A/N: This is about it for completed stories at the moment. I do have 1-3 outlined, but it's only partially written up. But if you head on over to my LJ (http://www.livejournal.com/~goku_girl) you can find bits and pieces of it as I post along with a few other fanfics.

Age of the Empire
The Second Tale of Shukumei: Little Child Found
Chapter 10

The hospital wasn't very crowded, but there were several people ahead of him. Goku tried all he could to convince the receptionist to allow him to cut in the line, but absolutely nothing worked. He sat down in a chair, defeated, and tried to entertain himself by watching the other occupants of the room.

One woman caught his attention almost immediately. She was petite with short red hair and was being dwarfed by a very large dog that sat by her feet. The dog looked rather healthy for having been taken to an animal hospital.

"He looks fine," Goku commented to the woman. "What's wrong with your dog?"

"He hasn't been the same since I had him fixed last month. I thought that he would just bounce back, but no such luck."

"Fixed" was a word he'd never heard used in the context she'd used it in. "What do you mean by 'fixed'?"

"The doctor removed Zenko's testicles so that he couldn't get another dog pregnant." Goku winced in sympathy at the mere thought. If *he* had been mutilated like that, he would be depressed too! "This hospital has a very excellent animal psychologist... or so I hear. My friend had his cat neutered a few years ago and said that Doctor Amigawa had Jepi acting like his old self again in no time." She looked down for the very first time at his reason for being there. "So, what's wrong with your... wolf?"

"Gunshot wound," he answered. "She was attacked by evil people." He reached down and stroked her head softly. "I'm glad I found her in time."

An hour later it was finally his turn. Goku gently lifted his mother from the floor and carried her into an examination room. Doctor Masoni untied the cloth around her leg as soon as she was on the cold metal table and took a moment to assess the damage done.

"I can see it gleaming in the light. It's not in very deep at all." He moved over to a counter and began opening cabinets. "I will administer a local anesthetic to her, remove the bullet, and sew her up. You can stay with her if you wish."

"Okay." Goku moved around the table to reassure the wolf as the vet prepared the numbing drug. When he saw the needle, he lost all color in his face, but didn't make a sound.

The doctor noticed. "Are you alright?"

"I will be," he said after a hard swallow. "I don't like needles, but I'm okay if you don't come near me."

The doctor injected the drug and waited a short while to give it time to take effect. Then he opened a package of sterilized tweezers, grabbed a fresh cotton ball, and got to work.

Five minutes later Goku was filling out forms. Everything was fine and his mother was free to leave. There would be some pain for a few weeks, and he would have to bring her back to remove the stitches, but she would heal just fine.

"You look pretty funny with that bald patch on your leg," he smiled, relieved that she would live. Goku's good humor lasted right up until he saw the bill for services rendered. "Um, I can't pay this."

The receptionist sighed. "Can you pay at a later date?"

"Maybe. I don't know."

She sighed again.

Eventually, he made plans to send a little money each month until the debt was paid.


He'd entertained passing thoughts on the subject, but it was Gohan who caused him to see for himself. What did his mother and his brother think about? What did they feel when they gazed upon his small family? How did they feel about him? While not worded exactly that way, Gohan's innocent question sparked an idea in his mind.

"When I talk to 'em, they don't talk back. Why, T'san?"

Why, indeed? There was no real reason why they could not communication with each other, not anymore anyway. With the dragonballs, one could virtually have anything their heart desired. "Guess what, Gohan?" Bright, curious eyes stared up at him. "We're going on a trip!"


In theory, nothing at all could go wrong with a simple trip around the word to collect small orange spheres. But Goku knew that the chance of it being a walk in the park was nil. He had never told his wife in detail about the trip he and Buruma had taken what felt like ages ago. If she knew how potentially dangerous it could be, not only would she forbid Gohan from going, but him as well.

"T'san, where we going?"

He didn't know how to explain it to him in a way that he would understand. Goku touched the four-star ball atop Gohan's hat. "Do you remember when I told you the story about jiisan's dragonball?"

"Uh huh."

"Well, we're going to find the other six just like this one and make a wish."

Gohan's brow furrowed as he thought. "We make wish that b'san and j'san can talk?" He had to admit that his son was a lot smarter than he gave him credit for.


"Good!" He grabbed his father's hand and tried to drag him out of the house. "We go now!"

Laughing, he said, "It's not that easy, son. First I have to tell your mother that we're leaving." He frowned at the mere thought of doing so. ChiChi wouldn't be happy that they were leaving again so soon -- especially on a trip with an unknown return date. "Then I have to make sure that jisan and baasan will be okay until we get back."

" 'kay," he said before running off to his room.

ChiChi was in the kitchen washing the dishes from lunch. She smiled as her husband entered, but it quickly turned into a frown when she noticed the nervous look on his face. "What did you do?"

"Huh?" he blinked, startled. "Oh, um, nothing."

She sighed, not liking the fact that she sometimes had to prod him for answers as if he were a child. "What do you want?"

"There's something that Gohan and I need to do." Goku fell silent, unsure of the best way to proceed. He didn't think anything he could possibly say would curb her anger. Eventually, he realized that the best thing to do was to continue onward. Delaying the inevitable was being met with a very negative response. "We're going to find the dragonballs." He tensed up for the explosion that never came. Apparently, his wife had no idea what a dragonball was.

"How long will it take?" she asked, calmly returning to her dishwashing.

"I don't know."

"I see." She placed a plate into the rack to dry, her hand gripping it so tightly that her knuckles were white and fine cracks were beginning to crawl across the surface. Goku gulped and beat a hasty retreat.

Thirty minutes later he and Gohan were flying on Kinto'un to Buruma's home. She had the only dragonball radar in existence and, besides that, he still hadn't returned her navigation device. Before showing up at the Capsule Corporation the day before, he hadn't seen her in two years. There was definitely a lot he needed to catch up on.

"Konnichi-wa, Son-kun," his friend said brightly as she opened the door of her bedroom. Her mother had remembered him (as she did all handsome men) and told him to go on up. "Nice to see you in the daytime. Is your mother okay?"

"Hai, she's fine. I came over to give this back to you and borrow the radar. Gohan and I want to make a wish."

It was then that Buruma noticed the boy shyly peeking around his father's right leg. "He's adorable! Are you baby-sitting?"

"Buruma Briefs meet Son Gohan. Gohan, this is my friend, Buruma."

Remembering his manners, the boy bowed respectfully. "Ko'ichi-wa, Buma-san."

"He's your son," she said in a stunned voice. "You and ChiChi's son. I wasn't even sure you even knew *how* to create a child!"

Goku blushed crimson. "Let's just say that I learn pretty quickly."

"So I see." She invited them both to take a seat while she looked for the radar. "Have you spoken to Kuririn lately?"

He sighed. "Iie. I haven't seen him since the wedding. He knows where I am, but I don't know how to find him."

"I bet that he's still on Roshi's island. He used to live in a monastery, right? The hentai's house is the only place he has to go." She handed him the circular radar. "How has ChiChi been?"

"Same as always," he answered, wondering if he should tell her more. No one knew how he really felt about his marriage and, if he had his way, no one ever would.

But Buruma had been his friend for many years and noticed the look of abject misery that briefly flashed across his face. She did not comment on it in front of Gohan and merely stared at him in concern instead.

Father and son went on their way nearly an hour later. The two adults had relived old times and promised to get together with everyone sometime soon. Buruma suggested that the reunion be at the Capsule Corporation since everyone already knew where it was and said that she would start on the planning.

Goku thought of seeing his friends again and smiled. He couldn't wait until next month.


"ChiChi, you've never ridden Kinto'un without me before. Are you sure we can't just drive?"

"I'll be fine, alright? Flying will be faster." What she didn't say was that the faster she arrived, the faster she could leave. ChiChi wasn't looking very forward to spending time with people who spoke of things she'd never experienced. They were Goku's friends and she wasn't very close to them.

He nodded and placed Gohan in front of her. "Be good for Kaasan."


The only thing left to do before departure was to talk with his mother. "Are you sure you know the way?" he asked, worried that she would get lost.

"We'll be fine, Goku." Humor sparkled in her dark eyes. "You worry far too much."

Ever since he'd made the wish that he and Gohan could hold conversations with the wolves, he'd noticed many tiny things about them. Their eyes held expressions just as clearly as any human's did and he could read them just as well as he could read ChiChi's anger. "I want you to be around for a very long time, Okaasan."

"I can protect her," his brother, Takanori, told him. "You know that I can."

"Come on, Goku-sa!" ChiChi ordered. Listening to what sounded like growling, barks, whines, and howls always made her nervous. No matter what they meant to her husband, she could never forget that they were wild animals.

"I'll see you there. Stay away from the people because they'll be afraid." He hugged them both briefly and flew off behind Kinto'un. After not flying under his own power for so long, he'd nearly forgotten what it felt like to have the wind rushing over his body and the complete freedom of movement. It made him feel like a kid again.

The Capsule Corporation came into view far too soon. People down on the ground were looking up in awe, small children waving excitedly to the figures far above. It was the middle of the afternoon and so many people were outside enjoying the sun in Western Capital.

Kuririn, Yamucha, Pu'ar, Tenshinhan, Chaozu, Roshi, and Oolong had already arrived and were setting up for a barbecue in the dinotorium. Two picnic tables were covered in red-and-white checked table cloths and Yamucha was behind the grill wearing a white apron that had a picture of an invitation on it that read, "To: the ladies, From: the cook. Kiss me." Goku laughed after he read it, but ChiChi didn't find anything amusing.

"Konnichi-wa, minna," he greeted. "Long time no see."

"Goku!" Yamucha saluted with his spatula. "You look so mature it's amazing!"

He nodded in agreement. The Goku of fifteen years old in his wedding picture looked a lot younger than the Goku of seventeen years. He wondered if living with ChiChi had anything to do with how much he'd visibly aged. "I *feel* more mature." Gently, he pushed Gohan (who was once again hiding behind his body) forward. "This is my son, Gohan. He's three."

Kuririn crouched down to Gohan's level. "He looks just like you. I'm your tousan's best-friend, Kuririn."

Bowing, he said, "Ko'ichi-wa, Kuwe'in-san. Ko'ichi-wa, mi'a-san."

"He's just so precious!" Buruma exclaimed, delighted.

His parents beamed proudly. "Arigatou."

The party had time to get into full swing before something went wrong. In the middle of his meal, Goku noticed something on the edge of his senses that immediately caused his body to grow taut. The other fighters noticed and they each extended their senses to the world around them.

"How many?" Yamucha asked Goku since everyone knew that he was the most aware of them all.

"At least a hundred. Some are stronger than others." Goku felt his blood began to stir at the mere thought of a battle. He sensed at least one ki in the group that rivaled his own.

"You look... excited."

Declining to comment on something so blatantly obvious to anyone with sight, he instead started to devise a plan. "They outnumber us about eight-to-one so we can't just attack them and get away with it."

"Correction: now the odds are around six-to-one."

In one collective movement, everyone present turned in the direction of the new voice. Goku's eyebrows rose when he recognized the very tall, green and pink form of Piccolo Daimou. The last time he'd seen him, the demon king had been trying to take revenge for the death of his father by ending his life. "Why do you even care?" he asked. "Saving the world would be a *nice* thing to do. I didn't think you'd be interested in something like that."

Piccolo glared at the young man. "This planet is too important to be destroyed by alien invaders. One day it will be mine."

"Sure, whatever." He stood and stretched, staring longingly at the remainder of his food for just a moment. "C'mon, we gotta save the world."

ChiChi put her foot down. Literally. "Wait one second, Goku! Where do you think you're going?!"

"To save the world," he repeated patiently as if his wife was hard of hearing... or had some sort of mental problem.

"I heard you the first time!"

"Then what's the problem?" Buruma asked her. "If they don't do it then we're all probably going to die."

She absolutely hated not being in complete control of everything. "Go on," ChiChi mumbled. "Come back soon."

"I will. Ai shiteru, ChiChi." He kissed her on the forehead. A tug on his pant leg made him look down at the teary face of his son.

"T'san no go!"

"I have to, Gohan," he replied as he crouched down. "Kaasan will take good care of you."

Sniffling, he buried his face into his father's chest. "You come back?" he asked, voice muffled.

"Of course I will. Don't worry." He kissed the top of his head and handed him to his mother. "If I'm not back before you go to sleep, I will be there in the morning. I love you, Gohan."

"Otay. Wuv you too."

Goku motioned to his friends and Piccolo. It was time to go.

They flew to the place where Goku led them. He knew that the group of kis were heading down to Chikyuu several miles away from the eastern boundary of western capital -- they felt that far away. Other than the energy reading, he knew nothing about the newcomers. What would they look like? How would they behave? Were they even hostile at all? Maybe he was making a terrible mistake by showing such an open display of aggression. But, then again, maybe he *was* doing the best thing after all. Well, if nothing horrible happened they all could have a good laugh about it afterward.

The sun shone down on them mercilessly as the small group flew over a fairly large forest. Several minutes ago they'd clearly seen the shapes of four ships descend from space and land on the ground. Now, the gap was rapidly being closed and Goku still had no plan.

"I think we should try to talk with them, first," Kuririn shouted above the wind. "You said yourself that there's no way we can defeat them all."

"Anyone else with an idea?" he asked them. Piccolo was all for forcing them physically from his future kingdom, but the rest sided with Kuririn. Goku had to admit that it made sense. "Alright, we'll see why they're here. If it's a bad reason, then we'll have to fight them."

Kuririn gulped and began to pray. "Kami, please let them be here for a good reason. I'm only eighteen years old; far too young to die. My life hasn't even begun yet!"

Whatever happened, Goku had faith that they would all try their best and that was all he could hope for.


I'm aware that there are noticeable gaps in the story. How did Piccolo come to join the Z-Senshi? How did Tenshinhan and Chaozu? There are at least two side-stories to this one (they will be a part of the first Empire Anthology: Tales From Childhood), but I haven't finished them yet. If you must, use the canon explanations for now until I can come up with my own. :)