This post is part of the series The Intermediate Years: Nasu

Other posts in this series:

  1. Marks of Royalty (Current)
  2. One
  3. Two
  4. Three
  5. Four
  6. Five
  7. Six
  8. Seven
  9. Eight
  10. Nine
  11. Ten
  12. Eleven
  13. Twelve
  14. Thirteen
  15. My Best Friend’s Wedding

Title: Marks of Royalty
Plot, or Lack Thereof: The story of Nasu’s distant ancestor by the same name, modeled loosely after The Prince and the Pauper and a bad Chinese soap opera.
Reason for Banishment: Weak execution of a good idea that has since been slightly tweaked in the prologue of For Want.


About two hundred years ago on Vegetasei, two babies were born on the same day.  One, a girl, was born to the King in his royal palace; the other, a boy, was born to the poorest of the poor, in a slum not too far from the palace.  Being born at such opposite extremes of the social ladder, neither ever dared to dream that fate had other ideas.

***

─Ten years later─
Of all the things that worried King Vegeta, two were always on his mind.  One, the Saiyans had been in a state of war with the Hamienjians for nearly five years now, but a clear-cut victory was nowhere in sight.  The treasury was steadily draining, as well as manpower and supplies.  If the army didn’t make a decisive victory soon, it would only be a matter of time before the Saiyans wore themselves out.

The second problem was a little bit more difficult to resolve: his daughter.  Mind you, there was nothing wrong with her except for the fact that she was female.  Even though the Princess─who would not be named until the official ceremony 6 months from now─was as competitive, fierce, and skilled as other high-classed children her age (and perhaps even more so), it would be unacceptable for a female to assume the throne of the Saiyans.  Females weren’t worth the honor, glory, history, and prestige associated with the name “Vegeta”.

If only he had a son and not a daughter! But he could no more change her sex than he could make Vegetasei change its spin.  Had he known that his mate carried a mere girl, he probably would have made some sort of ‘accident’ happen to her─the laws which had been passed down for generations prohibited him from terminating the life of a potential heir.  But his mate had died giving birth to his daughter, and he was loathe to see more death, even though the baby was female.

Why was I so weak? King Vegeta wondered.  I could have rid myself of her quietly and gotten myself a son, but I couldn’t do it.

Because of his weakness, the throne would probably go to one of the other royal families─whichever one his daughter would be mated into.

Unless he could find himself another ‘son’.

It would be risky.  But King Vegeta was desperate and ambitious, and had a literal army of those who would do anything for him and keep their mouths shut about it.  It wouldn’t take too long for someone to find some nobody’s child, make the necessary adjustments in the records, then bring him into the palace for proper training.  A crazy idea, but one that just might work.

But to deceive his people and to break the heart of his little girl?

What the hell am I thinking? I am the KING, dammit! I am free to do whatever I please!

With that thought, King Vegeta called forth one of his grunts to begin the task.

***

Elsewhere, on the streets of Vegetasei’s capitol, the young boy who was born on the same day as the Princess was trying to find himself a meal.  He, too, had no name, but that was because those of the street were not expected to live long enough to need a name.  He, like most others, was called “Boy” or “Hey, You”, or the occasional unsavory insult.  He didn’t mind, though, as long as he could fill his stomach.

Sifting through some garbage, the young boy caught sight of a space pod lifting off.  He always envied the soldier class: not only were they well fed, but they also got the chance to travel to other planets to fight.  In the rare moments when he wasn’t looking for food, trying to keep warm, or dodging the police, he would dream that he was one of the lucky few who served in King Vegeta’s army.

The boy heard footsteps coming his way and sighed.  Not again. His feet, set to run at approaching noise, began to move.

He was too late.  The group of official-looking people had already spotted him and began chasing after him.

Crap! He tried running faster.  But one little boy trying to get away from six or seven adults can never get very far.  All too soon he was caught in the strong, firm arms of his pursuers.

“Let me go!” He screamed, thrashing and straining against their grasp.

“Quiet, boy,” one of the soldiers ordered.  Hearing the menace in the soldier’s voice, the boy stopped struggling and allowed him and his companions to half-drag, half-carry him towards the castle. The boy soon found himself in what looked like a locker room where he was given a tag that he couldn’t read and herded into a large arena with many other boys.  Looking around, the boy saw that the others, too, wore ragged street clothing and sported tags like he did.  A quick chat with some of them revealed that they had also been ‘apprehended’ for no apparent reason.

An official-looking person appeared in a balcony over the boys and began announcing something in a loud voice.  The boy could only make out a few snatchings of the official’s words over the noise of the crowd, but whatever it was, the proclamation got everyone very excited.  The next thing he knew, the entire arena erupted into a war zone.

It was a complete free-for-all, but most boys clumped into groups where the strong ganged up on the weak.  The boy himself was tackled from behind, and his survival instincts kicked in as he was drawn into the fray.  Baring his teeth, the boy lashed out at his attacker, pummeling him with punches and kicks.  He was so charged with adrenaline that he didn’t notice the wounds he dealt or received as he fought his way through the others.

Then, all of a sudden, everything went quiet.  All that they boy could hear was his ragged breathing and his heart pounding in his ears.  Something trickled into his eyes; the boy wiped it away with the back of his hand.

Blood?

The boy took a step backwards, and let out a startled gasp when he stepped on something.  Looking down, he saw that it was the body of another boy, mangled almost beyond recognition.  In fact, the entire arena was littered with bodies of the dead and dying.  Above him, various figures spoke to one another in hushed tones.

One of those on the balcony─King Vegeta, the boy realized─stood up.  “Very good, boy.  What’s your name?”

The boy tried to speak, but only a croak escaped from his lips.

“Oh, well. It’s not going to matter anyway.  From now on, you will be my ‘son’!”

For reasons he couldn’t quite yet understand, the boy wanted very much to cry.

***

The Princess was furious.  Just moments ago, it was announced that the long lost heir to some member of the royal family had been found, that King Vegeta had adopted the heir as his own, and that she had been promised to this heir as a mate.

How dare he? The Princess thought as she stormed through the castle.  How dare he how dare he how dare he how dare he HOW DARE HE?

Even though she was just ten years old, she could tell that her father was always disappointed─or perhaps, ashamed─of her, no matter how well she did in everything.  From eavesdropping on the servants, she knew that it was because she was a girl.

What’s so wrong about being a girl? The princess seethed.  This is so unfair!

She stomped into her room, slammed the door behind her, collapsed into bed, and began sobbing.

***

Not even a hot bath, new clothes, and the first decent meal he had in his entire lifetime cheered the boy.  He was still in shock from what had happened earlier.  His guardians, understanding this, allowed him to explore the castle as a diversion.

In a near zombie-like state, the boy wandered through the castle, not knowing or caring where the strange people were leading him.  As time passed, though, the boy found himself feeling increasingly bored, as there weren’t many things in the castle that could interest a ten-year-old boy from the streets.  So, once the opportunity presented itself, the boy slipped away and headed for what he hoped was the door.

As he walked, he heard a strange noise coming from one of the rooms.

Crying?

Life on the streets had taught the boy that if he showed any signs of weakness such as crying, he would be vulnerable to the older teens.  The sound of crying was not something the boy heard often during his short life, not the wrenching sobs that came from the door now.  Without thinking, the boy put his hand on the door and began opening it.

A young girl lay face down on the enormous bed, her shoulder-length hair obscuring her face.  The boy felt a sense of familiarity to the girl, but he couldn’t quite figure out where he had seen her before.

The girl must have sensed him, for she sat up with a start and stared at him.  Jumping out of the bed, she wiped away her tears and assumed a battle stance.  Assuming the worst, the boy braced himself.

Unexpectedly, the girl relaxed.  “Oh,” she said, in a bitter, condescending tone.  “It’s just you.”

Then the boy remembered: this girl was the Princess! She had been at the King’s side when the announcement was made.  Even now, the boy couldn’t believe that he was of royal birth, but as he thought it over, he realized that it was possible since he had no idea who his parents were.  The Princess had been less than enthusiastic about this news, especially when the King told her that she was to be the boy’s mate someday.  Said Princess was at the very moment glaring at him in the most uncomfortable way.

“Sorry.” The boy lowered his head a bit.  “I heard someone crying, and I just followed the sound.”

The Princess flushed a bit, then regained her composure and crossed her arms.  “Hmph!”

The boy understood by her body language that he was not welcome.  “Um. See you later, I guess.”

“Leaving so soon?” The Princess asked.  “Well, good luck.  You won’t be able to take a step out of the castle with them around.”

The boy blinked in confusion.  “Them?” He repeated.  “Who do you mean by this ‘them’?”

Almost as soon as he asked that, the group that the boy thought he evaded burst through the door.

“Please don’t run away like that again, Young Highness,” one of them said.

“Now, come with us,” another said.  “You have very important things to do.”

The boy darted a glance at the Princess; she looked like she was about to strangle all of the men, or worse.  “O-okay.”

***

Surviving in the street was nothing compared to the training the boy received.  At times, he could have sworn that the teacher was out to kill him: each hour-long session ended with the boy near the brink of death.  They would immerse him in a strange liquid to heal his wounds; the next day, the entire process would start all over again.  He was never taught anything, just mercilessly pummeled until he could no longer move.  The only thing worse than the daily thrashing was the lessons in reading, writing, history, and protocol during the morning.

He was waiting for the sensei to arrive for the next ‘training’ session when the Princess walked─no, marched─into the gravity room.

“I’m not in a good mood today,” the Princess declared, striking her right fist into her left palm.  “So I hope you don’t mind me using you as a punching bag.”

She sent a quick jab in the boy’s direction.  To his surprise, he managed to get out of the way before the hit connected.

The Princess, also surprised, raised an eyebrow.  “Not bad.  So you might have something in you, after all.  But I bet they didn’t teach you any real fighting skill, did they?”

The boy could only shake his head.

The Princess gave a derisive little snort.  “Those macho jerks think that brute force is the only way to win.  If that’s so true, then we would have beaten the Hamienjians ages ago!”

The boy looked at the Princess.  “Could you teach me?”

“What?” The Princess feigned mock horror.  “Your Highness wishes for lil’ ol’ me to be your teacher? I’m overwhelmed!”

“Really!” The boy insisted.  More quietly, he added: “Please.”

The Princess stared at the boy as if he had gone crazy.  For a brief instant, the boy thought he saw sadness pass across her eyes.  Then she smirked─an action that the boy could tell was well practiced─and crossed her arms.

“If you feel up to it, go to the room three doors down whenever they let you out.” The Princess turned to leave.  “If you don’t show up, you can forget about me teaching you anything.”

And then she was gone.  A few moments later, the sensei came in, and the massacre began as usual.

***

The boy woke up floating in the tank of fluid he where always ended up after a fight with the teacher.  Outside, two fuzzy figures engaged in quiet conversation.

“He’s improved greatly,” the first said.

“Yes,” answered the second.  “But he’s still not as strong as─”

“Don’t.  She is his mate now.”

A sigh.  “And she had so much potential, too.”

“Yes, quite a pity.”

“I seem to recall a certain time when she floored you in a few seconds.”

“That was because I was careless.  Besides, she’s a girl.  They’re only good for one thing, and you know that.”

Another sigh.  “Maybe.  But what if you’re wrong?”

The first laughed.  “That would be the day I eat my Scouter.”

There was no reply.  The second turned to look at the boy.  “Ah.  You are awake.” There was a beep, and the liquid in the tank began to drain.  “Training for today is over.  Feel free to practice on your own if you’d like.”

“Just stay away from her,” the first added, handing the boy his clothes.

Oh, no! The boy thought.  If they find out.

He had to find some way of making sure that no one walk in on him while he was ‘practicing’.  But how would he do it?

He got his answer when he came to the training room where the Princess had told him to go: pasted to the door was, complete with the royal seal of the King, a note.

“Private training room of His Majesty,” the boy read, furrowing his brow in concentration.  “Keep out─or else!” He smiled, relief spreading across his face.  Princess, you’re a genius!’

***

The Princess was warming up when the boy entered the room.  “It’s about time you got here.” She turned to face him and dropped into a defensive stance.  “You ready to go?”

“Yeah.” The boy got shifted slightly as well.  “By the way, cool sign.”

The Princess grinned.  “Thanks.  Anyway, let’s get started.”

The boy nodded, and attacked.

“Woah, woah, woah!” The Princess intercepted the boy’s fist by catching his wrist.  “Is this what you do against the teacher, too?”

“Yeah, what’s wrong with it?”

“Nothing, except I could have twisted your arm off if I wanted to.” The Princess tightened her grip to drive the point home.  “You don’t just barge into a battle! You’re supposed to study your enemy and find his fighting style, then use that knowledge to your advantage!”

“Oh, yeah. Now that you mention it, I think I remember hearing about it during class.”

“Good.” The Princess let go of the boy’s arm.  “So now it’s time to put that into practice!”

They began to spar again.  This time, the boy stayed mostly on the defensive, concentrating his attention on watching the Princess’ moves.  Gradually, he was able to see a pattern.

Okay. Just as the boy was about to counter in anticipation of the next attack, the Princess changed direction and landed a light punch on his jaw.

“Hey!” The boy rubbed his jaw.  “That hurt!”

“You expect me to just keep doing the same moves over and over again? Nobody’s that stupid, you know.”

“You didn’t have to hit so hard.” The boy muttered under his breath as he launched himself into another attack.

The boy was not able to land even a single hit on the Princess the entire time; what made it even more frustrating was that the Princess always stayed out of his reach, as if taunting him to do a better job.

“You’re getting distracted,” the Princess noted as she dodged, blocked, and parried without effort.  “If you really want to hit me that much, then focus!”

Something snapped within the boy.  He jumped back, took a new stance, and emitted a low, ferocious growl.

The Princess smiled.  “That’s a bit more like it.” She also shifted her stance.  “Now I can finally be a little more serious.”

The boy moved almost too fast for the Princess to see.  Fortunately, her other senses told her that he would be coming at her right side, and she managed to dodge a crippling blow to the side.

“Hey!” The Princess yelled, jumping back.  “I didn’t say we were gonna try to kill each other!”

The boy just charged at her again.

The Princess’ eyes widened.  Shit! He really means it! She blocked a hit aimed at her stomach, and winced as her arm stung with pain.  The more she tried to avoid him, though, the angrier he became, and the harder and faster the attacks came.

The Princess tried getting through to the boy again.  “Stop it! This isn’t funny any more!”

But there was no sign of playfulness in the boy’s eyes.  Only pure, unadulterated fury.

I’m gonna die, the Princess thought.  She lowered her arms and closed her eyes.  Oh, well.  Might as well get it over with now.

The next punch connected with her face, sending her flying backward into the wall.

***

The feel of his fist hitting her and the loud ‘thud’ with which she hit the wall brought the boy back to his senses.

What have I done? He stared at his hands.  The dead bodies that lay upon the arena on that day flashed before his eyes.  Oh dear God.

And then the Princess began to stir.  “Ooh. Ow ow ow ow ow ow.”

The boy went to her side immediately.  “Are you OK?”

“You thought you could hurt me?” The Princess grimaced, betraying the extent of her injuries.

The boy could see an ugly bruise begin to form where he had hit the Princess.  Blood trickled out of the corner of her mouth where it had split from the force of the blow.  “I’m sorry! I─”

The Princess cut the boy off with a wave of her hand.  “It was my fault.  I wanted to get you mad.” She chuckled.  “I succeeded too well, didn’t I?” She tried to move, but collapsed again.  “Ow ow ow ow ow ow!”

Without thinking, the boy rushed forward to support the Princess.  In too much pain and surprise to resist, the Princess allowed the boy to help her up without complaint.  “I’m really sorry.”

“Forget it, okay?” The Princess forced a smile.  “I’ll live.”

The boy wasn’t quite convinced.  “Let’s go.”

“What do you mean, ‘let’s go’? Where?”

“Your room.”

“WHAT?” Despite her pain, the Princess managed to whap the boy on the head.  “Pervert!”

The boy blushed to the root of his neck.  “T-that’s not what I meant!”

“What do you mean, then?”

“I just thought you’d like to lie down, that’s all!”

“Well, thanks for your concern, Your Majesty─” Another wave of pain shot through the Princess’ head, and both of them almost toppled to the floor.

The boy’s concern for the Princess kept him from thinking rationally.  More specifically, it kept him from listening to the small part of his brain that screamed for him to not do anything stupid.  “Will you just shut up and let me be nice to you?”

The Princess raised an amused eyebrow.  “Is that a direct order?”

The boy managed a wilting glare almost worthy of the position he was supposed to fill.

***

The Princess lay in her bed, sighing  as her aching body sank into the soft sheets.  At the foot of the bed, the boy stood, waiting for some sign of approval.

The Princess almost laughed.  “All right, Prince, I’m in bed.” She did her best to look mean, but her grin gave her true intent away.  “Now, scram.”

The boy, relieved to see that the Princess was back to her old self, complied.

Not yet ready for sleep, the Princess turned her eyes to the ceiling.  We must have looked so ridiculous while we were on the way here. She chuckled.  This kid is most definitely not Prince material.

Her expression grew thoughtful for a moment.  She remembered the look on his face when he realized he actually hit her.

Then she smiled.  But I like him that way.

***

The next morning, the Princess discovered the bruise on her jaw while washing herself.

“Ouch!” She winced as she traced the bruise.  “And multicolored, too.  Wow.  He really was ticked off.” She gave her hair a few noncommittal passes with her brush.  Looking at the results, the Princess frowned at her hateful, untamable hair, which would always be spilling over her shoulders.

Why can’t I have nice, short hair? She wondered.  Of course, she knew the answer: she was born with long hair, and she would die with it.  Such was one of the inconveniences of a Saiyan heritage.

Letting out a long-suffering sigh, the Princess set her brush down and headed off to the kitchen; breakfast was calling.

***

Around about the same time, the boy was learning that it wasn’t a good idea (not for him, at least) to combine food and study.  He was attempting both to fill his stomach with food and his brain with facts─and, it must be noted, failing at both.

And yet, the boy’s breakfast was disappearing, even though he wasn’t eating very much of it.  When he tried to find out who was filching his food, the thief evaded him.

A pancake vanished into thin air.  The boy tried to stop it with his fork, but it just contacted against the now empty plate.

The boy now paid full attention to his rapidly dwindling food.  He began to notice that the thief always took food off of a different plate each time.

“Watch the enemy’s pattern.” the boy murmured to himself, remembering the Princess’ words.  “Hmm. So the next plate will be—gotcha!” The boy blinked with surprise when he found himself grabbing onto the Princess’ wrist.

“Oops,” the culprit grinned, sheepish.

“What’s the big idea?” The boy demanded, failing to look angry; the look on the Princess’ face made it almost impossible not to laugh.

“Well, since you weren’t eating that much, thought I could help myself to some.  What in the world are you reading, anyways?”

“Standing positions and seating arrangements of the King’s court,” the boy replied, showing the Princess the sheet of paper he had been attempting to figure out.  “I’ve spent all morning reading it, but I still haven’t been able to get all of the names down.”

“Oh, that.  Yeah, it could be a bit tough.” The Princess grabbed a plate of fruit; taking an apple out of the plate, she placed it on the table.  “All right, say this is the King.  Then—” Using the other fruits, she laid out the diagram on the sheet.  “See? Doesn’t this make a lot more sense than those stupid symbols?”

“Yeah.” The boy smiled.  “I just never really thought of the Minister of Defense as a banana before, though.” He noticed something missing.  “Wait a minute, what about the Queen?”

The Princess rolled her eyes.  “She only gets to show up during ceremonies.  After all,” She imitated the high-pitched, nasal voice of the teacher: “Women don’t belong in politics.”

The boy decided to work on finishing his breakfast.

***

In what felt like a blink of an eye, six months passed.  As the official naming day neared, the boy noticed that security in and around the castle was tightened, but not in a way that restricted his freedom of movement much.

About a week before the ceremony, the boy found the Princess in her room, sitting at a desk, and writing on a piece of paper.

“What’s up?” The boy asked, trying to get a good look at what the Princess was up to.

“Lucky little me gets to pick my own name for the ceremony next week, but none of the names I can think of sound that great.”

The boy misunderstood the tired tone in the Princess’ voice entirely.  “Mind if I help?”

The Princess glared at the boy for a moment before letting out an exasperated sigh.  “Go ahead.” She pushed the paper towards the boy.

The boy picked it up and began scanning through the names.  “How come none of these are Saiyan names?”

“Because I want something unique, instead of just boring old ‘Vegeta’.”

Again, the boy missed the obvious.  “Yeah, that’d be neat.  I wish I could pick my own name.”

The Princess crossed her arms.  “So, are you helping or not?”

“Okay.” The boy scanned the list again.  “Hmm.” He pointed to one of the names.  “How about ‘Nasu’? It sounds nice.”

The Princess sounded out the name silently a few times.  “Well, kinda.” she shrugged.  “Why the heck not?”

***
A week later, the boy, after a rehearsed ‘sparring session’ with the King, was bestowed the name Vegeta by the power of the ‘Glorious Saiyan Empire’.  In addition, the Princess was pledged to the younger Vegeta as a mate.  No mention was made of the name that the Princess chose for herself.

“How come they didn’t say anything about your name?” The now crowned Prince Vegeta asked after the ceremony ended.

“Because officially, I’m just your mate…” Nasu gave Vegeta a menacing look.  “But if you even think about calling me anything other than ‘Nasu’, you’ll regret it!”

Vegeta pretended to look scared.  “Yeah, yeah.”

***

“What’s the meaning of waking me up in the middle of the night and insisting to see me alone?” King Vegeta, sitting on the throne in less than formal clothes, demanded.

Potato, one of the high-ranking generals, bowed.  “My sincerest apologies, Your Majesty, but this is a matter of great importance.”

King Vegeta frowned.  “Spit it out; I don’t have all night.”

Potato smiled.  “I’ve heard some interesting rumors, about your ‘son’ and his mate.”

***

Nasu felt real fear as she looked upon her father.  Women were almost never allowed in the King’s court, but here she was, summoned by the King’s edict, to stand before the throne.

“Your unworthy daughter stands before You, Highness,” Nasu said, her head low, reciting the standard protocol she thought she would never have to use.  “What is Your bidding?”

King Vegeta sat upon the throne, as impassive as a statue.  “I’ve heard some disturbing things about you.  That you have stepped out of your place as the Prince’s mate.”

Nasu suppressed a flinch.  “Yes.  It is true.” She fell to one knee.  “Please forgive me.”

With her eyes fastened to the floor, she didn’t see her father’s expression soften a bit.  “You are forgiven.  However, because further interaction with the Prince would jeopardize the peace of this realm, you will not remain in this palace.”

Nasu bit her lip to keep it from quivering.  “Understood, Highness.”

“Take whatever you want with you and report to the launching bay within two hours; your destination will be programmed into your spaceship.” The King stood.  “You are free to go.”

Nasu rose and bowed.  “Thank you, Your Majesty.”

If she hadn’t been in such a hurry to leave, she might have heard the King whisper to himself, “What happened to the little girl who used to call me ‘Papa’?”

***

Nasu managed to keep herself from exploding, throwing all of her energy into packing instead.  The tears didn’t start coming until Nasu finished and she realized the full impact of what was happening.

I’m going off to some other planet, away from everything and everyone I know, just because I’m a girl and I tried to be nice to that brat Prince! More tears streamed down her face.  It’s just so unfair! She wiped away her tears fiercely.  No. No more crying, whining, or feeling sorry for myself about that.  If I have to leave, I’ll leave. she remembered something.  But not without saying goodbye.

***

Vegeta, entering the training room to warm up in anticipation of the sparring session he had with Nasu, caught sight of a note.  He picked it up and read it.

Prince Vegeta,
It is with greatest regrets that I inform you of my departure.  By the time you get this note, I will probably already be gone.  I do not know when I will be able to see you again.

Farewell,
Nasu.

“What? No!” Vegeta dropped the note and ran out of the training room as fast as his legs could carry him.

***

He couldn’t find her anywhere, and even though he forced himself to keep looking for her, he knew deep in her heart that she had left, and even though no one would tell him the reason, he already knew.  Because Nasu was a female, and didn’t “know her place”.

Nasu was the one Saiyan who ever treated him like normal, who didn’t kiss up to him.  She was the one he could really talk to and expect a (somewhat) straight answer.  In other words, a friend.

But now she had been sent off somewhere.  Just because of a bunch of stupid, stiff-necked traditionalists.

Well, the Crown Prince of Vegetasei, and the inheritor of the vast Saiyan Empire, was not going to stand such an indignity.  Summoning all of his courage, Vegeta stomped off to find someone who could tell him where his mate had gone.

***

This planet’s not half bad. Nasu thought as she surveyed her surroundings.  After getting over her initial homesickness, Nasu had settled alright.  The environment of the planet to which she was sent wasn’t that far from Planet Vegeta’s; of course, it still wasn’t quite the royal palace, but Nasu wasn’t quite in the position to complain, either.  I could almost live here for the rest of my life.

Nasu  found herself wondering how Prince Vegeta was doing.  She shook her head, hard.  What am I thinking? Why should I be caring for him when he was the one that got me here?

Almost as soon as that thought passed her head, a servant rushed in to announce that Prince Vegeta was blessing the planet with his wonderful presence, and that all were to greet him, his mate in particular.

***

She’s mad at me, Vegeta thought as Nasu greeted him and exclaimed what a great honor it was to host him.  He nodded back, and announced that he was retiring to the guest chambers and was not to be disturbed, counting on the hope that Nasu would disobey and knew how to get in without being spotted.

He wasn’t disappointed.  A few moments later, he heard the Princess crawl into the room through one of the large ventilation shafts.

“Glad to see that you haven’t changed a bit, Nasu,” he called, turning around to face her.

“How the hell did you find me?”

“Nice to see you again too.  Anyway, I found out that basically, I’m the most powerful person in the entire Kingdom aside from your father.  So I decided to use some of that power, and asked a few questions.  Then, I told the King I wanted to go on vacation, ‘borrowed’ a ship, and here I am!”

Nasu walked closer.  “Why?”

Vegeta grinned.  “You’re note said you didn’t know when you could see me again, so I thought I’d better make that as soon as possible.” He looked her straight in the eye for the first time.  “You’re mad at me, aren’t you?”

“A little.  More at the stupid ‘guys are better than girls’ thing.  What is it with them and their superiority complex, anyways?”

Vegeta shrugged.  “Who knows?”

Nasu scowled.  “I wasn’t asking you.” She sat down at the edge of the bed.

An awkward silence passed.

Vegeta twiddled with his thumbs.  “How have you been?”

“Not too bad.  And you? Still getting beaten up by the sensei?”

“Sorta.  I’m doing pretty good lately.  I’ve even gotten a few hits in.”

“Heh.  I wish I coulda seen the look on his face when that happened.”

Vegeta chuckled.  “I swear, if his jaw had gone any lower, it probably would have touched the ground.”

“Aw man, now I really wish I could have seen the look on his face.” Nasu became very solemn and drew her knees up to her chest.  “Everything’s so different out here.  They try to make it as close to home as possible, but it still isn’t home…”

Vegeta sat down next to Nasu.  “I’ll visit as much as I can, and I’ll write, too, if I can do it without getting caught.  If you can wait out the next couple years you’ll eventually be recalled to the palace to actually—well, you know.” Vegeta almost died of shock when he saw a tear trickle down Nasu’s face.  “W-was it something I said?”

Nasu wiped the tear away, but other tears soon replaced it.  “Thank you.  Thank you so much.” The rest of her words were choked by her sobs.

Vegeta almost died again of shock when Nasu collapsed into his arms.

***

Two hundred years passed.  By then, another royal house had seized power, and King Vegeta’s descendants became the ruled instead of the rulers; the Hamienjian had been defeated by Frieza, and the Saiyans pledged themselves to this new employer; just about all of the Saiyan empire was sold off for money; there remained those who scratched out a bare-bones existence in poverty; technology had made it possible for the Saiyan to choose the sex of their child; most Saiyans still preferred males over females.

In the deepest dungeons of the Palace, a man condemned to die as a traitor was allowed to have one final visit from his mate.

“Do you hate me, Rubi?” The man asked.

“How could I, Aspa?” A tearful Rubi answered.  “You are my mate.  And you fought for the sake of our people.”

Aspa reached out to caress his mate’s hand.  “Then you’ll tell our daughter the truth? That Freeza is up to no good, and that she, not that imposter who sits on the throne, is a true descendant of Vegeta?”

Rubi nodded vigorously.

Aspa pulled Rubi close.  “It’s almost time.  After they kill me, they’ll be sure to take our daughter away and feed her their lies.  You must escape so that she will know what really happened.”

Rubi nodded again, and whispered her love to her mate before the guard announced that her time was up.

***

First, they stole the throne.  Then, they sold the Empire and the entire Saiyan race.  Next, they killed her husband.  Rubi was not about to let them take her daughter.  Cocking the gun she stole, she readied herself.

***

After hearing the report that an insane woman had attempted to storm the launching bay, King Vegeta headed that way immediately.  Upon reaching there, he asked: “Where’s Aspa’s mate?”

One of the guards pointed to the wounded woman that lay on the floor, heaving with effort as labor set in.

“You!” The woman gasped.  “The Saiyan race will perish because of you!” She let out a scream of agony as another contraction set in.  King Vegeta watched as the woman gave birth.

“Take it into the sick area for stabilization,” King Vegeta ordered once of his men.

“No! I won’t let you!” the woman watched, unable to move, as her child was taken away from her.  She tried to stand, but the blood loss proved to be too much for her.

“You brought this onto yourself, woman,” one of the men sneered.

The woman’s breath was growing thinner.  “Nasu.” she whispered.  “Her name is Nasu.” With that, she closed her eyes and lay still.

So they still haven’t forgotten their illustrious ancestry, have they? King Vegeta thought to himself.  Well, then, Nasu her name shall be.

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