Passport to Paradise
A/N: There's another
graphic violence warning for this chapter. Last one, I promise. :)
Vegeta didn't receive a response when he pounded on the
bedroom door so he kicked it open. Kakarotto was still sitting exactly where
he'd left him in the very same position, only now a faint white glow had
surrounded his entire body. He didn't want to disturb him, not when things
finally seemed to be falling into place for him, but there was no time to waste.
The Kir were going to break through the Saiya-jin defense -- it was only a
matter of time -- and they had to find the gateway before they could guard it.
Biting his lip, he made a quick decision to leave him to his meditation for just a little while longer while he went to retrieve the book and scour it for clues. It was somewhere in the castle, they all knew that now, but where?
'The forest is here to protect the castle and its inhabitants,' he thought, trying to work through the problem. 'And the inhabitants are here to protect the gateway.' Slowly his eyes widened as something occurred to him. "Which probably means that the gateway was here first! The only thing that was here before the castle was the land it's sitting on. Is the gateway underground?"
He slammed the book shut and hightailed it back to his bedroom. The door was still wide open, he could see that from down the hall. He could also see the lone Kir warrior entering the hall from the front staircase. Vegeta slowed his footsteps and slid his sword from its scabbard. The barbarian was closer to where Kakarotto sat completely oblivious to his surroundings. He was checking into every room, probably searching for innocents to slaughter. Vegeta gripped the hilt of his short sword tightly, nervous sweat slicking his palm. One false move and he could alert the man to the presence of a victim yet there was no time to descend the back stairway and sneak around behind him. The prince was truly between a rock and a hard place.
"Wake up, Kakarotto," he said without breath as he crept down the hall. "Come on. Don't let that bastard hurt you." Vegeta never before wished so strongly to have magical ability or at least a set of throwing daggers along with good distance aim. He wondered how effective rushing the man would be. Maybe he would be able to surprise him long enough to take him down. Hopefully he was not one of the magically gifted Kir because one good spell would be able to take him down.
"Goddamn it," Vegeta cursed harshly. He had absolutely no good options and time was running out. Raising his sword, Vegeta ran down the hallway as quickly as he could. The thick stone muffled his footfalls and he was able to get reasonably close to the warrior before he was noticed. Trapping the other man in the doorway of a guest room, Vegeta swung his blade with the intention of beheading him, but the blow glanced off the iron spirals decorating the man's wrist guard. Vegeta fell back just enough so that he had room to swing again and it allowed the Kir enough time to draw his own weapon.
"I don't have time to fight you," the prince growled as he deflected his enemy's attack. "You're nothing in the grand scheme of things." The barbarian, unsurprisingly, did not respond.
Their swords clashed again. Vegeta braced his feet and tried to shove his opponent off-balance so that he could end the fight quickly. While he was preoccupied with searching for an opening above, he never noticed the foot that darted out and knocked into his own. Vegeta felt his feet go out from under him and he fell hard to the floor.
The Kir advanced, his sword poised to strike. For a moment, all that Vegeta was able to focus on was the pain from the stone coming into forceful impact with his spine. It felt like his entire body had gone numb. He took deep breaths to push past the pain and struggled to raise his foot up high enough to come into contact with the Kir's groin. Not the most manly of fighting techniques, but incredibly effective nonetheless. At least it would have been incredibly effective if Vegeta had gotten a chance to execute it. As it were, he was barely able to gather enough energy to avoid the blade of his sword.
"Isn't your leader missing you?" he asked desperately. Anything to distract his enemy. But the Kir was too focused on his goal. The sword was raised again and Vegeta took a big risk. As it descended upon him once more, he reached out and grabbed the blade with his left hand before he had gained too much momentum. It cut deeply into his leather glove then into his flesh, severing quite a few tendons and blood vessels before hitting bone. Vegeta hissed from between his teeth but would not allow any other expression of agony to escape. While the barbarian was momentarily stopped, he brought up his sword and stabbed forward, sliding it into his gut then upward between his ribs. The Kir stared at him blankly for a moment, then stared down at where only the hilt of Vegeta's sword protruded from his body. A dark stain was spreading rapidly outward on his tunic from the wound. He sank slowly to his knees then fell backward onto his back.
Suddenly the man smiled. "My death has served our cause well," he whispered, coughing up blood.
The prince's blood ran cold. "What are you talking about?" he asked sternly. When he didn't receive a response, he crawled forward and grabbed the man by his shoulder with his good hand, shaking him. "Answer me!"
"You've wasted too much time with me," he said finally, his words emerging thick and wet. "By now, Ra Naga has opened the gateway. Soon our lord will be free once more!" A blissful smile spread across his face then even as the light dimmed from his dark eyes. In another moment, his stare was fixed on nothing, his eyes as empty and as dead as a doll's.
But Vegeta was not there to witness it. He ran to his bedroom where Kakarotto was just now emerging from his meditation. His hand was refusing to be ignored any longer and the pain was invading his nervous system to the point that he almost couldn't function. He grabbed a shirt from one of his drawers and set about removing one of the sleeves to use as a bandage. Unfortunately it was awkward with only one hand.
"Vegeta, what in the world happened to you?" Kakarotto asked in shock. Blood slicked the prince's skin until his hand was only a mere outline in a sea of red. He grabbed his lover's wrist and pulled him into the bathroom to wash away the blood.
"There's no time to go into it now. There's not even enough time to do this." Vegeta tugged on his arm to try and get it away from the teen, but Kakarotto wouldn't let him.
"It'll get infected if you don't let me take care of it properly."
"If we don't get down to the dungeon as fast as we can, infection will be the least of our worries!"
Kakarotto forced him to stay still while he gently pulled off his glove and washed away the blood. When the wound was finally revealed, he made a low sound of horror in his throat. "What happened to you?" he asked again. The wound was gaping. Without stitches there was no way it would close on its own. "You have to go see the healer. If you don't, you might even lose function in your hand."
"There's no time," he repeated insistently.
"Bullshit," Kakarotto growled. "I don't care if the entire world's on fire. If there's a chance that I can prevent you from being seriously injured, I'm going to take it."
The prince gazed up into his eyes and knew that there was no point in arguing further. There really wasn't any time to waste. "If I go to the healer you have to go down to the dungeons and stop Ra Naga. He's close to opening the gateway. Can you do it?"
Nodding, Kakarotto said, "I think so. I won't know for sure until I get there."
"Good enough. Take the back stairs down, head right. Across from the kitchen there will be another stairway hidden behind a door. I don't know exactly where he'll be down there, but I expect you'll be able to sense what's going on." Vegeta pressed his lips together firmly, shoving down the emotion that was welling up. "Take my sword. I know that you don't have any training, but I want you to have a last resort in case your fists don't make an impact or your magic fails again. Kakarotto, don't take any unnecessary risks. I want you back alive."
"I won't, I promise." After transferring the sword belt to his own waist, he did the very thing he knew Vegeta was holding back on. He bent down and captured his lips in a desperate kiss, a tear breaking free and trickling down between them both. "I love you, Vegeta."
"Kakarotto, I release you," he whispered against his lips. "You're no longer bound to me. Heroes should not be slaves."
The teen pulled back finally, knowing that if he waited any longer to do so that he might never separate himself from his lover. "I will always be bound to you. Never forget that."
Then he was gone. Vegeta gazed at the doorway for a while afterward, wishing that he could be right by Kakarotto's side. He had little fear that his lover would fail to stop Ra Naga or, in the event that the worst-case scenario came to pass, stop the Darkness itself, but his natural instincts demanded that he be with his love. He needed to see for his own eyes that Kakarotto would be okay.
As bad as his hand looked and felt, it would be a bad idea not to do what his lover had told him to do. He wouldn't be able to help him anyway and might even prove to be a distraction.
"If you get yourself killed, Kakarotto, I'm coming after you." The only witness to this promise was himself, but he knew he would not break it. A life without Kakarotto was not a life worth living.
There was no one around to stop him but he could hear the sounds of battle in the distance. As long as he could still hear the clash of blades and the battle cries of men he could have faith that the war wasn't lost, that the Saiya-jin were still rallying. It gave him hope that there was still time.
Several women and children passed him on their way to find a safe hiding place. Some of them wore the plain, unadorned clothing of servants while others looked to be the mates and children of the soldiers. They only paid enough attention to him to decide that he wasn't a threat before hurriedly moving on. Ahead in the distance he could hear more feminine voices.
He found the door exactly where Vegeta said it would be. It was made of very heavy dark wood and had only a hole where the lock should be. A quick glance down at the landing showed that the strong-looking lock was still intact but had been blasted right out of the wood.
The stairs headed down into darkness. No light lit them save for what trickled in from the kitchen. He wondered if they were steep and if one misstep would send him plummeting to his death. A strange sound from below and the flickering of white light in the distance made him completely forget about the unseen danger.
Kakarotto descended the stairs as quickly as he dared. They were, in fact, steep, but not as steep as he'd feared. The moment his foot hit level ground, he took off in the direction of the light at top speed.
Vegeta couldn't find the healer and that was truly a shame since he felt dizzy and weak from blood loss. He'd made his way slowly but surely back to Alain's room only to find the woman gone and Alain asleep. There was a bored man guarding the door who had seen the woman leave, but he didn't have any idea where she had gone other than the vague direction of "right". There were a lot of things "right", far too many for him to count.
So he assumed that she was with his father administering to the wounded Saiya-jin soldiers. The courtyard was a long way away from the second floor and he didn't know if he had the strength to make it there. He also didn't know if he would be able to defend himself against the Kir warriors who had, no doubt, invaded the castle. If he could just rest for a moment, he would start off again in a bit to find someone to stitch up his hand.
Quietly, Vegeta fell against the wall and slid down it on his back to sit on the floor. His promise to Kakarotto would not be broken. He would be perfectly fine by the time his lover returned.
Vegeta slumped, closing his eyes, and just as quietly fainted.
The flickering light increased in intensity the closer he drew to the source. About half a dozen small, dust-ridden cells later, he came upon the barbarian chieftain Ra Naga who was in the process of opening the gateway. And, judging by the look of things, he had almost succeeded.
Kakarotto stepped into the large cell cautiously. There were heavy magicks swirling around in there. He felt like one wrong move would be detrimental to his health. He brought up a hand to shield his eyes then tried to determine if he had a chance to stop Ra Naga from achieving his goal.
The Kir's voice rose in volume as the portal of light grew larger. Kakarotto's entire body tensed with the need to act, but he didn't know what spell was being used or even if it would be safe to stop Ra Naga now that he'd begun. He also had no idea if he could reverse the spell once it was complete, but if he got rid of the Darkness then no one would find it a good idea to try and free it again. The only way to go up against it was to allow Ra Naga to finish even though it went against everything he'd ever been taught by his clan.
There was a pause in Ra Naga's speech, then it picked back up again. It took a moment for Kakarotto to realize that the Kir was now speaking to him.
"I see you survived your time in the desert," he said pleasantly without turning around. "Miraculous, really, considering how sloppy the stitches were and the fact that you had no provisions. I didn't want you to be sewn up at all, but Tet Suel thought it cruel. He paid for his kindness to animals, however."
Kakarotto asked very quietly, "What did you do to him?" Even though he had performed a ceremony with him as the centerpiece, even though he had done an incredibly bad job stitching up the wound he himself had made, he could tell that Tet Suel hadn't wanted to do it. He hadn't wanted to hurt him but he'd had no other choice besides death. And, to Kakarotto, that was not an option.
"If you really want to know so badly, you can ask him in Hell. You'll be headed there in just a few moments, anyway." Ra Naga had turned to look over his shoulder at the teen when he spoke his last sentence, but then he turned back to the portal as the spell reached its climax. The light grew to an intensity twice that of before and seemed to explode outward, temporarily blinding Kakarotto and causing Ra Naga to laugh with glee. It had apparently gathered enough energy to open the gateway and Kakarotto could see a world beyond the one he was standing in, a world of shadows.
"The offspring of the Great One opens the door to our paradise. As long as I have it, my requests will not be ignored."
"Don't you know what the Darkness will do to this world?" he asked in a final desperate attempt to halt Ra Naga's mad scheme.
"Of course I know. But knowing and caring are two entirely separate things, aren't they?" Slowly, but steadily, he began to walk towards the gateway. "Better say your prayers. It'll all be over for you soon." He started to laugh again, but the sound abruptly ended in a croak. His dark eyes flew open wide and he stared down at the sword now protruding from his body. "You're not supposed to attack your enemies from behind. Didn't anyone ever teach you that it was bad manners?" His voice was little more than a hoarse whisper.
"No," Kakarotto said as he pulled the blade free. "But, then again, they taught me hand-to-hand combat, not swordplay."
His victim sank down onto his knees, hands coming up to clutch at the seeping wound. "It doesn't matter what you do to me," the barbarian said with a triumphant air. "The Great One will still be free." He maintained his fanatical grin even beyond his death.
Kakarotto wiped Vegeta's sword on the man's tunic and re-sheathed it. He honestly didn't think he would need it in the upcoming battle, but it wouldn't hurt to bring it along. Better safe than sorry and all that.
Taking a deep breath, he stepped through the gateway and into the world of darkness beyond. It was cold, the kind that sank deep within you to latch onto your bones and never let go. He took another deep breath and the air nearly seared his lungs.
"This is for everyone who has died because of this creature, or will die if I fail," he whispered fervently. Raising his head high, he set off to meet his destiny.
The final flash of light from the opening of the gateway could be seen throughout the castle and its grounds. The soldiers on the battlements and in the corpse-ridden courtyard, both Saiya-jin and Kir alike, all looked up at the sky. When the battle began it had been partially cloudy, but now the clouds were darkening to black with flashes of white lightning occasionally brightening them. Within moments it was so dark that torches had to be lit before the fighting could continue.
King Vegeta never removed his eyes from the sky. It was sinister and threatening. Unnatural. Perverse. And if that foreign Saiya-jin boy didn't succeed with his mission, they would be looking forward to spending the rest of their lives under this midnight sky.
"Don't let any of them escape!" he bellowed at his men, wanting nothing more than to see the flagstones run red with Kir blood. If he could not personally kill the one responsible for all of this, he could at least vent his anger out on those who allied with him. Drawing his own sword, the King of Saiya stepped into the fray.
He saw nothing save the dark sky and dead earth and heard nothing beyond the sound of wind rushing past his ears. But he could feel something hovering nearby, something very large and incomprehensibly graceful. It slithered around his body, sometimes reaching out to caress his exposed skin. Kakarotto shivered and desperately pleaded with his magic to respond as he spoke the incantation to create a light.
The world lit up around him and he found that he was not where he was a moment ago. In fact, he was in a place that was very familiar to him and should have been impossible to return to. Everywhere he looked he could see men and women going about their daily business and children playing games in the street. It was Nohin e Kul, the Home of the Guardians. His home.
The buildings and adults around him suddenly began to grow taller. He gasped, looking up at them with wide eyes. When two children ran up to him, smiling, their hands outstretched, he knew that it was not that they had grown taller, but that he had shrunk. He was now the same size he had been on that fateful day four years ago.
"Come play with us, Kakarotto!" the girl said, tugging on his hand insistently. Ichigo looked exactly like how he remembered. Her wild black hair was pulled into two messy pigtails and she wore a little green dress, her feet bare. "Kabocha and I found something really neat in the forest."
"Yeah! You have to come!" Kabocha tugged on his other hand. His hair was cut unevenly short as his father had simply taken a knife to it and hacked off large portions. He only wore a pair of pants cut above his knees. Both children were tanned brown from being outdoors in the sun all day, as was he. Once his training was complete for the day, he, Ichigo, and Kabocha had played outside until the sun went down for as long as the weather remained warm.
Kakarotto blinked in confusion. Had? Why was he thinking of everything in past-tense? His friends were here, everyone was here, and the village was exactly the same as always. Why was he just standing here when he could be playing?
The three of them ran off into the forest that cradled the village on three sides. The fragrant smell of evergreens assaulted Kakarotto's senses, bringing back memories of childhood. He blinked again in confusion, but quickly shook it off.
Ichigo and Kabocha led him to a small gully where a creature had dug a burrow into the side of the hill. Ichigo held up a finger to her lips and indicated that he should look inside. Dropping to his knees, he did as instructed.
It was dark and it took a moment for his eyes to adjust. After a short while, Kakarotto could see the outline of a small creature within the hole. Luminous green eyes each with a slitted vertical black pupil stared at him. He thought it was a cat and reached out to pet it (not pausing to realize that cats weren't known to inhabit burrows) and the creature hissed at him, lunging at his hand with sharp, needle-like teeth. Kakarotto let out a startled cry and fell backward, the little creature following.
In the sunlight he could make out midnight black scales and small wings as the creature rose in the air to dive at his body. Instinctively he raised his hands to protect his face as terror filled his body. He could feel something flowing through him like liquid fire to emerge from his palms at the little flying creature. It shrieked briefly then all was silent.
He opened his eyes and looked around. There was no dangerous creature threatening to hurt him nor was there trees surrounding him, their branches forming a canopy over his head. His friends were gone as well, vanished like they'd never existed in the first place. As more memories returned to him, he realized that they hadn't been there. They couldn't have been because they had died four years ago. Narrowing his eyes, he looked around with intense suspicion. There was nothing to see, not really, unless dark endlessness appealed to him.
Getting to his feet, he felt a heaviness on his side that indicated that Vegeta's sword had somehow returned. He couldn't see it, however. The darkness was so complete that he couldn't even see his hand in front of his face. If only he could make a light. There was something in the darkness with him, something he would very much like to be able to see.
'Please,' he silently begged, 'let my magic work again.' Taking a deep breath, he spoke the incantation and a small globe of white light appeared in his cupped palms. He willed it to become larger until it was the size of a small wagon then tossed it up into the air. It illuminated a small patch of dead earth around him, but could not penetrate any more of the darkness.
"Very good," a deep, cultured voice whispered. Kakarotto spun around, his fists at the ready. There was no one around him; the voice was coming from a source still unknown. "I'm glad that you've retained some of your spirit. It's always disappointing when the prey doesn't fight back."
"Who are you?" He shouted the question. "Show yourself!"
His words elicited a chuckle. "Do you honestly believe that you're in a position to demand anything?" The voice caressed his ear one second and was coming from several hundred feet away the next. It really didn't matter whether or not this entity offered his name. Kakarotto had a feeling he knew exactly who he -- or it -- was.
"Yes, you're right," the voice praised him. "I am exactly who you think I am, but not exactly what. You don't really know the answer to that question, do you? Allow me to reveal myself, then." And, with those words, Kakarotto's globe of light exploded.
When his vision returned, he was finally able to put sight to sound. A black dragon was curled around him that was larger than most houses, its scales nearly indistinguishable from the darkness pressing in around them both. Two large green eyes with slitted black pupils stared at him from beneath protruding brow ridges with an expression that bordered on glee.
The huge fanged mouth parted. "Am I everything that you expected me to be?"
"No. The writings left behind by the elves don't go into detail about what the Darkness looks like."
"What a shame." The body surrounding him shifted as the dragon moved closer still. "And now no one will ever know because you won't be around to tell them."
Kakarotto gathered as much energy as he could in his legs, preparing himself to escape the confines of the dragon's body. "So you say." In a burst of movement, he jumped as high as he could, placing one hand onto the surprisingly cool scales on the dragon's back and vaulted over its body. He moved away as far as he could so that he had time to assess the situation. Things did not look good.
Every part of the dragon's body that he could see was covered by scales that were incredibly hard (as his one brief touch of them had discovered). So far, he could only see one unprotected area and that was the eyes. And possibly the underbelly. However, neither of those potential targets were easy to get to.
The dragon did not attack him while he stood there and that came as a surprise. Kakarotto had been on guard from the moment his feet regained contact with what passed as the ground in this world yet he hadn't needed to be. The Dark One watched and waited for a reason that escaped the teen's comprehension.
"Why do you seek to destroy our world?" he asked, trying to stall for more time. He also hoped that he could get his opponent to lower his guard enough for him to strike.
"Who said anything about destroying it? I want to own it. This world has no life other than my own. Without lives to play with at my leisure, I grow very, very bored."
"The world on the other side of that gateway does not belong to you. It doesn't even belong to any of us. It can only belong to itself. I will die before I allow you to escape."
"Then so be it," he intoned, whipping his tail towards Kakarotto at a speed that was surprising given his size. Kakarotto was able to dodge the first swing, but missed the second as the dragon quickly changed direction and reversed. It knocked him from his feet to land several feet away, his hands reaching out at the last moment to turn his fall into an awkward flip. He spun around to confront the dragon again, his hand reaching for the hilt of his lover's sword.
The dragon seemed to grin at him. "The sword is not your weapon, youngling."
"How do you know this about me?" Kakarotto wondered aloud.
"I know because I dream. In this land of shadow and death, there is nothing to do but dream and some dreams are more interesting than others. I've followed your life because you fascinate me. I know your strengths and I know your weaknesses. There is nothing that you could do that would surprise me."
He seemed so certain of this that Kakarotto began to falter. If there was no element of surprise then he didn't see how he could defeat him. His hand gripped the hilt of the sword tightly, but he did not draw it.
They stared at each other. The dragon had a somewhat smug look while Kakarotto's face was one of growing despair.
"How did you make me see things that weren't there?" he asked, trying to stall for more time. Distantly he could hear something that sounded very much like thunder.
"They were there, once, and you wish to see them again. It was simple to do since you wish that things had turned out differently with all of your heart and soul. Sometimes spending so much time in the past blinds you to the present."
The sound grew louder and was accompanied by tremors in the earth. High above their heads, flashes of what could be called lightning were visible, but the electric streaks were not white but a deep crimson. The ground shook again, this time hard enough to make Kakarotto stumble.
"There's no time," the dragon rumbled. He rushed at the teen, his mouth open with the intent to do serious harm. Kakarotto finally drew the blade that hung at his side and raised it in defiance. When the Dark One was close enough, he lunged forward with the intent of impaling him, but found it brushed aside by one huge wing as if it were a bothersome insect. Kakarotto, his grip strong, went with it.
"Now, it's time for me to leave before this entire place collapses around us," the dragon said. "Entrance into this world was meant only to be one-way."
"I will delay you so long that it will be too late to find the gateway." Kakarotto's face was a mask of determination. "Even if I can't kill you myself, I can allow the forces here to do it for me."
"You will die as well."
"Then so be it." He threw the dragon's earlier words back into his face. "My death will have meaning if I take you along with me."
The dragon emitted a deep bass growl of annoyance. "I don't have any more time to play with you." The wings on his back began to flex as he readied himself to take to the air. The lightning was coming with more frequency to the point that most of the sky was red, the thunder was quickly nearing a level that would make conversation impossible, and the restless motion of the earth ensured that Kakarotto would be better off crawling than walking. He pushed all of this to the back of his mind, however. There was only one thing he concerned himself with now and that was stopping the black dragon.
He quickly ran through his mental catalogue of spells, searching for one that would be powerful enough to delay even something as large as the Darkness itself. As he had only been twelve when his lessons had abruptly been cut off, there were precious few in his repertoire that could get the job done. Murmuring the words to a fire spell, he tried to magnify it so that it would engulf the entire beast and watched it collide with the armor-like scales, disappearing into nothingness. He tried again with little success.
By this time, the dragon was a fair ways above ground and almost out of his range. He followed him as fast as he could while weaving still more spells, all of them having a similar effect as his first -- that is, no effect at all. His energy was giving out and that would directly affect the strength of his magic, not to mention how closely he could keep up. The distance was slowly becoming greater between the two of them and he could now see the gateway in the distance. It was only a matter of time before the dragon would get there and Kakarotto didn't even know if he could get himself out to go after him.
When he stumbled and fell the next time, he did not get up.
As he lay there out of breath, his lungs and legs burning from exertion, images came unbidden to his mind. He could see his parents, his friends, his master, the village elders, and all of the other people that had made Nohin e Kul home. They were all trying to speak to him, their mouths moving soundlessly. They also all seemed to be patting their chests -- no; they were patting their hearts. Slowly, Kakarotto pushed himself up to his knees and brought one hand up to touch the place over his heart. Even through his tunic he could feel that his skin was warm, strangely warm, almost to the point of being feverish. As he held his hand there, a white light began to envelop it. It coalesced into an orb of softly pulsing light that sat in the palm of his hand.
"Use us." It was a whisper that didn't come from without but from within. "Use us to defeat the Darkness."
A slow smile spread across his face. "I will. By right, this is your battle."
"No; this is the battle of the Saiya-jin, of the humans, of the elves -- of everyone."
"Yes," he agreed. Raising his hand up to the sky he threw the glowing ball that was the collective spirits of his lost people in the direction that the dragon had flown. Everywhere the orb touched the darkness was driven away so he had a clear line of sight to the death of the dragon. The orb entered into his body, passing through scales and flesh and muscle as if it wasn't there, and tore him apart from the inside. That was the only way he could explain it. One moment the dragon had been speeding towards the open gateway and the next there were little fragments of darkness flying off into the areas that the light had not touched before he could even scream. Instead of vanishing after its job was complete, the little orb continued on a course to the gateway as if lighting the way for him. Kakarotto tried to push himself up from his knees to his feet and his arms gave out. The last thing he saw before falling into unconsciousness was the orb streaking back to help him.