And the World Will Burn
The two Saiyans stood in silence, the fight leaving a bad taste in their mouths. With everything that had happened that day, even Goku knew this had been the inevitable outcome. However, that didn't make the experience any less unpleasant.
Even the Prince of Saiyans found he was struggling to come to terms with Clemartis' pitiful end. Though he did not express it outwardly.
"How's Bra?" Goku asked finally.
"Fine. Exhausted from crying, but fine."
"That's a relief." Goku breathed, coming over to the infant and stroked her hair. "Looks like the others are on their way. But we should get her to Bulma before we plan our next step."
"Let me know how that works out for you." Vegeta said as he passed Bra to Goku and began to walk away in the opposite direction.
"Vegeta, where are you going?"
"To find the nearest space ship and commandere it."
"What? Why?!" Goku asked.
"You know damn well why!" Vegeta raised his voice. "I just killed their queen Kakarot! Mad or not, her people will still demand retribution. The longer I stay here, the more I put this planet and my family at risk!"
Bra murmured, upset by the noise. Goku looked Vegeta dead in his eye. He didn't need to say anything to communicate his disagreement.
"Don't run away from this again Vegeta. She's going to need you more than ever."
Vegeta was about to argue the point, but stopped when Bra began to cry again.
"It's going to work out." said as he comforted Bra.
"How the hell do you know?"
"Because we are going to face this problem together. Just like we did with Majin Buu. It worked then and it will work now!"
"You don't know that for sure, admit it!" Vegeta asked. "Why even bother when all I seem to do is cause more problems than I fix?!"
"Becasue, you're my friend."
Vegeta took a moment to let those words sink in. Even after everything he had put Goku through, the challenges, the secrets and arguments, he didn't think any less of him.
That was just like him.
Out of the corner of his eye, Vegeta noticed a bright light coming from the floor. Clemartis' gem, that had dislodged itself from her body after death, was glowing brighter than it ever had before putting out just as it had during the fight. The two Saiyans stared at it, trying to understand what this meant. Vegeta even tried to pick the jewel up, only to find that it was permenatnly stuck to the tree, and only a few seconds of contact sent a painful shock up his arm.
"Don't look at me. I didn't touch it." Goku said holding Bra close. Watching the gem, they could feel the ki inside it flowing into the dead tree. Visible red lines spread through the tree, like hot embers on firewood. Suddenly, the tree began to shake. All of its remaining leaves fell, leaving the branches completely bare. As the red energy ran its course, flowing all the way up to the very top of the tree, the shaking became more erratic. The tree's many tall branches began to move on their own. Twisting, growing...changing.
"Kakarot, I think its time we left."
"But what about-?" he protested as he saw the tree beginning to absorb both Clemartis' body and her gem.
"Leave her! We have a bigger problem on our hands."
With all the speed they could muster, they flew out of the canopy, chopping away any branches that tried to get in their path. Once they were a safe distance away they looked back in awe as the Tree of Might began to transform.
Branches became long necks. Streaks of glowing embers covered the creature like veins. With serpent like heads, mouths lined with dagger like teeth and glowing red eyes reflecting the inferno at its core. Though the beast seemed unable to move thanks to the Tree's deep roots, that didn't stop the roots themselves from forming smaller heads and shooting up from the ground, causing the landscape to crumble. With the formation of its ninth head, the beast let out a terrible roar. Sounding like a reptile, a giant insect and a screaming woman all in one.
Vegeta had never seen such an abomination in his life. But he didn't need to know what it was to see that it meant trouble.
"Kakarot! Get Bra out of here now!" He ordered.
"Right. I'll be right back!" Goku said putting his index finger to his forehead. As soon as he vanished, Vegeta looked back down to assess the creature's possible weaknesses. Almost immediately, each of its heads began to fire powerful red blasts at their surroundings, carving out enormous chasms, and exploding far away moutains. It didn't to seem to care what it was attacking just so long as everything in its line of sight was reduced to ash.
Not willing to stand idle while his planet was destroyed, Vegeta decided to test the creature's resilience.
Up close and personal.
"Hey! Over here you overgrown freak!" he shouted, getting the attention of three of its heads. "You want a real challenge? Try me!"
The creature immediately took him up on his offer as it began to fire at him. The blasts were large but Vegeta was fast enough to evade them and get closer. He fired a volley of ki blasts at one of the heads, hearing the creature's shrill cry as they exploded on contact. However, when the smoke cleared, the head seemed undamaged. Now having the attention of all nine heads, Vegeta had his work cut out for him. The closest two extended their necks to reach him and attempted to swallow him whole.
Realizing that distance wasn't going to protect him, Vegeta flew in closer. Flying between the heads, blasting them and trying to tangle them up with each other. Not only did the beast not take the bait, but it instead forced him into a corner and almost would have had him if he had not used one of his more powerful attacks to blast the approaching heads away. The burning wood let out a purple like smoke, which Vegeta had no choice but to fly through if he was going to escape. The second he breathed it in however, he began to cough uncontrollably. He could feel his lungs contracting as he tried to breathe, slowing his escape. Just before one of the heads managed to catch him off guard, Goku reappeared. Using Instant Transmission to get them both to safety.
Appearing at a far away cliff side, both Saiyan warriors collapsed on the ground as they tried to get rid of the poisonous smoke.
"Well that could have gone better." Goku said with a goofy smile.
"Shut up!" Vegeta barely managed to say before another coughing fit.
"Man, I don't think I could stand to breathe in that stuff, even as a Super Saiyan 3." he breathed, "If we are going to destroy it, we'll have to do it from a distance."
"Father!" came the voice of Gohan. Goku and Vegeta looked back to see the whole gang, all in one piece. With them were what remained of Clemartis' team, Azera, Forcytha, Sorrel and Calla.
"Are you guys okay?" Yamcha called out as the group landed.
"Yeah, just a little winded." Goku said brushing the dirt off his knees.
"Dad!" Trunks called out as he ran over to Vegeta, helping him get to his feet. He then turned his attention to the beast. "What is that thing?"
"A creature from our planet's history." Calla spoke up, still leaning on Piccolo for support. "The very thing that made our planet's surface uninhabitable to this day. A Hidrana"
"Hold up, I thought you guys said the Tree of Might was what ruined your world." Krillin said stepping up to the aliens.
"It was a Tree of Might...to begin with." Forcytha replied, the tatters of his cape covering his face. "But in the hands of a lunatic, it became that disgusting thing."
"According to our historical records," Azera added. "Its creator attempted to fuse with the tree, to harness the power it absorbed. But what he didn't expect was the tree to take as much ki from him as he did it. The more he used it, the more he fused with the Tree. Becoming the first Hidrana. Because of its poison, the surface of our dying planet became uninhabitable."
"Not to mention it destroyed all that remained of our civilization on the surface." Calla finished.
"Then how did you kill it?" Piccolo asked.
"Hmmm." Calla narrowed her eyes, attempting to remember. "If the stories are true...the gemstone that created it. If we destroy it, the power it relies on to survive will be released. But it's heavily guarded, we are going to have to work together in order to expose it."
"You expect me to believe that?" Vegeta yelled, pushing Trunks aside and moving to confront the one-armed girl. "Just work together and forget that this is all your fault in the first place?! You and your demented queen! Why in the hell should we help you at all? Clean up your own damn mess!"
Before he could do anything, Piccolo forced himself between the two.
"This isn't the time for this Vegeta!"
"Says who? Them? You're going to trust their word after everything they've done?! Look around you! It's because of these damned weeds that our planet is being destroyed from the inside out!"
"Then let us make up for it!" Calla shouted, trying to stand strong but still holding her bandaged shoulder. "You're right. Not matter what our feelings about you or your people, this is still our fault. So don't you dare think for a second that I can't comprehend that! I have a plan, so please, trust me for a little while longer and I promise that your planet will be able to recover."
"Really?! Cause that seemed to work out so well for yours!"
"The longer we argue, the more likely that will happen. So unless you want your home looking like a giant desert, I suggest you follow our lead. This is as much our fight as it is yours, whether you believe me or not!"
"Well said." Azera said stepping forwrad. "Allow us to regain our honor by fighting this battle with you. We will destroy it, even if it means giving our lives in the process."
"You don't have to do that." Gohan said.
"Yes we do." Forcytha said joining his comrades. "After letting our Queen die, we won't have much else to lose. Besides, the idea of growing old and taking root never sat well with me."
"Despite your presence, this world is worth protecting. If he had the chance...I know my brother would do anything to defend it. So I will do it in his place."
"Now, do we have a deal?" Calla asked. Locking her eyes with Vegeta's. The Saiyan Prince scowled but the genuine determination in her eyes was not lost on him. She was telling the truth. Meaning that he was going to have to abide by her instructions.
And he hated it.
"What is this half-baked plan of yours anyway?" he growled. Calla smiled before looking out toward the Hidrana, which was still searching for more prey.
"If we are going to find the gemstone, some of us are going to have to get close enough to spot it from the air. Once we do, we'll need the strongest fighters here to attack it with enough power to shatter the barrier that should be protecting it. Isn't that how the tale goes Azera?"
"Yes, but whoever goes in for the kill will need an ample supply of ki. Enough to match the beast. I suggest those with enough energy to burn should search or the gem. The rest of us who are too weak to fight up close will stay behind and keep the beast's heads away from the main group."
"Alright. Yamcha, Tien, Krillin, you guys stay back here with Azera and Sorrel. Keep us safe." Goku turned to address his friends.
"No problem. We'll keep the nasties off your back." Yamcha stepped up. Punching into his hand.
"Once it gets a taste of my tricks, that monster won't know what hit it." Sorrel said full with confidence.
"Calla, this is your plan so we'll need you to come with us. But keep your distance okay?" Piccolo advised.
"I'll try but I can't make any promises."
"You're gonna need me up close and personal if this is going to work! Besides, losing a planet is a lot worse than a losing arm, don't you think?" Piccolo tried to come up with a retort, but couldn't find one in time.
"Just...don't do anything stupid."
"Sure." Calla smiled.
"You ready for this boys?" Gohan asked Goten and Trunks.
"More than ready!" Trunks said, transforming into his Super Saiyan form.
"Yeah, we'll show that monster who's boss!" Goten responded in kind.
"Don't get too carried away." Forcytha said, his voice muffled. "We've only got one shot at this."
"What do you care? I thought you hated us?" Trunks raised an eyebrow at Forcytha's sudden eagerness to help.
"I'm not doing this for you." Forcytha shot back. His eyes following Calla as she got into position.
"Be careful honey." Krillin said to Eighteen as the latter leaned in for a kiss.
"Don't worry. I've already scared you enough for one day. I won't overdo it." Leaving his embrace, Eighteen took her spot next to Piccolo and Calla on the edge of the cliff. Vegeta, without saying a word, walked next to Goku and steeled himself for battle.
"Good luck to you all." Azera said, to the assembled warriors.
Flying into the fray, the main team split apart. Getting as close as they could to the Hidrana to locate the creature's life source. The heads saw them coming and immediately went on the attack. Either firing ki blasts or reaching up high enough to swallow them whole. The secondary group however, did what they could to take the pressure off, distracting the heads long enough for the main group to evade detection. Krillin, having recovered enough ki for a Destructo disc, lauched it at two of the heads going after Eighteen. Slicing them clean off.
"Alright! Great shot Krillin!" Gohan called back.
"Don't let your guard down. It won't last long." Forcytha looked back. His gem glowing bright as it began to burn his skin.
"Won't last long? What are you talking-" Was all Gohan had time to say before the stumped necks began to move, growing larger until they sprouted two more viciuous looking heads. "Oh. Thats not good."
"No kidding." Forcytha rolled his eyes. Just before he realized they were both flying into an ambush set by another head.
"Incoming!" He said giving just enough time for both he and Gohan to dive out of the way of the oncoming blast. The two retaliated instantly, making short work of the head.
"I don't see anything, do you?" Forcytha asked.
"Not must be closer to the base of the tree." Gohan said as he laid down suppression fire on the reforming head, slowing its progress. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Goten and Trunks flying dangerously close to the poisonous smoke, a Hidrana head on their tail.
"Goten, Trunks get out of there!" he ordered.
"No, we saw it! Its down here!" Trunks cried back, taking a pot shot at the pursuing head.
"We found the gem Gohan! Go tell dad and miss Calla!"
"Okay. I'll be right back." he said flying up in the air, stopping and made eye contact with Forcytha. "Keep an eye on them. If anything happens to them..."
"You'll kill me right?" Forycytha interrupted. "I know the drill kid. Now get going."
Gohan flew high into the air, just evading a pair of heads before they were assaulted by Yamcha's barrage.
"Come on uglies! Right over here!" he shouted, dodging just in time to avoid being reduced to ash by the head's retaliation. Gohan looked for his dad and found him when he spotted the long golden locks of his Super Saiyan 3 form. A Hidrana head whizzed high over him as Goku rippped it from its base and tossed it aside.
"Dad! Calla! Trunks and Goten have found the gemstone! It's over here!"
"On my way!" Goku replied flying over to his son in a matter of seconds.
"Try to conserve your power in that form." Calla suggested as she came up behind them. "We're gonna need it if we are going to do this right."
"That's easier said than done." Goku replied. "This form drains more energy than any of the others. I can't use it for too much longer."
"Then we better make this count. What's the next step Calla?" Piccolo shouted back to her as he kept an eye on the head's movements.
"Okay, maintain that form and form your ki into a ball."
Goku did as he was asked. Calla put her hands around the soccer sized ball and began to concentrate.
"What are you doing?" Gohan asked.
"I'm trying to give it the same density as my blades. It should be a thousand times stronger than the ones I normally make with triple super saiyan power behind it." As she worked the ball changed, becoming sharper and longer. Until it was the form of a long sword. "Just make sure it maintains that shape and density and it should break the barrier surrounding the gem."
"Right. Where is it Gohan?"
"Just down there." the Saiyan's eldest son pointed out. Down below, while the heads were being occupied by Vegeta, Eighteen and Forcytha, Goten and Trunks blasted away parts of the overgrown tree, revealing a bright, red, pulsing light.
"Boys! Get out of there now!" Goku ordered. Not wanting to get caught in the crossfire, the boys did as they were told. Goku screamed as he powered up the sword, making it shine brighter with each second that passed. Sensing the powerful ki, the Hidrana's now 30 heads looked up at the Saiyan warrior.
"Oh no you don't!" Vegeta screamed as he began to fire. The rest of the warriors followed suit, shrouding the heads in their own poisonous smoke.
"Get ready you monster!" Goku shouted as he grabbed the sword by its non-existent hilt and held it forward.
Unleashing all of his power in one go, the sword was fired toward the gemstone. Colliding with a bright red barrier. Goku increased the intensity of the attack but it still wasn't enough to breach the barrier. The blade barely pierced the surface, the intense light fading as its energy began to dwindle. Exhausted, the rest of the group ceased their assault.
"What's wrong Goku?" Piccolo asked. Goku grit his teeth as he fought to get the words out.
"It's not working!"
"What do you mean it's not working?" Calla questioned. "It has to!"
"I can't..."Goku said, struggling to keep up the beam supporting the sword. "I'm almost out of power."
"Take ours then!" Gohan suggested. As the group prepared to send their power to their hero, the Hidrana heads shot out of the smoke, this time 56 in number. They surged forward, knocking the warriors off guard forcing them to retreat. Even Goku, was forced to abandon the attack to get a safe distance away.
Goten and Trunks, who had been the closest to the Hidrana were in the worst danger. Over ten of the heads converged on their position, trapping them.
"Move it Goten!" Trunks shouted as he sent a super charged blast at one of the necks. Goten assisted and they scorched a whole through the beast. However, just as they began to fly to safety, a stray head grabbed Trunks by his pant's leg, and began to drag him back down to the poisonous cloud.
"Trunks!" Goten shouted, ready to fly back for his friend. Forcytha grabbed him by the arm, pulling him back. "Let me go you big jerk! He needs help!"
"Not from you he doesn't." Forcytha replied. Watching as a flash of golden light as the Saiyan Prince dove into the dark cloud for his son.
Vegeta could barely see through the gloom. Using what remained of his ki, he formed a small barrier around his body, keeping the smoke from impeding his progress. Diving further down, he was able to make out a flickering golden light.
"Trunks!" Vegeta called out. Increasing his speed. However, he could feel the heat of the Hidrana's body as he saw their necks twisting and turning, searching for him. By the time he reached Trunks, he was violently coughing. Having burnt out most of his energy from the earlier fight, the boy could no longer keep up his Super Saiyan form. Helpless, he had collapsed to the ground and would have been crushed by the tree's thrashing roots if Vegeta did not intervene. Holding up the root with all of his strength, he blasted it in two before going to his son's side. The safety of the barrier gave the boy a chance to breathe. But he was in no condition to move. Trunks shivered as his body did its best to counteract the deadly fumes, his father watching over him.
"I'm s-sorry dad." Trunks tried to speak. "I d-didn't want to l-let you down."
Vegeta stood in silence as he kept a watchful eye above them. Sensing that the Hidrana was being drawn to his ki.
"You never have, my son." he said. Trunks smiled up at him, overjoyed to hear his father's praise. But it was around that same time that the Hidrana showed itself. As the purple fog dissipated around the barrier, all of its heads appeared through the haze, each of their burning eyes and trained on the father and son.
Vegeta could hear them hiss, slithering around each other to get in a better position to kill their prey. Vegeta continued to look straight ahead as one of the heads appeared directly in front of him. Trunks didn't dare move, but hoped his father had a plan. They stared each other down, calculating, gauging each other's strengths. The Hidrana came within inches of the Saiyan, before letting out an ear piercing roar. Its eyes looking down on him with indifference, as if mocking their helpless predicament.
It was a look Vegeta knew well. Reflected in those eyes were all of his adversaries that had dared to look down on him.
...and finally himself. The way he used to be. The dark prince of the Saiyans who had been willing to make any sacrifice for power. Who reveled in the misery of others, lived to crush his enemies. The very same man who had been ruthless enough to spark Clemartis' hatred and brought this abomination to life.
"You knew that it would end like this the second you chose this path." the old Vegeta said. "You could have been the greatest warrior in the galaxy! You could have had everything you ever wanted if you had been strong enough to cast aside everything that made you weak! But now look at you. The mighty Saiyan Prince Vegeta, killed by a beast." his reflection continued to mock him. But Vegeta just stood stone faced, closing his eyes and letting all of the humiliating thoughts wash over him.
"Don't underestimate me." He said finally. "If I am going to die, it won't be like this."
"You fool! Look around you! Your fate has been sealed. Unless, of course you dump the extra baggage." Old Vegeta said smugly, looking over at Trunks. Vegeta's tempered flared but he kept his voice calm.
"That's my son your talking about."
"He is a worthless half-breed! A mistake! You thought as much when he was born. Don't even bother trying to deny it. He is too soft-hearted to ever be a true Saiyan. Leave him. Leave this planet behind to its fate and start over. Reclaim your destiny. No longer the Prince of all Saiyans. But the ruler of the entire universe!"
Vegeta stood in silence for a moment. Remembering each and every word his double had said. His thoughts over the past several years since he began to live on earth.
"Perhaps I did think like you once." he replied. "But not anymore."
"I am you, you pathetic excuse for a Saiyan! You and I are the only reminder of what made the Saiyan Empire a name to be feared. You can never be rid of it. It will always be a part of you. Just as I always will."
"Who said I was getting rid of you?" Vegeta replied. Smirking at his double's confusion. "Don't act so surprised. If you truly knew me as well as you think you did, you should already know what I'm going to say."
The old Vegeta gave him a vicious glare but stayed silent.
"I'm not going to be so ignorant as to deny your existence. You'd never cease pestering me. So I'm going to do the one thing, I know for a fact, you can't stand." Vegeta said powering up his super saiyan form. While his old self looked on in awe.
"I'm going to surpass you."
At those words, the old Vegeta clenched his teeth and growled in frustration. Just before he could try to fight back, the shockwave from Vegeta's ki threw him back.
"Just as I was able to transcend a legendary Super Saiyan, I will transcend everything our race was. And make a new one without the weaknesses of the old. A weakness that crippled you for years. The arrogance that blood lines alone is what makes a true warrior!"
"Now shadow! Witness the power of true Saiyan, no longer chained by the past!"
Digging deep into his reserved ki, Vegeta began to unleash it all at once, forcing his old self to dissipate. The Hidrana heads hissed as they pulled away from their target. A few of them burst into flame from the heat of his power, crying in agony as they burned and reformed. Trunks covered his eyes as a large mass of dust and rubble began to fly around him. Vegeta continued to scream as he reached deeper into his reserves, not wanting to hold anything back.
It was then that he felt it.
A warm golden glow coming from his very core. The instant he felt it, a wave of ki like he had never experienced before began to wash over him, increasing his power exponentially. His hair began to grow longer, his eyebrows vanished making their ridges more pronounced. The very ground beneath his feet began to shake violently. Tornadoes of the poisonous fog were formed and pushed away clearing the air.
Trunks looked up at his father in awe, beaming with pride at his father's long sought after achievement.
"Go for it Dad!" Trunks shouted.
Halfway through the transformation, Vegeta could hear the others as they took notice.
"Come on! You can do it Vegeta!" came Gohan's voice.
"He's finally doing it." said Piccolo. "Couldn't have happened at a better time."
"You got this! Keep going!" cheered Goten.
"All the way, come on!" shouted Krillin.
And finally the clearest voice of all.
"I know you can do it! Show them what your made of Vegeta!" came Goku's voice.
With that, the final hurtle had been overcome. The transformation was completed as Vegeta stood proudly in his new form. A state he had almost given up on ever reaching. His surprise at having reached Super Saiyan 3 at long last, made him temporarily forget his surroundings. A Hidrana head took his daze as a oppronunity to attack. But he could feel it coming, like it was moving in slow motion. Effortlessly he extended his hand and shot a tiny blast at its nose. The ensuing explosion blasted the head clean off and set an inextinguishable flame down the neck as it attempted to reform.
"We can't stay here. Come on!" Vegeta said to his son.
"Right!" Trunks nodded eagerly. The two flew straight out of the Hidrana's trap. Any heads dumb enough to attack were met by Vegeta's new found power and disintegrated completely. In the safety of the sky, they rejoined the main group. Goku and Vegeta staring each other down.
"Welcome to the club." Goku smiled.
"Shove it Kakarot!" Vegeta growled. "I don't know how much longer I can maintain this form."
After several years, Vegeta finally understood Goku's hesitance to use the Super Saiyan 3 form. Even seconds after reaching it, he could already feel it slipping away. They were going to have to act quickly if they were going to put it to good use.
"Calla, come over here." Goku ordered. "Make that sword again. I have a feeling this time its going to work."
"Okay. Both of you hold out your hands." Calla stammered, not sure how to take this new turn of events. Thankfully it did not keep her from her job. She did as she was told and soon both Goku and Vegeta had their weapons at the ready.
"We've only got one more shot at this. Let's make it count." Goku said as he ready to fire.
The remaining Hidrana heads roared as they opened their gaping mouths for their own attack. Leaving their weakspot exposed.
"Get clear!" Vegeta screamed back to the rest of the group. The others didn't wait around and flew a safe distance away.
"You've lived for far too long!" He shouted at the Hidrana, its power reaching its peak. "Ready Kakarot?!"
"Ready! Let's do it!"
The swords of light shot down at the Hidrana, piercing through their oncoming blast, and cleaving the energy stream in two. Undettered, they reached the gemstone's barrier but against the joint onslaught of two Super Saiyan 3's, it crumbled in a matter of seconds. The gemstone shattered to pieces, the light of the energy stored within fading into nothing. The Hidrana gave one last final roar of agony as the power it needed to survive dwindled. Its heads combusted completely and fell limply to the side of the tree as it began to burn to the ground.
With the fight won, the victors made no attempt to maintain their transformations, reverting back to normal. Goku still barely had enough energy to stay in the air. Vegeta however, had used up everything. At the edge of unconsciousness, he started to fall out of the sky. But Goku managed to reach out and grab his friend in time, supporting his arm around his shoulder.
"Not bad for your first time." Goku smiled as he slowly lowered him to the ground. The bright light of the rising sun backdropping their decent. "Just don't go overboard with using it. I'm not so sure the planet can handle too many Super Saiyan 3s."
"Heh. This planet has survived worse. We'll just have to pick a more isolated location for our rematch." Vegeta smirked.
"Rematch? But you already beat me."
"That didn't count."
"Never thought I'd hear you say that. That's gotta break some kind of record." Goku chuckled.
"Just don't let it go to your head clown. I won't be so lenient next time."
As they watched the tree burn, they both saw Calla suddenly fly into the inferno.
"Calla! What are you doing?!" Piccolo shouted after her.
"Clem! I see her!" she shouted.
Though it was hard to make out from the ground, both Vegeta and Goku saw her as well. The former Queen's body, semi fused with the Tree of Might. The fire had almost engulfed the fallen queen when Calla reached her. Using her remaining arm to form a blade and cut away the wood holding her. With Piccolo's reluctant assistance, Calla was able to carry her old friend away from the disaster area to a safe clearing just a few feet away. After a few minutes of examination, Calla's eyes widened.
"She's alive! I can't believe it!" she shouted. The entire group went on edge. Vegeta cursed himself for not being thorough enough. Sorrel's face contorted with rage as both he and Trunks began to get closer to the group but Azera came forward and held them back.
"No boys. Now is not the time." he said.
"Not the time?! It's because of her my brother is gone!" Sorrel shouted through his tears.
"After all she's done, you're gonna to let her get away with it?" Trunks questioned.
"She may be alive..." he paused. "...but she will not be for much longer."
Both boys anger was belayed by their shock.
"When our gemstones are destroyed, the energy that keeps us alive dissipates. With the extent of her injuries, no manner of healing can save her. I understand your frustration but please, let her have peace in her final moments. For Calla's sake." Azera said sternly. The boys begrudgingly understood as they looked on. Sorrel gripping Ophrys' broken glasses in his hand.
Calla held Clemartis' head in her lap, unable to keep herself from crying as she tried to stroke her young charge's hand. Clemartis fingers on her right hand slowly grew longer, sinking into the ground.
"Oh, oh my poor baby." Calla mumbled, trying not to sob. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry! You needed and me and I didn't..."
Calla flinched as Clemartis began to stir. Her eyes opening but glazed over.
"Calla?" she asked weakly.
"Yes! Yes sweetie, I'm here. I know it hurts, but your going to be fine." Calla stammered as she continued to fight off the tears. Resting Clemartis's head on the ground she moved beside her charge and summoned what little ki she had left into her hand. Placing it on where Clemartis' gem used to be.
"Come on!" Calla growled in frustration. "All I ask is one time. One time to just work for me!"
"Calla." Piccolo started to say.
"Shhhh! I can't do this if I can't concentrate." Calla hissed. Not letting anyone getting in between her and Clemartis. However, no matter how hard she tried, the healing ki never left her hands. "You know I'm no good at this kind of stuff Clem but I'm getting close. I'm gonna get it to work this time and you'll be good as new." she stammered, her voice growing more desperate as she spoke.
Clemartis smiled and shook her head.
"No...my body is rooting into the ground. I can feel it."
"Don't talk like that! You're gonna be fine. Just a little patching up and-"
"Shh, Calla. Its alright. I already know.." Clemartis said. Calla began to break down as she sobbed. Touching her forehead to her friend's. "Thank you for all you've done...my sister." Clemartis smiled. Slowly she turned her head towards the rest of the group as they gathered around. "I had a feeling...it might turn out this way. It's no less than I deserve. Even though I know you can... never forgive... me Sorrel...I want you to know that I am truly sorry."
Sorrel looked like he wanted more than anything to yell and scream at the dying woman. But surprisingly he held his tongue. Azera smiled proudly down at his young partner before he turned to address his queen.
"What has been done is in the past, and we will live with their consequences. But I'm sure you understood that when you made your decision to end your own life as penance for what you did here. Isn't that right your majesty?" he asked. The rest of the group looked at the old soldier with confusion.
"What are you talking about?" Gohan asked.
"The Yousarian super form requires the release of more ki than our biology is capable of handling for long periods of time. Burning the living body until nothing remains." Azera explained before turning back to Clemartis. "You went through with that transformation knowing full well that you would die in the process. If you can, tell me. What made you come to such a decision?"
Clemartis gave a sad smile as she looked up to the sky. The pale light blue of dawn highlighting the shattering clouds.
"To be perfectly honest, I am tired. Tired of struggling. Tired of fighting. And tired of being something I'm not." she paused , taking in a deep breath. "Even though I tried so hard to be strong...strong enough to make her proud...its not who I am. I could never be strong like she was."
"That's not true." Goku finally spoke up. His voice drawing Clemartis' attention. "No one who could put up a fight like that can call themselves weak. And out of everyone I've ever met, I have never seen a person with such a strong sense of justice. I just wished things could have ended differently."
The silence hung in the air as Clemartis considered his words.
"As long as you were a Saiyan...this is the only way this could end, Goku." she said finally. "As much as I regret my personal losses, I have a feeling that if given the choice, I would do this all over again. Saiyans have done nothing but create chaos and destruction in their wake. I honestly believe that the galaxy would be a much safer place if you didn't exist."
Piccolo had to do his best to keep the two youngest Saiyan warriors from voicing their opinion.
"But what does it matter, now that you are the ones still standing. While I...am not."
"Clem." Goku said as he knelt beside her.
"Hard to believe, that after all these years...I would have the chance to meet the Saiyan that my mother always hoped to." Clemartis smiled. "Whether your kindness is the truth or a deception, I have no choice but to believe in it now. But I must ask you to swear to me...that if you truly wish to live in peace...leave my people alone. They have suffered enough. Do not hold these events against them. It was my will alone that made this happen. Please, promise me that you will leave them be, so they can finally flourish." Clemartis said as tears rolled down her dried cheeks.
She flinched when she felt someone take her unrooted hand, holding it firmly. Her eyes widened when she recognized the firmness of the grip. Even though she could no longer see, she knew exactly who held her hand as she shook it.
"Its...a promise." She smiled through her tears as her hand went limp. And Vegeta allowed it to fall to the ground.