Vegeta isn't a man who hands out praise lightly, or much at all if he can avoid doing so. But not for the first time in his many months' spent training has he felt impressed by the ingenuity of one King Kai and his ability to deliver on his promise of creating consistently useful heavyweight suits.
Though he is loathed to admit it even now, a genuine tingling of fear prickled in the back of his neck when the gravity machine hit its limit and he had no replacement for it. He has no interest now nor did he have any then in training with any of Kakarot's ilk to improve himself.
But King Kai made a lofty promise of creating something many times more effective than that: special suits created by the heaviest metals across the galaxies. Suits so heavy they could bring someone of even Vegeta's transformed power to their knees.
Vegeta suspected these too would run out in due time, but as he levitates off the ground, punching and kicking across the air and ignoring the seas worth amount of sweat covering every inch of his being and the straining of his muscles, he knows this fear was nothing but simple paranoia and little else.
There are other, much more real things to keep his interest, such as Kakarot and his brats energies. Even now, as they're gathered at their little meeting, learning of the Room of Spirit and Time and mostly wasting valuable training time, he can feel they're... different Super Saiyan powers.
From what Vegeta could gather, the boy, in an attempt to minimize his own temper in the state has opted to remain in it permanently, regardless if it's heated battle or losing precious minutes or hours buried in books. A decision Kakarot himself has followed suite and so they remain, Super Saiyan's always.
Another accomplishment Vegeta must begrudgingly give to the two of them. But there is more than one path to power, and the Prince of all Saiyan's will in very short time prove his the superior one not just between the three of them, but to all of the so-called peons who call themselves... 'warriors' in this afterlife. Though even now, as he fires off a legion of blasts all trained to hit him to practice his evasion skills, Vegeta can't help but laugh at the absurdity of calling anyone outside the Earth people anything approaching warriors.
Almost from the moment he arrived, Vegeta quickly noticed that most of them were far inferior to his old self from before Namek, let alone to the incarnation of Saiyan legend he is now. All but two, that is. Slug and the mysterious Pikkon. Vegeta knows of the former a bit more, apparently, he's been training Piccolo in ancient Namekian battle arts meant to turn Piccolo into his species equivalent of a Super Saiyan. Thus far, however, Vegeta has sensed no signs of this materializing.
Pikkon is the one who interests him most, not least of which for his status amongst the warriors here as the last one to qualify in the Room of Spirit and Time after a climactic battle with Slug, is an enigma. Keeping to himself and certainly not training, Vegeta would have sensed a power like that. A part of him wants to write him off as Olibu or even Slug, mediocre fighters looked at as legends amongst the other trash here.
And yet, when the boy nearly killed him and Kakarot almost a year ago, Pikkon brought him down with a simple jab to the neck. The Saiyan Prince has long since surpassed the boy's strength from then, but still...
With a renewed ferocity, Vegeta increases the number of blasts in numbers and in power and goes about avoiding them to the best of his ability. With a practiced series of mid-air flips, rolls, crouches,... the Saiyan Prince fully immerses himself in the exercise. To fly so high in the air with something weighing a continent requires a great deal of ki control, not just raw strength as he had to quickly learn months ago. Simple, vague recollections of those days are enough to spur an extra dose of power into his system.
The outside world loses all focus for him until an obnoxiously loud voice, one sounding as though pushed through nostrils, reverberates through the air and allows a ball to graze Vegeta's cheek, breaking his intense focus. A simple mistake that would on any other day send a jolt of anger through his system makes his blood boil, specifically because someone else has caused him to perform sub par.
Halting in the storm of yellow energies buzzing around and then converging on his location, Vegeta lets his fury explode with a mighty, dissipating shout, annihilating his own attacks following a blinding flash of light. With that out of the way, the Saiyan Prince turns his attention towards the source of the noise and only now notices an extra three energy signatures on the ground beneath him.
One of them, Olibu, was assigned earlier by King Kai to oversee Vegeta, as though this pitiful Earthling could actually stop him if he tries. The other three he only vaguely recognizes, and only from their species. A rectoid, a dragoon and a metamorpho. All three unimpressive like most of a lot of this planet in terms of strength and all three starring at them with a kind of bloodlust he recognizes all too well.
He had seen it many times as he eradicated their species for Freeza with absolute ease. Making their appearances on a place seemingly for true fighters only bringing down Vegeta's opinion on the criteria of this place down all the more.
"Whoever amongst sounds like a strangled cat better better leave now," Vegeta shouts down at the four of them. "I don't tolerate mistakes and I kill anyone who makes me have them."
"The only one who'll die today is you!" The dragoon, a large mass of muscles standing at what Vegeta assumes is ten feet at height snaps at him with a loud swing of his tail against the ground. "I'll kill you so fast you'll-"
"Die before I hit the ground?" Vegeta appears behind the three of them, smirking at how quickly the beasts bravado abandons him. "Forgive me if I don't take you seriously."
"Bastard," His comrade, the rectoid, a being resembling an unholy spawn between an Earthling and one of their insects grinds through his teeth, glaring at the Saiyan Prince with a shred of defiance the dragoon certainly can't muster any more. "To see you gain so much power, from King Kai of all people,... After all the people you've murdered..."
"Enough!" The one known as Olibu speaks up, momentarily drawing attention away from Vegeta. "We've discussed this before! Vegeta's crimes are noted and he is kept under strict watch by my master!"
"He shouldn't even be here!" The one with the aggravating voice declares, clenching all ten of his hands together in barely contained anger. If the rectoid resembles a mash-up of Earthling species, the metamorpho almost seems taken out of one of those ridiculous, anthropomorphic cartoons Trunks watches-
Vegeta quickly puts an end to that particular train of though which creeps up on him from time to time. Instead, he opts to entertain himself by listening to the self-righteous rambling a bit more. It'll make it all the more satisfying when he breaks their spirits in due time.
"He has slain each of us, and our people's," The metamorpho jabs a finger at him. "Bar Freeza himself and his equally despised Ginyu Force, Vegeta stands as one of the main perpetrators behind the destruction of countless worlds. Entire civilizations snuffed out all on the whim of brutal sadists like him! The one you expect us to not only accept being here but allow him to participate in the tournament! And for what?!"
"It is as I told you, Caterpy," Olibu tries to soothe him. "He is part of a mission of great importance, one only he, Goku, Piccolo and-"
"A mission of great importance, but one you can't share with anyone!" The dragoon finds a shred of his courage, somewhat masking the trembling in his voice with another shout. "You only give us vague half-answers and expect us to take it for granted!"
"I expect you to trust the wisdom of the Kai's, yes," Olibu holds fast with a patience Vegeta finds wasted on these fools. "Have they ever given you cause to doubt them?"
"Plenty," The retcoid grounds out. "They call themselves great masters and yet even the lowest of us here are far beyond them. Never mind the heights attained by Goku and his friends and... this one, here."
"Kakarot, as much as it pains me to say, has the inkling of a clue as to what he's doing," Vegeta grins at their rising tempers, how the rectoid's fist clenches, the tightening of the dragoon's neck and the stiffening of the metamorpho's back. "Perhaps if you fools spent more time training and less fuming at me, you might, in a millennia or two, become halfway sub-par!"
"Vegeta..." Olibu's voice drops a few notches, an attempt to sound threatening, perhaps? Vegeta assumes so, for it gets a good laugh out of him.
"If these fools want to challenge me, let them," Vegeta eyes slowly dart from one to the other. "I care little if they keep pestering you, but my training is in the final stretch and I will suffer no more delays or annoyances from them, or anyone else until the Tournament."
"You won't live to see the Tournament you bast-" The dragoons threat and rush attack die the moment his skull makes contact with Vegeta's chest piece. With a loud thud, his unconscious body smacks against the grassy and for a few moments, no one present knows quite what to make of this.
Until Vegeta's snicker then cackle reverberate across the open plains.
He planned to toy with the beast for a moment, to entertain the possibility of something possibly hidden in his sleeve that could provide a halfway decent challenge. But as he fights the urge to hold onto his hurting sides and laughs on, Vegeta finds this development infinitely more rewarding.
A laugher that doesn't stop even when Caterpy unleashes a bright flash of light from his eyes intended to blind him and tries to mount a two-pronged assault on the cackling Saiyan Prince.
A futile effort, for Vegeta, suffered the effects of being blinded once before during his battle against Kakarot and made it a point to focus on his ki sensing should his sight suffer again like that.
Without even bothering to stop his cackling Vegeta caught the rectoid's kick intended mere inches away from his cheek and swung him firstly into Caterpy then into the unconscious body of the dragoon. Once both of them were airborne, he blasted them away towards the planet where Kakrato's grandfather spends his time in the afterlife with the other non-fighters.
"I'd worry about myself if I were you!" Taking a moment to savor the metamorpho's aghast face, Vegeta purposefully winds up his punch with a deliberate slowness then with a speed none present but himself can comprehend brings the bug down to his knees in a fit of coughing blood.
"Still conscious? Not bad," Vegeta brings the heel of his boot down on the back of Caterpy's head, keeping him down in the dirt where he belongs. "But as we can all see, you're thoroughly outclassed, so why don't you stop embarrassing-"
A horrifyingly familiar pain takes Vegeta he's only felt once before and will never forget forces him to his knees. As he lies splayed out and paralyzed on the grass, he can notice his physical form fading in and out of existence itself from the vanishing of his arm.
"I'm sorry Vegeta," Olibu speaks up as walks up to the downed Vegeta, towering over him. "But we all suspected this day would come sooner or later, King Yemma made sure we would have the means to stop it from getting too far."
At that moment, the Prince of Saiyan's notice the paper from a notebook nestled tightly in Olibu's clenched fist and all the dots instantly connect. Whatever abilities Yemma's list of souls held over someone's state of existing in that paper as well. A way for one as weak as King Kai or this Earthling to bring Vegeta down if all else is unavailable or unable to.
Vegeta would find their cunning admirable if his entire body wasn't shaking from pain and an insatiable desire to rip this Earth man to pieces for daring to do this to him. Someone from that worthless hellhole doing this to him? Seering him with a pain so indescribable it would bring even Freeza to the verge of tears not even with his own power, but with a shred of paper?!
"It feels pretty terrible, doesn't it Vegeta?" Caterpy's goads him through blood soaked teeth. "Being at someone's mercy like this and wanting to make them pay for it?"
His desire to wring the Earthling's neck finds a new target with the smirking bug creature sprawled out in front of him. Not that it changes much, for the paralyzing effect of the paper keeps Vegeta firmly where he is, try as he might.
"That is enough Caterpy!" Olibu shouts with a sudden explosion of energy. "Though Vegeta is far from innocent in this case, you three are more than smart enough to know that this could not end well for you."
"Seeing Vegeta like this is exactly what all of us wanted!" Caterpy's smirk turns into a disgusted lip curl. "That's how all of us felt when he and his squad annihilated our homes! Everything we were and could've been, gone!"
An accusing finger is pointed at the scowling Prince.
"You murdered everything for us Vegeta! If there's anything, anything at all you give even the slightest damn about besides yourself, I hope it suffers a hundred times worse a fate!"
At that moment, this proclamation rings inside Vegeta's thoughts and his anger morphs into a fit of barely shaking bloodlust into an overwhelming, almost calming fury. So overwhelming is this feeling that he can barely register the tiny bit of ki control he manages to exert thanks to it to propel the caterpillar right across the sky or the return of King Kai to the scene a mere moment after the faraway pillar of rock and dirt from Caterpy's crash dies off.
Nor does he pay much attention to the babbling of Kai's obnoxious voice or Olibu's recollection of the entire incident. He merely lies there, letting this tranquil storm inside him to rage on with nary a hint of his inner rage to the outside world.
"Damn you Vegeta!" He vaguely hears the Kai chastise him. "15 minutes! I asked you to behave for that long without me here and you go and do this?!"
"It was my fault, Master," Olibu's voice registers next. "I severely overestimated and underestimated a... multitude of factors... I will go and ensure the others are alright."
"Yes, do go out to them," Vegeta speaks up in a tone with a calmness that catches him off guard almost as much as the one's his words are directed to. "Because if you don't, and that paper stops working on me, I will crush you."
He can't help but smirk at the fear this Earthman tries to keep from slipping through his facade of strength.
"Not just for interfering with my battle, for the simple fact of allowing that loathsome creature the pleasure of seeing me like this," His scowl deepens. "For you, an Earthling, bringing me, Vegeta, the Prince of an elite class of warriors to heel with a piece of paper."
"I did what I had to not only for their sakes but for your-"
"And though you may yet escape my wrath now," Vegeta speaks a notch over him. "Neither you or your students will escape it in the Tournament."
"You spiteful creature," Finally, a surge of anger crosses Olibu's face. "My students have never wronged you!"
"No, but you just did and in your disgusting care for them has ensured them a suffering unlike any other when I get my hands on them-"
"Enough of this!" King Kai re-enters the conversation with a shout. "You're in deep enough trouble as it is, Vegeta! Don't make it any worse for yourself!"
"I'm merely giving them what they want, especially the one with three eyes," Vegeta can't help but smirk at the twitch in Olibu's cheek at the mention of Tien. "Oh yes, I'm sure he'll be more than pleased at the prospect of fighting me. That's what he wants, doesn't he? I'm sure he'll be thrilled when he learns you've helped put him on my radar."
"Go to the others, Olibu," King Kai places a calming hand on the much taller fighter's shoulder. Standing on his toes as he does so. "Help them, however, you can. I can deal with this."
With a withering glare at Vegeta, Olibu nods in quiet consent and passes the paper onto his master before flying off to the dragoon and rectoid. The Kai sighs and merely watches over the still paralyzed Vegeta.
"And here I thought you'd learned some shred of restraint."
"You are a tool to help me get stronger, that's the only reason I tolerate your presence near me."
The diminutive blue fatso says nothing, he merely stands there and stares down at him through his usual black glasses.
"And I assume playing with your son increased your power as well."
That calming ferocity washes over Vegeta again and he hopes with all his might to muster another kiai. Preferably one to take this annoying creature's head off. Instead, the paralyzing pain grows stronger and he struggles to even grunt.
"Lose the tough guy act, Vegeta," He states with a long-suffering sigh. "Or else you'll lose a lot more of much greater value. Hopefully, spending three days like this trapped inside your own thoughts will help you listen to what I have to say for once."
Still trying and failing to muster any ki attack to speak of, Vegeta lies there and curses all those for costing him three precious days worth of training. The Kai, his Earthling pet who dared to insult him so, and most of all, the three weaklings so ignorant that they fail to realize how their own deficiencies are what cost them all they so stupidly held dear.
Thanks to Freeza, Vegeta learned full well only ever to look out for himself and to gain the power capable of doing so.
And that's another series (hopefully) back on track! This bastard took me a while to complete but I'm pretty happy with the results. Expect a couple more chapters like this to fill out the post-time skip world before we start the tournament where some exciting things are in store for us all!