This was the story I was most unsure about out of all of the Things Were Better Then one-shots.
All of the above pictures show that I was primarily considering Gohan and Dende to be the protagonist during the early pre-planning for this story. The story "Savage Heart" was going to be about Gohan struggling with his identity from both a Saiyan and human perspective. Suffice to say, that idea didn't interest me and I didn't go farther with it than what I wrote on the page seen in the first picture above.
Another list I posted in a message to Destructivedisk on Facebook, which can be seen in full on the Glory anthology page, has the following potential protagonists for this story - "ITG - Gohan, Zarbon, Vegeta, Majin Buu, Dr. Gero, Dende". Those were the protagonists who came to mind when I listened to In the Garage. In the latter stages of TWBT planning, I also considered Bulma heavily for this story - indeed, while her name isn't on any of the lists, she was going to be the protagonist of this story by the time I posted the page for TWBT on this wiki (as seen here. "Rain" was an even less-defined story than "Savage Heart". All I ever came up with for that one was that something was going to happen to Bulma while she was in a garage while it was raining outside. I never planned anything further than that.
I specifically held off from doing much pre-planning for "Rain", which is different from what I did with the other TWBT stories. Indeed, until May 6, 2015 (3 days after We'll Never Feel Bad Anymore had been completed), I did not change the TWBT page from featuring "Rain" to featuring Before Creation Comes Destruction. And during this entire time, I did not think about "Rain" very much. I did no planning for it because I realized around the time Bonetown Blues was completed that I needed to find a new story. The Bulma one just wasn't compelling to me. Now, I didn't have any idea for what to replace it with - "In the Garage" is a very difficult song to tie to a story, and it left me in a creative black hole. I didn't know what to do. So I just ignored it and wrote all of the other stories leading up to "Rain" while waiting for some jolt of creativity to hit me.
By the time I had completed Suicide Missionary, I got the idea for a possible Beerus story. This came about because, at the time, I was playing quite a bit of the video game, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, and Beerus is an important character in the campaign as well as in the other modes. This was my first introduction to him, and his character intrigued me, so I thought maybe I should write about him. This meant doing another story like Monster, and I was okay with that.
Now, this also meant making that movie canon as well as watching it (I had not yet seen Battle of Gods at that point). So my priority was first to watch Battle of Gods and then decide if it could be canon. I didn't know what I would do if I rendered that movie non-canon. The main reason I had held off from watching it was that there had been no english dub versions easily available (and I very much despise the Japanese voice actors for DBZ - they are amongst the worst actors in all of Japanese anime). Once I found a version of the movie, though, I was set.
So I watched Battle of Gods, and it was a decent movie overall. The characterization of Beeruswas the highlight of the movie - he was the best characterized villain ever in a DBZ movie. I was confident that a story about him would be fun. Beerus quickly became one of my favorite characters after his appearance in Battle of Gods. So then the idea for the story itself began to develop, and what I thought would be the most interesting thing to do would be to portray an origin story for Beerus. This would, invariably, mean that this story would be much longer than any other TWBT story.
So after I came to the conclusion that Battle of Gods is canon to my universe (after a lengthy post about its canon issues on my canonicity blog), I began working on this story. I updated the TWBT page and did some preliminary work for the plot. One thing I came up with early were the puns for the names of the characters - all of them are based on alcoholic beverages similar to beer. The other thing I did a lot of work on was coming up with a unique planet. One thing a lot of writers do when creating alien societies is basically just create a re-skinned human society with maybe one difference (this is seen in the awful story Two, for example). I wanted to create a completely unique world that had a very alien feel to it. This required a lot of research and creating a lot of original setting ideas, which took up a lot of time. I looked up some "alien" worlds online to help me with this - basically, I researched the most extreme real alien worlds ever found (so far) as well as some of the more unique fictional planets. Many of these influenced what I ended up doing with Tuhak Mal.
The above picture shows some of the theme colors I was thinking of using for this story. I settled on red in the above list, though I also considered dark green. I rejected dark green, though, once I chose a lighter shade of green for Midnight City. I didn't want to have two green colors in the list so I removed that and went with red. Red is seen as the theme color in the first and third pictures at the top of this page as well. As to why I chose red, that has more to do with the instrumental than with the lyrics of "In the Garage", and sitting alone in a garage with that instrumental playing has a red type of feel to me.
In terms of the plot, most of it was actually improvised, despite all the world-building I did for Before Creation Comes Destruction. I came up with characters - and their name puns - on the spot too. Around the time I was planning on writing this story, I was coming up on finals week in school, so I wanted to get this story done as quickly as possible. So I began writing it at 2:37 am on May 9, 2015. I wrote up to the point where Beerus traveled to his place of solace in the forest before calling it a night at 3:28 am. I then returned to editing at 11:15 pm of the same day and continued to edit until 4:59 am of May 10, 2015. I basically wrote for six straight hours, taking very few breaks during that time. I don't remember much of the writing process. It was all a blur. I think I listened to "In the Garage" on repeat at one point but I'm not sure at what point in the writing that actually took place. I don't remember listening to any other songs while writing, though I may have had a pandora playlist open. Anyway, as soon as I was done with the editing, I posted the story on this site and then went right to bed. I remember feeling satisfied with how the story turned out and thinking it was quite a unique tale. It reminded me of my favorite one-shot I've anthologized so far, Yellow. We'll see in the below endnotes if those thoughts hold up. This story could be the best one-shot I've ever written, as well as the best TWBT story, but we'll see.
|Before Creation Comes Destruction|
|Things Were Better Then|
|Written:||May 9 - May 10, 2015|
|Released:||May 10, 2015|
|Theme song:||In the Garage|
|Things Were Better Then track listing|
This story's theme is In the Garage.
“Deliver this by sundown,” Mr. Kvassus said, protracting and retracting his claws absentmindedly. He was sitting in a half-broken chair of wood, his great belly swaying back and forth, dangerously close to making the man fall off his perch. “Get going, boy. You must leave at once. Bouza City is many miles away.” In the dimness of that grimy shack, the older man looked like a ruined statue, ready to crumble. He was smoking Nysala – a sweet-smelling weed – from a long pipe, and coughed viciously as he looked at the boy. “If you fail me again, there won’t be a next time for you, boy. I will hunt you down and make sure you pay! Don’t screw this up.”
“I will leave at once, sir,” the boy said, bowing hastily before scampering out of the shack. He slung the package Mr. Kvassus had given him over his shoulder and then dropped to all fours as he ran down the dusty street. He had no desire of failing Mr. Kvassus again. It was yet morning, cool and quiet, though soon the red sun would rise into the emerald sky and the very air would feel like a furnace. The boy hoped to reach his destination before then.
“Hey Beerus!” a squeaky voice yelled, breaking the calm of the early morning. She was the boy’s sister. “Beerus, come play!”
The boy stopped running, stood upright, and beheld a group of his peers, boys and girls huddled around a shack, their purple, wrinkled skin covered in dirt from hard play. Some of them were chasing a ball colored artificial red, its mere presence a slap in the face to the rest of the scenery. Others stood in a group under the roof of the shack where a long piece of string was hanging. A few of them jumped at it, their claws outstretched, their eyes wide with anticipation as they just barely missed hitting it. Another group was playing a game of clashing claws, of quick reflexes, of little love. Around the houses, the forest squeezed everything together, and Beerus felt like his people were trapped in a prison. They would never see the outside world, for the forests were too thick, and they too simple.
“I cannot,” Beerus replied. “Mr. Kvassus has asked me to deliver this package,” he gestured at the thing on his back, “to a customer in Bouza City. It’s urgent.”
“So?” the girl replied. “Take it later. Besides, school starts soon. You don’t want to miss that, do you?”
“Mr. Kvassus said he would kill me if I did not deliver this package on time, Millie. I don’t wish to upset my boss.” Beerus’ whiskers twitched. “This is serious, sister. You don’t want me to die, do you? I thought you loved your brother.”
Millie cocked her head and stared down Beerus with a queer gaze. “You could quit. Come back to school. Everyone else is here – all your friends. Are you just gonna leave them behind? What about your education? You need this to grow up to be a successful food seller. I thought that’s what you wanted!”
Beerus placed his hands behind his back in closed fists, feeling his knuckles brush against one another. “No, I want to do this,” he said. “I don’t care about school. I care about me. I want to see the world. I don’t want to be stuck here in this stupid village for the rest of my life. Mr. Kvassus’ job is the only way.”
And so he left her just as the tears came rushing to her little golden eyes. It rained blood. When Beerus had been little, his mother had told him it was the blood of the gods who lived in the sky. When they fought and bled and died in war with one another, their divine sanguine droplets would cover the world like tears. Beerus was older now, and he knew it was just another thing that happened sometimes. It was sticky and red and covered everything, but it wasn’t blood.
He reached the edge of the village just as the fog was beginning to dissipate. The sun was rising, the air was warming; it was a new day. Bouza City was only fifty miles away. Moving into the forest, Beerus was careful to watch his step. He didn’t get close to the red-bark trees, for if you were careless and skipped up to one of those trees with the intent of eating their low-hanging, enticing fruit, the tree would grumble and spring forward and swallow you whole. The forest was dense, ruby and gold leaves so numerous and poking out every which way, that Beerus could barely see more than a few feet in any direction. He pounced over cities of roots, angry crimson covered in parasitic moss. The very dirt smelled of hunger. He wondered how many travelers were killed every day in the forests. Probably not enough to satiate that hunger.
Beerus thought he saw other people in the shadow of the forest, behind carnivorous trees and old shacks, but he was never sure. He kept running, and when his bones began to ache, he ran faster. The boy had been through the forest before, and he would go through it many more times, if his life was headed where he hoped.
The heat made him pant; bugs buzzed around in all directions, some getting snapped up by hungry vegetation, others trying to bite at Beerus’ skin. He didn’t even try to swat them aside. He knew that if he ignored them, the bugs would soon leave him alone.
As the day wore on, the boy came upon a mass of white-dead wood sprouting up from the ground in rows of spikes, like the broken teeth of giants. They formed roughly a circle, a jagged crown more like a grave marker than something fit for a king. Beerus stopped and entered the small formation.
All life had fled from the area; the ground was pale red from the rain, but elsewise, there was no color in the place, no energy. Falling to his knees, the boy panted and looked around. When Beerus found himself very much alone, a careful smile broke out across his face like a burgeoning wound.
“I can’t stay for long today,” he said in a lazy tone. “Mr. Kvassus needs me to deliver something to an important customer.”
The boy stood up and walked over to the far side of the makeshift room. He dug in the dirt and produced a small package from within it. Shaking the excess filth off of it, he opened the package and took out a little blue-and-green piece of meat. “I stole this from a store in Tongbari,” he said, sniffing the thing. “It sure looks good. Sometimes I wish I could live in a city and eat this good everyday!” He took a bite, closing his eyes as the pleasure of the morsel’s taste hit him. “Mmm… yes, this is good. Very good. I’ll have to find another. Once I get enough money from Mr. Kvassus, perhaps I can move into a city.” He sighed, closed up the package, and placed it back into the hole in the ground before kicking some dirt back over it. “That’ll be the day. No more farming in a stupid village for me. Maybe I’ll be a food taster for a rich lord somewhere and spend my days however I like,” he chuckled. “Hey, I can dream!”
He closed his eyes and thrust his fists forward as if he was taking part in some slow-motion dance. His tail hung low and free, his mind as clear as the dawn. Beerus had seen advertisements on the video feeds of mythical warrior poets, whose powers were second only to their grace. They were the kind of people whom stories were told about. They were the stuff of legend.
Some days, the boy wanted to be one of them; some days, he would rather be a food taster or reviewer, or whatever people did in the big cities – he did not know, of course. He wondered what Millie would think of that, but he did not wish to tell her. Beerus couldn’t grow up the way his parents had, slaving away on poor farms for untold hours everyday, that was for sure. His parents had died because of their back-breaking work, and Beerus did not intend to follow them to the grave.
He left his sanctuary and ran through the forest, the angry trees grumbling at him for being too cautious. The heat had not yet reached the forest, for the walls of leaves could hold the sun at bay for a short while. That was part of the reason why Beerus liked the forest so much. Despite it being such a dangerous place, it was nice, cool, quiet. No one bothered him in there, as few ever tread through the place. The rich traveled in their fancy air cars, and those in the city rarely sought travel to distant run-down villages. No, he was almost always alone in the forest, and it was his kingdom, his own little slice of the world. Lord Beerus he liked to call himself sometimes when he sat in the jagged crown eating food spoils from the rich cities, but it was just a silly name for a silly place.
The city of Bouza hovered half a mile over a sea of molten rock. From its twisted, oily-stoned skyscrapers and buildings, pollution rose into the jade sky, masking it in boiling plumes of black. Beerus took an air-taxi into the floating world. He found the city cooler than the surface of Tuhak Mal, a faint breeze blowing through the artificial streets. He made his way through Bouza’s red-light district, where older women draped in dark furs huddled behind half-open apartment doors, smoking low-grade Nysala and peering out with their bloodshot eyes, waiting for customers they knew would come. The apartments were three stories high, endlessly expansive; Beerus could not see their end and he did not care to. He guessed they wrapped around the entire city like a belt. Beerus was sure not to stop or look at the women. The last time he had been in Bouza and done that, a woman had approached him and offered him a puff from her Nysala pipe before trying to mug him. Beerus had clawed out her left eye in the struggle. He wondered if she still stood in the shadows behind a half-opened door, or if only having one eye disallowed her from continuing to play the watcher.
There was a man lying in the street, his tail spasming in the air, blood running down the side of his mouth. No one seemed to notice. Air cars sped around and over him without the slightest care. He would soon be dead, and then the sanitation workers would rush forth and take him, never to be seen again. A weird-looking person, whom Beerus could not tell the gender of, sat on a bench watching him from behind a scarf and hood. He saw a grimy-faced woman sitting on the curb of a busy street blowing into what looked like a wooden box and producing shrill music. Beerus watched a man walk up to one of the doors in the red-light district; then a woman quickly opened it and pulled him inside. Beerus wondered what they did in there. He guessed they smoked Nysala – but why then did the men need to come to the red-light district for that? And why were there no female customers?
Beerus’ own customer – Mr. Kvassus’ customer in truth – was a wealthy businessman who lived in the top of one of the skyscrapers. Beerus had serviced the man once before. Just thinking about that made the boy’s tail flutter in annoyance. That man had been rude to Beerus last time, had slapped the boy for daring to look him in the eye. If Beerus had had half the courage of those warrior poets he saw on the video feeds, he would have defended his honor with his own claws.
“Delivery from Mr. Kvassus,” Beerus spoke into the intercom at the entrance of the customer’s skyscraper. A second later, the door clicked open and Beerus stepped inside. No one awaited him inside – not even guards. Brownish light seeped into the room, distorted from the building’s tinted windows. It wasn’t abandoned – the room was well-kept, and blue flowers dotted the walls. Still, the boy was unsure, for the last time he had been here, there had been people. Now only storage boxes greeted Beerus, as they covered the counters and tables and chairs, and dust clung to the air.
Beerus moved carefully through the first floor until he found a gravity shoot and jumped in. He pressed the top floor button on the holo panel that materialized in front of his face and then he felt like he was flying, shooting up and up and up. Vertigo was tugging at his stomach, but before Beerus could pay it any heed, he was at his destination. The shoot pushed him out onto a cold black marble floor, and the boy found this new room to be as desolate as the previous.
“Hello?!” Beerus’ voice echoed thrice. “I’ve got your package… Hello? Is anyone here?”
“Shut your fucking mouth.” He was an old wrinkled man, his skin pale lavender, covered in a slew of little black dots. He was sitting in a pool of orange liquid, steam rising from its glassy surface. He sighed as he looked at Beerus. “What did I tell you last time, boy?”
“Sorry sir,” Beerus said before genuflecting. He raised his head slightly, not looking at the man. “I have your package, sir.” The boy unslung it from his shoulder and presented it to the old man.
“Kvassus’ stock is the highest grade shit I’ve ever laid eyes on. You know that, boy? Your old man runs the best Nysala business on the entire planet. You should be proud.”
“He’s not my father… sir,” Beerus replied politely, keeping his head bowed.
“Shut up, you lout. You’d keep your mouth shut if you knew what was good for you. Now pass it here. I don’t have all day.”
Beerus threw the package to the man, who caught it with cat-like reflexes, just before it hit the water’s surface. The boy did not move until he saw, with his peripheral vision, the man reach for his pipe and rip open the box. That caused the boy to stand up and turn to leave.
“I know it was you, boy,” the man whispered.
Beerus spun around. “What–”
“You stole from me last time.” Beerus went to respond, his eyes wide in shock, but the man raised a paw to silence him. “No, I know it was you. Don’t bother coming up with any excuses. You took my chocolate sundae.”
Beerus had nothing to say. He had indeed taken the man’s sundae. It had looked so tasty, he had been unable to resist. He looked at the man properly for the first time. “I, uh… sir…”
“You know, I’m dying.” He plucked one of the black dots off of his skin and threw it into the water where it hissed and dissolved. “I’ve tried everything,” he said, peeling another black dot off his forearm. “These little buggers are sucking out all my bad blood, but it’s not helping. This bath’s not helping. Nothing I can buy will save me from the pain. There’s no cure, no end to it.” The air hung thick. Beerus noticed he was panting. It was far too hot. “It’s hell. Nothing has worked. I’ve driven everyone I know away from me because of my pain. Good riddance. They were stealing from me, anyway. They knew I was dying. I’m the lord of this city – who wouldn’t do what they did? Who cares about an old dying man? Money’s all that matters. It’s what makes the world go around,” he spat. “It’s funny really. Even the delivery boy stole from me. Was the sundae good?”
Beerus gulped and shrugged. “Y-yes sir.”
“Of course it was. I paid for it. And I only buy the best stuff. That brings us back to the Nysala,” he said, laughing and patting his pipe fondly. “This is the only shit that relieves my pain, but even the Nysala can’t get rid of all of it. I’m dying.” He looked at Beerus, his little coal eyes flickering behind the rising steam. “Once I’m gone what will happen to this city?”
“I don’t know sir.”
“Of course you don’t. You’re a village rat. You won’t amount to anything.”
“Shut up!” Beerus exploded. His sudden anger even took him by surprise. For a moment after shouting, all he heard were the echoes and the ragged breathing of a dying lord.
“What did you say to me?!”
Beerus bared his teeth. He’d come this far. No use in backing down. “I told you to shut up. You don’t know anything about me. So don’t say anything!”
The man grit his teeth and began stuffing the pipe with the Nysala. “I know where you came from. I know you’re uneducated, poor, pathetic. You’re not handsome either. You have nothing going for you. You’re going to have a hard time in life.”
Beerus felt his face flush but tried his best to ignore it. “I’m moving into this city. I’ll become the new lord once you’re dead! I swear it!” Beerus declared. It was a foolish boast even by the boy’s standards and he felt stupid as soon as the words had left his mouth.
The man shook his head and lit his pipe. He pressed the fine wood – likely taken from the corpse of a hungry tree – to his lips and closed his eyes. “Your insolence will be your downfall, kid. If I wasn’t hurting so much, I’d wring your filthy little neck. I’d put you in your place.”
The Nysala was beginning to affect the old man. He sunk deeper into the pool until just his head poked up from the surface like a misshapen sea rock. He murmured something at Beerus, but the speech was so slurred, the boy couldn’t comprehend it.
Beerus loathed the man for what he had said. The boy had played at being someone in the forest, where he felt safe and no one could laugh about his ways. He liked to play pretend, because the pretend was better than the real. Pretend was what he wanted to be real, but what he knew could not be. He hated anyone who thought bad of him, who thought he was nothing more than a stupid village kid. He didn’t choose to be born in the middle of nowhere. He didn’t choose to grow up never having seen a city until he was old enough to marry. He knew deep down that he wanted to be like them, to be amongst the wealthy, the successful. He wanted to be on the video feeds as a warrior or a food reviewer. He wanted to do something exciting, something worthwhile, with his life. And he hadn’t. But there was one thing he knew he could do.
“You’re just a stupid old, dying man. You’re worthless!” Beerus’ venom coursed through his veins. He forgot the heat of the room, and focused in only on the pain the old lord had caused him.
He walked up to the man, who struggled to open his eyes. Surprise filled the beady little things when they beheld the boy standing right overhead. The lord of Bouza watched in horror, his eyes widening back open with all his strength, as the boy placed his boot to the man’s head and kicked. Then the lord went tumbling into the water, peach waves splashing in the brown-tinted air. The man sunk to the bottom of the pool, his body mostly paralyzed from the Nysala in his weakened state. He stared back up at Beerus through the rippling waters, and the boy stared back, unmoving, unflinching, until, at last, the good lord began his long sleep.
On his way back home, Beerus rode a waterfall up to the point where the forest met the sea, and watched the waves lap against the pearl sands. He skipped rocks into the white foaming waves and snacked on city sweets as he watched the sun set behind the horizon, the sky sketched with deep scars of purple and crimson and ultramarine. Far away wide-winged birds soared majestically through the air in tightly-bound groups. The boy felt like he was being watched from the forest at his back, and oft he would spin around to discover there was no one there, just lifeless shadows in a hungry paradise awaiting his return. That reminded him of the time he and Millie had played hide-and-seek in the forest. When their father had caught them, the two had been beaten near bloody. He still remembered his mother’s sobbing, her wrathful, heartbroken tone when she told him that he had nearly gotten his sister killed. That had been before anyone had told Beerus that the trees were alive, that they were always waiting for anyone who trespassed into their home to make a wrong step.
It was night when Beerus returned to the village. The sea breeze had washed over the place, chilly and smelling sweet. Most of the torches were out, though Beerus could hear many people conversing with their families in their homes, their windows open to the night air. The bugs were loud that night, and a few of them nipped lightly at his flesh. He returned to the little home he was sharing with Millie and a few other orphans. Everyone else was asleep, so the boy tiptoed across the creaking wood floor to his bed. That was when he saw it.
Her head was on a spike, dried blood running halfway down the wood in long, tearful streams. It was fresh, but not too fresh. The blood had dried. But her face was still full of color, full of the last throws of life. Millie’s eyes were half-open, her mouth askew. She reminded Beerus of the man in the Bouzan street he had seen earlier that day.
Beerus could hardly work out more than a gasp, a faint whisper. He fell to his knees, felt his body numb over. He began to shake. Tears came then, and he had not the strength to stay them. Beerus felt himself falling forward, as if he was bowing again, only this time, it was something he could not escape. He could not look at her again. The first instance, forever imprinted in the boy’s mind, had been too much. He grabbed the spike, turned his head from it, and stumbled out of the shack. Once outside, Beerus felt himself retching, the half-digested candy bursting out from his throat, burning and no longer sweet.
He began to sob; he could hardly see. But the boy knew where Mr. Kvassus’ hut was. No amount of pain or grief would keep him from that place. He stormed into it, kicking down the door, the wooden spike in one hand. His grief cries grew louder.
“Kvassus! Wake up!” the boy shouted, his voice thick with rancor. “Get out here, you coward! Face me!”
Mr. Kvassus was in his night clothes and yawned upon seeing Beerus. He had a candle in his hand, and he set it down on a table upon seeing Beerus at his door. He sat down, his great rolls of fat rippling like water, and lazily pulled out his Nysala pipe, lit it, and began to smoke.
“What do you want, boy?”
Beerus roared and threw himself at the man. Kvassus jumped back from the seat with sudden agility, his pipe unmoved from his lips, and kicked the boy across the face, sending him sputtering to the floor. Beerus felt his nose and saw blood dripping from it.
“Monster?” Kvassus repeated, dumbfounded. “Monster, me? No, I’m a man of my word.”
Beerus tried to stand up. “What?”
“I told you to deliver the package or I’d make you pay.”
Beerus pounced upon the man again. Kvassus punched the boy under the chin, causing Beerus to fly into a wall and slump down into a corner, broken and bleeding. “I… I did deliver it… you fool…”
“Yes you did. But then a funny thing happened.” Kvassus stared at Beerus. “A funny thing indeed. One of the consequences of being extremely wealthy is that one is likely to have cameras in every room of one’s house. They saw what you did, boy. You stupid, stupid boy. They know! And they’re coming to get you. I won’t stop them.”
“He was dying!” Beerus shouting, the tears falling down his face mixing with his blood. “He told me himself!”
“And he had another year to live! Another year as a paying customer! You brat! Do you know how much you’ve cost me?!”
“Millie was innocent!” Beerus screamed, throwing the spike at Kvassus. When it hit the man, the corpse head slid off one end and landed on the floor with a wet smack.
“She’s the only one you cared about, except yourself. It was the only way to teach you a lesson.” The man blew a ring of smoke. “It doesn’t matter anyway. They’re coming for you – that man’s relatives. You aren’t getting out of this either way. You’ll be with your precious Millie,” he spit on her bloody head, “soon enough.”
“I’ll kill you!” Beerus lunged at Kvassus. This time, he ducked out of the way as the man went to punch him. He slid under the table and latched his claws onto Kvassus’ legs. He tore flesh from bone then, blood and bloodcurdling screams leaving Kvassus’ body in perfect harmony. The man kicked at Beerus, hitting him square in the chin. Beerus stumbled backwards and then felt himself rising again, as if he were flying. Kvassus picked the boy up by his tail, punched him deep in the ribs, shattering half of them, and then threw him out the door. Beerus landed in the mud and did not move. It had begun to rain again, but this rain was not bloodrain, which happened only at the start of every summer, but a cool, clear, biting rain. It had turned the ground to mud, and Beerus realized the pain in his broken bones had left him unable to get up.
He twisted onto his back and felt his chest, wincing. “I… I’ll kill him… I’ll kill him,” the boy repeated over and over as cold rainwater washed over him. Then, as time wore on, the pain grew acute to the point of torture. “Help!” Beerus said weakly, though under the roar of the rain, his weak voice went unheard. “Help!” he wheezed a little louder before gasping in pain. “Help!” he cried. “Please… someone…” But there was no one.
The streets began to flood with water, and Beerus felt himself sinking, the water rising around him, threatening to drown him. It was a cruel joke the gods were playing on him, a cruel irony. He closed his eyes and thought of his family, of his mother and father, of his sister, of happier times, as the water rushed over him. He thought to the place in the woods he would go and pretend to be a warrior poet, where he would stash expensive food from the cities and then review the flavors to an invisible audience. And then, Beerus felt warm; he felt at home.
It was okay; he didn’t need help. He was good where he was. He thought back to the man lying in the street and wondered if he had had a family, if they were still out there looking for him. Beerus knew that he and that man were more alike than not. No one cared about his ways either. “No one hears me…” he said with a little laugh. It wasn’t funny – he was dying – he didn’t know why he was laughing.
“Yes I do,” a voice replied. “I do.”
Beerus’ eyes widened and he tried to stand up. He saw a dark figure hovering over him – a figure whose face was obscured by a hood and scarf. The being stepped over Beerus and then snapped his blue-skinned fingers. In a second, the rain stopped, and quiet filled the world.
“Who… are… you…?” Beerus breathed, trying to push through the pain in his ribs.
The being looked at Beerus for a moment and then took off his hood. His skin was all blue, his hair white and rising like a foam spire. He wore clothes Beerus had never seen before and knew to be foreign. “I’m Whis,” the being replied.
“A-are you a god?”
“I’m a life-form known as Whis,” the blue-skinned creature replied with a small smile.
“You’re an alien then…” Beerus said. “What… do you… want… with me?”
Whis tilted his head. “When you were little, your mother told you a tale about how when it rains red droplets – blood, as she called it – that it was a sign of the heavenly gods fighting and dying in glorious battles.”
“How… do you know… that?”
“Oh Beerus, please,” Whis replied, shaking his head. “You are the one I’ve been looking for to replace one of those gods who died in the last battle. I know everything about you.”
“Those… were just stories…”
“Gods… don’t exist…” Beerus coughed.
“Oh we don’t, do we?” said Whis as he held up his hand to his face. “I’m pretty sure this is real.”
That gave Beerus pause. His breaths became shallow, fewer, and he studied Whis intently. “If you’re a god then go kill Mr. Kvassus for me.”
Whis shook his head. “No, no. That wouldn’t do. I’m only the Whis, after all. You’re the real god.”
“I’m no god.”
Whis conceded, “Well, not yet. That is very true. But soon. If you come with me, I’ll show you how to become a god.”
Beerus sat up from the muck. “You… know everything about me?” Whis nodded. “Then you knew what Mr. Kvassus… did to me… what he did to… to my sister…”
Whis nodded gravely. “It is a most unfortunate series of events, if I do say so myself.”
“Why… why didn’t you stop him?”
“Because, young Beerus, before creation comes destruction. That is how things must always be. Now are you ready to become a god? Are you ready for all the pain to go away?” Whis put his hand out.
The young boy took a sharp breath inward, dried his eyes, and then reached out and grabbed ahold of Whis’ hand. “I… I want to have the power… to make my enemies suffer… That’s all I care about…”
“Is this the place, Whis?” Lord Beerus asked idly.
“Oh yes, Lord Beerus,” Whis replied fervently. “Just where we left it, I believe.”
The two hovered in space over a small planet. A red sun shone fiercely in the distance.
“Hmm… I don’t like that. If I remember correctly, I left my homeworld in rather… poor circumstances.”
“Yes, that is true, Lord Beerus. But if it’s any consolation, your species died out several million years ago. A new sentient species has not yet evolved on Tuhak Mal.”
“That’s not any consolation, no,” Beerus said. He yawned. “I will need to sleep soon. Fifty-three years, I think.”
“Excellent, Lord Beerus. Do you wish to destroy the planet before taking your nap?”
Beerus aimed a finger at Tuhlak Mal. The planet was covered in blues and yellows and reds. Beerus thought he knew why that was, but racking his brain produced no suitable memories. “Did I have any family there?”
“Why of course, Lord Beerus,” Whis replied softly. “You were born like any other person, after all.”
“And… what happened to them?” the God of Destruction asked in his lazy drawl.
“They… well, they died,” Whis offered. “Like every other member of your species. They were mortal.”
“Oh.” Beerus scratched his chin. “Do you have any food on you, Whis?”
“Why yes, Lord Beerus, here!” the attendant said cheerfully before producing a little lunch box with a crayon-drawn likeness of Lord Beerus himself on the front. “I packed all your favorites.”
Beerus grinned and licked his lips. “Excellent! It appears I won’t be napping quite so soon after all.” He grabbed the lunch box and shot forward, his aura suddenly forming around his lanky purple body. “Wait here, Whis. I want to see something.”
Lord Beerus descended to his homeworld for the first time in many years and found it to be mostly alien to him. At one time, he had been a part of this world, shared in its memories, but that had been so long ago that he had mostly forgotten the feeling. But there was one thing he still remembered.
The crown was gone, the dead wood long decomposed. But Lord Beerus knew he was in the right place all the same. By muscle memory, his feet had taken him back to the place he had once loved. As it had been so many million years prior, nothing grew in the area. There was dirt, a few animal tracks, and little else. The walls of brooding trees had given way to this little circular sanctuary; they dared not enter into it themselves. The God of Destruction realized that he had liked this spot more when the dead trees had formed a jagged crown and given him protection. Still, he walked into the place and felt instantly at home. Déjà vu hit him with a left hook. Nostalgia came swinging from the right. Beerus staggered to his knees and looked around the whole area. The memories came shooting back to him in incoherent fragments. It smelled as it once had, he understood, but it wasn’t the same. All things change, but not everything does. Beerus felt his fingers closing around the dirt, feeling the life of the planet in his hands.
The God of Destruction took out his lunch box and opened it. Delighted at the morsels of fancy food he found inside, Beerus took out a bib and wrapped it around his neck. He sighed, peering around the area one more time, and chuckled.
“I can’t stay for long, today” he spoke to the empty forest. “I’m the God of Destruction now – I know, I know, you probably have no idea what that is. There are plenty of important things I have to take care of. The whole balance of the universe is my responsibility!” he boasted. Then, Beerus began to eat his lunch. “I know you’re proud of me… mother, father, Millie. I just want you to know I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for things to turn out how they did. If only I could have become a god sooner, I would have saved you all.” Beerus felt something warm coming to his face and stopped it by taking another bite of food. “I’m sorry for everything. But if things hadn’t turned out how they did… well, maybe I wouldn’t be here. I hope you guys understand.” Beerus yawned. “This job really takes a lot out of you, I gotta say. I sleep much more than I did back when we all lived together.” Beerus stuffed his face full of food and then swallowed. “Things were better then, I know. But it’s not like any of us can go back.”
Beerus finished the last of his food and then stood up. This had been his sanctuary once. He remembered. But it didn’t feel the same, not anymore. So he readied a small purple ball of fire on the tip of his finger. It suddenly expanded into a ridiculous size – that of a small moon – in the blink of an eye. Beerus aimed the attack at his homeworld and stood there, unmoving.
“We can’t go back,” Lord Beerus whispered to himself. A quiet breeze rustled through the red-and-gold leaves of the forest, as if in response. And, in that moment, Beerus finally understood what that meant.
- "Before Creation Comes Destruction" is a line Beerus says in Xenoverse when you choose him on the character select screen. It's a really cool phrase. It relates to this story in that the story arc Beerus goes through has a rebirth feel to it. After everything goes wrong and he loses everything, Whis appears, and he becomes the God of Destruction. So in order for him to become that god, Beerus' life first goes through a sequence of bad events that end in ultimate destruction. This is also seen in Beerus' character. The person he was before is transformed so that he can become a god (kill the boy and let the man be born).
- Kvassus' name is a pun on the word "kvass", which is a type of alcoholic beverage made from rye (which beer can also be made from).
- Bouza City is a pun on the word "boza", which is a type of alcoholic beverage made from millet.
- Kvassus's appearance is repeatedly referred to as being a half-ruin or in poor condition. This hints at his personality and foreshadows his end (which is not shown in this story). Additionally, it is slightly ironic, as Kvassus is a wealthy businessman, even though he doesn't look like it. This disparity between appearances and reality also applies to Beerus later in the story.
- The Nysala thing came up because I wanted to make this world seem like it was a real place. The actual drug wasn't based on any drug in particular, nor was its name. I thought the world would feel real if there was some kind of important drug. If this story was taking place on earth, I could use all sorts of drugs, but since this is an alien story, I had to invent everything. I took great care to not make the drug too similar to any existing drug but also not too different, which could make it not seem like a drug at all.
- Beerus has a lazy arrogance and defiance about him in Battle of Gods. I wanted to hint at the roots of those emotions in the beginning of this story when I mentioned that he had failed to deliver Mr. Kvassus' packages in the past. That was likely because he got sidetracked or didn't care or felt like his time was better suited elsewhere. This casual rebellious nature is a big part of Beerus' character development in this story.
- Beerus runs on all fours to bring attention to his cat-like appearance.
- Tuhak Mal's sun is red and its sky is emerald, which is different from the colors of the sun and sky on Earth. This was done to show this is an alien world.
- The first part of this story takes place during summer, again giving this story and Things Were Better Then as a whole a summer feel. This extreme heat was also seen in We'll Never Feel Bad Anymore, tying the two stories together tonally.
- I thought it was fitting to have Beerus' sister first say his name, thus introducing him. Their relationship is crucial for Beerus' character arc and it was important to show how important they are to one another as quickly as possible.
- The ball some of the kids are playing with is the first mention of the theme color. Notice also how the ball is contrasted against the natural scenery around it. This hints at a theme of this story.
- The toys the children are playing with was mostly me just having fun with their cat-like appearances. I specifically gave them cat toys for the comedic effect, and this is one of the few times I don't go for an alien type of thing - the toys are clearly re-skinned cat toys from Earth. But again, it's a small thing and done for a specific purpose, which is much different from how I handle the more important aspects of the setting. All of the scenes of the children playing with the various toys are metaphors or have thematic implications.
- One of the reasons Beerus is working for Kvassus is that he understands the isolation of his village. If he doesn't leave the village or find some kind of traveling business to join, he won't amount to anything. He feels pressure to leave the village and become something, which most of his contemporaries do not feel. This separates Beerus from them mentally. Notice that he is also physically separated from the students when he sees them and talks to his sister. He is the Other; they are the One. Yet, in this instance, the One is the undesirable group, not the Other.
- Millie's name is a pun on "millet beer", a type of alcoholic beverage made from millet.
- Millie doesn't want Beerus to deliver the package for Mr. Kvassus, perhaps hinting that she was part of the reason he was in such bad standing with Mr. Kvassus in the first place.
- To work for Mr. Kvassus, Beerus must stop going to school and stop playing with his friends and sister. This foreshadows Beerus becoming the God of Destruction, where he must also give up everything to become that.
- The way Beerus places his hands behind his back during his conversation with Millie is a physical thing that Beerus does in Battle of Gods quite a bit. I had him do it here to keep his personality consistent with how it is portrayed in the movie. Certainly, in the first section of the story, Beerus isn't a God of Destruction yet, but he is still the same person, and certain quirks and mannerisms are going to stay with him throughout his life.
- Beerus has a desire to see the world and not be cooped up. Mr. Kvassus' job is a small-scale way of doing this. Becoming the God of Destruction is a large-scale way of doing this. Whis is certainly watching him even at this point, and he would likely have taken note of what Beerus said to his sister. It would have made Whis surer that Beerus was the right cat for the job.
- Beerus' eyes are gold and black, and so are Millie's.
- The red rain is not water, obviously, and it was added to again highlight how this is an alien world. It also is a reference to this story's theme color. The connection to blood gives this rain multiple meanings in the text. It also allowed me to work in Beerus' mother's story about the drops being the blood of the gods in the sky. That story is later brought up when Whis meets Beerus and serves to subtly show that the last God of Destruction was recently killed (thus, why Whis is looking for a new one). In the first section, the story serves to show how Beerus is mature (for he does not believe the silly stories his mother told him when he was younger).
- Fifty miles would be an impossible distance for a human child running an errand to cover. That it is described as being only fifty miles in this story shows how Beerus' species is, in general, much stronger and hardier than humans.
- The cannibal trees have red bark, highlighting this story's theme color again. That the trees are cannibals (and eat other beings, too) hints at one of this story's themes. The idea that going for the trees' enticing fruit will lead to being swallowed whole is clearly a metaphor for something in this story. As to what that is, I cannot say.
- The dirt itself smelling of hunger is one of my favorite lines in this story. This idea that destruction (in this passage, the killing and eating of travelers) is needed to sustain the forest hints at the purpose of a God of Destruction.
- The shadows Beerus sees in the forest is Whis watching him.
- "All life had fled from the area" - this is a reference to The Lord of the Rings. In the first book of that series, all life flees from the Nazgul when they are around.
- Beerus feels like an alien amongst his kind (like Roshi did in Burning Man, like Yamcha did in Bonetown Blues, like Future Trunks did in We'll Never Feel Bad Anymore, and like some of the other protagonists in TWBT did). His little place of seclusion was added in to give this story some relevance to "In the Garage", but it also illustrates Beerus' character. He feels like he needs to be alone to get some solace; of course, he is surrounded by carnivorous trees, so his location is rather treacherous.
- Tongbari is a pun on the word "tongba", which is a type of alcoholic beverage made from millet.
- Beerus' love of food is his defining characteristic in Battle of Gods, so it was only natural that I made him a foodie even as a child. His dream to grow up and be a food taster is very much in-character for Beerus.
- Beerus has a conflicted personality, though, and he doesn't really know what he wants to be. I was careful to not paint him as a one-dimensional character. He likes food, but he also admires the grace of the warrior poets and sometimes wants to be a warrior like them. He has various goals in life, and at such a young age, these can all exist together without much conflict. Of course, we all know that he grows up to be both a warrior and a foodie, so these two different hobbies end up staying with him.
- What is cool was that I got to foreshadow "Lord Beerus" by giving him the little place of solitude. There, he was king, where he trained and ate food and had fun by himself. This foreshadows basically what he ends up doing as God of Destruction. That Beerus is acting so much like a God of Destruction before becoming one is a big reason Whis ultimately chooses him to be the next one.
- I remember getting the idea for Bouza being a hovering city over molten rock after I wrote the first page and a half of the story in the early hours of May 9, 2015. As I went to bed that night, I got the image of the floating world in my mind. I then added it into the story when I woke up later that day. I thought it had a certain alien quality to it, implying a certain technological level, and it also has a surreality to it - a floating city is like a place of the gods, a place removed from society and the normal world around it. This city can represent Beerus himself in a few ways.
- The oily stone of Bouza City is a reference the oily stone seen in some H.P. Lovecraft stories and in A Song of Ice and Fire (which is referencing Lovecraft, itself).
- So Tuhak Mal is the name of Beerus' planet. It is a pun on the word "tuak", which is a type of alcoholic beverage made of rice.
- The red-light district Beerus travels through is based on the red-light districts portrayed in Ukioe pictures from Japan. I was taking an Asian art class at the time of writing this story, and we were discussing these pictures around that same time. Of course, the red-lights would reference this story's theme color. The prostitutes also are thematically tied to pleasure and duplicity and hidden natures, things which are also tackled in We'll Never Feel Bad Anymore and Ergo Sum, amongst other TWBT stories. The Ukioe pictures are of the "floating world" of Edo, and Bouza is also a floating world, though in a more literal way.
- The prostitutes smoke Nysala to keep the world I've created consistent and to remind the readers that Nysala is an important aspect of life. Also, they are smoking low-grade Nysala, which is contrasted from Mr. Kvassus' high-grade Nysala. I thought this distinction would work better if the low-grade Nysala was also portrayed.
- The idea that the red-light district wraps around the city like a belt highlights the important, yet suffocating nature of that district.
- The dying man whom no one pays attention to highlights the brutality of Tuhak Mal and also is making a commentary on human society. It seems so weird that no one is paying attention to him, right? But this happens all the time on Earth. People don't want to get involved. They are afraid. So they let people die. And it's quite animalistic.
- The person sitting on the bench is Whis. He is bundled up so that no one will be able to tell that he's no the same species as them. Even so, Beerus still notices that he is weird-looking.
- The woman playing music on the side of the road was something I wanted to put in this story from the beginning. At first, it was going to be a harmonica, but that was too Earth-like, so I invented a wood instrument for her to play. The music is described as shrill, hinting at the atmosphere around Beerus. Music is also used in other TWBT stories for similar purposes, most notably in A Soundless Dark.
- It was fun having Beerus guess about what the prostitutes did with their male customers (as he is too innocent and young to know about sex). This moment shows that though Beerus is mature in certain regards, he's still just a little kid in a big city. That fact could get lost in the words, and it was important for me to reiterate it.
- The transition from the prostitutes' customers to Mr. Kvassus' customer is one of the best transitions in this collection.
- It was necessary for Beerus to have served Mr. Kvassus' customer once before so that the contrast between the two visits could be described.
- It's a big difference from where Beerus is in the first section of this story to where he is in Battle of Gods. That he was fearful (and perhaps unable) to defeat a simple businessman of his own species shows how weak he is. He has not yet begun his training. He has not yet become a god.
- The appearance of the first floor of the customer's tower was influenced by a few levels in Ape Escape 1, 2, and 3.
- Notice how the brownish light distorts the windows. This distortion is a nod to Monster. That story's theme color is, of course, brown. The idea of reality and distortion are pivotal themes in both stories.
- The customer's skyscraper, as well as his appearance, highlight a theme of decay in this story, the theme that everything must be destroyed eventually. Nothing can last forever.
- The gravity chute and the holo panel inside it hint at the technological level of Beerus' species. This also contrasts with the dirt-poor way of life in Beerus' village. Remember the cat toys the children played with and the shabby huts everyone lived in. Those are a great contrast to what is seen in the great city of Bouza, and this helps explain why Beerus wants to move into a city and leave his old poor village behind.
- Beerus' first experience with flying was in this customer's gravity chute (on the previous trip). This is funny, since Beerus can fly with ease in Battle of Gods. He's not a god yet, though. Not in this story's first section. He hasn't unlocked his potential yet. So it was fun to have him enjoy the little things - like feeling like he's flying - knowing where Beerus will end up by the end of this story.
- I figured the animals that covered the customer would be something like leaches, but their purpose is never explained, so they could be anything. Maybe what they secrete is supposed to lengthen Beerus' species' lives. I left it deliberately vague.
- Sometimes, scenes develop from an aesthetic perspective. In the case of Beerus meeting the customer, this was one of those times. I had an image of the old cat sitting in a still pool of orange, steaming liquid, while dim light shined through the windows. I don't know why I got that image, but I did, and the image felt perfect for the themes and tone of this story.
- It's most unnatural to see Beerus bowing to someone else. We only know him as the God of Destruction. To see him as a servant is necessarily weird. Yet, this kind of stuff is necessary for an origin story, and it helps build Beerus' character into what he becomes by the second part.
- The customer is very rude to Beerus, but Beerus is forced to endure it - it's his job. But the man is just too rude for that. He goads Beerus the entire time, and I had to have him be quite cruel in order for Beerus to kill him. Build up has to be realistic and consistent, and this was a tricky part of the story to do that in.
- Beerus stealing the chocolate sundae is quite funny and very much in-character for him. The fact that this is brought up in such a tense and serious moment makes it even funnier. Beerus stealing at all again highlights his rebellious nature.
- It is very hot in the room with the customer on purpose. Beerus notices this only near the end of his conversation with the man, when he starts to pant. Heat is a reoccurring motif in this story, and that Beerus only realizes it's hot after spending so much time in the room says a lot about him.
- The customer's speech to Beerus, starting with "You know, I’m dying..." is a great moment in this story and is highly complex. It deals with a multitude of themes, especially the one that even the strongest cannot cheat death (even the God of Destruction who preceded Beerus). The stuff about the man driving away his greedy family also has a parallel to Beerus' and Millie's relationship as well as just having a message of its own. The last line, where he asks Beerus about the sundae is very on-point dialogue and it's funny, too. It shows that the customer craves intimacy, craves interaction, even though his pain has made him be very cruel and drive everyone away. There's irony there, and there's also tragedy.
- The man goes too far when he calls Beerus a village rat. I've built up Beerus' hatred of his village and his shame over being from a poor remote village all throughout this story, and it pays off when the customer insults Beerus because of where he is from. Beerus knows he's a village rat; he knows it could very well mean he won't amount to anything, as people won't take him seriously. But he hates that prejudice. He doesn't think it's fair - and it's not, of course. So that's why he kills the man. He's tried to be polite and weather the insults, but that insult cut him too deep. Coupled with how the customer treated Beerus on his last trip (Beerus regretted not attacking the man for hitting him), it is easy to see why Beerus ultimately does kill the man. A lot of the text up to this point was devoted to building up to Beerus' outburst in a realistic manner, and I think it worked well. It's pretty clear why Beerus kills the customer, and it's not random or ridiculous that he ultimately does.
- The man says that Beerus is uneducated, poor, pathetic, and ugly. All of these things means he won't get anywhere in life. This is funny and ironic, considering where Beerus ultimately ends up.
- There is meaning in the Nysala pipe that is carved from the wood of a carnivorous tree.
- Beerus knows what the man says is true, which is why his face flushes, but he doesn't want to believe it, because believing it means giving into despair and a life of nothing important or exciting happening.
- Beerus' ridiculous boast again highlights how young he is. He's not perfect. He age is definitely a drawback in certain regards. He's more foolish than he realizes but less foolish than his customer thinks.
- The man notes Beerus' arrogance to really show the audience just how arrogant Beerus is. If you step back and look at who Beerus is, what position he has, and how he's talking to who he's talking to, he is quite arrogant indeed. He is very arrogant in Battle of Gods, too, so this part of his personality stays consistent throughout his life.
- Another irony is that the old customer's own arrogance is, in fact, his downfall.
- The effects of the Nysala are crucial for Beerus killing the man. The Nysala thus serves multiple purposes in the plot of this story.
- "The boy had played at being someone in the forest, where he felt safe and no one could laugh about his ways." - the second part of this sentence references a lyric from "In the Garage".
- Beerus preferring the pretend to be real is how artistic people often feel. I'm not saying all of them do, but there's a reason so many people play pretend by portraying the unreal. There's something there. For Beerus, it's because he's being discriminated against. He's seen as a lesser being because he's from a village, his only crime being born in a place he had no control over. This theme ties into similar problems seen in the modern world today.
- Being old enough to marry would be around the age of sexual maturity in this society.
- Notice that Beerus forgets the heat of the room when he kills the lord of Bouza.
- I think the way Beerus killed the old customer was quite unique, but not outlandish. It was heavily foreshadowed how he would die. That scene also has great aesthetic value to me, particularly the last line, which reads, "He stared back up at Beerus through the rippling waters, and the boy stared back, unmoving, unflinching, until, at last, the good lord began his long sleep.".
- The part about Beerus riding a waterfall back home was something that I came up with a few hours before getting to that part of the text. Note that he rides the waterfall "up", not "down". That was intentional. Tuhak Mal has some funky scenery.
- As Beerus watches the sky while the sun sets, that is this story's description of the sky. The streaks of colors give the impression of wounds and blood, which is acutely tied to Beerus' state of mind and his character progression in Before Creation Comes Destruction.
- The huge flying birds in this story are a nod to the flying animals seen on the planet Dantooine in the video game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
- Beerus remembering when his dad had beat him bloody for taking his sister into the forest (and thus nearly getting her killed) is ironic because Beerus' actions in this story result in Millie's death. Of course, I had to have him think back to this story just before he returns home and finds her dead.
- When Beerus returns to his village, a sea breeze has cooled the place, making it, temperature-wise, the opposite of how it was when he left it. This foreshadows him finding Millie dead.
- I decided to kill Millie almost as soon as I created her character. It seemed like the right way to go for Beerus' character development and would also work very well with the name of this story. Millie means a lot to Beerus, but through his recklessness (which was not entirely his fault), he gets her killed. Now, if he would have known killing that old customer would get her killed, he would have never killed the man. But Beerus didn't know that, allowing all of the characters to act true to themselves. Millie's death is the destruction that Beerus needs to experience before his life can be created again as that of a God of Destruction.
- Beerus throwing up after seeing his dead sister is a nod to how Goku threw up after finding Grandpa Gohan's corpse in Glory.
- When Beerus throws up, he throws up the sweets, which are no longer so sweet. They burn in his throat and hurt him. That hints at the symbolic meaning of the candy in this story and how it has changed as the story has progressed. Beerus' hubris and his easy lifestyle are in contrast with reality.
- I wanted to show Beerus' grief at his sister's death, but I didn't want to focus on it as much as I did in Monster or some of my previous one-shots. I was taking a hybrid approach of reaching a balance between the emotionlessness of We'll Never Feel Bad Anymore and the hyper emotionality of something like Strength.
- Kvassus' casualness is a massive contrast to Beerus' grief. It's almost like Beerus' previous encounter with the old customer. Beerus is actually quite emotional throughout this story, yet those around him are not. That separates him from the rest.
- Beerus' bloody nose is like Kuriza's bloody nose in Monster. I made this parallel because Monster and Before Creation Comes Destruction are the two stories in this collection that are the most similar, from a creative standpoint.
- Beerus' fight with Kvassus was like a young apprentice fighting an old martial artist master. Beerus just has no chance. Kvassus isn't even straining himself. He's smoking his pipe, conversing pleasantly, as if nothing is going on. This is badass but also psychopathic to a degree.
- I think it's a poignant moment when Beerus' tears mix with his blood. It's a coming together of the emotional and the physical.
- Millie was indeed killed because Kvassus saw it as the only way to teach Beerus a lesson. This is a very brutal lesson, but it is in line with the gruesome acts seen in the rest of this story. The culture of Beerus' species is very savage, despite the technology and knowledge they may possess.
- I had Beerus get Kvassus at the end because I didn't want the fight to be totally one-sided. I wanted to show that Beerus had a little potential in terms of fighting. There have been few enough fights in Things Were Better Then (truth be told, Beerus vs Kvassus is the only true fight in the entire collection), so I went all out on this one. I wanted to make it unique, separate from fights I've done in the past, but memorable too. It's certainly a lot different from any other fight I've written out.
- Near the end of the story I reveal that the bloodrain signals the start of summer. Again, summer is important tonally to this story as well as for the entire collection.
- Kvassus severely injures Beerus, but does not kill him because the lord of Bouza's relatives are coming for the boy. Still, Beerus is in a real jam at the end of this story's first section. He seems to be backed into a corner that he cannot get out of.
- The rain that starts to fall after Kvassus throws Beerus out of his hut is like the rain that falls during Monster. Notice the focus on the mud that comes up after it starts to rain, which similarly happened in Monster. If you remember what mud symbolized in Monster, it's interesting to see how it's being applied here - that application is not completely the same as it was in Kuriza's tale.
- The clear rain that falls near the end of the second section is tied to weeping, tears, and sorrow in general. It's not really related to the physical pain Beerus is feeling, but it is related to the mental anguish he is experiencing.
- The sinking feeling Beerus feels as the water rises around him is not wholly physical.
- Notice how as Beerus is dying, he thinks of happier times (when things were better!!).
- Beerus reaching a moment of clarity - a moment of peace over the sorrows that have befallen him - is a profound moment similar to what Goku experiences at the end of Glory. This euphoric moment may also have been what made Whis appear and save Beerus.
- "“No one hears me…”" - this is a reference to a lyric from "In the Garage".
- "“Yes I do,” a voice replied. “I do.”" - Whis' words are lyrics from "In the Garage". They also confirm that Whis has been watching over Beerus; at least one person has cared about Beerus throughout his struggle, and to me, that was even more important to convey than the moment in which he takes Beerus in to be the next God of Destruction.
- Whis' ability to stop the rain instantly hints at his extraordinary powers. If he hadn't done that, Beerus might not have realized just how powerful Whis was. He was way more likely to believe what Whis had to say after the dude did that.
- "“I’m a life-form known as Whis,”" - I'm pretty sure Whis has said this at some point in canon. He probably said it in Battle of Gods or Resurrection F, but if not, he definitely said it in Xenoverse.
- Whis and Beerus have some wicked banter in Battle of Gods, as well as in Xenoverse, so I sought to emulate that with their conversation at the end of part one. Beerus of course is in a different mindset than he is during the canon conversations, however, which allowed me to have some more fun than would be otherwise possible. The stuff about gods existing and Whis looking at his hand is one of my favorite moments in this story. Also, the part about the last God of Destruction dying is only ever hinted at. We don't know how he died or who killed him (or if he was a male to begin with). I don't plan on ever revealing that battle. I do have a rough outline for what went down, but I feel like it would be pointless to expand that into a story, at least right now. If I ever do the short story project (see the deleted stories anthology page for more on that) or anything similar to that, I may consider writing out what happened to the last God of Destruction. Suffice to say, Beerus in Battle of Gods is a lot stronger than the preceding God of Destruction.
- Whis calling himself "the Whis" is a reference to The Wiz from the tv show, Seinfeld. In retrospect, that was probably a bit ooc, but definitely worth it for the reference.
- Whis references this story's name at the end of the first section - the only TWBT story that has its name said in its text (not counting Monster, as that is a very common word), if I remember correctly. Whis states something that is crucial to understanding the central themes of this story as well as Beerus' character progression. Notice how Beerus wants revenge on Kvassus, but Whis denies him this. Beerus probably pressed Whis on the issue more severely after they left Tuhak Mal, but he was never allowed to kill Kvassus. His training was more important, and it was unseemly for Beerus to have a rivalry with a lesser being than him, so Whis made him forget about the dude and forget about his past. The main thing to get from the ending of the first part is that Beerus has gone through a hardship that has changed him and shaped him and has been the catalyst for his transformation into the god Whis wants him to be.
- Beerus' last line in the first section shows that he wants to become a god only for revenge. As we see Beerus later in this story and later in canon, he is quick to anger, but he's not really as vengeful as he is here. That is a result of his training to become a proper God of Destruction. He gains a godly demeanor later on that he does not have at the end of the first section quite yet.
- I figure the lord of Bouza's relatives killed Kvassus for losing Beerus after Whis took him away (that would be a pretty sweet, right?), as they would have blamed him for either killing Beerus or hiding him or letting him get away. So even if Beerus doesn't get his justice, it's doubtful Kvassus came out of the story's first part alive.
- I introduce Beerus as "Lord Beerus" in the second section to show how time has passed - he has become the God of Destruction since the end of the first section. This section takes place before Battle of Gods.
- I am particularly proud of Beerus' and Whis' conversation in the second section of this story. It is perfectly in-character, in my opinion, and is some of the best dialogue between canon characters I've ever written.
- I didn't like the idea of many of Beerus' species wandering about (especially since he is supposed to be a god), so that is why Whis mentions they died out several million years ago. That time frame also shows how long after the first section this one is taking place. Beerus' personality is thus changed, though not entirely. It's an evolution, not a reconstruction.
- The idea of death looms heavily in this story. Beerus himself seems to be safe from death, but the concept of it is all around him. It takes out his family, and his people, and of course he killed the lord of Bouza too. Beerus' detachment from the mere concept of death has grown to show how he's a god in the second section. In the first section, death affected him more and was more of a threat to him personally. Now, few (if any) people could even threaten to kill him. Beerus internalizes his feelings and emotions (at least his deeper emotions), so that when Whis talks about his species' extinction and the history of his planet, Beerus offers emotionless replies or changes the subject. This was all written carefully and deliberately to let Beerus' personality shine through his words (and his lack of words, in some instances).
- I like to think that Whis drew the crayon likeness of Lord Beerus.
- The idea that Tuhak Mal is an alien world to Beerus isn't much different than how it was when he was last there. Sure, he doesn't remember as much about it as he did back when he lived on it, but even then he had been an outsider, an Other. He is still an Other when he returns, but the One has died out; the One is now the planet itself, its ecology, its flora and fauna. That necessarily isolates Beerus further because he is the only sentient being. Indeed, he's a god, and yet the plants and mindless animals are the One, the desirable and dominant group. So even as a god, Beerus is acting as the loner or the submissive force when he returns to his homeworld in the second section.
- Beerus kept quite a bit from Whis. He remembered his little place of solace as well as his family. He remembered some of what happened to him on the planet all those millions of years ago, even if he made it seem like he had forgotten everything when he talked to Whis. This was just Beerus being sneaky; he didn't want to share his pain and old memories with his attendant. That says something about their relationship, but also reinforces that Beerus feels safest when he's alone. This was true when he first went to his place of solace in the first section of this story, and it remains true even in the second section.
- The nostalgia and feelings that come to Beerus when he returns to his solitude are me trying to give personality to a character without that much of a complex personality. Even as Lord Beerus, I wanted to show that he was still the kid who had traveled to Bouza City with a pack of Nysala and killed an old man who called him a village rat. He's still the same guy who loved his family, who loved his alone time, who loved his planet. He had forgotten that during his time away, but now that he's returned, it's all coming back. It's always good to remember one's roots. The message here is to never forget where you come from. Beerus struggles with this because he's lived for millions of years - during that span of time it is invariably much harder to recall things that happened long ago. Still he does, because those are things very important to him and to the development of his character.
- "All things change, but not everything does." - this is another one of those binaries seen in other TWBT stories. This sentence references the planet of course, but it is also a description of Beerus himself. He's become the God of Destruction, but he's still the same person seen in part one of this story.
- Beerus wearing a bib is something Toriyama would do. He always likes to show otherwise serious/important characters acting silly, and I was happy to follow in that flavor here with Beerus. I felt very comfortable with Beerus' character; I felt like I knew how far I could push the silliness against the drama without going overboard.
- Beerus basically has a therapy session by himself in the carnivorous forest. He expresses his guilt towards his family and asks them to forgive him for what he did, but he also notes that if things hadn't turned out how they had, he wouldn't be the God of Destruction. So there is a silver lining, at least in his opinion.
- So I felt I had to explain why Beerus sleeps so much. If he was once mortal, why would he sleep for like 53 years? That's absurd. Cats do sleep quite a bit, but he's gone overboard. So I explain that it's because of his responsibilities as a god. They take so much out of him that he has to sleep for longer than most mortals will live in an entire lifetime.
- Beerus says the name of this one-shot collection. Wolfe also says it in Bonetown Blues, which is the story opposite this one (if we look at stories 1 and 10 as being on the opposite of the line and then the next number also being opposite (so 2 and 9 would be opposites, as would 3 and 8)). I know this sounds complicated, but it's not. It's something I was aware of throughout the writing of the collection. There are thematic considerations and a few references that only exist between each story and its opposite. So saying "Things were better then" in Before Creation Comes Destruction is one such reference to Bonetown Blues, but I didn't just put that in the story for the hell of it. I made sure I could work it into the dialogue well before putting it in. If it didn't sound amazing, it wasn't going to be kept. When I was satisfied with how it turned out, I kept it in.
- The idea that no one can go back is slightly ironic, as Whis can turn back time (at least by a few minutes). Still, Beerus' message rings true to those of us more tied to reality. He tries to end the story on a positive note. He wants to remember his family, his struggles, but he doesn't want the bad things that happened to him in the past to keep him down in the future. He knows all events in his life have shaped him, but they don't need to continue to mentally stagnate him long after they have passed. He needs to let go of the bad and remembe the good. That's the message he's trying to impart to himself. He's trying to convince himself.
- Beerus feeling nostalgia but also feeling that that feeling isn't the same as it once had been is a crucial turning point for his character. It's also quite a different message than what I've done when I've portrayed nostalgia in past stories (though it is based on personal experiences in all of my stories). Beerus knows he has to let go. That he has the power and decisiveness to actually go through with that plan shows his character growth from the start of the story to the end.
- I won't go over what the wind rustling through the leaves means - I mean, that's the whole point of this story. It would be no fun giving it away. Let's just say, though, that it has to do with Beerus' character growth, his realizations, and his maturity, as well as his fondness for his family and his desire not to forget them, even if he's hidden this fact from Whis.
- This story is one of the few TWBT stories to end on a high note. It ends in a moment of positivity in both sections, too, which no other TWBT story does.
I enjoyed writing and reading this story, and I think it is clearly one of my better ones. It reminds me of Yellow in terms of the plot and character growth, but it is really unique overall. The origin story for Beerus is unlike anything else on this wiki, and I do think the culture of Tuhak Mal is the most alien culture on this wiki too. I tackled a lot of themes in the 6000 or so words of this story, and reading it back over for this anthology, I caught a lot of stuff I had forgotten I had written way back in May 2015. So that was fun. This story's use of its theme color in the text was one of the more successful ones out of all of the one-shots in Things Were Better Then. I'm very satisfied with the prose, and the dialogue I wrote for this one is the best out of all the TWBT anthologized so far. So this story is really good, in my opinion. However, the question becomes is it better than Suicide Missionary (and, perhaps, Yellow)? I've gone back and forth on this several times. I would give Suicide Missionary the same grade as Before Creation Comes Destruction if they were graded on a 100 point scale, down to the hundredth decimal. I think those two stories are basically the exact same in terms of quality. But, after much deliberation, I have come to a conclusion. I think that Suicide Missionary is better, though only by a hair. Only by a hair... this really took me quite a long time to decide upon (something which has never happened before in an anthological review, which shows how close this really was). The main reason I was swayed by Suicide Missionary, is I think it has more highs than Before Creation Comes Destruction, though BCCD maintains its quality over a much longer wordcount, which is equally as hard. The one thing that pushed it over the edge though was that the end of the first section of BCCD could have been a little better - if that had been a high like it could have been, it would have outshone Suicide Missionary, but alas, that one little flaw held it back. Anyway, overall, I'd give Before Creation Comes Destruction an S.
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Part 52 ---->