Bulma and Puar had returned to the dome house to check on Chichi, leaving Gyuumaoh, Roshi, and Oolong alone with the four teens and an awkward silence.
"So..." Roshi said, adjusting his sunglasses. "You kids are from another universe, you say?"
"That's right," Kim said. "We're tracking down these crystals an ancient sage scattered across the Great Zodiac Animal Worlds."
"We've already done Horse World and Rabbit World," Ron said. "This one's..." He shuddered. "Monkey World."
Roshi stroked his beard. "Monkey World, you say. Hmm...interesting."
"You sure it's not Pig World?" Oolong asked.
"Or Ox World?" Gyuumaoh added with a grin.
"Nope, definitely Monkey World," Ron said. "It kinda feels monkey-ish, except...not bad monkey-ish, you know?"
Kim rolled her eyes. "Enough, Ron."
"Hey, you said you guys are trying to bring somebody back to life, right?" Sonata piped up.
The natives shifted uncomfortably. "Well...yeah," Oolong said. "I mean, it's no big deal wishing somebody back with the Dragonballs, we do it all the time, it's just...none of us ever thought it'd be him dying."
"And there's...other things going on," Roshi added. "Frankly, things are kind of serious here right now."
"Serious like end-of-the-world serious?" Ron asked.
"If Goku doesn't get strong enough in the other world to fight the Saiyajin before we wish him back to life, then...yes," Roshi said gravely.
"Invaders from outer space," Oolong said. "Real tough customers. Goku died taking out just one of them, and there's two more coming that are supposed to be way stronger."
"Oh, don't get me wrong, we've got a bunch of strong fighters training night and day for what's about to happen, but really? All our hopes rest on Goku," Roshi added.
"The guy who's dead," Sonata said.
"Sonata! Have some tact!" Kim chided.
Roshi chuckled. "Oh no, my dear, it's fine. This isn't the first time we've had to bring a friend back to life with the Dragonballs." He sighed. "Seems we have to do it way too often actually. But the problem isn't Goku, it's...well..."
"My grandson was taken by a demon," Gyuumaoh said. "My little Chichi...she isn't taking it very well."
The teens gasped. "What?!" Kim cried, shooting to her feet.
"Mmm, Piccolo," Roshi said gravely. "None of us particularly like the fact that he took Gohan, but there's not much we can do about it. Besides, he's dead set on training the kid to fight the Saiyajin, and, well..." He shrugged. "He's Goku's son. I mean, he's not even five years old, but the kid's tough."
Twilight frowned. "Hold up," she said. "A demon is training a four year old to fight alien invaders?!" She looked around the room. "And nobody's...nobody's doing anything about this?!"
"There's nothing we can do," Gyuumaoh said sadly. "The only fighter on Earth strong enough to even try to stop Piccolo from doing whatever the hell he wants is, well...Goku."
"And Goku's dead," Oolong said miserably. "So all we can do is hope Piccolo doesn't eat the kid or something."
Kim clenched her fists. "That isn't right," she said. "I think we need to put our own problems on hold for a bit and...and try to help this poor little kid..."
"Whoa, hold up there, missy," Roshi said. "I sympathize, but trust me, this is something you don't wanna get involved in." He frowned, looking the group over. "I mean, I can tell you're a martial artist and not a bad one for your age, but you wouldn't last half a second if you got involved with the kind of crowd we run with."
"You wouldn't last half a second against Mutenroshi here," Gyuumaoh added, "and he hasn't had a serious fight in years."
"I could still kick your ass," Roshi grumbled.
Gyuumaoh paled. "E-err...I'm sorry, I didn't mean any offense!"
Ron raised an eyebrow. "Okay, if the huge dude who looks like he can throw a bus like a football is scared of ticking off the old dude, the old dude's gotta have like, scary skills."
"No doubt," Kim said. She smirked. "I'm almost tempted to ask for a sparring match."
Roshi raised an eyebrow. "We'll see," he said.
"You know, I like this world," Sonata said cheerfully. "It's like some kind of comic book. Aliens and demons and little kids being kidnapped to be turned into mega weapons, and some creepy old martial arts master who looks like he'd keel over dead if he farted too hard but can probably knock down a mountain—it's all so...so..."
"Manga?" Ron offered.
Bulma returned. Closing the door behind her, she let out a sigh. "Well, she's screaming about as much as she's crying, so that's a good sign," she said. "Still, the only way I could calm her down was to promise to make a little detour before we start our search."
"What kind of detour?" Oolong asked skeptically.
"We gotta go see Kami-sama," Bulma said. "Chichi can't rest until she knows Gohan is safe, and the only way to find out is to ask Kami-sama." She frowned. "Which might not be a bad idea anyway, because while we're there we can see if he knows anything about a Monkey Crystal that has the same kind of magic as a Dragonball."
Ron's eyes widened. "Wait," he said. "That's...you're saying we're gonna visit GOD?!"
"And it's a long flight," Bulma added. "Everybody ready?"
"To meet GOD? Uhh..." Kim blinked rapidly.
Roshi chuckled. "Don't worry, it's...well, you'll see."
"We'd better get going," Bulma said, frowning. "We're probably going to have to spend the night at Kami's Lookout."
"Well, while we're there, we might as well look in on Kuririn and the boys," Roshi said. "They've been there training for a couple of months now, right?"
"That's right, Yamucha is there!" Bulma said brightly. "Okay, is everybody ready?"
"Wait, we're just...gonna go, now, like that?" Kim asked. "To meet God?"
"Just like that," Bulma said, turning and heading for the door.
"See you later Bulma! Later, Mutenroshi!" Gyuumaoh said cheerfully. Kim looked at the others in her group, who shrugged; they all stood up and followed Bulma's group outside.
Bulma walked over to her plane and pressed a switch on the side. With a loud *BOM!* and a cloud of smoke, it disappeared; she picked up a small, slender capsule from the ground and tucked it into a metal case she pulled from her jacket pocket. "Let's see...ah, here we go," she said. "Stand back, everybody!" She pulled a similar capsule out and clicked the small button on the top, then threw it.
Kim, Ron, Twilight, and Sonata stared as, in a cloud of smoke, a massive green transport plane appeared...