This was it. The Major Leagues were coming to a close. Though the other leagues were intense, unique, high-impact, and all-around a joy to indulge in, the Major Leagues were all that multiplied by ten! Every fighter had earned their spot as a Major player twofold, and the competitors who fought tooth and nail to reach the last rounds had already become stuff of legend here in the home-universe of the Multiverse Tournament. Ornee walked to the microphone, his mouth dry. The other final matches excited him. This one worried him instead.
"The Final Round of the Major League is here. Our contestants are... Zucceta, and her doppelganger Zucceta! Give the mirrored titans some love, folks!"
The Crowd cheered, and the bell rang. This was a match for the ages. The Final Round has begun! Player Versus Player Matches have a set 48 hour timer for posts. Failing to post in time will result in disqualification. After ten days pass (*10 minutes IC), if a knockout, ring out, and so on is not accomplished, judges will decide a winner.
The crowd chattered generously, with a general mixture of excitement and anxiety. After a stunning series of fights, the Major League tournament was coming to its conclusion and, in a peculiar turn of events, only one person was entering the final round. Or, rather, two versions of the same person.
Against the quite-literal odds, both versions of Zucceta had made it to the finals, the earthly version from Universe 15 and the Empress from Universe 3. Both had, for the most part, fought hard and fought well. Universe 15 Zucceta, clad in her blue suit, had found every fight had been tooth-and-nail to the very end. Empress Zucceta had been slightly less challenged, if only by circumstances.
Most of the crowd, enraptured with both figures as they were, was nonetheless biased towards the suited Zucceta rather than her imperial counterpart. It wasn’t hard to see why; one was jolly and was capable, in her own way, of influencing her opponents for the better. The other was a bitter vessel of anger and death cloaked in sarcasm.
Our Zucceta, the one who had learned how to live again and had changed for the better, was the first to arrive in the floating planetoid ring. A part of her was incredulous that she had managed to make it this far, against the likes of the strongest beings the Multiverse could possibly throw at her. Her very first fight had been against an ultra-powerful variant of Wyntre Cold, her first milestone in the Saiyan Solar Empire’s ascent to glory in her world. The second had been against a nigh-omnipotent version of Shemha, who had absorbed many of the powerful warriors in her dimension and killed the rest. Against the odds, Zucceta had beaten that amalgamated warrior, too, although she’d briefly been turned into chocolate after the climactic energy exchange.
Once she’d returned to her flesh-and-blood form, she’d faced off against Cipher Red, a warped version of her own Cipher 24 twisted by Realigner Red. Against the odds, she’d compelled the altered android to go back to a form of goodness and stand against the evils of his own version of the universe. If she didn’t win this fight, then that would be her greatest triumph in this tournament and make the whole thing worthwhile.
Finally, she’d fought against her old friend, Habana. The fight had been tense and hard-fought, with very little ground gained for either fighter. After an exhilarating ten minutes, the judges had deliberated and, by the skin of her teeth, Zucceta had gone through to the final round.
She didn’t know whether to feel excited or terrified. It wasn’t often that she had the chance to face herself. But then, the Empress wasn’t her. Not really. Too much had changed since the divergent event between their universes, the invasion of Earth.
As Zucceta’s thoughts lingered on her doppelganger, so the Empress descended into the ring. As if to make a point, she’d attached a dark crimson cape to her original set of battle scarred armour. Empress Zucceta had also fastened a golden headband to her forehead, with a red jewel fastened in the centre.
Zucceta scoffed. “I suppose you’re dressed up like that to make some kind of statement.”
An empty grin tugged at the Empress’s lips. The two saiyans were identical in most ways, but dark black rings encircled the Empress’s eyes. The Might Queen was also subtly thinner, her cheekbones more pronounced. The difference wasn’t drastically noticeable, but it made the Empress look more like the icon of death that she claimed to be.
“I could say the same to you,” the Empress growled. “What happened to you to make you wear that tacky blue Earthling suit?”
Zucceta arched an eyebrow. “Alright, first off; this suit ain’t tacky. I’m a style icon, yeah? Secondly, what happened to me is I learned from the mistakes of our past. It took losses to do it; losses that, apparently, you didn’t suffer.”
The Empress cackled. “So it is failure that defines you. I am the version of you that wins.”
Zucceta smiled. “Perhaps. But it seems that your victories are meaningless. I remembered what it felt like to feel happy. You never did.”
The Empress’s face creased into a venomous glare. Then, the fight was underway.
The darkhearted saiyan lunged forwards, her feet skimming above the katchin surface of the arena. She twisted her body into the air and rolled her momentum into an elbow-focused thrust, her oversized Furiosa variant rushing towards Zucceta’s chest. Grunting, the earthly saiyan blocked the elbow in the nick of time, catching it in both of her hands, but the saiyan queen pivoted from the block, slamming both of her feet into the ground and arcing over Zucceta.
Her organic arm unfurled and, with a deliberate swing, the Empress aimed the back of her hand at Zucceta’s nape. However, she’d swing through dead air; a mirage of the besuited saiyan.
A kick planted itself on the Empress’s forehead, in one decisive blow shattering the regal golden headband. Zucceta had reappeared in the air above the Empress, ki charged within her right foot. She span around and, as the Empress staggered back, delivered another kick with her left, a boot slamming into her throat.
The Empress wheezed and fell back, growling. Zucceta descended to the floor, scratching her nose. “Damn. You’re rusty as hell. You’re not used to being on an equal footing. I imagine that’s because you hit the Hyper Grade form with the help of the Might Fruit.” It wasn’t a question. Zucceta herself was on the cusp of achieving the form--had triggered the form, briefly, although it had sapped all of her energy immediately and left her asleep for eight hours--but, with the help of the base power reservoir the Might Fruit could give, the Empress would have achieved the same result in no time.
Empress Death wiped a trickle of blood from her lip, staring at her counterpart with raw hatred. “You insolent fucking wretch.”
Zucceta grinned. “C’mon. Show me the form.”
The Empress growled. She then closed her eyes and laughed. It was an empty sound, a hollow “ha, ha, ha” that contained no humour, no happiness, no love. “I’d have thought you, of all people, would have unlocked the Hyper Grade transformation by now. You truly are a weakling. Very well. Allow me to demonstrate.”
The Empress pulled her arms to her side and began to roar. Golden energy flowed from her entire body, until it seemed like the entire katchin orb was flush with golden embers. The Empress’s voice deepened as her hair first became flooded with golden light, her black strands alighting with a radiant fire. Her eyes shifted colour to a piercing teal hue. Immediately after this transformation her aura pulsed, her hair spiking further as she was surrounded by shimmering white-and-blue lightning. Empress had hit both Basic Grade and Full Grade. It was time for her to go even further beyond.
Her roaring deepened in pitch and, despite the power limiters struggling to maintain her power level, the arena shook with the intensity of the transformation. Every atom of the Empress’s body seemed to vibrate with power. Her hair elongated to below the back of her knees, an alien mountain range of golden spikes and bangs. Her forehead and brow hardened and jutted forwards, giving her dark stare an even greater intensity, and lightning continuously pulsed around her body.
“Satisfied?” The Empress smirked. She’d achieved the Hyper Grade, or Super Saiyan 3, form.
Zucceta whistled. “Hot damn. I can’t tell if the form is awesome or stupid, and I love it regardless.”
The Empress rolled her eyes. “So you have no new forms to show me?“
The earthly saiyan grinned. “Well… I’ve got something.”
Zucceta raised her left arm and rolled back her blue suit sleeve, revealing her Furiosa. The crowd chattered; the fight had been so distracting that few among them had noticed that the robotic arm was a hot pink, with BAD assigned to it in glitter. A memento from Zuni, which Zucceta had grown fond of in spite of its origin.
The Empress snarled. “You mock the both of us-”
“Shh,” Zucceta said. On the wrist of her Furiosa was a watch, a classic analog with dials to spin. Zucceta would be the last one to admit that she didn’t actually know how most watches worked, but fortunately, this wasn’t most watches.
She spun one dial on its left side, and another on its right, and blue light shot out of the watch, enveloping Zucceta’s body.
The watch employed an altered version of Capsule Corps’ energy-matter conversion system for material storage. Rather than simply storing and releasing useful items, Zucceta’s watch was solely used for changing costumes. It would, in a flash of light, convert her current outfit into another.
Of course, there was only one outfit stored in THIS watch.
The blue light faded, and standing opposite the Empress was a caped crusader. “Begone, foul being--the vessel for justice is here! ‘Tis I, the Great Saiyaman Neo, and I will vanquish-”
The Super Saiyan 3 slapped her hand into her forehead. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
The Great Saiyaman Neo pursed her lips, before removing her helmet. Not much point to the disguise, given she’d just revealed to everyone in her own universe that she and Zucceta were one and the same. “Oh, yeah. It’s so much worse to stop crimes, save lives and have fun doing it, right? As opposed to just continuing the cycle that created you in the first place!?” She shook her head, before her own golden aura erupted around her. She jumped into the base Super Saiyan form, more for spectacle than any power need. The Empress stared. “You know as well as I do that the universe only operates in one way. The strong survive, and survival is the only worthwhile thing. If you can’t survive, you’re pathetic.”
Zucceta’s mouth parted slightly. Her bottom lip wobbled, before she smiled sadly. “So our parents were pathetic? Our love?.. Our son?”
It was like the Empress had been struck. She fell silent, staring into the sky, before turning her eyes back to Zucceta. They were filled with hatred. “Weaklings.”
The Might Queen rushed forwards. Zucceta was surprised; the Empress was repeating her very first strike. It was clear that the U15 warrior had grown more skilled thanks to her time on Earth, among its warriors and teachers, and that the U3 soldier, while more powerful, had forgotten an awful lot bar the basics thanks to her overwhelming power level. In an equalised match, the queen could not win.
Only, there was a look in the Empress’s eyes as she rushed towards Zucceta, a fiery psuedohappiness. Had Zucceta miscalculated?--
Empress Zucceta’s Furiosa: Model T beeped as the saiyan queen threw a punch towards superhero’s gut. Zucceta went to easily block it… but the mechanical fist phased through her hands.
The crowd gasped and groaned. Many among them averted their gaze. Zucceta’s eyes widened as the fist entered her stomach. Intense pain flooded through her whole body, and she screamed as the mechanical horror rematerialised inside of her. Her body erupted with goosebumps as her vision flashed red. She could feel the Empress moving her fingers--
“You can thank Plato for this pain, for allowing me to emulate his magical Phasing tech. Or you can thank Vi-Poi’s rusting metal husk for allowing my science team to reverse engineer his Thief Gear into the Furiosa arm!! HahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” The Empress twisted her arm, and a cloud of blood exploded from Zucceta’s lips as something important gave inside of her. The Furiosa T beeped, a low melancholy ‘blip’.
I’ll be dead in minutes, the earthly saiyan realised. Better win... before then.
Her body was beginning to shut down. Already, it was effort to raise her own arms, but she did so, raising her own Furiosa to the Empress’s face. With her right, she pressed a button on the arm, and a mechanism disconnected the hot-pink cyborg arm from her nervous system.
“What’re ya gonna do? Throw your arm at me? Pathetic--”
“FUCKING ROCKET PUNCH ENGAGE!” Zucceta screamed, her voice hoarse.
Weeks earlier, Zucceta had found this version of the Furiosa arm lying around on her ship. After briefly wondering why she’d even bothered to keep the thing (“Even back when I was Queen, I must have secretly liked the thing,” she grinned to herself), she’d decided to do some fun little mods on the arm. Nothing hyper technical, of course. Just a splash of paint here, a voice recognition system and some thrusters there. After a few days of practicising disconnecting the thing and aiming it properly, she’d got the technique down, and the Fucking Rocket Punch was born.
Blue flames ignited suddenly from the back of the Furiosa: Model BAD. The metal fist shot forwards, crunching into the Hyper-Grade Empress’s face and immediately breaking her nose. The fingers on the hand shot open and grasped the Empress’s face, closing tightly around her skull like a postmortem muscle tensing.
A weary Razor shivered to life in Zucceta’s right arm. In one arced slice, she both cut through the section embedded in her stomach and the arm itself. The Model T beeped a high note, before fading away. The Empress staggered back clutching and wrenching the disconnected BAD free of her face before evaporating it with a short mouth blast. “Insolent fucking moron--”
As the Empress’s vision cleared, she saw Zucceta standing there, blood bubbling at her lips. Her hands, a newly formed sky-blue Serena replacing her Fuiriosa, were cupped together. Blue and golden particles seemed to flow from both the surrounding area and gathered into a large, rainbow ki orb.
The Empress screamed. “What?! No!! You cheated, you fucking bitch! I hate you! I hate you!! I hate-”
“I love you.” Zucceta spoke softly, but the Empress could hear. The queen faltered in her tirade.
Zucceta pushed her hands forwards. “Mega-Nega-Ton WARHEAD!”
The wave rushed out, in parts pure white and in parts all the colours of the rainbow, a glittering luminscent thing that seemed to drain all light from the surrounding area and store it within the blast. The Empress could do little but raise her remaining arm defiantly, screaming obscenities as the energy wave washed across her. The obscenities filled Zucceta’s mind long after the wave had rushed into the Empress’s lungs, as she transmitted all of her hatred telepathically:
im going to end you and your friends and your universe i will find a way we breached the otherworld you know that getting to you will be easy youre going to die youre going to
And then, the Empress was gone, dead, dust.
It was a shame it was only a temporary fix, this time.
Light seemed to return to the arena.
The crowd cheered.
Zucceta’s hair faded to black. Blood trickling from her lips. She collapsed, hitting the katchin floor hard. Her vision faded out just as she saw a concerned Namekian healer rushing to her side.