(Note from the Author: I apologize for not being able to keep up with the plot. School and work are consuming my free time.)

CHAPTER 76: Less Than What Meets the Eye

A small group of beings stood atop a windswept cliff, watching the passage of a large group of humans through a valley below. The obvious leader of this group was a blue-grey creature of diminutive height but powerful build, wrapped in a cloak of deep midnight blue. Behind and to the right of him stood the lithe purple form of his most powerful servant (not counting the insane blue cyborg), and behind him loomed three more servants.

"How fortuitous," Dai Shinnoma murmured, allowing a thin smirk to crease his angular features. "The destruction of a group this large is sure to humiliate our dear friend Kami."

"Of course, Lord," Devella replied, her eyes falling upon her master. "Shall I go first?"

"No. I have another plan." The demon lord turned towards the hulking blue cyborg slouched behind him, using his mind to trigger the control circuits in the 'bot's brain. "Wake up, Belzubbo," he said.

The cyborg stirred, his massive cerulean body stiffening and his red-pupilled eyes coming to light. "I... live... to... serve," he rasped from behind the metal grill over his nose and mouth.

"Of course you do. Do you see those humans?" Dai pointed one finger at the mass of people in the valley.

A glass visor suddenly slid from Belzubbo's metal mask to whisk up over his left eye; the green visor began to blip with symbols. "Target identified," the cyborg rasped. "Humanoid lifeforms, coordinates-"

"Destroy them," Dai cut him off.

"Target acquired. Commencing attack sequence." Belzubbo shambled towards the edge of the cliff... then leapt off the edge, initiating Bukujutsu just in time; Dai took the opportunity to drift to the base of the cliff, as did his other henchmen. Powered by his immense ki, Belzubbo sailed like a demented blue torpedo towards the human party. Roaring madly, Belzubbo hit the first human dead-on... and passed right through him, and the next few humans behind him.

"Odd," Dameno murmured.

Dai Shinnoma stared for a moment, then started violently as an extraordinarily gigantic surge of energy roiled through the canyon, causing his mind to reel. A second later, a vast beam of pure white energy shot through the insubstantial humans... aimed directly at Dai. However, the demon lord wasn't stunned enough to just gape; he dodged quickly to the right, and the beam struck Devella full in the chest. The scream was horrific as her body was torn into loose atoms.

A blinding white flash filled the canyon, marking Devella's passage from the world of the living. As the light faded, Dai suddenly saw that the humans were gone, replaced by a band of all-too-familiar figures... Saiyajins, humans, and a green critter in a turban.

"We've been had."


Raditsu was so disappointed, he could just spit.

When Piccolo had let fly with the Annihilator technique, Raditsu was sure that the Namek's aim was true, However, Dai Shinnoma had thwarted them once again, surprising them with unnatural agility. One of his henchmen had died (the woman), but it wasn't what Raditsu had been hoping for.

Apparently, the others felt similarly; Kakarotto looked as if someone had just slapped him across the face, Cirell and Bra looked ill... even the grave and sensible Broli appeared dissatisfied. And why not? Their plan had failed.

The silence was broken as Dai Shinnoma raised his voice (how Raditsu hated his voice!) - "Well, well, well. It appears that you've thrown away another perfectly good strategy. What do you plan to do now, my little friends?"

Piccolo beat Raditsu to the reply - "Fool. You didn't really think I'd be shortsighted enough to put all my money on the Demon Annihilation Technique? You're dumber than I thought."

"Don't be so foolish, Green Bean. How do you expect to beat ME? Your element of surprise is gone."

The green alien's reply was cut off as Bardock pushed him aside. "Your flaw is that you underestimate the Saiyajin spirit," Raditsu's father declared loudly. "You assume that we will simply curl up and die at the merest sight of you. Your assumption is incorrect. I, for one, will not go quietly. I may not be able to destroy you, but I will die trying."

Dai looked a little less certain of himself.

Raditsu watched as Bardock suddenly steeled himself. He sent out a probing thought... and his mind nearly overloaded as he felt his father's power level beginning to rise at an incredible rate. Even as an awestruck Raditsu and friends looked on, Bardock erupted into the Super Saiyajin level with a deafening howl... but he didn't stop there. Golden fire rippled across the old warrior's body as his muscles began to expand to massive proportions, stretching his shirt and tearing out the sleeves.

"What the hell is THAT?!" Kakarotto shouted over the sudden howling gale that had erupted from Bardock's location. "What's happening to Father?"

"He's reached the next level," Broli shouted back at him; even the huge, implacable Saiyajin's voice was awed. "He's become the Ultimate Super Saiya-jin."