CHAPTER TWO: ZANGYA

 

 

Zarbon didn't quite wake up as much as lurch back into consciousness. Years of training as a soldier had instilled that quality into him. He never gradually woke up, or found himself groggy, with the exception of the occasional hangover now and then. But that had a different origin that no amount of military training could stop.

/I must be in Hell,/ Was all that he could think for the first few moments. It certainly felt like Hell. In spite of the fact that the only real injury that he had received was a sharp kick to the head, the realization of who had died in that fight was enough to make up the difference. Zarbon brought himself up off the ground slowly, carefully. He wiped some of the blood off his face and surveyed the carnage. At his feet was the completely nameless fighter he had destroyed earlier. Also at his feet was the body of Jeice, his longtime friend, accompanied by several more corpses, all Imperial Troops. The only one of Bojack's henchmen to have died in that fight was the one guy who Zarbon himself had killed. That simple fact had nothing to do with luck. It was definitely strategy. Even a low-ranking soldier could have seen that. The fighting team had eliminated all of the opposing side's advantages and used quite a bit of psychological warfare, while covering each base. Not only did it quickly level out the playing field, but it caused panic. Zarbon quietly cursed himself as he realized that he was probably the first one to panic- in spite of the hundreds of hours that he had spent in training over poise and state of mind. Of course, he did have a tendency to do that when he knew (or at least thought he knew) that he was going to die. The main problem with that was that his race gained power mainly through will power- the ability to go on past your normal limits- and panicking was not a part of it. He quietly cursed himself again.

"Are you with us, now?" Zarbon nearly jumnped through his skin at that. He turned around to face the same character who had knocked him into that unconscious not-bliss in the first place: the petite woman with the not-so-petite hair.

"I said, Are you with us, now?" She repeated, one hand on hip. Her tone of voice suggested that she was talking about the weather. "I mean, do you want to make any last requests, mourn someone's death, or pick up that earring you dropped first?"

Zarbon started a bit at that and checked his right ear. He bent over to pick up his dropped earring, eyes watching the woman suspiciously. "You don't have to watch me, I prefer fair fights. Now, about these bodies..."

"Are you trying to read my mind or something?" Zarbon asked, not able to keep up that typical silence. He had just thought about how many dead soldiers littered the battlefield.

"No, I'm just voicing my own concerns," the woman said, sitting on a rock, "I mean, if I had lost an earring, I would want to put it on. If all of my comrades had just been slaughtered, I would want to bury them- or at least move them out of the way. Nothing much, just logic."

"I suppose Bojack left you behind to watch for any survivors?"

"Naturally," The woman said, smiling somewhat, "I was just about to try checking pulses when I noticed you climbing up to your feet. You're lucky in that respect- I would have simply blown you to pieces if I had found you unconscious."

"Do you always hold conversations with people you plan on killing?"

"Only when it's a one-on-one fight. things are different when you fight groups of people at once."

Before she had finished speaking Zarbon had already sprung into action, charging at the woman with what would have been a devastating punch- if she had not caught his fist.

"Oh, please," she rolled her eyes, "Anyone could have caught that one, especially someone who relies on speed, like me. Now, are we going to kill each other like civilized people or what?"

Zarbon couldn't help chuckling at that last statement. He held off, seeing that the woman obviously meant no harm until- well, until what?

"What exactly are you waiting for, girl?" Zarbon asked her.

"I'm waiting for you to finish any necesarry business, wipe the blood off your face, etc. If I were to fight you now, you'd be in such a crappy condition that it wouldn't be fair!"

/She's right,/ Zarbon thought to himself as the woman continued speaking. "Anyway, if you good enough to take out Gandin, I'd prefer to take you on full strength."

"Gandin? Zarbon asked.

"The man you killed. He had a name. The others are Buujin, the short psychic, Bido, the refugee from a circus strongman act, (or at least so I think) Gokua, our resident swordsman, Bojack, our leader, (but you already knew that) and myself, Zangya. Now that I've given you my name, how about yours?"

Zarbon thought for a minute, then realized that since one of them was going to die today it really didn't matter. "Zarbon."

"Good. Okay, Zarbon. Since you won't voluntarily do it, could you please do something about all of these dead bodies strewn everywhere? I'll attend to Gandin myself."

Zarbon decided not to argue. If he was to get a good fight out of this, he'd have to officiate a few funerals.

So he buried them. One by one, not caring about the amount of time it took. He buried Jeice last, paying him his final respects. Bojack was going to die. But first there was a henchman to be gotten rid of.

"Are you ready now?" Zangya asked from behind him.

"Of course I am," Zarbon said, brushing the dust off his uniform for a reason that he did not know.

***

Zarbon closed his eyes and mentally prepped himself. By the time he opened them the fight had begun.

Zangya had opened by charging toward Zarbon then disappearing. Typical move. Zarbon jumped back a few steps and threw up a block to her attack as she came back in. Zangya took the opportunity to flip him, but he managed to get his balance back in mid air as Zangya kicked back at him. He countered and punch, et. al. After a while it was more than dead obvious that they were both toying with each other. It was time to put some ki into the fight.

Zarbon stood where he was, blocking the next attack, and countered it with a technique that he had not used since he had learned it. Folding his arms like a mummy, he fell backwards toward the ground and used the Zanzoken to disappear- creating the illusion that he had gone underground without making a hole. He reappeared above Zangya and used the Renzokou Energy Dan, a perfect barrage of ki blasts designed not for accuracy but for simple destruction. He canceled it just as she appeared behind him and hit him with a reverse split kick, sending him downward but not into the ground. Zangya reappeared below him and hit him with a familiar rising uppercut (Everyone knew that move), sending him flying aimlessly in the air.

Expecting an arial attack, Zarbon twisted himself in mid-air and let out a perfectly executed roundhouse kick that connected with air. He cursed lightly once as Zangya grabbed him from behind in a choke hold.

"One must wonder how you killed Gandin when you can barely even fight," she said, as she applied pressure to his carotid artery. Zarbon reversed his direction and flew straight down, full force. When he hit the ground he made a crater worthy of some ki attacks, and had sufficiently lossened Zangya's gri[p on his throat. Actually, she wasn't holding onto him anymore.

Zarbon immediately jumped off and turned around, placing his left hand on his outstreched arm. "FIRE ARROW!!" He shouted, firing his most powerful ki blast. The surroundings turned a flaming red as the energy gathered in his arm then fired out like an elongated rocket. Zangya focused her gaze on the blast, and countered with one of her own, shouting, "Spark Laser!" a huge bolt of lightning fired from her forehead, successfully countering the blast that probably would have killed her. Zangya jumped up to Zarbon's level. "So you like ki attacks," she said. Lifting one hand, she formed a ball of energy in it. "High-Pressure bomb!" She hit it with her other hand, sending the bomb directly at Zarbon.

/Just like jeice,/ Zarbon thought, as he deflected it with his hand. Just like Jeice. If you put up a ki barrier around your hand, you can play basketball with it if you want to.

Zangya twisted her hand and the bomb curved back toward Zarbon. NOT just like Jeice. Zarbon quickly turned around and deflected it again. And again. And again. Finally he grabbed it, held it, and flew directly into Zangya to see what she would do she put up a nicely sized ki barrier which had just enough extra space in it for Zarbon to slip into as the bomb exploded.

"Close quarters," he said, as he connected with a back kick to her face. Zangya flew back at him and the two exchanged blows for a bit, with the realization in hand that it wasn't doing much good. Zangya intentionally let Zarbon hit her so she'd be knocked back enough to fire a Renzokou Energy Dan at him, giving him very little time to counter it with one of his own. If the move can be counted as one single move, what with it being multiple ki blasts and all. Zangya finished it by firing a three-blast fireball, which hit Zarbon directly against the chest, cracking his armour.

Zarbon landed casually and did not attack. he simply smiled and transformed to his other form. Zangya rolled her eyes from above. "Oh, that thing again. Please show some originality!" she called down at him. Zarbon laughed and tore in at her. She dodged his initial punch with the ease and grace of a dancer, and countered his second punch with a painful kick to his groin. Zangya let Zarbon recover from the extrordinarily painful blow (Remember my comment about having balls bigger than your head?) for the moment Before hitting him again, and again, and again. She seemed to be having an even easier time against him in spite of his higher power level!

Finally Zangya finished it by punching into Zarbon's stomach and throwing him down to the ground.

"Are you okay down there?"

"Shit!" he shouted, coughing up blood.

"I'll take that as a no. Want a tip? That form of yours is too slow- it handicaps you! If you really want to fight me you'll use your other form. I'm sure you can still live if I don't hit you with anything else!"

Zarbon coughed up some more purple blood. "Damn you, Bitch! I'm not falling for that!"

"Oh, well. It's your funeral, after all."

Zangya fired another spark laser at Zarbon, this one hitting him directly. She held it for a while, then let it go when he finished screaming. Too easy. Zangya landed to make sure that he was dead, and didn't notice that Zarbon's eyes were open and aware, and that they were flaming with rage.

Zangya stretched one hand out to blast Zarbon when something that characterized why he had lived as long as he did- willpower. The act of never giving up. Zarbon slowly started to struggle to his feet, but stumbled back down to a prone position, still a charred, bloody mess.

"Really, if you'd just lie still it won't hurt. I promise."

"Shut up, bitch! I WILL NOT BE KILLED BY YOU!!" Zarbon collected all of his remaining ki and fired it into the ground.

"And what was that supposed to do?"

"You'll see," zarbon said, and he saw the smile on Zangya's face falter as she sensed all that ki suddenly reappear below her just slightly faster than she could move.

The firey explosion ripped upward through the ground and completely covered everything in a three-foot radius of Zangya, torching her. Zarbon watched as his attack finished, and Zangya collapsed, still conscious but not about to fight anymore unless she had the same driving force that he did. And she did not.

Zarbon struggled to stand up in front of Zangya, and lifted his hand. He was going to see if he had any more ki left. He did. It had built up. Momentarily forgetting the fact that he was bleeding to death, Zarbon laughed, more of a hoarse cough than a laugh.

Zangya looked up at Zarbon. She was obviously more injured than she looked, otherwise she would have finished him off.

"Good job," she said, hoarsely, "I'm impressed. You seem to have won after all." Her smile disappeared to a resigned look. "Now, finish what you started. Kill me before you die yourself."

Zarbon looked at her for a moment. Extreme hatred raged inside of him. He detested her. She had killed how many of his close friends and comrades without even a thought? His vengeance for Jeice's death would begin here with her death. With her destruction. No, check that, it had already begun with the death of Gandin. It would continue with Zangya's death. And from there he would target Gokua, and then Bido, Buujin, and finally Bojack himself. He could use one of the ship's regen tanks in between fights, recover each time. Maybe then he could return to King Cold victoriously, having ended everything. And all that he would have to do now was shoot this girl once between her eyes or in her throat where it would be immediately lethal.

Zarbon lowered his hand. "No," he said, and was completely surprised at what he had just said. Was he mad or something? But there it was- he had refused to kill her. Zarbon could find no real reason for this- he still hated Zangya and wanted her to die, but some strange part of his intuition told him not to. Then it occurred to him. Suppose one of them escaped his grasp? He could use Zangya as bait, and find Bojack and his group later! Except that he didn't think that Bojack held his underlings in high enough regard to try to rescue them.

There was one other feeling. The feeling of passing out due to a lack of oxygen caused by massive bleeding.

"Oh, shit..." Zarbon said, as he passed out.

***