Chapter 104: The Devil You Know
Yes, new cover image (thanks, Nassif9000!). Don't panic. Other new things: I've updated the section on my profile outlining the stories I'm planning after BTtL/EFB. So yeah, some cool ideas developing there.
If anybody wants to tell me I got a date wrong compared with when something is supposed to have happened in canon or something…ease up there. The timeline's changed, there's going to be a 'butterfly effect' deal in terms of dates occasionally. It doesn't really affect the story much, anyway.
Hey, a decent-length chapter, and I'm pretty happy with the fight here to boot.
Baby's eyes widened slightly as the tap of Dende's staff approached, passing by his room. "…indeed, Mr. Popo, I have been sensing traces of a dark and terrible presence for some time now, and it has finally come to a head a ways east from here—"
"That's the bastard!" Baby declared, leaping up and sprinting off past the pair, leaving them stumbling in his slipstream before hitting the edge of the Lookout and blasting off.
"What's his problem?" Mr. Popo wondered aloud.
"I know what you mean." Dende nodded. "It sometimes seems like he only acts like an adult scientist half the time; the other half he spends acting like a teenager trying to be cool…"
An eerily familiar sight, to some; a green, insect-like yet vaguely humanoid monster scrambling its way up a rocky pass, vaulting up a waterfall, and spying a city on the horizon. A toothsome grin spread across its face. Yes, my first prey…the first of many.
"So you come here often?" A voice drifted down from above. The creature's slitted eyes flicked upwards, following Baby in his gentle arc to the ground, one final flare of his aura before he extinguished it blowing the beast back a step.
"Who are you?" it hissed. "How did you find me? I was hiding my energy…"
"Not well enough," Baby replied smoothly. "I get a lot of time to myself. I've made a few self-modifications, like improved scanners…even better than a human fighter's ki sense now."
It bristled. "You talk as if you know me…impossible, of course. I have no data on you in my memory banks."
Baby tutted, waving a finger. "Oh, you'd be surprised at what I know…Cell." He looked slightly disappointed. "You know, I wish these were actual sunglasses so I could take 'em off dramatically when I said that, but they're my actual eyes, man." Heh…did I really just talk like that? This place is really starting to get to me…
"Enough of your prattle, metal man," Cell growled, sweeping a dismissive arm. "I'll crush you now, and get on with my true aims!"
"Wow, that's a real aggression problem you've got," Baby chided. "You haven't known me two minutes and already with the death threats. Anyway…unfortunately for you, I pounced before you had the chance to absorb anybody. And by the fact you don't know who I am…for some reason, your computer designer's stopped gathering data, hasn't it? Which means, you won't be any stronger—certainly even a relatively unremarkable Super Saiyan could beat you. Which means—so can I!" He clenched a fist, igniting his aura again. "This planet's had quite enough of your crap already—I'm gonna nip this little warpath right in the bud."
"Eheh heh heh…" Cell, unexpectedly, was grinning. Its tail flicked back and forth anxiously, claws flexing. "You boasted about your impressive detection ability, is that correct? Well…whoever you are…check again. Hhhhaaa," it breathed, glaring at Baby.
"I…you…" he took a step back. "…there is something, lurking within you—what did you do?!" He's not using this power yet, but it's definitely there…this shouldn't be happening…!
"Hehhh…" Cell advanced a step, Baby retreating one simultaneously. "Shall I tell you? No…I think not. I'd rather dispose of you and be on my way. But I am curious…how did you know where to find me?"
"Well, a friend of mine took care of the general 'where', and my scanners narrowed it down from that," Baby said nervously, grinding his teeth. Keep it talking…something will present itself… "It was the 'when' that I'm proud of. The future version of you, apparently, mentioned another laboratory, but everyone was too caught up in fighting you to remember that little detail. I reasoned it must exist in this timeline, and pieced together the dates after very thoroughly questioning a few people...I couldn't get an exact date, but I've been on high alert for a week now." He grimaced. "Damn it, I thought I could handle you! But you've got some kind of secret…what's up your sleeve! C'mon, you wouldn't let me die in suspense, would you?"
"As a matter of fact, I have no problem with it at all," Cell replied coldly. "Now—eh?!" Its head jerked up and to the left. "What's with this group of high energy signals…all headed directly this way?!" It scowled back at Baby. "Is this you calling in the cavalry?"
The Tuffle laughed out loud. "No, just a happy coincidence that they were close enough to sense your ki; you got pretty worked up just now, and weren't suppressing it anymore. Trust me, 'the cavalry' is much tougher than what's headed our way, but…I think these guys will be enough. I'll leave you to them while I follow your fading ki trail back to your lab and destroy it."
"Think, will you?" Baby grinned. "If you used whatever 'that' hidden power is, you'd beat me, but it'd take you long enough that I'd be able to do some real damage, since in your current state you're no match for me—you probably need a minute to get to your max. If I was alone it'd be worth it since you'd recover eventually, but with the situation as it is…if you want to survive, let alone win, you'd be much better off focusing on them, You don't have much time, so…see ya."
"Rrr…damn you…" Cell wavered, in the end not moving as Baby leapt off, retracing its footsteps back towards the lab. I have no need for that place anymore, in any case…all this means is one less enemy to fight. It was too late now to hide its energy again; Cell was almost certain that this new group had seen him already. It would have to take its chances—and hope that their current detectable level of energy, which seemed much more manageable than Baby's, wasn't too much less than their full power. If I play this carefully, I may just come out alive, and with these fools' energy absorbed at that. "You can come down now, children," it intoned, remaining standing with its back to them as they landed a few feet away.
"Okay, there's definitely no animal like that anywhere I know," a girl's voice said. "Will you finally admit that we're lost?"
"We're not lost!" a second insisted. "This is a shortcut! I know exactly where we're going!"
"Stop acting like you know everything," a boy's cut in, "it's really getting old."
"Hey, I'm fifteen now; respect your elders! I'm practically an adult!"
The first voice laughed. "Yeah, since two days ago. Speaking of which, this whole trip is a really dumb 'present'—"
"Excuse me." Cell turned slowly, scanning the small group. "I believe you're forgetting someone. I don't take kindly to that."
There were three of them; a blonde teenage girl in casual wear (evidently the second voice), and a pair of younger kids—a girl in an uncomfortably familiar orange outfit (the first, Cell surmised), and a boy, darker-skinned than the other two, wearing a similarly-cut blue gi (the third). All three were possessed of battle power far higher than the human average.
Cell frowned, pointing a finger at the girl in orange. "Now…I don't recognise any of you from my databanks, but you bear a striking resemblance to Son Gohan, not to mention a similar dress sense. Relation?"
She nodded warily. "Daughter, yeah."
The eldest of the trio stepped forwards. "So, uh…who—what are you?"
Cell shook its head. "There'd be no point in telling you. You won't live long enough to care."
"He's called Cell," Gohan's child said smugly, flustering it slightly. "I get told bedtime stories about you." Her grin widened slightly. "How my grandfather killed you, for one."
Baby alighted atop a tree, a column of smoke rising from the ruins of Dr. Gero's underground laboratory behind him. "Well, the fight hasn't started yet. I guess I've still got time to help—"
"Don't," Raditz said from inches behind him.
"Gaaah!" Baby, arms flailing, almost fell out of the tree, just catching himself and hovering amidst the forest canopy. "Don't do that!"
"Hey, least I didn't use your couch while you were out," the jovial saiyan replied with a smile, giving Baby a hand back up above the treeline.
"I don't have a couch. Now why'd you stop me?"
"Because…well…" Raditz sighed, scratching the side of his head. "Look, us—all of us—we're not going to be around for ever. I mean, of course we aren't. Goku knows it too—you've probably heard how eager he was to take on Uub as his student. A lot of that was wanting a challenging opponent someday down the line, but…Goku's had the same thought as me. Sometime sooner or later it's gonna come down to the kids to protect the Earth."
Baby glanced over in the direction of the group of four power levels. "So you're giving them this fight as a 'practice run'?"
"Yeah. Cell's in his first form, and he hasn't absorbed anyone yet. They can handle that. It's real fights, not training, that they lack."
Baby paced in the air, grim-faced. "I know what you mean, but…I sensed something within Cell, when I almost fought him. There's some kind of greater power buried within him…"
Raditz shrugged. "If their lives are in danger, we'll intervene." He saw Baby's expression. "That much power, huh? Okay, I'll intervene."
"So…who wants to die first?" Cell crackled. "Or will you all rush to your doom at once?"
"Hold on," Uub said quickly, waving frantically. "Uh, why do you want to kill us anyway? If you don't mind me asking."
"Short version, because he's evil," Pan grunted. "Long version, he wants to absorb your energy, which he does with that stinger on his tail, so yeah…don't let it hit you. Also, because he's evil."
"Thanks for the advice." Marron stepped forwards, cracking her knuckles. "Let me go first. Not to be defeatist or anything, but you guys are both way stronger'n me…if you go first, I'll never get a shot."
"Sounds good," Pan replied. "But we'll help if you're in real trouble, 'kay?"
"Whatever." In addition to her casual wear, Marron was also sporting wristbands and anklets, which she now took off, each making a loud thump and leaving a small crater when it hit the floor.
Cell chuckled. "Training weights…how quaint."
Marron ignored this, rolling her shoulders. "Come at me anytime."
"Very well, if you're so eager to die…I'll show you what happens when you send a mere human to fight the ultimate android creation!" It kicked off the ground, rocketing forwards with an aggressive shriek. Marron took a half-step backwards, sliding her other foot in a semicircle and swaying out of the path of Cell's incoming fist, bringing her left hand up in a quick jab as Cell's own came back around for a return strike. She caught its fist as it simultaneously grabbed her wrist, both attacks coming to a halt. Cell didn't let up, however, bringing its tail around for a low stab at her. She quickly swung the targeted leg around its strike, sweeping the limb down and pinning the tail to the ground. Cell hissed in frustration—then its eyes widened as, a second too late, it noticed the building energy sphere in Marron's hand, which it had neatly positioned in front of its own face after stopping her punch.
She released the blast, and Cell half-jumped, half-fell away from the resulting explosion, hacking and blinking through the smoke. "A human…keeping up with my movements like that…impossible!"
"Yeah, about that." Marron strode through the clearing smoke cloud, hands in pockets, raising an eyebrow. "You were gonna show me what happens when I fight the ultimate android? Nothing so far."
"You…will pay…" It promised, shaking furiously.
"Now that is weird…" Raditz mused, watching the battle from above. "I mean, much as I love to see our team kicking ass, normally I'd be inclined to agree with Cell—a human fighting him like that shouldn't really be possible. I kinda expected one of the other two to fight him."
"Normally, you'd be right," Baby replied. "However, as you mentioned, this Cell is far weaker than the one you fought. Even in his first battle with Nail and company, Cell's first form was probably weaker than just about any Super Saiyan. This Cell is like that one, minus countless of thousands of humans it absorbed in its own timeline before travelling to the past, not to mention the massive amount of wildlife and humans it took before it was finally engaged. I daresay Frieza could destroy this Cell with barely any effort, and not at anything like his full power."
"I don't really think Marron's as strong as Frieza…" Raditz pointed out.
Baby nodded. "No, but then, she's not destroying Cell with barely any effort, and she is going all-out. Still, even most humans would not be able to accomplish this kind of feat…it probably helped that she lives in an age where the average power of the human race is rapidly rising, and started her training much earlier than most. Add the extraordinary power of the friends and family that constantly surround her, and…well, you can see the result."
"Heh heh, yeah…" Raditz grinned. "You know, if they've all been working as hard as this, there's not much to worry about."
Cell leapt again, leading with its tail, and Marron jumped back, letting it carve a trench into the grass in front of her. That thing's bad news…even if it didn't suck up energy, getting hit somewhere vital would be the end of me. Cell spun sideways through the air towards her, pulling its tail back and at the same time bringing its extended leg down at her head. She blocked it with crossed forearms, bracing herself against the ground and shoving upwards, catapulting Cell back. It backflipped to the ground, raising its head just in time to see her thrusting a hand forward, palm out. Cell's eyes narrowed as it spotted the kiai racing towards it. It ducked, flattening itself insect-like on all fours and letting the cylinder of force pass over it, flattening several trees behind it.
Marron lowered her hand, taking a few deep breaths. Strong…fast…clever…this thing's a handful.
Cell rose, shaking the dirt off its limbs. "If you're expecting a compliment on your power, you can forget it. But I will give you this…" It drew its hand back, manipulating its energy into a disc a few inches away from its fingertips. "KIENZAN!" It shrieked, flinging the concentrated attack at its infuriating opponent. Go on, dodge…I'm braced to leap, and this time you won't have time to evade my tail!
"Marron, move!" Pan called anxiously.
"Don't worry!" Marron said with a crazed smile, holding out one arm. "I got this!"
"Is she crazy?" Baby hissed. "This technique—"
"She knows what she's doing," Raditz insisted. "She must."
Dodge already, you fool! Cell yelled silently.
"Come get it!" Marron shouted, keeping her hand—now emitting a strange energy of its own—steady and letting the Kienzan strike it directly. She grimaced, forced back a couple of steps, but dug her heels into the cracking rock and eventually stood firm, somehow having caught the Kienzan razor-edge-on.
"Impossible!" Cell howled. "Your power is practically equal to mine! There's no way you—"
"You're like a stuck record," Marron said, almost yawning as she cut his frenzied speech off. "This is impossible, that's impossible. My father created this technique." She swung her arm around, redirecting the Kienzan into the ground, where it carved its way down for several hundred metres before dissipating, then held her hand open for inspection. "Take a look."
"…I see…" Uub said slowly, nodding. "That's clever." A small circle-sector of razor-sharp energy ran across Marron's palm, humming quietly.
Cell's eye twitched. "…so, a miniature portion of a Kienzan, with the same power as the real thing…you really are Krillin's daughter."
Marron extinguished the tiny attack, letting her arm drop to her side. "Anything else you wanna try?"
"Oh, just a couple of things," Cell answered with a gleeful expression. Abruptly, it stopped moving, and a second later it faded, having distracted them all with a momentary afterimage.
Marron raised her guard, glancing around. "Damn! Where—"
"Behind you, Marron!" Pan yelled. Indeed, Cell stood a few feet behind the young fighter, two fingers held up in front of his face, crackling with accumulated power.
"He built that up fast…" Raditz noted. "A lot faster than Piccolo ever did."
"I would expect nothing less from Cell," Baby said morosely. "He is crafty, and extremely skilled…perhaps even in this state, without revealing his true power, he would have been able to beat me."
Marron went pale as Cell swung its arm forwards, legs feeling like they were made of lead as she scrambled to dodge. "SPECIAL BEAM CANNON!" It roared triumphantly, and she saw the deadly, focused beam spiral towards her, far too fast, inches away from piercing her stomach—
Something slammed into her shoulder, moving so fast as to be invisible to her, and she was hurled away into a nearby tree, smashing it to sawdust. "Oww…" She raised her head, rubbing her bruised shoulder, and seeing Cell lower its fingers, smoke rising from where its attack had blazed a trail through the forest. "What…?"
"Sorry about the rough landing." Uub touched down next to her. "I didn't have time to do anything more than kick you out of the way…mind if I tag in?"
"Yeah, go ahead…" she nodded. Probably a good idea. If just one of Cell's big attacks hits me, it'll kill me…don't actually know how strong Uub is, but hopefully more'n I am.
Uub jumped back over to Cell, skidding to a halt barely a metre in front of the artificial monster. "I'm your opponent now."
"If you wish." Cell weighed up this new opponent, eyes narrowing. "The order makes no difference to me." The first one was the oldest of them…either her or the quarter-saiyan must be the strongest here… It brought its hands down to its side, concentrating energy between them. "I'll skip the warm-up this time. KA…ME…"
Uub stood stock-still, frowning at Cell. "This technique, huh? It won't work, you know."
"We'll find out, heh heh…HA…ME…" Cell grinned. "Thanks for waiting. HAAAA!" It swung its arms up, launching the familiar energy wave.
Uub waited until it was almost close enough to singe the front hairs off his 'crest', before bringing both of his own arms forwards, energy surging in an instant. "KAMEHAMEHA!"
Uub's Kamehameha ploughed straight through Cell's scattering its ki to the wind and smashing into the creature head-on. Cell howled in anger as it was tossed around the burning vortex of power like a glider in a hurricane.
When the lightshow had settled down, Uub lowered his steaming hands and walked casually over to Cell's sprawled form. "Sorry, but a crude copy like that can never beat the original."
"Ergh…rrrgh…" Cell struggled to its feet, backing fearfully away. "Gohan's daughter…Krillin's…whose child are you, then?!"
"Just the greatest mom and dad in the world. Nobody you know. But I know what you're getting at—I was trained by Goku."
"Of course you were," Cell sighed. It was just one attack…it proves nothing! I can still defeat him.
However, no sooner than it had thought this, Uub vanished from its sight. It felt a tap on the back of its neck. "You're dead," said Uub's voice, before he appeared again a few feet in front of it.
"D-Dead? What does that mean?!" Cell demanded.
Uub shrugged. "Well, it means if I wasn't feeling so nice then I could've taken your head—you couldn't even react to that, could you? I just felt I'd show you it's not worth bothering to try and fight me."
Cell bared its fangs, flexing its claws. "Don't toy with me!" Uub was gone again, however.
"Oops, dead again," came the taunt, as it felt a tap in the centre of its chest, but didn't even catch a flash of movement; then, "and again," as the third 'strike' came directly on top of its head.
Uub landed with his back to Cell, arms folded. "So yeah, you basically are dead. I just haven't gone and done it yet."
"Aheh heh heh heh heh…HAHAHAHAHAAAA!" Unexpectedly, Cell was almost bent double with laughter.
Uub turned, annoyed. "Hey, what's the joke? You gone crazy or something?"
Cell gave an exaggerate bow. "Heh heh heh…I assure you I am in full possession of all my faculties. I'm just staggered by your astounding skill at leaping to conclusions."
Marron frowned. "What, you know something we don't?"
"As a matter of fact I do," Cell answered curtly. "You probably aren't aware that I was originally designed from a composite of the gathered cells of this planet's greatest fighters—up to and including the attack on Earth by the Cold dynasty. At that point, it was reasoned that I had sufficient DNA to one day become the ultimate fighting machine.
"However, but a few short years after I had gone 'dormant' awaiting my completion within Dr. Gero's laboratory, who should appear but a version of myself from the future! Signals were received from automated circuits within androids 17 and 18 that they had been absorbed, and a new wave of probes were sent out, revealing that indeed, the one responsible was another Cell. So it was that I received one final DNA sample…his. Or rather, my own."
"Well, what the hell does that mean?" Marron demanded. "It hasn't helped you beat us!"
"Only because I have so far kept up the façade that I am identical to the pathetically weak version of myself that first crawled out of that same laboratory in the other timeline. One effect of this DNA self-infusion was that I no longer needed to begin in my larval stage; I could skip straight to this humanoid form upon completion! And the other effect…" Cell's body began to glow with an internal light, sickly pale green. "…that you shall see once I discard this shell of a disguise!"
Raditz was wide-eyed, staring. "What?"
"It's happening…!" Baby growled. "This is what I sensed…"
"Hrrraaaaaahk!" Letting out a strangled cry, Cell's skin began to crack, shafts of intense light bursting out through the cobwebbing rips. After only a few seconds, its entire body split completely open, fragments of shredded skin raining on the surroundings like a grotesque parody of a burst balloon. Now standing in the space Cell had previously occupied was, unfortunately, still Cell. However, it was a slightly smaller, much brighter-hued and overall cleaner and more humanoid Cell. His ki felt vast, limitless in its depth, and darker and fouler than anything the three children facing him had sensed in their lives.
"And, though this should be painfully obvious at this point…" The rasp was gone from his voice; it was deeper and more civilised—yet somehow even more intimidating than the previous bestial hiss. "…my future counterpart, when I received DNA from him, was in his perfect form. His very molecular structure was altered from the ground up, and preserving that state on a cellular level was simple enough for the nanomachines sent to gather genetic information. Of course, he was far too busy fighting your parents and grandparents to notice at the time."
He stretched his limbs, a tranquil expression crossing his face. "You cannot imagine how this feels…to have perfection dropped into my lap from the moment I was born…added to the joy of relishing the terror in your eyes. Yes, that's right, you can't hide it. I know what you know—that this is the end for all of you, and shortly, for your world."
Uub straightened up, bringing his arms up at his sides and focusing his gaze on Cell. "Is that what you think?"
"It's what I know, foolish human boy," Cell snorted. "Now enough with these peons!" He looked over towards Pan. "I will fight the saiyan girl now! Clearly she is the only one among you who can give me a real—"
"—what the hell."
Pan ran over to brace Marron from being bowled over by the massive waves of power rolling out from Uub's body, a fiery tempest of energy building over the boy's head. Pan herself was having difficulty not sliding back a little. I…had no idea Uub was so powerful! I thought I was the strongest one here by a long way, but…now I'm not so sure…
Cell was unbent in the storm of power, but his face still showed signs of concern. "Who are you, anyway? The other one was bad enough, but you're no human, of that I'm certain!"
"Heh." Uub lowered his head from the sky. "You ever collect data on a 'Majin Buu'? Apparently I'm him, reborn."
"As a matter of fact, my creator did not," Cell replied nonchalantly, swinging an arm diagonally downwards and slicing through Uub's explosive aura, cutting himself a path of calm air between the two of them. "Frieza's family were the mightiest aliens in the known universe, and I have DNA from them…during the battle with the future version of me, the Super Saiyans achieved the absolute pinnacle of their transformation's power, and still only defeated me through sheer luck…and obviously, my perfect form does what it says on the tin. It is unsurpassable. No further data was gathered after my own, as there was no point. All the supercomputer's power and attention was redirected into incorporating these last-minute changes to my design."
"So you don't know anything that happened since then. Excellent." In an instant, Uub was directly in front of Cell, the bio-android already moving to parry his opening punch. The shockwave from their limbs' impact would have blown Marron away had she not dived behind Pan at the last second. Uub grinned. "But let me tell you, I wasn't just born powerful…" His leg snapped up, driving his knee into Cell's stomach and catapulting the bio-android away through the forest. "…I've had one hell of a teacher."
Fallen trees cascaded off Cell as he stood, brushing dust off his shoulders. "To think," he muttered, looking down at the mark on his abdomen, "that one so young could damage my perfect body." His calm broke down for an instant, face contorting with fury. "Unforgivable."
Uub dropped into one of his master's favoured defensive stances, waiting for Cell's counterattack. "Ready when you are." Cell was on him faster than he could react to, however, picking him up by the neck and dragging him up straight into a headbutt.
"Wrong! You will never be ready for me, boy!" Cell spat, tossing Uub away. Uub skidded to a stop in mid-air, forehead throbbing, blood trickling down into his eye. He wiped it away, charging back at Cell. Goku fought this monster a long time ago…if I'm gonna get as strong as he is, I can't lose to it!
"There we go!" Cell enthused, blocking Uub's rapid volley of strikes. "Your attacks are getting faster!" One uppercut got through, snapping Cell's head backwards. Slowly, though, it tilted forwards again, Cell grinning as a small trail of blood ran down from the side of his mouth. "Now that's more like it…but I know you can do better!" He swung a return blow, knocking Uub to the ground and swooping down after him.
Uub flung both hands out in front of him, breaking his fall and accelerating back upwards, vanishing from Cell's sight as the monster's fist struck the ground, pulverising the rock beneath. Uub reappeared to his right, in the midst of a flying kick, but Cell leaned back out of the way, catching his leg and swinging him in a half-circle before letting go. Uub touched down, stumbling to a halt and raising his guard, chest heaving. What's with this guy? One minute he's angry I hit him, the next he wants me to try my hardest…
"Now," Cell said, a gleam in his eye, "shall we try this again?" He drew both hands back, concentrating his ki. "What was it you called my Kamehameha? A crude copy that can never overcome the original?"
"Something like that," Uub grunted, tensing up.
"Let's test that again, now I'm fighting for real." Cell began his low, growling attack incantation. "KA…ME…HA…"
Uub took a deep breath, trembling slightly but saying nothing.
"Come now, you aren't going to pull the same wait-until-the-last-moment-to-counter trick as last time, surely?" Cell asked. "Because that sort of showmanship only works when you have a tremendous advantage over your opponent—and trust me, you no longer possess such."
"Don't worry about me," Uub answered quietly. "You'll see whether or not I can counter it soon enough."
"Feh! It's your funeral! Not that I care…" Cell began to bring his hands forwards, preparing to release the huge accumulation of energy. "…ME…HA—"
Uub didn't wait this time. As soon as Cell had fully committed to the attack and let the beam fly, the boy was sprinting as fast as his blurring legs could carry him, tearing up the ground and leaving a burning trail in his wake. He jumped, vaulting straight over both the onrushing Kamehameha and Cell himself, landing behind both and swivelling immediately to face the android, drawing both fists back. "Gotcha."
Too late, Cell realised that the attack he'd just launched had left him wide open where defence against melee attacks were concerned. I thought for sure he'd try to defeat my Kamehameha wave with his own…he tricked me! Me!
"Hyaa!" Having secured his opportunity, Uub attacked like never before, throwing a barrage of punches and kicks that, as they neared their target, outsped even his own ability to see their movement. An elbow doubled Cell over, a jump kick threw him back, and a final two-handed kiai knocked him flat on his back.
Uub stood over his downed foe, shaking from the exertion of his assault. "And stay down if you don't want any more of that," he panted.
"Rrg…ugh…" Cell heaved himself up, standing shakily. "Stay…down? Foolish child. This is a fight to the death! Neither of us can simply afford to let the other walk away!"
"Yeah, well…sucks to be you, then," Uub said, raising his fists. "Because I've beaten your full power, and I'll do it again, and again until you give up or stop breathing."
"Oh, terrifying." Cell grinned savagely. "Yes, there's the look in your eye. The noble hero, protecting his friends, his planet. Familiar territory to me. But, my dear boy…" His eyes narrowed. "Wherever did you get the idea that this is my full power?"
"Wh…Wha…?" Uub took an involuntary step back. "No-No way…"
"Y'know…" Raditz muttered, "…just seeing his face again is giving me chills. He was so terrifying back then…took on all of us at once, at one point. We barely made it—hell, I for one didn't make it."
"Um, is it just me, or…" Baby said warily, "is his power rising?"
"I mean, I spent seven years dead because of—wait, what."
"Y-You…GRRRAAAHH…" Cell growled, his energy continuing to grow rapidly. "…you wouldn't know, of course…but the future me…RRGH…acquired a level beyond even the initial power of my perfect form…a level that allowed me to battle with even the mightiest of Super Saiyans…"
While that may not be true, with all the power-ups they've gotten since Cell… Uub realised, I was barely able to keep up with him as he was. This isn't gonna be fun…
"—HYAAAA!" Cell let out a final bellow, golden aura climbing to new heights, arcs of blue lightning surrounding him. "This is true perfection. Consider yourself honoured indeed, for you have the privilege of witnessing it before you die."
"Yeah, I feel special. Marron, stay behind Pan," he warned, "this is gonna be rough…"
"You want me to take over?" Pan asked.
"Nah, I'm not done yet," Uub replied, shaking his head. I really don't know how strong she is, but I can't imagine she'll do much better than me…'sides, she can take over if this goes like I think it will. "All right, Cell—let's go!" He ran at his unmoving enemy, gritting his teeth.
Cell laughed. "'Let's go'? You, child, will be going straight to the afterlife, as will the other two. I will then go on my way. To face—" He was cut off by a swift punch to the face, which he made no move to defend against. Uub continued attacking, hammering up and down Cell's body with another chain of quick strikes. After a full thirty seconds or so, he backed down, feeling the ache in his hands and feet from striking a so-armoured opponent so many times in a row. Cell remained unharmed, not having moved or even flinched at all during the onslaught. "—like I was saying, to face real fighters." He brought his right arm up sharply, and Uub was flat on his back, head spinning, before he even acknowledged the motion.
Uub coughed, twitching as he tried to summon the strength to stand. "Getting up already?" Cell taunted. "Here, I'll help you." A deceptively gentle-looking kick tossed Uub up to head height, whereupon Cell rammed home another full-force punch to Uub's stomach, launching the young fighter away again.
"And now for the finisher!" Cell hissed gleefully, running alongside Uub's free-flying form, raising his arm to bring an elbow down straight into the boy's neck. However, he came to an abrupt halt as Uub vanished before he could strike the final blow. "Where…?"
"Be right with you." Pan was standing a few feet away, holding the almost-unconscious Uub in her arms. She walked slowly over to Marron, setting the boy down next to her. "Hey…take care of him 'till I'm done, 'kay?"
"Hey, she moves fast," Baby said. "Uh…Raditz?"
"Huh? Sorry." Raditz stepped back to where Baby was crouching, having been two steps into a running leap at Cell and about half a second from transforming and revealing his presence. "Guess I don't need to step in just yet…"
"Uh…will you be okay?" Marron asked.
"Sure. Fine," Pan said shakily, turning back towards Cell. "Thanks for waiting."
"There does often seem to be an inordinate around of standing around in this kind of battle," Cell noted. I shouldn't have let my advantage make me careless; had I been paying attention I would easily have been able to follow her interception. "Well, as I said earlier…the order is irrelevant to me." He raised his arms in his peculiar, trademark fighting stance, one over the other, fingers extended upwards. "You'll excuse me if I use my full power from the start this time. You three have outstayed your welcome here."
"God, do you ever shut up?" she moaned, leaping at him. He sidestepped, his arm blurred and the world spun upside-down, leaving Pan scrambling for her sense of balance, trying to distinguish up from down before the next blow came.
Marron, a few seconds later, had to jump aside as Pan came flying by, eventually throwing out both legs and finding traction in the ground, building from a backwards slide through a dead stop straight back into a charge.
"Back for more?" Cell snarled, swinging a lazy punch. "Surely it must be obvious by now that you're no match for me."
"Huhh…" Pan took a staggering step back towards him, trying to attack but immediately finding another fist colliding with her face. She growled, forcing herself to stay standing. A casually-tossed energy sphere appeared inches from her stomach, and she disappeared from Cell's view with a strangled cry.
"Ah, finally." Cell dusted off his hands, turning away. "How she even lasted that long is, quite frankly, a mystery to me—"
"G-Get…back here…!" Choked a voice. Cell turned, taken aback, to see a bloodied hand rising out of the crater his attack had made, Pan dragging herself up out of the hole and forcing herself towards Cell again. "I'm just…gettin' started…you!"
Imposs—He stopped himself. Well…improbable, at any rate. "Die already, will you!" Cell bellowed, balling his fists and pumping more power out of his body as Pan made another futile attack.
"Pan, let's get out of here!" Marron called as the cycle repeated itself a few more times, Pan never quite managing to get a hit in before Cell knocked her away again, her movements slowly growing more unsteady. "C'mon, we can find help—"
"No," Pan muttered. "This's my fight…got it?"
"Oh, excellent," Cell laughed. "Truly an heir to the saiyan race—your warrior's blood runs strong within you! Come, then—the brightest flames are the greatest joy to extinguish!"
"Just try it, you…!" Pan ran back in, jumping feet-first for Cell's face. He smiled, vanishing and phasing into view behind her. His hand swiped down and grabbed hold of her tail, stopping her in her tracks. She froze, shivering slightly. "Gghhh…rrghh…"
"Oh, how unfortunate, your tail is still a weak spot," Cell chuckled. "Now that makes this fight even less interesting. I think I'll take your head now, since the three of you seem to have run through the enjoyment you can provide me. Farewell—"
An energy beam struck Cell's back, stumbling him forwards a step. "HHAAAAA!" came the combined yell from Marron and Uub. Cell frowned, dropping Pan and kicking her away before turning to the others. "This tag-team business is getting old…"
"What's getting old…" Uub grunted, slowly advancing, "…is your…obnoxious voice. I'm gonna…shut you up for good."
"And there it is, the speech," Cell responded, laughing uproariously. "And how do you plan to go about this? You can't expect to do any better than she did…perhaps you could self-destruct to increase the power of your attack or something, but I hardly expect such resolve from a child, and anyway it wouldn't keep me down for long—or didn't you know I can regenerate?"
"Do now. So, I just have to…blow you apart completely," Uub said. "And I can raise my power. I've always been a fast learner—for some reason, if I watch a technique closely I can pick it up. I've been told this one's trickier than most, but it looks like it's the only way." He gathered his energy around him, his body's outline blurring as he vibrated slightly. "I…will…"
"No, Uub…!" Raditz stared down at the developing battle. "This isn't a normal technique…it'll tear you apart if you can't control it properly!" His hand rose unconsciously to his shoulder, reaching for the hilt of his sword.
Cell took an involuntary step back, a sweat breaking out on his forehead. "Wh…what are you doing?"
"Goku doesn't know I can do this…even so, he told me it's dangerous even to try. But I've got no choice now…" Uub's aura grew in intensity, flickers of red appearing at the edge. Come on, body…hold together…don't care if this puts me down for a month, just give me long enough to beat him! "Hrrr…kkkh…K-KAIO…KEN!"
Cell winced at Uub's rising power. "No!"
"Grrh…" Uub was surrounded by a storm of flaming red ki, a strained grin crossing his face. "…now! It's over—!" He shot at Cell, swinging his right arm around and readying an energy sphere—but stopped short, less than a step away, aura blinking out, charged attack dissipating into smoke. A wave of pain swept through his body, drawing a scream, and he collapsed to his knees.
Cell resumed breathing, unable to believe his luck. "Nice attempt, but it seems you just couldn't follow through with it, kid. I probably don't even need to finish you off—there's bound to be some internal damage—but it'll be a lot more satisfying this way." He brought his hand down—only to have it stopped halfway to its target, Pan's fingers closing about his fist. "Grr…I can never finish one of you off without another getting in the way…"
"I've had…enough of you…!" Pan growled.
"That's it." Raditz sprang to his feet. "They can't handle him. I'm going in—"
"Wait," Baby whispered. "I sense…something…" Like before, buried deep within…
Raditz's grip tightened on his sword. "You'd better be right…"
Cell applied more force, shoving Pan back a step, her feet searching for traction on the shattered ground. "No more tag-ins! This time, I'm going to kill at least one of you!"
"Didn't I tell you…to shut up?!" Cell had to force himself not to shrink back at these words. For somehow—somehow this child, not even a Super Saiyan, was resisting his full strength, matching the pressure he was exerting with her own hand. Her energy had somehow risen sharply since the last time they'd fought, and he hadn't noticed—or perhaps it had been growing the entire time. Yes…I see it now. Her power's been steadily increasing every second she's been fighting me; that's how she's stood up to so many attacks. Which means, soon…!
He sent a violent wave of energy down his arm and up hers, a painful shock running down through her body, but she held on, breathing through clenched teeth. "Are you…scared yet, girl?" he gloated with false bravado.
"Scared?" No, he realised as she answered, this wasn't an expression of fear, or desperate determination. "You just tried to kill two of my friends…how do you think I feel?" No sooner had she said this, than her visage began to take on a new, terrifying aspect.
"No." No no no no no. Perhaps it was the extraordinary strength she'd already been exhibiting, or perhaps it was some 'ancestral fear' inherited from the cells of the Cold dynasty, but even though he knew on a logical level that this wasn't a Super Saiyan, the sight of the furious blank eyes and the blazing golden aura erupting into existence still chilled him to the core. In fact, come to it…what is it she just did? It almost looked like a colour-swapped version of the Kaioken technique, even seeming to give her skin a similar gold colouration as the aura bathed her and her surroundings in its light.
He was dragged out of this train of thought as she jumped, pulling his arm downwards and smashing her knee into the elbow joint, fracturing it. He yelped, stumbling away, and her fist impacted his face, knocking him clean through a hill. Some sort of burning yellow energy residue continued to burn the side of his face for several seconds after she'd hit him before fading away. "Wh-what brought this on?" he mumbled, repositioning his arm and letting his regenerative powers do their work on it. "She's gone berserk…"
Indeed, Pan was already speeding towards him, slamming into his chest with both fists extended ahead of her and driving all the air out of his lungs, before breaking away with a backflip, using the motion to snap a rising foot into his chin, downing him again. "Yeah, now you've got it," she said in a strained voice, nodding at 'berserk'. "But to tell the truth…I'm also getting kinda excited!"
Cell gasped for breath, backing away from the blazing apparition hovering over him. "D-Damn it…what are you…" What brought this on? A Super Saiyan transformation would require much more of an emotional trigger than this…but then, this isn't Super Saiyan; only something resembling it somewhat. Perhaps she's simply never fought at this level before, or never had to fight for her life—and it took that to bring out the power she always had… "Impudent human…acting so calm while facing me…I am the ultimate fighting machine, do you hear?!" He flung out one hand in a wide sweeping arc, filling the entire area in front of him with an energy blast.
"Only mostly human," came the reply as Pan barrelled through the blast wave unharmed, gripping one of Cell's shoulders in each hand. "You can heal yourself, right?"
"Then there's too much life around here to finish this," she decided, kicking off the ground and accelerating straight upwards. Cell struggled, throwing punches straight into her undefended face and body, but she only twitched back slightly at each one. "Let go, damn you!" he shrieked.
"Sorry. It's been fun, but I'm really getting tired of you." She let go, quickly ducking around and grapping him around the waist from behind. "Not about to blow myself up, if that's what you're thinking…just…point-blank's the only way to be sure."
"No, this cannot…AAARGH!" Cell howled in frustration as he sensed Pan's energy building for a final blast. He hammered her ribs with several vicious elbow strikes, but even as she winced, coughing blood, she held on. Won't be fast enough! He realised. Have to get away! His mind, the product of the finest work of a mad genius combined with the tactical skills of the galaxy's greatest warriors, sprung into action, devising a possible solution in mere moments. "I will never die, do you hear?!" One hand reached back, holding the palm flat in front of Pan's face. "SOLAR FLARE CANNON!" He bellowed, firing the blinding technique out of his hand, inches away from her eyes.
She bit her tongue hard, holding in a scream as her vision was replaced with an unbearable burning pain, violent aura building into a golden sphere surrounding the two of them. "Y-You've…got…nothing! YAAAAA—"
This cannot be happening! I…can never…I will never— "NOOOOO—"
Raditz shielded his eyes from the enormous explosion of power that filled the evening sky, sparks raining down like meteors on the surrounding countryside. "Damn, that's a lot of energy…where'd she get it all?"
Baby coughed. "Er…I think now you are needed."
"Huh?" Raditz saw, amidst the dying flames in the sky, a tiny figure falling uncontrollably. "Right."
Marron looked up to see the saiyan warrior approaching with Pan in his arms; he placed her on the floor next to the unconscious Uub. "Will she be all right?" Marron asked anxiously.
Raditz nodded. "She's been better, but there's no damage to vital areas. Her eyes will need to readjust, but they should recover in a day or two. But Uub…" He turned his attention to the raggedly-breathing boy. "…even he shouldn't have tried the Kaioken without any training. There could be a lot of internal damage, we'll need a senzu or…" He frowned. "Odd. His genki —body energy, basically—is almost back to normal. It's like he's not injured at all."
Marron shrugged. "Yeah, I already checked; his heartbeat and breathing are both still there, and there doesn't seem to be anything broken. I mean, like you said, he's been better, but…"
"Huh. Weird. Anyway…don't tell 'em I was here, okay?" Giving a friendly wave, Raditz stood and headed back into the trees. "You guys did great today; it'll be a more heroic story without a safety net."
"See ya." Heading out of her view, he passed Baby, leaning against a withered tree.
"I told you I sensed something," the cyborg reminded him.
"Yeah, yeah," Raditz muttered. "I still have no clue what Pan did, but that's something for her to learn about on her own."
"Right." Baby stood away from the tree, approaching the saiyan. "So, you satisfied?"
"Yup!" Raditz enthused. "These kids are really something. I mean, our dumbass god's sake, they just killed Cell. I've got a feeling, even after we're gone…the Earth is in good hands."
A thing: A couple of people have asked me if they can make abridged versions of BTtL. I thought sure, why not, I'm not going to stop them, so yeah…Shadowblade217 and Fanfiction Abridged have both published the first chapters of their respective abridgings. I'm probably not the best judge of this kind of thing, since I wrote the original, but…yeah, those exist. You don't have to read them, but you can, they're there, that's a thing. Man what is it with me and all these pronouns right now.
Made a minor edit to chapter 74, replacing an instance of the word 'dollars' with 'zeni'. If anybody even cares.
Seems like everybody was okay with me not having Goku leave with Uub, in fact most people seem to vastly prefer it to canon's having him leave, so…yay?
Well done to those who guessed it was Cell! To those who guessed something else, your guesses were actually all pretty good and entirely plausible, so well done to you too.
Reviewers: I've got some seriously awesome reviews for this last chapter, but I'm kind of pressed for time today (don't worry, not for the chapter, the editing or anything, just for this Q&A), so I'm just going to have to go with the explicit questions and try and get through this quickly, so some things I would normally put here aren't going here. Sorry.
Q: Can somebody with demigod ki sense godly ki?
A: Er…I answered 'yes' via PM, but now I'm going to change that to 'no', since demigod ki is just mortal ki pushed beyond its limits through simply being really freakin' strong. It doesn't confer any special abilities beyond the ability to not get totally curbstomped by gods.
Q: Are you really planning on making break and trunks have a relationship together?
A: I don't actually know yet.
Q: Iliked this chapter , nothing big happened but with everyone's battle level and contast training you have created high expectations , so at least the battles ahead must be epic!So according to gohan's observations the demi god form is a level that any super sayan can reach with proper training and certain conditions right? While the god form has to do with gohan's hidden powers ? In that case shouldn't the form of super saiyan demigod have its own characteristic that distinguish itself from the form of sjgod?
By the way i have forgotten about gohan's tail , when goku and gohan fussed , gokhan had a tail? (i know late...)
A: Answering your questions in order: Yes, it helped, "Super Saiyan Demigod" isn't a form (just that a powerful SSJ at their limits has the potential to tap into demigod ki), and yes.
Q: I agree aboat the SSJGgohan i like it to very much i hope he get to used his new god powers against new enemies or the dark shadow dragons as well? Very much im excited update soon
Q: You Know Goku And friends instead of training for 3 years you could just search for dr. gero for 3 years and kill him and then the androids wouldn't be activated and you could destroy them and then you could go into the basement and find cell and kill him and then you could all train your hardest till buu shows up why don't you do that
A: Because then there wouldn't be epic battles against the androids and it'd be boring for the readers. Also they wouldn't train their hardest for Buu, since they would have no way of knowing that Buu would show up.
If you wanted to write a fic where the premise was "they just kill Dr. Gero before the androids show up", go ahead, that might be interesting.
Q: And when will we see more of that BTtL first draft?
Captain Space Reviews Things I Guess
Yu Yu Hakusho—fantastic, once you get past the first twenty to thirty episodes, but it's kind of a given with shonen series that they take a while to warm up. It sort of goes from episodic-kinda-high-school adventure (with magical elements), to supernatural detective thriller, to shonen superpowered martial arts epic (and one of the best out there).