Still sweating from unleashing such an explosive attack, you push yourself up and head over to the ledge you were sitting on earlier. With the press of a button, ringing erupts from within your left ear. Having such a high quality Scouter is quite convenient.
"Kiryu? That you?" Somebody answers the phone call with an informal attitude.
"It is." You respond into the Scouter, now peering down at the floor beneath you so that nobody can see your mouth moving. "You sound strange, Kaiba. Something wrong?"
He sniffles on the other end. "Just a cold. So, what can I do for you?"
"Just wondering if anything of interest has changed since I left." A long, awkward pause breaks out. "Kaiba? You there?"
"...Yeah, I'm here," he responds grimly. "It's just uh, well, I don't know how to say this exactly."
"Spit it out already!"
"Dysect...he's gone." Your heart stops for an instant. "We've looked everywhere for him. Nobody has seen him in days. I found it kind of strange that he was hiding in his room for so long, so I went in and...he was gone."
"Are you sure he isn't just on a mission or something?"
"His stuff is gone too. The guy just packed up and left. Not a word. Rem's, you know, must have hit him hard."
"I don't believe it..." You mutter quietly, but it appears as if Kaiba hears it clearly. "Why would he leave now of all times?"
"I wish I could tell you." Kaiba sighs. "I don't really know the guy, you know? Echo seems to think it's because he wanted to be the new leader but I still think it's something more than that..."
"I see. Well, if he returns, be sure to contact me. Do me a favour and organize a few Squads to go look for him. I don't care what his problem is, at the moment. Just bring him back to Valkyrie! Dysect is easily one of the strongest fighters we have. Him leaving would be detrimental to us."
"Alright, but there aren't many General's here. Piccolo took a whole group of them to West City with him. And with half of us remaining Commander's still weakened, Valkyrie isn't very secure. Are you sure that's okay?"
"As far as everybody else knows, Rem is still alive. That fact alone will keep us secure for now."
"Number 194!" A voice calls, so you peak your head up to see the Head Judge in Ring #1. "We're continuing now."
You stand up and start walking over to the arena, preparing to end contact with Kaiba. "Is that enough though? I know Rem left you in charge when he, you know, but leaving Forte Valkyrie so under protected can't be a good idea! Can't we at least wait until you get back and everybody is healed before we go Dysect-Hunting?"
"Get it done, Kaiba." You click your Scouter, successfully ending the transmission. Fortunately, a visible opponent is in the ring this time. Surprisingly, all he appears to be wearing is a white robe and sandals. For some reason, the man's short black hair compliments his odd attire.
"Are we ready?" The Judge speaks up as you step up into the ring, gazing at the two fighters for a brief moment. "Begin!" Despite appearing to be in perfectly healthy shape, you're still tired from the previous match so it would be best if you ended this quickly.
"Speed Blitz X3!" You shout.
In an instant, your fist caves into your foe's stomach and he drops to the ground in pain. "UGHH!" He cries, rolling over in agony.
"Is that really everything you have? Hah. Garbage like you made it all the way to the Semi-Finals of the Preliminary Games? Pathetic."
"I ain't finished yet!" He barks, standing to his feet. The thin man's white robe dangles back and forth as he struggles to stand. However, growing tired of these childish games, you swing a leg up and it crashes into his jaw. Your opponent coughs up blood and lands outside of the ring with a thud. "I guess I am..."
"Victory to Number 194!" As you walk out of the ring, the Head Judge looks down on a notepad before peeking up once again. "Number 81 and Number 3 please report to Ring #1!"
"That Myst guy was easily qualified enough to make it this far. It's a shame he ended up fighting me." You have a seat and lean back against the stone wall. Looking over to the side, repairmen are still in the room patching up the damages from your earlier attack. "How was I able to use such a monstrous attack? Perhaps I actually am withholding a greater amount of latent power than I've given myself credit for having."
More fighters are being called into the four usable arena's. For some reason, Myst is still lying on the ground unconscious. It appears that nobody has bothered to call him a medic just yet. Poor guy.
"Fancy, uh, seeing you here," a familiar voice speaks up. "Hehe. How are things going, Kiryu?"
You gawk over to the side and take note of the man talking to you, somewhat in shock. "Hercule...!?"
Meanwhile, In An Unknown Location...
Alone, surrounded by nightfall and brisk weather, a man whispers to himself, "Father..." He holds up one fist and clenches it, green blood squirting out as he does so. It leaks down his forearm, slow yet direction oriented, until finally dispersing under his chest plated armor. "Is this the path you want me to take? With our race nearing extinction since the War, I should be leading the remaining Saiyans into safety. Away from things like battle...death...destruction...pain."
The prince sits up from the grass and stares into the night sky, feeling uneasy. "But if your final wish was for us to achieve the pinnacle of our race, then I will carry out your ambition until we reach our goal." Suddenly, the prince goes tense and snaps his head back. "Who goes there?"
"...It's me, Prince Vegeta." A humble voice speaks up. "I had Bardock use his ability to find you. Hopefully this isn't too intrusive."
"What do you want, Dr. Gero?" Vegeta aggressively barks.
"I'm heading back to Red Ribbon Headquarters. A colleague of mine might have a lead on the location for his blueprints. If I'm successful, I would like for you and the other Saiyans to go retrieve them as soon as possible."
After a brief moment of silence, Vegeta speaks up. "How long until you'll have the finished product for us? You're late."
"I'VE BEEN PATIENT!" Vegeta snaps and his Ki level spikes through the roof. "Look what your tests have done to me? My innards have been mutilated because of your incompetence! The same goes for those who I've been entrusted with taking care of so that our species can repopulate. I can hardly consider myself a Saiyan anymore. Whether or not I still have the ability to produce offspring is a mystery to me. All because of you!"
Dr. Gero frowns heavily and his eyes warp to the floor. "I apologize for-"
"So I'll ask you once more," Vegeta arrogantly says, cutting him off. "How long until the finished product?"
The traitorous Doctor turns around and a devious smile writes itself over his wrinkled exterior. "Three weeks and I'll have it done. Don't worry about anything but getting me those blueprints for now, Prince. If you can hold up your end of the deal, your father's dream will finally become a reality."
Vegeta glares at Gero for a few seconds before turning away and lying back down on the grass. "Very well, you have three weeks. I'll return to our base shortly."
"No worries. I'll find you all. And be sure to have everybody stick together. We're powerful, but it's too dangerous for us to split up at this point."
"About that..." Gero's sentence trails off for a brief moment. "Turles has been killed, and Goku and Gohan have escaped."
Vegeta squeezes his fists in rage while shaking his head slowly. "Damn it. If I wasn't too busy assaulting the Red Ribbon Army and sulking alone, then maybe..."
"Don't blame yourself, Prince. It may have been unavoidable even if you were with us. I'll fill you in with the details later, but it's best that I head back for now. You know, before Ex-President Red's Personal Advisers grow suspicious."
Vegeta nods and gazes off into the distance with a sultry grin. "In three weeks, your ambition will be complete, father." A cold breeze sweeps by and Vegeta's heart pounds uncontrollably. "Artificial Super Saiyajin will be ours...!"
"Hercule...!?" You break out in surprise. Hercule, formerly a Brigadier Officer at the Red Ribbon Army, has a seat next to you and leans back up against the wall. The smug bastard is grinning. "What are you doing here?"
"Long story short, I quit the Red Ribbon Army and moved to East City a few months back."
"Oh yeah, I heard about that. You quit right after President Red was killed."
He looks at you with a raised eyebrow. "That's right. I couldn't work under his Advisers. They're as crooked as like, scoliosis or something." You let out a sigh and nod slowly. "Ever since Red died, the crime rate has gone up over 200%. I don't know what those guys are doing, but it sure as hell isn't maintaining balance."
"Yeah, well, I can't say i'm surprised. You and I always knew what would happen if Red passed away. I'm surprised the world isn't in chaos by now."
"Oh, it is." Hercule shakes his head in disgust. "It definitely is. Those bastards up top are just good at keeping things on the down low, but things are changing. When I moved back to East City, the crime was unbelievable. Last year you would've seen hundreds of Red Ribbon Soldiers on patrol, trying to keep the peace and whatnot. But now? Not a single one. And I bet it ain't just here either. All of 'em have been taken from their former positions for who knows what reason. You know? It's like...this is messed up man."
"It doesn't seem so bad. I've been in some pretty ghetto cities in my day, and in comparison, this place is a haven."
"Now it is, yeah." Hercule says with a bit of pride. "I've taken it upon myself to keep the peace. Made quite a rep over the last little while. They call me 'The Savior' since I, well, not trying to sound too humble, but because I pretty much saved this town from destruction. I've protected this place countless times from like, bad guys that the Red Ribbon Army has been overlooking. East City wouldn't be here today if it weren't for me."
"Don't worry, you don't sound humble at all."
"Humble...It means the opposite of what you implied."
"No it doesn't."
"Yeah, it...it does."
"Well, anyway. All I know is that I've never felt better about myself. And unlike back when I was employed at the RRA, I don't have to kill to keep peace. I don't know man, there's something special about that feeling. Teaching somebody a lesson and letting them grow without just taking their life. There ain't too much better than that, man, I tell you."
"Heh," you smirk and look up to the ceiling, absolutely clueless to what Hercule is describing. "Well, it's good to see you. I take it you're registered in the tournament?"
"Yeah, man. I made it to the Top 16. My group was the first to finish, so we were told to just go wait around until everybody else finishes. And lo and behold, I see you sitting in the corner."
"I thought it might be interesting to get a challenge. What inspired you to participate, anyway?"
"I've always, uh, wanted to come here and try out. Since I learned about it, at least. But what with work and all, I was just too busy to actually make it out here and do it. Until now, I guess. Hehe."
"Speaking of which, shouldn't you be in this bracket? Your name does start with 'H', after all."
"Oh. My legal name is 'Mark', so I registered under that. It's better this way. Now I get to fight you when we're in the Top 16, in front of the big crowd. I'll warn ya' though, the audience will be on my side. Hehe."
"Yes, having random weaklings cheer for you will certainly help net you the win."
"Hey! It ain't so bad being physically weak. These guys have heart." You shrug. "Besides, in someone else's eyes, can't everybody be considered weak at something?"
"Number 194! Please report to Ring #5!" one of the judges from afar yells. "The final match of the Preliminary Games is about to commence."
You stand up and stretch your legs, cracking your neck while doing so. "You've always had an interesting outlook on things, Hercule. It's good to see you. Heh." You walk towards the ring with a faint smile on.
"Go get 'em!" Hercule cheers. You simply wave a hand back at him and step up onto the arena, a response unnecessary.
"Alright you two, I want to congratulate the both of you on making it this far. Unfortunately, only one of you will make it to the Top 16. I wish both of you good luck." The Head Judge clears his throat and steps out of the arena with one arm raised. He snaps it down and shouts, "Begin!"
"With pride of King Nefro's Royal Guard at stake, I will not allow anybody to defeat me." Your opponent shouts. He has cold, grey eyes that pierce through all who gaze into them. Unlike some of your previous opponents, this man is cleanly shaven and in perfect physique. His head has been shaved down to the last strands of hair, but being bald somehow suits him. The man's attire is a thick build of platinum armor, appearing to way over a ton, covering his entire body.
"King Nefro? I've never heard of such a man. Though, he can't be very influential or powerful if he's unknown."
"Take those words back, Freeborn Military Commander."
"Make me." You taunt, hardly serious.
"Very well." The man digs his hand into a sheathe and a Ki Sword appears in his hand. He pulls it forth, seemingly from the sheathe, and the blade stares into your soul. "I, Nefro the 3rd, will not only defeat you in combat, but will also have you apologize for the rude behavior."
"Show me everything you have while you're still able to."
Nefro the 3rd leaps at you like an animal, blade in hand, and swipes it upwards. You sway backwards and easily avoid his attack, but he soon whips the blade into the skies of the arena, grunting while doing so. In an attempt to end this fight quickly, you bash your elbow into the center of his armor. The metal clinks loudly and Nefro is launched back, but he manages to maintain composure.
"Destiny Blade!" he roars; your Scouter beeps frantically. After snapping your neck upwards, you notice a parade of Ki Blades parading down from the skies.
"Wha-?!" You shutter, throwing both arms up and harnessing an aura around the exterior of your guard. The swords strike your guard heavily as hundreds of them plow down from the ceiling in a seemingly endless assault. Blades continue to drop, covering the entirety of the arena, but each of them manages to slightly miss their controller.
You gaze over to Nefro, noticing that he now has a Bow with Ki Arrows generating from its core, gaining power each second. Blood dribbles down your arms from the wounds, yet you still cannot find an opening to escape without the result ending with dozens of blades caved into your spine.
"Ahem," Nefro speaks up with a tremendous aura hovering over five arrows still lodged in the Bow. "I am a Pisces. It would be a disgrace to King Nefro for his only son to be defeated. As the future heir for our kingdom, I will end this battle here and now."
"Don't make me laugh!" A massive aura bursts around you and all of the swords in the vicinity disintegrate on cue.
"It will do you no good. The Destiny Blade will never seize its assault until I give the command."
"Hm?" You peer up to the ceiling to find more blades dropping down at an even faster pace. Only this time, you refuse to be on the receiving end. As Nefro's Ki level continues to rise, you begin batting away every sword that attempts to even scrape you.
"Pisces' Roar: Wolf Fang!" An Arrow is fired from the Bow and instantaneously lodges itself in the side of your stomach. Blood squirts out and you fall to one knee, feeling a shock jolt through your body. Your body slows down and the parade of Ki Blades strike you directly.
You scream in pain, still not believing that these no-names are giving you trouble.
"That Arrow is designed to paralyze the opponent. Your body won't be able to defe-" Nefro's eyes bulge out of the sockets and his sentence is immediately cut off as he gawks at the impossible. Not giving in to the paralysis, you push yourself up off the ground and, once again, begin knocking away every single blade that falls. "Grr! I refuse to let you make a mockery of my kingdom!"
Now completely on top of the speed the Destiny Blade is presenting, you find yourself easily slapping away every sword. All that needs to be done now is await for the opportune moment.
Nefro pulls an invisible string back with each of his fingers and four arrows are stretched back. Due to the ability to amplify the power of the user's Ki, the Ki Bow and Arrow allows Nefro to be a competent opponent. "Pisces' Roar: Divine Wrath!" All four arrows are launched at you with incredible speed and you grin slyly.
A) Speed Blitz X3 right through the small space between the arrows and counterattack.
B) Speed Blitz X2 around the arrows and counterattack.
C) Jump into the air and launch a powerful blast at Nefro.
D) Giant Bulldozer right through the arrows and knock him out of the ring.
E) Block them. No need to do anything too risky.
F) Use Absolute Safeguard while charging forward to counterattack.
Author's Chapter Notes: