Chapter 1: Surprise Gohan! You're Going On a Trip!!
Gohan had been attending Orange Star High School for nearly two months when he decided that his life was officially over. It didn't seem fair that just as he finally got to go to school, meet new friends, and become a super hero, he was going to have to give it up.
It was a morning just like every other he had experienced as a high school student, and it began by sprinting to his first period class. Luckily for Gohan he'd made it just in time, and he'd planted himself in his seat only moments before the bell rang. Their homeroom teacher looked up from his position in front of the podium and looked around the classroom.
"Good morning class. It's good to see you're here on time today, Mr. Son. Hopefully you can keep it up."
Gohan turned red and ducked his head in embarrassment as some of his classmates turned to grin at their resident absent-minded genius.
"Now, I have an announcement to—"
"Sorry I'm late, Mr. Roberts!" Videl shouted as she ran into the room and to her seat.
"Not a problem, Miss Satan. I understand your police work takes priority over your school work."
Gohan groaned a little in disbelief at the blatant favoritism the teachers of the school showed toward Satan's daughter. Not that he thought what she was doing wasn't important, but it would be nice if the teachers would give him a break every once in a while.
"Now, as I was saying, I have an important announcement to make. Next monday, the entire class will be going on a trip for two months. We have four destinations and I'm sure that you'll be looking forward to each one.
"For the first month we'll be splitting our time between four different locations, one for each week. Our first stop is to the home of the great Hercule Satan himself where he'll give all of you a week of free martial arts lessons and answer any questions you have about his heroic deeds!"
The teacher paused as the class broke into chaos. Everyone in the class was either cheering or chattering to the people around them. The teacher smiled at their excitement and waited for them to calm down, but no one noticed that only two of the teenagers weren't showing any kind of excitement.
Videl had known months that her dad was going to be having her class over for a week, but she couldn't help rolling her eyes at his antics. It was obvious that he just wanted more people around to boost his ego. Of course Videl didn't miss the fact that a certain Son Gohan looked just as unenthusiastic as she did at the prospect of visiting the Satan household. She narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously. That boy was just too out of the ordinary. She'd use these two monthes to her advantage and find out what he was hiding!
"Next, we'll be visiting the amazing Capsule Corp, the most sucessful company in the world and located in West City. There you'll be learning about their cutting edge developments in technology and about the inner-workings of their corporation."
Again he had to pause until the cheers died down. Videl noticed that 'unenthusiastic' was too weak of a word to describe Gohan now. He looked as if someone had died or something. Definitely suspicious.
"Our third destination will be the kingdom of the elusive Ox King. Fortunately we managed to contact him, and you'll be learning all about his mysterious past, the ancient artifacts he's managed to collect over the decades, and about the myths of the planet."
Whispers filled the room as everyone began gossiping about what they knew about the Ox King and his kingdom; none of it was good.
"I assure you students that we would not allow any of you to go if it was in the least bit dangerous!" Mr. Roberts shouted over the loudly whispering class. Silence fell again as the class realized that their teacher hadn't finished speaking to them yet.
"The final week of the first month will be spent at the home of someone more reclusive than even the Ox King."
The class leaned forward as one large group, all of them holding their breath as the teacher paused for dramatic effect.
"The family of the former World Martial Arts Champion, the legendary Son Goku, has graciously allowed us to stay at their home for the last week and then supervise our last month of survival training!"
Videl had glued her eyes to Gohan who was beginning to look like he had lost all will to live. He'd given up on actually paying attention to the rest of the class and he looked like he was attempting to suffocate himself with the inside of his elbow. Son Goku? She had almost forgotten the name of the former world martial arts champion and the more she thought about it, the more she realized the Gohan had to be related to the guy. After all, their names were only off by one syllable!
"Quiet down everyone!" their teacher was attempting to gain their attention once again with little luck. "I still need to tell you about your month of survival training!"
This seemed to rouse everyone's interest and the class quickly settled down. They stared expectantly at Mr. Roberts.
"The last month, as I've mentioned, will be spent learning how to survive in the wilderness. You will be supervised by Son Chichi and several others who have been selected to give you a diverse learning opportunity.
"I assure you that they will be placing your safety as a top priority, but please keep in mind that there is a possibility you might find yourself in danger. As long as you listen to your instructors you will be fine, but I understand if either you, or your parents have any problems with this. Therefore, the survival training is optional, but the first month is not!
"I am now passing out permission slips as well as a list of things you will need. The first list is a recommendation for the first portion of the trip, but the second half is absolutely required for the survival training. If you have any issues in acquiring what you need, please let me know.
"These permission slips must be returned no later than Friday."
With that, Mr. Roberts started passing out the two sheets of paper.
At lunch, Gohan looked at his food sullenly, for once not feeling the urge to shove all of the food into his mouth in one go. The weather outside was beautiful, and he felt as if nature herself was trying to mock him. How was he supposed to keep up his charade as a normal teenager through those two months? And what was Bulma and the rest of his family thinking? His grandpa, he could maybe understand, but his mother? Gohan could feel the knots tightening in his stomach when he thought of confronting her about it later that night. It would be unavoidable since he needed her to sign his permission slip.
"What's wrong, Gohan? Aren't you excited about the trip?" Erasa asked, poking him in the side.
Gohan flinched and turned to give Erasa a sheepish grin. The four of them, Erasa, Videl, Sharpner, and himself, were sitting in a loose circle on the school grounds. Both Videl and Sharper had finished eating and were soaking up the sun before they had to head back to class.
Sharpner was laying down completely, looking like he was just a nod away from completely dozing off. Videl, on the other hand, was nowhere near that level of relaxation. In fact, she looked oddly tense, more than Gohan was used to seeing, and she had that look in her eye that he'd learnt to associate with her need to interrogate him.
Gohan rubbed the back of his head before letting out a soft sigh.
"I'd rather not explain just yet, but I guess you'll find out eventually. Besides you wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Videl didn't look like she was satisfied with his explanation and was about to comment, but Erasa cut her off to continue her own line of investigation.
"If you're sure, but there was something I've been meaning to ask you though..."
Erasa paused for a moment, looking thoughtful. She placed her pointer finger on the side of her face as she looked off into the distance, trying to find the right words.
"Mr. Roberts said that we'd be visiting the Son family, the family of the former World Champion, Son Goku, but isn't your last name Son? I mean, even Goku sounds a lot like Gohan!"
"U-uhhhh..." Gohan gave her shaky smile, trying to think of a way to answer this. Should he tell them the truth? It seemed like lying would be completely pointless now. If they knew that Son Goku was the former world champion then it wasn't that hard to connect the dots.
"But that's kind of weird isn't it? Wouldn't you have mentioned if your father was a world champion? I mean, I think anyone who has family like that would boast about it."
"Please," Sharpner spoke up from his position on the ground. "Sure their names sound the same, but who would believe that nerd boy could be related to a World Champ? I mean his dad's probably some scrawny genius that works for Capsule Corp."
"Don't be mean, Sharpner!" Erasa scolded him, turning to frown at the other blond of the group. "I'm sure Gohan's dad is great!"
She turned back to Gohan to give him a reassuring smile and he smiled back at her with gratitude in his eyes.
"Well, Gohan, which is it?" Videl finally spoke up, her glare intense as she focused on their newest friend.
"W-what do you mean, Videl?" Gohan asked trying to look like he wasn't hiding anything. Unfortunately for Gohan it worked just as well as all the other times Videl had turned her investigating powers to him. Meaning, not at all.
"Are you related to the Son Goku?"
"Well, yeah, actually," Gohan said, finally deciding to own up. After all, they'd find out any way in just a couple of weeks. "I'm his son."
"Really?" Erasa exclaimed, looking pleased. "That's so great, Gohan! Why didn't you tell us about it? And how come you didn't let us know that your family was going to be having us over for the class field trip?"
"I didn't know!" Gohan answered honestly. Some of his frustration bled out when he said this, his hands waving wildly in the air to add emphasis to his statement. "Mom never said anything to me, I swear!"
"Oh," Erasa said, blinking at him as she tried to process this. "Well, I'm sure she had her reasons."
"Wait up!" Sharpner exclaimed as he suddenly jolted up into a sitting position. "You're telling me that you really are related to a World Champ! And it's your dad! Dude, why didn't you tell us?"
"Well, it never came up," Gohan said, looking a little confused.
"What do you mean?" Videl asked. "You know that my dad is the current World Champ. It wouldn't have been that out of place to say something about yours."
"Well...my dad died seven years ago," Gohan explained.
The group suddenly sobered up when Gohan let this slip, and both Videl and Sharpner looked slightly guilty when they thought back to all of their insensitive questioning. Erasa just frowned sympathetically and put a hand on Gohan's shoulder.
"Oh, Gohan! I'm so sorry! He must have died when Cell attacked; I understand why you wouldn't have wanted to tell us!"
Videl looked down at the ground in front of her feeling even worse than she had before. Of course Gohan wouldn't want to talk about his dad when he'd probably died fighting Cell. After all, her dad had fought Cell and had survived. How would she feel if she were in Gohan's position?
"It's okay. It was a long time ago."
"How come you don't do martial arts then?" Sharpner asked, curiously. "I mean, if my dad was a martial arts champion, I'd have begged him day and night to train me."
"Well, I do know some martial arts, I mean my whole family does," Gohan admitted.
Videl narrowed her eyes at this. Of course! If his dad was a martial arts champion that made him ten times more likely to be the Great Saiyaman!
"But my mom wanted me to be a great scholar. She's always made me study in my spare time, even when I was a kid."
"Oh, wow, man. That sucks," Sharpner admitted, looking guilty again. After all, it sounded like Gohan didn't even have a choice.
"It's not that bad," Gohan assured them. "And I do want to be a scholar. Besides, dad usually trained me anyway, or one of his friends did. It just meant that mom made me study extra hard when I got back."
"We didn't know that you did martial arts either though!" Erasa complained. "You don't have to hide stuff from us, Gohan!"
Gohan just chuckled, but felt a little deranged since he could feel the nervous energy in him reveal itself when he did so.
"So, I guess Son Chichi is your mother?" Videl asked.
"Yeah," Gohan confirmed.
"What's she like?" Erasa asked, curious to learn more about their mysterious friend now that he'd revealed some of his secrets.
"Er, she's nice most of the time, I guess. She's pretty stubborn and she has a really short fuse so we try not to make her angry."
"Does she do martial arts, too?" Erasa asked.
"Yeah, totally!" Gohan grinned, happy enough to brag about his mother. "My mom fought my dad in the quarter-finals of the world championship. My dad proposed during their fight, and they got married after he won!"
The other three looked stunned at this revelation, and all of them were wondering just what Gohan's parents were like.
"That's so...romantic, Gohan!" Erasa tried to cover up her shock. She clasped her hands in front of her and gave him a big grin.
"Do you think so?" Gohan asked thoughtfully. "I asked her a while ago what the two of them did on their first date and she said that they just sparred the whole day. I mean, they were just kids at the time, but still..."
"Oh, your parents met as children?" Erasa looked at Gohan curiously, ignoring the fact that his entire family seemed to be fighting fanatics.
"Yeah, when they were twelve, I think..."
"That's so cute! Childhood sweethearts!"
Sharpner scoffed a little, but he'd been hanging onto every word just like Erasa and Videl. It was true, they didn't get to hear a lot about Gohan and now that he thought about it, their friend was surprisingly quiet when talking about himself.
They were startled out of their thoughts by the ringing bell and all of them grudgingly got ready to go back to class. However, it was sure to pass by quickly now that Videl and the others had this new information to think about.
When school let out, Gohan ducked into an alley and flew to Capsule Corp. He would confront his mother later about her decision to keep him out of the loop, but first he wanted to ask Bulma about her part in all of this.
He waved to Dr. Briefs and Mrs. Briefs when he landed and stopped only to ask where he could find Bulma.
"Hmm," Dr. Briefs hummed thoughtfully, rubbing his chin. Bunny could be seen spinning happily through the garden with water can behind him. "I'm pretty sure she's still in the lab. Try there first."
"Thanks, Dr. Briefs!"
Gohan sped off into the house and quickly found Bulma in her lab, working on a new project.
Gohan walked over to where the blue-haired scientist was working. Bulma looked up when she heard her name, and smiled when she saw who it was.
"Hey kiddo! How's it going?"
She put down what she's been working on to give the teenager her full attention. She frowned when Gohan froze, as if he'd just remembered something, and slunk over to sit in the stool next to her. She grew more concerned when he hung his head and sighed.
"Oh, Gohan, what's wrong?"
"I don't know what I'm going to do, Bulma!" Gohan exclaimed. He looked up at her, suddenly remembering her part in all of this. "Why didn't you tell me that Capsule Corp was going to have my class here for a field trip?"
Bulma blinked at this accusation and looked thoughtful for a moment.
"Your class?" she repeated. "I don't remember inviting them here, but, to be honest, dad's the one that organizes that kind of stuff, not me, and I don't think he knows the name of your high school."
"Oh man, really?"
Gohan looked crushed. He just had the worst luck some times.
"Chin up, kid," Bulma said, trying to get his spirits up. "You have me here to help you out and I'll make sure that Vegeta doesn't bother you too much."
Gohan felt a little better knowing that he had Bulma's support.
"Any time, Gohan," Bulma smiled at him, feeling glad that he seemed to be perking up. "Why don't you go train with Vegeta and Trunks in the gravity room for a bit? I'll call Chichi to let her know that you'll be coming home late."
"That sounds great!"
"Good," Bulma said. "Do you want to stay over for dinner too? I'm sure Chichi wouldn't mind."
"That's okay," Gohan said. "I have to give her the permission slip. And there's something else I have to talk to her about."
"All right then," she said. "If you insist. Run off and I'll make the call."
"Thanks again Bulma!"
Gohan ran off to the gravity room, looking excited at the chance to let off some steam.
Bulma watched him leave and shook her head. She grabbed a cigarette and after she'd lit one, picked up her phone to call Chichi.
Man, I really feel sorry for the kid. He's been trying so hard, after all. I'm sure he'll be fine though...
Chapter 2: Ya Dun Goofed, Mr. Satan!
Gohan was feeling a lot better after he'd spent some time training with Vegeta and Trunks in the gravity room. It also didn't hurt to have Bulma's word that she would support him during his week at Capsule Corp. With this peace of mind, Gohan flew in lazy spirals through the night sky, absorbing the calm that spread over the world as the sun sank into the sky. The only thing that was really bothering him was the upcoming confrontation with his mother. He couldn't think of reason why she hadn't told him about the field trip. She knew he was trying to appear as normal as possible at school; in fact, she was a full supporter of the idea since she didn't want him to have any distractions that might make him stray from his studies. With that in mind, his mother's behavior just didn't make any sense.
Gohan flew down low as he approached the clearing where his house was. Well, whatever the answer was, he was about to find out.
"Mom! Goten! I'm home!" Gohan shouted as he opened the door and removed his shoes.
The wild, high-pitched cry of his name was the only warning he had before he was tackled from behind by the mini maelstrom they liked to call Goten.
"Hey, little brother!"
Gohan laughed along with the giggling miniature of his father and spun him in the air before setting him down.
"Hey, that's enough!" Chichi called from the doorway that led to the kitchen. Her words were harsh, but her tone was mild, and she looked at the two of her sons fondly. "No swinging around in the house. Now that Gohan's home, we can eat."
"Oh boy!" Goten exclaimed as he raised his arms into the air and sprinted into the kitchen.
"Hey mom!" Gohan greeted his mother, and he walked over to give her a quick hug. She smiled up at him once they had separated, and Gohan felt his resolve waning. He'd have to put off asking her any questions until after dinner.
"How's Bulma and the rest?" Chichi asked as the two of them walked at a more sedate pace toward the kitchen table where Goten was energetically piling food onto his plate.
"They're all fine," Gohan told her as they sat down and began serving themselves as well. "I was just asking Bulma for some advice and when we were done talking I spent some time with Trunks and Vegeta."
"Really? You got to see Trunks!" Goten lit up when he heard the name of his closest friend. "Aw man, I'm so jealous! Now I really want to go to school with you next time if you get to visit Trunks on your way home!"
"Now, none of that mister!" Chichi scolded Goten. "You'd only distract your brother from his studies! And Trunks just visited last weekend. Gosh, any closer and you'd think the two of you were attached at the hip."
Again, Chichi's words were harsh, but in reality she couldn't be more pleased that her youngest son had found such a steadfast friend in the other half-saiyan child. She almost felt bad for Gohan sometimes since it seemed that he had spent most of his childhood in the company of an aggressive, green alien and a bald dwarf that was over two decades older than him. At least he had the chance to make friends his own age now that he was in high school.
"Speaking of school, how was your day, Gohan? Did you study hard?" Chichi directed the conversation toward her eldest son.
Gohan froze in the process of shoveling food into his mouth. He was more hungry than usual since he hadn't eaten as much as he normally did at lunch, and he didn't get the chance to eat anything at Bulma's after the intense sparring session either. However, knots formed in his stomach again, and he had to put down his utensils. It seemed that the conversation he had been avoiding was going to happen sooner rather than later.
"It was good," Gohan offered to his mother.
Chichi narrowed her eyes at her son. Gohan wasn't eating, which by itself was pretty odd, but when he answered her, he'd mumbled and avoided her eyes.
"Just good?" Chichi prompted as she picked at her own food. Her gaze still fixed upon him. "Nothing interesting happened?"
"Uh, well..." Gohan began, not quite sure how he wanted to word this. He didn't want to sound accusing after all. Man, he wish his mother had just told him that she was planning to have his class here for a field trip! Why did this have to be so hard?
"Our class is going on a field trip," Gohan said carefully. "For two months. They gave me the permission slip to give to you."
"Oh really?" Chichi smiled, suddenly understanding her son's behavior. "I was wondering when they were going to tell your class."
"Mom!" Gohan burst out suddenly, startling Goten who was the only one out of the loop in this conversation. "They're going to be spending the fourth week here! Did you know about this? How come you didn't tell me?"
"Well, of course I knew," Chichi said, frowning. "I didn't think you'd mind though."
"Moooom," Gohan whined a little. "It's going to be super hard to pretend I'm normal now! It's bad enough that everyone thinks I'm a nerd, but I don't want them to think I'm a freak too!"
"Oh, Gohan. You're not a freak," Chichi scolded. "How could you think that? Besides, I'm only going to be taking them on a survival exercise in the woods around the house. Surely that won't reveal your 'secrets'."
"But mom, we're also going to be visiting Hercule Satan, Capsule Corp, and Grandpa Ox!" Gohan exclaimed, starting to feel frustrated by his mother's lack of concern. "How am I supposed to hide things when faced with that?"
Chichi looked a little surprised when she heard about the other destinations the school had arranged.
"Well," Chichi began, thinking a little. "That is a little much isn't it? But I guess you're just going to have to endure it, Gohan."
"B-but," Gohan started to protest, but Chichi's fuse was beginning to shorten the longer the conversation continued.
"No buts, mister! Honestly Gohan, it shouldn't be that hard. I can call dad to let him know the situation, and I'm sure Bulma will be more than happy to help you out! All you have to do is keep your head down while at the Satan's place and be discreet! Either way there's nothing I can do about it! We need the money. Meat and clothes don't exactly grow on trees, you know?"
Gohan visibly wilted under the ire of his mother and sighed. He should have known better than to look to his mother for sympathy with this. Now that he knew that they were being offered money for holding the survival lessons, he knew that there was no way that he'd be able to convince his mother this was a bad idea.
Goten looked at his older brother and his mother, his face scrunched up from confusion as he tried to understand what they were arguing about exactly. It sounded awesome! Gohan had a chance to visit Trunks and their Grandpa and it was for school! Gohan was just so lucky sometimes!
"That sounds great Gohan!" Goten exclaimed, startling both Chichi and Gohan out of their foul moods. "I'm sure you're going to have a great time! You get to see everyone! Can I visit when you go over to Trunks house and to Grandpa Ox?"
"I don't think so, Goten," Chichi answered for her other son. "Anyway, Gohan and his class will be coming here for the last week of the first month and then for the survival training for the next month."
"Oh, but mom," Goten pouted a little. "Then I won't see Gohan for forever!"
"We'll see," Chichi conceded a little rolling her eyes at the downtrodden, seven-year-old half-saiyan next to her.
Goten immediately brightened up at the possibility of seeing his big brother before the last week.
Gohan smiled a little, feeling his heart lighten a little in the face of his younger brother's naive enthusiasm. Maybe his mom was right. It wasn't exactly the end of the world after all. He could hide his identity as the Great Saiyaman and his other supernatural powers for a measly two months. Sure, it would be hard, but if he managed it, maybe he'd have fun on this field trip despite everything else.
Gohan couldn't believe that it was already the first day of their school trip. After handing in their permission slips, the students had the weekend to prepare for the trip, and monday would be the beginning of their first week. Plus, since Satan Mansion was so close to Orange Star High School, they weren't wasting any time by travelling on Monday, but the end of the week, Sunday, would be their normal travelling day in the future.
"Okay kids!" one of their chaperones called from the side of the bus. "Everyone, put your suitcases in the bus's luggage compartment and line up so we can check everyone in! Remember the numbers we've assigned to you so that we can do random attendence checks!"
Gohan was impressed by the amount of caution and preparation the school was taking. He'd almost half-expected them to just drop them off at the mansion and leave.
Gohan turned around to see Erasa and Sharpner standing on line. He smiled and waved back at them before throwing his duffle bag into the bus with the others.
"Hey guys!" Gohan said as he joined them. He looked around curiously for their one missing member. "Where's Videl?"
"She's going to meet up with the class at the mansion," Erasa explained. "She said that it didn't make much sense for her to leave her house and come to school just to go back to her house again."
"I guess that makes sense," Gohan shrugged. It was probably what he would have done, now that he thought about it.
The three of them chatted a bit about school and some of the more benign (in Gohan's opinion) speculations about the trip until it was finally their turn.
"Okay, Erasa Board? Your number is five."
Erasa climbed onto the bus and promised to save them a seat.
"Let's see... Sharpner Pencil? You're number twenty."
Sharpner patted Gohan on the back and followed Erasa up the steps of the bus. Gohan turned when he heard some knocking, only to see Erasa waving at him from her window seat. He waved back before the chaperone brought his attention back to him with a tell-tale clearing of the throat.
"And Son Gohan... your number is twenty-five."
"Thanks," Gohan chirped.
After he'd found his seat on the bus (unfortunately the seats were paired in twos, but Erasa had found a two seater with a single in front of it), he gazed out of the window to get last glimpse he'd get of his high school for the next two months. Whether he liked it or not, this was when his challenge began.
Gohan and his classmates poured out of the bus, energetic and happy despite the early hour. Thankfully the bus ride had been short, only ten minutes, but Gohan knew that it would take over an hour to get to West City on the next bus ride. He regretted the fact that he couldn't fly there himself. After all, it only took about 15 minutes by flying, even at a relatively low speed.
Erasa, Sharpner, and Gohan grouped together as they waited for their teacher to knock on the Satan's door. Gohan took a moment to look at the structure before them. The mansion could be likened to a palace, and Gohan was impressed by the sheer size of it. The gate was made out of black wrought iron and had been twisted on top to form intricate edged curls. The entrance of the mansion was designed in the classic style, meaning that large, white ionic columns framed a large wooden door in front of the smooth red stone that the rest of the house was made of. Gohan guessed that there had to be at least 50 rooms in this house since there was actually seperate wings.
"Pretty impressive, huh?"
Gohan turned to see Sharpner and Erasa gazing up at the monstrosity of a house. Even Bulma's home at Capsule Corp wasn't this big, and she was the wealthiest woman in the world!
"Not that I would expect anything less of the champ," Sharpner continued, crossing his arms and smirking as he did so.
"Yeah, I guess," Gohan said, looking at the mansion again. He didn't really understand why the guy had to live in such a big house. After all, from what Videl had told them, it was just her and her dad living here.
Suddenly, the large door opened and Videl popped her head out, much to everyone's surprise.
"Hi everyone!" she said, stepping out onto the gravel of the driveway, and she waved her arm to get everyone's attention.
"Just come with me! I'm going to take you to our auditorium so that my dad can let you know what we're going to do this week."
This sent the entire group of teenagers into chatting mode with a vengence, and you could practically feel the excitement of the group rising.
Videl led them through the doors of the mansion, and they all gathered together so that they could walk together as a group into the spacious hallway.
"You might want to start remembering your way around now," Videl began conversationally as she led her class to the auditorium. "I'll give everyone the grand tour later on, but it never hurts to start learning your way around now. I remember when I first moved here; I got lost all the time!"
Gohan smiled at this rarely scene personable side of Videl. It wasn't often that he got to see her without her interrogating him about whatever small thing he may have slipped up on that day. It was definitely refreshing to see her in a different light. Videl led them down the large hallway and into another set of large wooden doors.
Videl opened them to reveal a scaled-down opera house and looked like it could seat about fifty people. The carpeting on the floor was plush and the sounds of their foot steps were nearly silent because of its density. Everyone sat down in the chairs surrounding a rounded stage and were surprised when they sunk into the dark red cushions. Overhead there were expensive and intricately wrought glass chandeliers; the stage was frame by heavy, brocaded curtains; and the walls were lined by the heavy wooden panels.
"Okay, just stay here for a second, I'll go get my dad," Videl told them while her class and her teachers absorbed the new surroundings.
Sharpner, Erasa, and Gohan were sitting together as a group in the back of the room. They'd saved a seat for Videl just in case she decided she wanted to sit with them when she got back. Thankfully, the wait wasn't for very long and soon they heard the doors behind them slam open.
"Helloooo!" Hercule's voice resonated throughout the room.
The students that had sat close to the door were rubbing their ears to soothe them from the sudden shock.
"Welcome to Satan Mansion!" Hercule's boisterous voice boomed over their heads as he put his fists onto his hips.
The 24th World Martial Arts Champion was wearing his usual uniform of loose, white, cotton bottoms; his baggy v-necked maroon shirt; his over-sized championship belt; and, to top off the entire ensemble, he was wearing his collared white cape. Gohan could feel the sweat gathering on the back of his head as he listened to the large man burst into unrestrained laughter. Gohan just wondered why he always swung his head back and opened his mouth so wide whenever he did so.
"You have the honor, no, the PRIVILEDGE, of being trained by yours truly while you are here!" Hercule announced as he strutted down the center aisle of the auditorium, climbed the steps to their left, and stood in the middle of the stage.
"You will all follow my vigorous training regime while you are here, and hopefully you'll learn a thing or two during your stay here! You'll be training along side my star pupils, so learn from them and be sure to ask them plenty of questions! Keep in mind, this is all free! But if you want to join my dojo later on you WILL be required to pay the full fee. "
Gohan could feel his face scrunch up as he tried not to show his confusion. Gohan tried to straighten out his expression, but it didn't work until he felt the sudden unmistakeable feeling of being pinned by an intense glare. Gohan perked up in his seat, and his face had flattened itself out as he looked around curiously. Gohan's face froze and grimaced when he noticed that Videl had taken the seat on the other side of Erasa, who was sitting on his left, and she was leaning forward so that she could glare right at him. Both Erasa and Sharpner, who was sitting on Gohan's right, were listening attentively to Hercule shout at them on the stage, but Videl had probably noticed the scrunched up face he had been wearing just moments before.
Gohan tried to save face by giving her an awkward smile and a slight wave. Her glare only intesified for a moment before she gave up and leaned back into her seat. Gohan let out a small sigh of relief and turned his attention back to the overly dramatic man in front of him. He had to remember to act normal. If he didn't, it would only make it harder on himself, and he wouldn't be able to go to school anymore!
"Now as you know, you're also here to learn about my heroic victory over that chump Cell seven years ago!"
Gohan groaned internally as the topic finally moved onto that little problem. Gohan didn't know how he could keep a straight face if Hercule was going to wax poetic about his victory over Cell when the one who had actually defeated Cell was in the same room as him.
"I know that you guys have probably heard about those other chumps seven years ago who thought they could defeat Cell with their flashy light tricks. I just want to let you know that real victories are won through hand-to-hand combat! The struggle between a true martial artist and his opponent. There are no short cuts on the way to victory, and it is my plan to teach you this during your stay here!
"It has come to my attention that you will be staying with the 23rd World Champion at the end of this trip, but I want you guys to keep in mind that you guys shouldn't be too disappointed with a loser like that! After all, he couldn't be bothered to try for the title again in the next World Championship, or to show up at the Cell Games! I don't blame him, seeing as he would have surely lost! Just try not to make fun of him when you see him, okay kids?"
As the rest of their class cheered, Gohan's group stayed strangely silent. There was an odd tension in the air as the only ones who were aware that Gohan's dad was the 23rd World Champion heard Hercule slander the deceased's name. Gohan was gripping the fabric of his slacks tightly, and he stared at the polished, wooden seat in front of him, trying to control some of the emotion churning within him.
He knew that Hercule was just a clown, and that he had to keep his head down during this trip, but he couldn't deny that it hurt when someone insulted his dad like that. His dad was a hero, and he had fought in the Cell Games. Son Goku was one of the most powerful forces this universe could produce, and this was how the world was going to remember him?
Erasa, Videl, and Sharpner were watching their friend carefully, witnessing the tide of emotions washing up against Gohan's face. Videl felt more embarrassed by her father than usual especially since he was insulting the late father of one of her classmates. She couldn't even begin to imagine how Gohan must be feeling, but she knew that she would have decked the one who dared insult her father's memory in front of her. In that moment, she felt deep sympathy for her friend, and wondered what she could ever do to make up for the careless comments her father had made.
Erasa and Sharpner were just as shocked and concerned about the boy next to them. Sharpner felt conflicted; he was torn between the urge to defend his fellow classmate and mindlessly agreeing with everything his personal hero said. Erasa was feeling less conflicted.
"Hey, Mr. Satan!" Erasa called.
Everyone in the room jumped a little at the sudden noise and turned to look at the person who had dared to interrupt the World Champion. Erasa simply stood up from her seat in the back of the auditorium, and proudly lifted her chin in the direction of the so called hero in front of her.
"You shouldn't call him a coward!" Erasa scolded. "You might not know it, but Son Goku was the father of our friend Gohan here."
Erasa pointed at Gohan before she continued. Gohan could only gape up at the indignant blonde who was speaking for him in defense of his father.
"Son Goku died seven years ago, and you should be honoring his memory! Not insulting him in front of his son!"
Erasa gave a small 'hmph!' as she crossed her arms and sat back down. Gohan's face was red with embarrassment, and he had ducked his head to avoid the stares of everyone in the small auditorium. Both Videl and Sharpner were both flabbergasted at the actions of their normally friendly and cheerful friend.
"Well, I-uhhhhh," Hercule began, his mouth wide open and gaping at the small, teenaged blonde girl who had put him in his place in front of a large audience of adoring fans and his own daughter. Not to mention, there wasn't much he could do to blow this off. It looked like he had well and truly put his foot into his own mouth this time.
"I mean, I didn't- I, uh, I didn't know about- uhh," Hercule felt his skin heat and redden as the attention of his audience shifted from the blonde back to him. "Aw, hell, I'm sorry, I didn't know that he'd died. No one told me."
This, Hercule directed toward Gohan who had only just managed to pick his head up again.
"Er, I tell you what kid, I'll give you personal training lessons this week, and any time in the future you want to train with me, it'll be for free! I'm sure your dad was a real hero!"
This seemed to mollified the shocked crowd, and they applauded him for his 'thoughtfulness'. Erasa looked appeased now that Hercule had apologized, and Sharpner's pity quickly morphed into jealousy at Hercule's offer. Videl just knew that she was going to be having 'words' with her father about insulting people he didn't know. Unfortunately, Gohan felt himself wishing that he could will himself off the face of the Earth. Surely, this week couldn't get any worse.