So we come to it at last. The final saga of Dragon Ball Z: The Forgotten. I have many a strange memory about this saga, for writing it was the best of times and the worst of times for me. It was great fun to wrap up the story, to reunite Vegeta and Ledas, to finish off The Benefactor, to bring a satisfying conclusion to all of the other plot points... and yet, this saga, in its original form was also the worst saga of TF, no question. The 2011 version of this story, in my opinion, is amongst the worst things I ever put on this wiki. This led me to re-write the story in 2012 in a significant way. Everything up to Verlate in that version was modified heavily, and in some cases, plots were scrapped and redone entirely. And then, when the final edits came around in late 2013, I was once again faced with re-writing this saga. In fact, I re-wrote this saga almost entirely for the final edits (I would say that 70-80% of the below story is new material that I wrote for the final edits).
It was a grueling process, one I had not properly prepared myself for when I began it in mid-December 2013. At that time, I thought that the final edits process for this saga would be much as it had been with the other sagas, but alas that was quite unwarranted optimism on my part, and not something that should have come unexpected. As a result, the final edits for this saga took me roughly three months, with me setting deadlines for the completion of this saga for January 2013, then February 2013, then mid-March 2013 (and I didn't even make this final deadline, for the last two chapters of the Fulfillment Saga were finalized on March 19, 2013 and March 23, 2013 respectively).
So as can be seen, unlike the final edits for the other sagas, the final edits for this saga were exhaustive, complicated, and time-consuming. This is primarily because of the butterfly effect of final edits I did for the previous sagas. Before I did any final edits, I created a notepad document, read through the entirety of TF (this was in early 2013, I think) and mapped out, saga by saga (and I also did this for the two specials), what I wanted to change. Most of the things I wanted to change were in the last two sagas. But to make many of the changes to those sagas' plots, I had to make smaller changes in earlier sagas. An example would be The Benefactor's personality. One of the things I most wanted to change from the 2012 version of TF to the final version was TB's personality (it was horrible in both the 2012 and 2011 versions). To change that, I had to change almost every line of dialogue he had. This is a subtle, gradual change that eventually results in a satisfying conclusion to his character in this saga, in my opinion.
Another example would be the plotline with Colonel Silver, known as Airgead in the 2011 draft of this saga. In the 2012 draft, he was still a Red Ribbon Army dude. However, I didn't like how that plot went, even though I could see good things in it (the Airgead plot in 2011 was well-intentioned but it just didn't work for this story at all). So I moved the Red Ribbon Army stuff to the previous two sagas for the most part. At one time, Colonel Silver was introduced in this saga, and now, he's dead before this saga even begins.
I moved quite a bit of the plot around during the final edits as well. It wasn't just me re-writing things. The opening four chapters of this saga are a mixture of new scenes and good scenes from old versions of this saga compacted down. The stuff with Yajirobe and Krillin and Verlate's mind prison began much later in previous versions than they do now, and this is all because I changed up the pacing of this saga significantly. The majority of the battle between Ledas and The Benefactor now takes place in Verlate's mind prison, whereas in previous versions, Verlate was only in one or two chapters of this story.
The butterfly effect has another effect on this saga that it does not have on previous sagas. Since this is the last saga, it means I can't put off resolution of plot anymore - everything has to be brought up and resolved here and now. And that was a tremendous task to accomplish, and one of the main reasons the final edits for this saga took so long.
Ultimately, I am happy with how this saga turned out. It was lambasted in many a review in 2011 and 2012 (I'm not sure any review of the final version is on this wiki), and those reviews were a big reason why I did radically change this saga from how it once was. Both Destructivedisk and Hyper Zergling matter to me a lot, and their words therefore hold great sway over me. That's not to say others don't have valid opinions either, but it was primarily the thoughts of DD and HZ, as well as my own disgust of this saga after reading it over again to prepare for the final edits (I distinctly remember writing "delete everything except the finale and move Velate's stuff into the Reunion Saga" in my notepad document when I was writing down the things to change in this saga) that caused me to re-write so much of it. As a result, I think this saga is one of the best, though I'm not sure where it ranks quite yet. The Verlate arc as it is now is perhaps the most striking arc out of the entire TF series, too, so I will be supremely happy when I get to commentating on that. It is only rivaled by the middle Stomping Grounds arc in terms of quality, I think (chapters 29-33).
So now let me talk a little bit about why the plot for this saga is how it is. I have previously mentioned the two other versions of this saga, which were quite different from the version presented below. I won't be talking about those versions much anymore since they aren't canon and not very good.
This saga is split into three arcs: the first being the resolution of the Z Fighters vs. TB from the previous saga; the second being the stuff in Verlate's mind prison; and the third being the wrap up of the story after The Benefactor's defeat. This saga is split into arcs more definitively than most other sagas (though the Stomping Grounds Saga is also split into three distinctive arcs), and I will be talking about each one individually:
The first arc is the first four chapters of this saga, and it serves to bring full resolution to the Reunion Saga stuff. There are several reasons why that stuff wasn't actually put in the Reunion Saga. For one, there wasn't any room. As a consequence of having two flashback chapters, some stuff had to carry over to this saga. Had I not had those two flashback chapters, I'm not sure I wouldn't have ended the Reunion Saga at the same place. The way the Reunion Saga ends highlights its role as the transitory saga in the Earth arc (just as the Lauto Saga served that role in the Planet Trade Organization arc that comprised the first three sagas). I like how the Reunion Saga ends. The last chapter is one of my favorite chapters in TF. I think the mingling of dramatic moments with blatantly nihilistic themes is a really cool move, and one that I am supremely proud of. Had I continued Vegeta vs. TB (and later, Krillin, Yajirobe, and Ledas vs. TB) in RS, it wouldn't have been so dramatic.
Now, had I ended the Reunion Saga with The Benefactor and Ledas getting sucked into the mind prison, that might've worked, but there are two problems with that - it means that I would have had to delete several chapters worth of content to fit 4 chapters into the Reunion Saga, and I think every word of TF is important - any word I don't think is crucially important is simply not in the story. The second problem is that doing so would have left me with 4 more chapters for the Fulfillment Saga to fill, and I didn't want the Verlate stuff to go for 9 chapters. That seems like too long for me.
These four chapters contain several scenes from the old 2012 and 2011 drafts of this saga - basically, I kept the best of the best (which wasn't much) and re-wrote the rest. What I kept includes the Yajirobe and Krillin stuff and them helping Ledas, and Ledas taking out TB's eyes before they get sucked into the mind prison. Pretty much everything else was written from scratch, and as anyone who has read the saga as it is now knows, that stuff written from scratch is a significant portion of this opening arc.
The second arc was the stuff with Verlate. After getting over my depression over how much I hated the 2012 draft of this saga when I was making my list of things I wanted to change for FS, I wrote down that Verlate's stuff should be expanded. As I read through the 2012 draft, I realized that her stuff was really good and gave me a point I could go with the story in this saga. So much of the plot of this saga in the 2012 version had to be taken out because it was crap, but the Verlate stuff was cool and interesting and unique and therefore, I felt like the best option to make this saga better would be to give Verlate a more prominent role. This also diminishes the faint ideas that her mind prison is deus ex machina (which I've dispelled in numerous TF anthologies before this one).
At first, the arc was only three chapters, whereas the final arc was 5 chapters. That left a 4/3/5 split. I realized this as I was preparing to edit this saga (after I had completed edits for everything through Forever Alone). That is no good. Why should there be 5 chapters after TB is defeated? That seemed like too much. It was a pacing problem, and I'm glad I saw this before I began to write this arc. As a result, two of the third arc's chapters were moved to this arc, expanding the Verlate arc into what it is now. I specifically wanted to use this arc to show how I had grown as a writer since writing the TF prologue, and the use of thematic, symbolic, and philosophical ideas is rich here. In fact, I would say that kind of stuff exists to a capacity otherwise unseen in any TF arc.
I have quite an aesthetic inclination, and this arc also developed because of that. I wanted cool demons, I wanted Ledas wandering through a wasteland. I wanted him and TB to fight monsters and not each other until the end. I wanted there to be a sense of unease, of them not being in control. And all of that comes out in this saga. Developing Verlate's minimalistic character from previous versions was also a goal of mine here, and she monologues like a proper Shakespearean character because I was taking a Shakespeare class when I wrote the final edits for this saga. So there was a lot of unique stuff going on in this arc that did not happen in any other part of TF, and I will get to that more in the below endnotes.
Finally, the third arc of this saga is the wrap-up stuff for not only this saga, but TF as a whole. As I said above, it was originally a five chapter arc, but I reduced that after realizing how ridiculous that was. There's no reason to have five chapters for the stuff after The Benefactor is defeated. Now, the two chapters that were removed were named (one can look in the Fulfillment Saga's history to see what those names were) and were going to deal with Ledas and Ryori and some school stuff, but I got rid of them as that plotline was irrelevant.
A case could be made that five chapters could still work for this arc, if the final 6000+ word chapter was split three ways. And I most certainly considered doing that. But I eventually decided not to, as the other eleven chapters all were things I still wanted to make. It would mean not having those two extra Verlate arc chapters, and not having those chapters just to split up the finale is not worth it. Another problem is that the finale is deliberately-paced, meaning that splitting it up three ways makes it lose that overall pacing (and also means that the first third, which is mostly setup and build up, would not make for a good chapter on its own). The finale is an amalgamation of literary ingredients that form a cohesive chapter - think of it like food ingredients. Together, things can make a type of food, but individually, those ingredients might not taste good, and that is the case with the finale and why it was not split up into three (or even two) chapters. This left me with three chapters, and I am happy with that.
Five chapters meant that this story was going to have the same number of post-last-bad-guy-defeat chapters as DBZ, and that is ridiculous. DBZ has many more episodes, so 5 episodes is not as big a deal for that show as it is for TF. 5 chapters is a much larger percent of the story here. Also, I was always very unhappy with the pacing of DBZ (it is consistently bad throughout all of the sagas), and this is perhaps most apparent at the end of DBZ, after the defeat of Kid Buu. There is no reason there needed to be five chapters following Kid Buu's defeat. Two or three chapters at most could have wrapped up everything, but in classic DBZ fashion they stretched the plot out as much as they could and added in tons of irrelevant stuff that didn't need to be there.
Another difference between DBZ and TF is that TF has more plot to it, and more needs to be resolved after The Benefactor is defeated (the Ledas/Vegeta reunion, Ryori's plotline, Krillin healing everyone, Cardinal atoning, etc.). DBZ only really needed to show everyone knowing that Kid Buu is defeated and celebrating briefly and then the Uub stuff at the tournament (which could have been done in roughly an episode or two). But even with more plot points, it was important for me to not reach the same number as DBZ's post-last-bad-guy-defeat episodes. I settled on three chapters, and the rest is history.
The themes of this saga continue the themes of the previous sagas, particularly the last two, and the main theme of "being forgotten" and what that means becomes perhaps more prominent than ever before in this saga. That is seen with both Ledas and Verlate, as well as a myriad of others to lesser degrees. Other major themes include stuff related to courage, to perseverance, to returning to the world after being broken, to getting revenge, and to accepting one's power and powerlessness. These themes and others pop up a lot in this saga and I will try to mention them when I can, but I can't give everything away. Some stuff has to be left for the readers to guess at themselves. All of these themes were specifically put in this saga to have the characters be shown as complex, grey characters - humans and aliens, not archetypes. Real humans aren't good or evil. Real people have attributes, aspects of evilness and goodness (which are in themselves arbitrary distinctions), and my goal with the themes was to try to portray my characters as realistically as possible and to also use the thematic content to build these dudes up and tear them down.
The theme song for this saga changed several times. At first, it was Creep by Radiohead. This was at first the tentative theme song. As to why I chose this one, it fit with TB's old personality, and even to this day is thematically tied to this idea of being forgotten in this saga, of not being worthy of attention or recognition. About a week later, I replaced "Creep" with Paranoid Android by Radiohead. At the time, that was my favorite Radiohead song, and the chaos, paranoia, insanity, and isolation in its sound and lyics made it feel appropriate for this saga. I even used the third act of that song to open the Fulfillment Saga at one point, if I remember correctly. Before I started my 2012 edits, I changed the theme song to How I Made My Millions by Thom Yorke (the singer of Radiohead). I don't exactly remember why I made this change - it probably had to do with me really liking that song at the time and thinking it tied into the saga better, tonally and lyrically. And for the final edits, I changed the theme song once again to Let Down by Radiohead. "Let Down" remains the theme song to this day. It is such a brilliant song both instrumentally and lyrically, though it was primarily the song's lyrics that made me use it here (the lines, "someday I am going to grow wings/a chemical reaction/hysterical and useless", speak to the themes of this saga with great accuracy, for example). The lyrics tie into the nihilism oft present in the story and the hopelessness that arises from being in a world that is moving on around you without recognizing you, without seeing you as a part of it. Individualism of thought and action is a major theme in TF, and by showing the numbing despair of collectivism and isolationist thoughts, I can bring attention to that. When I was writing the final edits for this saga, "Let Down" was my go-to song. I must've listened to it 100 times during December 2013, and while I'm not listening to it 100 times a month anymore, I still consider it to be one of the best Radiohead songs. It comes off of the same album as "Paranoid Android", so thematically and tonally it has a connection to that song and shows that yes, even though I have re-written much of this saga, there are still ties to the old 2011 version in how it is now.
The above picture is the tagline for this saga. I came up with this tagline pretty early in the tagline creation process. It was one of the earlier ones I came up with, and not one I struggled with for very long to find. There's a lot of despair and melancholy and pessimistic nihilism in this saga, but I wanted to show that the reason much of that is there is like how a blade needs a whetstone. Characters must go through troubling times to grow and to be shown at their best. The last tagline of this series is defiantly optimistic, which is a key personality trait of Ledas himself. But it applies to more people than just Ledas.
Another thing I want to mention is that this saga's text color was originally a dark red color that looked brownish. I was never satisfied with that color, though I didn't have any good alternatives in 2011 or 2012 that I could find. One of the reasons I didn't like the old versions of this saga is because the brown-reddish text color never looked good. It's a small thing, yes, but it really did bother me, so one of the first things I did when I worked on the final edits for this saga was to come up with a new text color. I must've spent a good amount of time before I began re-editing the Fulfillment Saga coming up with the new color. The light blue color is one of my favorite text colors and I don't think it looks too close to any other saga/special text color, so I'm happy with how that turned out.
So yeah that's about all I have to say about this saga. It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times, and in the end, I hope that it turns out being one of the better things I've written for all the effort it took for me to complete it. I expect it to be no lower than the second-best saga after I finish this anthology, so we'll see if that holds up when I get to the end. Anyways, onto the endnotes!
- 1 Story
- 1.1 A Phone Call From Sour To Prince Concerning The Serious Lack Of Toys To Play With In Prince’s House
- 1.2 Raven Veins
- 1.3 Human Nature
- 1.4 The Door To Nowhere
- 1.5 Ye Mighty
- 1.6 Mephistopheles
- 1.7 Riddle Me This
- 1.8 The Misoneistic King
- 1.9 When Time And Life Shook Hands And Said Goodbye
- 1.10 Sticky Fingers
- 1.11 He Was Number One (series finale part 1)
- 1.12 Simply Legendary (series finale part 2)
- 1.13 Alternate Endings
- 2 Final thoughts
Much like my grandfather,
I can write with both hands.
This was a little skill
I tried to master
while taking notes in Biology.
At the very least,
it kept me from
falling asleep in class.
A Phone Call From Sour To Prince Concerning The Serious Lack Of Toys To Play With In Prince’s House
<MAY 10, 774 AGE>
<CUE Perfect Disguise>
<THE CAMERA PANS OVER THE LANDSCAPE, WHICH IS POCK-MARKED WITH MANY CRATERS; SMOKE IS RISING FROM MANY OF THE HILLS, AND A FEW SMALL FIRES ARE BURNING; THE CAMERA ZOOMS IN ON THE PLACE WHERE THE Z FIGHTERS WERE DEFEATED; SOME OF THEM ARE WRITHING ABOUT AND GROANING OUT IN PAIN; OTHERS ARE LYING UNCONSCIOUS; REGARDLESS, THE CAMERA SHOWS ALL OF THEM: GOKU, GOHAN, GOTEN, TRUNKS, PICCOLO, ANDROID 18, TIEN, CHIAOTZU, YAMCHA; KRILLIN IS NOT THERE; VEGETA, LEDAS, AND THE BENEFACTOR ARE NOT EITHER>
<THE CAMERA CONTINUES PANNING LEFT; IT COMES TO A STOP AT AN AREA WHERE THE GRASS HAS BEEN BLOWN AWAY; IN THE CENTER OF THIS IS LEDAS, WHO IS LYING ON HIS BACK WITH HIS EYES SHUT; AS THE CAMERA ZOOMS IN ON HIS DIRTY AND BRUISED FACE, THE BOY OPENS HIS EYES>
<IT IS MORNING>
<LEDAS STANDS UP AND LOOKS AROUND; HE SEES NO ONE NEAR HIM; THE CAMERA PANS BACK FROM HIM, SHOWING THE SCENE FROM BEHIND HIS BACK; HE IS STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF A LARGE CRATER; HE WATCHES AS SOME ASH FALLS AROUND HIM>
Ledas: <TO HIMSELF; GROGGILY> W-what happened…? Where’s everyone?
<HE TAKES TO THE SKY, FLYING TOWARDS THE CITY; HE DOES NOT HAVE HIS AURA AROUND HIM; AS HE GETS CLOSER, HE NOTICES SONIC BOOMS GOING OFF ABOVE THE CITY; HE GOES TOWARDS THAT; AS HE GOES, THE CAMERA LOOKS BELOW HIM AND SHOWS MANY DEEP GASHES IN THE GROUND, WHICH SHOW THAT LOTS OF ENERGY ATTACKS HAVE BEEN USED IN THE VICINITY>
<END OF Perfect Disguise>
<THE BENEFACTOR FLIES TOWARDS VEGETA; VEGETA, WHO IS IN SUPER SAIYAN 3, DODGES THE ATTACK, FLIPPING OVER THE ALIEN AND THEN LUNGING AT HIS BACK WITH A HIGH KICK; THE BENEFACTOR IS THROWN FORWARD; JUST AS HE TURNS AROUND, VEGETA SHOOTS A ONE-HANDED GALICK GUN IN HIS FACE; THE BENEFACTOR BATS THIS OUT OF THE WAY AND DIVES AT HIS FOE>
<THE TWO TRADE BLOWS, THOUGH ONLY A FEW HIT; EACH ONE THAT DOES, HOWEVER, CREATES A MASSIVE SONIC BOOM; THE BUILDINGS BELOW START SHAKING AND MANY WINDOWS ARE BLOWN OUT; VEGETA TELEPORTS BEHIND THE BENEFACTOR AND HITS HIM DOWN INTO THE CITY; THE BENEFACTOR SLAMS THROUGH SEVERAL BUILDINGS BEFORE HITTING THE GROUND; AS HE LOOKS UP, VEGETA IS ALREADY ON HIM; VEGETA SHOOTS A FLURRY OF ENERGY INTO THE BENEFACTOR’S FACE; THE BENEFACTOR IS NOW BLEEDING>
<THE ALIEN HIGH-JUMPS THEN COMES SCREAMING DOWN ONTO VEGETA’S HEAD; AT THE SAME TIME, HE THROWS AN IMPALEMENT BEAM AT VEGETA; THIS CUTS VEGETA’S ARM, CAUSING HIM TO STAGGER BACK; THE BENEFACTOR PRESSES HIS ADVANTAGE BY ATTACKING VEGETA WITH A FLURRY ATTACK WITH HIS CLAWS AND TAIL>
<VEGETA JUMPS BACK, THEN RAMS HIMSELF FORWARD INTO THE BENEFACTOR’S BODY; THE TWO TRADE BLOWS FOR SEVERAL SECONDS AS THEY TUMBLE INTO THE STREET; THEN, THE BENEFACTOR PUNCHES VEGETA OFF OF HIM; HE TRIES TO KICK THE STUNNED SAIYAN, BUT VEGETA BLOCKS IT WITH A KICK OF HIS OWN; HE QUICKLY BACKHANDS THE BENEFACTOR>
<THE BENEFACTOR RETALIATES HITTING VEGETA WITH HIS TAIL; HE FLIPS TOWARDS THE SAIYAN, SHOOTING OFF SMALL ENERGY BURSTS AS HE DOES; AS VEGETA BLOCKS THEM, THE BENEFACTOR IS FREE TO HIT HIM IN THE GUT; THEN, THE BENEFACTOR GRABS VEGETA BY THE HAIR AND SLAMS HIS FACE INTO THE GROUND; HE REPEATEDLY BASHES VEGETA LIKE THIS UNTIL THE PRINCE SHOOTS A SMALL BEAM INTO THE BENEFACTOR’S SIDE; THIS CAUSES THE ALIEN TO DROP HIM AND FALL TO THE GROUND; VEGETA PRESSES HIS BOOT TO THE BENEFACTOR’S NECK AND PREPARES AN ENERGY BEAM>
<THE BENEFACTOR TAKES OUT HIS KNIFE AND PLUNGES ITS BLADE INTO VEGETA’S LEG; VEGETA YELLS OUT AND FALLS OFF OF THE BENEFACTOR; HE STUMBLES BACKWARDS, BUT QUICKLY REGAINS HIS FOOTING; LOOKING DOWN AT HIS BLOODY WOUND, HE QUICKLY CAUTERIZES IT AND THEN LOOKS BACK UP TO HIS FOE>
Vegeta: <GROWL> Enough! It’s time to throw out the space trash!
<HE CREATES AN EXPLOSIVE WAVE; THE BENEFACTOR IS THROWN BACK BY THIS; AS HE GOES TO STAND UP, VEGETA IS ALREADY SHOOTING ENERGY AT HIM; THE BENEFACTOR SKIDS UPWARDS AND RUNS FROM THE BLASTS; VEGETA TEARS THROUGH BUILDINGS AS HE TRACKS THE CREATURE; THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS A FEW SMALL BLASTS AT VEGETA, BUT THEY DO NOT DO MUCH DAMAGE; SUDDENLY, HOWEVER, VEGETA STOPS FIRING, ALLOWING THE BENEFACTOR TO GET TO COVER>
Vegeta: <LOOKING AT HIS SHRINKING AURA; OUT OF BREATH> What’s going on? Why is my power going down?
<HE LOOKS UP JUST IN TIME TO SEE THE BENEFACTOR CHARGING UP A LARGE ENERGY BLAST; HE FIRES IT JUST AS VEGETA YELLS OUT AND BEGINS TO CONJURE UP ENERGY OF HIS OWN; VEGETA SHOOTS A STREAM OF ENERGY FROM BOTH HANDS TO STOP THE RED BEAM; SCREAMING PEOPLE RUN BY THEM AS THIS BEAM STRUGGLE GOES ON>
<VEGETA IS ABLE TO STAY THE BLAST, THOUGH HE IS UNABLE TO GAIN THE ADVANTAGE; EVEN AS HE CONTINUES TO THROW BLAST AFTER BLAST AGAINST THE BENEFACTOR’S, IT DOESN’T MOVE IT; RUNNING OUT OF ENERGY, VEGETA FALTERS AND THE BEAM BREAKS THROUGH HIS DEFENSES, FLYING TOWARDS HIM; IT HITS HIM IN A SPECTACULAR EXPLOSION, WHICH DESTROYS ALL OF THE NEARBY BUILDINGS AS WELL>
<AS THE SMOKE CLEARS, VEGETA IS DAMAGED; THE TOP OF HIS JUMPSUIT IS BLOWN OFF; HE IS STILL IN SUPER SAIYAN 3, HOWEVER>
<HE ATTACKS THE BENEFACTOR, WHO WAS WATCHING FROM ABOVE, WITH A SUDDEN TELEPORT-STRIKE; THE BENEFACTOR EVADES THIS WITH A TELEPORT OF HIS OWN; VEGETA GOES TO ATTACK AGAIN, BUT THE BENEFACTOR BLOCKS IT WITH A KICK; AS THE ALIEN SPINS OVER VEGETA’S HEAD, HE TRIES TO PUNCH THE PRINCE, BUT VEGETA SLIPS OUT OF THE WAY; HE TRIES TO FIRE A MEDIUM-SIZED ENERGY BLAST AT THE BENEFACTOR, BUT THE BENEFACTOR LEANS BACK TO MISS IT; THE BENEFACTOR THEN LUNGES WITH HIS RIGHT FIST; VEGETA THROWS ALL HIS WEIGHT TO HIS LEFT SHOULDER TO EVADE IT; YET AS HE DOES SO, THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS AT HIS NEW POSITION WITH A ONE-HANDED ENERGY BALL IN HIS LEFT HAND; VEGETA TELEPORTS TO EVADE THIS; HE REAPPEARS ABOVE THE BENEFACTOR, ATTEMPTING TO CLUB THE ALIEN DOWNWARD; THE BENEFACTOR TELEPORT-EVADES THIS AS WELL; AS HE REAPPEARS BEHIND VEGETA, HE ATTEMPTS TO PUNCH THE PRINCE, BUT WHAT HE PUNCHES IS JUST AN AFTERIMAGE>
<VEGETA LANDS ON THE GROUND ON ONE KNEE; HE SMIRKS BEFORE STANDING UP AND LOOKING AT THE FLOATING ALIEN>
Vegeta: You’re a slippery one, aren’t you?
The Benefactor: <LANDING A FEW FEET FROM VEGETA> I could say the same of you.
Vegeta: Hmph. You can say whatever you want. <THE SCREEN MOVES LOWER, SHOWING VEGETA’S HANDS; IN THEM, BLUE ENERGY BALLS ARE FORMING> But you’re still going to lose. Take this!
<HE THROWS THE ENERGY AT THE BENEFACTOR; THE BENEFACTOR RETALIATES BY SHOOTING A TON OF ENERGY BACK AT VEGETA; THEY BOTH STAY IN PLACE AS THIS HAPPENS, BEING HIT BY NUMEROUS ATTACKS; THE CITY EXPLODES AROUND THEM; THE FIRES AND SMOKE OVERTAKE THE TWO FIGURES AS THEY CONTINUE TO SHOOT>
<POLICE CHIEF NAGAMO IS STANDING ON TOP OF A POLICE CAR, FLANKED BY TWO OFFICERS; MORE POLICEMEN ARE BELOW HIM; HE HAS A MICROPHONE>
Police Chief Nagamo: <HINT OF DISTRESS> Please, everyone form orderly lines! Don’t panic! We’ll all get out of here if we stick to the plan! I have numerous officers to assist you if you need any help. But please, keep moving. The explosions are getting closer! Let’s go!
<THE PEOPLE ARE AGITATED AND BUMP AND SHOVE ONE ANOTHER AS THEY RUN PAST NAGAMO; THE POLICE OFFICERS TRY TO CONTAIN THEM, BUT THEY AREN’T REALLY ABLE TO; MEANWHILE, EXPLOSIONS ARE GOING OFF AROUND THEM; SOME BUILDINGS ARE COLLAPSING TO THE RIGHT SIDE, CAUSING PEOPLE TO SCREAM AND FLEE TOWARDS NAGAMO>
<EVEN AS NAGAMO CONTINUES TALKING, HE NOTICES THE FIGURE OF CARDINAL COME WALKING UP TO HIM FROM THE LEFT SIDE; CARDINAL TAPS HIM ON THE SHOULDER, CAUSING THE BALDING CHIEF TO SPIN AROUND AND LOOK AT HIM>
Police Chief Nagamo: Cardinal? What are you doing here? <HE JUMPS OFF THE POLICE CAR AS THE LAST PEOPLE RUN BY; HE MOTIONS TO HIS TWO GUARDS> You two, head up the rear. We’ll be right behind you. <TURNING BACK TO CARDINAL> This is no time for talk! We are in the middle of a–
Cardinal: <HOLDS UP HIS HAND; HE LOOKS IMPATIENT AND ANGRY> I need your personal helicopter. Take me to it now.
Police Chief Nagamo: What?! Now?! The city’s collapsing! We won’t make it to the station in time.
Cardinal: Then drive me there. I need to go see what happened to my men.
Police Chief Nagamo: I…
<POLICE CHIEF NAGAMO TRAILS OFF AS HE SEES SOMEONE COME OUT OF THE SMOKE AND WALK TOWARDS HIM; IT IS A SOLDIER CLAD IN HEAVY MILITARY GARB; HIS FACE IS CLEAN-SHAVEN, ALBEIT BLOODIED, AND HE HAS A PISTOL IN HIS RIGHT HAND; HE IS DRAGGING SOMETHING IN HIS LEFT HAND, THOUGH IT CANNOT BE MADE OUT WHAT THAT IS>
<AS THIS MAN GETS TO NAGAMO, HE CASUALLY SHOOTS THE POLICE CHIEF IN THE HEAD; NAGAMO HAS NO TIME TO REACT, MAINLY BECAUSE HE DOES NOT EXPECT SUCH AN OCCURRENCE; HE IS DEAD BEFORE HE HITS THE GROUND; CARDINAL RECOILS SLIGHTLY AS HE SEES THIS; BUT THEN HE TURNS TO THE SOLDIER AND BECOMES MORE COMPOSED>
Cardinal: <INCREDULOUSLY> What are you doing, soldier?
Wisconsin: That’s private Wisconsin to you, sir. But there isn’t much time to talk, I’m afraid.
<A LARGE EXPLOSION GOES OFF NEARBY, SENDING A CAR INTO THE AIR; THE TWO RETREAT FARTHER BACK>
Cardinal: Where’s Silver? Where’s the rest of the Red Ribbon Army?
Wisconsin: <SARCASTIC> Were you coming to look for us, sir?
Cardinal: As a matter of fact, I was. The comms are dead. I didn’t know what happened.
Wisconsin: <COCKING HIS HEAD> Nothing good, that’s for sure. But at least I got something out of it. Look. <HE RAISES HIS OTHER HAND, SHOWING THE CRUMPLED FIGURE OF RYORI> This kid’s our ticket for victory. <CARDINAL GOES TO RESPOND, BUT ANOTHER EXPLOSION GOES OFF EVEN CLOSER TO THEM; WISCONSIN GRABS CARDINAL BY THE SHOULDER AND FORCES HIM TO TURN AROUND; THE TWO OF THEM RUN OUT OF THERE> Come on, sir. Let’s get out of here.
<THE CAMERA ZOOMS OUT AS CARDINAL AND WISCONSIN RUN AWAY; EVENTUALLY, IT SETTLES ON THE BODY OF NAGAMO, WHOSE HEAD IS STILL BLEEDING; HIS EYES ARE WIDE OPEN; ANOTHER EXPLOSION GOES OFF, THIS TIME CONSUMING THE CAMERA’S VISION>
<LEDAS COMES INTO VIEW; HE WATCHES AS THE BENEFACTOR AND VEGETA DUEL, SHOOTING ENERGY AT ONE ANOTHER AND TEARING APART THE CITY; JUST AS LEDAS GETS CLOSE, HE SEES VEGETA SUDDENLY STOP FIRING AND FALL TO HIS KNEES; THEN, VEGETA REVERTS TO HIS BASE FORM; HE IS CONSUMED BY THE BENEFACTOR’S ATTACKS AND THROWN LIKE A RAGDOLL>
Vegeta: <THROUGH SEETHING TEETH; GENUINELY SCARED> No! This can’t be happening! I can’t maintain the form! <HE LOOKS UP AT THE BENEFACTOR, WHO IS CLOSING IN ON HIM; HE GOES SUPER SAIYAN 1 – THE ONLY FORM HE CAN MAINTAIN AT HIS CURRENT POWER – AND THEN FLIES OFF AS FAST AS HE CAN> I need to get my energy back. Bah, where’s that stupid Namekian kid when I need him?!
<THE BENEFACTOR PURSUES HIM AS HE FLIES AWAY; LEDAS WATCHES THEM GO>
Ledas: <STRETCHES HIS HAND OUT AFTER VEGETA; QUIETLY> Vegeta, wait! <BUT VEGETA DOES NOT, OF COURSE; LEDAS SIGHS> I wish I was strong enough to help. But I’m so tired. If only Korin had given me more of those beans…
<LEDAS BOWS HIS HEAD>
- The opening poem for this saga was originally written by Destructivedisk, and was some nonsense about drugs. I re-wrote it for the final edits, to make it a poem consistent with the rest of TF, both in terms of how many lines it has and in how the content of it deals with a small fact about myself. The fact is indeed true, and I learned how to write with my left hand during 9th grade biology, because the class was so boring, it was the only way I could keep myself awake. Suffice to say while I can write with my left hand still, I don't tend to write with it as often as I do with my right hand.
- This chapter's name is a loose reference to the most hilarious song title I've ever seen, which is owned by Modest Mouse, and was featured as their first song on their first demo album. That song is called An Apology From Dog To Cat Concerning A Comment Made Earlier 'Bout Cat's Breath. This chapter title can refer to either The Benefactor or Ledas, in regards to their experiences relating to Earth and Vegeta/the other Z Fighters. This is the funniest chapter title in the story, in my opinion.
- This chapter was originally the name of the third chapter of the second draft of the Fulfillment Saga. It dealt with a markedly different plot, and the roles of Sour and Prince were switched around (Sour being the one whom Prince was phoning and complaining about not having enough toys to play with in their house). Also, I should mention that Sour is a nickname I had when I was quite little, which should imply who Sour is in this story. My best friend's nickname was Peanut and we would oft go on "The Adventures of Peanut and Sour" together. So in a way, this title was referring to that, although the role of Peanut is replaced by Prince to make it overtly related to DBZ.
- I got the idea for using "Perfect Disguise" by Modest Mouse to open this chapter relatively late in the process of creating this new chapter. I was listening to a playlist of Modest Mouse songs, and when this one came on, I instantly visualized the opening of this saga and realized that I had to use it. Listening to that song and getting that moment of inspiration greatly influenced how this saga opened - I'm not sure it would have opened with Ledas and the defeated Z Fighters otherwise. This chapter was almost completely re-written for the final draft, and the opening sequence is a good example of new material. The opening of this saga was me trying a lot harder to show how this saga is already going to be better than it was in its previous two drafts right from the get-go. The opening is subtle, and the song was used to highlight how I am showing things going on but not providing explicit commentary on them, allowing the readers to come to their own conclusions. The portrayal of the setting in this opening scene is significant as well.
- Notice how I had this saga open so that Ledas isn't the first one seen. This continues the tradition of Ledas not being the first person seen character in any saga. Here, I didn't really try to make sure that Ledas was seen last, as it is thematically important to show the defeated Z Fighters first, to show this idea that the world has been thrown into chaos, and there doesn't seem to be anyone left to protect it. The way Ledas comes into view at the end implies that he is that hero that everyone is hoping for, since he alone wakes up and can get up from those who have been defeated. That idea isn't followed too closely even if Ledas does eventually defeat The Benefactor. The way I'm setting it up though implies that Ledas is this knight in shining armor coming to save the day, when really he's nothing like that at all. The irony in this opening scene does eventually lead to some payoff for those expecting Ledas to be the hero, though.
- The way the camera shows who is defeated and the texts notes who is still active also gives a refresher to the readers on who is still active in the fight going on. And by the numbers, it looks quite hopeless. Only Krillin, Vegeta, and Ledas are active, and if TB could defeat everyone else, it doesn't seem like those three can hope to stop TB now.
- I like the tone of this opening scene. "Perfect Disguise" was mostly added in for tonal reasons, though its lyrics can also be related to this chapter, albeit loosely. The muted, laid-back feel to the opening gives it a feel similar to how the last season of Seinfeld opened, and I'm sure that was a subconscious influence for me at the time. Ledas' actions in this first scene, where he's all tired and seems to be concussed, tonally implies that we are nearing the end of the story. The energy is overall winding down, even though it will of course ramp up again in the coming chapters. But overall, this saga opens with lower energy than previous sagas did to show that this is the last saga and that things are coming to an end.
- Ledas is just like us in that he doesn't know what has been going on with The Benefactor and Vegeta. We only get a hint of what they are doing in the first scene. When I first wrote this chapter, I considered having the Cardinal/Wisconsin/Ryori scene be the second one, instead of the TB/Vegeta one, but after considering that, I realized the pacing worked out better if TB/Vegeta came first, so I ultimately did that. It is a bit jarring to finally see TB and Vegeta fighting after their fight has been teased for so long, but at one time, that wait was even longer. Of course, this was all done for pacing and build up reasons.
- One thing I wanted to show with the Vegeta/TB fight is that the two are so focused on one another that they aren't really seeing that they are destroying the city around them. For The Benefactor, of course, this does not matter, but it would matter to Vegeta in most circumstances. I'd like to think that Vegeta being in SS3 (remember how Goku also had a slight personality change when he went SS3) made him more serious and focused, to the point where he doesn't realize how all of the humans in the city are being put in massive danger by the fight taking place in their city.
- The Benefactor vs. Vegeta is a great tonal shift from the opening scene. That low-energy scene is immediately followed by one of the most dramatic battles in TF history. This is the fight that was teased to happen in the finale of the previous saga, but due to pacing concerns, and the fact that there simply wasn't enough room to have a long battle in that saga's last chapter as well, it was moved here. This is a saga-ending quality fight, and yet here it is in the first chapter. I think this is the best saga-opening chapter in TF because of that.
- Vegeta vs. The Benefactor was also written to be a titanic clash of equals. The Benefactor and Vegeta are basically equal in power, though Vegeta has been getting the better of it throughout most of this scene, because his the superior fighter in terms of intellect and experience. He would have eventually won had his power not started to decrease.
- Like Goku, Vegeta isn't able to maintain his Super Saiyan 3 form for very long. In previous versions of TF, this was seen with Gotenks not being able to stay together for more than 30 minutes (in the final version of this story, Gotenks is no longer a major character, whereas his fight against TB in old versions was a major fight). This idea that The Benefactor is just getting by, partly due to luck, and partly due to his opponents inability to kill him quickly, is a theme tied to his character across all versions of TF.
- I'm quite proud of the choreography in TB vs. Vegeta, particularly the long paragraph near the end of their scene with all of the evading and teleporting. One thing this scene was meant to show, apart from showing two insanely powerful beings go at it for lots of entertainment value, was that after so much fighting and amazing moves from each of the fighters, neither one has beaten the other. Vegeta has noted that his power may be falling, though, which is foreshadowing his later defeat (which does not occur until at the end of this chapter), but it appears they are no closer to a resolution than they were late in the last chapter of the Reunion Saga. When one cannot quickly beat TB, that usually spells their doom, as outlasting his opponents (often stronger opponents) is a hallmark of TB's style. His durability is right up there with guys like Broly and Cell.
- Cardinal expects that Silver and the others are dead, but he wants to see their bodies himself before he lets himself think that, which is why he wants to borrow Nagamo's helicopter. He obviously cannot show his emotions to Nagamo of all people, whom he thinks is inferior to him (which was shown in the Planet Earth Saga in every interaction the two had). Still, his irrationality is something Nagamo picks up on. Notice how Cardinal's power has been weakened by this saga's start, and he's no longer the cool, collected individual he was in the Planet Earth Saga. Nagamo hasn't been around since that saga, allowing him to function as a foil for Cardinal, in terms of how things used to be, for Nagamo himself has not changed since that saga.
- Originally, TB killed Nagamo (he does so in both previous drafts). I changed it to Wisconsin doing so, since TB is occupied in his new plot for this opening saga arc. Also, it's a shock moment, with an important named character being killed. This is the kind of stuff that feels right at home in a saga opener. The shock death makes this third scene have a mixture of the pacing styles in the previous two scenes, interestingly enough.
- So Wisconsin is an interesting character, because he was nameless in PES, a yesman in RS, and now he's finally getting his time to shine in FS. Notice how he just kills Nagamo casually and then is sarcastic to Cardinal, who is his superior. This is all because of all the pain and horror he went through at the end of the last saga. He's angry that every other soldier, including Silver, died, and partly blames Cardinal for this, for Cardinal let them chase after a being they had no chance of even hurting. He killed Nagamo partly to vent his anger and partly to speed up his interaction with Cardinal (the conversation would take a lot longer had Nagamo been present for it). The fact that Wisconsin would want to speed up the conversation that way implies that he's quite irritated and not mentally stable. Now, he's still loyal to Cardinal, as seen in how he says his last few lines of the scene, for his anger is most apparent earlier on when he thought that Cardinal had abandoned the New Red Ribbon Army soldiers.
- The reveal that Wisconsin has Ryori as a hostage is a big one, though expected considering that we last saw Wisconsin with Ryori (although the boy didn't know that Wisconsin was alive). I think that after Silver was killed, Wisconsin realized what happened and did everything he could to chase down Ryori, despite all the pain he was in. Now that he has Ryori, what he plans on doing with the boy isn't clear, and indeed when I was writing the final draft of this chapter, I still had several ways I could go with this plot in the upcoming chapters. I hadn't settled on anything definitive for Ryori and Wisconsin and Cardinal at this point.
- Ryori was captured by Cardinal in some form in all previous drafts of this saga. This one is certainly the most unique abduction, and literarily the most interesting to me, for it occurred off-screen, though it was of course implied to have happened in the last saga. I quite like that I used dead space here to convey plot, as it allows both the progression of the story and a shock development to occur.
- Interestingly, Wisconsin doesn't tell Cardinal about Silver being dead, though he vaguely hints at Cardinal's son's death. As to why he doesn't reveal that information in this scene, I think he doesn't want to reveal such information out in public where others could hear, or where Cardinal could become emotional and compromise the image of the New Red Ribbon Army. It's also based on respect, and no low-ranking soldier has the authority (nor the inclination) to release that kind of sensitive information out in public like that.
- The resolution to The Benefactor vs. Vegeta comes at the most unexpected time, to further the theme of this chapter having all these twists. Of course, Vegeta losing was built up to in his previous scene with TB, but the fact that Vegeta lost is significant, as Vegeta was the last person who could stop TB. Now there is no one left. Sure, Vegeta, Krillin, and Ledas are all still active, but none of them have the power to match The Benefactor any longer. This chapter ends in a very hopeless place, even more so than the last chapter of the previous saga did. That saga ended with great melancholy, but at least there was the hope that Vegeta could win back then. Now there is nothing. Yet, from a meta level, the saga still has another 11 chapters, so something is going to have to change! The Benefactor surely won't win as easily as it appears he will.
- Notice how Ledas mentions Korin's senzu beans at the end of this chapter. Those beans will become important quite soon.
- Also notice how Ledas has a reduced role in this chapter, much like he did throughout the Reunion Saga. As the first four chapters of this saga are tied very closely to the previous saga (and would have perhaps been a part of that saga had I had room, as I mentioned in the opening monologue at the top of this page), the theme of Ledas being in a reduced role while the Z Fighters are around continues. But as each Z Fighter is defeated, Ledas' role in the story grows again. As each fighter is brought down, Ledas' role as a warrior becomes more important. This means that eventually Ledas must return to the forefront of the story and challenge The Benefactor to one final battle. With Vegeta's defeat here, even though the Saiyan Prince isn't quite out of it yet, this implies that Ledas is going to have to have his final confrontation with The Benefactor soon.
<A QUICK SCENE IS SHOWN OF VEGETA FLEEING THE BENEFACTOR; HE FLIES THROUGH THE CITY STREETS; THE BENEFACTOR WATCHES HIM GO FOR A MOMENT, THEN STARTS SHOOTING PURPLE ENERGY AFTER THE PRINCE; VEGETA DODGES THESE ATTACKS, AS THEY AREN’T VERY POWERFUL AND MANY OF THEM HIT THE BUILDINGS AND STREETS ANYWAY>
<SEEING NONE OF THE BLASTS CONNECT, THE BENEFACTOR GROWLS, BRINGS HIS DARK AURA UP AROUND HIM, AND SHOOTS AFTER VEGETA>
<CUTS TO CARDINAL>
<EXPLOSIONS ARE STILL GOING OFF IN THE CITY; WISCONSIN AND CARDINAL DODGE THEM AND RUN INTO AN ALLEY; CARDINAL IS BREATHING HEAVILY; HE BENDS OVER AND HOLDS HIS HAND, CAUSING WISCONSIN TO STOP>
Cardinal: <BREATHING HARD> Hold up, private… I’m not as young as I used to be. I can’t keep going on like this. <HE BREATHES HEAVILY FOR A FEW MOMENTS BEFORE SPEAKING AGAIN> But the explosions haven’t quite reached us… so we can afford a moment’s rest.
Wisconsin: We are in danger as long as we stay here!
Cardinal: <COLLECTING HIMSELF> Be that as it may–
Wisconsin: No, we have to go now! Come on, get up! I’m not about to let either of us die.
<WISCONSIN MOVES TO CARDINAL, SHOVING HIM UP; CARDINAL GRASPS ONTO WISCONSIN’S ARM TO NOT FALL OVER; AS THIS HAPPENS, ANOTHER EXPLOSION GOES OFF THAT THROWS THEM FORWARD; WISCONSIN LETS GO OF RYORI TO GRAB CARDINAL, WHICH PREVENTS THE BOTH OF THEM FROM FALLING OVER>
<AS HE DOES THIS, RYORI SUDDENLY SPRINGS UP AND RUNS OFF OUT OF THE ALLEY AND BACK INTO THE MAIN STREET; WISCONSIN ONLY SEES HIM AFTER A FEW SECONDS; HE ROARS AND SHOOTS HIS PISTOL AT THE BOY, BUT RYORI IS TOO FAR AWAY, AND ALL OF THE SHOTS MISS>
Wisconsin: Damnit! <HE SPINS BACK TO CARDINAL> Come on, sir! We need to go get him! <HE GOES TO RUN OFF, BUT CARDINAL DOES NOT FOLLOW HIM> What are you waiting for?
Cardinal: <BOWS HIS HEAD; DEFEATED TONE> Let him go.
Wisconsin: <ASTONISHED> What?!
Cardinal: Even with him as a captive, we wouldn’t be able to hold off the other one. That alien is too powerful for any of us to handle. He would kill us long before we could give him even a scratch. <HE LOOKS UP> This war is over; we have lost it. Those boys are no longer our concern.
Wisconsin: He killed your son! And you’re letting him get away?! <HE POUNDS HIS CHEST AND LETS SPIT FLY> I’m the only soldier left! Me! I’m the one who survived! And I’m the only one who can make him pay for what he did to General Silver! <HE RUNS OFF AFTER RYORI, ABANDONING CARDINAL>
Cardinal: <GRAVE; VOICE WAVERING; IN A WHISPER> He killed my son? Oh, god!
<HE STARTS SHAKING; HE HAS TO HOLD ONTO THE SIDE OF THE NEAREST BUILDING SO AS TO NOT FALL OVER; DEBRIS FALLS FROM THE BUILDING AND A GREAT CREAKING CAN BE HEARD; CARDINAL PAYS LITTLE ATTENTION TO THIS, HOWEVER>
<EVERYTHING GOES NUMB FOR CARDINAL; HE SLOWLY WALKS OUT OF THE ALLEY, BACK INTO THE STREET; A SLEW OF EXPLOSIONS GO OFF AHEAD OF HIM; HE WATCHES AS ONE GRAZES WISCONSIN, WHO WAS RUNNING DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET; IT SENDS HIM FLYING BACK TOWARDS CARDINAL; ONCE HE LANDS, HE DOES NOT GET UP>
Cardinal: <DAZED; TEARY-EYED> Silver… my son. <HE REACHES WISCONSIN> Furry was right. We can do nothing. <HE LOOKS DOWN AT WISCONSIN, WHO IS STRUGGLING> The Red Ribbon Army is finished.
Wisconsin: <LOOKING UP AT CARDINAL; HE HOLDS HIS HAND UP> S-sir… help me…
Cardinal: <HE LOOKS DOWN AT WISCONSIN WITH HIS EYES STILL TEAR-DRENCHED; HE NOTICES WISCONSIN’S PISTOL LYING NEXT TO HIM> It dies with you, private.
<HE REACHES DOWN; HOWEVER, THE NEXT FRAME SHOWS THAT HE DOES NOT GRASP WISCONSIN’S HAND, INSTEAD GRABBING THE PISTOL; HE POINTS IT AT WISCONSIN, WHOSE BLOODY AND BURNT FACE CONTORTS INTO HORROR; CARDINAL FIRES THE SHOT, AND IT HITS WISCONSIN JUST ABOVE THE BRIDGE OF THE NOSE; THE PRIVATE FALLS OVER DEAD; CARDINAL THROWS THE PISTOL DOWN>
<JUST AS HE DOES SO, THE BUILDING TO THE RIGHT OF HIM CREAKS EVEN LOUDER; TURNING TO FACE IT, HE SEES A LARGE GASH IN IT; THE UPPER FLOORS ARE COLLAPSING ONTO ONE ANOTHER, AND AT THE POINT OF THE GASH, THE DEBRIS ARE FALLING OUT; AS CARDINAL WATCHES, THE ENTIRE BUILDING SUDDENLY LURCHES AND COLLAPSES; HE SHIELDS HIS FACE AS ASH AND SMOKE AND DEBRIS FLY TOWARDS HIM; ABOVE CARDINAL, ANOTHER BUILDING IS LEANING; IT BEGINS TO FALL OVER, RIGHT ABOVE HIM, THOUGH HE DOESN’T SEE IT>
<JUST BEFORE EVERYTHING HITS CARDINAL, THE CAMERA CUTS TO KRILLIN; HE IS FLYING FASTER THAN THE WINDS TO THE LOOKOUT IN ORDER TO GET DENDE TO COME AND HEAL EVERYONE>
<HE IS NEAR THE CITY WHEN HE NOTICES A SMALL BLUE DOT; IT IS SHINING FROM THE SUN’S RAYS HITTING IT; NOTICING THE GLEAM, KRILLIN APPROACHES IT; HE SEES, AS WE THE AUDIENCE DO, THAT THIS IS YAJIROBE, THE THANKLESS DELIVERER OF SENZU BEANS>
<KRILLIN’S FACE HAS BEEN WORRIED AND ANXIOUS THROUGHOUT HIS FLIGHT, BUT AT THE SIGHT OF THIS CAR, HE GIVES THAT UP FOR A SMILE; WITH HIS HAND OUT OVER HIS EYEBROWS, SHIELDING HIS EYES FROM THE SUN, KRILLIN DASHES UP TOWARD THE BLUE CAR>
<FLYING IN THE CAR IS YAJIROBE; HIS HAIR IS BLOWING BACK BEHIND HIM BECAUSE HE IS DRIVING REAL FAST>
<KRILLIN JUMPS INTO THE PASSENGER SEAT OF THE CAR; YAJIROBE IS NOT SURPRISED AT ALL BY THIS SUDDEN NEW PASSENGER IN HIS RIDE; AS WELL, YAJIROBE DOES NOT LOOK AT HIM>
Krillin: <STARTING CONVERSATION IMMEDIATELY> Haha, Yajirobe! What are you doing here? Didja bring us some senzu beans?
Yajirobe: Hmph. That’s all you ever call me for. You and your stupid beans. <TONE RISING> I’ve had it about up to here with being your delivery boy.
Krillin: <NERVOUS SMILE> Well… uh… that is why you came, right?
Yajirobe: Yeah, whatever. I’m givin’ the beans to Goku. <POINTS BEHIND HIM, INTO THE OPEN BACK SEATS> They’re back there somewhere. Sheesh. Stupid little… <MUMBLES OFF INTO INCOHERENCY>
<KRILLIN RUMMAGES AROUND, THEN FINDS THE BAG; IT IS LOADED WITH SENZU BEANS; HE PLACES IT UP ON THE FRONT SEAT WITH HIM, THEN HE GOES BACK TO LOOKING AROUND>
<BEING STILL WEARY HIMSELF, KRILLIN TAKES A SENZU BEAN OUT OF THE BAG AND EATS IT, WHILE HE IS STILL TURNED BACKWARDS; THERE ARE AT LEAST 100 BEANS IN IT, SO THIS IS NOT REALLY A WASTE>
Krillin: <STOPS RUMMAGING> Wow, Yajirobe have you been adding spices to these? That one tasted like cinnamon!
Yajirobe: <EMBARRASSED; BUT KEEPS HIS EYES FORWARD AND CONTINUES TO DRIVE> N-no…
<KRILLIN NOTICES SOMETHING ELSE IN THE BACK OF THE CAR; HE BRINGS UP THE THING THAT KORIN THREW INTO THE CAR AT THE END OF THE LAST SAGA; IT IS THE PYRAMID THING; THIS IS THE SAME DEVICE THAT OPENED EARLIER WHEN GUVA WAS PLAYING WITH IT ON KORIN TOWER; IT LOOKS VERY OLD, AND THERE ARE MARKINGS COVERING ALL OF ITS SIDES>
Krillin: <TURNS HIS HEAD BACK TO HIS DRIVER> Hey-a, Yajirobe… what’s this?
<YAJIROBE CASUALLY LOOKS BACK THROUGH HIS REAR VIEW MIRROR; UPON SEEING WHAT KRILLIN IS HOLDING, HE FREAKS OUT, THEN LETS GO OF THE WHEEL; THIS SENDS THE CAR INTO A WOBBLED FREEFALL; KRILLIN DROPS THE ANTIQUE; BOTH OF THEM START SHOUTING AND FLAILING ABOUT; BUT AFTER A SECOND OR TWO, YAJIROBE REGAINS A BIT OF HIS COMPOSURE, AND FLIPS THE CAR BACK RIGHT; HE THEN SKIDS DOWN AND CATCHES THE FALLING PYRAMID THING IN HIS LAP; HE RETURNS THE CAR BACK UP INTO THE AIR TO CONTINUE FLYING; THE SENZU BEANS HAVE SPILLED OUT OF THE BAG AND ARE NOW ALL OVER THE PLACE>
Yajirobe: <WITH CONTEMPT> You idiot! Do you have any idea what that old cat would do to me if he found out you broke that?!
Krillin: But, uh, Yajirobe… how would he know I did it? You’re the one driving…
Yajirobe: … CUZ I’LL TELL HIM YOU DID IT, THAT’S WHY!!
Krillin: <ARGUING RIGHT BACK; WITTY> Well maybe if you weren’t such a terrible driver, I wouldn’t have dropped it.
Yajirobe: Hey, I oughta throw you out for that!
Krillin: <WISELY> This isn’t even your car, Yajirobe… <KNOWING THAT YAJIROBE REALLY COULDN’T DO ANYTHING TO THROW HIM OUT, KRILLIN GOES TO PICK UP THE SENZU BEANS> Hey, you spilled all the senzu beans too…
<YAJIROBE GRUMBLES, BUT DOES NOT RESPOND; HE PUTS HIS FOOT ON THE PEDAL AND STARTS GOING EVEN FASTER; THIS CAUSES THE CAR TO SHAKE, MAKING IT HARDER FOR KRILLIN TO LOCATE THE SENZU BEANS, AS THEY ROLL UNDER THE SEATS>
<KRILLIN NOTICES, RATHER QUICKLY>
Krillin: Hey, slow down Yajirobe! I need to grab the beans you spilled. We’re gonna need a lot of them.
Yajirobe: Gah, don’t you ever shut up?
<KRILLIN DOESN’T LISTEN; HE STARTS PILING THE SPILLED BEANS INTO THE BAG AGAIN; THE BAG IS SITTING BETWEEN YAJIROBE AND KRILLIN>
Krillin: <TWISTS BACK AROUND, THROWING A HANDFUL INTO THE BAG> This should be enough. We have to get a senzu bean to 18 now. She was hurt pretty bad last time I saw her.
Yajirobe: Nuh uh. I’m takin’ ‘em to Goku.
Krillin: <A BIT ANGRY> Goku’s hurt too, but it didn’t look like it was as bad. We have to give one to her first. I mean, she’s my wife, my soul-mate, my… <CONTINUES TALKING ABOUT HOW PERFECT ANDROID 18 IS IN THE BACKGROUND>
Yajirobe: <STILL WITH THAT AIR OF ANNOYANCE> I bet she’s fine. Women these days can’t take any pain. They break a nail, they need a senzu bean. They scratch their arm, they need a senzu bean. They get lost in the forest, they need a senzu bean. Hmph. Just let them deal with it.
Krillin: <CONTINUING HIS OWN SPEECH, NOT LISTENING TO THE OTHER GUY> … if I could ever find anyone else? She’s perfect. We were made for each other!
Yajirobe: <CAREFULLY> Besides, that 18 girl is an android or something. They have robot stuff inside ‘em to make ‘em survive anything. Maybe that’s why she has such big–
Krillin: I’ll find her myself, then. Give me the senzu beans, Yajirobe!
<SENSING A THIEF, YAJIROBE DEFTLY SNATCHES UP THE BAG OF SENZUS; HE PLACES IT IN HIS SHIRT; KRILLIN DIVES AT THE WHEEL, AND THE TWO GET INTO A MINOR SCUFFLE OVER THE SENZUS; KRILLIN IS TRYING TO RIP THEM OUT OF YAJIROBE’S SHIRT>
<THEY CONTINUE SCUFFLING ABOUT WHEN A SHADOW FALLS OVER THEM, AND THEY STOP; YAJIROBE ALSO STOPS THE CAR; YAJIROBE LOOKS UP AND GOES WHITE>
<FLOATING BEFORE THEM IS VEGETA>
<VEGETA HAS DRIED BLOOD IN LINES DOWN HIS NECK, CHEST, AND ALL OVER HIS ARMS; THE TOP HALF OF HIS SHIRT IS BLOWN OFF; HE IS HOLDING ONE BRUISED SHOULDER WITH A GLOVED HAND; HE IS IN SUPER SAIYAN 1>
<HE GLARES AT THE TWO NITWITS>
Krillin: Ve-vegeta… what happened to you?!
Vegeta: <GRITTED WHISPER> Shut up.
Vegeta: The beans. <YAJIROBE IS PETRIFIED; SLOWLY> The beans, you fool.
Yajirobe: W-w-w-what beans?
<VEGETA LOWERS HIS LEFT HAND IN AN OPEN HAND AND PRESENTS IT TO YAJIROBE AS IF EXPECTING THE GOOD SAMURAI TO INSTANTANEOUSLY POUR BEANS INTO IT>
Vegeta: <SLOW DRAMATIC STYLE> The beans you have in your–
<SHOT IS FACING VEGETA, SHOWING HIS FACE AND HIS HAND EXTENDED, EXPECTING THE BEANS; IMMEDIATELY AS HE IS TALKING, YAJIROBE PANICS AND SCREAMS; VEGETA’S PRESENCE SCARES HIM>
Yajirobe: <IN A SQUEAK> Oh, uh, h-here! Take ‘em! <HE PAUSES, TAKING OUT THE POUCH AND SHOVING IT TOWARDS VEGETA> P-please don’t kill me, Vegeta! I’m your biggest fan!
<VEGETA SMIRKS AS HE GOES TO SWIPE THE BAG; JUST AS HE DOES, A BLACK FLASH COMES DOWN ON HIM; THE BENEFACTOR ELBOWS VEGETA IN THE BACK OF THE NECK, CAUSING VEGETA TO SLUMP FORWARD, SEMI-PARALYZED AND SHIVERING IN PAIN; THE BENEFACTOR GRABS PRINCE AROUND THE NECK WITH HIS RIGHT HAND; YAJIROBE AND KRILLIN CAN ONLY WATCH; THE BENEFACTOR LOOKS AT THOSE TWO AND PREPARES A DARK GREEN ENERGY BLAST IN HIS LEFT HAND TO DESTROY THEM>
<CAMERA SWITCHES TO LEDAS; LEDAS HAS FOLLOWED THE BENEFACTOR TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CITY; HE SEES THE BENEFACTOR HOLDING VEGETA>
Ledas: <HE SEES THAT VEGETA IS NOT MOVING> No! You’re not killing Vegeta!
<HE GOES SUPER SAIYAN AND TRIES TO RUSH AT THE BENEFACTOR, DESPITE BEING SO EXHAUSTED; AS HE TRIES TO DO THIS, THE BENEFACTOR’S ENERGY WITHIN HIM WORKS UP AGAIN; HIS VEINS TURN NOTICEABLY BLACK AND HIS EYES GO RED; HE SCREAMS IN PAIN AS HE LOSES CONTROL OVER HIS BODY>
Ledas: W-what’s going on?! Ahh!! <HE SCREAMS OUT IN PAIN> I can’t… control… I can’t… no!!
<HE SUDDENLY STARTS SHOOTING A BUNCH OF ENERGY TOWARDS NOT JUST THE BENEFACTOR, YAJIROBE, AND KRILLIN, BUT AROUND THE ENTIRE CITY; THIS DEMOLISHES MUCH THE CITY, BUT DOES NOT AFFECT THE BENEFACTOR; LEDAS SCREAMS LOUDER AS THIS PROGRESSES>
<THE BENEFACTOR WATCHES THIS FOR A MOMENT, THEN TURNS BACK TO YAJIROBE AND KRILLIN; HE SHOOTS THE SMALL GREEN ENERGY BALL INTO THE HOOD OF YAJIROBE’S CAR, CAUSING IT TO EXPLODE; THE TWO HUMANS SCREAM OUT, BUT THEIR VOICES ARE LOST IN THE FIRE AND SMOKE THAT CONSUMES THE WRECKAGE OF THE CAR AND THEIR BODIES; THE CAR FALLS TO THE GROUND>
<THE BENEFACTOR TURNS BACK TO LEDAS; HE AIR-DASHES TO THE SAIYAN’S POSITION; WITH A SWIFT KICK TO THE FACE, FOLLOWED BY A DEEP PUNCH TO THE GUT AND A CLAW-SLICE TO THE LEFT CHEEK, HE RENDERS LEDAS UNCONSCIOUS; THEN, HE GRASPS LEDAS BY THE NECK AND PULLS HIM CLOSER FOR INSPECTION>
<HOVERING IN THE AIR, HE HOLDS UP BOTH OF THE SAIYANS IN HIS HANDS>
The Benefactor: Look at us three, back together. But not for long. <HE THROWS VEGETA TO THE SIDE; VEGETA PLUMMETS INTO A CRATER IN THE GROUND AND DOES NOT MOVE> You are the one I want. <HE THRUSTS HIS PALM OUT> It’s time for you to return what you stole from me, thief.
- In the 2012 draft of this chapter (which was also the second chapter of the Fulfillment Saga in that draft), "Raven Veins" referred to the fact that the New Red Ribbon Army (which was located in an underground bunker that Ledas found in this chapter) were taking M99 quite often, as well as other drugs to boost their power. In the current version of this chapter, "Raven Veins" refers more to the fact that The Benefactor's power inside of Ledas is causing Ledas to act in ways that limit his agency. He cannot control that power, as was seen quite often in the previous saga, and that is brought back to the centerfold here again. Since The Benefactor has a black aura, I like to think that his black energy was coursing through Ledas' veins, and that is the connection to the image of a raven (which of course has more connotations to it that I shan't speak about).
- This chapter is actually not tremendously different from the 2012 draft. The entire Krillin/Yajirobe/Vegeta scene is basically the same as it was then, with minor differences. The stuff with Ledas and Ledas and TB at the end was added in, as was the opening scene, and Ledas' plotline with the underground New Red Ribbon Army soldiers in the 2012 draft was entirely discarded. But for a Fulfillment Saga chapter, a remarkable amount of content was actually kept in one form or another.
- It's interesting to see how the lazy blasts that The Benefactor sends at Vegeta at the start of this chapter, which are nothing to either of those characters, do so much damage to the humans in the city below, particularly Wisconsin and Cardinal. Of course this was a deliberate intention of mine to show the disconnect between the powerful warriors and normal people.
- Wisconsin was stupid to shoot at Ryori. In his anger, he wasn't thinking. But had he killed the boy, that would have been worse than letting Ryori get away, for they would have no captive, and Ledas' wrath would have been terrible to behold.
- I thought it was cool to have Wisconsin reveal to Cardinal that Silver is dead in a passing comment. There was no build up. He wasn't supposed to say it there, as I mentioned in the last chapter's endnotes, but due to how circumstances changed at the start of this chapter, Wisconsin just let it slip. Cardinal did not want to believe Silver was dead, though he did at least know that it was highly probable that his son was gone. Now he has confirmation and that is the last great tragedy in his life, in this story, that changes him. His journey from being a villain to being less villainous takes a big turn in this chapter.
- Another aspect of Cardinal's personality change can be seen when he orders Wisconsin to not pursue Ryori - he wants Ryori to get away, because he knows that they cannot take out Ledas, even if they have Ryori as a captive. He knows now that he has not the power to stand up to Ledas or the others like Ledas. This realization is mostly influenced by his conversation with King Furry in the previous saga, though it is quite an extraordinary bit of character development for the old man, regardless. Notice how Cardinal embraces his shrinking power and agency, and how Ledas, who is also suffering from those things (which is ironic, considering Cardinal's loss of agency is due to Ledas), refuses to do so too. Cardinal is acting as Ledas' foil here, on a thematic level.
- The New Red Ribbon Army essentially dies in this chapter, and it does not go out with a bang. Its death is a slow, pathetic one; the New Red Ribbon Army goes out with a whimper, and it is notable that Cardinal ends the organization himself.
- Do not forget the theme related to guns (pistols specifically) that was prominent in the Planet Earth Saga and Reunion Saga. That theme is brought back for a final time in this chapter (and it was also present in the previous chapter).
- Cardinal was always heavily wounded by the battle taking place in the city, in all drafts. In previous drafts, he was injured in different ways, though. In this draft, my experience seeing the September 11th attacks live on television influenced all of the stuff with building collapse and ash and debris in this chapter's second scene. One could also say that Cardinal having a building collapse over him is karma for all that he's done, and it might be, but do remember that Ryori and many other civilians were caught in the building collapse as well. Essentially, I wanted Cardinal and Ryori to end up in the hospital together for a variety of reasons, and this idea of mine persisted through all versions of TF. I think it works best here, as there are elements of chance, randomness, chaoticism, and a sense that karmic payback may be in play. All of this is subtle, which allows the readers to come to their own conclusions about it all. I think the fact that TB opened the first scene casually shooting energy attacks that were nothing to him, and seeing the consequences of those attacks on the humans below, is something that may be thematically significant.
- The image of Yajirobe flying really fast with his hair blowing in the wind is based on Yajirobe's appearance in the Saiyan Saga of DBZ.
- The cinnamon joke was based off the Kenny Rogers Jackass stuff (I think it may have been from the dairy challenge they did, but I don't remember specifically). Anyways, this was done as, at the time I was writing the 2012 version of this story, I was good friends with TitaniumBardock, and he introduced me to the Kenny Rogers Jackass stuff. So I put an easter egg in just for him. As the 2012 scene with Krillin and Yajirobe persists to this day, being one of the few scenes from that version of the Fulfillment Saga I liked enough to bring back for the final version of this saga, so too was the easter egg brought back.
- Showing Verlate's mind prison in this chapter again builds up its later importance. Now we know for certain what Korin put in Yajirobe's car at the end of the last saga, and one must question why this was done. This mind prison has been shown too many times for it not to be important.
- Also interesting is that Yajirobe freaks out when he sees the pyramid, meaning he has a general idea what Verlate's mind prison is. He likely thought that it somehow fell into the car, and he's scared that he might get sucked inside and annoyed that Korin will yell at him for taking his prized possession.
- Anyone who's read this far in the story would know that every time Yajirobe's in a scene, the scene is quite long, and lots of dialogue occurs. This is because I love Yajirobe, and I love writing out comedy involving him. Of course, most of the previous Yajirobe scenes involved Korin as well, so finally having one without Korin allowed me to take the comedy in a slightly different direction than it went with the previous scenes, and that made this scene loads of fun to write.
- I had forgotten about Yajirobe's senzu bean rant. One thing I want to say about that is that it clearly illustrates his own feelings of being forgotten and not valued as an individual. While Yajirobe talks about all of this in a roundabout, comedic way, the stuff he is truly talking about is inner angst that is really affecting him. This conversation was greatly influenced by Destructivedisk's story, Why Bother?.
- Vegeta almost getting the senzu beans is a nod to him almost gaining immortality in the Namek Arc of DBZ. He was so close, and had not the stupid imbeciles around him wasted time and acted dumb, he would have become immortal. The same would have happened here - he would have gotten the senzu bean in time to heal himself had Yajirobe just handed it over. But Yajirobe was having flashbacks to the Saiyan Saga of DBZ (which he also had when he first met Ledas in the Planet Earth Saga and mistook his Great Ape for Vegeta), thus filling him with fear and preventing him from giving Vegeta the senzu beans quickly enough.
- As one can see from the scene direction, I have a very specific vision for how TB intercepts Vegeta in this chapter, and it was based on the DBZ anime of all things. Especially when Vegeta slumps over and starts quivering in pain, unable to move, one can see the influences of the anime's visual direction on my story.
- Ledas' inability to control TB's energy inside of him has reached new levels in this chapter for multiple reasons. For one, as Ledas is so exhausted, he can't exert as much will over that energy anymore (not that he could control it very well to begin with), and also, since TB has been in close proximity for so long, his energy inside Ledas is trying harder than ever to get out.
- It is interesting that Ledas, not TB or Vegeta, is the one who ultimately destroys much of the city, even if it is not on purpose. There are remnants of the "villain Ledas" idea even here in the final version of this final saga.
- Poor Yajirobe. He can't catch a break. Every time he leaves Korin Tower in this story, his hovercar gets destroyed. And it's not like those things are easy and cheap to replace, either. And considering that by the end of this story, most people will be healed and back to good as new, Yajirobe's destroyed cars stand out as two of the most important things to never get fixed or replaced.
- The Benefactor holding the unconscious Vegeta and Ledas together has a sort of symmetry to it from the Prince Vegeta Saga that I am quite proud of.
- Every chapter since the end of the flashback chapters in the Reunion Saga has ended on a slightly more pessimistic note than before. But this chapter's end is more pessimistic than any before it. Literally everyone who was left to fight The Benefactor is taken out in a matter of seconds at the end of the chapter. Cardinal and Ryori are consumed, and nearly every other fanon character of mine has been killed by this point. In fact, this is the most hopeless point in the story. Everything starts getting better (in terms of for the chances of those fighting against The Benefactor prevailing) from here on out.
<THE BENEFACTOR LANDS, HOLDING LEDAS STILL BY THE NECK; HE HAS HIS RIGHT HAND THRUST OUT, PALM UP, TOWARDS LEDAS’ BODY; THE SAIYAN IS STILL UNCONSCIOUS AS HE BEGINS TO PULL ENERGY FROM LEDAS’ BODY; THE BENEFACTOR’S AURA COMES UP AROUND HIM AS HE DOES THIS, BUT NOTHING CAN BE SEEN COMING FROM LEDAS>
<BEHIND THE TWO, PAST THE CRATER WHERE VEGETA LIES, KRILLIN AND YAJIROBE ARE CROUCHED IN THE GRASS; THEY ARE TAKING COVER BEHIND THE SMOLDERING WRECKAGE OF KORIN’S HOVERCAR>
<KRILLIN IS DOWN ON HIS STOMACH, PEERING AROUND THE WRECKAGE TO GLIMPSE AT THE BENEFACTOR; NEXT TO HIM IS YAJIROBE, WHO IS SITTING AND COWERING; AFTER SEEING THAT THE BENEFACTOR HAS HIS BACK TO THEM, KRILLIN CRAWLS BACK OUT OF SIGHT>
Krillin: Whew, he’s not looking for us, at least. Hey Yajirobe, help me gather up some senzus.
<INTO THE GRASS, THE SENZUS HAVE FALLEN; KRILLIN LOOKS AROUND AND STARTS PICKING UP THOSE HE FINDS>
Yajirobe: N-no way!
Krillin: So you’re just gonna sit there, huh?
Yajirobe: <CROSSES HIS ARMS AND LOOKS AWAY> Hmph.
Krillin: <SCOWLING> Whatever. But y’know, this would go a lot faster if you helped me.
<AS SOON AS KRILLIN LOOKS AWAY FROM YAJIROBE, YAJIROBE GIVES UP HIS TOUGH-GUY ATTITUDE AND STARTS SHAKING AGAIN; HE COWERS RIGHT BEHIND THE CAR>
Krillin: <AS HE FINDS MORE SENZUS; HE HAS A HANDFUL NOW> Yajirobe, I’m going to need you to do something for me. <YAJIROBE DOES NOT ANSWER> Yajirobe!
Yajirobe: What?! What do you want now?!
Krillin: I need you to make a distraction so I can get away.
Yajirobe: <INCREDULOUSLY> Are you crazy, man? That monster w-would kill me! You saw what he did to m-my car!
Krillin: We don’t have much choice. I need to get these senzus to Goku and everyone else. Especially 18. And once they’re healed, they can deal with that alien guy.
Yajirobe: No way, dude. I’m not dyin’ today. You do it.
Krillin: I’m the only one who can fly! Besides, you could use your katana.
Yajirobe: Do you want me to get killed?! Gah, you’re worse than that stupid cat.
Krillin: <PLEADING> Yajirobe, we don’t have a lot of options. I–
<KRILLIN IS INTERRUPTED BY A SCREAM UP AHEAD; HE AND YAJIROBE IMMEDIATELY FALL TO THE GROUND; KRILLIN PEERS AROUND THE DESTROYED CAR; AS HE DOES, THE CAMERA ZOOMS AHEAD FROM HIS PERSPECTIVE, SHOWING A CLEARER PICTURE OF LEDAS>
<LEDAS HAS WOKEN UP; HE IS SCREAMING AS THE BENEFACTOR CONTINUES TO RIP ENERGY FROM HIM; THERE ARE DARK LINES FILLING HIS VEINS; HOWEVER, AROUND HIS EYES AND NOSE, THERE IS MUCH BLOOD; HE STRUGGLES AGAINST THE BENEFACTOR, BUT HE IS INEFFECTIVE>
<ENERGY STARTS COMING OFF OF HIS BODY IN SMALL PARTICLES, MUCH LIKE HOW GOKU GATHERS ENERGY FOR HIS SPIRIT BOMB; ALL OF THE ENERGY SLOWLY DRIFTS TOWARDS THE BENEFACTOR’S BODY BEFORE BEING ABSORBED; LEDAS CONTINUES TO THRASH, BUT HE CAN’T DO MUCH>
<SUDDENLY, THE BENEFACTOR DROPS LEDAS; LEDAS FALLS BUT DOES NOT GET UP; HE LIES IN THE GRASS, HIS CHEST HEAVING, CRYING OUT IN PAIN; LIKEWISE, THE BENEFACTOR SUDDENLY SCREAMS OUT IN PAIN; HE HUNCHES FORWARD, HIS ARMS THRUST TO EACH SIDE, AND DISSIPATES HIS AURA; MUCH LIKE WITH LEDAS, THE VEINS IN THE BENEFACTOR’S ARMS ARE NOW PRONOUNCED; THEY ARE DARK AND PROTRUDING; THE BENEFACTOR SHRIEKS AND STARTS SHOOTING ENERGY ALL AROUND>
<LEDAS ROLLS OVER TO HIS STOMACH AND STARTS CRAWLING AWAY AS FAST AS HE CAN; HE DOESN’T GO TOO FAST; LEDAS NOTICES THE WRECKAGE OF THE CAR AHEAD AND HE SEES YAJIROBE PEERING OUT FROM BEHIND IT>
Ledas: <HOARSELY; WEAKLY> Y-y-yajirobe? <HE REACHES HIS HAND OUT TOWARDS THE FAR-OFF SAMURAI> H-help me…
<YAJIROBE DISAPPEARS FOR A MOMENT, THOUGH LEDAS KEEPS HIS ARM RAISED AND DOES NOT MOVE; AFTER A FEW SECONDS, YAJIROBE COMES BACK INTO VIEW; HE THROWS SOMETHING AT LEDAS; LEDAS CATCHES IT WITH HIS OUTSTRETCHED HAND BEFORE DROPPING HIS HEAD INTO THE GRASS IN WEARINESS; BRINGING HIS HAND UP TO HIS EYES, HE SEES THAT HE HE’S HOLDING A SENZU BEAN; LEDAS’ EYES SUDDENLY WIDEN; HE ROLLS ONTO HIS BACK AND GRINS AS HE HOLDS UP THE SMALL BEAN; HE STARTS TO BRING IT TOWARDS HIS MOUTH>
<JUST AT THIS TIME, THE BENEFACTOR COMES INTO VIEW; AT ONCE, HE SHOOTS A FINGER BEAM, DESTROYING THE SENZU BEAN LEDAS WAS HOLDING; THEN, HE GRABS LEDAS BY THE FOOT AND DRAGS HIM TOWARDS HIM>
The Benefactor: Y-you’re not getting away! <HE SCREAMS AGAIN AND DROPS TO A KNEE, EVEN AS HE MAINTAINS A HOLD ON LEDAS> What have you done to me?
Ledas: <SHOCKED> I-I didn’t do anything…
The Benefactor: <SCREAMING LOUDER NOW> Liar! <HE CREATES A SMALL ENERGY BALL AND THEN SHOOTS IT AT LEDAS; LEDAS TAKES THE ATTACK HEAD-ON; HIS FACE IS BLEEDING NOW> You p-poisoned my energy! You tricked me!
<THE BENEFACTOR LETS GO OF LEDAS AND STARTS ROLLING AROUND IN THE GRASS, SCREAMING THE WHOLE WAY; SEVERAL OF HIS VEINS ON HIS ARMS HAVE BURST AND BLOOD IS NOW POURING FROM THEM>
<THE BENEFACTOR ATTEMPTS TO STAND UP, BUT HE CANNOT; IN FRUSTRATION AND PAIN, HE CREATES AN EXPLOSIVE WAVE; THIS THROWS LEDAS’ BODY LIKE A RAGDOLL; AS WELL, IT BLOWS AWAY THE WRECKAGE OF THE CAR; KRILLIN AND YAJIROBE ARE EXPOSED>
<THE BENEFACTOR IS NOW ABLE TO STAND UP; BREATHING HEAVILY, HE LOOKS DOWN AT HIS BLEEDING ARMS; THEN HE LOOKS BACK TO LEDAS AND PREPARES A LARGER BLAST TO KILL THE BOY>
<YAJIROBE STAYS COWERING IN THE GRASS; HE DOES NOT MOVE; KRILLIN, HOWEVER, JUMPS FORWARD; HE HAS A FIST-FULL OF SENZU BEANS, BUT IN HIS OTHER HAND HE IS READYING SOME ENERGY>
Krillin: <SHOUT> Hey! Over here!
<THE BENEFACTOR SUDDENLY LOOKS UP FROM LEDAS AND FOCUSES IN ON THE HUMAN>
<CUTS TO RYORI>
<A LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE ARE SIFTING THROUGH THE RUBBLE OF THE CITY; OTHERS ARE CARRYING OUT BODIES; THE CAMERA ZOOMS IN ON A PARTICULAR GROUP; SEVERAL MEN ARE CARRYING TWO STRETCHERS; THEY ARE BEING LED BY A NURSE WITH DYED PINK HAIR; ONE OF THE PEOPLE ON THE STRETCHERS IS AN OLD MAN IN A TATTERED, BLOODY SUIT; THE OTHER IS A BOY>
<CARDINAL IS SIGNIFICANTLY MORE WOUNDED THAN RYORI; BECAUSE OF THIS, HE SIMPLY LIES WHERE HE IS; RYORI, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS CONSCIOUS, THOUGH HE’S NOT TALKING; HE WATCHES AS THEY PULL CARDINAL NEXT TO HIM; RYORI, BEING A SNEAKY BUGGER, GRASPS AT A PIECE OF BROKEN GLASS FROM THE GROUND; NO ONE NOTICES AS HE REELS IT INTO HIS CHEST AND CONCEALS IT THERE>
<THE TWO ARE PUT INTO AN AMBULANCE AS THE NURSE CONTINUES TO WATCH OVER THEM; THEY ARE EACH INJECTED WITH SYRINGES SEVERAL TIMES; AFTER THIS OCCURS, CARDINAL STIRS AWAKE>
Cardinal: <HOARSELY> Where am I?
Nurse Yorokobi: Getting the help you need. You were caught up in that building that collapsed, Mr., uh… <YOROKOBI TRAILS OFF, AS SHE DOESN’T KNOW HIS NAME>
Cardinal: <IN A VERY TIRED VOICE> Cardinal.
Nurse Yorokobi: Mr. Cardinal, of course! But don’t worry, sir. We are going to give you the best care possible. You’ll be out of here in no time!
Cardinal: That’s great, dear. <HE SEES RYORI OPPOSITE HIM; THE BOY IS AWAKE AND STARING AT HIM WITH A LOOK OF ABSOLUTE HATRED> But please, can you give me a moment? Please.
Nurse Yorokobi: Of course, sir.
<NURSE YOROKOBI BOWS AND EXITS>
Cardinal: <HE SIGHS DEEPLY AND FALLS BACK ONTO HIS STRETCHER, LOOKING UP AT THE CEILING OF THE AMBULANCE> I didn’t think I would see you again, here at the end of all things. It’s fitting, don’t you think?
Ryori: <WHISPER> Shut up.
Cardinal: <RECOILING AT RYORI’S LAST SENTENCE> Can we not be gentlemen? <RYORI DOES NOT RESPOND; CARDINAL CLOSES HIS EYES> How did it come to this? What have I done to deserve this?
Ryori: <ANGER SURGING> You know what you did! You killed him! You killed my brother!
Cardinal: <FAKE SURPRISE> What? <HE SITS UP AND STARES AT RYORI, DUMBFOUNDED> Shoekki? I did no such–
Ryori: <SHOUTING> Don’t you say his name!
Cardinal: <WEARILY> It seems like another lifetime that he was part of my operation. But I swear to you, Ryori, I don’t know what happened to him.
Ryori: Yes you do!
Cardinal: Do you even know what he was doing for me? Do you even know why I had him helping me?
Ryori: <SHAKING> No…
Cardinal: He was helping me find the alien. The boy you were friends with. I was called in to deal with him. I was called in to keep all of us safe! <HE POINTS AT HIS CHEST> I am not the enemy! He is! And your brother knew that as well as I do!
Ryori: <HIS HEAD IS BOWED; HE LOOKS UP; IN A WHISPER> All you do is lie.
Cardinal: Your brother was helping me get rid of him. He was a good man. But I know nothing of where he is now. You must believe me.
Ryori: <UNDER HIS BREATH> Never.
<RYORI LAUNCHES HIMSELF AT CARDINAL, ALL TEARY-EYED AND SHOUTING; HE THRUSTS THE BROKEN PIECE OF GLASS INTO CARDINAL’S ARM, TEARING A LARGE GASH AS HE DOES; CARDINAL YELLS OUT AND BLOOD FLIES EVERYWHERE; RYORI’S FACE IS COVERED IN IT, BUT HE CONTINUES TO STAB CARDINAL>
<IN A MOMENT, YOROKOBI AND OTHER NURSES FLY IN; THEY TRY TO RESTRAIN RYORI, BUT THEY ARE UNABLE TO; RYORI STABS CARDINAL’S MANGLED ARM MORE AND MORE; FINALLY, YOROKOBI JUMPS FORWARD AND STABS RYORI’S NECK WITH A SYRINGE; RYORI FALLS OVER, COMPLETELY SEDATED; THE OTHERS RUSH OVER TO CARDINAL, BUT HE’S UNCONSCIOUS; THERE IS BLOOD EVERYWHERE>
<CUTS BACK TO THE BENEFACTOR>
<THE ALIEN LOOKS UP AT KRILLIN JUST IN TIME TO SEE A DESTRUCTO DISK FLYING HIS WAY; HE DODGES OUT OF THE WAY, THOUGH THE ATTACK GRAZES HIM; AS HE LANDS, HE LOOKS UP AND SEES A GROUP OF DESTRUCTO DISKS HEADING HIS WAY; HE SHOOTS A RED ENERGY BLAST AT THEM, DESTROYING THEM; HOWEVER, BEFORE HE CAN EVEN LOWER HIS HAND, KRILLIN JUMPS RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM>
Krillin: Solar Flare!
<A BRIGHT LIGHT SUDDENLY FILLS THE AREA, BLINDING THE BENEFACTOR; BEFORE HE CAN REGAIN HIS SIGHT, KRILLIN IS GONE; AS THE BENEFACTOR CONTINUES TO HOLD HIS EYES, ATTEMPTING TO RE-GAIN HIS SIGHT, LEDAS STARTS TO MOVE BACKWARDS>
<THE BENEFACTOR DOES NOT EVEN LOOK TOWARD HIM; HE FALLS TO HIS HANDS AND KNEES, NOT FACING LEDAS; HIS ARMS ARE STILL BLEEDING; LEDAS LOOKS BACK TOWARDS YAJIROBE; THE SAMURAI IS COWERING IN THE GRASS, BEING IN NO MOOD FOR CONVERSATION; AS HE TURNS BACK AROUND, LEDAS SEES THE BENEFACTOR STAND UP>
The Benefactor: <BLINKING FURIOUSLY> To hell with this planet.
<THE BENEFACTOR CREATES A SMALL BLACK ENERGY BALL, LIKE A HOCKEY PUCK, AND DROPS IT ON THE GROUND>
- This chapter's name refers to the actions of numerous human characters in this chapter - Krillin, Yajirobe, Cardinal, Ryori, Nurse Yorokobi. Some are noble, some are cowardly, some are fickle, some are empathetic. The broad human experience was captured in this chapter, in my opinion - the good and the bad - and that made me choose such a name for it.
- Also, I should mention that this chapter was one of the last I decided a name for in all of TF. At the beginning of my final edits, this chapter, along with the one that later became "He Was Number One", were unnamed. It was only a short time after I came up with the other chapter names (and posted them on the Fulfillment Saga page) at roughly 1 am on December 15, 2013 that I came up with the name for this chapter. I had the broad strokes of this chapter mapped out in my head at the time, but until I actually wrote this chapter on December 24, 2013, I didn't have everything planned out. The name I picked, though, did influence me to focus on the merits, the heroics, and the failings of the various human characters in TF.
- This chapter, as it exists now, is completely different from how it was in previous versions. Not a word of the 2011 or 2012 drafts remains in the final version of chapter 3 of the Fulfillment Saga. Notably, the 2012 version of this chapter was one of the shortest chapters in TF history (being only 846 words), making it only longer than the prologue. As it exists now, this chapter is still in the bottom 50% of TF chapter lengths and is the second-shortest Fulfillment Saga chapter, but it is more than twice as long as it was in the previous draft.
- There's a bit of hope that is rekindled when Krillin and Yajirobe are seen to be okay. The fact that senzu beans are in play is also a good sign. The fact that Vegeta is done for is no longer a definitive thing, for Krillin could revive him.
- It's a small thing, but one thing I tried to do was have the senzu beans be a struggle to use even now. Vegeta was unable to use one in the last chapter, and now they have been scattered in the grass, resulting in most of them being lost, and causing Krillin a great amount of time and effort to find enough to give to all of the Z Fighters and Ledas. This was all done to soften the inherent "cheapness" of senzu beans.
- Yajirobe and Krillin are quite opposite in this chapter's opening scene. I like Yajirobe more than Krillin, but Krillin is portrayed more nobly here. His human nature is to never give up, to always look for a way to defeat his enemy. Yajirobe's catatonic fear is really not helpful for anyone - and yet, at the same time, Krillin is asking Yajirobe to essentially commit suicide. And not many people, whether they are like Yajirobe or not, would agree to do that.
- One of the plot points that took the longest time for me figure out how to resolve in this entire saga was how to get Ledas out of the predicament he's in during this chapter. I spent many an hour thinking it over, writing out different ideas, and not finding any I liked. It was only on December 24, 2013 when I came up with the idea I ended up using - hence why the chapter was completed that day. Basically, I realized that there's no reason why what happened to Lauto and Ledas couldn't happen to The Benefactor. It would provide a nice parallel character arc between all three and also allow Ledas to get away. Despite that black energy inside Ledas being The Benefactor's old energy, it has been with Ledas for almost 30 years. It hasn't fully aligned with his body, but at the same time, it's grown accustomed to Ledas' energy signature, to the rest of his energy, even if it hasn't fully meshed with it. Like Lauto and Ledas, when The Benefactor then absorbs foreign energy that is not properly aligned with his own ki signature, that signature disparity causes extreme pain. Thus, Ledas was given a way out. It looks beautiful and logical now, but I cannot overstate how much effort it took for me to get this plot to work.
- Notice that Ledas does lose some energy in this scene. The Benefactor does manage to re-absorb some of his old energy. Thus, Ledas' power level goes down. However, he soon will eat a senzu bean, providing him with a zenkai, so overall, his power level goes up in the next chapter - and it goes up quite a bit. This zenkai was necessary for Ledas to be able to take on The Benefactor. Of course, this is more apparent if one takes a look at my power levels page.
- It is because I like Yajirobe (and by the final edits of this saga, Krillin had also become one of my favorite characters) and Krillin that I had them so integrally involved in saving Ledas in this chapter.
- Ledas' suffering in this chapter was written to be aesthetically-striking. This was done mainly for Yajirobe and Krillin, so they could really see how much pain Ledas is in, so they will try to help him. If he wasn't so wounded, bleeding so much, so close to death, they might not have chosen to help him at all. After all, TB didn't really ravage the Z Fighters like he did Ledas, so they had no reason to expect Ledas to end up in a much worse state. Once he does, though, those two cannot sit back and watch the boy get mauled to death. And that provides a reason for them to help him.
- Ledas' physical actions as he crawls to Yajirobe (such as when he holds out his arm and then drops his head to the grass in weariness) are based on myself. Many of these physical actions are based on my own exhaustion after a particularly hard soccer practice I had many a year ago.
- Oh, it would be too easy for Ledas to get a senzu bean so early in the chapter. I don't like deus ex machina or Gary Stu moments, so having Ledas fail first was an attempt to lessen the senzu bean's role as deus ex machina (and a Gary Stu moment for Ledas). The senzu bean in and of itself is deus ex machina, and one must write around it to make it less so - but that can only be done to a small degree. I think it's a great twist that Ledas' bean is destroyed, for it is both unexpected and fear-inducing for the readers, for they realize that Ledas is now going to be put back into trouble. He was so close to escaping from TB, just like Vegeta in the previous chapter, but he just wasn't fast enough.
- All of the pain The Benefactor is going through in this chapter is crucial plot-wise, as well as thematically speaking and in terms of his character development. For the plot, had TB not been so wounded by trying to re-absorb his energy, he would have been able to take on Ledas easily - even Super Saiyan 2 Ledas 6 chapters from now. Of course, the irony of TB getting hurt by his own energy as well as seeing the way he deals with pain also gives this scene literary worth, but the plot stuff is the most important aspect of TB getting wounded.
- After TB mistakenly comes to the conclusion that Ledas poisoned his energy (he seems to have forgotten what Lauto told him about energy all those years ago in the cave), he decides to kill Ledas. This is the first time since the last chapter of the first saga that TB has specifically tried to kill Ledas - yes, he may have killed Ledas after absorbing the kid's energy (his strategy in the last saga and the first three chapters of this one), but that was not his focus, and he might not have even cared after getting his energy back. Nothing was certain back then. Now, though, he is certainly focused on killing Ledas for bringing him so much pain. In a callback to Outbreak: Paved In Blood, The Benefactor is being motivated by pain and fear, and when he's motivated by those things, he will try to kill his opponent(s) at any cost.
- Krillin ends the first scene in a moment of insane courage. He knows he cannot really hurt TB, but also perhaps realizes that Ledas and/or Vegeta are the only hope to hold off TB at least for now, so he needs to divert TB's attention. I'm sure he's hoping Yajirobe will give Ledas another senzu bean. He's sacrificing giving 18 and Goku and the others senzu beans to save Ledas. It's truly noble, but it's also likely suicidal. His human nature here is to be commended, to be sure, but perhaps it is not the most logical thing for him to have done in that scenario. Of course, the energy he is preparing looks to be a Destructo Disk, which perhaps could do some damage after all.
- Ryori hasn't gotten all his vengeance yet. Even though he killed Cardinal's son in the previous saga's finale (a fact Cardinal does not know), he still wants to kill Cardinal too. This says a lot about his character and the fact that his previous vengeance didn't seem to work. Revenge is not a healing tool. Sure, people may deserve what they get, but it won't bring back Shoekki. Ryori is young, and he isn't aware of these things. He just knows that he's hurting, and he wants to make those who made him hurt hurt. He doesn't realize that this game he's playing will cost him his life if he continues on with it, and doing so will cause him to end up like his brother.
- Cardinal had to be more wounded than Ryori so that Ryori could try to attack him. If Ryori was seriously wounded, he wouldn't be able to attack and hurt Cardinal. Also, Cardinal being so wounded puts him in a position below Ryori, and this role reversal in and of itself is cool. Cardinal is never more vulnerable than he is in this chapter.
- Just like Miki was made a bit more prominent in the final version of the Planet Earth Saga, so too was Nurse Yorokobi made more prominent in the final version of this saga. She originally only existed in the second deleted scene, but as I was writing this chapter, realizing that medical personnel would have to be involved to get Ryori and Cardinal out of the rubble, it became apparent that I could add her into this chapter. And that's great, because it certainly builds up to that deleted scene and also provides an interesting view of Yorokobi's character. She's a professional of course, but even in this chapter, she must be sexually attracted to Ryori and must be thinking about what she wants to do to him in the hospital. Of course none of that is stated, but given what she reveals about herself in the second deleted scene, all of this stuff has a good chance of being in play even now.
- "I didn’t think I would see you again, here at the end of all things. It’s fitting, don’t you think?" - this is a reference to a quote Frodo Baggins says in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: "I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.". It's, of course, an ironic reference, since Cardinal couldn't be less enthused that Ryori is in that ambulance with him.
- "How did it come to this?" - this is a reference to this speech by Theoden in the film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I believe I have referenced this amazing speech several times on this wiki, in various stories of mine. Certainly, it's been referenced once or twice before in earlier TF sagas. Regardless, Cardinal is very LOTR-y in this chapter, and I'm not sure why that is. I guess I was just in a LOTR mood myself when I was writing the Ryori/Cardinal scene way back in 2013.
- Cardinal's lying right to Ryori's face is striking, especially since we the readers know the truth. Ryori is consumed by rage, so he would not believe Cardinal, even if Cardinal was telling the truth. But he's not. And Ryori sees right through him. The veil of power Cardinal wielded in earlier sagas and chapters has evaporated. This parallels the fall of the New Red Ribbon Army.
- One of the most moving lines in TF to me is when Ryori says, "Don’t you say his name!". There's so much in that quote, and I shan't speak of all of it, for fear of revealing too much, but I think the love Ryori had for his brother is most evident in this quote, perhaps more so than any other quote in TF. Ryori was mistreated by Shoekki on occasion, and they didn't always get along. But they were still brothers, and they still loved each other. Ryori's love for Shoekki and his grief can be seen in their full, most naked form in that above quote.
- It is cool that Ryori learns that Shoekki was helping Cardinal find Ledas, though. That will be something Ryori holds with him beyond the end of this series - that if Ledas hadn't been an alien and hadn't been in his city, Shoekki wouldn't have died. Yet, at the same time, Ryori wouldn't have found a good friend - perhaps his best friend.
- I considered having Cardinal lose his arm in the building collapse and have the nurses protect Cardinal from Ryori, but it felt right... it felt better to have Ryori get a piece of Cardinal. It's just a more satisfying way for Cardinal to lose his arm. Ryori's agency is on full display here. His agency, of course, is in marked contrast from all other humans. The human nature - the emotion and willpower both Cardinal and Ryori display in the second scene of this chapter is something I've found quite stunning as I've read it back over for this commentary.
- Notice how blood is symbolic in both major scenes in this chapter, in different ways.
- Ah good old Krillin. I am proud of this thing I did with Krillin, for it was not only a fake-out for The Benefactor, but a pretty rad plot twist as well. The Destructo Disks were just bait, just something to distract The Benefactor so Krillin could use his Solar Flare attack, an attack that works on any being, regardless of their power. And it's the perfect attack for Krillin to use to get away. It appears, therefore, that he is not trying to save Ledas, but indeed going to heal Goku and most of the Z Fighters. He's going ahead with his original plan, and his battle intellect here is not to be underestimated. The way he got away, because Yajirobe wouldn't help him, was really cool and one of the finest moments for any Z Fighter in this story.
- I'm sure Krillin knew that the Solar Flare would allow Yajirobe a moment to give Ledas a senzu bean, too, so his plan was working on several levels. It's quite cool how Krillin's plan came together to help everyone.
- The Benefactor temporarily losing his eyesight is the standard effect of a Solar Flare, but it's also foreshadowing him losing his eyesight in the next chapter. Without his eyesight, he becomes much weaker - he becomes slower, too. All of this Ledas sees at this moment, at the end of this chapter. He realizes that a wounded TB is a beatable TB. And he has no choice but to beat TB or die. And Ledas certainly does not want to die. Not now that he's come so close to properly reuniting with his best friend.
- Now everything seems to be going good, here comes another shocker at the end of this chapter. The Benefactor uses his oft-used Planet Buster attack - a little black disc of energy. This attack has also destroyed Lauto's Planet and Iyxia in the past, so the readers should be familiar with its potency. As well, it doesn't appear there's any way to dissipate the attack. So how is the Earth going to survive? Just after everything was starting to look up, perhaps the worst thing that could have happened happened. But such a plot point was done for suspense and to allow resolution to later take place regarding that move. It's a striking move, one that seems to put the stakes up to the point of "Namek's about to blow" in the Namek Arc of DBZ. It looks like this plot with TB is going to get resolved very quickly because of that attack. So that was also a fake-out on my part, since the Planet Buster is just a distraction, something that makes the story seem to be going in a much different direction than it actually goes, to keep the story suspenseful and not predictable by the readers.
- Despite the Planet Buster attack being used, this chapter ends on a much more positive note than the previous chapter. Ledas is out of TB's clutches, Krillin is going to save the Z Fighters (in a way that will bring them all back to full power in a matter of moments), and The Benefactor himself has been severely wounded. If Ledas can just eat a senzu bean, perhaps The Benefactor is beatable. Perhaps. But at the same time, a victory for Ledas would be pointless if the Earth blew up anyways. Considering there are 9 more chapters to this saga, though, it seems unlikely that the Earth will be destroyed (if someone looks at this from a meta standpoint).
The Door To Nowhere
<THE SCENE OPENS WITH AN AERIAL SHOT LOOKING DOWN AT THE THREE REMAINING CHARACTERS – YAJIROBE, LEDAS, AND THE BENEFACTOR; THE CAMERA LOWERS TO THE GROUND WHILE MAINTAINING FOCUS ON LEDAS>
<LEDAS TURNS AWAY FROM THE BENEFACTOR AND LOOKS AT YAJIROBE>
Ledas: Mr. Yajirobe? Is that really you?
Yajirobe: <SUDDENLY STRAIGHTENING> Oh, uh, hey kid. Whatcha doin’ out here?
Ledas: It doesn’t matter. But you wouldn’t happen to have any more of those beans, would you? I-I kinda need one…
Yajirobe: <MUTTERS TO HIMSELF AS HE HANDS LEDAS A SENZU> Yeah, that’s all you want from me…
Ledas: <EATS IT WITHOUT WAITING> Thanks. Now I gotta deal with that guy.
Yajirobe: <BARELY CONTAINING HIS FEAR> Pfft. In that case, I was just leaving.
The Benefactor: <HEAD BOWED, HE IS KEEPING TO HIMSELF> Useless. <THE OTHER TWO FALL INTO SILENCE> Wastes of flesh…
<HE THROWS AN IMPALEMENT BEAM AT YAJIROBE WHILE NOT LOOKING AT THE SAMURAI; LEDAS CREATES A SHIELD OF KI, WHICH THE IMPALEMENT BEAM BOUNCES OFF OF; HE DISSIPATES THE SHIELD AFTER THE DEFLECTION>
The Benefactor: <SEETHING> You will all die. I have had enough of this game! <HE TURNS AROUND TO FACE THEM> This planet is done. You are done. I’ll destroy everything if I have to. <HE SHOWS LEDAS HIS BLOODY ARMS> I wanted my energy back, but it looks like I can’t absorb any of it back without it nearly killing me. So you have no more use to me. It’s time we end this.
<LEDAS GOES INTO A DEFENSIVE STANCE>
Ledas: I’m not gonna be as easy as before!
The Benefactor: I’m not fighting you. <HE POINTS TO THE BLACK DISC OF ENERGY ON THE GROUND> I have already doomed this planet to destruction.
Ledas: <IN HORROR> What?! No!!
The Benefactor: It’s too late for all of you.
Ledas: <FRANTIC; MUTTERING TO YAJIROBE> Yajirobe, canya help too?! We need to kill him fast and I can’t do it alone!
Yajirobe: <NORMAL VOICE> No way, man! If you wanna go fight and get yourself killed, that’s your problem. Leave me outta it.
Ledas: We’re all gonna die if you don’t help!
Ledas: At least distract him! <PUSHES YAJIROBE FORWARD> Go on, Mister Yajirobe! Use your sword or something…
<LEDAS PUSHES YAJIROBE FORWARD TOWARD THE BENEFACTOR>
<YAJIROBE’S EYES WIDEN INTO HUGE SAUCERS; HIS HAIR STANDS UP ON END; HE TREMBLES UNCONTROLLABLY; THE BENEFACTOR, WHO HAS GONE BACK TO KNEELING AND INSPECTING HIS OWN WOUNDS, LOOKS UP>
The Benefactor: You really can’t wait to die, can you? <HE STANDS UP AND STARES YAJIROBE DOWN; HE READIES ENERGY IN EITHER HAND> So be it.
Yajirobe: <SCREAMING; TALKING VERY FAST> Oh, uh, please sir, I, uh, I-I didn’t mean to offend ya! I-I’m y-your biggest fan! <YAJIROBE SEES THE ENERGY, THROWS HIS SWORD AWAY, AND DROPS TO HIS KNEES TO BEG> Eek! P-please don’t kill me! I… I don’t wanna die! P-please! I’ll b-be your sidekick if ya want!
The Benefactor: Sidekick? Your groveling is a practiced art. <HE RAISES HIS HANDS, BRINGING THE ENERGY TO YAJIROBE’S FACE>
Yajirobe: <YAJIROBE JUMPS UP, HIS EYES WIDE AND HIS FACE COVERED IN SWEAT> N-n-no! Let me go!
<SUDDENLY FROM BEHIND THE BENEFACTOR, LEDAS COMES DASHING IN; HE IS IN SUPER SAIYAN; HE KICKS THE BENEFACTOR FORWARD, THEN IMMEDIATELY TELEPORTS UP TO HIM AND PULLS HIM TO THE GROUND BY THE BACK OF HIS NECK; HE THEN TELEPORTS IN FRONT OF THE BENEFACTOR AND KICKS THE ALIEN INTO THE GROUND WITH BOTH FEET; AT ONCE, HE HAS A BALL OF LIGHT BLUE ENERGY READY IN HIS FREE HAND, AND HE RELEASES IT INTO THE BODY OF THE BENEFACTOR; THE BENEFACTOR TELEPORTS OUT OF LEDAS’ GRIP, HOWEVER, AND THEN REAPPEARS ABOVE HIM>
The Benefactor: How is your energy restored?
Ledas: <LOOKING UP AT HIM> I know a trick!
The Benefactor: Fool! You are only delaying your death!
<THE ALIEN DASHES AT LEDAS; HE SIDE-KICKS AT THE BOY, BUT THE SAIYAN DODGES IT, HE BRINGS OUT HIS HEEL AND CLUBS IT INTO THE BENEFACTOR’S LEG AS IT SWINGS PAST HIM; IT CONNECTS, AND THE BENEFACTOR FALLS, SIDEWAYS>
<THE BENEFACTOR PUSHES HIMSELF UP OFF THE GROUND AND ROLLS SIDEWAYS; HE GIVES OFF AN ENERGY FLARE, PUSHING IT OUTWARD; LEDAS BLOCKS AGAINST IT, BUT FALLS OVER>
<THE BENEFACTOR POUNCES ON HIM, THROWING ENERGY BLAST AFTER ENERGY BLAST ONTO THE SAIYAN’S BODY; LEDAS IS DEFENSELESS AGAINST SUCH AN ATTACK; LEDAS PUTS UP HIS HANDS IN AN ATTEMPT TO COUNTER-BLAST; THE BENEFACTOR PUTS HIS OWN HANDS AGAINST LEDAS, CAUSING THE BLAST TO BACKFIRE; THIS CREATES A HUGE CRATER IN THE GROUND>
<IN THE BLAST, LEDAS ROLLS AWAY FROM THE ALIEN’S CONTROL AND TAKES TO THE SKY; THE BENEFACTOR IS NOT PLAYING AROUND; HE INSTANTLY FOLLOWS; BEFORE LEDAS CAN GET AWAY, THE BENEFACTOR GRABS HIM BY THE LEG AND PULLS HIM BACK DOWN; THE BENEFACTOR USES THIS OPENING TO LAUNCH A DOUBLE ELBOW ATTACK; IT LANDS, STAGGERING LEDAS AND MAKING THE BOY COUGH UP BLOOD; AN AWKWARD MOMENT LATER, THEY BOTH JUMP BACK TO THEIR FEET AND TAKE OFF FROM THE POSITION; LEDAS IS SLUGGISH>
<LEDAS LOCKS INTO A BLOW EXCHANGE WITH THE BENEFACTOR; THEY RAIN FISTS UPON EACH OTHER WITH QUITE A BIT OF SPEED AND FEROCITY; HOWEVER, AS TIMES GOES ON, LEDAS STARTS TO GET CUTS AND BRUISES ACROSS HIS ARMS AND FACE;THE BENEFACTOR IS NOT GETTING DAMAGED VERY MUCH>
<THE TWO DODGE UP AND DOWN, EVENTUALLY LANDING ONTO THE GROUND; THEY CONTINUE IN THEIR BLOW EXCHANGE FOR SOME TIME, UNTIL, WHILE BACKING UP, THE BENEFACTOR STUMBLES OVER YAJIROBE’S SWORD; THIS GIVES LEDAS AN OPENING TO PUNCH HIM AWAY>
<THE ALIEN PUNCHES INTO THE OPEN AIR AS HE FLIES BACK – JUST AS LEDAS MOVES INTO THAT AREA; THE FIST CONNECTS WITH LEDAS’ COLLARBONE, SHATTERING IT>
<WHEN THIS HAPPENS, LEDAS FALLS TO THE GROUND FROM HIS PHYSICAL WOUNDS AND WEARINESS; HIS ENERGY IS DRAINING FAST>
<BEFORE LEDAS CAN DARE DO ANYTHING, THE BENEFACTOR WILD SENSES IN FRONT OF HIM; HE HITS LEDAS WITH BOTH OF HIS PALMS, FACE UP AND OPENED, UNDER THE CHIN; THE SAIYAN REVERTS TO HIS BASE FORM AT THIS, AND HE FALLS OVER, GASPING AND CLUTCHING AT HIS CHEST>
<THE BENEFACTOR ADVANCES OVER LEDAS; HE KNEELS DOWN OVER LEDAS, WHO IS SQUIRMING, WIDE EYES AND ARMS THROWN UP; BUT HE IS PINNED; THE BENEFACTOR HAS THE BOY TRAPPED UNDER HIM>
The Benefactor: Even in my weakened state, I own you.
Ledas: <IN A PAINED SCREAM> Yajirobe, help!
The Benefactor: Shut your mouth!
<THE BENEFACTOR PLACES A HAND OVER LEDAS’ MOUTH AND BEGINS FORMING ENERGY AGAINST LEDAS’ SKIN; LEDAS SCREAMS A MUFFLED SCREAM AND TRIES TO BREAK LOOSE, BUT HE CANNOT>
The Benefactor: I’ll kill you now. This planet still has a few minutes left. <HE LOOKS OVER AT WHERE HE PLACED THE PUCK-SIZED BIT OF ENERGY; THAT ENERGY IS NOW BURNING INTO THE GROUND, CREATING A LARGE CRATER AROUND IT; BLACK FLAMES AND ELECTRICITY CAN BE SEEN AROUND THE CRATER; IT IS JUST TO THE RIGHT OF THE BENEFACTOR> Plenty of time for me to get out of here. But for you, it’s the end of the road, kid. No one’s gonna save you now.
<LEDAS TRIES TO PUSH HIMSELF OFF OF THE BENEFACTOR; THE ALIEN HOLDS HIM IN PLACE, EVEN AS HE CONTINUES TO BURN LEDAS WITH THE FORMING ENERGY; LEDAS SCREAMS LOUDER, CONJURING UP HIS AURA AROUND HIM; ONCE AGAIN, HE GOES SUPER SAIYAN; AT ONCE, HE LOOKS RIGHT INTO THE BENEFACTOR’S EYES; PURPLE ENERGY COMES UP AROUND LEDAS’ EYES, BRIEFLY FILLING THEM WITH THE PERVASIVE LIGHT; THEN, TWO JOLTS OF ENERGY SHOOT FROM LEDAS’ EYES>
<FOR A SECOND, THERE IS NO SOUND; THEN, THE BENEFACTOR HOWLS OUT IN PAIN, WHILE FALLING OFF OF LEDAS; HE CLUTCHES AT HIS EYES, WHERE NOTHING BUT TWO DARK, CAUTERIZED WOUNDS ARE NOW; LEDAS IS TOO WOUNDED TO FINISH HIM OFF; AS SOON AS THE BENEFACTOR FALLS OFF OF HIM, HE RETURNS TO CLUTCHING AT HIS WOUNDS AND BREATHING HEAVILY>
The Benefactor: You wretch!! <HE POUNDS THE GROUND, CREATING A LARGE CRATER> What have you done?!
Ledas: <ATTEMPTING TO STAND UP; IN PAIN> That’s just the start… I haven’t even killed you yet…
The Benefactor: <TREMBLING WITH PAIN AND HATRED> Y-you think you’ve w-won?! Ahh!! <HE LAUNCHES HIMSELF AT LEDAS, KNOCKING THE BOY BACK TO THE GROUND> I don’t need my sight to rip out your throat! And after you, I’ll tear that fat little ingrate limb from limb!
<FROM A FEW METERS AWAY, BEHIND A HILL, YAJIROBE’S HEAD POPS UP; HE HAS RETREATED TO WHERE THE WRECKAGE OF THE CAR IS; THERE ARE A TON OF SENZU BEANS AND THE OTHER CONTENTS OF THE CAR LYING ALL AROUND>
Yajirobe: <FLUSHED WITH ANGER> Hey, I heard that, idiot!
The Benefactor: <EVEN AS HE CLAWS LEDAS AND SLAMS A FIST DOWN ON THE SAIYAN’S NOSE TO BREAK IT> Now the coward speaks! So typical! Your turn will come!
Yajirobe: <RECOILING WITH ANGER> Coward, huh? I’ll show you!
<YAJIROBE LOOKS AROUND FOR SOMETHING TO HURL; HE SEES THE PYRAMID ANTIQUE NEARBY; GRABBING IT, HE LETS OUT A GRUNT AND THEN THROWS IT TOWARDS THE BENEFACTOR; DESPITE YAJIROBE’S RELATIVELY WEAK POWER LEVEL, THE THROW IS ACCURATE AS IT IS QUICK; THE POINTED TIP OF THE SMALL BOX SOON CONNECTS WITH THE BENEFACTOR’S SKULL; THE LOUD THUD CRACKS LOUDLY OVER THE BLOWING WIND>
<THIS CAUSES THE BENEFACTOR TO FLY OFF OF LEDAS, LANDING A METER OR SO AWAY; THOUGH THE ACTUAL ACT OF THROWING IT DID LITTLE TO DAMAGE HIM, THE MERE FORCE OF IT WAS ENOUGH TO MAKE HIM FALL OFF>
<LEDAS SITS UP BUT IS TOO WEAK TO IMMEDIATELY RETALIATE; HE FEELS HIS BRUISED NOSE AND GRIMACES>
<THE PYRAMID LANDS ONTO THE GROUND, POSITIONED STRAIGHT UP; AFTER CONNECTING WITH THE BENEFACTOR, IT OPENS, FROM THE TIP ON TOP; IT SPREADS OUT WITH EACH OF ITS FOUR SIDES FALLING OUT AND DOWN ONTO THE GROUND>
<A GREAT WHITE LIGHT ENGULFS THE PLAINS; AS THIS OCCURS, A SWIFT WIND PICKS UP; YAJIROBE IS UNACCUSTOMED TO SUCH A BRIGHTNESS AND FALLS BACK TO SHIELD HIS EYES; LEDAS WATCHES, SQUINTING HIS EYES AS HIS HAIR BLOWS AROUND>
<THE BLIND BENEFACTOR SITS UP AND COCKS HIS HEAD AROUND, SENSING FOR LEDAS’ PRESENCE>
The Benefactor: <HISS> What was that you threw, worm?!
<BUT AS THE BENEFACTOR GOES TO STAND UP, THE WIND OVERTAKES HIM, SUCKING HIM TOWARDS THE BOX; HE YELLS OUT AND DIGS HIS CLAWS INTO THE GROUND, BUT THIS DOESN’T STOP HIM FROM FLYING BACKWARDS; AT THE LAST MOMENT, JUST BEFORE HE GOES INTO THE BOX, THE BENEFACTOR BRINGS UP HIS AURA AROUND HIM, BRINGING HIMSELF TO FULL POWER; HE BRIEFLY IS ABLE TO STOP THE THING FROM SUCKING HIM IN; THE BLACK BIT OF ENERGY HE CREATED EARLIER FLIES OFF THE GROUND AND GOES INTO THE BOX; AS IT DOES, THE CAMERA WATCHES IT; THE SMALL DISC DISSOLVES AS IT ENTERS THE LIGHT>
<THE BENEFACTOR’S AURA EXPLODES; THE FLOATING ENERGY AROUND HIM IS SUCKED INTO THE BOX; HE SCREAMS OUT IN PAIN AS THE BLOOD FROM HIS OPEN WOUNDS ALSO GETS SUCKED IN; HE STAGGERS FORWARD, BUT THEN HIS KNEES BUCKLE, AND HE FLIES BACK INTO THE LIGHT; IT QUICKLY OVERTAKES HIM, AND HIS FORM VANISHES>
<LEDAS IS ONLY A FEW METERS AWAY; HE WATCHES THE BENEFACTOR GET SUCKED IN; SEEING THAT, HE STANDS UP, BEAMING>
Ledas: Awwright! He’s gone! Thanks, Yajirobe! <HE TURNS HIS HEAD TO SEE WHERE YAJIROBE IS, BUT THE GOOD SAMURAI IS NOWHERE AROUND> So what is that thing? <THERE IS NO RESPONSE> Yajirobe? <HE GOES TO WALK AWAY AND FIND THE HUMAN, BUT AS SOON AS HE TRIES, THE BOX’S SUCKING POWERS PULL AT HIM; HE LOOKS DOWN AT HIS LEGS, WHICH ARE UNABLE TO MOVE FORWARD> Huh?! Why’s it still going? <HE TURNS AROUND AND SEES THE DEVICE IS STILL ON> Y-yajirobe! Stop it! Turn it off!
Yajirobe: <APPEARING OUT OF THE GRASS LIKE A PRAIRIE DOG> Huh, what do you want?
Ledas: <FIGHTING AGAINST THE SUCTION> Turn it off! He’s already inside it! I don’t want to go in there!
Yajirobe: <SEES THE BOX OPEN; HE BECOMES POSITIVELY FRIGHTED; IN HIS MIND> Eek! What did I do? The cat will be so mad about this!
Ledas: Hey! I can’t hold on much longer!
Yajirobe: <GATHERING HIMSELF UP> Sorry kid, I can’t help ya!
Ledas: <HORROR-STRUCK> No! You have to!
Yajirobe: <SCRUNCHES UP HIS FACE> Hmph, I don’t wanna get sucked in too.
Ledas: <LOSING HIS FOOTING> Yajirobe!
Yajirobe: Ugh, fine!
<YAJIROBE INCHES UP TO LEDAS WHILE HOLDING OUT HIS SHEATHED KATANA; LEDAS GRABS IT WITH BOTH HANDS EVEN AS THE WIND PICKS UP; IT BLOWS ABOUT HIS HAIR EVEN MORE; THE GREAT FORCE OF IT PULLS YAJIROBE CLOSER TO LEDAS AND THE PYRAMID; AS THIS GOES ON, YAJIROBE DIGS HIS SANDLED FEET INTO THE DIRT; YET AS HE TRIES TO PULL BACK, THE KATANA SLIPS THROUGH HIS GRIP; LEDAS CRIES OUT, BUT HIS VOICE IS MUFFLED BELOW THE ROAR OF THE WIND; AS YAJIROBE LOOKS UP, HE SEES LEDAS, WHO IS STILL CLUTCHING THE KATANA, FLY BACKWARDS>
<THE LIGHT OVERWHELMS HIS SIGHT EVEN MORE; LEDAS IS SUCKED INTO THE PYRAMID COMPLETELY>
<THEN, THE LIGHT GOES OUT AND THE PYRAMID CLOSES; THERE IS COMPLETE SILENCE; THE CAMERA ZOOMS IN ON THE BOX AND FADES TO BLACK>
- This chapter's name used to be the chapter name of the first chapter of the Fulfillment Saga during the 2012 draft of this saga. It referred to the fact that Ledas found a door to the New Red Ribbon Army in an underground bunker (which was a continuation of the Reunion Saga's 2012 plot). Now, the name refers to the fact that The Benefactor and Ledas are sucked into Verlate's mind prison at the end of the chapter with no idea where they are going. I kept this name, as opposed to coming up with a new name, simply because I like it. It reminds me of the subtitle for There There, by Radiohead, which is a major reason why I kept the chapter title as well.
- Most of this chapter was written from scratch for the final version of the Fulfillment Saga. Certain ideas, such as The Benefactor losing his eyes and TB and Ledas getting sucked into Verlate's mind prison, were ideas that existed in previous versions of the chapter, but I'm pretty sure they were mostly (or perhaps, in some cases, completely) re-written for the final edits.
- It's a bit cool and a bit sad that Yajirobe thinks Ledas is like the other Z Fighters. On the one hand, yeah, he does seem to just want a senzu bean from Yajirobe right now, but in the past - in the Planet Earth Saga - Ledas did take him out to eat. And I'd like to think that after TF ended, Ledas sometimes went to Korin Tower to bring food to his old friend. Yajirobe's own arc in this saga is deliberately unfulfilled (in contrast to this saga's title, no less!), for there is no way to resolve his emotions. He doesn't want to be the senzu bean delivery boy. But there's nothing else for him to do, and no other practical way for the Z Fighters to get senzu beans. So in this instance, Yajirobe will just have to suck it up. However, his opinion that no one cares about him aside from him giving them senzu beans is something that strikes an emotional chord with me, and I think that's how many Dragon Ball fans view Yajirobe... as well as, perhaps, some of the Z Fighters.
- It is crazy how easily Ledas gets his senzu bean in this chapter, but after all of the fake-outs and build up in the last chapter, it had to happen early in this chapter, for pacing reasons. I didn't want to, nor did I feel like it was even possible to give this opening Fulfillment Saga arc five chapters. Four was enough, and even that was a bit on the long side. If I could have done it in three, I would have, but there was just too much to get through.
- The Benefactor calling Ledas and Yajirobe wastes of flesh is one of my favorite insults in this story. It says a lot about The Benefactor's hunting ways and predator mindset that he would even frame an insult like that.
- Notice how TB tried to kill Yajirobe but didn't go after Ledas. This is because he knew he could kill Yajirobe in one attack, but it would take time to kill Ledas. And TB doesn't want to get caught up in the explosion of Earth. He might beat Ledas, he figures, but it will take too long. If he stays and fights Ledas too long, he may die. It's a great risk. But at the same time, Ledas won't let him just fly away, so he is forced to fight Ledas. The Benefactor's emotional outburst in the last chapter to create the Planet Buster technique is appearing to have not been well-thought out.
- Ledas using Yajirobe as bait makes me laugh to this day. His line about Yajirobe using his sword is very funny. I think Ledas was just desperate. He knew Yajirobe can't actually help, but if he can distract The Benefactor for a moment, that is just as valuable. Perhaps the distraction will allow Ledas to quickly kill The Benefactor.
- Despite this being chapter 4, it has the energy of a season finale, since Ledas and The Benefactor know that they will die if one of them does not win quickly. As such, they each use some of their best moves and battle strategies here. They are trying to end it as quickly as possible, so we get to see the peaks of their fighting abilities.
- Yajirobe stated his turncloak inclinations in the Saiyan Saga of DBZ as well. I was slightly referencing that here when the good samurai spoke to The Benefactor. He's so afraid of dying that he will literally say anything - anything he can think of to protect himself.
- Much like Vegeta, The Benefactor is having none of Yajirobe's pleading. His line, "Your groveling is a practiced art." is one of my favorite TB lines in TF. In fact, I would say that many of The Benefactor's best lines in this story occur in this chapter. Now that he's wounded, rage-filled, and knows he has to leave the planet, his personality has become subtler, more venomous, and this is how I like The Benefactor the most.
- Poor TB. For all his intellect, he doesn't seem to fully understand what the senzu beans are. He destroyed one last chapter, but that was mostly by accident. He didn't know that it was a bean that restores health. If only he knew, he might've been able to save himself.
- Ledas plays on The Benefactor's emotions early in this chapter to an extent that neither character realizes. By attacking TB and showing that his power has returned to him, Ledas has angered the alien. The Benefactor has abandoned reason for madness, and instead of finding a way off of the planet, he's staying to fight the Saiyan boy. He hates being slighted. He hates it when someone makes him feel pain. This is seen in Outbreak as well as in previous sagas when The Benefactor never stopped hunting the Iyxians who pained him and Lauto. He is quite a prideful being, and when Ledas attempts to hurt that pride, mocking The Benefactor's inability to re-absorb his stolen power by flaunting it in front of the alien's face, TB's rage consumes him. His irrationality at this moment also affects his fighting form. He becomes weaker and sloppier, allowing Ledas to gain an edge where he otherwise would not have been able to.
- An important thing to note is that even as weakened and mad as he is, The Benefactor still thoroughly outclasses Ledas in their battle during this chapter. Ledas has never been able to really challenge TB in any of the fights they have had. This becomes crucially important in chapter 9 of this saga, for because Ledas is continually losing to The Benefactor, The Benefactor begins to underestimate the boy.
- The Benefactor stumbling over Yajirobe's sword is a nice little moment that was put into the story for a specific reason. He could have stumbled in general. The sword didn't need to be there. And yet it was. That is because I specifically wanted him to trip over the sword. And why would I want that? Well, it's definitely important to some capacity, but that's not something I can reveal here.
- When Ledas' collarbone shatters, that implies the fight is over. That is a horrendous injury - one that should fully incapacitate the boy and lead to his death. And yet, The Benefactor uses his next opportunity to underestimate Ledas, and that causes him to lose his eyes. Remember what Lascon told Ledas in the first saga. One should never underestimate one's opponent(s), regardless of their perceived strength. Anything can change in an instant.
- "Even in my weakened state, I own you." - again, a great line. It's hard to say which of the three I've quoted so far is my favorite in this chapter. I think lines like these, in the context of what is going on in the chapter, illustrate how I have greatly improved TB's character from previous drafts. He's a truly terrifying individual now, and a chaotic, non-traditional villain as well.
- "No one’s gonna save you now." - this is a reference to what the orc Grishnák says to Merry and Pippin in the film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I only put that reference in this chapter because it sounded like something the new and improved TB would say. And why not? It's a badass line. It's cool. And I want this story to be as cool as possible.
- Ledas' desperation attack to blind The Benefactor was truly a last-ditch effort. He knew he was very close to dying. He had no other options. He saw TB's eyes, remembered the Solar Flare attack Krillin used earlier, and created a new technique on the spot. That Ledas would do this says a lot about his morals, his battle intellect, the state he was in, etc. I always like it when battles and fight moves can illustrate a character's personality well, and this is one such case.
- Also, I should note that Ledas' Particle Beam attack was based off of the Beam Rifles in the Halo series. They usually only work if an electric charge is nearby, implying that Ledas needs to be in Super Saiyan 2 to use them, usually. This implies that he's nearing Super Saiyan 2 - that in this very fight, he is getting close. The electric sparks that form around his aura are the first hints that he can reach Super Saiyan 2. But he hasn't had the emotional outburst required to ascend to that form (saving himself didn't feel like it was an emotional enough reason, though I know other authors would've (and have, in their own stories) done that in my place), so he doesn't become a Super Saiyan 2 here. But the fact that he has the electric sparks shows that he is getting close - and this build up is something I like to do whenever I have one of my characters unlock a cool new form. I did it with Ledas' Super Saiyan 1 transformation, and I did it again with his Super Saiyan 2 transformation, though the latter was built up in a much subtler way.
- The Benefactor losing his sight was done for a variety of reasons, both in this version of the text and in earlier versions. For one, it shows that these fights have consequences, that these early chapters do. I don't want everything important to happen in the season finales - which has never been the case with TF, but I'm just saying, y'know. Anyways, that kind of narrative, where everything important happens in the season finale (or mid-season finale) of shows is most apparently seen in The Walking Dead, an average show (in my opinion) that is way more popular than it deserves. I specifically remember thinking that I didn't want to have the bad writing of TWD, in terms of what is mentioned above, in my own story. So I tried to have important stuff happen throughout. I think this certainly does happen, though the biggest moments still happen in the season finales for the most part. Anyways, The Benefactor losing his sight is him losing his way, his agency, his connection with the world. It's a wound fit for someone as wounded as him. Thematically, this would be tied to the stuff about agency, will, vengeance, and growing accustomed to a new sense of powerlessness after being broken in some way. Many characters have gone through this already in TF. TB's thematic journey is nuanced in different ways because of his upbringing and the way his life unfolded. He's more damaged than the rest of the characters in this story, and yet he fights change more than any of them. As such, change must be forced upon him in radical ways, which is not as often the case with others.
- "That’s just the start… I haven’t even killed you yet…" - this is a great Ledas line (he says it after blinding The Benefactor). I think it shows the mixture of humor and badassery that makes up Ledas' personality, and also it's a good example of the combination of those things into the larger themes of this story, which Toriyama also did with both DB and DBZ.
- It's funny and thematically important that, in the end, it is The Benefactor who provokes Yajirobe, not the other way around.
- Ledas' nose getting broken is related to his growing character image in this saga. Some scars cut deep; some never heal. And with all that The Benefactor has done to Ledas in this saga, I'm sure at least some of the boy's scars will never fully heal.
- Throughout this chapter, it is important to note that while Ledas and The Benefactor beat up on each other, they are each too wounded to finish one another off. The exact opposite of what they are trying to do - win quickly - is occurring.
- Did Yajirobe know exactly what he was doing? He might have. He might not have. He seemed to care about the pyramid in a previous chapter, fearing for its safety. But now he's mad. He's really, really mad. He doesn't like being made fun of, being seen as just a delivery boy without agency, without worth. He's out to prove the world wrong when he throws that pyramid. Now, if he took the greater scope of what he was doing to mind before throwing the mind prison, I cannot say. But the clues are all there, and one should be able to form a coherent opinion about that just from reading the text.
- Ledas watching the mind prison opening, his face all dirty and cut up, his nose broken, while he hair blows about is one of the TF scenes I most want to see in picture form.
- The fact that The Benefactor couldn't see the mind prison is a big reason why he didn't escape from it. Had he seen it, he would have moved out of its way before being sucked in. But he didn't see it and once he started getting sucked in, there was no way for him to get out. No one, not even SS3 Goku, could have escaped from the mind prison's pull.
- To think that, in the end, Yajirobe's actions saved the Earth from destruction is quite cool. He didn't know opening Verlate's mind prison would destroy the Planet Buster attack, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that, indisputably, Yajirobe saved the world. He got his moment to be a hero, even if no one saw it. To that end, Yajirobe is certainly one of the forgotten in this story.
- It was certainly fun for me to have the dialogue between Ledas and Yajirobe with the mind prison open knowing that no matter what they say, Ledas is going inside. Ledas' fear here is one of the few times he's so overtly shaken by something. He really doesn't want to go in the box with TB, and for good reason - if he does go in there, he will likely die. It's more likely than not, actually.
- It's cool that the mind prison is both Ledas' savior and his doomer. It saved him from TB, and yet in the end, he is put in the box with TB, so did it really save him? Probably not. This fact also removes any thought that the mind prison could be considered deus ex machina.
- I wanted Ledas inside the mind prison with Yajirobe's sword. I had vague notions at this point in the writing of the final edits that Ledas would slice The Benefactor with the sword sometime later. As to how the sword gets into the mind prison, I am quite proud about that. The whole transition is seamless and logical - of course Yajirobe would give Ledas his sword to grab onto to pull him out of the mind prison's grasp, and of course Yajirobe would lose his grip on the thing, resulting in both Ledas and the katana being sucked into the mind prison. All of this was deliberate planning on my part, and I think it worked out beautifully in terms of execution.
- The ending to this chapter does feel like a saga ender to a degree. Certainly, with how this chapter ends, it's not clear where the plot is going in future chapters - which is how most sagas end. Thus, the ending point to this saga's first arc is quite defined - perhaps the most defined arc in all of TF - but leaves little to guess at and lots to hope for in the next chapter. Literally nothing has been revealed about what is inside the mind prison, if one has not read Forever Alone; and if one has read that story, then the expectation that Ledas and TB will meet Verlate, with one of them likely being forced to remain in the mind prison by the end of this next arc, is apparent even from this point. But for the most part, this chapter ends by rather abruptly and cleanly bringing a close to the overall arc encompassing the Reunion Saga and first four chapters of this saga. And that's pretty rad.
<CARDINAL IS SHOWN IN A ROOM; HE IS WEARING A HOSPITAL GOWN; HIS RIGHT ARM IS HEAVILY BANDAGED AND HE HAS SEVERAL IV TUBES IN HIS ARMS; EVEN SO, HE IS SITTING ON THE EDGE OF HIS BED, HUNCHED FORWARD; HE LOOKS UP AS NURSE YOROKOBI ENTERS>
Nurse Yorokobi: Oh, it’s… Cardinal, right? I’m glad to see you’re awake! You had us worried there for a while…
Cardinal: <RUBBING HIS FOREHEAD WITH HIS FREE HAND> I’m sure I did, dear.
Nurse Yorokobi: How’s the arm? Still hurting?
Cardinal: I could use some more morphine, if that’s what you’re asking me.
Nurse Yorokobi: <GIGGLING> Have you already maxed out your dosage? You were supposed to have enough for a few more hours!
Cardinal: <CLEARLY IN PAIN> Just get me some more.
Nurse Yorokobi: <SERIOUSLY; SHAKING HER FINGER> You know I can’t do that. It’s against hospital policy!
Cardinal: <NODS TO HIS TATTERED SUIT, WHICH IS STRUNG OUT OVER A CHAIR IN THE CORNER> Check my pants’ pocket. I should have more than enough money in there to sway your opinion. <YOROKOBI LOOKS UNSURE> How much do you make in a year?
Nurse Yorokobi: I–
Cardinal: <THROUGH GRITTED TEETH> I’ll give you double that right now, if you just get me some meds. Please, I need them!
Nurse Yorokobi: <WALKS OVER TO CARDINAL’S CLOTHES AND PULLS OUT HIS WALLET; FLUSTERED> I-I’ll go see what I can do…!
<CARDINAL LETS OUT A SIGH OF RELIEF; HE RUBS HIS EYES, THEN LOOKS BACK UP>
Cardinal: <RAISES HIS HAND> Wait. Before you leave, tell me – where is the boy?
Nurse Yorokobi: Oh… he’s being interrogated by some police officers. Well, he will be once he wakes up. He’s still sedated from what we gave him in the ambulance. <LOOKS OFF FOR A SECOND; HER FINGER IS ON HER LOWER LIP> I guess I should go check on him soon… He may need some help waking up.
Cardinal: Are you sure about that?
Nurse Yorokobi: <COMING BACK TO REALITY> Oh, rest assured, sir, we won’t let him harm you again! He’s in big trouble for attacking you. <SHE SHAKES HER HEAD> We’d have armed guards in front of your door, if the police weren’t so busy managing the city cleanup…
Cardinal: <WEARY; LOOKING AT HIS ARM> I have the utmost confidence in your ability to protect me from the boy, darling. Now, answer me this: has there been anyone here to see me while I was asleep?
Nurse Yorokobi: I’m sorry, Mr. Cardinal, there hasn’t been anyone.
Cardinal: <COLDLY> Very well. In that case, you can leave.
<YOROKOBI EXITS HASTILY; CARDINAL BURIES HIS FACE IN HIS FREE HAND AS THE SCREEN PANS BACK FROM HIS RATHER EMPTY ROOM>
<THE CAMERA MOVES TO WHERE KRILLIN IS; HE FLIES TO THE OTHER Z FIGHTERS, SENZUS CLUTCHED IN HIS FISTS; AS HE GOES, THE VAST DESTRUCTION OF THE PREVIOUS BATTLES CAN BE SEEN; THE CITY IS SMOKING IN THE BACKGROUND AND NUMEROUS CRATERS HAVE DESTROYED THE COUNTRYSIDE; KRILLIN LANDS, AND A FEW PANELS SHOW HIM GIVING SENZUS TO THE BADLY WOUNDED Z FIGHTERS – 18, YAMCHA, TIEN, CHIAOTZU, GOTEN, TRUNKS, PICCOLO, AND GOKU; THE FINAL PANEL SHOWS HIM RETURNING TO WHERE THE BENEFACTOR HAD BEEN SO THAT HE CAN HEAL VEGETA>
<THE CAMERA MOVES FROM KRILLIN TO THE ANTIQUE PYRAMID, WHICH REMAINS IN THE SAME PLACE THAT IT HAD BEEN DURING THE END OF THE LAST CHAPTER; A BREEZE BLOWS BY, MOVING THE GRASS AROUND IT, BUT THE PYRAMID REMAINS STILL; YAJIROBE IS NOWHERE TO BE SEEN AND KRILLIN DOESN’T SEEM TO HAVE NOTICED THE TRINKET EITHER>
<THE CAMERA ZOOMS FORWARD TO THE POINT OF THE PYRAMID UNTIL THE ENTIRE SCREEN IS COVERED IN BLACK>
<CUE I Might Be Wrong>
<LEDAS IS STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF A LARGE SAND-COVERED DESERT; THERE IS A SUN, AND IT IS BURNING BRIGHT RIGHT ABOVE HIM, SHOWING THAT IT IS NOON; THE CAMERA IS POSITION BEHIND HIM, SO THAT THE BACK OF HIS HEAD TAKES UP THE MAJORITY OF THE LEFT SIDE OF THE SCREEN; THE CAMERA CAN ALSO SEE WHAT HE SEES AHEAD OF HIM – A VAST EXPANSE OF DESERT AND A LARGE MOUNTAIN ON THE EDGE OF SIGHT>
<THE CAMERA MOVES AROUND TO LOOK AT LEDAS’ FRONT SIDE; HE IS WEARING CLOTHES THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT HE WAS WEARING WHEN HE WAS SUCKED INTO THE PYRAMID; HE HAS HIS FATHER’S CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD ARMOR ON; IT IS COMPRISED OF A RED ON BLACK PLANET TRADE ORGANIZATION CHEST ARMOR PIECE WITH A BLACK CAPE, METAL BLACK AND RED GUARDS FOR HIS WRISTS AND SHINS, WHITE BOOTS AND WHITE GLOVES, AND A GREEN SCOUTER>
<LEDAS RUNS FORWARD; AFTER A FEW METERS, HE LUNGES FORWARD, ATTEMPTING TO TAKE TO THE SKIES; INSTEAD, HE JUST FALLS INTO THE SAND; HE SITS UP, SHAKING THE SAND OUT OF HIS HAIR, LOOKING PUZZLED>
Ledas: Huh? Why can’t I fly? <HE RAISES HIS HAND TO HIS FACE, PALM UP, AND TRIES TO CREATE ENERGY; NOTHING FORMS, THOUGH SOME SAND FALLS AWAY> No energy either?! That’s so weird. <HE LOOKS UP AT THE MOUNTAIN IN THE DISTANCE> What the heck is this place?
<LEDAS STARTS TO RUN AGAIN; AS HE GOES, HE NOTICES BROKEN STATUES IN THE SAND; AT FIRST, THERE ARE ONLY A FEW, BUT AS HE GOES FURTHER, THEY BECOME MORE NUMEROUS, LARGER, AND MORE RUINED; THE FIGURES DEPICTED ON THE STATUES ALL APPEAR TO BE OF THE SAME RACE OF LONG-FACED, ALMOST PIN-HEADED CREATURES WITH THEIR EYES WHERE THEIR EARS SHOULD BE, THOUGH THEY ARE NOT ALIENS LEDAS HAS EVER SEEN BEFORE>
<AS LEDAS LOOKS AT THE STATUES, HE NOTICES SOME BLACK SHAPES MOVING AROUND THEM, THOUGH THEY ARE GOING TOO FAST FOR HIM TO MAKE OUT WHAT THEY ARE; AFTER SEEING THIS A FEW TIMES, HE NOTICES TWO DARK SHAPES PURSUING HIM; LEDAS LOOKS OVER HIS SHOULDER TO GET A BETTER LOOK AT WHAT THEY ARE; HE SEES BLACK, SHORT CREATURES WITH HUGE EARS AND ROWS OF YELLOW TEETH; THEY HAVE DARK RED EYES; AS SOON AS HE LOOKS, THEY START CREATING PURPLE BALLS OF ENERGY IN THEIR HANDS AND THEN THROW THEM TOWARDS LEDAS; LEDAS FREAKS OUT, NOT UNDERSTANDING WHY THEY ARE ATTACKING HIM; HE YELLS; LEDAS THEN ATTEMPTS TO DODGE THESE ATTACKS BY WEAVING AROUND, THOUGH EXPLOSIONS START GOING OFF IN THE SAND ALL AROUND HIM>
<BECAUSE LEDAS IS TRYING TO DODGE THE ATTACKS, HIS SPEED LESSENS; THE TWO LITTLE CREATURES CATCH UP TO HIM AND JUMP ON HIM; AS MUCH AS HE TRIES TO RESIST, HE IS NO MATCH FOR THEM; THEY SHOOT MORE ENERGY INTO HIM AND CLAW HIM UP REALLY BAD; PIECES OF ARMOR AND FLESH ARE TORN OFF OF HIS BODY AS BLOOD FLIES EVERYWHERE; LEDAS TRIES TO PUNCH ONE, BUT IT PUNCHES HIS ARM BACK WITH A KI-ENHANCED FIST, WHICH SHATTERS LEDAS’ ARM COMPLETELY; THE BOY SCREAMS AND SLUMPS OVER IN DEFEAT; THIS CAUSES THE TWO BLACK DEMONS TO JUMP OFF OF HIM>
<THE TWO BLACK MONSTERS LOOK AT ONE ANOTHER, SCREECH, AND THEN DIVE INTO THE SAND, OUT OF SIGHT; LEDAS CAN BARELY MOVE AS HE WATCHES THEM GO; HE ATTEMPTS TO GET UP, BUT HE CAN’T, AS HE’S TOO WEAK; HE SPITS UP BLOOD AND CRIES OUT>
<SUDDENLY A FIGURE MATERIALIZES IN FRONT OF HIM; THIS FIGURE IS ALSO DARK, THOUGH IT IS COVERED IN SWIRLING SAND AS WELL; LEDAS CANNOT MAKE OUT ANY FEATURES, EXCEPT THAT IT IS MUCH TALLER THAN THE TWO BEINGS WHO JUST ATTACKED HIM>
Ledas: <WITH BLOOD IN HIS MOUTH> Whasgoin’ on?!
Shrouded Being: Another has come to see me. Tell me who you are, sentient.
Ledas: <CAUTIOUS; VOLATILE> W-why do you care?!
Shrouded Being: This place is my home, and you have intruded upon it. I would like to know why.
Ledas: I don’t know where I am! I d-didn’t mean to be here!
Shrouded Being: And yet you are, biped. Perhaps you will be the one I have been waiting for, for all these eons. Perhaps you will have some use for me yet.
Ledas: W-w-what?! <BEFORE IT CAN ANSWER, THE SHROUDED BEING DISSOLVES INTO SAND, WHICH THEN FALLS TO THE GROUND; LEDAS SHOUTS TO NO ONE IN PARTICULAR> W-what do you mean?! H-hey!! Where’d you go…?!
<EVEN AS LEDAS IS SCREAMING, A WHITE LIGHT IS OVERTAKING HIM; HIS VOICE ECHOES SEVERAL TIMES AS THE SCREEN IS OVERTAKEN BY THE PIERCING LIGHT>
<THE SCREEN RE-FADES FROM WHITE; LEDAS IS STILL IN THE DESERT, THOUGH THE SUN IS BEGINNING TO SET; HE STANDS UP AND FINDS HIMSELF AT THE BASE OF THE MOUNTAIN>
<LEDAS IS NOW WEARING BANAS’ ARMOR SET, WHICH INCLUDES A LIGHT YELLOW JUMP SUIT, A BLACK AND TURQUOISE SHOULDERLESS CHEST ARMOR PIECE, WHITE BOOTS AND GLOVES, AND A PURPLE SCOUTER; HE APPEARS COMPLETELY UNHARMED; THERE ARE NO WOUNDS REMAINING ON HIS BODY>
Ledas: <INSPECTING HIMSELF> What’s going on? All the pain’s gone… I don’t get it… this can’t be real…
<LEDAS IS CAUGHT OFF GUARD WHEN A SCREECHER SCREECHES; HE JUMPS AND LOOKS FOR THE SOURCE OF THE SOUND; UP AHEAD, SITTING IN A TREE, ONE OF THE RED-EYED DEVILS IS WATCHING HIM; IT SCREAMS AGAIN, BUT DOES NOT MOVE; LEDAS WATCHES IT AS HE RUNS AWAY FROM IT, SUSPICIOUS THAT IT MAY ATTACK HIM; IT DOES NOT, AND LEDAS IS ABLE TO RUN OFF UNHARMED>
<AS HE IS CLOSER TO THE MOUNTAIN NOW, LEDAS CAN SEE MORE AND MORE DEAD, LEAFLESS TREES ALL AROUND; THERE ARE STILL SOME STATUES BURIED AND BROKEN IN THE SAND, BUT THEY ARE FEWER NOW THAN BEFORE; THERE IS ASH COATING THE STATUES, THE TREES, AND MUCH OF THE SAND>
<THERE ARE MORE AND MORE OF THE SCREECHERS IN THE TREES AS HE CONTINUES; THEY YELL AND JEER AT HIM, BUT THEY MAKE NO ATTEMPT TO HURT THE SAIYAN; HE CONTINUES RUNNING THROUGH THE TREES UNTIL HE COMES UPON A LARGE CLEARING>
<THERE IS A CIRCLE OF TREES AROUND A BIT OF PAVED ROAD; AS LEDAS REACHES IT, THE SHROUDED BEING APPEARS ONCE AGAIN; LEDAS STOPS RIGHT IN FRONT OF IT>
Shrouded Being: Your life is in my hands, biped.
Ledas: No it isn’t!
Shrouded Being: Look around you. This place is my prison; and soon it will become someone else’s. Perhaps you will be the new caretaker.
Ledas: No! You can’t make me! I’ll kill you first!
<LEDAS LUNGES AT THE SHROUDED FIGURE AND STARTS PUNCHING IT; THE FIGURE TUMBLES BACKWARDS AND LEDAS MERCILESSLY BEATS DOWN ON IT; HE NOTICES HIS ENERGY IS BACK AS HIS AURA COMES UP AROUND HIM>
Ledas: <IN HIS MIND> My energy’s back! <OUT LOUD> You’re dead now!
<LEDAS CREATES A KYORRA FLASH, SHOOTING IT DIRECTLY AT THE BEING’S FACE; ONCE IT HITS, THERE IS A LARGE EXPLOSION OF SAND AND DUST; LEDAS SEES THE CHARRED REMAINS OF A FACE; IT IS JUST BONE NOW, THOUGH IT IS BLACKENED FROM HIS LAST ATTACK; HE NOTICES THE SHAPE OF THE SKULL IS THE SAME AS THAT OF THE STATUES>
<EVEN THOUGH THE FIGURE LOOKS DEAD, IT SUDDENLY PUSHES LEDAS OFF OF IT WITH A SWIFT ENERGY WAVE; AS LEDAS SKIDS AWAY, HE LOOKS UP AND SEES THE FIGURE SPLIT INTO THREE; THEY ALL BEAR DOWN ON HIM>
Shrouded Beings: <ALL TOGETHER> You are now one of three, if but a slave to me. There is still another, and he is your brother. <THE MIDDLE FIGURE DISSOLVES AWAY> This time, I have a choice.
<THE RIGHT FIGURE DISSOLVES AWAY; AS IT DOES, THE BENEFACTOR COMES STUMBLING IN BEHIND IT; LEDAS SEES THE BENEFACTOR>
Ledas: <IN SHOCK> No!!
Shrouded Being: One will be damned to eternal solitude, and I will be set free. To be able to choose… how long I’ve waited for this moment…
<THE LAST SHROUDED BEING DISSOLVES AWAY, JUST LEAVING LEDAS AND THE BENEFACTOR; OF COURSE, THERE ARE TONS OF THE SCREECHER DEMONS SITTING IN THE TREES WATCHING THEM; SINCE THE SUN HAS SET, ONLY THE RED EYES OF THOSE CREATURES CAN BE SEEN; AND THERE ARE MANY RED EYES WATCHING; THEY ARE HOWLING AT THE FIGURES BELOW THEM, THOUGH THEY ARE NOT YELLING VERY LOUDLY>
The Benefactor: I smell a coward.
<THE BENEFACTOR TURNS TO LEDAS; HIS EYES ARE STILL GONE; NONETHELESS, HE HAS BLACK ENERGY FORMING IN BOTH HANDS>
Ledas: <PRIDEFULLY; TRYING TO PREVENT THE BENEFACTOR FROM ATTACKING> You’re not half as powerful without your eyes! Don’t try anything! Y-you can’t win! <HE SEES THE BENEFACTOR HAS ENERGY ALREADY READY; HE IS PREPARING TO SHOOT IT AT LEDAS> Oh, come on!
<LEDAS JUMPS UP AND CHARGES AT THE BENEFACTOR, READYING ENERGY BETWEEN HIS HANDS AS HE RUNS; AS HE GOES TO RAISE HIS HANDS, THE DEMONS ALL SCREAM IN UNISON; THE SOUND IS SO DEAFENING THAT THE TREES RATTLE ABOUT VIOLENTLY; LEDAS STOPS, DROPS HIS ENERGY, AND CLUTCHES AT HIS EARS, CRYING OUT IN PAIN AT THE LOUDNESS OF THE CREATURES; ONE OF THEM JUMPS OFF A TREE AND RUSHES AT LEDAS; HE KICKS LEDAS DEEP IN THE GUT, CAUSING THE BOY TO FALL OVER TO THE GROUND; EVEN WITH THE PAIN THAT BROUGHT HIM, LEDAS STILL HOLDS HIS EARS; TWO MORE OF THE SCREECHERS JUMP DOWN AND ATTACK THE BENEFACTOR FROM BEHIND, CLUBBING HIM INTO THE GROUND>
<THEN, AS THE TWO WARRIORS LIE IN THE SAND, ALL OF THE LITTLE CREATURES CREATE PURPLE BALLS OF ENERGY OVER THEIR HEADS; THEY SCREAM AGAIN, PARALYZING LEDAS AND THE BENEFACTOR IN PLACE; THEN, COLLECTIVELY, THEY THROW THEIR ENERGY AT THE TWO>
<THE ENERGY COMES CRASHING IN; A MASSIVE EXPLOSION DETONATES, DESTROYING THE ENTIRE AREA; PIECES OF TREES, STATUES, AND SAND ARE ALL FLUNG UP INTO THE AIR>
<THERE IS NO SIGN OF LEDAS OR THE BENEFACTOR AS THE SCREEN FADES TO PURPLE>
- This chapter's name refers to a line from Percy Bysshe Shelley's famous sonnet, Ozymandias. That poem has been a major influence in TF, and it's particularly apropos to this chapter. There are various statues, many of them half-ruined and half-sunk in the sand, that Ledas sees on his journey in this chapter, and those are references to "Ozymandias". As well, the themes of that sonnet, particularly the ones related to legacy, being forgotten, and living on beyond one's natural lifespan are all major themes of this story - mostly as it relates to Ledas (remember the final scene of the previous saga) - and so the reference was born. Overall, I think the chapter names for the Verlate arc of this saga are the strongest collection of chapter names of any TF arc, and this is one of my favorites from that arc.
- This chapter was written from scratch for the final version of this saga. The entire plot of it was conceived of during the final edits; thus, not a word of it or one bit of it conceptually existed in previous drafts of the Fulfillment Saga.
- This chapter is the start of the second major arc in the Fulfillment Saga. Basically, as I was preparing for the final edits of this saga, I came to the conclusion that expanding Verlate's story would be greatly beneficial to this saga, for the stuff involving her was already the best part of the saga. As I was editing the earlier arc, I decided upon the 5 chapter second arc, and this allowed me to ease into Verlate's mind prison; I no longer had to rush through her plot, as I did in previous versions of the saga. This chapter set the tone for that slower, more methodical pacing.
- I was working more overtly with thematic content in this chapter than I was throughout most of the rest of TF. This chapter was a release of aesthetic cravings I had for TF for a long time. The desert journey, the statues, the demon imps, Ledas' clothes changing... all of this was stuff I had wanted to work into TF since 2010 in some capacity, though it was only during the 2013-2014 final edits (and this chapter was posted on January 29, 2014) that I was able to do this. I think my time spent on the wiki, allowing me to grow as a writer, was how this chapter came to be. In 2011 or even 2012, I would have not been able to write a chapter so subtle as this, so aesthetically-driven.
- The thematic content of "Ye Mighty" as well as just the aesthetic look of the chapter, makes it one of my favorite chapters (it will definitely be in my top 10 chapter list on the misc. TF anthology page). There has always been complexity in TF, be it in the characterization or themes or other things, but this chapter in particular has an austere beauty to it that I love and would love to see portrayed in manga form.
- So the opening Cardinal scene was one I considered putting in the previous chapter (there is no Cardinal/Ryori plot in that chapter as it stands now). However, the pacing of that chapter and this one would be more consistent with one another if the Cardinal scene remained in this chapter. As well, the two chapters have a very similar wordcount, which would be severely messed up if the Cardinal scene was put in the previous chapter. So I kept it in this one. It was not an easy decision, and not one I was totally sure of at the time, but by now I am convinced that it was the right move.
- Cardinal's morphine addiction in this opening scene is a callback to earlier drafts where Cardinal and the New Red Ribbon Army soldiers (particularly Captain Green and General Silver) were addicted to M99. Now they still are, even in this final version of TF, but it is much more subtly portrayed, and the fact that Cardinal is addicted to M99 shows, in and of itself, that he has a proclivity towards drug addiction. His morphine addiction is also thematically important. Morphine numbs; morphine takes away pain. And for Cardinal, a man who has fallen so far, morphine appears to be the cure to all pain. He wants to be numbed up, to be numb to the world around him, to be disassociated from reality because reality sucks. And he's not the first TF character to feel that way.
- Cardinal bribing Yorokobi shows that he's not had the typical "villain to hero" change. He might've become less villainous throughout TF, but he's still who he is. People don't really change. Their personalities and emotive proclivities do not often change. Even major events will only change people in small ways, and even then those people will often only change for a short time before reverting to their old ways. In trying to portray Cardinal as realistically as possible, I wanted to show that he's not "good" in the standard sense of the word, though to me that distinction is not very interesting, aside from to be used as cultural commentary on societal moral values. Realistically, Cardinal would want an end to his pain, and realistically, he would do anything he could to remove that pain. He doesn't care if it's "good" or "bad". Such distinctions have no consequence in the real world.
- "I guess I should go check on him soon… He may need some help waking up." - this line implies that Nurse Yorokobi wants to fuck Ryori, and she wants to fuck him so bad she can barely control herself. However, I do not believe she is able to do so until Ledas later finds her fucking Ryori in the second deleted scene. Do remember that from this point in the timeline until the deleted scene in chapter 10 is roughly 24 hours, so Yorokobi doesn't have much time to do what she wants to do. She isn't able to be alone with Ryori until that second deleted scene.
- Cardinal was obviously asking if General Silver had come to see him. But Silver is dead, and as much as Cardinal doesn't want to believe that, he's going to have to accept it sooner than he wants. Going through grief is allowing Cardinal to grow as a character even at this late point in the story. His arc right now is crucially important for building up to the point where he later feels like hosting a tournament - which allows TF to come to its conclusion 7 chapters from now.
- Cardinal being alone at the end of all things is rather striking. He was once so powerful, surrounded by so many lackeys and servants. And pretty much all of them are dead now. Yet he's survived. Think back to the chapter "Mist" from the Planet Earth Saga, when Cardinal, Kindler, Silver, Dewberry, File, and Nagamo (as well as some NRRA soldiers) were working together to find Ledas. Cardinal is literally the only one from that group who is still alive. He's gonna have to carry that weight alone. And that's the reason why he has so much character development in this saga.
- It's a shame that TB and Ledas got sucked in the mind prison. Krillin saved everyone mere moments after they were sucked in. And the combined forces of the Z Fighters would have easily dealt with the wounded TB. But, as often happens in this story, the difference of a few seconds can change the course of the plot in major ways.
- I remember listening to "I Might Be Wrong" a few months before writing this chapter and having the entire opening to the Ledas scene in this chapter form in my mind. It felt like the perfect opening song for Ledas' desert adventure. It has the right amount of weight, melancholy, dread, badassery, and suspense for it to be the perfect song. Much like the first arc opened with a tone-setting song, so does this arc. The entire opening scene in the mind prison was crafted to precisely go with the song. This is one of my favorite music cues in the story.
- Each of the set of clothes Ledas wears is thematically important and is also important to his characterization. I obviously will not reveal what each set of clothes means, but I will say that each set was specifically chosen - not one of them is random - and that each set he wears is ordered chronologically (the first set was from the first saga, and the next set of clothes comes from the next saga, etc.). A big part of my aesthetic desires was to have Ledas wearing these clothes just because it looks cool, aside from the literary implications of them. Also, having him wear these clothes implies that these next few chapters are dream-like in nature, and that is true to an extent. Since this is a mind prison, Verlate has complete and utter control over what is going on inside (since this is basically her mind), and the first hints of that are seen with what Ledas is wearing. Even at this early point, Verlate is controlling Ledas. She is the one who is making him wear what he is wearing.
- Ledas cannot use his ki abilities for the first time in his life at the start of this chapter. For once, he will have to rely on his wits. This was done because I wanted to see what Ledas would be like without his ki reserves, and it also makes sense in the context of the story, as Verlate would of course be testing Ledas, and the first thing she would do to test him would be to take away his powers so he couldn't possibly threaten her.
- Sand has specific symbolic value in this chapter (remember the connection to "Ozymandias"). It's no accident that as Ledas tries to make energy for the first time, sand falls away from his hand and no energy is formed.
- The statues are a really cool thing I added into this story. They work on numerous levels - thematically, tonally, symbolically, and even serve as foreshadowing to revealing Verlate's true appearance. I'd like to think that the sunken statues are Verlate coming to terms with her species' fall from being the gods of the universe to being forgotten. The theme of being forgotten is working on two different levels here, as it relates to Verlate, and as it relates Ledas, who is beholding this quasi-graveyard of dead gods and ideals.
- The imps were created because I wanted some cool little devil monsters. I wanted cool-looking things to attack Ledas. Their appearance was another aesthetic desire of mine. Basically, most of the stuff in this chapter was put in because I thought it would look cool as fuck, aside from the literary worth of the various things. Literary worth was also considered - and quite carefully, I must say - but it was my aesthetic inclinations that drove most of the decisions made in this chapter.
- It is no coincidence that Ledas, in his father's armor, is attacked the way he is by those two demons.
- It is also no coincidence that Ledas, in his father's armor, cannot use ki. He feels powerless to those around him. He feels weak, useless, unable to protect himself. Perhaps Layeeck felt the same in the Prince Vegeta Saga when he saw how much stronger than him his son had become...
- I didn't want Verlate to reveal herself this early. From her perspective, she must cautiously observe Ledas and TB and figure out how to get out of the mind prison while leaving one or both of them inside. Giving them information about herself does nothing but weaken her own position. As stated before, sand is symbolically important, so the fact that it is swirling around her, almost consuming her, is not a random choice on my part.
- Verlate's speech is so alien that even now I'm struck by it. I think she has some of the most unique dialogue I've ever written on this site.
- Notice how Ledas' wounds are healed when the white light covers him. Then, he's transported to a new place (though he's still in the same desert) with new clothes. By this point, it should be clear that Verlate - the Shrouded Being - is controlling him. The fact that his wounds are instantly healed also implies that Verlate has the power to heal him, which is a significant ability, implying that she has some serious skills.
- The mountain symbolizes something as well. Notice how it gets closer and closer to Ledas (or perhaps Ledas gets closer and closer to it) as the chapter goes on. The journey to the mountain is the journey Ledas is going on.
- Reality and hyperreality are seemingly intermixed in this mind prison. Ledas questioning whether things are real alerts the readers to this fact. I was definitely playing with the idea of what is real - and if defining reality even matters - in this chapter.
- The image of the Screechers in the leafless trees watching Ledas as he walks down an ash-covered path is such a cool image to me. Notice, though, that the trees are lifeless, that even in the ashy, hazy place, the Screechers' eyes are shining bright. They are watching him. They are the watchers (yo, it's an Ozymandias reference from Watchmen!).
- The Screechers surrounding Ledas, jeering him, threatening him, causing him to believe he has enemies all around him perhaps parallels Banas' life. I mean, why else would the kid be wearing Banas' armor?
- Ledas doesn't want to become the new occupant of the mind prison, obviously, but the way in which he attacks the Shrouded Being after learning of that possibility is based on his character growth from the Lauto Saga and the Stomping Grounds Saga, where he realized he was a slave on Planet Cooler 92. He doesn't ever want to be a slave again, so he will do anything he can to prevent that - in this case, he believes that means attacking the Shrouded Being. Notice that all of this stuff that is based on Ledas' arc way back in the Planet Trade Organization arc comes up when Ledas is wearing Banas' armor.
- Verlate was being really tricksy, letting Ledas kill one of her Shrouded Being forms. She just did that to give him false hope. This then allowed her to crush his hopes a second later when she showed him how his attack hadn't actually hurt her at all. Reality is being played with again here.
- It is significant that Verlate calls The Benefactor Ledas' brother. In many ways, the two have had parallel arcs throughout their lives. They are different, of course, but they are more alike than they think and they are tied to one another due to the fact that Ledas has some of TB's energy inside of him. But this brotherhood extends beyond simple biological truths, in Verlate's opinion.
- It was fun to slowly reveal what Verlate wants in this chapter. For those who have read Forever Alone, it is more apparent what she wants, but for those who have not, I am somewhat keeping them in the dark as the chapter goes on. Yet by the end of this chapter, Verlate has basically revealed her plan. I don't think either The Benefactor or Ledas really understands it, though.
- Ledas didn't want to fight TB at the end of this chapter, so I had some fun with the dialogue, showing Ledas' weariness - his line, "Oh, come on!" is him complaining that he has to fight TB again. Ledas knows that even weakened as he is, TB will likely still prevail. And Ledas doesn't want to lose again; he doesn't want to get tortured again. He does everything he can to dissuade TB from attacking him again, but his words are completely ineffective. Words are not always as powerful as one might think - and that is an ironic message at this point, since in the coming chapters in this arc, words will indeed become more powerful than actions, in some instances.
- Notice how the Screechers - aspects of Verlate herself - don't want Ledas and The Benefactor to fight. Also notice how easily just a single creature subdues Ledas and two creatures subdue The Benefactor. Yet, there are many of them. This is Verlate flexing her power, showing the two that no matter how strong they think they are, they are nothing compared to her.
- The ending of this chapter is very surreal, with the Screechers destroying Ledas and The Benefactor. However, their deaths are not real ones - they are soon to be reborn in the next chapter. And indeed, as Ledas has already been reborn twice in this chapter, how that will end up working should be apparent to the readers. He will show up in a new set of clothes, with perhaps a different amount of his power unlocked, ready for the next test Verlate is giving him. Verlate is also giving The Benefactor tests too. These tests, though, may just be stalling methods for Verlate to figure out how to switch places with one of them. Since her meeting with Korin in the last chapter of Forever Alone, she has not had another visitor - until now. So this is her first chance to really test all of the ways to get out of the mind prison, and as she's occupying both The Benefactor and Ledas, you can bet she's frantically looking at any and all ways to switch places with either one of them. However, she will soon find out that such a switch is not possible, but more on that when we get to that point in a later chapter.
<THE CAMERA FADES IN>
<IT IS SNOWING AND NEARLY PITCH BLACK>
<LEDAS IS HOVERING IN THE AIR AS A BLIZZARD WHIRLS AROUND HIM; HE IS WEARING THE SAME CLOTHES AS YAJIROBE, THOUGH THEY ARE SIZED TO HIS BODY; HE LOOKS DOWN AND MOVES BACK SLIGHTLY AS A SUDDEN RED ENERGY BLAST COME SHOOTING BY HIM; THE WIND PUSHES HIS HAIR BACK, BUT THE ATTACK HAS NO OTHER EFFECT ON HIM>
Ledas: <LOOKING DOWN INTO THE DARKNESS> Ha! Missed me!
<HE GOES SUPER SAIYAN, THEN DASHES DOWN INTO THE DARKNESS; THE CAMERA FOLLOWS HIM AND IT SHOWS THE BENEFACTOR DASHING UPWARDS RIGHT AT THE SAIYAN; THE TWO COLLIDE; BRIEFLY, THEY ENGAGE IN A BLOW EXCHANGE; THE LIGHT FROM THEIR AURAS IS THE ONLY LIGHT AROUND, THOUGH SOME LIGHTNING GOES OFF IN THE BACKGROUND EVERY FEW SECONDS; THE SNOW STORM PICKS UP>
<LEDAS LUNGES AT THE BENEFACTOR WITH AN ENERGY BALL IN HIS HAND; AS SOON AS HE THROWS IT, HE JUMPS OVER THE ALIEN AND THEN SPINS AROUND AND PUNCHES HIM IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD; THE BENEFACTOR FLIPS OVER LEDAS AND THEN PUNCHES HIM IN THE BACK; HE GRABS LEDAS BY THE TAIL AND THEN THROWS HIM DOWNWARD; HE FOLLOWS THIS UP WITH A BARRAGE OF KI BLASTS; WHILE MANY OF THESE BLASTS HIT LEDAS, HE IS ABLE TO STOP HIS FALL; HE BLOCKS SOME OF THE ENERGY AND THEN REGAINS HIS POSITION; SHOOTING BACK UP AT HIS OPPONENT, LEDAS SPLITS INTO TWO FORMS>
<ONE GOES LEFT AND ONE GOES RIGHT; EACH ONE IS CHARGING UP AN ENERGY ATTACK; HOWEVER, THE BENEFACTOR IS NOT FOOLED AND HE TELEPORT-KICKS THE LEDAS ON THE RIGHT; LEDAS IS SURPRISED BY THIS ATTACK, SO HE DID NOT HAVE ANY DEFENSES READY; HE TAKES THE HIT HARD AND FALLS LIKE A RAGDOLL>
<AS THE BENEFACTOR GOES TO PURSUE, THE SHROUDED BEING SUDDENLY APPEARS IN FRONT OF HIM>
Shrouded Being: You are needed elsewhere, biped.
The Benefactor: <FIERY> I am not yours to command!
<THE BENEFACTOR RAISES HIS FIST AND THROWS IT AS HARD AS HE CAN; THE SHROUDED BEING CATCHES HIS FIST EASILY WITH ITS LEFT HAND; IT CHUCKLES, THEN TELEPORTS AWAY WITH THE BENEFACTOR; WHEN THEY LEAVE, THE TWO OF THEM GET COVERED IN SOME GOLD ENERGY AND THEN DISINTEGRATE OUT OF SIGHT>
Ledas: <STEADYING HIMSELF; WATCHING WHAT JUST HAPPENED> H-hey?! What… what was that?
<SUDDENLY FROM ALL SIDES COME THE DEMON SCREECHERS; LEDAS DUCKS OUT OF THE WAY AS THEY START THROWING ENERGY AT HIM; NOW THAT HE HAS HIS POWER BACK, HE CAN FIGHT THEM OFF; THERE ARE AT LEAST A DOZEN OF THEM, AND THEY SPLIT UP TO ATTACK HIM; HE STARTS SHOOTING OFF ICE CANNONS AND PLAYFUL GALICKS TO STALL THEM; WHENEVER ONE HITS A SCREECHER, THE MONSTER EXPLODES INTO A CLOUD OF SMOKE, WHICH THEN QUICKLY DISSIPATES; HOWEVER, TWO NEW ONES JUMP FROM THE SMOKE OF THE DEAD ONE WHENEVER THIS OCCURS; HE TAKES OUT A FEW OF THEM BEFORE THEY START CHASING HIM AROUND; ONCE THEY DO, THEY START LANDING SOME ATTACKS AS WELL>
<THE CAMERA PANS BACK A LITTLE BIT TO SHOW THE FLASHES OF ENERGY GOING OFF IN THE OTHERWISE DARK MESS OF THE ICY BLIZZARD>
<THE SCENE CHANGES TO WHERE THE BENEFACTOR IS; HE MATERIALIZES A METER ABOVE THE GROUND AND DROPS TO IT ON ONE KNEE; STANDING UP, HE SENSES AROUND THE PLACE FOR ANY SIGNS OF AN OPPONENT>
<THE PLACE HE IS IN, THOUGH HE CANNOT SEE IT, IS AN ENCLOSED ROOM; THERE ARE STONE WALLS, A STONE CEILING, AND A STONE FLOOR; HOWEVER, MUCH OF IT IS OVERRUN WITH SMOKE AND WATER; AS THE BENEFACTOR MOVES FORWARD INTO THE WATER, A TENTACLE POPS UP AND ENSNARES HIM>
<THE ALIEN QUICKLY GRABS HIS KNIFE AND SEVERS THE TENTACLE, WHICH HAD WRAPPED AROUND HIS BODY; HE JUMPS OUT OF THE POOL OF WATER AND THEN MOVES FORWARD, NOW MORE QUICKLY, DOWN THE NARROW HALLWAY; AS HE GOES, MORE TENTACLES POP OUT; HE STARTS SHOOTING THEM AS WELL AS CUTTING THEM>
<HE MOVES FORWARD WHEN A SCREECHER COMES UP BEHIND HIM; THE THING SCREAMS AND THEN JUMPS ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD; THE BENEFACTOR STUMBLES FORWARD INTO A MESS OF THE TENTACLES; ENSNARED BY THOSE AS WELL, HE IS QUICKLY DAMAGED BY THE COMBINED FORCES>
<THE BENEFACTOR CREATES AN EXPLOSIVE WAVE, WHICH FREES HIM FROM THE TENTACLES; HE THEN GRABS THE SCREECHER, WHICH WAS TEARING AT HIS HEAD, AND PULLS IT AROUND TO HIS FACE; THEN, HE DESTROYS IT BY CREATING AN EXPLOSION IN HIS HAND>
<THE BENEFACTOR TURNS BACK TO THE WALLS OF TENTACLES; HE BLOWS THEM AWAY WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT; WHEN HE DOES THIS, IT CAUSES THE ENTIRE ROOM TO COLLAPSE IN ON ITSELF; HOWEVER, THE BENEFACTOR DODGES THE FALLING STONE BY SHOOTING UPWARDS>
The Benefactor: Elementary.
<AS HE HOVERS OVER THE RUBBLE, SOMETHING LETS OUT A LARGE SHRIEK, CAUSING HIM TO TURN AROUND; AS SOON AS HE DOES, THE BENEFACTOR IS HIT BY A MASSIVE GREEN ENERGY BLAST; HE GOES FLYING BACK INTO THE RUBBLE>
<AHEAD OF HIM IS A HUGE, HIDEOUS MONSTER; THE THING DOESN’T APPEAR TO HAVE ANY EYES, BUT IT IS BIPEDAL AND HAIRLESS; IT IS AROUND 13 METERS TALL; THE THING THEN RUNS AT THE BENEFACTOR WITH ASTONISHING SPEED; WITHIN A SECOND, IT IS ALREADY ON HIM; THE THING STOMPS ONE OF ITS HUGE FEET OVER THE FORM OF THE BENEFACTOR; THE BENEFACTOR LETS OUT A GROAN AS HE IS CRUSHED DOWN INTO THE BROKEN STONE>
<THE BENEFACTOR ATTEMPTS TO GET OUT BY CREATING A LARGE ENERGY BLAST; THIS BLOWS UP UNDER THE MONSTER’S FOOT, CAUSING IT TO STUMBLE BACKWARDS; AT ONCE, THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS UP, KI ENVELOPING HIS ENTIRE BODY, AND PUNCHES THE CREATURE IN THE FACE; IT HOWLS OUT IN PAIN AND THEN CREATES A MOUTH BEAM; BEING TOO CLOSE TO DODGE, THE BENEFACTOR PUTS UP BOTH ARMS TO BLOCK IT>
<THE BENEFACTOR STRUGGLES TO MOVE AFTER ABSORBING THE MASSIVE ATTACK; HIS BODY IS SMOKING AND HIS CLOTHES ARE TATTERED; AT ONCE, THE CREATURE SWATS HIM LIKE A FLY; THE BENEFACTOR GOES A WAYS BEFORE STABILIZING HIMSELF; YET WHEN HE DOES, THE MONSTER IS ON HIM AT ONCE, ALREADY TRYING TO TEAR HIM LIMB FROM LIMB; THE BENEFACTOR, THOUGH HE IS WEAKENED, DODGES AROUND THE MONSTER AND SHOOTS TWO LARGE BLASTS INTO ITS BACK; THESE OPEN TWO LARGE HOLES IN ITS BACK, THOUGH ONLY SMOKE COMES OUT FROM THE WOUNDS>
<THE CREATURE HOWLS AND THEN JUMPS INTO THE AIR INCREDIBLY HIGH; AS THE BENEFACTOR LOOKS UP TO SENSE FOR THE CREATURE, HE SENSES AN ENERGY BLAST COMING RIGHT AT HIM; HE BATS THIS ASIDE EASILY; YET RIGHT BEHIND THE ENERGY ATTACK IS THE MONSTER; THE BENEFACTOR IS NOT PREPARED FOR THAT, AND HIS DEFENSIVE STANCE IS BROKEN BY THE CREATURE WITH EASE; THE ALIEN IS THROWN TO THE GROUND INTO A DEEP CRATER>
<HE ROLLS OVER TO HIS HANDS AND KNEES AND SPITS UP SOME BLOOD; HE LOOKS UP AND SENSES THE MONSTER CREATING ENERGY BETWEEN ITS TWO HANDS; THE BENEFACTOR LAUGHS>
The Benefactor: H-ha! Is that all? <HE STANDS UP> It’s time I end this.
<THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS TOWARDS THE MONSTER; IT THROWS ITS ENERGY TO HIM AS THIS HAPPENS; THE BENEFACTOR THEN CREATES AN ENERGY BLAST OF HIS OWN; HE PUTS ALL OF HIS POWER INTO THE RED BEAM; HE SHOOTS IT RIGHT INTO THE LARGE BALL THAT IS FLYING HIS WAY; THE BENEFACTOR’S ENERGY OVERTAKES THE MONSTER’S AND STARTS PUSHING IT BACK; THE MONSTER WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THIS, AND THOUGH IT GOES TO DODGE, IT IS NOT FAST ENOUGH; THE HUGE ENERGY BALL AND THE BENEFACTOR’S BEAM HIT THE CREATURE RIGHT IN THE FACE; IN THE MASSIVE EXPLOSION, THE MONSTER IS INSTANTLY VAPORIZED>
<THE BENEFACTOR LANDS ON THE GROUND, DROPPING TO ONE KNEE AS SOON AS HE LANDS; HE BREATHES HEAVILY AND CHECKS HIS BODY FOR WOUNDS>
<AT THIS TIME, THE SHROUDED BEING REAPPEARS IN FRONT OF HIM>
Shrouded Being: You have proved your strength and cunning, sentient. I am impressed.
The Benefactor: Then let me out of this place.
Shrouded Being: No, not yet. My own freedom must be assured first.
The Benefactor: <BREATHING HARD> W-what are you talking about?
Shrouded Being: Don’t you know what this place is? This hell? <THE BENEFACTOR SHAKES HIS HEAD> This is a mind prison. The greatest of all tortures in the universe. For in this place, one only exists; one does not age; one does not die. One can only suffer through immeasurable time. And I want to get out. You or the other will be my ticket.
The Benefactor: The kid will be easier to subdue. You will not so easily bind me to this place.
Shrouded Being: Perhaps not. But that is for me to decide.
<BEFORE THE BENEFACTOR CAN RESPOND, THE SHROUDED BEING TELEPORTS AWAY; AS IT DOES, ALL OF THE SCENERY GOES WITH IT; THE RUBBLE, THE SMOKE, THE WATER ALL MELTS AWAY INTO AN ENDLESS EXPANSE OF PURE WHITE, SAVE FOR THE BLACK DOT THAT IS THE BENEFACTOR>
<CUTS TO LEDAS>
<LEDAS IS NOW WEARING KINDLER’S SUIT>
<LEDAS IS BEING CHASED AROUND BY THE DEMONS WHEN THE SHROUDED BEING APPEARS IN FRONT OF HIM; THE SCREECHERS IMMEDIATELY STOP TRYING TO KILL HIM AND FORM A CIRCLE AROUND HIM>
Shrouded Being: You are not as easy to figure out as the other.
Ledas: <ANGRILY> Well, you’re not making any sense, either!
Shrouded Being: That is not my concern. What is my concern is getting out of this place.
Ledas: So? What does that have to do with me?
Shrouded Being: Everything. One being must be tied to this mind prison at all times. And that will be one of you two before this is over.
Ledas: Mind… prison? What’s that?
Shrouded Being: <SPREADING ITS ARMS OUT TO EACH SIDE> All of this around us. It is a place with no escape, a place where you cannot age or die. Whomever is bound to this infinite solitude will have to suffer through a life without end.
Ledas: It’s not gonna be me!
Shrouded Being: I have been leaning towards it being you, actually.
Ledas: <IN HORROR> You can’t be serious! No!
<LEDAS SHOOTS AN ENERGY BEAM AT THE SHROUDED BEING; THE FIGURE EXPLODES BUT IMMEDIATELY REAPPEARS A FEW METERS TO THE RIGHT; LEDAS SHOOTS IT AGAIN, BUT THE BEING REAPPEARS; HE DOES THIS SEVERAL MORE TIMES TO NO AVAIL>
<THE SHROUDED BEING SUDDENLY SHOOTS FORWARD AND GRABS LEDAS BY THE MOUTH; IT PICKS HIM UP AND BRINGS IT RIGHT UP TO ITS OWN FACE>
Shrouded Being: This place is mine. <THE SCREECHERS BEHIND START DISSOLVING AWAY INTO SMOKE> I control everything. <THE BLIZZARD STARTS TO LET UP> And you know nothing. You can do nothing to stop me! If I want to keep you here, then you will never escape. Your life is in my hands!
<THE SHROUDED BEING THROWS LEDAS DOWN; HE LANDS ON THE SMOOTHED OUT PEAK OF THE MOUNTAIN; BEFORE LEDAS CAN STAND BACK UP, THE SHROUDED BEING APPEARS AND PRESSES ITS FOOT TO LEDAS’ CHEST>
Ledas: Get offa me!
Shrouded Being: Look around you. This place is a figment of my mind. It is nothing. And yet you are in it. You are but a speck of dust in my thoughts.
Ledas: <MORE TO HIMSELF THAN TO THE SHROUDED BEING; SCOWLING; LOOKING AWAY FROM THE SHROUDED BEING> Yeah, right. I can take you.
<ALL AROUND LEDAS, THE SCENERY IS DISSOLVING AWAY INTO PURE WHITE; WITHIN A FEW SECONDS, IT IS ALL GONE; THE SHROUDED BEING STANDS OVER LEDAS STILL; THEN, NEXT TO LEDAS, THE BENEFACTOR TELEPORTS IN, COVERED IN GOLD ENERGY; LEDAS’ EYES GO WIDE>
<THE BENEFACTOR IS BREATHING HEAVILY AND LOOKS WOUNDED, BUT HE DOES NOT SPEAK; UPON SEEING HIM, THE SHROUDED BEING TAKES ITS FOOT OFF OF LEDAS>
Shrouded Being: I have learned enough about you two – and you will be chained to this prison soon enough. <BRINGS ITS SHOULDERS UP IN A BROAD, PROUD STANCE> There is no stopping this, sentients. You will help me escape this cursed place whether you want to or not. That much is certain.
<WITH THAT, THE SHROUDED BEING TAKES A STEP BACK AND THEN EXPLODES INTO A POOL OF SAND>
<ABRUPT TO BLACK>
- This chapter's name refers to Mephistopheles, a demon from the Faust legend. As to who could be compared to Mephistopheles in this chapter, perhaps there are connections to both Verlate and The Benefactor.
- Like the previous chapter, this chapter was written entirely for the final version of this story. Not a word or bit of it conceptually existed in the 2011 or 2012 versions of this saga.
- The opening of this chapter is one of my favorite chapter openings in TF. I think it shows my growing confidence and ability as a writer, particularly when looking at the older sagas in TF. This is the type of opening I could easily see working in manga or anime form. The choreography of it is based on several animes I've seen, particularly with the moment that Ledas barely dodges the first beam attack and has his hair blown all about.
- It is of course thematically significant that as a storm rages around him, Ledas is dressed in Yajirobe's attire.
- Notice how, at the start of this chapter, Ledas flies into the darkness below, where The Benefactor awaits him. He is fearless there, a marked difference from how he was acting at the end of the previous chapter. But, noticing that he seemed to "die" several times already with no consequence and no lasting damage, I think Ledas has started to relax and isn't as worried about The Benefactor as he was before. He expects the Shrouded Being to either protect him or heal him if he gets too hurt. Now he doesn't know exactly what the Shrouded Being's motives are, but the fact that he has already been "reborn" like three times means that he's not as fearful of death as he was previously.
- Notice how TB's struggle with the Shrouded Being is mostly one of agency and individuality. TB is having much the same struggle as Ledas - he doesn't want to be a slave or subservient to anyone else. He and Ledas aren't that different.
- Ledas has no chance against the Screechers. He can pretty much use his full power in this chapter, but it doesn't matter. He cannot do anything that Verlate does not allow. Whenever he kills a Screecher, two more appear - this is Verlate's method of stalling Ledas as she focuses on The Benefactor. She cannot be in two places at once, after all.
- Ledas fighting the Screechers in the storm as lightning flashes and dark clouds swirl is another one of those aesthetic decisions of mine. It has specific meaning both to Ledas and the story in general, but the storm was also just a cool idea and something that looked rad to me when I pictured it in my mind's eye, so that was a major reason why I added it in.
- The place TB goes in this chapter was influenced by a level in Sonic The Hedgehog (2006). I like that game - and I seem to be in the minority opinion there, but who cares? people like what they like - and was playing it around the time I writing this chapter in early February 2010.
- Verlate's tentacles are based on the tentacles seen in the Dragonborn dlc in Skyrim. I was also playing a lot of that game around the time I wrote this chapter, so I decided to put in several references to the enemies in this chapter.
- The ruins that TB treks through in this chapter are interesting, if one remembers that Verlate came up with them herself. These water-overrun ruins call back to the use of water as a symbol in Forever Alone, and the ruin aspect of the location may be related to Verlate's state of mind.
- The lurker is also based on the Lurker enemy from the Skyrim Dragonborn dlc.
- I thought of the Lurker vs. Benefactor battle basically when I got to that point in the story. There aren't many opportunities for battles against larger opponents, so I wanted to mix things up a bit for my own entertainment.
- Smoke is certainly a re-occurring motif in this arc.
- The Benefactor is heavily injured by the Lurker. He underestimated the power of the being (just as he underestimated the Screecher and tentacles in the ruins, which caused him to be wounded unnecessarily) and paid the price for that. This foreshadows him later underestimating Ledas. As well, The Benefactor's wounds also allow him to later be beaten by SS2 Ledas when not even SS3 Vegeta could beat him at the start of this saga. TB has absorbed a lot of damage and has not ever been healed. He has not gotten a senzu bean like Ledas. He's been losing power ever since his introduction, and he's never been weaker than he is at the end of this chapter.
- Clearly Verlate wasn't testing TB's power - she already knows how strong he is. She was stalling him, trying to find a way to switch places with him, if possible. And she's been doing the same thing with Ledas. But she's not finding any way to make that work, which is why these tests just keep going on. Verlate is getting a little desperate already in this chapter, which is funny, considering all of the millions of years she's spent in the mind prison. A few hours with Ledas and The Benefactor, and she's already become more impatient than she's ever been before. This impatience directly leads to her crazy antics in the next three chapters.
- Verlate reveals quite a bit to TB in this chapter about her plans. That she wouldn't care to keep her motives secret says a lot about her. She's being disingenuous to a degree, but her false confidence isn't fooling TB.
- I almost had Ledas wear Cardinal's suit in the final scene of this chapter, but changed it to Kindler's at the last moment, realizing that the implications of that had greater literary worth.
- Verlate is leaning towards leaving Ledas in the mind prison because she knows he's weaker. Because of that, she thinks the switch will be easier with him. It doesn't have anything to do with his personality or any of that stuff.
- Verlate says that Ledas is more difficult to figure out than The Benefactor, and this is me once again talking about how Ledas is a grey character. He's not good or evil. TB is not, either - no one is. But he definitely leans more towards the evil side and has a more consistently venomous personality. Ledas is less predictable by nature, and that ultimately is why TB and others are so often confused by him.
- Ledas finally reaches the peak of the mountain in this chapter, just at the end when Verlate throws him on it. Notice that he doesn't get there on his own, even if it symbolizes the endpoint of the journey he's been going on.
- Notice how Verlate shows her first hint of emotion when Ledas questions her in the final scene. She gets really angry that he would question her agency - and yet she is subverting both his and TB's. Verlate's a hypocrite. She's not a good person. She's not a bad person. She's flawed, and she lacks an understanding of this, and does not have anyone to hold her accountable for her actions. That makes her quite dangerous, and puts Ledas and TB on more of the same level, when before there was a great disparity between the two (with TB being much superior to Ledas).
- Verlate's Shrouded Being image exploding into a pile of sand at the end of this chapter hints at Verlate's desire to re-enter the realm of time, of where time proceeds as normal. She's been in limbo in her mind prison, in a constant, unnatural state. She wants to return to reality. It's quite odd that reality matters to someone who is so eager to warp it in her own mind prison.
Riddle Me This
<ALL IS WHITE>
<LEDAS IS SITTING ON HIS KNEES>
<THE BOY’S CLOTHES ARE THE SAME AS WHAT HE WAS WEARING BEFORE HE ENTERED THE MIND PRISON – A RED HOODIE WITH A PLAIN WHITE SHIRT UNDERNEATH, BLUE JEANS, AND BLACK SHOES; THERE IS NO BLOOD OR DIRT OR ANY SIGNS OF DAMAGE ON THEM AT ALL>
<HE LOOKS AROUND AND SEES THE BENEFACTOR ON ONE KNEE NEXT TO HIM; AHEAD IS THE PILE OF SAND THAT THE SHROUDED BEING BURST INTO AT THE END OF THE LAST CHAPTER; LEDAS STANDS UP, KEEPING A DEFENSIVE GUARD UP, AS HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE BENEFACTOR WILL DO; HE CAUTIOUSLY PEERS AROUND>
<THE BENEFACTOR STANDS UP, CAUSING LEDAS TO JUMP BACK>
The Benefactor: Your trickery has backfired on you.
Ledas: <ON EDGE> What do you mean?
The Benefactor: You tried to trap me in this place, yet it will be you who will not escape.
Ledas: That’s what you think!
The Benefactor: No, that’s what that sand-covered being told me. It plans on leaving you here.
Ledas: You’re just a liar. I’m not believing anything you say.
<SUDDENLY A BLUE LIGHT POPS UP AHEAD OF THE TWO; IT IS IN THE DISTANCE, BUT EVEN SO IT IS BRIGHT ENOUGH THAT THEY CAN SEE IT; WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT, THE BENEFACTOR GOES RACING TOWARDS IT>
The Benefactor: <IN A WHISPER> Time to leave.
<LEDAS FOLLOWS HIM AT ONCE; HE LOOKS PANICKED; THEY BOTH AIR DASH TOWARDS THE LIGHT>
<ONCE THEY GET CLOSE, THEY SEE A SMALL AREA THAT STICKS OUT FROM THE OTHERWISE WHITE, EMPTY EXPANSE; THE PLACE IS PROBABLY NO BIGGER THAN A HOUSE, THOUGH IT HAS NO ROOF OR FLOOR; THERE ARE MANY STONE PILLARS SCATTERED ABOUT IN VARIOUS HALF AND FULL CIRCLES; THE STONES ARE VERY PLAIN; IT DOES NOT HAVE ANY RUNES OR COLORS OR ANYTHING LIKE THE ACTUAL BOX THAT ENCOMPASSES ALL OF THIS HAD; INSIDE ARE SOME BENCHES AND TABLES; THERE IS NOTHING ON ANY OF THEM; THERE ARE FOUNTAINS AND THERE IS WATER RUNNING DOWN EACH OF THE STONE PILLARS; LEDAS AND THE BENEFACTOR LAND IN THE CENTER OF THE AREA>
<AS SOON AS THEY LAND, THE ENTIRE AREA COMES TO LIFE; THE WHITE FLOOR BECOMES A FILLED WITH ROCKS AND WATER AND SMALL PLANTS; THUS, THE ENTIRE AREA IS NO LONGER A WHITE EXPANSE>
<AS SOON AS THEY LAND AND BEGIN WALKING FORWARD, A BEING STEPS OUT FROM BEHIND A STATUE LIKE THE ONE THAT LEDAS SAW IN THE SAND TWO CHAPTERS AGO (THOUGH THIS STATUE IS NOT BROKEN); THE BEING IS OF THE SAME RACE OF LONG-FACED BEINGS WITH THEIR EYES WHERE ANY NORMAL BEING’S EARS SHOULD BE; IT APPROACHES LEDAS FIRST>
<THE BEING STANDING OVER LEDAS IS TALL, PROBABLY A BIT LESS THAN 2 METERS TALL; IT IS MOSTLY HUMANOID; ITS SKIN IS A DULL GREY – AND IT IS REPTILIAN, MOST LIKELY; ITS HEAD IS TALL AND SLENDER, WITH EACH OF THE EYES PULLED OUT TO THE SIDES, LIKE EARS; IT IS WEARING A ROBE OF TAN AND WHITE, COVERING ITS BODY>
<LEDAS DRAWS HIMSELF UP INTO DEFENSE, CAUTIOUS OF THIS NEW CREATURE>
Alien: So we are finally acquainted face-to-face, biped. Still, I do not know your names. That is a bit odd, don’t you think?
Ledas: Wewll, I’m Ledas. <BELLIGERENTLY WITH A THRUST TO HIS CHIN> Who the heck are you?
<RATHER SUDDENLY, FROM BEHIND LEDAS A VOICE SPEAKS>
The Benefactor: <RATHER CHILDISHLY FOR HIM> Are you a scientist? A stinking doctor? You need to get me out of here!
<LEDAS IS STARTLED BY THIS; HE STEPS AWAY FROM THE BENEFACTOR; HE DOES NOT LEAVE, BECAUSE THE ALIEN HOLDS OUT ITS HAND AS IT CONTINUES TO TALK>
Alien: <SLOWLY; TO THE BENEFACTOR> I am neither of those things, but I would like your name all the same.
The Benefactor: That is unimportant. All that matters is getting me out of here.
Alien: So be it. <IT TURNS BACK TO LEDAS> Now as to your earlier question, Ledas, my name is Verlate. And I apologize for what I put you two through earlier. It was necessary for me to gauge the nuances of your abilities and personalities.
Ledas: <SUSPICIOUS> Why do you need to know that stuff?
Verlate: I told you before – I must get out of this prison. Now for that to occur, one of you must stay here. And I need to make sure I can guarantee at least one of you will stay. I can try to force you to switch places with me – and believe me, I’ve tried this on numerous individuals before you two – but this will not work. The technological capabilities of this mind prison are far superior than in any Dyson Sphere. Escape is not so easy. Watch.
<VERLATE BRINGS HER AURA UP AROUND HER THEN SHOOTS STRAIGHT UP INTO THE AIR; THE BENEFACTOR AND LEDAS TRACK HER; AS SHE GETS HIGHER, THE TOP OF THE PLACE STARTS TO SPLIT OPEN, REVEALING A SLIVER OF DARK BLUE, WHICH IS THE OUTSIDE; AS SHE GETS CLOSER, IT’S AS IF SHE FLIES STRAIGHT INTO A WALL; AN INVISIBLE FORCE SHIELD SUDDENLY HITS HER AND PREVENTS HER FROM GOING ANY FURTHER; VERLATE TUMBLES BACK TO THE GROUND, LANDING ON HER FEET>
Verlate: See? The prison knows me. It only needs one occupant, and yet even when there are three of us here, I cannot leave.
Ledas: <SCOWLING> So you can’t get out. Just let me go then.
Verlate: That’s not the end of it. I have yet to try something else: having you voluntarily trade places with me.
The Benefactor: And why would anyone do that?
Verlate: I control everything inside this mind prison. I can keep you here forever, if I wish. So you would be wise to play this little game with me.
The Benefactor: What do you want us to do? Out with it!
Verlate: Answer a riddle. That’s it. If you get it correct, I will let you go. If you get it wrong, you agree to take on the burden of residency.
Ledas: I don’t know…cuz how do we know you aren’t lying? You didn’t even say why you’re in this thing to begin with. You could be some crazy person.
Verlate: Very well, I’ll tell you why I am here. I am a member of a race of beings who once watched over all life in this universe. We ruled it all, and I was one of my species’ most powerful members. Because of this, I was entrusted with categorizing other species and bringing them technology or language or other essential things for jump-starting their evolutionary processes. But one of these species, the Kais as they were called, tricked me and stole some of my power. And they nearly destroyed themselves because of it. It was my fault, and a judge sentenced me to eternal solitude in this mind prison because of it. I do not know what has become of my own race or the Kais, but it no longer matters. I just want to get out of here.
Ledas: Whoa, you were a god? A real one?! I didn’t think gods were real…!
Verlate: Yes, in my own time, I was. But I fear that time has long since passed. We were dying out even when I was sentenced. My species had been ravaged with disease and sterility, and we had no cure for any of it. It would not surprise me to learn that they are all gone by now.
The Benefactor: <HAUGHTILY> You are not a god any longer–
Verlate: No, I gave up that privilege when I pleaded my guilt.
The Benefactor: <CONTINUING THROUGH THE INTERRUPTION> –others have taken your place. These Kais you speak of… were they purple-skinned, white-haired beings?
Verlate: Why, yes. How did you know?
The Benefactor: Then I have killed one of these animals. He called himself a god, but he bled like all the rest.
Verlate: <IN A WHISPER THAT THE OTHER TWO DO NOT HEAR> Sertung, you did it… <TO THE OTHER TWO> If what you say is true, then the Kais are my successors. Perhaps only because we felt sorry for them… <SHE TRAILS OFF, THEN SNAPS BACK INTO REALITY> but, very well then. Since you have now heard my story, will you accept my offer? Answer one riddle, and I will set you free. When I first talked with you two, I was belligerent, almost delusional with power. Part of it was to invoke reaction, and part of it was beyond my control. But my excitement has been properly tempered now. You will have to trust in my word as coming from a perfectly sane being, or you will never leave.
Ledas: <FORCEFULLY> I’ll do it!
The Benefactor: <TAKEN ABACK BY LEDAS’ QUICKNESS> I need a moment to think this over…
Verlate: <TURNS TO LEDAS; SHE STARES HIM DOWN> You do agree to give up your freedom and be tied to this place should you answer incorrectly?
Ledas: Yeah, sure. It’s not gonna happen though. I’ll answer your riddle.
Verlate: Very well, biped.
Ledas: By the way, what’s a riddle?
Verlate: Something a small furry being, who once stumbled into this place like you have, taught me. Now, I will isolate you two, so you don’t know if the other has answered correctly or not.
<VERLATE CREATES A LARGE ENERGY PILLAR WHICH SEPARATES LEDAS AND THE BENEFACTOR; THE ENERY EXTENDS ALL THE WAY TO THE CEILING; IT IS A DARK YELLOW COLOR, AND LEDAS CANNOT SEE THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE ANY LONGER; VERLATE STAYS ON THE SIDE THAT LEDAS IS ON>
Verlate: A fate worse than death, don’t you think, biped? <SHE TRAILS OFF, REACHING OUT TO THE AIR BEFORE HER> Being stuck here?
Ledas: Look mister, can’t you just let me go and keep that other guy in here?
Verlate: It is difficult to tell for an outsider; still, I am a female of my species.
Ledas: Oh… I’m sorry, miss…
<LEDAS WALKS UP AND SITS DOWN NEXT TO VERLATE ON THE TABLE; HE SWINGS HIS FEET AND WHATNOT WHEN HE SITS DOWN>
Ledas: <SOMEWHAT EAGERLY> Is there any way to keep that other guy here with you? Y’know, after I get out?
Verlate: Unless he does what is needed, he can never leave. For you, it is the same.
Ledas: But… can’t you keep him here even if he does whatcha want?
Verlate: I already gave my word on the matter, sentient.
Ledas: Who cares?! You can do whatever you want in here!
Verlate: One cannot judge with such reckless intent. Even as a prisoner, I will maintain my honor.
<LEDAS MUMBLES SOMETHING INAUDIBLE>
Verlate: This talk of him is borderline obsession. How can think so much of one being?
Ledas: I don’t even know his name. But he’s been following me around ever since I was real little…
Verlate: You are still very young.
Ledas: <TALKING FAST; WILDLY> That’s a long story. He followed me all the way here and beat up all of Vegeta’s friends just so he could get me. He wants to kill me! If you let him out, he’ll just keep trying!
<THERE IS SILENCE>
Verlate: I will have no part in your quarrel. It doesn’t matter to me. But what does is giving you your riddle, if you are ready. Well?
Ledas: <LETS OUT A VERY LONG SIGH> I guess. <HEAD UP> Just do it.
<VERLATE SWINGS OUT HER ARMS; THE BRIGHT LIGHT DIMS, THE ATMOSPHERE QUICKLY CHANGES TO WATER; VERLATE AND LEDAS ARE BOTH COVERED IN IT; LEDAS AND VERLATE FLOAT ABOUT, THOUGH LEDAS REMAINS CALM WHEN HE REALIZES THAT HE DOESN’T NEED TO BREATH IN THIS PLACE>
Verlate: I find water to be a soothing medium for the mind. It will help you think to your fullest. <TO HERSELF; LEDAS DOES NOT HEAR> Or relax you just enough…
<LEDAS FLOATS AROUND ON HIS BACK, THOUGH HE DOES NOT SEEM TO BE ENJOYING IT>
Verlate: Answer this question correctly and you may leave. <SHE CONTINUES, NOW VERY CRISPLY>
Shining with the color of a utopian future
It is to your skull
As the sword is to the dragon
Use it wisely, this pragmatic tool
Verlate: The riddle describes a word. Find the word, and find your escape.
Ledas: Uh, canya say it again, please?
<INSTEAD OF SAYING IT AGAIN, VERLATE CUTS INTO THE WATER WITH HER FINGER, WRITING IN ORNATE RED LETTERS; THE ENTIRE RIDDLE HOVERS IN FRONT OF LEDAS SO THAT HE CAN STUDY IT; AND STUDY IT HE DOES>
<THIS IS WRITTEN IN LEDAS’ SAIYAN LANGUAGE, BUT SINCE THERE IS NO POINT MAKING UP A LANGUAGE JUST FOR THAT, WE THE AUDIENCE MERELY SEE IT IN ENGLISH (OR WHATEVER LANGUAGE THIS STORY HAS BEEN TRANSLATED INTO)>
<LEDAS WORKS HIS BRAIN AS HARD AS HE CAN, BUT HE CANNOT COME UP WITH ANYTHING; HIS FACE IS VISIBLY FRUSTRATED; HE SWIMS AROUND, TRYING TO THINK; HE SHIVERS, AND FOLDS HIS ARMS FOR WARMTH; VERLATE WATCHES HIM AS HE STAYS FOCUSED ON HIS RIDDLE, TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO POSSIBLY SOLVE IT AND PREVENT HIMSELF FROM BEING STUCK IN THE PLACE FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE>
<BORED OF WATCHING LEDAS THINK, VERLATE MOVES OVER TO THE BENEFACTOR, WHO IS SITTING IN A MEDITATION POSE; AS SOON AS SHE ENTERS, HE LIFTS HIS HEAD>
Verlate: Would you like a riddle as well, sentient? It is your only hope for getting out of here. <TO HERSELF> And truly, my own as well.
<THE BENEFACTOR SIGHS>
The Benefactor: <SLOWLY; DRAMATICALLY> All right, shoot.
- This chapter's name is a common phrase. However, I got it from the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic strategy guide chapter about the Rakatan who was trapped in a mind prison (who was the inspiration for Verlate and her plot in TF), which was called "Riddle Me This, Rakatan". Much like Verlate, he asks whoever enters his mind prison some riddles, and if they pass, they get to go free. Now, in the final version of this saga, the similarities between Verlate and that Rakatan have been reduced, but the influence remains.
- This chapter is the first in the Fulfillment Saga that was not radically re-written. All of the previous six chapters were either written from scratch or radically re-arranged during the final edits. That is not to say that "Riddle Me This" wasn't updated - it was, and massively. Both in the 2012 and 2014 edits of it, the chapter was polished extensively. But the major plot points, the major actions of the characters, were mostly kept the same. Mostly what I updated in 2012 and 2014 was the dialogue (this is most readily seen with The Benefactor's dialogue, which was atrocious in the previous drafts of this chapter). Verlate's character was also fleshed out extensively in the final version of this chapter.
- Another thing that occurred with this chapter was that it was split in two in the 2012 edits. In 2011, in the first version of this chapter, everything related to Verlate was introduced and resolved in a single chapter. It made "Riddle Me This" one of the longest TF chapters. But it also didn't feel right, even way back then. I didn't like how her appearance was so brief. So in 2012, I split the chapter in two. Now, to this day, that split still exists - the next chapter is basically the second half of the chapter in 2011. This split existed through the 2012 and 2014 edits of these two chapters and it was not something I ever considered undoing during the final edits process. However, the ending to the next chapter was changed significantly to allow for the chapter after that (chapter 9 of this saga), but more on that when we get to that point.
- This saga opens how it always did, even in 2011 and 2012. It's interesting to see how I did this, considering there are now two chapters before this one that take place in Verlate's mind prison, whereas in the previous versions, this chapter was the first.
- Notice how Ledas' clothes are now back to normal. The dream-like tests are over. Verlate's Shrouded Being persona is gone. However, her tests are not done completely. She will still do the riddles to distract the two beings in her mind prison.
- The Benefactor does not see the light in the distance; he senses it. Ledas sees it, though. The scene direction is a bit vague there.
- Verlate's lair in this chapter is based on the lair of the Rakatan in the mind prison in KOTOR. This lair was also seen in the third chapter of Forever Alone, and it is Verlate's true home. It says a lot about Verlate's personality that she would choose such a place for her true home for so many tens of millions of years.
- It's certainly interesting that TB and Ledas didn't fight at the start of this chapter. Had this scene taken place two chapters previously (remember how "Ye Mighty" ended and how "Mephistopheles" opened), they would have likely fought instead of going towards the light that was Verlate's home together. However, by this point, both of them are wary that they may be trapped in the mind prison, so they are more concerned with getting out of it than they are concerned about attacking one another. It's quite a departure from how the two normally act around one another.
- The place comes alive when TB and Ledas get there because I thought having a white expanse around them would look incredibly boring in either manga or anime form. So I was more thinking about those mediums with that choice, if they ever happen (unlikely, I know).
- It is thematically significant that the statue Verlate steps out from behind in this chapter is not broken like the ones Ledas saw in "Ye Mighty".
- "Wewll, I’m Ledas. <BELLIGERENTLY WITH A THRUST TO HIS CHIN> Who the heck are you?" - this introduction is almost word-for-word (including the emotive direction) what Ozymandias said when he introduced himself in the book, Where the Wind Blows by James Patterson.
- "Are you a scientist? A stinking doctor? You need to get me out of here!" - these lines by The Benefactor are also what Ozymandias said immediately after introducing himself. It is of course significant that I would split up Ozymandias' dialogue between Ledas and The Benefactor. Ozymandias is just a kid in that story (and a cool one at that - he is part of the reason I often go by the name "Ozymandias22" online), but his name is of course tied to the poem by Percy Shelley, even if Where the Wind Blows and that poem have no overt connections. The connection is my own doing, and considering that I have had so many thematic references to Percy Shelley's poem in this second Fulfillment Saga arc, I think it's a really clever one.
- The invisible wall that Verlate flies into is like the invisible wall that separates Hell from Snake Way in the DBZ anime.
- Verlate raises a good point when she shows TB and Ledas that she can't get out of the mind prison even with them inside. It's certainly something some readers would be questioning - as long as there is another being in the mind prison, why can't Verlate leave? It's because the mind prison was specifically tailored to keep her inside, not just anyone. Should she die, however, that tracker would be erased, and then it would just revert to keeping a single being inside the mind prison, with no preference (that distinction is important, for *spoiler alert!!!* it explains how TB escapes from the mind prison in Dragon Ball: Cold Vengeance). Verlate's struggle is to trick the mind prison into thinking that her energy signature remains in the mind prison while she leaves. What she doesn't know at this point in the story is that it is impossible to trick the mind prison that way.
- Notice that in Ledas' dialogue, he is careful to ask Verlate to release only him - he wants TB to stay in this mind prison.
- It was personally cool to see Ledas question Verlate in this chapter, as it shows a growing awareness and intelligence for a boy who has, in previous sagas, not been all that intelligent. Yet, his cautiousness in this chapter is quite smart on his part. He seems to fully understand the gravity of the situation.
- It's apparent even in this chapter (it will become far more apparent in the next chapter) that Verlate likes to monologue. One of the fun parts about doing the final edits for this arc of FS was that I got to expand Verlate's character. I took a distinctively Shakespearean turn with her character, making her unique in all of TF. Notably, Verlate doesn't have much time for character growth or explaining who she is, so these long monologues help quickly reveal her character and backstory.
- It is interesting to note when analyzing Ledas' character that he never believed gods existed in the DB universe.
- Verlate reveals her backstory here with more detail than is even revealed in Forever Alone. Her backstory reveal has inherent worth, but it should be more interesting to those who have read Forever Alone already. The fact that she is a god is a massive thing - although, she is simply a mortal god - a being of a mortal race who called themselves gods. There is a distinction between the Daman and Kais and actual, immortal gods, like the first and second generation gods I created for my mythos.
- TB's dialogue with Verlate is badass in this chapter, though its worth is mostly in its philosophical implications.
- The connection between Verlate and TB with them both having dealt with Kais is a cool little tidbit, and not one I had planned since the final edits of the Lauto Saga, where I made Lauto a Supreme Kai. It was a very cool coincidence, and one I am happy about so that I could have Verlate and TB discuss the race here. I wish I could say I had planned that out from the start of the final edits, but it was just something I realized as I was doing the final edits for this chapter. It seems so fluid, so well-planned, when in reality it's just a coincidence that TB knows about the gods who replaced Verlate's species and was able to (unintentionally) give her closure about the Kais taking over the Daman's role as gods of the universe.
- "He called himself a god, but he bled like all the rest." - this is one of my favorite TB lines in TF.
- It really is a cool moment when Verlate learns that Sertung heeded her advice and made the Kais the new gods of the universe. Her line where she mentions Sertung of course means nothing to people who have not read Forever Alone. Forever Alone is a part of this story, though, and if one has not read it, then that is on them, and it's their fault for not understanding everything that is going on with the references to that TF special.
- The themes of being forgotten, of being erased from time because one's legacy has been forgotten, is prevalent in Verlate's conversation with TB about the Kais.
- It is interesting that Verlate thinks that perhaps the Daman made the Kais the new gods of the universe only out of pity. She didn't seem to think that back in chapter 2 of Forever Alone, but it's been a long time since that chapter took place, timeline-wise. Perhaps she has gained a new perspective on the whole debacle. To a certain extent, she may be right, but I think she wanted the Kais to replace the Daman back in Forever Alone, because she knew that the Daman would soon die out, and the Kais were the only other species residing in Other World. It made sense, just from a logical standpoint, to have the Kais be their successors. Of course this is all Amoon's doing - he wanted the Kais to replace the Daman, so he influenced the Daman's view of the whole thing and made it as easy as possible for them to make the Kais their successors - so it may not matter what Verlate thinks after all.
- It is interesting that Verlate understands that her way of acting in the previous two chapters was not entirely sane and not entirely how she wanted to act. However, she is correct in stating that she wanted to provoke reactions from TB and Ledas, to gauge their personalities and see how easy it would be to swap places with them.
- Ledas' age (mentally, of course) shows when he eagerly agrees to answer the riddle. It's funny when he later states that he doesn't even know what a riddle is (Verlate, for all her intellect, was once in the same boat as Ledas), but this is a serious miscalculation by Ledas, and had Verlate actually had control over her mind prison, this act would have gotten him stuck in the place for eternity.
- A good distinction between Ledas and The Benefactor can be seen with how TB does not so quickly rush to answer a riddle. He understands the implications of getting it wrong, and he's not sure if he can answer it correctly. However, he also knows that if he doesn't answer it, he may be stuck in the place as long as Verlate wants to keep him there. At the same time, if Ledas incorrectly answers his riddle before TB agrees to answer one, then TB will be safe. And of course, if TB quickly answers his correctly, he will get out and Ledas will be the one stuck in the mind prison, regardless of if the boy answers his riddle correctly (and the reverse is also true). All of these things are what TB is considering in this chapter and that is why he takes longer to agree to answer a riddle. This also occurred in previous versions of this chapter - Ledas always got his riddle first.
- It's funny how Verlate states that Korin taught her riddles, and Ledas doesn't seem to realize that she's talking about Korin.
- Verlate isolating TB and Ledas from one another answers many of TB's concerns - now he will not know if Ledas loses or gets free before him - and that ultimately makes him choose to answer a riddle.
- Verlate's conversation with Ledas after the boy is isolated from TB existed in all previous versions of this chapter, though of course the dialogue varied slightly in all versions. I am quite proud of how this scene turned out, as it gives Ledas and Verlate some really good characterization and also deals with thematic content in a compelling way (at least to me!). This idea that living in the mind prison is a fate worse than death is quite interesting too, for it implies that being forgotten is worse than dying.
- The way Ledas sits on the table and swings his legs is such a small thing, but it really shows how he's just a little kid, immature beyond his years, who doesn't know what he's gotten himself into. I always try to do little things like that to build the tone and image of characters in subtle ways.
- Verlate's sense of honor is a big part of her character. Despite her villainous tendencies, she is the one who seems nobler when talking with Ledas. It's quite the role reversal. I am doing all of this on purpose to subvert the common hero-villain tropes.
- Verlate does not want to get in the way of Ledas and The Benefactor's quarrel, which also makes her quite the unique character. Good and evil don't matter to her. It doesn't matter that TB may be the bad guy; she's become numb beyond the point of caring about mortal concepts of morality. She just wants freedom. She wants to get out and return to living her life. This is a striking fall, for Verlate was much more morally-obsessed in Forever Alone. But millions of years of isolation have impacted her mindset significantly.
- Notice that Ledas is covered in water during his riddle-solving. Water has always been symbolically important in regards to Verlate and the stuff she's in.
- Verlate's line to herself, "Or relax you just enough…" is the first overt implication that Verlate is indeed trying something tricksy, that perhaps she is not as honorable as she wants Ledas to believe.
- Ledas' poem was written by Destructivedisk in 2011. I asked him to help me with one of the riddles (I came up with TB's), and he wrote that one. The answer is of course a knife, which I did not ask for - he came up with the answer on his own - though it is a really cool answer that has a great connection to this story. TB is the most significant character with a knife, and considering he is tied so closely to Ledas (and Verlate even mentions that Ledas seems to be obsessed with him (which is not true, but the point still stands)), it is cool that Ledas' riddle is subtly related to TB. And yet, despite all of that, I changed the answer to the riddle for the final version of this story from a knife to imagination. It was changed from an object to an idea. This shows, in and of itself, a better literary understanding of quality and just a more worthwhile answer. Imagination is thematically important, and it has character implications that made it a more satisfying answer to me, which is why I ultimately changed it.
- Originally, the riddle was written in English, but I realized as I was reading this over that Ledas can't read any human script (it could be in Japanese too, but that distinction is irrelevant). So I had it changed to the Saiyan script, which Verlate only knows about from reading Ledas' mind.
- TB's last line in this chapter is a reference to the legendary ending of Halo 2, seen here.
- TB logically decides that it will be better for him to answer a riddle than to stay in the mind prison for as long as Verlate wants. He ultimately chooses the same fate as Ledas - one of high risk and high reward - but he comes to that conclusion in a much different way. This alone shows some differences between the two, which is nice, considering so much of their stories and character arcs have been similar.
The Misoneistic King
<VERLATE IS STANDING OVER THE BENEFACTOR WITH A SOLEMN LOOK ON HER FACE>
Verlate: So, biped, you wish to leave this place, do you? Answer this riddle, and I will allow you your exit. <SHE CONTINUES, NOW VERY CRISPLY>
to those who don’t have it;
yet sought by the individual.
It is what we all want,
yet cannot keep to ourselves –
championed by Time,
and killed by it, too.
The Benefactor: And I get only one guess?
Verlate: Correct. Guess wrong, and you are bound to this prison forever.
The Benefactor: What if the boy and I both get it wrong?
Verlate: Then you will decide amongst yourselves who will stay. By that point, I will be long gone, and it will not be my concern.
The Benefactor: <SIGHS, DROPS HIS HEAD BACK DOWN> Give me a moment to find the answer, then.
Verlate: As you wish.
<VERLATE EXITS, SMILING, AND WATCHES THE TWO BEINGS ATTEMPTING TO SOLVE THEIR RIDDLES; LEDAS IS ON THE LEFT OF HER AND THE BENEFACTOR IS ON THE RIGHT; OF COURSE, THE TWO ARE SEPARATED BY THE ENERGY WALL, SO THEY CANNOT SEE OR HEAR EACH OTHER; LEDAS IS SWIMMING IN WATER WITH HIS RIDDLE PHYSICALLY BEFORE HIM, WHILE THE BENEFACTOR DOES NOT HAVE EITHER OF THOSE THINGS ON HIS SIDE; AS SOON AS VERLATE IS OUT OF SIGHT OF THE BENEFACTOR, HER SMILE EVAPORATES AND HER FEATURES BECOME DARKER>
<VERLATE CREATES ONE OF THE BLACK DEMON MONSTERS SHE UTILIZED A FEW CHAPTERS BEFORE AND HOLDS IT IN HER HAND; IT GROWLS AND STRUGGLES A BIT, BUT SHE HOLDS ONTO IT TIGHTLY>
Verlate: <TO THE DEMON; IN A WHISPER> These two… they are so slow, aren’t they? So… unaware of what I have been through. I have been here untold years, wasting away through time and thought, and yet, they have no urgency in them! Don’t they see? <SHE STARTS BREATHING HARDER, CLENCHING DOWN ON THE DEMON’S NECK AS SHE DOES; IT STRUGGLES AND TRIES TO GET FREE AS SHE DOES THIS, BUT IT CANNOT> I need to get out here! I need to!! <SHE DROPS TO HER KNEES, SUDDENLY SCREAMING IN DESPAIR> I can’t stay here any longer! It’s an eternal living hell! <SHE LOOKS UP AND THE CAMERA FOCUSES ON LEDAS> That one is too stupid to answer my riddle anyway. I could just bind him here, now… transferring my energy signature to him… that would set me free! <SHE STANDS UP AND DESTROYS THE DEMON IN HER HAND> The riddles are just a game… just a distraction. They aren’t getting out, either way.
<WHITE ENERGY STARTS FORMING AROUND VERLATE’S ARMS; SHE MOVES FORWARD TO LEDAS’ SECTION; SHE TELEPORTS IN BEHIND HIM, THOUGH HE DOES NOT NOTICE; AS HE IS SWIMMING AROUND, SHE SNEAKS UP ON HIM, AIMING THE ENERGY TOWARDS HIM>
Verlate: <IN HER MIND; SHE FALTERS, HER ARMS QUIVERING; HER FACE LOSES ITS SCOWL> But what honor is there in this? How can I doom another to my own torment? Was I not a god once, a protector of all the living? <SHE SHAKES HER HEAD AND MOVES FORWARD; HER EYES BECOME DARK AND HER FACE BECOMES WRINKLED WITH MALICE> No! I don’t deserve this! There is only one way out of this never-ending torture, and it is before me! <SHE FOCUSES IN ON LEDAS AND TRACKS HIS MOVEMENTS> He is still young. He can afford some time in seclusion. But me… I have burned through too much of my life here. And I have served for my sins. It is my time to live, my time to leave! Even in this, I maintain my dignity!
<SHE GOES TO SHOOT THE ENERGY AT LEDAS>
<UP AHEAD, LEDAS IS STARING AT HIS RIDDLE, SCOWLING IN FRUSTRATION>
Ledas: Stupid riddle… who the heck makes this kind of lame stuff up?! It could mean anything! And what’s a dragon, anyway?
<SUDDENLY, LEDAS IS THROWN A FEW FEET FORWARD; HE IS COVERED IN A WHITE AURA, WITH WHITE WAVES OF ENERGY GOING DOWN HIS BODY; HE LOOKS DOWN HIS BODY, THEN OVER HIS SHOULDER AT WHAT COULD HAVE SHOT SUCH A THING AT HIM; BEHIND HIM, THERE IS ONLY A STREAM OF BUBBLES>
Ledas: What the…? <HE HOLDS HIS ARM UP TO HIM, AS WHITE ENERGY PULSATES AROUND IT> Was that an attack? But it doesn’t hurt… <HE SHAKES HIS HEAD> This is so weird…
<THE CAMERA PULLS AWAY FROM LEDAS’ CONFUSED FACE AND RACES UPWARDS; THERE, VERLATE IS SHOOTING TOWARD THE CEILING OF THE PRISON WITH THE GREATEST OF SPEED; THE TOP OF THE PYRAMID OPENS SLIGHTLY, REVEALING THE DARKNESS OF THE OUTSIDE; AS VERLATE GETS CLOSE, SHE HITS AN INVISIBLE WALL, WHICH BECOMES A DULL PINK COLOR WHERE SHE IMPACTS AGAINST IT; SHE FLIES BACKWARDS AFTER HITTING IT, BUT STAYS IN THE AIR; AT ONCE, SHE RACES BACK TO THE WALL AND IS HIT BACK AGAIN>
Verlate: <IN SHOCK, DISBELIEF> N-no… it can’t be! It can’t be!! <SHE SCREAMS, THEN SHOOTS A FLURRY OF WHITE ENERGY BEAMS INTO THE WALL; THESE EXPLODE HARMLESSLY AGAINST THE SHIELD; UPON SEEING THIS, VERLATE BREAKS DOWN COMPLETELY; SHE IS CRYING AND SHAKING AND DELIRIOUS WITH EMOTION> I put my energy signature into that other being! How does this prison still know it’s me? How?! I have loosened my ties to this cursed place; I have tricked it! And yet, this trick is on me! <SHE IS IN FULL DESPAIR NOW> Why can’t I get out? Is there nothing I can do?!
<VERLATE SPLITS HERSELF INTO TWO BEINGS>
Verlate: <TO THE PRISON (AS IF IT COULD HEAR HER OR CARE)> There, now there are two of me! Keep one here, and let the other go! Come on! <SHE RACES AT THE EXIT AGAIN, ONLY TO BE DENIED BY THE SHIELD; HER SECOND FORM SHATTERS, AND WHAT REMAINS OF VERLATE BEGINS TO SCREAM> Heartless justice! Have I not paid for my failings long enough? I was a god! I wielded impossible power! And now I am but a thrall to your cold-blooded law! Mortality has consumed you and your words, but Time has shielded me from that fate! And I cannot be in more agony because of it!
<VERLATE SHOOTS ONCE MORE AT THE ESCAPE, BUT SHE CANNOT GET AWAY; UPON BEING BATTED AWAY AGAIN, SHE LETS HERSELF FALL ALL THE WAY TO THE GROUND; SHE LANDS IN LEDAS’ SIDE>
Ledas: <HE IS SPOOKED BY HER LANDING IN FRONT OF HIM> Whoa, what was that for?
Verlate: <STANDING UP, THOUGH LOOSELY, AS SHE IS IN THE WATER; SHE TRIES TO RETURN TO A CALM STATE> H-how old are you, s-sentient?
Ledas: Uh, I forget. My life’s just been one big blur.
Verlate: <DETACHED; QUIETLY> Funny that one so young as yourself would say that. For me, I remember every second of every day. The burden of it all… I cannot describe it with words.
Ledas: O-okay. Are you all right? You look different.
Verlate: I have gotten some news, and it is not favorable. <SHE RAISES HER ARMS AND THEN DISSIPATES THE WATER AND THE ENERGY BARRIER BETWEEN THE TWO; LEDAS FALLS TO THE GROUND, LANDING ON HIS FEET; WHITE ENERGY SEEPS FROM HIS BODY AND RETURNS TO VERLATE; THE BENEFACTOR NOTICES THAT THE BARRIER IS GONE AND HE STANDS UP, LIMPING OVER TO THE OTHER TWO> Tell me the answer to your riddles, both of you. Give me a little mental stimulation before the end.
The Benefactor: <ARROGANTLY> I knew you would try some kind of trickery, <ESPECIALLY DISGUSTED> god. So my answer is friendship. Your have not fooled me with such an answer.
Verlate: <LOOKING AT THE BENEFACTOR, WIDE-EYED> Of course not. Was the irony lost on you?
The Benefactor: <SHOOTING RIGHT BACK> The irony convinced me it was correct.
Verlate: You are not as dumb as you look. <SHE TURNS TO LEDAS> You, on the other hand…
Ledas: <DEFENSIVE; ANNOYED> I don’t know… I’m not ready to answer yet!
Verlate: I once had infinite time to create these riddles, always laughing to myself as I thought up such clever wordings to them. But now, I cannot wait. I am done taking part in this game of life… so your answer, Ledas? Give it to me.
Ledas: No way! If I get it wrong, I’m stuck in here forever.
Verlate: <STARING AT LEDAS WITH A PIERCING GAZE; NOTICEABLY DEPRESSED> As if I really had such power. My words have boasted much and proved little. But please, let me hear your answer.
Ledas: I-I… don’t–
Verlate: Imagination! That is all. <SHE TURNS FROM LEDAS, HER SHOULDERS SLUMPING FORWARD> I suppose that irony was indeed lost on you. But, remember this, both of you: my tests before were designed to judge your mental states and capabilities in order to craft riddles you could never solve. I figured one of you out, at least, and that was all I needed to do. <MUCH QUIETER> Still, in the end, it did not even matter. To be so close to freedom and have it so cruelly snatched from your grasp…
The Benefactor: <INTERRUPTING VERLATE> My answer is correct, so let me go!
Ledas: <SUDDENLY> No, please! Keep him here! Let me go!
Verlate: <SITTING DOWN ON A NEARBY CHAIR> A small furry being was the last one to visit me before you two. That was a long time ago, though perhaps only a blink of the eye in the time I’ve lived. He told me all I had to do think up riddles, then tell them to the next people to enter this prison. Once they were focused on the riddle, I could switch my energy signature with them and trick the prison into thinking I was them and they were me. <SHE PAUSES FOR A MOMENT AND THEN LOOKS AT LEDAS> And I tried this on you, biped, because you were the weaker of the two. I forced your guard down by getting you to focus on you riddle, and then I pulled the switch. It was so easy.
Ledas: What?! How could you do that? <ANGER SURGING> I’ll kill you!
Verlate: You may as well. It didn’t work. But that isn’t the point. I have had numerous companions in this place. Each one, I have been unable to shackle here, no matter what tricks I try. The riddles were just a cover for my last hope, and now it’s gone, I have nothing.
The Benefactor: Then give up and die! Stop wasting everyone’s time!
Verlate: <LONG PAUSE> You are right. Why continue? Why bother? Time cannot be defeated like any mortal being. I have learned that now. We can withstand it for a time, but in the end, we are all consumed, even us gods. It is a pointless endeavor to try and fight back. <SHE LOOKS BACK OVER AT THE TWO ALIENS> You do know that even if I go, one of you will have to stay here. I presume you will want to fight over who gets that honor.
Ledas: <TEETH CLENCHED> I’m not gonna become the next you!
The Benefactor: The weak do not decide their fate.
Verlate: <IGNORING THEM, SHE LOOKS DOWN AT HER HANDS> I have persisted, outside of memory and time; forgotten by everyone. And once you are forgotten, how do you know you still exist? I have been a shell of myself for too long. <SHE STANDS UP AND LOOKS AT THE OTHER TWO> I need death to set me free. No more pain, no more sadness, no more feeling, no more thinking. That is all I want. <SHE CLOSES HER EYES AND EXTENDS HER ARMS> I am finally ready to let go.
- I am not sure where I first saw the word "misoneistic". The word just sounds cool to me, and it has a really cool meaning as well. Thus, I used it, and the moniker of "king" means that, ironically, this title isn't referring to Verlate - whom it seems it refers to the most. Does it refer to Ledas or The Benefactor? Or both? I cannot say.
- This was the last chapter name I came up with for TF. If one remembers in my opening monologue of this saga, I mentioned how the third arc of the Fulfillment Saga originally had five chapters. I got rid of the first one to create the chapter "Mephistopheles" roughly after "Human Nature" was written (a mere two chapters before getting to "Mephistopheles"!). For this one, though, I wasn't convinced I needed another Verlate arc chapter until I got to it. Only after "Riddle Me This" was written and I saw that indeed I was ending that chapter at around the same place I ended it in the 2012 draft of this saga did I realize another TF chapter was needed. I considered, briefly, having 13 chapters, but after some pondering, I decided upon reducing the final arc to three chapters, noting, as I mentioned in this page's opening monologue, that more than 3 chapters post-TB was ridiculous. The plot of the post-TB stuff that I deleted for this chapter to exist was going to involve Ryori and Ledas at school and was mostly the type of fluff that I despised in DBZ. That was originally two chapters, but it was reduced to one chapter after I created "Mephistopheles". And once this chapter was created, that entire plot was discarded. And I'm glad it was.
- This chapter was originally titled "Council Of Gods". It was heavily modified for the final version of this story, with Verlate's monologuing being added in and TB's riddle being changed. As well, this chapter originally ended with TB and Ledas fighting for who gets to leave the mind prison, with Ledas winning. I removed that and expanded that scene into the entirety of the next chapter, thus having the endpoint of this chapter be much different than it used to be. Still, the broad strokes of this chapter - Ledas and The Benefactor answering their riddles and Verlate resolving to commit suicide - still occur. It's just that I heavily edited the build up to those things.
- This chapter has an odd appearance - it is quite compact. There are all these very long paragraphs of scene direction and dialogue, which is unseen in any other TF chapter. The wordcount of it is not much shorter than most other TF chapters (it is roughly 200 words longer than the average TF chapter, even if it's one of the shorter FS chapters). But all these compact paragraphs, where Verlate monologues or where lots of scene direction happens, is very odd. I remember noting this shortly after it was written, comparing it to the chapters around it. It is a physically shorter chapter by a noticeable margin - the length of it, in terms of how much of the page it takes up is much shorter than most of the other FS chapters. But it isn't actually shorter. It's just compacted. It's weird.
- I think I created the poem for this chapter, but I'm not 100% sure on that. Regardless, it is different from the old TB poem. It's a very cool riddle too, so I hope I did create it. A quick google search shows no results, so it's likely I did make it up myself. Of course, the answer - friendship - is ironic, just as Ledas' answer - imagination - is. The answer to TB's old riddle was "blood", but that was not as interesting as "friendship", so that is the primary reason why I changed the riddle.
- Maybe it's just me, but I can see the evolution of TB's character in the final draft in the opening talk he has with Verlate. It's very muted, very subtle. And those are two things TB was not, during the previous versions of this chapter.
- It is of course significant that Verlate didn't put TB in water to swim about in as he solved his riddle. He also didn't get his riddle written out for him like Ledas did. This disparity hints at an intellectual difference between the two.
- Verlate shows her true self for the first time in this chapter. The way her smile evaporates after she removes herself from the presence of TB hints at this. She is putting up a front, even to beings who are inferior to her, even to beings who are at her mercy. She is a god, and yet she is powerless before them. She cannot be herself. Verlate knows that doing so will alert them to her trickery and make them harder to control. Still, this is a subversion of her own agency, and it's quite stunning that she would willingly do that to herself. It shows how desperate she is to get out of the mind prison. And yet, she cannot keep up appearances when not around the two. It's too draining. The burden of her position is weighing on her heavily. And this weight is part of the reason why she makes the shock decision to kill herself at the end of the chapter.
- Verlate creating a Screecher, partially going back to her symbolic insanity, is of course important for her character growth. She doesn't have much more time to grow, so every action of hers has heightened significance.
- It's interesting that the Screecher struggles against Verlate, since it is Verlate's own creation. This brings back images of the Daman trying to subvert entire species back when Verlate was the species' Legate. It also shows her struggling with herself, with her own conflicting thoughts and beliefs, in a visual way.
- Verlate's first monologue reveals a wealth of information about her personality. Interestingly, she also reveals that she doesn't have the honor she thought she did. But that's the price of being in the mind prison. This eternal hell has eroded her morals, her sense of self, and her ability to understand the pain she is bringing others.
- Verlate chooses to switch places with Ledas because she thinks he is weaker and less intelligent than TB, thus making him easier prey. She just wants to get out of the mind prison as quickly as possible; she doesn't care how or who she has to fuck over to do so. And this is why I love Verlate - she's not entirely evil, but she has some bad tendencies, even though she's also shown she has a good heart. It's more the situation she's been put in that has corrupted her instead of her being a bad person by nature. She was of course more overtly good in Forever Alone, but those were different times. In Forever Alone, Verlate held her honor and dignity and remained quite good in the face of terrible events that were not her fault, even though she allowed herself to be blamed for them (and also blamed herself for them). Now, she is pretty much the opposite type of character. Her impatience has worn away her sanity.
- It is telling that Verlate questions her actions before attacking Ledas. This is part of the reason she's such a complex, grey character. Notice how she convinces herself that it isn't fair for her to remain in the mind prison any longer. Justifications make compromising her morality easier. Also, at the end, she states that she has maintained her dignity, but much like the ruined statues seen in "Ye Mighty", and Ozymandias' statue in Percy Shelley's sonnet, appearances/beliefs and reality do not always match one another.
- I had a lot of fun with Ledas in this chapter and in the last chapter, in terms of him showing his ignorance. He doesn't know what riddles are, thinks they are lame - like any kid would! - and doesn't even know what a dragon is, which, in my opinion, is one of the funniest lines in this story, not only for its overt comedy, but also for its meta commentary on the DB universe.
- Notice that Verlate's energy signature is white.
- When the mind prison opens in this chapter, it reveals that most of the day has passed, for it is now night. TB and Ledas have spent several hours in the mind prison, which, depending on whose perspective you look from, is either a very long amount of time or a very short amount of time.
- Verlate's monologue after she realizes she cannot get out of the mind prison is very much based on Shakespearean characterization through dialogue. The reason she's acting like this is because of her semi-insanity and her despair, of course, but it's a really cool way to portray her emotions and character growth quickly and starkly.
- Verlate thought she tricked the mind prison, but the trick was on her. She may have put her energy signature in Ledas' body, but who she is extends beyond her ki abilities. Her spirit, her mind, her body are all part of her too. And the mind prison knows this.
- Verlate splitting herself in half is interesting, for it ties into the theme of identity in this story in a weird way. Even then, this is desperation, and poor desperation at that. I wanted to show how after Verlate realizes she cannot escape, her immediate actions are to get extremely emotional and try to deny reality. This later allows the beautiful moment of her giving up in total calmness to occur.
- "WHAT REMAINS OF VERLATE BEGINS TO SCREAM" - this line is technically true, as one of the two Verlate figures was shattered on the invisible wall, but this description also works on a figurative level for poor Verlate.
- "Heartless justice! Have I not paid for my failings long enough? I was a god! I wielded impossible power! And now I am but a thrall to your cold-blooded law! Mortality has consumed you and your words, but Time has shielded me from that fate! And I cannot be in more agony because of it!" - this is one of my favorite bits of dialogue in TF. I think it does a good job of summing up Verlate's personality and how it has degraded in the mind prison. As well, this quote speaks to the failings of mortal morality, of one being's sense of justice being more important than another's, and of course of the theme of being forgotten, and what that truly means to a being who persists beyond that.
- "My life’s just been one big blur." - this quote is much like Ledas' quote about his life in the finale. It's one that I also share, to an extent. Of course my life hasn't been as exciting as Ledas', but in some ways, everything feels like it goes by in a blur and that the past loses value because of that. This quote characterizes Ledas and ties into the theme of being forgotten, which is mostly associated with Verlate in this arc.
- The reality of Verlate's hell is magnified when she contrasts her memories with Ledas. Despite living in seclusion - in boring seclusion - and having a much longer history, it is Verlate, not Ledas, who remembers her past. And that also serves to explain why she has become semi-insane and acts like every second in the mind prison is torment. The contrast between these two characters was something I knew from the beginning of my edits for this arc and one I've tried to put in throughout the chapters. This is one of the more overt mentions of their contrasts, but there are subtler contrasts between them in previous chapters as well.
- In previous versions of this chapter, the answers to the riddles had significant meaning. For the final edits, I did something a bit radical - I had Verlate's hope get crushed before the riddles could be answered. This changes the plot very little, but the thematic and tonal aspects of the saga are changed significantly by that little distinction.
- "As if I really had such power. My words have boasted much and proved little." - these two lines sum up Verlate's character growth in this chapter and show that she has awareness of her hopelessness. She has rampant nihilism in her, now that she knows she cannot get out no matter what she does.
- TB, in all versions of this saga, answered his riddle rather quickly. That's just part of his character, and regardless of how I changed him between drafts, it never felt accurate to have him struggle with the riddle. The fact that he himself saw the irony in the answer in this version of the chapter gives him some unexpected character development.
- Why is the answer "imagination" ironic for Ledas? Well, if you don't know, then you haven't been paying attention to this story or Ledas' growth from his very first appearance.
- In previous versions, Ledas got the answer to his riddle correct. I thought it would be less Stuish to have him fail. It's also more realistic for him to fail. Me making this change is one of the reasons I think Ledas is one of the best characters on the wiki. Really, how many other writers would do that? I think my awareness of him correctly answering his riddle in previous versions being perhaps Stuish is also a sign of my growing writing abilities from the previous versions of this saga.
- It's quite the blow to the heart when Verlate realizes that her tests were successful - she figured out Ledas and gave him a riddle he could not solve. It did not matter that TB figured out his riddle. All she needed was one to fail. And she got what she wanted. And yet, in the end, she misjudged the capabilities of the mind prison and did not think that she would be stuck inside after all her tricks. In the end her cleverness was proved in one way and was disproven in another. There are no absolutes here.
- Verlate's growth after she learns she cannot escape is most interesting. Immediately, she was brought to hopeless despair by her realization, but now, near the end of the chapter, she embraces the nihilism of the place, of her life. Her calmness is quite striking when one remembers how angrily she was ranting earlier in the chapter. But the realization of death both calmed her hopes and her fears and made her numb to almost all emotions. For the first time in her life, Verlate lost her fear when she saw the inevitability of her death. Of course, she doesn't reveal this at once, but almost as soon as she comes flying back down to Ledas, she knows she is going to commit suicide. And that, in many ways, is more liberating than getting out of the mind prison.
- Verlate gives up in such a logical, emotionless way, it's almost as if she was never an emotional being from the start. But she's come full circle. She's back to how she acted in Forever Alone, in some ways.
- Verlate's speech about time and how it humbles all, even gods, is one of the most important thematic quotes in this entire story.
- "I’m not gonna become the next you!" - this is a great quote by Ledas, for it speaks to his character, to his developmental arc, and to the themes of being forgotten and being powerless. Ledas is not in the same place as Verlate - he will get there eventually (perhaps around the time of The Last Saiyan), but he's not ready to give into time just yet. He wants to live; he wants to reunite with Vegeta, to stay friends with Ryori, to grow stronger. He has goals and a life yet to live. He cannot embrace nihilism like Verlate... not yet.
- "The weak do not decide their fate." - this quote is right up there with the most badass TB lines. I remember being very excited when I came up with it because of how cool it is (at least to me!).
- "I have persisted, outside of memory and time; forgotten by everyone. And once you are forgotten, how do you know you still exist? I have been a shell of myself for too long." - this quote is crucially-tied to the themes of being forgotten. Verlate's answer to this problem of being forgotten - death - is also important.
- "No more pain, no more sadness" - this is a reference to a line Cortana says in Halo 3, which in and of itself is a reference to an old poem, but I don't know that poem, so my reference was to Cortana.
- In the previous saga, nihilism was seen as more of a bad thing. But here, with Verlate saying that not thinking, not feeling, not having emotions or pain or even good feelings, is the ultimate goal, nihilism seems to be a good thing. She is ready to let go of the pains and burdens of being alive and wishes to die. To her, death is total silence and darkness and lacks all of the pains of life. This is a nihilistic view on life and death - that there is nothing after life (which, ironically, is not the case in this universe). But for Verlate, this is not a bad thing. It's a good thing. She is giving up on life and embracing death so that she can finally be at peace. It's quite the unnatural, atypical theme, but one that was influenced by my own philosophy of life.
When Time And Life Shook Hands And Said Goodbye
<SCENE OPENS WITH A CLOSEUP OF YAJIROBE’S SWORD, WHICH IS STUCK IN THE GROUND SOME WAYS AWAY FROM VERLATE AND THE OTHERS; THE CAMERA THEN MOVES OVER TO THE THREE BEINGS>
<VERLATE IS STANDING STRAIGHT; SHE LIFTS HER HANDS OUTWARDS; AT ONCE, AN EXPLOSION OF LIGHT GOES OFF BEHIND HER; WITH IT, ALL OF THE SCENERY GOES TOO; FOR A BRIEF SECOND, THE ENTIRE PLACE IS NOTHING BUT WHITE>
Verlate: Your own imaginations will have to give this place new features. As for me, it is time to go. <SHE DROPS TO HER KNEES AND LOOKS AT THE TWO> It’s a beautiful way to die. To be able to stop thinking and let go, with the weight of existence no longer upon my shoulders… I could not ask for any better end. <SHE CLOSES HER EYES AND LEANS HER HEAD BACK; SHE IS SMILING> Last one out, get the lights, please.
<WITH THAT, VERLATE FADES AWAY LIKE SMOKE IN THE WIND>
<AS SOON AS SHE IS GONE, THE SCENERY RETURNS; HOWEVER, THIS TIME IT IS A DESERT PLATEAU REGION, WHICH IS SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO HOW PLANET VEGETA LOOKS AND ALSO LOOKS LIKE THE PLACE THAT GOKU AND VEGETA DUELED AT DURING THE END OF THE SAIYAN SAGA>
<LEDAS LOOKS OVER TO THE BENEFACTOR AND GOES SUPER SAIYAN AT ONCE>
The Benefactor: Don’t kid yourself. You aren’t getting out of here.
Ledas: You shouldn’t underestimate me. I got you once before; and you’re lucky it was just your eyes last time.
The Benefactor: That was my error, nothing else. It will not happen again.
Ledas: Keep telling yourself that and I’ll do it again!
The Benefactor: I would kill you right now if it would not damn me to this place. But enough talk! I am leaving, and you cannot stop me.
Ledas: You’re weaker than before. I can feel it. I don’t know what happened to you in here, but you look like something beat you up.
The Benefactor: <THROUGH GRITTED TEETH> It’s just a scratch…
Ledas: Prove it.
<SUDDENLY, THE BENEFACTOR FLIES UP TOWARDS THE EXIT; LEDAS PURSUES HIM INSTANTLY AND SHOOTS A PLAYFUL GALICK AT THE ALIEN’S BACK; AS IT HITS HIM, LEDAS TELEPORTS IN FRONT OF THE BENEFACTOR AND KICKS HIM DOWNWARD; THE BENEFACTOR RECOVERS AND SHOOTS BACK UP TO LEDAS; THE BOY IS ALREADY SHOOTING AT HIM WITH HIS LEG OUT; HIS LEG CONNECTS WITH THE BENEFACTOR’S FACE; THE ALIEN CHOPS LEDAS’ LEG, PUSHING THE SAIYAN OUT OF THE WAY; HE SHOOTS A RED WIND AT THE BOY, AND THIS CAUSES LEDAS TO FALL AWAY; HE AGAIN TRIES TO SHOOT TO THE EXIT, BUT LEDAS IS BACK ON HIM AT ONCE; LEDAS GRABS THE BENEFACTOR’S TAIL AND PULLS HIM DOWN; IN HIS FREE HAND, LEDAS KI-SATURATES HIS FIST AND PUNCHES THE ALIEN DOWN>
<THE BENEFACTOR LANDS, THOUGH HE STRUGGLES TO REMAIN STANDING; LEDAS LANDS A FEW METERS AWAY FROM HIM; THEY ARE BOTH ON TOP OF A ROCKY PLATEAU>
The Benefactor: Fine. I’ll beat you into submission.
Ledas: You can try!
<THE BENEFACTOR CHARGES UP TO FULL POWER, HIS BLACK AURA COMING UP AROUND HIM AS HE DOES; LEDAS TAKES THIS TIME TO CHARGE UP SIMILARLY; THERE ARE A FEW PLASMA SPARKS IN LEDAS’ AURA FOR A SECOND, THOUGH THEY DON’T STAY AROUND LONG>
<NOW FULLY POWERED, THE BENEFACTOR MOVES FORWARD; HE AND THE SAIYAN CIRCLE ONE ANOTHER, LOOKING FOR AN OPENING; THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS A SMALL KI BLAST, BUT LEDAS QUICKLY DEFLECTS IT; THE BENEFACTOR MOVES FORWARD, BUT LEDAS DODGES TO THE SIDE AND REGAINS HIS POSITION; THEN, LEDAS CREATES AN AFTERIMAGE AND TELEPORTS BEHIND THE BENEFACTOR; THE BENEFACTOR IS NOT FOOLED, AND HE SPINS AROUND TO PUNCH LEDAS; LEDAS BLOCKS THIS PUNCH BY CATCHING THE BENEFACTOR’S HAND WITH HIS OWN>
<Exodus REACHES 1:12 NOW>
<THE BENEFACTOR AND LEDAS STRUGGLE TO BREAK FREE FROM ONE ANOTHER; THEIR HANDS ARE INTERLOCKED, AND THEY ARE ATTEMPTING TO PUSH EACH OTHER TO THE GROUND; THEIR AURAS FLARE UP AROUND THEM, AND THE ROCKS AND DIRT AND FOLIAGE ON THE GROUND ARE ALL BLOWN APART; AS THEY CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE, THEIR AURAS GET LARGER, AND EXPLOSIONS START GOING OFF FROM THE BITS OF KI THAT FALLS OFF>
<THE BENEFACTOR GAINS THE ADVANTAGE AND HE PUSHES LEDAS BACK; HE PLACES HIS FOOT OVER LEDAS’ BODY, BUT WHAT HE PUSHES DOWN ON IS JUST AIR, AS LEDAS IS ABLE TO TELEPORT AWAY IN TIME; HE REAPPEARS TO THE LEFT OF THE BENEFACTOR; AT ONCE, HE RAISES HIS RIGHT HAND AND SHOOTS A KYORRA FLASH AT THE BENEFACTOR; THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS A FRENZY BLAST AT LEDAS TO STAY THE BOY’S ATTACK; FOR A MOMENT, THE TWO STRUGGLE; LEDAS GRITS HIS TEETH AS HE TRIES TO PUSH THE BEAM INTO THE BENEFACTOR; IT DOES NOT BUDGE, AND INSTEAD A GREAT WIND PICKS UP AROUND THE TWO>
<BUT THEN, LEDAS SCREAMS AND CREATES AN ICE CANNON IN HIS LEFT HAND; HE RAISES HIS ARM AND SHOOTS THE BEAM INTO HIS KYORRA FLASH, MAKING HIS SIDE GROW LARGER AND STRONGER; THE BENEFACTOR IS UNABLE TO HOLD THIS ENERGY BACK, AND THE KI BEAM OVERTAKES HIM; HE GROANS AS THE ENERGY HITS HIM AND EXPLODES>
<AT ONCE, LEDAS CHARGES FORWARD; HE FIND THE BENEFACTOR LYING ON THE GROUND AND GRABS HIM BY THE NECK; WITH HIS FREE HAND, HE RAINS BLOWS ON THE ALIEN’S FACE; HOWEVER, THE BENEFACTOR WAKES UP WHEN THIS OCCURS, AND HE USES HIS CLAWED FEET TO TEAR INTO LEDAS’ HOODIE AND PUSH THE BOY OFF OF HIM; HE STANDS UP AND SHOOTS A FLURRY OF ENERGY BLASTS AT LEDAS; THESE CATCH THE BOY AS HE IS TUMBLING AWAY, SINGEING HIM BADLY; HIS HOODIE IS TORN TO PIECES AND HIS JEANS ARE SLIGHTLY TORN AS WELL>
<THE BENEFACTOR RUNS AT LEDAS AND REACHES HIM JUST AS THE SAIYAN STANDS UP; LEDAS BLOCKS HIS PUNCH AND THEN JUMPS IN THE AIR AND THEN FALLS BACK DOWN, SLAMMING HIS FOOT ON THE BENEFACTOR; THE BENEFACTOR ATTEMPTS TO BLOCK THIS, BUT LEDAS’ ATTACK IS SO POWERFUL THAT HIS BLOCK IS BROKEN AND HE IS THROWN BACK AND FALLS TO HIS KNEES; LEDAS THEN PROCEEDS TO JUMP FORWARD AND START PUNCHING AND KICKING THE ALIEN; THE BENEFACTOR DODGES A FEW OF THESE ATTACKS AND THEN GRABS LEDAS BY THE BACK OF THE HEAD AND SLAMS HIS HEAD INTO THE BENEFACTOR’S KNEE; LEDAS YELLS OUT IN PAIN AND FALLS BACK>
<HE SHOOTS A UNRELENTING ENERGY BURST AT THE BENEFACTOR; THIS RIPS INTO THE BENEFACTOR’S SKIN; FLECKS OF BLOOD CAN BE SEEN FLYING FROM HIS BODY AS OLD WOUNDS ARE RE-OPENED>
<TO ESCAPE THIS, THE BENEFACTOR ASCENDS INTO THE SKY; HE THEN READIES ANOTHER ENERGY BLAST WITH BOTH HANDS TO FINISH OFF LEDAS; BUT LEDAS HAS ALREADY STOOD BACK UP AGAIN; HE SEES WHAT THE BENEFACTOR IS DOING AND SHOOTS A BUNCH OF RAZOR BLASTS AT THE ALIEN; THE BENEFACTOR ATTEMPTS TO KNOCK THESE ASIDE, BUT THEY GET LODGED INTO HIS SKIN WHEN HE DOES; NOT EXPECTING THIS, THE BENEFACTOR MOMENTARILY LETS HIS GUARD DOWN DUE TO THE PAIN THE RAZOR BLASTS INFLICTED UPON HIM; LEDAS SEES HIS OPENING AND FLIES UP TO MEET THE BENEFACTOR>
<IN THE AIR, LEDAS KICKS THE BENEFACTOR BACK; HE JUMPS FORWARD AND THEN PUNCHES HIM UPWARDS AND TELEPORTS TO WHERE THE BENEFACTOR WOULD BE TO DO A BICYCLE KICK DOWNWARDS; FOLLOWING THIS UP, HE PURSUES THE BENEFACTOR’S FALLING BODY AND PUNCHES HIM RIGHT INTO THE GROUND>
<LEDAS LANDS NEXT TO THE BENEFACTOR’S BODY AND WAITS FOR HIM TO STAND UP; THE BENEFACTOR DOES NOT, AND INSTEAD ROLLS OVER, KICKING AT LEDAS’ LEGS AS HE DOES; THIS CAUSES LEDAS TO STUMBLE BACK AND GIVE THE BENEFACTOR AN OPENING; HE JUMPS UP AND RUNS RIGHT AT LEDAS; THE TWO ENGAGE IN A BLOW EXCHANGE OF PUNCHES AND KICKS; EACH ONE OF THEM GETS HIT NUMEROUS TIMES, BUT THE BENEFACTOR’S FORM IS ABLE TO OVERPOWER LEDAS’; HE TAKES THE OFFENSIVE AND KICKS LEDAS AWAY, THEN JUMPS FORWARD AND DOES A FLURRY OF PUNCHES AND KICKS TO THE BOY’S FACE; AS LEDAS TRIES TO RECOVER THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS A QUICK ENERGY BLAST INTO HIS CHEST; LEDAS COUGHS, AS THE WIND IS KNOCKED OUT OF HIM, AND DOESN’T EVEN PUT UP HIS GUARD WHEN THE BENEFACTOR READIES A POWERFUL PUNCH; IT HITS HIM STRAIGHT IN THE GUT; LEDAS FALLS OVER AND REVERTS TO BASE FORM>
<THE BENEFACTOR IS ON HIM INSTANTLY, PINNING HIM TO THE ROCK>
The Benefactor: Your threshold for pain is remarkably low, kid. One good punch, and you’re down for the count. But for me, pain is a constant companion – one I don’t forget or neglect. And that is my advantage, here at the end of it all. Even being weakened and blinded, I still have one edge. <THE BENEFACTOR STARTS SQUEEZING LEDAS’ NECK> I’m not going to kill you, but you’re going to feel real pain before I leave! I’ll show you what I’ve been through!
<LEDAS CREATES AN EXPLOSIVE WAVE; THE BENEFACTOR YELLS OUT, BUT HE KEEPS A HOLD ON THE BOY>
The Benefactor: You’re going to have to try harder than that!
<LEDAS SQUIRMS, KICKING UP HIS FEET EVEN AS THE BENEFACTOR TRIES TO HOLD HIM DOWN; THE BENEFACTOR’S FACE IS ONLY INCHES AWAY FROM LEDAS AS THEY STRUGGLE; DURING THIS TIME, LEDAS LOOKS TO THE LEFT AND HE SEES YAJIROBE’S SWORD STUCK IN THE GROUND, POKING OUT FROM BEHIND A FEW ROCKS; HE REACHES HIS HAND OUT TO GET IT, BUT IT IS TOO FAR AWAY>
<THE BENEFACTOR DIGS HIS CLAWS INTO LEDAS’ NECK, CAUSING BLOOD TO START FLOWING OUT; LEDAS GROANS AND STARTS STRUGGLING IN A WAY THAT PUSHES HIM TOWARDS YAJIROBE’S SWORD; WITH ONE HAND, LEDAS RESISTS, BUT WITH THE OTHER, HE REACHES TOWARDS YAJIROBE’S SWORD; THE BENEFACTOR DOES NOT NOTICE THIS; HE IS FOCUSED ON LEDAS’ BLOOD AND MAKING THE BOY FEEL MORE PAIN>
<THE BENEFACTOR TEARS LEDAS’ HOODIE OFF; UNDERNEATH, THE BOY IS WEARING A WHITE SHIRT; HE STARTS RIPPING AT THIS, TEARING LEDAS’ SKIN UNDERNEATH; LEDAS ABSOLUTELY SCREAMS AS THIS IS GOING ON; WITH HIS RIGHT HAND, HE CREATES A SMALL ENERGY BEAM AND SHOOTS IT INTO THE BENEFACTOR’S FACE; THE ALIEN TAKES IT HEAD ON, AND THOUGH IT BRIEFLY STUNS HIM, IT DOES NOT MAKE HIM STOP; THEY INCH FURTHER TOWARDS YAJIROBE’S SWORD AS THIS HAPPENS>
<LEDAS STARTS SHOOTING A FLURRY OF ATTACKS AT THE BENEFACTOR, DAMAGING THE GOOD ALIEN EVEN MORE; AS HE IS DOING THIS, HIS LEFT HAND FINDS THE HILT OF YAJIROBE’S SWORD; HE LOOKS LEFT, GOES SUPER SAIYAN, AND PULLS IT OUT OF THE GROUND, CAUSING A BIG ENOUGH COMMOTION THAT THE BENEFACTOR STOPS TEARING APART AND LOOKS OVER; OF COURSE, HE CANNOT SEE THE SWORD, BUT HE CAN HEAR IT>
The Benefactor: What was tha–
<LEDAS SWINGS THE SWORD AND HITS THE ALIEN IN THE FACE; IT CUTS HIM DEEPLY ACROSS THE FACE; THE BENEFACTOR LETS GO OF LEDAS AND FALLS BACK, SHOUTING OUT; A TORRENT OF BLOOD IS FLOWING FROM HIS FACE>
<LEDAS MOVES AWAY FROM THE BENEFACTOR AND STANDS UP; HE FEELS THE WOUND ON HIS CHEST AND GRIMACES>
The Benefactor: <EXTREMELY ANGRY> DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM, YOU FOOL?!?! DO YOU KNOW WHAT I HAVE DONE?!?! I KILLED YOUR GRANDFATHER! I KILLED YOUR FATHER! AND I WOULD HAVE KILLED YOU AND THE PRINCE WERE IT NOT FOR FRIEZA! YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A MAGGOT TO ME! I DEFEATED ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS OUT THERE ON EARTH! AND MANY OF THEM WERE MUCH STRONGER THAN YOU!! WHY DO YOU THINK YOU CAN STAND UP TO ME?! WHY DO YOU RESIST?!
Ledas: <SHOCKED> Wh-what?! My… my f-father?!
The Benefactor: <STANDS UP; HE CAUTERIZES HIS WOUND IN AN INSTANT> That’s right. I killed him. You know almost all the Saiyans are gone. But do you know why? It’s because they tried to rebel against Frieza.
Ledas: <GETTING EMOTIONAL> No! You’re a liar! He killed them in cold blood!
The Benefactor: King Vegeta led a group of the best Saiyans to Frieza’s ship. Frieza took care of them in the blink of an eye. All except for your father, who cowered in the back and escaped Frieza’s first attack.
Ledas: <LOUDER> My father wasn’t a coward!!
The Benefactor: Oh yes he was! I was there, you fool! I saw him in the back of the group, trying to stay out of the fighting. And then once he was the only one left, he tried one final attack on Frieza, but he was so pathetically weak that his blast did nothing at all.
Ledas: <ALMOST CRYING> N-no, it’s n-not true! He d-didn’t!
The Benefactor: <TRYING TO BREAK LEDAS> And then I slit his throat and tore his flesh from his body. I tasted his blood. And it was just like yours. You have the blood of a coward and a weakling inside of you.
Ledas: <FALLS TO HIS HANDS AND KNEES, DROPPING YAJIROBE’S SWORD; HE REVERTS TO HIS BASE FORM; HIS EYES ARE WIDE AND HIS MOUTH AGAPE; HE IS STRICKEN> Y-y-ou…. bastard!!
<CUE To Glory>
<THE BENEFACTOR LAUGHS; LEDAS BEGINS BREATHING VERY QUICKLY; SOME PLASMA SPARKS ARE AROUND HIS BODY>
The Benefactor: You will never see them again. Your father, your grandfather, your friends. Once I’m out of here, I’m killing everyone on Earth. I’m going to make them suffer. But you will be here. You can’t even die to be with them. You will be stuck, alone, forgotten, like the piece of trash you are.
<LEDAS IS STILL BREATHING HARD; HE IS NOT EVEN LOOKING AT HIS OPPONENT; MORE AND MORE PLASMA SPARKS ARE FORMING AROUND HIS BODY, EVEN THOUGH HE IS IN BASE FORM; HIS AURA IS AROUND HIM, THOUGH IT SOMEWHAT FAINT>
The Benefactor: What, are you crying now? Don’t like how the world isn’t fair? Well guess what – life isn’t happy. The hero doesn’t always win.
Ledas: <LOOKS UP AT THE BENEFACTOR; THERE IS HATRED BURNING IN HIS EYES; HE IS IN SUPER SAIYAN 1> I’m no hero.
<To Glory REACHES 0:41 NOW>
<HE JUMPS UP AND CHARGES AT THE BENEFACTOR; THE TWO LOCK INTO A BLOW EXCHANGE, ONLY THIS TIME, LEDAS AND THE BENEFACTOR ARE SHOOTING ENERGY AS MUCH AS THEY ARE PUNCHING AND KICKING; THE CAMERA PANS BACK TO SHOW THEIR DESTRUCTION; EVERY PUNCH SENDS SHOCK WAVES AROUND AND THEIR ENERGY GOES FLYING ABOUT CREATING EXPLOSIONS EVERYWHERE; BRIEFLY, THEY GET LOCKED INTO A VERY FAST BLOW EXCHANGE>
<To Glory REACHES 2:07 NOW>
<LEDAS OVERPOWERS THE BENEFACTOR, FORCING THE ALIEN BACKWARDS; HE IS RUTHLESSLY KICKING AND PUNCHING THE ALIEN BACKWARD>
The Benefactor: <HOARSELY; WHILE THEY ARE FIGHTING; TRYING TO LESSEN LEDAS’ SPIRIT> You know what will happen! You cannot win! You have a coward’s heart!
Ledas: <ANGRILY> A coward wouldn’t be beating you!
<THEY CONTINUE FIGHTING; THERE ARE MANY KICKS, PUNCHES, AND TELEPORTING MOVES OCCURRING, AND ENERGY BLASTS; LEDAS USES A NEW TECHNIQUE, THE ADJUDICATOR, WHERE HE FIRES THREE ENERGY ATTACKS FROM HIS MOUTH SIMULTANEOUSLY; ONCE THEY HIT THE BENEFACTOR, RESIDUE REMAINS THAT BURNS HIS BODY; THIS GIVES LEDAS THE ADVANTAGE; HE PRESSES FORWARD AND KICKS THE BENEFACTOR IN THE CROTCH AREA BEFORE USING A SUPER EXPLOSIVE WAVE TO KNOCK HIM AWAY; LOOKING AT THE BENEFACTOR WITH DISGUST, LEDAS BRINGS HIS AURA UP AROUND HIM>
<To Glory REACHES 3:01 NOW>
<LEDAS LETS OUT A DEAFENING SCREAM AND HIS AURA SHOOTS UP ALL AROUND HIM; PLASMA SPARKS ARE EVERYWHERE; THERE IS MUCH ELECTRICITY IN HIS AURA; THIS KEEPS BUILDING UP UNTIL AN EXPLOSION GOES OFF, BRIEFLY COVERING THE CAMERA IN WHITE; LEDAS STOPS SCREAMING AS IT GOES WHITE>
<THE EXPLOSION HAPPENS RIGHT AT 3:32 IN To Glory>
<WHEN THE CAMERA REFOCUSES IN ON LEDAS, HE IS NOT IN SUPER SAIYAN 1 ANY MORE; HIS HAIR IS STANDING UP MUCH STRAIGHTER; IT IS VERY SPIKY; THERE ARE ELECTRICAL SPARKS MOVING ABOUT HIS BODY, THOUGH THEY DON’T SEEM TO BE HARMING HIM; THIS FORM IS, OF COURSE, SUPER SAIYAN 2>
<THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS SEVERAL ENERGY BEAMS AT LEDAS, THOUGH THE BOY CASUALLY DEFLECTS THEM TO EITHER SIDE>
<THE BENEFACTOR FEELS HIS POWER AND IS IN SHOCK>
The Benefactor: What is this?! Why are you so much stronger now?!
Ledas: <UNIMPRESSED AT THE BENEFACTOR> You shouldn’t have said those things about my father. Now I’m gonna make you feel a lot of pain.
<HE AIR DASHES AT THE BENEFACTOR; THE BENEFACTOR STANDS UP AND ATTEMPTS TO BLOCK, BUT HIS BLOCK IS SHATTERED AND HE IS THROWN TO THE FLOOR; LEDAS PUNCHES HIM AND ELBOWS HIM IN THE NECK; THE BENEFACTOR STUMBLES BACKWARDS; HE ATTEMPTS ANOTHER ATTACK, BUT LEDAS EASILY BLOCKS IT; HE HEADBUTTS THE BENEFACTOR AND THEN FOLLOWS THIS UP WITH A FINGER BEAM TO THE FACE; THE BENEFACTOR FALLS BACK TO THE GROUND, EXHAUSTED AND DEFEATED>
<LEDAS MOVES BACK AND FINDS YAJIROBE’S SWORD, PICKS IT UP, AND SLINGS IT OVER HIS SHOULDER; THEN, HE TAKES TO THE AIR AND TO THE PORTAL AT THE CEILING>
<JUST AS LEDAS IS GOING OUT, THE BENEFACTOR CALLS OUT TO HIM ONE LAST TIME>
The Benefactor: Ledas?! Get back here, you worm!
<THE BENEFACTOR SCREAMS AND PUTS ALL OF HIS REMAINING ENERGY INTO A FINAL RED WIND ENERGY BEAM; IT SHOOTS DIRECTLY AT LEDAS; LEDAS PRODUCES A KYORRA FLASH OF HIS OWN AND SHOOTS IT AT THE BENEFACTOR’S ATTACK; THE TWO BITS OF ENERGY CLASH FOR A MOMENT, THOUGH LEDAS’ IS CLEARLY STRONGER; WITHIN A SECOND, IT COMPLETELY ENGULFS THE BENEFACTOR’S ATTACK AND HITS THE ALIEN, SENDING HIM INTO A CRATER; SEEING THIS, LEDAS SMIRKS>
Ledas: Goodbye, monster. I won’t miss you.
<HE TURNS AROUND AND AIR DASHES OUT OF THE PRISON>
<THE CAMERA MOVES TO JUST BEHIND THE BENEFACTOR; IT SHOWS HIM WATCHING LEDAS EXIT; ALL THE BENEFACTOR CAN DO IS DROP HIS HEAD TO THE GROUND IN UTTER DEFEAT; THE SCREEN FADES TO BLACK AS THE BENEFACTOR’S RAGGED BREATHING CAN BE HEARD>
<AFTER A BRIEF PAUSE, THE CAMERA RE-FADES TO COLOR>
<IT IS BACK OUTSIDE, AS LEDAS HAS RETURNED TO THE REAL WORLD; LEDAS REVERTS TO HIS BASE FORM AND LOOKS AROUND AT THE WORLD; HE IS BEAMING>
Ledas: <SMILING; SOFTLY> I’ve missed this place!
<LEDAS LOOKS AROUND; HE DOESN’T SEE ANYONE NEARBY; THERE ARE STILL SOME CRATERS FROM THE PREVIOUS BATTLES; AS HE GOES FURTHER, HE HEARS A NOISE; TURNING TO IT, HE SEES YAJIROBE SITTING NEXT TO HIS DESTROYED HOVERCAR; THE HUMAN APPEARS TO BE TRYING TO FIX IT; THIS IS CLEARLY IMPOSSIBLE, AS IT IS BUT A SMOLDERING WRECK>
Ledas: Hey, Yajirobe. <YAJIROBE TURNS AROUND AND SEES LEDAS; LEDAS THROWS HIM HIS KATANA, WHICH HE CATCHES WITH LITTLE GRACE> Wanna go home?
- This chapter's name is a lyric taken from the song Ocean Breathes Salty by Modest Mouse. The phrase itself is beautiful, but as it relates to this story, this idea of time and life being at a crossroads is related to the Verlate arc quite integrally. This chapter title refers to Verlate, who commits suicide at the beginning to escape from the monotony of time (the chapter's name really works well for her arc in particular). It also refers to the diverging paths of Ledas and The Benefactor as a result of this chapter - for Ledas escapes from the mind prison, and The Benefactor does not. Therefore, the two are separated, and time and life are no longer as they were. This phrase is true to both of these characters, but to different capacities, obviously.
- This chapter's name is my favorite chapter name in The Forgotten.
- This chapter is really long. It is the second-longest chapter in all of TF and was the first chapter to reach 3000 words.
- Pretty much this entire chapter was written from scratch for the final version of this saga. The little ending with Yajirobe and Ledas was also written from scratch, but it was based on the old ending to "Council Of Gods" - the old chapter name for "The Misoneistic King".
- The concept for this chapter came up during my review of TF before beginning any final edits. As I've said before, I created a notepad document and listed some changes I wanted to make to each saga as I read through them all in preparation for the final edits. And while I liked the stuff with Verlate, I remember not liking how the stuff with her ended - specifically with how TB and Ledas resolve their final conflict. The story essentially ended with a whimper. There was no dramatic battle, no massive explosion of anger and pain that is so commonly seen in DBZ. I was let down. I wanted to be entertained, and I was not. So after I got over my initial depression of the state of the Fulfillment Saga (remember, I once considered deleting everything aside from the finale and Verlate's stuff (though Verlate's stuff would be moved to the previous saga)), I came up with the idea of having Ledas and The Benefactor have one last massive battle to end it all. Now, there were problems with this. TB is undeniably stronger than Ledas. He fought SS3 Goku, Ultimate Gohan, SS3 Vegeta, and the other Z Fighters. None of them, save for SS3 Vegeta, gave him any trouble. And most of those Z Fighters are significantly stronger than Ledas. So I had to figure out how Ledas could beat him. I worked that solution into the story gradually, and it's a simple solution, really: The Benefactor gets severely wounded in all of his battles leading up to that final one, so that by the time he fights Ledas, he's not at his maximum. He's weaker than he's been in a long time. But even then, he's stronger than Ledas' SS1 form. So this was worked out with TB's early fights in the Reunion Saga, as well as his cataclysmic clash with Vegeta in the first chapter of this saga. And of course, TB's bloody battle with Verlate's lurker in the second arc of this saga was also crucially important for him to lose power. Now Verlate did heal both Ledas and The Benefactor to a degree, but she didn't heal them that much, and she certainly didn't heal them after the last Lurker/Screecher battle. So that's how I got TB to be beatable. Another thing that came up during the final edits was that Ledas originally got his Super Saiyan 2 transformation after getting frustrated with Mr. Kyokatoshi. That was a bad idea and not dramatic and so it was removed during the final edits. As a consequence, Ledas didn't have his Super Saiyan 2 transformation yet - and this chapter seemed like the perfect place for that. So as I began to come up with ideas for this chapter, how Ledas would get his Super Saiyan 2 transformation was something I spent a lot of time on, and that transformation gave me a way for the boy to clearly defeat The Benefactor. Little else from this chapter was pre-planned. I improvised the fight choreography as I am wont to do, and even the stuff with Yajirobe's sword was improvised (though I knew before this chapter that the sword would be used in some capacity).
- The opening to this chapter is, dare I say, foreshadowing!
- It is odd that Verlate dies in this chapter. I don't remember why I had her die in this chapter and not in the previous one. Perhaps it was because as soon as she dies, Ledas and The Benefactor start fighting, so it seemed better to go right into that. Dunno, though.
- It was important for me to show that Verlate's death is her own choice and one that she is content to make. It fulfills her character arc that she goes out the way she does.
- So the terrain that springs up in the mind prison after Verlate dies was done purely for my own entertainment. I wanted a quasi-Saiyan Saga feel to the place, as that is such a great saga of DBZ that had a great influence on me and this story, and also a bit from Planet Vegeta, which I'm sure is Ledas' part of the imagination. This was all done with the thought that if I or anyone else ever draws this series, the fight would take place in the place I thought looked the coolest. I could have gone a lot of ways with the terrain, but this was my first thought, so I stuck with it.
- The funny thing is that neither being can kill one another. If TB kills Ledas, TB is trapped in the mind prison, and vice versa. This creates a rather unique fight. TB cannot kill Ledas, which significantly lowers his chances at winning. Since TB is currently the much stronger of the two, it would be to his advantage to kill Ledas. But he has to escape without Ledas getting out first or stopping him, which is much harder.
- Notice how Ledas' dialogue draws attention to the fact that TB is weaker than ever before, that his latest fight (the one with the lurker) severely hurt him. I did this so that readers wouldn't be confused as to why SS2 Ledas is able to defeat TB, whereas SS3 Vegeta was not. It's not that Ledas is stronger than Vegeta - in fact, his SS2 form is weaker than Vegeta's SS2 form, let alone the prince's SS3 form - it's just that TB has gotten weaker himself.
- Of course it's still more logical that TB would just try to escape. So I had to show that he couldn't get away unless he knocked Ledas out first. That was important for the realism aspect of this chapter and it also allowed the remaining cool fights to take place.
- Notice how TB is underestimating Ledas even at this early point. He can probably sense the boy's power level, but doesn't believe that it can touch him. In effect, he's underestimating his own wounds. That TB would do that speaks to his arrogance.
- The second scene of this chapter, the one where the song "Exodus" plays, is a very long scene - one of the longest scenes in TF history. By itself, it is roughly as long as an average chapter of TF. That is a big part of why this is the second-longest chapter in TF.
- "Exodus is a song I had first listened to a few months before writing this chapter, and I don't remember specifically how I found it. I knew, at the time, that I might consider using it for Dragon Ball: The Great War. However, I worked on this chapter first - this chapter was written three days before the very first TGW chapter. So, "Exodus" was put into this story. As I listened to it more, I got the idea that it could be used for the first half of the fight, where TB really dominates Ledas, as it has a sound to it that goes well with that idea. Then of course I got the idea to use "To Glory" in the second half of the fight. This was a radical notion at the time, for I had never used two songs in a single fight before. This made the choreography much trickier and much harder overall, but I think it was worth it, for this first song really sets the tone for TB beating the hell out of Ledas. And it allows for the SS2 payoff that comes after it.
- Notice the plasma sparks in Ledas' aura as he charges up to his maximum. Like in chapter 4, this is hinting that he can now go SS2, but he just needs an emotional moment to fully unlock the form. The fact that the plasma sparks don't stay around for long implies that Ledas isn't in SS2 right now, and their primary function is therefore foreshadowing.
- The way TB vs. Ledas opens up is like how I've seen many an MMA fight open. Sometimes people like to test the waters before jumping in, as is the case here. Obviously, that is not always the case - and in my other fights in TF, it usually isn't - but I was trying something different here.
- I listened to "Exodus" probably 30 times while writing this scene. I did so to make sure the tone of the fight perfectly aligned with the song and that specific music cues (such as the 1:12 cue) are logical and cool. That specific cue results in a struggle between Ledas and The Benefactor that is oft seen in the DBZ anime, but one I had never done before, so I thought now was as good a time as any to write that type of struggle for my characters. I went all out in this fight. I wanted it to be as cool and memorable as possible. That meant going out of my comfort zone in several instances, and being bold and creative in the choreography, which I think is evident in that particular moment.
- The thing with ki dripping off of the two warriors' auras is something I came up with as I was writing this chapter. It doesn't happen in the anime or manga of DBZ or any other DB material, but I thought it was a cool idea so I used it anyway.
- The beam struggle near the beginning of the fight is a really cool one, I have to say. Even reading it now it gives me goosebumps because of how badass it is. That is something I want to see animated. It's also worth noting that Ledas has never done this before. This is full desperation mode for him. To combine a Kyorra Flash and an Ice Cannon may look cool to us, but for Ledas he's not trying to be cool. He's trying to win. He's trying to gain his freedom. That has been the struggle for this Saiyan boy throughout much of TF.
- I always liked how in DB and DBZ, clothes were always torn up and shredded as fights progressed. It just looked cool, particularly when Vegeta's armor got all messed up in the Saiyan Saga of DBZ. So I did something similar here with Ledas and his clothes for the sake of tonal consistency with the universe and for my own aesthetic desires.
- "THE BENEFACTOR RUNS AT LEDAS AND REACHES HIM JUST AS THE SAIYAN STANDS UP; LEDAS BLOCKS HIS PUNCH AND THEN JUMPS IN THE AIR AND THEN FALLS BACK DOWN, SLAMMING HIS FOOT ON THE BENEFACTOR" - this is a specific type of attack in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 and is amongst my favorite attacks in the game. I like to use it to open almost all of my combos, so I had Ledas use a similar attack here. Had I never played that game, Ledas would not have done the above attack.
- Though TB dominates the first half of the fight, he is hurt himself too. Ledas gets some good hits in and holds his own for a while, at least. This of course was done for entertainment purposes, as if TB just dominated Ledas to the point where the boy never touched him, that wouldn't be fun to read, especially not for the climactic battle of the entire story.
- "FLECKS OF BLOOD CAN BE SEEN FLYING FROM HIS BODY AS OLD WOUNDS ARE RE-OPENED" - this line refers to TB, but it also serves as some light foreshadowing for Ledas later learning about who really killed his father.
- It was important for me to have lots of aerial and ground combat in this battle as well. Notice how I'm pretty much doing everything I can. I'm doing every type of battle, every type of conflict, because this is the big one. This is the climax of the story. I'm not satisfied with the scope of previous fights. This one has to go above and beyond any other TF fight by a good margin. I want it to take the readers' breath away. I want it to be something they remember.
- Lots of the fighting choreography in general was based on movesets from Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2, including the fanon movesets I made for my own characters in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast DLC.
- Ledas made a tactical mistake by engaging TB in a blow exchange. He is the weaker of the two, so such a skirmish will only hurt him. He is better doing streaky attacks, using bursts of power to briefly overwhelm the alien who underestimates him. In a show of will and power, like in a blow exchange, Ledas' weaknesses are on full display and he has no chance to win. It is this mistake that ultimately makes Ledas lose the first battle, though one could also say that Ledas losing that battle led him to gain SS2 and eventually defeat TB, so...
- "Your threshold for pain is remarkably low, kid. One good punch, and you’re down for the count. But for me, pain is a constant companion – one I don’t forget or neglect. And that is my advantage, here at the end of it all. Even being weakened and blinded, I still have one edge." - here, at the end of the story, one of the last things TB says is perhaps one the most enlightening quotes about his personality. He also makes good observations and criticisms about Ledas, which are true, and again show that Ledas isn't a Stu.
- The Benefactor is a prideful beast, and arrogant too. He makes his first serious mistake of this chapter when he says, "I’m not going to kill you, but you’re going to feel real pain before I leave! I’ll show you what I’ve been through!". He should have just left the mind prison. He should have just got away. He could have. Ledas was in no condition to immediately pursue him. And yet, he didn't go. That was his mistake. His pride has blinded him to logic. He wants to make Ledas hurt for putting him through all of this bullshit in the past two sagas. He might even blame Ledas for the stuff with Lauto. But TB didn't like losing his eyes. That is a wound that will never heal, a costly wound that he will never forgive Ledas for. Plus, he wasn't able to re-absorb his energy from Ledas, which also angered him greatly. So the reason TB stays behind is understandable. He wants to make Ledas feel the pain he's felt, feel the humiliation he's felt. It's understandable that TB would do this, but it's not logical, and it ultimately costs him the victory.
- I only figured out what to do with Yajirobe's sword when I got to the point where Ledas sees it. The sword has great meaning to me, as I explained its history in Spindlerun: The Tale of Yajirobe - it belongs to Yajirobe's dead childhood friend, Brian. It has Brian's name written on it in gold flowery lettering, which, if this story ever is made into a manga or anime, would appear as an easter egg in this scene. So it was important for me to have Ledas use the sword for some important purpose in this chapter. Him having the sword also allowed me to come up with really cool cover arts for this saga, with Ledas holding the sword and being in badass clothes (which of course Verlate controlled, if one remembers).
- The Benefactor's bloodlust, which allowed him to destroy his own species and be found by Frieza (as well as gain power and kill Lauto and become the force he is by this chapter), is his doom. As he attacks Ledas, he starts going overboard. He sees the blood and that puts him in a frenzy. Had Ledas not grasped onto Yajirobe's sword at the last moment, TB might've killed him and damned himself to the mind prison unintentionally.
- TB is giving Ledas serious injuries in this chapter - the kind that are fit for a big climactic moment. Even if Ledas wins, he will die if he doesn't get a senzu bean fast. He's running out of time either way. And with his weakening power level and loss of blood, it doesn't appear he can win, even if he slices TB. That alone won't win the day for Ledas. He needs to take out TB. He needs to truly win. But it doesn't look like he can, at least from this point, even if I have foreshadowed the answer at least twice before this point.
- TB tearing up Ledas' chest is perhaps the moment when Ledas feels the most pain he's ever felt in his life. He certainly screams unlike he has ever screamed before. I wanted Ledas to hurt during this chapter. I wanted his blood to flow. It makes his victory that much more satisfying when it eventually happens. I love it when an underdog wins.
- TB is allowing himself to be damaged by Ledas as Ledas is trying to get Yajirobe's sword because TB is in his bloodlust and is so overwhelmed by emotion that he can't think straight. I'm sure he's not even really feeling the attacks. But once he gets out of his bloodlust, he's going to hurt quite a bit, and that's going to be bad news for him in the second battle.
- The moment Ledas suddenly goes SS (you gotta think he was conserving his energy just for that moment) and slices TB across the face with Yajirobe's katana is one of the most satisfying things I've ever written, and not just in TF.
- Notice how, before the second battle, Ledas and The Benefactor are both covered in their own blood. I have mentioned it before, but I will mention it again: blood is symbolically important in this story.
- In previous versions of TF, TB revealed to Ledas that he killed Layeeck, though such information was revealed in markedly different circumstances. I prefer this version the most, as TB reveals this crucial information (which is a big part of why Ledas goes SS2) in a rant. He's so angry and in pain that he lets that information slip. He's trying to scare Ledas. He's trying to mentally defeat the boy. He wants Ledas to break down crying. He wants Ledas to hurt as he's hurting.
- TB's point about the other Earthlings he fought being stronger than Ledas is fair, but TB doesn't seem to realize that he was much stronger when he fought them. Again, I did this to show how out-of-touch he is. He really underestimates Ledas and overestimates himself, and he's doing so on several levels here, just before the second fight.
- The fact that TB killed both Lascon and Layeeck makes it seem like it's his destiny to kill Ledas too. This also allows Ledas to see beating The Benefactor as an act of revenge for the deaths of the two previous patriarchs of his bloodline.
- TB's rant is also more typical of a standard DBZ villain, something I am proud of. He's less awkward, less cringe-worthy in the final version, and his rant in this chapter was something Hyper Zergling particularly enjoyed. I would say that TB's reason for attacking Ledas, for hating Ledas, is better than it was in previous versions, which allowed me to write rants like that.
- My idea for TB revealing the events of the Genocide of the Saiyans came up as I was writing this chapter. It wasn't planned before I wrote it. And indeed, it's a brilliant moment, one of the best moments in the series. TB makes a huge mistake telling Ledas all of that, but at the same time it's a really cool move, since it ties the events of the first saga to this point. It effectively shows how the Saiyan rebellion and Layeeck's death all led to this moment, some 57 chapters later. I didn't write the first saga's ending with this scene in mind, yet I think my skills as a writer allowed me to see that there was a connection here and thus, the scene with TB telling Ledas all this information was born. I'm happy I had the awareness to the see the potential in that.
- Notice how Ledas is getting extremely emotional as TB tells him about the Genocide of the Saiyans and what happened to Layeeck.
- It is a crucial miscalculation on TB's part that he calls Layeeck a coward. Was Layeeck actually a coward, though? I shan't answer that. Use the text to come to your own opinion. Ledas doesn't like that TB is sullying the memory of his father, though, and that brings up a rage and sadness perhaps never seen before in Ledas. He has never properly grieved for his parents' deaths, so now we really get to see all that bottled-up emotion let out. This was also built up from the Lauto Saga.
- TB is savage when he explains to Ledas how he killed his father. Put yourself in Ledas' shoes. How would you feel if your greatest rival told you he mutilated your father as he killed him and then began to eat him? It would be horrifying, disgusting, enraging, and despair-inducing. For Ledas, who is a warrior at heart, the effect is more towards that of rage and disgust. He wants to make TB pay because he knows he might be able to. And even if he can't, he will try nonetheless. His father's honor means that much to him. He doesn't want to be seen as a coward, and he doesn't want his father to be seen as a coward.
- "I tasted his blood. And it was just like yours. You have the blood of a coward and a weakling inside of you." - one of my favorite lines in the story right here. I will let it speak for itself.
- In previous versions of the story, Ledas swore at one time or another. I don't believe he really swears anymore. Him calling TB a bastard, therefore, just before he goes SS2, is one of the most significant moments in his characterization. It shows his pain, his rage, his need to protect himself and the memory of his father, to make TB pay for what he's said and what he's done. Ledas is not like he ever was before. The emotional state he's in allows him to, therefore, ascend to SS2. His horror can be seen when he drops Yajirobe's sword and reverts to his base form. He's utterly shocked at what The Benefactor has told him. But he's not like to give up. He's a Saiyan. He's a warrior. And he will fight to the end. Now that he knows the truth, the boy will fight with a bitter rage that he did not have in the previous fight. And really, that is the difference between him losing in the first fight and him winning in the second fight.
- "To Glory" is one of my favorite Two Steps From Hell songs. I don't know exactly where it ranks on my all-time list, but I would say, in a guess, that it's in the top 5. I actually listened to quite a few songs to try to find the best one for Ledas' SS2 battle. Once this one came on, I knew it was the song almost at once. The build up of it, as well as the explosion of emotion and pure badass sound is a perfect tonal accompaniment to the most dramatic moment in TF. I think this moment, when Ledas transforms as "To Glory" is raging up to its own climax, is perhaps the greatest single moment in TF. It's certainly only rivaled from a dramatic standpoint by when Vegeta goes SS3 in the final chapter of the Reunion Saga. I mean, even now as I'm listening to the song, I'm getting emotionally affected by how good it is, by how well it goes with the emotion of this second battle of this chapter.
- Notice how, after "To Glory" begins, more plasma sparks form around Ledas' aura. This again hints at him beginning to reach SS2.
- "You will never see them again. Your father, your grandfather, your friends. Once I’m out of here, I’m killing everyone on Earth. I’m going to make them suffer. But you will be here. You can’t even die to be with them. You will be stuck, alone, forgotten, like the piece of trash you are." - this quote has a lot to do with the themes of being forgotten and Ledas' fear of being forgotten. Being locked in the mind prison is a special kind of forgotten, though, and that is a big reason as to why Ledas transforms. He's scared he will be forgotten, that he will let his friends down, that he will never see Vegeta again. And he's afraid that he can't even die to be with them in the next life, if there is a next life. That realization, which TB so kindly helps Ledas realize, allows Ledas to reach the emotional state needed to become a SS2.
- "Well guess what – life isn’t happy. The hero doesn’t always win." - this is a major theme of my stories, in general. Ledas isn't a hero, though, and the readers should realize this even now. He's the protagonist, a grey, flawed character. And his response of, "I'm no hero", is the perfect response thematically and for Ledas' character. The fact that Ledas recognizes he's not a hero is awesome. And the quote itself is fucking awesome, if I do say so myself. It's so badass.
- Because of the way "To Glory" unfolds, I made the decision to not have Ledas transform until the final, greatest climax of the song. This meant roughly three minutes of the song had to go by before he began transforming though. This allowed me to have additional fighting between SS1 Ledas and TB. Both are heavily wounded by this point, but Ledas' rage and his emotion is giving him a second wind, and that is crucial. Had he not had his emotions driving him, he could not have attacked TB again, and he would have been unable to transform.
- Despite the blow exchange leading to his defeat last time, Ledas immediately goes back to it in the second fight. This says a lot about Ledas' character. He has something to prove not only to TB, but to himself. That fight from 0:41 in "To Glory" until "2:07" is one of the fastest, most insane fights I've ever written.
- "You know what will happen! You cannot win! You have a coward’s heart!" - The Benefactor wants to break Ledas. He wants to see nothing more than that boy break down. And this quote is trying to accomplish that. He doesn't just want to beat Ledas and get away. He wants to see the boy give into despair and perhaps commit suicide like Verlate (though, of course, after TB has enough time to escape). This is all payback for what Ledas did to him. TB's mistake, though, is that his goading is not working. He's not breaking Ledas. He's enraging the boy and causing him to get emotionally-charged. He's directly leading to the boy's SS2 transformation.
- Would Ledas have defeated The Benefactor had he not become a SS2? Probably not. His emotional second wind would have only lasted for a short while longer, and then he would have been completely out of energy. I don't think he would have been able to cripple TB in that amount of time with the power he had.
- Notice how Ledas hurts TB, how he fights him, before transforming. On some level, he understands what is happening. He's had the emotional release - his anger, sadness, and determination to protect himself, the legacies of his father and grandfather, and to not be considered a coward. This emotional release already happened, just as "To Glory" began. But Ledas didn't fully tap into it until the 3:01 mark in the song. He wanted to make TB hurt, just like TB wanted to make him hurt. Then, he realized he could go further, that he could use his emotions to ascend to a higher power level, and thus he did. All of this was intuitive. Ledas didn't have time, until the 3:01 mark in the song, to step back from TB and really feel the power coursing through him, the emotion coursing through him, and realize that he could power up into a SS2. Once he was away from TB for a second, this realization came to him, this intuitive feeling, and he unlocked his new form in the most dramatic scene in TF history (and one of the most dramatic scenes I've ever written, to be sure).
- Magnificent moment when Ledas goes SS2. That build up from 3:01-3:32 in "To Glory" as Ledas is transforming still affects me deeply to this day.
- Ledas really doesn't have a lot of badass quotes in TF, at least not until this saga. These past few chapters have seen some really good quotes from him. When he says, "You shouldn’t have said those things about my father. Now I’m gonna make you feel a lot of pain.", that is easily one of his best lines. I can picture him standing there in SS2, a scowl on his face, electricity shooting up his aura, saying that as if it were in the anime. Fun stuff. This is another one of those scene I would kill to see drawn or animated.
- After Ledas transforms into a SS2, that is the only time in all of TF when the boy is stronger than The Benefactor. I'd like to think that after all of this ends, after TB gets rested up and heals his wounds in the mind prison, he returns to his old power of matching SS3 Goku and SS3 Vegeta, which of course makes him stronger than Ledas again.
- Ledas takes out TB quickly, and that was a goal of mine as I was writing this chapter. I wanted to show that finally Ledas could take on TB, that finally he could make that monster feel pain. He does make TB feel a lot of pain, but Ledas gets it all over quickly. He wants to get out of there. He doesn't want to make a mistake and lose his SS2 form and get stuck in the mind prison when he was clearly winning. The people outside the mind prison mean more to Ledas than The Benefactor.
- The Benefactor's last call to Ledas as the boy goes to escape the mind prison is the first and only time the alien calls Ledas by his name.
- TB's last Red Wind attack is reminiscent of Frieza's last attack on SS Goku after Goku clearly won their fight and was going to leave the planet. Frieza seemingly died in that exchange (though he really did not). Ledas is mindful that he could kill The Benefactor in this last beam exchange as well, and lets up, not using all of his power. He doesn't want The Benefactor to die, for that will mean that only one person is in the mind prison, and then Ledas will be stuck there until someone else gets sucked inside. And who knows when the next person will get sucked inside? Vegeta and Ryori could be dead by then. Ledas will not risk getting stuck in the mind prison whatsoever. So his attack just overpowers TB's, and it specifically is not strong enough to kill the alien.
- Though The Benefactor is a bad guy, I do still feel a little bad for him as he watches Ledas fly away, knowing that he could end up spending an eternity in this prison of his mind. And considering TB doesn't like to think about the past, about his past pain, the wait in the mind prison will be a long, torturous one for him. But, at the same time, he kind of deserves that, dontcha think?
- I considered ending this chapter when TB sees Ledas get out of the mind prison, but it didn't feel right. I don't think the Yajirobe scene works in the next chapter. Even though I considered just writing until that point, once I got to it, I decided to keep writing through the Yajirobe scene, and I'm glad I did. That scene works better in chapter 9 than it would have in chapter 10.
- It's so nice to see Ledas happy again. It was very rewarding to write him return to the world and grin and be all happy again, after all the hell he's been through in this story. Maybe something will finally go right for him. Maybe he'll finally find some happiness.
- The last line of this chapter is one of my favorite chapter closings in all of TF. It's not particularly badass or shocking. There's just something to it, just something about Yajirobe catching his katana, about Ledas offering to take him home, that is cool to me and extremely rewarding to read. I can't really explain the emotion it makes me feel to read the last scene of this chapter. But it's an emotion I quite enjoy feeling.
- This chapter, much like chapter 9 of the Stomping Grounds Saga, feels like a season finale. Both of these final sagas in each arc (the Planet Trade Organization arc and the Earth Arc) effectively has two season finales, and both are in the ninth and twelfth chapters respectively. Interesting to note, but it was not something I planned when I was writing this story. It just so happened that the two arcs mirrored one another in that way.
- I am going to say that this is probably my favorite chapter in the series. As of writing this commentary, I have not yet anthologized the remaining three chapters of the Fulfillment Saga, but I think it's safe to say that only the finale of those three has a chance to be my favorite. Just from memory, though, I don't remember it having as many badass moments or moments that affected me emotionally as this chapter did. Even so, the finale is probably my second favorite chapter if it doesn't end up being my favorite chapter.
<IT IS NIGHT>
<LEDAS REACHES KORIN TOWER QUICKLY; HE FLIES UP TO THE RAILING OF THE TOWER, TOUCHING DOWN QUIETLY; BOTH HE AND YAJIROBE ASSUME KORIN IS SLEEPING, YAJIROBE SLIPS AWAY, OFF TO BED; NO MORE GLANCE NOR TALK DOES HE HAVE FOR LEDAS, AS HE IS QUITE TIRED, HIMSELF; LEDAS RAISES HIS HAND TO SIGNAL HIS GOODBYE, BUT DOES NOT TALK EITHER>
<LEDAS TAKES THE MIND PRISON AND CAREFULLY PLACES IT (WITH TWO HANDS, MIND YOU) OVER ON ONE OF KORIN’S MANY TABLES; HE GOES TO LEAVE>
<AS LEDAS WALKS, HE NOTICES A GLINT FROM AN UPTURNED SLAB OF WALL AGAINST THE TABLE; HE WALKS UP TO IT, DRAGGING HIS FEET AS HE GOES>
<CURIOUS OF THIS STRANGE THING, LEDAS RUNS HIS HAND DOWN THE LENGTH OF IT, FEELING FOR CLUES; IT IS VERY COLD; HE SHIVERS>
<LEDAS LIGHTS UP A SMALL KI BLAST SO THAT HE MAY SEE MORE CLEARLY WHAT IS STANDING BEFORE HIM ; IT IS A SIMPLE MIRROR, WHICH IS SLIGHTLY DIRTY FROM DISUSE, BUT IT IS A WORKING MIRROR NONETHELESS; HE STARES AT THE FIGURE OF HIS OWN BODY>
<SINCE LEDAS HAS NEVER SEEN A MIRROR BEFORE, THIS THING IS SOMETHING SURREAL TO HIM; HE HAS NEVER SEEN HIS OWN FACE BEFORE, OR EVEN HIS BODY FROM A FULL THIRD PERSON VIEW; HE COCKS HIS HEAD TO THE SIDE, EXAMINING IT>
<STILL DIRTY, AND BLOODY (COVERED IN HIS OWN AS WELL AS THE BENEFACTOR’S), LEDAS LOOKS QUITE TERRIBLE, BUT HE IS TRANSFIXED, SO MUCH SO THAT HE DOES NOT REALIZE HOW BRIGHT HIS KI BALL REALLY IS>
Korin: <FROM BEHIND> Like what ya see, big guy?
Ledas: <WHEELING AROUND> Oh Korin, sir. I didn’t mean to wake you up.
Korin: Don’t worry about it. It’s not like I have anything to get up for in the morning. <HE DOES AN OPEN/STILL LEAP ONTO THE TABLE>
Ledas: Really? What about Yajirobe?
Korin: Yeah, sure kid. He has to get up early to make sure he doesn’t miss a meal. <KORIN INSPECTS THE PYRAMID AS HE TALKS> You worked everything out with Vegeta and the others?
Ledas: Yeah, but… <LEDAS QUITS STARING INTO THE MIRROR; HE SPINS AROUND TO FACE KORIN, IN MOST SERIOUS REPOSE> um, Mr. Korin sir, do you think you could train me to be stronger? Like Vegeta is, I mean… <TRAILING OFF> C-could you be my teacher? I think you’re real smart and all.
Korin: <TAKEN ABACK> What do you think I am, some kind of martial arts master?
Ledas: <INNOCENTLY> Uh, yeah. That’s what Yajirobe said.
Korin: <LEAPS OFF OF THE TABLE; HE BEGINS TO WALK BACK TO HIS ROOM> Don’t take this the wrong way kid, but there’s nothing I can do to help ya. <HE STANDS THERE SILENTLY FOR THREE MOMENTS; HE YAWNS> My advice is to go find Vegeta and get him to help ya. He’s sure to know more about this than me. <ABRUPTLY> Now, it’s time for bed. See ya around.
<KORIN EXITS THROUGH THE DOOR>
<LEDAS STARES AFTER HIM, THEN TURNS AND PUSHES OFF FROM THE GROUND, FLYING UP AND AWAY>
Ledas: <TO HIMSELF IN THOUGHT> But I want to get stronger before–
Korin: <BACK ONCE AGAIN> Hey!
<THIS NOISE STOPS LEDAS; HE LOOKS BACK AT THE TOWER, WHERE KORIN IS STANDING>
Korin: You’re forgetting something. Here. <HE THROWS THE MIND PRISON UP TO LEDAS, WHO CATCHES IT IN REFLEX>
Ledas: <GINGERLY, LOOKING OVER THE OBJECT> This isn’t mine. Yajirobe said it belonged to you.
Korin: <DRYLY> Whatever you stuck away in there, I don’t want to be left with it. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing it’s around! And this cat needs his sleep, y’know.
Korin: Look, if ya keep it in a safe place, there’s nothing to worry about.
Ledas: But I can’t watch it all the time. Ryori and me were gonna go see that whale that could jump out of its tail… It’s very cool. <BACKFLIP> And besides, I have to train every day too. How’m I supposed to keep this thing from opening every place I go?
Korin: <TO HIMSELF> Sheesh, these Saiyan boys have no common sense… <TO LEDAS; KORIN IS A BIT GRUMPY> For starters, you shouldn’t be taking it with you everywhere you go. Put it somewhere safe, like under your bed. Just don’t forget about it. You wouldn’t want to accidentally bump into it one day and get sucked in again, now would ya? <TURNS AND GOES BACK TO HIS ROOM>
Ledas: <IGNORING> Wait, how do you know what it does?!
Korin: <TURNS BACK FROM HIS DOOR> Just a wild guess. Now go get some sleep, kid. Ya look like ya need some.
<LEDAS WATCHES KORIN UNTIL THE DOOR CLOSES BEHIND THE CAT>
Ledas: Okay bye, then.
<HE THEN TURNS AND FLIES AWAY>
<A SHORT SCENE IS SHOWN OF LEDAS RETURNING TO HIS GRAVITY TRAINING UNIT ON THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN; HE LANDS AND WALKS TO THE OPEN DOOR>
Ledas: <LOOKING AROUND> Ryori? Where are you? Hey, Ryori?!
<THE SCREEN FADES>
<THE NEXT MORNING>
<CARDINAL IS LYING IN A HOSPITAL BED; HIS ARM IS STILL BANDAGED, AND HE IS STILL HOOKED UP TO MULTIPLE IV TUBES; HE HAS DARK CIRCLES UNDER HIS EYES; AS HE WAKES UP, THE CAMERA SWITCHES TO HIS PERSPECTIVE>
Cardinal: <YAWNING> Nurse… nurse! I need more morphine! Nurse! <HE OPENS HIS EYES AND SEES LEDAS STANDING IN FRONT OF HIM; LEDAS IS WEARING A BLACK HOODIE AND WHITE SHORTS; CARDINAL IS STARTLED> Oh! What are you doing here, Ledas?
Ledas: <ARMS FOLDED> You know why.
Cardinal: <SITS UP AND SIGHS> I am not a mind reader, boy. Especially not for aliens. Tell me what you want or leave me be.
Ledas: Tell me where Ryori is.
Cardinal: <RELAXES> That’s it? Well, he’s in confinement for what he did to my arm. See? <CARDINAL GESTURES TO HIS BANDAGES>
Ledas: <STARING CARDINAL DOWN> Whatever he did to you, you had it coming.
Cardinal: Well, I don’t th–
Ledas: I don’t care what you think. Just tell me exactly where he is.
Cardinal: He’s being held by the police somewhere in this hospital. I don’t know where, but he’s not getting free. He attacked me, Ledas. He’s going to be in serious trouble for that. They are questioning him now.
<LEDAS LOOKS OVER HIS SHOULDER, THEN STEPS FORWARD; HE IS LESS THAN A FOOT AWAY FROM CARDINAL NOW>
Ledas: <QUIETER, BUT STILL THREATENING> You’re pretty important here on Earth, aren’t you?
Cardinal: <GUARDED> One could say that.
Ledas: Then you’ll find a way to get him out of this.
Cardinal: And why would I do such a thing?
Ledas: If you don’t, I’ll find him, myself. And you know what that means. You don’t want any more people to die, do you?
Cardinal: I see. <HE LOOKS DOWN> In that case, I’ll try to work something out. But it will take some time. I am quite debilitated at the present moment.
Ledas: Once you’ve freed him, you’re gonna to buy him a new house and pay for everything he needs. Got it?
Cardinal: What?! Come on, be reasonable! That’ll be immensely expensive! My funds would be better served going into other–
Ledas: <IN A WHISPER> You killed his brother. <PAUSE> Now you’re gonna pay for that. He needs someone to support him, and that’s gonna be you. I don’t care how much it costs you.
Cardinal: So if I refuse, I assume you’ll find some way to make me?
Ledas: <FIERCELY> Yeah, that’s right.
Cardinal: You know, when King Furry told me about how your kind was protecting our planet, I don’t think he was talking about you.
Ledas: Whatever. Just get Ryori free.
Cardinal: <TO HIMSELF> How much has my power been reduced that I am now taking orders from a mere boy? <HE LOOKS UP TO LEDAS AGAIN> I’ll be working on it. You have my word, Ledas.
<LEDAS NODS AND GOES TO LEAVE; AS HE DOES, THE DOOR OPENS AND NURSE YOROKOBI ENTERS; SHE LOOKS AT LEDAS AS HE WALKS PAST HER, THOUGH HE DOESN’T SEEM TO NOTICE HER; ONCE HE PASSES HER, SHE POSITIVELY STARES AT HIS BACKSIDE UNTIL HE EXITS>
<THE SCENE MOVES TO RYORI’S ROOM, WHERE THERE ARE POLICE GUARDING THE DOORS AND SOME MORE POLICE INSIDE; SUDDENLY, A POLICEMAN OPENS THE DOOR AND STEPS OUT; HE LOOKS AT THE OTHERS AND SPEAKS>
Policeman 1: Come on boys, we’re leaving.
Policeman 2: Aren’t we taking the kid to the station for more questioning?
Policeman 1: Nah, no need.
Policeman 3: What?! Why?
Policeman 1: You guys ever heard of the Cardinal?
Policeman 2: No. What is he, some kind of religious man?
Policeman 1: <PATS A BRIEFCASE IN HIS HAND> Well, he’s my religion now, heh heh. He gonna make us a whole lot richer, provided we walk away. Now come on boys, follow me. Ain’t no point in throwing money down the toilet. Let’s go get paid.
<AFTER THEY LEAVE, NURSE YOROKOBI IS SEEN ENTERING RYORI’S ROOM, PERHAPS TO CHECK ON HIM; AFTER SOME TIME, LEDAS COMES WALKING DOWN THE HOSPITAL HALL; HE GOES TO ENTER THE ROOM>
<BACK WITH LEDAS, HE IS WAITING INSIDE THE HOSPITAL ROOM WHERE RYORI IS; RYORI IS LYING IN THE BED TO HIS RIGHT, ASLEEP OR UNCONSCIOUS FROM SEDATION; LEDAS IS ALSO ASLEEP, THOUGH THIS IS BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN SITTING AT THE TABLE NEXT TO RYORI’S BED FOR SEVERAL HOURS, WAITING FOR HIS GOOD FRIEND TO WAKE UP>
<END OF CHAPTER>
- This chapter's name refers to some stuff that happens in the second redacted scene. Sticky fingers itself is a common phrase and also the name of the medal for getting 15 plasma grenade stick kills without dying in Halo: Reach (a game I was playing a lot around the time I wrote the first draft of this saga). I'm sure both of those facts influenced me to use that name.
- This chapter hasn't changed all that much from the first draft until the last. This is one of the few chapters in the Fulfillment Saga that basically stayed the same, content-wise, in all three major drafts of the sagas. In 2012, I made a change to place the second redacted scene before Ledas returns to Ryori's room and falls asleep in there, whereas before, in 2011, Ledas falls asleep in the room before the redacted scene takes place. This may seem like nothing, but this did influence how that scene unfolded in a significant way (if one has read that redacted scene, they will notice that the way it opens would be impossible if Ledas had been asleep in the room). For the final edits, the second scene with Cardinal (and the smaller scene with the police officers) was added in, but the earlier scene with Korin and Ledas remains roughly the same in all versions of this story. The original second scene of this chapter involved a mailman and Vegeta, but during the final edits of the saga, that scene was moved to the next chapter.
- This chapter is the shortest chapter in the Fulfillment Saga - it's just slightly longer than half as long as the previous chapter. It almost was half as long as the previous chapter, though. The only other time that has happened in TF is the with chapters 6 and 7 of the Reunion Saga, and chapters 11 and 12 of this saga. Anyways, though this chapter is very short, it would actually be longer than "When Time And Life Shook Hands And Said Goodbye" if the redacted scene's wordcount was added to it. That redacted scene's wordcount is 1880 words - which makes it longer than the rest of "Sticky Fingers"! However, redacted scenes' wordcounts are not a part of the sagas' wordcounts, so this chapter remains the shortest in the saga. Of note is the fact that "Mist" - chapter six of the Planet Earth Saga - would also eclipse 3000 words if its redacted scene was added to its wordcount. But it would not be longer than "Sticky Fingers". Thus, "Sticky Fingers", the shortest chapter in this saga, would be the second-longest chapter in TF history if its redacted scene's wordcount was added to its chapter wordcount.
- One thing I tried with this chapter was to have a muted, exhausted tone. The big battle is finally over, and everyone is tired. In many ways, this chapter is an epilogue of the arc that began at the start of the Reunion Saga, with the next two chapters being something different entirely. That is mostly because of the tone of the chapter.
- Notice also how much of the resolution of the last chapter is left up to the readers' imaginations. I don't show if Ledas talked with Yajirobe about the mind prison (you have to think that they went to get some food before returning to Korin Tower, though) or if Ledas meets any of the Z Fighters again, now that they have been healed. It should not be expected that he saw any of them, though. Krillin and Yajirobe probably told them what happened to Ledas and The Benefactor, which is why the Z Fighters aren't around - they know the villain is defeated, and probably think that Ledas is gone too. But he isn't, and he will meet them soon enough. But that fact is important, since if they were expecting Ledas to still be around, they would have gone looking for him (Vegeta especially).
- One of my favorite moments in this story is when Ledas looks into the mirror on Korin Tower. It's significant in that this is the first time he's ever really gotten a good look at himself. But him seeing himself all dirty, wounded, bruised, tired, and lonely is very cool too. Good moment of characterization here. Ledas seeing himself for the first time has symbolic meaning as well as literal meaning, of course. It was no accident that I had such a moment take place after Ledas defeated his greatest foe.
- In many ways, Korin has fun with Ledas in this chapter. His wit is on full display. I feel like Korin is one of the easiest canon characters for me to write for, and it shows in his scene with Ledas. Even though both Korin and Yajirobe are relatively minor characters in this story, the scenes they are in with Ledas and each other are some of my favorite. So much humor and characterization in their stuff. Korin in particular has some of the most dense dialogue of any character, in terms of the layers of thematic and characterization content.
- Korin doesn't want to train Ledas because he knows Ledas is significantly stronger than him. There's nothing Korin can actually do. He says as much, but he says it in a way that Ledas doesn't realize that he's surpassed the cat whom he looks up to so much.
- Korin's advice for Ledas to go reunite with Vegeta is a good moment, for it directs Ledas' thoughts towards doing so. In that way, Korin is actually serving as Ledas' teacher and mentor. He got to know Ledas a little bit at the end of the Planet Earth Saga, and I'm sure the boy told him about Vegeta and his past and all that. So, even though Korin denies Ledas' request (another sign that Ledas is not a Gary Stu - he doesn't get what he wants), he does help the boy find resolution to one of his true problems in life.
- Korin has funny dialogue, but he doesn't say anything that isn't true or anything that he doesn't believe. He truly would have trouble sleeping knowing TB is in the mind prison. Knowing how clumsy Yajirobe is, TB could easily get loose again should the mind prison remain at Korin Tower. At the same time, it's not like Ledas, a mere kid, is a safer option to watch over the mind prison. But it is Ledas' obligation. Ledas put The Benefactor in that mind prison, and it's his job to make sure the alien never gets out again. In that way, Ledas ends this story with a new responsibility, shedding a bit of his image of just being a carefree kid.
- "Ryori and me were gonna go see that whale that could jump out of its tail…" - this is a reference to a sketch by The Whitest Kids U' Know, one of my favorite comedy groups. I was big on them back when I wrote this chapter.
- Notice how Korin notes the similarities between Ledas and Goku (particularly Kid Goku, whom Korin knew best). That was no accident. Of course, I wanted to show that Ledas and Goku have similar tendencies, since they are of the same species, but their similar tendencies perhaps go beyond simple biological attributes. I had a lot of fun putting that in the story.
- Man, Ledas almost realizes that Korin was once in the mind prison with Verlate. Verlate hinted as much a few chapters back, and Korin hints as much here. Poor kid. If only he was more aware. Stuff like that, though, was mainly added in for the audience, not for Ledas himself.
- So the scene with Ledas not finding Ryori at the gravity training unit is a new one. In previous versions, Ledas randomly found out that Ryori was in the hospital without any scene showing that he knew the kid was missing. Thus, I tried to fix that in the final version of the story. This is an example of a con no one had about the story, as far as I'm aware (in reviews or discussions with me), but a con that I had for the story. And such cons, even if others don't have them, still need to be fixed, in my mind. As with any author, I write primarily to entertain myself, and so when I have problems with story, even when others do not, that is grounds for change. This was also seen when I removed the expanded natives plotline in saga 2, which many a review praised, but which I personally was not satisfied with.
- It's a small thing, but Ledas is wearing a new set of clothes in the second scene of this chapter. It's not a set he's worn in a very long time. This is because TB nearly completely destroyed the set he wore for most of the Planet Earth Saga, Reunion Saga, and Fulfillment Saga. This change isn't very noticeable in the text form of this story, but if this story was made into a manga, it would be a striking change. Ledas' new clothes reflect him moving on from the old conflicts. In a way, he's been reborn now that he's defeated The Benefactor.
- Notice how much Cardinal's own appearance has deteriorated. This is in contrast to Ledas' appearance in this scene. The waning of one power is evident, while the waxing of another is as well.
- Cardinal thought Ledas wanted something more out of him than knowing where Ryori is. We all know why Cardinal is feeling guilty and anxious - Shoekki's death being one of those things, and perhaps Mrs. Fanshi's death being the other. Cardinal has many secrets, and these are starting to wear on him mentally. His physical health is affecting his mental restraint.
- Notice how Ledas dominates Cardinal in their conversation. Cardinal's main power is his voice and his presence. But Ledas won't let him gain the advantage in that way. This shows how much Ryori means to Ledas. He doesn't want his friend to be put in any harm by Cardinal, and knowing what Cardinal is capable of, Ledas isn't sure that hasn't already happened.
- Ledas has clearly matured by this chapter. The way he deals with Cardinal is great. He makes that fucker pay for killing Shoekki. Cardinal absolutely did not want to pay for Ryori's well-being, but alas, he had no choice. It's significant that such a powerful man is being forced to do something by a Saiyan boy. But this shows how mature Ledas can be when something really matters to him - which Ryori's well-being does - and how he won't take shit from anybody anymore. Not after all he's been through.
- "You know, when King Furry told me about how your kind was protecting our planet, I don’t think he was talking about you." - though I have compared Ledas to the Z Fighters before, and even made some specific comparisons between him and Goku, this quote illustrates that he is still a grey character. Even Cardinal notices this. Ledas certainly isn't a "good guy" in the classic, white knight kind of of way. Certainly, he's using his own sense of morality to get justice for Ryori. I personally don't have a problem with how Ledas goes about this. But I can definitely see that it's now how Goku would have done it, nor how a classic hero archetype would. And that's fine. Because classic hero archetypes are dumb and often put contrived senses of honor above real solutions. Ledas won't do that. He just wants a solution to the problem of Ryori no longer having a caretaker or a home. And everything works out fine. Cardinal has to pay for what he did in the previous sagas, so in a way, this solution is the most satisfying, since it allows for karmic payback to occur.
- "How much has my power been reduced that I am now taking orders from a mere boy?" - good line here that sums up Cardinal's fall rather succinctly.
- The Yorokobi/Ledas scene in this chapter was added in during the final edits, long after I had written the second redacted scene. Because that scene was already written, it allowed me to write these little bits of foreshadowing. Yorokobi staring at Ledas is quite similar to how Chaiva stares at his tail in Dragon Ball: Cold Vengeance, and that parallel was not lost on me.
- The third scene happens sometime after the second scene and skips all that boring bribery talk. I considered having a scene with Cardinal on the phone bribing the police, but that just seemed boring, so I never wrote it. The new scene with the police is a lot subtler, which is rad.
- The police getting bribed is perhaps some social commentary, perhaps some cultural commentary, or perhaps it's none of those things. Perhaps this is one of the few times a bribe has been done "for the good!". I don't know. The philosophical arguments that could be brought up about that scene are not ones I will talk about here, lest I give everything away.
- It's funny how the police officers call Cardinal "the Cardinal" and tie him to religion. This religious tie is mostly seen in the Cardinal that is part of my Death Note story. Do remember that Cardinal originally existed in that story and then I added him to TF later. Thus, this was me going back and referencing my older story which, as of writing this commentary, has not been edited in like 4 years and may never get completed (though I still hold out hope to complete it).
- I don't remember when I wrote the second deleted scene, but I believe it was after both the 2011 and 2012 drafts of this saga were written. Because it was written before the final draft, though, that meant I could lead up to it in some cool ways. This was seen with Yorokobi in chapter 3 and indeed in a few short scenes in this chapter. The lead up to the second redacted scene also is better than it was previous versions. That paragraph where Yorokobi enters Ryori's room and then Ledas enters the room later is what actually happens at the start of the second redacted scene, so that's cool.
- My thoughts on the second deleted scene can be seen here.
- This is the only one of the three redacted scenes that I've posted on this site that has legitimate text after it. Both of the other two (the first TF scene and Bedtime) end the chapters they are in.
- It says a lot about how Ledas values his friendship with Ryori that he would stay at the boy's side as Ryori is in the hospital. Ledas stays there for so long that he himself falls asleep waiting for Ryori to wake up. It's quite extraordinary, and shows that he truly does value Ryori as a friend. Vegeta is his best friend, of course, but Ryori is his next best friend and someone who has helped him become a part of Earth society and given him the friendship he so desperately needed after all those years on Planet Cooler 92. Ledas knows all of this and appreciates it, and that is why he is staying at Ryori's side as the boy lies unconscious in the hospital.
He Was Number One (series finale part 1)
<THE NEXT DAY>
<LEDAS AND RYORI HAVE LEFT THE HOSPITAL AND ARE AT AN AQUARIUM; THEY ARE WATCHING A WHALE JUMP OUT OF ITS TAIL; THERE IS A RELATIVELY SHORT, FAT MAN WITH A CYAN SHIRT AND A TAN HAT COACHING THE WHALE>
<AFTER WATCHING SAID OCCURRENCE, THE TWO WALK OUT OF THE AREA; THE WALL TO THEIR RIGHT IS SEE-THROUGH AND HAS WATER AND DOLPHINS SWIMMING IN IT; THEY ARE ALL TRYING TO MAKE A BUNCH OF NEW DOLPHINS, EXCEPT FOR A FEW WHO ARE EXPERIMENTING WITH THEIR BLOWHOLES; NO ONE SEEMS TO NOTICE ALL OF THE DOLPHINS DOING THESE THINGS, HOWEVER; THERE ARE AROUND 12 DOLPHINS>
Ryori: Y’know, Shoekki was going to take me to this place, before… uh…
<HE LOOKS RATHER SAD; LEDAS SEES THIS>
Ledas: He’d be glad you got to come.
Ryori: <LOOKING DOWN> Y-yeah. I still can’t believe he’s gone. I mean, I don’t know what to do. <HE LOOKS UP AT LEDAS> Have you lost family before?
Ledas: <WITHOUT EMOTION> Yeah, my parents are dead too.
Ryori: H-how did you get through it?
Ledas: <LOOKING UP AT THE SKY> I guess I don’t think about them much. Not since I found out about it. Training keeps my mind off it, too.
Ryori: <LOWERS HIS HEAD AGAIN> It doesn’t matter, anyway. With my brother gone, they’ll put me in an orphanage or something. I won’t be able to go to these kinds of places anymore. We won’t be able to hang out either, Ledas.
Ledas: <BRIGHTENING UP> No, it’s okay. I already dealt with that.
Ryori: <SUSPICIOUS> How?
Ledas: That Cardinal guy is gonna buy you a new house to live in, and he’ll pay for anything you want.
Ryori: <EYES NARROW; HIS FACE FLUSHES> Cardinal?! Why didn’t you kill him like everyone else?!
Ledas: <SERIOUSLY; SLIGHTLY DETACHED> Ryori, if I killed him, then you’d have no one to support you.
Ryori: <LONG PAUSE; SIGHS> I guess. Where’s this house, anyway?
Ledas: It’s West City, pretty close to Capsule Corp. C’mon, I’ll show you.
<THE CAMERA SWITCHES TO WEST CITY, WHERE IT ZOOMS IN A BLOCK; THERE IS A LARGE ONE-STORY HOUSE; PEERING THROUGH THE WINDOW, THE CAMERA SHOWS RYORI SITTING ON A COUCH, PLAYING VIDEO GAMES; THERE ARE BROWN BOXES ALL AROUND HIM, EVIDENCE OF A RECENT MOVE-IN; OUTSIDE, THE FRONT DOOR IS OPEN AND MOVERS ARE CARRYING IN MORE BOXES FROM A TRUCK>
<BEHIND THE HOUSE IS A LARGE YARD, WHERE LEDAS’ GRAVITY TRAINING UNIT IS PARKED>
<THE SCENE PICKS UP INSIDE OF THE TRAINING UNIT; LEDAS IS ONLY WEARING HIS TRAINING PANTS AND HIS FINGERLESS GLOVES>
Ledas: Computer! Raise it to 450G!
Computer: Initiating gravitational increase.
<AS SOON AS THE GRAVITY IS RAISED, LEDAS LETS OUT A GASP AND DROPS TO HIS KNEES; HE STRUGGLES TO STAND BACK UP; SEVERAL SPHERICAL DRONES ARE FLYING AROUND HIM; HE LOOKS UP AT THEM JUST AS THEY START SHOOTING ENERGY BLASTS AT HIM>
<LEDAS PUSHES OFF AGAINST THE GROUND AND DODGES THE FIRST SALVO; ONCE IN THE AIR, HE LOOKS OVER HIS SHOULDER AND SEES TWO OF THE DRONES HAVE FOLLOWED HIM; THEY SHOOT ENERGY AGAIN; HE DEFLECTS THESE BLASTS AND THEN SHOOTS A SMALL TEARDROP SHAPED BLAST RIGHT BACK AT THEM; THIS BLAST BOUNCES OFF OF THE NEAREST DRONE AS ITS SHIELDS FLARE; LEDAS FLIES TOWARDS THE DRONE AND THE OTHERS START SHOOTING MORE ENERGY BLASTS AT HIM; HE ATTEMPTS TO DODGE THESE, BUT THE GRAVITY IS STRAINING HIS BODY; HE IS HIT BY A FEW OF THE BLASTS AND FALLS TO THE GROUND>
<LEDAS ROLLS OVER TO HIS BACK AND LOOKS UP AT THE DRONES CIRCLING HIM; HE GRITS HIS TEETH AND THEN ATTEMPTS TO STAND UP; SWEAT IS POURING DOWN HIS FACE AS HE SITS UP ONTO HIS KNEES; THEY ALL SHOOT BLASTS TOGETHER; LEDAS WATCHES THEM APPROACH; JUST BEFORE THEY REACH HIM, HE SCREAMS AND THEN PUSHES OFF THE GROUND AND SHOOTS TO THE CEILING; HE CREATES A BLAST WITH BOTH HANDS OVER HIS HEAD AND THEN SHOOTS IT AT THE DRONES; ONCE AGAIN, THIS BLAST DOESN’T DO ANY DAMAGE TO THEM, AS THEIR SHIELDS PROTECT THEM; AFTER SHOOTING OFF THE ENERGY BALL, LEDAS IS EXHAUSTED; THE DRONES CONVERGE ON HIM AND SHOOT HIM WITH MULTIPLE BLASTS; WHILE HE PUTS UP HIS ARMS TO BLOCK IT, THIS DOES NOT PREVENT THE BLASTS FROM HITTING HIM; SOON, HE IS COVERED IN A CLOUD OF SMOKE FROM ALL THE ATTACKS HITTING HIM; A LARGE EXPLOSION GOES OFF, AND LEDAS FALLS TO THE GROUND>
<LEDAS LIES THERE FOR SEVERAL MOMENTS, SIMPLY PANTING IN EXHAUSTION>
Ledas: H-how does Vegeta train in this? This is insane! <HE SITS UP, IN PAIN, AND LOOKS AROUND AT THE VAST ROOM> Computer, raise the gravity to 500.
Computer: Scans indicate that your body is having trouble coping with the existing gravity. Raising it much higher will put you at risk of injury or death.
Ledas: Just do it. I’m not gonna argue with a stupid computer about how I train.
Computer: Very well. Initiating gravitational increase.
Ledas: <STILL BREATHING HARD> And turn on the turrets.
Computer: As you wish.
<THE COMPUTER RAISES THE GRAVITY TO 500G; AT ONCE, LEDAS FALLS TO THE FLOOR, UNABLE TO MOVE; HE GROANS AS HE FEELS HIMSELF UNABLE TO MOVE; THEN, LEDAS LETS OUT A SCREAM AND THE ROOM IS BRIEFLY OVERLOADED WITH YELLOW LIGHT; AS THIS LIGHT DIMS, LEDAS IS SEEN TO BE IN HIS RECENTLY ACQUIRED SUPER SAIYAN 2 FORM; HE SITS UP WITH EASE; THE DRONES ARE CIRCLING ABOVE HIS HEAD>
Ledas: <LOOKING UP AT THEM> All right, let’s try this again.
<LEDAS JUMPS INTO THE AIR; THE DRONES IMMEDIATELY PURSUE HIM AND START SHOOTING BLASTS OF ENERGY AT HIM; AS HE FLIES AND DODGES THEM, TURRETS APPEAR FROM SLITS IN THE WALLS, AND THEY TOO START SHOOTING ENERGY BLASTS; NO ENERGY BLAST DISSIPATES, AS THOSE THAT MISS LEDAS ARE REFLECTED BY THE DRONES BACK AT HIM; HE STARTS DODGING DOZENS OF ENERGY BLASTS AT ONCE; HE IS MOVING SO FAST THAT HIS PHYSICAL BODY CANNOT BE SEEN>
<AFTER SOME TIME, LEDAS TIRES, AND A FEW BLASTS HIT HIM; HE IS THROWN TO THE GROUND; AS SOON AS HE LANDS, HE JUMPS TO HIS FEET AND LOOKS UP AT MORE OF THE BLASTS COMING HIS WAY; HE SWATS THESE ASIDE AS THEY REACH HIM AND THEN FIRES A LARGER ENERGY BLAST BACK UP AT THE DRONES; THIS TIME, THE BLAST OVERPOWERS THE DRONES AND BRIEFLY IMMOBILIZES THEM, CAUSING THEM TO FALL TO THE GROUND; THE TURRETS SHOOT ANOTHER GROUP OF BLASTS AT HIM, BUT HE CATCHES THESE IN HIS HANDS AND MORPHS THEM INTO ONE GIANT BALL; THEN, LEDAS DISSIPATES THE ENERGY AND ABSORBS IT BACK INTO HIS BODY; PANTING, HE DROPS TO ONE KNEE>
Ledas: <SOUNDING VERY TIRED> Computer… return to normal gravity…
<THE GRAVITY RETURNS TO NORMAL AND LEDAS REVERTS TO HIS BASE FORM, SIGHING IN RELIEF AS HE FALLS BACK AND LIES ON THE FLOOR; HIS ARMS AND LEGS ARE SPREAD OUT AND HE IS STARING AT THE CEILING>
Ledas: How does Vegeta train in this? I can barely do it when I’m fully powered up… and he doesn’t even need to go Super Saiyan. <HE SIGHS> He’s gotten so much stronger than me since we got split up all those years ago. <LEDAS STANDS UP AND WALKS OVER TO THE COMPUTER; IN A COMPARTMENT ABOVE IT IS A SMALL BROWN BAG; HE TAKES THIS, THEN OPENS IT AND TAKES THE SAIBASEEDS INSIDE IT AND THROWS THEM ONTO THE GROUND; WITHIN A MOMENT, HIS REMAINING SAIBAMEN, WILDE, CARAWA, SES, AND AME GROW INTO THEIR MATURE FORMS; THEY ARE ALL RED> Hey guys. I’ve missed you!
<THE SAIBAMEN GRUNT; SOON, THEY ALL START SPARRING AND PLAYING AS LEDAS CONTINUES TO TRAIN ON HIS OWN, LIFTING WEIGHTS AND DOING HANDSTAND PUSHUPS AND WHATNOT; AFTER SOME TIME, LEDAS IS SEEN EXITING THE GRAVITY TRAINING UNIT WITH A TOWEL AROUND HIS NECK; HE WALKS OUT OF THE BACKYARD TO THE FRONT YARD AND THEN STARTS WALKING DOWN THE SIDEWALK; EVENTUALLY, HE COMES UPON CAPSULE CORP.; HE LOOKS AT THE MASSIVE PLACE THROUGH ITS BARRED FENCE; HE SEES VEGETA TRAINING OFF IN THE DISTANCE, OUTSIDE>
Ledas: <TO HIMSELF> He’s probably wondering what happened in that fight with the monster. And what happened to me… <HE WATCHES VEGETA TRAINING IN SUPER SAIYAN 3> Even with my new transformation, my power is nothing compared to his. <LEDAS GRIPS THE BARS OF THE FENCE AS HE WATCHES> I gotta go see him. We need a proper reunion. <HE LETS GO OF THE BARS AND STEPS BACK> But not today. I’m not ready yet. Maybe if I train some more, we could even spar together… <HE TRAILS OFF AND THEN WALKS OFF, BACK TO RYORI’S HOUSE>
<EVEN THOUGH LEDAS WALKS OFF, THE CAMERA DOES NOT FOLLOW HIM; INSTEAD, IT FOCUSES IN ON VEGETA, WHO IS TRAINING OUTSIDE ON THE ONCE PRISTINELY KEPT LAWN; IT IS NOW A MESS FROM HIS EXERCISES>
<THE MAILMAN COMES ON HIS DAILY ROUTE, STOPPING WELL OUTSIDE THE GATE IN FRONT OF CAPSULE CORP; HE STOPS, LOOKING AROUND FOR THE MAILBOX>
Mailman: Hey, where is it?! <HE SHOUTS TO VEGETA> Oi! Mate! Where’s your mailbox?
<VEGETA PAYS HIM NO NOTICE, INSTEAD CONTINUING HIS TRAINING ALONE; HE IS DOING A LOT OF DODGING TECHNIQUES IN HIS SUPER SAIYAN 3 FORM>
<THE MAILMAN PACES BACK AND FORTH, GOING ALL THE WAY UP AND DOWN THE FRONT OF THE BUILDING SEARCHING FOR THE MAILBOX; AT LAST, IN HIS QUEST, HE RETURNS BACK TO THE MAIN BUILDING; HE WALKS INTO SOMETHING AND NEARLY FALLS OVER; IT IS THE STUMP WHERE THE MAILBOX ONCE WAS; THE REST IS NOWHERE TO BE SEEN, CLEARLY VEGETA’S NEARBY TRAINING HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS>
Mailman: <VOICE CRACKING> Y-you’re mailbox… it’s gone! Where’d it go?
<VEGETA RIGHTS HIMSELF UP, SHOULDERS OUT AND FACES THE MAILMAN FOR A GOOD MINUTE, MERELY STANDING STILL AND STARING; THEN HE GOES BACK TO TRAINING>
Mailman: Hey, ya bloody wanker! Screw you too! Whatever. You only got one letter anyway. Here, take it!
<HE THROWS A SMALL, NEATLY FOLDED, CRIMSON LETTER AT VEGETA’S GENERAL DIRECTION; AS ANYONE WHO HAS EVER ATTEMPTED THIS KNOWS, SUCH AN ACT DOES NOT WORK; THE LETTER BARELY GOES TWO FEET INTO THE PROPERTY; THE MAILMAN WALKS OFF, NOT CARING ABOUT THIS RUDE WAY OF DELIVERING THE NEWS>
Mailman: <TO HIMSELF> Lousy billionaires. Think they can do whatever they bloody want. Pfft. I wonder how he would like it if he was me…
<BACK ON THE COMPOUND, VEGETA’S TRAINING CONTINUES UNAFFECTED BY THE THROWING OF THE LETTER; HE JUMPS ABOUT IN HIS OWN WAY, DODGING SOME UNSEEN ENEMY OR WHATEVER IT IS HE DOES>
<VEGETA THROWS A KI BALL AND IT BLASTS UP THE TURF AROUND HIM, SENDING THE LETTER FLYING RIGHT AT HIM; IT LANDS AT HIS FEET; VEGETA KICKS THE LETTER UP INTO THE AIR, SNATCHING IT AFTERWARD IN ONE FLUID MOTION; HE OPENS THE LETTER>
<VEGETA STARES INTO IT FOR A GREAT DEAL OF TIME; PERHAPS HE IS OVERWHELMED, OR SIMPLY A SLOW READER; HOWEVER, BY THE TIME THE SUN BEGINS TO SET IN THE DISTANCE, HE HAS FINISHED>
<VEGETA SMIRKS, CRUMPLING UP THE RED PAPER AND THROWING IT ONTO THE GROUND BEHIND HIM; HE THEN WALKS BACK TOWARD THE HOUSE>
Vegeta: <YELLING> Trunks! Pack your things! We’re leaving!
<THE CAMERA RETURNS TO RYORI’S HOUSE, WHERE LEDAS HAS RETURNED TO; LEDAS WALKS THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR AND INTO THE HOUSE; THERE ARE BROWN BOXES EVERYWHERE, BUT THE MOVERS HAVE LEFT; MUCH OF THE FURNITURE THAT RYORI WANTED TO KEEP IS ALSO INSIDE THE HOUSE>
<AS LEDAS ENTERS, HE SEES A CRIMSON ENVELOPE ON THE NEAREST TABLE; ON IT, WHERE AN ADDRESSEE WOULD BE, IT HAS THE MARK OF THE RED RIBBON ARMY WITH A LARGE LETTER "C" IN THE BACKGROUND; HE GOES TO PICK IT UP WHEN RYORI, IN HIS SOCKS, COMES SLIDING INTO THE ROOM FROM DOWN THE OTHER WAY; BEING THAT THE FLOOR IN THIS ROOM IS WOOD, THIS METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION INDEED WORKS; I’VE TESTED IT MYSELF>
Ryori: What’s that paper you got, Ledas?
Ledas: <LOOKS UP, AS RYORI COMES IN AND HANDS HIM THE PAPER> I don’t know… I can’t read it. Here Ryori, you do it.
Ryori: <STUFFS A DIFFERENT PIECE OF SOGGY TISSUE PAPER HE HAD BEEN HOLDING IN HIS LEFT HAND INTO HIS PANTS POCKET> Oh yeah, I can read that. Gimme it.
<HE TAKES THE PAPER FROM LEDAS>
Ryori: <READING THE LETTER; HE STUMBLES ON SOME OF THE MORE TRICKY WORDS>
Dear Mr. Ledas,
_______If you are fully recovered by the time of reading this letter, I entreat you to consider my following request: To visit the address I have enclosed below in the swiftest of haste, arriving no later than the twentieth of May. I have invited several of your compatriots to attend as well, at the counsel of King Furry, and I expect that many of them shall indeed come. I feel our get-together could not be complete without you, Ledas. There will be no tricks, no deceits on my part. As you well know, I cannot harm you, and you could kill me in an instant if you so desired. So this is no trap. I have held up my side of our recent truce with buying your friend, Ryori, a new house to live in. And, of course, I will continue to support him for as long as I live, as you have forced me to do. So as I have done for you these many things, I respectfully request that you come and visit me this one time and participate in a martial arts tournament. Should you still be unswayed, let me say this – I expect that Vegeta will be waiting with me if you decide to join us. I know of your history with him, so if you come, I will make sure you and he are matched together. Please consider this, my humble offer.
- In Your Faith,
- Sir Johan <LAST NAME SMUDGED OUT>
Ryori: <THROWS THE PAPER BACK INTO LEDAS’ LAP> That’s Cardinal, isn’t it?
Ryori: So fuck him.
Ledas: <LOOKING AT THE LETTER> Wewll, he said he’s holding a tournament and that Vegeta’ll be there.
Ryori: So…? Who’s Vegeta anyway? <LEDAS LOOKS FLABBERGASTED AT THIS QUESTION; RYORI NOTICES LEDAS’ FACE; HE LAUGHS> What?! You’ve never mentioned a Vegeta to me. Whoa, wait! His name is almost as weird as yours. <PROUD AT HIS SUDDEN DEDUCTION> Is he like your brother or something?
Ledas: <THOUGHTFUL> Something like that.
Ledas: <LOOKS UP; INNOCENTLY> I going to go there, Ryori. You don’t have to come. But it’s an opportunity for me to spar with Vegeta again. <HE SMILES> Plus, I’ll have a few days to train for it.
<RYORI STARES BLANKLY BACK; THEN, HIS FACE TURNS INTO A SMILE>
Ryori: You’re gonna go anyway. So I’ll come with you. <AS A GENUINE QUESTION> It will be fun, won’t it?
Ledas: <WITH A SMALL SMILE; STILL LOOKING AT THE LETTER> Yeah, I hope so. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.
- This chapter's name is a reference to one of my favorite scenes in Spongebob Squarepants. Does it refer to Ledas? Vegeta? Ryori? Cardinal? Perhaps there's a little bit of Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen in all of them.
- This chapter was originally called "Simply Legendary part 1". I resolved, during the final edits, to have every chapter have its own unique name, so this was one of the first things I decided upon changing. Despite that, this was still one of the last chapter names I came up with in this story - when I posted my new list of chapter names for this saga just before beginning the final edits, this chapter's name was undecided (as was chapter 3's). I came up with the name for chapter 3 first ("Human Nature"), which makes this the third-to-last chapter name I ever created for this story ("Mephistopheles" and "The Misoneistic King" were chosen later, after I renamed two chapters).
- This chapter is actually not much like it was in either the 2011 or 2012 versions of this saga. Pretty much only the letter from Cardinal and Ledas resolving to go to Cardinal's tournament are things that existed in previous versions of this chapter. In the old version, there were extended scenes with Ledas and Ryori sneaking into a man's hot tub and then going to visit Mrs. Fanshi's house. Both scenes were removed during the final edits. The scene with Vegeta and the mailman in this chapter was originally from the previous chapter. I moved it to this one during the final edits. Aside from that, the scene with Ledas training and the scene with Ledas and Ryori at the place where the whale jumps out of its tail were written from scratch. Even the scene with Cardinal's letter and Ledas resolving to go to the man's tournament was heavily edited during the final edits. So while, spiritually, this chapter leads up to the next chapter in much the same way as the previous versions of the chapter did, the way we get there is quite different and, in my humble opinion, much better.
- This chapter is sneaky long. It's the eighth longest chapter in the entire story. But it doesn't feel like that when I wrote it or when I read it over for this commentary. It's crazy that this chapter is so long, to be honest. It's pretty much all character moments, and yet it's longer than Ledas and Guva vs. Digranite and the season finales for the Lauto Saga, Planet Earth Saga, and Prince Vegeta Saga. Pretty crazy.
- The opening scene expands on the same WKUK reference Ledas brought up to Korin in the previous chapter. The man in the cyan shirt really was in that sketch (go Timmy!), so that was fun to do.
- Originally, this opening scene did not exist, even though in all versions of TF, the WKUK reference in the previous chapter existed. As I read over this story, preparing for the final edits, I was struck by the missed opportunity in showing this scene. It would allow Ledas and Ryori to talk about all they have been through (which does not happen elsewhere in TF). This would allow for a nice character moment between them. So once I saw that, I added this scene in, and the rest is history.
- Destructivedisk wanted me to show the dolphins having lots of sex in this first scene. I kind of reference that in the text, but I didn't get as graphic as DD wanted me to.
- The dolphins mating does set the mood of this first scene, though. It's a lighter mood, and all the mating, in reference to the stuff about Shoekki, does feel appropriate.
- It goes without saying, but Ledas' conversation with Ryori in this chapter's opening scene is one of the most significant character moments for them in this story. Notice how Ledas has matured. He's the one giving advice to Ryori. In pretty much the entire story up to this point, it's Ledas who needs advice from others. Notice that Ledas does everything he can to comfort Ryori. He knows what Ryori is going through and says kind words and bits of encouragement to help his friend any way he can. Ledas knows what it's like to be broken, after all, and he knows how important it is to get fixed too.
- Ledas' statement about how he dealt with his parents being dead is based on myself. Also, he doesn't really mention that by not dealing with his emotions, by pushing them deep inside and trying to forget them, that allowed him to have the emotional release that led to his SS2 transformation two chapters ago.
- That Ledas admits he would train to keep his mind off his parents shows that he really is affected by their deaths, even if he's not admitting as much to Ryori openly.
- I'm quite proud of the transition in scene 1 from character building to plot unfolding.
- Notice that Ryori doesn't have a standard sense of morality. He wants Cardinal dead. He still sees revenge as the right mode of thinking. But Ledas helps him get over this, to grow beyond his hatred, by telling Ryori how he's planned for their future. It's Ledas, not Ryori, who has thought about the consequences of killing Cardinal. And he knew that doing so would be worse for Ryori's future, so he didn't do it. Importantly, Ledas didn't give into emotion. He looked at the situation from a detached point-of-view and made the best decision he could.
- Ledas specifically chose the location of Ryori's new house to be in West City, near Capsule Corp., so they could live as close to Vegeta as possible.
- I really like the transition from scene 1 to scene 2. It shows Ryori and Ledas moving into the new house without getting hung up on the boring aspects of it. Also, I didn't go overboard with showing Ledas explaining how he got the house for Ryori, as that information is already known to the readers, so regurgitating that information in a lot of words would be tedious. This quick pacing, utilizing dead space to tell a story, is one of the defining characteristics of the final version of TF. Using this literary technique is also an example of how I've grown as a writer though the various versions of TF, in my opinion.
- Notice how Ryori is playing video games in the new house while Ledas trains in his gravity training unit. The second scene showing this highlights some key personality differences between Ledas and Ryori.
- So the scene with Ledas training with his Saibamen has several purposes. One of the main reasons I made it was to show Ledas' insecurities about his power level. Another reason was to have some cool training, to have a nice battle scene in a chapter that wouldn't otherwise have one (this was done for entertainment value, of course). Also, adding in the Saibamen and showing their relationships with Ledas and having Ledas emote also has thematic and characterization value.
- The computer had to have a voice in the second scene for it to work. I originally wrote the scene without the computer talking to Ledas, and the scene was much less effective.
- Ledas' training in this chapter was heavily influenced by Vegeta's own training in a similar gravity training unit to prepare for the Androids in DBZ. There are certainly character parallels, though Ledas is training for Vegeta, not actual foes. Notice how Ledas' mannerisms and actions in this second scene also mimic Vegeta's personality, to an extent. It was important for me to show that certain Saiyan personality traits are universal.
- Notice the comparison between Ledas' gravity training in this chapter and the gravity training Ledas and Prince Vegeta went through near the start of the Prince Vegeta Saga. In that early scene, Vegeta was determined to raise the gravity so that he could train even harder. It was as much about willpower as it was about pride, and Ledas seems to be mimicking his old friend when he does the same thing here.
- Ledas arguing with the computer is like him arguing the the rational and irrational parts of his brain.
- The desperation in Ledas' training shows how desperate he is to get stronger, to match Vegeta's power level. He is pushing his body beyond its limits. He is nearly killing himself with this training. And yet it's all to make Vegeta proud of him. This shows how much he values Vegeta and how ashamed he is that he hasn't remained close to the prince's power level through all this time they've spent apart.
- Notice how, in order to deal with the humiliation of being weaker than Vegeta, Ledas turns to his Saibamen to give him comfort. This is no accident on his part. He can help Ryori deal with his pain, but Ledas doesn't seem to be able to take his own advice. He's a flawed character, after all.
- The barred fence that separates Ledas from Vegeta has symbolic meaning.
- It was important for Ledas to say that he wanted to reunite with Vegeta, but couldn't yet, before he gets his invitation to Cardinal's tournament. That allowed me to show that he has these emotions before getting that invite and that the invite only makes him train harder - it doesn't actually make Ledas want to go see Vegeta. He always wanted to do so. Now, one may wonder why this is, since Ledas was reunited with Vegeta in the previous saga. That is true. But their reunion was brief, and Ledas realizes now that he is much weaker than Vegeta (at a bare minimum, Vegeta, in his SS3 form, is 4x stronger than Ledas' maximum, and indeed, their power difference is likely several multipliers above that). He wants to reunite with Vegeta properly, to have things return to how they were. But he needs to save face. He needs to get stronger. The tournament allowed me to give Ledas a deadline for that. Had there not been a tournament, it's unknown how longer Ledas would have waited before going back to Vegeta. And that would have hurt their relationship had he taken a year or something ridiculous like that. Cardinal actually inadvertently helps out their reunion by setting such a short deadline.
- The transition between scenes 2 and 3 is a really great one. Very artsy, which has become the new norm in my final version of this saga.
- The mailbox joke was done to lighten up the mood. Everything has been so serious for so long. It's nice to get some comedy into the story when I can. I've stated this many times, but the significance of it cannot be overstated: Toriyama's tone in DB and DBZ, of mixing comedy and drama, is something to be emulated in the most successful fan fictions, and that was certainly something on my mind as I wrote this story, in all three versions.
- The mailman's interaction with Vegeta brings up some good cultural commentary, and it's all done with accurate characterization for Vegeta. So I am happy with how that turned out.
- Perhaps Vegeta has learned to read in whatever language (English or Japanese) is primarily spoken in West City. That certainly draws a distinction between him and Ledas. However, do note that it took him all day to read the letter. The sun began to set before he finished. This was obviously done for comedic purposes, but it's not like that exaggeration isn't canon.
- So, if one knows the timeline, it's clear that this chapter takes place on May 12, 774 Age. Cardinal's tournament doesn't begin until May 20, 774 Age. So why did Vegeta order Trunks to pack his bags eight days before the tournament? Simple. He wanted to take his son somewhere remote to train before the tournament began. They might've taken their gravity training unit with them, or maybe they didn't. All I know is that Vegeta wanted to get away from the city and from Bulma and all the other distractions so that he could train his son and himself for the upcoming tourney.
- I like to slide across wood floors in my socks. I used to do this all the time, and around the time I wrote the first draft of this saga, I was always doing it. Ryori actually did this in the old versions of this chapter as well, though that was in a different scene. I liked that so much that I kept it in this chapter, even if the scene it used to be in was deleted.
- It is significant that Ryori reads the letter, for it ropes him into the plot of the tournament. Had Ledas been able to read, he might not have taken Ryori to the tournament with him. This also humbles Ledas. Ledas is not all-powerful. He can't do everything. Sometimes he needs to rely on a little help from his friends.
- Ryori had been masturbating when Ledas returned to the house in this chapter's third scene. That can be seen when Ryori puts a soggy piece of tissue paper in his pocket. Ryori also did this in previous versions of the story, when the two were in Mrs. Fanshi's house instead of their own home. I'm sure Ryori wasn't expecting Ledas to return when he did, which is why he was doing what he was doing. He heard Ledas return, probably having finished just around that time, and then must've been quite happy that his friend didn't walk in on him or anything like that.
- Cardinal's letter was much longer in previous versions. It's still pretty long even in this version, but it's much more concise. Cardinal gets to the point much faster now. This was one of the changes I specifically sought to make in the final edits of this chapter.
- The fact that Cardinal is inviting Ledas to a martial arts tournament where Ledas will surely fight against Vegeta is pretty much the only reason Ledas goes to it. He would not have otherwise gone to a get-together with Cardinal.
- Notice how Cardinal writes that he was forced to support Ryori. Even in this letter, his anger at having to support Ryori can be seen, though I'm sure it's far too subtle for either Ryori or Ledas to notice.
- Cardinal's first name is revealed in this chapter, though his last named remains hidden. His first name was always Johan, even in 2010 when I came up with the idea of his character. I didn't have his last name here to keep some mystery about him and to also allow myself to come up with any last name I want to when I write for him in my Death Note story. Names are obviously very important in that universe, so I didn't want to make a decision about that at this point, in a different story.
- It is striking to see Ryori curse like he does. The influence of Shoekki on him can definitely be seen when he cusses.
- Ryori thinking that Ledas and Vegeta have equally weird names is a cool moment. Him thinking that Vegeta is Ledas' brother is an even cooler moment.
- Ryori chooses to go with Ledas to the tournament, despite his hatred of Cardinal. This is because he wants to support his friend, just like Ledas supported him. Ledas has done a lot for Ryori, particularly in the last couple of chapters, so Ryori does feel indebted to him. He does feel a sense of obligation to go with Ledas and be there to cheer on his friend.
- There have been previous reunions with Vegeta and Ledas in the past two sagas, but Ledas' line at the end of this chapter really points towards this reunion being the real one, the reunion where Ledas and Vegeta truly get to reunite and relay their histories since they split up and become friends again. Ledas certainly believes so.
- Notice that Ledas is happy he has a few days yet to train for Vegeta. He's going to need them, he knows. He knows he won't have time to get as strong as Vegeta, but he needs to get as strong as possible, to lessen the humiliation of his weakness as much as possible.
- This chapter, overall, is mostly about setup. Not much is paid off in this chapter, in terms of plot (lots of character payoff happens, though). That sets up the next chapter to resolve a lot of things. I didn't realize it when I originally wrote the next chapter, but I should have seen the signs. Because nothing was resolved, plot-wise, in this chapter, it means that the next chapter will have to be extremely long. Of course it's easy to see that now, but at the time, in 2011 when I originally wrote these chapters, that was not so apparent.
Simply Legendary (series finale part 2)
<IT IS NIGHT>
<LEDAS AND RYORI LAND, STUMBLING FORWARD INTO THE GRASS; AHEAD OF THEM IS A HUGE COMPLEX, SURROUNDED BY WALLS AND GATES; STRAIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TWO BOYS IS AN ENTRANCE; THEY MOVE TO IT IN SILENCE>
<A SINGLE GUARD IS STANDING IN FRONT OF THE GATE, PREVENTING LEDAS AND RYORI FROM ENTERING>
Guard: <COMING OUT TO MEET THEM> Stop! You can’t come further without proper identification. <HE STOPS IN FRONT OF THE TWO OF THEM> Do either of you have an invitation to this event?
<RYORI AND LEDAS LOOK AT EACH OTHER; RYORI REACHES INTO HIS POCKET>
Ryori: Oh… yeah, I got it. <HE PULLS OUT THE LETTER THAT HE HAD READ OUT LOUD LAST CHAPTER; IT IS STILL IN ITS CRIMSON ENVELOPE> Here, see?
<THE GUARD TAKES THE ENVELOPE, LOOKING IT OVER FOR SOME TIME; THEN, HE POCKETS IT; HE WALKS OVER TO THE BOOTH AND PRESSES A BUTTON, OPENING THE GATES BEFORE THEM>
Guard: It’s Mr. Ledas, right?
Guard: All right. Follow me.
<THEN, THE GUARD GESTURES FOR THE TWO BOYS TO ENTER; THEY DO SO, AND HE FOLLOWS THEM INSIDE>
<THE GUARD LEADS LEDAS AND RYORI INTO THE MAIN BUILDING PAST AN INDOOR AQUARIUM; AFTER GOING UP AN ELEVATOR; HE TAKES THEM DOWN A HALL, AND THEN TO A DOOR; HE OPENS IT, REVEALING A HUGE HOTEL ROOM INSIDE>
Ryori: <WALKS FORWARD WITH HIS HANDS BEHIND HIS HEAD> Awww, sweet!! <GRINNING> This place is huge!
<LEDAS, MEEKLY, FOLLOWS HIM IN, BUT THEN TURNS TO THE GUARD>
Ledas: <LOOKING UP> What exactly are we supposed to be doing?
Guard: Staying the night. Tourney’s not ‘till tomorrow, anyway. So get some sleep; you’re going to need it. <THE GUARD SCRUNCHES UP HIS FACE AND THEN LEAVES THE ROOM; BEFORE CLOSING THE DOOR, HE SAYS ONE MORE THING> Oh, the schedule’s on the table over there. <HE NODS TO HIS LEFT> Make sure you read it. It’ll bring you up to speed. Anyway, it’s late. Do you two need anything else?
Ryori: <STILL WITH HIS HANDS BEHIND HIS HEAD; NONCHALANTLY> Nope.
Guard: Good. Get some sleep, then.
<HE NODS TO THEM ONE LAST TIME BEFORE CLOSING THE DOOR AND LEAVING LEDAS AND RYORI ALONE>
Ledas: Ryori, can you read the schedule for me?
<RYORI DOES NOT HEAR; INSTEAD, HE MOVES OVER TO THE FRIDGE, GATHERING A HUGE PLATE OF FOOD TO EAT; HE WALKS BACK TO THE TABLE AND SETS IT DOWN; LEDAS WALKS OVER TO HIM AND SITS DOWN>
<THE PAPER IS LYING ON THE TABLE, NEXT TO THE FOOD; LEDAS PICKS IT UP AND THRUSTS IT INTO RYORI’S FACE>
Ledas: Please… canya read it?
<RYORI SIGHS AND TAKES THE PAPER; AS HE LOOKS IT OVER, BOTH HE AND LEDAS, WHO ARE QUITE STARVED, EAT CASUALLY OFF THE PLATE OF FOOD>
Ryori: <KID-LIKE> Oh, it just says you gotta go down to the stadium tomorrow morning and do some fights or something. <HE TOSSES THE SCHEDULE ASIDE>
Ledas: Yeah, but what time?
Ryori: <SIGHS> Uh, I’m sure someone’ll come get you tomorrow, when it’s time. It’s not a big deal, dude.
Ledas: I just don’t want to miss this…
Ryori: <GRABBING SOME FOOD> What, fighting that Vegeta guy?
Ryori: <STUFFING HIS FACE> You’re weird, y’know that, Ledas? I’ve never heard of someone who’s looking forward to fighting his friend.
Ledas: <SHRUG> I’m a Saiyan. Fighting is what we live for.
Ryori: Sure dude. If that’s what you like, then that’s cool. I mean, you can fight all you want, but you still can’t compare to the Legend.
Ledas: <NARROWING EYES> Who?
Ryori: <WITH HUGE EYES NOW> How can you not know about the Legend? Mr. Satan is the most popular person on Earth! He’s a superstar and a hero! With how much you love fighting, he should be your idol, dude!
Ledas: Yeah, but what’s he ever done?
Ryori: He’s only the coolest guy ever. He’s like super strong and he can beat anyone – even you! He’s saved the world like a million times, and, and… <RYORI BABBLES OFF INTO FANBOY INCOHERENCY>
<LEDAS LAUGHS, ONLY HALF PAYING ATTENTION; AS IT IS, HE IS MORE FOCUSED AND INTERNALLY EXCITED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF FACING VEGETA TOMORROW IN A MATCH; THAT IS WHAT HE ASSUMES WILL HAPPEN, OF COURSE>
<A FEW MOMENTS LATER, WITH THE PLATTER OF FOOD NOW FINISHED, LEDAS GETS UP AND GOES TO SLEEP; RYORI, AT THIS TIME, HAD ALREADY MOVED ON FROM PRAISING HERCULE, AND UPON FINDING A BUILT-IN POOL IN THE HOTEL ROOM, HE GOES INTO THAT>
<LEDAS SLEEPS THE NIGHT WITH ANXIOUS EXCITEMENT WHILE RYORI SPENDS THE WHOLE TIME PLAYING ABOUT>
<IN THE MORNING, LEDAS WAKES UP; HIS HAIR IS ALL RUFFLED AND HE IS TIRED, BUT HE SLIPS OUT OF BED, NONETHELESS>
<LEDAS LOOKS AROUND AT THE MESS FROM LAST NIGHT; BITS OF FOOD, TRASH, EMPTY BOTTLES, AND A WHOLE ASSORTMENT OF TOWELS ARE EVERYWHERE, NO DOUBT FROM RYORI’S LATE NIGHT FUN; HOWEVER, LEDAS DOES NOT SEE RYORI ANYWHERE, AS HIS BED IS STILL UNTOUCHED>
<LEDAS WALKS AROUND THE FRONT OF HIS OWN BED TO GET A BETTER LOOK; SUDDENLY, HE JUMPS BACK, STUMBLING OVER; FROM BELOW HIS OWN BED, RYORI’S ARM HAS SHOT OUT AND GRABBED ONTO LEDAS’ LEG; A MOMENT LATER, AND RYORI HIMSELF COMES SHOOTING OUT FROM UNDER THE BED>
<RYORI IS GRINNING>
Ledas: <TIRED> What are you doing under there?
Ryori: I was just looking around. This place is so big!
Ledas: <EYES SQUINTED> Ryori… did you stay up all night?
Ryori: <IMMEDIATELY> No!
Ledas: Wewll… your bed isn’t even messed up… and you’re still in your swimming pants.
<RYORI BREAKS INTO A SUDDEN GRIN, HE RUNS OUT OF THE ROOM, SWINGING THE DOOR WIDE OPEN>
Ryori: <WAY TOO ENERGETIC> Hey, let’s go see if it’s time for the fight! Come on, Ledas!
Ledas: <YAWNS> Huh? Wait up!
<THE SIGHT IS RATHER WEIRD – A YOUNG BOY IN NOTHING BUT HIS SWIMMING SHORTS, FOLLOWED BY A SECOND ONE, WITH TALL HAIR AND A TAIL, DRAGGING HIS FEET AS THEY RUN DOWN THE FINELY CARPETTED AND DECORATED HALLWAYS OF THE HOTEL, WHICH WOULD BE OTHERWISE QUIET AND COMPLACENT>
<LEDAS AND RYORI GET DOWN TO THE GROUND FLOOR AND LOOK AROUND; IT IS VERY BRIGHT OUT>
<LAST NIGHT THEY HAD NOT NOTICED THE HUGE STADIUM THEATER LOCATED NEXT TO THE HOTEL; BUT NOW, IN THE LIGHT OF DAY, IT CAN BE SEEN IN ALL ITS GLORY; IT IS SEVERAL STORIES HIGH, PROBABLY BIG ENOUGH TO COMFORTABLY HOLD TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE; AS IT IS, THERE ARE MANY BYSTANDERS WALKING AROUND OUTSIDE AND FILLING UP THE SEATS, BUT THERE IS NO SIGN OF VEGETA>
<THE TWO APPROACH THE STADIUM>
<THIS TIME, THE GUARDS NOTICE LEDAS IMMEDIATELY AND ALLOW HIM ENTRANCE; HOWEVER, RYORI IS BANNED FROM ENTERING; UNPERTURBED, RYORI DECIDES TO GO UP INTO THE STANDS TO WATCH; HE RUNS OFF>
Ledas: <AS HE IS BEING WHISKED AWAY> Am I up against Vegeta, or what?
Guard 2: <TAKES LEDAS INTO A ROOM> Uh, it’s an all-day event. You’ve made it just in time, kid. We’re starting in about ten minutes. Crowds’re comin’ in and gettin’ seated now. You’re goin’ to be in one of the first matches. Look up there on the screen, it’ll tell you when it’s time.
Ledas: But… mister… I can’t read.
Guard 2: That’s not a problem. We’ll escort you when it’s time.
<HE GOES TO LEAVE>
Ledas: But wait, who am I up against?
Guard 2: <STILL LEAVING> It’s a random pick. You won’t know until the start of the match.
<WITH THAT, THE GUARD LEAVES>
<A BRIEF SCENE SHOWS THE STADIUM FILLING UP WITH THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE; THE CAMERA MOVES BACK TO THE WAITING AREA, WHERE LEDAS IS; IT IS NOT LONG BEFORE A DIFFERENT GUARD RETURNS; HE MOTIONS FOR LEDAS TO FOLLOW HIM>
<LEDAS FOLLOWS HIM OUT INTO THE STAGING ROOM>
<THERE ARE LOUD CHEERS AND WHATNOT; LEDAS WALKS OUT INTO THE BURSTING DAYLIGHT>
<THE CROWD’S ROAR IS DEAFINING; HE LOOKS UP AT ALL OF THEM AS HE WALKS OUT; IN FRONT OF HIM IS A PLATFORM; THIS IS THE WHITE-TILED PLATFORM SEEN IN THE WORLD TOURNAMENTS, WHICH ALL OF THE CONTESTANTS BATTLE UPON>
<IN THE STANDS ABOVE IS RYORI; HE IS STANDING ON THE ROW RIGHT ABOVE CHIAOZTU AND SOME OTHER BYSTANDERS; RYORI HAS HIS FACE PAINTED FOR SOME UNKNOWABLE REASON, WHICH MAKES HIM LOOK QUITE A BIT LIKE THE LITTLE CLOWN GUY; THEY ARE BOTH CHEERING LOUDLY, BUT CHIAOTZU IS ROOTING FOR LEDAS’ OPPONENT>
<STANDING OPPOSITE OF LEDAS, AS LEDAS JUMPS UP ONTO THE PLATFORM, IS A BOY – TRUNKS>
Trunks: Oh, it’s you. I remember you. You’re the one who helped us against those aliens a few days ago! What’re you doing here?
Ledas: <STANDS UP, TRANSFIXED BY ALL THE NOISE; WITH WIDE EYES> Okay. <HE THEN LOOKS AT TRUNKS; WITH A PUZZLED LOOK> You’re not Vegeta.
Trunks: Huh? Vegeta’s my–
Tournament Announcer: <HE IS THE TOURNAMENT ANNOUNCER WHO COMMENTATES THE WORLD TOURNAMENTS; HE IS WEARING A BLACK SUIT AND SUNGLASSES; AS WELL, HE IS CARRYING A MICROPHONE; FROM BEHIND, HE COMES UP AND WALKS OVER TO THE TWO OF THEM; HE INSPECTS THEM AND THEN STEPS BACK; HE THROWS HIS FINGER TO THE SKY> Are you ready?! Okay, fight!
<WITH THAT, TRUNKS LUNGES AT LEDAS; THE TWO OF THEM GET INTO A BLOW EXCHANGE; TRUNKS PUNCHES AND KICKS, WITH LEDAS STAYING ON DEFENSE, THROWING ONLY A FEW PUNCHES, HIMSELF>
Tournament Announcer: Look at those two go! The speed is unbelievable!
<LEDAS ROLLS TO THE LEFT, GETTING AWAY FROM TRUNKS; HE THEN PUSHES OFF FROM THE GROUND IN A FLYING KICK, LANDING IT ACROSS TRUNKS’ JAW; HE LANDS, BUT TRUNKS HAS RECOVERED; TRUNKS RUSHES FORWARD AND PUNCHES LEDAS; LEDAS BLOCKS HIS PUNCH, SIDESTEPPING AND GRABBING TRUNKS AROUND THE NECK>
Tournament Announcer: Lettuce has Trunks in a stranglehold! What a magnificent, alert move! I’m simply amazed!
<TRUNKS CREATES AN EXPLOSIVE WAVE, WHICH BLOWS LEDAS AWAY; LEDAS ROLLS OVER, JUST IN TIME TO SEE TRUNKS SHOOTING OFF A BEAM OF ENERGY; LEDAS SHOOTS STRAIGHT UP INTO THE AIR TO DODGE>
Tournament Announcer: That blow was explosive!
<TRUNKS, HOWEVER, HAS USED HIS BEAM AS A DISTRACTION; HE SPRINGS FORWARD AND INTERCEPTS LEDAS, GRABBING HIM BY THE TAIL AND PULLING HIM DOWN>
Tournament Announcer: Wh-what an unexpected turn of events! I’d say Trunks has a slight lead!
<LEDAS IMPACTS HARD AGAINST THE GROUND; TRUNKS, HOWEVER, STOPS>
Announcer: What a fine hit! Youch! That’s gotta hurt! My back is aching just watching it!
Trunks: Whoa, you have a tail. Are you a Saiyan?
Ledas: <IMPATIENT AT THIS RESPITE> How do you know?
Trunks: My father is a Saiyan, too. <PROUDLY> I’m half-Saiyan. I had my tail removed when I was a baby. <TANGENT> That’s what my mom said.
Ledas: Real Saiyans keep their tails!
Trunks: Oh yeah? Well I’m doing fine without it. Look what I can do!
<TRUNKS GOES SUPER SAIYAN; LEDAS DOES NOT REACT QUICK ENOUGH, LEAVING TRUNKS TO HAVE AN OPEN SHOT ON LEDAS’ FACE; THE PUNCH CONNECTS; LEDAS IS THROWN BACK>
Tournament Announcer: What’s this? Trunks’ hair has suddenly turned golden! This must be some kind of spiritual concentration!
<HOWEVER, AS TRUNKS GOES TO PUNCH HIM AGAIN, LEDAS JUMPS UP INTO THE AIR, AND THEN HE COMES SHOOTING BACK DOWN, LANDING A KICK ON TRUNKS’ HEAD; IT CONNECTS>
Tournament Announcer: Oh nice! That one really struck its mark!
<TRUNKS, STILL IN SUPER SAIYAN, IS UNFAZED; HOWEVER, LEDAS LANDS IN FRONT OF HIM>
Ledas: <TO HIMSELF> How is this kid a Super Saiyan?!
<LEDAS RUSHES TRUNKS AND PUNCHES HIM ACROSS THE FACE BEFORE KICKING HIM UP INTO THE AIR>
Tournament Announcer: They’re soaring into the air!
<LEDAS TELEPORTS UP TO WHERE TRUNKS IS FLYING TO; HE CHOPS AT TRUNKS’ BODY, CAUSING THE HALF-SAIYAN TO TUMBLE AWAY>
Tournament Announcer: And onto the offensive! Lettuce has now brought out a sudden and fierce combo!
<LEDAS FOLLOWS THIS UP WITH A TELEPORT-FLYING KICK, THOUGH TRUNKS DODGES THIS WITH A TELEPORTATION OF HIS OWN>
Tournament Announcer: He’s… he’s gone!
<TRUNKS REAPPEARS TO LEDAS’ RIGHT AND TRIES TO COUNTER LEDAS BY PUNCHING HIM IN THE BACK, BUT LEDAS BACKFLIPS OVER HIM AND THEN CLUBS DOWN ON TRUNKS’ HEAD, CAUSING THE BOY TO FALL TO THE GROUND; LEDAS LANDS A FEW FEET AWAY FROM HIM>
Tournament Announcer: An amazing battle unfurled up in the sky! The damage is really starting to show!
<TRUNKS STANDS UP AND LEDAS ATTEMPTS TO KICK AT HIM, THOUGH TRUNKS DODGES OUT OF THE WAY; TRUNKS QUICKLY JUMPS INTO THE AIR AND KICKS LEDAS ACROSS THE CHEEK; THEN, HE SHOOTS A BEAM INTO LEDAS’ STOMACH>
Announcer: Wha… what an incredible attack! That strike was perfectly timed!
<LEDAS STUMBLES BACK, BUT THEN, WITHOUT WARNING, HE AIR DASHES RIGHT AT TRUNKS ;HE READIES A SMALL ENERGY BALL IN EACH HAND, THEN THROWS THEM AT TRUNKS; AS TRUNKS GOES TO BLOCK THESE, LEDAS APPEARS BEHIND THE BOY AND KICKS HIM FORWARD, THEN LUNGES AND PUNCHES HIM TO THE GROUND>
Tournament Announcer: Absolutely incredible! We’re seeing a plethora of moves here! You can’t take your eyes off this for an instant, folks!
<TRUNKS STUMBLES TO GET BACK UP; HE IS CLEARLY WEAKENED>
Tournament Announcer: Trunks is hanging tough! But it looks like the attack is having some effect!
<TRUNKS YELLS OUT AND OUTSTRETCHES HIS HANDS; HE CREATES A GOLDEN ENERGY BALL IN EACH HAND THEN BRINGS HIS HANDS TOGETHER, COMBINING THE ENERGY, AND SHOOTS THE BLAST FROM HIS INDEX FINGER; THE BIG TREE CANNON FIRES STRAIGHT AT LEDAS>
Tournament Announcer: What a move! I’m amazed seeing it! Trunks’ energy is rising!
<THE BEAM SHOOTS DIRECTLY AT LEDAS; LEDAS CATCHES IT; IT STARTS TO PUSH HIM CLOSER TO THE EDGE OF THE RING, BUT HE QUICKLY OVERCOMES THIS BY BRINGING UP HIS AURA AROUND HIM AND RAISING HIS POWER LEVEL; THEN, HE JUMPS UPWARDS AND SWATS THE BEAM INTO THE SKY, WHERE IT DISSIPATES AT ONCE>
Tournament Announcer: What power! Unbelievable!
<LEDAS LANDS AND THEN CREATES A KYORRA FLASH; TRUNKS PUTS UP HIS ARMS IN DEFENSE JUST AS THE ENERGY ATTACKS HITS HIM>
Tournament Announcer: There it is! It’s the favorite move! Another lightning quick attack!
<TRUNKS IS NOT ABLE TO HOLD BACK LEDAS’ ENERGY BEAM; LEDAS QUICKLY OVERPOWERS THE BOY, CAUSING THE BEAM TO EXPLODE AND CATAPULT TRUNKS BACKWARDS, AWAY FROM LEDAS AND OFF OF THE STAGE; HE LANDS IN THE GRASS>
Announcer: Unbelievable! It’s over! What an attack! Trunks has fallen out of the ring! Lettuce wins! Both fighters are masters, possessing dizzying amounts of sheer power! But it looks like Lettuce has prevailed in this one! Let’s hear it, folks, for Lettuce, the winner of this match!
<THE ANNOUNCER HOLDS UP LEDAS’ ARM, SIGNIFYING THE BOY’S VICTORY; AFTERWARDS, THE ANNOUNCER CONTINUES WITH HIS TIRADE OF CONGRATULATING LEDAS, BUT LEDAS DOES NOT LISTEN; EVEN AS THE CROWD, RYORI INCLUDED, CHEER HIM ON, HE JUMPS OFF, SHOULDERS SLUMPED, AND QUIETLY HE RETURNS BACK TO HIS WAITING ROOM>
<LEDAS WALKS BACK TO HIS ROOM SLOWLY; HE HAS HIS HEAD BOWED, DEEP IN THOUGHT; AND HE IS NOT ALTOGETHER HAPPY THAT HIS OPPONENT WAS NOT VEGETA; AT LAST, HE REACHES HIS WAITING ROOM AGAIN>
Ledas: <TO HIMSELF; IN A WHISPER> But I wanted to fight Vegeta…
<WAITING FOR LEDAS IN HIS ROOM IS ONE PERSON; RYORI>
<HE IS STILL SHIRTLESS AND HAS THE FACE PAINT ON; LEDAS IS TOO PREOCCUPIED TO COMMENT ON IT; THE SAIYAN SITS DOWN>
Ryori: Wow, Ledas, you did great!
Ledas: How did you get in here?
Ryori: <TALKING QUICKLY> Oh, I just snuck in. Security’s pretty lax. No one’s watching the doors. <MORE SERIOUSLY> But that’s not the point! That fight was incredible! You were just like Mr. Satan out there! If you kept going like that, you’ll be as good as him for sure.
Ledas: <DISTRACTED> Yeah, okay.
<BEFORE RYORI CAN SAY ANYTHING ELSE, THE DOOR OPENS AGAIN; THIS TIME IT IS AN OLD MAN IN A DARK BLACK SUIT AND WITH HIS HAIR PULLED BACK; HE WALKS INSIDE, ALONE; HE GOES UP TO LEDAS>
Cardinal: You put up a good fight, master Ledas. Certainly, the seeding worked out in your favor.
<HE HOLDS OUT HIS HAND; LEDAS DOES NOT SHAKE HIS HAND, NOT ONLY BECAUSE HE HAS NO IDEA THIS IS A HUMAN CUSTOM, BUT BECAUSE HE IS STILL SUSPICIOUS OF CARDINAL; IN THE BACKGROUND, RYORI SCRUNCHES UP HIS FACE IN ANGER, BUT HE DOES NOT TALK>
Ledas: You. <HIS EYES NARROW> You said if I came, I could fight Vegeta. You said so! It was in the letter!
Cardinal: Indeed. But as you have seen, this showcase was neither limited to nor even built around you – in fact, I created this tournament for many great fighters. Ultimately, this is a memorialization of all of Earth’s greatest warriors, including yourself. See now, some fight. <HE GESTURES TO A SCREEN IN THE ROOM> We celebrate Earth’s victory together.
Ledas: I just wanna fight Vegeta. I don’t care about the other stuff.
Cardinal: All in due time, my boy. He has to fight in his match first. Afterwards, I’ll see what I can arrange. Is that acceptable, Ledas?
Ledas: <AVERTING HIS EYES TO THE FIGHT BETWEEN YAMCHA AND KRILLIN ON SCREEN> Sure, I guess.
<ON SCREEN, KRILLIN DODGES YAMCHA’S WOLF FANG FIST, THEN LATCHES ONTO YAMCHA’S ARM, SPINNING IT AROUND AND SNAPPING IT BEHIND HIS BACK; WITH A SINGLE KICK, KRILLIN PUSHES YAMCHA OUT OF THE RING; YAMCHA ATTEMPTS TO FLY TO RECOVER, BUT KRILLIN ELBOWS YAMCHA DOWN INTO THE GRASS; AS HE DOES THIS, THE CROWD ROARS; IT IS SO LOUD THAT BOTH HE AND CARDINAL MOMENTARILY STOP TO WATCH THE SCREEN>
Cardinal: <TURNING TO LEAVE> I will wait for Vegeta’s fight, then I’ll ask him if he’s up for another match with you. In the meantime, I have other matters to attend to.
Ledas: Wait! Don’t tell him it’s me. I want it to be a surprise.
Cardinal: <HAS A SINGLE QUIET CHUCKLE TO HIMSELF> It is strange, Ledas. Even as an alien, so much of you is like us humans. If it weren’t for your tail, I would have no idea what you are.
<WITH THAT HE LEAVES>
<LEDAS SITS DOWN; HE BOWS HIS HEAD AND CLASPS HIS HANDS TOGETHER; LISTENING TO THE ANNOUNCER, HE HEARS THAT GOTEN AND ANDROID 18 ARE FIGHTING, THOUGH HE DOES NOT WATCH; HE IS SHAKING WITH ANXIETY OVER FIGHTING VEGETA AGAIN; RYORI SITS DOWN TOO, WATCHING LEDAS, BUT HE DOES NOT DARE TALK>
<ANOTHER MATCH IS BRIEFLY SHOWN, AND IT IS GOHAN AND PICCOLO WHO ARE FIGHTING IN IT; GOHAN EASILY WINS; AFTERWARDS, TIEN AND CHIAOTZU FIGHT, THOUGH PRACTICALLY NO ONE CARES; FINALLY, ANOTHER MATCH IS SHOWN OF VEGETA AND GOKU FIGHTING; THE WINNER OF THIS MATCH IS NOT SHOWN, HOWEVER; LEDAS ONLY PARTIALLY WATCHES THIS MATCH>
<AT LAST THE DOORS OPEN IN FRONT OF HIM; CARDINAL IS THERE, GESTURING LEDAS TO COME FORWARD; LEDAS LOOKS UP BEFORE STANDING, THEN EXITS; RYORI FOLLOWS HIM>
<HE WALKS DOWN THE HALLS, SHOULDERS FORWARD, UNTIL HE REACHES THE STAGE>
<IT IS CLOSE TO SUNSET; MOST OF THE SPECTATORS HAVE LEFT; INDEED, THE ENTIRE AREA NOT AS IT WAS BEFORE; PEOPLE ARE STANDING AROUND THE STAGE, EATING FROM FOOD TABLES NEARBY; EVEN THE TOURNAMENT ANNOUNCER IS CHATTING WITH SOME OF THE PEOPLE; VEGETA IS THERE, ON THE FAR SIDE; NEXT TO HIM IS TRUNKS AS WELL; SEVERAL OTHERS, A FEW Z FIGHTERS, AND UNNAMED HUMAN FIGHTERS ARE EITHER EATING OR TALKING WITH ONE ANOTHER; LEDAS WALKS PAST ALL OF THEM TO VEGETA; RYORI GOES UP TO THE FOOD TABLES AND STARTS EATING; HE INSTANTLY ENGAGES IN CONVERSATION WITH THE TOURNAMENT ANNOUNCER>
Ledas: <RATHER BLUNTLY, EVEN AS VEGETA IS STILL TURNED AWAY> Hi, Vegeta.
<VEGETA TURNS TO FACE HIM>
Ledas: <WALKS FORWARD; TALKING AS IF HE IS FAMILIAR WITH VEGETA> ‘member that time me and you took out that huge planet for Frieza in less than a day? Or when we got to go on Frieza’s ship? Or that other time we fought that real tough team of aliens, and you said…
Vegeta: <STILL UNEMOTIONAL> The first rule of war is that there are no rules.
<LEDAS SMILES UP AT VEGETA; VEGETA DOES NOT SMILE BACK; INSTEAD, HE SETS DOWN HIS PLATE OF FOOD AND GIVES LEDAS HIS FULL ATTENTION>
Ledas: <DROPS INTO HIS OWN> I’m sorry it took me so long to find you, and then that monster came and made everything worse and… <TRAILS OFF>
Vegeta: You were dead. You were still on the planet when we left you. <HE STARES AT LEDAS, WHO SIMPLY STARES BACK; VEGETA LOOKS AT HIM MORE INTENTLY> N-nappa said… <QUIETLY> he told me you were gone. Th-there was nothing I could do… All those years, I thought… <VEGETA LOOKS LIKE HE IS GOING TO GET EMOTIONAL, BUT HE CUTS THIS OFF; HE RETAINS HIS PRIDEFUL NATURE> But how are you here now?
Ledas: <EVER SO CHILD-LIKE> Well, I’ve been looking for you ever since we got separated. And now I’ve found you. So how about a sparring match, Vegeta? For old time’s sake?
Vegeta: <DRY THROAT CHUCKLE> For old time’s sake. <TURNS HIS HEAD; VICIOUSLY> Trunks, out of our way.
Trunks: <SCRAMBLING OUT OF THE WAY> Uh, okay dad.
<LEDAS AND VEGETA MOVE ONTO THE STAGE, AS THE OTHERS LOOK UP TO WATCH>
Vegeta: Hmph, it’s a been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve learned a few new techniques since we were children. <PROUDLY, BUT NOT IN A HATEFUL WAY> Prepare to be amazed.
Ledas: <QUICK RESPONSE; GRINNING SLIGHTLY> I’m gonna hit you so hard, Vegeta.
<WITH THAT, LEDAS BRINGS HIS ARMS INTO HIS CHEST, BOWS HIS HEAD, AND PUSHES OFF OF THE FLOOR WITH BOTH OF HIS FEET; HE RACES TOWARD VEGETA; VEGETA DODGES THIS ATTACK, ATTEMPTING TO BACKHAND LEDAS AS HE GOES BY, BUT LEDAS HAS CREATED AN AFTERIMAGE, LEADING VEGETA TO ONLY SWIPE AT THIN AIR; THE REAL LEDAS LANDS BEHIND VEGETA; HE LOWERS TO THE GROUND AND SIDE SWEEPS VEGETA’S LEGS, CAUSING THE PRINCE TO TUMBLE AWAY>
<AS THIS IS ALL GOING ON, THE TOURNAMENT ANNOUNCER SUDDENLY JUMPS UP AND STARTS COMMENTATING, BUT HE DOESN’T HAVE A MICROPHONE, SO VEGETA AND LEDAS CANNOT HEAR HIM>
<VEGETA RECOVERS, THEN SENDS A GROUP OF KI BLASTS AT LEDAS, STUNNING THE BOY; VEGETA USES THIS TIME TO TAKE TO THE AIR, FLYING RIGHT TO THE POINT ABOVE LEDAS; LEDAS SHOOTS UP AFTER HIM; LEDAS PUNCHES UPWARDS, VEGETA TILTS HIS BODY AWAY, MAKING THE ATTACK MISS; AS LEDAS CONTINUES FLYING UPWARD, HE OVERSHOOTS VEGETA, WHO DOUBLE KICKS LEDAS, AS HE GOES BY, IN THE RIBS>
<LEDAS GOES FLYING BACKWARDS FROM THE FORCE OF THE ATTACK, AND VEGETA CHASES HIM; WHEN VEGETA REACHES HIM, HE PUNCHES LEDAS’ LEFT SHOULDER AND GRABS HIM BY HIS RIGHT; VEGETA ATTEMPTS TO THROW LEDAS DOWNWARD IN AN IMPACT, BUT LEDAS BREAKS FREE AND KICKS VEGETA ACROSS THE FACE; VEGETA IMMEDIATELY RETALIATES WITH A BEAM, BUT IT EXPLODES; LEDAS HAD PUT UP AN ENERGY BARRIER, WHICH REFLECTED THE BLAST RIGHT BACK INTO VEGETA>
<SMOKING AND SINGED, THE SAIYAN PRINCE DOES NOT SEE LEDAS, AS HE COMES DOWN FROM ABOVE VEGETA’S HEAD, CONNECTING HIS FOOT WITH THE SMALL OF VEGETA’S BACK; VEGETA IS SENT DOWNWARD, WITH LEDAS IN HOT PURSUIT; BEFORE VEGETA REACHES THE GROUND, HE AFTERIMAGES BEHIND LEDAS AND PUSHES THE BOY TO THE GROUND>
<LEDAS ROLLS ASIDE, OUT OF THE WAY OF VEGETA’S INCOMING KICK, AND SENDS A SUDDEN BLAST OF ENERGY AT THE PRINCE; VEGETA TAKES IT HEAD ON, BUT IT BARELY DAMAGES HIM; INSTEAD, VEGETA’S SPEED SEEMS TO INCREASE FROM THIS, AND HE JUMPS AT LEDAS; LEDAS HAS GOTTEN UP BY THIS POINT, AND HE STEPS BACK, DEFENDING AGAINST VEGETA’S RELENTLESS HAIL OF BLOWS>
<FROM BEHIND, THE Z FIGHTERS THAT TOOK PART IN THIS TOURNEY (KRILLIN, YAMCHA, GOTEN, TRUNKS, ANDROID 18, GOHAN, PICCOLO, TIEN, CHIAOTZU, AND GOKU) WATCH THE FIGHT>
Krillin: Wow, he’s really something, isn’t he? Almost reminds me of–
Trunks: C’mon dad, you can win! Just go Super Saiyan!
Goku: Whoo, go Vegeta!
Piccolo: <FROM BEHIND THEM, QUIETLY> Vegeta isn’t trying to beat him; he’s testing him. It’s like when two dogs that have been separated for a while reunite. They don’t play again right away. Instead they sniff around and test the waters to see how much has changed. That’s what these two are doing.
Krillin: But, uh, what happens if they don’t get along?
Tien: One of them will lose an eye.
<KRILLIN GRIMACES LIKE HE ALWAYS DOES>
Yamcha: I remember seeing that kid when we fought that alien a few weeks back. I thought he said something about being friends with Vegeta.
Krillin: <WRYLY> I don’t know, Yamcha. I’ve heard Saiyans stay in their prime for a lot longer than us humans… but this is just ridiculous. He’s only Trunks’ age! He couldn’t know Vegeta.
Trunks: <TO KRILLIN> Hmph, he’s older than me. That’s why he won before.
Goten: It’s okay, Trunks. You’ll win next time!
Yamcha: Maybe there was some freak accident where he fell into some nuclear waste or something. I’ve heard it happens all the time. That’s how real super heroes are born.
<EVERYONE, AND I DO MEAN EVERYONE, IGNORES YAMCHA’S CRACKPOT THEORIES>
Android 18: <IN THAT BORED VOICE OF HERS> If he does know Vegeta, I’m sure there’s a perfect explanation for why he’s a little boy.
Krillin: <MISCHIEVOUS GRIN> And, uh, what would that reason be, honey?
Android 18: <TURNS HER FACE AWAY IN EMBARRASSMENT> How would I know?
Piccolo: <IN HIS MIND> That’s the kid I fought before. He was the one who blew up that town. <ANGRILY> He nearly killed me! And he killed all of those innocent people. But no one else knows… <PICCOLO FOLDS HIS ARMS> Better keep it that way. It’s no use bringing up what’s already happened. That kid isn’t the only one of us who’s done some ugly things in the past.
<THEY ALL DESCEND INTO THEIR PETTY RAMBLINGS SAVE FOR TIEN; TIEN KEEPS WATCHING THE FIGHT WITH ALL HIS FOCUS>
Tien: <TO HIMSELF MORE THAN ANYTHING> Their fighting styles are so similar. It’s almost like they’re the same person.
<BACK IN THE FIGHT, VEGETA KICKS, LEDAS BLOCKS; LEDAS PUSHES VEGETA AWAY AND BEGINS HIS OWN ATTACK; THE ATTACKS ARE ALL BLOCKED UNTIL LEDAS LOWERS TO THE GROUND AND SKIDS AROUND VEGETA; HE ELBOWS BACKWARDS, TRYING TO HIT VEGETA, BUT IT IS NO USE; VEGETA CATCHES LEDAS’ ARM>
<LEDAS TURNS HIS TORSO, AND WITH HIS LEFT HAND, HE THROWS AN OPEN-PALMED ENERGY BLAST AT VEGETA, BREAKING THE PRINCE’S GUARD; LEDAS THEN JUMPS INTO THE AIR TO REACH VEGETA’S FACE AND BEGINS KICKING IN A FLURRY>
<VEGETA IS PUSHED BACK, EVENTUALLY FALLING TO ONE KNEE BEFORE SLAPPING LEDAS AWAY; BOTH OF THEM HAVE A MOMENT OF RESPITE, WHERE THEY FALL TO THEIR KNEES AND BREATH OUT HARD FROM THE BATTLE>
<STILL KNEELING, LEDAS LOOKS UP AT VEGETA; THEIR FACES ARE DRIPPING WITH SWEAT; LEDAS WIPES IT AWAY; HE BREATHES IN A FEW SHARP BREATHS AND THEN GOES SUPER SAIYAN 2; HIS HAIR TURNS THE EXPECTED GOLDEN AND HIS EYES TURNING TO GREEN; WITH HIS AURA FLARING AROUND HIM, LEDAS STANDS UP AND WALKS TOWARD VEGETA, SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY; HE HAS HIMSELF READY FOR ANY ATTACK>
<AS HE REACHES VEGETA, VEGETA GOES SUPER SAIYAN 2 AS WELL>
<HE STANDS UP, AND THE TWO IMMEDIATELY GO BACK AT IT, KICKING AND PUNCHING, DIVING AND DUCKING; EACH OF THEM IS COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS OF THEIR ONLOOKERS>
<IN THE BACK, ON THE LEFT A WAYS OF THE Z FIGHTERS, IS STANDING A SMALL HOST OF PEOPLE; CHIEF AMONG THEM IS CARDINAL, THE TOURNAMENT ANNOUNCER, AND RYORI>
<RYORI IS STILL IN HIS BATHING SUIT, AND HE HAS HIS FACE PAINTED FROM TAKING PLACE IN ALL THE PARTYING AND CELEBRATIONS OUTSIDE; STILL, HE IS WATCHING FULLY; HE HAS BARELY EVER SEEN LEDAS FIGHT, ESPECIALLY NOT THIS EMOTIONALLY>
<VEGETA AND LEDAS BEGIN FIRING SMALL KI BLASTS AT ONE ANOTHER, IN RAPID FIRE FASHION; THEY DODGE AROUND, SHOOTING THIS WAY AND THAT, WITH SOME OF THE BLASTS SKIDDING OFF OF THE PLATFORM AND AROUND THE ONLOOKERS; NONE HIT ANYONE THOUGH, THAT WOULD JUST CAUSE AN UNNECESSARY DISTRACTION>
<LEDAS LOWERS BOTH OF HIS ARMS TO HIS SIDES>
Ledas: Heya, Vegeta, remember this one?
<WITH A DEVILISH GRIN, LEDAS CONJURES UP A CYAN BALL IN EACH HAND; HE THEN PRESSES HIS HANDS TOGETHER, COMBINING THE TWO BALLS, AND AIMS THE ENERGY AT VEGETA; HE SENDS OFF A HUGE BLAST AT THE PRINCE>
<VEGETA RECOGNIZES THIS AS THE PLAYFUL GALICK, LEDAS’ VARIATION OF HIS OWN SIGNATURE SKILL; VEGETA MAKES UP HIS OWN BEAM, TOO; THIS ONE IS HIS STANDARD PURPLE ONE; HE AIMS IT AT LEDAS>
<THE TWO BEAMS COLLIDE; A BRIGHT LIGHT COMES UP, OBSCURING THE FOCUS AROUND THE TWO; DESPITE THESE TWO BEAMS BEING QUITE LETHAL SHOULD THEY BE SHOT AT BASICALLY ANYONE ELSE, BOTH LEDAS AND VEGETA ARE RESTRAINING THEIR POWERS SO THAT THEY DON’T DO SOMETHING FOOLISH LIKE BLOW UP THE PLANET>
<THE BEAMS PULSATE BACK AND FORTH, FROM LEDAS TO VEGETA AND BACK AGAIN; AFTER A FEW CYCLES, VEGETA PUTS MORE EFFORT INTO HIS BLAST AND SENDS IT RIGHT AT LEDAS; LEDAS ISN’T STRONG ENOUGH TO DEFEND AND HE IS HIT FULL ON>
<SMOKE AND ALL THAT STUFF FLIES AROUND WILDLY; VEGETA STANDS CALMLY, WATCHING FOR ANY SIGN OF LEDAS>
<BEFORE THE DUST IS FULLY CLEARED, LEDAS SPRINTS OUT, HIS ARMS IN A ‘V’ BEHIND HIS BACK; HE JUMPS AT VEGETA, SLAMMING HIS RIGHT FIST DOWN ON THE PRINCE’S CHEST; VEGETA RECOILS SLIGHTLY, THEN PUSHES LEDAS TO THE GROUND WITH A SINGLE PUNCH; LEDAS TELEPORTS UP AND STOPS IN FRONT OF VEGETA, PUTTING OUT BOTH OF HIS ARMS IN AN ATTACK; VEGETA CATCHES HIS ARMS AND THE TWO STRUGGLE IN A SILENT, GRUNTLESS BATTLE; LEDAS PUTS EVERYTHING HE HAS INTO IT, BUT HE CANNOT BEAT VEGETA’S SUPER SAIYAN 2 STATE>
<LEDAS LETS GO AND RELAXES HIS SHOULDERS; HE FALLS BACK ONTO THE GROUND, IN A SITTING POSITION WITH HIS LEGS ON HIS SIDES; HE LOOKS UP AT VEGETA>
Ledas: Aw, looks like you beat me, Vegeta.
Vegeta: Hmph, you didn’t put up much of a fight.
Ledas: At least we were a lot closer in power when we worked for Frieza! I was prolly even stronger.
<VEGETA LETS OUT A SMALL LAUGH AND FOLDS HIS ARMS AS LEDAS GETS ON HIS FEET>
Vegeta: I was always the stronger one.
<THE Z FIGHTERS COME UP AND TALK TO THE TWO OF THEM; IT IS NOTHING IMPORTANT, AND NEITHER VEGETA NOR LEDAS SEEM TO REALLY BE LISTENING TO THEM>
<FROM BEHIND, CARDINAL’S ENTOURAGE WATCHES IN SILENCE; RYORI, WITH THEM, IS FROWNING>
<FOR SEVERAL MOMENTS, HE WATCHES AS VEGETA AND LEDAS AND THE OTHER FIGHTERS ALL TALK, AND ASIDE FROM VEGETA, THEY ARE ALL LAUGHING AND TALKING>
Ryori: <TO HIMSELF, BARELY AUDIBLE THOUGH IT IS SOLEMN> Damnit, Ledas. You’re just like Shoekki… just gonna leave me and–
<LEDAS SUDDENLY APPEARS IN FRONT OF RYORI, PROBABLY BY INSTANTANEOUS MOVEMENT OR SOMETHING SIMILAR; HE GRABS RYORI’S SHOULDER AND PULLS HIM OVER>
Ledas: Oh I didn’t see you, Ryori!
Ryori: <DUMBFOUNDED AS HE IS BEING PUSHED FORWARD> Wha… you heard that?
Ledas: <COCKS HIS HEAD TO THE SIDE> Well you said my name.
Ryori: Great… you have super hearing, too.
<THEY ARRIVE AT VEGETA>
Ledas: <TO VEGETA ABOVE THE TALKING OF THE OTHER Z FIGHTERS> This is my friend Ryori. <HE LOOKS OVER AT RYORI, WHO IS SOMEWHAT AWKWARDLY EMBARRASSED BY HIS OWN APPEARANCE AMONG THESE WARRIORS> Canya take us to get food, Vegeta? I’m starving!
<VEGETA GLANCES OVER AT THE FOOD TABLES; OF COURSE, THEY ARE ALL EMPTY BY NOW>
Krillin: <PEANUT GALLERY> He sure does acts like a Saiyan…
Vegeta: Why would I know where–
Ledas: Cuz I saw your house! It’s huge. There has to be like a million pounds of food in there!
Vegeta: <HIS EYES ARE SOMEWHAT WIDENED> Fine, just this once.
Yamcha: Hey Vegeta, how about we come along and celebrate with ya guys?
Vegeta: <BREAKS IN WITH A HEARTY, SARCASTIC LAUGH; ALMOST IN AN OUT OF CHARACTER WAY> Oh yeah, that’s a good one. Invite the whole crew over! Why don’t we invite Kakarot, too?!
Goku: <FROM THE BACK> Hey, I heard that, Vegeta!
Vegeta: <SETTLES DOWN BACK TO HIS VITRIOL; RIGHT UP IN YAMCHA’S FACE> Don’t even think about it, fool. I’ll blow you away before you can get within 100 feet of her.
Yamcha: Okay! Okay! Sheesh, can’t blame a guy for asking!
<VEGETA TURNS AWAY, CHIN UP AND PRANCES OUT; LEDAS AND RYORI FOLLOW HIM; THE REMAINING Z FIGHTERS STAND THERE, DUMBFOUNDED AT THIS; IT SEEMS RATHER ODD TO THEM THAT VEGETA WOULD JUST GO OFF SO QUICKLY WITH LEDAS LIKE THIS; OF COURSE, SINCE THE TWO WERE CHILDHOOD FRIENDS, THIS SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE, BUT IT IS STILL RATHER ODD, CONSIDERING IT IS VEGETA, AND ALL OF THEM ARE QUITE PUZZLED AT HOW HE IS ACTING AROUND LEDAS NOW THAT THEY’VE FOUGHT AND BEEN REACQUAINTED PROPERLY>
Ledas: <TO VEGETA AS THEY WALK> Do you have a very good gravity room, Vegeta? That old guy in the white jacket gave me mine. It’s really good. <CHILDLIKE GOADING> I bet it’s better than yours.
Vegeta: Bah, you stole that one.
Ledas: Oh yeah. <HE CHUCKLES IN DELIGHT> I forgot. <HE CONTINUES LAUGHING>
<THEY REACH THE OUTSIDE ENCIRCLEMENT>
Ryori: Ledas, how old are you really?
Ledas: Um, I don’t know, like how old Vegeta is.
Ryori: But that guy’s an old man. And you are just like me…
Vegeta: <TO RYORI> Watch it. I’m not that old.
Ryori: Whatever, man. But if you and him grew up together, why didn’t he get old like you? Is that something with you aliens, that only some of you get all old and gross like that?
<VEGETA GRUMBLES LIKE AN ANIMAL, BUT LEDAS IGNORES HIM; HE IS QUITE CHIPPER AS THEY ALL WALK ON>
Vegeta: Your idiot friend is right. If you really are alive, what happened out there? Why aren’t you grown up?
Ledas: <STILL GRINNING> Wewll, it’s a long, almost-incredible story. But, um, <SCRATCHES HIS HEAD> I think I forgot most of it…
<THE OTHER TWO SIGH, SHAKING THEIR HEADS; MERE MOMENTS LATER, THEY ALL TAKE OFF INTO THE SKY; LEDAS IS CARRYING RYORI AND FOLLOWING VEGETA; AS THEY SET OFF, THE CAMERA PANS BACK ALL THE WAY TO BEHIND CARDINAL; THE MAN WATCHES THEM, LOOKING UP AT THE THREE FLYING OFF INTO THE SKY; AROUND HIM ARE THE Z FIGHTERS AND A FEW HUMANS; AS VEGETA, LEDAS, AND RYORI FADE AWAY INTO SMALL DOTS, HE BOWS HIS HEAD AND WALKS OFF SCREEN>
<IMMEDIATE BLACK SCREEN AS CARDINAL EXITS>
<CUE El Scorcho>
<SLOW RE-FADE FROM BLACK>
<A MONTAGE OF SORTS FOLLOWS>
<LEDAS, RYORI, AND VEGETA ARE EATING FOOD AT CAPSULE CORP, MUCH TO THE CHAGRIN OF BULMA (BECAUSE OF HOW BARBARIC THEIR MANNERS ARE); DR. BRIEF COMES OUT AND LEDAS HIDES HIS HEAD; THE GOOD DOCTOR SQUINTS AT LEDAS, ALMOST FINDING HIM FAMILIAR BEFORE MOVING ON WITH HIS DAILY TASKS; LEDAS RAISES HIS HEAD AT THIS AND LAUGHS; VEGETA, PERHAPS, HIDES A SMIRK HIMSELF>
<THE SCENE CHANGES TO CARDINAL, WHO WATCHES THE REMAINING Z FIGHTERS AND OTHER PEOPLE LEAVE HIS TOURNAMENT; THERE IS LOTS OF TRASH AROUND, EVEN ON THE TOURNAMENT STAGE; HE IS ALONE; THE WIND BLOWS SOME OF THE TRASH AROUND AND HE SITS DOWN ON THE EDGE OF THE TOURNAMENT STAGE AND WATCHES IT GO BY>
<THE SCENE CHANGES TO LEDAS; THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A FEW DAYS LATER; HE AND VEGETA ARE IN VEGETA’S OWN GRAVITY ROOM; THEY ARE SPARRING; VEGETA IS STILL A LITTLE RESERVED TO BE OPENING HIMSELF UP LIKE THIS, BUT SINCE IT IS LEDAS, HE IS SPARRING A LITTLE AND NOT BEING AS STANDOFFISH AS HE USUALLY IS; THE TWO SPAR FOR SOME TIME; THOUGH IT IS STILL SLIGHTLY AWKWARD AND NOT THE SAME AS IT WAS WHEN THEY WERE KIDS, VEGETA ISN’T TOTALLY OPPOSED TO THIS, WHICH MAKES LEDAS HAPPY; THE TWO DO SOME SPARRING IN THEIR SUPER SAIYAN FORMS; VEGETA SHOWS OFF HIS SUPER SAIYAN 3 FORM>
<KORIN AND YAJIROBE ARE UP ON KORIN TOWER, STILL DOING NOTHING, AND SQUABBLING OVER THEIR PRECIOUS FEW SENZU BEANS; KORIN HITS YAJIROBE OVER THE HEAD WITH HIS STAFF FOR BEING GREEDY; YAJIROBE CUTS ONE OF KORIN’S CAT TOWERS IN HALF WITH HIS KATANA>
<RYORI HAS LEFT VEGETA’S HOUSE, SOMETIME AFTERWARD; HE IS IN THE HOUSE THAT WAS MADE FOR LEDAS AND HIM; IT IS LATE AT NIGHT, AND HE IS PLAYING VIDEO GAMES; HE LOOKS BORED; SUDDENLY, LEDAS ARRIVES, AND COMES IN WITH A LOT OF ENERGY; RYORI’S FROWN TURNS UPSIDE DOWN AS HE AND LEDAS DESCEND INTO ENDLESS HOURS OF VIDEO GAMES AND PLAY; AFTER RYORI GOES TO BED, LEDAS COMES INTO THE BATHROOM AND SEES THE FULL LENGTH MIRROR COATING THE SHOWER DOOR; HE STARES INTO IT; EVENTUALLY, SITTING DOWN AS HE CONTINUES TO STARE; HE THINKS, INTO THE NIGHT, OF HOW TO GET VEGETA AND RYORI TO BE LESS AGGRESSIVE TOWARDS EACH OTHER, ESPECIALLY IF LEDAS IS GOING TO STAY; OBVIOUSLY, HE HAS NO IMMEDIATE IDEAS FOR WHAT TO DO>
<THE LAST SCENE SHOWS LEDAS RETURNING FROM A TRAINING SESSION WITH VEGETA; HE HAS A TOWEL AROUND HIS NECK; HE WALKS BACK TO HIS HOUSE AND WAVES TO RYORI, WHO WAVES BACK; LEDAS MOVES PAST HIM TO HIS BACKYARD, WHERE HIS SAIBAMEN ARE RUNNING AROUND; HE BEAMS AS THE RUN UP TO HIM; HE KNEELS DOWN TO PAT WILDE AND THE OTHERS ON THE HEAD, THEN MOVES ON TO HIS OWN GRAVITY TRAINING UNIT; HE OPENS IT AND WALKS INSIDE; HE GOES UP TO THE CONSOLE IN THE MIDDLE OF IT AND OPENS A SEALED BOX; INSIDE IS VERLATE’S PYRAMID; HE SHUDDERS AS HE LOOKS AT IT; THE LIGHT BRIEFLY SHINES IN ON THE BOX, CAUSING IT TO SPARKLE AND SHINE; THEN, LEDAS CLOSES THE BOX AGAIN; HIS SAIBAMEN ARE PLAYING AND FIGHTING WITH ONE ANOTHER IN THE BACKGROUND; HE LAUGHS THIS TIME AND TURNS BACK TO THEM; THE LAST SHOT IS A SIMPLE TIGHT SHOT OF LEDAS’ SMILING FACE>
<THE SCREEN RE-FADES ONE MORE TIME TO BLACK, SLOWER THIS TIME>
- <END FULFILLMENT SAGA>
Cue Great Spirits. Credits roll during this time. This credits roll “scene-less” except for a small, continuous animation of Ledas and kid Vegeta running around throughout this sequence.
<END DRAGON BALL Z: THE FORGOTTEN>
- This chapter's name is not a reference to anything in particular. The name itself refers to this being the last chapter in TF, though. This chapter name was made way back in October 2010, when I was formulating the chapter list for the Reunion Saga (which, at the time, was the last saga in TF). It was one of the last chapter names I came up with for that original version of the saga. That was way back when the saga had like 30 episodes. In truth, most of the episode names from the last three sagas, back in 2010, were not used. This is one of the few ones that remained. It was the series finale name from the beginning. There was no other name for the series finale at any point, I believe.
- This is the longest chapter of TF. In terms of the saga chapters, it is 3273 words longer than the next longest chapter ("When Time And Life Shook Hands And Said Goodbye"). Notice that the second-longest chapter is only 3089 words altogether. So "Simply Legendary" is more than twice as long as the next longest chapter in TF. That is quite extraordinary. I maintain, though, that this chapter works better not being split up into two or three chapters. The pacing of it is better as it is.
- This chapter hasn't changed a lot, from the first conceptualization of it in 2010, to the final version that exists now. In terms of what I've changed across the two drafts that came after the first draft, there wasn't that much changed. The opening, with Ledas and Ryori and the guard, was slightly expanded, and the scene with Cardinal, Ledas, and Ryori near the end of this chapter (the one where Ledas forces Cardinal to support Ryori and buy him a new house to live in) was removed in the final version. That scene was redone in chapter 10 of this saga, featuring only Cardinal and Ledas. That plays out similarly in both chapters, but I do prefer how I changed it to be in the final version of this saga. There were of course many edits to the dialogue and scene direction as well, during the final edits. Almost all of that was minor stuff, though. Just me trying to make this chapter the best it could be. I never hated this chapter - not even when I prepared for the final edits of this saga. Of all the chapters in this saga, and indeed all of those in the last saga and a half, this is the one that has changed the least. And that says a lot about the story, I think. I knew, even from an early point, how I wanted to end it, and my first attempt to write this chapter was a really good attempt. Not much is ultimately changed, and nothing very significant was (the Cardinal/Ledas scene still exists, remember, it just happens a few chapters earlier in the plot now). So I am happy, at least, that my vision for how TF ends was a good idea even in 2010 and that my vision of how it all ends hasn't changed much even as I've grown as a writer.
- At one point, I considered deleting almost everything in this saga, aside from this chapter and perhaps the previous chapter (and of course moving the Verlate stuff to the previous saga). That was a markedly pessimistic view - one brought about by me not liking pretty much any of the rest of the saga when I read through it to prepare for the final edits. However, that view did not hold up, and the saga did remain intact. If I would have done that, I would have changed this saga's theme song to Paradise Awaits by Killer Tracks. I also considered expanding the tournament to take place in several chapters (showing a bit of the other fighters' rounds as well). But of course all of those ideas were not realized - and this idea of an expanded tournament saga was pretty much extinguished as soon as I realized I couldn't move Verlate's arc to the previous saga.
- So why a tournament? Why end this story with one of those classic Dragon Ball tournaments? Well, this idea was surely based on how DBZ itself ended. And I should also mention that the tournaments in Dragon Ball were amongst my favorite parts of that story. Goku vs. Tien, Tien vs. Master Roshi (still, in my opinion, one of the greatest fights in the DB series), Goku vs. Master Roshi, Tien vs. Yamcha, Krillin vs. Chiaotzu... the list goes on and on of great, entertaining fights. For someone as OCD as me, the tournament setting also provided a certain structure to the series that I quite liked. Of course, I didn't actually use the tournament structure for my story, and that's interesting, I think. I don't know why my OCD didn't have a bigger influence there. Anyways, a tournament is a great way to end a story in general. I believe I said as much in my story writing guide on this site. A tournament brings people together and also has some fights in it, so the spirit of DBZ is maintained to perfection. I don't think there's a better way to bring everyone together and have a non-serious fight without it being in a tournament of some sort. A tournament accomplishes all of the plot stuff I want to do as well as all of the thematic, tonal, and characterization stuff I want to do. So it was natural. It wasn't just me mimicking DBZ here. It was me choosing the best ending for my story that I could think of.
- Another thing I want to mention is that this chapter is way longer than I thought it would be. When I thought it up in 2010 and later wrote the first version of it in 2011, I did not believe that it would be this long - I thought it would maybe be about half as long as it is now, but never 6000 words. Because of that, the writing process became unexpectedly long and grueling. I actually remember writing the first version of this chapter, because of that (I don't specifically remember writing too many of the first drafts of each chapter). As I wrote the chapter, I first listened to Videotape by Radiohead on repeat. I don't remember exactly where I stopped listening to it - it was probably around the time the tournament started or after Trunks was defeated (I'm really not sure, here). Then, I began to listen to I'm Yours by Jason Mraz on repeat until I finished the story. I think that's how it was. The two could be flipped - this was so long ago that my memories are a bit fuzzy. But I think "Videotape" came first and "I'm Yours" came second.
- I imagine that Ryori rode on Ledas' back as they flew to the place. This will of course look rather silly if it's ever drawn or animated. Yajirobe flying on Ledas' back in the Planet Earth Saga will look sillier, though. But it was the only way for the two to get to Cardinal's tournament. It's not like either one of them could drive there or could have someone drive them there.
- The indoor aquarium was something I believe I came up with during the final edits of this chapter. Pure aesthetic move there, though one might be able to say there's a setting/tonal connection between that and the aquarium Ledas and Ryori visited in the previous chapter.
- You gotta think that Ryori has never seen such luxuries before. If one remembers, his house was rather rundown in the Planet Earth Saga (which is part of the reason Ledas got him a new one in this saga). So he's experiencing a new world. This characterization was important for me to show because, although the focus is mostly on Ledas in this chapter, Ryori and some other characters still need to get some more character development to fulfill their character arcs. Ryori's is based on comforts - food, carefree play (seen when the tournament starts), and hotel luxuries. This is an optimistic turn for his character (and is ultimately where his character ends this story), who has been in a pessimistic rut for the past two sagas.
- Notice the different emotions of Ledas and Ryori in the hotel room. They are different people, obviously, so they have different personalities. But Ledas is more on edge; he's anxious and impatient. Ryori is laid back and wants to just soak up all the luxuries of the hotel. They are in different places, mentally. Ryori has essentially completed his arc by this point and now gets to party and forget about the bad times that came before. Ledas isn't there yet; he still needs to reunite with Vegeta properly and hope that it goes well.
- The thing about the schedule is that it didn't exist in previous versions of this chapter. By having a tournament schedule, it brings more order to this chapter, and gives both the readers and Ledas a clearer idea of what is going on. In the past, this chapter sort of read like a fever dream, with Ledas just kind of wandering about and luckily getting matched against Trunks before fighting Vegeta after the tournament was over. Now there is more order. Even if I haven't allowed my OCD to define the tournament extremely specifically, there are some defined aspects of the tournament that make the plot clearer now.
- Notice too, that it's a bit ironic that Ryori, not Ledas, is the one who is preoccupied with food in the opening scene.
- It was fun to show a human's perspective on the Dragon World, in terms of who the great fighters are. Ryori represents common society and their views on Mr. Satan. Ryori's raging fanboyism was exaggerated to make the scene more comedic, though.
- The conversation about Mr. Satan brings up the theme about legacies as well. Notice that Ryori says that Ledas can't compare to Mr. Satan in terms of popularity and strength. The former is true, but the latter is not. Perception trumps truth in regards to legacy and public perception. For someone like Ledas, who has been forgotten before, and may be destined for that fate in the future - who, really, will spread tales about all of the heroic and cool stuff he's done? Probably no one. And yet, Mr. Satan, a fraud, will be revered for generations to come just because he's good at gaming the system. Was Mr. Satan a better person than Ledas? Certainly, he wasn't the powerful, heroic fighter that Ledas was. But both did indeed save the world in their own way. Though, interestingly, the true way Mr. Satan saved the world is not known, just like Ledas' feats aren't well-known either.
- One must remember that like Ledas, Ryori is pretty young and immature. His rant about Mr. Satan was also written to show that, specifically with the way Ryori talks about Mr. Satan.
- Ledas doesn't care about Mr. Satan and doesn't seem to be interested in him, because he knows that if Mr. Satan truly was this powerful guy, he would have sensed him or met him in the previous saga when he met most of the Z Fighters.
- Ryori's actions in the early part of this chapter - him staying up all night and gorging himself on food and playing in the indoor swimming pool - is based on what I would do if I was in a similar situation.
- Ledas sleeping anxiously while Ryori stays up and plays illustrates their divergent character arcs rather well, I think.
- The whole Ryori/Ledas exchange in the hotel room the morning of the tournament is just anime trope after anime trope after anime trope.
- Ledas and Ryori running down the hotel hallways like they do was based on me and my brother doing something similar once when we were on vacation in Hawaii.
- In previous versions of this story, I believe Ledas did read who he was up against when the guard tells him to. That is obviously an error, since he can't read any Earth languages, so it was fixed during the final edits. As a consequence, an extended scene with Ledas and the guard was added in during the final edits.
- Ledas not being able to read though does keep him isolated during the tournament, for he doesn't really understand what is going on. Tonally, that is what I was going for. His isolation in this chapter from the other fighters, particularly Vegeta, is highly symbolic of Ledas' journey in life.
- Certainly, there are parallels with Ledas stepping out on the tourney stage and back in the Lauto Saga when he had to fight the natives. Now, the crowd is actually cheering for him. He's finally being welcomed, being accepted, being recognized.
- So Ryori getting facepaint was based on an episode of Seinfeld, called The Face Painter. In that episode, a character named Puddy gets some ridiculous facepaint applied to him before going to a hockey game. So I used a similar concept here, where Ryori essentially did the same thing to cheer on Ledas and have fun. Notice how Ryori's character arc has become over-the-top hedonistic. That is not a random development of his character.
- Chiaotzu is weak as fuck, so I didn't want him in the tournament. I gave him too much airtime in the previous saga, so in this one, he's just a bystander. It's funny too, because pretty much every other Z Fighter fights in the tournament. Cardinal must be wise beyond his years to know that no fight featuring Chiaotzu would be fun to watch.
- I remember coming up with the gag of having Ryori and Chiaotzu next to one another, not knowing who each other is. Their similar appearances is me making fun of Chiaotzu, though that would be more apparent if this chapter was drawn.
- It is no coincidence that Ledas battles Trunks in the first fight. I didn't randomly pick someone for him to fight. It was always going to be Vegeta's son. Also, this ties into the last chapter, where Vegeta ordered Trunks to pack his bags so they could leave to prepare for the tournament. Like them, Ledas prepared for the tournament in earnest for the entire week before it took place. So there are parallels. Additionally, the fact that Ledas is battling against Vegeta's son has some nice thematic meaning as well. Ledas is not a dad like Vegeta. He hasn't grown up. He's still a kid. But Vegeta's not. He's had a son, who's roughly the same age (appearance-wise) as Ledas. This is a great difference from the first saga and symbolizes how Ledas' friendship with Vegeta has been reduced to basically nothing since they were separated.
- So why did I have two battles in this chapter? I wanted Ledas to win one. I wanted the Vegeta vs. Ledas battle to be more personal, away from the cheering crowds. But Ledas still needed to take part in the tournament anyway. As a consequence, this made the chapter extremely long. I suppose I should have realized as much as I wrote this chapter for the first time, but I didn't. Had there not been the Trunks vs. Ledas fight, this chapter would be significantly shorter, though I think it would still be the longest chapter overall.
- It was important that Ledas didn't know that Trunks was Vegeta's son in this battle, though. Indeed, Trunks would have told him, had not the Tournament Announcer interrupted him.
- Much of the Tournament Announcer's dialogue in this chapter comes from his dialogue in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2. What I did is I played that game's tournament mode and then wrote down, word-for-word, what he said during the fights. I took many of his lines and then put them in this chapter. I didn't modify them, really. I pretty much just copy and pasted them in, and that comprises most of the Tournament Announcer's dialogue in this chapter.
- The Tournament Announcer was in all versions of this chapter, but he had a much smaller presence in previous versions. One of the things I wanted to do for the final version of this chapter was to make him more prominent - indeed, that was one of the biggest changes I wanted to make. This was done for three reasons: it gives the chapter a more accurate DBZ feel to it; it adds lots of comedy to the story; and it allows me to feature a character I really like. The Tournament Announcer is one of my favorite characters, so I wanted to have him interact with Ledas. This is similar to how I wanted Yajirobe and Korin to interact with Ledas.
- It should be mentioned that as I was writing the final versions of the last few Fulfillment Saga chapters, I also began working on a story with Destructivedisk called Sink to the Bottom. That story was about Yamcha and the Tournament Announcer and their drunken escapades to get Bulma to return to Yamcha. By the time I wrote the final version of this chapter, 60% of Sink to the Bottom had been written already, so the portrayal of the Tournament Announcer in that story was surely on my mind as I finalized this chapter. It's probably a big part of why his role grew so large in the final version of "Simply Legendary".
- One of the running gags of this chapter is that the Tournament Announcer can't pronounce Ledas' name correctly. Astute readers will note that this has parallels with Dragon Ball, with the Tournament Announcer having trouble with Goku's name in that story.
- Ledas starts the fight against Trunks rather lethargically because he was expecting to fight Vegeta. He's bummed that he has to fight this kid. However, as the fight goes on, Ledas gets more into it. He's a Saiyan at heart, and any fight will rouse his spirits, even if it's not the fight he was hoping for.
- Much of the Ledas vs. Trunks fight was choreographed around the Tournament Announcer's dialogue, so that it would all make sense. I briefly considered just having the Tournament Announcer babble and talk about stuff that wasn't going on, but that joke seemed too confusing. So instead I choreographed the fight around his quotes to eliminate all possible confusion.
- Ah yes, the great tail debate is brought up again in this chapter. I'll never forgive Trunks for not having his tail, yo. On a side note, it's interesting that Trunks would even know this, considering he has no memories of having a tail. So his mother and/or father must've told him the grand history of the Saiyans at one point. The fact that he knows Ledas is one is quite remarkable. I wonder if he thinks Ledas is the son of Goku. Probably not. In that case, who is Ledas the son of? Trunks would be hard-pressed to find an answer. In the midst of battle, he isn't thinking about that, though. But if they weren't battling, I'm sure he would have found it strange that Ledas even exists.
- Kid Trunks is undeniably weaker than Ledas. Ledas not being prepared and not powering up was a way to keep the fight interesting in the beginning. Having Trunks go Super Saiyan without Ledas immediately doing so himself also extended the fight. I mean, if Ledas truly powered up, he could easily defeat Trunks with a single attack. I wanted the fight to go on longer than that, however (since I had many Tournament Announcer quotes to use and wanted the fight to actually be interesting).
- Ledas uses quite a bit of his Raging Blast 2 DLC moveset in this chapter's battles.
- "How is this kid a Super Saiyan?!" - this quote is me criticizing Toriyama for giving Trunks and Goten Super Saiyan so cheaply. Garbage writing on his part, and not something that I will ever forgive him for. His place as a writer, as a producer of quality art, took a massive hit when he chose to make that move, and it's a cowardly move that made me lose a lot of respect for Toriyama as well.
- I specifically did not have Ledas go Super Saiyan against Trunks for a variety of reasons. One reason is that it insults Trunks' power level. Another reason is that this saves Ledas' more powerful forms for his true opponent - Vegeta. It allows for the more dramatic moments to be reached in the more important fights. This is a standard trope in DBZ. As well, I didn't cheapen the Super Saiyan form here for my character, while Toriyama's character did. This shows my differing philosophy from Toriyama in terms of SS transformations.
- How the Tournament Announcer knew the Kyorra Flash was Ledas' favorite move is beyond me. This certainly implies the Tournament Announcer has some information that we the audience didn't expect him to have. How he got that info, though, is anyone's guess.
- It was personally important for me to have Trunks defeated by Ledas' signature move. Ledas hasn't beaten too many important people with that attack, so it was time for him to really let the Kyorra Flash shine.
- Notice how Ledas is at his loneliest when the crowd cheers his victory. He feels forgotten because he didn't fight Vegeta. He feels like he's being left behind again.
- Another thing that shows Ledas isn't a Stu is the way he deals with fighting and beating Trunks. He's not very happy. Glory and victory aren't important to him in this moment. He just wants to see his friend again. He's beginning to think that Cardinal tricked him, but that is of course not true. Ledas is a mere boy and he doesn't really understand what is going on. Even Vegeta must've fought someone (I assume Goku) before facing off against Ledas. The tournament was as much a party as it was an event for spectators to watch. But Ledas reuniting with Vegeta is not that, and I think Cardinal knows that, which is why he saved their reunion until after the main fights were over and the crowds had all dispersed.
- Trunks vs. Ledas was an eye-opening moment for Ryori, who has never seen Ledas fight a quality opponent before. Sure, he saw Ledas kill Dewberry and many of the New Red Ribbon Army soldiers, but they were mere humans, and weak humans at that. It's entirely different to see Ledas engage in a high-powered fight against Trunks where energy attacks and quick movements and flying and all that jazz occurs.
- Ledas not shaking Cardinal's hand is a great moment. It shows the cultural divide but can also be perceived as a slight on Ledas' part. I'm sure Cardinal saw it to be as much without realizing that Ledas is an alien who has no idea that handshaking is a human custom.
- It is important that Cardinal notes that the tournament isn't about Ledas. This further diminishes Ledas' "importance" in terms of Stuishness. Cardinal didn't orchestrate this all for Ledas. Ledas is part of the reason why the tournament is taking place, but he's not a bigger part of it than any other fighter invited.
- Krillin is a far superior warrior when compared to Yamcha. Yamcha is really quite weak, in fact. He's not in the same league as Krillin. Krillin defeating Yamcha was a moment where I again glorified Krillin - the single Z Fighter (if one does not count Yajirobe as one) who didn't get defeated by The Benefactor and saved all of his fellows by giving them senzu beans. A lot of this glorification of Krillin happened because I wanted to make Destructivedisk happy, and Krillin is that dude's favorite character for some reason.
- "It is strange, Ledas. Even as an alien, so much of you is like us humans. If it weren’t for your tail, I would have no idea what you are." - important stuff is in this quote.
- Cardinal's exchange with Ledas makes it seem like he was just playing Ledas in the letter. Remember, he promised that Ledas could reunite with Vegeta in that letter, yet here he's making it seem like he will have to work something out with Vegeta to make that possible. This is not true. Vegeta was always going to fight Ledas, and preparations had already been made for that. Cardinal just wanted to exert his will over Ledas now that his power has been so reduced by the boy. He wants that one last thing to hold over Ledas to make himself look important and in control.
- "LEDAS SITS DOWN; HE BOWS HIS HEAD AND CLASPS HIS HANDS TOGETHER" - Ledas does this as he listens to the other fights going on and waits to fight Vegeta. I don't know what this is based on, but I'm pretty sure the image of Ledas in this position was based on something. Was it a scene from Gladiator? Given all the references to that movie in this story, it wouldn't surprise me if it was. I don't know what else that image of Ledas could be based on.
- Ledas shaking with anxiety as he waits to fight Vegeta is an odd scene. Ledas has never acted like this before. He has never been so nervous about anything. This is the culmination of the story though, so I needed him to be in a rare temperament. This also builds up to the dramatic moment of him confronting Vegeta, and it says a lot about Ledas' character that this, not a fight with TB or any other alien in the past, is what made Ledas nervous. His friendship with Vegeta means more to him than pretty much anything else.
- It is a good friend move that Ryori gives Ledas his silent support as they wait for Vegeta but does not speak. Good, intelligent empathy from him there. Just as Ledas helped him in the previous chapter, so now is Ryori helping Ledas (though to a different capacity).
- It was my intent to not show who won the Goku vs. Vegeta battle. I didn't want to start any fanboy wars or anything like that. In truth, I'm not sure who won, myself. I haven't worked out the fight in my head. It's the ultimate DBZ fight, and yet, from Ledas' perspective, from the perspective of this story, it is just a footnote, just something Ledas watches half-heartedly and doesn't even pay enough attention to to see who won it. This is a subtle way for me to bring up the themes of being forgotten as it relates to Ledas and my other fanon characters (and it could even work as symbolism for this story as whole).
- It is thematically consequential that Ledas is reunited with Vegeta after the tournament winds down, after most people go away. This leaves Ledas in the shadows, to be forgotten. He wasn't even with the other fighters, though he did have his moment of glory in front of the crowd.
- Ryori specifically talks with the Tournament Announcer because I love that guy.
- Notice how Ledas' opening words to Vegeta ("Hi, Vegeta") are the same first words Ledas said to Vegeta in the Reunion Saga.
- Ledas' way of confronting Vegeta, remembering the good times, is an interesting strategy. It says a lot about his character, how much he cares about his friendship with Vegeta, and how much he doesn't want to screw this up. He's coming out with the big guns. He doesn't want to get rejected by his old friend at all.
- Great moment when Ledas helps Vegeta remember when they fought and killed Zarbon's old team.
- "I’m sorry it took me so long to find you, and then that monster came and made everything worse and…" - this is a very important quote showcasing not only Ledas' child-like personality, but also his desire to subvert his own pride if only to become friends with Vegeta again.
- "You were dead. You were still on the planet when we left you. <HE STARES AT LEDAS, WHO SIMPLY STARES BACK; VEGETA LOOKS AT HIM MORE INTENTLY> N-nappa said… <QUIETLY> he told me you were gone. Th-there was nothing I could do… All those years, I thought…" - this Vegeta quote is also very important for Vegeta, a man who likes to keep his emotions hidden. Early in the Reunion Saga, he kept his emotions hidden because he didn't want to think about his long lost friend and all the pain that brought him. That is a big part of the reason why Vegeta didn't acknowledge Ledas' existence for much of the previous saga. But by the saga's end, he knew Ledas was real. And so he's had some time, from that point to this point, to collect his thoughts. The above quote shows a great maturity in his character, a great growth, that was not present in the Reunion Saga. It's also heartbreakingly sad. You can tell how lonely Vegeta was after he was separated from Ledas. He had no friends while he served under Frieza. Frieza made him into who he was. He twisted Vegeta, ruined his childhood. And that childhood could have gone better had Vegeta's best friend been there to comfort him. Notice that Vegeta has grown up, while Ledas hasn't. Vegeta lost his childhood, his innocence. He can never get it back. So Vegeta is sad that he lost his friendship with Ledas, too. And his quote shows how powerless he felt at the time. For a child prodigy such as himself, that must've been a tough pill to swallow. It's probably a big reason he turned out how he did.
- I thought it would be most appropriate for the Saiyans to spar. They have been separated for many a year, and yet now they are reunited. What would they do? They aren't going to play; Vegeta isn't a kid anymore. Sparring, battling, training... that is what Saiyans love to do. So I thought it would be what they wanted to do. Sparring is essentially like a hug or a handshake. It's how they greet one another, learn about how each other has grown in their years apart. It's as much an expression of their growth as it is a way for them to vent their emotions.
- "Prepare to be amazed." - this is what Vegeta said to Ledas just before they sparred for the first time in chapter 3 of this story.
- "I’m gonna hit you so hard, Vegeta." - this is a slightly modified version of what Ledas said to Vegeta the first time they sparred (after Vegeta said the above quote in the previous endnote). This was something that came up organically as I was writing this story. I saw a place to callback to when Ledas and Vegeta first met. In a way, it's as if the two of them are meeting for the first time, again. And there's a cyclical nature to things. Although, both characters say their quotes in non-serious ways. I'm sure they are both doing so for nostalgia's sake. They aren't actually being arrogant or trying to intimidate one another.
- Ledas' fight vs. Vegeta is one of the longest scenes in TF history. On its own, it 100 words longer than the average TF chapter. That fact is a big part of why this chapter is so long.
- So the thing with the Tournament Announcer in the second fight unfolded like this: he's watching the fight, so he would naturally want to commentate; he already commentated the last match, so it would be tedious to have him do so again with so much dialogue; to fix this, I thought it would be funny if he just commentated anyway, but no one heard him because his microphone is unplugged. That is a nice comedic moment, and it shows that "the forgotten" truly refers to the Tournament Announcer. It also shows how commentating is a compulsion for him. He can't help himself. If he sees a fight going on, he has to commentate it.
- Much like with The Benefactor vs. Ledas, Ledas vs. Vegeta was a fight I spent a lot of time choreographing. This one wasn't choreographed to a song, though, which allowed me to have more freedom with it. Certainly, a lot of the moves are based on movesets from the DBZ anime or from Raging Blast 2, but there are unique, new fighting moves as well. I went all out in this fight. I wanted to make it really, really long. This isn't just some sparring match. It's a song between the two - and long, complicated one at that, for they have been separated for many a year and have much to catch up on.
- Who does Ledas remind Krillin of? Come on now, I've hinted at who Ledas is paralleled with on multiple occasions.
- The little aside in the middle of Ledas vs. Vegeta with all of the Z Fighters commenting on the fight was added in to bring up thematic, characterization, and tonal content in more specific ways. It's also accurate to how DBZ is - there are always these little asides with the onlookers. However, in my case, I use the Z Fighters to reveal things about Ledas and Vegeta and their fight and whatnot, and also poke some fun at those characters with what they say, in some instances.
- "Vegeta isn’t trying to beat him; he’s testing him. It’s like when two dogs that have been separated for a while reunite. They don’t play again right away. Instead they sniff around and test the waters to see how much has changed. That’s what these two are doing." - look at how well Piccolo sums up the fight! This is the kind of line that is added to the story to help the readers understand what is going on.
- "I’ve heard Saiyans stay in their prime for a lot longer than us humans… but this is just ridiculous. He’s only Trunks’ age! He couldn’t know Vegeta." - great, subtle line by Krillin. This quote works on many levels, the most notable being the fact that Ledas is of an age with Vegeta's son. Ledas is stuck in the past. He can't grow up like Vegeta. But Vegeta growing up was a damaging move - he lost his childhood, his innocence. So perhaps Ledas staying just like he is isn't really a bad thing.
- "Maybe there was some freak accident where he fell into some nuclear waste or something. I’ve heard it happens all the time. That’s how real super heroes are born." - I'm not a big fan of comics. Superheroes in Marvel and DC comics are quite often poorly conceived and written, and this was me poking fun at that. Now I know this is not always the case, but it often is, and I don't have a high opinion about most comics because of that. Satirical, subtle comics like Watchmen I do appreciate, though, and my commentary about comics is much like the commentary about comics and the archetype(s) of a superhero in that story.
- In previous versions of this story, Piccolo didn't really care when he saw Ledas in the Reunion Saga and Fulfillment Saga. But that doesn't make sense! He fought Ledas in a brutal battle in the Planet Earth Saga! He should be wary of Ledas and bring up the fact that they fought. I made a change related to this in the Reunion Saga, with Piccolo recognizing Ledas. In this chapter, stuff was also added with Piccolo thinking about Ledas in his mind. And those lines of dialogue were put in to put to rest Ledas' rivalry with Big Green.
- "It’s no use bringing up what’s already happened. That kid isn’t the only one of us who’s done some ugly things in the past." - this Piccolo quote is significant, thematically-speaking.
- Their fighting styles are so similar. It’s almost like they’re the same person." - this is an important observation by Tien. Ledas and Vegeta spent much of their early training time together, so it makes sense that their fighting forms developed in similar ways. This also speaks to the fact that through fighting, the two can properly reunite. Fists are more significant than words to them.
- Vegeta is much stronger than Ledas, but he hasn't powered up to really overpower Ledas because he doesn't want to win quickly - that's not the point of this fight. However, when they both go Super Saiyan 2, Vegeta does become immediately and noticeably stronger than Ledas.
- I'd like to think that Ledas going Super Saiyan 2 is him showing off a bit, him trying to impress Vegeta. He wants Vegeta to know that he fulfilled the legend they talked about as kids. When Vegeta goes Super Saiyan 2 as well, he is answering Ledas and showing how he has also reached that form. Of course, Ledas has seen Vegeta's Super Saiyan 3 form too, but this is the first time they have confronted one another about achieving their childhood goals. Remember even back to the end of the previous saga - the very last scene of that saga - where Ledas and Vegeta talked about becoming Super Saiyans when they grow up to defeat Frieza. How quaint that idea was at the time, and yet here they are, two impressive warriors, in Super Saiyan 2.
- Ryori seeing Ledas fight Vegeta in SS2 is an eye-opening moment for him. He will never see Ledas the same way again. That is not a bad thing, mind you. It's just that Ryori is finally seeing the real Ledas, and he's seeing Ledas at his most emotional point. This is striking, considering once upon a time, Ledas was a quiet, unassuming boy in Mr. Kyokatoshi's class. Ryori is getting a good look at the real Ledas now so that he can see how fake and forced Ledas' public persona in the Planet Earth Saga was just so that he wouldn't frighten his classmates and alienate himself. But I'm sure Ryori doesn't mind that his friend his a superpowerful alien. He probably thinks it's really cool.
- The Playful Galick attack is obviously significant, and do remember that Ledas also used this attack on Vegeta in the Planet Earth Saga when he was hiding his identity from Vegeta. I'm sure Vegeta was confused by that when it occurred, as only he and Ledas knew that attack. But now, it's appropriate that Ledas would use the attack that he developed when he was four years old to mimic Vegeta's own signature attack. It was a sign of respect, a sign of friendship then, as it is now.
- The beam struggle between Ledas and Vegeta is emblematic about how they aren't really trying to fight one another seriously yet do want to show their strength and embellish their pride.
- "BEFORE THE DUST IS FULLY CLEARED, LEDAS SPRINTS OUT, HIS ARMS IN A ‘V’ BEHIND HIS BACK" - the way Ledas runs is like how Sonic the Hedgehog runs.
- I considered having Vegeta go SS3, but decided against it late in my writing of the final draft of this chapter. Basically, it seemed disrespectful to me to have Vegeta use that overpowering form. Even in SS2, he can beat Ledas' SS2 form, so there was no need for him to go beyond that and humiliate Ledas. Remember, a big part of why Ledas was so nervous and anxious to reunite with Vegeta was because he was afraid of being humiliated by the prince, whom he knew was much stronger than him. Yet, Vegeta realizes this also and chooses not to humiliate Ledas. This is a touching moment, showing that Vegeta does value Ledas' friendship.
- Never for one moment did I entertain the thought of Ledas beating Vegeta. It would be the ultimate Gary Stu move, and going down that road did not interest me in the slightest.
- Ledas isn't too bummed out after he loses to Vegeta, though. He expected to lose, I'm sure. He just wanted to see his friend again. Winning the sparring match was not what mattered.
- "I was always the stronger one." - this is Vegeta being prideful to hide his emotions. The entire scene with Ledas and Vegeta after Vegeta beats him in the fight is Ledas trying to emote and bond with Vegeta and Vegeta predictably trying to use his pride as a buffer, just as he did when he was a kid. He's more mature now, though, so Vegeta isn't entirely standoffish. He's got an image to maintain, though, especially in front of the other Z Fighters.
- Notice how throughout this entire chapter, Goku, the protagonist of DBZ, has been a mere spectator, a minor character. That is no accident on my part. I could've given him a much bigger role if I had wanted to.
- "Damnit, Ledas. You’re just like Shoekki… just gonna leave me and–" - life has been all fun and games for Ryori in this chapter as he has attempted to forget the pain in his past. But in this moment, when he sees Ledas with the Z Fighters, he feels left out. He feels forgotten. His abandonment issues, with his parents and Shoekki, come up again. This shows how his hyper-hedonistic actions in this chapter were just a band-aid fix. It was just Ryori trying to forget the pain. But now, he sees Ledas as abandoning him too, or at least expects as much. That's a remarkably pessimistic outlook for someone who has been so optimistic for the majority of this chapter.
- Saiyans have super hearing - it's a canon fact. The way I worked that little tidbit into this chapter, with Ledas alleviating Ryori's fears of being abandoned, is a great moment, and one of my proudest moments of writing in this chapter. I think it all came together cleverly.
- After a good sparring match, it felt right to have Vegeta and Ledas go feast. That's like classic Saiyan personality right there.
- Vegeta's comments to Yamcha were deeply satisfying to write, and they resolved the tension Vegeta had with Yamcha in the Reunion Saga, to a degree. These comments were also influenced by the unfolding plot of Sink to the Bottom, which was being written at the same time I wrote the final version of this chapter.
- It does seem a bit awkward that Ryori goes with Ledas and Vegeta to feast. However, there was no other way for Ryori to get home (remember, Ledas was his ride), so Ledas wasn't about to abandon his friend with Cardinal and the Z Fighters.
- Notice how Ledas doesn't really interact with the other Z Fighters. I'm sure he talked with them, perhaps got to know a few of them, but the only one who really matters to him is Vegeta.
- Notice as well that Ledas and Ryori do not say goodbye or thank you to Cardinal. They just leave. I think this is due, in part, to them being preoccupied with what's going on (they are kids - they can't be expected to remember everything!). It also doesn't help that Ryori and Ledas don't like Cardinal, so they wouldn't actually feel like saying goodbye and ending their arcs with him on a high note. Their stuff with Cardinal just kind of fizzles out and is left hanging, which felt like the most realistic way to portray that. This is again an example of the influence of The Sopranos on my writing.
- It's a good moment, near the end of this chapter, when Vegeta mentions that he now knows Ledas stole a gravity unit from Dr. Brief in the Planet Earth Saga (and remember that Ledas and Vegeta fought for Ledas' right to keep the gravity unit in that saga, though Ledas' identity was a secret at the time). Good, friend-like conversation about that. It shows how their friendship is healing, how it is returning to how it once was.
- It is thematically important that Ledas says "I forgot" during the conversation about the gravity unit he stole.
- Really funny moment when Ryori notes his disgust of how old Vegeta is.
- I had to bring up Ledas' age and at the end of this story in a very concrete way. It had to be addressed conclusively. Vegeta would want to know, as would Ryori. If Ledas and Vegeta grew up together, it would make sense that Ledas would be an "old man" like Vegeta. And yet he's not. The readers and I know why this is, but that doesn't mean that this isn't a major issue that wouldn't be brought up in-universe. Since the readers and I already know the answer, I didn't feel like rehashing it here, even if it had to be mentioned.
- "Wewll, it’s a long, almost-incredible story. But, um, <SCRATCHES HIS HEAD> I think I forgot most of it…" - this Ledas lines is one of the most significant lines of dialogue in the entire story (if not the single most significant) and directly deals with the themes of being forgotten, themes related to legacy, and of course is a highly ironic and funny statement as well. The "almost-incredible" part, I believe, was based on a review someone posted for TF, calling it an "almost-incredible story". I don't remember exactly what the quote was, or who wrote the review, though.
- It was certainly an artistic choice of mine to have the Z Fighters and Cardinal watch Vegeta, Ledas, and Ryori disappear off into the sky as the sun is setting. There's probably some stuff that could be read into that, like thematically or tonally, but I didn't write that scene with that kind of specific stuff in mind. I just wanted something that would look cool and be emotionally affecting.
- The way Cardinal watches Ledas, Vegeta, and Ryori disappear into the sky and then walks off-screen is the last bit of characterization for him. It's a numb nihilism, a tiredness that comes from being so old, from seeing it all. Ryori and Ledas are in their youth (Vegeta is too, to an extent). Yet Cardinal is old and tired and fading away, both physically and in terms of his power and influence. As one power wanes, another waxes anew, and the cycle begins again.
- The closing montage was an idea I had from the beginning - and it serves as a sort of epilogue to TF. Had there been an additional chapter for an epilogue, it would just be that montage of scenes. But I didn't feel like there was enough there for it to be its own chapter, and I didn't want this saga to have more chapters than the rest of the TF sagas.
- "El Scorcho" is my favorite song by Weezer. It's been my favorite song of theirs ever since I first heard it. It's a masterful song on a masterful album. In terms of why I used it for the closing montage, it just has the sound of a song that would play during a closing montage sequence or credits or something like that. The actual lyrics of the song obviously don't parallel TF, since TF isn't too concerned with romantic relationships. However, if we ignore that the song is about a romantic relationship and assume it's about a friendship, then the lyrics are appropriate indeed. And I like to think that. As can be expected, I did choreograph the scenes of the closing montage to align with the song in a loose way.
- Ledas trying to hide from the semi-senile Dr. Brief, almost causing Vegeta to laugh, still makes me laugh to this day. Great moment of friendship building there. This scene illustrates how the two are becoming friends again rather well.
- Cardinal, alone at the tournament stage, with nothing but trash and the wind as his company, is a vivid aesthetic scene. It shows where his character arc ends, as well. How the mighty have fallen. It's a bad sad, though, that at the end of all things, he is alone. Everyone else seems to be better off now, aside from him and The Benefactor. He tried to become good; he tried to make amends with Ledas and the Z Fighters. But it didn't really get him anything, and his son is still dead. I think, unfortunately, that he's too old to find happiness again. He's too old to reclaim all of his old power, though I'm sure he'll go back into politics and try to regain as much political power as possible. Maybe that'll fill the void in his heart. If so, that'll mean Cardinal's arc resolves in a similar way as Ryori's, which is interesting, considering their past together.
- The third scene in the montage is interesting, because it shows how Vegeta's and Ledas' friendship is developing. It also notes that they haven't yet gotten to the point where they were in the Prince Vegeta Saga - a place they may never reach again. This is a bit of a cynical, but realistic view. Broken people can never be fully healed.
- I like to think that as the lyric "How cool is that?!" comes up in the song, Vegeta shows Ledas his Super Saiyan 3 form. Ledas must be very embarrassed that he can't achieve this form yet. One thing I want to note is that, as of writing this commentary, I have not yet decided how and when Ledas unlocks SS3. He will have it after he dies and stuff happens in Other World (which is a plot point in Hyper Zergling's universe, which Ledas is a part of). He will probably get it after he dies, but he may get it before. If he does unlock the form before he dies, I'm sure that won't happen until many years after the end of TF.
- The Korin and Yajirobe scene shows how people never change.
- The end of the Korin and Yajirobe scene in the closing montage is perhaps the precursor a story of mine called Slick.
- The closing montage shows how there is a balancing act for Ledas - he wants to spend time with Vegeta and with Ryori, two people who by their nature won't get along. He's the middle ground. He likes to train and he likes to play video games. Ledas is the best of both worlds, man! His struggle to make the two get along, though, is probably a futile one, and one he shouldn't even try solving. They are different people, living in different worlds. He needs to learn to navigate both worlds and realize that they are, indeed, different.
- Ledas looking into the mirror in the fifth paragraph of the closing montage was influenced by him doing so in chapter 10 of this saga. Once he saw what he looked like in Korin's mirror, he's started staring at himself in the mirror more often. This is a meditative way for him to think about himself and the things that affect him, like the contrasting lifestyles of Ryori and Vegeta. He's basically trying to stare into his soul, into his mind, as he's looking into that mirror. Is that nonsense? Maybe. Maybe not. It doesn't matter one way or another. What does matter is what Ledas is trying to do. He's trying to be mature, to grow as a person. He's trying to make his life be as happy as possible. How cool is that? Very cool, in my opinion. If he's a little psychotic and wants to stare at himself in a mirror as he thinks things over, then that just shows he's a weird alien wonderkid.
- So with the last paragraph of the closing montage, I wanted to show how Ledas' life has now become quite good. This story ends on a good note - it ends happily, which is kind of a rarity for KV stories, if I'm being honest. Ledas is now sparring with Vegeta. He's rekindled his boyhood friendship with the prince. He's friends with Ryori and is living in a house for free. He's got Saibabuddies and his own gravity training unit. Everything is sunshine and rainbows!
- Ledas taking a look at Verlate's box just at the end of this story does push back on the "happy ending" vibe of this closing montage a bit. It does remind us that there is a great threat still in the mind prison, whom Ledas has not completely dealt with. If The Benefactor was ever to get out of there...
- It is significant that Ledas keeps the mind prison locked in a box in his gravity training unit, though. He doesn't even keep it in the house so Ryori won't accidentally open it. And keeping it locked in a bigger box shows how serious Ledas is to prevent anyone from finding it and accidentally opening it. So perhaps Korin was right to trust Ledas with the mind prison after all.
- The light hitting Verlate's mind prison, causing it to sparkle and shine - to give off a false sense of hope and beauty - has deeper meaning, related to the story in general.
- Despite the brief moment where Verlate's mind prison is brought up, causing the mood to turn sour for a moment, this chapter - and, indeed The Forgotten itself - ends on nice, simple, happy moment with Ledas smiling. This sums up his character arc, which has now been completed, and the tone of the story. Everything has fallen into the right place, at least for now.
- Notice that the cue for "Great Spirits" in this saga is different than in previous sagas. The animated sprites of Ledas and Vegeta were meant to harken back to the "good old days" of the two in the first saga. This is of course in stark contrast to how things turned out in the end, which was intended.
- It's also worth mentioning that The Forgotten ends after the final "Great Spirits" cue, without a specific color. "<END DRAGON BALL Z: THE FORGOTTEN>" is straight, black text. No fancy coloring. This was done to signify that the story itself is over, and the story transcends any and all colors of the sagas and specials.
Several alternate endings to TF were considered. However, none are considered canon to anything. These alternate endings would occur just after The Benefactor defeated the Z Fighters at the end of the Reunion Saga. Thus, both of the below chapters ignore the entire events of the Fulfillment Saga.
Like A Bitch
<GOTENKS’ BODY LIES ON THE GROUND; HE’S SUPER BLOODY AND CLEARLY VERY VERY HURT; HIS LEFT EYE BALL IS REMOVED FROM THE SOCKET AND HE SEEMS TO BE MISSING AN ARM; HIS GHOST THING REALLY SCREWED HIM UP PRETTY BADLY>
The Benefactor: The tiger gallivants squares ‘bout the down triangle, his snarls being really loud. He slowly sucks the juice out of the zebra, until the gorilla comes and shows him who’s boss. And by my left hand I act upon this house, eating by the firelight with the utmost fortitude!
Vegeta: You monster! How could you do that? You’re a really bad person! What’s wrong with you? Do you kiss your mother with that mouse? Ach! If only someone way stronger and cooler than me was here to help me take this guy out!
<WITHIN MOMENTS, ALMOST AS IF GOD HAD ANSWERED VEGETA’S CRIES FOR HELP, A NEW HERO EMERGES FROM THE SKIES ABOVE THEM; KRILLIN AND YAJIROBE FLY DOWN FROM THEIR CARS AND THE BENEFACTOR ALMOST INSTANTLY VAPORIZES THE BOTH OF THEM>
Vegeta: Well, that was damn near worthless.
The Benefactor: And now the tiger gallivants about you, snake! Tonight the gorilla dies in hell!
Vegeta: Honestly, man, the metaphor isn’t really working right here, whatever you’re going for. It just comes off as nonsense.
The Benefactor: <TB, TAKEN ABACK BY THIS SUDDEN CRITICISM, RESORTS TO HIS NORMAL TYPE OF NONSENSE THAT EV’RYONE LOVES> Mommy cuts little triangles into the snake’s arms! Sonny cuts little triangles into the turtle’s shell in the dark room, but they all laugh at him and call the turtle the freak! But the triangles come again now, no matter what!
Vegeta: No! You monster! How could you say that?
<AND THEN, WITH A SUDDEN UNEXPECTED TWIST, A NEW FOE APPEARS, SLINKING STRANGELY OUT OF THE CAR THAT JUST FELL OUT OF THE SKY>
The New Foe: I thought I heard somebody say… turtle.
<THE BENEFACTOR, VEGETA, AND LEDAS ALL TURN TO SEE THIS NEW GUY, THEIR MOUTHS AGAPE; HOWEVER, AFTER SENSING HIS POWER LEVEL, THEY REALIZE THAT HE SUCKS AND ISN’T STRONG; VEGETA REALIZES THAT HE IS MASTER ROSHI; AS SUCH, THE BENEFACTOR JUST STARTS RUNNING TOWARD LEDAS AND VEGETA TO FIGHT THEM AND PROBABLY DEFEAT THEM LIKE EVERYONE ELSE>
Roshi: Hey! Don’t all you youngsters go ignoring me like that! That’s real mean! <IN HIS BURNING RAGE, HE UNLEASHES A SUPER AWESOME AND POWERFUL KAMEHAMEHA AT THE BENEFACTOR; IT HITS HIM STRAIGHT ON, KNOCKING HIM DOWN; HOWEVER, IT IS SO BIG THAT IT GOES ON PAST HIM AND HITS BOTH LEDAS AND VEGETA, INSTANTLY OBLITERATING THE BOTH OF THEM>
The Benefactor: Dude… you just killed the main character. I was, like, supposed to do that…
Roshi: True men don’t kill coyotes. <WITH A SUDDEN BURST, HE RUNS AT THE BENEFACTOR, LANDING A HUGE AMOUNT OF BLOWS ALL ACROSS HIS BODY; HE ENDS IT BY STEALING TB’S KNIFE AND STABBING HIM 37 TIMES; HE THEN BREAKS TB’S KNIFE, WHICH MOVES TB TO TEARS BUT HE HIDES HIS TEARS>
The Benefactor: That was easily the greatest combo I’ve ever seen, ever. <HE STARES AT ROSHI WITH FANGIRL-ISH ADMIRATION, BEFORE REMEMBERING HIS ORIGINAL INTENTIONS> But how could you do that to Ledas, man? He’s like super important to the story.
Roshi: <WITH CUNNING> He might have been important before, but now he’s dead… Jim.
The Benefactor: What? How do you know my true name that I’ve never told anybody ever besides my old pet cat Snookums?
Roshi: It’s because I’m the motherfucking turtle hermit. <WITH THIS EPIC DECLARATION, ROSHI JUMPS INTO THE AIR AND KICKS VEGETA STRAIGHT ON IN THE FACE, BEFORE LAUNCHING A SPECIAL BEAM CANNON AT HIM THAT STRANGELY ONLY TAKES LIKE 5 SECONDS TO CHARGE UP>
<THIS SUPER COOL BEAM GOES STRAIGHT THROUGH TB’S STOMACH, MEANING THAT STOMACH FLUIDS AND BLOOD START LEAKING OUT>
Roshi: <LIKE A COMPLETE BEAST> You might want to get a doctor to look at that. <ROSHI POUNCES AT THE INJURED BEAST, BEFORE PIMP SLAPPING HIM RIGHT ACROSS THE HEAD; THIS SENDS TB FLYING TO THE FLOOR, AND ROSHI COMES DOWN ON HIM TO LAND THE FINISHING BLOW>
The Benefactor: <AS ROSHI COMES DOWN ON HIM, HE IS OVERCOME WITH DESPERATION; FEARFULLY, HE BELLOWS OUT THE FOLLOWING ATTACK> Wild Sense!
<TB QUICKLY DISAPPEARS, LEAVING ROSHI TO HIT THE GROUND AND MAKES A HUGE CRATER IN IT; IN FACT THE CAMERA ZOOMS OUT AND SHOWS THAT ROSHI DESTROYED LIKE ½ OF THE WORLD WITH THIS AWESOME ATTACK, MEANING THAT HE ALSO KILLED LIKE 3 BILLION PEOPLE>
Roshi: How? How could you do that?
The Benefactor: Using Wild Sense takes mad skillz, ya old man. Mad skillz.
<ROSHI, INFURIATED BY THIS TAUNTING, POUNCES AT HIM AGAIN; ACCORDINGLY, TB WILD SENSES OUT OF THE WAY; TB THEN ATTACKS ROSHI AGAIN WITH HIS SUPER POWERFUL ATTACK OF MYSTERIOUS ORIGINS NAMED “DEATH RAY BEAM OF DEATH”; IT HITS ROSHI STRAIGHT ON THE HEART BUT HE DOESN’T EVEN FLINCH>
The Benefactor: You’re… you’re so strong. How high is your power level, man?
Roshi: 139.4… but it rounds down. <EVERYBODY (WHICH HERE JUST MEANS TB) STARES AT ROSHI IN AWE, NOT BELIEVING THAT A MAN WITH SUCH A LOW POWER LEVEL COULD BE SO KICK-ASS>
The Benefactor: Wha- whe- wh- ousa – de – what?
Roshi: Hmph. You’ve apparently never fought against a true master of martial arts. <HE ONCE AGAIN LEAPS AT TB, BUT TB JUST WILD SENSES AWAY LIKE A BITCH; HE CONTINUES JUMPING AT HIM AND MAKING REAL WILD PUNCHES, BUT NONE OF THEM CONNECT BECAUSE OF TB’S MAD WILD SENSING SKILLZ>
Roshi: Stay still so I can shoot you. <TB, JUST FOR FUN, WILD SENSES AGAIN> Argh diddle fumps! I guess I’ll have to use my bestest attack of all time. You won’t believe this one. <ROSHI EXTENDS ONE HAND AT TB, WHO STANDS STILL> Lightning Surprise! <A BOLT OF ELECTRICITY EXTENDS FROM ROSHI’S HAND, BUT BEFORE IT CAN MAKE CONTACT TB WILD SENSES AWAY>
The Benefactor: Oh har har har! You thought that could beat me? You’re an idiot! A complete idiot! You should just go kill yourself. That’s how pathetic that was. <UNBEKNOWNST TO HIM, ROSHI’S OTHER HAND WAS EXTENDED IN THE OTHER DIRECTION, AND HE FIRES A SECOND BLAST FROM IT; THIS ONE MAKES ALMOST IMMEDIATE CONTACT, ENVELOPING TB WITH THE GREATEST OF EASE>
Roshi: Hmph. I memorized your Wild Sense pattern and therefore knew exactly where you were going to be after you wild sensed, and aimed my other hand to target that exact area… bitch.
The Benefactor: Oh goddamnit. <ROSHI CLENCHES HIS HAND DOWN, THUS CAUSING THE WOMB OF ELECTRICITY TO EXPLODE; WITH IT GOES TB’S LIFE, AS HE QUICKLY EVAPORATES WITHIN THE FIERY MESS OF STUFF>
Goku: <RUNS ONTO THE SCENE> Don’t worry guys! I’m here to save the day! Wee-hoo! <SEES ROSHI> Um, where’s TB, sensei?
Roshi: I killed the bitch.
<CREDITS ROLL, DURING WHICH Killing in the Name BY Rage Against the Machine PLAYS THE ENTIRE TIME>
- Destructivedisk wrote this alternate ending. It remains the only part of TF that DD ever wrote, though it is of course non-canon. Because DD wrote this, I will not have as many comments about it as I will about the other alternate ending.
- This alternate ending was written way back in 2011. As such, it's no longer compatable with the plot of either the Reunion Saga or Fulfillment Saga. The above note says that the alternate endings disregard the Fulfillment Saga, but in truth, they aren't even consistent with the Reunion Saga anymore. That's just a result of me updating the story in two major drafts since these alternate endings were written. Nothing to be done about it. Although, I don't think that warrants these being deleted, as they are non-canon and comedic pieces to begin with.
- "HE THEN BREAKS TB’S KNIFE, WHICH MOVES TB TO TEARS BUT HE HIDES HIS TEARS" - funny line.
- Destructivedisk was right about the old versions of The Benefactor being incomprehensible. I took his criticism in reviews, personal messages, and here to heart and changed the character not long after (and about a year after that, I changed TB again and made him how he is today). It's weird looking back now and seeing a parody of a character who no longer exists. But this parodying did help me grow as a writer and make TB a better villain, so that's good.
- I think DD has certainly grown as a comedic writer since this story. I don't find it as funny as he did when he anthologized it, but it's not bad or anything like that. I don't have a strong opinion about it either way. I think if this is compared to something like Sink to the Bottom, it is easy to see how Destructivedisk grew as a writer of comedic stories.
- I don't know why, but I really like that DD killed Ledas and Vegeta in this. I don't find it funny really, but it makes me happy inside knowing that those fuckers are finally dead and gone.
To Be Proud
Krillin: Oh, Vegeta… <SOLEMNLY AND QUIETLY TO THE SAIYANS> How bad is it? Can we beat him?
Vegeta: <ANGER RISING> Great, the bald man’s here.
Krillin: Y-yeah, I know I’m not much help. Where’s Goku? Yajirobe said he wa–
Vegeta: Kakarot and the rest can’t help us. Pfft. Neither can you. Stay out of my way.
Ledas: <SPEAKING UP> What if we did that fuse-y thingy like Gotenks?
Vegeta: <LOOKING TO KRILLIN> He’s so weak, you would lose power from fusing with him.
Krillin: Now hang on a moment, Vegeta. Your friend’s got a point. If we did fusion, we might just be strong enough to beat this guy.
Vegeta: How could anybody possibly think that?
Ledas: Aw come on, Vegeta. Show us how!
Vegeta: Arghhhh. Fine. You take your fingers like this, and…
<VEGETA ASSUMES THE POSITION AND DOES THE DANCE HALFWAY>
Vegeta: <IN A BARK> Just like that, all right?
Ledas: <TOGETHER> Okay!
Krillin: <TOGETHER> Okay!
Vegeta: <TO LEDAS> And lower your power to his level.
Ledas: Wewll shucks. That’s really low.
Krillin: <SCRATCHING THE BACK OF HIS HEAD> Ah, sorry buddy. Heehee.
<LEDAS LOWERS HIS POWER LEVEL>
Ledas: Okay, let’s go.
<LEDAS AND KRILLIN DO THE DANCE; AS THEY ARE DOING IT, VEGETA THINKS TO HIMSELF>
Vegeta: Wait, why’s he fusing with the bald guy. We’d be a better–
<A BRIGHT FLASH OF LIGHT OVERTAKES THE SCREEN; VEGETA SHIELDS HIS PRINCELING EYES>
<FROM THIS NEW LIGHT, SLOWLY FADING, A NEW HERO IS BORN>
New Hero: Hmmm, what should I call myself. How about Kedas? No no, wait. I got it. Lillin. No, that’s no good. Hey, I know, Ledaillin. Yeah, that’s a great one.
Ledaillin: <POWERS UP> All right! All this power! I feel so much stronger!
Vegeta: <FROM BEHIND> I hope that’s not the bald man speaking…
<HE POWERS UP TO HIS MAXIMUM; THE MOUNTAINS BEHIND EXPLODE INTO LAVA WHEN HE REACHES HALF-SUPER SAIYAN 1>
<LEDAILLIN STEPS UP TO FACE THE BENEFACTOR>
Ledaillin: Whatchoo gonna do? Whatchoo gonna do? I’m too coo’ for you! Haha!
<TB GETS UP FROM PLAYING WITH THE SAND ON THE GROUND; HE MOVES FORWARD TO THE FUSION AND LOCKS INTO HIS BATTLE STANCE>
The Benefactor: Is that your… full power?
Ledaillin: <JUMPS FORWARD, HITTING AT TB> And dere ain’t nuttin you can do ‘bout it!
The Benefactor: <ENRAGED BY THIS; QUIETLY> Oh, iss owhn.
<AS LEDAILLIN DANCES ABOUT, TB STEPS BACK; HE THEN DOES A BEAUTIFUL BACKFLIP FORWARD, LANDING RIGHT ON LEDAILLIN’S SHOULDERS; HE GIVES THE FUSION A SINGLE PUNCH TO THE FACE, SENDING LEDAILLIN FLYING BACKWARD AND SIGHING AS HE GOES, SEEING AS THAT’S WHAT PEOPLE DO WHEN THEY GET HIT>
<THE BENEFACTOR THEN FINISHES THIS UP WITH A 10X FAMILY KAMEHAMEHA AND MELTS LEDAILLIN AND KILLS HIM>
<TB TURNS TO VEGETA>
The Benefactor: That was anticlimactic, dontcha think?
Vegeta: <SHAKING HIS FISTS TO THE SKY> Darn you!
<TB ENTHUSIASTICALLY JUMPS OVER TO VEGETA AND PULLS HIM DOWN TO THE GROUND; THE TWO OF THEM SIT TOGETHER>
<TB TAKES OUT HIS KNIFE; VEGETA KNOWS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE KNIFE COMES OUT AND ALREADY ASSUMES HE’S A GONER; TB THEN LIFTS UP HIS SLEEVE TO SHOW VEGETA HIS BODY>
The Benefactor: <SHOVING HIS EXPOSED ARM INTO VEGETA’S FACE> Heya Vegeta, I have to ask. Whaddya think that’un looks like?
Vegeta: <MUFFLED FROM THE ARM IN HIS FACE> Shdaaa whaa?
The Benefactor: <POINTS WITH HIS OTHER HAND TO HIS ELBOW> See here, lookie. Look! Doesn’t that look like a spider to you? C’mon, tell me I did good. I’ve been working on it for years.
<THE SPIDER IS SHOWN, CRAFTED MAGNIFICANTLY AND ELEGANTLY; ITS LONG LEGS AND PLUMP BODY ALL MELDED PERFECTLY ONTO TB’S ARM; IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM, VEGETA THINKS TO HIMSELF>
Vegeta: <IN SHOCK OVER THIS> It-t-t-t’s a… a… a spider!
The Benefactor: <CLOSES HIS EYES AND NODS> It’s a spider.
- The name of this alternate ending comes from a lyric in Orchard of Mines by Globus. Fantastic song, that. I was listening to it a lot around the time I wrote this alternate ending, hence the reference.
- I focused so much on comedy around Krillin because Destructivedisk loves Krillin and I liked making fun of that way back in 2011. The fusion of Ledas and Krillin has great symbolic meaning in that regard, I would guess. It certainly foreshadows the creation of Sink to the Bottom.
- "HE POWERS UP TO HIS MAXIMUM; THE MOUNTAINS BEHIND EXPLODE INTO LAVA WHEN HE REACHES HALF-SUPER SAIYAN 1" - I have no memory of writing that, but it's funny as fuck.
- Ledaillin is a god.
- I like to think that The Benefactor is really good at making sand castles. It's a real shame that he never got to show off this awesome skill in canon.
- I had also forgotten that I killed Ledas in my alternate ending. Poor guy - he can't catch a break in these alternate endings. It seems like both DD and I had great desires to put that little shit in his place. I mean, for me, I have no clue. I don't remember writing pretty much any of this alternate ending. As I'm reading, a word or phrase will be familiar, but most of this stuff isn't, so I'm just speculating for a lot of this shit.
- "Vegeta: <SHAKING HIS FISTS TO THE SKY> Darn you!" - I'm sure Vegeta has said that in the anime like 50 times. I don't even remember writing this line but I immediately can see the reference. It's quite weird anthologizing this thing.
- "IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM, VEGETA THINKS TO HIMSELF" - aside from being quite funny, this line is a reference to this scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- So the spider joke came from the fact that The Benefactor cut himself up like some emo prick in the old versions of TF (he still does something similar in the final version). I always wondered if he was an artist and made the cuts and scars into pretty little shapes. Thus, the spider was born. It's quite random, and I don't remember if it was based off of anything, but I don't expect it was. Good joke all around, in my opinion. It still makes me laugh to this day how random this scene gets after Ledaillin is killed. It's like with Ledas gone, the story goes completely off the rails. I like that. I should have killed him in canon.
For my own reference, the chapter word counts are as follows:
- 1: 1936
- 2: 2337
- 3: 1788
- 4: 2211
- 5: 2279
- 6: 2038
- 7: 2264
- 8: 1944
- 9: 3088
- 10: 1592
- 11: 2521
- 12: 6361
For my own reference, the alternate ending word counts are as follows:
- 1: 1164
- 2: 646
I am quite satisfied with how this saga turned out. I think, considering that this saga was quite terrible in both of the two previous published versions, it's quite remarkable that it turned out as well as it did. The differences between the old versions of this saga and how it turned out illustrates my growth as a writer. Also, it was satisfying to finish all of the final edits in this saga, many of which were set up in earlier sagas to be paid off here. The Benefactor's character and arc is an example of that. The expansion of the Verlate arc was also really cool, and remains my favorite single arc of the entire story. I think the way I worked with the themes and tone of the story is quite good, perhaps the best out of any saga so far. Ledas' characterization in this saga is one of the best things I've ever written, in my opinion. The plot is also really cool, with all three arcs being quite entertaining in my opinion. Three of the best chapters in the story ("Ye Mighty", "When Time And Life Shook Hands And Said Goodbye", and "Simply Legendary") occur in this saga. I am satisfied with how this arc finished everything, especially the TB/Ledas conflict and the Ledas/Vegeta reunion. Great stuff there. And there's a lot of subtle thematic and tonal stuff going on, and the characterization of Cardinal, Ryori, TB, Verlate, and some of the other minor characters is well-written, in my opinion. The aesthetic stuff I did in this saga is me at my best, I believe. So overall, this saga is really good now. In fact, I will say that it's the best saga in TF.
So, for my final ranking of the TF sagas, I will rank them as follows: Fullfilment Saga first; Stomping Grounds Saga second; Prince Vegeta Saga third; Reunion Saga fourth; Lauto Saga fifth; and Planet Earth Saga sixth. Now, in terms of how to rank this story overall, I think that TF is unquestionably my most popular and recognized story, and for good reason. I also believe it is my best story. As such, I will give Dragon Ball Z: The Forgotten an S. In terms of completed stories (as of writing this commentary), though, it is clearly the best of my S rank stories, in my opinion.
<---- Part 29.7
Part 29.9 ---->