess Parsley, was the only person who could defeat Tundra. Maybe her consort, but no one could sense how strong he was. And it wasn’t like strength was the only thing that drew the Queen’s eye; her wife had three big reasons why she was consort material.

    Even if she was strong enough, they couldn’t depend on an outsider to fight their battles for them. It had to be a Saiyan. Sellerie wasn’t so evolved that she couldn’t see the logic in that.

    The smell was coming from a small bedroom. A pale woman was laying in the only bed. It wasn’t Queen Sarada, thankfully; sadly, whoever it was had died in a painful manner. A large hole had been punched through her chest. She likely died immediately, so there was that, at least.

    “Her Highness’ fingerprints are on the sheet,” Corra said as she took off a pair of special glasses that were emitting a small ray of black light. “She must have brought her here after this place was attacked. But why leave right after?”

    To that, Sellerie could only shrug.

    They did a search of the rest of the interior and didn’t find anyone else. Sellerie was glad, even if the lack of answers was frustrating. “Now what?” An idea, an obvious one at that, suddenly dawned on her. “Let’s try calling her.”
    Corra nodded and dialed her number. It had been an hour since they arrived, so it was a wonder how neither of them thought of it sooner.

    It rang, but there was no answer. “She’s not answering...” She took a few moments to look up her location, then triangulate it on a star-map. It showed that she was on a planet several light years away. “What? Look how far away she is.”

    Sellerie frowned thoughtfully. “Something really did happen that attracted her attention. This platform thing must have been attacked while she was here, and she obviously got caught up in it. The woman in the bedroom must have been a friend of hers. Her death would have upset her enough that she would abandon everything else and seek revenge on this out of the way world.” She sighed heavily. Of all the times for something else to happen, it had to be right then. They still had a few days left before Tundra reached the homeworld, but those days needed to be spent evacuating or at least securing the populace, preparing for the battle, and coming up with some kind of plan for reinforcements.

    She dialed Pois and filled her in.

    “Why now?” She let out a frustrated groan and rubbed her forehead. “Okay. I’m going to transfer you to Botarega. He’ll give you two further instruction.” Without another world, she put them on hold.

    A few moments later, Botarega appeared on the screen. He was a gruff-looking man with a steely gaze that sent chills up even the most hardened soldier. “Where are you two now?”

    “Earth,” she replied meekly.

    He sighed tersely. “Every time she goes to that damn world, something goes wrong.” He sighed again and rubbed his forehead. “Head to the homeworld and go ahead and start preparing. Evacuate the natives to one of the barren worlds if you can, but if they start getting unruly, don’t worry about it. If you can’t, make sure they understand what’s coming and to stay out of the way. I’ll work on getting in touch with Her Highness in a few hours.” He hung up abruptly.

    Sellerie was hoping he would recall them and they could forget the entire thing. But no, not only were the going forward with the plan, they would have to do it alone. Without someone vastly stronger than anyone else backing them up, their chances of getting even a child to listen to them evaporated into nothing. “Okay.” She let out a long sigh. “Damn it.”

    They headed back outside. “It’s okay. We still have a few days.”

    “The last time we were there, they tried to take us a breeding stock! The only reason they didn’t was because Avoca managed to get us out in time!” She let out a ragged breath. Her insecurities and anxiety returned full force. Her hands balled into badly shaking fists. Hot tears streamed down her face. “Damn it! She called us over here, then left us with,” she gestured wildly at the destruction around them, “this!”

    Her heart was thrumming in her chest. It was beating so hard, she could feel it in her ears. Her knees felt weak, weaker than they did before she left Langal. She just wanted to go home and curl up in her bed.

    “It’s okay.” Corra’s voice was calm and soothing. “We don’t have to leave right now. We still have a few days. Let’s take today and get a plan together. If we go in haphazard, we’ll fail for sure.”

    A plan. That was good. That was what they needed. Planning was the foundation of success, after all. “Okay,” she said as her head bobbed up and down. “Over lunch.”

    “Yeah, over lunch.”

    Food helped stimulate the thinking process by calming the nerves and easing anxieties. It also gave the brain fuel to think... and all that. ...She may have been making things up to have an excuse to eat something. The brain was completely outside her expertise. Regardless, anything to delay the inevitable was okay with her.

  7. #4492

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofPie View Post
    "Oh hey, that's cool," Sasheem chimed in, throwing out a rare compliment with no insult in sight. "Sasheem's been rebuilding the Snake School, so he'll be sure to come back here one day and show you up, old man." Ah, there it was.
    Zaofan let his hand drop from his communicator. Slowly he swivelled his head around, his eyes blazing red.

    Ochazuke rest a hand on his martial brother's shoulder. It stilled him, but the irritation was still quite visible on the surface.

    "It's been five years, Majin. Three since you've presumed to enter Balon's tutelage," the Crane Apostate said. "Perhaps it's true that a good student should strive to surpass his master."

    Tilting his head foward, he continued.

    "But you don't know how to do that, do you? To become any more than you already are. Continue to indulge your worse nature and the Snake School will truly disappear."

    "So you're heading back to that shithole?" the Majin asked. "Didn't those stuck up Poo-thans reduce it to rubble or somethin'?" the Majin sneered. "If anything important's goin' down, come back and crawl to Sasheem for help like usual. If not, he's got better shit to do than hang around with you jabronis!" the Majin declared, before preparing to take off.
    "Oh, go choke on a mille-feuille why don't you," Zaofan said, "and when you're done stuffing your cake-hole and tarting up the joint, you'd better be ready."

    Better shit to do, this guy~!!!

    "Stay frosty, creampuff. We all got work to do."

  8. #4493

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sub-Zero MKA View Post
    Avoca just caught Senerg's gracious nod and returned it before Tasure whisked them both away. Millions of miles were crossed in the blink of an eye. She was in no way used to that sensation, and probably never would be. One instant, they were on Ruco; the next, they were on Langal, standing right next to her brother in law. He was on the ground being dogpiled by Garnish and Mais.

    He noticed the two Saiyannesses standing there suddenly and looked up. "Oh, hey! You guys won?"

    Before Avoca could answer, she was dogpiled herself.

    "Mama!"

    "You came back!"

    She couldn't help herself. Even if it had technically only been a few days since she last saw them, it was actually six months and some days thanks to her training in that spirit room. Even though she would never admit it out loud, she missed them. And was worried sick. Even though she didn't carry them, she still had something resembling maternal instincts that were telling her some shit was happening in their general vicinity. She would have to have a look around later, but they were okay.

    She kneeled down and hugged them both tightly. "Yeah, I came back." She glanced up at Pinach and smirked. "Lookin' good, kid."

    "Thanks! Great job clearing out Ruco. The mess was still pretty bad when I left. Did you have any trouble?"

    "Nah. Nothing we couldn't handle." That freaky energy that one guy was emitting still gave her some confused chills. She supposed she'd have to talk to Parsley or Inanna about it. They would probably know about it once she described it. "So, everything kosher over here?" Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a baby laying in a crib. She raised an eyebrow and walked over to see what that was all about.

    "No, things are really hectic." He frowned and sat down across the room. "Pois has been all over the place since I got here. We're afraid the other colonies are going to be attacked, which is why I'm still here."

    "Looks like we showed up just in time, then." This must be Sarada's baby, she realized. If that elf realm she and Parsley were in had the same time shit deal that the spirit room did, she would had to have the baby there. She was sleeping, so she didn't try to bother her. She even looks like that wife of hers. Two women have a baby... how fucking bizarre.

    "Yep. It's only a matter of time, so I'm preparing myself."

    She nodded. "I'm guessing Sarada and Parsley are done training?"

    "Yeah. Parsley left with her friends to find Maiz. Sarada's waiting on Earth for a ride to the homeworld with, erm, Just Saiyan." He subtly glanced at Tasure, then remembered that she was there when E Bekon was revealed. "Ah, I mean Emperor Bekon. Just Saiyan's still resting on Earth last I checked, Mrs. Tasure."
    Seeing Avoca's reunion with her kids brought more than your stereotypical saiyan grin to Tasure's face--it brought an actual smile, however fleeting. There were very few things more enjoyable than the excitement of a young child greeting you after being away from them for a long time.

    Although it hadn't been that long by their reckoning, now had it?

    Regardless, it was a touching sight.

    And then there was the baby... definitely Sarada's. She... didn't really have any thoughts one way or the other on it. It was a baby. A baby with vast potential, but a baby nonetheless. What else could she say?

    Well, she did wonder if Sarada would allow her to train the child in the future. Maybe she could make a training group for all the kids this group were having... that'd be fun. Much better than the training she'd put Totoma through as a child.

    Moving on from that train of thought, she turned her attention to Pinach, looking him up and down with an appraising eye. He was in Super Saiyan while just... playing with the kids, and hadn't killed them, so...

    "Ah, I see... not only have you achieved the form, you've made good progress on mastering it, as well," she said. "Not bad. As for my son, I... am torn. He managed to survive against that Daroga, but almost crippling himself in the process..."

    She sighed. "Tch. Whatever. Daroga admitted to being humiliated in that encounter, and I find that hilarious. Shame they won't get to have a rematch, given that I managed to clinch the kill... with Avoca's help." Credit where credit was due.

    "As for that... alternate... tch. He carries himself better than the Totoma we know, at least as a warrior. I take it he's the one we have to thank for your progress? I'm curious as to how our Totoma stacks up to him... hell, I'm curious as to how I stack up to him."
    The poster formerly known as Daiyoukai Ramza.

  9. #4494
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    Being outmatched was not a new sensation to the Nevadian. He had often fought opponents stronger, swifter, more skilled, or simply more adept then him in some manner. Often he emerged victorious.

    Sometimes he did not.

    But never before had he found the superiority of an opponent so bewildering. When facing another Nevadian, it was often a tiring affair. Feints upon feints to fool the preternatural insights of the Shingan, unless one was so grossly outmatched that an enemy had no need of such things.

    In all other cases, deception and insight were necessities, as the opponent would no doubt read and anticipate your attack just as quickly as you prepared it, if not quicker.

    Against Whis, Held might as well have been fighting blind, wielding his weapon like a caveman against an actual martial artist. Winning was not only impossible, it was inconceivable, becoming more and more obvious to the Nevadian with every step he took.

    Whis treated the ordeal like a dance. Each strike loosed by the Nevadians bo-staff was artfully evaded. Casually, as an afterthought, with the Angel barely paying attention. Held was half certain he wasn't. Casually stepping back to turn certain hits into narrow misses, slight hops over sweeps, causing the Nevadian to become off balance...

    On the rare occasion he deigned block---perhaps with a finger or with his staff--the attack was parried and redirected so flawlessly Held could scarcely regain his defense.

    Perhaps more bewildering to the Nevadian was the absence of any sort of tell on the part of the Angel. Held's Shingan was far more potent than most, able to detect energies for all sorts. Creation, Magic, Ki, the very energies of planets themselves... to say nothing of the natural vision of his people, rivaling if not exceeding any other in the galaxy. Even if his Shingan were blocked, reading the minute movement of the body was always available.

    And yet, for all that insight, Whis remained a void, elusive and nebulous, a glistening blue conundrum that Held had not the faintest hope of solving. It was a frustration unfamiliar to the Nevadian, being so completely outdone at his own game.

    The dance continued for some time, until at last the Nevadian collapsed to the ground in exhaustion.

    "What....The...Hell...." He heaved between breaths.

    "Well, that was a good warm up wouldn't you say?" Whis exclaimed, peering over his collapsed cousin, "I think you're ready to start in earnest!"

    Held looked blankly at the sky, his mind struggling to comprehend.

    "....W---"

    "What?!"

    Despite his exhaustion, he could still hear the light treading upon the grass by heavy hooves.

    "He said up." Crazy Horn explained, his voice one that would brook no insolence.

  10. #4495
    Astonishing Member KingofPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    Zaofan let his hand drop from his communicator. Slowly he swivelled his head around, his eyes blazing red.

    Ochazuke rest a hand on his martial brother's shoulder. It stilled him, but the irritation was still quite visible on the surface.

    "It's been five years, Majin. Three since you've presumed to enter Balon's tutelage," the Crane Apostate said. "Perhaps it's true that a good student should strive to surpass his master."

    Tilting his head foward, he continued.

    "But you don't know how to do that, do you? To become any more than you already are. Continue to indulge your worse nature and the Snake School will truly disappear."
    "Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk..." the Majin chided, shaking his head and wagging his finger. "Always presumptuous and pompous... Where's the faith, 'brother'?" Sasheem shrugged, his speech layered with half-sarcasm. "Someone had to fight for Earth while the rest of you clowns slacked off in space and who knows where else? So you tell me what Sasheem's worse nature is. Bragging rights? He'd say he's earned that much..."

    "Oh, go choke on a mille-feuille why don't you," Zaofan said, "and when you're done stuffing your cake-hole and tarting up the joint, you'd better be ready."

    Better shit to do, this guy~!!!

    "Stay frosty, creampuff. We all got work to do."
    "If ya say so. Later, goofuses!" The Majin sneered, not sparing another word before taking off.

  11. #4496
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monstrous Bird of Qin, Ou Ki View Post
    Seeing Avoca's reunion with her kids brought more than your stereotypical saiyan grin to Tasure's face--it brought an actual smile, however fleeting. There were very few things more enjoyable than the excitement of a young child greeting you after being away from them for a long time.

    Although it hadn't been that long by their reckoning, now had it?

    Regardless, it was a touching sight.

    And then there was the baby... definitely Sarada's. She... didn't really have any thoughts one way or the other on it. It was a baby. A baby with vast potential, but a baby nonetheless. What else could she say?

    Well, she did wonder if Sarada would allow her to train the child in the future. Maybe she could make a training group for all the kids this group were having... that'd be fun. Much better than the training she'd put Totoma through as a child.

    Moving on from that train of thought, she turned her attention to Pinach, looking him up and down with an appraising eye. He was in Super Saiyan while just... playing with the kids, and hadn't killed them, so...

    "Ah, I see... not only have you achieved the form, you've made good progress on mastering it, as well," she said. "Not bad. As for my son, I... am torn. He managed to survive against that Daroga, but almost crippling himself in the process..."

    She sighed. "Tch. Whatever. Daroga admitted to being humiliated in that encounter, and I find that hilarious. Shame they won't get to have a rematch, given that I managed to clinch the kill... with Avoca's help." Credit where credit was due.

    "As for that... alternate... tch. He carries himself better than the Totoma we know, at least as a warrior. I take it he's the one we have to thank for your progress? I'm curious as to how our Totoma stacks up to him... hell, I'm curious as to how I stack up to him."
    Pinach shrugged. "He was working on mastering SSJ3 when we were in the chamber, so he'd curbstomp all of us with, like, no effort."

    "Wait, there's a Super Saiyan 3?" Avoca blinked in utter confusion. "...There's a Super Saiyan 2?"

    "Mmhmm. Pretty awesome, too. Looks kind of weird, really long hair and no eyebrows, but it's powerful as heck." He grinned excitedly. "And it gives us something to strive for! Can't wait to tell my sisters so we can all start training!"

    "...yeah." Knowing those two, they already had the second form - whatever that was. I wonder how many levels there are. How far can we push this power?

    She was looking forward to finding out.

  12. #4497

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sub-Zero MKA View Post
    Pinach shrugged. "He was working on mastering SSJ3 when we were in the chamber, so he'd curbstomp all of us with, like, no effort."

    "Wait, there's a Super Saiyan 3?" Avoca blinked in utter confusion. "...There's a Super Saiyan 2?"

    "Mmhmm. Pretty awesome, too. Looks kind of weird, really long hair and no eyebrows, but it's powerful as heck." He grinned excitedly. "And it gives us something to strive for! Can't wait to tell my sisters so we can all start training!"

    "...yeah." Knowing those two, they already had the second form - whatever that was. I wonder how many levels there are. How far can we push this power?

    She was looking forward to finding out.
    Tasure rubbed her chin. According to Pinach, that alternate of her boy had managed to achieve two levels beyond Super Saiyan... amazing. She couldn't claim to be proud, as he was a different Totoma, but it did shore up her belief in her boy's potential, assuming he trained hard. It did raise certain uncomfortable questions, however...

    Halfbreeds were know to be, by purebred standards, rather... lax when it came to their training, unless someone was pushing them on or they had a very good motivation to push themselves. He claimed the title of Emperor, so she assumed that he had united the Saiyan worlds in his timeline...

    ...and had apparently dealt with many of the same threats this timeline's warriors had. Threats that had taken entire groups to overcome. So either he had a team back home--unlikely, as he struck her as the loner type--or... he had faced down those threats alone. Probably just managing to win by the skin of his teeth each time.

    Yep, that would do it, especially for Totoma. The motivation to be prepared for the next threat, when he was the only one capable of hoping to handle such a thing, would definitely serve to motivate her boy... even if he were an alternate version.

    "I see," she stated, simply. "So there's at least two levels beyond the basic Super Saiyan... though the third, as you've described it, sounds rather ridiculous in appearance. Still, it's something to set our sights on, once we've beaten back our enemies and finally have some downtime."

    Maybe if the Emperor was still around when this was all over, she'd have a talk with him... but that would have to wait.

    "For now, though, we should relax, but be ready for a fight," said Tasure. "Besides the three of us, what's Langal's defense force look like?"

    Probably pretty comparable to Ruco's, she was guessing, which means that they weren't strictly needed to defend the planet against Tundra's rent-a-minions, but if they wanted to minimize their side's casualties... you damn well better believe that they were going to jump into the fray.
    The poster formerly known as Daiyoukai Ramza.

  13. #4498
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monstrous Bird of Qin, Ou Ki View Post
    Tasure rubbed her chin. According to Pinach, that alternate of her boy had managed to achieve two levels beyond Super Saiyan... amazing. She couldn't claim to be proud, as he was a different Totoma, but it did shore up her belief in her boy's potential, assuming he trained hard. It did raise certain uncomfortable questions, however...

    Halfbreeds were know to be, by purebred standards, rather... lax when it came to their training, unless someone was pushing them on or they had a very good motivation to push themselves. He claimed the title of Emperor, so she assumed that he had united the Saiyan worlds in his timeline...

    ...and had apparently dealt with many of the same threats this timeline's warriors had. Threats that had taken entire groups to overcome. So either he had a team back home--unlikely, as he struck her as the loner type--or... he had faced down those threats alone. Probably just managing to win by the skin of his teeth each time.

    Yep, that would do it, especially for Totoma. The motivation to be prepared for the next threat, when he was the only one capable of hoping to handle such a thing, would definitely serve to motivate her boy... even if he were an alternate version.

    "I see," she stated, simply. "So there's at least two levels beyond the basic Super Saiyan... though the third, as you've described it, sounds rather ridiculous in appearance. Still, it's something to set our sights on, once we've beaten back our enemies and finally have some downtime."

    Maybe if the Emperor was still around when this was all over, she'd have a talk with him... but that would have to wait.

    "For now, though, we should relax, but be ready for a fight," said Tasure. "Besides the three of us, what's Langal's defense force look like?"

    Probably pretty comparable to Ruco's, she was guessing, which means that they weren't strictly needed to defend the planet against Tundra's rent-a-minions, but if they wanted to minimize their side's casualties... you damn well better believe that they were going to jump into the fray.
    "Rest sounds so nice right now," Avoca agreed. She picked her son up and sat down in a chair. Between training nonstop and fighting, she was mentally exhausted. The faster it was all over, the sooner things could start getting back to normal.

    "Defenses? Um, I'm not sure," Pinach answered. "I haven't been here long. I think Pois and Botarega are getting whatever troops are here ready, plus trying to keep tabs on everywhere else."

    That sounded like a lot. Ten other worlds with very limited communication and scattered command, it was probably beyond stressful. Eh, better them than her. "Eh, we're enough," she said with a shrug. "Those goons weren't really worth shit. As long as they don't have any more Lieutenants with them, the regular soldiers won't have much problems." She hoped, anyway. The troops on Ruco had problems; then again, they were caught off guard, and had those two guys to deal with on top of that.

    "I hope it starts up soon," Pinach said. "I'm anxious to test out my power!"

    "Won't get much of a test, but sure, kid."

  14. #4499

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofPie View Post
    "Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk..." the Majin chided, shaking his head and wagging his finger. "Always presumptuous and pompous... Where's the faith, 'brother'?" Sasheem shrugged, his speech layered with half-sarcasm. "Someone had to fight for Earth while the rest of you clowns slacked off in space and who knows where else? So you tell me what Sasheem's worse nature is. Bragging rights? He'd say he's earned that much..."
    "Perhaps you've earned some due consideration," Ochazuke replied. "More, that you've seen fit to remain suggests some level of commitment, however self-serving it might be."

    In response to Sasheem's finger-wagging, Ochazuke folded his arms, lowering his head with a stiff chuckle.

    "...but... if your Mastery is fit for little more than blindly wandering from one fitful quarrel after the next, little has changed for a Snake, even after 300 years. Your legacy master, for all his underhandedness, knew something greater than the need for open accolades."

    With a grunt, he cracked his neck from side to side.

    "I'd hoped you'd understood that much when I'd found Auroc for you."

    "If ya say so. Later, goofuses!" The Majin sneered, not sparing another word before taking off.
    With sharp kickoff into the air, Zaofan watched Sasheem take off, a blue streak headed off to stake his claim wherever he would. Any other day he'd take after the Snake himself, but there'd been enough of an ordeal recently.

    "...I really hate that guy."

    Still, he was loathe to admit that the fact that Earth had indeed remained, despite Grinthorn's condition, spoke to a certain level of...ugh, camaraderie. At least when he showed up, he'd throw himself in more or less the right direction. If anything happened, it wouldn't be hard to find him.

    Shading his eyes with his hand, Zaofan scanned the temple, lacquered red columns supporting great green masonry rooftiles, upturned to the sky. Together with Samson they'd set the foundation for their Master's dream. The return of the Dragon School would only be a matter of time, surely, but there were yet deeper matters they had to attend to.

    "We've still got a long way to go," the chef groaned. Rolling his waist about, he shook the stiffness away. Age was just a number, but oh man... "But I promise we'll return when the time is right. Don't let me catch you slacking now!"

    Ochazuke offered the Dragon Master a small nod, then turned his attention skyward.

    "First, we make for the Lookout, and settle things there."

  15. #4500
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    It was a nightmare. Pois was standing next to Botarega when reports started rolling in. Massive ships numbering in the dozens were descending on the worlds in the Empire. It was as she feared when she found out the portals were going to remain closed. Tundra’s army could simply fly to the different worlds. It would take them a little longer, but they would get there.

    She realized that it wouldn’t be long before an army showed up for Langal. With three royal children there, including the heir, she absolutely could not waste time lamenting Sarada’s poor timing. She needed a plan and needed one five minutes ago. “How many councilmembers are on Langal?”

    Botarega took a moment to think. As the seconds ticked by, his already grim countenance grew grimmer. “Just me.”

    “Shit.” She gnawed on the thumbnail as she tried to think of something. Tasure and Avoca were there, as were Pinach. They only needed one Super Saiyan to protect Langal. The other worlds were vulnerable. The only problem was that there were over a dozen worlds in the Empire and only six Super Saiyans; seven, if she counted that Lantro traitor. Either way, he and three other SSJs were unavailable, leaving only Tasure, Avoca, and Pinach.

    She quickly pulled up the colonies on the screen in front of her and looked them over. As far as she knew, Callion was by far the weakest still and would need the most help. Besides them, the newer colonies needed the most help.

    She sat down to write down the coordinates for three of six new colonies for Tasure; her instant transmission technique would make traveling to each world a snap. She intended on sending Pinach to Callion, then give him the rest of the new colonies. Avoca could stay on Langal; she didn’t foresee any attempt to get her to leave her children behind going well. Pepa would have to fend for itself. Becbaga was there, so there was hope. Hopefully, the soldiers wouldn’t be that strong. They were practically foot soldiers from what she heard from Senerg’s report. Unless they had stronger Lieutenants, there shouldn’t have been any problems.

    “I’m going to hand out these reinforcements assignments,” she said as she started to walk out.

    Botarega was right behind her. “I’ll rally whatever troops we have left here. I suggest you barricade yourself with those kids. They’re top priority.”

    She didn’t know why he was entrusting her with their lives, rather than someone stronger. Still, she nodded. “Okay. I’ll do my best.”

    She quickly hurried out of the war room and quickly zeroed in on where Pinach was located. Predictably, he was with his nieces and nephew. Avoca and Tasure were both there, too, which meant she could kill two birds with one stone. She stepped inside. Garnish was climbing over Pinach, laughing and giggling as she yanked on his spiky blonde hair. Avoca was sitting quietly in the corner, her son sleeping soundly in her arms. Pois stepping inside caught her attention.

    “I hate to interrupt, but we have a serious problem. Tundra’s army has started to invade several of the other worlds in the Empire. Seven, so far. It won’t be long before they reach the other worlds, including here. Pinach, I need you to head to Callion first to clear the invasion out; they won't last long. Avoca, stay here. Tasure, head to these colonies. They're a ways out, but you can teleport, right?” She had no idea how it worked, but hopefully giving her coordinates would help somehow.

    There wasn't a lot of time for her to gauge their reactions or to answer any questions. Not that she was expecting any from those three. It was pretty straightforward. There was fighting to be done, and she told them where to find it. The main and most important thing was making sure Langal was kept secure. The race's future was literally in that room. If it was breached, it wouldn't matter if they survived. "I...I'll keep guard over these three. I'll barricade us in here."

    Avoca gently placed Mais in the chair after she stood up. "Okay. Do you know how far the army is out?"

    "No. Botarega will make sure we have plenty of warning." She turned on her heels and walked out. "I'm going to gather some supplies. I'll be back."

    She walked swiftly to the kitchen for food. After that, she needed to head to the armory for weapons and armor. The white dress and half breastplate she was wearing suited her for her role as palace coordinator, but a soldier needed more. Using weapons wasn't necessarily Saiyan-like - though the Princess had that ax, so who really knew what was Saiyan-like anymore - but necessity called for it.

    It was up to her. Everyone else was going to be fighting.

    She gathered up enough food and snacks for two hungry toddlers, and some formula for the Princess and placed it all in a cart. Then, she went to suit up. It had been forever since she wore a soldier's armor. It felt weird, but oddly nostalgic. Oddly, because she was never a soldier and only wore it during her stint in the CTC.

    A pair of footsteps behind her attracted her attention from the wall of laser rifles she was looking over. "The soldiers are on high alert and I have the watchtower scanning the atmosphere. The moment the invaders come within a hundred miles of the planet, we'll know," Botarega said.

    She swallowed, but couldn't bring herself to give any kind of sign of relief. "Okay, good." She turned back around and plucked a rifle, a handgun, and several cartridges from the wall and dropped them in the cart.

    As if sensing her unease, Botarega took his leave. "Good luck."

    "Yeah, you too," she muttered to his fleeing form. She sighed heavily and wheeled her supplies down the hall. It was empty. Most everyone was already outside and waiting. The other worlds were caught off-guard. They on Langal had a real chance with advanced warning and a Super Saiyan. Chances were she wouldn't even need to fight. The odds of anyone slipping by thousands of soldiers and Avoca were slim. Pois dared not get her hopes up, but... that was all she had.

    Hope.

    She could only hope the invaders weren't that strong, hope they didn't get past Avoca and the army, and hope she was strong enough to fight them all off if they did. And as the warning klaxon started blaring, accompanied by a flashing red light, she realized that wasn't any time to find anything else to base her confidence on.

    "THIS IS NOT A DRILL! ALL AVAILABLE SOLDIERS REPORT TO THE BATTLEFIELD IMMEDIATELY. I REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL! THE PLANET IS UNDER INVASION!"

    She neared the room and heard all three children crying. Her inner strength wilted. Strong face, Pois. For their sake, put on a strong face. She burst into the room, rolled the cart into the center, and then immediately closed the door behind her. She flipped open a case covering a red button and slammed her fist on it. A foot-thick steel door slid up from the floor and in front of the door. The windows were also sealed shut. "It'll be okay, children. We'll be just fine." She turned to face them and gave them the most confident smile she could muster. "I promise."

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