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Part 83: The Adjudication

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The dust settles.

Against all reason, King Piccolo still holds center stage!  Raditz's Weekender must have penetrated the Demon Wave and dealt the greater damage, because the right side of Piccolo's body is gone: arm, leg, and even the ear.  The demon king collapses to his remaining limbs, nevertheless clinging to life.  He gags, purple ichor draining from his mouth – then belches out a ki beam at Raditz!

The Saiyan topples, coughing up a red mist thanks to the fresh puncture through his upper chest.

Roshi takes charge: We have to finish the job!  He and his various disciples spring forward, but Piccolo sweeps his arm haphazardly, painting a broad swath of ki.  Depleted as the demon king is, that would still have erased them all, if Eight-Man hadn't interposed himself and soaked the brunt of the attack.  The mechanical man's armor and rubber flesh is scorched off, exposing the skeletal frame of his back.  He sparks and lists to the side, structurally compromised.

Piccolo groans in agony.  A pulsating lump of flesh at his hip explodes into a new leg and the missing chunks of his torso begin to fill in as well.

Kami appeals to Tenshinhan: Kill me and end this while we can!  The triclops refuses.  They need Kami and the Divine Dragon to undo all the harm to Mifan's people, whom remain corrupted by the demonic miasma flooding the city.  Fortunately, Tenshinhan still has his trump card.

The demon king's arm regrows and he slings the new hand forward for a ki blast, aimed at Tenshinhan.  From the ground, Raditz desperately kicks out with his last uninjured limb and deflects Piccolo's attack enough to give the triclops the opening he needs.  Fingers on his temples, Tenshinhan unleashes the SHARAKU MAFUBA!

Space warps around Piccolo and he is drawn, spitting mad and swearing bloody revenge, into Tenshinhan's third eye.  It clamps shut and the veins around his face throb, dark and angry.  It's not pretty, but the triclops' own body will serve as a vessel to contain the Great Demon King.  In fact, he got the idea from Garlic Jr.'s Black Hole Wave.  So, that's the end of that.

Chiaozu levitates over to embrace his dear friend.  Roshi pats Tenshinhan on the back.  He can't speak for that bitter old Crane, but the Turtle Hermit knows their long-gone master Mutaito would be proud.

Lunch scoops up Suki and brings their daughter to Raditz's side, while Pu'er is finally able to feed a Senzu to the fallen Saiyan.  His breathing eases, thanks to the accelerated healing to his lung.  Frankly, Raditz is more aggravated about not landing the finishing blow himself.  That's twice now, Tenshinhan!  Don't go interrupting my fights again, Raditz threatens – only half-joking.

On the bright side, little Sukirret here is already shaping up to be a fine scion of the Saiyan race.  He beams with pride; she's the future of our people!

Everybody looks at Lunch quizzically.  She flushes; her brassy alter ego isn't a fan, but Raditz insisted their child have a traditional “Saiyan” name.  Also, um, he came to Earth as the lone survivor from an alien civilization of were-monkey super warriors.  Raditz shrugs; compared to the things they've faced in the past, it didn't seem noteworthy.  Kami shakes his head.  He was right to be keeping an eye on Raditz all these years, mutters the sage.

Should we go find the Dragon Balls then, Kuririn asks?  After all this, now they have to go on another adventure.  Bulma claps her hands, drawing attention.  No need!  Eight-Man, would you do the honors?

The mechanical man, looking perfectly sweet and placid now that the danger has passed, opens a secure compartment in his abdomen where he's been holding onto the seven magic spheres in question.  After they reset from the last wish, he spent the intervening two years on leisurely world travel to gather and keep them out of the wrong hands.  Good thinking, Kuririn applauds!  Eight-Man has come a long way from the meek servant they met in Devil's Castle.

Summoning Shenlong is old hat for this group, though it is Rango's first time and he's so shaken by the enormous emerald serpent's appearance that he starts commentating into his dead mic again.  Bulma formally wishes for all the mayhem caused as a result of King Piccolo's schemes to be undone.

The Divine Dragon grumbles that the wording of her wish is awfully vague, but in deference towards the uncommon presence of his creator, Shenlong will stretch his coils and do what he can.  His eyes flash a crimson which competes with the sunset for brilliance.  Injuries are healed and the demonic miasma is purified – but the humans will have to rebuild their city for themselves.  Even a Dragon God has his limits, ya know!

Shenlong takes his leave and returns to slumber, wherever he goes when the Dragon Balls are dormant.  Eight-Man is happy for the incentive to go see lots of new things, once they've refreshed.  Before that, Bulma suggests that he come by Capsule Corp for repairs.  A loose wire hanging from Eight-Man's damaged back sparks and stings Oolong's tail, causing the piglet to howl in indignation.  Bulma also has some ideas for new upgrades.

Roshi looks forward to some quiet time back at Kame House.  All his disciples have outgrown the need for his mentorship, so he pointedly disinvites anybody from coming by to visit, at least for a while.  But first, he plans on stopping by the Demon World Gate, just in case Piccolo left it hanging open.  Maybe he'll blast the cliff and collapse it on top of the gate, for good measure and good riddance!

Kami and Popo will go home as well, to restore God's Temple to its proper place in the Heavenly Realm.  And Tenshinhan must come with them.  Even in Piccolo's weakened state, the demon king will need to be secured in a “less mortal” vessel for long-term imprisonment.

This isn't goodbye forever, Tenshinhan assures Chiaozu, whom is sad but resolute.  The boy emperor will keep up his training, climb Karin Tower, and earn the right to visit his dear friend someday.  The trio vanish and soon God's Temple rises into the evening sky until it is out of view.

That just leaves the matter of the Tenka'ichi Budokai, Rango points out.  He confers with Chiaozu and they come to an agreement.  Among the competitors still in attendance, Raditz interfered in another's match and his own was interfered with in turn, so he's double-disqualified.  The Saiyan snorts.  It also became clear that Chi-Chi did not act of her own free will, so she is likewise out of contention.  The young woman shrugs, it's no great loss.

So it is that Kuririn, as the last competitor whom won a match fair and square, is officially recognized as the 23rd “Number One Under Heaven”!  Congratulations, his friends cheer!  Chiaozu apologies that he can't award any prize money until his imperial fortune is dredged out of the lake, assuming anything is left, but he would happily endeavor to fulfill whatever the acolyte's heart desires.

Kuririn swallows hard, blushing to the roots of his shaved head.  Only one person can do that.  He turns to Chi-Chi.  Kuririn can't offer her much beyond his eternal love and devotion, so . . . would she m-m-marry him?  Too overwhelmed to speak, the crying woman nods and embraces the stammering acolyte.  Chiaozu offers to officiate the wedding!

Lunch elbows her own beloved and dabs at her misty eyes.  Raditz never proposed to her, she teases.  He arches an eyebrow.  What's she talking about?  Just the other night, Lunch said she wasn't interested in– but the woman slaps her hands over Raditz's filthy mouth, now blushing as fierce as the newly engaged couple.  She said “propose,” not “proposition”!  Roshi and Oolong chortle.

A mound of rubble overturns and Yajirobe unburies himself, stumbling to his feet.  Phew, that old coot walloped him good!  He gawps at the utter devastation around him.  What the heck happened here?  Is the tournament over?  The inanity of his obliviousness sends the group into gales of laughter.

Bulma alone notices Yamcha and Pu'er withdrawing in silence from the gay assembly.  Where does he think he's going?  The former bandit faces her with a dour expression.  Yamcha has been an orphan, a bandit, a mercenary, and a martial artist, but he's still only human.  And he's tired of death-defying adventure.  Tired of magic and demons – and now aliens too?  Yamcha needs to make a life for himself away from all of this.

The woman crosses her arms, trying to keep her disappointment in check.  If he's leaving again, she won't say goodbye this time!  Bulma turns on her heels and rejoins her friends, hiding her own tears behind a smile.  Yamcha comforts the morose cabbit on his shoulder and walks off into the night.

Peace was won for the Earth today . . . but for how long?
So concludes the King Piccolo Saga! I've already sown the seeds of the next story arc as we head into the Z equivalent of “What if Raditz went to Earth instead of Kakarrot?” And seeing as how it long ago exceeded the boundaries of a traditional 'What If', a new series title will be unveiled with the next chapter, coming I dunno! =P

That ending may seem overly melodramatic for poor Yamcha, but it just means he's going to end up at the same place he was during DBZ's Saiyan Saga. Go, West City Taitans!

The name of Tenshinhan's new secret technique is taken from the character Hosuke Sharaku, from Osamu Tezuka's manga The Three-Eyed One, whom served as one of Toriyama's inspirations for Tenshinhan. I don't want to get out of hand with giving everybody brand new techniques; I would rather work with the existing material, but this was kind of a case of writing myself out of a corner. I hope it didn't feel too much like a last-minute ass-pull.

Sukirret's name is a pun on skirret, a root vegetable like the burdock, carrot, and radish! I waffled over various options for a long time, which is why there was such a long break until this arc started. I'll probably use her full Saiyan name interchangeably with “Suki” depending on whom is addressing her, in the same way that some characters refer to Goku as “Son” (Piccolo) or “Son-kun” (Bulma) in Japanese. That's the sort of subtle distinction which never translated over to the English dub.

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