CHAPTER 87: Triumph and Tribulation

With a roar, Bardock lunged into battle, his right fist lashing out towards Dai Shinnoma's stomach. However, the spiny demon was ready for him, dropping to one side and coming up again with a mighty uppercut directed at the old man's stomach. The blow connected powerfully, causing Bardock to spit out a hot mouthful of blood. Amidst the intense pain, he made a note that Dai was stronger than before - perhaps it was the death of his opponents that made him stronger.

No matter; Bardock still had a few tricks up his sleeve. Recovering from the blow, Bardock lunghed again, but executed a Zanzoken maneuver a few inches from Dai, reappeaing behind the demon and raising his hands for a hammerblow. As Dai whirled and raised both arms to block, Bardock struck - from behind, driving his fists into Dai's kidneys as the after-image in front of Dai's face faded away. The beast bellowed a huge roar of pain and plummeted towards the water.

Growling, Bardock clenched his right fist and began to gather energy from everything about him, forming a Kouridama about the size of a house. Without waiting for Dai to reemerge, he drew back and threw the chilling bomb into the ocean with all the strength he could muster.

The Kouridama hit the ocean surface and pierced easily... but in its wake, the ocean began to freeze. After a few seconds, the area where Dai had fallen was encased in a block of ice. His scowl fading somewhat, Bardock sent out a probing sense down into the ice, attempting to find his enemy's ki signature.

He found nothing.

Satisfied, Bardock relaxed his muscles a bit. Slowly, he turned around... and walked straight into a broad, blue-grey chest. His eyes moved up that body to focus on a snarling, brutish muzzle, the magenta hair crowning that head sheeted with ice. Dai Shinnoma did NOT look very happy about that.

"Surprise, surprise, old man," the demon growled. "The ice trick was impressive, but you still aren't tough enough to defeat me."

"I still have a card or two up my sleeve," Bardock told him calmly.

"Take my advice and drop out of the game while you still have chips left. You may be my enemy, but I'd rather not kill you."

"Why not?"

"Call it respect for a worthy foe. Besides, what's a leader without opposition?"

"It doesn't matter. I will not surrender, nor will I flee."

"It's your funeral."

Acting on a hunch, Bardock dodged to the right - just in time to avoid Dai Shinnoma's powerful left hook. The old man only had one card left to play. He knew what he had to do. Steeling himself, he prepared for the inevitable.


Three Saiyajins coursed through the air, flying towards the ocean. In the lead was Kakarotto, with Broli and Cirell close behind.

"Are you sure about this, Kakarotto?" Broli rumbled. "We could be jeopardizing your father's chances of victory."

"We jeopardize them even more by sitting around and watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," Kakarotto shot back. "If Father wants to kill Dai, he needs all the help he can get."

Cirell merely glanced at her would-be uncle.

The three warriors blazed across the horizon, geared up for a fight...


Dai Shinnoma's mighty right hand launched out for Bardock's throat. This time, the old man offered no resistance; he merely allowed the giant monster to grab his neck and lift him into the air. If all went well, his neck wouldn't matter anyway.

"And so it ends here," Dai rasped, his face surprisingly somber. "I must admit that I am reluctant to kill you, Bardock. You are the only person who has ever been able to fight me for this long."

"I'm... flattered," Bardock wheezed through the death grip. Discreetly, he moved his left hand into position below Dai's wrist, preparing for the next move.

"Rest assured that I will remember you with respect. Goodbye... old man."

"Goodbye, Dai... Shinnoma."

Before Dai could react, Bardock brought his left hand out and gripped Dai's upper arm tightly. At the same time, he released all restraints on his ki, letting it blaze out of his body in a golden fireball to engulf Dai and himself, overloading both of their ki tolerances.

The pain was excruciating as Bardock felt his skin burn away, leaving only exposed muscle. He suprressed a scream as even that layer of flesh began to burn off. As the darkness closed in, triumph seeped through the agony in his mind, for even in death, he had won.


Kakarotto, Broli, and Cirell stopped in mid-flight as a massive golden explosion lit the sky, tearing aside the clouds, causing even the sun to look him. The three merely stared at the sight.

"Bardock," Broli said incredulously as he realized what had happened. "He... destroyed himself."

Kakarotto gaped for a moment, then sent out a thought, searching desperately for his father's lifesigns. However, all he found were fading embers of Bardock's life, as well as the last shreds of Dai Shinnoma. Both combatants were dead.

"No," the Saiyajin whispered, despair in his voice. "I lost... my brother... and now my father..." Finally, he let go of his restraints and turned his head skyward, letting loose an agonized, sobbing howl-