Dragon Ball/Z/GT Fan Fiction ❯ Touketsu ❯ New Life ( Chapter 10 )
"We won't miss you!"
Vegeta's features tightened, the act pulling at the trailing lesions under his eyes that had begun to split open. He knelt on the frozen stone floor in the darkness, his arms wrapped around his pale body as he trembled unceasingly. His wrists shackled, the long, slack chains kept him anchored to the wall of ice behind him. It felt as though a year or more had gone by since that failed attack. He closed his eyes, and his mind wandered. He squeezed his eyes tighter as he felt them begin to burn. They had weakened him.
"Frieza was right," Vegeta shuddered quietly to himself, his head lowering. "Family is a weakness…he taught me that. I used that same weakness to exploit my enemies again and again. How could I have succumbed to it? I knew better. I KNEW better, and I allowed it to happen -"
"Thinking of your teacher?"
Vegeta's eyes opened marginally, dread lancing through his heart. Otherwise, he betrayed nothing.
Zhernbog's armored, wraithlike body knelt down until he was eye level with the Saiyan. The other Kagemazoku stood around Vegeta in a semicircle.
"This Frieza was a strong influence in your life, wasn't he?" Zhernobog asked softly, trying to make eye contact with him. Vegeta looked away. He couldn't stand to look into the ugly face of this thing yet again. "I imagine he was," he continued. "He raised you. He also inflicted a great deal of pain on you." Zhernobog paused, studying Vegeta's profile. "Would that I could thank him."
Vegeta's head snapped back to Zhernobog, his eyes locking with the demon's oil-black orbs as his fury suddenly rose. He snarled, revealing a set of sharp canines when he reflexively got to his feet. Instantly, the icy energy traveled up the chains through the shackles and drilled into his body. He gasped as the shackles suppressed the energy and rage before the chains tightened, yanking him back to slam hard up against the icy wall. Eyes and mouth wide open in pain, he quickly bit down on his lower lip to prevent from crying out.
Zhernobog rose to his full height and approached the Saiyan. "Your foster parent was the catalyst behind your dark power. He made us aware of your existence and your potential. It was his actions that instigated the grief and rage that helped lead us to you, and it was his influence that nourished your dark, bestial nature. He is as much a part of you as the Oozaru."
Zhernobog reached out with his left hand, pointing into the center of Vegeta's chest beneath his sternum with a sharp, gauntlet-clad finger. Vegeta suppressed a shudder, his line of sight following the action. "He's here, dwelling deep inside with the beast you were born with." Zhernobog's hand move up, the curved talon of his index finger now going underneath Vegeta's chin. He guided the Saiyan's head up to make eye contact with him. "Have faith. In time, we will draw them and their power out from you." Zhernobog held his right hand out to his side as it transformed into Tosho. Shivering, Vegeta looked askance at the weapon, the sword glimmering with the darkness of his past.
His spirit died a bit more at the sight of it.
The torture continued on and off for an immeasurable amount of time. There was really no gauge for how long he had been there now; the Saiyan could only guess and live moment to moment, but it felt like he had been there for years…a decade even. This was his life now.
Each time he endured the torment he relived his most painful memories again and again, along with the physical pain that went hand in hand with the emotional. In between the torture sessions his thoughts were either a maelstrom of agonizing, intrusive thoughts, or nothing at all. In the case of the latter, his body felt as dead as his mind: Heavy, cold, and useless. Other times, his frustrated rage would kick in and he felt as though he would be engulfed in flames. Before the energy grew too great however, the dark magic from the shackles chilled and suppressed the rage deep within him, storing it. The trapped, toxic energy was stagnating within his body, metastasizing like a cancer.
Vegeta sat alone upon his knees, the long, slack chains that bound his wrists tethering him to the wall just behind him. This was were he had been ever since that failed bid to escape. His back was hunched over and his arms crossed tightly over his chest, his now pointed nails digging into his shoulders. The blue in his fingers and toes had spread and deepened in color. His skin had the pallor of death, and the blueish shadows under his blood-shot eyes had darkened. His skin felt frozen. His body was constantly wracked with uncontrollable trembling, his heart seizing up in the unforgiving cold. He hadn't known warmth for ages. Bruising peppered his left pectoral where the blade had entered time and again. Dendritic, blue-purple veins spidered out from the point of entry just beneath the surface of his near white, translucent skin, climbing up the side of his neck to his temple. He felt like he was being slowly poisoned.
Suppressed though it was, the roiling darkness within had nonetheless been seeping out, slowly altering his appearance over time. Aside from his talons he had developed a light covering of hair over his forearms, whereas he had never had any before. His fangs had lengthened, and the lower canines had long since come in. The curious red lesions that ran from under each eye down his cheeks to his chin had split completely open some time ago, the open sores raw and red. Behind him, something flicked up before curling around him...something covered in dark brown fur matted with cracked, dried blood that had long since frozen.
His tail had returned.
It had happened some time ago during one of their "training sessions". He had been reliving in his mind - at an impossible speed - virtually his entire life under Frieza's boot yet again. His thoughts had been racing; he had been enslaved by that creature, later enslaved by his own drives to defeat a rival that didn't consider him worthy enough for a final fight, and now these demons were trying to enslave him. That fleeting thought enraged him, and he suddenly felt like a cornered animal: feral, dangerous, unpredictable. He wanted to tear apart anything that came near him. As the overworked neurons in his brain fired off, a jolt of white-hot electricity traveled from the base of his skull down his spine. Almost simultaneously he felt as though his spine was being pulled straight out, and in a sickening and agonizing ripping of flesh his tail had burst forth. Zhernobog seemed quite pleased with this development. The shackles suppressed the residual rage and energy deep within Vegeta, and the shadow demons withdrew once more.
Having his tail back had brought him no satisfaction, as he would have once thought. Under these circumstances, it was quite the opposite. Once his source of identity and Saiyan pride, the regeneration of his long-lost tail only meant one thing: the Kagemazoku were winning. In spite of his threats and bravado in what seemed years ago, he was losing faith in himself that he could overcome these creatures. What could he do, constantly bound as he was? He had been here for ages now. They had almost completely taken away his will to fight.
"No," Vegeta whispered to himself. In a fleeting moment of clarity he realized that in between his torture sessions all he ruminated on were what Zhernobog Daimao summoned up with the demon blade. He was dwelling on only the worst parts of his past, drowning in regret, and so that's where he was living now. Little else made it through that dark place. The only dark thoughts that paradoxically also carried some light were those of his family. How he wished he could get back to them. He had resisted best he could from dwelling on their absence. His thoughts drifted to his wife.
"Bulma," he whispered. Would that he could lose himself in her warmth now. He heaved a shuddering sigh and hugged his arms tighter around himself. "Hn. Wish the hell I had taken you up on your offers before I ended up here," he grumbled. "I didn't need anyone until you. You and the boy both have weakened me." He couldn't help but chuckle. "Bitch. You've made me an addict."
It was funny how he had actually felt…happy…at times when he was supposedly weaker. Happier than he had been during any other points in his life, certainly. Had it been all that bad then? He began reflecting on the woman that had drawn him in like a moth to a flame. His thinking began to shift, and he began to forget the cold.
"What was it about you, huh?" A smile quirked his lips, and he began to feel a little more anchored. "I wouldn't have called you fearless…certainly not at first. You shrieked like a banshee when I rained down those blasts to prevent your escape on Namek." He chuckled at the memory. "You were terrified of me." His brows drew together in bewilderment. "But then you just…shrugged all that off after we were wished back to Earth. You offered me a place to stay without batting an eye. At that time, it would have never occurred to me that you were a genius," he snorted, amused. "I thought you were a bone-headed fool…if a gorgeous one. Had you already forgotten that I tried to kill you and your bald friend for the Dragon Ball?"
He stopped to analyze his own words. Had he been trying to kill her? No - he didn't need to try. Someone as weak as her didn't require any effort at all; he simply could have killed her - killed her without another thought like he had so many others. Why didn't he then? What stopped him? His eyes lowered as he tried to figure that out.
"Maybe I was just completely focused on obtaining the Dragon Balls. Still…I could have incinerated you and baldy as soon as I got what I wanted. It would have taken no effort and a fraction of a second to do it." A chill swept through him and he rubbed his arms. He released a shuddering breath. "I suppose the thought wasn't even on my mind. I suppose I…maybe I just didn't want to. Maybe you were just good looking enough. Maybe it's because you entertained me. Your presence may have even saved Krillin's life."
He thought back to that period of time on Earth after Namek, a wistful smile quirking his lips. "You certainly were a funny one. You continued to entertain me when I stayed to train for those tin cans." He chuckled to himself. "Such a foolish woman - how could I not laugh at you?" He couldn't remember laughing that way before he met her. He had only ever laughed with malice, moments before ending lives. With her he felt…lighter. As no one else could do, she had a way of chasing away some of that darkness just by being herself. She helped him forget about it for a time.
"Riling you up had become one of my favorite pastimes," he smiled. "You had certainly lost your fear of me by that point." He reflected on how the playful, disrespectful little woman had made light of him since the day he came crashing back down to Earth, telling him to his face that he needed a bath. He had been completely blindsided by her fearlessness. He shook his head. "How someone so weak could be so fearless, I don't know. Your sharp tongue was about the only weapon you had." He snorted. "Pathetic. You were lucky you were starting to grow on me. I had never before allowed anyone to speak to me like that and live.
His eyes became distant. "It was after that gravity room explosion though, when I was stuck in a goddamn bed that I…" He trailed off. "I never expected to wake to see anyone there, much less you. I didn't…I didn't expect anyone to care. The way I pissed you off all the time…I thought you hated me. You should have hated me. Your scar-faced boyfriend died when he faced off against me and Nappa." He snorted in amusement. "Though he didn't get further than a Saibaman." He threw his head back and guffawed over Yamcha's misfortune, his laughter echoing in the darkness before tapering off into a chuckle. He leaned forward again, a smug smirk affixed to his lips. "What a loser," he shuddered, chuckling in the chill air. "He lost his life AND his woman," He tightened his arms around himself as a wave of renewed tremors ripped through his body.
"You were too much for him. I suppose it's no surprise you left him. While that fool was far stronger than you physically, he had nothing on your will." He chuckled, smiling. "You are the strongest weakling I've ever known, woman. You could handle everything I've thrown at you. You - a little, weak, human woman turned out to be worthy of Saiyan royalty. You can put up with my shit like no one else can. Even after I had pushed you and Trunks away. After Cell, you were still there, waiting for me - inviting me into your life with open arms just like you did that first time you offered me to stay at your home. After everything, you still seemed to care-"
"We won't miss you!"
His bemused smile faded. Did they still care about him? He had been here for years now. Did Trunks still remember him? Was Bulma still waiting for him? He scowled. "Why wouldn't she be?" he growled. "We've had so many goddamn fights. That was just another." He recalled his own horror that his son may not live. He had already experienced his son's death at the hands of Cell. In that instance however, his son's death had nearly been by his own. His brows furrowed. "It was just another fight," he whispered.
She didn't move on, did she? Did she…would she have gotten back together with that Yamcha? His heart twisted at the thought, jealousy and rejection flooding through him. No - no, she wouldn't have done that...would she? In spite of their break-up long ago, Bulma and Yamcha remained friends. That scar-faced idiot fawned over her. For all his alleged faithlessness with her when they were together he always had flattering words for her even when they were no longer a couple. Yamcha spoke to her like the royalty she actually was. Not so the prince; his pride wouldn't allow it. If anyone should have spoken to her like she was royalty it should have been me. Regret followed by a damning sense of defeat and abandonment began to creep through Vegeta's bones.
"No," he murmured. "She knows how I feel - I've never had to say shit. She's always been able to read me like a goddamn book." He straightened a little as he affirmed in a stronger voice, "And I know how she feels - how the hell could I not with the way she throws around those human sentiments, always telling me she loves me?" She means it, doesn't she? When she speaks those words she means it-
"We won't miss you!"
His eyes widened. …Did she mean it? His brow furrowed. "No. No. She looks at me like no one else. She looks only at me that way." His thoughts went to her impossibly large, blue eyes.
" I trust you, ok?"
Those blue eyes suddenly flared with rage as he remembered the last night he saw her face. His head snapped to the side as he was slapped.
"She hates you," he heard a voice within whisper. Vegeta swallowed, his thoughts going to the things he said to her before leaving for this place.
"I feel like I'm in purgatory."
Bulma wrapped her arms around herself and took a step back away from him. Her usually fiery blue eyes became as cold as ice.
Almost desperately, Vegeta's mind switched to the blue eyes of his son.
"She's done with you," it whispered.
"Shut up," he hissed through clenched teeth. He was slipping, he could feel it. He focused on Trunks. Would he think he abandoned him? "Trunks," he whispered. "I didn't mean to leave you like that, boy," he spoke urgently in the frigid air. "I meant to come back. I, I only push you because of the potential I see in you-"
"Is that what this is about? Is it? Or is this about some unfinished business with Goku?"
Vegeta's brow furrowed. They then drew into a scowl as his eyes hardened. "Yes, that's what this is about, woman." he hissed. "Trunks is strong. I see his potential. I'm proud of him. I've always been-"
"Bullshit." It was his own voice. "You were disgusted when you first laid eyes on him. The hybrid was an insult to your royal Saiyan blood. You couldn't even believe he was yours - he looked nothing like you. Blue eyes? Purple hair? What the hell Saiyan has purple hair? Kakarot's spawn looked more Saiyan than that creature. And no tail?! Hell, Gohan even had a tail. Kakarot's boy was more Saiyan than yours. That bastard even bested you in his offspring-"
"Shut up," Vegeta snarled. "I don't care about that fool. To hell with everyone else. Trunks and Bulma are the only ones I give a shit about."
"Liar. Is that why you ignored them when their jet went down?"
Vegeta faltered before scowling again. "I didn't ignore them. I didn't know they got caught in that blast! I was focused on finding Gero!" Shivering, Vegeta looked away as he recalled those moments when Future Trunks confronted him:
"Hey! Why didn't you try to save them, Vegeta?"
"Who?!" Bulma and your son!"
"Oh. Them. I have more important things to worry about than that foolish woman and her blasted child!"
He closed his eyes, his brows drawing into a scowl. "I didn't know their jet had gone down until Trunks told me - not that I was about to lose face in front of the kid and admit that," he grumbled to himself. "I was…unnerved that had happened without me knowing."
"You were disappointed."
His eyes flew open, his head whipping forward towards nothing. "What? You dare!" he barked.
"You knew the woman and the boy were in the area. You saw them flying overhead. You're telling me that when Gero threw that blast and made his getaway that it didn't occur to you that they'd be in danger?"
Vegeta grit his teeth. "I already told you, I was focused on finding Gero! I wasn't thinking about them!"
Again, Vegeta faltered. His eyes cast downward, ashamed.
"You didn't want them. You didn't want those attachments. The woman seduced you. You were dragged into fatherhood and you regretted ever getting involved with her. You knew they were there, and you knew that they were placing themselves in danger by being there. There was a small part of you that hoped fate would step in and take them out of your life."
Vegeta was silent.
"You're SO proud of your son…you ALWAYS were," his inner voice mocked. "You were so proud of him that even when you realized the identity of the boy from the future, you pushed him away."
Vegeta thought of his own father, thought of the failure he turned out to be. He couldn't handle being a father - he had never planned on it. He couldn't tolerate any more failure. He had held his newfound Super Saiyan power like a shield against it. "I…I wasn't ready," he protested weakly to himself, his pointed fingernails digging into his shoulders. Vegeta's eyebrows knit together, and his reddened, shadow-rimmed eyes grew glassy with regret.
"Father!" the teenaged, future version of his son called after him in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Vegeta walked away into the blinding, white void to train alone. He didn't look back.
Vegeta saw his own father walking away from him.
His mouth pressed into a thin line, and the breaths coming out through his nose became quick and shallow. Father, Vegeta thought bleakly. Why didn't you come back for me? You said you would, why didn't you?
He could almost here Frieza whispering into his ear. "Because I killed him…along with everyone on your planet. He died, because he was weak."
Vegeta saw the eyes of his teenage son again, wide with shock and pain, as Cell pierced his heart with a ki blast just as Frieza had done to him. He watched his son fall, watched him die just as he himself did on Namek….and he could do nothing.
"And that's why I'm here," Vegeta whispered to himself. "I failed my son. I failed Bulma. I've failed in everything. I'm a failure, just like my own father. I wouldn't be imprisoned here if I wasn't." His face cracked with grief and despair. "I would be able to get out of here if I wasn't this…weak, powerless…failure."
The sickening memories that Tosho had stirred up were infecting all thoughts that crossed his mind; Vegeta's attempts to ground himself only succeeded in driving him further into madness. He felt dead within, but his body just wouldn't follow. It felt like it was constantly perched on the edge of death, but like a perpetually spinning coin it just wouldn't fall over. If he was trapped here why did his body have to keep going? Why couldn't he just die? Trembling, he stared catatonically into space.
I can't get out of here.
He dug his nails into his shoulders until they punctured through the skin. He raked his nails through the flesh, continuing all the way down his biceps. The warm blood seeped out in rivulets to drip onto the icy ground. He wanted to claw his heart out. He wanted to claw the lump out of his throat. He wanted to claw his flesh off and escape this body, this absolute hell he was in.
I can't get back to them.
Vegeta's lips peeled back into a fanged grimace. A trembling hand drifted up to the left side of his chest, the chains dragging over the frozen stone. He grabbed a handful of flesh and dug the pointed nails in.
"They won't miss you anyway."
He ripped viciously, darkened blood gushing out over his fingers to dribble down his stomach.
"We won't miss you!"
His hand flew up to grab his throat. Digging his nails in, he attempted to tear out his larynx. He succeeded only in lacerating the skin. Perhaps he lacked the strength, or perhaps he lacked the will. Perhaps both, but he was spent. He let his arm fall to his side to stare sightlessly out into the darkness. His body a rim-lit silhouette in the dim light, the steam from his blood rose up around his jaw to coalesce with his panting breath. The pain of the injuries and the sight of the blood had at last grounded him; it overshadowed the mental anguish as battle or physical training did, if only temporarily. The warmth of the blood on his chilled skin was welcome, but it didn't last; the continued blood-loss left his body feeling colder than ever. Thankfully though, the thoughts had receded.
He lay down. It was nice to feel calm again. Now he could rest.
Vegeta slowly came to, aware that he was being almost carefully lifted up. He did not open his eyes as one of the Kagemazoku gently gripped his chin with frigid fingers and lifted his head. Zhernobog Daimao approached their trembling captive. The Saiyan's nearly white, naked body was streaked with rivulets of dried blood, now cracked like a dry river bed. Zhernobog reached out to examine the ugly, self-inflicted wound over his chest. Vegeta tensed only slightly. The Demon King's fingers trailed up to his lacerated throat and Vegeta swallowed reflexively, his dry throat clicking audibly.
Zhernobog smiled to himself. The Saiyan prince had no secrets from them. Zhernobog knew he had a relationship with this "Bulma", and he knew that they had had a son together. There were many good memories associated with these people, unlike the nightmarish memories Vegeta harbored before having met the woman. However, there was also some pain attached to them…intense pain. Perhaps it was these individuals that could be the key to unlocking the animalistic, emotional part of him needed to affect the change. They had been steadily cultivating and storing Vegeta's anguished energy. They had nearly stored enough - they were so close. He just needed a little push in the right direction. The memories of his family could provide that.
"We are on the verge of another breakthrough, I see," Zhernobog commented affably before withdrawing. He continued almost conversationally, "These…people you were speaking of…Trunks and Bulma."
Vegeta slowly opened weary eyes but kept his gaze trained downward, purposely avoiding eye contact with his tormentor.
"They caused you pain, did they? You were speaking of them, and then you did this to yourself."
Vegeta's brows drew together. "…No," he whispered after a moment. "They didn't …I…" He trailed off. He didn't know anymore. Every thought that came into his head twisted into something painful.
"You care for them. Don't you, Prince Vegeta?"
Vegeta said nothing, his shuddering breathing the only sound.
"Do they care for you?"
Several moments passed. Vegeta slowly raised his sunken, bloodshot eyes to Zhernobog.
"You mated with this woman. Were you just trying to lose yourself, to forget your torment as you would attempt to do so through your obsessive training? You left her, pregnant with your child, to prove to yourself you were worthy of holding the title of 'prince'…to become this "Super Saiyan". By the time you had returned to Earth she had given birth, and you pretended she and your son didn't exist. You were oblivious to their peril on the battlefield as you pursued this "Dr. Gero". Your son visited you from the future and still you ignored him…belittled him. You fought with each other; he struck you down when you let the creature Cell absorb the Android 18. You endangered their lives and the lives of all on the entire planet you came to call home so you could prove your own strength to yourself." Zhernobog paused. "You nearly killed your only son before you arrived here. Did you think they would ever forgive you for that?"
Vegeta remained stoic, but his eyes, shining with unshed tears, betrayed his innermost fears.
"Do you believe they miss you?"
His heart finally shattered. He closed his eyes before screwing them tightly shut, the tears spilling over to channel into the open sores on either side of his face. His face contorted in grief, and he drew in a ragged sob. Mercifully, the soldier that was gripping him by the chin withdrew, and Vegeta was allowed to lower his head.
Zhernobog drifted closer, placing his icy hand comfortingly upon the distraught Saiyan's shoulder. "Remember the power your pain gives you. Remember the abandonment, the betrayals, all of the indignities you've suffered. Remember your hurt, your hatred, and numb yourself to all else. So long as you remain frozen and fixed in this place - the place in your mind where you draw upon all your rage - your power will have no equal. You will be one with our family. You will serve us, and you will at last have purpose.
Zhernobog generated Tosho and positioned the point of the glimmering blade over Vegeta's wounded chest. Vegeta didn't react at all. The blade was plunged in.
Bulma. Trunks. His mind filled with images of them, the remains of his heart filling with the suffocating guilt and self-hatred that he experienced every time he failed them. Frieza himself had warned Vegeta against making attachments. How many times had he himself exploited that very weakness? His adoptive father was right. Bulma and Trunks were being used against him. They had become pain. They were killing him. His heart filled with anguish. No more.
Zhernobog at last withdrew the blade, leaving Vegeta shuddering uncontrollably. A thin corona of blue and purple light began to dance up and down his body. Zhernobog's features tensed with anticipation. Drifting back, the demon king held his left hand up, fingers spread. The Kagemazoku that had been holding the Saiyan released their grip and withdrew as Vegeta fell to his knees. Zhernobog quickly closed his hand, and the shackles around Vegeta's wrists shattered.
The moment the shackles were destroyed the corona of ultraviolet light burst into a raging inferno of blue and purple fire that quickly turned a furious red as blinding as a flare. A tsunami of enraged energy flooded every fiber of Vegeta's being, and he arched his back and roared in agony as he was engulfed, the blood that streaked his body blackening before burning to ash in the conflagration. His body screaming to escape the torment, he managed to get to his feet and take several stumbling steps forward. The Kagemazoku parted, letting the living fireball through as they watched with curious intrigue. His body burning like a pyre, the wild-eyed Saiyan reeled around deliriously to face the demons, his instincts telling him even now to ignore the torment of immolation and fight. He was freed at last - fight them!
The tortured energy that had been cultivated for ages was too great. He couldn't control it, and he collapsed to his hands and knees again. Looking up in desperation he could barely see the shadowy specters and their king between the flames that raged around him. The stalagmites and icicles cast pointed shadows upon the icy walls from the horrific light show, their manic, dancing forms appearing as the gnashing teeth of a beast. The light of the blaze slid up and down off the reflective ice of the cavern, and the flames faded back to blues and purples before plunging into ice blue. Vegeta screamed when the fires suddenly burned cold, his sickly, pale skin draining completely of what little color was left until it became snow-white. The blue inferno collapsed to wash down his body like burning liquid sulfur before darkening and taming into a sickly, purple aura.
His tail lashing wildly in the throes of his torture, he doubled over with a guttural groan to wrap his arms tightly across his midsection. He desperately gripped his sides with his sharp nails, raking them into his ribs and leaving deep gashes in their wake. He pitched forward, bracing his hands upon the cave floor as his groans became a rumbling growl. He screwed his eyes shut as his voice continued to lower several octaves, taking on a demonic timbre as he grit his teeth and his fangs lengthened.
When he opened his eyes they were completely red and glowing like hell fire. Panting, his mouth and nose began to lengthen into a muzzle, and his ears grew pointed. The open wounds that trailed from under each eye to his chin split open further. As he began to grow in size, so did the skin split on his wounded shoulders and biceps. Quickly following that, the skin split diagonally across each pectoral, then the flesh split on either side of his throat. The raw, open wounds hardened into garnet colored, striated flesh, and his black hair lengthened into a wild mane that extended down his back. Shaggy black fur erupted over his chest and down his belly, over his forearms, the back of his hands, and down his legs. His feet transformed into a pair of massive, three-toed claws, the third inner toe becoming the thumb-like digit of an ape's. The lashing monkey's tail tapered to a point and the hair reformed to centralize into an ugly ridge of black fur that ran along the top of the now otherwise hairless white appendage. As the beast grew to an incredible size, the gashed skin between the ribs also split to reveal dark red, ribbed flesh underneath.
The enormous creature reared its head back, shattering the black icicles that hung above it. They rained down from above to fragment into scintillating pieces in the creature's pulsing aura before evaporating into smoky vapor. Suddenly, the still growing monster shrieked in pain and rage as a pair of shining, wickedly curved black horns burst from the creature's temples just above its eyes in a spray of blood. Its aura at last dissipating, it thrashed its whip-like tail to audibly cut through the air before striking the ground with a deafening crack, shattering the surrounding stalagmites of ice as the sound reverberated throughout the cavernous void. The Kagemazoku encircled the snarling beast.
It was no Oozaru; it was a twisted chimera. The lean behemoth stood on all fours like some demonic baboon, bearing the weight of its heavy upper body on its knuckles. The shaggy mane of black hair that framed its white face covered its neck and extended down its back in great spikes, almost giving it the appearance of a shark's fin. It chuffed once before letting out a blood-curdling, unearthly howl. The creature turned slowly, the sheer mass of the beast almost giving the impression that it was moving in slow motion. Its burning gaze leveled on the demon king below, and its long muzzle wrinkled into a snarl. Vegeta, deep within the mind of the demonic creature, was barely holding onto cognizance.
"ZHERNOBOG," the monster rumbled vengefully.
Zhernobog stood stoically and merely smiled. At last the Kagemazokus' weapon had been forged, and with it they would gain access to all the realms. Only the final task of tempering their weapon remained.
Before it could lunge, kusarigamas of ice sailed out from the hands of the demon soldiers that surrounded it. The weapons pierced the beast's thick hide, and it howled in rage as icy energy coursed through the chains and into the animal. More and more soldiers deployed the weapons, shocking the creature into submission. The Kagemazoku army at last pulled the stunned creature down to collapse onto the ground. It was now almost completely immobilized, but like the injured beast it was, it thrashed and raged.
Zhernobog was completely unconcerned with the livid creature. He approached the beast's head and dissolved into a formless shade, crawling up the side of its face like a creeping parasite. Zhernobog resumed his true form, now standing on the creature's neck just behind its head even as it shrieked wrathfully. He summoned Tosho. The memories that had enhanced Tosho were no longer needed; they had made the transformation possible, but now, in order to serve its new place as the Kagemazoku beast of burden, the animal could never remember its past life ever again. No, it simply needed to be bent to their will.
The icy light of the dark memories was reabsorbed into Zhernobog's body, leaving the blade a lifeless black. Zhernobog plunged the sword into the base of the animal's skull and it howled in agony. Prior to its transformation, the creature would not have been receptive to this sort of mind control. While in its current beastly state however - inches away from being an unthinking animal - Zhernobog was able to forge a connection and dominate its thoughts. He channeled his icy will through the blade into the creatures's mind, subduing it. Its eyes glazed over, and its features went slack. There was a snort and a shake of its shaggy head, then nothing more.
Zhernobog smiled in satisfaction. He leaned forward and spoke to the creature. "Your training is complete, Touketsu. We are ready."
Zhernobog Daimao continued to channel his will into the dull creature's brain. The Kagemazoku that had the animal pinned quickly retracted their weapons one by one. Pulsing, purple energy began to run through the wound-like fissures that etched either side of the animal's face, over its shoulders and arms, and between its ribs. Deep beneath its shaggy mane, purple light emanated from the markings on its chest and throat. It slowly got to its feet as the pulsing energy quickened in tempo. Waves of black energy wreathed in a glowing purple corona began to pulse around its body. It reared its head back, and with a curl of its lips, it released an ungodly, shrieking howl. All at once the light in its markings flashed and a column of dark energy, black at its core and wreathed in purple flames, blasted from its gaping maw. The energy impacted the mirror-like wall of ice in front of the creature, twisting and warping its surface into a black hole as the vortex of purple fires grew in diameter. The black center of the vortex punched through, creating a gateway to an unknown world before the hole grew in size to merge with the whirling flames that circled it.
The beast snapped its long muzzle shut. Zhernobog, astride his massive steed, smiled in satisfaction. "Come, my family," he said. "We have much to do." He and his steed stepped through the portal, and the vast army of Kagemazoku followed in a whirling, relentless stream of black shadows. The portal closed.
Ten thousand years before the former Saiyan ever existed, the violent planet of Hemea in Universe 9 met its end.
Five thousand years into the future, Planet Mortua of Universe 3 was drained of life.
Five hundred years in the past, Planet Earth of Universe 6 was consumed by the demons in the midst of the populace's final nuclear war.
Twenty years before the Saiyan's last day on Earth, Planet Rigora of Universe 7 was felled. The North Kai's antennae twitched in response, and he paused in washing his red convertible. "Hm. Another promising planet gone. All because these mortals don't know how to use the power they have." With a shake of his head, he sighed in disappointment and resumed washing his car.
Zhernobog and the Kagemazoku continued their slow, steady attack on the physical plane. In multiple points in time - thousands of years in the past, the future, all throughout the vastness of all 12 universes, planets were attacked. The multitudes of advanced civilizations and their wars called out to the Kagemazoku, the darkness in their souls feeding the demons and multiplying their army. The conquered planets were drained, their dead and cold husks devoid of the life they once held. The Kagemazoku continued their onslaught as they strengthened their forces for the ultimate conquest of the Spirit World following the subjugation of the entirety of Creation.
The kais didn't even notice.