CHAPTER 85: A Heated Battle

A new round of combat began as Bardock lunged at Dai Shinnoma, his right foot preceding him, aimed for Dai's muzzle. The giant demon whirled with surprising speed; Bardock's attack missed, but the old Saiyajin recovered quickly and twisted to pound on Dai with a relentless barrage of gnarled fists. The demonic creature's spined arms came up to block, but Bardock simply pounded past them and landed several good blows on Dai's snout. The demon's defenses dropped, and Bardock gleefully pounded him about the head and face for awhile before turning his fists to the pit of the huge beast's stomach. Dai stumbled backwards, but managed to swing both spined arms at Bardock. The left arm went wide; the right arm's spines slashed Bardock's unscarred cheek.

Caught a bit off guard, Bardock stepped back and touched two fingers to the slash on his cheek. A look at the fingertips revealed blood. [Just another scar to add to my growing collection.]

He had no more time to think, as Dai's huge maw suddenly swung wide open, fire blazing in the back of his throat and billowing outwards, forming a huge beam of fire. Bardock immediately lunged to the side, and the fire continued on past, hitting a mountain and blowing the thing up completely. The old Saiyajin quickly weighed the fire beam's destructive power and concluded that the attack was more powerful than most of his own attacks. An obvious form of defense against this attack came to mind, even as he dodged another fire blast, rising into the air with Dai following.

Glancing about, Bardock could barely make out the glimmer of water somewhere off to the west. He suddenly whirled, a ball of golden ki in one hand; with a grunt, he threw the blast at Dai's broad chest, allowing it to spatter off harmlessly.

"Is that the best you can do?" Dai roared. "C'mere, you puny thing!"

"Come and get me!" Bardock shot back, turning and searing across the sky towards the west... towards the water. A look over his shoulder told him that Dai was following him. Just to encourage participation in the game, the veteran lobbed a few more ki blasts over one shoulder, dodging Dai's fire beams as he went.

Finally, the water came into view - apparently an ocean, sparkling with clear blue water. Bardock didn't stop until he was far over the water; he then whirled and charged directly into Dai's face. The beginnings of a fire beam spluttered in the back of Dai's throat, dying into embers as Bardock executed a hammerblow, knocking Dai into the ocean with a splash. Not hesitating for an instant, Bardock dove after him.

The crystal waters closed about Bardock as he dove after his quarry, scaring away some fish in the process. A quick glance about revealed that Dai was swimming towards him - well, not actually swimming; it was more of a subaquatic Bukujutsu technique. The huge beast's maw swung open... and the first sparks of flame were instantly extinguished by the hungry waters of the ocean. Realization suddenly dawned on Dai's face: Bardock's ruse had robbed him of his most powerful weapon!

As Bardock had anticipated, Dai began to claw towards the surface, but the old man was already there, his left foot pushing the water aside to connect with Dai's skull. The huge demon was flung further into the depths. Bardock followed, ready to deliver a punch, but Dai whirled in mid-fall, his arms rising to deflect Bardock's attack. The two mighty warriors began to hammer on each other mercilessly, each power-packed blow connecting mightily and sending tails of bubbles out behind it. Within moments, the water around Bardock and Dai was tinged dark red as shed blood and shed ichor mingled.

Finally, the warriors separated and regarded each other.

"I must say I'm VERY impressed," Dai Shinnoma spoke, a shower of bubbles rising from his fanged mouth. "The water was a brilliant strategy."

"I am delighted that you enjoyed it."

"Even so, all good things must come to an end." Without waiting for a reply, Dai blasted upwards towards the surface. Bardock followed, but to no avail. With a surge of salty liquid, the huge demon blazed into the air, with the old Saiyajin hot on his heels. Grinning evilly, Dai let fly with another flame beam, which Bardock dodged, hurling a hectically-formed Kouridama into Dai's teeth. The icy bomb nearly hit, but melted away as it was struck by a fire beam.

Hurling himself forward, Bardock put all of his weight into one tackle - a blow which connected solidly, sending himself and Dai hurtling downward to once again plunge into the chill waters of the ocean. Rolling a bit, the old Saiyajin thrust one elbow into the demon's gut; Dai lurched, descending further into the depths. Scowling, Bardock lobbed a golden ki blast after him, but the demon rolled and brought one hand up to brush the projectile aside.

Gathering his ki again, Bardock hurtled forward, further into the depths of the ocean, bent on annihilating his satanic opponent.


"I'm impressed by this," North Kaiou-sama murmured to himself. "Bardock is holding his own against Dai Shinnoma. This is... almost preposterous!"

"Why is it preposterous?" Gregory asked the blue god.

"Because not even Kami could do that!" Kaiou screamed at the cricket. "Bardock has outdone the God of Earth at his best!"

Even the cricket looked impressed by that. Not even Bubbles could muster his usual witty retort. Without another word, the deity turned back to watching the titanic battle, with his companions hovering near him in anticipation.