The closer he got to the Tree of Might, the more uneasy Trunks became. How could any tree, alien or not, be that big. The canopy seemed to go on for miles, blocking out the light of the moon. Like a giant fortress that would be impossible to bring down. To think that his baby sister was somewhere in there, scared and alone. He clenched his fists as his resolve became stronger. No matter who else tried to get in their way, Trunks wasn't going to hesitate in taking them down.
"Stay on your toes guys." Goku called back to the remaining fighters. "There should be three more waiting for us."
"It's just the two brats and that pink haired bimbo between us and the Queen." Vegeta said. "They are too weak to pose a threat."
"Don't be so sure." Piccolo cautioned. "If they their position is this far back, then Clemartis is more confident in their ability to keep us occupied."
"I see what you mean. Kinda like knights in a game of chess." Gohan thought aloud.
"What the heck does chess have to do with anything?" Goten asked.
"He means strategy Goten. If you want to protect something you leave someone strong nearby right?"
"Oh, I get it. So the closer we get to the tree the..stronger.. they get." Goten trailed off as the realization of what that meant finally sunk in.
"But what if they don't want to fight?"
"Don't be stupid Goten, of course they want to fight! Why else would they go through all this trouble?" Trunks moaned.
"I'm not talking about those other guys Trunks, I mean Ophrys and Sorrel! What if they don't want to fight us at all?"
"They wouldn't have much of a choice Goten." Gohan tried to console his little brother. "When someone like a queen gives an order, there are bad consequences for refusing."
"Bad how?" Goten asked innocently enough. Gohan's hesitation was enough of an answer. Trunks knew that even if the other Yousari had refused to go through with this plan, at worst they would be dead. At this point Trunks wasn't sure how much he cared. It was thanks to these jerks that his little sister was gone and his mom got hurt. There was no way they were getting away with any of it. Yet, when he thought about how much fun he had talking and training with the twins, he became more and more uncertain. Was it their fault that this was happening, or was it his for being part Saiyan?
"Heads up guys!" Goku shouted, "We've got company."
Dead ahead, standing on the top of a tall, dead tree, was one of the Yousari twins. Trunks had to squint to get a closer look but they were still to far away to tell which of them it was.
"What do we do guys? Do we fight him?" Gohan asked.
"Naturally." Vegeta responded. "But whoever fights him is going to have to stay behind, while we continue to the Tree. I'm not letting that woman get the upper hand."
"And there's no sign of the second one." Piccolo mention, sounding concerned.
"That's weird. Ophrys and Sorrel always fight together." Goten remarked.
"Careful Goten, they could be setting up a trap." Gohan said grabbing his brother's arm to slow him down.
"Trap or not, that brat is between us and the next barrier. I'm taking him out." Vegeta said charging an ki blast.
"Hold up Vegeta, something's wrong." Goku said. Trunks looked closer at the Yousari boy and saw what Goku was talking about. He still couldn't tell if it was Ophrys or Sorrel since the boy wasn't wearing glasses. But when he did look at his eyes, he saw they were practically blank. Dead to everything around him.
"What's wrong with him." Goten asked.
"The Dominance technique." Piccolo thought aloud. "Clemartis is controlling him directly."
"How can she control him and all of those soldiers at the same time?" Gohan asked.
"It doesn't matter! Stand aside boy or I'll blast you!" Vegeta shouted, stretching out his hand and prepared to fire.
"No! You can't do that! If he's being controlled it's not his fault! Leave him alone!" Goten yelled trying to stop Vegeta.
"Hold up Goten! Vegeta, don't you think that's a bit heavy-handed? Maybe we can just go around him." Gohan suggested. Trunks looked at the twin, who had barely reacted since they flew up close. Something in the back of his mind was nagging at him, like this had happened before. But Trunks couldn't place it.
Piccolo was the first to realize something was wrong.
"Get back! Don't make eye contact with him!"
By then it was too late. Trunks felt woozy as his surroundings began to change. Like watching a reflection rippling on water. By the time the image had cleared, he was no longer in the sky over a dead forest...but in his school. He could have sworn he had been floating in mid-air, but now he was standing on solid ground.
Trunks jumped up and down to make sure he wasn't just day dreaming, and sure enough he recognized the same firmness of solid ground. He could smell the mac and cheese coming from the cafeteria, hear the pounding and squeaking of sneakers running to class on the second floor. The warm light of the afternoon sun, filtered through the windows. All of the senses he had come to know about this damn place. It was all the same.
So why was he suddenly here? Where was his Dad? Goten? Gohan and Piccolo? Where they somewhere in the building? Just as he was about to take a step forward, he heard Piccolo's angry voice echo from down the hall.
"Nobody move an inch!" He growled. Trunks immediately stood at attention, an after effect of Piccolo's tutelage.
"Hello? Piccolo is that you?" Trunks called out, his voice carrying down the empty hall.
"I don't know what you are seeing but none of it is real! We're trapped in the Yousari's illusion."
"No shit its an illusion!" Trunks heard his father ill-tempered voice. "When I get my hands on that little brat, I'm going to wring his neck for showing me these images!"
"Dad! Where are you?" Trunks yelled again. His father sounded like his usual angry self, but he also sounded a little, disturbed. What was he seeing?
"Everyone calm down!" Goku reinforced. "Try to focus your senses on the present. Try to feel out the Yousari's ki. That should dispel the illusion."
"R-right dad." Gohan agreed, though he sounded just as concerned. "You hear that Goten? Nothing you can see is going to hurt you."
"Are-are you sure?" Goten wimpered. "Cause, that Majin Buu looks way too real for me."
"Its okay son, I know you can do it." Goku encouraged. "We beat him before and we can beat him again."
"That goes for you as well Trunks. Don't let yourself be deceived." Trunks heard his father say. It was the closest he was going to get to encouragement so he simply nodded and closed his eyes. Not believing in any of the outside stimuli but using his ki to find what he knew was Ophry's power.
"Did you hear about that Brief's kid?" Trunks heard a kid whisper from one of the class rooms.
"Trunks? What about him?" asked another.
"Turns out his whole family is a bunch of freaks from outer space."
"Really? I thought that was just a rumor."
"Its true! I heard my dad say that his dad's a murderer. Killed tons of innocent people just for fun."
"Oh man, you think...you think Trunks is like that too?"
"You know what they say, the apple doesn't fall from the tree."
Trunks felt his blood freeze in his veins. How could they? How could they possibly know these things? What was going to happen to his family now that the truth was out? Would they have to leave the planet forever? But this was his home just as much as theirs!
"It's not real, it's not real." Trunks mumbled to himself. Trying to block the voices out. But the more he tried, the louder their voices became until it was the same volume as the usual hallway chatter between periods.
"It's only a matter of time before the military locks them all away!"
"I can't believe I talked to that kid. You don't think I got alien germs from him do you?"
"Shut up...shut up." Trunks murmured. Raising his voice over the noise.
"Why even bother coming to school. He's just going to grow up a monster...just like his old man."
"SHUT UP!" Trunks screamed. "That's not true!"
"Trunks! Stay focused son." Trunks could barely hear his father over the noise of the other kids. "Block it all out and feel out their ki. Just like I taught you."
"O-Okay." Trunks closed his eyes and tried again. Though the noise made his head hurt, he kept trying to feel out Ophry's ki. After a few minutes of searching, he could feel something move. Just out of his reach, behind the walls. Someone was on the move. The ki was so faint he could have missed it, but it was definitely Ophrys...and Sorrel.
"Any sign of them?" Gohan asked.
"Not yet. Keep looking." Goku replied.
"They're nearby, I can hear them." Piccolo affirmed. Was Trunks the only one who had noticed them? Maybe whatever illusions they were trying to block out were keeping them from feeling it. Even though Piccolo had said not to move, Trunks didn't want to take any chances. Keeping his eyes closed, he flew straight ahead at Ophrys' ki as fast as he could. He collided with the small body, grabbed what felt like an armored collar and pinned the boy to the wall.
Trunks opened his eyes to see Ophrys' blank face staring back at him, pinned against the tall tree. The school melted away, revealing the others and Sorrel, who was floating right behind Goten. Gohan, who had just recovered from his illusion, saw Sorrel and immediately knocked him away. Sorrel did a back-flip in mid-air and rubbed his face.
"Nice job Trunks!" Goku complimented.
"No problem." Trunks replied smugly. He wasn't going to fall for that trick again. He took a glance back to his father. He didn't say anything but Trunks saw his father smile. Full of pride. Trunks smirked back, glad to have impressed him.
Ophrys took his lack of concentration as a opprotunity to force himself free, pushing Trunks back and flying over to his brother. Both extending short ki blades from their hands.
"Fighting these two as a group is going to get complicated. There's no telling when they'll manage to trap us in that illusion technique again." Piccolo said.
"Then we keep going as before, with some of us staying behind to keep them occupied." Gohan suggested.
"How about you Piccolo? You seemed to know how to counter this better than the rest of us." Goku asked.
"Sure. Even if they trap me, I can still hear their movements-" Piccolo began, but Trunks never let him finish.
"No! I want to do it." He argued. "Goten and I trained with them, we know how they fight better than you guys."
"Yeah!" Goten chimed in.
"That's out of the question." Piccolo retorted. "You barely managed to get out of that illusion on your own. We won't be here to help you if you get caught again."
"Then we won't get caught! Come on Piccolo! You trusted us to fight Majin Buu on our own but not them?"
"This is different! This isn't an enemy that you can beat with strength alone."
"I know but, still...They were our friends. It's our job to stop them." Trunks concluded. He looked over to his father and Goku, hoping they would understand. Goku smiled and put his hand on Goten's head. Vegeta smirked, signifying his consent.
"Its okay, Piccolo. Let them handle this. We can't finish their fights for them." Goku decided. Piccolo looked like he still disagreed but knew better than to argue with Goku. "You two keep each other safe."
"We will dad." Goten nodded. Both boys turned around to face the twins. Being careful not to look either of them in the eye.
"This is no different from when you fought Majin Buu, Trunks." Vegeta advised. "They will show no mercy, so do not give any in return."
"I understand." Trunks replied.
"But most importantly, keep yourself alive. Meet us at the tree when you are finished here." Trunks nodded but didn't bother to turn around. He could hear the rest of the group continue toward the tree, blasting down the barrier as they went.
Responding to the shattered barrier, the twins immediately tried to chase after the others. Goten and Trunks moved in front of them. Blocking their path.
"Your gonna have to go through us first!" Trunks cried, charging his ki.. Realizing what was about to happen Goten put a hand on Trunks' shoulder to stop him.
"You sure about this Trunks?" Goten asked. The twin's gemstones began to glow dark and light blue. As their stored ki released.
"More than anything else in my entire life."
"Should we try the fusion dance? We'll beat them faster that way."
"No." Trunks stated flatly.
"Because I want to fight them as myself. Besides, we won't need to go Super Saiyan 3 to kick their butts."
"You say that but, we never beat them in training. Not when they were together."
"Yeah, but we weren't allowed to fight them as Super Saiyans remember?"
"Oh right! I'd forgotten about that." Trunks had to roll his eyes at his friend's poor memory. He looked back at the twins with narrowed eyes. With a surge of ki, both Saiyan boys transformed into Super Saiyans.
"You ready Goten?" Trunks asked.
"Ready!" Goten replied, just as determined.
"Just hold on a bit longer you guys. We'll make this quick." Trunks said just before he and Goten charged. The twins dodged out of the way. Their movements completely in sync. Slashing at the Saiyan boys with their blades. Making several attempt to force their enemies to making eye contact.
"Don't look Ophrys in the eye Goten!" Trunks warned. "He's the one that makes the illusion appear."
"Okay, but, which one is Ophrys?" Trunks tried to look and correct him, but realized that even he couldn't tell anymore. Not only did Ophrys not have his trademark glasses to tell them apart but their ki's were indistinguishable. They moved back and forth. Switching positions every so often to throw him off.
"Just...don't look either of them in the eye." Trunks said as he ducked back from the ki blade. Barely cutting off a strand of his hair. "I won't be able to bail you out."
As super saiyans, the twin's physical blows didn't hurt as much as they used to. But the blades were still dangerously sharp. The twins were moving too fast to pin down in the air. Using the space to their advantage by flying up, down and down. Trunks could feel himself getting tired with every missed punch. But while he and Goten where tiring, the twins were getting faster. Trunks growled when he realized that his opponents were doing more than blocking and dodging. They were absorbing his and Goten's ki. Restoring their own and making them strong enough withstand even a Super Saiyan.
"We aren't getting anywhere like this!" Trunks said to Goten as the two were forced back to back. The twins circling around them.
"Maybe...we should separate them? I'll fight one you fight one." Goten panted. His ki wasn't doing so well either.
"How? Its like these guys have eyes on the back of their heads. They move before we can hit them." Trunks asked.
"Then we got to stop them! Use a big enough ki blast that they can't dodge. It'll be easier if we can get them down to the ground." Trunks had to pause and look at his friend in disbelief.
"Nothing, you're just a lot better at this than I gave you credit for. I'm going to be in trouble at the next martial arts tournament."
"Hehe, you bet." Goten smiled before turning back to his chosen opponent. "Okay, on three. One..."
"Super Strike!" the two boys cried out as they unleashed their attacks. Each one singling out the twins. Forcing them to block the attack. As they fought to keep the ki at bay, the Saiyan boys directed their attacks down. Pushing the Yousari boys to the ground. Having a foothold, the twins managed to redirect both blasts. Causing the nearby trees to explode. Goten and Trunks were on their respective targets in a flash. Punching and kicking too fast for the Yousari to keep up with.
No matter how brutal the hit, neither one of the twins reacted to the pain. They would simply take a hit, then immediately try to counter attack. Trunks managed to pin his foe to the ground. Doing all he could to keep his opponent down. Punched him in the face. Chopped at the base of his neck. Even kicked him where the sun didn't shine. But no matter what, he just kept getting back up. Grappling with Trunks and pushing back just as hard. Healing his minor injuries with the ki he was stealing.
"Just. Stay. Down!" Trunks yelled as he evaded a slash of the blade. Disappearing and reappearing behind his foe. With one swift movement, he pulled the boy's leg out from under him and brought his elbow down on it. Feeling something that felt like bone snap like a twig. Guilt swelled in Trunk's gut as he watched the twin fall to his knees. Trying to pick himself off the ground.
"I'm really sorry about that. But, I can't keep fighting you. Not when my sister needs me. Now just hold still." Trunks said, putting enough power into his fist to knock his opponent out cold. As the boy struggling to crawl away, Trunks charged forward.
But just before his fist hit its mark, he saw a figure dash in between them. The second twin, looked him in the eye. Gripping Trunks' fist tight enough to keep him from escaping.
"Trunks!" he heard Goten shout behind him. "Look out!"
Trunk's eyes widened when he saw the first twin stagger to his feet. Turning to face Trunks head on, ki blade in mid thrust. And his brother didn't move an inch.
He couldn't be...
How could he?!
Trunks tried to react as fast as he could. Reaching forward to grab the second twin's back and pull him forward and away from the blade. But to his horror, the very person he was trying to save was sucking away the power he needed to save them both.
The blade went straight through the twin's chest. Impaling him. Terrified, Trunks jumped away. Just missing the blade's end. He backed away. Watching beside Goten as the one twin's body twitched until his arms limply fell to his sides. The other pulled the blade back. Throwing his brother's body to the side.
"No... Why did he...?" Goten said. Biting back angry tears. Trunks couldn't even try to stomach what he had just saw. He almost threw up when he looked down at the dead Yousari.
And saw a pair of glasses lying next to him.
Trunk's ki began to climb to new heights, his anger acting as the fuel. His teeth and fists clenched, he charged toward Sorrel and managed to deliver a powerful punch to his gut. Pushing the boy back several feet. His heels digging into the dirt to slow himself down.
"Goten!" Trunks ordered. "Go and check on Ophrys! Give him as much of your ki as you can. Now!"
"Alright, but what about you?" Goten asked.
"I can handle this on my own."
"Don't kill him Trunks." Goten pleaded. "Sorrel said all those bad thing but he would never...Ophrys was his brother!"
"I know. There's only one monster to blame." Trunks agreed. And that monster was sitting up in that tree with his sister. She was going to pay. Not just for taking his sister, but for killing his friend.
Sorrel got back into the fight with new-found ferocity. The gem on his chest glowing even brighter. To the point the skin around it looked like it was on fire. His power climbed as it tried to match Trunks. The younger twin flew directly at the young Saiyan. Throwing a punch after punch. The force of which made Trunks' hands sting. But in the end, that's all it did. His new power gave Trunks a burst of speed. He ran around Sorrel. Confusing him and catching him off guard with a devastating upper cut. With Ophrys down, Trunks no longer had to worry about being trapped in another illusion. But it didn't stop Sorrel from using his tricks to blend in with his surroundings, disappearing into the rocky debris. Seemingly melting into it.
Trunks could still feel his ki, as his foe tried to sneak up behind him. With timed precision, Trunks grabbed Sorrels thrusting arm and held on to it. Preventing the boy from running away. Trunks kneed him in the gut repeatedly, his own gut twisting as he heard Sorrel gag and cough. In one last attempt to knock him unconscious, Trunks grabbed Sorrel by his armor. Using all his might, Trunks gave a crushing head butt. Hitting Sorrel's head with a painful crack. The younger twin gripped his head as green blood trickled between his eyes. His legs shaking as he tried to stay on his feet. But finally, his body gave out and collapsed to the ground. Trunks let out a deep breath before running back to Goten.
"How is he Goten?" Trunks asked, trying to keep himself from panicking.
At first, Goten said nothing, but tried to keep himself from sobbing.
"I tried Trunks. I really did...but...I can't feel his ki anymore."
Trunks breath got caught in his throat. He looked down at the gaping hole in Ophrys' chest, green blood seeping into the dried soil. Small roots coming from his wound and digging into the ground.
No...it wasn't true. It wasn't going end like this.
"You're just doing it wrong Goten, he's going to be fine!" Trunks said pushing Goten out of the way. "You gotta do it like this see? Then his body will absorb it and..." he stopped when he noticed his ki wasn't being absorbed at all. There was nothing left to take it.
"No...come on man. This isn't funny. Don't you have more questions to ask me? Gotta fill out that list of yours right? Get up and ask away! I won't tease you, I promise." Trunks cried, not able to keep the tears from falling. "Just...get up. Please. It's not fair!"
Both boys looked up when they heard the sound of moaning, coming from where Sorrel lay. Goten was on his feet instantly, ready for another attack. But he relaxed when Sorrel looked up. His eyes back to normal.
"Where...what's going on?" he asked. His eyes widened suddenly, like he remembered something. "My brother! Where is my brother?!" he shouted. It was then Sorrel saw Goten and Trunks, crying over Ophrys' body. Sorrel's face became even paler, eyes wide with shock. Slowly, impeded by his broken leg, he crawled over to his brother. Mumbling his name, hoping he would respond. When he heard nothing, he started to cry. Gripping his brother's hand, Trunks and Goten saw Sorrel sob for the first time.
Trunks moved away, giving the two some space. Though he didn't say anything, he knew Goten was thinking the same thing. The two Saiyan boys glared daggers at the Tree of Might.
Clemartis collapsed out of her chair, doing all she could to regain her composure. Knelt over on the ground, she put he hand on her chest. The same spot Ophrys had been stabbed. She had felt every second of it. As his life had bled away under her control. Just like how she could still feel the life of this beautiful planet die with every minute that past. Tears dripped from her eyes, as she sobbed through the gasping breaths.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry Ophrys." She cried. "Forgive me...please forgive me."