... because this chapter, while not overly graphic, contains some pretty strong scenes of violence. Tread carefully.
Credit to Ryu no Ohi for her awesome editing.
Epilogue 2 – The villain
It was silent. Crimson eyes stared into the distance unseeingly as an azure star spread its cold rays in the dark sky around its bulky form. No, not really cold, a small voice inside his head corrected in a pungent tone. Blue stars are the hottest in the universe. Have you forgotten that too? It was almost relaxing, this floating around. He felt weightless in the void, merely flying in the dark, dark sky without purpose; it was not even that cold. Deep space was supposed to be cold, was it not? He thought so, vaguely remembered so, but now it was not. It was nothing. He studied his sharp nails speculatively. With an almost curious expression, he directed them at his own chest, tearing out flesh and muscles as if cutting through butter. Still nothing. His ears seemed to be filled with cotton, no sound filtering through them. He tried to scream, to shout out pain he did not feel to a universe of corpses, but he still felt nothing. He doubted he even spoke. He hesitantly floated closer to the star, letting its gravity seize him. The celestial body's scorching surface instantly devoured him, melted him, erased him, while the Dragon Balls spell immediately reformed his body, only for the flames to destroy it once again. It was excruciating, it had to be, but really it was nothing. It was like mercifully falling asleep only to be awakened again a few seconds later. He deserved the right to sleep, did he not? He felt nothing. He wanted to be nothing for a little while, the universe owed it to him.
He fell deeper and deeper into the star's inner layers, blink after blink, waking up in a different place every time he opened his eyes. His life had been like that once, had it not? Planet after planet after planet. He had never really bothered to look at them, they were not important, they were going to turn into money or ashes anyway; preferably both. Not even money counted though, it was nothing, just like the planets and the people on them. None of them were important enough to be real.
He finally reached the star's core, its temperature so scalding that even the spell started to be ineffective and his white body melted before being completely rebuilt. Maybe the spell could be worn down. Maybe it could be broken. He waited, but sleep just would not come. He eventually grew bored. He was in the star's core, right? Even celestial bodies had a heart that could be pierced. A flicker of his finger later, there was nothing again. He assumed there had been an explosion, but he did not really notice it. There was a star and then there was not, as simple as that, it had always been as simple as that.
"What are those shiny things in the sky, Papa?" he remembered asking his mountain of a father. "Stars," King Cold had answered distractedly, skimming over freshly printed documents. Freeza had nodded, not really understanding but making a note to pester Cooler for a proper answer the second he could get a hold of him. "Is shining all they are good for?" he once again wondered, looking at the twinkling dots. His father seemed to appreciate it when he expressed an interest in the value of things; he'd picked up on that pretty early. The King continued to read through the report, massaging his chin pensively. "No," he finally answered, "They are a source of energy. Life would not exist without them, they provide planets with enough light and heat for that. Until they die, naturally." The small Arcosian prince had once again nodded and got to his feet, about ready to go find his older brother. "So they die?" he'd asked, counting to let the pointless conversation die as well. King Cold leafed through the paperwork, looking deeply annoyed. "Of course, everything does. And someone will soon, if what I am thinking is right..." He rummaged among the documents on his desk, shifting towers of paper, looking through old reports, running calculations in his mind, numbers not adding up right. He did not notice his youngest son's wide crimson eyes staring a hole into him. "Do we die too then?" a small voice cut through his train of thoughts, disturbing it. King Cold sighed, knowing that he really had no time for it now. "Yes. Eventually. A very long time from now," he answered, trying not to sound annoyed. He couldn't help but let out a breath of a sigh. "Papa needs to work, Freeza." He needed not say anything else, Freeza nodded and went. He cornered Cooler in his room, screaming, punching, demanding answers and How much time exactly?! Cooler did not know, tried to have him believe no one knew. His father never really explained either, even after realising his mistake. He hated them for it.
He floated aimlessly for a bit longer, running his own calculations. 200 years; Cooler had died young he supposed. Hard to say when it came to his father, he kept lying about his age. Well, it was not important. Nothing really was if someday it was going to disappear anyway. He idly looked around, effortlessly flying through a reddish nebula while he considered whether he should start looking for his ship. It was a vast universe; his vessel had no propulsion left so it was reduced to float like he was doing at the moment; he had no idea where he was. What a bother. He did not need a ship, he supposed, but he had time to kill. It was the only thing left he could kill, a pity it kept coming back to life. Tendrils of fury started to course through his body and he enthusiastically embraced the feeling. Finally something! He carefully pictured a constantly frowned face, dark eyes and flame-shaped hair. Sharp claws glinted under the stars' light and fangs were exposed as black lips retracted in a terrifying grin. The second he found him again, he was going to tear him apart. He would slash through his torso until he could see the other's organs and then he would slash through them as well. And he'd do it slowly. While chewing through his throat. No more stories for the little liar, no more anything. He could see it, a small, pathetic figure drowning in his own blood while desperately trying to keep his organs in their allocated places. Tears were glistening in delirious, pain-filled eyes while lips moved feverishly, mouthing the word "please" again and again. Freeza's mad smirk grew impossibly larger as he contemplated the spectacle before him. "Good night, sweet prince!" he whispered wickedly as he slashed through the Saiyan's chest for the final time. The image broke into a thousand luminous pieces that scattered around him. The Arcosian tyrant blinked, mouth slightly open in shock. Crimson eyes followed the glittering particles as they flew in the dark void like a golden swarm. Vegeta had been slowly disintegrating when he was once again banished to his empty dimension, he reasoned. Maybe the process had been interrupted before it was completed but something got through anyway... Freeza shook his head furiously, utterly convinced his mind had finally broken. He'd heard less ridiculous stories from a child Vegeta.
As if sensing the trail of his thoughts, the shining fragments compacted in a small body clad in a white armour, red battlesuit, and matching cape. Dark eyes shone with excitement as words seemed to fly out of his mouth, lips tirelessly shaping them as small hands gesticulated madly. The overlord watched avidly, growing frustrated at his inability to hear the actual words. The moves, he knew well; Prince Vegeta was miming his favourite fantasy, the Legendary Super Saiyan battling obscure enemies. He sniggered at the inaccurate and over the top movements, made even more ridiculous considering he knew what a precise killing machine the Prince would turn into. And there he was, as pristine as ever in his bone-white armour and black battlesuit. Vegeta's smile was almost warm as he looked upon his former mentor, his cocky posture hinting he'd just finished a mission and got all the stronger for it. His desire to show off was obvious and Lord Freeza gleefully decided to indulge him. Vegeta looked shocked as he barely dodged the tyrant's fist, eyes going wide at the scarlet energy shining in the Arcosian's palm. The Saiyan ducked just in time as razor-like ki sliced the air where a fraction of a second ago his head stood. Vegeta quickly flew downward, attempting to evade his opponent and gain some time to regroup. Freeza allowed him to run for a bit, humming quietly while he observed the little fly buzzing around; judging it had had enough time to think of a plan, the Arcosian Lord ITed in front of him, enjoying the look of surprise on the prince's face. The punch that followed should have reached its victim's heart, but in a move that Freeza reasoned to be the result of instinct instead of actual reasoning, Vegeta launched himself sideways, thus avoiding the fatal blow. Freeza idly raised his tail and started to slice through the air, watching with mild amusement as the Prince panted and struggled to keep cheating death. It was just too easy, as usual, and he was becoming bored. This was nothing as well. Was nothing all that awaited him once again? No, it could not be...
Something sinister glinted in the Saiyan's dark glare and a second later Freeza found himself pirouetting away from a deadly wave of purple. The Gallick Gun, his mind needlessly offered. Suddenly, Vegeta was in front of him, desperation morphing into the crazed smile Lord Freeza himself occasionally saw in the mirror. The Prince started to counter-attack with a shower of punches and kicks steadily growing in speed. The tyrant avoided them all of course, but it was not as effortless as before. He doubled his efforts to catch the other off-guard, but Vegeta matched him, even trying some sneaky attacks of his own. Freeza took it up a notch, his red aura blazing. No untrained eye could have managed to follow their movements as they clashed in the depth of space.
Then, it seemed like a new supernova had suddenly appeared in the sky as a golden glow lit the natural darkness. A blond eyebrow arched over a teal eye as Vegeta donned the appearance of the Legend itself. Freeza cocked his head to one side, his whole body projecting assured calmness; behind him, his tail danced like a trained cobra as murderous intents once again washed over him. He would not attack first, though; let the monkey come to him. The monkey did, as usual. So powerful was the clash that it echoed across space, vibrations destroying asteroids and small planets. Vegeta was not at Whis' level, obviously, but fighting him was still oddly satisfying; he was not powerful enough to be a threat but just dangerous enough to keep him focused and make him feel alive.
He did not know for how long they kept at it, dancing together and away, racing each other, moving, moving, moving until even thoughts seemed to become a cumbersome burden and he had YET TO DRAW BLOOD! Freeza was beyond furious. They had probably been fighting for hours but they did not even manage to touch each other! He wanted blood! No, he needed it. He could practically taste it, running viscous and surely wonderfully warm; the golden aura that scorched his body promised him so. He lunged, clawed nails attempting to grab and tear, teeth ready to gnaw through flesh till they hit bone. Vegeta hurriedly evaded him, his expression uneasy, his features oozing an almost child-like confusion. Oh, to freeze him like this forever... That was something. Something. Some. A certain amount of things but not enough, never enough. He would take what he could get. Vegeta turned and ran, and Freeza was back on Namek. Like a wolf stalking its prey, he made the Saiyan run, exhausting him, lunging and grabbing at him the second he tried to stop. Finally, it was over. The Super Saiyan dropped to the ground of a small asteroid, on his knees, panting and gazing up at him, the last of his energy draining quickly. Freeza savoured the moment for a mere second before pouncing. He was ready to kill, because killing was a thing, it was the only thing, the only thing that proved he had power over the ocean of nothing he swam into, that proved he was someone, The One, Emperor Freeza. The One who could kill as he pleased because Death. Could. Not. Touch. Him. He grabbed tightly the body now trapped under him, pressing into him with the intent of feeling every tremor and scream as his intended victim was taken by the seizures of death. Arms and tail wrapped around the trembling Saiyan hard enough to snap bones, nails tore into skin and sharp teeth finally sunk into a warm throat...
Lord Freeza fell on the rocky ground of a nameless asteroid far away from any source of light, tasting his own blood as he still deliriously gnawed on his bottom lip. Red eyes slowly focused again on golden particles dancing around him, like twinkling fish in a dark sea. They floated upwards and merrily started their journey across space, unburdened by shape for the moment. The Arcosian prince was not sure he understood. When he could finally move again, he flew after the luminous shower, cautiously keeping his distance but never letting it out of sight. He carefully considered the situation. He shook his head; he did not know enough to formulate a hypothesis yet. It was probably too soon for madness as well, so it had to be something else. Atoms did not shine, not that he knew of. A kind of energy, possibly. He needed time to know for sure, which was lucky because there was no risk of running out of time now. He did not doubt that he would get to the bottom of it. He was Lord Freeza, that had to count for something. It was the only thing that counted.
Well, this is how it ends. It has been a long adventure because of my inability to stick to my schedule, but I hope you had fun. Thank you for reading and thanks to all the people who made my day by dropping me a review (*hint hint*). A special thank you goes to Ryu no Ohi for her great and enthusiastic editing (if you have not read her Savior of Demons yet, go check it out now, things are getting quite interesting) and to Vegetanime for her constant support. Once again, thank you everybody and have a wonderful festive time!