Categories > Anime/Manga > Dragon Ball Z > Illumination

Mission 01: A Royal Pain in the Singer

by SilverArmada 0 reviews

The first mission of the new VDD comprised of two people (that would be Trunks and Armada). Enter Juu, a small neighboring country to Bmyhad and its mess of political problems. Throw in a popular ...

Category: Dragon Ball Z - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Trunks - Warnings: [!!] [V] - Published: 2006-02-11 - Updated: 2006-02-12 - 9683 words

Mission 01: A Royal Pain in the Singer
The sun was up within a few minutes and all of Ute began to buzz with life as people started their days. Sure, sunrise had only hit a few moments ago but the sky was as blue as if it'd been up all day. Trunks took in a breath of fresh air. It tasted sweet, untainted. Even though Bmyhad was an advanced place, their technology didn't pollute their world. They were such nature lovers that they would never consider any device that had the slightest negative effect on the environment in any way, shape or form useable. Trunks then headed on his way to the pier to, well, live. He himself was still surprised at the turn of events that occurred yesterday. It all happened far too fast, especially since he'd only started that morning by still failing to find work. He tried to analyze the situation over and over in his mind, wondering if it would have happened the same if he'd made different decisions. Running into Armada-well, her running into him was a lot of chance in itself. It was so weird. And the fight; it was all so strange. And now he had a job, out of the blue. He was fortunate. Or maybe it was fate. /Nah/, he thought. /Just dumb luck/.
Again, it hadn't taken him long to walk across town to the docks. He wasn't a speed walker or anything; it was just that he was lost in his thoughts and lost track of time. This was uncommon for him. As he approached building 7873, he noticed Armada sitting on the small landing in front of the door once again, waiting for him to arrive. He wondered why until she stood and immediately explained, "I've gotta teach you how to get in."
The process only took a moment; it simply involved the number pass code and override codes in case of emergency, as well as what to do should he forget said codes. Which was to pray that she's in to let him in. After a bit of teasing on his part of her being 'too paranoid' and her retaliation of 'you're fired', the two called a truce and continued inside.
Inside the building, a medium sized silverish ship was docked. He noted 'Verdandi' written across one side and took it to be the ship's name. "Is this..." he started while staring at the vehicle in awe.
"Yep," Armada said stopping to look at the intriguing piece of equipment. She turned to Trunks. "C'mon, don't you want to see the inside?" she teased, obviously after seeing whatever star-stuck look was plastered across his face.
The two proceeded up a series of catwalks that finally ended quite a distance above ground and in front of the docking door leading into the ship. Armada punched in a few buttons on the keypad beside the door and the panel slid vertically and cleared the entrance.
Once inside, Trunks could see that the Verdandi's outward appearance belied that of the inside. The place was completely state-of-the-art, even with technology that Trunks had yet to see. The door they'd come in from led straight into the bridge, and the mass of controls gave an almost dizzying feeling.
Armada whistled at Trunks to get his attention while pointing to a diagram of sorts posted on the wall. "It's a map of the ship. Don't get lost, please," she stated sarcastically.
"I'll try. So where am I going again?" he asked jokingly.
Armada gave him an annoyed look before heading into the bridge and seating herself at what Trunks figured was the pilot's seat. He turned and looked up at the map, reading 'Barracks' at the far end of the corridor. And so he went, to find three fairly large rooms, each equipped with beds and closets for three people. So, of course he honorably took an uninhabited one. Or maybe it was because he didn't want fired.
An odd beeping noise came from a small room that branched off of the main corridor before the barracks. Trunks slowly turned and approached, noticing that Armada had made it into the room before himself. He moved methodically and silently to the door as he caught some of the conversation.
"...I told you, I've given you everything I've found!" Trunks came to the door way and eavesdropped on Armada's conversation over a video-call.
"It's just not enough. I'm sorry," an older man said who was wearing a uniform that Trunks had seen before but couldn't say where he was from. "The courts decide what amount and what kind of evidence is incriminating, and we just don't have it yet."
"But the information I sent you..." Armada began.
"Worthless to them."
"Hmm...what if Ukyo had another hideout?" Armada questioned. "He has to keep his data somewhere, so what if it's in another place?"
"That sounds very possible, because Ukyo knows that we know where his headquarters is. So if we ever did roll in on him, we wouldn't find what we were looking for and he'd get away free." The man was entertaining the idea Armada had given him.
"So what about the money?" she asked abruptly.
"Already sent to your account. Should we find out more about a possible 'backup' hideout for Ukyo, we'll let you know. And probably ask for your assistance as well."
"Alright, that's all I need to know," Armada said calmly. She hit a button on the console before her and the transmission ended.
"Who was that?" Trunks approached Armada from behind.
She shook her head. "A lieutenant from the Federation Alliance. It's not important; we've got other things to do today." With that, she went back to bridge. Trunks lingered behind and studied the board of buttons and switches in front of himself. It looked kind of familiar...
Armada was seated at the pilot's seat. She read several sets of numbers upon the monitor in front of herself. She was busy punching in coordinates when Trunks approached from behind and leaned on the back of her chair. "So what's up, /boss/?" he said emphasizing the last word of the phrase.
"Oh, you're funny, aren't you?" Armada retaliated sarcastically while keeping her eyes focused on the materials at hand. She hit a few buttons here and there, bringing up a map of what appeared to be Bmyhad. She zeroed in on a small part of the larger continent of the two on the watery planet and revealed a bordering country to Bmyhad: Juu. "We've been hired by a man name K'ha (pronounced 'kah') to escort around Lennir (pronounced 'len-neer'), some famous singer in Juu."
"For how long?" inquired Trunks.
"A day or so. Mostly just to watch over the kid before and during a large concert," Armada said as she began punching numbers into the console yet again. "I heard they were having trouble with the government or something lately and the place is a little unruly, so that's probably why. Not like it matters as long we're paid for our services."
Trunks stood back up and felt a small tremor in the ship. He glanced down at his feet for a moment before realizing what was happening. "We're flying there? In the /Verdandi/?"
"Mhmm," Armada nodded. She pointed to a seat at the navigational console to her right. "Sit."
Trunks laughed. "I'm fine, trust me."
"Alright," she said as she purposely jerked the ship up causing the demi-Saiyan to lose his balance and fall to the floor.
"Okay, I get the point," he said sitting in a seat.
"Thank you," was sarcastically stated from the pilot. Trunks could feel the ship elevating and looked out the windows in time to see nearly all of Ute underneath them, as the Verdandi had glass windows in the floor around the lower edge of the ship (I'll have pictures later so you can get a better idea of what I mean. Anyway, going on.). /Whoa/... The ship slowed to a hovering stop and lurched forward. Trunks clung to the seat to keep from flinging out of it. Before he was about to comment on the driving, he was interrupted by his employer. "We'll be there in a few minutes. You can go get your things unpacked."
Trunks took Armada's advice and headed back to get settled in. He'd never been to Juu before. He wondered what it'd be like.
"We don't have time as a it, NOW!" K'ha shouted as he threw down the receiver remote and the video screen on the wall opposite where the man stood closed.
"A little testy, aren't we?"
K'ha's head snapped around at the sound of an unfamiliar voice. His eyes narrowed at two figures hidden in shadow at the end of the corridor standing in the pathway from the gardens to the palace. "Who's there?"
"You hired me; you should know," Armada said approaching the man with Trunks following close behind.
"Oh, you," he said relaxing a bit. The man was fairly tall and well built. He had a mustache and horseshoe haircut that was, oddly enough, violet colored. He wore a popular outfit of the times that so fittingly matched his hair. He looked as if he'd only seen thirty or so years; not real young but not old either. "You're early."
"Better than being late," Armada stated coolly. "So what are we supposed to do?"
"Wait, 'we'? I thought you operated alone?" K'ha gave the young woman a shady look.
"Hey, I just hired him. That doesn't violate the contract, you know," she pointed out while crossing her arms.
"Fine, fine, I don't care. Just as long as he knows what the hell he's doing, I'm all right with it." K'ha proceeded to give the young man a look up and down, as if measuring him.
Trunks felt uncomfortable under the man's gaze. There was something very strange and yet familiar about it. He decided to break the silence anyway. "So, where's the girl?"
"Her name," K'ha began with angry intonations, "is Lennir."
"And I'm right here," said a young girl with short teal hair from the doorway to the group's left, presumably one heading into the interior of the villa.
"Miss Lennir," K'ha said now in a very concerned tone, "you needn't worry yourself with such matters. I have everything taken care of. You should be practicing right now, anyway."
"Oh, but that would be entirely rude to not introduce myself to these people. We will, after all, be spending quite some time together; so it is only mannerly that I do so." Lennir smiled. "I am Lennir Van'alosa, and I am extremely pleased to meet you."
Armada and Trunks both stood and stared at Lennir in shock and awe. This young girl, probably no older than twelve, had the most diplomatic, intelligent and persuasive conversation of anyone either of the two had ever heard. K'ha took action and nudged Armada's left arm so she would regain attention.
"Oh, ah, yeah! I'm Armada; K'ha hired me to protect you," the young entrepreneur swiftly recovered.
"And I'm Trunks, here to do the same." He smiled and knelt down to the girl's level, looking her in the eyes as she approached. "You're too kind to speak so highly of us. We're just doing our job is all. Really."
"But my dear friends," the angelic voice of Lennir continued, "I must be a hospitable and polite person to those who are my defectors and defenders. You do too much, and I am very glad that you are here." The girl smiled again; one that could melt even the hardest of hearts.
Trunks stood back up as Armada destroyed the barrier of silence once again. "So, what's our itinerary?" she directed at K'ha.
"You must escort Miss Lennir through town today so that she may do her shopping. You will then return here to the villa and have lunch. Miss Lennir will then practice for her concert in a few days until dinner. After dinner, Miss Lennir is scheduled to appear in a night parade in which you will accompany her on. Once the parade is over, it will be time for Miss Lennir to retire and you shall escort her back to the villa. Any questions?"
"Just one," Trunks began as his eyes narrowed and a smirk formed across his lips. "What's the catch?"
"Hmm, I feared that you should ask such a question," K'ha replied.
"So there is a catch!" Armada exclaimed.
"Some dear soul believes that I shan't have the life I have now by the week's end," Lennir said with obvious concern. "And I am afraid that my guards alone are not enough to protect me."
"Fair enough," Trunks said shrugging his shoulders.
"Now if you will please excuse me, I must prepare to depart." Lennir bowed and gracefully walked out of the room with K'ha following close behind.
With the two out of sight, Armada brought her arms up and over her head, placing them behind her neck as she leaned against them. "This should be a piece of cake," she said casually closing her eyes.
"I don't think so," Trunks stated doubtfully.
Armada opened one eye. "Really? Why's that?"
"That guy, K'ha, right? He's not just Lennir's assistant." Trunks thought for a moment before realizing why K'ha had seemed so strange yet familiar. "He's a soldier."
"What?" Armada questioned. She stood upright and turned to look at him. "How do you know?"
"I...don't know. I just know...I can feel it, you know?" Trunks looked at his partner. "The way he stands, the way he looks, and even the way he speaks. It just says, 'Hey, I'm a soldier'."
Armada shrugged and sighed. "Funny you say that. Doesn't matter; just as long we get this over with and get paid; that's all I'm concerned with."
With that, Lennir approached the two wearing the same simple white gown as earlier, only this time she wore a teal overcoat with gold designs on it over the dress. "Shall we go?" The mercenaries nodded, and Lennir smiled.
"What do you think of this one, Miss Armada?" Lennir asked the woman while holding up a festive and decorative blue print dress with silver decorations adorning it.
"It's very nice, Lennir." The young lady smiled. "And please don't call me 'Miss Armada' anymore. It just doesn't fit," she said laughing half-heartedly.
"All right, Mi-I mean, Armada," Lennir said as the two laughed. "So will this dress fit you then? I don't know your size," she began with a puzzled look.
Armada reached over and took the dress from Lennir's hand. She held it up and looked it over, glancing at the size written on the tag. "This is fine, but are you sure you need to buy us something to wear to the parade?"
Lennir smirked. "Well, if you are going 'in cognito' as you said, then dressing appropriate to the parade applies."
"Then at least let me pay for-"
Lennir reached up and put a hand over Armada's mouth. "I have plenty of money, my dear friend, so there is no need for you to pay for it. After all, I was the one who requested assistance so therefore I should be the one to provide you with any extra 'equipment' that you shall need for this mission." Lennir laughed as she removed her hand and saw the puzzled look on Armada's face.
"Okay, I guess..."
"Now march over to that counter right now young lady and purchase that dress!" Lennir laughed as she pointed towards the register. "Just tell them that I'm buying it for you, and K'ha will take care of it later." She smiled at Armada who smiled back somewhat and headed over to the register.
Trunks, who was already standing near the register waiting for the two to be finished, laughed as Armada approached carrying the gown. Armada looked over to him with an extremely annoyed look. "Laugh it up now, but she's buying for us both you know."
"That is correct," Lennir chimed in as she handed several garments to Trunks. "Go try them on!" she laughed.
Trunks wore the same look that Armada had worn moments ago as he tried to protest. "B-but-"
"No 'buts', just go!" Lennir pointed towards the dressing rooms. Armada, whom was in the safety of standing behind Lennir, grinned sarcastically at Trunks who sighed and did as he was told.
The two women followed and waited outside the door of the dressing room as Trunks began, well more like tried to change. "How do you put this thing on?!" was heard from behind the door. Lennir and Armada laughed as they heard him rustling around inside the small room. Several more quotes of 'What IS this?!' and 'What the hell?' floated outside the room and became music to the girls' ears. After about twenty minutes, the door flung open and Trunks stood in the doorway exasperated. His hair was sticking out everywhere, his jacket wasn't quite straight, and one of his boots was half on. The garments he'd been sent in to try on were in crumpled piles in his arms. "Can we leave now?" he pleaded.
After Lennir had footed the bill at the store, and several more jokes from Armada directed towards Trunks later, the three were strolling down a busy main street in the Juu'n capital of Marx having ice cream.
"This is...wonderful!" Lennir exclaimed. "I have never had such a delicious treat before! Do most commoners have this?" she asked her escorts.
"You've never had ice cream?" Trunks was a bit surprised. "Everybody has ice cream when they're a kid. It's one of the best things out there!"
"There weren't many treats like this back at the pala-" Lennir stopped mid-sentence.
"Something wrong?" Armada asked as the three stopped walking.
"I," Lennir looked up at them both. She shook her head. "I am fine. Everything is well, trust me." Both mercenaries looked upon the small child with a sense of doubt until she spoke. "I am famished. Let us go back to the villa to have lunch!" she exclaimed, smiling.
Lennir ran a little in her excitement, leaving Trunks and Armada a moment to watch her. Trunks looked over to his comrade. "You believe her?"
Armada kept watching Lennir as she responded, "Not for a minute. But it's not like we'll ever really know, so we better just get going." And the two followed the young girl without a second thought.
After arriving back in the villa, this time in the actual entrance, Lennir spun around to address her bodyguards. "Wait here for a short while please," and with that she scampered away.
"This is getting to be more like babysitting by the minute," Trunks commented once Lennir was out of sight.
"Baby-what?" Armada gave him an estranged look.
"You know, babysitting. When you look after a small child for someone else, and they pay you to do it," he explained, a bit surprised that Armada didn't know what it was. She just shrugged as if she still didn't understand when K'ha approached the two.
"Miss Lennir will see you now in the dining facility. Follow me, please," he said in an almost disgruntled-old-man type of voice. The two mercenaries exchanged looks before proceeding to follow the violet-haired and balding man into the 'dining facility.' The pair both exclaimed 'Whoa' in unison upon entering the room-understandable, seeing as the room had to be around five meters in height, adorned with sparkling chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and an architecture to match the glow the candles scattered around the room gave off. Everything was a wash of white; several shades of white and pearl were used for upholstery, the walls, and the tile flooring done in a white marble. The entire room felt more like a sanctuary than a formal dining area.
Lennir was already seated at the head of the long table wherein they would eat. She spoke softly, "I am obliged that you have decided to join me for lunch." Armada was about to tell her how it 'really wasn't a big deal' until she was cut off by Lennir. "And please do not fret about it. Everything is free of charge."
The two sat across from one another and next to Lennir. The three then discussed a multitude of things, none of which had much bearing on their lives. Shortly afterwards, the food was served and devoured within a few minutes. Following lunch was dessert, when the conversation picked up again.
"So Lennir," Trunks began as the girl ate, "you and K'ha don't look much alike. Are you related?"
Lennir swallowed her food and dabbed her mouth with a napkin before responding. "K'ha and I are not related. He was my father's best friend and trusted advisor. He seemed to know quite a lot about everything. And, he still does of course," Lennir laughed.
"What do you mean he 'was' your father's best friend?" Trunks continued.
Lennir sighed and sat silent for a moment before replying. "My father died several months ago. My mother died long before then; she went sometime shortly after I was born and my father raised me. He did a good job, and now I am with K'ha as we have both lost someone we love." Lennir carried a grave look on her face, one that must have been hidden underneath her smiles the entire time.
Trunks felt some compassion for the girl. "My father passed away when I was very young, so I never knew him. But my mother is still alive, thankfully."
"What about your parents, Armada?" Lennir shot at the young woman whom had remained silent for a while.
" honestly don't know," Armada shook her head while stumbling through her words. "I don't remember anything about them."
"Well if they passed away at such an early age, who raised you?" the singer continued.
Armada stared down at the plate in front of herself that sported a small slice of cake. She hadn't touched anything since it had been placed there. Without another word, she stood up and left the room.
"Wishing on a dream that seems far off,
Hoping it will come today," Trunks stood in the doorway of Lennir's room, watching her practice as he'd been doing for the past several hours. Kami, she has a voice... he thought smiling inwardly.
"Into the starlit night, foolish dreamers turn their gaze,
Waiting on a shooting star," At lunch, Armada had suddenly left not only the room, but the villa as well. She was last reported to be seen heading into town, and at Lennir's request he let her go. Lennir then disappeared to practice and Trunks explored the villa for a while, the entire time following his sensitive Saiyan ears to where the angelic voice of Lennir was coming from. Once he found it, she was startled to see him but reassured him that 'it was okay' and pretty much gave him a private concert.
"But, what if their star is not to come? Will their dreams fade to nothing?" She sang with a voice beyond her years. It was uncanny; this twelve-year-old girl had the manners, composure, humility and voice of someone nearly three times her age. She was, in short, remarkable. And Trunks could easily see how she'd managed to become popular with the people. Hell, anyone with any common sense could see that. But there was something else about Lennir; something that Trunks couldn't pinpoint, but it made her much more than just a folk singer. There was just something about the way she acted...
"When the horizon darkens most,
We all need to believe there is hope," K'ha, the sneaky soldier whom pretended to be Lennir's assistant he was appeared behind Trunks and interrupted the young girl's serenade. "Miss Lennir, it is time to prepare to depart for the parade." He spoke quickly and forcefully, leaving with the same amount of conspicuity as before: none.
Lennir sat down on her small but lavishly decorated day bed and sighed. "What's up?" Trunks asked the folk singer from the doorway.
Lennir shook her head and stared into the floor for a moment before looking up to him with tears welling in her eyes. "It is only..." she sniffled. "Can I tell you a secret?" she blurted out suddenly.
"Yeah, sure," the lavender haired man replied while approaching Lennir and seating himself next to her gently. The two sat in silence for a moment before Trunks found himself speaking. "But why tell me?"
"Because I have no one else. Because I know no one else."
Armada wandered through the now dimly lit streets of the Juu'n capital city. The roads were busier than before, due to the parade she knew she would be attending later as part of her latest assignment. She walked in a daze the entire time, not noticing anyone or anything she happened to pass. She spent the trip racking her mind for memories, any memories. She knew she wouldn't remember, and she knew exactly why she wouldn't; but she still hoped that something, anything would trigger a memory lodged deep within the wells of her mind and she'd feel half-decent again.
"What about your parents, Armada?"
She was still dumbfounded by the question.
" honestly don't know."
And her response was boggling as well. The whole ordeal was, well, embarrassing.
Why can't I remember something? Anything?! she shouted in her mind angrily. It had been a long time since then; since she'd been with her parents, and it was far longer than her physical appearance let on. And the memories of her life before the incident were gone because of it. She didn't even know her name after that. It was only the kind people she'd met who felt bad for the incident that she was reminded of whom she was. But that kind of thing can never replace real memories as well as understanding who you really are.
"Only the strong can tear away the old and usher in the new."
Armada stopped and turned around slightly to see three men do some sort of salute to another and proceed down an alley. Using her unnatural intuition that told her to investigate, Armada walked up to the same guard and saluted him the manner she had seen and recited, "Only the strong can tear away the old and usher in the new."
The man nodded to her and let her pass. Down the alley she followed the three men into another building that was deserted. She stopped outside the door and watched the men open up a trap door in the floorboards of the hovel and jump down into it blindly. Once the three were out of sight, Armada crept into the shack and mimicked those before her.
Underground was some sort of hideout so it seemed, hence the reason for the guard in the alley. Armada pushed through several people as the room was extremely crowded. She stopped as her eyes widened and she came to a sudden realization. There was a mural painted on the wall in front of herself; a mural that featured Bmyhad in the background with "TERE" written in blood-red letters on top of it. The realization was that she was in the middle of the headquarters of one of the most hostile rebel factions in the known galaxy. Of course this was a bad thing.
Juu itself was a peaceful country. Tere (said 'tair') was rebelling in Bmyhad but kept their important leaders and data outside of the country so Bmyhad had no jurisdiction over apprehending Tere inside Juu. And the Juu'n government was already in upheaval over the late passing of their king, so it had bigger things to deal with than somebody else's problem.
Armada decided to leave, and do it fast. She faired well until she made her way back up into the abandoned dwelling. Once she'd pulled herself up onto her knees on the floorboards, the three men she'd so stealthily followed in stood in the room at the only doorway. They scowled and she sighed. It was going to be a long night.
Trunks stood on the outside of the villa wearing his new and hideous orange and brown outfit that Lennir designated he wear. Armada leaned against one of the two pillars supporting the front of the dwelling wearing her 'equipment' as well. Trunks had noticed when she came back the way she walked lighter on her left foot and the swelling of her right forearm, still visible now. It was obvious to him that she'd been in a fight somewhere but Lennir of course didn't and probably wouldn't notice, and if K'ha has seen it he wouldn't say anything either.
"Where've you been?" Trunks asked for the third time tonight without looking in her direction.
"You know, that's none of your damn business. Now keep focused on the task at hand and the mission. I can't afford any slip-ups out there tonight," Armada said flatly, actually answering him for the first time.
"Why don't you stop avoiding the question," he shot back annoyed. There was something that made Trunks lose his patience with her more so than with any other person he knew. "I know you've been in a fight. I'm not an idiot; I can tell. Especially with the way you baby your ankle."
She brought her icy gaze up to meet his. "Hey Trunks, guess what? I'm an adult, and I can take care of my-damn-self, so leave me the hell alone. Got it?" It now became apparent that she was beyond pissed.
It was at this point that Lennir stumbled outside, tripping over the several layers of the dress she was wearing with K'ha following close behind. "Careful now Miss Lennir," he said helping the girl to her feet. She nodded at him and slowly approached a small vehicle parked on the street. Once inside, K'ha motioned for the other two to come as well.
"We haven't done much 'escorting', have we?" Trunks joked while heading to the vehicle.
Armada stopped walking with Trunks following suit a moment behind to leave a small gap between the two. "This isn't a time for jokes. This is serious; her life is on the line; you remember what she said, don't you?" Armada paused for a minute. She went to speak but once she opened her mouth, she closed it without a word and shook her head.
Armada continued into the vehicle and once again Trunks followed. K'ha proceeded in after him and shut the door. The driver took off and the four sat in the back with Lennir and K'ha opposite the mercenaries. The ride was short and silent. Not a word passed between any of them. They soon arrived at the central part of Marx where a monument fashioned like a star stood. Lennir's float was already in place behind the monument where she was to board it. Technically, the parade had started earlier when the first float left, but since Lennir's float was the last one it hadn't moved yet.
K'ha helped the young girl up the steps trailing close behind to keep an eye over her. Trunks went up and Armada followed last. Lennir seated herself on a festive throne with K'ha and her bodyguards standing behind. The float slowly began to move down the road loaded with people on both sides. As soon as the girl appeared before them, the people of Marx made a noise that sounded like a tidal wave at first and soon faded into applause and cheering. Apparently she was well received.
Fortune would not smile this evening though. Waves of people were pushed aside as the float was about to make its first turn, to the left to head north into town. One group of people stood out from the others-their unshaven faces or bad haircuts maybe, but something more conspicuous brought them to Trunks's attention. They seemed to move together, in a formation. And they were closing in on the float. Hesitancy became his downfall when one large man moved from the path of another man; a man holding a rifle aimed straight at Lennir. In that instant, an intoxicated bystander tripped and fell into the shooter and he lost aim. A gunshot was heard.
Lennir jumped up unharmed and K'ha rushed in front of her to block a second shot. The crowd roared and ran any direction they could. Trunks sprinted to the front of the float and jumped off, landing in the mass of people below. He was shoved from side to side with people forcing their way through while he headed for the attempted murderer. Fortunately, the perpetrator wasn't making any ground either against the wall of screaming civilians. The large man who'd blocked for the shooter earlier was now upon Trunks. With a few deft punches, the man fell to the ground and Trunks pressed on. The assassin now noticed that he was being pursued and headed in the opposite direction. No sooner had the man turned around when he stood awkwardly for a moment before falling to the ground; revealing Armada on the other side of him.
Trunks looked for an escape route through the crowd, only to find the suspicious group resurfacing in every direction. The streets were near deserted now, and the men formed a circle around the demi-Saiyan. "Looks like we're gonna have to fight this one through," he heard a familiar voice behind himself.
Armada stood back-to-back with Trunks while the thugs were getting closer. "There are only nine," Trunks said with a sense of puzzlement.
"What do you mean only? You wanted more?" the woman replied while sliding into a fighting stance.
"No, but...The sniper's gone," he realized. "There were eleven when they first came at us."
"Who cares how many there were then?! This is now, and this is trouble," Armada said eyeing several of their attackers.
"C'mon, we can take these guys!" Trunks tried to rally a little support from his comrade as the gang moved in closer. He wasn't wrong; the two could easily defeat their attackers. That is, until they began pulling out weapons, including pistols, chains, and pipes: anything they could have gotten their hands on.
Armada's eyes widened a good bit. "Maybe, until they shoot us!" The seconds seemed like hours to both before a strong wind picked up and bright lights shone on all. Everyone stood dazed and glanced around until it was understood exactly what was happening: the Marx police had arrived on the scene. It took only a second for the gang to begin to scatter, but six were caught before they could flee, two credited to some quick moves by both mercenaries.
Trunks had closely watched where the other three had run off too. "Let's go after 'em!" Armada nodded and the two ran in the direction Trunks had indicated through several alleys. At about the third block in, Trunks no longer heard Armada's footsteps behind himself. He stopped and turned around to see Armada hunched over, not standing too stably. He saw the blood running down her left leg as her hands covered an obvious wound above her knee and he came to a sound conclusion: the bullet fired by the assassin had missed Lennir, but still found a victim. Which also explained why he was so quick to jump down into the crowd but she wasn't. He knew they wouldn't be able to chase their attackers and was kind of disappointed, but at the same time a little surprised that she hadn't cried out or said anything about it thus far. He walked back to give her a hand.
The nurse finished wrapping the gauze around Armada's thigh and stood. "You'll have to of it for...a...while..." she trailed off as the blonde woman jumped up from the table and stood without trouble. The old woman shook her head in confusion and sighed while leaving the examination room.
"Are you...okay?" Lennir asked in a very subdued voice while approaching Armada.
"I'm fine, really. I heal fast," she said with a half-hidden smirk.
K'ha finished apologizing to the nurse he'd run into on the way into and room and entered. "Miss Lennir, it's time to go. You need plenty of rest for tomorrow," he looked to the girl with a stern look. Lennir nodded and headed out the door. She stopped to curtsy before finally leaving. K'ha spoke once more. "I don't care what you two do, as long as you're back before we leave tomorrow."
"That's fine," Trunks replied automatically. K'ha turned on his heel and left without another word.
"Haha," Armada laughed. Trunks looked in her direction. "You realize this means we get to walk, right? Marx has laws against taxis at this time of night. Curfew, so to speak."
"Great," he said flatly. As if he wanted to wander the streets of an apparently unsafe city in the early hours of the morning.
Not long after, the two were heading across town. It rained a little, kind of like a mist. It was refreshing. "It all seems a little odd, don't you think?" Trunks said as the two stopped at a corner where traffic had the right of way for the moment.
"What does?" Armada gave him an odd look.
The traffic signals changed and pedestrians had the street. Trunks continued as the two crossed. "Why would a group of what looked like common thieves want to kill a popular singer? It doesn't make much sense to me," he shrugged.
They'd made it across the street and continued on at a casual pace. "Those guys weren't just anybody, they were from Tere. But you're right in thinking that there is something strange about it."
"Tere? Who?" They were nearly the only people out at this hour besides the oddly heavy flow of traffic.
"Tere is a rebel faction trying to overthrow the government in Bmyhad," Armada answered.
"Wait a sec, why is a rebellion movement centered around Bmyhad in Juu?" Trunks inquired.
"Because," Armada began, "Bmyhad has no political jurisdiction in Juu. Therefore, Tere can hide in Juu and Bmyhad can't do a thing about it, unless Juu decides to hunt down Tere and hand them over for extradition to Bmyhad. Which of course, would be a waste of time and money for Juu because they don't care. The Juu'n government won't do anything about it. Along with the facts that Juu is a neighbor to Bmyhad and the border is very easily crossed, to Tere, it makes Juu the perfect place to hide."
The two had arrived in front of the villa. "Hey, I just remembered something!" Trunks exclaimed, gaining Armada's attention as the two stopped. "Lennir told me that her dad was some important government official and now she has to take over his work. Do you think that maybe he was on Tere's trail so now they're going to get rid of Lennir?"
"I guess that's poss-" Armada was interrupted as a scream was heard from inside the villa. "Let's go!!"
Lennir breathed heavy. "I didn't know what to do. I'm glad K'ha came so quickly; who knows what could have happened." Her room was in shambles; the window broken, lamps and such overturned and on the floor.
Once Trunks and Armada had made it inside the dwelling, they had discovered that an attacker had come at Lennir in her room, sneaking into the house somehow. K'ha heard her scream, and rushed into the room only to see the shadow of a man jump out of Lennir's window and escape.
"I still don't understand," Armada started, "why someone would want to kill a singer? What point is there to it?"
Lennir's entire body shook with fear. After all, the girl was only about twelve. "K'ha," she spoke almost inaudibly, "should I?" She looked up to him slowly; he was standing in the doorway of her room.
"I think now it is pertinent that you do so," K'ha said nodding to her. "It would be easier for them to understand if you did."
Lennir nodded. She sat up straight on her small bed still wrapped in her comforters a bit and tried to look as regal as she could as she turned to face Armada and Trunks. "It is true that my father was an important official, but that is not the entire truth." Trunks was about to ask her what she meant until she responded first. "My name is not Lennir; it is Lenall Van'alosa Niacca. I am the daughter of the late king of Juu, Eric Capelli Niacca."
"You're kidding!" Armada exclaimed.
"That's why Tere's after you, isn't it?" Trunks asked.
"Tere is after Miss Lennir?!" K'ha said stepping towards Trunks. "Tell me everything you know!"
"The guys in the mob, the ones with the shooter were from Tere," Armada tried to calm herself. "That's all we know!"
The room became eerily quiet. Princess Niacca spoke, "My country is in shambles and now Tere, one of Bmyhad's problems, is causing trouble for us as well?"
The three adults stood silent as she continued, "I think it is time that the people of Juu stand up for themselves. I think we need to go to Bmyhad, K'ha, and sort this out with the prime minister." Lennir sat staring at her bed on the verge of tears. " the soonest we can leave, K'ha?"
"We can leave now if you like-"
"Wait," Armada interrupted the man. "She has a concert tomorrow right? So, let's take her to it."
"That's suicide!" K'ha shouted. "And I'd never let you put the princess in such danger!"
"K'ha, please," Lennir spoke softly. "I think she's right. If I go on with my performance as scheduled, I'll get a chance to tell the people of Juu the truth about myself."
"And if the shooter shows up, we get the chance to nab him," Armada added. K'ha gave her a shady look as she continued, "Don't worry, we'll protect Lennir. Especially since this time we /know /they're coming."
The next day was one full of tension. Lennir and K'ha spent the day as they normally did before a concert; they were preparing hastily and nervously for the performance, Armada was resting by sleeping in her room, and Trunks was outside on the premises training a little and keeping his skills sharp. The day was long, yet short. Busy, yet uneventful. It was a day in waiting, one that few words could describe. And before most anyone realized it, the time for Lennir's performance was nearing.
Everyone met in the entrance foyer. Lennir was wearing another dress, this one not nearly as daunting as the one she wore to the parade, most likely because she needed more mobility while singing. K'ha wore a plain black outfit, similar to the one he'd worn the day before, and the two mercenaries dressed casually as they normally did. The four stood in silence before the exit of the villa, none willing to say what needed to be said.
"Should things, not go as previously planned today, K'ha," Lennir said with obvious fear in her voice, "I hereby relinquish my powers to you." She turned to face Trunks, then Armada. "And you are my witnesses." She breathed heavily and made her way out the door with the three adults in tow.
They rode in the same vehicle as last night, except now they were taking less traveled streets and roads. K'ha remained silent and unwavering, as always. Lennir looked as if she were sitting on needles. Armada tried to appear calm but Trunks could see the worry in her. And he himself was probably the same.
Lennir brought her eyes up and looked at the two opposite her. "Would you...I know that this is your job, but when you're done here, would you not take any offense against Juu?" she asked stiffly, trying to sound calm but not speaking without concern in her voice. What she really was asking was that Armada not take up any missions from anyone working against Juu, specifically Tere.
"Len-I mean, Princess," Armada began slowly, "like you said, this is my job. I don't hold any position that favors either side in any conflict. I'm concerned with myself; that's all," she said with a devastating effect. Whatever light of hope that had shone through in Lennir was gone as she turned her attention away, responding with an alight 'Very well.'
Moments later, the vehicle stopped. They'd made it to the amphitheatre, on the back side so Lennir wouldn't have to fight with the masses to get in. Lennir and K'ha got out first, and waited on the other two. "Lennir and I must go prepare for everything. Just go down that hallway and the far left entrance will lead you to the stage," K'ha told the two while pointing. "Be there before the concert begins, please," he said, quickly ushering away Lennir. Before long the two were out of sight.
"So what the hell was that?!" Trunks shot at Armada while the two stood where they'd been left.
"/'I'm concerned with myself; that's all'/-what the hell?! That girl was looking for some sort of hope, and you just shattered it!" he shouted at her angrily.
"It's the truth, that's what! Do you think for a minute that I actually give a damn about this place, or their problems? I have enough of my own, thank you, without getting in the middle of other people's conflicts," Armada answered narrowing her eyes.
"Isn't she your friend? Or do you even know what that is?" he replied sarcastically.
"I don't have friends. I have myself, and that's it. I don't know what life's like where you're from, but here, you've gotta take care of yourself first; something I intend to do. It's sad that Juu has problems; hell, it's sad that everybody has problems, but I'm not running around trying to fix them all."
"You don't have to fix them all."
"Then what do you suppose I do, hm?"
"You could at least help the people you do know."
"As opposed to helping myself?"
"No. As part of helping yourself. As part of being alive; having friends. Enjoy what you do, don't regret it."
Armada laughed while shaking her head and backing away from Trunks a few steps. "You, you don't know me; so stop acting like you do." She turned and headed away while saying "I'll see you on stage then."
Trunks shook his head and walked off in another direction. There was still time before the concert began, he just wanted to have a look around. He soon found his way to an area just off the north side of the stage where he saw people pushing and pulling around things that he figured were stereo equipment. He saw one young man struggling with a large box of some sort and decided to give the guy a hand. After lifting it effortlessly on the stage some five feet from the ground, the poor guy nearly fainted in shock. "Ho-how'd you do that?" he sputtered out while Trunks wiped the dirt from his hands onto his jacket.
"I, uh, work out a lot," he laughed.
"I can tell," the man said a little terrified. He was kind of tall, yet very skinny. He wore round and bug-like eyeglasses and very baggy clothes. His hair and eyes were both a musty brown, with his hair being cut very short. "Um, who are you?" he asked curiously.
"Ah, I'm just here on vacation for a while. My name's Trunks." He figured it wouldn't do much harm to tell the guy his real name.
"Heh. I work here. Lovely job, isn't it?" the skinny guy laughed. "I'm Meirk (said 'murk')," he reached out to shake hands with the strong guy. Trunks complied and before their conversation could continue, another young man that was kind of skinny but with longer black hair came charging up to the two.
"Meirk," he panted, "Nemo's coming!" Meirk's eyes widened. "Since Rail missed, he took the job away from him and said he's gonna do it himself!"
"What happened to Rail?" Meirk blurted out before the man could continue.
"Since he hit that one chick, Nemo said he'd spare his life so they locked him up! We gotta go get him, Meirk, before he dies of dehydration or something!" the black haired youth exclaimed.
"Okay, you go ahead to the normal meeting place and I'll be there in a minute. Calm down and think of how we'll get him out, okay?" Meirk tried to calm down his friend.
"Right," he nodded. He finally noticed Trunks standing there next to the stage. "Oh hell, you're one of them!" he turned and ran as fast as he could.
Meirk spoke first. "You were hired by K'ha to protect the princess, right?" he asked not looking at Trunks yet. "Don't bother to answer; I already know I'm right." Meirk turned to face him. "You know then, huh? Rail is my brother; he was the guy who tried to shoot the princess. But please, hear me out before you get angry. None of us really want Bmyhad to change-we don't even live there. But Tere provides the hungry with food, the homeless with shelter, and orphans with families. It's all we've got; and I'm not gonna give it up so soon."
"But I'm sure that if you work it out with the government, things can change around here," Trunks tried to change the young man's mind.
"I wish it were that simple. But right now, Juu doesn't even have a government. And the royal family hasn't done anything for us," Meirk jumped down from the stage he was sitting on.
"Lennir's gonna reveal herself to the public today. She wants to help the people of Juu get their lives back," Trunks said although hardly any of what he said was heard.
"I've gotta go save my bro. Maybe we'll meet again someday." That was all Meirk said before running off as his friend did earlier. Trunks stood still for a moment, feeling some sympathy for Meirk before his thoughts were interrupted by the loudspeaker.
"Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for the concert of your lives!"
Trunks snapped out of his trance and glanced at his watch. The concert was starting in one minute! He rushed through several corridors before finding the hall leading to the stage. The announcer was just finishing up the introductions when Trunks came dashing around the final corner and up the stairs onto the stage. He stopped as he noticed Lennir standing at the edge of the stage waiting for the curtain to draw back. He glanced around a few more times before noticing Armada on the far right of the stage. She pointed opposite herself to left, indicating where he was to watch from. Trunks went where indicated and made it behind the side curtains just as the main curtain was pulled back.
"Here she is everyone, Lennir!"
The crowd went wild as the young girl stepped out even farther on the stage. She smiled and waved while holding her microphone. Lennir took a deep breath and began her first song, one that was fast paced and got the crowd moving. This was tactical of course, because if the crowd was moving a lot then it would be twice as hard for someone to aim steady and shoot Lennir.
Unfortunately, the movement of the crowd didn't sway Nemo. He was standing maybe fifty rows back, barely able to see Lennir on stage. He lifted his rifle to his left shoulder and looked into the scope. Lennir was about to end the song, and she would stand still long enough for Nemo to fire. The moment of victory was about to arrive.
"La, la la laah." Lennir bowed slightly while finishing the last, slow phrase of the song. Everything occurred within a split second. The crowd was silent. Nemo pulled the trigger. The shot came barreling towards Lennir. Trunks, K'ha, and Armada each began to run towards Lennir. The girl gasped as the bullet hit her in the middle of her chest. She fell backwards, dropping her microphone as Trunks caught her, seeing as how he was the first there. The crowd screamed. Some ran towards exits while few others rushed towards the stage to see how their favorite singer was doing. Nemo stood still with victory written across his face as the people around him slowly dispersed, heading this direction or that. Within a matter of minutes, the place as empty save for a few people on stage and Nemo himself, of course.
"Lennir! Come on, wake up!" Trunks said to her worriedly while holding the small girl. "You can do it; I know. Say something!"
"Stop all that's very loud, you know," Lennir laughed and coughed while sitting up slowly, still being cradled by the young man.
"No!" Nemo screamed aloud to himself as he saw Lennir slowly sitting up. He charged at the stage to see what had happened. He knew that he hadn't missed, so why was she still alive?
"Armada!" Trunks yelled out as Nemo jumped up onto the stage. Lennir looked up at him, fearing for her life. He smirked. Nemo donned an outfit of mostly black cloth with some green here and there, but he still looked fearsome. Out of nowhere, Armada came flying around from the side and punched Nemo across the face. He stumbled back a bit before regaining his balance. He fixed his glare upon Armada who stood back ready for an attack. He charged at her with a series of kicks that Armada blocked easily. He then jumped and kicked across, aiming for her head. She ducked and when he circled around he nailed her on her left side with his foot and sent her reeling off the stage. She'd fallen flat on her face, and Nemo decided this to be the moment of weakness on her part. He jumped down after her, trying to stomp the girl as he landed. Armada saw this coming and scrambled out of the way, letting Nemo land with an incredible force, enough to crack the ground beneath them.
K'ha came back to Lennir and Trunks on the stage with a medical kit. Trunks propped up Lennir a bit and K'ha cut open the top half of her dress-revealing the bullet proof armor that Lennir was wearing. "Ow," she said in obvious pain as K'ha examined the armor to make sure that the bullet hadn't actually pierced Lennir.
"She'll be fine," he said to Trunks. "The armor worked perfectly."
"K'ha, take Lennir," Trunks said gently handing the girl to K'ha. Trunks stood and turned his attention to the fight. By this time, Nemo and Armada had pushed each other well out into the amphitheatre, quite a distance from the stage. Trunks walked up to the edge of the stage and watched.
Armada kicked Nemo across the chest and flipped backwards away from him, landing not so gracefully on her feet. She stood back, Nemo watching as she faced her right palm towards him in an oddly familiar formation. "I'm done messing around," Armada said as she smirked and fired a streaming ki blast at Nemo. In shock, Nemo couldn't move and was hit head on. He fell to the ground, landing in a heap.
Trunks nearly had a heart attack he was in such shock. He had no idea that Armada could command ki, or energy. He stood stoically with wide eyes and an open mouth. Armada left Nemo for dead, turning and flying back to the stage, though not high from the ground. She landed on the stage next to the still shocked demi-Saiyan. "What?" she asked after receiving the mangled look he gave her. She shook him off and continued over to K'ha and Lennir. "Is she alright?" she said, taking a knee beside the two.
K'ha nodded. "Everything seems fine. The impact will probably cause a bruise, and it'll be sore for a while, but there was no penetration." Both adults stood, K'ha with the now asleep Lennir cradled in his arms.
Night was drawing near, as twilight had indicated. Three people mingled about in front of Lennir's villa. K'ha handed Armada a substantial amount of money. "Twenty-five thousand beta, as agreed upon earlier," he said as Armada flicked through the bills a bit. "I want to thank you for your help. And let you know that Miss Lennir will miss you both," he added with a slight smile.
"So K'ha," Trunks began, asking a certain question that had plagued him for a while now. "If Lennir's really the princess, how do you know her?"
Still counting the cash and responding without looking up, Armada interjected before K'ha could answer. "He's the general of the military."
The two men were both a little surprised as she continued to count the money. "So I was right then? He is a soldier?" Trunks asked his comrade. Armada nodded as K'ha spoke.
"Eric and I were friends long before he was crowned. For you see, he wasn't a direct descendant of the crown. When he was nine, his aunt and uncle's child died whom was a bit older than Eric, so he was taken in and raised as the crown prince."
"Interesting," Trunks nodded.
"Ready?" Armada asked once she'd finished counting the money. With a quick farewell, the mercenaries were on their way back to the Verdandi and back to Bmyhad.
While approaching the ship, Trunks spoke. "Are all missions this tough?" he asked, not meaning to imply that the mission had any difficulty to it.
"Tough?" Armada laughed. "If this is tough, wait until you see what's next!"
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