Warning: this story takes place between “Engines of Salvation” and “Even More Slices of Life”. Spoilers for both stories, as well as the Intergalactic Tournament Saga.
On the distant planet of Vajarsi, a planet of reddish-pink skies and many rocky landscapes, home of the Saingans, a spacecraft lands on a plateau.
It is the same plateau that Officer Campylobacter, Kyle Jones and Cheech once landed on.
Konba, Prince of all Saingans, disembarks, helping his co-pilot out.
“This is it, Bulma. My homeworld. What do you think?”
Bulma, a turquoise unicorn mare with blue eyes, looks around.
She’s wearing a universal translator, as is Konba.
“It nu am as pwetty as Uwf.”
“I’m with you on this. Earth is a beautiful planet.”
“Had I let my need for vengeance dictate my actions, it wouldn’t be so beautiful. My father was right about me. I’m an idiot. And that’s why we’re here, Bulma.”
Carefully holding Bulma in his arms, Konba takes flight, to a city of white buildings in the distance.
“I just hope he’ll let me speak to him.”
“Hahahaha! Look who it is, Leeva! The coward who hid in a pile of corpses!”
“Who do you think he’s running away from this time, Jahkee?”
Outside the vast doors leading into the Gallo’s palace, Konba scowls, and blushes.
“Does everyone on Vajarsi know about that?”
Bulma, standing next to her daddeh, looks up at Konba.
“Knu abowt wut?”
“It’s a long story, Bulma. But seriously, does everyone know about it?”
Leeva and Jahkee, two of the palace guards, nod happily, and Leeva speaks up.
“His Majesty told everyone. He thought it was hilarious. But why are you here, Konba? Did Korkea send you on another errand?”
Konba shakes his head.
“I’m here on my behalf, this time. I need to speak to my father again. This conversation has been a long time coming.”
Leeva raises an eyebrow.
“What’s this about, Konba?”
“Say that again, boy.”
In the throne room, Konba and Bulma stand before King Tema, Gallo of Vajarsi and Konba’s father, sitting in his throne.
“You were right about me. All along. I’m an idiot. A fool. I let my instincts control me, and it almost got everyone killed.”
Tema closes his eyes, smiling, savoring this moment.
“Again. Say I was right about you again.”
“You were right about me.”
“One more time.”
“Gwampa, dat am enuff, wook at daddeh, he am abowt tu stawt cwyin.”
Tema opens his eyes, laughing.
“I know, that’s the really funny part! But, ah, why do you keep calling me grampa?”
Bulma rolls her eyes, somewhat annoyed that she has to explain this.
“Cuz yu am daddeh daddeh, dat am wai.”
Tema smiles warmly at Bulma.
“Oh, that’s right. You fluffies call your owners daddy. I’ve been reading up on fluffies since the Tournament, y’know. You’re rather fascinating creatures, I must say. Especially Marley! Er, have you met Marley?”
“Gween fwuff, wed an yewwow mane an taiw? Bweef-wee.”
“He’s a formidable fighter, I’ll tell you that. I don’t suppose that you have any powers?”
“Nu dat Buwma knu abowt.”
“Ah, that’s alright. You seem smarter than Konba, Bulma. At least one of you has a working brain.”
Tema looks his son in the eye.
“So, what lead you to this realization, Konba? Last time I saw you, you were here with Cal’s friends, retrieving that fragment.”
Konba tells his father about what happened on Earth.
How Prince Scha of Tenneb tricked Konba into handing over all the fragments of the Sphere of Destruction, and then left Konba for dead.
And how Konba met Bulma right after that, when the fluffy attempted to heal Konba’s wounds with hugs.
Were Konba and Tema not Saingans, Tema would be furious about the prince of another planet attempting to murder his son, and he would already be preparing to declare war with Tenneb.
But they are Saingans, so Tema just laughs again.
“You actually believed a Tennebite? They’re the most untrustworthy race in the universe! Had you been drinking too much again, boy?”
Konba rubs the back of his neck, in clear embarrassment.
“I haven’t had a drink since the whole mess on Vyse, Father.”
Konba continues, and Tema’s jaw drops at the gripping climax of the story.
“They destroyed the God of Destruction?!? Wow! I already knew Calvin and Marley were something special, but this… I don’t know what to say! Those machines they used… I’d like to take a look at them. They sound incredible.”
“I thought I could crush the God of Destruction with the power of a Super Saingan, but now I see… I never stood a chance. Even if I did have that power. Father, I finally understand what you’ve been trying to teach me, all these years. Power’s good and all… but it’s not enough. It takes more than brute force to win.”
Konba kneels down, stroking Bulma.
“And the weak shouldn’t be disparaged. One’s worth is determined by more than how strong they are. The weak shouldn’t fear the strong.”
“Mistah Caw say, daddeh am a dik, but daddeh nu haf tu be a dik. Buwma nu knu wut a dik am, foh.”
“I think it’s Earth slang for male genitalia, but in this context, it means that…”
Konba sighs sadly.
“…I’m a terrible person.”
“Buwma nu fink daddeh am su bad.”
“Thank you, Bulma.”
As Konba stands up straight again, Tema nods, and also gets up.
“Cal’s right, and so are you. You are a terrible person, Konba, even by our standards. I’ve heard about your drunken antics on other planets. But you’ve finally pulled your head out of your ass, and realised it. And that’s the first step on the path to self-improvement. Konba, why do you think Cal is such a sublime warrior?”
“I don’t know. Because he’s an Omega Class? Because he’s driven by love? Because he refuses to give up?”
“Close. He’s such a sublime warrior because he always keeps pushing himself, further and further. Because he wants to be the best warrior he can be. And it’s not to feed his own ego, unlike you. It’s because he fights for others. And because he enjoys fighting. But he doesn’t let his lust for battle cloud his judgement. If he did, he couldn’t attain the clarity of thought required by Mindless Mind!”
Konba is shocked. He couldn’t get much more shocked without being strapped into an electric chair.
“Wait, he achieved Mindless Mind?!? When did that happen?!?”
“Wut am Mine-wess Mine, daddeh?”
“Another long story, I’m afraid.”
“It was during the finals of the Tournament. Did you miss it, Konba?”
“Gooroo was watching the Tournament on Vyse, but I wasn’t really paying attention.”
“You were drunk–”
“I was drunk, yes. Father, you should have seen it, I’ve never seen alcohol from so many different planets in one place before.”
“Sounds like a magical place. But, getting back on track, Cal is a sublime warrior because he understands power in a way you didn’t. Because he knows what you’ve learned: that it takes more than power to be the best.”
Tema gets up close to Konba.
“And now that you’ve learned this lesson, what are you going to do?”
“Well, I’ve been thinking about it, on the way here. Cal and Marley are fascinating warriors. I’d like to meet them again. I haven’t given up on fighting Cal. But it’s not about proving myself to you, or getting revenge on Marley and that robot that looks like Cal. Nor is it about destroying Earth. It’s a beautiful planet, Father. If I’m not to become Gallo when you finally retire, then maybe… I could settle down there. I don’t think that robot will try to kill me if I don’t cause trouble.”
“And what about your ambition to become a Super Saingan?”
Tema knows all about this. He’s the one who told Konba about the legendary Super Saingan, after all. Many times, when Konba was young.
Bedtime stories on Vajarsi are a lot more hardcore than bedtime stories on Earth. If you thought the Brothers Grimm were hardcore…
“I don’t know. All my life, I dreamt of becoming a Super Saingan. Of proving myself stronger than anyone. But you said that I’d never be able to do it. So… maybe I should just give up on that.”
As he sees the look on Konba’s face, Tema thinks to himself.
He realizes exactly how Konba feels. Saingans aren’t the most empathetic race in the universe, but they are not completely lacking in empathy.
And Tema knows what he has to say.
“Konba. My son. Listen to me. Giving up is not what a Saingan does. And shall I tell you something? That particular trait has gotten our kind into trouble before. You’ve seen it yourself, yes? On Earth, they’ve got a saying. Know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em. So yes, there are times when you should give up, and fold. You’ve learned this now. But this is not one of those times. I think I know someone who might be able to help you with this, although I cannot guarantee that they’ll actually want to help you.”
“He’s still alive?”
“Hu am Wowe-keepah Kawne?”
Konba kneels down again, stroking Bulma.
“The wisest living member of our race. He knows things that the Saingan race has otherwise forgotten, secret knowledge passed down from Lorekeeper to Lorekeeper. He lives all the way up on Mount Bhubhu.”
“If anyone knows how to become a Super Saingan, it’ll be Lorekeeper Karne. But, again, I can’t promise that he’ll actually tell you.”
“I can’t blame him if he refuses, Father.”
“Ha! Me neither. But before you go running off to Mount Bhubhu, there’s one little thing I need you to do for me.”
“And what’s that?”
Outside the palace, in the heart of the nearby city, Konba, Tema, and Bulma stand on a podium.
Konba is now wearing a conical paper hat, with something written on it in Sainganese.
Roughly translated into English, the hat says “DUNCE”.
Tema had the hat ready, just in case. He made it himself. He’s actually pretty good at arts and crafts.
Bulma thinks this is a bit too much, but Tema insisted that Konba do this, and Konba agreed.
Every Saingan in the city is present, and every other Saingan on the planet is watching this from home.
It’s being broadcast live across the planet.
Konba takes the mic, steeling himself.
He clears his throat, and begins his speech.
“My name is Konba… and I am the biggest idiot on Vajarsi.”