In the early hours of July 11, 2014, I watched the Tarble special for the first time. I had held off from watching it (for years) because I very much dislike the Japanese voice actors for Dragon Ball Z (particularly the awful Goku voice). On July 11th, I decided to finally give in and watch it, because I knew that it wasn't going to be dubbed in English any time soon. It was somewhat painful to watch. I had to pause in a few sections that particularly irked me, but I did eventually get through it. Now the main reason I decided to watch the special then was because I wanted to write a story about Tarble. I knew that by the time I had posted Brave. At this point, I knew it was going to be a part of the Black and White Collection, as I had made the Black and White Collection page on June 29, 2014, and had also put up an as of then unnamed story for Tarble on the list of forthcoming one-shots. So I watched the Tarble special to help me write accurate dialogue for Tarble, to understand his past, and to get a better feel for his relationships with Vegeta, Gure, and the others. What happened then was that I enjoyed the Tarble special so much that I ended up creating two stories - Yellow, and Prideful Demons Black. They were both influenced from the same event, though they were not going to be about the same things. I had already known that Yellow was going to be about Tarble when he was a kid before watching the special, whereas I didn't even know I was going to write Prideful Demons Black until I had finished the special. I was a bit fearful that I was overreacting with creating two stories after watching this special, so I moved to finish both of them as soon as possible, before I could get bored with them.
The name for this story came before I wrote it. I came up with "Yellow" on July 11th, but I didn't start writing the story until July 13th. I knew the name would be in reference to Tarble's perceived cowardice (and perhaps other things - more on that in my comments below). On July 13th, I wrote most of the story from 3:15 a.m. to 5:05 a.m. my time, up to the lines " Still, the Nagamushi pursued him. Still it hunted him.". After that, I went to bed. I didn't know exactly how to end the Nagamushi chase, so I didn't deal with it that night. I came back and finished the story during the evening of July 16th from 6:30 p.m. to 9:23 p.m. my time. I posted the story on this wiki at 9:24 p.m., literally one minute after I had finished my final revisions.
This story ended up being longer than I thought it would be. I wanted to finish it on July 13th, but it ended up taking too long to write (and I wasn't even done). Another thing is that this story has a lot of italicized inner thoughts, which makes importing it into source mode here a real hassle. I had to manually go through the story and re-add italicizations. More so than with the other stories in this collection, I tried to be very thematic with Yellow. The name "Yellow" has multiple meanings within the story. The meaning of the great tree is very important symbol throughout. The use of the forest setting as a foil to Tarble's mental state was also meticulously added in. I made some more obvious than others, but there are numerous parallels and symbols and whatnot throughout the story. I think another thing that can be seen is that I put a great deal of effort into the dialogue here, perhaps more so than with any other Black and White Collection story. Tarble's dialogue in his special had a massive impact on how I wrote for him in Yellow. I think it's completely accurate to how he talks in his canon appearance - which it might not have been had I not watched his special before writing this.
One final thing I want to talk about is why I paired this story with Lionheart. I had the choice to pair it with any of the three villain stories (Tyrant, Lionheart, and Bluestreaker), but I chose Lionheart because of its thematic similarities to Yellow and the similarities of the two main characters in both stories. Both Tarble and Nappa struggle with grief as it pertains to their species: after Nappa learns that the Saiyan race has been destroyed, he copes by clearing a planet in an extremely aggressive manner, and after Tarble learns who his true father and brother are and is hurt by their accusations of him being a useless weakling, he tries to prove himself in a rather aggressive and reckless way. Both Saiyans almost get themselves killed by trying to deal with their grief in a very "Saiyan-like" way. We can also see the contrast. Nappa is a warrior, so he excels in battle. Tarble is not, so he's forced to flee. We get two sides of the same coin, in a sense. Thematically-speaking, both Saiyans also want to matter; they want to feel like they have a purpose. Nappa loses his purpose when his species is nearly eradicated, so he searches for a new one through the one way he knows how - battle. Tarble tries to find purpose in the same way, though for a slightly different reason. Both Saiyans have a hole inside of them, emotionally, once they find out that their kind is dead. But Tarble is not a Saiyan by nature. He was raised to be peaceful by Gure's father. So Tarble goes through much more of an identity crisis than Nappa. Is he a Saiyan? Should he be violent? Does he need to be strong? He is so influenced by King Vegeta's thoughts about him that he adopts a new, false personality only to please a father he knows is dead and will never meet. There is hopeless desperation in that, but there is beauty too. Tarble just wants to be loved. Nappa also wants to be loved, to have someone console him during his time of grief. There is no one for him, though. Prince Vegeta, being so young and spoiled, is no true companion. That's what forces Nappa to do what he does. In both stories, Prince Vegeta is somewhat of a catalyst, and in both stories, the protagonist suffers as they try to cope with grief and find out who they truly are.
Tarble’s voice echoed several times through the green wooded forest. A fat red bug with four furiously flapping wings passed by the boy’s face, and he swatted it away impatiently. “I see you! Please come out!” he shouted earnestly.
Begrudgingly, a small figure stepped out from behind the old, moss-covered trees. He was short, only half as tall as Tarble, and he looked nothing like the boy. His skin was pale, smooth, hairless, with a round, polished head, and two beady eyes and a small maw of a mouth decorating it with sparse efficiency. Tarble beamed when he saw the boy approach him. He was Tarble’s best friend after all.
“How did you see me?” the alien boy asked.
“It wasn’t very hard. You don’t blend in with the trees, Budo.”
“Hey, that wasn’t me!” Budo said in an annoyed voice. “I was just hiding behind this weird thing. Look!”
He ran off back into the trees with the light scamper of a forest animal. Tarble followed him, digging his boots deep into the soft soil as he ran. It smells nice out here, Tarble thought, like everything is alive. The air is so crisp, not like back home. I wish we could live out here instead. Tarble shook his head. No, it’s dangerous out here. The Nagamushi Monster could come and eat me at night. It’s not safe. But it is very beautiful.
Tarble followed Budo into the trees. Many dead, rotting branches and fallen trees littered the floor and he had to walk over them carefully, lest he step on one and it break on him, sending him falling to the turf. There were many sharp, thorny plants grasping to the surface, and the boy was in no mood to get several new cuts to go with the old ones he had acquired in these hours of play.
Ahead of Tarble was a circular object, one which looked very alien in the lush, sparkling foliage that was its surroundings. It had been white once, he could tell, but time had dulled its outer shell to modest, pale yellow. Thin red moss was growing on one side of the ball, and a bird had made its nest on the very top of the thing. Tarble saw Budo standing next to it, and the similarity was uncanny. The young alien boy looked very much like the strange ball. Tarble’s pink lips parted and let out a few giggles of delight. He felt a little ashamed laughing at his friend like that, but he could not help himself.
“I guess I saw that through the trees,” Tarble laughed nervously. He scratched the back of his head and flicked his tail. “You must forgive me, Budo. Please! I didn’t mean to offend you.”
Budo chuckled. “It doesn’t matter, Tarble. I was hiding behind it anyway. You found me fair and square. But what do you think this thing is?”
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s an old car that got lost?”
Budo scrunched up his face like a wrinkled space prune. “How would a car get so far out here? Besides, this doesn’t look like any cars I’ve ever seen.”
Tarble shrugged, his furry tail moving about as if on its own accord. It got like that when he tried to think too hard.
“I’m going to go ask dad. You want to come?” Budo asked the boy.
Tarble shook his head. “I want to stay out here for a while. I’m enjoying the air.”
“Suit yourself,” Budo replied before scurrying off once again.
Tarble kicked the thorny grass out of his way until it was just the bare soil beneath his feet. Then he let himself drop to his knees, close his eyes, and breath in the sweet air. It’s so stuffy back home. All the factories make it harder to breathe. Tarble sighed. He wished he never had to go back home. Opening his dark eyes, Tarble glanced at the yellow object ahead of him. It looked as if it had crashed against the large tree it was leaning up against. The tree was massive, so tall that Tarble couldn’t even see the top of it. But it was unharmed. Unlike the branches or the small trees which had fallen all around, this old stalwart stood strong and tall, proud and resolute. Tarble stood up and walked up to it. The boy found it was covered in much green and red growth, snaking up its trunk like thin pieces of rope. When Tarble reached out to touch it, he caught a glimmer of light coming from his left. He jumped back, afraid at first, and then noticed it to be the yellow machine. On this side of it, there was a black and red window reflecting its sheen off of the rising sun.
Tarble was enthralled by the thing. He reached out to touch it, and when his finger lightly brushed its metal hull, the window shot forward. Tarble leapt back like a frightened animal, prepared to run away at a moment’s notice. But then he saw that the window was not shooting forward. The door it was a part of was simply opening. Tarble relaxed his shoulders and laughed to himself for becoming so afraid over nothing. Why is my first thought always to get scared? He stepped forward and peered into the ball.
Inside was a cushioned seat, and numerous computer panels lined the walls. When Tarble stepped inside, the computers lit up and began humming. I thought this was an old car, Tarble thought, surprised. So many computers in a car did not make sense. No, this is something different. Something alien! Something cool!
“Greetings, Prince Tarble! Where would you like to go?” a simulated voice suddenly asked him. When it did, a map of the solar system popped up and blinking lights started floating around the inside of the room as if Tarble was in the middle of some three-dimensional map. How does it know my name? And why did it call me Prince Tarble?
“What…? Who are you?” Tarble asked with caution.
“I am the shipboard AI for this vessel,” the voice replied. “I have been assigned to help you navigate the stars, Prince Tarble.”
“How do you know my name?!”
“Your father programmed me,” the thing replied.
Tarble’s eyes widened and he had to sit down. Father, he thought. My real father. Could it really be true? Tarble had lived with Budo and his family ever since he could remember. But he was not one of them, he knew. He looked nothing like them. He acted nothing like them. He was different. But now he had proof - he had validity. And he had questions.
“Who is my father? Where is he? What does he look like?” Tarble shot back. “Please, take me to him!”
A picture of a tall man with brown hair and a brown beard flashed onto the main computer screen. He wore white and red armor and had a cape. He looks like me, Tarble realized. The man before Tarble wasn’t another egg-head like Budo. He was one of Tarble’s kind. The boy let in a small, sharp gasp and he felt his heart pounding in his chest upon seeing the picture.
“Your father is named King Vegeta. He is the ruler of the Saiyan race.”
“My father… a king?” Disbelief and wonder saturated the boy’s voice. “But if he’s the king, then please can’t you take me to him?”
“I am sorry, but King Vegeta’s last known location no longer exists. Please try another destination,” the voice droned.
Tarble felt adrenaline pumping through his veins. Father’s a king… and I’m a prince. Was it true? How could it be true? He finally could glimpse at what his father looked like. And yet, he could not meet him. He did not understand what was going on. Why did father send me away? What did I do? Does he hate me? Maybe he doesn’t want me. Why else would he do this to me?
“Can I send him a message? Can we search for him?” Tarble asked politely.
“This ship does not have the ability to send long-range messages. However, I do have a local video of King Vegeta on my harddrive that he requested I play for you when you come of age.”
“Play it, please!” Tarble said a little too loudly. He was excited. His heartbeats were ringing in his ears. He felt lightheaded. He just wanted to see his father. He wanted to know what was going on. Nothing else in the world mattered to him.
A video took over the active monitor. On it was Tarble’s father in the same clothes the boy had seen him wearing in the picture. He had a stern look on his tired face and his arms were crossed.
“Tarble, my son. I am your father, King Vegeta, ruler of the Saiyan race, the most powerful warriors in the galaxy! I have sent you to a far-distant planet because you are weak.”
Tarble gulped and felt his face burn hot with embarrassment.
“It is unfit for a king of my stature to have a child who is not a warrior. It would bring a great dishonor to my family. If you manage to grow in strength as you get older and clear that planet you are on of all life, I will allow you to return to Planet Vegeta. But only if you have proved yourself to be a capable warrior. If not, you are not to return home. A weak son is no son of mine.”
Tarble’s eyes watered. He felt an emptiness in his stomach and in his chest. It was growing hard to breathe again, even though he was out of the city. Why am I so weak? I don’t want to be weak, father. Please, let me fix it. Let me come back. I’ll be strong for you, father. Please.
Tarble’s thoughts were nothing. No one would hear them, least of all his father. Feelings were meaningless. But the sadness of his father’s rejection was too much for him to take. He was ready to run out of the pod when the video continued playing. “This is your brother, Vegeta. He is a strong boy, a capable warrior, and one day he’ll be king after I am gone. He is continuing my bloodline with honor. If you want to do the same, Tarble, train. Grow strong. Become a fearsome Saiyan warrior. Remember your heritage! Do not dishonor me.”
Tarble placed his index finger on the edge of his lips, softly chewing on the nail. His eyes were wide as pools of water as he watched the video. He saw his brother, Vegeta - a boy younger than Tarble was now. He had a smug look on him, and when father mentioned Tarble, he seemed to spit in disgust. Why do they hate me? He wanted to see them. He wanted to talk to them. He wanted to ask for their forgiveness. They were his true family, his father and brother, and he so desperately wanted them in his life. He wanted to meet them and apologize for how weak he was. He wanted to tell them he would get stronger. He wanted them to let him come home. He wanted them to love him. Tarble blinked tears from his eyes as he watched the picture of Vegeta fade.
“Tarble!” a voice rang from outside the pod.
The boy Saiyan jumped in momentary fright before realizing who was calling him. It was Ebio, Budo’s father. Tarble wiped away the tears from his eyes and breathed in several times to try and compose himself. He didn’t want the alien to see him crying. After a moment, Tarble stepped out of the pod and bowed to the older being.
“I’m sorry, father! What do you need?”
Ebio was taller than Tarble, but only slightly. His face was round, puffy, and wrinkled. His body was fat as a gourd and his fingers were like small clubs. When he walked, he breathed heavily, as if every step took great strength. “Tarble, my boy, what are you doing inside that contraption?”
“Father, I… I was just exploring. Budo and me found it, and… and…” Tarble stammered. He was afraid of Ebio. He was just afraid in general. Tarble was not a very brave person. It made him feel ashamed and empty inside.
Ebio pressed him, “And do you know what it is?”
Tarbled bowed his head, closing his eyes so that Ebio wouldn’t see the tears coming. “I-it’s mine.”
“Right you are. It was what carried you here as a baby.”
“I know, sir. The video inside told me.”
“Ah, the video,” Ebio said with a grin. “The one where your father said you could return home if you grew strong and killed us all?”
Tarble opened his eyes, forgetting his sadness, and looked directly at Ebio. “How do you know?!”
“I’m the one who found you. I watched the video many years ago. But since you were so young, I didn’t think you were a threat to us,” Ebio shrugged. “I’ve raised you to be a gentle, polite young boy, Tarble. Haven’t I taken care of you like a son, Tarble? More than that father of yours ever did, I’d say.”
“Yes, father,” Tarble replied to his fake father. Granting Ebio such a title felt wrong now that he had discovered who his real father was, even if Ebio had truly raised Tarble like a son all these years. The boy knew, in his blood, that it was wrong. “But couldn’t I go and see him? You could come too! I could tell my real father about how nice you are and how you raised me!”
Ebio shook his head violently. “No, my boy, it can’t happen. King Vegeta - as he was called - can’t ever see you again, I’m afraid. He is dead.”
“Dead?” Tarble repeated, softly. The emptiness in his stomach was biting into him now like a hungry snake.
“Along with the rest of your kind. They were killed in a war several years ago. I’m sorry, Tarble. There is nothing any of us can do. What is done is done, and what is dead is dead. You are a Saiyan like your father, but you are not a bloodthirsty savage like him. You don’t have to face the same fate. Come here, my son,” Ebio gestured for Tarble to come forward, and the young boy did so at once.
Ebio embraced Tarble with a tight, warm hug. He’s my real father, Tarble thought. And I’m his son. He called me his son. He loves me, truly. Tarble hugged him back. As the hug went on, however, Tarble felt the warmness between him and Ebio fade like a passing shadow. But it’s wrong. I have a different father, a different people. I’m one of them, not one of Ebio’s kind.
Tarble let go of Ebio and stepped back. “I-I think I need to be alone for a while, father,” he said in a voice as politely as he could muster. “I’ll be home for dinner, I promise.”
Ebio nodded. “Very well, Tarble. Take your time. Come home when you are ready. We will be waiting for you.”
The round alien nodded and then waddled off. Tarble could hear him breathing for some time. Once it faded, Tarble felt a shiver run down his spine. I’m alone. I’m the only Saiyan left. Tarble sat up against the huge tree that his spaceship had crashed into and hugged his thin, furry tail between his arms. It was strong wood, tall and noble. It was the king of the forest. And like Tarble, it was alone. He had just learned who his real father was, and then it was taken from him, snapped away like a fell trick. Vegeta was dead. Tarble would never meet the king. He could never ask for his father’s forgiveness. As Ebio had said, what is dead is dead. But it didn’t make him feel better. He felt sad, hopeless, small. He didn’t know what to do.
The young Saiyan boy felt guilt wash over him as he remembered his father’s message. I’m not a warrior. Father must have been so disappointed in me. I let him down. I let all of the Saiyans down. I’m a failure. I could have been a strong prince, like my brother. But he wasn’t. He was weak. He was a coward. He was frightened by the smallest things. And he was ashamed. Tarble didn’t want to be any of those things, but they came naturally to him. But I’m a Saiyan too. A Saiyan at heart. I have to be.
Tarble stood up. He didn’t know if there was a heaven or a hell, but Ebio’s people believed in both. He didn’t know which one his father would be in, but it didn’t matter too much, he supposed. Both the good and the evil could watch the actions of the living, Ebio had told Tarble once. That way, Tarble knew he had to act good even when he was alone.
“Father… wherever you are… I’m sorry I disappointed you,” Tarble spoke to the colossal tree. “B-but I want to make it up to you. I want you to be proud of me, father. I-I… I know I’m a Saiyan. I’ll try to be a warrior for you, father. I’ll try to be strong.”
Tarble knew what he had to do. Waves of terror washed over him. His cowardly heart was screaming at him to turn back, to go home and forget the Saiyan race. They were dead, after all. What did it matter? It does matter. I want father to be proud of me. I need to be something more than a failure for once.
So Tarble took a step forward, trembling all over. He was not going back home to Ebio, Budo, and the rest of the family. He was going deeper into the forest to find that beast the planet’s residents called the Nagamushi Monster. Tarble knew the tales. He knew about how many thousands of people it had killed. He knew how dangerous it was. But he had to prove himself. He needed to be a warrior. He needed to show the world that he wasn’t a coward, that he wasn’t yellow.
It was raining hard by the time Tarble found the Nagamushi’s lair. The ground had turned to a muddy sludge and his boots were covered in it. Tarble knew this was the Nagamushi’s home for when he had been much younger, Budo had taken him to this place to frighten him. While they were sitting outside, Budo started hurling insults at the cave entrance. He was brave, then. Fearless, even. I wish I could be like that. But then there had been a rumbling sound and the two had seen a pair of dark red eyes pop up in the darkness of the rocky entrance. When that happened, Budo and Tarble had run off crying and begging for the monster’s pardons. But that had been a long time ago. Tarble wouldn’t be running away this time. He was going to kill the monster and make his father proud.
Tarble stepped forward, wiping rainwater from his eyes. He glanced upward and saw the sky had turned grey and black. Lightning was cracking across the murky sky like a flaming sword. How quickly the weather had changed. Just a few hours ago, it had been sunny and green and peaceful. And now he was in the midst of a ferocious storm.
“Hey, monster! I’ve come here to kill you! Show yourself! Get ready to face the power of a Saiyan!” Tarble shouted with all the courage he could pretend to possess. The cave entrance was covered in sharp rocks and the bones of many an animal decorated it like grim ornaments. Tarble even thought he saw streaks of blood trailing into the pitch blackness within. “Hey, is anybody in there?! I’m going to kill you!” Tarble shouted with even more boldness.
Annoyed, the boy picked up a nearby rock and threw it into the cave. He heard the thing bounce around in there a few times, its sound rattling and echoing throughout the expansive rocky hole inside. Tarble cocked his head, waiting for the dreaded monster to come out so he could beat the life out of it.
Then, he heard a hiss. It was a terrible thing, sounding of death and hate and malice. Tarble’s courage washed away with the rain as soon as he heard it. His courage was gone; his resolve dead. He turned to run when, out of the corner of his eye, the Saiyan saw two red eyes coming from within darkness of the cave.
As soon as Tarble started running, he heard the Nagamushi Monster come racing out behind him. It brushed aside trees as if they were toothpicks, even as Tarble struggled to move through thorny bushes and pools of sludgey mud. He glanced back over his shoulder and saw something that looked like smoke coming after him. It was atramentous and vaporous, though the two piercing eyes stood atop it, burning red with hunger, gave it life. It didn’t look like any animal Tarble had ever seen. I’m not a warrior, he told himself as he ran. I’m not a Saiyan. I don’t want to be strong. It’s too hard. I’m too scared. I want to forget everything. I want to go home.
Tarble could not stop running, even as he felt his legs cramp up and burn with pain. It was his life if he stopped. He couldn’t die. He couldn’t visit his father in the next world like this. He wasn’t ready. So he kept running. But the Saiyan felt the inky beast bearing down on him still. He turned back to look at it again and saw a mouthful of sharp teeth come shooting at him. He ducked under a branch as the monster bit into a tree branch ahead of him. He went running in another direction to dodge the beast, but in a blink of the eye, the thing was back on top of Tarble. He ran this way and that, zigzagging through the trees and slipping on the mud as he went. Still, the Nagamushi pursued him. Still it hunted him. Still it wished to taste his blood and feast on his bones.
The rain had become a vicious, screaming torrent of droplets, and now Tarble could barely see a few feet in front of him. The murderous beast slithered behind Tarble, pushing trees aside and flinging mud everywhere. After what felt like ages of running, ages of panic, and ages of numb hysteria, Tarble saw the great tree ahead of him. He was nearly up against it when he noticed it. It was the same tree that his space ship had crashed into, the same tree that stood so tall above the others. It was a strong tree, standing firm in the midst of the howling storm. It did not shake like the others. Tarble shivered and then ran behind it, hoping to hide from Nagamushi.
What came next was not quite a boom and not quite an explosion. Wood splinters flew about like knives in a drunken tornado and Tarble felt the stinging pains of cuts forming across his wet face. The rain washed away his blood, but it did little to quell the fear that stuck in his throat like stubborn taffy. Tarble felt another massive shudder and more wood fragments went flying about. He looked up and saw the black, slimy skin of the monster lumbering over him, past the ruins of the once-great tree. As it passed over him, drops of the slime hit Tarble in the face and hair, causing him to vomit profusely into the mud. Then, Tarble looked back up again, instinctively raising his right arm to cover his face. As he did, the boy felt the the bone in that arm snap like a twig. He felt no pain, only cold numbness shoot across his body. The feeling was sickening, horrifying. Tears came to Tarble’s eyes as he realized what had happened. He dropped to one knee, but could not move. The Nagamushi still continued forward, as if it had not seen him. He watched it go, heaving his small chest up and down, sucking in whatever air he could get. It was becoming hard to breathe. Too hard to breathe. The air did not smell so sweet as it had that morning.
When the Nagamushi’s tail came to Tarble, he did not react quick enough, and the giant appendage hit him squarely in the ribs. The Saiyan boy flew back from the force of it and crashed against the remnants of the great tree. He felt wooden splinters cut into his soft flesh along his back and legs. He felt himself wince, but he felt none of the pain. Only the cold and fear could he feel then, and as spots started to cloud Tarble’s eyes, he found it more and more difficult to breathe. He saw no Nagamushi any longer. Did it lose my scent in the rain? He did not know. He could not know. His head was swimming. And then it all went black.
A silver glint of sunlight was shining off the yellow-crusted space ship. Tarble blinked open stinging eyes to see the shine hit him across his pale, weary face. His black pupils dilated and he felt tears coming to his eyes, so he looked away. Sitting up, Tarble let out a short gasp of pain. With his left hand, he reached down and felt his ribs. They hurt so bad. They must be broken… I need to get help. I need to find Budo and Ebio and… He tried to stand up, but he couldn’t. His right arm was positioned at a weird angle when he looked at it. Trying to move it, Tarble felt a sharp point of pain hit him. He gasped again. That was surely broken as well. He could hardly think through the pain.
So the boy sat there, looking at the space pod that had carried him to this planet as a child. I’m the last Saiyan, he realized. They’re all dead. Ebio said so himself. I’m not like the others. I’m not a warrior. My father would be so disappointed in me.
No, he heard another voice speak up in his brain then, everyone is different. The Saiyans are gone and you are not. You don’t have to be like them. And maybe he didn’t, but Tarble was too tired to think about it. Why had he come with Budo into this forest? Why couldn’t they have just stayed home with his sister, Gure, and played at the house. He would have never found out about his past that way. He would have never become so sad.
I’m a coward, he knew. The pain hit him in another wave and Tarble had to grit his teeth to stop from yelling out. Why did I have to be born a coward? He looked around him to the bits of wood and bark that lay around him. The tree protected me from the monster. It was big and strong and noble. And it did what I couldn’t do. He turned around (moaning in pain as he did) to glance up at what had now become of the great tree. He saw a trunk that looked liked shredded paper, branches and leaves torn asunder and ripped apart in ugly fashion. And he could see its top now, a jagged, gape of cracked and spiked wood. It did not look so noble now. It was not half as tall as it used to be. It wasn’t the king of this forest any longer, Tarble knew. But it’s still alive.
The tree is strong, Tarble told himself. Its roots go deep, and under the ground there is still life in it. So long as the roots remained, so too did the tree. It was not dead, just broken, shattered, beaten. Like me, he thought, feeling his arm gingerly. I'm not dead either.
The sky was streaked cyaneous and white. Birds were chirping. He saw the life in the forest again; green stalks poking up from the brown, wet dirt; water standing on the tips of blades of grass; small animals digging in the ground to find a meal; fat red bugs buzzing about hanging purple-blue flowers and sucking out their nectar. All of this had survived the storm, had survived the Nagamushi. Like him. He’d survived the storm too. The Saiyans weren't all dead. Not yet. I’ll be like the tree, Tarble thought. I’ll stand through this storm. And I’ll survive.
- The fat red bug is a reference to Bitterly Bothered Brother.
- Budo's name is a pun on a Japanese word for "grape" (budō). I used this pun because Gure, Tarble's wife, has her named also punned off of the word grape (in this case, the gure part of the word gurēpu).
- Tarble's pod isn't a part of the forest (he easily spots it amongst the trees), but it has grown to have its place in the wilderness. This is a metaphor for Tarble's place in Gure's family.
- This story reveals Tarble's personality in a variety of ways. We get the inner thoughts and the descriptions in prose, but his dialogue is also extremely important for fleshing him out. He's a meek, passive, somewhat cowardly boy, and that shows in how he talks.
- I mention the Nagamushi monster in a passing comment early in the story as a means of foreshadowing.
- When Tarble finds his space pod, he also notices the huge tree that it crashed into. He starts ascribing traits to it as if it were alive. It's the only massive tree around, as many others have fallen around it. This may be a metaphor for something in the story, or it may symbolize an idea. You be the judge!
- Tarble's space pod has yellowed with time. This is a reference to the name of the story, giving it a double meaning. This also extends the metaphor of the space pod to Tarble's personality more directly. He's a yellow boy - a coward. There's nothing inherently negative about that, but it is who he is.
- I enjoy calling Tarble "Prince Tarble". I do it whenever I can, because I don't see it said very often in fanons or (ever) in his canon mentions. He is a prince, so he should be noted as such.
- I knew I had to tell Tarble his family's history. The AI was the most fluid way to work this out. It would take far longer in text and probably not work as well if he just stumbled upon the video without knowing he's a prince and whatnot. I like that the AI knows his name, because that allows Tarble to trust everything else it has to say. It makes sense, too, that the AI is there. I think the space pods would have AIs.
- Tarble loves Gure's family. He sees them as his family. But he's just a kid. He wants to know who his real parents are. It's curiosity that drives him to ask the AI to take him back home, not a dislike of Gure's family.
- The AI doesn't know that King Vegeta was killed. It does, however, know that his planet was destroyed - or, rather, it no longer exists where it normally would. This indirectly tells Tarble that his father is dead.
- King Vegeta looks tired in the video because he's under tremendous pressure with dealing with Frieza. He's not quite to the point of challenging Frieza yet, but he's close. Remember that in my other story with these two characters, Second-best, King Vegeta only sends Tarble away mere minutes before challenging Frieza. I'm guessing this video takes place at least a day before that. He was preparing to send Tarble away, but hadn't quite worked himself up to doing so.
- Tarble has an inherent inferiority complex. Knowing that his father didn't want him affected Tarble greatly. It set in motion the second half of the story.
- The scene with Tarble watching his father's video is one of my favorite scenes I've ever written. Tarble's embarrassment, his sadness, and his realizations all blur into one to create a gut-wrenching scene. He's highly conflicted about his father, but he never blames King Vegeta for what he sees Tarble as. Tarble blames himself. It's tragic.
- King Vegeta's reason for sending Tarble away in this story is consistent with the reason Vegeta gave in the Tarble special.
- King Vegeta calling Tarble no son of his is a reference to Tywin Lannister's last words to his own son in the series, A Song of Ice and Fire.
- I had Prince Vegeta in the video for three reasons: for one, his hate of Tarble amplified Tarble's isolation and separation from his family; additionally, it also acquainted Tarble with Vegeta, so when they later meet (in other stories), they would know who each other is; and, finally, Vegeta's presence also gives the readers a vague idea of how old Tarble is. Tarble states that he is older than Vegeta was in that video. Vegeta was five in that video, so Tarble is probably in the 7-10 range, given how he talks and whatnot.
- Ebio's name is a pun on an archaic Japanese word for "grape" (ebi). This means that all shown members of Gure's family have their names punned off of the same word.
- Tarble calling Ebio his father is no accident. He loves Ebio as if he were Tarble's true father, despite Tarble wanting to meet King Vegeta so bad. Tarble has a bit of an identity crisis with this, but he's too young to properly understand it.
- Ebio is an extraordinary man. He knew Tarble was sent to his planet to wipe his species out, and yet he didn't care. He raised Tarble to be nice. He made Tarble what he is. Tarble likely would have been weak, but at least more brutish, had he been raised amongst his own kind. He had faith that babies are innocent and that he could prevent Tarble from doing what he was sent to do simply by loving him and raising him like his own son. He's like Grandpa Gohan in a way, but slightly more impressive, considering he knew what Tarble was sent to his planet to do (when Gohan was not aware of why Goku was sent to Earth).
- I don't explain how Ebio knows that King Vegeta is dead. His knowledge implies that he met with someone - perhaps Vegeta or someone else who knew that the Saiyans were eradicated. That he states King Vegeta was killed in a war and not in an accident points to it being someone who knew the truth at the time, which would eliminate Prince Vegeta from the potential candidates.
- Tarble is having the "One vs Other" struggle when he embraces Ebio. Ebio and his kind are the One. He is the Other. He wants to be a part of the One. He wants to be amongst his own kind, as much as he loves Ebio.
- Tarble was not actually the only Saiyan left by this point. There were around a dozen other Saiyans still alive (in my own canon), but he didn't know this. Since he thought they were all dead, he thought that the burden of surviving for their species' sake was his responsibility.
- Like Tarble, the huge tree is alone and out of place.
- Tarble's shame in being a coward comes from how Ebio raised him. This is a huge conflict inside of him that I don't think he fully understands. He loves Ebio and Ebio's family, but they have shaped him to be guilty about his Saiyan heritage.
- Tarble feels like he has let his entire species down by being so weak - not just his father and brother. He wants to make all of them proud, even if he knows none of them, and even if they are all dead.
- Nagamushi is Japanese for snake.
- Tarble's story is about growth. He's a coward by heart, so he tries to fix this by confronting his fears. It's commendable for someone at his age to have the fortitude to do this. I don' think Tarble is a complete coward, because he was able to challenge the Nagamushi monster. Yellow, in a few ways, is an ironic title for this story.
- That Tarble would confront his fears like he does shows how distressed he actually is by King Vegeta calling him a weakling. It affects him so much that Tarble puts himself in immense danger and almost dies just trying to prove it wrong and please a father who is dead and likely unaware of what he is doing.
- I don't know and I don't think Tarble knew how he was going to kill the Nagamushi monster.
- In the first section of the story, the setting is relatively peaceful. It is sunny, bright, happy. In this second section when Tarble challenges the monster, it starts to rain. This is an example of me having the setting mirror the protagonist's emotions.
- Tarble wiping rainwater from his eyes gives the illusion that he was crying. It's ambiguous as to if he actually was though.
- "How quickly the weather had changed." - This can be compared to Tarble's own state of mind. How quickly everything changed for him once he learned about his biological family and what they thought of him...
- I love the word "atramentous". It means black as ink. So useful in a variety of contexts. I've used it in at least two other non-Dragon Ball stories of mine. I also used it in in Lionheart, which is the story paired with Yellow in the Black and White Collection. That was no accident.
- When confronted by his fears, Tarble buckles. Perhaps he is yellow after all. Perhaps the Nagamushi monster represents something in Tarble's life, aside from being a real animal as well.
- The Nagamushi Monster slithering as it pursues Tarble is a reference to its own name and what kind of animal it is.
- Tarble finds the huge tree again and tries to hide behind it to escape the Nagamushi monster. This is the second time he's used it to help him.
- I had the Nagamushi's slime hit Tarble in the face as a reference to SonikFan's great June 2011 contest story It Slimed Me!, which is also about Tarble.
- "I’m the last Saiyan" is a very conscious word choice on my part, considering I have a story called "The Last Saiyan".
- Near the end of the story is the first time I mention that Ebio and Budo are related to Gure, though I think any astute reader could have reached this conclusion far before the reveal.
- The pain that hits Tarble after he says he's a coward is not wholly physical.
- The tree protected Tarble from the monster, but ended up being ruined in the process. Sounds like what King Vegeta did to Tarble, no? Even if King Vegeta left that message for his son, he did save him from Frieza's wrath and die soon after.
- The tree being ruined means that it is no longer the king of the forest. Perhaps the tree also symbolizes the Saiyan race as a whole. With their planet's destruction, they are no longer the best warriors in the universe (not that I think they ever were, but it is stated over and over again by them). Still, they are alive because Tarble (and others he is unaware of) is alive.
- The second-to-last paragraph of Yellow is a direct reference to the last paragraph in the second book of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Clash of Kings. That last paragraph can be read here. It is my favorite paragraph in that series, and one of my favorite bits of prose ever. It's so beautiful. Bleak, yes, but slightly hopeful. I think those conflicts of emotions would work well at the end of Yellow, so I referenced the entire paragraph. I changed my version slightly so it wouldn't be plagiarism. I love the comparison of the human being broken compared to the inanimate object. In Yellow, this is the tree. Tarble is literally broken too - his arm and ribs are, at least. But he's also mentally broken. He doesn't know how to deal with what he learned that day. He's still a coward; that has not changed. So he's at a point where there is no resolution. But still, he 's alive. Like the tree, his roots go deep. You can destroy the top of the tree and it won't die, and metaphorically-speaking, the same is true for Tarble.
- The cyaneous sky and white clouds description is a reference to Spindlerun: The Tale of Yajirobe, which has a very similar description of the sky at one point.
- The story ends with hope, even if it doesn't end with resolution. Tarble resolves to survive, but he has not reconciled his feelings about his species, himself, and his true father yet. I don't think that needs to be told in this story. It was important for Tarble to have to deal with his emotions. Him resolving to survive is foreshadowing enough as to how he will cope and eventually overcome what has happened to him.
I am completely satisfied with this story. I really enjoyed reading it again to do this commentary. The characterization of Tarble throughout, with the descriptions, inner thoughts, and dialogue, is something I am very proud of. The prose is very tight, too. The plot flows how I wanted it to. The lack of a resolution is great, in my opinion. There's hope at the end. Tarble wants to survive. He hasn't given up. But it's' also quite a melancholy ending. The scene with Tarble watching and reacting to his father's video is one of my favorites. Out of all of the Black and White Collection stories, this is the one that I think would work best in manga or anime form, as there are so many striking images and dual meanings behind various things. Developing all of the themes and reoccurring motifs was fun. The tree especially was cool because it could mean a variety of things, depending on one's perspective. The open, ambiguous nature of the tree is what makes this story survive past its length. The questions it poses allow for extended analysis. I don't think I would change anything from how this story is currently written. I'm happy with it as it is. I would give Yellow an S.
<---- Part 36
Part 38 ---->