Disclaimer: I do not own DBZ, or the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story. But if I did own DBZ...it would still be going.
Warnings: Cussing. Violence. No sexy times. Sorry.
A/N: Holy crap, I thought I was going to have trouble writing the action part, but once I sat down and actually wrote, man did it flow. I hope you guys enjoy the next few chapters! Not going to lie, I now know more about 1830s England then I ever thought I would. PS, too all of you out there who knows England topography and history, I have taken liberties here. Many liberties. And I am aware of that, especially in regards to parliament and what it looked like. Yeah for artistic license!
Thanks to all of you who leave loves and likes, you guys definitely keep me going. I am genuinely excited to see what you guys think of the upcoming chapters. Love you all, my gratitude for you is overflowing.
Kattastropi, you are that person who knows what word I am trying to say, even when I don't know what word I am trying to say. Everyone needs someone as awesome as you in their lives.
Chapter Forty: Let's Get Ready to Rumble
Come quickly to House of Lords. The King is being held captive in the cabinet room. Frieza has secured a way in, with at least fifteen of his men. We need everyone to help defuse situation before people start to notice. Stealth is of utmost importance here.
The words of the note were burned in Vegeta's brain as he rode the horses Nappa had somehow procured for the three men, taking what would have been a half hour walk and turning it into a ten minute ride. Vegeta was glad for the time saving, as he knew that once they arrived at the wooden footbridge, with Westminster, tall, proud and beckoning only a Thames length away--they would have to abandon the horses. Basil's note had urged covertness, and horses coming over a wooden bridge was not particularly descreet. Instead of taking the Westminster Bridge, the one that was closest to Westminster and that would deposit them to the North, Vegeta urged his horse south, following the curve of the river until they came upon a bridge that would deposit them south of the House of Lords. It took them a few extra minutes, but Vegeta hoped those minutes would prove worth it.
Nappa had understood, but Vegeta had seen Kakarrot's confused face, so he only gruffly told him, "Even if Frieza does not know about my current job with the government, I can guarantee he knows I will be coming after him today. He is expecting us to come from the Northwest, where my residence is--I want to come from the Southwest, to see if we can find a way in that will not get us noticed."
Kakarrot had only nodded, and the men resumed their brisk pace as they crossed the bridge. As much as time was of the essence here, Vegeta knew that the element of surprise was just as important. Frieza was sure to know that he would come, and Vegeta did not want to give that fiend the pleasure and ease of him walking past where all of his sentries were sure to be placed. As they walked, blending in with the midday market crowds who were crossing from one fresh market to other on either side of the bridge, Vegeta's mind continued to whirl, his heart hammering in his chest.
He could not believe--but today was the day. The day he had been planning for, for years! The day he could finally seek his revenge...and the day he was most likely to either lose his life if he failed. Or, on the other hand, sign his death warrant should he succeed. His stomach turned at that thought. He ignored it. Focusing, instead, on the way adrenaline slithered and coiled through his system, putting all of his senses on overdrive. Today. Today was the day he found out whether or not all of his training, the austerity he had imposed on himself in his social life, whether it was all worth it or not. His mind drew away from heavy thoughts, turning instead to the moment in front of him--trying to find answers to questions he knew only Frieza could answer.
The biggest question, though, for Vegeta, was not how he had gotten in, or why he was holed up in the House of Lords--but rather just exactly what Frieza's tactic was. He was a man of open warfare--he was not one to hold a king hostage, demanding they turn over power to him or else. No, he was much more likely to ride into London with all of his troops and hold every single Londoner at sword point, killing as many as he had to to gain power. Something about the whole thing smelled fishy to Vegeta, but he could not figure out just why. It really might be the lack of army that was throwing him off--Frieza never entered battle without a battalion of soldiers larger than any army he was sure to face. But it seemed there was none, or none important enough to mention in the note. But how did Frieza expect to take a kingdom without an army?
It was not sitting right with Vegeta, but still he pushed on.
Nappa's large footsteps no longer right at his heels alerted Vegeta to the fact that his cousin had stopped even further back on the bridge, turning to look at him. He was surprised to a see a frown marring his face as he walked back towards him, following his line of sight towards their destination, the large building looking serene and as if it were not the spot for the biggest showdown on British soil in...well forever. Kakarrot turned back to look at Vegeta as he approached, "You know this town inside and out right?"
Vegeta, growing impatient with the knowledge that every minute wasted, standing around, was one where Frieza gained an upper hand simply nodded, and Kakarrot continued, "We need to find a way into the palace where we aren't seen, right?"
Barely containing his rising ire, Vegeta snapped, "Of course."
"Are there canals that lead under those arches?" He pointed down from Westminster where there were arches about Fifteen feet off of the Thames. "We can use to go up into the building?"
Vegeta's mind blanked for a second, mad at himself for not having thought of the cellar below. The canals were low hanging arches the perfect cover for three men trying to enter Westminster unnoticed. Before he could chastise himself too much (now he was the one wasting time!) he only growled, "There are canals underneath, and a cellar we can use to slip into Westminster." He paused before catching his cousin's eye, begrudgingly forcing himself to admit, "Excellent idea Kakarrot."
Kakarrot did not idiotically beam at him, and Vegeta would forever be grateful for that. His cousin's face was instead set, much like Vegeta remembered has father's had been whenever he had spoken to the dowager, and Vegeta drew comfort in that. He did not need the Americanized Kakarrot today--he needed the one with Saiyan blood. He was not sure if his cousin was truly combat tested, in a real battle where death was the only way to move on--but he would be by the end of the day. Vegeta needed to know that his cousin could face it before he threw him into the fray--and seeing his Saiyan side coming out, well, it let him know that he would be.
Vegeta turned then, knowing that the men would be on his heels as he continued across the rest of the bridge. Instead of exiting the bridge and heading down Milbank, they instead followed the path from the mouth of the bridge down to the river. Vegeta considered flinging coin at the first boat they saw--but he was worried that Frieza would have sentries posted along the edge of Westminster to watch the river for ships coming in. There was a well worn path (if it could be called that, in actuality it was more of a lip that provided a one foot ledge that held people over the river) that followed alongside the river, twenty feet below the short wall that ran from the bridge to parliament. A man would have to be looking straight down to see anyone on it, which was why it was perfect for three men trying to sneak into Westminster in the middle of the day.
Nappa's large frame worried Vegeta, but he was appeased when he saw Nappa cling to the wall sideways, stopping his shoulders from hanging into people's sight. Though it slowed the man, it did provide them the cover they needed--plus Vegeta was not worried about Nappa falling behind. The man had proved himself time and time again in helping Vegeta with his spy work.
They arrived at the canals that led to the Westminster cellar within minutes, but Vegeta stopped short before they could enter one. Kakarrot hit him, and Nappa hit both of them--and Vegeta's sure footing was the only thing that stopped them all from falling into the view of the Russian longboat that was already waiting in the docks underneath Westminster. Vegeta motioned to the two men behind him, who took in the longboat sitting at the dock--full of about fifty men who were dressed in British soldier's uniforms.
That did not fool Vegeta though--he had fought enough Russian's to know what an army of them looked like. Plus the commands being yelled at them by the CO--they were not in English. Vegeta observed as the men, under the canal and out of view of the people on the other side of the Thames, were pulling on antiquated, yet effective in close battle, armor. Full on armor that would protect them from swords (though whether or not from bullets was another story entirely).
So that was Frieza's game. Pretend to be leading a small number of people--but really having an army at his beck and call to launch a surprise attack once everyone was inside the closed confines of the House of Lords. If Frieza attacked from the front and the back in the long hallways--well, it would be a bloodbath. Whatever British generals and soldiers who were there now--they were sure to be all higher up in His Majesty's Service--Frieza could eliminate the head of the British army, navy, hell every branch of their defense with one sneak attack. That would be sure to cause pandemonium in the royal services once Frieza actually revealed himself--and make it that much easier for Frieza to gain control.
Now that was more Frieza's style.
Vegeta pointed back, knowing that they had to warn Basil, as it would be impossible for the three men to take on the large number of Russian soldiers who were standing between them and the docks. It was Nappa though, that froze this time. Vegeta raised an eyebrow, ready to berate his second, before Nappa pointed above the ship--pointing out the old defense system that had been here as long as there had been docks underneath Westminster.
A rather large cauldron was stationed right above where the boat was docked--and Vegeta would bet his life that it was filled with pitch--the idea being, of course, that when an enemy ship docked you would light the rather large cauldron on fire before tumbling it over onto the unsuspecting boat below. It was rather medieval, but it was effective. Dangerous around all of the wooden buildings--but definitely effective. Especially against a boat full of men wearing heavy armor that was sure to sink them to the bottom of the shallow river. Shallow, yet deep enough to drown them before they could even take off the heavy armor. Vegeta looked a little further along the catwalk that led to the cauldron, and saw two unlit torches sitting there, as well as another cauldron that was placed closer to the front of the dock--if they used both, they were sure to incinerate the ship and the soldiers before they knew what hit them.
Vegeta pulled both of the men back, away from the eyes and the ears of the Russian soldiers, as he looked at Kakarrot, "You are a good climber, yes?" Kakarrot nodded, and Vegeta continued, "How is your stealth?"
Kakarrot smirked, in an almost cocky manner as he admitted, "Pretty damn good." Vegeta eyed him for only a second after the curse word--was that the first time he had ever heard Kakarrot curse? Vegeta just hoped it was a sign of his Saiyan side coming out further and further.
Vegeta looked at both of the men as he laid out his plan, "Kakarrot we need to kill as many of these as possible before Frieza gives them the signal--do you see that cauldron?" Kakarrot looked past Vegeta, his head back in the canal entrance for a moment, just long enough to look at it, "There is a second cauldron stationed further ahead, up by the front of the boat, do you see it?" Vegeta waited until Kakarrot peaked around the lip of the cave, nodding his answer as he pulled back, looking at Vegeta again. Vegeta frowned, "I need you to climb over to that one--the catwalk for that one is on the other side of this arch, so you need to climb over that first. Once inside you have to hug the wall, but the ladder does not look that far into the catwalks. Just make sure you grab a torch once you're up there. When I give the signal light it and use it to set fire to the pitch inside the cauldron, and pull the lever that will turn the cauldron. We need to do this at the same time, catching the men by surprise--can you do that?"
Kakarrot only smirked (was that a real smirk on his face? Vegeta's confidence in him rose right then and there), Nappa handing him some matches before he was off, climbing the rocky wall outside of the canal. Vegeta held his breath as he watched his cousin climb over and around--but the man was a literal monkey. He climbed around using only his arms, not even a toe of his coming in sight of the mouth of the canal. Vegeta waited until his cousin was ready, standing on the other side, giving him a thumbs up, before he looked back at Nappa.
Nappa gave Vegeta a grim smile, "Good luck, sir." Vegeta said nothing; only taking the proffered matches, knowing full well Nappa knew how he felt about luck.
Vegeta turned as he began to twist his way into the dock opening. It was a twenty-foot walk along a small lip before he would reach the ladder that would lead up to the catwalk. Vegeta's heart hammered loudly as he knew that all it would take would be for one man to look either his way, or Kakarrot's and the game would be up. Not for the first time did he thank his affinity for wearing all black, as it helped him blend into the dark entrance to the canal, his footsteps sure but light as he made his way to the ladder. For the first time in a long time, Vegeta also thanked Kami for his small stature--as he looked over his shoulder, he saw Kakarrot's feet hanging over the lip, one of his feet slipping--as well as Vegeta's heart. But his cousin's strength and agility made up for his large size, and he caught himself with his hands, scurrying along the wall the rest of the way to the ladder.
When Vegeta reached his own ladder, he climbed up with a speed that rivaled Kakarrot's, disappearing up into the darkness of the roof of the canal. He stayed low on the catwalk, crouching, but grabbing one of the unlit torches as he made his way over the creaky wooden beam. When he reached the spot where the cauldron was, he looked across, further into the tunnel, glad to see that it was connected through a small opening to the other cauldron--he and Kakarrot could see each other perfectly. Kakarrot was already waiting, his hand on the pulley that turn the cauldron over, the other hand holding a lit torch away from the highly flammable tar. Vegeta took in his cousin for a moment, noticing how tense his body looked in that moment--the smirk was gone too. Instead he looked grim, yet determined. Gook, Vegeta needed that determination.
Vegeta turned to his own unlit torch, lighting it with sure and steady hands as he took a deep breath, calming himself, his adrenaline fueled (and jittery) body with that breath. He allowed himself a second to look down from where he was, taking in the amount of soldiers on the long boat.
The men no longer looked like British soldiers, not with their heavy armor pulled on, and Vegeta felt a sadistic smile cross his face as he realized how this worked to his advantage. The men who did not catch fire by getting hit by the flaming tar, would sink to the bottom of the river the second the pitch burned their boat. They canal was wide enough that it would be a seven or eight foot jump from either side of the boat to solid land--this would work out perfectly. No one could jump that far in their armor, and no one would be able to swim the relatively short distance with such heavy armor on.
Vegeta looked back at Kakarrot, and the other man raised an eyebrow. Vegeta only waited a few more seconds, looking back down and giving time to the stragglers who were still pulling on their heavy armor, before he moved his arm, knowing Kakarrot would do the same, lighting the pitch as he pulled the lever.
The tar was already falling as it caught on fire--and drew all of the attention of the men who were directly underneath it. There was not enough time to scream before the boat caught fire in the front and rear of the boat, the men directly underneath the two cauldrons covered in burning tar and flames, as the men around them either caught fire, or tried to jump from the fast burning wood boat.
Those who jumped did not meet a much better fate than those men who had caught fire--they disappeared underneath the water as quickly as they touched it, the movement of the surface the only indication that they had even jumped in. No one resurfaced from where Vegeta stood. The other men stayed on the burning boat, scrambling for a way to safety, finding none as the plank they had used to reach the dock at the front of the cavern burned as quickly as the rest of the wooden longboat. The docks themselves, perhaps damp with the humidity in the air, oddly, did not catch fire--and neither, Vegeta noted with a sigh of relief, did any of the walls of the cavern, or the roof that had them directly underneath Westminster.
The smell of burning hair and flesh hit Vegeta's nose, the screams of the men renting the air. Vegeta took a look back to the mouth of the cave to see if the flames or the screams were catching anyone's attention. Nappa was standing at the mouth of the cavern, and he only gave Vegeta a thumbs up, indicating that no one up there had noticed--yet.
Still, Vegeta knew that time was of the essence here. He did not want the people of London to know what was happening. The last thing they needed was a panic among the hundreds of thousands of people milling around about town--that would work in Frieza's favor, especially if he tried to escape.
But the screaming did not last long as the burning ship sunk, rather quickly, especially under the weight of the armored men, dragging those who did not burn down to the bottom of the river. Not a single soldier had made it--they were either burned or drowned. He looked across to Kakarrot, who looked rather queasy, but who had met his eye, a grim look on his face. Vegeta motioned him down, pointing to the now unguarded entrance to the cellar of Westminster. He turned back in and waved Nappa in, knowing the man would have to shimmy along the lip like him and Kakarrot had done to get to the front of the where the dock's still stood.
The three men converged outside of the doors that would lead them to the cellar. Rather than rush in, Vegeta caught Kakarrot's shoulder and his attention, forcing himself to ask, "Was that your first time...killing someone?"
Kakarrot did not meet his eye, but Vegeta felt the tensing of his shoulder, saw the crease that ran between Kakarrot's eyes, and he had his answer. Still Kakarrot answered in a gruff tone, "Yes."
Vegeta tried to find words to soothe his cousin's conscience, but there really were none, other than the truth. "They would have massacred His Majesty's service, as I do not think our side was expecting an army to ambush them. You saved countless lives."
Kakarrot's frown deepened, the lines of either side of his mouth deepening, but he only looked forward, determination in his eyes.
Vegeta, well used to reading the emotions of a man who did not want to speak, wasted no more time, his voice gruff as he commanded, "Come on, we have to stop Frieza."
It was not until they moved that Vegeta realized that something was off--if the king was in residence at Westminster, which meant every entrance, EVERY entrance should have been guarded. Even ones as insignificant and rarely used as the cellar doors. But they had yet to see any British officers down here, doing their duty.
Before Vegeta could voice these concerns, Kakarrot was pulling open the double doors of the cellar--and Vegeta felt his heart stop as they saw four Russian soldiers who had not been on the boat, the dead bodies of the British officers behind them. Vegeta only had a millisecond to take this all in before he realized they had four muskets pointed at the three of them, Nappa the one who grabbed him from behind, screaming, "DIVE!"
Nappa pulled Vegeta from the line of a bullet that whipped past his hair, as Kakarrot jumped to the other side. As the men were using outdated muskets, they could only get off one shot. Vegeta and Nappa wasted no time, pulling their blades from inside of their boots, and coat (respectively), moving at the speed of light as they rushed in, slashing without looking. It only took ten seconds, but four Russian soldiers now lay heaped on top of the British soldiers they had killed. Nappa and Vegeta wasted no time in lifting the weapons from the dead bodies, arming themselves with their swords and knives, but discarding the muskets. They would be useless in close combat.
It was only when they were armed that they realized Kakarrot was not with them, ransacking the bodies--Vegeta turned, frowning as he saw Kakarrot standing at the entrance to the cellar, his eyes large as he took in the bodies. Vegeta sighed, walking over to him, trying to find the right way to phrase this, "Kakarrot, it is only going to get worse the closer we get to Frieza--you will not be able to escape this alive if you do not prepare yourself to fight someone to the death." Vegeta sighed, running a hand through his hair, "If you do not think you are prepared to do this--then it is better if you return to Bulma. I still want you there protecting her."
At the mention of his sister's name, Kakarrot's back straightened. A resolve set in his eyes--as he looked at Vegeta, his voice steely as he said, "I made a promise to Bulma, and I am not turning my back on you or her. You need me here. We will not always be as lucky as we have been with the boat, and you need men you can trust behind you. I am one of them. I told Bulma I would bring you home alive, and I intend to do just that."
There was truth in Kakarrot's words, so Vegeta only nodded, handing him a sword and the belt it had been in. Kakarrot took the sword from the belt, examining it, before turning it over in his hands a few times, easily slashing it, the sword looking comfortable in his hands, before he returned it to the belt, tying that around his waist. Vegeta smirked as he watched the display--for once, he was glad he could admit that his cousin was one well-trained individual. Even if he had never seen battle, he sure knew how to fight. That was definitely an advantage they would need, the closer they got to Frieza.
"Come on, we do not have much time before Frieza realizes his whole army is dead." Vegeta turned to walk through the cellars, moving past the main entrance and to the right, where, with the right push, a whole casket of barrels moved out of the way, revealing the entrance to the tunnels that ran under and throughout Westminster. Vegeta took the first right, stopping at the foot of a long set of stairs that would lead them up to just right of the cabinet room.
He took a breath, and then faced his two companions, "We still have the element of surprise, and I intend on using it to kill Frieza."
With that, he turned back around and began the jog up the steps that would lead him to the man he had vowed to kill all those years ago.
Piccolo was grateful for the swiftness of the Vegetasei carriage driver, holding on to the side of the speeding carriage as they left the east side of town, crossing one of the only bridges open to carriages, entering the west side of London. They sped as fast as they could, heading for Mayfair and the doctor's office that Vegeta had commanded he go to.
His concern for his father outweighed his need to comprehend what had just happened, what had just occurred with the man he had always been taught to hate. He did not let himself even think for a second about what he had seen, about what he had heard, to allow himself to process what he had been told about his father. But still, he thought about Goku--their first meeting had not gone as Piccolo had ever imagined. He was not the man his father described him to be, gleeful, and malicious--but Piccolo was not going to try and decipher that just yet.
In fact, he only focused on the changing streets, his heart thundering as he thought of how unwell his father looked, of how small and sick he looked in the actual light of day. He did not dare to peek into the carriage, afraid to see his father throwing up, or having another seizure. He only prayed for speed, his stomach turning itself in knots as he prepared himself for the worst. The only comfort was the ring weighing against his leg, the full weight of the Vegetasei privilege carried in the heavy brass ring. Where before he could only afford the opinion of a doctor, this would buy him whatever care his father needed.
The carriage drew up to a wealthy looking establishment on a street full of wealthy looking establishments, but Piccolo barely noticed as jumped from where he was, opening the door. As the door to the carriage opened, Piccolo was hit with the familiar, yet stronger than usual, stench of sick and decay. His father must have purged his body on the carriage ride over. Piccolo did not even notice as he reached in for his father, his small frame easy to grab, though Piccolo felt his stomach turn as he realized how insubstantial his father had grown.
His father surprised him by opening his eyes as he groaned, saying his name in a raspy voice that bespoke his need for water, "Piccolo.... Piccolo...."
Piccolo leaned in close, uncaring of the smell as he looked for some sort of wisdom from his father on what to do, "Yes father, I am here."
Piccolo Sr.'s eyes were glazed with fever, but the swung, unfocused until they caught on Piccolo's own; "It...it is..." he broke off in a grasp of wheezing, his whole body shaking with the force of the racking coughs. Piccolo's heart squeezed as he felt his father's body shake so, but Piccolo Sr. continued on when he stopped, talking with the lowest voice he had ever heard, "It is our time. Our time to earn our revenge."
Piccolo had not been expecting that, his eyes growing wide as he realized what his father was talking about. Piccolo had been waiting months for this moment--but now he could care less. All he cared about was getting his father well. Still, he told him, thinking him confused, "Father--Goku is not here anymore. We left him."
Another racking cough, another long wheeze as his father grabbed his lapels, holding himself up even as a fire burned in his--whether that was from the fever or the passion he had in his hatred of Goku was hard to tell. His words were raspy and low, but Piccolo hung on to every one of them. "Good. It...it is not him we will...murder."
"Father?" Had he just said murder? Piccolo had never killed another person in his life, not even in combat. He was a fighter yes, but their people were peaceful, even with the settlers who took more and more of their land. Sure he had expected Goku to get some sort of retribution--but to murder someone else in their quest for revenge against him?
Piccolo's fathers eyes grew wild again, as he sunk back into himself, "His family is unprotected. Go...(cough cough), go kill his family like he killed ours." Whatever strength Piccolo Sr. had had was gone with that last proclamation, his eyes rolling back into his head as he passed out.
Piccolo felt his father's hand grow lax, his body slackening--snapping Piccolo into action, and away from his shock as his father's plan was laid out before him. He took his father into the doctor, fishing out the ring as he laid his father down on a waiting bed to show the nurse. Her eyes grew large as she recognized the seal, rushing for the doctor, before she hurried him from the room. It was there that Piccolo sat, finally allowing himself to think, think about what had just happened, and what his father expected of him.
He was sitting on a fancy chair, in a fancy office, in a foreign land--all because he thought he owed his father something. He thought he was doing what was right--he thought he was following his uncle's teaching in paying respect to his elder's...but this? To murder innocents because of the own tragedy that had befallen his family? Especially now, in light of what Piccolo had learned what he feared was the truth from his sworn enemy?
Goku had not been trying to harm his father, Piccolo let sink in, realizing that Goku was truly trying to help his father back there by their apartments. That did not fit in with the malicious and cruel man his father had always painted. He had told Piccolo that Goku had laughed in his face when he had asked for some of the money to help his family. He had said that Goku had told the man he had spent all of that money on a large meal, and that he did not deserve a single penny. He said he had mocked him for being poor, telling him if he had wanted to save his family than he should have won the tournament.
But this Goku--the one he had met, the one Vegeta (a man he begrudgingly had to admit he respected) had painted--was not that sort of person.
That raised even worse questions about what had actually gone on after the World's Marital Arts tournament those few years ago. Had Goku truly given his earnings to Piccolo's father to help save his family? And had the man he owed love and respect to really spent that money on booze rather than the medicine he knew his family so desperately needed? There was something so...it struck something in Piccolo. Some chord he wished to ignore, but he found he could not. His father's attitude since he had started to drink, even before his mother and brother's had grown sick, had sunk to new lows. Maybe his need for that drink, for a drink not readily available to him in Quebec, but was so readily available to him in New York had distracted him from his family.
Piccolo fought with everything inside of him, wishing it not to be true--but Piccolo knew it fit in with his father's long disappearance after the tournament. Piccolo had originally attributed it to shame at not winning, at having been denied the money that would buy his family medicine and him a way home--yet Piccolo Sr. had ridden to their village on a horse that was not his own. He had told Piccolo he had won it in an earlier fight of the tournament--but what if it was something he had bought using the money he was supposed to be buying his families medicine with? That thought made Piccolo physically ill, his hands fisting at his side as he considered just what sort of man his father always had been--selfish, greedy, and power hungry--and what sort of man he had become after the tournament--unbearable, intolerable, and a drunk.
Piccolo looked up in horror as he realized how blindly he had followed his father to London; abandoning those he loved to--murder innocent people? That was not who he was.
Piccolo was pulled from his thoughts, looking up as he heard footsteps rapidly approaching him as the doctor appeared, looking grim. His words were wind to Piccolo though, barely filtering in as he told him, "I'm sorry--your father, he did not make it. He had a--. Surgery--complications--we did everything."
Piccolo only nodded, asking for the body to be prepared for sea travel. The doctor had raised an eyebrow--but said nothing, only nodding his assent. Piccolo considered leaving his father here, in this Kami-forsaken place where he had drunk himself to death--but he was not his father, and he could not be that petty. He still owed the man who had given him to life a burial with the rest of his family. Whether or not their deaths were on his father's hands was no longer his concern--he would be judged by the gods on the other side, and whether or not he would be reincarnated would be up to them. Piccolo then went outside, to the waiting carriage, "Take me to Vegetasei's seat. I need to find a ship that can take me back to the new world, as well as my father's body."
Piccolo found himself on a ship, sailing home within the next six hours, his eyes firmly glued to the horizon, ignoring everything he had left behind in the old world, his father's body safely preserved underneath. It was time for him to go home. It was time to reach out to his uncle, praying with everything in him that he would be allowed his seat back at his side. He had learned his lesson, and from that point on, Piccolo would always put the needs of his tribe before his own--which was what would make him an excellent tribal leader one day, even if he did not yet know it.
Vegeta stopped at the top the staircase, holding his hand up to the halt the two men charging up behind him. His other hand reached out for the secret lever on the wall in front of them that would turn it into a door with a flick of his wrist. Vegeta closed the fist on his hand that was still held up Nappa extinguished the torch, Vegeta giving himself a moment to adjust his eyes to the darkness in front of them before he opened the door. On the other side of this door was a cabinet, built specifically to cover the secret entrance into the quarters of the King's office, filled with coats that Vegeta pushed out of his way.
This was built as a way to sneak the King in and out in times of dire need (or when the King grew bored of cabinet meetings, it was rumored among his staff), and directly connected to the room where Frieza was holding the King hostage. Vegeta stopped as he reached the inside of the cabinet door, his hand ready to push it open--but there was a shuffling on the other side of the cabinet, and Vegeta froze, the shuffling alerting him to the fact that they were not alone in the room.
It hit Vegeta like a ton of bricks then, with certain clarity. How stupid of him--this was probably how Frieza had snuck into Westminster without being seen. They must have come on the longboat that had entered the canals, dressed as British soldiers who would have been seen as common for entering through the canals. Now there were men on the other side of this door, probably meant to be messengers to the now-dead soldiers downstairs and the soon-to-be dead ones that were up here.
Vegeta had been hoping to sneak in--if there were a large number of soldiers, they would have to backtrack and find another way to sneak in. But first, he needed to listen, to try and figure out how many men were on the other side of the cabinet door. Vegeta pressed closer to the crack, his eyes swiveling as he took in the room--and he breathed a small sigh of relief. As far as he could see there were only two guards left in here, both of them standing sentry at either doorway. One right by the cabinet Vegeta was behind, and one at the door that led to the cabinet room directly across from the cabinet. Vegeta observed them, something not right as he noticed that they were both staring at the desk in the room. Vegeta could only see the edge of the desk, but he surmised that there was someone sitting in the chair there--the king perhaps? Frieza himself?
Vegeta motioned to Nappa, knowing this was where Nappa's brute strength would come in handy. He used two fingers to motion towards where the two guards stood, and then motioned towards the desk, indicating with hand gestures that someone might be there, but he did not know if they were friend or foe. Years of going on missions together made their silent communication flawless, and Nappa gave a nod of understanding. Vegeta moved back into the tunnel with Kakarrot, watching as Nappa reached into his coat, grabbing two of his throwing knives before he froze, looking through the crack in the cabinet to orient himself.
After a moment, Nappa used his shoulder to push the door of the cabinet open, catching the surprise of both guards as he burst forth with agility that did not match his size. Nappa wasted no time though, swinging in midair, using the momentum to slice the throat of the man directly to the right of the cabinet, his other arm straight out as he threw the knife right into the throat of the man across from them.
Neither men had time to react before they fell to the floor, blood spilling from their throats as they gasped their last breaths--Nappa having made sure to cut their vocal chords so they could not cry for help as they died. Nappa hardly noticed their death gurgles though, as he was already turned to face the person behind the desk, his knife ready to throw--before his arm dropped, his whole face falling as he took in what he saw.
Vegeta did not wait for the signal then, leaving the dark space of the armoire as he looked at what had captured Nappa's attention. Vegeta's eyes grew wide as he saw what had stopped Nappa, unable to stop a low curse from escaping his lips. There, sitting in the chair as if he were taking notes was the body of the king, propped up in his chair--the angle his head hung off of his neck the only indicator that he was not still alive.
Still, Vegeta was thorough if nothing else, so he wasted no time in approaching the body, putting his fingers to the neck, before cursing again as he pulled away as he felt how stiff and cold the body was. He did not have to check for a pulse, this man had been dead for hours. "We are too late. The King is dead."
Nappa frowned, Goku looking perplexed as he entered the room, still whispering as he spoke, "I thought Frieza was holding him hostage."
"We thought he was--His Majesty's Service must have slipped up though, and Frieza had him killed. We might be too late as it is."
The three men then turned to the door connecting them to the cabinet room, wondering what their next move should be. Vegeta knew he needed a plan, a new one, but he needed to know what he had missed. Unfortunately he did not even know where Basil or the other leaders of His Majesty's Service was, so he needed gather some intel first before he formulated his next plan.
Vegeta moved closer to the door of the cabinet room to listen, to hear what was going on in there, but the murmur of voices was too loud for him to make out any one voice. Though they were all speaking in Russian, and that certainly was not a good sign. But still--it did not sound like there was fighting. Perhaps his fellow countrymen had capitulated to Frieza's demands and there would be no fighting? Or, far more likely, Frieza had already killed off the British soldiers, and was planning his next attack.
Vegeta walked to the only other door in the room, the one that led to the hallway outside of this room, the cabinet room, and the floor of the House of Lords. Vegeta pressed his ear close there as well, relief flooding through him as he recognized British voices, glad to know they were not to late to save everyone's lives. A British officer, a general he recognized, spoke then, loud enough that he could clearly be heard through the wood of the door, obviously speaking to someone in the cabinet room. "We demand to see the King again, to know he has truly agreed with your conditions before we surrender."
A voice answered--a bone chilling voice Vegeta instantly recognized, the fat pink blob of a man who had never left Frieza's side, not even when he had been torturing Vegeta. That voice was enough to stop Vegeta cold, but then the Russian-accented reply caught Vegeta's attention wholly, as Dodoria said, "Bring the King forward. We need to show them that he is alive."
Vegeta, Nappa and Kakarrot all looked at each other then, ready to move back to the cabinet if someone entered this room to grab the body--but there was rustling in the hallway, no one even approaching this room. Vegeta grew even more confused, especially as he heard the British officer's voice again, sounding concerned this time, "Your Highness, are you all right?"
A voice, one that sounded harried, but familiar to the Duke, rang out, "For the love of Kami, please help me. Capitulate to Frieza, do not be a fool. It is too late for our Kingdom, and Frieza has promised to be kind."
Vegeta felt his confusion grow, and he looked behind to make sure that the dead King was in fact still there, before he heard the King's voice plead with the general to surrender. Something clicked, then, and Vegeta turned to his companions, whispering, "They must be using a imposter. They think that the King is actually still alive--they have no clue what Frieza has already done."
He took a steadying breath, a new plan already forming in his mind, closing his eyes for just a moment, before he opened them, fire burning there as he spoke, "That means we still can catch them by surprise. Come, we must warn the British the truth of the situation--and then we attack."
The other two men said nothing, but followed Vegeta back into the cabinet, Vegeta knowing that these two men would follow him to hell and back.
A/N: So that's actually the end of Piccolo's story, and I would love to know what you guys thought of his whole arc. I didn't realize how parallel it ran to the show until nancy103 pointed out--thank you nancy103! That was an awesome comparison you made, and I would never have realized it without you.
Okay guys, lots of action still coming up, can't wait to see what you think!