Chapter 11, King Of Anything.
As he comes to, his immediate thought is a single-worded, very frustrated question, one that he feels extremely disturbed to be asking, but nonetheless asking it.
If he wasn't better than blaming himself for mistakes that wouldn't have otherwise happened had he just been more attentive, he would be reprimanding himself for allowing the angel to incapacitate him for a moment. Fortunately, he is better than pointing the finger at himself, as that is the rightful and fitting behaviour for someone of his calibre, which is why he easily apportions the fault to the meddling angel.
An impudent creature, that angel is.
Only that fool of a being, pretentious in his perceived might, and quite disrespectful to those who should be showered with the appropriate reverence, would be as absent in thought to dare such an act a second time.
To be clear, he hates that he's being treated like his will is nothing more than useless air; as though his supremacy is a sufficient enough reason to be abused by lesser beings. He is keeping count of all the injustices against him, and where the angel is concerned, this is the second time.
Whether the angel can deconstruct it for it himself or not, he, Zamaku, will not allow a third time to happen. He'll unfortunately have to be on his guard for that to be, which is low and embarrassing for someone like him, someone of his stature, but if he wants to not be caught by surprise by the angel a third time.
Primarily, he concludes to himself, to his great presence, the angel is turning out to be a bother. But no matter, as soon as he gets on his feet, once his eyes are open, he will correct the wrong that he has been put through.
In that state of mind, having given himself the right amount of motivation, without opening his eyes, he tries to get up. As he attempts to lift his back up from the soft material under him, he feels a stick-like weight hold him down. The feeling is light on his body, but the force that it carries to push him down with, is enough to keep him down.
A slow, slightly impatient breath comes out of him.
He knows exactly what's going on, and he knows exactly what to do to combat it. Or test it, he should say. Releasing another slow breath, he relaxes his body and just like that, the pressure on his chest leaves him. Internally smiling, he confirms that it's exactly like he thought. He will have to repeat it again, to leave no doubt in his mind about what is happening.
After a moment passes, he tries to get up again, and the same thing happens. He is still held down, and this time, a voice deeper than the angel's, says something to him.
So, they schemed that the god deals directly with him from this moment onwards? It was clever of them to do so, he thinks, smiling behind closed eyes as he does, but they didn't consider everything; that there's still no comparison between him and the god, that they should think that he'd be forced into submission by the god.
Clearly demonstrated by their limited thoughts, they are proven to be a foolish pair.
But that note aside to address the matter of him apparently being stubborn... Firmly, no, he is not. What he is, and this he will shortly make them understand, is that he is transcendent above all beings, which appropriately means that he can carry as many rights in attitude and character as he pleases. And as such, he will not answer to anyone, neither will he defend himself to anyone, when their acknowledgement of his attributes is enough of a defence.
Attempting to defend or explain himself at a time like this, would be the same as gloating that he is stronger against a losing opponent; completely senseless. He has more decorum rather than that, because, yes, Zamaku is above all such weakness. That being so, he widens his smile, assuming that one way or another, it will put the god in his place.
'You are stubborn indeed,' the god says, apparently confirming it, before adding, 'but you will soon learn...'
He doesn't sound to have finished his line, Zamaku notes, however, if the god is waiting in the silence for him to say something, he will have to keep waiting. Zamaku has nothing to learn, least of all from the god. Zamaku is the absolute, and never in existence has an absolute needed to learn anything.
'Whis!' sharply stabs through the previously silent air as he's finishing his thought.
With the call, comes a long strand of a distinct sound, an irritating swoosh to be precise, one that seems to carry on from one eternity to another. Even though he's never heard it before, he is fast learning to hate it already.
'You called, my lord?'
It's that then. His supremacy is an excellent filter for filth, obviously. It knew to dislike the angel's presence before his eyes ever confirmed it. Also, while he's being at his discerning best, he has never liked the softness in the angel's voice.
'Take him,' the god says, 'it's time.'
'Are you sure, my lord?'
'Take him,' the god says again.
They are amusing, the pair. Listen to them discussing him as if they have power over him, as if they can control and subdue him. They really are amusing, that he begins to laugh like a man with no expiry period for his laughter.
'Stop that,' the softer of the two voices urges him, not demanding in the least, even as he imagines how the god gives him an evil look. 'And do kindly get up.'
As entitled as he is to deliver a short disobedient 'no,' he chooses to rather minify his laugh into a boasting smirk while opening only one eye to search for the angel's eye. That should be a clear enough answer for him, on both accounts.
Like he's unfazed by the response, the angel calmly repeats for him to, 'Kindly get up.'
Just to repeat his refusal, he closes his eye and then crosses his arms over his chest. His response strikes at something of the angel's, clearly, seeing as he hears a long sigh come from him. There must be an expression to go with that sound, he is certain of it.
'I advise you to know and remember, Mr. Zamaku,' the angel carefully says after the sigh, 'that although you believe yourself to be the most superior being that there is in the universe, you are neither Lord Beerus, nor King of All. In other in words, if I lose my patience with you, I am under no obligation to bare with you. I, of course, have no plan to go to such an extreme. However,' this new word sounds too much like a warning, 'please know that if I'm forced by your incorrigible behaviour, then not even Lord Beerus' favour will save you. I am only as entertaining as I choose to be, and although I have patience, I'd rather not use it on you.'
That, he did and does not like.
The evidence of that, is clear in the heating of his skin, the tightening of his muscles, and the rush of bitter emotion that settles around his soul. From his soul, the emotion trickle all over his body, poisoning him, because he didn't make the choice to feel bitterness. Because it won't do to be made to feel outside of his own desire, he seeks to force the unwelcome feeling out of him, and at the same time deal with the angel once and for all, by getting up from his position, and then coming to a rigid stand before the blue creature.
As he opens his eyes, both of them this time, he rightfully fixes them on the angel. No mistake should be made on the angel's part, to have him thinking that his warning served for anything relevant. The angel calmly stares back him, seemingly waiting for the conclusion, when what he should be doing, is realising that he's taking liberties bigger than he should ever be allowed to experience in his entire existence.
Has this creature forgotten himself?
Is he not someone's servant?
Does he not obey orders from someone else?
He could only ever dream to be on an equal footing as Zamaku, and yet he treads where he has no welcome? Being under the governance of a god, the angel creature should know that the two of them are not of the same calibre. They never will be, and the angel will never exude an aura such as Zamaku's, which by default strictly prohibits the angel from speaking so callously with him.
Let that be the last time!
'Lord Beerus believes that you should be rehabilitated,' the creature begins to say after the prolonged pause.
The god is a fool, and anything that he believes is only foolery, he thinks as he removes his eyes from staring into the servant's, to look for the said god. He finds him a little to the left of his servant, and while he's not interested to make eye contact with the god, he does roam his eyes over the form of the god, assessing him.
'He believes that you are far too arrogant, and much too weak to carry your own arrogance, which making you unapt to carry yourself as you do,' the god's servant carries on, cutting through his assessment. 'And those were his words, not mine, by the way.'
He adds that last piece of information a little too jovially, making Zamaku believe that he finds humour in the stupidity of his own god. How dare he, that's a disrespectful thing of him to do! How does he laugh at the one who he serves, once again prove that he doesn't know his real place in the universe?
'If you care to know,' the servant picks up speaking, sounding more serious, 'my words are more blunt, but that's no matter-'
At the very least, he knows his own insignificance.
'-because as Lord Beerus said before, you are stubborn! You refuse to be humble, and have a great deficit in attention. For that reason, for as long as it takes to make sure that you are properly rehabilitated, you will remain here with us.'
Hmpf, is that so?
He looks from the servant to the god, repeating the action three times, until finally, he settles for staring off into space, to better ponder this.
He has, so far, been attacked and called names for no reason, spoken to like a commoner, and now, insulted with the threat of rehabilitation. He has, so far, only maintained his composure and held his mouth closed, for the sake of his own propriety – he's never to be out of character. He feels, yes, he feels, and he's putting those feelings on partial hold in the meantime, however, if he reaches a point where it's all too much, he will react. For the moment, though, because the idea is insulting to his character, to communicate that he will never be rehabilitated, he strategically looks to the side of the servant, to where the god is silently standing.
'He's refusing, Whis,' the god says all of a sudden, as their eyes meet.
That observation alone, makes him smile, seeing as clearly, his presence speaks for him. It's no wonder that the servant responds with a hard frown. A servant like him would never be able to understand the strength of such unspoken power.
'You will be rehabilitated, sir,' the servant states. 'Don't make yourself believe anything that's different. It's Lord Beerus' wish that you unfuse into two, but from the evidence this far, and my theory, of course, that seems eternally unlikely. I have observed that the glue sticking the two of you together has held for this long, and has resisted through all situations, so the only other option is to rehabilitate you as a whole.'
As he's staring at the angel in silence, wondering how a servant can be so blasé, both sophisticated and unconcerned (traits very unbecoming for his kind), even touching on why he speaks in monologues, the angel suddenly smiles at him. It's a smile deceptive to the eyes, bright and zippy, when considering the words that came before it.
'Oh,' he happily lets out, making like he's suddenly remembering an important detail, 'and those clothes will have to go, I'm afraid.'
His answer is immediate, firm and unmistakable. Absolutely not, in this present world or the one below, he will not argue about his clothes. His clothes are his, and there it ends, leaving no room for any discussion. He'd tolerated all the other things, keeping his composure while waiting for the moment when he had enough, and here it is.
This is enough now. No more.
Or so he's thinking, when the servant slightly moves his staff to the side, and at once, his clothes are replaced by a blindingly white attire; thigh-length tight shorts, ankle reaching socks, soft tennis shoes and a tight vest. All white. White.
Usually, he knows white to represent purity and authority. Only a fool would not know that white is not only a colour, it's also an imposing symbol of supremacy. The colour white is excluded from the rainbow for a very good reason, and the gods themselves rarely use the symbolic colour (for a reason), yet they clothe him in it?! Yes, fools they are, but they are unfortunately also gods, and so they know exactly what they are doing by putting him in white.
No, no, no. It can't be! In the absence of the deep colours that he likes on himself, white makes him feel stripped to emptiness. His power of choice, gone, completely taken from him. It's jarring. As a divine vision of how things should be, compared to how they really are, the jarring feeling of being lost in a daydream, but knowing fully well that it hasn't come to pass yet, is exactly this. So much so, that unbelieving for a moment, he stands stunned, rigid, actually, waiting for the moment to pass.
It's a momentary illusion, he says to himself. He won't close his eyes to be assured of the fact, because he remains better than basal human reactions to situations, but surely he's experiencing a momentary illusion. He calmly waits for the moment to passes, but as it passes, bringing with it the no change in his attire, internally, he feels the cold rush of nothingness spread all over him, excusing no corner from its presence.
It feels to him like from the tips of his hair to the very last particle of his feet, a devoid feeling takes home, occupying, that even the weight of emotion towards it, can't stand. The change in him is so deflating and suctioning, emptying of his will, that he would rather feel that other, earlier bitter emotion again, as unpleasant as it had been, than this new prick of emptiness. It's all because of the servant. How he hates him.
'You,' strains out of his mouth, that same mouth feeling dry to his taste.
'Yes?' the servant replies, nonchalantly at that.
There's a mocking, 'May I help you?' note to the response, too mocking, in fact, but he's not pressed to give it proper attention at the moment. The matter of his clothes is most urgent now. He can't even compare the feeling that it left behind to when his ring shattered right before his eyes, because it's so much worse, and not fleeting.
My clothes, he wants to reply, only, the two words feel to almost painfully come from the hollow hole that seems to be hovering over his heart.
'Well, if you have nothing else to say to me,' the servant dismisses his forced silence, 'I will now show you to your rehabilitation room. Follow me, please.´
Having said that, the servant then turns his back and begins taking steps in the other direction. It's interesting that the god follows the lead of the servant, doing the exact same, it's only that he doesn't care at all. Although, in the very words of the servant himself, if he cares to know, Zamaku does not care to follow anything. He will not move with the servant. It's then that looking over his shoulder back at him, the servant darkly utters a repetition of his previous order.
'You will follow me,' he says.
Just like that, without his consent, his feet begin to move, obediently following behind the pair. At an earlier point, he'd thought that he'd had enough and would tolerate no more, but now, moving when he's not making himself do it, is such a disturbing experience, that the only response he can give, as opposed to digging through his emptiness to feel anger at the theft of choice, is to laugh. The laugh, even to his own ears, sounds empty, but he reasons that it's a laugh in any case, so he will see it through for as long as he is being made to move.
For their parts, as though the servant and god can't hear the sound of empty laughter, or maybe he simply isn't bothered to comment on it, they continue to lead him without once looking back. Both of them are cowardly, he thinks all the while laughing. Neither of them have the courage to face him with their own strength. With them, it's cowardice all the way; the god sends the servant, and in turn, the servant uses his intangible power to impose on him.
'Is the white house ready to receive him?' he hears the god ask.
'Hmm, is that really what you're calling it, my lord?' the servant wonders, a little humour sounding in his question.
'What's wrong with it?'
'Oh, nothing...´ his servant carelessly replies. 'If you have no discernment for tasteless names.'
Too soon, like he's too provoked, the god stops in his tracks, sharply turning his head towards the servant as his ears tighten in their sky-bound position.
'It's not tacky!' he shrilly cries.
'I didn't say anything about tacky, my lord,' is the defence that returns to the god's cry.
Yes, but for anyone with eyes, that giggle with a hand to cover his mouth is the same as admitting that you're calling him tacky, the voice in his head adds from absolutely nowhere. If he could stop moving, he'd do so, if only to wonder, who asked for its opinion? Does it think that there's anything to enjoy in those two's stupidity? Because he does not care to be invested in their stupid bickering.
'You implied it! I heard it myself!' the god continues to cry behind from them, now that they've left him behind in his spot. 'I'm not stupid, Whis!'
'Just tacky then,' the angel mutters, making a joke of it.
'I heard you!' comes from behind them again.
The servant only continues to giggle as his response, confirming their insignificance in existence. Just what do they think they are doing? They are nothing, and he is not amused by them, they should rather just keep walking in silence, which is why for the rest of the way, he tunes them out, until they get to a white house.
It's square in shape, very different from the usual god housing shapes, but the whiteness of it is the only thing that matters to him. There's also no actual door, just four evenly spaced vertical bars for a door. There are no windows either, just thin horizontal bars for windows.
'We're here,' the servant evenly announces. 'This is the white house, as Lord Beerus so tackily calls it.'
Supposing that the servant is expectant of a reaction or response, he's not at all be bothered to give either.
'You ought to answer me, at least, seeing as for the duration of your rehabilitation, you will be staying in there.'
He hears the words, but hmpf! The white house, just like the white clothes? Only for him? Hmpf!
'Give me your attention, please,' the servant demands. 'You may be feeling hostile towards me, but you are still under the supervision on the Destruction god. You are his responsibility and being so, you will be expected to follow a schedule. The schedule already exists, and will be communicated to you a certain amount of time prior to the next task. To tell you plainly, you will unfortunately leave your volition outside the bars guarding the house. Your belief of absolute dominance will enter with you, but it will eventually be torn from you. Only once you've been taught to be humble, will you be let free from inside.'
As the wind would suddenly appear without giving notice, the god makes the like wind, coming to take his place at the side of his servant.
'That's too soft, Whis!' the god rages out his complaint, also throwing his head back in his display of feelings. 'Tell him as it is! Tell him that he won't have rights until he gains full respect, and realises that his power means nothing! Why use all those proper and polite words to say that he will do as I say, when I say it and precisely as I say it? No, Whis!' he fixes his eyes on the servant, 'rather tell him that he won't make choices for himself!'
Calmly, of the calm that mocks, the servant only says, 'There's no need to say all that, when you've already said it, my lord.'
'Repeat it to him, then!' the god cries. 'He needs to know that power is not what makes someone respectable.'
First making a humoured yet inquisitive face, the servant asks, 'Really, my lord? Because in that case, I could tell you the same thing, for all the tantrums that you throw only because your power allows you to be piffling. But never mind that… Are you sure that you don't simply want me to tell him that you're stronger than him, and you could, if you wanted, destroy him?'
Almost as if to say that whatever the servant chooses to think of the command, is his for the taking, the god waves the last question away. His servant obviously takes it to mean something amusing to him, because Zamaku is suddenly faced with a measured smile on a blue face.
'Lord Beerus is stronger than you,' he's told through a soft chuckle.
As he is completely unbothered by the transferred gloat, his only response is to not respond. It means nothing to him that the god is stronger than him. At a previous time, it used to bother him that someone else who was unworthy, was stronger than him, but what he has learned since then, is that someone being stronger than him, perfectly means that he can surpass that someone. He is an infinite achiever, after all.
'You are not as fun as I had hoped, you know,' the servant remarks like his dream has been shattered. 'You are proving to be something that I do not appreciate, especially your attitude. Don't you know that it's rude to be spoken to and not respond? I wonder if I shouldn't have left you with the woman, after all. But in any case,' he sighs, 'in you go. I would rather that you obeyed me, but you will not, I'm sure, so let me tell you this…´
Following that, the servant then steps the closest that he can to him, meets his eyes, and sets his face into a serious expression.
'I humour you with the respect that you believe to be entitled to, however, that does not make me lesser than you. Although defiance and arrogance suit you,' he approvingly nods, 'they will very well destroy you, if you aren't careful. And lastly, please do remember that I'm not your rival. Your only rival, sir, is inside and within you.'
Rival? He means that annoyingly inopportune voice that makes itself loudly known at times? That's not what he would call a rival. Everything that has happened to him for no reason so far, is because of the two of them, and they are his only rivals as they speak. Even the floating fish within its blue bubble, because it takes its place next to the silent god, he names a rival as well. He hadn't planned on making rivals or enemies, but the three of them are doing what little they can to stop him from being the most revered in the universe, thus, they are his rivals.
'Do it, Whis!' the god impatiently says. 'Send him inside already! All this waiting around for him to respond is starting to make me hungry!'
After that, it all happens very fast, the servant manoeuvres to stand behind him, at that same time, something like an evil presence lurking over his shoulder, bringing with it the strangest chills along his entire body presents in the air around him, just as the bars to the house open.
'You will not like it in there,' the servant comments close to his ear.
The chills, he ignores for now, if only to reject the idea of being told what and how he will feel. While it's true that the whiteness of the house is not to his liking, he will not be told how to feel. It's only that while he's thinking this, without getting a warning, he's pushed inside the house and at once, the bars close behind him. At once as well, where his feet stand, all that he felt outside, from the very first moment that he became conscious, to the servant whispering in his ear just now, disappears. He finds that inside here, he doesn't even care to fight for those feelings in exchange for this new one.
It's fear that all of a sudden overwhelms him, beginning from right under his feet, on his soles, like those cretin worm creatures, travelling ever so slowly up his body, making him shut his eyes to keep it all out. To make it worse, the voice in his head, that soft one, somehow seems to realise that they've stepped into a rare form of purity, imposing and very evident just because it exists, an unrivalled purity in the room, the like that exceeds his own level of understanding, and so very, completely chilling to his soul, because in an instant, it just screams from within.
It's not a steady, even to be expected sting of 'Aah!'
It's not a shaking wave of escaping sound either.
It's like a terror, steadily reaching out for him, when his own body is withdrawing and unwilling to welcome anything of its specific kind.
He cannot withstand it!
He wants to get out!
He doesn't like it in here.
Chapter 12, Last Man Standing.