He Needs Some Space Milk is the fifth one-shot completed in Vöntun. It is also #5 in that collection. The idea for this story existed (in vague terms) as early as 2017, when I was forming Ikigai. Originally, that collection was going to be 9 stories. I cut it down to six, and thus the Icer one-shot was delayed until Vöntun. I didn't have much of an idea of what I wanted to do with the story at that time (when it was called "The Ocean In Bloom"), so that is why it was cut from Ikigai.
Finishing Volume III of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Planet Trade Organization in 2017 was crucial for the development of this story. Icer became, somewhat unexpectedly for me, the most significant character in that volume. I grew comfortable with his character and realized he would become a major player in Dragon Ball: Heart of the Dragon. I wished to explore his relationship with Audacci, and doing so in his early life, when he had been far weaker (and before Audacci went to the Venyi Academy) seemed to be the way to go.
And what better way to have them meet than to have Icer take over a planet she was controlling? Lipanto is a significant world in my universe, and one that will be featured in HOTD quite a lot, so it felt right to make that the location of this story. Exploring the culture of that world was something that interested me as well, for I knew this would be good practice for when that planet shows up in HOTD.
Although Icer is fairly young in this story, I didn't specify his age or how long the Planet Trade Organization had existed up to that point. I don't think I'll ever get into the origins of the PTO, nor will I ever clarify who King Cold's father is, because if Toriyama ever goes into that stuff, it could have catastrophic effects on my stories' canonicity. While Icer is younger than his brothers, I won't specify by how much. Arcosians age slowly (Kuriza is still a kid in the Dragon Ball: Super era, despite being a kid during the Genocide of the Saiyans, as well), so this makes things murkier.
Icer acquiring his first planet is an important moment in his life as a tyrant. It is a story worth being told. His rivalry with Audacci being brought up here is simply me killing two birds with one stone. Makes for a more interesting fight scene, too. If some random pirate had been in charge of Lipanto, sure - I could have written a drawn-out fight scene and vaguely alluded to the pirate being ridiculously powerful, but that felt like poor writing. Audacci is an established character, her power is well-defined and explained. She is the best opponent for Icer at this stage of their lives.
I began writing this story on March 4, 2018. I wrote a sentence that day. That was before I had finished Old Nishi. Indeed, I had only completed the first scene and a paragraph of the second scene of that one-shot at that time. Old Nishi was a story I had procrastinated on a lot, so it doesn't surprise me that I briefly switched over to this one before returning to finish that one. On March 5th, I made a minor edit, changing the planet Icer goes to from Ctaedi to Lipanto. I don't remember why I had originally chosen Ctaedi. Maybe it was because the planet was becoming more and more important in my PTO story. In any case, it was a good change. Far more can be done on Lipanto.
After Old Nishi was completed on March 6th, I returned to this story. My outline for it was brief:
-scene 1: confronts leader, street performer -scene 2: explores + audacci attacks -scene 3: vs audacci
In the end, scene 2 was absorbed by the other scenes, but yeah, this is a fairly accurate outline, even if it's minimalistic. I deleted the first sentence I had written and replaced it with a new first paragraph. That was the only work I did until March 8th. The delay was probably school-related. I wrote until the early hours of the 9th, getting around 6 pages done. That was my most productive day of writing, for the story is overall 10 pages long.
On March 10th, and leading into the early hours of the 11th, I wrote another half-page of content, finishing the first section and getting two paragraphs into the second scene. In the wee hours of the 12th (approximately 5:23 am), I finished the second scene, and thus the first draft was done. I took a 45 minute break and then edited the story from 6:08 am until 8:16 am. I posted it to the wiki 7 minutes later.
He Needs Some Space Milk is in the "Nú" (meaning "now") trio of Vöntun one-shots for a similar reason that Old Nishi and The Naptime Championships are. These three are stories of the fairly distant past, and seeing how the past has shaped the present is the ultimate goal here, themes and wicked cool fight scenes aside. For Icer, the development of his relationship with Audacci is the critical factor for that categorization.
I remember being pleased with this story when I released it, but it's been a long time since I last read it. Let's see if it holds up. Onto the endnotes!
He went to Lipanto for no good reason really. But he was kind of bored, so yeah. This planet did, at that time, mark the edge of the Planet Trade Organization’s territory. An ancient freehold, Lipanto was a galactic hub world for commerce and (mostly) legal business. Everywhere he looked, he noticed new species, colorfully-dressed merchants and buyers, the silence-canceling din of hundreds of avaricious and naïve folks bartering, exchanging stories, making one another laugh, enough to intoxicate him.
That was why Icer had left his brother’s empire. He wanted to see the universe, to experience its exotic beauty firsthand before “King” Cold swept down upon this place, like all those others before it, and wasted it, reducing the surface to little more than a military outpost or a scouter-manufacturing plant. Such hubris sickened the boy.
Nearby, a solemn-faced Namekian was selling ajisa flowers for dirt cheap. A pink-skinned squid-jaw was offering golden spiced sticks of addictive Nil vapor for exorbitant amounts. Dozens of stands were spread out down the street like interactive billboards, each offering food or drink or drug, hoping to suck out as much money from weak-willed tourists as possible.
They called out to him as he passed, their voices frantic and coaxing. A blue-skinned alien, shirtless, her breasts bouncing with every step she took, called out to him lustily, the carmine fur scarf around her shoulders beginning to slip off as she ran after him down the road.
Bemused though he was, Icer found all of this to be rather boring in truth. He had tasted countless aliens dishes, inhaled untold numbers of alluring spices, been to many planets before that were no less vibrantly lively than this one. The rampant consumerism inherent in the floating city of Lipanto was like a plague, one he would not allow to infect him.
Peeling off down a side street, the Arcosian boy left all the noise and energy behind. His nose burned from the foreign spices. In the side-street, more vendors had set up shop, but their wares were neither as glamorous nor as common as what was to be found on the main cobblestone path. Some sold bright blue vials of liquid kooli, an addictive substance his brother Arcterial had warned him of before this journey. The seller didn’t so much as look at Icer as he passed, however, prefering to let his wares speak for themselves. The boy admired that, especially after what he had just witnessed on the main street.
Down the road, a group of aliens, all wearing dark blue armor that looked as if it had been carved from wax, were huddled around a makeshift fighting pen. Inside, two young Nidrazi dragons–so young that they still bore their birth feathers–were fighting brutally, snarling and howling and biting, sending feathers and blood into the air. The onlookers jeered and exchanged coins, some sucking on Nil sticks, others simply watching with covetous gazes.
“Hey kid, wanna see somethin’ really scary?”
She was a huge lizard, fat enough to swallow him whole. Waddling up to the boy lord, she grinned a brown-toothed grin and presented him with a palm full of colorful gems–purple and red and yellow and green–all glimmering deep as blood crystals.
“Go on then,” Icer replied sharply, folding his arms, watching intently.
“Watch where they go… don’t get confused now, heheh,” the street performer advised him in a soothing voice.
Flicking her wrist, she sent the gems into the air, where they hovered like shards of glass encased in ice, rotating slowly in place. Moving her hands around them in rapid, well-practiced movements, she began to hum to herself tunelessly. Her movements were short but precise, agile as a wintaar on the hunt. With every air jab, she manipulated the gems until they grew long as fangs; soon, they split into five droplets apiece. Yet hovering, each gem began to hiss and steam. She covered them all between her massive palms for half a second, and after removing her hands, they were nowhere to be seen.
He noticed immediately not that she had performed her illusion relatively well, but that someone had stolen his cape. Reeling, Icer caught a blur of the Yardrat sprinting down the street in the opposite direction, the boy’s royal red cape clutched disgracefully in one hand, his money bag in the other.
A surge of rage bloomed in the boy’s chest. He jumped and came crashing down, feet-first, at the thief. The Yardrat, wearing filthy rags, turned at the last moment, noticing his pursuer with a squeal of fright. Swearing loudly, he pressed two fingers to his forehead, his body’s form rippling like a mirage. He went flying through the pickpocket’s body as if it were air, crashing into a pile of garbage and stacked boxes, rolling down the street. Jumping back up, Icer could not find the Yardrat anywhere. He had utterly disappeared.
So had that plump lizard lady with her yellow scales and stubby snout. A space rat went scurrying past him now that he had destroyed its home. Indignantly, the boy stood up, wiping dirt from his chin. One of those blue-armored soldiers was laughing and pointing at him, so he ended the man’s life with a blue Death Beam through the forehead.
One of the soldier’s fellows swore loudly at Icer. The others exchanged whispered remarks. All of them had switched their focus from the pit fight to the boy. The dead man’s punctured skull leaked a puddle of purplish blood down the road. There were maybe fifteen of them, all strong-looking warriors, proud and arrogant.
“Well, are you a bunch of cowards, or what?” Icer snarled, cracking his neck.
“Fuck, you killed Bimmey! Bimmey was my Bimboy! I rode that Bimmy all day, every day, Bimmed him home every time, yeah. He was a good Bimboy, a marvelous Bimboy! I rode him home every day! Every day!” an obese soldier with a neck like a can of squeezed shilopeli oil roared tearfully.
Icer shrugged. “What are you going to do about it?”
They surrounded him, and he was moderately impressed by their speed. This was one of the ways he preferred to learn about other cultures. To that end, he was no different than his brothers.
The first man to throw a punch was the one who had yelled at Icer before. The boy caught his fist, jerked his arm up and to the left sharply, dislocating it, and pulled the man towards him, slamming him against the ground hard enough to crack his ornate armor.
Shrieking loudly, the pirate attempted to stand. Icer jumped with both feet onto his neck, stomping hard, killing the purple, hairless creature instantly.
Murmuring to one another, the others paused only briefly before attacking him all together. Coming from all sides was a bit of a challenge to deal with–one the Arcosian welcomed. Unlike his brothers, he enjoyed training. Perhaps he wasn’t as naturally gifted as either of them, but through practice and discipline, he knew that someday he would outmatch them. He caught a punch while spinning up to the air, taking the pirate with him. Backflipping to avoid the attacks from all other directions, Icer gained the high ground, throwing the woman he had grabbed ahold of at those who were overpressing, pursuing him too eagerly. Their defenses were weak. It was easy to be strong, to be powerful, to be aggressive. What really interested Icer was how they would respond after getting punched in the face.
Five or six fell as the soldier was thrown at them. The rest rose into the air, surrounding him once again. This time, they pressed him ferociously with jabs and kicks, alerting him to the fact that they were comrades, that they had fought together before, that they were nothing if not tenacious. He twisted his body around, blocking with his hands and feet and tail, matching their speed. This was good practice, he knew. These warriors weren’t half bad.
One or two of their punches broke through, hitting him a little harder than he expected. Rising higher into the air, his aura around him, Icer felt a trickle of blood roll down his forehead, stinging his eye. I got a little careless, he thought. Nevertheless, it’s good to know that I’m still brittle. I need to spend more time training.
Again, they pursued him like excited space rats, overpressing as if to overwhelm him merely with speed. They weren’t fast enough to exert such pressure over Icer, though. Arrogance like that needs to be punished.
“Nice try,” he told them, wiping his eye and chuckling to himself. “But if you’re going to try to knock me out, you better do it the first time. Come on!”
They obeyed, the fools. He blocked their attacks as they came at him, twisting around, catching punches and kicks or batting them aside, his focus sharpened by pain. Only after all of them had drawn close enough did he release a wave of indigo energy outwards in all directions. A sudden flash of light and heat spread through the alley, washing over the warriors. A bang followed, shattering glass windows, shooting burning garbage into the air, causing merchants and buyers alike to flee down the road in both directions.
The smoke cleared. Icer alone hovered above the street.
The half-dozen remaining soldiers, staring up at him angrily, hurled insults, spitting and screaming. The boy raised a palm, caught his breath, and fired a light blue energy beam down at them. As the energy drew close, it split with a bang into six separate beams, snaking and narrow. The soldiers attempted to block or leap aside, but it didn’t matter. The energy hit each one of them, homing in on those who had tried to dodge. Each beam tore through the aliens, ripping holes large enough for Icer to dive head-first through. Coughing, gagging, spurting blood, the remaining warriors collapsed.
He found the fighting pen empty upon closer inspection–the baby Nidrazi had fled like all the rest. Icer was too disinterested to see where they had run off to. Mould and decay ran rampant through the air; he shivered and left that place for good.
Finding his way back onto a main street, albeit a different one than the one he had come from, the boy noticed a merchant’s stand with four wooden seats placed before it. Above the stand was hanging a white paper banner which read: ‘The Infamous Yheji Pepper Contest has returned! A maximum of four participants wanted! Do you dare take on the hottest pepper in the universe?’.
He wasn’t one to turn down a competition. Icer took the third seat from the end, his legs dangling off the side of the chair, too high up to make contact with the ground. The man behind the stand was a four-armed, grubby-looking beast with five chins, red, oily skin, and six eyes. He was grunting to himself softly, but didn’t say a word to the aliens seated before him.
Icer spoke up in a high, cold voice, “I’ll have one of those, please.”
“He ain’t gonna start it till there’s four of us,” the space-badger next to Icer quipped. “Ain’t no point startin’ till every seat’s filled.”
“I see. Very well.”
He hated waiting, but it wouldn’t exactly be nice for him to kill the pepper producer. The four-armed man was, after all, still prepping the competition. Wearing gloves, he chopped four white-blue peppers, the size of Icer’s pinky, though twice as thick, from a small yellow-leafed potted plant. Setting them on small plates, he then proceeded to pour four glasses of some thick, yellow-white substance.
“This even legal?” the man on the other end asked. He was a tall alien with a wide, drooping nose, wearing a Galactic Patrolman’s outfit. “This pepper won’t kill us, will it? Has the governor inspected this stand to make sure you’re following proper health codes, sir?”
“No governor,” the four-armed alien grunted.
“Governor’s dead, mate,” the space-badger replied, laughing giddily. “Happened more than a month ago. You didn’t hear?”
The Galactic Patrolman shook his head vehemently.
“Blue Queen’s doin’. She came in a month back and took over. Her and her Blue Guard run Lipanto now. But things’re pretty much the same as before… only we don’t have to put up with all the governor’s rules no more.”
“That’s… I, well, the Galactic Patrol will have something to say about that! This planet must follow galactic law!”
“Why?” asked Icer.
“Because without law, there’s only chaos!”
“I didn’t ask why we need laws–I asked why we must follow your laws.”
“The Galactic Patrol is an ancient and honorable crime-fighting organization! We have for millenia protected the universe from tyrants and murderers and intolerant regimes!”
My brother will destroy them if they try to exert any influence over us. Icer smiled politely. “Good luck with that.”
“She’s a pirate, eh?”
“Pretty face too.”
“How many does she command?”
The space-badger shrugged. “Who knows? Hundreds… thousands… enough to keep watch over all of Lipanto, old and new, promise ya that, ha. I seen those bastards everywhere I go!”
Their conversation continued for a few more minutes before a tall blue-faced man with white hair sat down next to Icer at the table. He wore crimson and black robes with strange patterns on them and held a long staff. Sitting down, he sighed effeminately and asked, “Has the Yheji Pepper contest begun already? Or could I perhaps take part in it, hmm?”
“Not started,” grunted the four-armed alien. And with each arm, he held up a plate, placing it before the four of them. “Now we begin.”
“Oh! How wonderful!”
The aroma of the pepper was detectable even from such a distance. Icer’s eyes were watering just from the scent.
“What’re the rules?” the Galactic Patrolman whined.
“Eat if you can. Wait ten minutes. Spicy taste disappears after. If you drink, you lose.” He placed the cups before them as well. “Now, tell me names, all of you!”
“I am Shuron, of the Galactic Patrol,” the tall man on the far end said.
The four-armed alien wrote that down on a dirty notepad.
“Ooh, you can call me Whis,” said the man on the other end of the table.
“Good, good. Now start!”
They took their peppers into their hands. Tears streamed down Icer’s face, and his nose twitched. Nevertheless, he threw the pepper into his mouth, chewing it quickly, swallowing before Zoobi had tasted his. Whis and Shuron both ate theirs hastily as well, but the space-badger seemed either afraid or paralyzed. He took small nibbles from the tip until the pepper seller yelled at him. Then he ate the whole thing with a cough and a hiccup, his eyes going red, his nose glistening with mucus.
The heat wasn’t so bad as of yet. It hadn’t tasted like much when he’d eaten it–like mushy, salty dirt. Everyone sat very still and very composed.
“Hmm, that wasn’t very tasty,” Whis complained. “I would have expected the hottest space pepper in the universe to have a more luxurious taste, wouldn’t you?”
Icer noticed the man was talking to him. He was struck by Whis’ aloofness. “Sure.”
He had sampled a lot of spicy foods before, enjoying them more than his brothers. Arcterial was notorious for being unable to tolerate even mild spice, while Cold just wanted to drink ice wine all day–spicy foods hardly interested him. But nothing had prepared him for this. Icer had never tasted anything as hot as this pepper. Its spice roared up in his mouth all at once, taking the boy’ breath away.
Blinking back tears, sniffling, the Arcosian was breathing hard. His mouth felt like it was on fire. And it was getting more severe by the second, building upon itself, rising to levels of heat that he did not know were even possible.
“What the… oh! Oh sentient tentacle gods, oh! Aaaaaah!” Shuron wailed, jumping up from his chair, pulling off his helmet and panting as he ran in circles, as if running off the spice’s heat were even possible. “My mouth’s on fire! Aaaaah! It’s so hot, so hot, this is ridiculous! Incredulous! Preposterous! Gah! I’m going to die! I’m going to die!”
Without waiting for anyone to console him (none of them would have, for this was a competition after all), he grabbed his glass of thick yellowish liquid and downed it in a single gulp. Wiping his mouth afterwards, the man fell to his knees, burping loudly.
“Shuron loses,” the pepper seller muttered, crossing a name off his notepad. “Go on, get out of here!”
“That barely helped! Give me something else!” the man pleaded. “My mouth’s on fire…! Gimme some water, some milk, something!”
“No, you lost.”
“I… you… I’m going to tell the Galactic King about this! We’re going to cite you for this! Dangerous and unprofessional behavior deserves being fined! I’ll be back, and maybe I’ll arrest you!” the sweating, large-nosed patrolman threatened. “Gah! This is so tentaclin’ hot!”
He ran off down the street moaning at the top of his lungs.
“Mmm… this is rather spicy, I must admit,” Whis sighed, licking his lips. “How did you manage to grow such a spicy pepper, my good sir?”
“Secret recipe,” he grunted in reply.
“Oh man, oh man…” Zoobi was panting, hunched over his plate, his tongue out. “You shoulda warned us, man. This is like… ugh! I’m going to throw up!”
He did, but Icer did not look. Luckily it was into the gutter. Returning to his seat, the space-badger, his lips quivering, sat down again when the four-armed man took back the plate and glass of liquid. “You throw up, you lose. Game over. Goodbye.”
“H-hey, what? You never said that before!”
“You throw up, pepper goes out. Obvious disqualification!”
“No fair man! You didn’t tell us that was a rule! I wouldn’t have let loose like that if I had known! Shuron asked you what the rules were, and you didn’t say anything about that! That’s some slimy, sneaky shit!”
The man shook his head hard. “No fair. Leave!”
“At least let me have my drink… my mouth’s on fire!”
“You fat piece of shit.”
Zoobi sprinted to the gutter, gathering up a handful of vomit. Running back, he hurled the wet, brownish mass at the pepper seller when Whis raised his staff and blocked the vomit from hitting any of them, creating a wall of energy between the space-badger and the stand. The vomit did not just hit the wall and fall down, either. It bounced off the blue ki wall right back at the furry fellow, splattering him all over the face.
Swearing loudly, Zoobi collapsed, vomited again, groaned about how hot his mouth felt, cried that his throat and nostrils were burning, and, after no one consoled him, hobbled off out of sight.
“So,” Whis said, looking down at Icer, “how does it taste, Icer?”
“I’m okay,” the boy replied, digging his fingernails into his palms. His mouth was burning so bad, but he didn’t want to lose… especially not since there was only one man standing in between him and eternal glory. He was seeing spots, feeling light-headed and a little queasy, but still he held his own.
Pain is an illusion. All pain is temporary and meaningless, he told himself. I won’t remember this feeling tomorrow. It will not affect me beyond this moment. But still, that fact made it difficult to bear. His eyes and nose were streaming. His mouth was a raging inferno. Remember… the patrolman said that liquid didn’t even help, so why bother? I will still feel horrible, only I will have lost.
“That’s true,” Whis said suddenly. “This drink won’t help us.”
“What the hell…? Did you read my mind?” the Arcosian asked in awe, a chill falling over his shoulders.
Whis smiled knowingly, his brow covered in sweat nonetheless. “I don’t think you can win, Icer.”
“If you think it, it must be true.”
Agony befell Icer’s body. A part of him wanted to give in, begged him to relent, but he was not a slave to his emotions. They did not drive him. Yes, he thought and felt many things, but he was not beholden to every one of his body’s passing fancies. To be that weak of spirit would be an insult to his bloodline.
Ten minutes passed. They remained, Whis tapping his fingers on the wood counter impatiently. Suddenly, without warning, his staff began to pulse with blue-white glowing light. “Oh, Lord Beerus… of all the times to wake up, hmph.” The strange man got to his feet, settling into a relaxed pose. “Well Icer, it looks like you’re the winner. My sincerest congratulations. This was no easy feat. My mouth is burning. And that pepper didn’t even taste very good. Shame. All this pain for so little reward, ah! Please excuse me.”
The man took his cup, downed it in a single noisey gulp, stepped back, and was lost in a pillar of light that shot straight up into the sky. When it faded, only Icer and the seller remained.
“You win, ugh,” the man mumbled, wiping his mouth.
“Alright! What’s my prize, hmmm?” asked the prince, boyish curiosity coloring his voice.
The greasy old grub man threw a crumpled-up slip of paper at him. “Here, here.”
“A half-price coupon for one cup of your freshly-squeezed Joobjoob milk?”
“Good deal, good deal.”
Rolling his eyes, Icer hopped off his chair. His mouth was still burning. Downing his complimentary glass of Joobjoob milk barely helped. “Thanks,” he said softly, briefly wondering if he should murder the man, but only for a moment.
Then he was off into the crowded streets again, the poisonous calls of the many desperate vendors clanging in his ears.
He hadn’t come to this planet to conquer it, but that Blue Queen intrigued him. Downtown, he found the governor’s tower scarred by plasma and energy, but nevertheless standing intact. It was as the space-badger and patrolman had said.
Icer was no-nonsense. He wasn’t about to play games. As soon as he noticed that the guards at the foot of the tower were wearing the same blue wax-like armor as those he’d met in that alleyway, he knew he would have to destroy them all and claim Lipanto for his family’s empire.
There were five or six guards slacking off at the foot of the tower, guarding the very important door leading inside. His mouth was on fire. He was in no mood for this. Icer took to the skies, an arrowhead of ki enveloping him, aiming for the highest floor, where he suspected the so-called Blue Queen was hiding out at.
Bursting through the glass and metal, he came skidding to a stop inside, looking around. It was like a sauna in there, with an indoor hot tub and steam benches for all the queen’s guards. They were sipping alcoholic beverages, eating finger pies, and making one another laugh to an absurd degree when he burst in. At once, the room fell silent.
Her guards were not wearing any armor up here at least. It was far too humid for such formalities. Each one hailed from a different species, and so did she. Icer had never met an alien like her, blue though she was, her hair bleached white, a bubbling green glass of Nyarin Gin held gently in one slacked hand. She was sitting casually on a soldier’s lap, her glistening cheek pressed against his.
Well, maybe she did remind him a little bit of that weird Whis fellow.
“Hey, this is a private party! Get out!”
“I would like Lipanto to join the Planet Trade Organization. What do you say? Kneel, and every one of you shall be promoted.”
“Piss off, Arcosian!” a wrinkly, three-horned guard shot back.
Jumping up, he threw his glass at Icer, who did a poor job at blocking all the flying liquid. The Blue Queen giggled, taking a long sip from her cup before returning her attention to the man she was courting. That slight could not go unpunished, Icer knew. She’s mocking me. I’ll make her pay for that. My honor will not be reduced to tatters by a drunken pirate.
“That was a concession on my part,” the boy said calmly, flicking the cold liquid off his arm and shoulder. “If we do things my way, there won’t be any promotions. Are you sure you wish to go down that road?”
With a roar, the guard flung himself at Icer. Without blinking, the boy sidestepped, jumped, and backhanded the man out the gaping hole that had once been the window, never once breaking his gaze with the queen.
She looked rather annoyed. “Kill him, you lot. When you’re done, bring me his head on a silver platter. I want to suck his brains out with a straw.”
Even the man she had been sitting on rose at her command. There were maybe twenty of them. He didn’t bother counting. His fingers were tingling, and his eyes were burning again. This wasn’t fair. The Joobjoob milk was supposed to have quenched his pain. That slob of a street merchant had lied to him. Maybe he should go back and finish things.
But first, he had business to attend to. This would make his brothers very happy, he knew. Icer alone amongst the royal family cared little for their empire. He was more interested in adventures and treasure hunting and testing the strength of his fists against all who would dare oppose him. The day-to-day aspects of running an empire were so tedious, he could have died from the sheer boredom of it all. He understood why Cold was always so drunk. We all have to get away somehow, the boy thought, wiping a strand of sweat from his eye. Arcterial has his whores, Cold has his cups, and I…
They came for him then. Stepping back, Icer raised both wrists and released the anger within him in one complete, exhaling motion. A golden-white tide of energy rolled forth, reducing every guard to dust. They had each been the protagonist of their own life’s story; each of them had been cut down by an attack that had barely caused the prince’s heartbeat to spike.
How anyone could stand this sweltering inferno, he knew not. Let them come to Arcose and experience the heart of winter in father’s manse. They would probably all freeze to death before he could say hello.
“You tiny little cunt,” she whispered, finally standing.
Icer noticed that the Blue Queen was not entirely sober. She reminded him of his brother. He grew eager.
“I claim this planet as my own.”
“It’s mine!” she scoffed, walking carelessly over to him, dropping her cup on the way. It shattered against the stone tile floor, a jagged piece flying like an icicle into the steaming pool.
“I am the only daughter of Lord Bojack, leader of the Galaxy Soldiers. Have you ever heard of him, boy?”
Raising his arms in a defensive stance, Icer stepped back, making sure that the pool was between him and her. “He was a space pirate from Planet Hera. I’m told his power and might were terrible to behold. He slaughtered trillions, plundering hundreds of worlds of all their riches. But then he disappeared unexpectedly… out of the blue, like they all do. He’s your papa, is he?”
“Enough of this nonsense!” Her face flushed a deep shade of purple. “I am Audacci, the Immortal Daughter, Queen of Shargov’s Fleet, last of my people, and I will not be insulted by a mere child.”
“I’m Icer. Any last words, Blue Queen?”
She was gone and then returned–behind him. Moving to dodge, Icer was hit in the face with a boot. Staggering backwards, he blocked her second kick, but his form was sloppy, and she burst through with a third. Countering with several quick jabs, Icer decided against pressing forward so he could instead gain more space.
His tongue was stuck to the roof of his mouth, and he was panting–more from the heat than anything else. “So, this is what a Hera can do? You are strong for a space pirate. Why not join my empire?”
“Why not join mine?” she said audaciously, walking over to him without a care in the world.
“It seems all your men are dead. What empire do you rule beyond this planet?”
“Oh, that only means I have plenty of open spots for advisors and generals and bodyguards now. I’ll need to recruit some more scum… you’d be perfect as my cabin boy, Icer. How about it, kid? I’m getting a nasty desire for some Isaki. Let’s stop this nonsense and find some lunch, you and me.”
He turned to gaze upon the city from the gaping hole in the wall. “Do they really sell Isaki down there? Is it imported from Faeri, or do they grow it here?”
Audacci had her answer for him prepared in a fist, gloved in bright blue ki. More than anything, Icer was annoyed at himself for not seeing that coming. She smacked him good in the back of the head, sending him stumbling towards the openness, his vision wobbling unnaturally. He had to blink away the tears.
“You sniveling little baby. Do you really think you coul–”
The pain in his mouth was only growing, it seemed. He felt a rush of adrenaline, of anger, of greed, of purpose, and threw himself at her, leading with a flying kick. He saw her falling into a blocking stance, and that only angered him more. This drunken woman was just a space pirate. She was nothing to him. This had gone on long enough.
With a yell of anguish and impatience, Icer drew up his power around him, flying forth with greater speed. He felt the soles of his feet slam against her arm, and the feeling of her bones snapping under the pressure almost made this whole trip worth it.
For all her worth, Audacci neither screamed nor swore nor cried. Staggering back, she cradled her mangled arm gingerly, which was now hanging limply and uselessly at her side. Before Icer landed, she lunged at him, kicking and punching aimlessly with all her strength. There was a look in her eyes that he could not forget.
“It’s over!” Dodging her attacks with keen agility, he pushed the Hera back with ki bullets and teleportation kicks. Her speed had gone with her arm; her stamina was spent. Yet even now, she refused to give up. This arrogance… how has she survived so long cloaked in it? “Get off my planet!”
The Blue Queen threw a loose punch at him, stumbling forward, and that was when he found an opening. Flipping into the air, he came down upon her forehead with a back heel, sending her sailing into the pool and down, down, down, through the building all the way to the ground. A wide hole, as if left by an overgrown parasitic qoppi slug, remained in her wake, sizzling bathwater streaming down it after her.
She had landed in a crater deep enough to comfortably fit the governor’s tower. By the time he got down there, there was no sign of Audacci. Icer was again annoyed at himself for his arrogance and hastiness. If only I would have brought a scouter with me… No, that was a weak thought. If only I could sense energy on my own.
Either she was dead or had fled; either way, he didn’t care. Icer returned to the governor’s tower, found the dead man’s communications console in his personal apartment one floor below the sauna room, and called up his brother.
“I have conquered Lipanto, Arcterial,” Icer said sharply, betraying no hint of emotion. “Send soldiers at once. We’ll need a governor and a good-sized garrison.”
“You conquered a planet, Icer? All by yourself? Hah! I’m surprised. Well, it’s about damn time you started earning your keep around here–”
Ending the transmission, Icer air dashed through another window out into the torrid green skies of his new planet. His brother’s insults were merely tired attempts at provoking him. He had more important matters to attend to, anyways… like finding out where that four-armed cunt of a merchant had gone off to.
I won’t kill him, the boy thought as he flew down to the chaotic market streets below, so overrun with living creatures. I’ll have him eat four of those Yheji Peppers himself. And better yet, no Joobjoob milk for him!
- The name of this story references a very famous meme that needs no further explanation. The reason that was chosen is mostly in relation to the hot pepper eating contest in the first section. But also, Icer is young here, a growing boy, and if he wants to get good and strong and continue expanding his territory, he'll need plenty of space milk.
- The Namekian seen in the first scene is Nishi. This continues the theme of various fanon characters of mine making cameo appearances in Vöntun (Sesami also had a cameo in The Naptime Championships).
- The side street vendors might've been inspired by the visual style of Knockturn Alley from the Harry Potter series, but I don't think I was actively thinking about that reference at the time of writing.
- Arcterial was a good guy to warn Icer about kooli. Pity that their blood feud would decide the fate of the PTO many centuries later. This was a more innocent time for the brothers, alas.
- "“Hey kid, wanna see somethin’ really scary?”" - this line is a reference to this scene from the Twilight Zone movie.
- "To that end, he was no different than his brothers." - while Icer is more innocent (at this time) and in general more tolerant of foreign cultures than his brothers, he's still very similar to them in other ways. The way he kills the soldier who laughs at him and then butchers the rest of them is very much something that Frieza would have done too had his pride been insulted. Icer grows into this part of his personality later than the others do, and I don't think he's as prideful as they are (at least openly). This is one experience which helps him down that path.
- I chose to have a hot pepper contest because I like hot peppers a lot. Around this time in my life, I had eaten my first ghost pepper, so that was definitely on my mind. It was also a fun way to use the "he needs some milk" meme.
- It probably goes without saying that I despise the Galactic Patrol. Who are they to define morality on other worlds? Fuck them and their asshole king. Icer correctly points out this hypocrisy, but that doesn't mean he's any better. Obviously, he's worse morally than the GP, but that doesn't diminish his logic, it just makes him a hypocrite too.
- I am fairly certain that the Galactic Patrolman and space-badger's names were not punned off of anything, but maybe they were. If they were, I've lost that information.
- I dunno if Whis and Icer will ever meet again. I have not planned for that to happen. If it does, though, this story's existence will allow me to come up with some nice dialogue between them.
- Suffice to say, if Shuron ever tried to arrest that vendor, he would have not left Lipanto alive. Such authoritarianism would never get rewarded on Lipanto.
- No doubt Whis could've read the vendor's mind to find the "secret recipe" if he had wanted to. Not sure he would have.
- Zoobi and the vendor each have a point about whether or not the space-badger should have been disqualified. It's not a clear-cut issue. With that said, I would side with the vendor.
- The way Icer handles the pepper contest, particularly after it is only Whis and him left, is the same reason that he was able to grind out his eventual power level superiority over the rest of his family and the PTO.
- Whis would have most likely won had Beerus not woken up, but, he might've given the boy the victory had he lasted an impressive amount of time. The main takeaway here is that Whis doesn't care about mortal affairs. Personality and character are much more intriguing to him.
- Icer could have easily killed that vendor. Remember earlier how he had all those internal thoughts about how he was not a slave to his emotions. Frieza or Cold would've killed that man without a second thought. Icer recognizes that he doesn't need to, especially since Whis, Zoobi, and Shuron are gone. Yes, he could satiate his own pride, but in the end, he won the contest anyways, so killing the man would invalidate that, and he didn't want all that pain he went through to be meaningless.
- I've no doubt that Audacci used many of her soldiers like dildos. She did not form emotional connections with any of them, though.
- Icer had never conquered a planet before. His boyish naivete can be seen in how he tried to get the pirates to join him. It's not very tactful. He became a better diplomat with age, and it was moments like these where he gained useful experience in terms of what not to say.
- Audacci being drunk makes analyzing the fight somewhat harder. That was done on purpose. I wanted to be vague about how strong these two are in relation to one another at this point in the timeline. She might've won had she been sober. The same could also be said for the heat in relation to Icer, or the fact that his mouth is burning from yheji pepper.
- Audacci had no last words because she didn't believe her death was imminent.
- Audacci is only so hungry because she's so drunk. The boy, having grown up around King Cold, understands that this is an advantage for him.
- “Get off my planet!” - this line references this line from Air Force One.
- Overall, Audacci was a good opponent for Icer to face so that he could understand his family's arrogance better. He realized then and there that even if he was as arrogant as she was, or as Cold was, it didn't serve him to let his opponents know that, lest they exploit his pride.
- It goes without saying that Icer executed the remainder of Audacci's guards (if they didn't flee with her) shortly after the end of this story.
- Eating four yheji peppers probably wouldn't kill the vendor, but he'd be in for a rough day.
This is the best Vöntun one-shot I've anthologized yet. It has a nice, unique plot, and is very sensory-oriented. Icer exploring the streets of Lipanto is certainly a highlight, while his fight with Audacci and the experience he gets from that, in terms of fighting and character, is another. There aren't any major changes I'd make to this one. I think the characterization is strong, the fight scene isn't overdone, and the exploration of Lipanto was creatively-written. And including Whis for the pepper contest was a nice touch, if I do say so myself.
<---- Part 109
Part 111 ---->