CHAPTER 84: The Next Level

Deep in space, a single golden star hung in the blackness, stable and bright, casting its rays upon the seven planets orbiting it. It should have been completely unaware that Earth even existed.

However, as Bardock transformed into the second level of Super Saiyajin, the golden star trembled....


Dai Shinnoma, rightful Lord of Earth, couldn't believe what he was seeing.

Moments before, the old geezer named Bardock had been begging pitifully for the life of his son. Now, the withered man had undergone some sort of transformation, a process which had driven his power level through the roof. In fact, it was all Dai could do to keep from falling to the earth as even the passive emanation of Bardock's power reached him.

The facts whizzed through Dai's keen mind like data strings through a computer. This new form seemed somehow connected to the Super Saiyajin and Ultimate Super Saiyajin forms - perhaps the next level? - and seemed to be triggered by extreme rage. A quick gauge of Bardock's power told Dai that the old warrior's power had multiplied more than tenfold. In fact, the Saiyajin was now on the same level as Dai's full power.

[At last,] Dai thought to himself, finally shaking off his initial shock. [A fitting opponent.]

Aloud, Dai Shinnoma addressed Bardock. "Well, well. It seems you DID have another trick up your sleeve, old man - and quite frankly, I'm pleased. Perhaps now you will prove to be a more suitable adversary."

Bardock merely glared at him.

"The strong, silent type, hmm? Will I have to kill another one of your puny friends to get you to talk to me."

"Touch them and die," Bardock declared in a deathly quiet voice.

"I'll tell you what. Just because I value the chance to fight you, your friends will be allowed to depart unharmed. Now will you lead off, or shall I?"

Bardock opened his mouth, but didn't adress Dai. "Kakarotto," he ordered. "Take the others and leave. Quickly."

Weakly, Kakarotto rose to his feet. "But, Father-"


Kakarotto cringed. "Y-yes, Father," he murmured.

Dai's attention shifted solely back to Bardock. "You certainly have the ear of your team, Old One," he noted.

Bardock grunted a bit in reply. "Let's just get this over with," he growled. "I have an appointment."

"As you wish."

Dai took the initiative, lunging forward with a series of quick jabs - Bardock blocked them all, but that was what Dai had intended. As Bardock deflected the punches, the huge demon's knee came up sharply, but was deflected off of Bardock's own hastily-raised knee. [He's quicker than I thought. Good.] Without hesitation, Dai twisted and brought his forearm into a swiping blow... but he hit nothing but air as Bardock ducked under the arm and began hammering his fists into Dai's stomach.

Dai shrugged through the painful assault with some effort and brought his huge weight to bear below him, attempting to tackle Bardock and bring him down; Bardock neatly slid away and kicked the giant demon in the chin. Dai felt blood spraying from between his fangs as his head was snapped upwards; he stumbled backwards, but recovered almost instantly.

"I'm impressed, old man," Dai commented with a bit of a smirk. "At this rate, you'll be able to set a record before you die."

"And what record would that be?"

"'Most Rounds Lasted Against Dai Shinnoma'."

"And the current record stands at...?"

"One." "I was hoping for more challenging odds, but it shall suffice."

The two titans prepared to do battle again.


Raditsu sat on the edge of Enma-Daiou's desk, his halo cocked rakishly to the right. The long-haired Saiyajin had never been dead before, and quite frankly, the experience was not one he cared to repeat.

Heaven didn't even get cable TV.

"Bored, small one?" came the huge voice of the titanic Enma-Daiou, gatekeeper of Heaven. "Don't worry about it. I'm just now filling out the release forms that will allow you to travel Snake Way and visit North Kaiou-sama's planet."

"Wonderful," Raditsu muttered. He didn't really give a damn about North Kaiou-sama. What worried him most was what had happened to Bulma in the real world. Had everyone been defeated? Was she even now living under the tyrannical reign of Dai Shinnoma? He tried to push the dark thoughts aside, but they persisted, plaguing his dead soul like a persistent insect.

He had failed Earth, and he knew it.