Dyspo Sucks is the final story in Vöntun. It's also the shortest one. This was never meant to be a grandiose tale. Like Filthy Monkeys, it was always meant to be a rather small incursion into the history of a particular character introduced in Dragon Ball Super. In this case, that's Jiren.
Jiren is a character whom I don't know if I like or not. I do enjoy making fun of those who both like and hate him, as seen in The Mortal Flaw, however. For this story, I kind of wanted to focus in the lead up to him being found by the Pride Troopers. Thus, there isn't a whole lot to say about this one. It's the only one-shot in the collection that is but a single scene. It's very compact in its scope.
As to why this was the last Vöntun story completed, that's because Jiren's character arc isn't resolved until the final episode of Dragon Ball Super. I didn't want to write a story about him without knowing which way he'd go as a character. The final episode of DBS aired on March 25, 2018 (Japanese time). About eight hours after the episode ended, I began working on Dyspo Sucks. I wrote from 1:21 am to 1:52 am, and got about a page and a half done in that time. Then I took about a twenty three minute break before continuing at 2:15 am. I finished the first draft at 3:03 am.
The editing went from 3:39 am until 4:16 am, and I posted it to the wiki three minutes later. Thus, Vöntun was completed roughly 11 1/2 hours after Dragon Ball Super.
I don't expect I'll have much to say about this story. Even though it's the final story in the collection, that is mostly due to Jiren not getting knocked out of the Tournament of Power until the final episode of DBS. I suppose it was a bit of a "problem" story, but that is not so much the case as it was with Leap and Filthy Monkeys. It was put into the "Brennandi" (burning) category because of the conflicting burning desires of the various characters in the story as well as the parallel mode of thinking between Jiren and the Pride Troopers, who burn with pride at every given moment.
In any case, let's move onto the endnotes and finish off this collection.
Their excitement hardly contained, the wild pack of juvenile recreants fled from the store, bags of stolen jewelry and gems brazenly slung over their shoulders. The sound of breaking glass mixed well with the tone of the store owner’s cries and curses. The badlands town, bathed in orange, dying light, was otherwise a quiet place. The other buildings, upright and sand-beaten, betrayed no sense of despair or panic. Indeed, the band of thieves were the only people in sight. It was as if this town were dead save for this one wound torn open so unceremoniously.
Patience was his now. He had spent enough time screaming his lungs dry. Nothing remained inside this empty husk. He waited for them to find him at the end of the road. Lost in the euphoria of larceny, the ragged band failed to notice him until the first eager lad rounded the corner and ran headlong into Jiren. Sending dust into the air, he fell back, limp as a corpse. The others, having witnessed this, came to a sudden stop before him, their eagerness evaporating in the heat and silence.
Iroho, bare-chested, his chest and biceps larger than the rest, stepped forward. “So, you’ve come begging again? The answer’s still the same, Jiren. Give it up. We aren’t coming back.”
There was too much tension in his jaw. “He killed our master. Have you no sense of honor? Are you all cowards?”
“The old man’s dead,” a dirty-faced girl spoke up, jingling her bag of stolen gems carelessly. “It’s over, Jiren. I’m not throwing my life away! Not now, no. We have no chance of beating that monster. He’s just too strong.”
“Join us. You’re not going to sustain yourself on the teachings of a dead man, Jiren.” Iroho’s words cut like storm winds. “You don’t want to end up like him, do you?”
Jiren folded his arms. He had not come here to argue with them. They were lost, fallen. They had soiled the name of their master with this latest act. He would have none of that.
Jiren, don’t lose focus! Iroho, slow down. Impatience will destroy the foundation of your progress. You must help one another. If one of you loses focus, work together to reach harmony again. Your sparring will be insufficient training if you do not have total control over your movements.
They had been facing one another, practicing Invisible Eye Blasts against one another. Iroho had been faster, but his attacks had lacked precision. So many of them had merely shot past Jiren. He hadn’t needed to block the majority of them. Even then, the boy had been woefully inefficient with his attacks. Their master had worked with them carefully, his hands on their shoulders, speaking truth, never hiding behind empty platitudes or fake, sweet words.
And what had they done with his training? All of them had run in the face of the monster’s true power–that monster who had taken so much from all of them. Had they no shame? How could they look themselves in the mirror? All of them–and he too–owed their master their lives. He had saved them, had fed them, clothed them, nourished them, trained them, and when he had fallen, it had been as if a light had gone out in all their minds. Were they so weak that it was nothing for them to give up?
His hands formed into fists. He didn’t care. Jiren had come here for only one reason. This action would be an end, nothing else.
“He’s still out there somewhere. Our battle is not over.”
“Hell if it ain’t,” one of them complained. “We don’t stand a chance against something like that. Not even you, Jiren. Why bother throwing our lives away? What good would that do?”
“We need to train more, to become stronger–”
“No, Jiren. Let it go.” Iroho was smiling, that same fake gesture he always used to make when they were training together. That had been their trust. Now it was poison. He felt nothing for them anymore. He had screamed his throat raw, had let loose all of his emotions until there had been nothing left. Now but a numb simulacrum of his former self, Jiren knew there was no truth in the relationships he had formed with any of them. Not Iroho, not the others. Not his parents, not his master. If he allowed himself to be vulnerable, he could be wounded. There was no truth in weakness. Only strength deserved a voice.
His fighting form was open and reckless, his fists thrust back, his spine curling forward. Rarely having used this aggressive stance, Jiren nonetheless allowed all it conveyed to them in words unsaid to alert them to the seriousness of this situation. “Cowards!”
“So that’s how you want it, huh? Alright then. We’ll, it’s a sad thing that it’s come to this, Jiren. You’ll be seeing the old man soon enough. Maybe that’s what you really want.”
As Iroho charged, the sunlight glinting off his bare chest, the dying light illuminating his impeccable condition, a flash of purple light cut through the air between Jiren and the gang, and suddenly, the dishonored acolyte went flying back into the group, knocking three or four of them over.
Before Jiren, a man landed, grinning lightly, his hand over his chest. Wearing a tight-fitting red-and-black suit, his physique was equally as apparent to them as Iroho’s. His purple skin was chiseled with muscles, his ears long and pulled back, his stance subtle, but masterful. Jiren saw no openings in it.
“Wha… who’re you?!?” Iroho roared, stumbling to his feet, wiping blood from his cut lip.
“You’re under arrest, all of you,” the man replied. “I am Dyspo of the Pride Troopers! It is my job to make sure justice is maintained across the universe! I have been tracking you scoundrels for almost a month! That’s the last store you rob, I’ll guarantee that!”
“Oh yeah?” His friend glanced around at his motley gang. “Come on, let’s waste this poser!”
Their gem bags dropped to the dirt road, sending dust into the sky. Cracking their knuckles and circling Dyspo, the group silently moved in for the kill.
“Leave them,” Jiren barked. “I’ll deal with this scum.”
“Hmph, stay back! I don’t know who you are, but this isn’t your fight,” the purple space rabbit replied haughtily. “Get back now!”
Lavender energy covered the man’s body. Jiren dared not move. The energy he felt this alien exuding was extraordinary. Its magnificence and endless depths made him recall the power of his master, spent utterly against that monster. Even that power had had a limit.
The thieves were unperturbed. Led by Iroho, they jumped on Dyspo, smothering his body and bringing him to the ground. In an instant, his frightening alien strength was snuffed out. Cackling and jeering, they punched and kicked, their eyes glowing greedily. He would have to destroy them himself, he knew. That was just what he wanted.
The dirt beneath his feet cracked and split without warning, vibrating recklessly. Jiren jumped to the air just as he watched the other acolytes get forcefully propelled from Dyspo’s body. They went flying in all directions, landing around the cracked street, and not a single one of them moved thereafter. The man got to his feet, dusting off his suit, looking unimpressed.
“There. Now it’s over.”
“They are mine to deal with,” Jiren shouted at him. There was too much emotion in his voice. He knew he had over-invested, but it felt so good to give in. He lacked discipline. He had to be better.
“These criminals will be sentenced and placed in a maximum security prison for their crimes. You will not interfere with justice!”
“They deserve more immediate punishment than that,” Jiren retorted coldly.
“Eh?! What’s the matter? What did they do to you?”
“It doesn’t matter. Leave them to me.”
“I can’t. Justice must be served. The Pride Troopers never compromise when it comes to justice!”
“Hmph. Useless.” Jiren returned to the ground, staring at Dyspo. He had been too weak to stand with his master against the monster. His strength, however, was not to be questioned now. He would not be a feckless craven anymore. “You’re my opponent then.”
“I have no reason to fight you. If you attack me, there will be severe repercussions. I will be forced to use all of my powers of justice against you! You will be imprisoned just like this lot!”
“You can’t beat me.”
“What’s your problem? I’m just dealing with these thieves as it is my duty to do!”
There was no such thing as justice. Only strength mattered. Strength was truth. That monster had killed them all, exerting its will over them: his parents, his friends, his master. They were gone because truth had willed it. He would one day be even stronger than that monster. He didn’t need anyone else to help him get there. They were just obstacles in his paths, things that sucked at him emotionally, making him weak. Jiren would never be weak again. No one else mattered. They were all beneath him. He had let go indeed. But not just from his bonds of friendship. His master too had been deluded by imperfected strength. Jiren would not be deluded. He would not fail as they had. He had to be resolute, to act with clarity.
Words were wind; he was finished with this one.
Dyspo reeled as Jiren flung himself at the man, punching rapidly, pushing the Pride Trooper back. Clearly taken aback by his speed and strength, Dyspo took a moment to recover, and in that moment, the boy was able to land several decisive blows. Was this all the strength Dyspo had to offer? He was just as poor as Iroho and the others.
That was when the lavender energy manifested around Dyspo again. Screaming, the man flexed his muscles and fell into a defensive stance, and Jiren felt his surge in power in a shiver. In the blink of an eye, Dyspo began moving faster than Jiren could see. He rapidly shot around the boy, easily dodging his attacks, landing several blows on his back and kicking him particularly hard on the back of the skull.
His vision was blurring, and his whole body ached. Releasing an energy explosion, Jiren caught Dyspo, sending him flying into the air. That was his chance. As the man sailed upwards, he teleported to him, kicking him back down to the ground. As Dyspo went to block his next punch, Jiren feinted to the left, then hit him from the right with a savage hook.
They landed, spitting up blood in unison. “Not bad,” Dyspo said, wiping his mouth. “You’re faster than you look, kid. I’m impressed. You would make for a good recruit, you know? Have you ever thought of joining the Pride Troopers?”
He had once believed in bonds with others. Those had all ended in ruin, in despair, in heartbreak. His past was a looming shadow in his thoughts every time he closed his eyes. He would never go back there.
Dyspo fired a salvo of red-white energy blasts at him, teleporting behind Jiren as he went to parry. This time, the boy caught onto the trick before Dyspo could execute it. He caught several of the blasts in his hands, spinning around just in time, and released them in Dyspo’s face. The man blocked the attacks, but as he did, Jiren swept his legs out from under him, teleporting behind him to elbow him into the dirt. Dyspo dashed off, his aura surrounding him, splitting into three beings who surrounded Jiren in midair and each fired energy beams at him.
Spinning, he kicked the three beams away, and as Dyspo tried to dodge his own attacks coming back at him, his two afterimages split and dissolved as his concentration was strained. Jiren was already on him, moving as efficiently as he could. He was without pain, fear, surprise, and arrogance. He simply moved as he should, as he had been taught. No movement was wasted. None of his energy was frivolously spent.
Together, you can achieve levels you could have never reached alone. When your sparring partner pushes you, so do you push him, and in the end, both of you attain new levels of power you never thought were possible. You must remember this, Jiren. Do not lose focus. Do not give up so easily. Do not overpress. Let him press you back; let Iroho push you past your limits too.
He had not. But it was not giving up to reject a failed philosophy. His master was dead. His truth was buried with him. Only Jiren remained. He would grow stronger still, but he did not need anyone to help him achieve that. Others were no help–they were exactly what was bringing him down.
Fueled by rage, Jiren caught Dyspo’s wrist, snapped it, and blasted him in the face with a full-powered energy ball, red as death. The man’s suit was torn to pieces from the chest up; the man went flying into a crater in the ground, not getting up afterwards. Jiren fired three more energy beams at Dyspo, ravaging the street in an attempt to silence the man utterly.
It was quiet again in the ghost town. A keen wind was blowing. He blinked dust from his eyes. Walking over to Iroho, who lay on his back unconscious, dried blood stuck to his cheek like a tear stream, Jiren thought the other boy looked to be at peace. He reached for his throat.
“Easy there,” a man said, grabbing him by the arm.
Jiren tried to break the grip, but found that he could not. The man was not even holding onto him very hard, or trying very hard. His grip was both firm and casual. What power he held, Jiren could not begin to fathom. Looking up with a gasp, he noticed a pale-faced man wearing strange clothes of multi-colored patterns. The man’s face was painted blue and red, his hair two orange puffballs behind the ears. Jiren attempted once more to break free, and the man easily picked him up, then slammed him to the ground with such force that the wind was knocked out of the boy’s lungs. He lay there lamely, gasping for air, his body shuddering with pain. The force of that last impact was enough to shatter bones.
“No, I’m afraid you’re going to have to let Dyspo take him and all the rest in,” the clown-faced man replied with a sardonic smile. “Easy there, Jiren. You don’t want to overexert yourself.”
“Huh?! How do you know my name?”
“I know much about you, Jiren. Your pursuit of strength intrigues me. How about you join my crew…? I may be able to teach you a thing or two about power.”
The boy frowned. He’d heard that lie before. Jumping up, he charged at the pale man, a fist pulled back. Without even appearing to move, the man dodged his attacks… or so it seemed. Each one of Jiren’s punches went through him as if he were a ghost.
“That’s enough, Jiren,” the man said, kneeing him in the gut with such force that Jiren nearly blacked out.
Stars were popping in his vision. He gasped and fell over, spitting up blood. He had to win. He had to kill Iroho. “You want to kill the faithless servant, and then what?”
“Wha-a-at…?!” the boy coughed, struggling to stand.
“You’ll kill him, and then what?” the clown smiled.
“Then I’ll become the strongest… in the universe.”
“All by yourself?”
“I’ll do it at any cost, no matter what!”
“Mmmm. I see. You’re an impatient one. Well, in that case, we’ll begin our training tomorrow, once you’ve gotten some rest. How does that sound?”
“You won’t become the strongest if you forsake anyone and everyone. I know what you were planning, Jiren. It’s a hopeless dead-end. You will get farther training with a God of Destruction, I think.”
“A-a… god…?!” the boy sputtered.
“Come, Dyspo, round these ones up so we can leave,” the man said tersely, turning from Jiren, placing his hands behind his back politely.
“R-right… Lord Belmod! One moment, sir!” the tired-sounding man cried out, staggering to his feet from the smoking crater he’d been taking a dirt nap in.
Dyspo awkwardly limped over to them, using his energy to chain all of the unconscious thieves together and make them rise into the air like projections of thought.
“Are you coming?” Belmod asked Jiren kindly. “Or are you going to continue languishing in pain by yourself?”
“I will become the strongest in the universe!!”
The boy attempted to stand, but found he could not. His body was screaming in pain. He had no pride, no strength, no purpose. Aimlessly, almost in reflex, like a dying creature, he put his arm out, reaching for something to pull him up.
“Then show me, Jiren,” the god laughed, grasping his hand and pulling him to his feet.
Panting hard, he felt as if he were about to fall over again, but Belmod caught him. Every time he closed his eyes, his master’s strained gaze peered back at him. That forlorn, defeated look of his following the monster’s last attack haunted him.
Belmod held him tightly by the arm. Shimmering purple energy surrounded them, and he felt as if he were floating.
“That’s it, Jiren. Easy now. Let your emotions be stripped away. Acknowledge them, but do not allow yourself to become beholden to them. Let them pass, like shadows beneath your eyelids. Before creation comes destruction, yes? This is true for anyone, even you. Let it go.”
He thought he did, but what he was supposed to let go of, Jiren wasn’t exactly sure… or maybe he was. Was he merely too weary to comply? Was that true strength? Somehow he knew such childish fancies could not be so.
- This story is named as such because Dyspo couldn't even beat kid Jiren, the lummox.
- Jiren has no right to demand the other students to return to Gicchen's school. Yes, it is sad that they left, and I wanted to show that there was some sentimentality in Jiren with that memory of his master telling him about focus and harmony, but in the end, the other students have free will, and it's up to them to decide if they want to throw their lives away or live. Whether or not Jiren values their lives is of little consequence. In this way, I wanted to highlight both his emotional side and his unreasonably authoritarian side.
- "Iroho was smiling, that same fake gesture he always used to make when they were training together. That had been their trust. Now it was poison. He felt nothing for them anymore. He had screamed his throat raw, had let loose all of his emotions until there had been nothing left. Now but a numb simulacrum of his former self, Jiren knew there was no truth in the relationships he had formed with any of them. Not Iroho, not the others. Not his parents, not his master. If he allowed himself to be vulnerable, he could be wounded. There was no truth in weakness. Only strength deserved a voice." - this paragraph goes into why Jiren is so untrusting of everyone, which would have been nice to have been articulated in Super itself. Perhaps if it had, fewer people would hate Jiren.
- It was fun to write for Jiren because his lines of logic don't exactly make sense, but you can see how one would arrive to those conclusions. I heavily disagree with his mode of thinking, but it was interesting to delve into why he thought that way.
- Just as Vöntun opened with a fight against Dyspo, so too does it end with one. This fight strikes me as more proficiently-written than the one in Appetent Justice, perhaps showing some small measure of writing evolution. The style is certainly far more minimalistic at this point than it was at the start of the collection.
- The rage that Jiren experiences after thinking of his master's teachings for the second time indicates that he's not so sure his rejection of the man is the best course of action.
- One cannot become the strongest in the universe without training companions unless they are Broly of course. When people complain about Jiren, I just have to laugh because of what Broly is. At least Jiren appeared to have earned his power (you can argue he still got way too strong, but at least he trained for years, whereas Broly just sat on his planet masturbating for decades and somehow could easily match Super Saiyan Blues).
- Jiren being in immense pain certainly influenced his response to Belmod. He might not have joined him had he been at full health.
A short, quiet end to Vöntun. The writing style is fairly stark, as is the characterization with Jiren. I tried to hold back on emotion with him, and it seeped into the prose, which I found to be tonally interesting. The fighting philosophy stuff was pretty good, especially how Belmod echoed Gicchen's ideas. Additionally, Jiren's stubbornness came across well here, I thought. He seemes to be pretty much in-character in my opinion. There's not a lot to this one, though, so there's not really much else to say. It's a decent little fic.
As this is the last story in Vöntun, I will now rank the one-shots from best to worst in my opinion:
- He Needs Some Space Milk
- Filthy Monkeys
- Old Nishi
- The Mortal Flaw
- Really Big Scary Monsters
- Dyspo Sucks
- Appetent Justice
- The Naptime Championships
<---- Part 113
Part 115 ---->