Fandom: Dragonball Z
Rating: PG-13 (for thematic elements)
Publish Date: 8/13/2002 to 11/4/2002
Disclaimer: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, I do not own DBZ.
It didn’t take Piccolo and Vegeta very long to get to the spot where they felt Gohan’s ki stop, but by the time they go there, he was already gone. They could sense him moving.
As they flew over the place, Piccolo recognized it immediately, and he told Vegeta so. "This is where I took Gohan to train right after the fight with Radditz, before you landed on Earth," he commented as he looked around, scanning the area for a trace of Gohan’s ki, to find out where the kid had gone while he was there. "That cave over there…that’s where he used to sleep. I remember it."
Sure enough, there were a few minute traces of ki around the cave, unmistakably Gohan’s. He had to have been there within only the past few minutes, otherwise the energy traces would have already disappeared. From the look on Vegeta’s face, he sensed it too.
The two warriors moved to the opening of the cave and peered inside. Piccolo formed a small globe of ki above their heads to give them light. The cave was empty except for something written in the dirt on the floor, beside which was a piece of silver metal, one edge discolored.
Without hesitation, Piccolo crawled into the cavern and read the message out loud. He could feel Vegeta’s shock rising along with his own. When he finished he backed out and sat back, feeling something growing along with shock.
"How the hell does he expect us to buy that?" Vegeta growled, completely forgetting that he wasn’t supposed to care. "At least he got the part about your ears right."
"Damn kid," Piccolo muttered, ignoring Vegeta’s commentary. "He’s not thinking! And if he thinks we’re just gonna let him walk away and keep doing this to himself then maybe he doesn’t have a brain to think with!" It was completely beyond him how Gohan could have done this to himself. And for that long! He’d started when he was eleven, and now he was fourteen…that was damn near impossible to believe, plain and simple. And they’d all been blind enough to trust him when he said everything was all right. Well, not anymore. "We’re going after him, we’re gonna catch him, and we’re gonna bring him back. In his little letter he asked us to tell his mother and brother he’s sorry. As far as I’m concerned he can deliver that little message himself. I swear I’m going to beat some sense into that kid’s head if it’s the last thing I ever do!"
Vegeta simply nodded his agreement, while Piccolo wondered if it might actually be the last thing he ever did. If Gohan got angry enough…like he had at the Cell Games…there would be no stopping him.
Apparently, Vegeta had the same notion. "Don’t make him angry. We won’t stand a chance."
This time it was Piccolo who nodded in assent, and they took off after Gohan’s ki, both moving as fast as possible. He was getting farther and farther away.
Anger and fear spurred Piccolo on until he was sure he could have matched pace with a Super Saiyan. Vegeta noticed and transformed. Piccolo fell only a tiny bit behind, but for the most part managed to keep up without any trouble.
He’s heading towards the Northern Capital, Piccolo realized as they drew near the bright lights of the city. Only moments later, he felt Gohan’s ki stop again. Bingo.
"Hey Vegeta, he’s in the city!" he hollered over the sound of the air rushing past them. The replying grunt told him that Vegeta had already figured that out.
They landed on top of a building and began their search. Gohan was pushing his ki down as far as was possible, leaving them with only the barest shred of that signature energy to follow.
Though neither of them communicated it, both began to wonder just how hopeless this search was.