Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos - Chapter 2181

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Chapter 2181: Brazen

With the sun gradually setting toward the horizon, Vahn looked toward the darkening sky and said, "It's getting late. We should probably make camp before it gets too dark."

On that note, Vahn rose to his feet with the intention of pulling out a decently sized cottage from his Inventory. Bulma seemed to have something else in mind, however, as she immediately seized the opportunity to jump up and declare, "Leave it to me!" with a notably haughty smile on her face.

Pulling out a bulletproof container filled with color-coded and differently sized capsules, Bulma selected one of the larger ones before saying, "Get a load of this."

Clicking the button at the top of the capsule, Bulma tossed it towards a clearing a few meters away from the group's position. Seconds later, the capsule exploded with a force comparable to an anti-tank mine. There was also a bright flash of light and a large plume of peculiar orange smoke. When the smoke cleared, a hemispherical cottage with three compartments now occupied the previously empty space.

With her arms akimbo and a cheeky smile on her face, Bulma was practically beaming as she asked, "Well, whaddya think? Pretty neat, huh?"

Contrasting Bulma's expectations, Vahn and Sarina had relaxed smiles on their faces while Goku, thinking the capsule house was some kind of monster, whipped out the red pole on his back and shouted, "Everyone, stay behind me! I'll protect you from this beast...!"

Though she was mildly annoyed by the indifferent expressions of Vahn and Sarina, an amused smile developed across Bulma's face when she heard Goku's words.

("At least one of them is surprised...")

"This isn't a beast, silly. It's one of the Capsule Homes my father developed. It's a fully furnished portable home with water, electricity, satellite television, a walk-in closet, and a fully stocked fridge. Pretty much everything a young girl needs when adventuring outside the city."

Without waiting for Goku's response, Bulma made her way over to the reinforced metal door that served as the entrance to the Capsule Home. She hadn't mentioned it, but, other than the amenities she had pointed out, the Capsule Home also served as a miniature fortress. The inside resembled a normal house, complete with square rooms, while the outside was shaped like a dome. Said dome was almost entirely comprised of armored plating, and, more importantly, there was a transmitter in the roof that generated an EM field that deterred dinosaurs and other dangerous creatures.

With a quick palm scan, a low mechanical hiss could be heard as the numerous locks on the door were promptly deactivated. Then, like a hostess trying to lure in customers, Bulma half-turned, a beaming smile on her face as she gestured towards the interior of the Capsule Home and said, "It might be a bit cramped for four people but there's a bath inside and plenty of space on the floor. I'm sure I have a futon or two stowed away in the closet."

Amused by Bulma's 'thoughtfulness', a low chuckle emanated from Vahn's throat as he said, "Thank you, Ms. Briefs, but I actually had something else in mind."

Surprising even Sarina, Vahn snapped his fingers to produce an inn-sized cottage with three floors, a storage room, a workshop, and an annexed, open-air bath. It was a bit overkill, but, when it came to showing off, Vahn was no slouch.

Since Bulma had so graciously offered her home to them, Vahn figured he might as well do the same, stating, "You're welcome to take a look inside. The bottom floor is structured similarly to a tavern but there are seven bedrooms located up the stairs. They might lack satellite TV, but, once you feel how comfortable the beds are, I doubt you'll mind."

On that note, Vahn turned towards Goku, his expression softening as he said, "Come along, Goku. I'll show you how to use the bath and then we'll get you outfitted with some new clothes. While I'm certain that dark blue gi has some sentimental value, it could do with a good cleaning..."

Though he had been ignoring it, Vahn was well aware of the foul odor emanating from Goku. The youth probably hadn't taken a bath since his Grandfather died. His body smelled like a fish market, and, unless he was mistaken, Vahn was pretty sure the original color of his gi was grey-blue. Now, however, it was a dark and grimy shade of blue that was quickly approaching black in the areas that accumulated sweat...

"Sure thing, Uncle Vahn! Just let me say goodnight to my Grandpa real quick!"

Without waiting for permission, Goku scampered over to the small hut that had once served as his Grandfather's home. This afforded Bulma the opportunity to tentatively inquire, "How...how did you produce a house out of thin air...?"

Answering in Vahn's stead, Sarina stated, "I told you before. Vahn can do just about anything. The sooner you accept that the easier things will become."

Smiling wryly in response to Sarina's words, Vahn extended his hand to caress the raven-haired teen's head as he appended, "The Universe is a truly vast, mysterious, and terrifying place, Bulma. Even Earth possesses countless secrets just waiting to be uncovered. The real question is, are you truly prepared to receive the answers you're looking for? Most people are a lot happier remaining completely ignorant of the world abroad...only those with the greatest of wills are qualified to peel back the veil and uncover the truth that lies beneath..."

"..."

Staring into Vahn's abnormally deep yet vibrant eyes, Bulma had the uncanny impression she was staring into an endless well of knowledge. It was, if she were being completely honest, a little scary. At the same time, however, an excitement reminiscent of the first time she had built something was swelling from the depths of Bulma's psyche. She hadn't earned the distinction of being the smartest girl in the world by fearing the unknown, so, after a moment of consideration, she crossed her arms and adopted a confident smile as she retorted, "Who do you think you're talking to? I'm not some little girl you can frighten with scary stories. Everything has an explanation, and, so long as I live and breathe, I won't stop until I expose all the Universe's secrets!"

Nodding his head in approval, Vahn's expression noticeably softened as he muttered, "Good. That's the correct way to live..."

Hearing Vahn's deep yet velvety tone, a shiver ran through Bulma's body as her heart promptly skipped a beat. She was the type of girl that would mentally insert herself into romance flicks and dramas, so, having a handsome man staring at her with a 'smoldering' look on his face was a bit too much for Bulma to handle. Her knees felt wobbly, and, though it was quite warm outside, she felt a slight chill as the gentle summer breeze passed through her thighs and beneath her skirt.

Unfortunately, just as Bulma's thoughts were beginning to take a rosy hue, her mind was brought crashing back to reality as Vahn softly teased, "When you're finished staring off into space, come inside. You'll need to rest your body and mind if you're serious about continuing your journey to find the Dragon Balls."

Though her mind nearly fell into the gutter when she heard the phrase 'come inside', Bulma was able to conceal her slightly perverse nature behind a veil of fury as she groaned, "Uuuuugh...why'd you have to remind me? I'm still pissed off that you're making me go and search for the balls when you can just bring them here whenever you want. I know you want me to learn some kind of lesson but can't you make an exception, just this once? If you do, I promise to make it worth your while..."

Unable to completely suppress her true nature, a lewd and somewhat silly smile developed across Bulma's face as she grabbed the hem of her pleated pink skirt and flared it provocatively. She didn't actually reveal the skirt's contents, but, against most men, even a flash of her milky white thighs was more than enough to get them drooling like dogs.

As Bulma was rather infamous for taking advantage of and being exploited for her sexuality, Vahn wasn't particularly surprised by her behavior. Her original had even tried to convince Goku to part with his Dragon Ball by promising a flash of her panties. Less than three episodes later, she used a similar method to convince Master Roshi, but, due to a bit of mischief wrought by Goku, she ended up flashing a lot more than her panties...

Surprising the precocious blunette quite a bit, Vahn adopted a teasing smile as he stated, "Trust me, Ms. Briefs, if something were to happen between us, it wouldn't be me receiving their while's worth. Now, unless you have something substantial to discuss, I have a little nephew to attend. Feel free to stop by my room if your curiosity gets the better of you."

Punctuating his words with a playful wink, Vahn grabbed Sarina's hand before surprising the bright red blunette by promptly teleporting away. This left Bulma without an outlet, or, more accurately, a scapegoat to direct her embarrassment and frustration towards. As a result, she ended up burying her beet-red face into her hands, illusory steam rising from her head as she muttered, "What have I gotten myself into...?"

...

..

.

Though Bulma never came to his room, Vahn could sense that she was awake deep into the night. There was even a moment where she went around to every other room but his own, ostensibly in search of Sarina. When she failed to find her, Bulma ended up standing in the hallway connecting to his room for the better part of half an hour before ultimately returning to the 'comfort' of her own. There, she remained awake until around 2 AM before finally passing out thanks to a combination of mental fatigue and physical exhaustion...

...

..

.

With the dawn of a new day, Vahn took the time to help Sarina perform her morning routine before heading downstairs to prepare breakfast. The aroma of the food promptly roused Goku, who, after a thorough cleaning and a change of apparel, now resembled a bubbly youth with large, hazel eyes and a carefree smile limited only by the bounds of his face.

"Good morning, Uncle Vahn! Wow, something sure smells great!"

Unable to restrain his curiosity, Goku leaped up to the counter to get a better look at the food Vahn was preparing. Under normal circumstances, Vahn wouldn't particularly mind this. In Goku's case, he understood the young Saiyan needed a guiding hand and a parental figure, so, with the shadow of a frown on his face, he said, "You shouldn't stand on the counter, Goku. We use such surfaces to cut and prepare ingredients. If they get dirty, there's a small chance that the food we prepare will make people sick. Have you ever had a stomach ache or experience diarrhea...?"

Paling at the mention of the word, Goku promptly hopped from the counter before answering, "I used to get it a lot when I ate fish from the lake. There were even worms in my poop one time so I usually go fishing in the river or catch bears and rabbits in the woods"

Raising his brows, Vahn set the stove to simmer before reaching out to place his palm on Goku's head. He hadn't noticed anything amiss the day before, but, hearing mention of worms, he couldn't help feeling slightly concerned. Fortunately, while there were signs of microscopic tearing in Goku's intestines, there were no parasites anywhere in his body.

Though he didn't understand why Vahn had suddenly started to caress his head, Goku just smiled innocently as the tip of his monkey-like tail curled in contentedness. Vahn's actions reminded him of his Grandpa, so, while there were no guarantees they were related, the notion they were family was already firmly cemented in his mind...

...

..

.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Bulma be like, *smug cat*','Vahn be like, *himself*','Not all families are forged through blood relations...')

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