A/N: Sorry for the delays. Real Life is, as usual, interfering. Especially now that I am actually employed. Having a real day job limits one's free time, and my gaming a movie watching tend to take precedence over writing after work, as they're more relaxing for me (and don't require me to be as awake to do as writing does). Also, I'm cutting the Doom and Gloom battles short. There was originally going to be more with them, but the truly important points of the fights - their natures, that Quietus was willing to make extra Mazoku in Shinkai despite the fact it'd screw with the balance, and giving Nova another chance to show her stuff (and her almost-sacrifice to save the Sai-jin kid and his mother) - have already been covered. So, they're being cut off here and I'm moving on in an effort to get this story going again. There's still quite a ways to go before it's over...
Chapter Sixty-six - Shinkai's Victory
"Nice timing, Piccolo."
The Namek grunted. "Get the two of them and get off the street." he said. "I'll take it from here."
"I'm not sure... you can." Nova said, turning her gaze from Piccolo to the billowing dust cloud of Gloom's impact point. "She has a... strange ability. I don't know... much about Namekian biology but... I doubt you can resist it."
Piccolo's eyes narrowed and he turned his head a little to glance at the Changeling Queen over his shoulder. "What sort of ability?" he asked.
"Some sort of... consciousness or thought suppression." answered the Changeling. Talking hurt, badly. She'd not been in this much pain in over a century. "Makes you lose awareness. I can resist because... I have two minds."
Piccolo smirked a little as Gloom emerged from the fading dust plume. "Then I shouldn't have a problem." he said, turning his gaze from the Changeling to his opponent. Nova was going to ask him what he meant but before she could he suddenly shot in at Gloom. The Demon started to react but wasn't fast enough and Piccolo slammed his knee into her stomach, then smashed an elbow into the back of her head driving her down toward the ground.
Just before Gloom hit Nova felt the odd sensation again, the one that told her the Demon was using her strange power. She down shifted control of her body and thoughts to her lower mind and watched as Gloom came to a stop and then surged back up into the sky at the Namek. They were both moving far too fast for her to see properly, but she saw enough. Just as Gloom reached him Piccolo slipped to the side around her attack and then kicked her in the side of the head.
/He... really can resist./ she thought, surprised. /But how?/
/That was interesting./ Piccolo thought as he watched Gloom slam into a nearby building. He'd felt some sort of odd sensation, a kind of light headed feeling, followed by a strange feeling of unreality. Like the world around him was simply a dream, and not even his but someone else's dream that he was merely observing. In that moment he'd lacked any feeling of self, any kind of connection between mind, body, and the world around him. And then he'd heard them.
He hadn't been entirely sure he was right about the Demon's power not being a problem, but he'd had a feeling he might be. Still, he hadn't expected what had happened. His mind had settled quite a bit in the last seven years but he could still feel them in there. Kami, Nail, and even traces of the personality that had once been Zildar. He'd thought that if he could feel them separate from himself then, perhaps, they actually were separate from his own thoughts. He'd been right. When Gloom had suppressed his mind the others hadn't been affected. While he'd been left basically an empty, unthinking, shell they had continued to function.
And they had given him directions during that few seconds, talking to his mind, and his body had responded to their commands just as it responded to his own thoughts. His memory of what had happened, of her charge and his counter, was vague, hazy. Like the tatters of a half forgotten dream. But it didn't matter if he could completely remember the exchanges or not. All that mattered was that he could function even when she used her power.
"Damn you!" Gloom yelled, erupting from the side of the building. "You shouldn't have been able to think, let alone move!"
Piccolo smirked, exposing a fang. "I couldn't." he said. "But fortunately for me, and unfortunately for you, I'm not the only one in here."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" she demanded.
"It means you can't beat me." Piccolo replied, charging in at her again.
"Darkness Fissure!" the Demon cried, slicing her arm down through the air and sending a thin blade of black and purple energy surging toward Piccolo. The beam was slightly off center, aiming more toward his left shoulder than his head, and so the Namek didn't bother to dodge. He simply tilted his head to the side to make sure it was clear of the beam and flew right through it. He winced at the burning pain as the blade bit into shoulder and sliced clean through, severing his left arm, but neither the attack nor the pain slowed him.
Gloom smirked when she saw the attack make contact, but the smirk faded into shock as the green man simply ignored the loss of his arm and continued toward her. Her shock froze her in place and when he reached her a moment later, pulling to a sudden stop with the palm of his remaining hand only inches from her face, her shock turned to fear. She'd just started to back away when the stream of golden energy erupted from his palm and engulfed her head and torso. The wave lasted only a moment, and when it faded all that remained of Gloom was her legs, which fell toward the ground.
Piccolo left out a long breath as a determined look came over his face. He cried out a moment later as a new arm burst out of his shoulder, fully formed. He cast his senses around for any other powers in the area but picked up nothing out of the ordinary. Apparently any remaining enemies in the city had chosen to stay clear of this particular battle. Turning around he flew back over to where the others were.
"You need to get to a Regen Tank." he said, glancing toward Nova. The Changeling Royal had reverted to her normal form and was sitting on the ground, leaning back against a building for support. "I can feel your elites, the ones I'd had with me, approaching the city. The four of us will handle evacuations for now."
"Pug's still... out there." said Nova.
"I'll get him." Tien said, floating into the air, and then flying off.
"I don't think Nova should move on her own." Hotaru said. She was currently kneeling beside the downed Changeling, examining her. "She's in pretty bad shape. Could you carry her back, Piccolo? I'm not in any shape to fly and carry someone at the same time."
The newly transformed Doom lunged upward, purple and red energy trailing behind him. There was a resounding crack a moment later as Doom's fast slammed into Kibito's arm. The future Kai cringed as pain lanced through his arm before going numb a second later. It seemed that even though the Mazoku was still weaker than him its strange ability now gave it a decided edge in strength. The blocked punch had hurt far more than it should have. As the two began to exchange blows Pikkon scowled, no longer able to accurately follow Doom's movements.
The newly created Mazoku's power had grown too much for him to continued with, even while using a Double Burst. He considered trying a Triple Burst, but discarded the idea again. He wouldn't be able to keep it up long enough to matter, the increase would only barely put him over Doom's power. It wouldn't be enough, not against his strange power. Clenching his hands into fists he let the Hyper Striker fade and then joined Olibu, Mikomi, and Zenryou while Kibito continued to battle the Mazoku.
"This is not going well." Zenryou mused, watching the fight. Kibito still had the superior speed, but the gap was much smaller now. He couldn't dodge as many of Doom's attack as before. Those that the future Kai blocked still did damage, and those that got through did even more. What's more, it seemed like the Mazoku's exoskeleton was enhancing his ability to resist Kibito's attacks. The blows that the future Kai landed were shrugged off quickly and easily.
"There has to be some way to overcome its abilities." said Olibu. He was following the fight with his senses only, his eyes could pick up none of the movements of the two fighters.
Mikomi shook her head. "I'm not sure how." she said. "It's immune to Kai power, and partially so to the dead and the half mortal, and there is no way available to us to change what we are."
"Kai power..." Pikkon muttered, furrowing his brow in thought.
"What is it, Pikkon?" asked Zenryou.
"I'm not sure." the green man replied just as Doom slammed both knees into Kibito's back, driving the man down into the ground two hundred feet below where they'd been fighting. "What the Supreme Kai said... it made me think of something the West Kai once said to me, back when I first arrived on his world. Even though its been eight thousand years, it left a lasting impression on me and I can still remember it."
Kibito pulled himself out of the ground and turned to meet Doom, who had charged down after him. He ducked under the Mazoku's kick and fired off an uppercut for his jaw, but Doom slipped around it and slammed his elbow into the side of his head.
"I was considerably stronger than him, even then, but I could not beat him in any of our spars." continued Pikkon. "His Svarus technique overpowered me every time. He told me that my power and technique were too chaotic, too unfocused, to stand up against Kai power, which was pure and focused. My people were warriors and, though we lived by a powerful code of honor, we left little room for goodness in us, while Kais are nothing but. That was why I would lose."
Mikomi pursed her lips in thought as she looked toward the on going battle between Kibito and Doom. The future Kai was clearly wearing down, though the Mazoku was showing no signs of fatigue himself. Kibito was dodging fewer attacks, successfully blocking even less, and taking longer to recover from the blows that did land. He also seemed unable, now, to land any attacks of his own.
"Could that be it?" she wondered, thinking aloud. "We Kais are the strongest concentration of good in Shinkai, the purest beings. We have striven hard since the beginning to be and remain so, to embody the nature of the Realm. As such, the vast majority of our power is bound in pure energy. Could it be that this one's ability is a resistance, and an increased amount of harm, to purity?"
"Hmm, conceivable." said Zenryou, rubbing his chin. "As a warrior of Otherworld Pikkon would have a decent concentration of pure energy within him as well. Perhaps enough to have caused the minor troubles he'd been having in his battle."
"So how do we overcome that?" asked Olibu. "Find someone who isn't pure?"
"I doubt any such person would help us." said Mikomi. "They would be occupants of the H.F.I.L. or of Hell, and not disposed to aid we Kais. It seems most of them already sided with Quietus as it is." She sighed. "Though we have likely determined the issue it still gives us no recourse in this battle. The only ones who could have a chance against him are the Mortals who have traveled to Hell and Makai. All we can do is wait for one of them to return."
"No, there is one other." Zenryou said, head snapping up. "I had completely forgotten about him, so befuddled by this Mazoku's ability."
"Who do you mean?" asked Mikomi.
"The one you escorted to Heaven to guard it." replied the Grand Kai. "Tatamo."
Mikomi blinked a couple of times and then smiled. "Yes, of course! I sensed his power back in the Mortal Plane, he is second only to Goku and Bardock. His power should be enough to challenge Doom."
Zenryou nodded. "And being Sai-jin, even as a Guardian, I doubt we have to worry too much about his level of purity."
"I will go and retrieve him at once." Mikomi said, right before vanishing. While they waited on Mikomi's return the battle between Doom and Kibito continued. Doom dodged around a punch from Kibito, grabbed his arm, and then pitched him down toward the ground before firing a volley of energy blasts after him. The future Kai managed to recover before hitting the ground, but not fast enough to block the incoming attacks, and the barrage hit driving him down. The attack was just letting up when Mikomi returned, Tatamo at her side.
"Interesting." Tatamo said, gazing up at Doom. "Though disappointing. No one's attacked Heaven so I was hoping for a good fight from this, but this wont take long at all."
"It may take longer than you think." said Zenryou, Kibito climbing to his feet. "He's resistant to..."
"The Supreme Kai told me." Tatamo said, flashing gold. The sudden power spike caught the attentions of both Kibito and Doom. "But it wont be an issue." He floated up into the air, eyes locked on Doom.
"More annoying pests." the Mazoku grumbled. "For a Mortal your power is impressive but you still can't take me."
Tatamo smirked. "Are you sure about that?" he asked.
Doom grinned. "Of course. You are an ally of the Kais. You don't stand a chance."
"Let's test that theory, shall we?" With that Tatamo lunged at Doom in a flash of gold. He reached him in less than a second and aimed a punch for the Mazoku's head. Doom's arm came up quickly and blocked the blow, then he counted with a kick but Tatamo slipped around it. Twisting around behind the Mazoku the Sai-jin smashed his knee into his back, and then slammed his elbow down into his head, driving him down into the ground below.
"Seems the Supreme Kai wasn't kidding about his ability." Tatamo muttered, scowling slightly. Under normal circumstances, against a normal opponent of Doom's level, those two blows would have killed him. Doom, however, was still very much alive inside the debris cloud his impact had created. He'd never exactly considered himself good, even after all that had happened ten thousand years ago with Yadish, and all that had happened since and because of that.
Even after taking the post of Planet Vegeta's Guardian, a position that had been empty for thousands of years, even prior to his birth, he'd never considered himself among the 'good,' the ones who made it to the Grand Kai's world or to Heaven. As a Super Sai-jin, he felt he fit that mold even less. And yet, here he was, facing an opponent resistant to purity and finding his attacks being less effective than they should be.
He considered the idea it was because of his position, the fact that he was a Guardian, that was the source of the issue. He couldn't quite accept that, though. The Kai's issues were not because they were Kais but because they were pure. Being a Guardian involved little more than a title and being granted some level of magical ability. No real fundamental change, nothing that would make someone more pure than they had been before.
/Apparently Azura's rubbed off on me more than I'd thought over the last ten thousand years./ he mused. /So if I can't just beat him into submission, how do I end this? I'm not interested in a prolonged battle against someone who isn't even a real challenge./ He considered using the same technique he'd used on Mijima during the tournament, but wasn't sure it would be all that effective here. His opponent this time wasn't exactly normal.
As Doom came charging up at him he suddenly grinned, as he realized exactly what attack to use. It had been almost five thousand years since he'd developed this move, and he'd never actually had the chance to use it on anyone before. This would be interesting. Darting down toward the Mazoku he smashed a foot into his face, driving him back toward the ground. The Sai-jin dropped straight down at his full speed, pulled to a stop just before touching the ground, then shot forward and slammed an out stretched foot into Doom's chest just before the Mazoku hit the ground.
The kick to the chest sent Doom surging away along the surface and Tatamo landed, planting his feet firmly on the ground. Bringing his right arm up in front of his face he cupped his hand and focused and began gathering energy into his palm. A moment little a small, pea-sized, pinpoint of purple light had formed, growing brighter and brighter as he continued to focus, though not getting any larger.
Doom had pulled to a stop and, growling in frustration, launched back in at him. But Tatamo was ready. Raising his eyes from his attack his smirk grew and he pulled his arm back. "Galick Bomb!" he cried, pitching the tiny ball of energy toward the charging Mazoku. Doom saw it coming and scowled, but didn't think much of it. After all, it was puny. Still, he swerved to go around it, dodging to the left of the tiny energy ball.
He was just passing it when it suddenly and savagely exploded, blasting out a crater over a hundred yards in width. The edge of the blast radius coming within a few feet of Tatamo's position, the massive shockwave driving the Sai-jin back a dozen feet despite how firmly he'd planted himself in the ground. Shielding his eyes he continued to grin. He'd never actually gotten to see that attack in action before, and it worked even better than he'd hoped. Doom's ki signal had vanished almost as soon as the attack had exploded.
As the energy dome shank down and the attack faded Tatamo lowered his arms and reverted back to base. "And that's the end of him." he said with a nod.
"Impressive." said Mikomi, floating over to his position and gazing down at the crater. "For all the larger that attack was you had a lot of energy in it."
"That's the key to making it work." said Tatamo. "It took me a long time to figure out how to compress the energy down that small to make it work. Looks like it was time well spent."
Mikomi nodded. "Yes. Well, it would seem matters here have been dealt with. I'll return you to guarding Heaven."