Disclaimer: I don't remember—what, what exactly don't I remember? My memories, muted like a black and white silent movie, but still, the images can be made out from the sporadic bursts of scratches and grain. Where is this? When is this? Who is the black haired youth that look at me as if I am supposed to remember something? Remember… About him? Whatever it is, I do remember I'm no owner of this universe. Who exactly is I'm not sure, for all I know, it could belong to a guy named Akira Toriyama….
Updated: 9/16/04 (hmm, killed all my paragraph indents...)
He did not just hear what he thought she said. He did not believe what his logic was telling him. How could it possibly be? A person's memories—aren't they separate from their bodies? Or was the brain damage so great that Shenlong had to rebuild it all entirely? But, if he thought over his wish—she should still have her memory!
He wished for Shenlong to recover her body to what it was a year ago before the accident. But she knew who they were before the acci—
A year ago—before the accident.
It couldn't be that Shenlong misinterpreted his wish? Is that even possible?
That Shenlong wished her back to the year before the accident?
For sure Videl had known them less than a year.... But wait.
Gohan stared at the girl, his eyes landing on her hair. Her short hair. Shenlong did return her back to just before the disaster. But why did she not recognize them?
Both Gohan and Videl shot their attention to the tall green Namek. "Wha-wh-who are you!?" Videl stammered, shifting her weight so her stance now faced her former mentor. "You people haven't answered my question yet. Who are you and where am I?!"
"Videl, are you saying the name 'Vivi' doesn't ring a bell?" Piccolo asked, ignoring the glare she sent his way.
"I told you, I have no idea who this 'Vivi' person you're talking about!!"
"Vivi is you," Gohan cut in, immediately gaining her attention. "You are—were—Vivi, Videl."
Videl stared at the black haired boy, her mouth opening and closing trying to form a reply. How could she be this 'Vivi' person? Wouldn't she know? The last thing she remembered was—
Her eyes suddenly fell down to her body. In her panic, she didn't feel the draft of the cool winds in places where she shouldn't be feeling them. She wasn't embarrassed as she was still trying to get past the 'why' she was in the hospital gown. One of her fisted hands came up to her head, feeling short cut hair as opposed to her shoulder length ones. When did she cut it?
Till when did she still have her pigtails?
What was the last thing she remembered?
The last thing—she didn't know.
Her memories were vague, she knew they were there but she couldn't quite recall them. She knew her age, her father, her school, her friends—but no details. Where was she yesterday? Last month? What day was it?
"I...." her stance faltered and Gohan was about to dart forward to catch her but paused when she still managed to stay on her feet. "I—can't... What happened—? I don't—remember...." She turned her wide and confused eyes up to Gohan, not knowing why she found comfort in the gentleness they held. The concern in them was evident, sincere—familiar. But it can't be; she never saw him before.
"Please don't make us worry like this again. Will you?"
Her world stopped. Yes, she recognized the face—the expression. Eyebrows crunched slightly, lips in a tight line, concern and despair in endless black eyes. But where? When?
"Videl, are you alright? I think you should lie down inside," Gohan took a tentative step forward. Seeing no outward disapproval from her, he continued to slowly walk towards her, arms outstretched. "You'll have your answers; I'll explain everything—at least to the best of my knowledge."
Videl just kept staring at him, not really listening to his words nor noticing that he had reached out to her. She finally was able to pry her eyes from his and travel down to the large hand he held before her. Calloused, battle worn, strong and firm. Familiar hands. She looked back up to him, and he gave her a reassuring smile before nodding ever so slowly.
Gohan watched as Videl bit her lip in a habit she always did when she was trying to decide about something difficult. For a moment he thought she was going to refuse but then she haltingly placed her small hand in his. Gently, he closed his over hers, noticing how cold she was. He walked back a few steps, bringing her silent form with him. Turning to Piccolo, Gohan called out, "Mr. Piccolo? Can you, um, make her some clothes?"
Piccolo? The name echoed in her mind. It was like the name of someone you glimpsed about somewhere but forgot. You know you heard it before but can't place a name or face to it. She was so preoccupied with turning the name over in her head that she didn't notice the tall Namek had approached them before a set of light brown boots and purple pants came into her line of vision. Startled, she backed right into Gohan who changed his grip to keep her from running, resting his hands over each of her shoulders.
"It's okay," Gohan whispered calmly, "he's not going to hurt you!"
"Y-yeah? Well, I only have your word for it! And that doesn't mean anything!" Videl shot back, not taking her eyes off the scaring looking—person. She had been initially thrown off by his green skin and pointy ears, but she didn't know why it seemed natural for her shortly after. Now, she was more afraid on what he was going to do with her then his intimidating appearance.
"You can trust us—trust me."
It was the sudden drop in his tone that made Videl craned her neck up to look at Gohan. He looked sad; like someone broke a promise to him or that he had been betrayed. She didn't know why the look made her heart feel like it was being squeezed, that her chest seemed to tighten from some unknown force. Words bubbled up from her throat and nearly came out before she could stop herself. She was about to say she was sorry. Why? Why would she apologize? Why did it felt like whatever was bothering the boy was her fault?
Before Videl could do anything else, the sensation of her body being enclosed with warmth snapped her out of her reverie. Her eyes nearly bugged out as she stared at the clothes that somehow magically appeared. The girl was now dressed in a purple gi nearly identical to the one Gohan wore seven years ago. The cape and shoulder guards were absent; instead there was a white shirt underneath the gi top as a more feminine touch. The blue wrist and waist bands plus the sand colored boots were even the same. Videl actually looked much like a female version of Gohan seven years ago; her short black hair adding to the effect.
Gohan gave his former mentor and friend a questioning look to which Piccolo replied with nearly invisible smile. "I think you should go inside and talk."
"Ah, r-right!" Gohan stammered, still puzzled to why Piccolo chose such an assemble. Maybe he just liked the style? Wrapping an arm around Videl, Gohan guided her into the Lookout palace. It wasn't hard since she was still picking and prodding at her clothes, not paying a shred of attention where she was going.
Standing inside, Gohan decided that the top dome would be the perfect place to talk. It was serene and open, and so she wouldn't feel so cornered. Motioning to a now aware Videl, Gohan lead the way up the stairs. She followed silently, her eyes darting around to take in her surroundings. When they reached the top, Gohan slumped cross legged down against the nearest pillar. After a moment of thought, Videl sat down carefully in front of him, barely keeping an arm's distance between them. Even if he seemed harmless she would still be cautious and vigilant.
"So," she started, "what happened to me?"
Gohan sighed and scratched his head, composing his words carefully before speaking them out loud. "You were—in an accident."
Her eyebrow rose. "Oh? What accident? I feel perfectly fine other then the fact that I don't remember anything at all."
"Anything? Wait, just how much do you remember?"
"My name, my family—the basics. Even my age but nothing in detail."
"Ah, then how old are you?"
Gohan grinned, "You're actually sixteen now. Same as me." Then a stroke of inspiration came to him. Before she could comment on his statement, he quickly asked, "Have you ever been to a carnival?"
"Carnival?" Videl echoed, "Of course I have. I remember watching fireworks once."
"Do you remember who you went with??" The excitement in Gohan's voice was poorly concealed. It seemed that Videl's year old memory wasn't exactly gone, just suppressed or locked away. She remembered small things like how to fight and Gohan noticed the look of recognition in her eyes when she stared at him or Piccolo.
"Went—with?" She echoed once again, more slowly as her eyebrows scrunched up in thought. She remembered going, but with whom? When? How? "The carnival was right out of the city..." she murmured out loud in thought, "I was excited since it was the first time I'd be going to a carnival... I—I—went. I rode the rides—played the games. Punched a machine and won money. Watched the shows... Then—I—" Blank.
There were gaps in her memory and she closed her eyes and shook her head slightly as if the gesture might dislodge some hidden piece. "I—I—I don't know... I watched the fireworks... I can't remember anything else! Why can't I?!" She yelled in frustration.
Gohan frowned. It was almost like selective amnesia. She only forgot about them. "Okay, it's alright! So, do you remember the colors of the fireworks?"
"I don't think I—"
"Just try. Close your eyes and think back to the fireworks. What do you see? What colors?"
"Red—blue.... Some others, I think. Just fireworks."
"The others, can you remember them?"
Videl frowned, her eyes still closed. In her mind's eye she could see the faded images, muted in color but still distinguishable. Blooms of fire and sparks lit up the sky in—
only to fade off in—
"Blue—sparks.... A red and blue—twist? Exploded away from each other..."
"What else do you see?"
She remembered her hands were outreached, as if she were trying to grasp at the dancing lights. Then, it was as if she did manage to grab hold of them; her palms were warm and glowing. "Blue... Spinning? There were spinning balls of light—they shot off." Her eyes opened to see Gohan staring intently at her. "That can't be right. Fireworks don't do that."
"They weren't fireworks," Gohan grinned. She was about to say something when he held up a hand to silence her. "A little bit more, just tell me what you see after that. Close your eyes again."
This time, what came to her was a burst of color, exploding hues of red, blue, gold, and white. The colors seem to light up her mind, intense even behind her eyelids. "Colors... So many of them. Burning—the sky was burning." Then it exploded in a flash of white to rain a curtain of stars around her. Videl gasped and snapped her eyes open only to stare at Gohan.
Between his palms was a pulsating orb of the colors she had remembered in her memory. She couldn't take her eyes off it, mesmerized by something other than the warmth and beauty it radiated. "You challenged me that day," Gohan whispered, knowing she heard his words yet kept her eyes on the ki ball, "I won because of my more honed abilities. You didn't give up though, and promised that you would beat me at something one day."
Videl slowly moved her eyes up from the ball and to his face, her lips moving on their own. "Did—I—beat you?"
"Yes," Gohan whispered, his voice low and pained. "You won. You were able to keep your secrets from me when I never could mine. You were able to make your way into my life when I never could into yours. You had my trust—and I couldn't get yours in return."
A droplet of liquid dripped onto Videl's tightly clasped hands. Her eyes were overflowing with tears, sliding down her cheeks to drop off her chin. Gohan had already lowered his hands, leaving them limp on his knees.
"I'm—sorry," she whispered hoarsely, barely above his hearing range, "I'm so sorry, Gohan."
The name opened floodgates and everything came back to her. Meeting Goten, learning the truth, her promise, Trunks, Piccolo, Gohan, Chi-Chi, the others, Kuririn, Juuhachigou, her hair—
Videl threw herself forward, closing the remaining feet between them as Gohan straightened up to meet her halfway.
"I'm so, so, so, sorry..."
Her arms wrapped around his neck, burying her face against his chest as he tucked her head underneath his chin, hugging her back fiercely. "No, it's me that should be sorry—I shouldn't have shouted at you. I should have looked for you—Kami, I'm so sorry, Videl..." Gohan forced out, clamping his eyes shut as tears leaked out. "I shouldn't have lost my temper—it's—it's—my fault, I—we—almost lost you...."
"No—" Videl pushed away and shook her head, droplets of tears highlighted against her hair, "It's my fault. Don't blame yourself, Gohan. I should have just told you—from the start. I—I—I was selfish, I was afraid..." she once again rested her head against his chest, quietly sobbing.
"Shh, it's alright, it's all okay now. What matters is now—it's all okay... Shhh—don't cry—Videl—please don't cry..."
However, she did, louder and harder, clenching tightly to Gohan as if she feared he might disappear. Gohan himself kept his embrace, letting her cry to her heart's content. She almost seemed to go on and on, no end to her tears. It was the first time Gohan ever seen her cry like that; freely, without restraint. His mind flashed back to a dusty red canyon and the figure he had found laid out—nearly alien—among the surroundings. Had she cried like this then?
Her sobs died down in such a gradual matter that neither of them noticed falling into silence, just holding each other with their eyes closed, almost as if they were asleep. Content, they were content. Both still didn't know how to feel, how to regard the other. Friendship? Or something more? They paid no extra thought to it though, merely committing the warmth of being so close to each other into their minds.
It was amazing how quickly everything shattered the next minute.
There was simply no warning.
No impending massive ki.
No gigantic space-ship entrance.
Just a simple telepathic greeting to the inhabitants of the entire planet—at the worse possible moment.
"Good day. Humans."
Gohan and Videl immediately shot to their feet; both of them with eyes wide open in disbelief. "Did you—did you hear that?" Videl asked, not quite sure just what the voice was. It had no quality to it, like nothing she had ever heard before; androgynous in both volume and pitch. It was the tone, however, that sent shivers down the two teens' spine; no emotion, simply just words. Before Gohan could answer her, the voice spoke out again.
"Your planet. Earth. Has been selected. We are the Veritian."
"Veritian?" Gohan whispered in bewilderment. No wonder the voice was so—inhuman. The sentences were choppy, pausing after just a few words as if the person was mentally translating the language right before it was spoken out loud.
"An alien?" Videl whispered back, her features pale. Was the Earth under alien attack? Selected—what did that mean?
"We are a race of selectors. We travel the stars. To test the true possibility of a race. We shall do battle. With your planet's champions."
"A duel? That doesn't sound so bad—you can beat them, right? Aren't you Saiyans the strongest race in the universe?" Videl asked the boy before her, unable to hide the expectation in her tone. She surprised herself with the calm that came over her. She had no more secrets now, and she genuinely felt not even an alien attack could dampen her good mood. It wouldn't be long until she would find out how wrong she was.
Gohan nodded slowly. "We're supposed to be… After all, Freeza was the strongest in the universe and we're stronger than him by far now. Although, the universe is vast; there might be other races stronger than us. Though I don't think many could stand up to Vegeta and me."
"Fear not. We will fight at the maximum potential. Your race could achieve. If only one of you have succeeded. To reach that level. Your race shall be spared."
A sick feeling bubbled from the pitch of Gohan's stomach. Something sounded terribly wrong.
"If not. Your planet shall be eliminated. For we are selectors. Only planets of potential shall be spared."
"WHAT!?" The two in the Lookout palace dome shouted. Things were happening too fast and neither had time to swallow the concept of the Veritians before even more disturbing news were thrown into their faces. Simultaneously, Gohan and Videl jumped right off the dome's balustrade and headed straight for Piccolo and the others. Dende was staring down at the planet with his eyes closed in concentration trying his best to locate the alien. Piccolo stood by, a tense look on his features. Just as Gohan and Videl reached them, Dende groaned and turned to face the group.
"Sorry, I can't find them! They either are hiding their ki or don't have ki at all!"
"This might be a problem," Piccolo grunted, "We have no idea how many of them are here, how strong they are, and where they are."
"Call out your champion."
"Call out—?" Gohan started only to be cut off again by the voice.
"We shall fight him of your choosing. If he loses. We shall wait till no more fighters are left."
"Wait! Didn't the voice say something about only fighting with the power of a human? That would be too easy to defeat!" Gohan exclaimed.
"Yes, yes," Piccolo nodded, "It seems this won't be too much a threat after all."
"Yeah! What do you think, Vi—" the demi-Saiyan trailed off when he turned to the silent form beside him. She was pale, paler than before, and shaking slightly with her blue orbs wide in dread. Gohan never seen her look so alarmed and was about to ask what was wrong before the answer was presented to all of them.
"You have chosen your champion. Him of SatanCity Mr. Satan."
This isn't happening.
The moment the voice ordered the people to call out their champion—she knew. She knew who they were going to call, to cheer for. At first, her initial reaction was to scoff that her father once again would be faced with "saving the world". Then she recalled that the voice said it was going to fight with the full potential of a human. Full potential—like Mr. Kuririn? Ki blasts, flying, super strength?
It wasn't like Cell, oh, of course it wasn't. Cell had no intention of fighting with her father; merely slapping him away without even the desire to kill. But this—these Veritian—they were going to fight him. Until he gives up? Until he loses consciousness?
Please. This isn't happening.
She had no idea how long she had been in the coma—did Gohan say a year? Could her father have improved in the year? No matter. Her father still wouldn't be able to even defend himself. A single blow would all it would take. A single blow.
Her fears were realized as the voice announced her father's name. Inwardly, she cursed the people of the Earth for their stupidity in believing her father had saved them from Cell. That they believed no one was stronger than their world champion. If only her father hadn't lied—if only she had confronted him when she had the chance… Maybe he would have come clean with the planet and they wouldn't be pushing him into the situation they were in then. But it was too late; all she could do was go forward. Go forward?
She must keep her father from fighting.
She ignored Gohan's frantic call as she dived off the Lookout in a speed she never attempted before—or maybe like the time she dived for the child in front of the trunk. At first she was disoriented by the unfamiliar landscapes—where had Gohan taken her to? Could it be the Lookout she heard of from Mr. Piccolo? If it was, then she would reach Satan city faster by going west over the ocean. With that in mind, she took one glance at the sun and shot to the west, her aura blazing fully around her.
"Hold on, daddy," she whispered against the stinging winds, "I'm coming…"
"Viv-Videl!!" Gohan yelled, already a step to blast after the frantic girl who disappeared off the Lookout.
"Wait, Gohan," Piccolo called, bringing Gohan to a halt. "I'll go after her; you go get Kuririn since he's the strongest human—and Tenshinhan isn't easily found—because I doubt the Veritian would let us aliens fight for this planet."
"B-but, I think I should go after her. Can't you be the one to get Kuririn?" Gohan protested, turning his pout at the green Namek. Piccolo mentally groaned.
"I have the feeling that you would waste both our times arguing with me. Fine. I'll go get Kuririn. You go after the girl."
"Thanks, Mr. Piccolo!" Gohan waved before blasting off after Videl's trail. Piccolo made a sound suspiciously like an annoyed sigh before taking off towards the sudden spike in Kuririn's ki. No doubt the short man was already heading towards the Lookout. A few minutes later the two Z warriors would meet in mid-air before blasting off towards Satan City.
Further away both Chi-Chi and Bulma started to pace restlessly before setting their faces into determined smirks. Bringing the confused Goten closer to her side, Chi-Chi knew that there were more than enough fighters to defend the world. Gohan would come back. They all would. Bulma's thoughts mirrored the younger woman's as she kept her son near—more to keep him from making things worse than to protect his safety. Vegeta had already headed towards the gathering of familiar ki in the somewhat famous Satan city, excited for bloodshed after seven years too long of peace.
Yamcha, Tienshinhan, and Chaotzu were well on their way as well. Knowing more than others that their role might be more important than previous battles fought against alien intruders. It was a call for human fighters—not Saiyan or Namekian, but human. It was a challenge called upon for the original inhabitants of the planet. Maybe this was the chance to rid the unease of being left behind power-wise. To get rid of the feeling of being obsolete.
Yes. To Satan City.
The hand that caught her right arm gave a firm but gentle tug, nearly giving her whiplash from the sudden halt in her flight. She welcomed the sudden stop, realizing that she had not been aware of her surroundings. And being finally able to focus around, she was painfully aware she should have been. Noticing her confused stare, the hand that held her released to hang in a slightly alert pose mirroring its left.
"Go-Gohan… what happened here?"
It was not Orange Star, the small quiet town she grew up in. It was not the bustling Satan City either. The once homely town was now deserted; many houses and buildings barred with planks and adorned with "For Sale" signs. Bullet holes and graffiti were nearly present on every building as far as she could see. Empty liquor cans and bottles along with other rubbish littered the once clean streets. Even the trees and green grass of yards were browned and dry. Where were the people? Where's—her father? He wouldn't let this happen to the city. Not as long as he's….
She didn't let herself finish the thought and just headed straight for home, dimly aware of Gohan following close behind. Gohan let his brows furrow, not sure why he couldn't place the reading he's getting in the direction they're headed. It wasn't like he's reading no ki, but it wasn't like he was reading ki either. In fact, it disturbed him greatly that he couldn't get any ki readings nearby. Where were all the people? And what was the feeling that there was someone there—but yet wasn't? One thing for sure, Videl was getting agitated by the second, maybe sensing the same thing he was. He didn't ask where she was headed, somehow a twisting in his gut told him of the answer.
Slowly, a white mansion loomed into view and the two teens landed on the road screeching to a halt. The Satan mansion.
Videl Satan's home.
At first, everything seemed in place before they both gasped—suddenly realizing they were not alone. Or so it seemed. A silhouette of white, like it was carved out of paper and placed in front of the gates, stood there. It was just vaguely human shaped and only slightly moved to acknowledge them, the change in the shape of its head the only tell-tale sign it did so. It, whatever it was, had no ki, no heat, no nothing. It was just an empty space shaped like a human. It wasn't supposed to be there, nothing like it was supposed to be anywhere. Gohan dimly noted the silhouette cast no shadow… not even the light acknowledged its presence.
"What the hell?"
Gohan nearly jumped out of his skin as Kuririn and Piccolo came up behind him, staring with narrowed eyes at the white being. Gohan was about to question them on what they should do before the two men dropped their jaws at something behind him. The demi-Saiyan spun around to feel his heart leap into his throat.
She was a few steps in front of the being, glaring for all she's worth. Her hands were fisted tightly and slightly shaking, almost like she was struggling not to let a punch fly forward. The men were speechless and stepped forward when they found they couldn't. 'What the hell?' Kuririn questioned again in his head when he found that he bumped into air. The two beside him were quicker to recover, already banging on whatever invisible force field that boxed the Satan mansion block.
"Videl!" Gohan called out in near panic, "What are you doing??"
She gave the smallest of glances behind to show him she heard him before turning her attention back to the white being. "Are you—are you a Veritian?"
Nothing could prepare them for the indescribable voice, even when they did expect an answer. "Yes."
"I come to replace my father. I won't let him fight."
"Daughter. Replacements by blood. Has consequences. Your interference will be punished."
"P-punished? But I will still be able to take his place, won't I?" Nothing else mattered; she was not going to let her father fight against the thing. Where was her father? On a trip again? If so, she's got to finish it quickly. "I don't care about the punishment, let me take his place."
"Girl!" Piccolo barked out harshly, "You don't know what you're saying! You just got back, there's no way you can win. Let Gohan—"
"Saiyan. Prohibited." The Veritian cut him off curtly.
Piccolo growled impatiently before pointing a sharp nail at the short man beside him. "Kuririn, then. Videl, listen to me, step down."
Videl turned behind, her steely resolve slowly wavering. Yes, Mr. Kuririn could win—he has to win. No one else could. But then… "Can Mr. Kuririn replace my father?"
The Veritian gave a sudden shudder, its edges cracking before smoothing once again. The action almost made Videl scream; her nerves were shot enough as it was. "Only after defeat. Of current selected. Only blood can replace."
"Then let's begin," Videl quickly replied—less she lost her determination. "Please, I will not let him fight."
Gohan cursed loudly, banging a fist on the field. He just got her back, there's no way he'll let her go again. Piccolo was frowning hard by now, crossing his arms and seriously not liking what his second student was going to do. Kuririn himself was frustrated but confused—she was Mr. Satan's daughter? He and Piccolo didn't say much on their flight so it was a surprise to see the girl after a year of her absence.
"Mr. Kuririn," the girl called out, "if I lose… please don't let my father fight. At least, let him know—"
"Stop saying such things, Videl!" Gohan shouted in frustration.
"—let him know," she continued, "that I forgive him. And I love him."
"It is decided then. Penalty will be. Additional challenge."
Everyone in the area repeated the last two words in their minds. Additional challenge? What in the world—
In a snap the Veritian suddenly faced Kuririn. The monk froze as someone ripped him apart, tearing his insides, digging, digging deeper finding the bottom digging in with clawed fingersjustdiggingdeepersodeepthattheholecanneverbecoveredneverbefillednever—stop. The world rushed back in a flash and he crashed to one knee, gasping as cold sweat drenched him. He blinked the spots out of his eyes, almost expecting to see himself strewn across the asphalt road. But already he was forgetting the pain, the pain of being opened, it was just too much to hold on to. A few drops of blood came into vision before he realized his nose was bleeding, the stress having ruptured a few vessels. He suddenly wanted to see his daughter and Juuhachigou; he wanted to see them so much.
"Kuririn!" Everyone called out. Videl turned back to the Veritian, her face a pale white but eyes ablaze. "What did you do to him!?" Oh Kami, she never seen such a pain expression on anyone before. She was almost certain he would have died. "Answer me! What did—"
Funny, she never noticed the Veritian had eyes. Two human eyes on white where everything else should be. Suddenly they burst with blood, red veins crawling across the white of the eyes, bleeding into the pupils. She stepped back and screamed in horror then choking when she realized they were right in her face. They were all she could see in her vision, blood red surrounding black pupils as they turned… blue? In her terror, she realized something important: the bleeding eyes were hers.
Piccolo and Gohan both shot their heads up at Videl's terrified scream. She was staring at the Veritian, screaming like she saw something she never would have wanted to. However, the two men could see nothing different with the Veritian only that it had shifted to face her fully. Gohan shouted her name but she made no indication she heard him. She just kept screaming, her hands coming up dig into her scalp.
Digging. Digging deeper.
Her hands were full with damp earth. Nails filled with dirt. Dig. She was digging.
She could see nothing beyond the ground beneath her clawing hands. Why was she—?
She could see. Her surroundings shifted, blurred, like looking at them through a thick storm. The edges were dancing as if in a fire.
Everything was jumping. Everything except the ground beneath her as she dug. Deeper. Until the bottom.
She hit soft wood but kept clawing. She just had to dig. Her nails snapped off and her fingers split but she had to keep digging.
Dig through. Dig through. Dig through. Dig deeper.
What was she—?
She was through, breaking the blood softened wood with visible bone from fingers stripped of flesh. Make the hole bigger.
She has to reach in. To go deeper.
What was she digging—
A skull surfaced from the hole, blood staining rotten flesh from her mutilated fingers. The skull had eyes. Eyes that—
She was digging her mother's grave.
Vegeta arrived to the most bloodcurdling scream he ever heard—surfacing from a girl that shouldn't be able to produce such a sound.
Piccolo wanted to tear his ears off. For all the yells and shouts of pain he ever heard in over 400 years had nothing come close to what he was hearing now. There were dying screams, anguished screams, angry screams, but nothing, nothing, like this. Son Gohan's earth shattering roar of pain as he broke through the chains of power 7 years ago had been shocking to say the least. Until now, that had been top of his list of things he never wanted to hear coming from someone he had grown fond of. Then this happened. The student he had just got back released a sound so anguished that it was like she was ripping her own heart out. Kami, he never would be able to get the tone out, the way it sounded like pure concentrated pain and torment.
Everyone one on the sidelines, including Vegeta, just couldn't move even when the scream died down. The blue-eyed girl was now on her knees, gasping to the ground as torrents of tears ran down her face. Her hands were still fisted in her hair, her elbows holding her upper body up against the ground. What just happened? Then Videl started to dry heave, unable to vomit anything from her empty stomach. Saliva and stomach acid were all that she could throw out and they dripped to the ground, mixing with tears and sweat.
She pulled out her mother. She opened her mouth.
She dug deep. She dug deep enough.
"Oh, Ka-Kami…" Videl gasped as she started to heave once again. She wanted it out; she wanted her whole stomach out. Oh Kami, the feel of rotten flesh down her throat. Dry bones crunching in her mouth. Out, out, out, outoutoutout…
"It was necessary. Penalty as a blood replacement. Avatar for the punishment."
The men shifted their attention from Videl's violently shaking body to the Veritian. "Avatar?" Piccolo questioned, the only one there that found his voice. Gohan was white as a sheet and Kuririn along with Vegeta were just dumbstruck. It seemed the Veritian were more than willing to give answers. It wasn't long that the men wished they weren't so willing.
"An avatar to host. The powers from the one named. Kuririn that we have taken."
"Powers you've taken from Kuririn??"
"He is the strongest. Human in the vicinity. His skills are to be the baseline."
Kuririn suddenly had the feeling he should never had come. Could it be that the Veritian measured this "true potential" from the strongest gathered? There was no way Videl could beat him—not to mention what the Veritian had just did to her. The girl didn't even seem capable to stand up. In a flash of understanding he suddenly knew that the Veritian didn't do anything but instead it took.
"What did you take from her?" Came Kuririn's harsh whisper. Gohan and Vegeta glanced briefly at him before turning to the Veritian to hear the answer to the peculiar question.
"Avatar." Was all the shape said.
"G-give her ba-back-k."
4 pairs of eyes shot to the source of the voice. Videl had gotten to her feet sometime while their attention was on the Veritian but it looked like she couldn't possibly stay standing for long. Tears were still flowing as traces of her vomiting earlier lingered on her chin. Her hands were shaking so badly that she couldn't stop them even if she wanted to.
"Give her b-back," she said louder, firmer, "she's mine, she's… You m-m-made me…"
She never said the word out loud but everyone there heard it echo in their minds. Gohan and Piccolo were the only ones that felt the nausea following the word, their higher telepathic abilities and close connection to Videl making it possible. They understood what it meant despite the sudden urge never wanting to know. Then they almost vomited with what they felt accompanying her next words. Heck, even Vegeta couldn't fight the lurch of his stomach as it dawned on him what exactly the young girl had been screaming about.
"K-Kami, you ate h-her, you made me—oh—you m-made m-m-me…"
Videl fell again to the ground, choking and sobbing as she grasped at her throat trying to expel the non-existent taste. She never wanted to die more than she wanted then. She wanted to throw up till her heart came up with everything else. Kill me Piccolo, please, kill me Gohan, please kill me. She knew it never happened that it was just the Veritian taking her out but— the taste, the texture—it was her mother. Water, she would kill for water. She would drink it down then throw it back up again—she never could eat again. Ever.
"It is very unfortunate. The lasting side-effects. Disabling mentally more than. Anything else. Not many survive after replacing."
A golden explosion engulfed the area and the invisible barrier actually cracked before the Veritian once again shuddered and the shield came back re-enforced. Piccolo, Kuririn, and Vegeta were now a few feet away from where they were standing with Kuririn thrown away the furthest. The empty buildings and houses in a 1 block radius were simply gone, flattened to the sizzling earth.
"You—you will die for that." It came from a voice so cold that even Piccolo had trouble believing it originated from Son Gohan. The demi-Saiyan was in full blaze, blue-bolts of lightning cracking dangerously around him. His blue-green eyes were narrowed almost to slits as veins pulsed visibly under his skin. What Videl went through was worse than death, worse than any punishment he could think up when he was torturing Cell. Even if everything was over… how could someone possibly heal from the mind rape? From something like that?
"Do not interfere. Saiyan."
"You can't possibly expect me to comply after WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO HER?!?" Gohan roared, his ki sky-rocketing to levels even beyond the time of Cell's defeat despite his lack of training. By now, even the ground was shaking in tandem to the waves of ki washing off his fully tense body.
"Go-Gohan!" Piccolo bellowed against the winds, "Calm down! You'll take out the Earth yourself if you don't take control!!"
"Gohan! Get a hold of yourself!" Kuririn hollered as well, trying to keep his eyes open from the pressure of ki.
"Your interference will be. Added unto her. Step down."
The twice ascended demi-Saiyan growled threateningly at the Veritian, his eyes flickering over to Videl who was sitting on the ground looking at him with wide tear-filled eyes. She looked absolutely fragile. Something that would break with the softest of touches. His ki steadily increased and the barrier that was 10 inches from his body slowly started to flicker with lightning-like cracks that appeared and disappeared.
The Veritian had no method of conveying panic but in reality it was close to having a nervous breakdown. The barrier was at its maximum yet it was already falling apart from the waves of ki alone. A simple punch from the Saiyan would have it shattered to continue on and destroying it. This amount of power was unheard of. The Cold family had successfully been selected and they were by far the strongest in this side of the universe. It almost fleetingly wondered what a shame that the Saiyan planet had been destroyed before being selected. The energy they could store from digging into such a well of raw power could last them to the end of their purpose.
"Step down. Now." If it had an actual voice, the words would have come out as a squeak.
"Not until I crush you!" The teen snarled, raising back a glowing fist. Everyone knew, even the Veritian, that there was simply no one alive that could stop that fist. It was to go through the barrier like tissue paper and on to crush the white being before one could even gather the energy to blink. That moment Son Gohan was simply the strongest in the universe, even in their plane of reality, second to none. His elongated golden locks jutting skywards fittingly like a crown, like a symbol of his coronation as a king with power over the entire universe—everyone is to bow down to his whim. Or fall in pieces at his feet.
Gohan's darkened heart and mind knew this like he knew his name. His Saiyan blood pulsing, boiling, demanding to be known. Demanding to let all creation cower under its supremacy.
He would get what he wanted. His will as the sole factor to determine the future of those who oppose him. And right then, his full attention was devoted to the unfortunate Veritian who had dared hurt someone he cared for. A king will get whatever he wants; no one commands him, no one can convince him otherwise.
"Gohan, please stop..."
Unless, it is his queen.
The ki packed fist halted an inch from the barrier, but even so the pure energy sent into the swing sent the shield cracking like thin ice before falling away with a loud sizzle. The Veritian was quick to act, noticing that it was still very much alive and somehow unharmed, to bring up the shield once again. It could feel the collective relief of its race tremble inside of it. These interruptions, won't they ever cease?
"Gohan…" Videl called out again, almost pleadingly, "Let me—let me finish this. I need to… by myself…"
The blue-eyed girl could see the question in the alien but familiar turquoise eyes. The eyebrows were now more relaxed from their harsh glare into that look she could never forget. That pained, pleading look—that look that begged her not to hurt herself. She almost couldn't bear the look but she knew that she had to if she was to make him understand… to make him trust her once more.
It was his ki that snapped her out of it. That somewhat washed away the sickness and the cold that seeped into her soul and mind. She had almost given up—in fact she had. Videl Satan had wanted nothing more than to just lay there on the pavement and die. That was before the warmth engulfed her, cocooning her in a thick blanket of him. She was suddenly back at that landscape of destroyed rocks and burnt forests, hugging a tormenting young man as best as she could, her mind clear as ever. Her heart and soul strong enough to support his. She never felt more alive then with the fiery blaze of ki burning around her—inside of her—with emotions almost tangible enough to touch. Her arms full with life, full with someone real that for that one moment bared his soul out to hers.
It also brought her back to another more recent moment when she had her arms full. That time, it was both of them equally giving it all. Their regrets, their trust of handing over their hearts for the other to hold, their happiness of reuniting. His ki had also brought her back then, triggering that place in her soul where she had memorized the warmth. She never was so thankful to be alive, to want to live, to want feel it again, and to show her gratitude.
It was his ki that brought her back. Ironically, the Veritian's barrier protected her from the blind destructiveness of his anger, filtering only the warmth. Reminding her: she could not let it end there. Her father, herself, her mother… She needed the fight. It was her nature as a fighter—as a warrior. As a daughter.
"I need to protect him. I have to."
And Gohan understood. Dropping out of Super Saiyan 2 was like relinquishing his power and taking off his crown. There were only a handful of people he would do that for and one of them was right before him. His young heart hadn't realized it yet, it would be long before it will, but it was then his power recognized the queen to its king. It was by trusting her—even in the haze of his rage and drunk with might—to be willing to listen and understand.
Videl pushed to her feet as the cloud of dust settled to the ground. She was no longer shaking, no longer trembling, just firm with determination. Even so, there was an urgency that would prove to be her undoing. That one last hurdle in her heart… She has yet told the truth to her father. And heck if she would to let the secret be discovered this way.
"Let's begin," Videl announced, squaring her shoulders before sinking into a stance, "I'm ready."
When the Veritian suddenly morphed into a smaller shape as colors and texture glided over before solidifying, Videl knew her words were meaningless. She wasn't ready—she didn't even think she ever could be. All the fighters on the field stared before dread settled in their hearts. It couldn't possibly be fair: the first move practically struck a fatal wound before the fight even began. A wound that no Senzu bean could heal. Could it even be labeled cheating? No, the Veritian was right—it was simple a penalty heavier than anything they had faced. However, it just wasn't fair.
Lucy Fera Satan was a beautiful woman. Dark crimson eyes with a head of rich hazel that flowed straight down her back. She wasn't much taller than her daughter and if it weren't for the obvious age difference and different colorings the men would have thought Videl had a twin. A crisp white gi and a dan black belt along with Chinese slippers completed the simple yet elegant image the woman held. No doubt the attire had been taken from memories of the hazel-haired woman.
Videl knew it wasn't her mother. She knew it. Her mother was dead, there in the Otherworld. Not even the Dragonballs could bring her back.
Yet she just couldn't hold back the shocked whimper that tumbled out from her lips, "Mama…"
Her mother in the white gi Videl favored so much was right there. She was there, alive—Kami, even she had ki. The rest and fall of her chest—alive—and the way her hair waved in the wind. The scent of vanilla wafted over to her—my Kami she even smelled the same. Videl wanted to run over and embrace the image, just one last time able to hold her mother—
"Videl! Snap out of it!"
Suddenly the woman before her didn't appear so familiar anymore. The ki, it was all wrong; it was the ki of a seasoned warrior—Kuririn's ki signature to be exact. Then the eyes, it had no emotion, no recognition, no love. It had nothing that showed Videl it was indeed her mother. It was just a shell, a mask ripped from her memories and heart. A damn avatar.
Videl sent a thankful nod towards her mentor for getting her out of that haze. Piccolo was quick to notice that she had dropped her stance and was actually reaching out before loudly calling her back to attention. However, even as Videl reset her stance, the men could feel the mess that was her steady battle ki. It was now jumbled and out of rhythm, reflecting her inner turmoil nearly perfect. Vegeta huffed—it wasn't going to be a long fight.
Piccolo scowled loudly as Videl shot forward, executing the sloppiest kick he ever seen. Maybe it had something to do with the fact Videl closed her senses at the last moment; obviously still not quite getting the fact it wasn't her mother she was fighting. The girl was blocking and dodging well enough, but her attacks were simply pathetic.
"What do you think you're doing, girl?!" the Namekian bellowed, "It's not your mother so hit it like you mean it!!"
The front gates were already demolished but Videl cared less on what should happen to her house. She was running on pure desperation by now, her rational mindset completely shutdown the moment she laid eyes on the Veritian's choice of an avatar. She hanged on to the goal to finish it before her father found out—but her body kept betraying her. All she could think about was getting hits in and not getting hit—no strategy but just a blind dance of defense and offense. It didn't help matters that she felt extremely aware whenever she would touch the other woman. Videl just couldn't bring herself to mar the face she longed for since she was a child.
A lightning flash strike came through her defenses and struck solidly in her stomach, sending her hurtling to crash into the dry fountain. The fall cleared her mind somewhat and she noticed how it didn't hurt as much as it did when she blocked. A split-second her mind willed itself to believe that it really was her mother and that the punches were pulled to protect her. Then as the Veritian shot after her an aimed a fatal blow to her head, which she narrowly ducked from, Videl understood that if it wasn't for Piccolo's enhanced gi she would have lost seconds ago.
Dodging a ki blastVidel recognized the way her mothe—the Veritian paused as Kuririn would do, cutting off the ki and re-circulating it to keep suspended in air. It was a defensive flaw she always kept in mind to exploit. She did just that, giving a burst of speed to get inside of the Veritian, swinging a ki packed fist to its chest. Her chest.
The hit struck and Videl immediately felt a sudden urge to cry out and apologize, not wanting to see pain in the crimson orbs. The feeling went away as there was no change whatsoever in the woman's face, not even a blink.
"This Veritian fights even more silent than the damn cyborg…"
Vegeta's mutter wasn't lost on the other spectators and they agreed silently. If one closed their eyes, it was almost like Videl was fighting alone. No taunting, no yelling, no emotion, not even a grunt—the Veritian made Juuhachigou appear overly emotional. Vegeta and Kuririn would know, being the ones who have faced the cyborg directly.
For Kuririn, it was even more disturbing because it felt like he was the one fighting. It must be how Goku, Piccolo, and Vegeta felt when facing Cell. His own ki… Thinking about it, Videl's still holding her own even though she's a complete wreck. If the Veritian was fighting with his potential, shouldn't Videl have lost with the first punch? Even at her best, she couldn't take his hits when he went all out. How's she holding out now? Wait a minute…
"Piccolo, do you also notice why she's still holding on?"
Gohan tore his eyes away from where Videl was desperately blocking blows in the air to regard the short monk. "What do you mean?"
The tall Namekian snorted, "You don't notice it, Gohan? Even though the Veritian is fighting with Kuririn's moves, it's keeping its ki level equal with what Videl is currently giving out."
"Wait, that means if she raises her ki then it'll also do the same… She would either have to surpass Kuririn's limit or defeat it by skill alone!"
"From the looks of it, both options aren't favorable," Vegeta cut in, "The girl's in no shape to fight properly. She's rushing and the Veritian did a number on her mind. She's going to lose quite pitifully."
A jack-knife kick too late to dodge sent Videl crashing through a garden tree. She was up a second later, narrowly spinning out of the way of a silent Ki-enzan that neatly sliced the fallen tree in half. Her heart was beating too fast and hard despite it being only minutes into the fight. She also noticed her erratic breathing and ki. She just couldn't help it; the Veritian gave her little warning before attacks when fighters like Kuririn and Piccolo usually bellow out their moves like a kiai. The unpredictability sent her heart rate rocketing.
"No! I'm sure Videl will make it!" Gohan said in determination, turning to the fight, "She will succeed."
"I'm glad we made it! What's the situation? Hey, isn't that Vivi?!"
Blood drained out of Piccolo, Kuririn, and Gohan's faces when the Veritian drove Videl into the earth by her neck, immobilizing her, and turned on the newcomers. The human newcomers. Tenshinhan and Yamcha could only fall to their knees when the Veritian ransacked their minds, leeching every move and power they had right from the source. Chaotzu could only watch in horror as it seemed Tenshinhan would die again as with Yamcha, the two men having mirrored expressions of pure agony. It was like they were being eaten from within.
It was quick as with Kuririn and soon the men stopped convulsing enough to see straight again. Videl recovered by then and kicked out of her prone position fast enough to actually score a hit on the Veritian's chin. She quickly followed up with a decent punch; finally gotten a degree over any qualms of hitting her mother's image—mostly to thank was what her mother gave her: a temper. The punch landed and Videl quickly twisted into a round-house, missing her target when the Veritian dodged. Then it did something weird that she didn't expect. It changed its stance.
It caught her by surprise and Videl felt a hit or two land before pulling her arms and legs together to block the rest. She lowered them too quickly and for a split second before the pain she would swear she saw a wolf. Again, she was driven into the ground, feeling the skin on her bare arms start to throb painfully from all the scrapes. In the back of her mind, she had been counting the minutes and although she lost count a while ago she knew she was wasting time. Time. Before her father would arrive.
She vaulted herself back into a stance and held it there, finally taking the moment to gather her thoughts and strategize. She mustn't waste anymore time attacking and defending mindlessly. The Veritian was also in a stance, just waiting for Videl to make her move. It really did look like her mother. However, Videl narrowed her eyes; her mother would smirk when in battle. It was just an image. And the Veritian would pay for soiling the image.
Videl dropped her ki, determined not to waste it by blazing when she noticed something for the first time. The Veritian, it dropped its ki too. Curious, Videl raised it and sure enough the Veritian followed. She was speechless. It had been matching her ki all along! Even so, it was royally thrashing her, had she really been fighting that bad? That she couldn't even beat someone of equal ki level?
"About time you noticed it, girl," Piccolo called out, "Your only chance is to beat it with your skill, not power."
However, they all knew Videl lost her chance. The Veritian now had moves and strategies unfamiliar to her. Whatever hole in Kuririn's defense that Videl remember were now gone, filled with either Tenshinhan or Yamcha's abilities. She would be fighting someone, though equal in power, with 3 different styles and more than a dozen killing moves and ki attacks. It did not bode well for the girl.
Videl was still angry enough not to be intimidated and she clenched her teeth before sinking into Chi-Chi's Kamesennin-ryu stance, the one style that would fit her physical capabilities by taking into consideration her height and speed. It was a style fitting for females, being adapted by the strongest human female fighter in times before the Saiyans. Videl was determined to do it justice.
In a swift motion Videl tore off the top purple gi, leaving the white shirt underneath. It landed with a heavy thud, weighing as much as medieval chain mail. The two blue wrist-bands followed shortly after, kicking up dirt and dust where they fell. She would need all the speed she could get. Then, she closed her eyes. Skill and strategy were all she had left… Yes, she would not lose.
"What's she…?" The men watched as Videl fluxed her ki, noting that the Veritian followed in sync. It wasn't clear just what Videl was waiting for but it seemed she found something as she opened her eyes and smiled. It was a confident smile, but also somewhat sad.
"What does it take to win?" Videl asked, her voice soft as if she really was speaking to her mother.
"Death. Or surrender," answered the Veritian in its non-quality voice. The image of her mother speaking with the voice sent a chill down Videl's spine. She nodded before taking a deep breath.
All in one shot. She'll finish this.
Clenching her fist by her sides, Videl screamed as her ki exploded around her frame. It was a bright red flame, almost like Kaio-ken but more subdued, more female. An aura Chi-Chi had. It lasted a second before bleaching white into the pure aura most of the fighters identify themselves with. Videl shot her ki as high up as it went, certain that her opponent did the same. When she opened her eyes, her mother's form had white flames of the same amount and intensity around her. It was surreal, but Videl pushed all her unease to the back of her mind. She had to finish this.
"She's just going to duke it out??" Gohan whispered in disbelief.
"That's the worse she could do! She wouldn't last with her current skills," Kuririn added, "she must be at her limit for her to do such a thing."
"Quiet! She has something planned," Piccolo said, silencing the two. He was certain the girl wouldn't be so forward even when cornered. She wasn't Saiyan after all.
For a split second no one moved before Videl and the Veritian phased out of normal sight. Everyone could see what happened in the next second as the two combatants neared each other in the courtyard. Videl had Chi-Chi's patented killing strike raised when she dropped her ki all the way down with the Veritian following automatically. Her momentum still carried her forward as she shot it up again, immediately jumping to as far as she could bring it in less than a blink. Her calculations had been correct as there was a millisecond delay when the Veritian's ki shifted to match up with hers. The difference in ki was just enough to have Videl hit with enough power packed to bring the Veritian down. Even if the Veritian blocked, it would be of little use. Her hand shot straight forward like a spear, a swirling white of ki carving a path through the air. This was it. She'll finish this.
Her mother's faced burst into a smile, eyes twinkling with warmth and love. Videl's name was almost sung out delicately like a note. Love, motherly passion, her name was said with such emotion. It was just said in the way a child would remember forever, the way one would remember in times of loneliness just to feel warm. So human, so utterly human.
Videl's whole body froze, her hand jerking to the side just enough to miss her smiling mother's face. Before she knew it, a knee was buried in her stomach, pushing blood out of her gasping mouth. A back fist to her shoulders sent her body twisting and flying through the air before impacting solidly with the barrier backside first. She slid down right in front of Gohan's enraged form, leaving a smudged trail of blood from the back of her head and arm wounds.
Once again yellow ki began to flare around the young man, his eyes already a fiery green even when his locks still remained black. His fists were clenched and shaking, if his nails were any longer they might have already pierced his palm. A heavy green hand that clamped on his shoulder prevented the demi-Saiyan from the inevitable ascension.
"Gohan, calm down." Why was it that he had to worry about one student powering up and the other of not powering enough?
The teen growled deep in his throat, not raising his ki any higher but not powering down either, "She could have won just then. If only—if only the Veritian hadn't… It can't be fair. It was her best shot, it just…"
Startled, Gohan once again fell back into his normal form upon Videl's whisper. The girl pushed herself unto her feet, coughing out specks of blood in the process, before glaring through frustrated tears at the once again stoic Veritian. Should she try again? It wouldn't work, the Veritian would know—besides, Videl was sure she still couldn't resist the dirty trick that was just pulled. She was afraid of not wanting to resist. Damn it. She was missing the smile already.
"I won't… I won't give up. I won't, I won't, I won't!!" The last word was punctuated with a yell as Videl shot forward, clever strategies be damned. Where was her father? If he was on a trip he would still be getting there soon. She just doesn't want him to see her fight like this. What would she say to him? How would she explain that she knew he was a liar? And yet, still never talked to him about it? How—
She attacked with renewed vigor, not caring if her aim was slightly off due to her increasing panic. She had to finish it.
Even if she was the one finished.
Her sweeping kick met empty space as the Veritian took to the air, facing her with its hands on the sides of its face. The palms faced inward, not a position to shoot ki blasts, so Videl halted at the peculiar sight. Just what was it doing?
Piccolo's warning shout came too late as she felt her retinas burn from the Taiyoken. She cried out, grasping at her eyes not knowing if they were open or closed—all she could see was a blinding white. The sensation was almost as if like the light pierce through to the back of her brain, melting everything in her skull. She couldn't think, couldn't see, all that was functioning was her basic instincts of flailing like a wounded animal. Dimly, she felt a gathering of ki in front of her but still didn't have the mind to realize it was a ki blast.
Finally, the white ever so slowly faded into red spots behind her closed eye-lids and she squinted through her wet lashes. What she saw was a blue light, a dangerous blue light—then her vision was covered in brown. Brown. She recognized that brown.
Both father and daughter were blasted into the mansion where the roof caved in upon them.
To Be Continued… ("Noooooooo! She DIDN'T!! HANG HER!!")
I deserve to be hanged.
The full chapter should have been out by January 2004 but unfortunately my laptop had died on me. It was only recently that I found my back-up. And this isn't where chapter 7 is supposed to end, but numerous death threats aside, I decided to post what I got so far. Lucky me, I stopped at an evil cliffhanger. HARHARHAR!!
The time I left you guys hanging without news is unforgivable, and I can't make any promises I will never do it again. Though I will promise to finish this, the end of the first part is so close I could taste it. Next chapter, everything ends in the next chapter for the first part. Hopefully this chapter isn't too… disturbing. I was in Silent Hill 3 mode when I wrote the 'digging' part. And I think you can tell it was influenced by the game.
Next update from me will be the long awaited PP chapter 14. Oh, and a reminder, I don't write for review counts, I don't write for death threats (though, death threats really made me close to just stopping for the sake of pissing off flamers). I write for the enjoyment of you, dear reader, and my own. And so, unless something incredibly disastrous happens, I'll finish these fics even if it takes years (ain't that a scary thought).
I had more to say but I can't recall them anymore. Thank you all for staying with me through this and school has started once again so pray that I can actually find the time to finish PP14 before another year goes by. XD