As early as the conceptualization for Vöntun, I wanted to write a one-shot about Yuki in some capacity. This story idea was always moved to the next one-shot collection because I had really no ideas for what to write about other than having Yuki be the protagonist. I want to say it was around halfway through my rewatch of Dragon Ball Z, or perhaps somewhat earlier, when I started to come up with the idea for this story, although my rewatch had little to do with it.
What ultimately made me realize that I had to write this story, and what its contents would be, was a discussion I had with Hyper Zergling about how we were going to get Yuki out of the dimensional prison she is left inside of at the end of Dragon Ball: Cold Vengeance. While we were originally considering having the Mrovian High Council release her a last resort when Icer potentially eventually attacks Mrov in Dragon Ball: Heart of the Dragon (a plot point that is not 100% set in stone as of this point), I never much cared for that explanation. In my striving to come up with something different, I came up with a plot to have Kuriza use the Dragon Balls that he gets off Lipanto to know the location of Yuki so he will be able to break her out.
Now, the question becomes why would he do this? There is the most obvious pressing issue that he needs her help in taking out Icer, whom both consider to be a toxic tyrant and no good for the Planet Trade Organization. However, Yuki and Kuriza are not on particularly good terms in the The History of the Decline and Fall of the Planet Trade Organization because they directly fought one another during the royal family's civil war in book 3. As such, I needed an explanation as to why Yuki and Kuriza start becoming friendly to one another again. This story serves that purpose. It takes place between scenes 4 and 5 of the 24th chapter of the third volume of PTO. I will be incorporating this shift in their relationship into the fourth volume should there ever be need to, but I think, barring some change of plot, Kuriza and Yuki won't have many scenes together in the remaining chapters.
This story is probably the most important, in terms of character development, for Heart of the Dragon out of any one-shot in I Wouldn't Want to Be a Fish Right Now. Because of that, and because knowing that gave me some semblance of structure for the construction of this short plot, I don't think it was too much of a problem to write. This was the sixth one-shot in the collection I wrote, so by that point I was in the groove of things and I knew exactly what I wanted to do in terms of making this part of that collection. Like with One Word From The Crane, I outlined each scene before writing them, and my outline was for the most part followed (although in the outline, the pair of rude governors were originally only one officer).
I began writing in the early hours of December 25, 2019. I wrote on and off for about thirty minutes, getting up to the point where Yuki tells Kuriza that she's sorry about the death of his father (in the original draft, this was the reverse of what happens in the final draft with Kuriza saying that line instead). Later that day, after a nice sleep, I wrote for about 12 minutes, off and on, up to the part where Yuki tells Kuriza he needs to go to Earth to seek revenge for his father. Another hour or so break was had (probably to a very late lunch with the family), and then I wrote the rest of the story in one more sitting, taking thirty minutes to do so. All in all, not a stressful experience.
When it came to the editing phase, I did all of that on April 6, 2020, the same day I edited One Word From The Crane. I started about two hours after finishing the Android 17 story, and it took me and hour and a half to edit it down to a draft I liked. Most of my editing for this story was done to the dialogue. I did not edit the porse much from the first to final draft, which is unusual of me. There wasn't much I was unsatisfied with, I guess.
In terms of the thematic content and the character development, this story is one that will probably have little use for those who have not read The History of the Decline and Fall of the Planet Trade Organization. Oh well. We're 5 stories in and this is the first overtly fanon story, too. Ledas was in Bean Daddy, but that one was ostensibly about Yajirobe. It is what it is. Anyways, let's move onto the endnotes.
It was a miserable, horrible, rotten day. Grand Uncle Icer had just been proclaimed the next Emperor of the Planet Trade Organization, and she had been dragged to Lipanto with Kirka and some of her governors to witness it. On top of it all, Uncle Icer had humiliated her in front of the officers. Sure, she had risen in rebellion following Uncle Cooler’s death, but so had Kuriza. Her grand uncle hadn’t humiliated him in front of the soldiers. She fantasized about standing over the man as he gasped for life and bled out at her feet.
Kirka had left her. The party was getting underway, and the walls were already shaking with the repetitive bass of synthetic and energetic music which she did not find very appealing. Eventually, her cousin popped up out of the crowds of officers, his modest plate of cake and other sweets following him through the air. The young Arcosian was almost as sour as her.
It was almost funny, how cruel a joke this was. Not long ago, she and Kuriza had fought for the sake of claiming the imperial throne, and Kuriza had won that duel fairly, loathe as she was to admit it. And then Icer had beat him down in a stunning show of force. Neither one of them had expected him to be so powerful. Indeed, nobody had. Their grand uncle had hidden his true strength until that moment. Clever as that strategy had been, it hurt knowing she was the third strongest in their family. Hail and Polaria, her grand uncle’s twin daughters, were powerful warriors in their own right, but they didn’t compare to the half-Saiyan, half-Arcosian, nor to the son of Frieza, who was by all accounts the greatest living prodigy in the royal family. Kuriza might not have been as talented as his father, yet he had put in more effort, it seemed, through training, education, and a greater sense of desperation than his father ever had. He was also not nearly as cruel as Frieza, and for that reason, he could be manipulated in battle.
She still couldn’t believe he had beaten her. It stung. Perhaps it stung worse for him, knowing that for one fleeting moment he had been the unquestioned emperor of their entire empire. Only then had Uncle Icer appeared and reminded everyone of how strong members of this family really could be. She knew with Uncle Arcterial dead, and now her own father gone, Uncle Icer was the only veteran member of the royal family remaining. He was the last of the old guard; it made sense that he was her superior in battle. Still though, that didn’t make her feel any better.
The boy dug into his cake first. “I thought you were supposed to go back to your region. That’s what Uncle Icer said. It would be most unwise to disobey him, cousin.”
“Oh, quiet. He left already, and I’m hungry. Kirka is too. I’ll eat if I want to. I’m no slave.”
The boy grinned lightly, looking away, burying his smile in a sweet treat. “How does it feel, by the way? I never had the chance to ask.”
“Like it felt last time.”
He cocked his head, confusion plaguing his face. “Wha… what are you on about? I am speaking of losing your father, you imbecile. We’ve never had the chance to talk about it. I assume this is the first time for you. Yes, as for me, I know all too well how it feels.”
His father Frieza had died a little more than two years before her father, Emperor Nitro. Again, it was a cute little fact, but in recounting it, she felt nothing except hollow rage. She was so, so tired after having been put in front of those people and mocked, and now, if not for the food, she would have done nothing more than crawl into her spaceship and sleep all the way back to Planet Nitro 001, hoping to forget this day.
Kirka was hitting on one of Icer’s governors–a squat Sobren girl with a plain yellow face. She almost had to laugh. He was half her size.
“Yuki, don’t be glum. I am sorry about your father. Truly.”
“I don’t believe you mean it.”
“That sounds like a ‘you’ problem,” Kuriza said with a shrug as he finished off his cake.
They sat in silence for a little bit. Kirka returned with a plate of food, eyeing the prince. She didn’t say a word to him, so the little Ocaran simply dropped off her plate and ran back to the party, hardly hiding his excitement. She sighed audibly, catching Kuriza’s attention. The boy’s tail flicked back and forth. Ahead, they noticed Icer had returned to the party, as he was talking to several members of his staff–Garish Ureigo, Governor Ran Thembii, and Fleet Admiral Jahu. They were laughing and drinking wine carelessly.
“It was barbarous for Uncle Icer to leave you out of the line of succession.”
She tried not to let the ire color her face. That was nigh impossible. “So be it.”
“Our family is much smaller now. Ever since Grandpa Cold went to Earth with my father… and then Uncle Cooler followed them… well, there aren’t many of us left. Yuki, you are my cousin, regardless of what we’ve been through.”
She eyed him somewhat lazily. His line of reasoning was not entirely reasonable, so she struggled to believe him. “You’re just saying that.”
He looked away again. “Sure, okay, cousin.”
“Uncle Icer is fiercer than Grandpa Cold or Uncle Arcterial ever were. We could never have known it until now, however. He kept his dominance hidden while they lived. I do not know why, but I do know he’s the strongest one remaining. Even my father would pale in comparison to what Uncle Icer’s become. We must follow him loyally, no matter what he says or does. I believe it is in our best interest to remain in his favor.”
“You would think that.”
“It is not easy to lose your father,” Kuriza told her. “I still miss mine. All we can do now is bide our time. We must mature, both of us, if we are to survive in this new situation. That and continue to train. I will prioritize training, myself. It will take many years before we can catch up to Uncle Icer. Still, we must start somewhere.”
“The Mrovians will pay for killing mine. You must go to Earth to avenge your father and Uncle Cooler and Grandpa Cold all.”
“Why won’t you?”
“You beat me the last time we fought. You’re stronger. Vengeance is in your hands, Kuriza.”
“Perhaps not as strong as my father, nor yours. I require much more training before I would consider traveling to Earth. That journey is many years away for me, I fear.”
“That’s one of the reasons I haven’t attacked the Mrovians. One of them was somehow strong enough to kill my father. I don’t even know exactly how strong he was. He never showed me his full power. It’s maddening. If only he had, I would have some sense of how much stronger I need to become. I’m in the dark, Kuriza. I have no idea how close I am to being ready. And, I mean, I know where one Mrovian outpost is, but what does that matter? I can’t start a war with them yet.”
“I say get as strong as you can before you go, or you’ll make the same mistake he did. Uncle Icer promised to train me once I’ve cleared all the pirates and insubordinates from my territory. That will be a big help if we’re gonna…,” he said, lowering his voice and leaning in, “you know, take him out.”
Her eyes went wide. “Kuriza, shut up! Are you mental?!”
Thankfully, no one was around to listen in, or so she hoped. The boy was unperturbed. “Hey, he’s a cunt.”
She couldn’t help but smirk.
A pair of officers walked by, sipping from nearly-empty glasses. Drunk as he was, the Faerin said too loudly, “She’s even uglier when she smiles, oh look at her! What an abomination! I can’t believe Nitro thought that was a good idea.”
“Imagine waking up next to that in the morning. Gah!” the Torrnan officer guffawed.
They were recklessly obnoxious enough for the royal orphans to hear. The two exchanged a look. Kuriza got to his feet. Her eyes found Kirka, who was watching her from across the room, down on the first floor. His Sobren mistress was nowhere to be seen. Above them, on the balcony, Icer was continuing to hold court with a multitude of officers. Every few seconds, they erupted in unnaturally raucous and uncontrollable laughter (which faded to silence again within moments). Yuki apologized with her eyes to the Ocaran. She wasn’t supposed to be here. Her cunt of a grand uncle had ordered her back to her region without so much as including her in his line of succession, despite her loyalty. What had Kuriza done that she hadn’t?
She knew the answer. Her fingernails dug into her palms. Following the prince and those men out the door, she turned off her scouter, lest anyone else hear.
So the story goes that Governor Kabuso and Governor Orze went to the restroom that day, and there were no witnesses as they were brutally mauled to death inside two separate stalls, their blood painting the space toilets indigo and crimson respectively. It was horrible for whoever had to clean that up–any self-respecting janitor would have quit before dealing with that mess. Brain matter and bones were splattered across the walls and floor; it was, to put it lightly, just a little bit vile.
Kuriza and Yuki never spoke of it, not even in the moment, though ever since that day, she thought better of him than she had before, and he likely thought the same of her.
The unsolved murders of Governors Kabuso and Orze haunted Lipanto for years. Suffice it to say, there weren’t any witnesses, and though each governor shit his pants, and each one attempted to scream, they both got their faces blown apart by Death Beams when they tried to call for help. That silly mistake meant they ruined any chance they had at open-casket funerals. That was all on them, and knowing that made Yuki proud.
Even better was the fact that their deaths ruined Uncle Icer’s big party. The ‘Golden Emperor’, as he liked to be called, was furious for many days after, and some said all he did for a week was delegate people to find the killer while drinking alone in his palace. Whether or not that was true, Yuki never knew for certain, but it was slanderous, so she tended to give it the benefit of the doubt and believe it, because, of course, the alternative was far more boring.
- This story's name is a reference to this moment from Spongebob Squarepants.
- Icer humiliated Yuki in chapter 24 of the third volume of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Planet Trade Organization. The reason why he did this was never outright stated, because it is true that both Kuriza and Yuki were rival factions to him at one point (and both submitted eventually). He was absolutely playing favorites there. The reason why he did this is because Yuki is a half-breed, and her existence is slightly shameful to the royal family. This is never really brought up to her, but Icer placed Kuriza above her in terms of the line of succession for that reason. As far as Icer knows, at this time, Kuriza is the only pure-blood member of his family remaining outside of his daughters (who die shortly after the events of this story), so he places more value in Kuriza than Yuki. He did not need to disrespect her in front of the soldiers. The way I wrote it, though, Icer perceived that she was being disrespectful and harboring some rancor against him and so did what he did publicly in order to break her ego.
- I personally believe that it was Yuki's loss against Kuriza during the Planet Trade Organization civil war that motivated her to ramp up her training. Surely by the time of Dragon Ball: Cold Vengeance, which is like 10 years afterwards, she is stronger than the boy. He still ends up relatively strong, but he doesn't have as much potential as her, since she can go Super Saiyan as well as utilize her species' transformations.
- Yuki documents Kuriza's weaknesses and strengths well in this chapter. Kuriza is persistent and desperate, but he's not cruel or ambitious like his father. Those traits have positive and negative consequences for his development as a warrior.
- Icer's existence really sucks for Yuki. Imagine if he was gone like all the other older generation members of her family. She would only have to compete with Polaria, Hail, and Kuriza (and Haimaru and Raimie, though she didn't know about that yet). Her odds of coming out on top eventually were extremely high. She would have become the strongest one of the bunch within a decade, and it's likely she would have killed or subjugated the other members of her family soon after. I feel for her. She is so close, yet so far away, from being the one in charge.
- Icer did command Yuki to return to her region, so her even attending this party is a small act of rebellion. Though she was humiliated before, she is not Icer's bitch and never will be.
- "The boy grinned lightly, looking away, burying his smile in a sweet treat. “How does it feel, by the way? I never had the chance to ask.”" - Kuriza acts oddly here, as the next few lines indicate that he's asking her about losing her father. He's smirking at her previous line, but still, it's easy to understand why she misunderstood him from his facial expressions. Also, his question is vague enough that she should be forgiven for not understanding him. There's a bit of Frieza coming out in the boy's petulance his response that follows.
- Notice how Yuki refers to Frieza merely by his name, but in the same sentence calls her father "Emperor Nitro". She never respected Frieza, and some of that probably extended to Kuriza, which is what makes the developments in this story particularly noteworthy.
- Yuki is not very good at letting go of grudges. She is not one to easily forgive, or to let her guard down. The way she reacts to Kuriza early on shows this. I wrote her very similarly to how I wrote her in chapter 8 of Cold Vengeance. I think, personally, it's understandable why she's like this, but it is very much unlike how I am, and so it is more difficult for me to empathize with her strategy.
- After Yuki's food arrives, she becomes a little nicer towards Kuriza.
- The way that Icer and his sycophants laugh extremely loudly and then quickly stop is how members of my mother's side of the family act at holiday get-togethers. I've always found it odd, and not really in a good way.
- While Yuki is removed from the line of succession at this point in time, after Icer's daughters die some weeks later, she is re-added, as there were only three known members of the royal family at the time. So Yuki got added back, and it was at Icer's expense. Somewhat of a karmic moment there, though when she's wallowing in the downswing, it's hard to think about any potential future upside.
- I think Kuriza brings up a good point about him and Yuki being two of the only members of their family left who aren't Icer or his children. They have to stick together for that reason. Importantly, Yuki agrees, which is a major shift in her character, and also something that will come up in Heart of the Dragon. This belief that the two of them need to stick together and oppose Icer will be crucial to their interactions in HOTD.
- Kuriza is the more practical one in his analysis of Icer. Yes, they need to oppose him, but how would they realistically do so? It would be better for them to learn from him, to let him train them, so they could become far stronger than they would on their own. They could use that against him later on. Yuki just sees Kuriza's advice as evidence that he's one of Icer's bootlickers, which I don't think is very accurate, nor helpful.
- Kuriza and Yuki losing their fathers at young ages (relative to Arcosian lifespans) is what turns both of them into more pragmatic and cautious people. They are certainly arrogant and can be impulsive, but knowing that their fathers got killed by mysterious warriors is an instructive moment for them. They grew up thinking the royal family was invincible, and in the span of a few years, seven of their family members died. This gives them knowledge that their parents did not have - that many strong warriors exist out there, and not every planet is ripe for the taking. This is a good ego-checking fact, but also something which affects their personality on a more macro level.
- It's for the best that Yuki does not know how strong her father was, for Cuber has gotten much stronger than Nitro in the years following the emperor's death. Nitro's power level is not anywhere close to what will be required to kill the Mrovians and their Saiyan protectors. Notice though how Yuki reveals a vulnerability about herself to Kuriza in that admission. Now that she's gotten some food in her belly, she's becoming more open to talking about fears and regrets.
- Icer will eventually train Kuriza, but I haven't gotten to that part of my PTO story yet. I dunno how exactly it will happen. What is certain is that Kuriza will become far stronger than his father, who barely trained, when he was on Namek (though not as strong as Golden Frieza).
- Kuriza could have gotten himself killed for so openly talking about rebelling against Icer at that party. Big mistake on his part. He got too excited there. It's not likely anyone heard him, but who knows for certain?
- The most prominent aspect of wabi-sabi in this story, though certainly not the only one, is Yuki's appearance and how that affects her relationship with Icer, as well as how it helps her gain a valuable friendship with Kuriza (as the two bonded over killing two governors who made fun of her appearance).
- "“Imagine waking up next to that in the morning. Gah!” the Torrnan officer guffawed." - a slight dig at Ledas, who will eventually be doing just that. (not to say I agree with Orze).
- Kuriza wanted to murder the governors just as much as Yuki not just because she was disrespected, but because they were being so brazenly insubordinate to the royal family. They needed to go - those were not the type of soldiers that would be beneficial to the Planet Trade Organization in the long-term. Loyalty is a major theme in this story. Kuriza and Yuki do to those two drunken fools what should have been done to them, in all honesty (given how they were conspiring against Icer - not that he didn't deserve it, considering how he treated Yuki).
- It felt wholesome in my opinion to have Kuriza and Yuki bond over murdering some disloyal fucks.
- Perhaps Icer was really mad at the end, or perhaps not. Nobody will ever know. I agree with Yuki, though, that the more slanderous the rumor, the more interesting it is, and so therefore he had to have gotten furious about their deaths and done nothing but drink ice wine alone in his palace.
This was a fun one to write. Never really had Kuriza and Yuki interact before in a calm setting, or have a POV be so negative about my boy Icer. That was an interesting exercise to write. The dialogue between Yuki and Kuriza is the most memorable part of this one-shot for me. I think the prose is also superior to the prose of the previous story, but perhaps not as strong as in the first two stories in this collection. Also, the rare Kirka sighting was nice.
<---- Part 129
Part 131 ---->