Dragon Ball/Z/GT Fan Fiction ❯ Touketsu ❯ The Cycle ( Chapter 31 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

The Cycle

Goku blinked. He was at Check-in Station! He looked down at his spirit body, clad in his orange and blue gi. He was whole again. Or, as whole as one could get when dead. What had happened? What was that dark place he was in? No sooner than he began pondering these thoughts he pushed them aside. He had to get back to Earth. He ran to the gilt pagoda ahead, pushing his way through the never ending parade of spirits and ignoring their indignant protests. He ran to the massive red ogre behind the desk.

"Yo, King Yemma!"

"Back of the line, Goku." King Yemma drawled, not looking up from his paperwork. He stamped another death certificate before proceeding to the next.

Goku jumped up onto the desk. "King Yemma, it's important! I have to get back to the living world!"

"They all say that," he replied, disinterested. "You got your free pass for the day, now get out of my hair."

"Hey my time wasn't up yet-"

"Not my problem."

"Well can't you just have Babba come lead me back over for the few hours I had left?"

"It doesn't work that way, Goku. You'll have to wait one Earth year before you're eligible for another visit."


King Yemma looked up at Goku's outburst, one eyebrow raised. He sighed and leaned back in his chair, an expression of weariness overtaking his features. He shook his head. This job sometimes…"All right, Goku, what's the problem this time?"

"The fate of the planet is at stake! Maybe the whole universe! Geez, haven't you noticed how many people from Earth have come through here already?" Goku exclaimed, gesturing emphatically to the unending line of cumulous spirits behind him.

"Yes, Goku." King Yemma droned, rolling his eyes as he leaned forward and continued to stamp his papers. "It's certainly not uncommon for large populations to be wiped out, especially on planets such as Earth. I've seen it countless times. The 'intelligent' and 'advanced' races find all sorts of creative ways to quibble over something: land, beliefs, apples or oranges. It almost always escalates to the point where they have to kill each other in large numbers before the dust settles again."

"King Yemma, that's not it!"

"I've heard this before, Goku. I've already bent the rules for you far too much. I thought you were finally coming to your senses when you decided to stay in Otherworld rather than upset the laws of nature with those damned Dragon Balls."

Goku's eyes widened: The Dragon Balls. They had them all when Vegeta killed him. Did he get a hold of them? Shit, he was probably waiting for an opportunity.I let down my guard, Goku frowned to himself. What would Vegeta want to use them for? His skin crawling, his thoughts swung to his family and friends and the sense of urgency that lead him out of that void came roaring back. "King Yemma, I have to get back! Vegeta is up to something!"

"Vegeta?" King Yemma echoed, barely glancing up from his work. "That troublemaker is at it again, huh? Been a while for him," he muttered. He shook his head. Damn those damn Dragon Balls. "Goku, look. Whatever is happening on Earth is beyond my jurisdiction AND my concern. My only concern is with the dead."

"I think it is your concern! The Earth was attacked by something supernatural - Zhernobog and the Kagemazoku."

King Yemma dropped his stamper, a sweat drop forming on his temple. He looked up at Goku. "W-what?"

"So you know about them. What are they?"

King Yemma stared blankly for a moment. "Long ago they attempted to break the laws of the universe by interfering with the physical plane. This is against the rules of the Spirit World, and they were sealed back into their realm and their position as judgement demons revoked."

"Judgement demons?"

"Yes. Zhernobog is a very old god, a dark one. He and his Kagemazoku were once in charge of judging souls before I took over the position. All beings were sent before them, no matter how much good or evil they did in their lives. Those whose souls were mostly pure didn't stay in their realm long, and were permitted to move on towards heaven. Those who were mostly evil were sent to Hell where their souls would undergo further cleansing. How in the devil did they get out?"

"I have some idea how. Close to a year ago they got to Vegeta and transformed him. Vegeta told me that they had been using him to open gateways between worlds. We beat back their forces, but they're not destroyed, and now I'm afraid Vegeta could be just as much of a threat."

By this point the clamoring of the impatient souls behind them had reached a fever pitch. King Yemma snapped out of his musings, overwhelmed with the fires he suddenly found himself having to put out. "Goku, I have to get back to work, but I'll look into this matter."

"What!?" Goku exclaimed. "We have to do something now!"

King Yemma held a placating hand. "I'm concerned too, Goku. But like the rest of the kais I have a job to run. I'll make some phone calls. This may have to go all the way up to the Supreme Kai."

Goku huffed. If he couldn't get back to the physical plane then he had to at least warn his family and friends. The North Kai could help him with that, and maybe he could explain why he knew the Kagemazoku had escaped when even King Yemma didn't. "All right. I'm going to go see King Kai." He placed two fingers to his head and winked out of sight.


The Saiyan appeared right in front of the North Kai, making him spill the cup of tea he was carrying. "Gah! Goku, you scared the crap out of me!" King Kai exclaimed. He readjusted his glasses and set the now mostly empty tea cup on a nearby settee table. "Well you're back a little soon. So what's going on-"

"King Kai, I need you to put me in contact with Yamcha," he interrupted urgently. Being trained in telepathy, Yamcha would be more receptive to King Kai than Bulma. He hoped to the kais that Vegeta hadn't gotten to them.

"Uh, yeah sure thing Goku." Goku put his hand on King Kai's back, and the North Kai focused on reaching out to Yamcha. His antennae flicked, an expression of concentration on the kai's face as the seconds trickled by. "Hm. I'm not reaching him, Goku….not on the physical plane, at least."

Oh no. Goku thought. "Can you try Bulma? King Kai's brows knit together in confusion. What the hell was going on over there? He nodded, and again stretched out his senses to establish a connection. Again, with a shake of his head he had to give up. Finally, Goku asked him to contact Gohan. Nothing.

Goku's heart sank. He was in such a rush to get back to Earth to reach his family and friends, he didn't stop to entertain the possibility that they were already here in Otherworld. Perhaps he didn't want to. "All right, King Kai," he said softly. Look for Gohan here." King Kai did as asked, and his antennae pricked up.


"Gohan! I'm so glad to hear you! Son, I'm so sorry," he said remorsefully. "I'm going to try to find a way to fix this."

"Dad," Gohan said firmly, "Vegeta wished Frieza back. They're working together."

Both Goku and King Kai were in disbelief. Mystified, King Kai shook his head in denial. Vegeta wished back his hated oppressor and willingly joined forces with him? It was the absolute last thing he'd expect the prince to do.

"That's what he wanted the Dragon Balls for?" Goku asked. "Why would he do that?"

"I don't know, but he did. Vegeta attacked Trunks and Goten. We all went up against him and…Dad, it's terrible. He can harness his energy now, and it's unlike anything I've ever seen." There was silence for a moment. "He killed Piccolo, Krillin, 18, Tien." He trailed off. "And that's not even the worst of it. Frieza's reached a new level; like a Super Saiyan but far more powerful. He got me and Goten."

Goku blanched. Of all the energy signatures he thought he'd be searching for he didn't think it would be Frieza's. He couldn't IT onto the physical plane without his body, but he could at least pin-point Frieza's energy and get a read as to where he was now. With the tyrant's energy enhanced as it was it would be extremely easy to find. He put two fingers to his head and focused. He drew his brows together in confusion when, after some searching, he felt absolutely nothing.

"I can't find Frieza, Gohan."

"Dad, are you sure?"

After a moment, Goku replied soberly, "Yeah, Gohan." He scowled in thought. "I'm going to talk to King Kai. There's something we need to figure out. Take care of your brother, ok? I'm sorry I wasn't there."

"Yeah, Dad….I'm sorry too. Love you."

The telepathic communication was dropped. Goku placed his hands on his hips and sighed. He was too late to save his sons and friends, but Chi-Chi and the others were still alive at Dende's lookout. Miraculously, the Earth hadn't been destroyed. He was going to see to that it stayed that way. First, he needed to know more about what he was dealing with.

"Goku, did I hear that right?" King Kai asked in a hushed voice. "Vegeta's working with Frieza again? Did he lose his mind completely?"

Goku locked eyes with King Kai's bespectacled face. "He was changed," he said grimly. "He was taken and changed by Zhernobog and the Kagemazoku."

King Kai paled, speechless for a moment. "He…what? The Kagemazoku? H-how could they have possibly escaped?"

Goku blinked. "You mean you didn't know? You sensed them on Earth, didn't you?"

King Kai shook his head. "I sensed a common buildup of negative energy that indicates an impending catastrophic event.

"Wait, what?"

"I'm the North Kai, Goku," King Kai stated matter-of-factly. "It's my job to monitor Creation in my quadrant. What do you think these antennae are for? Sheesh. Anyway, this negative energy I sensed is created by a planet's inhabitants. It's always there, and it ebbs and flows. If that energy increases substantially it often results in some sort of war. The more energy that builds, the bigger the fallout: the death of civilizations, the extinction of entire races, that sort of thing. I've detected it countless times."

Goku scratched the back of his head, one eyebrow quirked in confusion. "I don't get it, King Kai. If you felt it bunches of times before why were you worried about it this time?"

King Kai sighed. "Well, since you were heading over to Earth soon anyway I wanted to give you a heads up. Only once did I feel an energy build-up as great and sudden as the one I felt from Earth, and it was on planet Rigora. In that case, it resulted in the complete death of that planet's entire ecosystem. I figured the Earth was in similar danger."

"Well, it wasn't some war that was coming, it was the Kagemazoku. No offense King Kai, but how could you confuse that sort of energy with theirs? Now I couldn't sense Zhernobog and his army either, but can't you guys sense other gods?"

King Kai's features drew into an indignant pout. "Of course we can, Goku. But…it's true," he grumbled, disconcerted. "I never picked up on Zhernobog. Now I never met the guy, but since Zhernobog is a kind of judgement demon he may operate on a different set of rules. But…I felt some sort of sudden, identical increase of negative energy on both Earth and Rigora." King Kai's thoughtful scowl relaxed as something occurred to him, and he looked back up to Goku. "Goku, you said that Zhernobog got a hold of Vegeta?"

Goku straightened. "Yeah. Somehow they got to him about a year ago and transformed him. When I got to Earth, the Kagemazoku were invading Satan City, and they had Vegeta with him. I didn't even know it was him. He was in some crazy new Oozaru form, and I couldn't get a read on his energy signature. Somehow he changed back but…not completely. He didn't even remember who he was anymore."

"Do you know what they wanted with him?"

"Well, Vegeta told us that while in his Oozaru form, Zhernobog used him to create gateways. He said they were traveling from planet to planet throughout the Multiverse and draining them of life."

"Wormholes," King Kai whispered. He frowned. "Perhaps…perhaps that peak in negative energy I experienced from Earth and Rigora was in fact the creation of one of these wormholes."

"I'm guessing that's how they broke out of their prison," Goku offered. "But, if they needed Vegeta to create these gateways then I don't know how they reached him to being with."

King Kai's expression turned thoughtful. He knew what a violent and deeply troubled one Vegeta was, his inner turmoil culminating when he finally faced his long-time oppressor only to be killed. It was a sad situation for King Kai to witness, yet not a new or surprising one. How often it was for mortals to confront the objects of their profound hatred without realizing they had become one and the same. It was becoming apparent that Vegeta had not found the peace King Kai hoped he had after being brought back to life. "Hm. I think I have a theory on that, Goku."

Goku's brows drew together. "What is it?"

"Zhernobog and the Kagemazoku were judgement demons, and as such they are attracted to negative energy. They feed off of it, and it strengthens them. Planets giving off extreme negative energy could in fact be drawing the Kagemazoku's attention. It would explain how they've been wiping out planets undetected; they were blending in with the turmoil and finishing off the populations of planets that to us would have appeared destined for self destruction."

"Ok, but what does this have to do with Vegeta?"

"Vegeta is very powerful. It's possible his own negative energy may have been strong enough to establish contact with them. They've been out causing havoc before they technically got to Vegeta because they've been time traveling." King Kai shook his head. "Zhernobog took his violation of the natural order to the next level. This could have been going on far longer than we've even known."

"Well, we managed to stop them for now. Vegeta turned against Zhernobog, and together we thought we had defeated him and his army, but we were wrong. The Kagemazoku are still out there, but without Vegeta they can't move on. They're trying to get him back, but right now I'm worried about what Vegeta's up to. I thought he was starting to remember who he was, his family and the life he made on Earth, but…he's creating chaos. Without Zhernobog controlling him he had trouble calling upon this power to create gateways, but it's there, and he's getting better at it. King Kai, I'm worried he's going to start turning space-time into Swiss cheese same as the Kagemazoku."

King Kai rubbed his chin in thought. "Hm. Maybe. Goku, you said that Zhernobog had transformed him into this strange Oozaru you're talking about?

"Uh, Yeah. Vegeta didn't seem to remember much about being Oozaru. He did remember that they went to a lot of planets, and he said something about carrying out Zhernobog's will. Other than that it sounded like the whole experience was kind of a blur to him."

"Hm," King Kai nodded to himself. "Zhernobog is tuned into all manner of negative vibrations all throughout time and the 12 universes. The Kagmazoku's ability for inter-dimensional time travel was a combined effort: Vegeta's altered form provided the Kagmazoku access throughout the Multiverse, but it was Zhernobog that directed where Vegeta take them. Vegeta is mortal. Or at least, he still has the mind of one. If he can't recall being in this previous form of his and thus where he's been, then his power could be limited by his current sense of awareness. A mortal has difficulty comprehending any reality other than the one he knows, making his personal universe relatively small in scope. This could mean that while Vegeta may be able to jump space within the universe he knows, he can't create new timelines, or cross into different universes."

"I sure hope you're right, King Kai. But even so he's learning how to manipulate his power into attacks." Goku shook his head. "The power he has now - it's so dark. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced."

There was a haunted look in Goku's eyes that looked incredibly out of place for the Saiyan. King Kai's brows furrowed in concern. "What is it, Goku?" he prompted.

Hesitantly, Goku explained. "Something weird happened when he destroyed my body." He swallowed. "I didn't go to Check-In Station."

King Kai looked at Goku very seriously. "Where did you go?"

Goku shook his head, scratching the back of it in thought. "I don't know exactly. There was nothing there. It was just completely black. I couldn't see anything, and I couldn't feel anything. It wasn't just physical either - I didn't feel anything in my heart. I didn't care about anything. I didn't even care that I was trapped there. King Kai, was that some place in Hell?"

King Kai shook his head slowly in disbelief. "How the hell did you get out of there?" he mused aloud.

"Do you know something about it?"

"He scattered your soul, Goku. By all accounts you shouldn't be standing here in front of me." When Goku looked at him quizzically, he elaborated. "You told me Vegeta's energy had changed into something very dark. Dark energy is infectious in nature. He transferred his energy into your soul when he killed you, and he basically nullified your spirit energy. You shouldn't even exist after that." King Kai would never cease to be amazed by this mortal. He had a knack for doing the impossible.


Touketsu-Vegeta sat upon his knees in silence feeling drained and empty. Finally, he lifted his head and blinked, as though coming out of a dream. He looked up at the dark clouds that cloaked the sky, and he frowned thoughtfully. Slowly, he stood. He turned and looked to the dark, pointed buildings in the distance that had survived the battle with Frieza. Everything in that deserted city had been trapped in black ice, the objects shattering like glass when destroyed.

He scowled. "I've been here before," he murmured, recognition dawning on him and with it, a completely new perspective. He continued to turn 360 degrees as he truly took in his surroundings. "This - this is that strange planet from that failed purging assignment. I was here like, what, ten cycles ago!" He shook his head in wonder. "By the gods. It was Zhernobog's doing," he breathed. "How-"

"Your teleportation technique. It was you. It wasn't the Kagemazoku that created that wormhole, it was you."

"Did I just imagine seeing that creature?"

His eyes widened, and he stopped breathing. "That animal," he whispered. Touketsu-Vegeta recalled approaching the enormous, black-maned, white beast before locking eyes with it. In an instant another memory was triggered, and his perspective flipped. It was as though he had walked through a looking glass to observe the same moment from the opposite side.

The creature's life was a blur of conquered worlds, ice and shadows. It did not have its own thoughts. It viewed the universe through dispassionate eyes, processing its surroundings without feeling, complicit with the commands of its master. It remembered none of the places it had been to with any clarity. The inhabitants of many of the planets tried to defend their worlds and resist the darkness. Some relied on weapons. Others manipulated the universal life force. They all failed and succumbed to the void. Everything was frozen in darkness, and all faces blurred to shadows. It remembered none.

Except for one.

They had finished their conquest of the planet. Zhernobog Daimao commanded they leave. As the beast trudged its way through the drained city, it saw a pinprick of blue-white light from the corner of its eye. It quickly grew closer. The beast glanced in the direction of the fast approaching object. It stopped mid-air, and the creature could discern its features. It was a soldier, his ki energy flared around him. He had black hair, and a translucent, red object covered one eye. He wore a blue uniform and white and gold armor. Unlike all the others, this soldier stood out to it. Zhernobog urged his steed on, and the creature looked away before tearing open the gateway. They left.

Touketsu-Vegeta felt his blood run cold. He remembered. Two distinct memories, from two different lives, experienced simultaneously. "No," he muttered. He raked his hands up into his hair, and he began to hyperventilate. "No.."

"Zhernobog's primary goal was to freeze the multiverse in perfect balance before taking his campaign to Otherworld."

"Sounds like he would have had a never-ending job on his hands then."

The prince gripped tight fistfuls of his hair before collapsing back to his knees. He leaned forward, his eyes wide with fast escaping madness. "No, no, no…"

"If that bullshit is true then the Kagemazoku have been trying to execute a fruitless campaign for eternity."

"Vegeta? H-how much do you remember being with the Kagemazoku?"

"They were always a part of my life."

His eyes began to well with tears. He felt like he was going to vomit. He knew the truth.

He had always been in Hell.

For the first time since he had made the decision to purge Frieza from his life, he felt something: it was agony. He squeezed his burning eyes shut, his throat tightening with a painful lump. His brows furrowed, and tension gripped every muscle. "Damn you," he hissed to no one. Despair flooded his heart, and he slammed his palms into the ground. His very existence - from the beginning to the end and back again, spiraling out into eternity - It was all one, big, fucking hell. This was his destiny? A purgatory of subjugation and slavery? Death and destruction?

He dug his claws into the dead, black earth, and his skin began to darken. His heartbeat quickened as the dark light strummed within. He opened unseeing eyes, the tears now flowing freely. "It doesn't matter what I do," he muttered feverishly to himself. "I tried so hard to change course, to break this cycle. I planned my every move, and it didn't matter." His growing indigo aura ignited, the blue and purple flames spilling and crawling outward.

"There's no way out of this. It was an illusion that I ever had any control - any…any freedom at all. I…" He swallowed. "I can't get out of here," he whispered hoarsely, his voice trembling. The fires began spinning, their velocity increasing exponentially in an ever expanding vortex of corybantic energy. His face contorted in anguish, and his voice began to rise. "I can't get out." The flames bled red.


With a sudden burst of energy, the vortex exploded around him. The darkness ripped forth, combining with the searing crimson flames to consume all in its path. The hurricane of violent red and black energy continued on relentlessly as it scrubbed the entire surface of the planet, disintegrating mountains and dead cities before imploding their remains. Entire frozen oceans were reduced to vapor in an instant, the oceans floors left black and dead.

Strengthless, the pallid demon slumped forward on his hands and knees. He hung his head, the spikes of his long, black hair obscuring his face. He was frozen in place, doomed to repeat the same events over and over again, never moving forward and beyond this cycle. Simply circling, that downward spiral pulling him deeper and deeper into an abyss where light could never reach. His body began to darken again, and the light pulsed within. His growing ultraviolet aura flared weakly before again seeping into red. The anemic flames trickled down his charcoal body like burning blood. "Nothing matters at all," he nearly sobbed.

The images of Bulma and Trunks flashed through his mind, as though to protest his words. They begged him to hold on, even as he felt hope and sanity crumble beneath him. His body continued to darken as his spirit broke. A voice called out that he could make things right. He could gather the Dragon Balls and wish them back. However long it took, he could do it. He could change course. He could start over. Things weren't as they seemed. The voice of reason grew more and more distant as he fell further into the darkness.

He couldn't hear it anymore. There was nothing. No hope. No point. They were illusions. In a catatonic daze, Touketsu Vegeta barely lifted his head to stare out at the vast nothingness spread out before him. His body descended to jet black, the scarlet flames dripping down his body draining to a cold blue. They began to cyclone about his form, expanding to steadily take apart the entire planet. The very ground gave way beneath him, and he was pulled downward into the frozen core of the dead world until that too was reduced to ice and dust.

Expressionless, the demon prince hovered in the dark void of space. The remnants of the destroyed planet, caught in the dispassionate eddy of his cold energy, orbited slowly about his blackened form. Once more, the energy within the stygian demon began to lace and crackle like an oncoming storm. His aura exploded into a whirling pyre of blues and purples to develop twin arms of indigo energy. The debris caught within was atomized as the continually lashing, spinning arms stretched outward to whip through neighboring planetary bodies and asteroids. Quickly reduced to space debris, they were dragged towards their destroyer. The spinning vortex accelerated as it retracted, the matter cremating within the hot accretion disc that deformed over the top of the now flat blackness of the demon's body.

The spinning disc of dark energy suddenly exploded outward to plunge everything in its wake into nothingness. Planets were destroyed, and stars imploded. The dead stars sucked down the remnants of the planetary bodies that had once revolved around their life giving power. Now nothing but light stealing entities, the empty holes riddled the fabric of the universe like bullet wounds.

The demon prince hovered in the dark void of space, his now pale form framed by distant stars. Gossamer filaments in bruised hues of blues and purples, the only thing remaining of the planetary bodies, hung about him in nebulae of ever dying energy.

This joke of an existence, and the universe that birthed it - all of creation, all the universes, every pointless, repetitive aspect of it - would go straight to hell. It would all be sucked down into the void with him where he had always been. That illusion of free will was to keep him compliantly running in a circle, performing like a monkey for the gods. Those supercilious cretins were no better than Frieza, no better than Zhernobog. His body darkened, and the dark light pulsed. He raised his hand out before him.

"Kuromon." The energy receded to travel up his arm, punching through space to open a gateway. He entered.

King Kai stiffened, his antennae flicking in agitation. He felt a disturbance somewhere in Otherworld; it was a ripple, and with it a faint but familiar energy. "Goku. I think he's here."

Goku tensed. "Vegeta?"

He looked up at Goku and nodded grimly. "Yes."

What could he want here? Alarmed, Goku prepared to teleport to him. He was just raising his hand to put two fingers to his head when King Kai quickly grabbed him by the wrist.

"Goku! If you go as you are, without a physical body, he could quickly destroy you - faster than the last time. You barely made it back before. Are you prepared for this?"

"I know something about the nature of his attacks now. I'm as ready as I'll ever be." Goku focused on Vegeta's altered ki signature, shaking his head once in frustration. "Ever since he took on this form his ki signature is so different - so distant. I'm having trouble pinpointing his location."

"I can help with that, Goku. Put your hand on my back." The North Kai's expression became resolute, his antennae flicking.


The sky was a tranquil lavender, the planet peaceful. In the distance, pale planets could be seen through the hazy atmosphere. The Supreme Kai sat upon the lush grass meditating, his intimidating attendant Kabito standing by his side. He had found it very necessary to engage in the practice of meditation regularly to maintain objectivity and detachment to the plights of mortals. During his training to shoulder the mantel of Supreme Kai, it was long ago impressed upon him that gods were not to meddle in their affairs. He was only to observe and offer them guidance. Whether or not his guidance was accepted was not his responsibility; a mortal's free will dictated that.

He had tuned out the tribulations that occurred during the rise and fall of nations, the destruction of planets, and the development of the myriad species that populated the galaxies throughout his universe. His duty only was to maintain the balance of Creation. He was exceptionally focused now as he monitored the universe for any abrupt loss of life. After he received the phone call from King Yemma about the supposed escape of Zhernobog and the Kagemazoku, he had been on high alert. His brows furrowed slightly when he felt something. A large supernova, perhaps.

The Supreme Kai scowled, his facade of serenity broken as a sudden chill swept over him. There was a disturbance that cut through the background noise that constantly murmured and rippled through Creation. Like an incoming storm it was dark, unsettling…and fast approaching. Broken from his meditation, he finally opened his eyes and looked around curiously; the sky was darkening, and everything grew still. He stood.

"Now this is odd," he murmured as he looked up at the changing weather. Kabito nodded his head in silent agreement, the already stern features on his red face tightening further.

Suddenly the deep roar of an atmosphere being ripped open tore through the eerie silence. Their heads snapped over their shoulders as they looked skywards to see a dark vortex tearing the sky open as it widened in diameter. A pale figure dropped through to land upon the grass on heavy feet. The black haired demon straightened and fixed burning red eyes upon The Supreme Kai.