With the last of the obstructions eliminated, there was nothing keeping Vegeta and Goku from the Tree of Might's canopy. Eager to get his daughter back, Vegeta flew ahead with Goku doing his best to keep up. Even with Calla's unexpected help, Vegeta wasn't going to let her actions keep him or Goku from doing what needed to be done. Clemartis was going to pay for what she had done. Only her death would satisfy him. No power increase she got from this tree's fruit or anywhere else was going to change the fact that she was a pathetic warrior who had already lost to him on multiple occasions.
As the Saiyan warriors reached the top of the canopy, the surrounding branches moved out of their way. Withered, brown leaves fell off in heaps, creating a path to the center. The two Saiyans looked to each other before deciding to enter. The shadow cast by the gigantic tree made it difficult to see clearly, but neither of them relied on their eyes. All they had to do was follow the flow of energy that was collecting straight ahead of them.
"That has to be going to the fruit." Goku theorized.
The branches cleared, revealing the base of the canopy, the wood dipping and forming a circular platform with a throne at its center. Tiny balls of concentrated ki floated around the makeshift room, providing the only light. The throne was empty, but Vegeta could still sense her presence.
"Come out you coward! Return my daughter unharmed and I promise to make your death a painless one."
"We know you're here Clemartis! Show yourself!" Goku added. For a few minutes there was no response. The only sound came from the rustling leaves above as a arid wind blew.
"Welcome. I was beginning to think you wouldn't make it on time." Came the voice of Clemartis. She stepped out from behind the throne her left hand holding her right shoulder. As if she had been injured Her eyes were red from crying.
However what really unnerved the Saiyan warriors was that there was no sign of aggression or hate in her voice but a sort of eerie contentment. She was even smiling at them. Her head cocked slightly to the side. Her creepy disposition and lack of balance put Vegeta and Goku on edge. There was no telling what kind of person they were going up against now.
"Saiyans." she said in a dream like tone. "Predictable to the very last. I knew you wouldn't disappoint. Can you feel it? The planet's very life is dripping away. Soon it will be no more than a wasteland of rotting corpses."
"Spare me your insanity woman! Where is my daughter?!" Vegeta shouted.
"Don't worry about your little one. She is right here." Clemartis lifted her hand, palm facing downwards. The wood around the throne's armrest twisted revealing a hidden compartment. Two branches reached in and pulled out a wooden basket covered by a barrier. With little Bra inside.
"As you can see she is perfectly safe. In fact, I was already planning on letting her go free. Though there is no telling how long she will survive without a father and mother." Clemartis tapped against the barrier to show it was secure before another pair of branches reached down from the canopy and pulled it up. Bra's shrill cries barely audible due to the barrier.
"How long would you bet Vegeta? Hours? Minutes? Judging from your tenacity I'd give her a day at least."
Losing all manner of restraint Vegeta charged forward, transforming into a Super Saiyan.
"Vegeta wait!" Goku called after him. His caution fell on deaf ears. Putting all of his anger into his fists Vegeta was determined to punch the smugness out of her arrogant face. However, much to his surprise, his attack came to a halt when she grabbed his fist. He tried to wrench his hand from her's until he noticed the creeping sensation of ki encasing his body. However this time, her barrier held fast. His Super Saiyan form wasn't enough to break free.
"Patience Vegeta. No need to rush to your own execution. This is the final play of the game and I want to enjoy myself for as long as possible."
"Clem, this doesn't have to get any uglier." Goku said sternly. "I'm going to ask you one last time. Return what you've stolen and leave. We'll never bother you or your people again."
"Ha ha ha ha!" Clemartis cackled. "Ah, that ruse was cute the first time but it is starting to get old, Kakarot!"
"My name is Goku! And I'll defend my home from anyone who tries to destroy it. Even you!"
"Bold words. Care to back them up?" Calla sneered. Goku charged, using his super saiyan speed to throw her off guard. Yet, not matter what he tried, she would effortlessly side step him. Clemartis reached out her hand and trapped Goku in her barrier as well. Her insane power increase meant only one thing. That she had already eaten the fruit of the Tree of Might.
"Defending your home, hmm? A noble aspiration, if there wasn't an insidious plot behind it."
"What are you talking about?" Vegeta asked, still seething that he had allowed himself to get caught.
"Don't play dumb Vegeta, it's not very becoming of you. "
"All I hear are the ravings of a lunatic! One that is going to breathe her last before the sun rises!"
"Hehe." Clem giggled as she stepped towards her captives. Walking up to Vegeta and put her hand on his cheek.
"There it is. That's the face I remember from all those years ago. The one I've waited years to see writhing in agony and despair. Luck must be on my side. How else could I have found you before your plan came to fruition?"
"What plan?" Goku asked.
"The one where your Saiyan army returns to the stars to conquer the galaxy all over again. But this time with those Super Saiyan forms at your disposal. As such, it is my duty to squash out the infestation before it begins."
"Are you blind as well as demented!? There is no army! Kakarot and I are the only Saiyans left! Your business is with us. Leave the planet out of this."
"Genetics don't lie Vegeta. Thanks to a...generous donation from your daughter, I know the truth. How the Earthling DNA is strengthening your offspring, making them more powerful than any pure blood. And how it will continue to spread with each passing generation."
Vegeta's ki burned at the mention of his daughter. Whatever this woman had done to her, she was going to pay dearly for it. As for this new information, Vegeta didn't know what to make of it. Could it really be true? If it was, Gohan, Goten and Trunk's incredible abilities at such a young age made sense. Vegeta shook his head to try and get the thoughts out of his head. There was no way it could be true. Clemartis could have easily fabricated the whole thing in order to justify her own lunacy. What precious little time he spent debating could be spent working on a way to free himself and Goku.
"That's not possible...is it?" Goku asked, who looked to Vegeta for answers.
"Ha! And you call us liars. Your skill at misdirection is as pitiful as your fighting skills."
"You would like that, wouldn't you? But I think its time that the infamy of your race faded into obscurity. Once I have demonstrated the potential of my race by destroying you, all the universe will know what my people are truly capable of. How we managed to destroy the very warriors that made even Freiza tremble in fear! No one will dispute our power again, or else suffer the consequences." Clemartis turned away looking down on the warriors with a smug smile. "Then, we can restore our home to its old glory."
"What happened to peaceful coexistence?" Goku asked. "What about all those ideals you preached just a few weeks ago? Your mother's ideals! Are you just going to throw them all away? She wanted the Saiyans and your people to be allies!" Clemartis stopped dead in her tracks. Her back turned to the two. For a minute she didn't say anything.
"My mother...was an incredible woman. Kind, gentle, doing whatever she could to maintain peace." she said finally. Clemartis looked back over her shoulder, her purple eyes burning with anger.
"But she was a fool. All of her ideals of peace and coexistence, have done nothing but bring misery to me and my people. We wait for hundreds of years, slowly collecting energy from planets when it could gain so much more by simply draining them dry. That energy shortage has led citizens to lose freedom after freedom, all for the sake of a project that should have been completed hundreds of years ago! Noble lords, questioning my every decision, a military too weak to face our enemies directly, and the citizens' suffering for a damn principle!" Clemartis was practically screaming.
"I've had it! There is only one solution to this dilemma. And if it makes the rest of the universe my enemy, so be it! For by the time they realize it, I will be too powerful to oppose."
"Then you'll be no different from Frieza." Goku replied coldly.
"Wrong." Clemartis said curtly. "Unlike him, I will be thorough in eradicating my enemies. Starting with you two. "
"Then stop yammering and get it over with!" Vegeta yelled, trying to force himself forward. But the barrier kept him in place. Clemartis narrowed her eyes at the Saiyan Prince, all humor disappearing from her face.
"And let you die defiant, no less remorseful for your crimes than the day you committed them. Oh no. I'm not just going to kill you Vegeta. I'm going to break you. And the only way to break a Saiyan, is to crush their pride with indomitable force." Clemartis took several steps back, her gem beginning to glow.
"And what force is more indomitable, than the power of an entire planet?"
"As if eating a stupid fruit is going to save you. You could eat the entire harvest and still not be strong enough to beat me."
"Fruit? I don't see any fruit, do you?" Clemartis snickered. Goku and Vegeta looked up at the canopy. Just as she said, the tree was completely bare. Vegeta had been kidding when he had said she had to eat everything. The tree began to shake as more dried leaves fell en masse. Several fell lighlty past Clemartis only to burst into flame as her ki began to glow.
"Kakarot...you have five seconds to explain."
"I don't know! The fruit was the only way to get power from the tree unless you-"Goku's eyes widened. "No...it can't be-"
"Can't be what?!" Vegeta asked, tired of being left in the dark.
"She's going to use the planet's energy, everything that the Tree of Might absorbed... and become a living Spirit Bomb."
"What?! That can't be possible!"
"On the contrary, it is an ability that my people have been capable of since ancient times. Long before yours crawled out of their caves." Clemartis said confidently as her body began to glow even brighter, her blue gem turning a multitude of different colors. "The Saiyan fool who stole my tree for its fruit was ignorant of the it's true purpose. To absorb a world's life energy directly, and grant the user power equal to that of an entire planet."
Goku growled as he tried to force himself free.
"Thanks to my loyal subjects, I have all that I need. The Tree of Might will soon die, and you along with it."
"Damn it Clem! Don't do this!" Goku screamed.
Her power was nearing its peak. Gusts kicked up from the shock waves, wood underneath her feet burst, and a fire began to form around her gem.
"There is no going back now...not after what you've done." She pointed and accusatory finger at Vegeta. "For every conflict you have caused, for the thousands of lives you have taken, the time has come to face your judgment. Feel their pain, their despair...and BURN!"
Clemartis cried out as the fire surrounding her gem ignited and covered her entire body. Her ki skyrocketed. The massive force of the energy shattered the barriers and pushed both Vegeta and Goku back several feet. The two Saiyans grit their teeth as they both transformed to Super Saiyan two level.
Their increased power gave them some protection from the intense heat. But they still had to put their arms up to block the worst of it. Vegeta struggled to keep his eyes open as the heat and bright bright light made it difficult to see. He looked up to check on Bra and was relieved to see she was out of harm's way. For the time being.
Turning his attention back to his adversary, he gasped when he saw the area Clemartis had been standing was now a raging inferno. A pillar of flame that stretched to the top of the canopy.
Vegeta had never seen anything like it. Unlike a Super Saiyan transformation, where ki burned but in a controlled and non-harmful state. This was exact opposite. The amount of ki she was using was so great, it had set her entire body on fire, continuing to burn for as long as she had ki to fuel it. Given Goku's warning, she had a lot more than they had expected. How she wasn't burning to death was mind-boggling.
Little by little, the fire shrank. Becoming more controlled as Clemartis settled in her new transformation. Her body was covered in a vibrant flame. Burning a variety of colors from, red, yellow, blue, white, and even purple. Her hair was burning away bit by bit, pieces of it falling to the floor. Her eyes, just like her gem, glowed red as she floated just off the floor. Her screaming ceased as she looked down at them. As calm as a hunter before the kill.
Without any warning, Clemartis disappeared. Moving so fast that Vegeta almost lost track of her. Before he knew it, she was in front of him. Hand extended. With no time to dodge he braced himself. The heat of her blast sent him flying back through the dead branches of the tree. Back outside, Vegeta recovered in time to see Goku flung out the same way he had. The Saiyans regrouped as Clemartis watched them carefully.
"This is madness! There is no way a Yousarian can use this much power." Vegeta said in disbelief.
"Looks like she found a way." Goku replied. Vegeta clenched his teeth. This was the second time he allowed her to get the better of him. A mistake he was eager to rectify.
"I don't care if she has the power of a hundred planets, it won't save her from me!" he yelled as he moved in to attack. Blasting her while she was near the canopy was out of the question. Not while Bra was still inside. He had to force her into the open before he could even think about using his strongest attacks. Clemartis saw him coming and raised her arms. Forming what looked like another wall-like barrier.
"Is that the best you can do?" Vegeta taunted. Putting more than enough ki into his fist to shatter it. Increasing his speed as he punched he punched at the barrier.
Only to feel his body go right through it and reappear right in front of Clemartis. With no time to react, Clemartis grabbed his arm while using her free arm to puch him in the jaw. His skin burned, like being poked by thousands of heated needles. Goku attempted to intervene but the warping wall blocked his path, moving to intercept him and send him even further from his goal. Clemartis held Vegeta by the throat as she kept Goku at bay. Vegeta used the opportunity to try and land a free hit. It connected but Clemartis didn't even flinch. With all her strength, Clemartis flung Vegeta off the tree, once again colliding with the warping wall. Almost instantly he was sent flying into Goku. Who caught him just in time.
"You okay?" Goku asked, examining Vegeta's burns.
"Fine. Nothing I can't fight through." The two Saiyans looked down at Clemartis. Who was still eying them carefully. She leapt away from the tree, forming wings just in time to take flight. However, instead of her regular wings, these were much larger. Almost twice the size of her body, closely resembling the wings of a moth. Burning brightly, they illuminated the shadows surrounding the decaying tree. Vegeta and Goku prepared themselves as she flew toward them. Creating her sentries that got into formation around her, she began to fire at the Saiyans with rapid ki blasts. Her sentries sailed past her towards their targets.
Vegeta managed to count 27 heading his way with another 25 chasing after Goku. While dodging attacks, both warriors took pot shots at their pursuers, destroying them one by one. Clemartis, who was closest to Goku, honed in on him. Goku flew towards her as well. The sentries were less likely to fire when their mistress was nearby. Despite his visible pain from the burns, Goku met Clemartis head on. The two exchanging punches and kicks. Whatever Clemartis gave him, he gave back harder, forcing her to use more ki to hit back. As much as Vegeta wanted to be in on the action, he worked on leveling the playing field by destroying Clemartis' pets. Besides, Goku almost had Clemartis far enough away from the tree that he could unleash his ultimate attack.
By the time there were less than 14 sentries left on the field, Goku had successfully got Clemartis in a headlock. In response she flew backwards into the nearest cliff side, slamming Earth's mightiest hero into a wall of solid rock. With her hands still free, she could still create the warping walls, flying inside and coming out just before hitting another rock wall. Realizing his strategy wasn't working, Goku released her, retreating far enough away that he could try to catch his breath. It was a breather Clemartis wasn't going to give him.
She flew towards him and fired a ball of ki. It seemed weak enough to block, but Goku did all that he could to dodge it, weaving through the tree's roots and cayon walls to shake its pursuit. His frustration grew as it followed his every move. Just as he turned around to blast it out of the sky, it charged forward and hit the low class Saiyan in the chest. It was then, Vegeta saw what Goku had been concerned about.
His body went rigid while floating in mid air. Even at Super Saiyan 2, he didn't have the strength to break free. Without warning, several of the remaining sentries broke off from their pursuit of Vegeta and flew into Goku. The sheer power behind their ki attacks gave him a painful shock as each blow connected. Clemartis hovered just above him. What seemed like hundreds sentries formed around her. They glowed brighter as they charged their attacks. Preparing to fire at once, with Goku still struggling to free himself from the seal.
"Kakarot!" Vegeta shouted, flying to his comrade's aid.
"Stay back Vegeta!" Goku cried.
"Have you lost your mind?!" Vegeta knew that even a Super Saiyan 2 couldn't survive that many blasts at once.
"I've got this! Just give me a few more seconds!"
"You don't have a few more seconds you moron!" Vegeta looked up to see Clemartis holding her hands above her head, forming her own ki blast.
"No one escapes, Judgement Day." she said calmly.
Following Clemartis' lead, every single sentry fired a bright blast of white light. Firing again and again at Goku's position. Vegeta could hear him scream as his body vanished in ball of smoke and fire. Stray blasts created giant chasms in the ground below, turning the remnants of the forest into hell on earth.
"Kakarot!" Vegeta screamed as he was blown back by the shockwave. The sentries stopped firing long enough for the dust to settle.
There was no sign of Goku. Vegeta couldn't sense him either. He stared in disbelief.
There was no way. Not after everything they had been through. That clown couldn't have died in such a pathetic manner.
"One down." he heard Clemartis say as she turned her attention to him. Vegeta growled as he got ready to attack. But then he noticed a familiar golden figure behind her, The sentries' ki camouflaging his his own immense power.
"Show off." Vegeta smirked. Clemartis looked at Vegeta with puzzlement. However, her back went straight as a board when she heard Goku's voice.
"That was an impressive attack. Now I can see why you never wanted to use it in training."
"How...how can you still be...?" Clemartis stammered. Not daring to turn around.
"I've been fighting all my life. Facing all kinds of opponents, and getting stronger along the way. You on the other hand only fight as means to an end. Taking power that's not your own and lashing out with it like a child throwing a tantrum. Someone like you, could never kill someone like me." Goku said coldly. Vegeta could see Clemartis' rage build, turning around and attempting to punch Goku when she reached a boiling point.
"You...how dare you!? She screamed as Goku caught her punch effortlessly. Revealing his Super Saiyan 3 form. She gaped at his as the full scope of his power hit her senses, dwarfing her's by a large margin.
"I don't blame you for hating me for what I am or wanting revenge. But stop trying to be something your not...before it's too late."
"Something I'm not?" Clemartis quietly cackled. "Something I'm not?! You know nothing about me or what I'm capable of! I am the Yousarian ideal made real! The lineage of all our most powerful rulers combined can't compare to me! I am a child blessed by the Eternal Dragon Porunga himself! And you think you are better than me!?"
"Without a doubt." he said simply. Clemartis' eyes were wild with anger and she tried desperately to hit Goku at least once. To no avail. All it took was a single punch for her to be sent plummeting to Earth. crashing straight through wood and rock alike. The flame around her body becoming weaker.
Goku returned to Vegeta's side as they monitored Clemartis. His long blonde hair returning to his Super Saiyan 2 form.
"Was that really necessary Kakarot?" Vegeta asked.
"I only needed the boost in speed to evade that attack. Otherwise it would have killed me."
"In that case, why not just stay in that form?"
"It would waste too much energy. I'm not going to go all out until I know for certain she is as well."
"So you're saying this is just the tip of the iceberg?" Vegeta questioned.
"Yeah. She's limiting the amount of ki she uses at once to keep her body in good condition. However, the more she uses, the more her body seems to wear itself out.
"I see. If we keep this fight going, she'll use more and more ki to the point she can't handle it."
"Yeah. We've got to outlast her if we are going to win this."
"Sounds easy enough." Vegeta said smugly. "I must admit Kakarot, you're devious when you put your mind to it."
"You think? I never really thought of it like that." Goku paused. "Wait...Vegeta did you just..."
"Don't get too excited Kakarot. She's getting back up." Vegeta warned as he saw Clemartis shaking her self free of the rubble.
"Damn them." she growled. "Every time I think I've done it. That I've finally become strong enough, they reach levels of power that shouldn't even exist." She grasped a handful of dried earth.
"So be it. No more holding back. Whatever consequences it brings, I will endure. Just as long as I see those monkeys are dead, nothing else matters." She let out a scream as the fire intensified and her power along with it. Vegeta could see her pain as her body strained from the power up. She shot up into the sky, creating a crater as she pushed off the ground. Her fiery form sped directly toward them, the mass of sentries following her lead.
"Here she comes!" Goku shouted
"Ready Kakarot?!" Vegeta knew the best way to wear her down. Since she was finally out in the open, it was now or never.
"Yeah!" Goku nodded "Ka-me-ha-me-"
Vegeta powered up as well, putting his hands side by side in font of him. It was only going to be a matter of seconds before Clemartis would be in range to use her tricks. Vegeta wasn't going to give her the chance. Not after humiliating him.
The sentries glowed as they prepared to fire with Clemartis leading the charge.
Their attacks so close to each other they almost merged. Clemartis stopped dead as she braced herself. Her eyes wide with panic. Sher ordered the sentries to fire. Nothing, the streams of ki slowed only slightly. She began throwing up barrier after barrier. Still nothing, the attack's speed slowed another fraction of a second.
Out of options, she used her own ki blast. Her sentries flew behind her and continued firing as well. Her new found power was put to the test as it began to force both Vegeta and Goku's attacks back at them. Goku began to waver but only for a few seconds. Tapping into his reserves, Vegeta increased the power of his Final Flash until it began to closed the gap. Clemartis' flame shrank as both ki blasts converged and hit her straight on. Her high pitched scream echoed as she seemed to vanished into thin air. The flash of remainig ki collided with the ground and creating a enormous explosion in its wake that shook the tree's very foundation.
Both winded, Vegeta and Goku looked down at their handy work, a giant crater at the foot of the decaying Tree of Might.
"I can't sense her...can you?"
"No...but I'm not taking any chances." Vegeta replied as he and Goku flew down to inspect the crater. They looked for any sign of life in the barren wasteland. Movement, the sound of breathing, ki, anything.
Not a spec of Clemartis remained.
"Finally. Now we just have to send the rest of those weeds back where they came from. Then perhaps we can use the Dragon balls to help the Earth recover-" Vegeta stood triumphant. He looked over to Goku, expecting to see the latter's usual enthusiasm over a successful fight. He was surprised however to see the exact opposite. Goku stood over the edge of the chasm, looking down solemnly at the only reminder her he had left of his former friend.
"I know it had to be done. It was either her or us, but...this..." Goku clenched his fists. "...this wasn't the fight I wanted."
Vegeta wasn't sure he entirely understood what Goku was thinking but he chose to respect his feelings. Despite having fought countless times to save his friends and planet from evil, Goku had never wanted to take the lives of those he fought unless he had to. And perhaps during his time with her, Goku could have seen a remnant of the kind of person the young queen once was. A gentle soul, who prefered making friends to making enemies. Much like himself.
Vegeta would have been lying if he stated that this reflection was lost on him. He did everything to convince himself that killing her had been an act of mercy. That she was better off dead then being allowed to live and let her madness fester. Still, it didn't change the fact that all of this hardship could have been avoided, if he had been merciful enough to kill her as a child. Even though he did it on someone else's orders, it had been his cruelty that was the source of Clemartis' obsession. An obsession not unlike his own when Goku had bested him.
"What's done is done Kakarot." Vegeta said finally. "Besides, the fight's not over yet. Or did you forget there is still an entire army left to deal with."
"Good, then get a move on. They should be no trouble now that we've destroyed their chain of command."
Just as Goku turned around to face him, Vegeta felt a surge of ki. Moving at insanely high-speed underground.
There was no way. Not after taking both of their most powerful attacks head on.
"You feel that?" Vegeta asked.
"Yeah, but I'm not sure where it's coming from."
"Oh, that's easy." came a female voice from behind Goku. Before Goku could even take another breath, a blackened hand pierced the right side of his abdomen. Goku cried out in agony, coughing up blood .
"...cause I'm right here."