The search party emerged from the entrance hall and found themselves surrounded by huge, muscular, heavily-armed bandits.
Sonata's eyes widened. "Whoa."
Twilight yelped, her glasses slipping down her nose.
Ron groaned. "Oh man! Why can't it ever be as easy as it looks?"
"Yep, this is the kind of thing you expect when you're lookin' for Dragonballs," Oolong muttered.
"You think maybe you could've warned us about that?!" Twilight cried.
The biggest, nastiest bandit stepped forward. He wore a dusty brown canvas loincloth, heavy black boots, and a striped black and white shirt with the sleeves ripped off. A leather aviator's cap was strapped to his head, from which long, wiry tangles of unruly black hair stuck out. He sported a full, scrubby black beard and had beady eyes beneath a low, sloping brow. A massive club was slung over one shoulder. "They don't look so tough," he rumbled.
To his left stood a shorter bandit who wore a gorilla hide tunic and a tiger skin kilt with hemp boots and tanned leather bracers. He had a lean, wiry build, a sharp face lined with scars left by a tiger's claws, and an eyepatch over his left eye. His hair was short, stiff, and spiky. A pair of khukuris hung from his wide leather belt. He folded his arms and snorted. "We heard you came here looking for a Dragonball," he said in a soft, raspy voice. "I'll be taking it off your hands, and any others you've found." The bandits around him laughed, chuckled, and chortled.
Roshi raised an eyebrow. "Oh you will, huh?"
"That's right, old man!" the larger bandit said, pointing his club at Roshi. "If you're hard'a hearin', we'll say it again! GIVE US THEM DRAGONBALLS!"
"Yeah, yeah!" a bandit to his right said. This one was a fox-man with red fur and a bushy tail, dressed in suede breeches and a leather jerkin. A wooden staff was lashed to his back. "Who wants to sit around waitin' months to get their fortune told when we can make our fortune with that wish!"
Oolong rolled his eyes. "Ho boy," he groaned.
"Sorry, boys, but we're not giving you our Dragonballs," Roshi said. "If you know what's good for you, you'll clear outta here before you get hurt!"
The bandits guffawed. "Oh, that's right!" the large bandit roared. "An old geezer, a bunch of little girls, and a pig are gonna hurt us?!" He sneered. "Want I should splatterize 'em, Mayo?"
The leader smirked. "Now now, Mustard, there's no need to be murderous brutes. Make an example of the boy. Maybe they'll be more cooperative."
Ron flinched back. "Oh snap, I'm the boy!"
Kim rolled her eyes. "Relax, Ron." She rolled her neck, cracked her knuckles, and settled into a fighting stance. "These goons don't know what they're messing with. Get ready to bust out some of that mad monkey kung fu."
"Uhh...yeah..." Ron gulped, but took a shaky stance.
The bandits laughed. Their leader smirked. "Well, if you insist on making this interesting..." He drew one of his knives and pointed it forward. "Mustard, Ketchup, Relish, teach them a lesson."
Mustard grinned as he lumbered forward, his club at the ready. Two other bandits joined him, both armed with hatchets. Kim didn't wait; she launched herself at one of the hatchet men, dropping low and sweeping his feet, then stealing his weapon and using it to block a strike from the second bandit. She hooked his wrist with the back of the blade and pulled hard, then ripped the hatchet out of his hand and tossed it at Mustard, who blocked with his club. As the first bandit recovered, Kim backflipped away, passing her liberated hatchet off to Twilight. "Here, hold this," she said.
"Umm..." Twilight quivered on her feet, her knuckles white on the handle of the hatchet. She swallowed nervously.
Ron met Mustard's charge by jumping onto his shoulders and doing a handspring off him, then grabbing the straps of his aviator cap and yanking hard. Mustard let out a grunt of pain; Ron dropped down behind him and tugged hard on his loincloth. It fell.
He wasn't wearing anything under it.
"EWW!" Sonata gagged, covering her eyes. "RON, WHY!?"
"Oh, this is so wrong," Bulma groaned, holding her nose and squeezing her eyes shut.
Kim stared over at Ron's fight. "Really, Ron?"
Mustard, meanwhile, roared in rage and embarrassment, fumbling for his loincloth with one hand as he swung his club at Ron with the other. Ron limboed under it, gagging. "Ugh! DUDE! You need to WASH DOWN THERE once in a while! Also LICE! Gah! I need to wash my hands like, fifty times!"
Mayo ground his teeth. "You IDIOTS!" he snarled. "You're letting them make fools of you!" He turned to the other bandits. "Shoyu! Salsa! Tabasco! Don't just stand around, get them!"
The named bandits charged forward, waving swords and yelling. The fox bandit pulled his staff and spun it over his head. One by one, the other bandits joined the fray.
Ron ducked under another wild swing of Mustard's club, then jumped right into the back of his neck and pushed off, unbalancing him. As the pantsless bandit fell to the ground with a mighty thud, Ron looked up and squawked. "Oh snap," he said. "KP! We've got incoming!"
"I noticed!" Kim retorted from where she was dodging clumsy but persistent dual attacks from Ketchup and Relish.
Bulma let out a frustrated groan and slapped Roshi upside the head. "Well? Don't just stand there! Get out there and help them!"
"Huh? Oh. Oh yeah." Roshi rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, tossed his stick to the side, and settled into a fighting stance. He let out a yell and charged in, dispatching three bandits with swift palm strikes. As he joined the battle, Bulma put her hands on her hips. "You too, Oolong!"
"M-me?" Oolong replied, gulping. "Uhh...Bulma...I ain't one of those crazy fighters you hang out with..."
"No, but you can change into something really big and strong," Bulma pointed out.
"Big yes, strong not so much," Oolong reminded her.
Bulma rolled her eyes. "JUST FREAK THEM OUT THEN!" she yelled, punting Oolong into the fray. He let out a startled yelp and transformed into a giant two-tailed bull, plowing through several bandits before he got control of himself. Taking the initiative, Puar transformed into a giant pteranodon, screeching and flapping over the fray. Several bandits dropped their weapons and ran.
Mayo groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Idiots..." He raised his voice and yelled, "Don't fall for their stupid tricks! Remember the wish!"
"Remember my FIST!" Roshi yelled, appearing suddenly behind Mayo and punching him hard in the kidneys. Mayo's eyes widened in surprise; with a gurgling cry, he coughed up a spurt of blood and sank to his knees, then fell to the ground.
"BOSS!" Mustard roared. He forgot about Ron and his lost loincloth and ran at Roshi, bellowing at the top of his lungs. His club smashed right into the old man...
...who suddenly wasn't there; his afterimage faded as Roshi himself appeared some distance away, hands cupped at his sides, a bright blue glow forming within.
"HEY! Don't overdo it, old man!" Oolong lowed.
"Uhh...Ron? Something tells me we need to get out of the way," Kim said, eyes wide as she cartwheeled away from the battle. Ron yelped and scrambled back to the sidelines.
A solid beam of blue-white energy shot forth from Roshi's hands as he thrust his palms at Mustard. The bandit could only stare in astonishment as Roshi's Kamehameha slammed right into his exposed junk.
His eyes crossed.
He fell to the ground, whimpering pitifully.
The rest of the bandits stopped dead where they were, staring at this spectacle. They looked from Mustard, to Mayo, to Roshi.
Roshi took a deep breath, then exhaled through his nose. He looked up, straightened his shirt, and flashed a V-sign.
Bulma, Kim, Twilight, and Sonata blinked.
"Umm...I think we should go," Kim said slowly.
"Probably...probably a good idea," Bulma agreed, nodding.
Less than three minutes later, the adventurers were back on their plane and safely in the sky.