Vegeta looked on in horror as Clemartis withdrew her arm and tossed Goku aside. His comrade bleeding out as he grit his teeth, fighting to get up. Though it didn't seem like she had hit any vital organs, Goku was still bleeding enough to be in danger. Clemartis ignored his suffering and kept her gaze on Vegeta. Who looked back at her with anger.
Her appearance finally reflected her black heart. The fire radiating from her skin had all but died, with only small embers sizzling and falling from her body. Her hair was completely gone. Her skin looked like a combination of dried tree bark and charcoal. Even the slightest movement seemed to make her hiss from the pain. Bits of her skin cracked off and falling to the ground. Embers slowly festered and glowed as her body kept trying to heal itself. Despite the pain, her gaze never left Vegeta.
"Looks like we are down to our last pieces, Vegeta. Winner take all. What do you say? One last bout for old times sake?" she proposed, grimacing as she took a few staggered steps forward.
"Damn you! Why can't you just be a good little girl and die?!" Vegeta growled.
"I won't die, as long as your still alive. Besides, that lovely energy boost you gave me was too good to pass up."
Vegeta was ready to blast her but he stopped short when he saw Goku stand up, barely keeping his balance. Clemartis narrowed her eyes at the low class warrior and prepared to attack him once again.
"Hold it!" Vegeta demanded, "This fight is between you and me! Kakarot is not your concern."
"Are you...worried?" Clemartis asked. Her eyes dancing with amusement. "Vegeta, the Prince of all Saiyans, is preoccupied with the well-being of another?" She laughed just before she swept Goku's leg, knocking him back down the ground. "You disappoint me Vegeta. I did all of this in order to face you, and yet you seem content to ignore me for the sake of a commoner. Odd, considering it was you who said that you didn't need companions in the first place."
"I won't need their help to end you." Vegeta said. Clemartis faced him and chuckled.
"Then let us end it."
Goku tried to push himself back up, his hand covering his wound. He was using his ki to try and stop the bleeding.
"Stay down Kakarot." Vegeta said. "I won't forgive you if you die from such a meager injury."
"Heh, yeah. No problem. Please...be careful Vegeta." Goku smiled. Using his free hand to give his friend a thumbs up.
Vegeta and Clemartis squared off, the wind wiping through the wastes. Heat lightning flashed in the sky above and a sharp crackling noise sprung from the two combatants' conflicting ki. Even though his Final Flash had worn him out, Vegeta was still strong enough to maintain his ascended transformation. From what he could sense, Clemartis still seemed to be his match. But given her body's condition, he had no way of knowing if she would be able to keep up with him for very long.
"Let's get started!" Clemartis cried out, leaping high in the air as she brought down her arm at Vegeta's head. He caught it but his hand began to bleed from the sharp edge of her charred form. Somehow, she had managed to harden her hands, turning her arms into blades. To keep her from absorbing more of his ki, Vegeta attempted to throw her against the ground. Unfortunately, she managed to wriggle free of his grip. Her body twisting as she used his momentum to jump away, staggering a bit on the landing.
Vegeta used this weakness as his ticket to get the upper hand. He moved in quickly for an aggressive assault. Clemartis blocked his punches but her injured body slowed her down. Whittling her strength down bit by bit, Vegeta grabbed her by the collar and began to knee her stomach repeatedly, her body lurching with each hit.
Clemartis gasped as he let her fall to the ground,pinning her down with his foot. Holding out a single hand and ready to blast her head clean off her shoulders. He failed to notice Clemartis creating two, unstable, sentries which appeared behind him and collided with back, shocking him into releasing her before dissipating.
Clemartis attempted to jab at his gut with her sword arms, but he recovered in time to dodge and strike with a back hand. Her blackened form met the ground, skidding over the cracked earth. She was only down for a few seconds before she was flying towards him again, ashes streaming off her body.
Vegeta fired several rapid fire blasts with this finger, all of them missing. He charged to meet he, punching her face while dodging her slicing arms. He could hear her gasping for breath and feel the heat radiating from her shattering body. Her strength became more unstable as it fluctuated back and forth. The more she tried to keep up with him, the more pain it caused her. Even with all that power, she was steadily loosing control over it. It was only a matter of time before she wouldn't even be able to stand, let alone fight.
And yet, the pain was not enough to deter her aggressive attacks. Even if they were sloppy.
"What's the matter your Highness? Bite off more than you can chew?" he taunted.
"Shut up! I'm going to destroy you...even if it kills me!" she screamed as she tried to chop off his head. He sidestepped her, chopping the back of her neck and sending her once again to the ground. She rolled out of the way just as he brought his fist down, cracking the ground. Vegeta narrowed his eyes as he followed her movements.
"Are you truly that much of a fool that you'd die for revenge?! You, who managed to out-wit Frieza for years and bring his remaining empire to it's knees? Your more pathetic than I thought." he said standing over her as she writhed in agony. "What else would you sacrifice for this 'noble' cause? Your dignity? Your planet? Your comrades? Your pride? Is this truly the extent of your ambition?"
"Don't...you DARE talk to me about ambition!" she yelled back. Swiping her arm at his leg and forcing him to jump back.
"No one's ambition...was more noble than mine. No matter my methods, I have always sought after one goal. To see my home restored to its former glory that I've seen countless times. And for my people to thrive in the light of the sun. I have fought wars and suffered all manner of trials to make that dream a reality. And not once, has my dedication been rewarded..." she paused, before turning to look at him, pure contempt filling her eyes.
"But you...after all you've done. That a person like you, who has done nothing but murder, is allowed to live on a planet like this...without paying for your crimes...is an affront to everything I stand for. A monster like you deserves to die alone in the gutter! You don't deserve it! Any of it! I'll see you dead before I accept it!" Clemartis screeched. Her statement devolving into a rant.
Vegeta just looked at her. Not bothering with a response. There was no need. She was only humiliating herself now, revealing how much of a child still remained in that deformed body. Yet, the more she spoke, the more familiar her words became.
"Spend your life ruled by another! Watch your race dwindle to a handful! Then, tell me what has more meaning than your own strength!"
"I have in me the blood of a Saiyan Prince, he is nothing but a joke. But I've had to watch him surpass me. My destiny thrown to the wayside!...He has stolen my honor, and his debts must be paid!"
Vegeta closed his eyes and let out a deep exhale as he let the reality of what he was facing sink in. Easing the rising disgust in his gut. He would never admit it to anyone but himself, but it was almost like looking in a damn mirror. Stubbornly driven to insane lengths by a single obsession. Attempting to forsake all good in life on the assumption that the universe owed him for his suffering. Their paths had been different, but the result had been the same.
At least, it would have been, if Goku had not intervened.
Vegeta opened his eyes took a step forward, his anger dissolving. Clemartis tried to form a barrier to defend herself. But like her sentries, she was unable to maintain it for very long. Frustrated she took a defensive stance, her body shaking as her body continued to fall to pieces.
"S-stay back! Don't come any closer!" she ordered. Vegeta ignored her and stopped just in front of her. Clemartis tried to slash at his face. Only to be stopped dead by his vice like grip. Even though the blade stung, Vegeta simply shrugged it off.
"Unhand me!" Clemartis shrieked.
"Make me." Vegeta replied. She tried to strike him with her free hand but he caught that one as well. She cried out as his grip on her hands became tighter. His gloved hands began to bleed. The blades, now much more fragile, were crushed under his might. Clemartis screamed as she tried to break free. But Vegeta held her in place.
"I'm going to give you a chance, only one chance, to prove your convictions. Attack me with everything you have. I won't do anything to stop you. If you are successful in killing me, you will get the revenge you always dreamed of. If you fail..." he paused. "Then you will see just how powerful I really am."
Clemartis looked at him with utter confusion, but soon delighted in the opportunity to attack and unprepared opponent. Her gemstone glowed brightly as her hands healed enough to be reformed. Vegeta surmised it was thanks to that ability that she had managed to survive fighting in that form. Clemartis laughed aloud as she prepared to strike.
"Who is the fool now VEGETA!? Die!" she screamed as she charged forward. Her power flowing into her striking hand as it came ever closer. She leapt towards him, her arm poised high before she brought it down to his neck in one swift stroke.
Vegeta closed his eyes.
He felt nothing.
When he opened them he saw Clemartis looking panicked at her arm which still rested by his neck. Its blade was dull. Too dull to even pierce his skin. Leaving no mark on the Saiyan Prince whatsoever. Clemartis staggered back, looking at her hands. Trying to understand what had gone wrong. It didn't take her long to realize she had a bigger problem on her hands. She looked up at Vegeta, her eyes wide with terror as he appeared next to her. His open palm right in her face.
"My turn." he said. Charged with as much ki as he could muster, he fired. Clemartis created a split second barrier in fear for her life. But it didn't stop the blast from sending her all the way up to the Tree of Might, forcing her to crash through the canopy and slam into the floor of the room where their fight had begun.
Vegeta followed after her to survey his results. She was alive, but barely so. Lying on the floor in a crumpled heap. Her breaths hoarse and strained. That was the second time her ability to absorb ki had saved her life. Vegeta grew frustrated that he hadn't taken that into account before firing. But no matter what she did now, it was clear she was no longer able to even touch him.
Their fight was over. Whether she accepted it or not.
Twitching and shaking, Clemartis rolled on to her stomach. Her breathing becoming more shallow as she forced herself to her knees. She looked up at him. Her eyes shaking, unable to focus.
"Why? Why is this happening? It's not supposed to be like this!" she cried, tears poring down her face, creating steam on her charred skin. "Why?! Why?! WHY?!" she shrieked, pounding the dead tree with what remained of her hands.
Suddenly, she stopped. Her eyes widening as her gem continued to glow even brighter. Red hot ki surging through her veins. Her shaking got worse.
"NO! Not now!" she said in a frightened voice. She attempted to crawl back onto her throne, but by the time she reached it, whatever was happening to her finally set in.
Then came the most blood curtling scream Vegeta had ever heard in his life.
He watched on as Clemartis writhed in utter agony. Screaming like she was experiencing pure torture. Her gem was pulsing as the flood gates were opened and she finally had more ki than she could have ever desired. Unfortunately for her, it was much more than she could handle all at once.
Even as she struggled to use the throne's arm rest to stand, she would simply fall over and repeat the process all over again. However, by the time she was successful the pain had taken its toll on her.
"What's..."she barely managed to say, "What's going on? Where? Where am I? Why can't I see anything?" she cried out.
"Ophrys...Calla...Torga...Mama...help me! It hurts. Make it stop! Please, make it stop" she babbled.
Vegeta couldn't bear to watch any longer. Perhaps, a long time ago he would have enjoyed it, watching one of his hated adversaries get what they deserved for challenging him. But that man was gone. Put to rest the day that he chose to let go of his foolish hatred and allowed himself to change for the people that meant the most to him.
Slowly, he began to walk toward her.
"Who's there?" she asked weakly, the pain muddling with her brain. "I beg of you...just make it stop." she pleaded.
Vegeta clenched his fist, putting all his remaining power into it. And in one final charge...he punched her through the stomach.
Clemartis attempted to breathe but coughed out blood instead. All strength left in her body faded rapidly. Her legs collapsed from underneath her, forcing her to lean forward. Her head rested on his shoulder. The worst was her pathetic whimpering, hearing her react as her body began to shut down. Even from the slightest motion, she cried as the pain from her wound became the only thing on her mind. He could feel her hands grasping at his arms. Squeezing them, trying to find some comfort from the pain. Vegeta gritted his teeth, trying to keep his cool as he felt her die in his arms. Putting his free hand behind her head, he held her there until her whimpering stopped, and her body went limp.
He felt something fall on his leg before clinking to the floor. As he lay Clemartis to rest on the floor, he saw her gemstone had fallen off, flickering on the ground. Vegeta took a deep breath as he stood up. Letting all of his emotions run their course. Taking off his bloodied gloves before flying up to his daughter rescuing her from her tiny prison. He was about to leave this horrible mess behind him when Goku arrived on the scene, his wound seared closed.
"It's done." Vegeta said simply as he walked away from the corpse behind him.
"Vegeta..." Goku was about to say.
"Don't say it Kakarot. Don't say anything."