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This page, The Monster and the Maiden, is property of KidVegeta.

Note: this story uses a severe and ungrammatical style of stream-of-consciousness in some parts.


He was standing on his parents’ stone sink, looking through the window upon the royal city spread below, a chaos-pool of lights and darkness.

“What happened to your face, Ledas?” his mother asked from behind as she came into the room. In her hand was a blue scouter that she was cleaning with a rag.

“Vegeta punched me. I couldn’t block it. He was faster than me…”

Her hands were on his shoulders, running through his hair, scratching his scalp playfully. “I’ve got a cream for that, Ledas. Let me get it.” The boy waited and was still as she pressed the tan gel around his eye. He hugged her after she finished. “I’ve heard you’ve been getting stronger,” she said sweetly, picking up her son and carrying him over to the lounging chair by the door just outside the kitchen where they could watch the rain drench the city at night. “Being able to train with the prince is no small feat, Ledas. I’m proud of you, don’t you know that? You’ve made both your father and me very proud.”

He nodded feverishly.

“Are you tired?”

Again.

“Well, it’s bedtime. Do you have a story picked out for tonight, sweetie?”

His mind raced with cool excitement. “The one about the Legendary Super Saiyan!” Ledas whispered expectantly. “I want to hear the story about him! Me and Vegeta talked about him today. We wanna be just like him one day.”

She was smiling and caressing him with her fingers through his hair, and then they were together in the chair, the rain falling in scattered monotony, his mother’s eyes glazing over slightly as she searched for something in her mind which drew a sliver of a smile to the corner of her mouth when she found it.


In the dominion of the Saiyan Empire, more than one thousand years ago, there lived a king named Tahros, son of Tatsos. King Tahros was a weak, indecisive man who lorded over a crumbling intergalactic kingdom. The Legendary Super Saiyan, proclaimed to be soon forthcoming from Tahros’ bloodline, never emerged, not when the empire needed them most. His only child – a sickly boy with white hair and a split tail – died before the age of seven, leaving the king heirless.

Tahros was a gambler; he loved his feasts and he loved his parties. It didn’t take him many years to burn through most of the vast wealth his ancestors had stockpiled for the security of the empire. He alienated many governors and military commanders in his seemingly endless spectacles of gluttony where he often made a fool of himself by challenging his guards to wrestling matches in the middle of feasting.

As the years wore on, the fortunes of the Saiyan Empire diminished greatly as slave species after slave species rose against their Saiyan captors. It didn’t take long for them to earn some hard-fought victories, especially in the outer colonies where Tahros had neglected to replenish his outposts’ war-ravaged armies. At first, Tahros remained unconcerned about the etho-national zeal present on many a distant colony world. It was only after the slave species began to unite, pooling resources, soldiers, ships, and commanders together that King Tahros was forced to respond.

Allowing his nephew Yaro, an untested battle commander, to lead his forces against the slaves’ patchwork armada was Tahros’ first dubious move. The campaign that resulted involved hundreds of planets, millions of Saiyan warriors, and billions of slaves. The enemy forces had more soldiers, but theirs were weaker on average. Even a mediocre Saiyan warrior is worth the blood of one hundred slaves, so the saying went.

The campaign was disastrous; Yaro’s fleet was on no less than three occasions surrounded, led blindly into chokepoints, and egregiously butchered. The losses he piled up in terms of body counts were astonishing: in the first year of the war alone, more than 700,000 Saiyan warriors were lost. Another 300,000 were taken prisoner by the slave species, most of whom were eventually executed in cold blood.

“Come on, mom, I wanna hear the part about the Legendary Super Saiyan!”

She was smiling down on him. “We’re getting there, Ledas. Be a little more patient.”

Anyways, Admiral Yaro, the hot-blooded fool, suffered tremendous casualties, and the morale of his soldiers and advisors was at an all-time low. Several plotted to overthrow him, but it was Commander Akres, the king’s own half-brother, who made the first move, taking nine of every ten ships from Yaro, rendering the royal fleet a tiny, vulnerable shell of its former self. Instead of engaging those who had remained loyal to Yaro, Akres ordered his fleet to set course for our homeworld, which would only later come to be called Planet Vegeta. There he slew Tahros on the steps of his palace as the king came out to see why such a large portion of his fleet had returned to him before the war had been won.

It was then that Akres assumed the throne and declared himself emperor, stating in no uncertain terms that the Legendary Super Saiyan would come from his loins…

“But he didn’t, did he mom? Did he?”

“No, Ledas. If you would just listen… I was about to get to that part.”

“Oh.”

The confederation of rebelling slaves took out Yaro and his beleaguered fleet in the Battle above Poraxes Minor. Yaro’s men fought to the last, taking out millions of foes in the process, but there were simply not enough of them. As the royal fleet was swept aside, the underbelly of the empire was laid bare, and planets were lost faster than blood. From the east, the Tigahl Empire, long the foe of the Saiyan Empire, sensed its opportunity to strike.

It was in these chaotic circumstances that the Last Legendary Super Saiyan made a name for herself.

“Whoa… the Super Saiyan was a girl?!” Naked wonder coated the boy’s words.

“That’s right, Ledas. She was the greatest warrior of her time.”

Her name was Len, and she lived on Planet Margous, serving under Commander Radichus. Radichus was loyal to king – the assassinated king – so Akres sent his best warrior, Daikoros, to the planet to ensure a swift and total surrender by Radichus’ forces. What followed was the exact opposite of the new king’s wish.

Radichus refused to bow to a man he deemed a thief, a murderer, and a coward. When Daikoros and his fleet arrived at Margous, they lay waste to the military outposts, bringing the fight into the upper atmosphere between starship-grade vessels and Saiyans. The Saiyans, for all their nimbleness, were able to to effectively cripple Daikoros’ fleet-wide advance, destroying several of the lumbering metal giants and thousands of on-board soldiers in the process.

Unpleased with this, Daikoros emptied his ships of their reserve soldiers, and the sky was blackened by their ranks. Down they came, falling like meteors, decimating Radichus’ defenses. Outnumbered seven to one, the…

Opening creaking the breaking spiraling color and light up


Raindrops slithered down his father’s armor, some leaping and some falling. His eyes, almost black, slanted away, looking down. “Hey. You’re home late.”

“Frieza.” His voice was gruff and penetrating. “We were waiting for – Oh,” he interrupted himself, spotting Ledas. “I didn’t think you’d be home tonight.”

The boy was too tired to respond. His mother was running her fingers through his hair rhythmically. “Your father had them today. I thought you knew.”

“Yeah.” His armor was on the wall, sliding smoothly into place. The rushing of water against the windows spread. “I heard you talking when I came in. What were you going on about? You were animated.”

“I was just telling Ledas the story of the Last Legendary Super Saiyan.”

“Not that again,” he muttered. “Were you telling him it was that girl–”

“Shhh, you’ll spoil it.”

His father was shaking his head in mild disbelief. “When I was kid, the story I always heard was that it was a man who could only control the form in Great Ape. He defeated his foes, but in the process, destroyed himself and the planet he was fighting them on.”

“That’s not the story at all. Quiet, Layeeck. You’ll just confuse him.”

“But, it’s the–”

“I come from the only tribe that can trace its bloodline back to the Last Legendary Super Saiyan. Zhukin was her direct descendant.”

He scoffed, pulling off his shirt and walking back to the bedroom down the hall. “Yeah right. You’re gonna tell me that he could even know that? Hah! No way in Arlia that’s true. If it was, Paragus’ son’d be the next Legendary Super Saiyan, wouldn’t he?” He laughed scornfully. “Paragus’ loins are weaker than a woman’s. There is nothing legendary about him.”

Cyleria held her son softly.

“I mean, there’s no way someone like him could produce an offspring even worthy of being called low-class!”

“Wow, you really hate Paragus. I didn’t realize–”

“No, he’s alright.” Standing, in stunned silence.

Silence but for the sound of his father’s footsteps down the hall…

He felt weightless, swinging, his mother’s skin against his. He became dimly aware of the fact that she was carrying him to his room. “Mom, what happened next?”

She smiled down at him. “The Battle of Torben Fields, my dear. Have you never heard of it?”

The boy shook his head lethargically. That part of the tale was unfamiliar to him.

“Close your eyes,” she said gently, and there was no easier thing for him to do.


whispering

“Len! We have to go!” It was her brother, his voice coming from great distance. “They’ve broken through!”

Cilano had served as a scout for Commander Radichus. His sister had been a communications officers – two powerful, albeit common soldiers stationed on a military outpost guarding the empire’s northern frontier. The moment they fled Len’s relay station, it went up in light and heat, her comrades vaporized by skyfire.

In the skies, Saiyans fought against Saiyans, trading blows and energy, and it was raining corpses.

Their first goal of business was to find a ship, but the whole city was aflame, and with Daikoros’ fleet in the atmosphere, escaping would be impossible. Men fell from the sky, half-burnt, limbs missing, screaming and bleeding and every one of them making the same quenching smacks on the blood-riven pavement.

Those who were beaten back were already fleeing. Len and Cilano joined them, rather than burn in the sky. But their flight would not take them far – there was no other outpost on Margous, nowhere else for them to run. The survivors flew or ran or limped, but they all went together, fleeing out into the wilderness of a most-unexplored world.

In the sky, Daikoros’ men beat back the last of Radichus’ defenses and took over the outpost.

The Torben Fields were a region located just outside the outpost used to cultivate crops for use within the city. It was in those vast, trench-dug, stalk-forests of khinto wheat that the survivors were surrounded.

Ledas, are you still listening yes mommy I’m…

… Radichus fell to a knee, his mighty beard stained by blood. Clutching at the hole in his neck, he threw himself at Daikoros. The patient usurper smiled and blew out Radichus’ heart with an air-vaporizing energy attack. “Those of you who would stand against me, step forward now!” The admiral declared, raising his arms. Cilano hugged Len tightly as the crowd pressed against them, retreating against itself. When no one came forth, the proud-faced man raised his arms, blood dripping from his fingers in the falling sunlight. “No?! No one?! No one wants to avenge your glorious leader?! The man who brought you to this place?! The man who poisoned your minds against King Akres? Did you think this was just a game, really?”

The admiral’s voice echoed through the wind, over the plains, over the corpses. Daikoros whistled, and his soldiers moved in, firing energy in torrents.

“Mercy!” a man screamed, running to Daikoros from the crowd, but he was shot down long before he reached the man.

The survivors fell back, most not bothering to offer any resistance. Those who did were singled out and killed faster anyways. The crowd grew smaller, more tightly packed, as people screamed, begging for mercy. But there was none given.

The slaughter continued until there was only a third of the original Saiyan force left. Having worked their way deep into the crowd, both Cilano and his sister had made it this far, so far unspoiled and unscathed. That was when Daikoros began to laugh, his insane cackling carrying over the silent, smoking fields as his remaining prey eyed him fearfully and with baited breath.

“Take them,” Daikoros told his men. The army lurched forward with wordless lust, desperation creaking in their armor. “These ones understand the cost of insubordination.”

The warriors had died in the sky; all that remained were the young, the weak, the cowardly, the sick, the elderly, the wounded. Soldiers tore at them, some taking them in the mud, doing to them…

Soundless.

Nothing. They were, um, taken away by Daikoros’ soldiers, one by one, to be taken back to other colony worlds where they would work for a time as slaves for their new overlords before, perhaps, re-integrating into the imperial ranks. As the crowd thinned, Cilano held his sister’s arm, keeping her close, watching with fearful eyes as Daikoros’ men took their slaves, took their picks, took all that they desired.

He was a square-chinned Saiyan who came looking for Len. Slobbering slightly, his yellow eyes bled with desire as he grabbed for her. “No!” her brother shouted, pulling back. “Please!”

The man didn’t say a word, forming a ball of blue energy in his free hand and nodding with glazed-eyes to Cilano. The boy understood well enough. He let her go, grey-black eyes like yours looking back and full of tears. But what could he do?

The Saiyan warrior lumbered off with his choice. The still, night-beckoning air ran through their hair, from his to hers, and then he broke from the crowd. Cilano wasn’t yet a man, and his skinny frame did not denote the look of a warrior, so the onlooking soldiers hardly paid him any mind. They were more interested in their own spoils, after all.

It was only his sister and her infernal kicking against the bodysnatcher who had thrown her over his shoulder that made the man stop and turn to look. And that was when Cilano met the man with his fist. The older Saiyan roared in surprise, blood spouting from his big flat nose, as he fell back and muddied his armor in the field.

“You damn miserable vermin…!” the man was howling, quivering with rage as he got to his feet. “I’ll kill you and make your bitch watch!”

He readied an energy blast, aimed it, and prepared to fire when Admiral Daikoros appeared. “Enough, soldier.”

“A-admiral… with all due respect, lookit what that one did to my face!”

The admiral’s eyes flashed, studying both Len and Cilano. “Leave them,” he said, after a time.

“I want ‘er!” the blood-nosed man complained. “She’s my choice, Admiral!”

“Pick another,” he said stoically, his hands clasped behind his back. “There are many left.”

“I want ‘er!”

Can you guess what happened next?

The Admiral killed the man for insubo-soupo-subor…

Insubordination, that’s right. Very good, Ledas. He did.

As the man fell bleeding to the ground, Admiral Daikoros grabbed Len, who had been frozen in shock, sticking out like an unplucked flower alone in a barren field, his eyes barely passing over her before settling on her brother, and grabbing him too.

Why did he take both?

He wanted both of them, Ledas. They were his slaves.

Oh.

They were his personal servants, doing whatever he asked of them – chores, delivering messages and orders, sparring with him, and even – no, forget that. Um, the two soon became Admiral Daikoros’ favorites, and he assigned them special favors,

but why why w h y

light carrying grey and gold over fields dug in trenches like at grandpas where we dug them into the bodies in piles and the girl and the boy and the man so huge and black scary robes the shadows of the sun hiding his face

Dull. Reverberating. Warm. Stroking his hair, long fingers, nails against his scalp.

Hey, and remember where they went next? The Siege of Old Lipanto – a contested world between two empires: the Saiyan Empire, and the Tigahl Empire. Long ago, Lipanto had been the seat of the Lipantan Republic, but the power and influence of that ancient imperial government had long faded by the time of our story. It was there that Admiral Daikoros’ forces broke against the might of Mingahl the Bold, that day the Saiyan Empire died, the Admiral burned in the upper atmosphere, his soldiers surrendering again…

grey skies raining on the floating city alien ships and plasma black cape in the sky a ball of flames jerking

… where they took them again, those Tigahl raptors. An intake of breath and lowered tone. It was back on their homeworld of Loru Qir where the Saiyan prisoners were added to the courtly slave population meant to be used in beast-taming shows.

To be chosen was an assurance of death, at least for most. These two weren’t like most. They had been powerful even as children – not as strong as you, my dear, surely not that strong, but still very powerful. Cilano was becoming a capable warrior who would have risen to the ranks of the upper echelon of the Saiyan Elite by adulthood. Was he stronger than Daddy? Laughing, No sweetie, not quite. His twin sister was no different. But since she had been raised as a communications officer on Radichus’ outpost, Len had not often indulged in strength training or sparring.

Saiyan battlelust runs hot in all of us, including women. Her sparring sessions were little more than half-serious attempts against her brother, but she seemed to beat him more often than not whenever they put a little effort in.

On the third night of God-Emperor Mingahl’s beast-taming spectacle, her brother was chosen to fight. The beast he was pitted against was an Uagoni Viper – a serpentine, winged species with a pointed arrow head and bug-like antennae and glimmering red-green scales. Its fangs, when extended, reached upwards of three inches. It could give even someone as strong as Cilano a good bite.

rushing smoky brown smoke and rain and

… but her tears fell on her brother’s cheeks, where the corruption had already begun to spread. “A biohazard, get away from it!” one of the guards was telling her again, but she wouldn’t let go of Cilano.

He’d been getting better the past two days, she’d told them. They wouldn’t listen. They pried her away and raised their Tigahl claws full of Tigahl energy, and wiped him out of existence, even as he lay there screaming, his flesh tearing and spasming, the Uagoni parasitoid larvae bursting their way up and out of a red-widening gash below his navel.

Heat pumping deep blood-sorting life hey I remember this part, this is where she goes

… holding her back. Len’s strength surprised the guards; she hit one bloody across the nose, dropping him. The second ran.

No that wasn’t it she turned

gliding

The last Super Saiyan died because she couldn’t control her power. Nervous laughter echoing. Records are meant to be broken. This one will…

He was sailing with her through the air, up from the Tigahl Temples, so yellow and sandy in his but she rode a wind like gold skin shining with the sun bright as a god everywhere she looked boiling with golden energy, the temples bursting like children’s blocks the people running and screaming and burning and the God-Emperor on his throne standing covering his mouth in shock like King Vegeta when Frieza came eyes whole body bloomed with light eyes gone pools of white and burning

And he was soaring with her through the stars, the rain on her hair, pulling her tail off before going to Idiro VI, that home of savage Ever-Apes who refused to leave their giant forms. Living on the eternally-illuminated moon of Khera, they had reverted to a state of primal savagery and he was flying through their camp at breakneck speed, soaking in their rugged lives, their cracked and torn armor, their teeth yellowed and chipped, their hot breath rising, the smell of sweat, his cheeks flushing, the animalistic quality they had reverted to… in it was evoked a steady, underwater longing.

Imagining the goldness of her aura rising like bubbles and stepping into the dark, bandit apes, low-born but aware, stronger than most, hardened like teeth against bone. Their mouths glistened with energy but she walked forward, still as a lone flower on a hill, into their rank dark words he remembered but could not understand words and phrases and and and i dont know those are just things people say vegetas fist against him drawing blood tasting shame raw but we will both be super saiyans he said he promised riding the golden wind with Len burning monsters and their attacks did nothing burning out the night and there was nothing he wanted more nothing but to be like her to be her to be the next super saiyan to make vegeta proud and

“We’re geo-turfers from the Cornos League,” the first one, a sick-looking man with clear radiation poisoning, muttered.

“We’ll pay you for it…” His hawkish comrade dared.

“A little closer,” said a third, coaxing at Len sweetly.

And what do you think she did then, Ledas? Feebly: blasted them away. That’s right. She did just that, unchaining a great sleeping beast in that moment who later threatened to destroy the already-crumbling Saiyan Empire. Sucking in a tired breath but didnt she know it was there? She couldn’t have. No one could have.

What Len roused, those Cornan geo-turfers had not even understood fully. They had been there to study the creature, to track it, but even they had not expected that the last Legendary Super Saiyan could rouse it. They had only meant for her to dig it out for them. Excitement. He’d never heard this story before.

Who won, who won??

They fought briefly after the creature was roused, the blue-skinned, black-striped monster that was called the False Nyarin for his resemblance to that species. Huh, what are Nyarins? Another species in service of Lord Frieza with bluish fur and black stripes and big ears. They live on Nyare. Did the monster have big ears too, mommy? No, but he had a tentacle on his head they say he could use to turn anyone it pointed at into stardust.

Shivering. Head in the pillow.

Len was battered bloody by the monster, quicker than her with demon speed and demon teeth and a lust for destruction. Though she fought valiantly against it, her form was no match for the monster – whats his name mommy, his name?! – named Jadu. His skin was said to be made of a flexible gooey substance that could regenerate itself from even the most horrific of wounds. Ewww how could anyone kill something like that?

With great difficulty. Len, though beaten and left for dead by the monster, was not in fact dead, and her ever-tenacious will to survive was never more on display than in that time of her life. In a matter of months, the blue demon Jadu was able to blast his way through the heart of the Saiyan Empire, felling fleet after fleet, army after army, until Akres had almost no one left to defend his intergalactic kingdom, and surely not enough soldiers left to maintain such a large territory. Jadu was partially responsible for the fall of the Saiyan Empire. Those other empires, eyeing us jealously from far-distant worlds, launched their own attacks when he began to pillage and slaughter throughout Akres’ kingdom. Many worlds fell. Some were lost when native slave-species rebelled against Akres, but many were taken by up-and-coming intergalactic armies, soon to emerge as empires in their own rights, not to mention the rampaging Jadu.

All this time, Len had retreated to a place of solitude, unable to confront Jadu again, for to do so would mean her life. Instead, she sought training. Some say she trained alone, while others think she enlisted the help of other Saiyans, or perhaps even space pirates, or self-important, self-proclaimed martial arts masters. But how did she really get stronger, mommy? I don’t know, I wasn’t there.

She became a much more adept warrior, either way. After those months she spent training, she could wait no longer – Jadu was heading towards Planet Vegeta. It wasn’t called Vegeta back then mommy because – Shh, quiet. Listen, my baby. Len went first to Akres, seeking his support against the woken monster, Jadu, the Genocider. He sent an army to her, on a planet just outside our solar system, where Len intended to make her last stand against the beast. The army approached, claiming they were here to lend Len aid, but as she came into range, they betrayed her.

My mother used to tell us about how it was precisely at this moment that the full moon arrived on the planet, and that is why all the soldiers turned into Great Apes, but I think that sounds too convenient, don’t you, Ledas? Nodding nodding. I agree. It’s more likely that someone made a Power Ball, or a similar prototype technique.

But they did turn into Great Apes somehow, and that is how they fought. Could she turn into a Super Saiyan as a Great Ape? She could and she did. Len was fighting to protect her species, but in order to do so, she had to destroy an army of her own people just so she could fight Jadu. Akres’ treacheries were many, and often ran deep, but this was his cruelest move, his most suicidal one. There is no defending what he did.

Her fur golden, Len threw herself passionately against Akres’ men. They were fearful of her power, of what she could do if truly she wanted. There was now no doubt in the empire who the Legendary Super Saiyan was; that stubborn fact drew forth Akres’ jealousy like a blade draws blood.

Her power overwhelmed her, growing and becoming so large that her aura had the power to vaporize her foes on contact. The other Great Apes attacked her blindly, for even in those days, self-awareness in the form was rare outside of aristocratic bloodlines. And at first, Len was not conscious in the form either. There was real danger that she would destroy the planet and kill everyone, including herself. But something changed as she was tearing her way through the royal army. Do you know what that was, Ledas? Shaking.

Jadu had arrived. Deep intaking breath, shuddering, skin-prickling. She felt his presence immediately, and that alone made her aware. What remained of the army died of their wounds or fled. It was now Len against Jadu for the fate of the Saiyan race.

She won, didn’t she? He couldn’t help but smile. Why do you think that, Ledas? Because he didn’t get to blow up our planet! That’s a good point. Keep listening, and you’ll see.

Trying to attack him in her Golden Ape transformation, Len proved to be too slow to land a hit. Jadu, the blue blur, rolled and weaved around her in midair, and she couldn’t so much as land one hit, even in a form as powerful as hers. B-but what did she do? She cut off her tail – again? – or destroyed the Power Ball. Either way, she reverted to her base form, and that was where it became abundantly clear that she had only offered a glimpse at her true power before. It was in that moment that she became a true Legendary Super Saiyan, a mythical warrior of unparalleled power.

I don’t get it, what happened?

Len had unlocked a new transformation in her fight against the soldiers, perhaps by achieving self-awareness in her Great Ape form. When she unlocked the latent power that had been held back by her subconscious, when she became her whole self again, she was not golden haired any longer. Well, the accounts differ on that fact. Some say she was always golden, only that her hair grew longer or even more golden. An old woman whom my mother knew in her youth claimed that Len’s hair had in fact, in that moment, changed to a blood red color, signifying a higher level of Super Saiyan. But the tale my mother knew, the one Zhukin knew, the one I believe, is that she became herself again, and her hair was black again, but her body was covered in crimson fur, almost as if she had maintained certain the apeish qualities of her previous form. In true mastery of her Legendary Super Saiyan abilities, Len’s power had grown considerably in that moment, unlocking the latent potential in her that all Legendary Super Saiyans possess.

That’s how she beat him, isn’t it?

Jadu the demon recognized her increased power. He too used his maximum strength, claiming that in their last match, he had only been using thirty percent power. That’s so… so much stronger… Yawning, and again. Even in her new form, Len knew her opponent was no chump. So they fought…

Mommy’s eyes distant again thinking and making

“I remember you,” said Jadu in a raspy, demonic voice. “You tried to stop me before, and I beat you then. I’ll kill you for coming back!”

“I’ve gotten stronger since our last fight. Couldn’t you tell?” Mommy’s voice rising. “I’ll destroy you before you can do any more harm to the Saiyan Empire, beast!”

“Your words mean nothing!” sneered Jadu. He was ready to end things. “I’ll kill you and destroy the whole universe!”

“Haven’t you noticed?” she said, smiling. “My power has changed. I’m stronger than you now.”

Jadu noticed the fur covering her body now, even though her – oh, nevermind that – and he said, quickly, “I didn’t even show you a scrap of my true power in our last fight. But it’s long since time you were put down for good, witch!”

He was the aggressor, so she let him attack first…

A barren world, more asteroid than planet, with black skies, starless, dust blowing in the wind. The demon broad-chested, with gummy muscles, blue skin, stripes, a cape and hood. The clearest of images. The gold around him, through his eyes, his aura. The feeling of power, liberating, relaxing, suffocating – real power, too foreign to directly imagine.

Dodging, kicking, blasting with blue energy like Vegeta had taught him, and the demon slithering away, his mother’s words coming at him in an unbearably slow trail. He was jumping, angling his new body at Jadu, meeting punch with punch, his fist against the demon’s skin drawing blood. The monster tried to bite him; he spun away just in time, blasting Jadu in the face with an energy disc, slicing open his face, pouring blood over his eyes and…

She spun, kicking him across the face, the blood coating her boot. The demon steamed with rage at someone making him bleed. How dare she humiliate him like that? No one had ever made him bleed. This was an insult to his very being. His aura grew as he brought himself to his utmost power, his muscles bulging, his body growing slightly until they were on level height. The air rumbled; the ground cracked, rumbling with flashes of electricity.

Heavy eyelids. Feeling panic. She was he was

Jadu was on one knee, breathing hard, trying to stem the blood flowing from his shoulder. He walked up to the demon proudly, crimson fur on his arm as he raised his final attack, his tail uncoiling in instinctual joy. The power was pure happiness, the feeling of being held, and he was…

Falling and breaking, down the fissure, lava bubbling below, his face burning off in a fraction of a…

Fists against fists bone-rattling merciless demon speed fleeing caught pummeled and thrown

He broke her nose with one punch. His crystalline energy cooling into form… Flying blows and rushing light and tasting blood but Vegeta had promised he wouldn’t go so hard and what if he was I should be able to keep up falling, spiraling down, blood in the sky the only light, demon’s strength propelling him down and no chance but for that feint Vegeta had taught him that morning…

They say the gash in her cheek was nothing compared to Jadu’s wounds…

Falling droplets of

....................................bloodless

rush

Fists against each other, shattering armor, screaming, pushing back, there’s no way a stupid demon should be able to kill a Super Saiyan! Super Saiyans are invincible! His hand was his father’s attack, so full of light he could see nothing but blue. ‘Kyorra Flash!’ he tried to scream. Jadu was looking up, his pointy demon teeth gaping wide.

Light over all… his tentacle right off. His ki sword dissolved, and Jadu fell in agony as the Legendary Super Saiyan raised her hands over her head for one final attack…

Movement seen and not understood. Too fast. Fists in a blur, a punch from the shadows, his eye tingling, and

Heated drawing near

Playful Galick, Demon’s Eraser

fracturing

… but the planet was damaged beyond repair. There was nothing she… Falling the fragrance of his mother’s hair…


The morning rains had not yet come, so Ledas was sitting out on the landing pad of his parents’ house, located high in one of the aristocratic skyscrapers flanking the royal palace. A spare wooden bowl of steaming sanu meat and chopped fruit was in his pale hands.

The whole world was grey.

“Son?” His father was only wearing his underclothes at the moment, but he had one of his metal boots in his hand. He would soon be off to the palace for guard duty. “What are you doing out here?”

“I like it,” the boy replied in a high-pitched tone. “Look, it’s gonna rain any minute now!”

“Come inside, Ledas.”

“Aw, but dad–”

“Now.”

As soon as the boy was seated at the kitchen counter, it was as if every drop of water on Planet Vegeta had begun falling from that grey swirl overhead. The wild whooshing noise of it all was simultaneously terrifying and enthralling.

“What’s that? Sanu?”

“You can have some if you want, Dad.”

He took a piece of meat and two pieces of fruit. “Are you headed out on a mission for Frieza today?” his father asked him.

“No, me ‘n Vegeta are just gonna train.”

Stillness, save for the beating rain.

“Be careful out there,” his father said, not noticing his eye. He never would. The gel had worked. Ledas’ father had a pitcher of what looked like blood in one hand, pouring some of the sloppy, slippery contents into a slender wooden cup. The world was utterly grey, even the stones, save for that sludge.

His father took a long gulp, wiping his mouth, leaning his head back, and sighing loudly. Pulling on his boots, he looked up at his son perched on a high-rising stool, finishing his fruit. “The last Super Saiyan was a man who could only control the form in Great Ape,” Layeeck said suddenly, as he reached for his armor, which hung on the wall. “Don’t listen to your mother.”

“Why not?” Ledas cocked his head to the side innocently.

“She always goes on and on about Zhukin, about her tribe, about the bloodline…” He placed the jug of red sludge back in the wall cooler. “When I was a boy, my father told me about how the Legendary Super Saiyan was a warrior so powerful he couldn’t control himself. So he died, destroying the planet he lived on, wasting all of his energy and potential. He was a beast, a fool, a man whose life should not be emulated.”

“That’s what Vegeta said…”

“He led a group of the fiercest space pirates in the universe on a conquest across known space.”

“But what happened to him?” The food was done; he placed the empty bowl in the sink with a few timid clanking noises.

“He met the ancestor of Frieza,” his father said, throwing his armor on. “Help me latch on my cape, Ledas.

The boy had to fly to reach across his father’s wide shoulders. “But Dad… what happened to the last Super Saiyan?”

“I already told you, Ledas.”

“I know, but…” Ledas paused in midair for a moment before landing. “How did he lose control of his power?”

Father’s gloves were fitted on with the utmost care and precision. He was at the door, the rains screaming by outside. “He was killed by Frieza’s ancestor,” the man said in a grey, withering tone. “When he tried to stand against the Arcosian, his power overwhelmed him, and the planet exploded.”

“B-but… didn’t Frieza’s ancestor die in the explosion too?”

His dad paused a moment, his mouth agape. “No.” The door opened; a wet wind blew through, leaving residue on the boy’s cheek. “Arcosians can survive in space, Ledas. Those bastards are harder to kill than sanu alpha males in breeding season… heh. Well, anyways, good luck with your training, son. I’m leaving. I don’t want to be late.”

Ledas waved after his father even as the man vanished into the cloudscape beyond the landing platform and never looked back.


It was much later. The streets of Loru Qir bustled with intergalactic life. The merchants’ rows stretched in all directions, the smoke of cooking meat and vegetables rising in a thick wall above almost every stall. The air had a taste of the foreign to it, the rich and smoky aromas of a thousand cultures’ dishes intermingling in one pungent, olfactory sensation, enough to induce a sneeze.

Ledas gazed up at the bright, cloud-clothed sky, his jaw twisted askew in a wry smile. The sun was in his eyes.

“What is it, Ledas?” Linessi asked, coming up from behind on the left.

“Nothing,” he said, grinning still.

Before them, a statue of a woman, her face indistinct, her features worn by time, glittered golden in the daylight.

“The Golden Wind,” Okinaro the Unshriven observed, stepping up on Ledas’ right. “I take it you knew her?”

The boy exhaled gleefully. “Y-yeah… well, my mom did.”

“Who was she?” asked Vizzer, who stood taller than the rest, his arched spine visible beneath his tight-stretched, pinkish skin. Lumbering forward, his snout spread wide, his claws extended, pointing, he said, “One of your kind, Saiyan?”

The boy nodded. “The Last Legendary Super Saiyan,” he whispered, almost as if he couldn’t believe it himself. “My mom used to tell me stories about her when I was a kid.” His cheeks flushed with pride. “But anyways, we should be–”

“Moving on,” said Naemi. Her flowing blonde hair could have been mistaken for a Super Saiyan’s even on the greyest of days. She gave Ledas a look, and he relented; now she would be leading their little pack onwards.

Wandering through the streets after his comrades, Ledas found himself laughing again, for in that moment he had looked up at the statue, read its name, and taken in its meaning – in that moment, he had remembered his mother’s voice, the smell of her hair, the feeling of her fingers caressing him gently.

Aliens squabbled and laughed, dining and sampling the dishes of a thousand different worlds. Loru Qir’s merchant streets were windy and badly-paved, descending down and up hills, and Ledas was lagging too much. That warm, reverberating feeling in his head was distracting him. He ran on, each leaping footstep kicking another old memory into his mind, before his waking eyes, like energy blasts being lit.

It was, for a moment, his mother and father, and his memories of Len and Jadu and all the rest, fighting and bleeding and dying against one another in one golden wash. His memories faded, falling out of urgency like waves against the rocks, and it was his comrades who were there again before his eyes, and he felt well.


Ikigai
The Monster and the Maiden A Space Christmas Story One Chop Man
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